Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Divorcees.biz - Eileen Thornton

I’m delighted to welcome Eileen Thornton, blog friend and author of The Trojan Project, here to talk about her latest book and also tell us about her writing.

Divorcees.biz came out as an eBook late last year and is now available in paperback. I asked Eileen to tell us a little about it.

Divorcees.biz is set in London and tells of four, thirty-something, divorced women, who decide to set up an online dating agency for divorcees. However, the four ladies, Connie, Sadie, Jenny & Lucy find the project a little more complicated than they first thought. I have tried to keep the story light-hearted and fun to read.

I love the title – it’s perfect for the book. If Divorcees.biz was made into a film, who could you see playing the parts of Connie, Sadie, Jenny and Lucy?

That is a difficult one. I really have no idea. Though, if my four ladies were a little older, I would have no hesitation in recommending Dame Maggie Smith, as Connie. After being glued to the screen watching Downton Abbey, I believe she would be wonderful playing the part of someone, like Connie, who enjoys the finer things in life.

Dame Judy Dench would make a great Sadie. She is a feisty lady in the James Bond films, so she could very comfortably slip into Sadie’s shoes.

However, as for Jenny and Lucy, I would have to think hard on casting those two characters.

On the other hand, choosing men would be easier. I would have no problem casting parts to George Clooney, Gerard Butler, Hugh Grant and Ewan McGregor. I would even find a place for Pierce Brosnan – how easy is that?

What a great line up! Did Divorcees.biz take you long to write?

It took quite a while, mainly because I tend to make up my stories as I go along. I started off well, with the launch party at the beginning of Divorcees.biz, but then I found myself wondering where to go from there. However once I got back into it again, the ladies sort of took over. There were even times when I had to go back and slow them down, as they were running away with my story. They gave me a headache sometimes. I suppose in the end, Divorcees.biz took me about a year to write.

So you’re a bit of a panster when it comes to writing. I’m the same, preferring to find out what happens along with the characters. It’s a great feeling when they take over. You’ve been published before – when did you start writing?

I began writing in February 2001 when I took a writing course with The Writers’ Bureau. In July of that year I had my first article published in The Lady magazine. It was about The Changing Face of Tyneside. I was born in that area, so I was really interested in the changes being made. Then I went on to write short fiction.  My first novel, The Trojan Project, a thriller was published in 2008.

That first article must have been special on more than one level. I have to ask now, who is/are your favourite author/authors?

I enjoy the historical fiction of C J Sansom and Rory Clements. However, I also enjoy the works of several other authors. I don’t really think I have a favourite.

I can understand that. Do you have a favourite book?

I’m afraid I don’t have a favourite book. However, if you were to ask me about my favourite TV series, then I would say The West Wing. It is a wonderful series and I never tire of watching it.

It’s very hard to choose a favourite book isn’t it? Many writers dream of having a dedicated writing room, do you have one?

I have commandeered our spare bedroom. There I have my desk and PC and I can work undisturbed for hours at a time. Fortunately, my husband never complains about me spending so much time in here.

Sounds perfect, Eileen. Is there a particular time of day when you are at your most creative or can the muse strike at any time?

I don’t have any set time for writing. When I think of something to write, I simply go for it. If I hang around, I tend to forget what I wanted to say. As for making notes: that is a no go area. I am useless at making notes. I either try to write so much info I might as well have written the whole thing there and then or, I don’t write enough and haven’t a clue what I was talking about. (I based my character Sadie on me!)

It’s always interesting to hear how other writers go about it all, Eileen (Sadie!). Thank you for stopping by and good luck with Divorcees.biz – you’ve already had plenty of great reviews and I hope now it’s out in paperback you’ll get lots more.

You can visit Eileen at her blog, Life’s Hard, Wine Helps and find out more about her and Divorcees.biz at her website.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Two Writing Competitions and Watching the Birds

Radio 2 are running their 500 word story competition for under thirteens again this year.

Children have wonderful imaginations and this is a great opportunity, so if you know anyone in that age group who likes writing, encourage them to have a go.

There’s a terrific line up of judges and they are also looking for teachers and librarians to help whittle the stories down to a shortlist.

Closing date 22nd February, 2013.

More details and writing tips here.

The Guardian are running an essay writing competition. If you’ve been involved in any kind of protest in 2012, they want to hear from you!

Closing date 13th March 2013.

More details of the Guardian competition here

Anyone else doing the RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch? I’ve decided to join in this year. If you’ve an hour to spend over the weekend 26th/27th January, why not get involved?

I’m rather looking forward to spending an hour gazing out over the mud – I mean the garden!

More details here.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Win a prize for something sexy!

If you pop over to  I Should be Writing, Lynne Hackles is running a competition to win one of her books and you get to choose, Ghostwriting – how to write for others, or Writing from Life. They’re both great books – I know because I’ve got them.

It’s a little bit saucy too and…

Hey wait! Come back, don’t go yet!

Beloved is decorating the front room and I’ve been sorting out cupboards and bookcases. I am getting rid of – gulp – four or five dozen books. Actually I went through the piles and sneaked some back on the shelves, but don’t tell anyone.

I’m getting rid of all my Harry Potter’s. Much as I loved them, I can’t see I’ll ever read them again and my grandchildren all have their own copies. I'm also getting rid of some of my books from various courses I’ve done and my little travel books.

Some writing books have gone too.

We’ve had more downs than ups with Indy, but he has been quite perky today and enjoyed the snow. He got those ice balls stuck to his legs, so I filled a bowl with warm water and soaked them off when we got home. It seems to be the best way to get rid of them. His sight is very poor now and ball games are difficult, so we went down the lane where we never play ball and he was quite happy to sniff and potter.

And smile for the camera - he is smiling , honest!

Don’t forget to visit Lynne and enter the competition!

Monday, 14 January 2013


My Nanna in law used to keep a notebook in which she wrote down every book she read. I thought at the time it was a good idea, but I didn’t start doing it myself until about eight years ago.

I give the books I read marks out of ten – a ten usually means one I’ll keep to read again. Some books get a DNF – did not finish. It’s a good way to remember the names of writers you’ve enjoyed too – and those you haven’t.

There are also lists in my notebook of books written by my favourite authors, so I can cross them off as I go through them.

Anyway, I usually read around 50 books a year, give or take a few. Last night I totted up how many I’d read and I was truly shocked. No really, I was! I even rubbed the pages thinking I must have had some stuck together somehow.

So how many books did I read last year?


I know! Awful isn’t it? And what makes it worse is that my writing output has fallen sharply too.

It doesn’t end there. I struggle to keep up with blogs, don’t read my magazines and the only time I’ve had my sewing machine out in ages was to make Lachlan’s Egyptian costume for school.

I feel as if I’ve just discovered a giant red spot on the end of my nose that’s been there for months, glowing, visible to everyone but me. I’m not myself that’s for sure.

I seem to be suffering from chronic lackadaisicalness, which has always been a favourite word of mine as is lackaday which is of course an expression of dismay and sums up how I felt when I tallied up my Books Read.

This year I am going to do better. I don’t usually make resolutions, but last night I found myself absolutely determined to read more and write more.

On a completely different subject, last night Indy slept properly through the night for the first time since his insulin dose was changed. Tom warned us there might well be a wobble when he started the once a day insulin injections and there was.

Next Sunday I’ll do another curve and we’ll see how well, or not, that he’s doing. There’s no doubt his sight is getting worse, particularly in his right eye, but if I throw it right, he can still fetch a ball. He’s still perfectly happy and that is what counts.

Thursday, 10 January 2013


I'm so chuffed to be in the Author Spotlight over at the lovely Minxes of Romance

I'm very happy because it is one of my favourite Blogs - and to celebrate being there, I'm giving away The Call of Home free on Kindle until the 12th January - for more details, please visit the Minxes of Romance.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Still Looking for the Perfect Curve

We were back at the vet’s today with Indy’s latest glucose curve results which weren’t good. He starts off with his glucose readings near normal, then after insulin and breakfast the reading shoots up by 20 or more points.

Worryingly he was off the scale a couple of times. What should happen is that his blood glucose drops slightly during the day and rises again towards evening in a gentle curve. What actually happens is that his glucose levels go up and up, then drop in the late afternoon. He has his tea and his second insulin dose and up goes his glucose again.

This seems to suggest that his body is going into rebound and making glucose. The insulin appears to have an effect about ten hours after he has it. So we are going to try dosing him once a day. Apparently this works in about a third of dogs, but he will be at greater risk of a hypo.

What complicates matters is his EPI (exocrine pancreatic insufficiency).

Apart from that he seems fine. I know it can take a very long time to find the right balance and that it can be a constant juggling act, but while I worry and fret, he takes everything in his stride and is perfectly happy.

The day after the first time I did a glucose curve with the hourly blood tests back in October, he avoided me and stayed downstairs all day. I was terrified he’d end up hating me. Now when I do his blood tests, he waits patiently, then once it’s done, he settles back to sleep with his head in my lap or on my feet.

At insulin time, he runs to sit beside the fridge and waits for the injection – it’s almost as if he looks forward to it. He couldn’t be more cooperative if he tried, bless him.

In case anyone was wondering, this is how the chart looks.

You can see where he's gone right off the top of the chart.

An ideal curve would look like this (if you follow the link and scroll down to the bottom of the page there's an example). You can see we've a long way to go still!

I start testing at 7 am and do a blood test every hour till 10 pm, or later if I can stay up!

So far I’ve done five of these curves and he’s had one done at the vet’s.

So from tomorrow instead of 6.5 units twice daily, he’ll be on 10 units once daily. Wish us luck!