~ Join us on a journey of passion and adventure ~

Monday, August 16, 2010

Reality Strikes!

Our current Historical manuscript isn’t going to meet the RNA’s NWS deadline of the 31 August. We’re aware that while we can submit a partial/unpolished manuscript, we’d rather not. We need to know that we’ve given Leola and Wulfric our absolute best, and at this time, we haven’t. It’s as simple as that.

Disappointed? Of course. Relieved? Absolutely! No writer ever knows what Real Life has in store, and Graham & I are as happy as we can be with the knowledge that we’ve made the right decision.

Yes, it’s two fully paid memberships to the NWS with no critiques to show for it, but we’re okay with that. We’re confident that the money isn’t wasted and we’re happy to see it as our donation. The RNA (especially the NWS) does amazing work and it’s thanks to this that we’re two unpublished writers who know that it’s only a matter of time before we become fully fledged members.

In the meantime, Leola and Wulfric can relax knowing that we’re doing our best for their story.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Long time no speak/post.

You may have noticed my rather prolonged absence. I've been away for the usual MS-sy reasons and it's probable that I'm not where I need to be yet. But other than those reasons I'm good (yayy, this time I've not given in to the steroids and if I wasn't so dizzy I'd be doing the snoopy dance) :D.

I still won't be visible on here for the duration of August and not because I'm on holiday, I hasten to add. More likely because I'm accepting that I am still MS-sy, and absolutely, definitely, because there's a looming dreadline for submitting the above manuscript to the NWS.

I hope you're all having a great summer!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Warrior's Princess

The Warrior's Princess The Warrior's Princess by Barbara Erskine

Susan's rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ve enjoyed Barbara Erskine’s books for years and when I pick one up I know I’m in for a great read. The Warrior’s Princess went far beyond my expectations and carried on going long after I turned the last page.

Where to start without giving away spoilers? I loved Jess, the protaganist of the contemporary story in the novel. As for Eigon, the protagonist of the historical story, W-O-W!

The Warrior’s Princess is an epic read and one where you can’t help savouring every second of the journey. Erskine has an amazing gift of words that takes the reader from one century to another in a natural way. Each setting is evocative and real to the degree that the reader forgets they are witnessing a scene from the distant past. The quality of the writing is fluent and never jerks the reader from one setting to the other.

This story has, for me, an extra special ingredient that unfolds later in the story. It’s one that reaffirms my own personal beliefs and it’s a luxury and pleasure to witness them first-hand in the skilled hands of this talented author.

The Warrior’s Princess is an exciting, and at times, dark read. Both the past and the present stories are grounded in reality. Be ready for a mixture of emotions, and a box of tissues close to hand. It’s a read that’s worth the investment.

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Wild Hunt The Wild Hunt by Elizabeth Chadwick

Susan's rating: 5 of 5 stars

I couldn’t resist putting on hold my other TBR book to read this story. This is a library loan that Graham snapped up and I didn’t want to lose the opportunity…

The Wild Hunt was Chadwick’s debut novel and won a Betty Trask Award (as well as a literary agent and publisher!). I’d like to share part of Chadwick’s Author’s Note because it’s great inspiration for all aspiring writers…

"…The year I won, the award was presented by H.R.H The Prince of Wales at Whitehall. This was a somewhat surreal moment for me as six months previously I had been stacking shelves at the local supermarket…”

The Wild Hunt was first published in 1990 and the copy that I’m reviewing was revised and published in 2008.

This is another great Chadwick read with the main thread of the story focusing on the romance between Judith of Ravenstow and Guyon, lord of Ledworth. The historical backdrop is in the tumultuous and often dangerous times of William Rufus and Prince Henry. I’ve always loved learning about history in the post-Conquest period and Chadwick brings it to life like no other.

Elizabeth Chadwick’s writing is, as always, superb. This is an author who manages to make every character and setting live and breathe off the page. I'm looking forward to catching up with the next story in this trilogy.

You can also read Graham's review here

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Going to a writers' conference?

It's Writer's Wednesday over at PHS with tips that'll be of particular interest to those booked to go to a writers' conference. Sadly, this year, I'm not one of them. However, even for those of us who aren't attending anything this year, these are tips that are worth reading (and, note-to-self, remembering!).

I've only been to one conference - last year's RNA. In my own experience as a newbie conference attendee, before I had even left home I felt overwhelmed at the realisation that I was finally on my way to an RNA conference. It was such a HUGE deal for me. Consequently, the excitement itself had taken its toll even before I made it to Registration!

The advice from this PHS post that particularly resonates with me is:

  • Nicola Marsh advises, "...Take time out when you need it..." 
This sounds like such an easy thing to do but trust me when I say that it's also one of the hardest. Attending an RNA event was something I'd dreamed about for sooo long that I couldn't bear the thought of missing ANYTHING.

I planned ahead but when the time came I didn't allow myself to be flexible. I'm determined that next time I'll attend fewer workshops with the intention of feeling a lot more relaxed and fresh. This *should* help me to avoid feeling/looking harassed and more able to focus my attention fully on where I am (as opposed to worrying about how the heck I'll make it to the next session on time...).

  • Kate Hardy offers a practical tip, "Bring your own tea bags..."
My biggest regret was not braving the apartment block kitchen - or gate-crashing others. I guess at the time I was too overwrought with the exacerbation of chronic dizziness/fatigue (more from putting myself under too much pressure to attend everything, than anything else!).

So, this PHS post has shown me what not to do at my next conference. Thanks, PHSers, I'm feeling more confident (and prepared) for my next time. :D

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

So, it's been like this...

The MS has been bugging me for a while. Determinedly (or should that be stubbornly?) I've tried to out fox it. My creative well has all but dried up and I've been emotionally drained since losing my m-i-l to MS three months ago. Then, the ongoing stress of my own mother's ongoing battle with cancer is also taking its toll, so I guess I shouldn't be too surprised.

A few weeks ago I accepted that I'm not in the right place to write fiction at the moment. I have instead enjoyed the luxury of immersing myself in reading and discovering lots of articles on the craft of writing (and when possible posting links via Facebook/Twitter for other aspiring writers to enjoy). It also made sense for me to turn to my other creative pursuits like knitting, cross-stitch and my recent introduction to rug making, but I soon discovered that even those, like the writing, were beyond me because my hands had turned MSsy too.

With no output for my creativity I recognised that I was in danger of slipping into that dark tunnel of depression that I know so well. Then something happened and I became aware that there's a difference to the usual slippery slope. Depression often takes away the feeling of wanting to do anything (even reading) but I still had the urge to keep busy. That was the moment when I found a hidden strength to fight back. I knew I had to find something therapeutic that I could do - even with the MSsy symptoms. I then felt a great NEED to do some baking but (as is my want) I had to do it NOW. Right now. Trust me when I say that this was a first for me! I usually want to bake, but a need to? Not so much.

Recognising that he was witnessing something unusual, and being a man who loves his wife's home cooking, Graham became a Man-on-a-Mission. His task? To take me around a few local village shops to scour the shelves for ingredients. Of course, by the time we arrived home armed with self-raising flour and other baking paraphernalia I was whacked. The next day however I was good to go and for the next few days I was a hive of activity (see previous post).

We both enjoyed my sudden achievements and I was sooo careful to look after myself too. I'd work in the kitchen for 20 minutes then have a rest for 20 minutes before continuing my goals and thus it continued. Heck, I even used a timer (lest I got enticed by the power of internet procrastination)! By this time I'd recognised that this was me being determined and not stubborn and my technique was working! And then... I was hit by even more chronic dizziness and fatigue than usual.

I'm currently in a relapse but, as I always do when I have no other option, I'm allowing it to take its course. So far, I've managed not to contact the powers-that-be to likely coerce me into a short, intense course of the dreaded steroids. So far. We'll see. If I get any worse than I was at the weekend especially, I won't be stubborn and I will arrange to see the doc.

As always, I'm grateful for all the prayers/positive thoughts that are sent my way and in the meantime, please bear with me when I unload my meaningless words in a rambling blog post. The way I see it - at least I'm writing something. : D

Monday, June 21, 2010

A flurry of activity

This past month or so has seen a flurry of busyness from both Graham and myself.

It began when I went through a major domesticated phase - cue: deep cleaning the kitchen, throwing tonnes of stuff out in an 'out with the old in with the new' kinda way ; ). All this in readiness for my intentions of baking up a storm. This I finally achieved, even culminating in successfully making my own ice-cream [which turned out less like ice cream but more like a kind of sorbet thingy] BUT it is edible and very refreshing. : )

As to my other baking achievements well, least said soonest mended AKA they never lasted long enough to make it to the storage tins let alone another day. In other words a Certain Person managed to finish everything before the precious baked goodies had even cooled down. I felt the joy of achievement for all of 20 minutes before my efforts vanished as though they had never been *sigh* ; ).

Graham, besides being incredibly hungry for freshly baked goods, has also been extra busy with some additional freelance work. This also coincided with a fleeting visit from my daughter. However, by this time, my recent flurry of domesticity was catching up with me so DD & I spent our few days relaxing and doing what we do best - talking. This was DD's first short-stay visit home from uni and we both felt it came to an end too soon. However, experience has shown that this is a GOOD thing because it means that neither of us were chomping at the bit to get away from the other, which in turn means that we're already looking forward to the next visit. : )

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Book Review: ENGLISH LORD, ORDINARY LADY by Fiona Harper

English Lord, Ordinary Lady English Lord, Ordinary Lady by Fiona Harper

Susan's rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a delightful story and such a fun read from author, Fiona Harper.

English Lord, Ordinary Lady contains everything that I love about series romance – great characters, laugh-out-loud humour, with a twist of emotional angst.

Another feel-good read that’s a keeper and Fiona Harper joins my list of fave Harlequin Mills & Boon Romance authors.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Book Review: RAMPANT by Saskia Walker

Susan's rating: 5 of 5 stars

Rampant is Saskia Walker’s first novel for Harlequin Spice and my first Spice read.

Phewww! There’s nothing like jumping in at the deep end and the author does this with the very first words of Rampant’s prologue. This leaves you in no doubt that you’re reading erotic fiction. Yet, as with all the stories Saskia Walker writes, there’s much more to them than their erotic nature.

Every character in Rampant, whether evil or good, comes alive and the entire story is living and breathing in a sizzling atmosphere. It’s very difficult to put this book down and even when life dictates that you *have* to put your reading aside, the book’s vivid setting and imagery are never far away from your senses awaiting your return to its pages.

Saskia Walker’s writing is, as always, beautiful. Rampant is melded together with paranormal and historical context; everything is woven intricately to make this a contemporary read with many layers.

What more can I say without revealing plot spoilers? This is another of my keepers and I recommend it wholeheartedly (with a warning that Rampant isn’t for the faint-hearted or those who find sexually explicit language offensive).

Friday, May 21, 2010

Follow Friday 20/05/10

 There Are No Rules  Writer's Digest blog written by  
Jane Friedman

The Motivated Writer Turn your DREAMS into reality (scroll down the page and read Friday Time Challenge by author Susan Meier].

4 Ways Social Media Can Screw Up Your Writing a great blog post by professional writer and editor
A. Victoria Mixon

and on Twitter:

~ Trisha Ashley ~ {@trishaashley} 
"Author of novels including Every Woman for Herself and A Winter's tale"

~ Jacqueline Grimes ~ {@hopeful author}
"writer,wife mum, woman!"

~ Fiona Harper  ~ {@FiHarperAuthor}
"I write fresh, flirty, heartwarming romances for Harlequin Mills & Boon's Romance line"

~ Saskia Walker ~ {@saskiawalker}
"I'm a British author of erotic fiction, published by Harlequin Spice, Red Sage, Total-E-Bound, Berkley Heat, and more. Read excerpts at www.saskiawalker.co.uk"

~ Liz Fielding ~  {@lizfielding}
"Award winning romance author"

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

It's Time

to stop procrastinating.

I have a problem: you may have noticed that I've changed my background AGAIN. What is it with me? I can't seem to stop tampering. I love messing around with web backgrounds and templates even when I can't afford the energy (or the time) to tamper.

I think I know what's caused it this time around - my writerly change of direction. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that I'd be fully involved with writing historicals. Now I'm getting used to the idea and I can't imagine why I never thought of it before (well, that's not strictly true it was one simple, but crucial, word 'RESEARCH' that stopped me every time I dared to consider it).

My reason for this blog change is two-fold:
  1. I wanted a background that relates more to our writing genre and this is the closest I've found to suit an Anglo-Saxon setting.
  2. I wanted to streamline the content as far as I could to enable a faster download. I know of several people who might steer clear of this blog because they're on a slower connection or dial-up.
So, there you have it. Now, I'm going cold-turkey with my addiction of fiddling and I'm not even going to visit this blog until it's time to change the wordcounter or reply to a comment. Oh yes, speaking of wordcounter, have you noticed anything?

Yep, our first rough & dirty draft has begun...


I've been playing around with my blog (again!) and it's published posts that I thought I'd done in the past (so nobody would notice). Please ignore them - I've been trying to make my blog less busy so anybody (regardless of broadband/dial-up) can access them.

Alas, these are still changes that are in progress - with one problem...I've run out of time and will have to finish them later. Sorry for any confusion...off to my regular appointment now (if I get dressed in time)!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Book Review: Tug of Love by Allie Spencer

Tug of Love Tug of Love by Allie Spencer

Susan's rating: 5 of 5 stars

Allie Spencer’s debut novel beggars the belief that it’s her first book. Tug of Love is fast-paced with many twists and turns that as a reader I never pre-empted. Every one of the characters, whether secondary or primary, came alive because they are well-rounded and vividly three-dimensional.

I loved the subject matter and the insight that Allie Spencer gives the readers into the world of law is brilliant. This is a definite example of how ‘writing what you know’ can pay dividends. I enjoyed how the profession of barrister contrasted with Lucy’s character. She’s sassy, intelligent, and remains very human throughout this story. I loved her!

Allie Spencer is a fresh new voice in the world of romantic comedy and I can’t wait to read her future books.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

No More Romance Reviewed

So, I've closed Romance (& other books/genres) Reviewed blog.

This blog will now be the platform for sharing the odd review and, as always, everything we read (and have on our bookshelves) is on our Goodreads pages: Graham's (who regularly posts) and mine whose updates are sporadic (no change there then!).

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Film Review: Beowulf & Grendel

Beowulf is one of my favourite works of epic poetry, but the subject matter, which jumps all over the place and back and forth through time, is fairly unworkable on film. I was interested to see what the makers of this fairly low budget epic would do with the material, and in the end I was more than satisfied. As the title indicates, Beowulf & Grendel focuses on the central thrust of the story, ignoring side-stories and the later Beowulf vs. dragon showdown to deliver a simple retelling of the main part of the age-old legend.
The story is largely expanded from the original, with many peripheral characters added and extra scenes. Some of these work (Eddie Marsan’s psychotic Christian missionary helps to set the film in its time rather well) but others I could have done without, such as Sarah Polley’s witch. Still, for the most part, the story is well achieved, with plenty of atmosphere and a real sense of place. Somebody had the brilliant idea of filming in the bleak Icelandic countryside, full of mountains and rocks and waterfalls with nary a blade of grass in sight; the decision paid off (despite problems with the weather during the shoot) and you can really believe the action is taking place over a thousand years ago.


Gerard Butler does well as the hero, his Beowulf equally as rugged as the isolated scenery. His role feels like a dry-run for 300’s King Leonidas. Most of the supporting cast are interchangeable, but Stellan Starsgard is fine as the complex, tormented Hrothgar. Grendel is a more sympathetic creation here than in the poem; he’s given his own back story, which I didn’t mind, and he looks like a caveman rather than a hideous monster. Some of the incident in the eventual showdown between man and monster is changed and the later sub-plot involving Grendel’s mother feels rushed, but I felt these problems were insignificant. For the most part, Beowulf & Grendel ably brings to life the heroism and terror of the Anglo-Saxon age.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Co-incidence or God-incidence?

My life is often filled with what some people label coincidences, but I beg to differ. I believe that some things happen for a reason and I like to refer to them as God-incidences. In my experience things rarely happen by accident - even though at the time we might feel we've stumbled across them accidentally.

About a month ago I'd been feeling particularly low and was heading towards a depression. The difference is that instead of plummeting straight into the pit, I often recognise the signs beforehand nowadays and endeavour to put some coping mechanisms into place. These can be something as simple as allowing myself a 'be good to yourself'/'duvet' day or watching an episode of Desperate Housewives/Brothers & Sisters or basically doing anything that helps me escape that threat of the hovering darkness for even a short while.

It was on this particular day that hubby and I had a heart to heart. We've been together *gulp* for seven years now and married for five of those, so it's fair to say that we know each other quite well. Graham too had recognised that I was struggling to be my 'normal-to-me' self. Our talk eventually led us to changing the course of our writing aspirations. This was a great decision but it still took me a while to filter it down enough to believe it. I then opened my email Inbox to discover this:

Your Spiritual Message For An Inspirational Day! Laura Lester Fournier

Let it go today.  Allow yourself to release into the comfort of a loving Creator.  Your sadness, grief, confusion, and anger must ultimately be released, in order to restore peace and joy into your life.  Why hang on for a lifetime, to something that can truly be released right now?  Let it go today, you are strong enough to do this. 
Laura Lester Fournier

There were two specific parts to this message that hit me with clarity:
  • 'Your sadness, grief, confusion, and anger'  - I remember thinking W-O-W these words are spot on and encapsulate everything I'm feeling: Sadness for my health difficulties. Grief for the recent death of my mother-in-law [who died from the same illness that I struggle with]. Confusion about whether I was making the right decision about my writing journey and Anger about all of the above and so much more!
  • 'Let it go today, you are strong enough to do this.' There's the double whammy... 'you are strong enough'
Coincidence that I opened this email at exactly the right time for me? I don't think so.


God-incidence? Well, seeing as He knew even before I did how I was feeling and He knew that there wasn't much hope of me reading the Holy Bible at that moment. He also knew that He'd reach me at the perfect time via my Inbox.

Well, that's my understanding.

Whatever your beliefs I recommend you pay a visit to Laura's website here and consider signing up for her Daily Spiritual Message - what've you got to lose?

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Meet Leola & Wulfric

Not saying too much about the story at this stage but here's a pic of the heroine and hero inspiration for our Historical Romance:

Imogen Poots & Viggo Mortensen
taking the roles in our story of
Leola & Wulfric

It's only right that I share the other photo inspiration of Wulfric that I will no doubt feast my eyes on from time to time:

All in the name of research, of course...

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Back to work with a vengeance!

It's taken me a while I know, but I'm getting there. I can't promise regular blog posts but I am going to endeavour to share our writing journey when possible.

Yesterday I finally created a new folder on my desktop for our new manuscript. This entailled bracing myself to archive my other folder relating to the contemporary manuscript. It was tough to let go of  but I live by the belief that no writing is ever wasted. Each & every piece of writing completed and unfinished is a learning curve. I'm never saying never on the contemporaries but I know that Graham & I working together on a Historical is a no-brainer. And yes, I'm even getting that familiar stirring of excitement as we create our characters.

I'm looking forward to joining them on their exciting journey. Come back soon when I'll be sharing their names and photo inspirations...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Showing off...

my unexpected birthday gift from my son and his fiancee that I will treasure forever.

Now if I could only speed up the healing process on my newly pierced ears so that I can wear them...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Ooh, I've done it!

After many years of promising myself I would, this morning I finally did it!

I've had my ears pierced! Pictured below is the the closest I could find of what's now sitting in my ears.

I went with the titanium studs because they're hypo-allergenic. It was a no brainer once I'd spotted the ones with gems in, and being the girly girl that I am I opted for pink!

I first had my ears pierced as a little girl of six, but my left ear went septic. I then had them pierced again at the age of nine, but again the left ear went septic...

Now at the age of *bla bla bla* I've had them pierced again... third time lucky, maybe? I hope so!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A New Direction

Lots of things have happened this year that have left us reeling. We've thought long and hard and made a joint decision to make life easier for ourselves. We’ve acknowledged several things:
  1.  I've been very unwell since 2000 with a health condition that isn't going to leave me - ever.
  2. I've got to stop seeing the MS as my enemy. The stark truth is that it's part of who I am. I need to stop beating myself up about things I can't change, no matter how hard I try. In essence I have to stop pretending that I'll be well enough one day...
  3. We are BOTH writers. 
  4. We share the SAME dream.
  5. We NEED each other.
So, this means:
  • Acknowledging that I don't have the stamina to take on writing projects solo.
  • Just because writing a novel is something I can do from my bed (when necessary) doesn't make it any easier or less tiring.
  • Ask any writer - writing is exhausting - even when you're in tip-top condition healthwise.
  • Graham and I need to help ourselves by working on the SAME project at the SAME time.
  • We’ll achieve success SOONER by working TOGETHER.

Life has already shown us that change is inevitable. It’s time to stop fighing it. Head hopping into each other’s manuscripts isn’t working. Neither of us have the stamina to be working on two books at the same time. Therefore we’ve decided that our contemporaries need to take a back seat.

Historicals are a passion for both of us. Commen sense dictates that we focus on these. Graham has the stamina (and intellect) for all the necessary research [the bit that fatigues me just thinking about it]. I have the skills to add my input to the characters & plot and I’m good at editing [so long as it’s not my own!!).

As well as sharing a love for M&B, Historicals, and reading per se, I have a passion and belief in US. Yep, for this next chapter, Historical Romance is the way to go – TOGETHER.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Taking a holiday...

from my laptop! I know, this is a first for me and trust me, it isn't easy - which is why I'm here on Easter Sunday writing this post that you won't see until umm...now, I guess. Hooray for post-dated Blogger.

I'm desperately hoping that this tactic will help prevent me from going into one of my relapses. If it doesn't? C'est La Vie. Even without MS it's fair to say that the events of the past months are starting to take their toll. Aside from the passing of my m-i-l my own mum is now coping with the dire side effects of chemotherapy...

The strange thing for me is discovering that I'm currently unable to escape to the world of my laptop. Whenever I get the urge to load it up, after a short while [so far, max 15 mins] I begin to feel very nauseous - almost like a travel sickness. I'm reading this as a sign that's telling me that I need a break from all things virtual.

So, in an attempt to embrace this sudden withdrawal from the people I love in this virtual world of mine, I'm looking at it as taking a holiday - a much needed holiday. Hopefully the sun will shine and I might even return with a suntan!!!

Watch this space...

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Writers' Wednesday

~ Fiona Harper  ~ {@FiHarperAuthor}
"I write fresh, flirty, heartwarming romances for Harlequin Mills & Boon's Romance line"
Web: http://www.fionaharper.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/FiHarperAuthor

~ Trisha Ashley ~ {@trishaashley} 
"Author of novels including Every Woman for Herself and A Winter's tale"

~ Liz Fielding ~  {@lizfielding}
"Award winning romance author"
Twitter: http://twitter.com/lizfielding

~ Trish Wylie ~  {@TrishWylie}
Irish Author
Web: http://www.trishwylie.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/TrishWylie

~ Saskia Walker ~ {@saskiawalker}
"I'm a British author of erotic fiction, published by Harlequin Spice, Red Sage, Total-E-Bound, Berkley Heat, and more. Read excerpts at www.saskiawalker.co.uk"

~ Bernardine Kennedy ~  {@BerniKennedy}
"Novelist (7 books published by Headline, 8 & 9 under construction), freelance writer, frequent traveller and occasional blogger"
Web: http://www.bernardinekennedy.blogspot...
Twitter: http://twitter.com/BerniKennedy

~ Donna Alward ~  {@DonnaAlward}
"Harlequin Romance Author of Emotional, Feel-Good Romance"
Web: http://www.donnaalward.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/DonnaAlward

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Today's a 'be careful what I do' day

Yep, changes are afoot (again!) today really is a 'be careful what I do' day - and not just to tie in with it being a 'be careful what I eat day' either!

Thankfully, my day isn't (yet) evolving into one of my 'duvet' days - my goodness it's been an age since I've given in to one of those - but if I don't take precautions it could well morph into a series of them.

When you lose someone you never really know how you're going to be. All I know is that I've become more determined that the MS isn't going to finish me off - not for a very long while, anyway, and I'm not ever going to stop battling it.

Trouble with me is that I'm always desperate to 'out do' the MS. Lately I've started almost pretending that I don't have anything wrong with me. The good news is that I'm at least recognising what's happening. Yes, I can run from the MS (metaphorically speaking of course) [big grin] but I can't hide from it - it'll catch-up with me in the end.

So, in an effort to take the reins back and stop myself from ignorantly galloping off, I've given myself permission to have a 'be careful what I do day' - and, as often as I need to.

I hope I don't bore you too much - apologies in advance if this blog suddenly goes off on a tangent. Blogging is something else that's evolving for me. I find it very cathartic to talk on here. It's like talking to myself but in a way that (hopefully) won't have the men in white coats coming to cart me off [hehe].

Here's wishing we all have a good day. :-)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Woohoo! :D

I'm writing this post from my 'office' AFTER working on my writing! I'm thrilled to bits :D.

So far today I have:
  • Surfaced from my bed - which believe me, on a day like today, wasn't easy. Thanks and hugs to my hubby who lured me downstairs with the promise of choccy biccies and a sweet, hot cup of tea [today is an 'eat what you like' day]. How could I resist!
  • I briefly visited Facebook [referred to as Fb from hereonin] and twitter while drinking my tea WITHOUT checking either my cafe, or farm. How impressive is that?!
  • I read this which is an article telling how there's been a BOOM for M&B ebooks - and how M&B is now capturing a younger audience. All great news for M&B, their authors and readers. :D
  • I discovered Bernardine Kennedy's new website which is BRILLIANT! You can check it out here.
  • I did a few domestic chores determined to rebel when hubby reminded me that I could go back to bed for a nap.
  • I then snuck into the office armed with my laptop when Graham wasn't looking and began to reacquaint myself with my RNA's NWS report. When he tried to join me at his desk I shooed him away to 'work' in the lounge to be on hand for when a delivery arrives. This took some real discipline because we love being around each other - trouble is, I know we'd do nothing but chatter and little would get accomplished! It's early days for both of us trying to return to a normal 'working' day.
So, here I am, still at my desk and writing this blog post. I'm not feeling quite so fatigued as I was earlier, but that may change by the time I return downstairs.

Hope everybody else has had a good start to the week.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Follow Friday


~ Trisha Ashley ~ {@trishaashley} 
"Author of novels including Every Woman for Herself and A Winter's tale"

~ Jacqueline Grimes ~ {@hopeful author}
"writer,wife mum, woman!"

~ Fiona Harper  ~ {@FiHarperAuthor}
"I write fresh, flirty, heartwarming romances for Harlequin Mills & Boon's Romance line"

~ Saskia Walker ~ {@saskiawalker}
"I'm a British author of erotic fiction, published by Harlequin Spice, Red Sage, Total-E-Bound, Berkley Heat, and more. Read excerpts at www.saskiawalker.co.uk"

~ Liz Fielding ~  {@lizfielding}
"Award winning romance author"

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Working Wednesday?

Another day of surprises for me. No you weren't hearing things I did actually mention the word 'working' in the title of this post. Perhaps, you've even snuck a look at the word counter? Sorry to disappoint guys, there's no change there - yet. But, I have been busy:
  • I snuck into our spare bedroom earlier today [read: Office] and found myself tidying around my desk - wait for it- In Preparation for Returning to Work!!! 
Wow, I hadn't even known I'd been thinking of returning to working on my w-i-p at my desk (as opposed to my lapdesk on the sofa). Gone is the pile of untouched 'work' [read: NWS report with suggested revisions along with print out of book] that sat next to me, neglected, on the sofa. I now have room for my laptop to sit on my desk with the intention of working on Kate & Matt's story in the 'office'. Ooh, perhaps I'll even start feeling like a 'real' writer again!!!
  • This afternoon I have a GP appointment. To be honest this is going to be a particularly hard one for me to attend because
  1. I discovered my own doctor has left for maternity leave. 
  2. While I'm thrilled for her at the imminent arrival of her second baby, I am, in truth, feeling peeved that she's not going to be there for me today when I NEED HER! [small grin]
  3. The doctor I'm seeing used to my m-i-l's old doctor and I'm not sure that he'll be aware that she's recently died...
  • Today has been bright and dry and I've managed to hang out some washing for the first time this year. Yayy!
Hope everybody's having a productive day.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tuesday busy-ness

Well, my daughter is now safely back in her bijou apartment. I can't wait for a time when we can finally make it up to visit and share the gorgeous surroundings with her.

I failed Kate & Matt again yesterday in that I still haven't caught up with them. The main thing I'm aware of is that I want to give their story my best, and perhaps I'm expecting too much of myself too soon.

I'm back to my regular weekly appointment from today, and this morning will be taken up with taking a shower (I won't be wasting water *all* that time [big grin] but given the difficulties provided by the MS - with all the rests in between - I'm allowing myself plenty of time.

I also plan to do my share of the driving and [lowers voice to a whisper] if I can pull it off I intend to stop off and pick up a few goodies on the way home - especially given that today is a feasting day. Just don't mention it to Graham because he'll no doubt take preventative measures...

Monday, March 22, 2010

Monday, Monday

I'm easing myself in gently this week. Graham isn't well (a similar virus to the one he had in the New Year), but to be honest, I'm not surprised. Grief does that, I guess. I'm thankful for my faith which is helping me and Graham loads, and in turn his dad. The loss will remain painful for a long time to come, hitting in sudden waves that arrive from nowhere, but it's also accompanied by peace too. Peace in the fact that 'it is what it is' and knowledge that Gray's mum lives on in a world where there is no more pain and suffering.

Isn't it weird how you can begin a blog post with a plan of sorts, and then find yourself talking about something different, something that you didn't think you were strong enough to talk about? I'm not intending to say too much about the events of this year but by the same token I don't want to pretend that nothing's changed, because it has. Heaps.

Well, to get back to my original intention for this post:
  • My daughter's going home today. I've had 10 lovely days of her company, but with one thing and another [read: impending road closure, prospective train strikes and increasing university workload/deadlines] we all decided that it was the best way to avoid unnecessary stress. So, my first task for the week is to take my daughter to the station.
  • I'm going to endeavour to at least read up to where I left off with my rewrites/edits of Kate & Matt's story.
And, for today, that'll be me done. Ooh, before I go I must remind myself that for me at least, today is back to a 'being careful what you eat day'...

Friday, March 19, 2010

A Heads-Up

Firstly, I'd like to thank everybody for their condolences and support during the past weeks - each and every message has been very much appreciated.

I'm going to endeavour to slip back into regular writing, blogging and tweeting soon. The difficult part will be finding the discipline required to write before escaping to the virtual worlds of FarmVille, Cafe World & Runescape!

My daughter is home from university for another week - which is another reason why returning to my normal-to-me 'working' routine won't fully happen straight away...then of course, it'll be Easter... Uh oh, all the excuses are already creeping up on me as to why I needn't put butt to seat & fingers to keyboard just yet.

But hasn't real-life always been the reason for preventing all of us from getting on with our writing? I'm happy that I'm recognising it for what it is - an excuse - because it fires up my determination to ignore it and knuckle down to the work(s)-in-progress.

  • Yes, I *will* be ready to submit Kate & Matt's story  in plenty of time for the NWS deadline.
  •  Yes, I *will* continue to work with Graham on his historical.
  • Yes, I *will* at least consider resuming my degree studies with the Open University in October but I'm going to be realistic and wait before I decide.

Oh, and by the way, has anyone else noticed that spring may have finally arrived?


Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Bad News

I'll keep it short. 
My mother-in-law passed away early this morning. 
Posts will resume at a later date.

Monday, March 01, 2010

The Sun Has Got Its Hat On...

Hip Hip Hip HOORAY!!!!

Dare I say it, fingers crossed, that it might be here to stay?! 

Plans for today include:

  • Writing: Get back into the zone [again].
  • General: Few domestic chores including dragging the Dyson out from its hiding place.
  • Treat: Meet up with friends [online game].
  • Bonus: All being well, cook dinner.
Wishing you all a great start to the week!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

I'm Back

...for as long and as often as I can manage.

What an icky year this is turning out to be. 

M-i-L is still in hospital but is doing well and should be discharged as soon as her cough improves (Yayy - Thank You, God!).

My Mum has finally had her official diagnosis and has been told that her cancer is progressive :(. They're now unable to proceed with the original op that was planned and chemo will begin in the next 10 days (why they couldn't have started with this months ago before it grew larger instead of wasting precious months of faffing around, I have no idea). My faith is, as always, getting me through at the moment (again, Thank You God!).

I have some lovely news to share as well - my son and his lovely girlfriend are engaged!!! Mega congratulations to them :-D. 

My daughter is doing great at university. I'm missing her loads especially as we still haven't made it up to visit her since she left in August last year and that's unlikely to change in the near future. However, she'll be home for a week's visit during Easter. :D

Well, that's me all caught up. I'm not where I want to be with regards to networking etc. but I'm hoping to be back to writing from tomorrow - I soo need the escapism that Kate & Matt are offering ;-).

Happy reading & writing!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Authors and Writers:

"Author of novels including Every Woman for Herself and A Winter's tale"

@hopeful author
Jacqueline Grimes "writer,wife mum, woman!"

"I write fresh, flirty, heartwarming romances for Harlequin Mills & Boon's Romance line"

"I'm a British author of erotic fiction, published by Harlequin Spice, Red Sage, Total-E-Bound, Berkley Heat, and more. Read excerpts at www.saskiawalker.co.uk"

"Award winning romance author"

Monday, February 22, 2010

Unpredictable Times Ahead

I'm going to make this as brief as I can out of respect for my hubby and his family, but at the weekend M-i-L was rushed to hospital. Alongside the awful primary MS, she is now fighting pneumonia, septicemia and goodness knows what else.

Top priority right now is looking after hubby - and myself - to ensure that we both remain strong. When I can focus on Kate & Matt's story I will be continuing with my revisions but on a much more flexible basis. I'll post updates on here as and when I can.

Before I go, I'd like to say a resounding thank you to our fantastic mates. We all met in a 'virtual' world a while ago and are now becoming great friends. It's amazing! Each and every one of you means the world to us, and we're so thrilled to have found you all. :=)

Right, off to do some writing.

Take care all.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Missing Thursday

What can I say except real-life butted in to Thursday's plans. It started with a baad night of little sleep for me. The day continued in the same vein, especially once we learned that my m-i-l has now developed pneumonia. Add that to my own mum's cancer battle...and, well you get the picture.

I'm hoping to do some work on the wip today with plans to play catch-up further on Saturday. In case I don't make it back today...


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

FAB results!


Writing: I've given myself the day off from working on my w-i-p today. I'm not disappointed with this decision because I was up and out very early this morning for a hospital appointment (which I will talk about in a minute). It might be a bit of a cheat, but I also consider writing blog posts, emails and networking to be part of my 'working' day, so all is not lost. :=)

Health: At 08.15 this morning I attended what I often refer to as my 'icky eye appointment' at the glaucoma clinic. My last appointment was only three months ago but because my eye pressures were high I might have been heading towards a glaucoma diagnosis.

For those who are new to this blog I'll briefly fill you in. Over the years with my MS I have experienced episodes of optic neuritis which has left probable nerve damage and scarring. In the nightmare that is MS many of my symptoms fluctuate on a daily/hourly basis so it's hard to pin down a definitive answer - hence the medical profession's inability to determine whether or not I've developed glaucoma.

I'm thrilled to say that today's appointment has shown an improvement to my vision field tests AND more importantly, lower pressures in my eyes. DoubleYayyy. This means that I won't need to go back for another SIX months (as opposed to the three). Triple Yayyy. :=DDD. I'm one happy bunny right now.

Wii Fit Weight-In: No change but that's fine with me. :D

Blog news: I came home to discover a long foreign comment on this and my review blog. The sender had also decided to become a follower of both. For the first time I've had to block a follower (thanks to Blogger's help this is easier than I'd anticipated) and I've also made the decision to take control for the time being by approving comments. Therefore, please be aware, that comments won't be visible straight away. But please don't let this prevent you from leaving one.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Too little dumping!


Writing: You may have noticed that my word counter hasn't increased much this morning. That's not because I haven't been working on Kate & Matt's story, but because I need to take stock of the next scenes and chapter before I get stuck in.

The NWS critique has suggested that I need to provide a little more information to show why Kate and Matt act/react the way they do. This means that I need to weave in a little more backstory [with the emphasis being on little].

A word of warning to all of us aspiring writers: A classic mistake that we sometimes make is to dump too much information too soon. I can now see that I was so conscious of avoiding this that I left out too much information [that's me, going from one extreme to another]!

Wish me luck with this guys, because I'm going to be walking a tightrope that'd be very easy to swerve off either side.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Note to self: Another refresher as to why I'm aspiring for Mills & Boon

Everything about Mills and Boon is HOT - the stories...the heroes...the heroines...need I go on?!

Many thanks to Elizabeth Chadwick @Chadwickauthor, @caroleagent, @GuardianBooks  and of course, not forgetting best-selling author, Penny Jordan, for drawing my attention to this:

You can read the accompanying article here.

Why I LOVE my NWS Reader



We had a relaxed weekend and I awoke feeling refreshed, if still my 'normal' tired. The best bit? No Monday morning blues. :=)
  • Writing: I'm living with my story 24/7, even when I'm not physically working on it. Something that's surprised me is that although I have a vague idea of what I'll be writing next, it always comes as a surprise. What I'm realising is I'm not overworking the thoughts on 'what to do next'. It's happening naturally. I'm sure that this is helped by the fact that with these revisions the wonderful Reader from last year's NWS not only wrote pages of critique, but also wrote in the margins of the manuscript!  This is helping me LOADS for these reasons:
  1. It's keeping me focused on the areas I should be focusing on.
  2. I'm asked pertinent questions highlighting when I haven't made my character's motivations clear to readers.
  3. There are also notes to point out when a particular paragraph has worked - the Reader has also explained why it's worked.
  • Wii Fit Weigh-in: -2lbs yayy!
How's your Monday shaping up?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

I awoke this morning to breakfast in bed, along with a Valentine's card courtesy of my wonderful hubby. I was both thrilled and surprised not least because I haven't made it out of the house in a couple of weeks and wasn't expecting anything.

Gray knew he wouldn't be receiving a card from me, but we're both fine about not needing to heed convention these days, whether it's Valentines, Birthdays or Christmas. We've now been together seven years this October, married for five come August and are both secure with our love for each other.

But I digress. I'm posting here today because I want to share the words on my surprise card from my hubby and alter them slightly to address them back to him - because they emcompass everything I feel too:

for My lovely Wife Husband

You're special in so many ways,
my perfect Valentine...
I really love our married life
and I'm so glad you're mine...
You're everything I've wanted,
you're all my dreams-come-true...
I've never been so happy
since I lost my heart to you!
Happy Valentine's Day

How lucky am I?!!

Wishing you all a great day... 

Friday, February 12, 2010

Great peeps to seek out:


~ Liz Fielding ~  {@lizfielding}
"Award winning romance author"

Web: http://www.lizfielding.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/lizfielding

Sassy Brit ~  {@Sassy_Brit}
"Book reviewer and reading addict! Owner of Alternative-Read.com; The inside story as told by Sassy Brit and her Gang. Contact Sassy.Brit at gmail dot com"

Web: http://tjbook-list.blogspot.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/Sassy_Brit

~ Saskia Walker ~ {@saskiawalker}
"I'm a British author of erotic fiction, published by Harlequin Spice, Red Sage, Total-E-Bound, Berkley Heat, and more. Read excerpts at www.saskiawalker.co.uk"

Web: http://www.saskiawalker.co.uk/home.html
Twitter: http://twitter.com/saskiawalker

~ Trisha Ashley ~ {@trishaashley} 
"Author of novels including Every Woman for Herself and A Winter's tale"

Web: http://www.trishaashley.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/trishaashley

~ Mills & Boon ~ {@MillsandBoonUK}
"Tweets from Mills & Boon brought to you by two feisty heroines and a charismatic alpha hero. Bethan, Sasha & Oliver check in from Romance HQ"

Web: http://www.millsandboon.co.uk
Twitter: http://twitter.com/MillsandBoonUK

~ Lee Mead Fans ~ {@LeeMeadFans}
"2 Lee fans running a completely unofficial place for Lee information! xoxo or x-x-x"

~ Melanie Garrett ~ {@melanielgarrett}
"Current projects: Crime novel called Blood Harmonies, set in London and Paris. Cello-out-the-window project, set 4 flights up."

~ Glynis Smy ~ {@Ghunibee}

"A Brit Expat, writing in sunny Cyprus previously Manningtree in UK"

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