Wednesday 30 July 2008


Clyde died today. I don't really want to be writing this and I expect it'll be complete rubbish because I'm crying, but I do need to give him an epitaph because he was a star and I love him so much, and anyway I think it'll help me to write it down as it was such an awful shock.

This is Clyde last Christmas unwrapping his present - a wind-up turkey. We called it Gwyneth Poultry. Clyde preferred the box and the wrapping paper...

I like this photo because he looks well and happy - and he is - oh, God - was - such an easy-going soppy boy... He used to sleep with us - on the pillows behind our heads, with his back feet tucked under The Toyboy Trucker's chin, and his front paws anchored in my hair - and he'd purr all night long - and we sometimes used to grizzle at him (especially when it was a hot night) - and now he'll never, never do it again...

Can't believe what's happened really. All too quick. If you've read the earlier bits in the blog about Clyde, you'll know that the vet thought he was okay, but I still had my doubts because, well, you know your own children, don't you? And I just wasn't happy with him - he was simply a bit off... So, this morning I took him back to the vet, accompanied by my lovely friend and neighbour, Vee, because I didn't want to be on my own and The Toyboy Trucker is away and Elle is still on holiday.

Clyde, after a good breakfast of pilchards, travelled well in the car, and behaved perfectly in the vets. She checked him over, still couldn't find anything amiss, and said she'd do some blood tests as I wasn't happy. Vee, Clyde and I waited - and the results were fine - no FIV (feline aids) or FIL (feline leukaemia) both of which I was dreading as they're death sentences and we've lost cats to them before - in fact nothing untoward at all except a high protein count on the liver test which would indicate he was jaundiced. So the vet suggested that she kept him in for an hour or so, did a scan to see how damaged his liver was, and then prescribe a course of treatment. I asked if he'd be okay - and she said yes, as long as we got the right level of medication there was absolutely no reason why he shouldn't carry on for years. Clyde was standing on her table, purring, happily head-butting all the equipment, so I gave him a kiss and told him I'd be back in a couple of hours and he could have chicken breast for lunch. Then Vee and I - massively relieved - set off home.

Within an hour the vet rang me (and yes, I knew) to say that the scan had shown a mass behind his liver, and would I give permission for her to do an exploratory op to determine what it was. Of course I said yes, but my heart was on the floor... I paced up and down, feeling so, so sick - and twenty minutes later she rang back to say he had a massive lymphoma behind his liver, attached to his spine and ribs and growing into his kidneys.... There was absolutely nothing she could do.

As he was already unconscious, we agreed it was best to put him to sleep immediately.

So, I fell apart. I never said goodbye to him. I can't, can't believe it. To be so optimistic and then for the worst thing in the world to happen in such a short space of time... The vet did everything she could, I know that, and I did take him as soon as I knew there was something wrong, and so he didn't suffer at all - but none of that is helping right now... I just love him, and miss him, and want him back...

RIP Clyde, my beautiful, big, soppy boy - I love you.

Wednesday 23 July 2008

Garden Leave

Yay! My Weekly LOVED the 1960s stories and have bought them all (phew!), so today because it's absolutely boiling (summer at last?), I'm skiving from my desk and the spare bedroom and the computer, and attempting, with the help of the cats, to de-jungle the garden.

The pic is of my favourite orange Californian poppies and African marigolds which I have growing in several huge tubs outside the lean-to (the estate agent who sold us the house called it a conservatory; the people we bought the house from called it their sun-lounge; kind friends have referred to it as a garden room - but it's honestly a lean-to, with a corrugated plastic sloping roof, half-brick walls, a lot of big messy windows, and filled with big pots of plants, old chairs and sofas and tables and the cats love it) so even on a cloudy day they glow like fallen sunshine. As Californian poppies (can't spell the Latin name) and marigolds are really hardy, self-seeding and practically fool-proof, I have loads of them and they survive year after year despite my cack-handed horticultural methods. And yes, I know orange wouldn't be to everyone's taste but I do love a splash of colour. Any colour - it isn't just orange in my garden - oh, nothing as stylised as that - I have reds and yellows and purples and blues and pinks all clustered together, too. In fact, my garden, like me, is a bit haphazard - it certainly, also like me, isn't at all tasteful - it's a complete rainbow hotch-potch of anything that'll grow. The more garish and clashing the better. Sissinghurst it ain't. Alan Titchmarsh I ain't.

I usually say it's a cottage garden, or organic, or wildlife - all of which cover the fact that it's pretty overgrown and full of things I didn't plant and don't recognise... I never use weed-killer or slug death pellets or anything like that - just hope that the weeds that flourish will have pretty flowers on them, and that the slugs and snails will provide three meals a day for our resident toads and hedgehogs (as long as I don't have to see it - or hear it! Have you ever heard a hedgehog squishing its way through a slug????). We do get loads of bees and dragonflies and frogs and the aforementioned hedgehogs and butterflies though - sadly, Dexter seems to think it's his mission in life to reduce the numbers of the latter single-handedly (pawedly?). Sometimes when those earnest chaps in anoraks and comb-overs appear on the local news to report that there are now only 93 brown-backed, hawk-eyed, rag-winged Bronze Beauties left in Berkshire, I look at Dexter, chomping, and think "92, actually..."

So, today is definitely a non-writerly day - although I may have to knuckle down before long as my publishers (Little, Brown) have suggested I write some features for the Sunday Telegraph. Ooooh! There's posh! They want 750 word articles for their First Person column - it has to be about a person/animal/event that has touched you profoundly and/or altered your life. I'll have to mull over a few ideas - actually, I'd love to write about my Nan (will have to refer to her as Grandma as it's the Sunday Telegraph) who was completely barking, had been a complete tart, didn't eat solids for the last 43 years of her life, and had what we in the family referred to as "brain storms". Any of these should have had her certified and committed of course - but hey, in rural Berkshire she was comparatively normal... Or maybe that isn't Sunday Telegraph material - maybe I'm not Sunday Telegraph material???

I think I'll just potter (euphemism for sitting and staring) in the garden and see what springs to mind.

Despite their enthusiasm, the cats, even without Dexter deciding to cull anything that moves, aren't much use in the garden really. They get very excited when I pull things up because it gives them nice fresh earth for their lavatorial excesses, and then usually help by digging up things that should stay planted. Emily and Alexia are best at this as they're black and tiny with little pointy paws and can completely wreck a flower bed before anyone actually notices what they're doing. And yes, I do have flowers. Sometimes I've even grown them myself...

My almost-favourite flowers are sweet peas and freesias - mainly because they smell fantastic and come in a whole array of colours. You might have gathered I'm obsessed with colours - especially the same things in different colours - like boxes of crayons or strings of beads or fairy lights. I always assumed this obsession meant I was a happy, cheery sort of person but no. It apparently means I've never left childhood, am immature and possibly have arrested mental development - hey-ho! But, in spite of this - or maybe because of it - my favourite flowers of all time are mesembryanthemums or Livingstone Daisies. Oh, I love them! I can even grow them - and I do - everywhere! I just adore all those pastel colours, the shading - yessss! - lots of different colours on ONE flower, the layers of petals like can-can petticoats, and the fact that they look like sea-anemones should look. Everyone had them when I was a kid so they remind me of hot childhood summers, and I can sit and stroke them for hours.

Right, now I really must leave the blog before the cats completely wreck the bit of garden I've done... Maybe the Sunday Telegraph would like to know about my obsession with colours - or maybe not... I'll go and potter and think about it...

Monday 21 July 2008

Moon Walk

Three Good Things things to blog about today - first and most important, Clyde has returned from the vet and is absolutely fine. Hallelujah! He'd lost a few ounces in weight since his last visit 6 years ago which is only to be expected as he's pretty ancient, and needed a worm tablet because he's a scavenger, but otherwise passed all his medical checks with flying colours. I'm sure the vet thinks I'm an over-anxious mother, but I'm sooo relieved. Brought him home and gave him loads of cuddles and chicken breast and now he's stalking about in the garden looking smug. Phew! The vet did say to bring him back if I'm even slightly worried about him - which of course I will - but I'll give him a couple of days to see if there's any changes in him and I will not worry... I will not worry... I will not worry...

Second Good Thing, I've finished the My Weekly stories and sent them off. Will now wait with everything crossed and hope that they pass muster and in the meantime get on with the second Woman's Weekly story and Moonshine.

And the third Good Thing? Well, it's the anniversary of the first-ever moon walk. 39 years ago today I watched that moon landing. I was living in Jersey and we stayed up all night, crowded round the telly, to watch the most amazing thing I've ever seen. We had a moon-landing all-night party, and the excitement when Neil Armstrong did his "one small step..." speech was unbelievable. And no, don't tell me that it didn't happen. I've heard all the rumours and seen all the programmes - and okay, I'm usually a sucker for any conspiracy theory going (JFK, Elvis, Princess Diana) because they're such great stories and fulfil the writer's mantra of "what if?" - but do not try to tell me the moon landing was faked. Just don't. For me, it epitomised that truly fantastic year in my life. Oh, God bless Bryan Adams for being brilliant enough to provide me with my own personal anthem - The Summer of 69 - yes, it really was the best year of my life, too, Bryan...

Not only living and working in Jersey which I adored, but the moon landing, the birth of Concorde - I was lucky enough to be at Toulouse to see the maiden flight - and the Investiture which I loved because it was all so Pomp and Circumstance and seemed to herald something rather wonderfully historic in that truly wonderful time of change. Prince Charles was our age and it seemed that we could really rule the world. Huh - nearly forty years on and look what a mess we've made of it! And poor Charles still isn't the Young King we all thought he would be...

Ooh, a bit of a reflective blog today - must be getting old...

Sunday 20 July 2008

Funny Sunday and Clyde

A bit of a mish-mash today - a bit more writing, a lot of boring housework, and a sinking feeling of dread because I'm taking Clyde (me and Clyde in pic) to the vet tomorrow. Because the cats have all been rescued from various unpleasant previous lives their state of health isn't the best, so visits to the vet are common - but oh lordy how I hate it. I always think the worst.

Clyde isn't the brightest cat in the world, and is rather - um - floppy physically and mentally, so telling how he's feeling is a bit tricky - but I just know he's not right. Even though he's eating okay and grooming and purring there's something a bit odd about the way he looks - so I've made an appointment for 9.30 in the morning and am hoping and praying it's just some minor niggle... This worry has outweighed everything else today really.

Elle and The Doctor are on holiday at the moment, so I can't even unburden my worries on them. The Toyboy Trucker feels the same way as I do about the cats, so we've spent today virtually ignoring the spasmodic overhead Farnborough air-traffic - okay, we did excitedly spot four Eurofighters in formation (difficult not to as they're very big and very fast and made a gut-shaking amount of noise) - trying to convince one another that Clyde will be absolutely fine...

Our years seem to be marked Good or Bad according to cat deaths. Last year none of them died so it was A Good Year. This year, our beloved mad-feral Carlo died in May after lengthy treatment for mammary cancer. He survived all the surgery and post-op treatment, made a full recovery, then suddenly died from total kidney failure. Truly awful.

So, whatever happens with Clyde tomorrow, this year is not going to be a Good One on the cat front.

I'll keep you posted...

Friday 18 July 2008

On Being A Real Writer

Well - the last few days have been pretty manic on the writing-front. Not only have I been rattling away at a second story for Woman's Weekly (I always like to send two at a time because if they loathe one they might just like the other) and attempting to finish a chapter a day of MOONSHINE, but I've also had a commission! A proper commission - like a Real Writer!

Lovely My Weekly magazine have asked me to write a fiction pull-out of my very own - three interlinking stories set in the 1960s, and they've sent me the whole mocked-up lay-out with some fabulous illustrations. So, all this week I've been thinking and planning and plotting - just like a real writer - and not something I normally do.

For this commission, I've sort of gone along the lines of telling the stories of three girls sharing a flat in 1969, titled each story with the heroine's name a la early Jilly Cooper, and also linked them to the 60s by calling them Eleanor (Beatles), Lola (Kinks) and Carrie-Ann (Hollies). Well - so far so good - all I have to do now is get the word count right, make sure the "historical" details are accurate, edit all three stories and make sure they're as good as I can get them before I send them off on Monday. No doubt I'll rewrite them all a dozen times over the weekend because I'm the least confident writer in the world and have no faith in my own abilities (usually with very good reason!).

As this blog is supposed to be writerly as well as chatty, I thought this would be a good time to come clean about my writing methods. So, this is how I do it... I always start with some nebulous idea, a sort of theme - for my current series of practical magic comedy novels I just find some area of witchy stuff that I haven't plundered before - with MOONSHINE it's magical wine made from berries gathered in the mystical Lovers Spinney, and water either drawn from the wishing well on the village green in Lovers Knot or from the waterfall in the aforementioned spinney.

By the time I start writing anything, my characters are already running around, fully formed, in my head. I don't have to try to imagine them or choose names for them or anything like that. They're just there - like real, living people (which they are to me), and once they've been let loose on the page it all seems to just happen. I have no idea how - which is why I never do writers' workshops. I couldn't stand up in front of aspiring writers and admit that I haven't got a clue how I write - let alone suggest how anyone else should do it. Oh, one thing - whether it's a book or a short story - I have to have a title before I can write anything at all. Sometimes (quite often actually) this title will change before publication, but as long as it's called something, I'm happy.

When I write, I just make it up as I go along. I never plot anything or plan anything or even know how it'll end, and I never make notes on the main story. If there's stuff I need to research (like the firework-making in HEAVEN SENT) I'll do this before I start the book and then I will have the notes for this beside the computer to make sure everything is accurate. Otherwise it all just sort of happens. I don't do a word count until the end - I roughly know that four double-spaced computer pages is a thousand words, and my boks are around 100,000 words long, so that's good enough for me.

I certainly don't write every day - there are days (too many?) when I just don't feel like writing so I just don't... Normally, I'll write from about 6 a.m. until lunchtime. On the really good writing days I'll sit and create my little worlds happily from dawn to dusk (literally). And I usually don't start writing my novels until the deadline is looming because I work much better under pressure. It takes me, on average, six weeks to write a novel and I can write a short story in a morning. I once - in a procrastination moment - worked out that once I get going I average 1,000 words an hour.

I only ever write one draft of anything, just edit as I go along, read through the previous day's work and then leave it. I know loads of Proper Writers will polish and hone and tweak and produce several drafts - but that would drive me mad. Once is more than enough! I just write it, spell-check it, word-count it and send it off. Then I get on with the next thing. I always have three or four different pieces on the go at the same time so if I get bored with one I can flick back to something else...

I've listened to other writers talking about their methods and everyone's different. I don't think there's a right or a wrong way - you just have to do what works for you. Which means I really must stop blogging now and become a Real Writer and get on with the My Weekly stories...

Tuesday 15 July 2008

Fine Dining

I love food, am never happier when I'm eating - hence the current Weight Watchers boot-camp - but I'm probably the worst cook in the known universe. I'm obsessed by cookery programmes like Masterchef because that's what I want to be like. I want to survey a hotch-potch of unknown and unrelated ingredients and then get a light-bulb moment and start sieving and shaving and whisking and straining and reducing like billy-o - and voila! - 30 minutes later produce three different and absolutely perfect cordon bleu dishes.

Oh, can I just add here that while I may drool over television cookery shows, I'm definitely not a fan of the celeb chefs who seem to delight in making friends with their animals, give them cute names, and then happily kill and eat them. Come on? How in the name of all that's holy can that be right? Okay, so I'm an animal-loving veggie and therefore never going to chew my way through cute little Persephone Piglet or Letitia Lamb - but surely there has to something almost cannibalistic about eating the flesh of something you've named, played with, chatted to, comforted and cosseted, hasn't there? My take on this is if you want to eat meat, then at least let it be in anonymous, polythene wrapped chunks. And I was horrified to notice our local supermarket has started labelling their meat with "kill date" and "named abattoir". Far, far too much information. Even if I was carnivorous this would put me off meat for life - I really don't want to know that three days ago my pork slice was enjoying the sunshine and snuffling happily round in Essex mud, or my lamb chop was joyously kicking up its little heels in some Surrey field, with no clue as to their imminent terrifying journey to "named abattoir" and subsequent awful fate. Ooops - almost a soap-box moment there - sorry! - and I'm digressing. Again.

The whole point of today's blogging was to muse on the fact that having just read through my new book - HAPPY BIRTHDAY (out Nov 6th - shameless plug!) - I was amazed how much time the characters spend cooking and eating. As it's a summer book, they're constantly having lavish Enid Blyton style picnics or whipping up tasty al fresco dinners/lunches/breakfasts. I honestly hadn't been aware of it while I was writing, so it must be an unleashing of my subconscious fantasies about being the sort of person who can rustle up a nourishing meal from two radishes, a handful of dried pasta, a banana, three spring onions and some cornflakes. My mum could do it - so could both of my grandmothers - but the gene has sadly passed me by. I'm absolutely useless. I follow recipes to the letter and they turn nasty. I've been known to foul-up a salad more than once. Even cooking stuff-out-of-packets never goes quite right. And don't talk to me about microwaving - am I the only person who ends of with a sort of charred mess in the middle of the dish and a lot of solid burnt bits round the edge and the polystyrene container looks the most appetising part of the meal? The normal oven is a mystery to me, and I haven't used the grill for 8 years since a cheese wedge got - er - wedged on the bars.

Elle and The Toyboy Trucker have, over time, learned that to be forewarned is to be forearmed with regard to my cooking. They now ring and ask "what colour dinner is it tonight?". This is because they say I only cook three meals: brown (something unrecognisable with gravy), orange (something unrecognisable with pasta and a tomato-ish sauce) and white (something unrecognisable with either rice or mashed potato). It gives them time to pop to the chippy or sneak in an extra Mars Bar on the way home.

Recently, I tried to be experimental and merge an orange dinner with a white one. It didn't work. Even the cats wouldn't eat it. So, Delia, Nigella et al - you're quite safe. I'll stick to foodie fiction and let my characters whip up a salivating storm. Sadly, I know my culinary limitations...

Sunday 13 July 2008

Sky High

We spent a rather odd weekend, The Toyboy Trucker and me - and yes, I know that's not grammatical, but I simply can't go down the "my husband and I" route - and before I get back to the odd weekend can I just add that today's pic was taken by The Toyboy Trucker - balancing on one leg and quivering with anticipation - from a small hand-built tor i.e. haphazard stones piled to hide weeds - on our rockery this time last year... oh,and the only-just-visible-tip of the fir tree is the very same one as Dexter and the pigeons squabbled in in the previous post - so this photo covers a sort of Blog BOGOF, doesn't it?

Anyway, because our house is directly beneath the flight path of two RAF bases and we're both rather fond of planes, we spend a lot of time dashing into the garden and peering excitedly upwards. That's as far as it goes with me, but The Toyboy Trucker - who is, quite frankly, an anorak - then adds something along the lines of "'s a DB/7/00/89694a/Nortbunger/delta swing-wing" and can usually tell you the number of rivets in the fuselage and where it was built and by whom and when and how many of them there are in the entire world and where they are based and so on and so on and so on... He's been a bit obsessive about planes ever since spending a day and a half flying between Germany and South Africa as a child. I'm more esoteric about my flights of fancy - I'm just impressed and slightly overawed that something the size of Luton and built of tons and tons of metal stays up there...

Sorry, I've digressed - again - well, this weekend there were airshows on at both our local bases, so rather than queue for hours and hours and pay a fortune to stand in a muddy field and be prodded by other plane buffs with halitosis, zoom lenses and step-ladders, we always set up camp in the garden, with a picnic and binoculars. I look forward to this weekend because it means I can forget about being a writer for two whole days (in case anyone important is reading this, I'll be back to the short story and the novel first thing on Monday morning - promise) and wear sunglasses and doze off between ear-splitting overhead turbo-blasts. Sadly, this weekend, as probably everyone knows, the air tattoo at Fairford was cancelled because of the weather. And presumably Brize Norton came out in sympathy because we saw nothing - not a damn thing - in the sky except the usual police helicopter chasing boy-racers down the A34 and several damp sparrows.

However, "just in case", we set up the loungers and the binoculars and the I-Spy Aircraft book and the picnic as usual. The neighbours looked-on in sympathy as we huddled in our cagoules in the driving rain, munching on our egg and cress sandwiches, staring wistfully at a leaden sky. It hasn't dampened our spirits though - oh dear me, no. Next weekend it's Farnborough Airshow and we're sometimes on the flight path for that too, so come hell or high-water, we'll be out in the back garden again come Saturday...

Friday 11 July 2008

Bad Hair Day

I started off with all good writing intentions this morning - up at 6, cats fed and Toyboy Trucker despatched to work by half-past, me and cup of peppermint tea (I'm not a health freak - good lord, no - BUT I'm currently going to Weight Watchers with Elle pre-wedding, and have therefore given up my daily ration of seventeen cups of milky coffee and four sugars) upstairs in spare bedroom and at the computer only seconds later... Wrote 67 words of the Woman's Weekly short story, flicked on to the MOONSHINE file and decided that Cleo and Dylan - my hero and heroine - should meet really early on in rather odd circumstances, so jotted that meeting down and was quite pleased with it, then flicked back to the Woman's Weekly file and wrote another 56 words - yes! Writing two things at the same time! I'm a Real Writer!

Then I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror above my desk and screamed (that happens quite a lot). I looked like the love-child of Jimi Hendrix and Co-Co the Clown. Bad, bad hair. Rushed into the bathroom and started washing it. Then I was distracted (this also happens easily and often) by a lot of squawking and shrieking from outside in the back garden. Wrapped my hair in a towel and gazed out of the window (that happens easily and often too) and saw two angry wood pigeons and Dexter, our youngest cat, all teetering on the the flimsy topmost branches of the 60 foot fir tree at the bottom of the garden. Pigeons in attack mode, Dexter ditto.

Dripping, I stumbled outside and ran rather haphazardly, due to flapping towel, dripping hair and being accompanied by several of the other cats who thought it was a new spectator sport, to the foot of the tree. Could only see the top branches waving frantically but the noise was horrendous, so I lobbed stones and fallen apples upwards in an attempt to break up the spat. This was a mistake. They all fell straight down again. On me and the cats. Next I tried flushing Dexter out with a blast from the garden hose - second mistake. Jet fell way short. On me and the cats. Now I was wet and covered in debris and Dexter, a small tabby killing machine, was clearly not going to be robbed of pigeon-on-the-wing. Now I'm very fond of the wood pigeons who've nested in the tree for several years and I'm also very fond of Dexter. I didn't want anything awful to happen to either party. So - I climbed the tree, hoping that I'd manage to diffuse the fracas before anyone died.

This was not one of my greatest ideas given that I was still in my pyjamas and sequinned (I do love a bit of glitter) slippers and, having lost the towel two branches up, my hair was now clinging in sopping rat's tails into my eyes. About 6 feet off the ground I started to get vertigo (and a lot of small twigs in my mouth and eyes) and decided not to climb any further in case I had to be rescued by a lot of hunky firemen or something - this wouldn't be a bad thing in theory, of course, but I simply wasn't dressed for it and I hate seeing anyone without at least a touch of mascara and some lip-gloss. So I just clung on and shouted at Dexter and shook whichever branches came to hand. By this time all the cats were watching from the ground and several of the neighbours had popped out to see what was going on, too. There was a final almighty squawk, and with a great flurry of wings and feathers the pigeons took flight. Dexter, an agile kitten, shimmied past me in a blur of tabby fur. The stand-off was over. All participants were safe! Phew!

So, laboriously and inelegantly and with a lot of not-very-helpful advice from the neighbours, I made my somewhat-slower descent. Staggered back to the spare bedroom and the computer and the short story and novel - slightly annoyed that I'd just wasted a good half-an-hour of productive writing time. Then the doorbell rang.

Dashed downstairs and opened the door to the postman who handed me a package and laughed. A lot. Now our postman is quite cute and clearly a boy with a cheerful disposition. I laughed flirtatiously back at him, exchanged a few words of merry banter, and returned to the spare bedroom rather pleased that even at my age I can still attract the attention of the younger man. Then I looked in the mirror and screamed. Again. In my haste to rescue pigeons/Dexter I'd completely forgotten to rinse off my conditioner and my hair had now dried to cow-pat consistency and stuck out in a mass of unattractive solid tufts. Not only that, it was liberally decorated with twigs and leaves. I looked like a cross between the bloke from Prodigy and a mad woodland Medusa... Aaargh!

On the plus side, I've sold a short story to a woman's mag in Denmark today - but it'll be ages before I can bring myself to face the postman again...

Thursday 10 July 2008

Mother of the Bride

My husband, The Toyboy Trucker, said he thought I should start my blog on a momentous day - presumably so I'd have something scintillatingly interesting to blog about... but nothing much momentous has happened for ages so I'm just going to plunge in and see how it goes...

Hopefully, this Bucolic Frolics blog will be a mixture of news about my life (Real) and updates on what's happening with my writing - details of new books, publishing dates, signing sessions - stuff like that. As I'm slightly chaotic in my approach to everything, I somehow doubt that I'll manage to blog every day but I'm intending to give it my best shot. So here we go...

Today, in my writing life, I'm supposed to be finishing a short story for Woman's Weekly and starting my next novel - MOONSHINE - which has to be delivered by October/November.

In my Real Life I've done neither of the above and have just been out to buy my Mother of the Bride outfit - and I'm that excited about it! My daughter, Elle, is getting married next Easter. Her boyfriend, The Doctor (no, sadly, not that one), proposed while they were flying down the Grand Canyon in a tiny plane. How romantic is that??? Even as a very starry-eyed romantic novelist, I couldn't make that up!

Anyway, I know it's months until Easter but I saw this fantastic dress in the sale and it was just right for me being M of the B (I'm just not the sort of person who can comfortably wear a nice pastel two-piece and big hat - I'd look just like my mum) - and it was reduced by two-thirds - and, most fantastic of all, it has NET petticoats! Loads and loads of them! So now it's hanging in my wardrobe in all its flouncy scarlet silk glory and I keep stroking it. Can't wait to get a black and red fascinator now - net petticoats AND feathers in my hair - I'll look like a geriatric showgirl - brilliant! And maybe red sandals? With killer heels??? Elle is quite a conventional girl (gets it from her father) so I do hope she'll approve...

Right, that's my first post done and I'm quite proud of it. Now I'll go back to the short story and the novel and hopefully a) my scarlet-frock-enthusiasm will spill over into my fiction and b) I'll find something else really interesting to blog about soon.