Monday, 31 December 2012

Hello, 2013!

Usually, with the entering of a new year, I shrug my shoulders and don't really think about it too much. It's just another year, with another number. An excuse to polish off a bottle of bubbly but it's just another day, New Year's Day. Tomorrow is likely to be raining! lol! Actually Dad says the forecast is dry for a couple of weeks... we will see. We might be able to put those umbrellas away - 2012 has been miserable in weather reflecting my life aptly.

This time last year, I knew that I was going to make a life changing decision and I was going to have to raise it in 2012. I started the year with dread of what I was about to do, but hopeful for my new start.

Then it kind of dragged...

Therefore, I will be glad to see the back of 2012. It's been one emotional journey, and although I had to go through it to set me on the right path, it has not been easy. Plus I lost my Nan, and I've had other emotional ups and downs I never even considered. Hopefully it's toughened me up, it has certainly made me aware of who my good friends are.

However, with 2013, the year I turn 40, maybe it is my life beginning. So I am looking forward to 2013! (Please don't let me down.) I am already entering this new year a whole lot happier than I was this time last year, so that has to be something.

For me, next year will be about focussing on my new home, which will be my new start in life, and trying to get that damn book published. Maybe 2013 will be my year? I have rejoined the RNA NWS.

And so, with this blog post, I want to wish you all a prosperous and happy New Year. Happiness being the key. I have learnt life is too short to be unhappy and that there is happiness out there. There will be tough times, every year sends them our way, but try to focus on the happiness, the good times. And the writing...

I have failed this year to read as much as the year before, and I haven't blogged as often as I did in 2011 either. So 2013 is the year I get back on it. Goodbye, 2012!

Of course, I can't leave it there... It just wouldn't be my blog. You need something else to help ease you into 2013... as well as a bottle of bubbly. These guys will help pour your drink. :)

Saturday, 29 December 2012

You Can't Choose Your Family

And mine is pretty mad...

Auntie Katie buys the boys Nerf Guns... and this is what happens...

(Posting here as I can't get Tumblr to open in Chrome, Firefox... anything! Argh!)

Monday, 24 December 2012

Getting Into The Spirit

Yesterday I started a blog post about how I didn't feel Christmassy. Good job I failed to post it. Sitting on the sofa with Kieran, giggling and wincing at Home Alone 2 has certainly got me into the spirit. Tonight I will chill in front of the telly, with a glass of wine.

So with this blog post, I just want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

I'm off to curl up on the sofa with my boys and watch A Christmas Carol (or it's called something along those lines) - a version I haven't seen before.

If you're out celebrating Christmas Eve, like I used to do before kids - I hope you find this bar -->

It looks like they serve amazing cocktails. :D

Monday, 17 December 2012

I'm Not Organised, Are You?

Trafalgar Square
Yes, I know, I've not done a blog post in over one week! Last Friday I posted. Last blinking Friday!

I have no idea where the time has gone, all I do know is that I am not writing or reading much. :-( I'm not even on Facebook or Twitter much either! But Christmas madness is upon us, and to be honest, I'm not even sure I'm organised or even if I care.

I certainly won't be sending out many Christmas cards, because I can't work out when to sit down and write them, and I can't afford the bloody stamps! So I send my apologies now to family and friends who would normally get one.

I did do something Christmassy over the weekend. Yesterday, I travelled with my dad and the two boys to London to see the lights. It's something that my dad did with me and my brother when we were kids, and I wanted to do with my two. Not overly sure if they were enamoured by it all but I liked it. Typically, as we came out of Selfridges, knowing it would be dark, the rain decided to fall, so we couldn't soak up the sparkly lights as much as we'd liked.

Here are some photos though I took with my phone.

Oxford Street - with a blurry picture of Dad and Ben in there somewhere.

I think you can see which store this is.

and this one!

Regent Street.
At least our tree is up in the house now. It's whether I put as many decorations up or not. With a house move eminent I'm not so sure whether to or not. Right, well, back to the Christmas present wrapping... Are you organised?

Friday, 7 December 2012

One Got Through The Net

I didn't want to do this but I'm going to have to moderate the comments posted on this blog. Don't panic, though. At first, I'm only going to do it on posts older than 7 days, so most of you shouldn't see any difference.

I've tried to make this blog user friendly, so that everyone can comment - because I like comments! I've wanted to make it easier for those with or without 'accounts'. However, I seem to be getting a lot of SPAM and Blogger has been dealing with those nicely. But today one got through the net.

I've read lots of advice about blogging, and one is not to use those dreadful Word Verifications. I must admit, I hate them. I can never see what the bloody letters and numbers are supposed to be. So I am refraining from turning that back on, too.

Therefore, I'm going to see how this goes. If this reduces my Spammers, or at least stops them actually going live on my blog, I will be happy. Hopefully, none of you will notice the difference, but if you do comment on a post that is over 7 days old, then your comments will be moderated first.

Okay - that's the boring stuff over... now here's something Christmassy as a means to thank you for taking the time to read this blog. I do like their hats.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Happy 8th birthday, Ben

On Saturday 4th December 2004, at 6.36am, after the 30 odd hours of the labour from hell, my gorgeous boy, Benjamin James Morgan was born.

There was a point in my life I feared I might not have children and so he was instantly precious to me.

He weighed a whopping 9lb 4oz and was so contented. I remember leaving him in the 'nursery' on the maternity ward, so I could have a bath and came back to find his cot empty. Fear waved over me briefly - someone had stolen MY baby - then I saw a midwife holding up a baby to another midwife saying, "look how handsome this baby is." First proud mummy moment ever when I realised it was my baby. And I thought I was just biased. (We all think our babies are handsome, lets face it).

But eight years on, where did my baby go?

Happy birthday, Ben. My sensible boy. You'll never be too big to cuddle... it's just if you'll let me.

(I've scheduled this blog post deliberately for 6.30am!)

Sunday, 2 December 2012

This Time Last Year...

Gosh, it's the 2nd of December already! This time last year, I was doing an advent calendar type blog post. Blogging every day, and having a little pleasant surprise for you all. You can safely say this year my mind has not been on it. I have struggled with writing, and even reading at times.

At the beginning of the year when my aunt died and my nan was diagnosed with cancer, and I'd dropped my bombshell about my marriage, my mum said 2012 was going to be a hard year. I replied that it wasn't, it was going to be my year, and it was a new start.

I have definitely put my life onto a new direction, but I think I will be glad to see the back of 2012. There has been times when it has felt bleak, and I couldn't see that light at the end of the tunnel. I've had an emotional journey, in more ways than one, some of it I just haven't shared on here but close friends do know what I have been through.

It's another year of not making it as a writer, yet I did achieve sending The Wedding Favour out to five publishers, and receiving - although rejections - some positive feedback. I now need to restart the editing process for the resubmit request I got from one of the publishers. I MUST DO IT!

This year I've failed to make a Christmas cake. I think I've had to take one day as it comes, and haven't been prepared to do much planning. I can't even think of Christmas until my son's birthday is over on Tuesday (4th December).

On the positive side, from this year I have found really true friends. And I hope they know who they are. I've found support  from these wonderful people through the internet and real life. Without them I don't know if I'd be as strong as I have been.

So, as we set into December and Christmas rapidly approaches, I count down to 2013 which will be a new start in life for me, hopefully in a new home. I will be turning 40 in 2013. Maybe they're right, life does begin at 40...

Monday, 26 November 2012

In Loving Memory Of My Nan

Nanny Tess ~ Violet Habicht

19th March 1926 ~ 11th November 2012

February 2011
I just wanted to do a blog post for my nan. Today is her funeral. She will be sadly missed, but as we all know, all good things must come to an end some day. She died aged 86. She was still riding her bike until she was 81. Nan loved her holidays and her bingo. She was never one for sitting around, moping about at home. She would have gone stir crazy! She told you straight, too. Probably where I get a bit of it from. Her favourite flowers were Freesias and her favourite colour was lilac, light mauves/purples, which is my favourite colour too. She also liked Amaryllis' like in the photo above. This is one I bought and she potted from Christmas. 

I think this is early 1990s, when Katie would have been at Thorpe School. Mum and Nan manning a stall. 

A favourite picture of mine. Nan and I with our Babychams. This was Aunty Barbara's wedding in 1991 (so it says on back of the photo). That means I was 17 here! 

And this was taken by my uncle Tony. Nan, me and Mum at my 30th birthday party, October 2003. 

Rest in peace my wonderful Nan. If there isn't Bingo in heaven, give them hell! 

I have wonderful memories I will treasure forever. Love you, Nan. x x x 

Love, Teresa x x your favourite, ha ha! (Little private joke there between me and Nan). 

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Good Job I'm Not A Bad Loser

I can safely say I will not win NaNoWriMo this year. I've been failing to actually get bum on seat some days and get the writing done, and then the days that I do, I have not been hitting the 1,666 word target which is required to reach 50,000 words in 30 days.

I have written so far 15,287 words (little counter to the right should verify this too :D). Those words seriously need editing mind. But that is 14,179 words short of where I should be today.  (Becky Black will love that I have a spreadsheet to calculate this. Spread sheets are her thing. They can be my thing too. It's maybe why we get on so well.) But this is the reason why I will not win. NaNoWriMo calculates I need to write 2629 words a day for the rest of the month. It's not going to happen. Not unless I want my RSI to come and hit me in the face! (Well, the wrist actually).

So I'm a winner in that I'm writing again, with everything that real life is throwing at me I think this is a damn good achievement. After November I will need to get back to editing The Wedding Favour and being tough with myself about it. You will not make it as a writer if you do not put the work in, Teresa! 

However, as I said to my writing friends in my little writing group, I think I'm too tough on myself. I'm impatient basically, and want it to happen as soon as possible, and stress myself that it is not, because it's a vicious circle. I won't see writing achievements if I'm not writing and working at it. However, I think I need to take a step back, just keep at it, write when I can write (and not beat myself up when I can't) and eventually it will come. My desperation is because I am miserable in my job. If writing could pay the bills, I would be happier. So, I need to find something else don't I?

It doesn't mean I'm giving up my dream of writing, it just means finding something more enjoyable to do to bring in the bread and butter, and work around my children (which is priority) and my writing. I'm tired of getting up at 5.30am every Saturday morning. I want my weekends back!

I thought about becoming a teaching assistant, and I'm not striking that off, but maybe for a quicker solution, and less training required, maybe I need to find a job in a school (or college) doing admin.

In other news, I did manage to watch Skyfall last night. Obviously for research purposes. It has nothing to do with Daniel Craig being the best James Bond ever - in my opinion anyway! Very good film by the way. Okay so it has the typical James Bond traits. The girl he sleeps with dies and that sort of thing, but it's not as corny as Pierce Brosnan surfing a tidal wave on a door! I feel Mr Craig gives Mr Bond a lot more depth than his predecessors. Characterisation is important.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Next Big Thing...

The Next Big Thing happens on a Wednesday and last week I was tagged by the charming Francis Potts, my Twitter and writing pal, for my Next Big Thing. When Francis asked me if I wanted to be tagged on his blog post the 'Next Big Thing' I did ask if it counted thatI hadn't been published. And he replied, of course, you could be the Next Big Thing. Thank you, Francis, for saying that I'm lovely.

So here goes...

What is the title of your next book?
Perfect Isn't An Option
Where did the idea for the book come from?
I've always been fascinated how Hollywood stars can marry and divorce so quickly, and not really work at it. They don't need to really, they've got plenty of money. So the idea stems from the likes of the recent Katy Perry/Russell Brand split. Were they even married a year? The idea is that Steve returns to the UK to see his sister. He's now made it big in Hollywood, but just split with his fiancée. He's feeling sorry for himself, and wonders how he will find true love now he's a celebrity. Will they love him for him, or his money and fame? Ruby comes up with the idea that he should live a normal life, under disguise, and try to find love that way.  
What genre does your book fall under?
Contemporary romance - I hope!
What actors would you choose to play the characters in the movie rendition of your novel?
Bradley Cooper is my inspiration for Steve, so yes, if I ever get this book published and the film rights sold... Bradley Cooper to be cast as Steve please! It would slightly be like Helen Fielding naming her character Mark Darcy after Colin Firth's Mr Darcy portrayal, and being thrilled that Colin then get's to play her Mark Darcy in Bridget Jones' Diary. It's on the DVD extras if you haven't seen it! I found a picture of Keira Knightley with short hair... she's my Ruby inspiration (who is Steve's sister) so they can cast her too.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I would like it published... but probably go through a smaller publisher where I can skip the agency lol! 
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
I started writing Perfect Isn't An Option in 2011 as part of the May You Write Your Novel - 80,000 words in 80 days. But failed finishing it, as I started editing my first novel. So it's probably taken a year. 
What other books would you compare this story to within the genre?
Not so much books... but films. It's a little Notting Hill with lots of references to Superman and Clark Kent, because that's what Steve feels like. 
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Bradley Cooper! lol! No seriously... he did. The name Steve comes from his character in 'All About Steve'. 
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Oh, I don't know... that the hero looks like Bradley Cooper, isn't that enough? Well, it's turned into a bit of a relationship development for sister and brother, and as well as a love interest for Steve (that's the whole point of the story) there is a love interest for Ruby too. 
For all my raving about Bradley Cooper, we better have a picture to brighten up my blog... 

Hopefully in a book shop near you... one day... Perfect Isn't An Option. 
Next week visit Alison Runham and her Next Big Thing. She's another Twitter and writing pal of mine. 

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Book Review: Darcie's Dilemma by Sue Moorcroft

Darcie's DilemmaDarcie's Dilemma by Sue Moorcroft
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was an enjoyable short story. I love Sue's writing, and this didn't disappoint either.

Darcie's wrapped up in Ross, her younger brother, who she is guardian for. Does she have time for romance? And will her perfect date understand her commitments to her brother?

It's just as much Ross's story, with his troubles and seeking revenge, as it is Darcie's.

I liked - a lot. The only reason it took me so long to read is because I've been failing lately to make myself sit down and read. The pace is good. It was me, not the book.

View all my reviews

I really am going to fail this year in reading forty books! I promise next year I'll get back on it. 

Sunday, 4 November 2012

NaNoWriMo So Far...

To achieve the 50,000 words in one month, bearing in mind November only has 30 days, you need to write an average of 1,666 words a day. Actually, it's 1,666.66666 recurring. So if you write 1,667 a day, you'll get your 50,000 words easy.

Although I have a book that desperately needs editing to resubmit to a publisher, and another returned from the RNA NWS which also needs editing, with everything going on in my life, and dramas that keep adding to it, I couldn't face it. I find editing hard at the best of times, and find it less creative. With the writing of the words you can put anything down and tell the story the way you want to tell it, and how it comes out of your head, down your fingers and on to the screen.

I needed to get that back. I needed my writing mojo. 

I amaze myself that I can stare at the blank screen - that blank piece of electronic paper - and fill it, when I didn't even know where the story was heading. But I hadn't been doing it lately, I've even got out of the habit of reading! What a crime!

Having decided only about a week before NaNo started to actually participate, you can safely say I've done not a lot of brainstorming. But I've had a few stories floating around my head and on my 'plot bunny' list. I update my Onenote folder all the time.

I was going to write a fantasy story, but decided I needed to brainstorm this better as it does need some world building. It would stop the flow during NaNoWriMo as I'd be having to decide too much. Not ideal in writing 50,000 words in 30 days. Therefore I decided to go with a vampire idea that's been harassing me for some time. The world is Earth, just with supernatural creatures, so the world building is less. And I've got a lot of notes on it in Onenote. It doesn't have a title, and I can't work out if Margaret's (that's her name for now) human companion will be her lover in the end - she's very protective of him - or her maker, who she will try to find. He is Soctrates. A Greek vampire, about 1000 years old. He saves her from a fate that would have killed her. Well, technically it does kill her, because she's immortal in the human form, but a vampire.

Yesterday, I should have reached around the 5,000 word mark to be on target. Currently, I am at 3244 words. But to be honest, I'm not worried. The fact that I've written 3244 words in the past three days is far more important than keeping to the target. I would not have written those words if it wasn't for NaNoWriMo. 

I have written everyday, but I forgot to update my NaNoWriMo Page on the second day. Hoping, if the kids allow, for me to get some more done today - a bigger writing session. I'm only 3437 words behind.

Anyone else participating in NaNoWriMo I don't know about and how are you finding it so far? 

Sunday, 28 October 2012

In Search Of Writing Mojo

I've decided to put the editing on hold for yet another month, so that I can concentrate on NaNoWriMo, in the hope to finding my writing mojo.

Now, it's a toss up between writing another contemporary romance - I have an idea of an ex-fireman and an artist who are neighbours, and fight like cat and dog, until something pushes them together, and they realise the actual bickering is because they fancy the pants off one another. Or my vampire idea, where instead of being buried for a month to finish the 'making' process, she is buried for over 100 years and goes in search of her maker, and whether she will still find him alive. Or I have a fantasy idea, which is a sort of cross between Willow, Lord of The Rings, and How To Train A Dragon. Obviously, they will all contain some romance, but the genre and sub-plot will make them different to the contemporary romances that I (try to) write.

Another thing that is niggling away at me. I want to rejoin the RNA's new writers' scheme, and think what will be my next book that I send them next year? Or will I edit Perfect Isn't An Option and re-send that for another grilling. But I will want to send them something, otherwise it will be a waste of an opportunity in such a great scheme.

If I write a contemporary romance for NaNoWriMo, it will mean I've got a novel in process for submitting to the scheme... However, the point of doing NaNo is to have some fun, and to get back into the swing of writing, making time for it etc. So should I go with something that feels burning to be written?

I don't believe this is writer's block, this is me losing my mojo. My motivation has gone at the moment. There is just so much going on in my life, draining my thought process, some I would love to tell you all about, but can't really. (I've been accused of attention seeking by airing my life so publicly). My brain is just foggy. That's the only way I can describe it. And my heart feels tender and a little heavy. Everything is good writing fodder, and with my emotions up and down, I've tried to note some of it, in the hope I can use it for writing.

But I live for the day when my heroes are back in my head, talking to me good and proper. I miss those day-dreamy days. 

Another worry, which is a frustration more than anything, is that if I'm not writing then I'm going to take even longer at reaching my dream of being published. So I add this additional pressure to myself - don't I? *rolls eyes* I have Champagne in the fridge waiting! Maybe I'll open it upon entering new house and new life... and buy another bottle for my first signed writing contract.

The whole purpose of this blog post was to get me to do some writing. And I did.

I am off to my mum's for a few days tomorrow. I will be taking my new laptop and trying it out, meaning I won't be too cut off from the internet - if I can get the kids off it. I also need to get back into reading too. I read to Ben, but I'm not doing enough for me either. Gosh, 2012 is turning out to be a tough year for me. I'm going to try not to beat myself up about it too much.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

I Must Be Off My Writing Rocker

Not only am I failing at writing and editing (The Wedding Favour for a resubmission), and even reading, I am feeling really guilty about it, too. And sometimes that doesn't help the inspiration either, as it eats away at you. But real life is getting in the way. My time, my brain, life is draining all of my writing mojo.

So there I was this morning reading Sally Quilford's blog about Surviving NaNoWriMo and I thought, maybe I should do it.

I know really I need to be editing, but the editing doesn't always feel creative, and it is currently hard to motivate myself to do it. It requires concentration, and I just don't have it at the moment. I don't even think my heart is in it to be ruthless with the words. Maybe I need to get sucked into a story, to the point I don't want to stop writing it. Maybe I just need to make writing fun again, as Sally suggests.

Therefore I have joined NaNoWriMo 2012 - This is me - The Wittering Woman - please buddy me!

Now I need to think about a story I'm going to write... Do I stick to the romance, or should I write the fantasy story I have, or even the vampire story I really want to tell. And for fun, I may ask for some plot ninjas too from you guys... so get the suggestions in!

Please note, there is no guarantee I'm going to do this... and I certainly might not finish (if I do start) like I did in 2006, but I thought this at least gives me a week to think about it. It might be just what I need.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

And The Best Birthday Card Goes To....

I thought I would share my favourite birthday card I received this year, as with everything going on last week leading up to my birthday, and getting an offer accepted on a house - whoop! - I forgot to do my birthday surprises.

To explain this card, in a previous life before children, my nickname was Patsy. Yes, as in Absolutely Fabulous Patsy Stone... because, yes, we had similar drinking habits, although mine wasn't champagne, and I certainly didn't do the drugs!

Patsy has stuck, and friends still call me Patsy (although not as many). In fact some used to think it was my real name, because I'd only been introduced to them as Patsy. 

Every now and then Patsy reappears in me... when out, and I don't have two children to mother. She's my alter ego. My naughtier, less sensible side.

Anyway, one of my many best friends, who obviously knows me as Patsy (as she was Eddy) sent me this birthday card.

Brilliant. Absolutely fabulous, darling.

Thank you, Rachel aka Eddy x I laughed so much when I opened this card.

Here's to my last year in my thirties. Eek!

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

So Fantastic I Forgot Surprises

I've been so busy with house hunting (yesterday), and then today I had a trip out with Year 1 from school. Kieran is in this year, so it was lovely to spend a day with him and his friends. I got allocated five children (including Kieran), and they were all as good as gold.

Having recently been to Ashdown House, I was treated to Tyntesfield House which isn't that far from me actually. It took longer by coach, but I reckon it's probably not twenty minutes away.

Unfortunately, with school policy, I wasn't allowed to take any photographs at all. So I've grabbed a photo off the internet, and if you click the picture, you'll know where I got it from. The Victorian house belongs to the National Trust so if you have membership, you can go and see it for free.

The school was provided with plenty of guides, and they did some fantastic activities with the children, considering they're five and six years of age. Our little group walked in through the servants entrance and was greeted by all the bells on the wall from the rooms, each with plaques underneath so you knew which room the bell belonged to. I felt like I'd walked in on the set of Downton Abbey.

We also got to see a part of the house that isn't open to the public. But I need to go back, I didn't see half of the place really. We saw enough for the attention span of five and six year-olds though. 

Another thought has occurred to me whilst out with the kids for a good six hours. I actually enjoyed it, to the point I might investigate what it is really like to be a teaching/learning assistant. I know I want to be a writer, but in the meantime maybe I need to think of something that I can work around the children. I was surprised by my patience, and my firmness - there is no messing with me. And I love being a dinner lady (I mean lunchtime supervisor). Maybe I could do it?

Admittedly, I did have five well behaved children... I'd probably scare the naughty ones, or get extremely frustrated when they didn't do as they were told. I hate being ignored.

It's a thought. But I know the training takes about a year, plus would I get in at the school my kids go to? Because that might make a difference too. I will talk to some other mums I know who are teaching assistants, and see what they say. And let's face it, maybe in a year I might have sold a book...

Monday, 8 October 2012

Surprise Number One!

OMG! There I was just phoning around estate agents, and getting a bit of housework done when the doorbell rang. Who could that be, I thought.

Only Daniel Craig.

Yes, on my doorstep!

Apparently with his tight schedule, but knowing it's my birthday Friday, he thought he'd pop in this week to give me a sloppy kiss and a birthday hug. Bless.

I told him, I did, I told him, he's the best James Bond EVER!

He's such a nice guy, ladies. 

Favourite scene in Tomb Raider where my love for Daniel Craig began!

Sunday, 7 October 2012

This And That, Mainly That, Oh And Firemen

Thought I best check in, because as per usual I've been failing with my writing, blogging and what-not.

Last week I worked 22 hours, plus my 3 and a half hours at the school. That doesn't sound a lot, (when you think I used to work full time once) but it's a lot for a full time mum and housewife. Nothing gets done around the home, and then I'm too tired to contemplate the writing. I've really got out of routine at the moment, and when you lose the momentum in writing, it's really hard to get back into it. So, apart from doing the extra hours on the Monday morning (which I needed to grab so I've got them for when I do have to work a minimum of 16 hours) I'm not volunteering for any more overtime at the moment. Admittedly, with those extra hours I will have extra money, which will be handy. I should save, but appear to be spending it more and more. But that's another story and a bit of a gripe too. 

The good news is that we may have sold our house. We're accepting an offer, anyway. I won't get too excited about these things, I've gone through the house buying business before, and lost two houses I had fallen in love with, so just going with the flow. But next week I'm house hunting! Is there light at the end of the tunnel? Could I be in a new home in the Spring? (and my husband and I finally parted?)

Occasionally I do wobble and worry about how I'm going to cope with paying a mortgage, keeping a house up together with two kids, on minuscule wages, relying on benefits and child maintenance payments. I'm excited but very scared, I must say. I know I'll have my dad around, but it won't be quite the same as having a man under the same roof to do the things men do. But then there is this part of me who can't wait to have a place to myself. Plus, I have two boys. They'll grow... and will be able to mow the lawn for pocket money, right?

In other news: Talk about inspiration walking through your door, well work place. Last Tuesday, I'd turned up at work 9.00am for some overtime (part of those 22 hours I talked about above) and my boss, who was doing the bake-off that morning, set off the fire alarm. (For the record, in the seven years of using those ovens, I've never once set off the fire alarm ;-)) The team leader running the shift the night before had managed to take the phone home, so we couldn't call the fire brigade to tell them it was a false alarm. Twenty minutes later... (if it had been a real fire, I dread to think the state of the place) two large fire engines, blue flashing lights, sirens and everything turned up. FIREMEN! WHOOOO HOOOO!

A lot of customers stayed in the shop and ignored the alarm!

They didn't look like this. But they were all very large, buff men. lol!

I've also remembered it's my birthday week, and last year I held a party for a whole week. Not so sure what I'll be doing this year, (and no it's not my 40th yet!) although rumour has it I might have some surprises this week, so watch this space.

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Seven Things...

This has taken me a lot longer to post than intended, but I had a trip to Ashdown House to report on. 

Diane at Tales From Baggins Bottom has tagged me for "Seven Things About Me." As you can see by her blog post, she's a very busy freelance writer.

Actually reading what she has on the go makes me feel like I'm not doing anywhere near enough. Chasing two kids, a part time job and keeping a house tidy sometimes gets in the way of what I really want to do - write. But Rachel Brimble did reassure me (whilst at Ashdown House) that as my kids get older, my writing time will increase - phew!

I did send The Wedding Favour to another publisher, and they asked for the full, but it ended with a no thank you. Therefore, I will continue editing it (I've done eight chapters so far) to resubmit to the publisher who gave me a revise/resubmit rejection.

Anyway, here are my seven things...some facts you may already know.I couldn't really thinking of anything that interesting, actually. Sorry.

  1. I have a bottle of champagne (only a cheap one) in the fridge, waiting for when I get my first writing contract. It's been in there a while now.
  2. I find it easier to type an "!" than a "." and it's a habit I need to break.
  3. When I was 15 I wanted to be a TV make-up artist.
  4. This time last year, I was a stone heavier. I think this is due mainly to my running, and hoping not too much due to the stress going on in my life at the moment.
  5. My favourite James Bond is Daniel Craig, but then I do have a thing for blonds and blue eyes.
  6. I used to work at Thorpe Park. I was a litter picker. Every person on this planet should do this job - they would never drop litter again!
  7. It took me three times to pass my driving test. My dad couldn't understand it. He'd been teaching me to drive since my feet could reach the pedals. (It was down to nerves actually).

Now I have to nominate seven blogs/friends. I know that some of these people are very busy, and therefore don't expect them to carry on the tag. But I've nominated them because they have helped and encouraged me, (I could have listed more!) and I want to say thank you in some way.

In no particular order... 

  1. Rachel Lyndhurst
  2. Rachel Brimble
  3. Annalisa Crawford
  4. Becky Black
  5. Morton Gray
  6. Carol Hedges
  7. Kerry Harrison

(I've updated with a seventh thing! lol! How did I miss it?)

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

My RNA Chapter 'Field Trip'

Shot from the back.
I promise I will get to my seven things post which is stuck in drafts, but after a wonderful afternoon at Ashdown House on Saturday, I felt it only fair that I share the experience here.

I meet my RNA Chapter group every four to six weeks. This time the group met at Ashdown House in Berkshire for a little field trip, and was given a tour by Nicola Cornick, one of our chapter members who also volunteers at the house.

Approaching the house.
Afterwards, we had tea (or coffee) and cake - kindly baked by Nicola's husband, Andrew - in her garden because the weather was brilliant. We were entertained - and chewed - by their trainee Labrador guide dog puppy, Rochester. We were so lucky with the weather - what a change Sunday morning!

If I was taking it all in, the house was built by William Craven for a queen he loved, Queen Elizabeth of Bohemia in 1662.

Unfortunately, you can not view the rooms, due to the tenancy agreement, so we only got to see the magnificent staircase which is a quarter of the house's floor space, and the roof. It was designed as a hunting lodge, but a house fit for a queen.

If you're a historical writer and need some inspiration, this is the house to visit. But check out the website. The house can only accommodate so many people, so it's not overly advertised.

All of the photos were taken by my phone, and they didn't come out half bad actually.

Because of the marvellous weather, up on the roof, the views were spectacular and we even were able to have a group photo... although I think a few members from our party are missing.

From left to right: Nicola Cornick, Sandra Jackson (Jane Lark), Jean Burnett, Alison Knight, Eileen Hathaway, Rachel Brimble, Jean Brushfield and Liz Fielding.

I had a wonderful day, and I get such great encouragement from this group. I'm so happy to be a part of it.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Book Review and 50,000 Stuff

Thought I would just do this quickly before I headed off to bed, and saw that I've hit over 50,000 page views. OMG!

Anyway, here is the book review below. Not really an interesting one, but as I like to share them on my blog, this one might as well be posted too.

The Nanny and the CEOThe Nanny and the CEO by Rebecca Winters

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Maybe I should have given up on this book. It wasn't really my kind of story. I think I am getting bored of these sorts of novels. Some Mills and Boon grab me, and I can't put them down, others feel very samey. This was one of them.

I also felt that this story was 'told' too much, and the romance was not 'shown'.

View all my reviews

I'm so behind on my reading. Right off to bed. And p.s. this is not the half written blog post that I haven't finished, as per my Tweet. I will do that tomorrow - hopefully.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Single Lined Spacing...

And The Wedding Favour was still 182 pages!

Yes, I've printed it off, and I'm about to attack with the red pen to see where I can lose 20,000 words. Eeek!

All four publishers in the end rejected me, but one has giving me a revise and resubmit, hence the cutting of words. And I'll do that, plus send out to some other publishers. I'm torn between trying to get it published with a big ebook publisher in the US, but it will never go into 'print' as a category romance - that's if the resubmit is accepted admittedly! Or still sticking it out for someone who will print and ebook it in its original form.

Although I do think, I would get the rights back eventually, and I could consider getting it published (even if I self-published it) in it's original form. I will always have the 'whole' book.

Therefore, I did send it out to another publisher recommended by a writery friend, just the synopsis initially, and they came back a couple of days later and requested the first three chapters. So I must be doing something right. I don't get the 'no thanks' immediately. At least presentation must be good lol!

But to keep options open, I'll do both. Then I can start on a new book. Or editing Perfect Isn't An Option. I'll get my feedback from the RNA NWS eventually. Eek!

Have a wonderful weekend all. I can't believe September is upon us and the Quality Street tins have been in the shop weeks already. Double eek!

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Book Review: Uphill All The Way by Sue Moorcroft

Uphill All The Way (Transita)Uphill All The Way by Sue Moorcroft

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have read all of Sue Moorcroft's books so far, and have enjoyed all of them.

I was given this book, as a gift, from Sue at the RNA Conference (2011), as it is out of print. And have finally got around to reading it.

I've thoroughly enjoyed it, too!

Sue writes such delicious heroes, and heroines you can empathise with.

Judith has a rough journey ahead of her, after losing her lover, Giorgio, in Malta. She returns home to Northamptonshire, and has other battles and problems to face, no one considering she needs to grieve.

Adam becomes her friend, and lover, and gives her the patience and support she needs. But is her heart still in Malta? Ha! You'll have to read!

Definitely needs to come back into print. Lovely story. Thank you, Sue for sharing with me.

(I would have read this book so much quicker, but I'm also reading to my son the Harry Potter series.)

View all my reviews

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Don't Panic, I Am Alive!

Taken Friday night - to prove I'm not some bot!
Gosh, it's been a whole week since I blogged, so going to use this post as a bit of a catch up for you!

I've spent the last week with my family, staying at my Mum's with the boys.  I wasn't totally cut off from the internet world, thanks to the good old Smart Phone, but it's not somewhere I choose to blog from.

Actually, what I do use is Instagram and if you do too, I'm Witteringwoman :D I think I've got used to it, as it's a phone App. As you can see, you can see one picture, but to see all the pictures I've taken, you need to go into the App from your phone. I try to share via Facebook*, Tumblr and Twitter, depending on what the pictures are. *please note I don't always friend on Facebook as it's my personal page.

The other day I did hear back from another publisher about The Wedding Favour. Bearing in mind I nearly didn't send it to this publisher, I've had incredible feedback from them really. It was a rejection, but in my eyes a positive one, and so I didn't feel too upset about it.  Of course it would have been nice to be accepted - I dream of being an author for this publisher - but I was realistic that it possibly wouldn't happen with my first novel.

With the info I'm about to give you, you might deduce who the publisher is... Anyway, they said it did very well with their tasting panel, so much so it then went to their editorial team. However, for 2013 they have really filled all their contemporary romance slots, and an existing author has a similar story already planned for that year too, so it wasn't what they were looking for.

The fact that they requested the full from the synopsis and then I got this positive rejection does actually make me feel more confident about my writing ability. I will get there... hopefully. I'm too stubborn to give up.

So next steps... well, I can still edit The Wedding Favour down to the category romance and resubmit to the other interested publisher. Plus, I may look at some other British publishers and send it off to them... (any recommendations please say!). Then, I get to start writing book three, or working on re-editing Perfect Isn't An Option when I get the feedback from the RNA NWS.

But I'm not going to start anything until the kids are back at school, and I'm running four miles three times a week again...

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Another Draft Down...

This is a great feeling, one that almost makes me want to crack open that Champagne bottle.

A finished novel.

But not yet, I tell myself. I'm saving that damn bottle chilling in the fridge for when I get my first signed contract, or sell my first piece of writing. Anything from a short story or article to a novel. (It will more than likely be a novel as that's what I'm working on most though - I just hope Champagne doesn't go off, I could be waiting a while yet).

So yes, I'm elated! *whoop whoop* *does happy dance* Perfect Isn't An Option is finished, and printed, and waiting in a padded envelope for me to take to the Post Office early tomorrow morning. It will be winging its way by snail mail (not Owl Post) to the RNA New Writers' Scheme.

And the palaver* I've had getting this darn thing printed today! I tell you, it's a relief! (*See Facebook or Twitter)

But I know it's not finished finished. One, because I've already received some feedback through my writing group, and two, I know I will get some feedback from the RNA NWS which will mean another editing session.

It is also sitting around 68,000 words and that is not long enough for a contemporary romance. I need over 70,000 words for the publishers I want to approach. However, I believe the feedback I will receive will help in the increase of wordage. Liz, from my 'underground' writing group (as we jokily call it) has given me some good feedback which certainly would mean expanding the storyline a little. 

So can't quite crack the champagne open yet, but I will, however, have a celebratory glass of wine!

And now the exciting stuff, I get to start writing something new. I'm wondering to write my Vampire, but then I do have a fireman... hmmm...  Although, hang on a minute, there is that little novel called The Wedding Favour begging for some attention. Oh, yeah.

I'm off to my Mum's with the boys at the end of the week, and spending the last week of the summer holidays with her. I think, knowing how hard it is to concentrate on writing with the kids home, I'm going to take a two week break, use the time to hopefully catch up on some reading, and September, when the kids are back at school, start on my revise and resubmit to the publisher who contacted me in June. 

Does that sound like a plan, or does that sound like a plan?

I can still brainstorm my next story.... (I'm eager to write again), right, now where's that glass of wine?

(You know what this means - I've written two, yes TWO, novels now.) *squee*

celebratory "Magic Mike" picture - yum!

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Every Woman Needs A Guy Like Ratty

I’m extremely excited. Ever since reading Starting Over by Sue Moorcroft (January last year), I’ve been extremely fond of the hero, Ratty.  He’s my favourite hero of Sue Moorcroft’s books, (closely followed by Martyn Mayfair) and possibly my favourite hero I’ve read so far – and he has joined me on my blog!

Sue is up to her eyes in ‘writing related activities’ (as I call it) so she sent Ratty along for an interview instead. 

So a warm welcome and a bit of a ‘Squee’ to Ratty!

Hi Teresa,

Thanks for inviting me onto your blog. It’s great that you remember me so fondly, as it’s a while since I hit the scene. I’ll answer your questions below.

  • What is the favourite of your tattoos? Where is it and why did you had it done?
My favourite is on my left forearm and it’s a milestone with the words ‘One Miles’. For this to make sense, you have to remember that my name’s actually Miles Arnott-Rattenbury. In fact, there’s not only one Miles – but there’s probably only one like me. Why would I have tattoos? I like body art when it’s well done and means something. I have a car wheel on my shoulder and a Porsche on my other arm to represent one of the first cars I rebuilt and made serious money on. If I had all the cars that I like then I’d be the world’s most tattooed man.

  • And if you were to have a new tattoo what would you have, and where would you have it?

Musical notes, I think, because I play guitar. Maybe on a musical stave that encircles my bicep. (I may have this work done, now I’ve thought about it. It would look hot.)

On you, Ratty, I have no doubt it will look hot!

  • What would your ideal date with Tess be (whether she'd actually like to do it or not)? Candle lit dinner in a posh restaurant, drag racing at Santa Pod or something else?

A weekend at the Monte Carlo grand prix. You can get really close to the Formula 1 cars as they scream round and a family friend has an apartment there so we’d have somewhere civilised to retreat to when we needed alone time. I’m big on alone time … Tess isn’t as interested in cars as I am but her new commission is for a kids’ book about a racing car, so she’d be busy drawing. I love to watch her draw. She’s such a talent and she gets so intensely interested in what she does. The Monte Carlo parties would be excellent.

If Tess doesn’t want to go, could you take me... please? 

  • Your garage is burning down, and you can only save one item - what would it be?

Are all the people out already? I love my cars but I would need to get my friends out. I would want my tool chest if I could get it, because it holds all the tools I’ve been buying all my life. It’s a big metal one on wheels so I think I’d stand a good chance.

Very good to think of the people first!

  • If you weren't restoring old cars, what would your next best job be?

Wow. I’ve never even thought about it because I’ve been so focused on bringing those beautiful cars back to life. Maybe I could get work with a racing team. I’d love to be involved with the drama and everything – so long as I could get back to base often.

  • Where’s your favourite place in the world?


  • What do you love?

Good friends to hang out with, beautiful women, music, fast and/or beautiful cars, fun, jeans. Making money. Surprising people. Kids. Things that make me laugh.

  • And last but not least, what do you hate?
Injustice. Pretentious prats, suits, cruelty. Hypocrisy. Making money at any cost.

Wow, thanks, Ratty. Thank you so much for stopping by my blog. I wish you and Tess much happiness together.  So there you are girls, Miles Arnott-Rattenbury aka Ratty can be found in Starting Over by Sue Moorcroft.

Sue’s latest book, Dream A Little Dream will be out in November! Sue will be here in November to talk about her latest hero. I can’t wait.

And if you're interested, my review to Starting Over is here on Goodreads.