Thursday, 30 January 2014

Asparagus and New Potatoes

An enjoyable day today. I went through another 50 pages of the galley of The Captain and The Countess, which will be published on the 21st February by MuseItUp Publishing. I then went out shopping for clothes with my daughter.

I didn't find any clothes I liked, but we ended up at Tesco where I bought 6 asparagus plants and some seed potatoes - first early salad potatoes called Charlotte. Last year I grew my first, second an maincrop potatoes in containers and in the ground. The former did best to I shall grow them all in containers this year. I've decided to grow some expensive vegetables this year so the asparagus will be a welcome addition to my vegetarian cuisine, and so will the globe artichokes which are in small pots in the greenhouse waiting to be planted out.

When I returned home the contractor phoned me and we agreed work on my new kitchen will begin on the 18th of February. I am really looking forward to the job being completed by the beginning of March.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

New Kitchen

Last year the mould and damp in my kitchen was treated. Everything has dried out and the mould has not returned, so I am about to have a new kitchen. I'm pleased with my choices. A warm but not glaring yellow for the walls an old gold shade,, white woodwork and kitchen cupboards, grey tiles, grey worktops and a grey floor. I am now waiting for the contractor to let me know when work will commence. It will take two weeks of not being able to use the washing machine, dishwasher and gas cooker but as my daughter lives around the corner from me, with her kind permission, I shall use her equipment. If I become stressed by the state of the house I shall sleep at her house and relax with my grandchildren.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Writer's Group

Yesterday evening, at Watford Writers,  I read an extract from my medieval novel. It's amazing how many flaws I find when I read to an audience. I'm also grateful to members of the groups who pointed out repetitions and suggested I divide one scene into two.

Whenever I listen to other authors read their work I am always impressed by their imaginations and talent. A young lady who attended for the first time read a short story which was modern, unusual and succinct. It was a prose snapshot of a significant factor in the character's lives. A member read from her biography of a lady, who lived in the late 18th and early 19th century, and two other talented members read their poems.

Later there was a quiz. Here are a few of the 20 questions. Who only had a vocabulary of 32,000 words? What did Big Ears and Noddy quarrel about? Which two things do the castaways on Desert Island Discs always take with them? And in which year were television programmes first broadcast?

I went home happy and relaxed and woke this morning keen to get on with the galley of The Captain and The Countess.

Monday, 27 January 2014

Rainy Weather

Yesterday it rained heavily. Grey gloomy days are a bit depressing but I cheered up when the galley for The Captain and The Countess set in the reign of Queen Anne Stuart - 1706 - 1714 arrived. Afterwards I cooked lunch for my youngest son and his children ( his wife was away from home for the weekend).

It's grey and gloomy again outside, but I'm back to my usual happy self and, of course, the weather keeps me indoors so it's an ideal time to work on the galley.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

The Captain and The Countess

My new novel set in England in the reign of Queen Anne Stuart, 1702 - 1706, will be published on the 21st February.

His heart captured by the Countess only Captain Howard sees pain behind her fashionable fa├žade and is determined to help her.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Under the Weather

Not sure why but I'm not feeling well at the moment so I might not blog for a few days.

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Horrible History

Yesterday, after school, I took my daughter's 9 year-old to the library. Amongst other books,  he chose three Horrible History books, the ones about The Vikings, The Romans and World War Two, which he is learning about at school.

Actually, I read a bit of the Horrible History The Romans. It's really interesting and a good starting point for a historical author who wants to write about a period he/she is unfamiliar with.

My grandson came to my house delighted because he has graduated from writing with a pencil to writing with a pen. "It's taken me four years, since I first started school, to be given a pen by my teacher," he explained. "And," he added, "one of my friends is very upset because he didn't get a pen, and he writes better than me but I think it's because his w's aren't formed properly. And now, grandma, I am going to copy you and write historical fiction. Can children be published?"

"Maybe," I replied, "but I think they can enter competitions." Phew, he shares my lifelong interest in history.

He is the third want-to-write-books child in my family.  One of them has written two excellent stories about a dragon quest.

Friday, 17 January 2014


I did not work on my new novel this morning, but to my relief I finished applying all the scribbled notes in a shorthand note pad. I found some interesting websites, recorded titles of books I want to read for pleasure and research, and much more. I'm patting myself on the back before I tackle the contents of two small notebooks.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Mild January

This morning after I worked on my new novel and checked my e-mails, I weeded another bed in the front garden. It is a mild January day on which the sun is shining and the birds are chirruping. My hanging baskets and window boxes are full of cyclamen and geraniums all in flower. The front garden is like a French potager in which I grow vegetables and flowers. At the moment the broad beans look very healthy and the pot marigolds still have some flowers. Bit by bit I'm getting rid of the weeds.
Another mild January day, the sun shining, an ideal day to get on in the garden after working on my new novel. I've nearly finished weeding the front garden which is in the style of a potager with flowers and vegetables. At the moment the broad beans are flouring, the berengia, commonly known as elephant ears, will soon be in pretty pink bloom, and the pot marigolds are still flowering. Cyclamen hanging baskets and one narrow bed  are in full flower and so are the geraniums in the hanging basket. All in all a happy time in the garden with birdsong to enjoy.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Library Books

For Christmas I received enough Amazon gift vouchers to buy an out of print book for historical research that costs £65. I dithered about whether or not to buy it and decided I should read it first. The book is not available in the county in which I live but for £3 I am able to reserve it from another county. I will be able to renew it twice which means I can make notes for nine weeks and decide whether or not I want to buy my own copy. Let us hope there are not more and more library cuts.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Knick-Knacks, No Mess, More Haste

"Don't get your Knick-Knacks in a twist," advises daughter-in-law.

"Don't get in a mess," chirps 4 year-old granddaughter.

"More haste, less speed," said my late mother.

Well, I should have taken their advice. I joined Pin Interest and have made a mess of my boards because I'm too impatient. Now, I'm not sure how to cancel them and begin again.

Knick-Knacks, More Haste

"Don't get your knick-knacks in a twist," advices one of my daughter-in-laws. "Don't make a mess," chirps 4 year-old granddaughter. "More haste less speed," my late mother used to say. Well, I should have taken their advice. I'm too impatient. I joined

Monday, 13 January 2014

Business, Writing and Gardening.

If anyone had told me how much business is necessary after a novel is published I think I would have fainted. This morning, I dealt with some, revised two chapters of Monday's child, a traditional historical romance. Outside, a woodpecker treated himself to some peanuts from the feeder hanging from the plum tree. The sun shone, the weather is mild for this time of the year so I spent a happy hour weeding part of the front garden.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

An Ivory Tower

My instinct is to lock myself in an ivory tower, aka the spare bedroom, and write my novels. (I would open the door to receive drinks, meals and snacks with profound gratitude.

The ivory tower is unsuitable. I would be forced to emerge from it to deal with business and keep up with online sites. Today, I visited Link In after a long absence and found many messages from wonderful people who want to link up with me. It's great to meet old friends and make new ones. I've also joined pin interest while my hero and heroine are nudging me to continue their story.

As I have mentioned in earlier posts I am also catching up with innumerable scribbled notes. I vowed I would never allow them to increase out of all proportion to available time but - deep sigh - I've added a few more.

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Busy Day

As a rule I begin writing at 6 a.m. Today was no exception. At least, I was not writing my novel but attending to business. Amongst other writing related matters things I prepared a brief article about my novel Far Beyond Rubies set in England in 1706 during Queen Anne Stuart's reign.

When chatting to people about my books and life as an author many of them are surprised when I point out that writing is a business. Of course, it is a happy one because I enjoy writing historical novels, researching history and visiting places of historical interest.

Anyway, this morning I also applied half of the scribbles in one of my notebooks. I looked up websites relevant to my novels. It was a little tedious but sometimes the results were rewarding. However, I vowed that never again would I accumulate so many notes which would languish for a year or more.

At 10.30 a.m. I took advantage of the beautiful sunny weather to work in my organic garden. I tidied a narrow flower bed that edges the broad steps leading up to my house, planted a shrub that had been in a pot for ages, cut back the dead leaves on the lady's mantle and planted some polyanthas. By the time I had to go indoors to cook lunch I had added two large buckets of weeds etc., to the compost bin.

Friday, 10 January 2014

Lost a Found

Someone gave me a very pretty folder which has pockets in which to store papers. I used it for some vital historical research re:- my new novel, Monday's Child, the sequel to my published e-book, Sunday's Child set in the Regency era. For two days I searched the house for it. I even woke once last night fretting about it and trying to remember the details of the research. This morning when I got up I thought that it must be with all my other files. I returned to the cupboard in which I keep them - sure enough it was there.

The experience is comparable to writing. Sometimes the eye does not see what should be there.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

First early peas.

Dull grey morning so far - if there's a splash of sunshine later on I shall sow a row of first early peas and dream of eating tender peas and strawberries in June - but not together.

So far, a satisfactory morning, I've revised Chapter Twelve of my Regency Novel, Monday's child, the sequel to my e-book, Sunday's Child.

Does anyone else fall in love with their fictional heroes?

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Better Weather

My grandson, who has been poorly and did not go to school, went for a walk across the green behind my house and on into the woods. We took Oscar  with us. He is a small, delightful 6 month old puppy my grandson and his family are looking after.

The weather is mild, the air crisp but the ground underfoot squelchy after the recent heavy rain. The woods are full of birdsong and we saw squirrels scampering across the ground and in the trees. Oscar enjoyed it and barked for us to throw sticks for him to fetch.

As a historical novelist I imagined our experiences taking place in the past and made notes.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Busy Day

I worked on a new chapter of Monday's Child; tidied the house and made a winter warmer soup with root vegetable, pearl barley, peas, aduki beans, spices and fresh herbs - yummy.

I also checked the peanuts and grains I put out for the birds. It's very worrying, year by year fewer and fewer birds visit my garden. Last winter was severe and so far this winter there has been almost ceaseless rain and fierce winds. Have the harsh conditions killed the  birds? The population sees to be declining.

Monday, 6 January 2014


Oops. Royalist Rebel is by Anita Seymour not Anita Davison. 4 year-old granddaughter playing noisily with a toy farm is distracting me. She pretends a crocodile is eating my feet and, to oblige her, I scream.

Royalist Rebel by Anita Davison

Thoroughly enjoyed Royalist Rebel by Anita Davison. The rebel is Countess Dysart of Ham House (Richmond, U.K.) whose parents sympathised with Charles 1st. An interesting story based on fact that is well-researched. Highly recommended.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

10 Good Things in 2014

1. 5* reviews on and of my historical novels, Tangled Love, False Pretences, Sunday's Child and Far Beyond Rubies.

2. Signing the contract for my historical novel The Captain and The Countess with MuseItUp Publishing.

3. Attending The Festival of Romance in Bedford.

4. Two of my grandchildren doing really well at their secondary schools.

5. My niece making a full recovery from a death-threatening illness.

6. A holiday in beautiful Woolacombe Bay in Devonshire with my daughter and her children.

7. Bumper crops of apples, pears and plums in my organic garden, plus lots of delicious soft fruit, herbs and vegetables.

8. Visits to places of historical interest.

9. Very happy extended Christmas season with my large family.

10 The love and support from my family throughout the year.

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Rain, Wind and Writing

Day after day in South East England the wind has been raging and lashing rain against the windows of my house. The weather conditions make it an ideal time to stay indoors and continue writing my new novel Monday’s Child, the sequel to my novel Sunday’s Child published by MuseItUp. Both novels are traditional historical novels set in the Regency. At the moment I’m patting myself on my back because another historical novelist who is reading Monday’s Child, chapter by chapter, e-mailed me to say my description of a ball made her feel as though she was watching a film of one of Jane Austen’s novels. As you can imagine her comment makes me feel as though I’m floating on air.

Friday, 3 January 2014

Time to be Honest

Ten regrets re:2013

1. Not being able to afford to buy every book on my want to read list.

2. My inability to manage on less than 8 hours sleep a night so that I could pack more into my already busy days.

3. Not meeting my target of swimming 3 or 4 times a week.

4. Failure to lose more weight in spite of low fat milk, only one sweet treat a week etc.

5. I should have signed up for more book blogs for my romantic historical novels.

6. Spending too much time on Facebook when I should be reading historical non-fiction and making notes for my novel.

7. Describing the hero helping the heroine to sit on his horse and then sitting in front of her. In order to do so he would have had to pass his leg over her head. Ouch! Neither my efficient copy editor nor my efficient line editor noticed this. No matter how hard I try it's really difficult to always get everything right.

8. I wish I had mastered the technique of growing indoor and outdoor winter salads.

9. Failure to finish my new novel by Christmas 2013.

10. I should have bought new carpet for the stairs and a new gas cooker.

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Catching up with my notes etc.

I'm about to be given a new computer by my son who is a partner in an international IT company. This morning, I saved all my files on my memory stick. While doing so I printed up some material and was side-tracked by reading and googling. Amongst other things I read Christina Rossetti's thought-provocative Goblin Market.

After deleting all my files from the computer I began to go through notes I made throughout the year. Snippets for novels, ideas, website addresses etc., etc. While doing so I visited several interesting websites. Now that I've made a start I'm looking forward to applying my notes.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014