Sunshine and Showers

The view when I returned from my run this morning.

‘So,’ says our postman, handing me a thick wodge of A5 envelopes, ‘you’ve got a good bundle today; all these are for you!’. Smiling weakly, I wait until I’ve closed the door before giving a little sigh at the latest deluge of paperwork. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my two years assisting with the Romantic Novelists’ Association ‘Romantic Novel of the Year’ awards it’s the value of a good postman, one who’ll keep your parcels out the rain when you’re not in, takes a sensible approach to the occasional underpaid envelope and, er, provides feedback on your running times.

And two minutes later!

Last year I was fielding parcels of books; receiving them from authors and sending them out to readers for judging, but it seems I was a bit optimistic to think that taking over as official score keeper for the awards would be any less time-consuming. Every entry is read initially by three readers who award points for all aspects of the books. The totals go to three of us by email and then the paper copies come to me for verification – and my goodness, there are a lot of scores to verify! Still, I suppose I’d be more concerned if I didn’t have a small mountain of score sheets growing in my study; at least this shows just how much interest there is in both writing and reading romantic fiction.

I almost never read horoscopes in the back of magazines, but flicking the Christmas (yikes) edition of Good Houskeeping I happen to notice my glowing stars for December - which is a bit of a relief given that it’s been a ‘sunshine and showers’ sort of year. ‘Right now you’re in a period of discovery in terms of your activities, goals and alliances…’ astrologer Shelley von Strunkel begins. This is certainly true as I’ve been very torn between three writing projects. It’s nice to have lots of ideas, but not very good for productivity to be pulled in three different directions. ‘December is about eliminating what doesn’t work, which enables you to focus on what holds promise and clear the way for new, exciting and worthwhile experiences to come,’ she concludes and given that I’ve finally decided which of my three options to run with, I just hope it’s the right one!

And finally, talking of new and exciting experiences, my work appears not in one but two new titles this week! Tomorrow sees the release of Me Time this Christmas a collection of three novellas by me and fellow Choc Lit Authors, Liz Harris and Angela Britnell and on Thursday Kisses and Cupcakes, a new selection of short stories by Choc Lit authors goes live. Mine’s called Melting Point and opens with a slightly saucy beach scene. You can find it here


Chanpreet said…
It is a special post man indeed who will do all of that. I thought our post man was one such man because he did the same and then he asked me if I was a submissive. Apparently me calling him "Sir" was an indication I was into BDSM and not just a sign of respect because he's my father's age. And apparently since I like to read romance, although BDSM and dark fiction isn't my thing. Sigh. Now I'm extremely uncomfortable around him.

I've never really paid much stock to horoscopes. I do think it's lovely yours is working out in your favor. I'm glad you're no longer torn about what you'd like to write next. I guess that means we're one step closer to reading your next book. :)

I think it's very admirable you're helping out with the association. I volunteered to be a reader last year but I think I was turned down because I'm American. I do think that's grossly unfair, especially since the majority of my favorite authors are from the UK and Europe. I sent an email in a few days ago volunteering my services again. We'll see how that goes. I hope you have a great week Chris!
Chris Stovell said…
Ewwww! No wonder that's made you uncomfortable, Chanpreet. Poor you! I hope he goes away and reflects on his inappropriate conversation.

I still don't pay any attention (usually) to magazine horoscopes and rarely read them, but a good friend drew up a personal horoscope for me a few years ago which was uncannily accurate and gave me food for thought!

All, I've done is try to give a bit back. I'll find out what the position is with readers outside the UK. I suspect it's because the cost of post would make it prohibitive, but I'll look into it for you. Thanks for offering to help in any case - it's appreciated.
Wishing you a great week too! x
Jane Lovering said…
I know someone who used to write magazine horoscopes..that is all I am saying on the subject.

Sounds like you're busy Chris, but what is it they say, if you want something done, ask a busy person? And you're so organised and capable you make me feel quite inferior! Good luck with the horrorscope...x
Chris Stovell said…
Your silence speaks volumes, Jane! The main problem is that the writing has been a bit squeezed by the 'busy-ness' but I'm working on it! x
I came over because I have just booked a ginormous house for a family gathering next summer near Aberporth and thought of you. Are you anywhere near there? Would be great to meet you at last if that is logistically on the cards! Booking our place made me realise how very little I know about your part of Wales. Hope things are going well with eyes, legs and workload!
Chris Stovell said…
How exciting, Elizabeth! Yes, we're about ten minutes away from Aberporth so, hurray, we can finally meet! Hurray!
Frances said…
Chris, I do like the sound of that December prediction. I think that I remember that particular astrologer writing for another magazine ages ago. Can't remember which one.

Even longer ago, I used to like the star page in the old Harpers & Queen magazine. Sometimes it really did seem rather astute. Maybe it was the way the column was written? That astrologer, who used a pseudonym, passed away and I then gave up on columns. But I do have a chart stored on a bookcase somewhere around here.

Chris Stovell said…
Frances, it was our very own Little Brown Dog who drew up my horoscope and confounded the sceptic in me! Let's hope there are some good things written in the stars for all of us next month! x
Flowerpot said…
Glad to hear that December is going to work out well for you Chris! and hope that next year is more sunshine and less showers...
Chris Stovell said…
I wish the same to you, Sue! Thank you!

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