Monday 26 October 2015

Patsy Collins - Firestarter

I'm delighted that Patsy Collins has agreed to do a guest post right here about her new book, Firestarter. You can find Patsy at Words about writing and writing about words and at Womagwriter's blog. But that's enough from me. Without further ado it's over to you, Patsy.

It's said that an author always puts something of themselves in their main characters. I don't do that deliberately, but I suppose it's inevitable that our thoughts and experiences influence whatever we write.

Alice Bakewell is the main character in my new novel; a romantic comedy called Firestarter. I set most of the story close to where I live and wrote the majority of it in the camper van, so she and I do have locations (around the New Forest and a trip to Wales where things get steamy*!) in common.

*Steamy for Alice that is. I'm keeping quiet about my own trips over the border. There's such a thing as over sharing.

Alice is very pretty, bubbly, curvaceous and has long hair. We could be twins! OK, maybe not. She is slightly younger than me (a mere 22 years difference) and her hair is sleek, glossy black, not a riot of unpredictable red. She straightens hers - every day! Neither of us is skinny, but Alice's curves are flaunted in fashionable clothes which she actually enjoys shopping for. I had to push my imagination to its limits for that part. Her social life was quite a stretch too as she has one.

She's a maths whizz with a sensible job which she's very good at. I had a proper job, in an office and everything, once. No really, I did.

A slightly offbeat sense of humour is something Alice and I share. Everyone finds Brussels sprouts fairly hilarious though, don't they? We also both find creative ways of getting even with people who've annoyed us. Alice has slime-ball Miles Molde manoeuvred into drinking her dad's terrible home-brew. I just write about it happening.

The pair of us both enjoy our food, especially cake. I'm blaming most of my curves on researching Alice's eating habits. I had to do a LOT of research. Her mum uses unusual recipes which I had to invent for her. Alice gets invited to classy parties and events where fancy food is served. I don't, or at least not often, so I had to cook my own fancy nibbles. You can't just make one of each, can you?

All that eating means Alice and I need to find ways to burn off the calories. Alice does aerobics and zumba. My imagination was put to use again there. I agree with her there are more useful ways to exercise. There are more fun ones too. See my comment on over sharing.

Conservation work is Alice's useful way of keeping fit. It's something she's surprised to discover she enjoys. It's handy that she does, as the wildlife sanctuary is the place a certain hunky fireman spends a lot of his free time. Volunteering there helps Alice get close to firefighter Hamish. She also learns a lot more about birds, including her, and my, favourite - oyster catchers. Hamish is particularly interested in rather rare red-footed corvids. Thanks to Alice's ornithological education I'm now a little more knowledgeable about our feathered friends. (Haven't mastered photographing them though!)

Alice has a real thing for firemen. Fit, strong firemen with muscular thighs. All her fantasies feature a fireman, some even involve his uniform - at least to start with. First he rescues her from a perilous situation, holding her safely in his strong arms, then there's mouth to mouth and of course he'll need to gently but thoroughly check her for injuries and then ... Oh gosh, I've used up nearly all the space Teresa allocated me, so there's no room to continue, detail my research methods, or even say if I share Alice's opinion of firemen. What a shame.

Thank you, Patsy. Firestarter is available from Amazon. I can't wait to read it!

Monday 19 October 2015

Mysterious Dusty

A year ago Dusty had an abscess under his jaw. There followed weeks of antibiotics, a CT scan and an operation to scrape away some of the bone followed by more flare ups. It was all very worrying.

Worst case scenario was that he would have to have the whole bone removed on one side of his lower jaw.

When it came back earlier this year, our vet spoke to the specialist vet who had done the operation and they agreed that as a few weeks had passed since the last flare up, they should manage it – whatever it was because they are baffled as to why he gets these infections – conservatively rather than subject him to a big operation.

A couple of months ago, the lump came back, but wasn’t as big and burst quite quickly. The vet said we could wait 48 hours and see how he was, put him straight onto another 6 week course of antibiotics, or send him for another scan. We decided to wait. The lump flattened and he was fine.

Two weeks ago we noticed his chin was starting to swell again – but slowly. Abscesses usually swell very fast and are very painful. It wasn’t anywhere near as big as the previous swellings had been and it wasn’t painful.

I thought perhaps it was scar tissue, but made an appointment with Tom to double check. Not scar tissue he said straight away and looking at the photo I can see I was deluding myself in thinking it was. He found his lymph node slightly swollen on that side too and took some fluid for testing.

Have to say Dusty was very brave while this was being done, but I shan’t mention the fact that he did a puddle in the waiting room because *shock horror* someone tried to make a fuss of him! He’s a different dog in that waiting room!

So he’s back on antibiotics, but the good news is the test didn’t show any cancerous cells, but that he is fighting an infection. So although Dusty remains a medical mystery his chin is looking more normal now!