Saturday 31 December 2011

New Years Past and Present

Don’t talk to me about resolutions. I always end up with egg all over my face. I haven’t forgotten the series of books I was going to write for children and various other projects that sounded such a brilliant idea when Big Ben chimed but had lost their sparkle before the decorations came down. That’s not to say I don’t have something special up my sleeve, but maybe if I keep my trap shut I will actually get somewhere with it!

There’s the losing weight one too. In 2012 I have added incentive to lose weight – a family wedding. I lost a stone when Tilly was ill - not through dieting, but I would rather be double my weight and have her still sitting beside me in her chair, but you know that.

November for me is the worst month of the year and January should be sitting beside it, but I cannot dislike January. Many bad, sad memories in January, but how can I ever hate a month that brought me three of my grandchildren.

It was at New Year eleven years ago that my lovely Tilly came to live with us after her first few unhappy months with people who didn’t understand the needs of an active, intelligent puppy. She thought her name was Naughty Girl (which was by no means the worst of it) and it means so much that my last words to her, the last she heard as she went to sleep were “Good girl, good girl.”.

When she joined our family it was a very happy time for us – adding her to our family at the same time that Indy was well on the road to recovery after we came so very close to losing him. That must rank as one of the best New Years ever. But I never imagined at this time last year that she would be gone by now.

Last New Year was one of the best. On New Year’s Day we will be celebrating Noah’s first birthday. What a nerve wracking time it was leading up to his birth with the worries about being snowed in and him being so late, but he was worth every bit of it.

So Happy Birthday to little Noah and Happy New Year to you. May all your dreams and wishes come true and I hope the coming year brings you much peace and happiness and of course lots of writing success.

And also there’s a cyber New Year’s Eve party going on over at Frances’ place. You can take an unwanted Christmas gift and a partner of your choice. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday 21 December 2011

Lost and Found and Happy Christmas

My Poor Husband. I think what he needs for Christmas is a new missus. Just this past week I have accused him of throwing away my Fiction Feast and my rubber band. Not just any rubber band you understand, but a red rubber band that I use to hold my Special Christmas Notebook closed.

For some reason I always think the rubber band will stop anyone peeking to see what delights or otherwise I will be stuffing in their stockings this year. They wouldn’t be able to decipher my writing anyway. I know I can’t.

In my Special Christmas Notebook, I write down what I have bought and for whom. When things arrive (I do most of my Christmas shopping on t’internet – a blessing for a shopophobic like me) I tick them off the list and when I wrap them up, I strike through them in red. I also keep receipts in the book just in case something needs to be returned after the festivities.

I do tend to overdo things – I keep three separate records of the stories I submit so if I forget to note one in one place, I’ll usually have a record to refer to in another. This is not because I am uber organised, but the opposite – if I didn’t write things down I’d be right up that creek without a paddle.

So anyway, I was wrapping up downstairs a few days ago and when I’d packed away all my rolls of paper, tags etc etc I went to wrap my band round my book and it was gone. I went on about it so much that the poor man went and looked in the bin in case he really had accidentally thrown it away.

Luckily I had another red rubber band up to the job. So today I did a bit more wrapping and when I shook my gift tags out of the bag what should fall out with them but my red rubber band. Oops.

As for the Fiction Feast, I hunted high and low for it. “Have you thrown it out by mistake?” I asked darkly (this would involve use of scrunched up fierce looking eyebrows if I had any). He swore blind he hadn’t, but I later heard him rifling through the recycling just in case. There was a great deal of head scratching and “I’m sure I didn’t throw it out” every time I flung an accusing glare in his direction. I’d given up all hope of finding it when I went to scan some photos yesterday and there was the Fiction Feast in the scanner. Oops again. What makes it worse is that it isn’t the first time I’ve lost something only to find it there, nor even the second.

I’m hoping to get a sewing machine in my Christmas stocking (no comments please about it being entirely possible with the size of my stockings!).

In other news, my new Large Print book Cherish the Dream is out in January. The heroine runs an animal sanctuary and the hero is a vet and although you’re not supposed to have favourite children, this is one of mine.

And I kept meaning to post a link to a post my son did about Tilly. I go back and read it every so often as I find it comforting.

So all that is left to do is wish all my lovely friends out there in Blogland a wonderful Christmas. From the bottom of my heart I thank you for the support and kindness you have shown especially over these past few months and I wish you joy and happiness and lots of it! Love Teresa (and Indy) xx

Sunday 18 December 2011

Tears and Laughter and Happy Ever After

I received an early Christmas gift – well that’s how it felt when Debs Carr sent me a review copy of Tears and Laughter and Happy Ever After.

It occurred to me as I read that it would make a brilliant gift for anyone who loves reading short stories and when you see the names of the writers, many of whom you will recognise, you know you are in good hands! And if you’re looking for a book to take on holiday or curl up with in front of the fire, then look no further.

The very first story by Helen Hunt draws you in with the title alone, A Single Strand of Spaghetti, A Single Drop of Olive Oil. Brilliant! That’s before you even get to the story which is a feast in itself.

Next up is How Deep Is Your Love by Cally Taylor. This one about the perils of internet dating made me laugh. And so I began a roller coaster ride as I travelled through the stories meeting a whole variety of characters. It does what it says on the cover, taking you through a range of emotions.

All the stories are enjoyable, but for the purpose of this review I picked out a few of my favourites: Hive Talking by Leigh Forbes – I liked Gerald and his quiet passion for his lovely bees and I very much liked the satisfying ending. At Death’s Door by Jill Steeples – a thought provoking tale which anyone who has suffered with a partner with the dreaded man flu will appreciate, but perhaps not in the way you’d expect. Never Too Late by Deborah Carr came close to my heart, reminding me of how much I worried about my mum after she was widowed which is something so many of us go through and identify with. Karen Clarke’s powerful story, Ghosts was beautifully written and really tugged at my heart – a story that haunted me long after I finished reading it. And the last story in the book, The Girl in the Yellow Dress by Bernadette James – a lovely one to end the book with as you say a contented “Ahhhh”.

You can read more about the writers and how the book came to be born here and buy the kindle version here .

The writers of the 26 stories are, Deborah Carr, Karen Clarke, Sarah Dunnakey, Leigh Forbes, Helen M Hunt, Bernadette James, Helen Kara, Jenny Maltby, Kathleen McGurl, Tamsyn Murray, Sally Quilford, Jill Steeples and Cally Talor.

Thursday 8 December 2011

If You Sit Still Long Enough

Thanks everyone who signed the petition included in the last post. I’ve put a link on Facebook (thanks for the suggestion Jacula).

Sorry for the lack of posts. To be honest I don’t know what I’ve been doing with myself the past few weeks. I haven’t written much, haven’t read much – haven’t really done anything at all.

But I did take Indy to see Tom this week. He agreed to do a blood test to put my mind at rest and while we were there I mentioned that he’d had some stiffness in one of his hind legs. I was worried that he was showing signs of arthritis and once my thoughts turned in that direction I started thinking of even worse things it could be - though heaven knows arthritis is devastating enough. And it’s never a good idea to look these things up on the internet.

When I got home, the phone was ringing. Tom had done the bloods straight away and was calling to say everything is fine. I was so relieved. It’s no guarantee of course, but for now there are no signs of anything sinister. He’d also checked out Indy’s vision and spent ages manipulating his legs.

The stiffness is just a minor strain – it probably happened when he was chasing the ball. He does tend to throw himself heart and soul - and four wildly flailing legs - into it.

He says Indy is in great shape for an eleven year old. Well I can’t ask for better than that can I?

I have got a copy of Tears and Laughter and Happy Ever After to review, but I haven’t been able to concentrate on reading and I want to be able to enjoy and therefore review it properly. Once I have my head back together I will and I hope to make that my next post.

Oh and Indy says “If you sit still long enough in this house, you get decorated – ho ho ho!” (he's smiling really!)