Saturday, 28 February 2015

Lucky Grandmother

I spent last night at my daughter's house. My 5 year old granddaughter didn't want to go to sleep until I arrived. As soon as I did, I popped upstairs to see her. She cuddled up to me and told me about her day. She is sad because one of her friends has left her school to go to a new one. She and three friends divided into pairs to go down the slide. Someone pushed her. It upset her. I told her she should tell the teacher if someone hurts her. 'No,' she said, 'we sorted it out.' Miss Adorable settled down with her doggie, a soft toy, and her Cinderella rag doll. A last kiss and she went to sleep.

Friday, 27 February 2015


An amaryllis called Apple Blossom which I was given as a Christmas present flowered for the first time a month ago. The flowers were a very pale pink and white. When they died I cut them off and both immediately and very rapidly a new stalk grew. The amaryllis has blossomed again. This time the upper petals of the flowers are apricot, another petal is apricot striped with white and the lower petals are white. After these flowers die I think two more stalks will grow one after the other and more flowers will be produced.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Child-Sitting & Cottage-Style Garden

I stayed at my youngest son and daughter-in-law's house yesterday night to look after the two younger children while the eldest one went to school to discuss which subjects he will take for his GCSEs with his parents and teachers. I enjoyed playing draughts and Rummy Cub with my enthusiastic younger grandson and my granddaughter. Lots of laughter - lovely.

Today, the weather was much milder than yesterday, so my daughter-in-law and I went to a garden centre. I used some of the vouchers given to me at Christmas to start restocking the front garden which was destroyed when the house was cladded to make it warmer. I bought a red, rambling rose which I shall plant to the right of my front door. I hope it will grow up and over the what-do-you-me-call-it? that protrudes from the wall to provide shelter from the rain and down the left side of the door.

The flower bed under my dining room window is very narrow, so I'm going to intersperse hollyhocks and lupins, which I bought today, with lavender that I shall transplant from other parts of the garden. To this mix I plan to add delphiniums. I shall edge the front with green and purple lolla rose lettuces, and in the autumn plant spring bulbs. One of my opium poppies survived and, with luck some of the foxgloves, evening primroses and last year's hollyhocks might have self-seeded.

I don't live in a cottage but I want to achieve a cottage garden so I shall plant a row of lettuce at the front of the flower bed and, maybe, tuck in pots of herbs and stargazer lilies.

Goodness, at the thought of all this gardening I feel tired.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Pot Hole

Late yesterday evening, coming home from Watford Writers my car bumped hard over something and then the weird noises started. I was too frightened to stop the car, crossed my fingers and hoped I would reach home safely. Parked outside my house I couldn't see what the problem was. I lay awake dozing and worrying about the car. In the morning I realised one of the tyres was punctured, probably due to a pothole which I couldn't see in the dark. I called the AA, The mechanic arrived, removed the punctured tyre and replaced it with the spare tyre. I then bought a new tyre. Phew! Problem solved. It really is worthwhile belonging to the AA.

Monday, 23 February 2015

Gone With The Wind

Gone with the Wind, published in 1936 won the Pullizer Prize in 1937. It is one of my favourite novels, and I have enjoyed watching the film several times. The author, Margaret Mitchell was killed by a drunk driver in 1949 so she was not subjected to later accusations of racism which in my opinion were unfair. She was a liberal, who lived when racicism was rife but endowed scholarships at Morehouse College for black students.  Scarlet O'Hara, the  heroine in Gone With the Wind, raged against women's passive lived a privileged life protected from the cruel brutality of slavery.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Flash Fiction

This morning, I wrote a 250 word flash fiction for a competition. Because it will soon be Watford Writers 10th anniversary the chosen subject is Ten. Writing short fiction on a topic I would not have chosen is good for me. It jerks me out of my 'comfort zone' and forces me to experiment. My piece, set in the modern day, is called Ten Steps. It is my first short, short story written in the present tense.

Friday, 20 February 2015

Next Task After Finishing Edits.

I have finished the pre-edits, which I wrote about recently, and have now finished editing Monday's Child the sequel to Sunday's Child, traditional Regency Novels.

I shall now make my contents editor happy by reading over 97,500 words aloud and tweaking the final revision.

My next task will be to the synopsis, then the happy day when I submit Monday's Child and the synopsis will arrive.

 I shall also list all the characters because I shall write a follow on novel called Tuesday's Child.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Non-Fiction To Be Read Pile

As well as my pile of to be read fiction, I have a pile of non-fiction to be read which are either for research or to promote or study the market.

The Private World of Georgette Heyer by Jane Aikin Hodge.

A History of Shopping by Dorothy Davis which begins with Town Markets in the late Middle Ages.

Cassiobury The Ancient Seat of the Earls of Essex by Paul Rabbits & Sarah Kerenza Priestly.

Kathryn Warner's Edward III with a foreword by Ian Mortimer. "richly detailed, compelling look at one of England's most misunderstood kings ... this is the biography of Edward II for which I have been waiting."

Jane Austen's England by Sue Wilkes.

Good Reads for Authors  How to Promote Your Books with Good Reads by Michelle Campbell-Scott. (I began it and applied a few suggestions but writing my novel has kept me too busy to finish it.)

Writers and Artists Year Book 2015. (I intend to read the articles.)

There are a lot of other non-fiction books I intend to read but this list will keep me busy for a while.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

To Be Read Books

I always have a pile of to be read novels. Some of them have received excellent reviews in the Historical Novel Society's magazines, others have been reviewed in newspapers or elsewhere and some have won awards or been shortlisted by the Romantic Novelist's Association. The titles on my current pile are: Home for Christmas by Lizzie Lane, From Ruin to Riches by Louise Allen, A Barefoot Queen by Ildefonso Falcones, The King's Curse by Phillippa Gregory, Teardrops in the Moon by Tania Cross and A Liverpool Legacy by Anne Baker. The variety of themes and plots will be interesting.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Winter Garden

The sun shone today so, although it was cold, I took the opportunity to get on in the garden. I swept the back yard, began to clear up the garden shed and sort out plant pots. Then I enjoyed sewing seeds in modules in a heated propagator. I've sown brussel sprouts, cauliflower, kohl rabi (sprouting broccoli) and three types of tomatoes, standard size, cherry and baby plum.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Books which I'm reading.

I'm reading Terror and Wonder The Gothic Imagination published by The British Library section by section. I'm also reading Writing Historical Fiction A Writers and Artist's Companion published by Bloomsbury Academic bit by bit.

I'm also reading Bittersweet by Colleen McCullough about the lives of two pairs of twins who train to be nurses in the 1920's. The Lady (Magazine) caption is: "A novel of love, loss and betrayal - think of Scarlett O'Hara and multiply by four." I disagree, the characters are not as compelling as Margaret Mitchell's famous heroine. I'm half way through it and losing interest. Part of the back blurb reads "from the author of The Thorn Birds, one of the biggest-selling books of all time, comes this sweeping saga of love and betrayal and redemption in 1920's Australia.

'As clever and compelling as its four heroines.' Australian Woman's Weekly.

Half way through the novel my problem is that with four heroines and a cast of other characters important to the novel I am not identifying with them sufficiently to care what happens to them.

I wonder what other readers think of Bittersweet.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Garden and Bird Feeders

Yesterday, I bought bags of compost to add to either manure or my homemade compost to top up a raised bed. I also bought a packet of geranium seeds. It’s so much cheaper to grown my own instead of buying plants. I like potted red geraniums both indoors and outdoors. I also bought a red, a yellow and a pink rose bush and two rhubarb plants.

My squirrel proof bird feeders arrived today. Small birds fluttered through the one I filled with seeds. I have to buy peanuts for the other one. The wood pigeons strutted around on the lawn but I didn’t see any squirrels today.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Wolf Hall

I did not enjoy the first quarter of Wolf Hall which I began reading with high hopes and didn't finish it. Yesterday, I watched the latest instalment of the t.v. series. Half way through I gave up because I found it dreary. Also, during the first two episodes, and the part I watched yesterday, I did not believe Henry VIII would have been fascinated by the Anne Boleyn depicted in the series.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Monday's Child Final Revision.

I finished the pre-edits of Monday's Child and am now working on the final revision, deleting everything unnecessary, checking the dialogue to make sure it isn't stilted and rephrasing any sentences which are awkward. I'm nearly half way through the novel and looking forward to finishing it. When I have I'll write the synopsis for which I'm making notes as I read the novel.

Revision of Monday's Child.

I finished the pre-edits of Monday's Child and am now working on the final revision, deleting everything unnecessary, checking the dialogue to make sure it isn't stilted and rephrasing any sentences which are awkward. I'm nearly half way through the novel and looking forward to finishing it. When I have I'll write the synopsis for which I'm making notes as I read the novel.

Monday, 9 February 2015

Out of Action

Somehow or other a programme was deleted from my laptop so I haven't been able to blog for a few days. Fortunately, my sons own and international it company so one of their staff sorted out the problem for me. Phew!

Friday, 6 February 2015

Happy Novelist. Happy Grandson.

I was so bored with editing my work in progress Monday's Child a traditional Regency novel that I wondered if I ever want to write another one. Of, course, even as the thought crossed my mind I knew that I do. Today I received the boost I need. At school my 13 year-old grandson's teacher said that she enjoys historical romance. My grandson told her that I write traditional historical romances and my www. address. She visited it and, according to my grandson, was almost glued to it, and she also looked at my reviews on Amazon and played one of my book trailers. According to my grandson she loved it. Hopefully, she will read all my books.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Terror and Wonder

I went to The Gothic Exhibition at The British Library and bought the book: Terror and Wonder, The Gothic Imagination. I am very amused by an illustration in it of an 1802  lithograph by James Gilray, printmaker and caricaturist. The inscription reads; 'This attempt to describe the effects of the Sublime and Wonderful is dedicated to M.G. Lewis Esq".  The caricature is of 'four spellbound women poring over a copy of Lewis's collection in a bourgeois parlour room, with a copy of 'The Monk' placed on the table. The women's faces express their horrified reaction to gothic tales of terror and wonder.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

That darn squirrel.

This morning, I finished the pre-edits for Monday's Child, the follow on novel from Sunday's Child. Afterwards I went into the garden to get some fresh air. I checked the bird feeders, then saw some holes on my lawn. That darn squirrel dug them and buried peanuts. I don't begrudge the creature some food but this is too much.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Passive and Active

I'm still slogging away at the pre-edits of Mondays Child the follow on novel from Sunday's Child a traditional Regency Romance. To be honest, I find the pre-editing boring and too time consuming. I console myself with the knowledge that when I finish Monday's Child will read much more smoothly. Also, last evening, I let off a little steam about the darn things and felt a little better about them today.

Sunday, 1 February 2015


Very cold day again so instead of tidying up the greenhouse, I worked on the pre-edits of my mediaeval novel, the first few chapters of which I am going to enter in a competition. I also made a mushroom and pea risotto, delicious, piping hot, filling and satisfying.  My daughter's children really enjoy it so I cooked extra for them.