Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Reasons to be Cheerful

In honour of the soul-healing Ian Dury song, some Random Reasons to be Cheerful:-

1) Acupuncture. The only time needles leave me smiling.
2) Strawberries.
3) Proper, tea-pot brewed, leaf tea.
4) Herdwick ewes, in their rough and grizzled grey fleeces, stamping their feet at interlopers.
5) Borrowdale.
6) Lindor chocolate eggs.
7) University Challenge & Top Gear (Husband and my only two must-snuggle-on-the-sofa-and-watch TV moments.)
8) Snowdrops.
9) Imagination.
10) My right ovary.

Share a couple of yours?


Monday, February 26, 2007

To Do

Thanks to everyone who signed up for my newsletter mailing list! You are all officers and gentle(wo)men. A special thank you and welcome to any visitors from Coffeetime, who thought they might hang around. Make yourselves comfortable!

I feel a little bit like I've derailed all my momentum with my days of rest this week. Fun as they were, I feel a little bloated and sluggish, both mentally and physically.

So, time to get going again, I think.

1) Prep RUN AMONG THORNS for sending in - DONE
2) Final proof read of RUN AMONG THORNS - DONE
3) Edits to DANGEROUS LIES partial - DONE
4) Write Web Content - Okay, so I've done three pages out of seven. I'd like to get another two done this week as a minimum.
5) Read through and edit remainder of DANGEROUS LIES
6) Write up notes for WIP #6
7) Finish TAKEN
8) Do some more plotting of WIP #5
9) Think about a web launch
10) Plan a first edition of a newsletter

It felt fabulous to get RUN AMONG THORNS in, and then post off the partial of DANGEROUS LIES. I need to focus on the web site this week, I think.

Somehow the chat on Coffeetime Romance never got on to the list, when it should have - it was my first ever promotional event!

I have to say, it really felt momentous, the first time I posted an excerpt on a promotional forum, for a book that's actually going to be published. I snivelled. ;-)


Friday, February 23, 2007


It's about time I was starting to assemble a newsletter list, yes?

I promise I'll be an infrequent newsletter-er, and won't clutter up your inbox.

Please join!

Join the Mailing List

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Thank you. :-)


Thursday, February 22, 2007

Pure Indulgence

Well, I'm home, (actually I got home Tues night) sore but happy, having seen my ovaries with my own eyes. Well, a full colour photo of them, anyway. Wow. They're really.... white.

Now I have not only permission, but ORDERS to rest for three days.

I'm just going to pause for a moment to absorb the wonderfulness of that concept.

Ah. Bliss.

So, since I've been working really hard lately and because... well, because I deserve it, I'm going to have a few days of pure indulgence.

This will involve:-

1) Cake. I lay in bed in the day surgery unit, drifting in post-anaesthetic stupor, wondering if they'd have to keep me in because I take a while to come round, when I suddenly remembered there was chocolate cake with my name on it waiting at home. From that moment on, full consciousness was my goal...
2) DVDs. I may even watch BITS of DVDs. You know. Like Brad Pitt storming the Trojan beach. That bit in the Big Easy where wotsisface has his shirt off. All of The Transporter.
3) Cheese. I eat so little cheese when I'm losing weight. I miss it so.
4) Books. I'm currently reading Julie Cohen's Driving Him Wild, after devouring Kate Walker's Sicillian Husband, Blackmailed Bride. I also have Artemis Fowl to get acquainted with, and a clutch of books by fellow Medallion authors that Amazon just kindly delivered.
5) Bed. I did really well yesterday, but today I'm frankly knackered. So all of the above actvities may well happen while lying down.

What would your Pure Indulgence be?

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Monday, February 19, 2007



The Medallion Press authors are thrilled to announce the creation of a Yahoo loop for fans, old/new readers and authors to interact. We'd like all of you to come and join us, chat with us and get to know the talented authors who write outstanding books for Medallion Press.

If you have not yet tried the great books from Medallion, then it's time you did! There's something for everyone: sci fi, romance, historical, paranormal, humor and much, much more. For a look at some of our current and past titles, check out the books on the Medallion Press website at www.medallionpress.com

Why should you join us? As a member of the loop, aside from being able to chat with your favorite authors, you'll be the first to hear the news about upcoming and new releases, author contests, reviews, read excerpts, find out how the gorgeous covers are created by the talented art department, how to submit, where to find our books, and lots of other insider information.

To become a part of the Medallion Press Reader's Loop, go to this URL and follow the instructions. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MedallionPressReaders/

We can't wait to meet you all and chat with you.

(permission to forward)


Monday, Monday

I'm looking down the double barrel of a 14 hour work-day today, and a trip to l'hospital tomorrow for day surgery, so I'm going to post a couple of things and leave you all to amuse yourselves until, say, Weds.



I've known for a while that I needed a, "not quite a kiss," moment in chapter one of DANGEROUS LIES, but I've been struggling with getting the words down. The other day, in a lovely coffee house in Keswick, over lunch, I got it.

Waddya think?

Alan and Marianne are escaping some rioters. They hide in a tiny, gated alleyway in Rabat, Morocco. They've only just met. *VBG*


"In here." Alan flicked a latch on a narrow gate of planks, paint peeling red and green, and pushed her through it ahead of him. It was little more than a narrow space between two houses. Not even wide enough to earn the name alley, just a gap, with a wavering channel running down the centre, where water would run in the rains.

He crowded in after her, bending close to the gate to close it, one palm braced on the splintering wood, one easing the latch into place silently. The mob passed, a shadow at the gate, a shouting and thundering, shivering a skein of sand from the back ledge of the gate.

The noise outside went away, the noise inside was only their breathing, her feet shuffling on the ground as she tried to edge her way to some personal space, somewhere she could breathe.

She was immediately half blinded in the shadows and half stifled in the still, hot air. She braced one hand on the rough rendered wall opposite – with her back against the other wall, she couldn’t even straighten her arm. She dragged in hot, dusty air, choking on the racing of her own heart, and tried not to panic.
Looking around, she saw that the other end of their hiding place was blocked by piles of something like boxes. Oh God. "Where—"

Alan whirled on her, plucking her close, wedging her between his chest and the wall, one arm immobilising her, one hand hard across her mouth. Outside there were shouts, a distant cacophony, unreal and distorted.

Everything was unreal. The shafts of light piercing the rickety door were like golden blades. The dust motes that danced on them were gods and angels, djinns and genies. She was blinded with light and dazzled with darkness in one breath.
In the stuttering dark he was a wall of heat, pressing her back, holding her in place. Adrenaline surged in her, heightening her senses, making her want to shout against his hand, making her want . . . .

One of those golden blades sliced across his throat, where the collar of his pale shirt was undone. It gleamed on his damp, tanned skin, and glinted on the bead of sweat that was travelling - now fast, now slow - down the rough stubble underneath his jaw.

Her breathing had steadied, but her heart was still racing. There was no sun, now, on which to blame her light-headedness.

He was golden, gilded, bright.

His palm against her mouth smelled of him, and of spice and heat. She dragged the scent in, her eyes fluttering half closed. His skin would taste of salt, she knew . . . it would taste salty and hot and intense.

It would taste . . .

She put out her tongue, half dizzy, half dreaming, and tasted him.

His body jerked against hers. His eyes were glowing in one of those brilliant beams from the broken door, all white and blue, like a clouded summer sky. They fixed on her, holding her more effectively in place than the hands that gripped her and the body that pinned her.

He ducked his head. The hair at her temple snagged on the roughness of his jaw, and his breath spilled down her neck. "Mari," he whispered, a word of warning, but his grip on her changed, gentled. His thigh brushed hers, his chest pressed against her breasts. Outside, distantly, a crowd roared, but the sound of her blood drowned out their hate.

She tasted his skin again. He snatched his palm away.

She was afraid. But this was the other reason she was here, wasn’t it? In fact, if she was honest with herself, following in her Grandfather’s footsteps was the excuse for this . . . meeting men, a man, finding out . . . . Eight years, more, of the most contained, confined life that life could deal you, willingly, if not gladly, caring for her father . . . and now.

Now the most gorgeous man she’d ever seen was pressed up against her in the dark, and her head was spinning with recklessness. She arched her back and pressed closer.

Infinitesimally, his position changed, his body somehow cupped around hers, not the position of a guard and a captive, but the pose of a man encompassing a woman.

She lifted her hands. They weren't hers. Not when they brushed against his shirt to feel the way his chest rose and fell with his breathing. Surely they weren't her hands, those hand that tested the tension in his arms, tracing the bulk of bicep and shoulder, that touched the skin of his neck where the sunlight stroked it.

The points where they touched were the only parts of her that existed. Breast to breast, thigh to thigh. His hands on her waist. The brush of his jaw against her skull. It was as if she was a join-the-dots picture. For a wild, irrational moment, she felt that if he touched her everywhere, she would burst into being. If all of him touched all of her, she would come alive.

There was a burning in her that beat back the sun. The bead of sweat on his neck trickled down to touch her fingers, and at that hot, wet touch, she raised her head, turning, reaching for, longing for, his mouth.

His hands had moved. They cradled her head, spiking through her hair. Her eyes were open, but she couldn't see. There was only the touch of his body, the stroke of his breath across her lips, a heat that was almost flesh.

Almost his mouth. Almost a kiss—

And then he moved, a moment of disorientation, his hands dropping to her waist again, his head sliding away.

I never knew I was such a tease... ;-)

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Saturday, February 17, 2007

Prize Alert!

We've heard what the big prize for the Coffeetime Romance e-loop chat is going to be!

Teatime and Treasure from Medallion Press

Open our wooden treasure chest and discover a painted porcelain teapot, two matching cups, a selection of fine teas and cookies, and a selection of Medallion books. The winner may choose one dozen mass market paperbacks from the Medallion catalogue.

Blimey. I'm jealous... ;-)

To win, simply participate in the e-loop chat (details below) and answer the questions we post. You'll find the answers on the Medallion Press Website

Remember, Coffeetime Romance is a yahoo group, so you'll need to join in plenty of time to take part. You can always unsubscribe later!

FEB 23rd - Save the Date!

Medallion Press authors will be TAKING OVER THE COFFEETIME ROMANCE EMAIL LOOP! Please join us for an e-loop chat with your favorite Medallion Press authors on Feb. 23rd from 10am - 8pm (eastern time). Pop in any time and ask the visiting authors those burning questions to which you must know the answer. Or, just come and have great fun. There will be a contest with A GREAT PRIZE, including a representative sample of Medallion Press books. In order to participate, you'll need to sign FOR COFFEETIME'S EMAIL LOOP (INSTRUCTIONS BELOW). Interested in SUBMITTING TO MEDALLION? Loved the book, now want to meet the author? Come hear about all this and more on Feb 23rd at COFEETIME ROMANCE.

To sign up for Coffeetime Romance's loop, go to:


click "join this group"

Hope to see you there!


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Thursday, February 15, 2007

Look Over There...

Hey, you really must go over and read Sela Carsen's Valentine's Day free read.

It's gorgeous. Short and very sweet.


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Reasons to be Squeeful (again)

It's a small thing, but nonetheless a good reason to go, "SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!" at the top of my voice, and a great Valentine's Day present.

Go to Medallion Press's site, and then you can go two ways.

You can either click on Genres, Romance, Emerald/Romantic Suspence and scroll down to 2008 releases,


You can click on authors, scroll down to the Ls, and click on my name.

It's real. I'm real. So's the book.

What an amazing thing.

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Saturday, February 10, 2007

Ten Commandments

I re-post these on a fairly regular basis, because I think they're worth the reminder.

Ten Commandments for Good Mental Health

1. Thou shalt not be perfect

2. Thou shalt not be all things to all people

3. Thou shalt leave some things undone

4. Thou shalt not spread thyself too thinly

5. Thou shalt learn to say no

6. Thou shalt schedule time for yourself and network support

7. Thou shalt switch off and do nothing regularly

8. Thou shalt be boring, inelegant and unattractive sometimes

9. Thou shalt not feel guilty

10. Thou shalt not be thine own worst enemy

Honestly, I'm doing pretty poorly at all of them at the moment! But... Ha. I was just about to put, "Must try harder." No.

Must Try Less Hard.

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I don't believe it...

This is a momentous occasion! I have just sent off my MS of RUN AMONG THORNS to Medallion Press, correctly formatted in house style.

I have done this... *drum roll*... OVER SEVEN MONTHS EARLY.

THIS NEVER HAPPENS!!! I'm EARLY for a deadline!!!

Granted, the deadline's set to their production schedule, not how soon I can do something, but still. I'm going to enjoy this rare, and wonderful moment...

And all this remarkable, unheard of achievement is created in THAT chaotic space. Scary, eh?

(Note Cleo (tortoiseshell) and Chrissy (ginger) curled up together on top of the in-tray stack. They're wondering why I've been dancing round the office going, "booo-yah!")

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Friday, February 09, 2007

To Do

The To Do List has done some changing since it first cropped up in Jan. I've achieved a lot, but.... it just keeps growing!!! How does this happen???

1) Complete website design brief - DONE
2) Assemble partial of DANGEROUS LIES - DONE
3) Write DANGEROUS LIES synopsis - DONE
4) Prep RUN AMONG THORNS for sending in - DONE
5) Final proof read of RUN AMONG THORNS - DONE
6) Edits to DANGEROUS LIES partial
7) Write Web Content (can you hear me screaming? I feel like I don't know where to start! I do, really, but, still...)
8) Write up notes for WIP #6
13) Finish TAKEN
14) Do some more plotting of WIP #5

It was good to get the TAKEN partial off my desk, but I'm itching to get RUN AMONG THORNS in, and then get that partial of DANGEROUS LIES out there, too. *cracks knuckles* Right. Let's get to it.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Heads Up!

So, it's over 16 months before RUN AMONG THORNS will be available, but, hey, I'm nothing if not a tryer! I'll be participating in my first promo event on 23rd Feb.


FEB 23rd - Save the Date!

Medallion Press authors will be TAKING OVER THE COFFEETIME ROMANCE EMAIL LOOP! Please join us for an e-loop chat with your favorite Medallion Press authors on Feb. 23rd from 10am - 8pm (eastern time). Pop in any time and ask the visiting authors those burning questions to which you must know the answer. Or, just come and have great fun. There will be a contest with A GREAT PRIZE, including a representative sample of Medallion Press books. In order to participate, you'll need to sign FOR COFFEETIME'S EMAIL LOOP (INSTRUCTIONS BELOW). Interested in SUBMITTING TO MEDALLION? Loved the book, now want to meet the author? Come hear about all this and more on Feb 23rd at COFEETIME ROMANCE.

To sign up for Coffeetime Romance's loop, go to:


click "join this group"

Hope to see you there!

I'll be there between 4 and 8pm EST (9 to 1am GMT, as far as I can figure it). Please join us!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Appearances can be deceptive

Take the gravelly River Derwent (The river I swim in in summer), for instance. Look at this picture:-

You could swear that's a shallow stretch of water. You can see the bottom! It's clear! Surely you could roll up your trouser legs and paddle across that without getting more than your ankles wet, right?


Right by where I'm standing, it's two foot deep. Over on the far side, it's getting closer to three.

I started thinking about that in terms of characters, and writing. Now, no-one in their right mind would slip into the dark, dank waters of a canal. You can't see the bottom, you can't see anything. Just black-brown water. You can't see it, so you assume it's deep.

In the clear waters near where I live, it's hard to believe the rocks you can see clearly under the water aren't just a few inches deep.

But many canal edges are actually quite shallow, with the accumulation of weed and silt. And many of our clear rivers can swallow a man standing.

So I thought:- What's hidden from view is not as dangerous as what is in plain sight.

Because when you can see it plainly, you can believe it's safe... and that belief can lead you into danger.

The things we hide from a reader aren't the most powerful twists or the most edge-of-the-seat suspense. It's the things that are in plain sight, that turn out to be other than they thought, that can pack the most punch.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Quite time.

There's a strange phenomenon about walking in Borrowdale in January. It's quiet. The cafe at Grange Bridge is closed, its only customers wearing fleeces, the lone and intrepid bus runs infrequently. B&Bs are shut until the season, self catering cottages stand empty.

But the woods aren't empty. All the wildlife that hides from the bustle and noise of the summer visitors emerges, quite relaxed and matter-of-fact. A squirrel will exchange a nod with you as it forages for a snack in the sunshine. A pair of woodpeckers in the oak tree overhead pause in their erratic tapping to cock their heads at you, passing below. They ruffle their scarlet underpants and return to their bug hunting. Great tits in the hazel bushes send the catkins dancing as they flutter to their next song post. A dipper, in his sober brown suit a bright white shirt front, flies low over the river, yards from where you pass.

Down by my swimming spot, the water is deeper, colder, but still so, so tempting.

I like it now. Don't get me wrong - it's lovely when visitors are here, too. Children so full of excitement they have to shriek to let it out, couples walking hand in hand by the beck, when they wouldn't dream of holding hands in the high street. Familes ligthing a BBQ by the shore. Laughter, shouts, happy sounds.

But I love it now, when it's like a secret shared by me and the wild dwellers of the valley, going about their daily business. The shrieking birds in the hedgerow, the river saying, "Shhhh!" in the loudest voice, and over all, the busy, bashful silence of the trees, hoarding their sap and their energy for the great, magical burst of spring.

I am so, so lucky.*

*Although less lucky to have slipped over on the frosty grass, landed on my arse, clipped my elbow and somehow sparked off an attack of tendonitis in my left arm. Ow.**

** But it was worth it. ;-)