Thursday, 22 December 2011

Seasonal shutdown!

In a few hours time the entire household will be on Christmas holiday (apart from the chef, waitress and laundry maid, obviously). So, seasons greetings to you all!


(photo is courtesy of Becca - thanks, poppet!)

I hope you all have a peaceful, happy time and I'll be back in the new year.
XXXX

Monday, 12 December 2011

Still calm. Just ...

You know how it is, every year you promise yourself you won't leave the Christmassy things to the last minute. Hmmmm. Well the dining room table's not covered in ironing, so that's a start*.

There are just four full days to go until the little beasts break up from school, so I had better get a move on - the Christmas tree is still bare, I MUST do it today!

But I do appear to have a secret little helper ...


Ho ho ho!!!!

*it's under the table instead.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Be kind to yourself

Yesterday was all set to be a right proper gloomy one. Strikes, rain, the economic abyss, a hacking cough, a child with a hacking (and puke-inducing) cough and another child who was just plain bored. The chances of getting any proper work done were slim to say the least, so for once I just didn't try.

Do you know what I did? I read a book and, horrors, watched TV.Yep, I did! I never, ever have the telly on during the day if I'm on my own, it just seems far too indulgent. I didn't go mad - just the one film: That Touch of Mink with Doris Day and Cary Grant. Well, talk about fab! It had all the scrummy things I love in an escapist romance - the hero even buys her a brand new designer wardrobe to take on their round the world trip!

Just taking a break for a few hours like that had me bouncing out of bed this morning, ready to face the day with gusto. Times are hard and Christmas preparations can really grind you down in the end if you're the one doing it all. So be kind to yourself now and then, think of it as an investment ...

Here's the Bergdorf Goodman fashion show put on for our heroine, Cathy Timberlake:


Which frock would you choose?

Monday, 28 November 2011

About the author: failure in space is not an option ...

I wasn't always an author and I wasn't always a mummy. Twelve years ago I was an accountant in the space industry.

I worked for a company now known as EADS Astrium who employ thousands of people in the UK, France, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands. They make satellites, the things that make your telly and mobile phone work. The things that help to keep our soldiers safe.

The reason I'm mentioning this today is that the BBC showed a programme last night called How to Build a Satellite that features EADS Astrium and illustrates that it's not all doom and gloom out there. UK engineering is not dead, this part of it is going from strength to strength. Europeans can get on with each other and get the job done to an excellent standard. Not all the cool jobs are for the boys either.

Here's the link to BBC iPlayer if you fancy and hour of inspiration. My children were inspired - who'd have thought you needed gold and had to grow your own crystals to build a satellite?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b017wy06/How_to_Build..._Series_2_A_Satellite/

And yes, I have worn the dodgy clean room hat and boot combo!

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

CONTRACT SIGNED!

I am delighted to announce that my second novel, The Devil To Pay has been contracted by The Wild Rose Press. It will be published as part of the Millionaire's Club series in the Champagne Rose imprint. Here's the blurb:

They should never have met, let alone fallen in love …

Italian CEO, Daniel Bracchi, wants to close his failing Welsh quarry, and he always gets what he wants. He doesn’t count on his feisty accountant Rianna Peters fighting him all the way – she’s grown used to fighting for everything in life.

From the poor valleys of South Wales to the privileges of Portofino, a clash of cultures is inevitable, as is the seismic sexual attraction between them. Daniel can’t get her hot curves out of his head, but he’s a no strings man and Rianna won’t be used just for sex again. Not when she’s thinking clearly anyway; tall, dark, charismatic Daniel has a habit of blowing all her good intentions and inhibitions away …
 
Rianna’s not the woman Daniel thought she was. She deserves so much more and he wants to give it to her. Rianna dare not hope that they have a future together and discovers that being a gifted child isn’t always a blessing.

Smoke turns to flame and their high-octane affair unearths buried secrets of sex, tragedy and betrayal. The stakes are high, maybe too high for love to overcome.
 
So, the valleys of South Wales and the glamour of Portofino are almost within your reach. I'll let you know the minute I have a release date, but now I have a party to get ready for. The Romantic Novelists' Association's winter party is now just hours away, I'll be back with pictures!

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Remember, remember ...

             Remember, remember the fifth of November
                 Gunpowder, treason and plot.
         I see no reason why gunpowder, treason
                       Should ever be forgot ...

Well, The Exec never forgets. Look what he came home clutching last night with a big grin on his face!


So there will be fireworks tonight! And the annual scorched lawn in the morning.

Are you celebrating tonight? Toasting a few marshmallows, perhaps? Lighting a banger in a cow pat and running off really fast?


Whatever you're doing, have fun and remember, remember that your pets might not like sparklers as much as you do. Although our rabbit seems to lap it all up!

Sunday, 23 October 2011

On the move!

Apologies for neglecting you, darlings, I've been doing a spot of this:


Research can be sizzlingly good ...

However, for my sins and decadence (and very, very hard work) I need to spend the next week doing more than a little of this:

(Please note, I have spared you the pictures of the dirty laundry pile, broken car and vomiting child that going on holiday inevitably brings.)

Yup, it's school half-term and Halloween, so the domestic goddess pinny is very firmly on. Normal service should be resumed by 31st October. Woooooo!!!!


See you soon!

Monday, 10 October 2011

Storm's Heart the audio book goes live!

 Can you guess what I'm listening to? Here's a clue."


Storm's Heart the audio book has now been released and you can buy it here

Andreas is hooked already. Vain boy!

Friday, 7 October 2011

Something for the weekend - aural fun!

Recognise this?

Sickening isn't it? And what about this?


Does it fill your heart with dread, dears?

Well, there is now hope. Following my summer holiday Sock Pile Epiphany, I have made another discovery that has made life a lot more pleasurable. Audio books are completely fab! Listening to Storm's Heart made all these horrid jobs a breeze - multitasking at it's very best. Armfuls of crisp, fragrant, ironed clothes and I barely realised I was doing it.

Any time, Any place, Any where (remember that ad?). Why not try it for yourself? You can now listen to chapter one of Storm's Heart for free here at iambik !


Let me know what you think, lovelies! Did I forget to mention the book is totally unabridged as well? Best not do those silks during chapter six,eh?

Have a great weekend!!!

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Back to work. No slacking!

Yes, it's that time of year again, both children are back at school, the rain is lashing down and I have to dodge falling conkers every time I go out to the bins. The summer holidays are now officially over, but we did have fun. Too much fun to tell you everything in one post, but here's a taster:

No, this isn't the back garden. This is a snap of me at Wilton House, near Salisbury during the 3rd Annual Classic Rendezvous and Supercar day. It was fab.

An orange Lambo, as featured in my first novel Storm's Heart:

A Morgan Three Wheeler as featured in my yet to be published novel The Devil to Pay (I hope to have some news on that soon!).

There's a Bugatti in it too!


And here's a snap of something to make you titter.


But now it really is time to get some serious writing done, so I'll leave you with this video. It always reminds me of going back to school in September and provided some of the inspiration for my second novel. He'll always be twenty-three ...



And many thanks go to Kath Eastman of The Nut Press for providing me with the pictures of Portofino for my new blog and Twitter background. I'll get there myself one day!

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Holiday hijinks

The summer holidays are in full swing and blow me down if we haven't had sunshine here on the south coast of England. It's lovely! Here are some pictures of a few of the things we've been up to:


A visit to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard  to visit Lord Nelson's famous ship Victory is always a winner. It still smells of woodsmoke and its old wood creaks as if it's trying to tell you something ...


It just oozes history, launched in 1765 and still here for us to wonder at thanks to relentless restoration work.


 And then on to the Mary Rose exhibition, (the wreck isn't open to the public until later in the year as it's being rehoused) for a glimpse of life in Tudor England, followed by HMS Warrior.


Built in 1860, she was the world's first iron-hulled armoured warship and the last survivor of Queen Victoria's Black Battle fleet. Powered by steam as well as sail, she's a formidable sight and still floats in Portsmouth Dockyard today.


The chains and ropes are everywhere - it's difficult to convey the scale of some of them, let alone the sheer weight that the sailors had to haul around. This lump of metal is taller than me, so you can see just how big those links are.


And if I'm not careful the urge to write something historical or Steampunk is going to overwhelm me soon. Or a paranormal time slip ...


Can you see the modern Spinnaker Tower in the same shot as a much older clock tower in the dockyard? They look quite close together, don't they? They're not. Parallel worlds? The possibilities ...

More history and nostalgia followed on a steam train ride along the Watercress Line from Alresford to Alton and back. Cutting through the wonderful Meon Valley and it's crystal clear chalk streams ...


With coal smoke in our nostrils and the vibration of the steam engine pulsing through our bodies we were transported into a world of black and white film, Cary Grant, sliding doors and First Class compartments. Even the little stations along the way were in period costume:

I couldn't resist this one!


Right, that's your lot for now, the sun's out and I have books to read in the garden. Two of the TBR pile have been dealt with, and now I'm going to attempt my first ever Jackie Collins ... Wish me luck!!

Friday, 29 July 2011

Embrace Books to close

Just over a year ago I had The Call from Embrace Books and Storm's Heart was published on Valentine's Day this year. Sadly, the decision has been made to close the imprint in the very near future. The paperback of Storm's Heart still appears to be available on Amazon, but I don't know how long it will be there, so grab it while you can!

I am considering which avenue to take with regards to Storm's Heart when my rights revert, but have a number of projects on the go to keep myself busy, never fear!

It's been a non-stop year and the school holidays have come at last. We all need to recharge our batteries and I need to tackle the teetering TBR pile - this is just the tip of it!:

I'll be back next week to tell you what I've been up to. Do you have anything special planned during the summer break?

Monday, 18 July 2011

A weekend off

Sometimes I find it hard to stop now that I don't have a nine-to-five-type job any more. It's difficult not to feel guilty if I'm not scribbling in a notebook or bashing away at a keyboard or networking or loading the rotten washing machine ... But this weekend I stopped. This weekend I  sat down and read a book just for the sheer pleasure of it and I feel so much better now. My treat was Fever Cure by Phillipa Ashley.


 Here's the blurb:
The road to heartbreak is paved with honorable intentions…
After a year dealing with her mum’s health scare and the end of a bad relationship, Keira Grayson was looking forward to kicking up her heels at her best friend’s wedding. Until she kicks off her (spare) knickers in front of the trifecta of perfection. Tom Carew. Son of an earl, honorable doctor and possibly the hottest man on the planet.

One look at Keira’s delightful embarrassment, and Tom’s hormone meter spins off the charts. Trouble is, his bags are already packed to return to the jungles of Papua New Guinea. He has patients waiting—and amends to make for a terrible choice that left devastation in its wake.

They both reason that indulging in a one-time dinner date won’t hurt…until their inhibitions melt away in the heat of their lethal sexual chemistry. Leaving Keira wondering if a sizzling fling is just what the doctor ordered, or another prescription for relationship disaster. And Tom fighting a battle against inner demons that could shatter both their hearts.


I loved the heroine, Keira, and had total empathy when she suffered an underwear malfunction. I won't spoil it for you but ... *cringe*! The hero, Tom Carew was irresistable and I really enjoyed reading from his point of view as well as the Keira's. It's deftly written and his dark secret isn't revealed until the perfect moment. He's also utterly gorgeous, clever, rich ... *fans self*

Phillipa Ashley's writing is also gorgeously evocative. I drifted in to an English winter, crisp and cold with the tang of a wood fire in the air and the clanking of old water pipes in Tom's lodge house. And the sex ... the love scenes are blisteringly hot and sensual, but the emotional stakes are high too. This book made me cry ...

I can't pretend I haven't been waiting for Phillipa Ashley's next book with huge anticipation, because I love her writing. Fever Cure didn't disappoint - it was fab. I just hope she can write fast because I want the next fix now!

You can read an excerpt and buy a copy of Fever Cure here and it's also available as a Kindle book from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk

You can visit Phillipa as well on her blog. I know she'd love to see you there.

 

Monday, 11 July 2011

What a weekend!

This is going to be a short post because I Am Knackered. On Friday I caught the train to Newport for the Romantic Novelists' Association's annual conference and didn't stop talking until I left early on Saturday afternoon (suspect I was also yacking in my sleep!). I need to invest in a new camera as the indoor shots I took are very blurry (it was not the wine!), but there will be tons of fab photos coming through on the RNA blog this week, I'm sure. Here's a couple of exclusive snaps in the bar for you:

This is me and the fabulous Kate Johnson with her novel The Untied Kingdom. She was very kind and signed it for me. I shall be sneaking off into the garden to finish it once this blog post is done.

And this is a fave.

My editor Jane Holland couldn't resist the pool table in the bar - she's pretty good - I think she may have played before ... And never one to turn down a challenge was all round party person Mandy Baggot :

But sadly I couldn't stay for the whole conference. The Exec had a 'surprise event' booked for us early on Sunday morning, so I had to get home pronto. It was the most exciting Sunday of my entire life: The 2011 Formula 1 Santander British  Grand Prix at Silverstone.

The VIP car park alone was petrolhead heaven - there was even a Bugatti Veyron in there. Red carpets, champagne, lobster, fast cars and famous faces.


This is me and the utterly gorgeous and charming Tiff Needell in the Driver's Lounge and this chap:


I wonder what he's supposed to be? Any ideas?!

But this is the one I took home with me:

And now I need a lie down.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Forbidden fruit and Storm's Heart on the road

The Exec, Him Indoors and the father of my children travels a lot. Sometimes being a 'single mother' can be hard, but he always brings home gifts; wine, perfume, candles, blackcurrant mustard (oh yes!) and all sorts of continental goodies. This week he spent some time in Newport, south Wales, venue for the RNA conference next week. This is what he brought me back:


The naughty boy! He was egged on by the office ladies, I reckon, but quite a few of them have read Storm's Heart, so fair enough!  I giggled a lot and then scoffed it. It was yummy, so thank you Finance Department, Newport!

And it's not only The Exec who's on the road. The Chepstow Bookshop will very kindly be stocking Storm's Heart at the RNA Conference next week, and I'll be there too on Friday 8th and Saturday 9th, so please come and say hello if you're there.


Have a wonderful weekend whatever you're doing!

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Out and about.

It's been a busy week in Lyndhurst Land. I was lucky enough to attend the launch party of Isabel Ashdown's second novel Hurry Up and Wait in Waterstones, Chichester. I was supervised by the impeccable Sarah Haynes  and great fun was had by all. Here's a snap of lovely Isabel and me:

A fair amount of wine was consumed, however, so some fresh air and exercise was in order over the next couple of days. Another (free if you don't count the car park charge) day out can be had at the Forest of Bere . It's just a few miles out of Fareham along the A32, but you'd never guess it was so near civilisation.


Part of the bed of the former Meon Valley Railway. And more adventuring surprises:


An idyll for artists, photographers and nature lovers:


Of course, it's tipping down now. Which is just as well as I have a LOT to do!

A date for your diary too, if you like. In July 'Storm's Heart The Movie' is being entered into the You gotta read reviews book video contest . Voting will take place between July 21st and July 26th and the video will be posted there from July 8th.
Missed it the first time round? Hehehe - any excuse!


Sunday, 22 May 2011

Back to work!

The RNA party's over, the golden shoes are back in their box and I'm back to the laundry and dishes. However, here are a few of my favourite pictures of the day (many thanks to the ladies that took them- my camera never made it out of my handbag!):

Me and Catherine Miller - southern belles!

Me and editor of Embrace Books, Jane Holland (aka Victoria Lamb)at the Waterstone's pre-party Tweetup.

Me, Sally Clements and Talli Roland at the RNA party.
There's a full set of lovely pictures here on the RNA blog

And now I have just four full days before the half term break begins. Again! EEK!

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Party time!

You won't be getting any sense out of me until Thursday. The reason? On Wednesday 18th May at 6.30 pm it's the Romantic Novelists' Association summer party and I'm going to be there! I have lots to do before I go ...

And look what gorgeous Harlequin Mills and Boon author Abby Green sent me to read on the train!

Squeak! How perfect is that cover? I'll be walking past Big Ben tomorrow and thinking about Andreas Lazarides as I do, because that's where Storm's Heart all began.

I am massively excited!

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

A child for the day


I've reached The End of book two, just in time for the Easter school holidays, so yesterday I took my children somewhere that I used to play when I was their age. It's called Manor Farm and is hidden away in the Hampshire countryside up the Hamble estuary (but spookily and conveniently near to the M27!).

When I was little it wasn't open to the public, because it was just another small working farm, there used to be lots of them, and Mummy wasn't worried about us wandering round on our own all day either.







Every time I visit Manor Farm, it uplifts me - I love it. I'm going to use it for inspiration in a book one day - maybe the next one? I'll let you know!




What have you been up to this week?

UPDATE: If you want a great couple of reads AND want to be in with a chance of winning a £100 asda voucher, check out Sally Clements' blog for details!!!!! (Do it NOW before someone beats you to it!).One hundred quids worth of Creme Eggs should keep you going for a while ...

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Pause for breath.

Remember this picture of a camelia bud a few weeks back?


Well, look at it now!
 

I'll be outside under the apple tree with my laptop very soon by the looks of it. Hurrah!

But not just yet. Last week, I spent the grand total of two hours with Him Indoors and yesterday's events in Japan have shaken us all. So this weekend I'll be attached to him and The Beasts, not a computer screen.

I hope you all have a peaceful few days with your family as well. See you next week!




Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Quick!

Puff. Pant. Five days without internet, but it seems to be working for five minutes!

I'm being interviewd by gorgeous Rebecca Bradley on her BLOG.

It would be wonderful to see you there with any burning questions you may have, but be quick because I've been invited somewhere equally gorgeous tommorrow!

Monday, 7 March 2011

I do like Mondays.

The house is silent apart from the low hum of the washing machine, and after three whole days without an Internet connection it has inexplicably decided to work again without the intervention of an engineer. Sigh.

All was not lost though. Sans Internet I read Savage Sun by Embrace buddy B L Bonita, which was sizzlingly good, thrashed out a synopsis and got some fresh air.

The smell of this mahonia in the sunshine was incredible and the bumblebees agreed!

There's also a lot to be said for a spot of garden centre retail therapy.

This hanging basket was just too pretty to save until Mother's Day, it almost glows as the light fades in the evening.

But now it's time to get back to work - I have an impatient hero who needs my attention!

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Gone visiting

Today I'm a guest of fabulous author Phillipa Ashley. I'd love you to pop over to her blog and say hello!

I'm also featured in writer's-corner at inhampshire.net, so thank you horroruk.com!

A quick update: there's smashing interview up over on We Do Write, it would be wonderful to see you over there too!

I think we're going to need a day off tomorrow!

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Whoosh! Just passing through!

Today I'm blogging elsewhere, hosted by the utterly gorgeous India Grey, award winning Harlequin Mills and Boon author. So no gratuitous totty pictures here for you lot today. Come over and say hello!!

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Competition result!

A small beastly hand picked out a winner of my very first competition this morning. The question was:

What was the name of Andreas Lazarides' sea vessel?

The correct answer was Elektron.

And our winner is:

Congratulations, Kathryn Eastman!

Please get in touch with your postal address and a signed paperback copy of Storm's Heart will be on its way to you very soon!

I'll be visiting India Grey's blog tomorrow, so I'll see you over there!