Friday, 24 April 2009


Oooh.... don't you just love parcels? The knock at the door, the what-could-it-BE? excitement, the frenzied unwrapping, the "Ooh, look!" denouement... What's not to like?
I've had some lovely parcels in the last few days. The page proofs of Hens Reunited have come through which is v exciting - so nice to see all my words set out in proper pages rather than in my bog-standard Arial 12 on tatty sheets of A4. It gives me a little frisson, the realisation that my story is actually going to be a REAL book... and not too long to wait now!

I've also been sent a big parcel of books from my editor which, I must be honest, is even more exciting than the page proofs. She sent:

The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent
I Remember by Noelle Harrison (love this cover!)
Pictures of You by Jane Elmor
and Guernica by Dave Boling which I've read so many brilliant things about (and also has a fab cover).

So that will keep me quiet for a while... As will the third parcel I received, completely out of the blue, which was two bottles of Cuervo Margaritas which we sampled last night.... delish. We also tried out a salsa dancing DVD (in the name of research) which was so bad it was hilarious - a dead cheap one-take production where the presenters kept fluffing their lines. All together now... One, two, three... Five, six, seven!

Wednesday, 22 April 2009


This is not my story to tell, but it really made me laugh, so I'm just going to tell it anyway...

My husband took the kids to the park the other day and was pushing the four-year-old on the swing. "Can I have a rocket, Dad?" she asked.
A 'rocket' is a really hard swing-push that my husband has devised over the years of parenting which involves him holding the swing back really high then basically dropping it while somehow managing to run underneath it. Cue screams of delight from the kids, cue me having to hold my breath for fear of injuries/whiplash etc.

"Okay, you can have a rocket," he said. "Ready.... whoosh!"

A bit more swinging took place and then, "Dad, can I have ANOTHER rocket, please?"

"Okay, another rocket coming up," he said. "Ready... whoosh!"

A bit more swinging, and then, "Dad, can I have a different sort of lettuce now?"

Bless her...

Friday, 17 April 2009

Lightly grilled

The burning questions asked by our children this week are:

The 8-year-old: Mum, in real football matches, are players allowed to pinch each other’s bottoms?

The 6-year-old: Can we play in the garden with real knives?

The dog-obsessed 4-year-old: Dad, your dad has died, hasn’t he? (Yes.) He used to be my granddad, didn’t he? (Yes.) And now Grandma lives with Olly (a dog), doesn’t she? (Yes.)
Pause, and then, sympathetically: Dad, maybe Olly can be your dad now?

On the subject of questions (can you BELIEVE how smooth a segue that was?) I went to London Town yesterday to be interviewed and FILMED for this children’s writing competition I’m helping judge. Five of us authors have started off a story and the competition is for kids to write the rest of the story. There are really good prizes for the kids including a school visit from the author in question! (So please, if you live somewhere really beautiful like the Lake District or Cornwall, persuade your child to finish my story, so I get a chance to go there.)
Anyway, I felt a bit nervous about being filmed. I just hate hearing my own voice on a tape and I was quite sure that on film I’d be even more of a spanner. Still, I had my confidence-boosting new dress on (a bargain in the White Stuff sale) plus a load of slap, so I felt as prepared as I could be. However, while eating lunch beforehand, I managed to drop a blob on tuna mayo on my new dress (which left a mark) and then, just before the interview itself, I noticed there was a tiny hole in the back of the dress. So much for confidence-boosting, then. Ahh well. Sometimes you just have to face facts: I am not and will never be one of those chic, immaculate types. Which is a shame.
The interview itself… hmmm. I think I wittered a lot, quite incomprehensibly most of the time. Great. They are going to edit the whole thing way down though at least… hopefully I managed one coherent sentence out of it.

Afterwards I went for a cuppa char with the lovely ladies at Pan. It was so nice to have a chat and discuss publicity ideas and to get a brand spanking new cover proof of Hens Reunited. Hurrah! Very exciting. (Mind you, back to the subject of burning questions, eldest daughter has just walked in and picked it up. "Ooh! Ladies' bottoms!" she exclaimed. "Mum, why has your new cover got ladies' bottoms on it?" Sigh....) I did also get an extremely NICE question while at Pan yesterday, one of the best questions in the world in fact: “Would you like any books?” I had to stop myself from whipping out a bin bag and saying, Yes please, fill ‘er up.
So that was all very lovely and I even had time for a bit of shoe shopping before I had to get my train. I managed to rein myself in at a mere two pairs which felt quite restrained, the good mood I was in.

Nearly the end of the school holidays now, and oh, I have enjoyed them so much. Largely because the kids get their own breakfast these days if we leave out the cereal packets on the kitchen table the night before, and ohmyGod that little bit of extra time in bed is worth any amount of sweeping up spilled Shreddies later in the morning, believe me.

Now that I’ve got that little lot off my chest, it’s down to work for me: back to the new novel to try and up that word count. Have a good weekend everyone.

Monday, 13 April 2009

I've Lost That Blogging Feeling...

Pathetic slackness on the blog front lately, I apologise. We've just been away for a few days in the Highlands where Best Mate and her family live now... wow. It is amazing up there. Huge skies, vast empty white-sand beaches, glittering lochs around every corner, brooding heather-covered hills with swathes of pine trees.... okay, so I sound as if I'm writing the copy for the Highlands Appreciation Society, but really, it was stunning. And we had gorgeous weather too the whole time we were up there. I reckon that whole 'It always rains in Scotland' line is a myth, you know, to stop tourists flooding the place and wrecking it for the locals. We went to two different beaches (Dornoch and Polin, if that means anything to you) and it was fabulous, especially Polin which we had pretty much to ourselves. Lit a fire, toasted marshmallows, made dams and castles, even did a bit of paddling (not me, too much of a wuss). And in the evenings, we drank far too much booze and ate far too much chocolate, so all in all, it was pretty blooming perfect.

Happy Easter!