Sunday, 29 November 2015

Calm Down, It's Still November

I understand shops putting their Christmas decorations up, in what feels like August, because it's a marketing ploy.

Maybe I've not noticed it before, but this year, people are putting their decorations up in November!

For the record, I love Christmas! It's hard work and stressful, especially leading up to it buying presents and getting them wrapped, but I love Christmas!

Maybe my Christmas tradition is different because as a kid we used to have real trees - enormous Christmas trees, as Dad worked for an office plant design company, and he'd get a tree as a Christmas present. These trees were usually put outside offices in London - so they were pretty big! (One year our tree took up half the lounge lol! If only I could find the photos....) Our tree would usually go in about a week before Christmas (around the 16th to 18th sticks in my mind) so that the tree looked healthy on Christmas Day. It was the old type too, that dropped the needles. Dad would also decorate the inside of the house so that it looked Santa's grotto. You couldn't see the ceiling. Even now, I put a lot of decorations up. So when I decorate my house I decorate it big style. :) (Hence I don't really want it up since November!)

Since moving into this house, I can't have a real tree because even the smallest one would be too big really, and the only place for the tree is in front of the radiator. However, even though I now have a fake slimline tree, I do not feel the need to put it up until about a week before Christmas. Now the boys are bigger, they want to help me with the decorations too, but I still try to do it around the 16th December.

Last year, tree up! 
My son has his birthday on the 4th of December. This is another factor why Christmas doesn't creep into our house early, I like to let him have his birthday. He wants his cards up and on show like the rest of the family - let's face it!

I understand the outside lights going up early. And taking decorations down early to suit around work etc. I'm not religious, but to me Christmas is about traditions and family time, and I feel like it's been forgotten that there are 12 days of Christmas, which starts on the 25th December.

To me it feels like Christmas is losing its punch, its traditional elements when we've been 'celebrating' since November. I suppose it doesn't really matter when the decorations go up, if it suits some to have them up early, but I have known people to put the tree and decorations up really early, then rip them down Boxing Day because they're 'sick of the sight' of them. My mind boggles at that. Put them up a bit later, and have them up over the "Christmas period."

What are you Christmas traditions? Do you love Christmas, or hate it? Do you put your decorations up 1st December or do you wait a bit closer to the big day?

Thursday, 19 November 2015

The Worst Part Of Writing

Have I told you how much I hate writing a synopsis? I haven't written many, so don't feel at all comfortable or confident in writing them. And it feels so alien to how you write, because you're talking about your characters, and it feels much more telling, not showing.

How long does a synopsis need to be?

Do I really need to tell all the twists?

And then when I read it back I question the story I've written!

This is definitely the worst part about writing. And do you write it before or after you've finished your first draft? I tend to write it after, as my storyline likes to change as the characters decide to do things differently to my original plan.

So I now have the fun job of writing my synopsis for my third novel, which I'm in the process of editing. It all feels a bit more worrying too, because I'm out of contract, so will Harper Impulse like this novel? My goal is to try and get this novel out there before Christmas if I can as I'd love to see it in print next year. This will keep me on target of a book a year then.

In the meantime, the characters in potentially what may be my fourth novel keep talking to me. So it looks like I'm going to be writing them next. They've just demanded it really, even though I had thought of other storylines I wanted to tackle, this one 'Cinderella meets James Bond' just keeps growing inside my head.

With the digital release available, there are more fan vids for The Man From UNCLE now, and Illya and Gaby are my inspiration for book 4. (I can't wait to get my Bluray copy).

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

It's Been An Odd Day

I have a poorly PC, so I'm tapping away at the keyboard of my laptop. But I'm getting frustrated because the keyboard is so much smaller than my ergonomic one, and even though I like the sound of my nails tapping at the keys, it takes me longer to type. I tend to have to go back and correct lots of words.

This week has been feeling a bit strange. My eldest son is away with the school for a week. He's been beyond excited about it. However, today, throwing all plans out of the window - almost - I've had a poorly boy at home, too - my youngest. That has scuppered me a little, I couldn't do my pilates or go for a run. I did keep my appointment and give blood, Kieran coming with me as he hadn't been sick or anything, in fact by this point he really wasn't 'ill'. He liked the chocolate biscuits! Oh and so that I don't feel guilty about the lack of exercise I've done today, the nurse did say I should skip the exercise - so I will. :)

Kieran woke up with a temperature this morning and did seem under the weather, but brightened later. (That's not what we could say about the weather). However, as I was cooking tea, he fell asleep on the sofa. He awoke grumpy, with no appetite, and ended up going to bed at 5.50pm.

I hope he sleeps well and wakes up better tomorrow as I really need him to go to school. I have way too much to do - like pick up a Christmas present for the boys (a second-hand pool table).

It doesn't matter how organised you are and how you plan your diary, it all goes to the wall when you have a poorly child. Grrr! It's bloomin' hard being a work-at-home mum. (Although I do feel that being a writer doesn't get taken seriously enough as being self-employed - but that's another blog post!) And even working part time, I am stressing that if my son is off Friday, I can't go into work, and I can't get paid!

In my writing news, I have started to edit the first three chapters of my third book. It may need some additing too. I've got a couple of new beta readers too, as my usual beta is busy doing Nano amongst other things. One of my betas lives locally, so it means we'll be able to make an excuse of it, and meet for coffee :) Currently working on the first three chapters, but haven't looked at those since last week. :(

I did manage to do something constructive today (while Kieran watched lots of TV). I sent off another blog questionnaire as I'm guesting on a couple of blogs over the Christmas period. So not completely unproductive. I have another to do, but this blog post has taken longer than intended and I'm dying to put my feet up and read my book - A Game of Thrones.

p.s. Not only do I remember the soldiers fallen today, but I remember my nan. It's three years since her passing. Rest in peace x x x

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

November Already?

Just lately I've been feeling a whole lot better about myself. I still beat myself up that I'm not writing enough, or editing - I am about to do this as soon as I've finished this blog post - but generally, in life, I'm in a really good place.

So the kids still send me barmy at times with their bickering and ignoring me. (How many times I have to tell them their dinner is on the table is beyond a joke!) But I have my house, which I am slowly adding to and personalising, and I AM a published writer, and my job isn't even that bad too - although I still die inside when a customer comes to the counter with a bag full of parcels. (Boring!)

As a Libra, I need balance, and I think I've found it. My anxiety at times peaks, and I worry (Is it really November already? Do I really have to think about Christmas shopping?) but generally, I'm good.

I have a great set of friends, and my family are good to me. There are days where I do not know where I'd be without my dad. My garden always looks amazing, and he helps me so much with jobs around the house.

We also have Rio now. He is a budgerigar. We've had him four weeks. And he's a chirpy chappy. Eventually, when he is tamer, he will be allowed out of his cage. But I want to get him really friendly and used to us first.

So the big question is, do I want to start dating again? And at the moment, the answer is still no. I still don't feel ready for the bullshit... but also, I really don't need a man in my life right now. I've got Henry (Cavill)... Tom (Hiddleston)... and even Armie (Hammer)... And they're enough :)

Henry Cavill & Armie Hammer - The Man from UNCLE
I love this picture so much!

Right, back to the editing....

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Voices Inside My Head

I really need to do a blog post. The last time I blogged it was the 14th October! (I didn't even mention my birthday which has came and went). And now we're rapidly approaching the end of October, and Halloween.

I have finished the first draft of my 3rd book, and came up with an idea for another book - which maybe the 4th I write, as these characters keep talking to me. It's nicknamed Cinderella meets James Bond, only because she leaves a ball (Christmas party) at midnight and the hero - dressed in a tuxedo - doesn't get her name.

I appear to be alternating the seasons with my books. My first book, Plus One is a Lucky Number, was set in the summer and my second, One Fine Day was set in autumn/winter. My third - which is only in draft state - is set in the summer again, where as this 4th book, if this is the next one I write, is set in the winter. Well, it starts with a Christmas party where the hero and heroine meet. It may go the whole four seasons! Who knows?

It's been rather lovely actually. It's felt like a very long time since two characters really spoke out to me to have their story told. I don't know what it is about these two but they won't leave me alone. But, however much these two characters keep talking to me, they're going to have to be quiet for a little longer. I have written their first scene and made some notes of their characters, and I will continue to brainstorm them as I need to give them a back story each but my focus must be on editing book 3, which has the working title of To Love Again.

Obviously I haven't managed any writing while the kids have been off school - but next week it's back to the grindstone. Without wanting to wish my life away, or my children's for that matter, I do dream of the day I can work full time as a writer. If it will ever happen, is another thing. But for now, I need to continue to do the best I can.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

With Enough Coffee....

I am determined to get my boys to drink tea and/or coffee. I've just never been sure when to do this, considering both drinks do contain caffeine, which is a stimulant, and I don't wish to have them up all night, unable to sleep. They are children after all!

Then I came up with a cunning plan... I'd buy decaffeinated. (Yeah, I know, not all that cunning... why I hadn't thought of this earlier!) This means they can have a warm drink before bed (or after school) and it doesn't always have to be hot chocolate.

And I'm determined to introduce it to them without adding sugar!

Now, the reason I want my kids to like drinking tea and coffee is because I've observed, over the years, those who don't drink hot drinks like tea or coffee tend to drink a lot more fizzy drinks during the day... and in so doing so, either have shocking teeth or are overweight. (Sorry but that is the truth of it).

As I don't really wish to name and same all the fizzy drinks and be sued. And energy drinks, which in my opinion are EVIL, for this article I will refer to them all as pop.

Pop are high in calories and don't even hydrate you. It makes me so mad when I see young children choosing these drinks as an option! Even if you drink the diet pop variety, you will not lose weight. (Ever noticed the amount of people drinking these drinks and are not losing weight?) The reason being is these drinks are sending the wrong messages to the brain that a sweet thing is about to enter the stomach... but that sweet thing isn't really sugar... and so then the brain craves the sugar it didn't get... and so the person tends to eat more because of it. Defeating the whole objective of the diet 'pop'.

Hot drinks are more sociable too. Nowadays the in thing to do is to meet for coffee. (We have Costas in abundance in Weston-super-Mare and they are all busy!)

I know my love for coffee began once I started working full time in my first proper job, but my dad had from an early age given me milky coffee. I remember having it in a glass cup and saucer.

Probably like most coffee drinkers, I need a cup of coffee every morning to give me that kick start. I drink more when I'm writing or at work too. But I do usually stop drinking coffee in the afternoon and switch to green tea (with lemon or mint - but has to be Clipper), unless meeting someone for coffee. I don't drink black tea. Never have. Can not, for the life of me, get round the taste of it to enjoy it.

In my opinion if you're going to drink pop - do the full fat variety and keep it to special occasions. I very occasionally have a Coke - it is my guilty pleasure. But it's probably once in about six months that I dirnk it. Usually with vodka, or when nursing a hangover. Or I really need that sugar fix, but I never drink diet. I can taste the artificial sweeteners and I don't like them.

I know my kids will drink pop eventually, but I want to encourage that they only do it on special occasions, and choose a healthier option if they need a drink. So the boys and I are getting into a cosy routine at reading time before bed, to have a cup of tea or milky coffee, or a hot chocolate, and hopefully their passion for tea and coffee will begin.

Are you a tea or coffee drinker? Or both?

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Want To Hold On To Summer That Bit Longer?

As an author I always fear I'm not doing enough - writing, promoting, advertising... You name it, I worry about it.

At the moment, Plus One is a Lucky Number is 99p on And therefore, is probably 99p on all other good ebook sites too.

As I have this blog, and I need to put a post out there, and really I'm quite within my rights to advertise my own book, I thought I would.

If you'd like to hold on to summer that bit longer, fancy a wedding, romance, sun, sea and surf.... then this maybe for you.

Blurb: Plus One is a Lucky Number

The wedding favour...

Sophie’s going to a wedding where the invite is strictly plus one… but with her single girl status not exactly fitting in with the bridesmaid dress code, and the best man being none other than the ex she would rather forget, Sophie needs a favour and she needs it fast!

Luckily for Sophie, her dreamy but distant co-worker Adam Reid owes their mutual friend James big time…and his gorgeousness more than fills the role of the ‘Perfect Boyfriend’!

As they take off to the sunny shores of Cornwall for the wedding weekend, it’s not long before pretence leads to passion and Sophie and Adam must decide; is their relationship real or is it all for show?

Buy Links:

‘If you like Jill Mansell and romantic comedies, you will enjoy Plus One is a Lucky Number.’
5 Stars by BookBabe - 'Everyone’s worst nightmare – Sophie is going to a wedding with no suitable ‘plus one’ in sight! Adam is persuaded to fill the position (who wouldn’t want him!) and fun and games ensue as the long weekend unfolds. As two work-focused individuals act out the part of a loving couple, there are enough twists to keep the reader turning those pages, with some great laughs. One to curl up with for a bit of romantic fun!'