Thursday, 29 September 2011

The Random Photo Post

I thought I'd share this photo of a cherry tomato, picked from our tomato plant today.

All I'm going to say is, the comment under this post that makes me laugh the most is going to win somebody a signed copy of my book. (This is now closed, as I have picked a winner.)

Sunday, 25 September 2011

The Third Certainty

Me with Eldest at 2 hours old
They say nothing is certain but death and taxes. I beg to differ. For parents, there is a third certainty. From the moment your baby is born, the cord is cut and they take their first breath, they are striving to gain their independence. As parents we encourage it, we teach them the skills that they will need to grow and evolve and eventually become well rounded, considerate individuals capable of making their own informed decisions.

As a mother, I personally find this difficult. I like the fact that my children are young enough to be inside our house and I know where they all are. I love the way they are growing into sociable, questioning and loving people in their own right. Yet something inside me wants to resist these changes, as much as I know I can't.

On my daughters first birthday I made her a cake in the shape of a '1' with smarties all over it. Everyone watched as she was completely oblivious to what was going on but revelled in being the centre of attention. Years have passed and today she is nine. It seems like only yesterday I was sitting in hospital grinning and saying I would "do it all again in a heartbeat." Last night she had her first sleepover party and this morning at exactly 8.10 I was sitting in the kitchen having an emotional moment thinking about the moment I became a mother, and she was upstairs laughing and joking with her friends. Oblivious, but in a totally different way.

All of us in April 2011
We have reached the "half way to eighteen" stage and it terrifies me. I dread the day she starts senior school and has her own front door key. I dread the day my middle son stops shouting "I love you more than you love me" from the school door, not caring who hears. I dread the day my youngest son stops trying to snuggle in with me in the morning for a cuddle and telling me I am his "favourite person in the whole wide world."

I know, I know, the parent/child bond will be there forever, but it's a different relationship. I am preparing myself for the loss of being at the centre of my children's world.

This certainty is one of my motivations for writing. In 2009 I had a great sense of time racing on. My second child started school, and I started to wonder how I would cope with not feeling "needed" to the same extent any more. I started writing with the knowledge that when my third child starts school (Jan 2012) I will feel a deep sense of loss. When I come home to an empty house, missing the chatter of my children, at least I will always have my characters to keep me company.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Air, Imago or Poison? Possible Causes of the 1854 Cholera Outbreak in London

“Mr Chadwick, pray tell me your thoughts on this cholera outbreak, seemingly affecting the whole of London.”

“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Williams; all smell is disease. The miasma which overpowers as you approach the riverside; this is indeed the cause of these symptoms which render so many ill or dead.”

This conversation remained in my mind for many a year afterwards. However some suspected there may be a lacuna present in this simplistic theory of synchronicity between smell and illness.

Mr Chadwick did suggest reforms leading to improvements in sanitation provisions across our city. These changes greatly reduced the incidences of cholera and other diseases. Yet the theory that one would only have to be in the vicinity of the Thames and not so much as touch the water was seemingly flawed.

I would sit through many lectures on the matter, trying to gain knowledge, while observing fellow scientists oscitate or even doze right off to sleep. Their manners were appalling!

I am almost ashamed to tell you it was eventually a French gentleman, Monsieur Louis Pasteur who finally proved Chadwick wrong. Pasteur proved that the cholera was transmitted by germs. What a clever chap.

200 words

This piece was written for a challege as part of the platform building campaign.  
Just thought I'd say that in case any of my regular readers think I have gone barking mad!

Thanks for reading x X x

Latest Interview and Giveaway

Today I am over on I Am A Reader, Not A Writer where I have been interviewed. There is also a book giveaway in progress. Please do pop by and visit!

Monday, 19 September 2011

Snow and Awards

Hi Everyone

No, it hasn't actually snowed outside, but I am feeling somewhat overwhelmed at the moment as I am behind on absolutely everything - domestic admin, online everything, even the dreaded laundry. I am officially snowed under, so please bear with me while I catch up.  Following the school summer holidays I have had family members at home ill for all but one day and now I have my husband at home for two weeks as he is between contracts. It's always my online time that gets shoved to the bottom of the list in these circumstances, unfortunately.

I will eventually visit back everyone who comments on any of my blog posts (I have a special folder they all go in to, which they stay in until I visit back), and respond to direct messages, emails and Twitter/FB messages as soon as I can.

Following on from the snow theme, I have experienced a recent avalanche (but in a good way) of blog awards which I am incredibly grateful for. I am going to bow out of following all the rules, however and simply thank the following people for the awards. Please do pop by and visit them if you have a chance.

For nominating me for the Versatile Blogger Award, I would like to thank:
Claire Robyns
Beth Kemp
Christy Farmer

For the Appreciated Follower Award, thanks to:
Elizabeth Anne Mitchell

I would like to thank the following people for awarding me the  Liebster Blog Award:
Shelley Koon
Beth Kemp (again!)

And if I have missed any award nominations (this is highly likely) I am really sorry, please do let me know and I will add your name to my list.

As always, thanks for reading  x X x

Me, in a Spotlight!

Today I am over on The Kelworth Files where I am in a spotlight post as part of the Writers' Platform Building Campaign.

Thanks for the feature, Chris!

Saturday, 17 September 2011

100 Copies Sold - Celebration Giveaway!

Hello dearest lovely readers.

I'm delighted to tell you that I have sold 100 copies of New Beginnings, that I know about, via direct sales. I'm incredibly happy about this, so I'm having a giveaway to celebrate.

But the catch is, it's only open to people who have a copy of New Beginnings.

To enter you have to do two things:
1. Leave me a comment below this post, saying which of the characters in New Beginnings is your favourite and why. Please try to keep your comment spoiler free in case people who have yet to read the book take a look.
2. (Only for people who did not buy the book directly from me.) Send me a message via the comment form here on my blog, telling me the first sentence of chapter 8 of New Beginnings.

The prize is a copy of each of the following books sent to you, PLUS a signed copy of New Beginnings sent to a person of your choice. A friend, a school, whoever you think you'd like to send a copy to.

Poetry Against Cancer is a charity collection of poetry. I don't have any poetry in this book but a few of my writer friends do.

Shambelurkling and Other Stories is a collection of short stories and poetry for children which I have two stories in.

Nothing But Flowers is a collection of short stories for adults which I have one story in.

Of course there is nothing stopping you buying a copy of New Beginnings now if you want to enter the competition.  You can do so via or or via the panel on the right hand side of my blog.

This giveaway will run until 12 noon UK time on 17th October, and I am happy to send the books worldwide.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

In The Wishing Chair

I was delighted when I was asked by Rebecca E Brown to be a part of her new project, the In The Wishing Chair podcast. Rebecca interviewed me a while ago and the interview is now live on iTunes.  She has also done a lovely post all about me here.

Please do give In The Wishing Chair a listen, and if you enjoy what you hear, please don't forget to leave feedback for Rebecca on iTunes.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Watching Willow Watts by Talli Roland

Talli Roland's second novel is launching to Kindle today in a rather spectacular way. Talli is having an online launch party and asking everyone to come dressed as someone they'd really like to be.

The only thing is, I've always been useless at fancy dress, but more than that I have actually been thinking a lot about the sentence Talli has asked us to finish: "If I could be anyone, I'd be..."  and as crazy as it sounds, the answer would be... me. I actually don't have any desire to be anyone else. So I've just popped by to say congrats anyway.

I hope Talli will forgive me. I'll just quietly put some fine red wine and home made cheese straws on the table for later and tell you about the author and the book.

Watching Willow Watts - The Author 
Talli Roland is one of those people you will never forget once you meet her. She's slim, she's beautiful, she has a gorgeous Canadian accent and she says "awesome" a lot. She is adorable, quite honestly. But the thing I notice most about Talli as a writer is the way she creates her presence around the social networks, befriending people who she connects with and being incredibly supportive. She really is a very lovely lady and if you don't do so already I urge you to connect with her online. 
(Am I forgiven for not dressing up now? xx)

Watching Willow Watts - The Blurb
For Willow Watts, life has settled into a predictably dull routine: days behind the counter at her father's antique shop and nights watching TV, as the pension-aged residents of Britain's Ugliest Village bed down for yet another early night. But everything changes when a YouTube video of Willow's epically embarrassing Marilyn Monroe impersonation gets millions of hits after a viewer spots Marilyn's ghostly image in a frame.

Instantly, Willow's town is overrun with fans flocking to see the 'new Marilyn'. Egged on by the villagers -- whose shops and businesses are cashing in -- Willow embraces her new identity, dying her hair platinum and ramming herself full of cakes to achieve Marilyn's legendary curves.

But when a former flame returns seeking the old Willow, Willow must decide: can she risk her stardom and her village's newfound fortune on love, or is being Marilyn her ticket to happiness?

Talli, I hope you have a wonderful day today, as Watching Willow Watts launches to Kindle. 
I must go now, I have a book to read.

You can buy the book for your Kindle on or on 

Talli's blog is here.
Follow Talli on Twitter here.
Like Talli on Facebook here.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Ether Books made my day (again!)

Hi all

I had a little look at the Ether Books website this morning.
Perfect timing, as this is what I saw:

Just look at that lovely panel on the left!!

Check out the app if you have an iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad. There are loads of brilliant stories on it, including quite a few of mine.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Spotlight on Bookshops: Blackwell, Oxford

This morning I popped into Oxford, and visited Blackwell.

Blackwell, Broad St, Oxford

The Children's Section

And now for the most important shot of all: 

New Beginnings on the 'Older Readers' shelves

Friday, 9 September 2011

My First Blogged Review

You may remember the recent interview I took part in on Emma Kerry's Notebook. Thank you once again to lovely Emma for hosting this on her blog.

The winner of this giveaway has now read New Beginnings and left a lovely review on her blog. Please do go and take a look here.

Thank you, Nancy.

Emma Kerry is on Twitter here.
Elizabeth Anne Mitchell (aka Nancy) is on Twitter here.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

10 Random Things About Me

I have been tagged by Rosalind Adam, via her wonderful blog Rosalind Adam is writing in the rain.

Please do go and visit Rosalind!

As a result I have to share 10 random facts about me. I will try and make them things that I haven't ever said on my blog before, and I'll try to make them vaguely interesting.

1. I am 5ft 10 and was always the tallest in my class at school. For several years, my husband tried to convince me I was actually 5ft 9. He failed. (He is 5ft 6.)

2. I love being near the sea. It doesn't matter what the weather is like; I like stormy crashing waves as much as a glistening blue ocean on a sunny day.

3. I have several long standing friendships that have lasted decades. Some of these friends I can go for a year at a time without seeing, but when we get together we click back into how we always were. I think of them all the time, even when we don't meet up or speak very often.

4. When I was a child I was a tomboy and wanted to be Spiderman. I was deeply traumatised when I put on a Spiderman costume and STILL couldn't climb up walls.

5. I have never curled or coloured my hair. I hated the colour of it until Pretty Woman came out and suddenly I loved it (and Julia Roberts).

6. I have never read any Harry Potter or Twilight books. I know! I lost interest in vampires after Interview with a Vampire (and the series that followed). Remember that?

7. I love swimming, and find being in water relaxing and soothing (this may be related to point 2). I gave birth to all three of my children in a birthing pool, which was a wonderful experience.

8. I have a high pain threshold (also linked to 7).

9. I love the theatre, especially musicals. I love the soundtracks from them too. Some shows I have seen up to four times, way back when I had more time.

10. I have never been happier in my life than I have been in 2011. Holding my novel and anthologies in my hands, as well as having a wonderful family and friends makes me feel very contented.

So now I have to tag some other bloggers.
I would like to say to them, don't worry if you don't have time to do this. :o)

Alison Wells  at Head Above Water
Kathryn Brown at Crystal Jigsaw
Lesley Galston at Lesley Galston's Passions aka Sloanwriter
Rebecca E Brown at My Little Notepad
Emma Kerry at Emma Kerry's Notebook

Monday, 5 September 2011

Recent News, In Brief

Today the first challenge has been set for #writecampaign and to my utmost joy I've discovered it's a flash fiction challenge so I will be thinking about that and posting my story this week.

I have joined in with Random Acts of Kindness (#RAK on Twitter) because I love the idea of it and I can't wait to surprise someone with a RAK. Such a brilliant idea. You can find out more here.

I have decided my next novel will be a sequel to New Beginnings. It will include some of the characters from New Beginnings along with some new faces, and a completely different story line.

Speaking of which, the next three people who order a signed copy of New Beginnings via my blog (there is a button in the panel on the right) will receive a free copy of Shambelurkling and Other Stories with their order. I have two stories in Shambelurkling, which is an anthology created to raise funds for autistic children.

If you 'Like' my Facebook page, you will hear about these sorts of offers first, as I occasionally do giveaways and other special deals either exclusively for people on the page, or at least announced there first.

I think that is my news for now, but I may add to this post later if I think of anything else.

Thanks for reading xXx