Thursday, 20 December 2012

The Story Behind My National Express Short Story

On the ninth day of Christmas my publishers, Choc Lit, and National Express are giving away … my short story Touch Wood together with my hero’s easy recipe for delicious hot chocolate. Click on the link here and enter the code SHORT and you can download both for free.


The idea for Touch Wood, came from my cuttings file which, like my notebooks, contains photos and articles which speak to me in some way. An article about a craftswoman working with green oak had a particular pull, maybe because it brought back vivid childhood memories. My dad was a carpenter and joiner, although his area of expertise was not green oak but bespoke oak staircases and lantern lights. Oak’s a very costly material so there was a lot of tip-toeing around when Dad was setting out a staircase. ‘Measure twice, cut once’ was his maxim, because you really don’t want to do it the other way round!

What if, I wondered, my heroine was an instructor, teaching the craft of green woodworking? Another photo in the file caught my eye… and one of her pupils was a musician, a man more used to being listened to rather than listening? A superstition about shoes kept coming to mind and the obvious one about touching wood … and then I started to write.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Twelve Days of Treats

Remember this...?

(And a lot of people round here still chuckle at that hat, I can tell you.) Well, I'm pleased to tell you that that Choc Lit and National Express have teamed up again. As a special Christmas treat you can download a free short story from Choc Lit's Love Match Selection every day up until Christmas Eve!  All you have to do is collect the relevant code from National Express at their Facebook page or on Twitter and enter it here.

The twelve stories in this collection are lovely (well, I would say that, wouldn't I?) and they all come with a delicious chocolatey recipe to match.  Mine's out on the... oops, nearly gave the secret away.


Wednesday, 5 December 2012

The Two Hundred Mile Lunch

'How nice,' people often remark, 'that you and Lily both live in Wales and can pop in and see each other.' Well, it's true we both live in the same country, but there's a hundred miles between where I live on the coast and Lily in Cardiff.  I also live 45 minutes from the nearest railway station.  An hour, if like yesterday, you happen to get stuck behind a milk lorry.  We love our remote location but some occasions are worth venturing out for.  On Saturday Tom and I drove to Cardiff to see Wales v Australia at the Millennium stadium.  We lost in the last minute and the bloke behind me dropped his beer down my back, but Lily and Russ gave us dinner which was lovely.  Then, yesterday, I travelled down again to meet some fellow Welsh-based members of the Romantic Novelists' Association for a lovely lunch...

We left the house in darkness so Tom could drop me at Carmarthen station at 9 am...
It was freezing - no wonder everyone's wrapped up.
The journey is very beautiful though - I bought myself a coffee and watched the scenery go by...

Coming into Swansea where the train takes a break...

It was perishing in Cardiff when I first got off the train, but there was a warm welcoming waiting...

L to R: Lorraine Hossington, Kathryn Eastman, Sandra Mackness (aka Toni Sands), fellow Choc Liteer, Evonne Wareham and visiting us from London, Jean Fullerton.

And just to prove I was there too...

I had a lovely time and really enjoyed sharing writerly experiences.  But it was also good to come home...