Tuesday 26 June 2012

Another Wedding!

Yes, you read it right, there is another wedding in the offing. My four, soon-to-be-five year old granddaughter, Imogen, and her five year old boyfriend haven’t set a date yet, but it’s going to happen so maybe I should start looking for something to wear now. But I’ll worry about that later.

I’ve been out and about trying to get a suitable picture for the cover of my next eBook. I wanted a river shot and went to Mistley yesterday only to find the tide was out!


I took some props (paintbrushes and so on), but I won’t show my efforts with those. Yes, they really were that bad. What I saw in my imagination and what I took a photo of were two completely different things.

We stopped at various spots along the river. This was taken at Wrabness.

But it was too cloudy and grey.

Today the sun came out. What a difference.

Not sure I shall use any of the dozens of river pictures I took, but I’ll see how they brush up with some twiddling. It certainly makes you appreciate the skill of professional photographers!

Saturday 23 June 2012

Be Inspired

Thanks to Suzy for passing on the Be Inspired award. Suzy has a story in a new eBook “Growing up in the 70s”.

I was really chuffed to receive this and before I pass the award on, I have to answer Suzy's questions. I am bringing out a third collection of short stories on Kindle in July, “A Portrait of Louisa & Other Stories” so my answers will be about that.

What gave you the idea for your book?

Real life with a lot of tweaking.

How long did it take to write overall?

There are fourteen stories in the book and I’ve no idea how long it took to write them. Sometimes I can write a story in a day. Sometimes it takes two weeks. Overall, the book will have taken months to write.

What kept you going when you were half way through?

Wanting to know what happens. I rarely know how a story will end when I start it.

Are any of your characters based on real people, even though you have to say they aren’t?

Yes. The grandfather in Happy Endings was based on my grandad, Pop. My mum’s in the book too – more than once. Other than that, my lips are sealed.

Did you ever wonder if you’d have the work published?

As soon as I start to write anything, I wonder that. The stories in this book have all been published in various magazines.

When you’ve had one book published, do you feel under pressure with the next one?

I do feel I should get on with another collection of short stories. I have several under construction as it were. The next one will probably be a collection of twist endings and I also want to put together some of my ghost stories, but we’ll see.

Would you write in a different genre next time, or do you always stick with what you know?

I've flirted with most genres over the years - I tend to go where the mood takes me.

Do you prefer writing a novel, or short stories?

At the moment I’m in a novel frame of mind, but it really depends on my mood. I just hope I can stay in this frame of mind until I finish it.

Do you use everyday happenings in your writing?

Yes – they’re the foundations on which I build the stories.

If your book was to be on t.v. who would play the lead male and female roles?

What a lovely question – I’ll answer for the first story, “A Portrait of Louisa”. (Oh I wish!)

Louisa – Brenda Blethyn
Mr Quinn – David Troughton
Jan – Sarah Smart

Now I tag 5 inspirational people with 10 questions about their books/anthologies/stories. Your mission should you choose to accept it, is to answer the questions below, then tag 5 more writers with 10 more questions.

These are my five:

And these are my questions for you:

1. What is the name of your book?

2. Where did the idea for your book come from?

3. In what genre would you classify your book?

4. If you had to pick actors to play your characters in a movie, who would you choose?

5. Give us a one-sentence synopsis of your book.

6. Do you prefer writing novels or short stories?

7. How long did it take you to write your book?

8. Did you ever wonder if you’d have the work published?

9. Which authors inspire you?

10. Tell us anything that might pique our interest in your book.

Friday 15 June 2012

The Other Side of Essex

I like Griff Rhys Jones. I’ve liked him since Not The Nine O’clock News and I can never, ever, read the word “Alibi” without hearing it as “Alee-bee” thanks to him!

I’ve enjoyed his documentaries from the Three Men in a Boat series to the Rivers and Mountains he’s visited – and who could forget his lovely chocolate Lab, Cadbury? I warmed to him a great deal more when I realised he was a dog person.

Last night I caught up with Britain’s Lost Routes from last week, the one about Thames barges.

Anyone who knows me will know I have a huge fondness for Thames barges. I have loved them for as long as I can remember and my first ever published poem was written about them. I could happily sit and watch them on the water all day and if I happen to catch the Barge Race, then I am a very happy bunny indeed!

So I was very excited when I saw he was going to do a programme about the barges. Very! Perhaps rather over-the-topperly so.

And often when you are very excited about something, it can turn out to be disappointing.

Not so! It was brilliant. It showed the side of Essex that I know and love. It also showed my home town and the beaches where my family have played for at least five generations. His coastal trip from the peaceful Walton backwaters, via Harwich along the entire Essex coast was riveting.

He stopped off at coastal villages along the way and met what I think of as the “real” Essex folk. But we are a big county and I believe the most heavily populated so our population is going to be diverse.

I learned such a lot from this programme as he travelled familiar waters. He also stopped at Chatham where a good few of my roots are buried.

And he made Plum Duff! Must say it didn’t look anything like the “duff” my mum used to make, but now I have a fancy for that too.

Last night was the Highland Cattle Drovers – another I am looking forward to. And the series is going to be on DVD. That will be one for my Christmas list!

Thursday 14 June 2012

I wish it could be Christmas every day!

The wedding was perfect. The little bridesmaids were a delight  and the big ones were all gorgeous!

My daughter is the one at the back with red hair. The four little pink ones are my granddaughters aged between almost two and four.

The bride and groom gave us such a memorable day. Not just for the lovely vows they made to each other, but for the dance routine they did to “Torn” by Natalie Imbruglia.

And what did they leave the Register Office to? “I wish it could be Christmas every day” by Wizzard! True soulmates they are! It was such a happy, fun day.

My daughter looked after my camera while we were being “done” and got some shots of us having our photo taken.

It was a very emotional day. It would have been my mum’s 90th birthday and I always feel her absence more at the family occasions she would have loved. I couldn’t help thinking how proud she would have been of her “Little Cookie”. I was too. Very proud.

And very proud of the little folk too

Friday 8 June 2012

Sunshine for the weekend?

Thanks to everyone who downloaded Hell & High Water. It should be free until the end of today.

Yesterday my friend sent me some pictures in an email and I looked up the artist, Calvin Nicholls, on the web. Here is a link to his website. Check out his work in the galleries – made from paper and scissors. And under the “About me” link at the end, he shows how he goes about creating these beautiful pictures.

On Womag’s blog, there is a link to sign the petition to protect the organisation which handles PLR.

Tomorrow I’ll be at my youngest son’s wedding - it doesn’t seem five minutes since….

He grew up with Sweep, our first springer spaniel. It really does seem like only yesterday.

Tuesday 5 June 2012

I've been at it again - and a giveaway!

Well what did you think I meant? Honestly – what are you like?!

Kindling. It’s what my grandad used to put on the fire on top of the scrunched up newspaper. Sometimes he used to let me chop up the kindling with his axe. I used to love doing that. Would I let my grandchildren anywhere near an axe – eek! No!

I was going to put one of my serials on Kindle and once I got started, I ended up with four of them all ready to go. One of them is shorter than the other three and I’ve decided to give it away free until the end of the week.

A number of reasons for this. On Saturday when my son and his lovely fiancĂ©e get married, it would have been my mum’s 90th birthday. She died without seeing any of her grandchildren get married and she missed out on the great grandchildren she would have loved. So the giveaway is a sort of triple celebration – the wedding, remembering my mum on her birthday and me at last actually getting more onto Kindle.

The free book is called Hell and High Water and is about a trio of friends who want to save an old pier from crumbling into the sea and perhaps find a little romance along the way.

The other three are: All At Sea – in which a woman goes on a cruise with her mother and daughter and they end up in hot water – oh and perhaps find a little romance along the way.

Still Waters is about one woman’s determination to restore the village pond and the opposition she faces from people who have secrets hidden beneath the water. Oh and there may be a little romance along the way.

There seems to be a bit of a theme here. But who doesn’t like a little romance?

And finally Buckets and Spades is more of a family story about love and loyalty and what happens when a handsome Italian stranger turns up on your doorstep with his son and a Big Secret. Not so much romance, but lots of love!

I’ve also put new covers on the original two books I put on Kindle which I think are a great improvement on my originals (Love on Ice and The Call of Home - the new cover pics are on my side bar). I’m really enjoying this cover lark (not that you’d think so if you’d been a fly on the wall in here a couple of days ago when I was trying to get to grips with it all)!

You can download Hell & High Water free from today until Friday. Did I mention that it’s free?