Saturday, 25 July 2009

Quote for today

"Never mind about 1066 William the Conqueror, 1087 William the Second! Such things are not going to affect one's life ... but 1932 the 'Mars Bar' and 1936 'Maltesers' and 1937 the 'Kit Kat' - these dates are milestones in history and should be seared into the memory of every child in the country"
Roald Dahl

Friday, 24 July 2009

Today is...

I am not afraid of tomorrow for I have seen yesterday and I love today
William Allen White.

..a very special anniversary for me. I began working on “Bree McCready and the Half Heart Locket” the day after my relationship with Junior’s dad finally fell apart. 24th July 2006 - it was a Monday. With the benefit of hindsight I know it was for the best but at the time it felt like someone had pulled the rug out from under me.
I had toyed with the basic concept of the novel for some time and I could see clearly in my mind all the characters and their individual personalities. I had just never managed to get around to seriously putting anything down on paper. I wanted to be a writer from the first moment I held a pencil. It was the only thing I was good at and the one thing I could see myself spending my life doing. I won several awards throughout my school years for story writing but despite being complimented regularly for my colourful imagination (or scolded for my daydreaming!) on the whole my flair for words seemed to go unnoticed. Over the years I reluctantly accepted that writing would have to be a hobby and one that I could only pursue in between a real job. So I floundered from one occupation to another- soulless jobs that paid the rent but did little for my sanity or my well-being. After I got my degree in 2003 I decided to take some time out of my career to dedicate myself fully to being a mum (my favourite and most challenging job so far!) How could I ever have prepared myself for being thrown into the unexpected and chaotic world of single parenthood?

Writing a children’s novel had always been a dream for me but one which had gone on hold so many times for so many different reasons - lack of time, want for motivation, fear of failure. My personal crisis seemed to crack open something that had been buried deep inside and suddenly the idea of writing just felt like the right thing to do. It offered me a way of escaping an extremely difficult period in my life, a chance to release negative and destructive emotions, whilst offering me some much needed hope for a new beginning. It was as though with every word I wrote I could feel the darkness lifting. Bree’s world provided me with a trapdoor out of my own painful existence, a place where I was able to escape my problems and take back a modicum of control. For a while I became the master of other people’s destinies and gradually the fact that I was no longer the master of my own did not feel quite so bad. Certain features of the story reflect my own circumstances and emotions at the point that I wrote them and in many ways I wore my heart on my sleeve throughout the writing of my novel. I found the experience of incorporating my own feelings into those of the characters very therapeutic. Without wishing to sound over dramatic, writing “Bree McCready and the Half-Heart Locket” saved me. Looking back, it was such a positive thing to do under such desperate circumstances, almost as though I was not prepared to go down without a fight. Putting pen to paper was a last ditch attempt to stop me from unravelling completely. Writing seemed to organise the chaos in my life and helped to make me feel whole again. Suddenly I was grabbing every spare second I had - and spare time was a rare luxury as any single mum with a hyperactive two year old will tell you! I can remember rushing downstairs when Junior went for his afternoon nap hoping to scribble down a few paragraphs while the house was semi-quiet. I took to carrying a notebook in the back of the buggy along with the spare nappy, wet wipes and the soggy, half eaten biscuit - for those flashes of inspiration that inevitably occurred in the oddest and most inconvenient places - the supermarket checkout, the bus stop, the doctor’s waiting room. My book started to feel like my second child.
It took me until I reached the age of 34 to even consider trying to write the novel that I knew was inside me from an early age. It took something terrible to happen to shove me in the right direction. This has been a difficult but most important journey, pursuing the one thing that has always mattered to me most.
I try not to do this very often but when I look back to July 2006 I realise that if somebody had told me then that I would be living my dream in three years time I would probably have laughed and rolled my eyes to the ceiling in that way we do when what we’re hearing is truly unbelievable. If I had been told that on July 24th 2009 I would be only 3 weeks away from the launch party for my first novel I would have thought I was hearing things. It was hard to imagine at that time climbing out of the black hole I had fallen (or been pushed?) into. But what do you know? Extraordinary things can happen to ordinary people…
I’ve waited all my life for this and I am determined to enjoy every single second of it. Now when Junior says, “I wonder what will happen to me when I‘m a big boy” my response is “Who can tell? Just never give up on your dreams and above all, prepare to be surprised!”

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

"Plants give us oxygen for the lungs and for the soul"
Linda Solegato

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Bang goes the diet...again!!

“In the childhood memories of every good cook, there's a large kitchen, a warm stove, a simmering pot and a mum”
Barbara Costikyan (22/10/84 New York Magazine)

I decided to do some home baking with Junior this afternoon. Quality time, just mum & son. Nigella Lawson meets the Brady Bunch. I chose one healthy recipe - carrot and sesame seed squares (which taste delicious!) and one indulgent recipe - chocolate tiffin (otherwise known as chocolate fridge cake). I had this wee dream in my head of the perfect scene - perfectly behaved child stirring the bowl calmly while mother, wearing homely apron serenely wipes her face, leaving behind a streak of flour. She smiles down proudly at her offspring and ruffles his hair. A bit like the advert for Dr Oatker chocolate brownie mix. It didn't quite turns out like that but Junior had fun anyway! There's loads for a five year old to do with the tiffin recipe so it's a good one to try if you've got kids. Junior's favourite part was smashing the digestive biscuits. To be honest, it was mildly disturbing just how much he loved this....
"Pay back time!" he shouted, wielding the wooden rolling pin above the bag of innocent biscuits.
"Take that! And that! I will destroy you.."
By the end of the process the recipe, which recommended "leaving some lumps for texture" had flown out of the window and it looked like a bag of sand. Anyway, I'm sure it will taste lovely.
"Is this a WeightWatchers recipe?" Junior asked innocently.
"Eh, not really" I replied as I piled the butter, sugar, syrup and chocolate into the saucepan.
Tiffin features in chapter 2 of "Bree McCready and the Half Heart Locket" and this is the recipe that Bree's Mum uses!

225g/8oz Digestive biscuits
150g/5oz raisins
100g/4oz butter
25g/1oz brown sugar
3 tablespoons of Hot Chocolate Powder
4 tablespoons of Golden Syrup
225g/8oz Milk or Plain chocolate (we used Dairy Milk)

Place the crushed biscuits and raisins in a large bowl.
Melt the butter, sugar, chocolate powder and syrup over a low heat.
Combine this with the biscuits and raisins.
Mix well then press down into an oiled square tin. Leave to cool.
Melt the chocolate in a bowl over simmering water until smooth.
Spread over the top of the cooled biscuit mixture.
Leave to cool for a wee while.
Mark into squares and refrigerate.

Right, I'm away to clear up the scene of devastation that is my kitchen!

Friday, 17 July 2009

Joy, Joy, Joy!

This really made me and Junior laugh tonight so I thought I would share it with you all and hope it brings a smile on this rainy Friday night!

Hello Dolly!

What are little boys made of?
Slugs and snails and puppy dogs tails,
That’s what little boys are made of.
What are little girls made of?
Sugar and spice and all things nice,
That’s what little girls are made of

Children’s Nursery Rhyme

I’ve always been fascinated by the nature/nurture debate. Are girls and boys intrinsically different? Is gender biologically determined? How does environment and culture influence gender roles in early life? It was an area of my work with children that intrigued me and I chose to specialise in the subject during second year at University. When I had Junior I was excited at the prospect of putting all my knowledge into action and I was adamant that my son would play with toys which would traditionally only have been for girls (if he was interested in doing so). Hence the reason I feel mildly despondent when I watch my gentle wee boy playing with his power rangers and action men.
Pow! Take that you evil baddie, I’ll strangle you and rip your arms off!”
I sigh deeply at this behaviour but accept that it's probably a normal 5 year old boy thing to do.
Why can’t they just have a cup of tea together and chat about last nights Eastenders?” I plead after being exposed to a relentless half hour of Kung Fu fighting and disturbingly inventive ways for action men to kill each other. Junior looks at me like I’ve lost my mind and resumes his killing spree. I have never encouraged this kind of play. Even before I became a mum I felt very strongly about children playing with guns and we have a strict no-gun policy at home. This doesn’t stop Junior making guns out of Lego or any other available method. Once I even watched him make a bit of toast into a gun.
Junior had a variety of toys as a baby, a healthy mixture of Thomas the Tank Engine, jigsaws and cooking utensils. He played happily with them all and continued pushing his buggy along the pavement even after an ignorant neighbour came out to tell me I was going to “Turn my son strange”. Thanks for your advice mate!! Starting school definitely changed Junior. He suddenly became aware that pink was “for girls” and for a while he would even screw his face up at strawberry Angel Delight. It didn’t help that the school toilets were decorated blue for boys, pink for girls. What century are we living in?! And his play got a lot rougher. Survival of the fittest I guess. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em mentality. I frequently had to question my own values in the first few months of school. I strongly believe that violence breeds violence. Hitting someone is not an effective way to win a fight. Violence is an unacceptable way to solve a dispute. However after months of Junior coming home covered in bruises where people had kicked him my advice changed from “Just walk away, be the better man” to “Hit them back! As hard as you can!” Perhaps my hippy, pacifistic way of thinking had been a bit naive?
Don’t get me wrong. Junior is a lovely boy. He loves babies and plays very naturally with them. He is gentle and caring with Dizzy, his hamster and he regularly compliments me on what I’m wearing. He always notices if I’m wearing new earrings. I even caught him singing “Dancing Queen” the other morning. So it's not all blood baths and ninja death moves.
Last night I told Junior if he behaved really well I had something very special to show him after his bath. I often use this as a bribe because it really works! We had a peaceful bath time and he left all his dirty clothes in a neat pile as opposed to leaving various articles scattered over every corner of the house. He was a paragon of virtue so I had to think fast about a truly terrific prize. I spotted my old doll on top of the wardrobe. Would Junior be disappointed with this as a reward? What the heck, I’d give it a bash.
Fiona, the doll is 35 years old. She is an old style Tiny Tears (probably worth a fortune now but I wouldn’t part with her for anything) She is in perfect condition apart from some chewed toes and a missing clump of hair (I was 5! I didn’t understand that it wouldn’t grow back) She is very special to me because I have lots of happy memories of playing with her. I think I was really old when I lost interest in her. Maybe ten or eleven. I can’t believe I said that out loud, but there you go.
When Junior was all dried and in his pyjamas I stretched up to lift Fiona from the wardrobe.
“I have someone very special for you to meet” I said trying to build the moment up. It was touch and go whether Junior would have a tantrum when he saw his ‘reward’.
“Ah Mummy, she’s beautiful
We lay on the bed and I told him stories about what I used to do with Fiona - doll’s hospitals, trips round the block in her pram etc and he listened intently as he gently touched her moveable eyelids. He was smitten!
“Can I take her to bed with me, Mummy?”
I was a bit reluctant about this. Chances were high that I would wake up the next morning to find one of her arms missing or a pudgy leg hanging off. But he was so keen I couldn’t resist. I tucked them in together and went downstairs for a cup of coffee.
When I retired to bed much later I went in to check on Junior and my heart fell to the floor. He had made a wee bed for Fiona beside his bed (see pictures above). He had laid her carefully on a pillow with a blanket over her. He had even gone to the bother of giving her Bruno the dog to cuddle and he had laid her booties neatly beside the makeshift bed. Tears of pride pricked my eyes as I bent to kiss his cheek. Slugs and snails and puppy dogs tails? Pah!!

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Cover story

"Books may well be the only true magic"
Alice Hoffman

Monday, 13 July 2009

Miss you Gran

It would have been my Gran's birthday today. She would have been 95. She died in 1997 and I still miss her. I feel so sorry she never met my lovely son and I just know she would have been so proud of my book. Thinking of you today as always, Jessie. X
(Sorry about the quality of the picture. I took this in 1983 on the beach in Scarborough. This is a photo of a photo. Gran was eating a peach and I caught her off guard!)

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Mind your own business!!!

"There is so much good in the worst of us,
And so much bad in the best of us,
That it hardly becomes any of us,
To talk about the rest of us"
Edward Wallis Hoch

"It is just as cowardly to judge an absent person as it is wicked to strike a defenceless one. Only the ignorant and narrow minded gossip for they speak of persons instead of things"
Lawrence G. Lovasik

I've had enough of nosey people to last me a lifetime! It's not so much nosey people. They're just irritating. It's nasty, nosey people. I am used to this particular breed of person having been brought up in a small village where everybody knows everyone else's business. And if they don't they make it up anyway. Two and two makes five, you get the gist. Even now when I walk through the place where I grew up I can still feel suffocated. I can't help but notice the twitching curtains and hushed whispers. I used to think I was just being paranoid but even as a grown woman I still sometimes feel like I'm trapped in "The Trueman Show".
I remember feeling like I was breathing fresh air for the first time when I left home and moved to the big city. Life was anonymous. Nobody cared what time you came home or who you had in for coffee. It was so refreshing. Despite the geographical move it soon emerged that it was still impossible to escape the small minded people who, for some reason still found my life a source of curiosity. I have no idea why. It wasn't what they said, it was the way they said it.
"I see Hazel's at University now" was said in a way that implied something sordid or mysterious, with a raised eyebrow, suspicious nod and pursed lips - (Les Dawsonesque)
And when I became a single mum I think I kept the Post Office in gossip for at least a week. Until something more scandalous happened to some other poor unsuspecting victim. Nothing travels faster than light, with the possible exception of gossip in a small village. What's the saying? "A rumour without a leg to stand on will get around some other way"
Frequent intrusive questions are very frustrating. They're even more frustrating if they are directed behind your back at the people you care about because the noseybonks in question haven't got the guts to ask you what they want to know to your face.

Nosy people are notorious for asking questions to gather information, inspire a creative insult or to invent an occasion where they'll have some spicy news to share with their cronies. Some people give nosey people the benefit of the doubt and insist they are simply trying to connect and make conversation. Others excuse a nosy person's behavior by suggesting that nosy people are lonely. However, there are occasions when certain questions are seriously intrusive. Privacy is important to me. I am an intensely private person and only choose to share certain parts of my life with those people I truly trust. We all have things we would rather keep to ourselves or share only with with the special people in our lives. Certainly no one should have to tolerate questions that are annoying and unproductive. Rude behavior is a challenge. If inappropriate questions make you uncomfortable, employing techniques designed to help you communicate with a nosy person can help take measures to protect your privacy and peace of mind. Here are my top tips.

It is not your job to educate or enlighten people about their rude behavior
It is your job to notice when a person's line of questioning makes you feel uncomfortable. If you need to express your discomfort, share that you tend to be a private person and advise the individual that their question is inappropriate. If the response is anger, simply remember that rudeness is something a person has to work out on their own. You can't change people but you can change how you deal with them.

• Wear them out
Let them try to pump out the information they want while you share vague replies.

• Let your facial expressions do the talking
Often, one death stare is worth a thousand words.

• Keep your blood-pressure low
If you get angry, they have already managed to get under your skin. Easier said than done, I know!

• Redirect the conversation to a less personal topic
I always find "What nice weather we've been having recently, don't you think" works wonders for changing the subject, especially if it's been raining for the past week.

Without wishing to sound pessimistic I am just so sick and tired of negative, destructive behaviour. I know people don't ask about me because they are interested in my welfare or well being. They are simply prying and it's not on. Even something as positive as my writing a novel and getting it published doesn't always get the response it should.
"A book? How did she manage that? She must have had a lot of spare time on her hands"
Well, for your information (not that you deserve any) I utilised the small amount of time I did have as a single mum with a small baby. I grabbed any moment I could to write and to try and pull myself from a hole that would have been very easy to have stayed inside. It was hard work and my success did not come easy. I happen to think it is worth celebrating so don't even try to pull me down. I'm tired of people who have been so stuck in their ways of thinking for so long they can't see any other way to be but unconstructive and bitter. People who have nothing better to do than to concern themselves with the lives of others. Small minded individuals who make judgements about people based on the juicy wee snippets of tittle-tattle they hear at the bus stop or at the church coffee morning, where the philosophy is, "if you haven't got anything nice to say about somebody, come and sit next to me". A bit of advice for you. Minds are like parachutes. They're only useful when they're open. I am sick of irritating people who think they know you because they've heard one side of a very complicated story. Three words for you - Get -A - Life.
I am vexed that a couple of intolerant, narrow minded individuals have once again wormed their way under my skin and made me feel like this. I simply haven't got space for it in my life any more. I have met so many wonderful people over the last wee while who lift me up and leave me feeling like I'm floating on cloud nine. I have very good friends who do the same, who celebrate my successes and know when not to pry. I make a point in only surrounding myself with positive people now. I have absolutely no time for people who are like the "Dementors" from the Harry Potter stories - who seem to want to suck the happiness from you and sabotage your joy at ever opportunity. If those people in mind are reading this blog now then they will no doubt have enough information about me to keep them going for another wee while. And if you are reading this, a wee message for you - what you don't see with your eyes, don't witness with your mouth. Oh and mind your own business!

Saturday, 11 July 2009

"It's snowing still" said Eeyore gloomily.
"So it is"
"And freezing"
"Is it?"
"Yes" said Eeyore.
"However," he said, brightening up a little, "we haven't had an earthquake lately"
A.A Milne


"There is only one cure for grey hair. It was invented by a Frenchman. It is called the guillotine"
P.G. Wodehouse

Remember I told you the other day that I found my first grey hair? Well, I have found another three since then. I am starting to believe the old wives tale that for every grey hair you pull out another two grow in its place...
Anyway, what's good for J-Lo is good for me!

Thursday, 9 July 2009

A wee taster!

This is the logo for "Bree McCready"!! Fab, isn't it?
My editor, Graham thinks it looks "somewhere between The Mystery Machine and Motorhead"! This isn't the cover for the book by the way, just a wee tickle of the tastebuds to keep you going before I reveal the final article...
The artist is called Lawrence Mann and you can check out some of his work at the above website.
Watch this space!

Misty, water coloured memories...

I’m not sleeping well at the moment. I’m really tired but when I get into bed my head is still whirling around like a tornado and there is absolutely nothing I can do to stop it. I like having an organised mind so I tend to go through what I need to do the following day. Before I know it I’m getting ideas for my book and I have to work out little strategies to try and remember them in amongst the million other thoughts. I can't tell you the times I have had amazing ideas only to wake up the next morning and they’ve disappeared like tears in the rain. Very frustrating. I have tried the notebook by the side of the bed, by the way. More often than not it feels like I’ve just managed to drift off to sleep when I am awoken by Junior jumping on my head with his latest Power Ranger manoeuvre.
Anyway…I was saying. Last night I just could not get to sleep. Instead of lying watching the clock change I decided to get up and look through some old photo albums. A life captured on film. I had a chuckle, I had a tear in my eye. Regrets? I’ve had a few, but then again too few to mention. Yes, there are some things I would have changed but then who doesn’t have things they would change about their lives? I wouldn’t want to go back in time for all the chocolate in Thornton’s. OK, I was younger and thinner but what does that matter when you’re completely miserable? Oscar Wilde once said, “The one charm of the past is that it is the past” and I agree. Especially when it comes to some of the dodgy haircuts and fashion disasters!
Despite finding my first grey hair this afternoon (waiting in the car outside my old High School just to make me feel even older!) it struck me that there is no other time and place I would rather be than the here and now. I am at my happiest at the moment. It doesn't get better than this as far as I'm concerned. There are a few things I would relive if I was given the chance - my first kiss with my one true love (1988), my first outdoor concert (1993) my last day of High School (1989) but all in all I’m so very glad I don’t have to go through growing up all over again. There’s a certain kind of peace that comes with growing old. Not that I’m ready for the old people's home quite yet! No more trying to impress people, no more hurtful mistakes. It feels like the worst is over. It’s nice to be able to look back on your life and remember the good times. It's nice to see the friends you had when you were ten are the friends you have now. It's nice to see the love that has surrounded you all your life (without you even being aware of it). It's nice to see how far you've come since the days of spots and crippling shyness. But, it’s also nice to close the pages of the photo album and focus on the present.
I love this quote from “The Neurotics Handbook” (1960) “The past is strapped to our backs. We do not have to see it; we can always feel it” What you need to remember about the past is that no matter what has happened, the mistakes you’ve made, the hurt you’ve felt, it has all worked together to bring you to this moment. And this is the moment you can choose to make everything new. Right now.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

How clean is your house?

Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shovelling the walk before it stops snowing
Phyllis Diller, ‘Phyllis Diller’s Housekeeping Hints, 1966

My idea of housework at the moment is to sweep the room with a glance. In fact, my philosophy (or coping mechanism if you prefer) over the six weeks summer holidays is if it doesn’t multiply, smell, catch fire or block my path to the fridge then let it be! Juggling writing with bringing up a small child is harder than you might think. It’s a mystery to me how JK Rowling managed to do it seven times. The problem is that writing and childrearing are both very demanding, all-consuming occupations. Most days my head feels like it has reached saturation point by midday. Trying to combine the two means that something has to give and for me that something has been housework.
When I think back to the pre-Junior years I shudder when I think about how much time I spent doing household chores. I did a lot of cleaning and running around as a nursery nurse but I still found the energy to come home and start all over again on my house. Weekends were usually spent changing beds and hovering up invisible fluff. I see the years of being a mum as some kind of slow metamorphosis. I don’t remember waking up one morning and thinking, “I don’t really care if the floors are sticky” or “what’s the point in dusting, you only move the dust from one place to another” - it just kind of happened gradually. As a childless woman in my twenties I used to like a clear path from the front door to the kitchen. I would get stressed if things were left lying around or not put back in their right place. I used to like the cups on my mug tree all going the same way. I used to like the labels on the tins all facing outwards. I used to like the cushions on my settee to lie zip down! Oh, the luxury of time and energy!!
I’ve had no choice but to learn to be more laid back when it comes to being house-proud (and car proud because that’s the other area of life that has, quite literally taken a back seat! Things get thrown in the back at school pick up and forgotten about and the ‘No Eating’ rule has flown out of the window). What’s the saying? “Cleanliness is next to Godliness”. Well I say “Cleanliness is next to impossible” when you have a five year old boy around! The trouble with being a single parent is that it’s always your turn to cook and do the dishes. I have been encouraging Junior to help out with small things but at the moment I only trust him to wash the plastic plates and cutlery. Sometimes his ‘help’ can result in double the work for me!
Becoming a mother has been good for my obsessive compulsion with having everything neat and tidy. I used to pride myself on being organised and immaculate, now it’s a case of,
“A tsunami in the bathroom” - Nothing ten towels and an hour won’t take care of.
“Snot smeared all over the back window of the car” I can still see out the front!
“Underpants dangling from the lampshade” Sure, why not?
“Chocolate handprints on my cream chair” What the heck, it’s only furniture!
“A dinosaur minefield all over the living room floor” I’ll just tiptoe my way through them whilst juggling a pile of ironing and a hot coffee.

It’s not that I don’t like a tidy house it just feels like there are more important things to be getting on with at the moment. In the great scheme of things it really isn’t a big deal if the house looks perfect. The way I look at it is our home is clean enough to be healthy and messy enough to be happy. It’s certainly nowhere near needing a visit from Kim and Aggie. I do insist on making the beds every morning. But that’s only because there’s something about an unmade bed that depresses me. Oh, and my toilet is always spotless - maybe something to do with having a five year old boy with a poor aim.
Now when people are coming round for a cuppa it’s “take the place as you find it” whereas five or six years ago I might have spent hours preparing for their arrival - organising sock drawers and making sure the duvet cover was perfectly equal on all four corners of the bed. Crazy, I know!! And I’m cool now with shoes being tossed carelessly into the shoe cupboard whereas before anything other than footwear left at perfect right angles would have brought me out in a cold sweat.
I know this messy stage will not last forever. One day in the not so distant future when Junior flies the nest I can go back to having alphabeticalised CD’s and perfectly plumped, stain-free cushions. No more unidentifiable blobs dangling from my banister, no more jam smears on the TV screen and no more half eaten vegetables hidden inside my slippers. And do you know something, I’ll kind of miss that...

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Bathtime antics

After my flawless rendition of "Mr Boombastic" by Shaggy, which had Junior in fits of giggles as he had his bath he told me I was "the strangest Mummy that ever lived". I took that as a compliment so perhaps I am...

Many Happy Returns to...

...Bree McCready.
When I wrote "..the Half Heart Locket" I gave Bree July 7th as her birthday. I sent off my first synopsis to a publisher on 07/07/07 to tie in with this. There are also a few other references to the number seven in the novel, see if you can spot them! Graham emailed me this morning to let me know that it occurred to him (today of all days - 07.07) that "Bree McCready and the Half Heart Locket" will be the seventh book that Strident has published. Spoooooky!!!

Monday, 6 July 2009

A Good Day!

Not many people get to start their Monday morning with fantastic news so I feel very privileged that I did!! The cover art for Bree McCready and the Half Heart Locket came through to my editor at 5am this morning. I cannot reveal it quite yet but I am very, very happy with it. It really has the WOW factor. I can't wait to share it with you all but I'll have to be patient for another wee while.
Graham (my fab editor) just has this knack of making me feel fantastic. His enthusiasm is contagious beyond belief and I always come off the phone from him feeling like I'm walking on air. With the launch for Bree McCready only weeks away I mentioned to him that in some ways it feels like the journey is coming to an end - and what a journey it has been! But he reminded me that this is only the start of the adventure and to think about it like I have just been packing for the journey. That put a smile on my face.
I'll keep you all posted.
Must dash -the thunder is rumbling and I've got washing out.

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Today is National Best Friends Day

"Everyone hears what you say. Friends listen to what you say. Best friends listen to what you don't say"

Thankyou to my best friends Beth, Caroline and Paul - For all that has been and for all that's still to come.
P.S Happy Anniversary to Beth & Neil

Friday, 3 July 2009

Rainy Friday!

"Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather"
John Ruskin

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Well, it's only day one...

..of the summer holidays and I'm going mad already. Oh's going to be a l-o-n-g six weeks.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

"I was working on the proof of one of my poems all the morning, and took out a comma. In the afternoon I put it back again"
Oscar Wilde

I have a head full of ideas today but every time I try to write them down I feel like I'm not getting anywhere. Must be how Dizzy feels when she runs on her wheel. There is no doubt about it. Being a writer is sometimes frustrating and lonely. Just a bad day, I guess.
Perhaps it's the pressure of knowing that Junior is about to go on holiday for six weeks (agh!), perhaps it's this relentless, sweaty heat or maybe it's the splitting headache which is making concentrating on anything impossible. Wha
tever it is, I think I'm best just switching off my laptop today.