Friday 31 December 2010

Writers in the 2011 New Year's Honour List...

Literature hasn't featured much in the Queen's New Year's Honours List published today.

Congratulations go to:-

Historian and Author Lady Antonia Fraser CBE who has been created a Dame. She is the widow of  playwright Harold Pinter and wrote a memoir about their life together, Must Yo Go?: My Life with Harold Pinter, published earlier this year and serialised on Radio 4.

Professor Susheila Nasta, founder and Editor of Wasafiri-a literary magazine for contemporary international literature- has received an MBE for Services to Black and Asian Literature.

A fellow member of Nottingham Writers' Club, Ron Booth received an MBE for Services to the Community in Nottinghamshire. Alongside his many voluntary activities, a number of his books have raised funds for charities he has been involved with. He also helped launch a project to get a memorial to the twenty VC holders in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire.

If you know someone who you think deserves to be awarded an honour you can find details of how to nominate them here.

I hope you have a fulfilling and successful 2011.

Happy New Year.

Tuesday 28 December 2010

A Few Winter Photos...

Here are a couple of photos from my recent trip to Yorkshire. These were taken on Monday (27th) after a lovely dinner at Nont Sarah's (just on the right edge of the first photo) then we drove a short way to one of the parking areas on the Marsden Moor Heritage Trail-Buckstones. I took a quick snap of the ridge line despite my hair being blown all over my face and my fingers turning icy without my gloves on...

From Nont's there are spectacular views over to Scammonden Water and Halifax in the far distance, which can actually be seen from the restaurant's dining area. It's 1155 feet above sea level so you'll realise how cold it was up there with all the snow around. In fact while we were eating our lunch there was a light snow flurry.

Considering how far away from the sea the building is, it does actually have some nautical connections. The maple wood panelling that surrounds the front of the bar area came from a stateroom on the trans-Atlantic liner, Mauritania after it was scrapped.

This place has provided lots of memories for me as I first went there with my (then) boyfriend (now my husband).

road,pub sign,snow,hotel,moors,slush
                                                                           Looking toward the Moors...

No matter the time, distant past or present, you wouldn't want to travel across these moors in bad weather.

I was grateful I could go back to a warm hotel room eventually.

Snow Everywhere...

Monday 27 December 2010

I've survived Christmas- how about you?

Just popping in to say hello and I hope you all enjoyed the Christmas weekend.

I resisted over-indulging in the goodies- hopefully my waistline will thank me later. :-)

I've been visiting for a few days and have been in constant sight of snow. There are a few pictures- taken on Christmas Day and then today- I just need to download and look at them first to see if they are reasonable enough to show you...

Anyway, more in a few days...

Friday 17 December 2010

Christmas is coming and now for some fun...

As the snow starts falling again and the last of the presents are wrapped, I'm running out of things to talk about.

Plus my computer time gets limited by the children finishing school for the Christmas holidays and wanting access to the Internet.

So I'll be posting less over the next week and then leaving you to have a wonderful Christmas. I'll probably be posting a few photos before the New Year.

Otherwise normal service resumes in early January.

Here's a fun Christmas YouTube video- enjoy.

Tuesday 14 December 2010

Reviewing the Writing Year and Making Resolutions...

I know you usually make resolutions at the start of the New Year but I've never found those last very long. Also I try to make my resolutions as flexible as possible so if I fail I don't feel too bad.

Life has been a bit chaotic this year so I haven't done as much writing as I intended.

One resolution for this year was to get at least one short story published in a Woman's magazine- a tough market to crack at any time.
Unfortunately the one I did send was rejected.

I have another one that just needs a little rewriting. A writer friend on a forum I belong to has offered to read it for me- she's had a number of womag stories published so I'll get an honest opinion before it goes out. So hopefully this time when I submit I might be nearer a yes- well you have to be positive...

I was going to do more work on my Dorset novel this year, but that too went out the window when my hubby had to work abroad for six months and keeping everything running at home took over my life.

Add to that a recurring bug that kept leaving me needing antibiotics to clear bad chest infections.

So writing was almost wiped out of the schedule in 2010.

In fact this blog has been the most concentrated writing I have done this year. So thank you for reading it and do please keep commenting.

So 2011 beckons and I need to decide a few goals. So here are my aims for the coming year.

1: Get a short story published- somewhere.

2: Work on at least one of my novella length stories.

3: The novel- open to decision.
Now I will be getting the feedback on this from the competitions it was entered into at the Writing club I attend. The comments will be back early January at the reorganised Awards Night- cancelled from earlier this month because of the snow. I may share some of the comments with you...

(I just hope the next lot of snow doesn't cancel the January attempt!!!)

4: Enter some writing competitions.

I think that is enough for one year.

Were your resolutions for this year successful, or like mine a bit of a disaster? You're welcome to share your highs and lows.

Here's to a positive 2011...

Thursday 9 December 2010

Improve Your Writing...

Have you ever puzzled over whether you should use Who's or Whose?

I didn't know the word Pleonasm existed, let alone what it was. But a quick read of the explanation and I realised I did actually know what it was and could recognise one when I saw it...

Well here is a web page where you can practise all those areas of grammar that we all stumble over occasionally. You will find out what a Pleonasm is if like me, you didn't know.

Thanks have to go to writer Teresa Ashby who mentioned these writing exercises and provided a link on her blog last month.

I've tried a few of the exercises and I'm doing okay, but I know I still have a few dodgy areas...

Have fun.

Monday 6 December 2010

Christmas is coming...

A temporary diversion from writing and transport problems because of the snow and ice.

This time every year I turn into a big kid again (temporarily) when the countdown to Santa begins (yes I know I'm a grown-up and I know the man in the big red suit doesn't really exist but it's better than moaning about all the miserable stuff. I'm a writer so imagination is allowed :) ).

So here's a link to put you in the Christmas spirit, NORAD Tracks Santa. You can click on the page for Santa's village- an alternative advent calendar...Hover your mouse over the building of the day and it will light up and the banner at the top will tell you what the building is. Click on it and a puzzle of some sort will come up- simple enough for a child to do and accompanied by Christmas music, probably courtesy of North Pole Radio at number 4...
Santa claus Pictures, Images and Photos
image from


Back to normality soon...

Friday 3 December 2010

"sex, scandal and soft furnishings"

I'm certain that I will be finding inspiration from the new series 'At Home with the Georgians' that started last night (Thursday the 4th) on BBC 2- available on BBC IPlayer- for UK only).

The programme has been written and is presented by historian Professor Amanda Vickery who clearly enjoys the Georgians and her enthusiasm oozes out of the screen to the viewer.

There are three parts (not enough for me!) and in part 1 we were treated to revealing thoughts from a few men and women of the early 18th C via their diaries.

It certainly made me reconsider the important role men played in setting up home. Many men today wouldn't necessarily see that as their main priority in the way her chosen Georgian males did.

I'm looking forward to part 2 when the subject is 'taste'. Consumerism 300 years ago perhaps? There will certainly be a lot of choice...

There is a very interesting post by Amanda Vickery on the BBC TV Blog which I'm sure you'll enjoy reading, explaining some of the places she visited in her research, as well as some dangerous contraptions.

Her book 'Behind Closed Doors: At Home in Georgian England' is going on my Christmas wish list.

Do explore some of the links that you'll find on the BBC pages, they always lead to other useful information.

Yes the inspiration bug is working already...

Wednesday 1 December 2010

Stiletto results...

Good news, the list of finalists of the Get Your Stiletto in the Door competition are now up and available to read. So look here for anyone you know.

Well done Lou Treleaven for getting into the Young Adults finalist list. You can find Lou's blog here.

Well done to all the finalists who will now be having their manuscripts looked at by an Agent and Editor to select a winner in their category.

If you entered and didn't get to the final three in your category, commiserations, but I'm sure the feedback will have been worth entering...

Tuesday 30 November 2010

Competition updates...

Remember the Get Your Stiletto in the Door Competition run by Chick-Lit Writers of the World in conjunction with the Romance Writers of America?

The Finalists in the various categories should have been announced by now, but there was a high number of entries overall and a few judges seemingly pulled out -understandably creating a delay.

Hopefully the finalists lists will soon be announced. I know someone who has recently been told by e-mail she is a finalist in the YA category, but doesn't know more than this. So keep checking their website for an announcement soon.

Sadly the continuing bad weather has led to the cancellation of Nottingham Writers' Club Awards Night on the 1st December, so my learning the written comments of the judges of my novel competition entries will be delayed until early January 2011.
I'm disappointed, but delays happen for writers.

Meanwhile The Bad Sex in Fiction prize was awarded to Rowan Somerville for his second book 'The Shape of Her'. This was presented by Michael Winner.

(I wonder what the winner gets? A trophy, a certificate, a large bottle of something alcoholic to drown their sorrows, or celebrate. )

Alastair Campbell's appeared in the media a few days before saying he would like to win the award. It seems his enthusiasm may have put the judges off...But at least he can say he got to the shortlist unlike Mr T Blair.

Well there's always next year...

Sunday 28 November 2010


I've been fortunate this year in not suffering too badly from the snow. I live in an area that seems to escape heavy snowfall which can be very disappointing to the younger members of the family who long for more snow so they can build a snowman and throw snowballs at each other.

It is freezing cold at night so any standing water turns to thick ice...

I woke up Saturday morning to see a light covering of snow in the back garden, but as the day progressed and the sun shone the snow began to melt on the trees and any surface in direct sunlight. Only the grass and darker areas of the garden still have snow lingering.

So just in case this is the only snow we get I stepped outside and took a picture of the lingering snow on the Blackberry bush in garden.

snow,grass,fence,rooflines,water butt
a slight dusting
So will there be more snow tomorrow?

Saturday 27 November 2010

Useful and Interesting Websites...

The world wide web has been a boon to writers of fiction or non-fiction- or both. We can now access documents and pictures that would have previously required time and a visit to libraries or museums that may not even be in the same county or even the same country!

One website leads to another and a reference on one to another. Result, a problem solved, knowledge gained or another story idea pops up- I have too many of them to deal with at the moment.

Thank goodness for Favourites...

As I'm having a quiet spell (Wednesday evening and Awards Night at my writers' club approaches - my competition entries will be returned with the judges comments) I thought I'd suggest some interesting websites that I have in my Favourites folder that you might want to look at some time.

History. I love history as you may have realised from the posts about my recent travels. So I've chosen two sites that I'm sure you will enjoy.

The Georgian Index can be graphic intensive so you can click on a text only A-Z list (well Y actually) and go from there. There's also a Napoleonic and American Front Door you can explore (those leads I mentioned).

Particular sections that interest me in the GI include the London Street and Business Index covering London Merchants (with addresses and dates where known).
Just a few examples:
Gun makers- where a Gentleman would go to obtain his weaponry or practice on targets.

Goldsmiths and Jewelers- where Royalty and the wealthy were supplied.

Purveyors (suppliers) of Wine, Tea or Food- Twining for Tea (still producing tea now) and Fortnum and Masons- a well known name- who thrived providing care packages (apparently) for Officers during the Napoleonic Wars.

Modistes, Milliners and Furriers- for Ladies clothing.

Addresses recognised in Regency romances: Grosvenor Square, Hanover Square, Bond Street and Park Lane...

You can find out what the card games of Piquet and Loo were at a Regency Card Party and see pictures of Furniture and a Sedan Chair (I don't envy those Chairmen who carried people around).

There's so much to find out-I haven't even touched on the list of Newspapers...

At a slightly later date- Victorian- there is The Victorian Web.

This site is very text intensive so be warned.

Subjects covered include Thomas Hardy's Dorchester, a gallery of images you can click on including one of the building reputed to be the house of Henchard in the Mayor of Casterbridge- it is now a Bank.

Architecture- Gothic Revival,  Classicism and Moorish.

Victorian Theatre, Gender matters, the list just goes on. You will find something that interests you in the numerous pages.

So go and have a look and enjoy...

Thursday 25 November 2010

Christmas and Memories...

Yes, this time next month it will be Christmas Day- well in the UK it will be...

Just to get everyone in the mood for the big day the December mini poll is about your favourite Christmas songs- both modern and traditional.

I know that when I start to hear these songs on the radio or on tv channels with non-stop music videos then Christmas is coming. But those songs may also stir good memories of people who may no longer be in our lives, or events and emotions that we always associate with particular songs.

This is another method of inspiring ideas- you could apply it to songs in the summer too.

I always associate Slade's 'Merry Christmas Everybody' with being a teenager. More often now it's crowded over-heated shops...

I hope you'll take part in this month's mini poll and do please use the comment form to share your favourite songs at this time of year.

Wednesday 24 November 2010

November Mini Poll

So here are the results of November's fun mini poll- preferred hair colour of your hero/heroine.

Blond/e         14%

Brunette        71%

Red              14%

Grey             0%

Bald              0%

Don't mind    14%

Okay it was only a small number of responses...:)

But I must admit only the occasional hero of mine is blond, so perhaps I need to redress the balance.

Monday 22 November 2010

All writers have...

I met up with a writer friend today and between the cake and coffee we strayed onto books and unsurprisingly agreed that...

All writers:

Have a big stack of books that they have bought and intend to read- they just haven't got round to it yet...

If they see a notebook they like they'll buy it, even if they have a dozen in the drawer at home...

Lots of methods for backing up your work- I seem to have quite a few memory sticks now...

Among the big stack of books in my home are quite a few that are for reference. Sometimes they relate to a project I intend to get to later, rather than now or the next few months.
I just have this fear that if I don't get it when I see it I won't remember or find it again- when I do need it.

Now you'll probably have your own ideas of what to add to the list, so please share your particular writing related must haves in the comments section- just to reassure us all we are not crazy, we're just writers.

Friday 19 November 2010

And the Contenders are...

It's that time of year again...

No, not Christmas shopping. I mean the shortlist for the Bad Sex in Fiction Award, an annual highlight of the Literary Review that has (in the past) probably included writers who hid behind their computer screens in shame, while others wholeheartedly embraced their inclusion.

You can see the shortlist here.

Ex-PrimeMinister Tony Blair was nominated a few months ago to much media comment for a few lines in his recently published biography, but he escaped while his former spin-doctor Alistair Campbell didn't and is included for a second time (that must tell him something).

You can read why some of this year's shortlist were selected by the judges in an article in the Guardian's book section.

This year's winner will be announced on the 29th November at a ceremony in the In & Out Club in St James's Square.

Now if you want to read an example of good sex in fiction ask any romance writer.

My personal choice... No- I can't pick just one, there are just too many good ones to choose from...

Thursday 18 November 2010

Competition and events for all you poets...

I've received details about the Ware Poets Open Poetry Competition for 2011, being judged by Carole Satyamurti.

Poems no longer than 50 lines. You need an entry form to go with your £3 entry fee and you can find the pdf form and details here. (just scroll down the page) The closing date is the 30th April 2011. There's also a Sonnet Competition too.

(You'll also find other poetry events and competitions on the above link.)

If you want to see the winners of the Ware Poets 2010 competition then look here.

Now I have to admit I can't write poetry- and yes I have tried- once. Perhaps I'll try again when I'm older...

Monday 15 November 2010

Learning the Ropes...The Ropery

window sill,thick rope

When we start learning the skills we need to improve our writing you could say we're learning the ropes. But that is also the term for anyone learning about the ropes on a ship or making rope.

So to my visit to The Ropery at the Chatham Historic Dockyard...

It's very popular so you need to get your tickets for the free timed guided tour when you pay for your entry to the dockyard- it's worth every penny.

Admiral Nelson's ship Victory couldn't have run without the miles and miles of rope that were used for the rigging, the sails and even the anchor- three different sizes for the different uses.

I have to admit that I didn't take notes of the names (yes, bad girl for not writing it down I know ) as I was trying to keep hold of one of my children and I was enjoying the commentary by the lady guide who was entertaining us as we went along.
The Ropery is shown to visitors set in 1875, when mechanical spinning machines were used and women were working and had their own entrance door- so they didn't mix with the men...

Entrance to Spinning Room-Women Only

The fun began when a few of the visitors were chosen to make rope. The yarns were fixed and had to be twisted- you don't need a bad back for this- then they are combined together and with the addition of a cone shaped  device and more turning you eventually get a length of thin rope. The victims- I mean volunteers- received a section of rope they had worked hard to produce, but we could all imagine how physically exhausting the rope production was, even though we'd only seen a small piece produced.

yarns,machinery,making rope

We finally moved into the Ropewalk and looked down the length of the building, it was a long long distance and they must have been very fit...

Down the Ropewalk

Here's some of the machinery. It is still working making rope.


Well I'm just glad I don't have to go up and down the building all day.

If you get the chance to visit  you will certainly learn about history and the part  The Ropery played in  the shipping history of this country...

Saturday 13 November 2010

I Visited Waterstones Today...

I don't usually go shopping in the city centre at the weekend but I was buying a birthday present, so I popped into my local branch to see what was available for Christmas too.

I was delighted to see the squishy sofa seating had been put in downstairs and some moving around of sections making it seem a little more open.

If you read my blog in October about my difficulties buying romance books then I can tell you that there has been some improvement.

Romance is no longer in an alcove between erotica and horror, it is now at the end of a range of shelving units- much more comfortable in the viewing stakes.

It now comes after the horror books- okay, nothing is perfect. I can ignore the books to my left.

Still a limited choice in romance (compared to the range that the departed Borders held) but that's retail.

I noticed Nora Roberts books ( reissues of many of her category romances that I bought first time round)  have made it into the A-Z Fiction sections rather than being within romance, but with so many shelves to fill it would have unbalanced the romance section if they'd been put there...

I did buy a book though. It was a Shire Library book on Early Firearms 1300-1800 by Michael Spencer. (Research for one of my characters)

I'm a fan of Shire Books and certainly recommend having a look at their website. If you want an overview of a subject then they are very useful, plus there is a list of places to visit and further reading on the subject of the book, so you can follow on from it if you need to.

Right I'm off to read my new book...

Thursday 11 November 2010

Never to be Forgotten

Today we remember the dead of past wars and those that are dying in conflicts now.

I thought that I would bring a particular website to your attention. It's the War Graves Photographic Project.

"The aim of The War Graves Photographic Project is to photograph every war grave, individual memorial, MoD grave, and family memorial of serving military personnel from WWI to the present day and make these available within a searchable database."

Volunteers photograph the graves and memorials for inclusion in the project and it will obviously take quite a while if they are to achieve their aim, "to photograph in excess of 1.75 million graves or memorials from Commonwealth Nations and many from other military forces around the world."

I posted the link for the website on a writers forum I belong to and a member was able to send the link with the picture of a relative's grave to another family member.

Many of us will have had an ancestor in the armed forces during the First or Second World War- in my own family history one of my grandfather's and two great uncles fought. One of those great-uncles lies in Artillery Wood Cemetary in Belguim.

So please support this project...

Wednesday 10 November 2010

E-books and the Agency Model- Part 2...

Since my blog on this item in October more publishers have moved to selling their e-books on the agency model.

Hatchette has been joined by big publishers Penguin and HarperColins. No doubt more will be looking at their options.

Amazon -with a big share of the e-book sales market- apparently saw a high response from customers on their (Amazon Kindle forum to the imposition of a set price. Some even threatened to boycott any e-book from these publishers.

Only the sales figures will tell if it had an effect.

Meanwhile Waterstones have signed a deal with HarperColins to sell its e-books on agency terms and consequently removed giving loyalty card points on any HC e-book purchase...

Today, on the Bookseller website they highlighted the comments of agent Annette Green on the view from here blog- you can read the whole piece there by clicking the link at the bottom of this Bookseller article.
She remarks that it is a "stupendously ill-judged attempt to revive the ghost of the Net Book Agreement" and fears it will only encourage piracy.

We all know what happened with the music industry and I know I don't want to see that happen again with the publishing industry...

The Fry Chronicles (Stephen Fry's new book) was used as an example of the price discrepancy created. Today the Kindle version is selling for £12.99, while the Hardcover copy is £9.50, even the Audio CD is only selling for £12.11.
(Waterstones doesn't have this e-book available at the moment- no idea if that is through choice or that particular e-book format not yet being available.)

If the publishers think the customer will happily pay (before discount) hardcover prices for e-book downloads someone should throw a bucket of cold water over them to wake them up to reality.

There are small companies who have started to produce their own e-books for sale on the web and via the big suppliers. They aren't going to go the agency route as it wouldn't help their emerging businesses.

Readers who wouldn't think of downloading a pirated copy of an e-book may stop buying or will seek out new authors (hopefully) from other (non agency) suppliers.

Other readers may just decide to get their literary fix from pirated copies. If that happens everyone loses out  and as the music industry has found, it's hard to get the genie back in the bottle once it's out...

So what do you think? Have you any views on the agency model and what it could mean to the future of e-books? You're welcome to comment using the box below.

The Ropery Coming soon...

Just to let you know that this blog will be along in a few days, but it's been pushed off the agenda by the latest salvo's in the e-book/agency model situation, which will be the subject of my next post.

Monday 8 November 2010

Rye in the rain...and Inspiration

It has been a long time since I visited Rye and it was warm and sunny the day I did visit. This time it was cold and very wet...

If you have heard of Rye then it may be in relation to sheep and smuggling. But it has a notable literary claim- more later.

The sheep provided the wool that supported the community, along with fishing, especially needed when land reclaimed from the sea reduced tidal-flows and allowed silt to build up in the rivers and harbour reducing the advantages of their seaport.

Smuggling thrived in the Rye area, so when luxury goods were added to the agenda the gangs involved didn't hesitate to employ violence- murder and intimidation- if required, and blood was spilled...

(Reality truly was very different to the smuggler heroes of historical romances published in this century.)

If you're interested, find out about the Hawkhurst Gang in 18thC Kent and Sussex.

As to the literary side of the town, it was actually the home of a lot of authors, among them - Henry James the American Novelist who lived at Lamb House and wrote a number of his books there. (Lamb House is now a National Trust Property.)
17th C dramatist John Fletcher. Children's author Malcolm Saville and Author/Cartoonist John Ryan who is best known for his TV cartoon 'Captain Pugwash', loved by children and adults alike.

I even got a story idea from visiting the Ypres Tower (built in 1249). The tower under the ownership of a Trust and is staffed by volunteers who are knowledgeable and interested in the building's care and preservation.
On the upper floor, apart from the display material you can walk out onto a observation area and view the Romney Marshes and the surrounding landscape- a spectacular view.
I appreciated it from the doorway...

As to the inspiration, the upper room got me thinking...What if you woke up in a tower room but couldn't remember how you got there...

Sunday 7 November 2010

Coming up this week...

Sounds like tv...:)

I thought I'd let you know about the final two visits (from my recent short break) which will be appearing on my blog this week- before my normal posts return.

First there is Rye and Inspiration- History and Writers both involved.

Making Rope- with photos from my recent visit to The Ropery at the Chatham Historic Dockyard.

Hope you're enjoying these posts and if you want to comment please use the Comments box, either on this post, or the other 'place' posts.

Saturday 6 November 2010

Tunbridge Wells and The Pantiles...


My trip to Royal Tunbridge Wells reminded me of my years in college. I would often  meet up with my friends and (just like young women do now) we'd shop, have coffee and chat. This often included a stroll along the colonnade in The Pantiles.

The modern shopping area is at the top of the hill, updated and still as busy as it was thirty years ago. While the older part of town is at the bottom, almost in a valley.

To reach The Pantiles you walk along a road of old shops, old but not tatty. They have fresh paintwork and clean windows. On one side, the pavement is stepped up and there are black benches to rest on- and my legs did need a rest for a few minutes...or more!

When you walk into the Pantiles the outside intrusions of the everyday world- and the traffic running alongside the area- is dampened and for the time you are there you are cocooned from the hustle and bustle of the modern high street. 

The Pantiles are a good example of the modern world meeting the past harmoniously and each benefiting.

The surrounding Georgian buildings house businesses of all sizes, and one in the centre of the square, houses the tourist information centre.

Former names,Square,places

Tourist Information-not established in the 18th Century...

tourist information,square,red paving

Tunbridge Wells was a watering place of the aristocracy, even rivalling Brighton and Bath. The Chalybeate Spring (discovered in c1606) is still there and working.

Spring,red paving,columns,water

This facade was restored in 1987 and the water is still served by 'Dippers' between Easter and the end of September.

You can post your letters or postcards into an elegant Victorian post box with a decorative top-much nicer than the standard round boxes.


columns,tables,chairs,signs,clocks,treesAnd a final view before I strolled away at a lady-like pace...

Thursday 4 November 2010

Charles Dickens, the Castle and Rochester...

castle walls,lamps,paving slabs

Rochester Castle dominates the skyline of this Medway estuary town. Across the road from the Castle is the Cathedral and both play a part in the two Dickens Festivals held each year. In early June the members of The Dickens Fellowship Society dress up in Victorian costume and parade through the streets and in the castle gardens.

In December they have a Dickensian Christmas- after all Dickens did write 'A Christmas Carol'...

Dickens moved to Chatham as a child- where his father worked in the dockyard- so he would have been familiar with the streets and buildings of Rochester as it was the next door town. Many of the old buildings still exists, so you could actually be walking in Dickens footsteps as you wander along the main streets.

There are brown plaques attached to buildings detailing characters and locations used in Dickens novels, and you could spend time following their trail.

Close to the entrance to the Castle is a restaurant called Topes, and you can see an example of the details on the picture below.
Dickens books,characters

Sadly it was too late in the day when I got there to visit the Museum-with a Dickens room- but hopefully I'll get back there one day to visit...

Tuesday 2 November 2010

Just for fun...

During my recent trip I saw a great poster in the window of an Estate Agent's and thought it might make you smile.

dogs,red hair,collar

Monday 1 November 2010

The Historic Dockyard Chatham and avoiding submarines...

I'll leave avoiding the big submarine to last...

It was a cold, but bright, Monday morning and I had a bag of supplies to keep me and the family fuelled as we went round the vast site.

It's not hard to stand and imagine the hustle and bustle that would have taken place there, every day, since the late 1500's.

If a ship was made of wood and sailed into battle then it probably came from the Chatham Dockyards.

In the dock where Nelson's 'Victory' once stood there is now a WWII destroyer called the HMS Cavalier (1944) which you can go onto to look around. Space is very cramped, upper walkways are narrow (not being slim, at one point I had to sidestep along one of these to get to the next set of steps down. Okay I didn't like the steep drop down the side of the ship I could see, so facing the bulkhead was reassuring...)

Going up and down stairs visitors are advised to turn round and go down backwards- it is easier, but there were occasions when fellow visitors needed to help one another by passing bags up or down hatchways- handbags got through okay but picnic laden bags made climbing difficult. Thick coats were also a disadvantage...

As I'm not great with heights (if I can see straight down) I left my family happily exploring and took myself (and our supplies) off the ship and sat on a nearby bench while my legs went from wobbly jelly to normal...

My favourite had to be the elegant HMS Gannet (1878) a Victorian steamer that started life policing the various sea areas of the British Empire. It has been beautifully restored and is licenced for the performance of marriges- a great venue for a wedding...

Stepping aboard I could imagine walking along the deck in a big dress, a shawl and bonnet as in Victorian days- admitedly the decks were fairly clear when they wouldn't have been in those times... It was solid and reassuring, despite one my son's pointing out that if it had been hit by a missile there would have been lots of splintered wood flying around to kill you!

This is HMS Gannet in all her glory...
HMS Gannet (1878)

Now the submarine- it was huge and black. It was just too long to be able to get it in a photo.
HM Submarine Ocelot (1962) is certainly imtimidating to look at, it was the last warship built at Chatham for the Royal Navy. It's an 'O' class diesal-electric submarine and stayed in service until 1981.

You can look round it, but you have to go on timed tours (by ticket). You also need to be fairly mobile to move through the sections- you receive instructions on how to do this. But the diagram on the entry building with a circle showing the diameter of hatches helped decide me to stay up top.

You can see some official pictures here

I did walk down the steps into the dry dock where it is berthed and walked underneath and up the steps on the other side. Even that brief contact was impressive.

For anyone interested in lifeboats there is also the RNLI Historic Lifeboat Collection, it  features fifteen lifeboats from early pulling versions and sailboats to motor lifeboats from the 20th century and beyond.

I'll leave the Ropery for another day, but if you want to find out more and have a look at their photogallery, you will find lots of information here

There is so much to see and do while you are at the Historic Dockyard Chatham and it really is worth the visit if you are ever in the Medway valley...

Saturday 30 October 2010

Catching Up...

I've just got back from a few days away visiting historic monuments and interesting places in other parts of the country.

It wasn't intended to have any literary connections, but I did find a few on the way...

So over the coming week I'll be telling you about some of the places I've been and hopefully some of the photos I took will show you what I saw.

I'll be starting with my visit to Chatham Dockyard where I went on some ships and avoided the submarine tour...:)

Tuesday 26 October 2010

Reference books I wouldn't part with- Part 2...

This book is for the writer/reader interested in the history relating to marriage, separation and divorce before the first Divorce Act in 1857.

Broken Lives: Separation and Divorce in England 1660-1857 by Lawrence Stone.
ISBN: (Hardback) 0-19-820254-7

(While there were some historians who were unhappy with his methods and the conclusions he reached in his earlier books, but they still make interesting reading.)

Where marriage was concerned, it was much simpler for the ordinary man and woman than for the wealthy. Even if love was involved in their relationship, money came into it at every stage, even with divorce.

(Now pass over the next bit if you are already familiar with the financial aspects of marriage within the wealthy class.)

At marriage a dowry was paid by the bride's family to the groom's. In response, provision would be made for the couple so they had income to live on. And in case she became a widow, her jointure- an annuity for the rest of her life was agreed (a pension).
All her personal property- jewels, furniture and money became her husband's to do with as he pleased when she became a Mrs.

So a wife risked a great deal to separate from her husband but some still did it, despite the social and financial ruin they would incur, as well as the loss of access to any children they had.

The section of the book that I find the most interesting is the case studies taken from the court documents, statements from the parties involved and those of witnesses ( often they were bribed to give a particular version). This is the ugly side of social history of the wealthy.

A few years ago I had an idea for a novella set at the turn of the 19th century. My hero, Hugh, was the child of a broken marriage. So I created a back story to explain the separation and set about researching its plausibility. I researched what might be available in the county library, borrowed this book and began reading.

I came across a case in the late 18th century. It even fitted into the same time period my fictional characters would have broken up.
While my scenario didn't share any similarity to the distressing circumstances of the case, the offending male did.

I won't reveal more as I've started writing Hugh's story, but it shows that what we think may be unlikely, if we just look we may find it could have happened.

While the rich lived comfortable lives, behind closed doors some of their relationships were hell.

If they lived now- without the riches- quite a few of those wives would be residing in refuges for battered women or on long-term anti-depressants.

So when I see portraits of the aristocracy hanging in art galleries, I do look at their faces and wonder...

Saturday 23 October 2010

The Trial of Lady Chatterley's Lover...

Hard to believe this trial of D H Lawrence's book was fifty years ago.

If a publisher appears in court in the modern day it's usually because a non-fiction book has been published with disputed statements that could be damaging to the person it's about.

Obviously Lawrence's book was a work of fiction. But the powers that be, did get uptight about sex in those days.

Goodness knows what they would have said about the sexual references in literature published now. :)

There is a long article in the Guardian by Geoffrey Robertson QC discussing the effect the trial had. You can read it here.
(It is previewing a piece in the Guardian Review.)

So perhaps writers of today should thank DHL for his book...

------------ * --------------------- * --------------------- * --------------

Just to add: If you are interested in D H Lawrence and want to discover more then there are two places in Nottinghamshire- the Durban House Heritage Centre and the D. H. Lawrence Birthplace Museum. For details see here.

Thursday 21 October 2010

Results of the September mini poll...

Thanks to those of you who voted in my first mini poll on your preferences for reading romances.

The results were as follows:


Historical: 57%

Chick-lit: 28%

The October poll is now up- okay I know it's almost November...:)

We've all heard the phrases ' blondes have more fun', 'tall, dark and handsome' and that red-heads have a 'fiery temper'.

So this mini poll is about hair colour of your hero and or heroine.

For the writers amongst you- do you find your characters usually have the same hair colour?

And for the readers- are you more likely to pick a book up if the character in the cover image has a specific hair colour?

You can find out the answers this time next month...

Wednesday 20 October 2010

Rejections and waiting to find out...

Rejections. A normal  part of a writer's life.

Heard today that the results of the Arvon Foundation six word story have finally been announced. Sadly neither of my entries made  the shortlist...

The writers' club I attend in Nottingham has a number of annual competitions, including a Romance trophy in memory of writer Mary Street. She had a number of traditional Regency romances published by Robert Hale and was delighted to have her book The Confessions of Fitzwilliam Darcy published in America.

So this year I entered my synopsis and first three chapters for judging (back in June). It was being judged by a New Zealand writer and e-book publisher- so they went as an electronic submission via her UK partner (to maintain anonymity). The judging has been done and two weeks ago the results were returned to the competition secretary. So I'm hoping to at least get some positive comments back on my entry tonight, though it will be December at the Awards Night before I find out who won.

Actually I've also entered it for the club's Gladys Bungay annual novel competition too. The judge for this is a small publisher, and male, so I hope to get feedback on whether my male characters sound believable.
(Gladys was a published Mills and Boon author in the mid 20thC, under a different name.)

So all I need to do now is get on with finishing the novel...

Tuesday 19 October 2010

Libraries and the writer- and readers too...

Tomorrow the Government announce the results of their Comprehensive Spending Review and we all know that means more cuts are coming.

Last week the list of Quangos to be closed or transferred was announced and writers everywhere were very disturbed by the intention to transfer the PLR (Public Lending Rights) to another "existing publicly-funded body".

Read the statement in PLR News here.

PLR payments are vital to many authors who aren't in the best seller lists and don't  have books available in major booksellers. They are writers of local history books, romances in formats specifically for library purchase.
6p to the author each time it is loaned out is not much- and that depends on your book being in some of  the libraries being used for counting each year.
Cuts to arts funding in the past few years has meant this amount has not increased, nor would it be rising this year.

Last week our local newspaper listed pages of cuts highlighted by our County Council. The library service will suffer very badly with staff cuts and closures, as well as fewer books purchased. We lost a small village library nearby a couple of months ago.

One of our local publishers Ross Bradshaw- a man who has always supported writers in Nottinghamshire (a Lowdham Book Festival organiser)- sent an e-mail to writers and publishers on Friday asking for their support in his letter of protest over the library cuts. He has a hundred names supporting his stance.

I know how big a part the library (in my own home town) played in the writer I have become. It was a building full of words, adventures and facts that fed my growing mind and imagination.

I'm certain that some of our great writers, like Alan Sillitoe, wouldn't have stepped out of the life intended for them if it hadn't been for access to libraries.

Reader or writer, that should be available to all children and adults...

Saturday 16 October 2010

E-books and the 'Agency Model'

Anyone who looks at buying e-books (from suppliers other than Amazon) may be put off by the prices being asked for electronic copies of the latest books by the best known, and best selling authors.

Even I don't want to pay hardback prices for a digital copy. And suppliers eventually find an acceptable price to sell them at.

Now bear with me, it will become clearer as you read on...

This year life has been carrying on against a background of assorted e-book price issues taking place on both sides of the Atlantic.

In the USA action started with agent Andrew Wylie- too complex to explain here, but just Google his name and you can read all about his dealing this year.

You'll come across the term 'Agency Model' now.

In September it hit the UK with the announcement by Hatchette UK that they were moving some sellers to the agency model.

This meant that the publisher not the retailer would be setting the price that their e-books could be sold at, and W H Smith, Waterstones and the Book Depository responded by immediately removing or making unavailable  the publisher's e-books. Meanwhile Amazon Kindle continued selling at the price they chose...

Hatchette said there would be a "short transition period" while they moved from wholesaler terms to the new agency model, and their intention was to create a level playing field for booksellers, whether they are large or small.

Other UK Publishers have apparently being looking at this, and may follow.

Laudable but...

Now has told Kindle customers it "will continue to fight against higher prices for e-books".
It has suggested that publishers increasing e-book prices will lead to lower sales.

Their e-mail to customers states "In fact, since agency prices went into effect on some e-books in the US, unit sales of books priced under the agency model have slowed to nearly half the rate of growth of the rest of Kindle book sales." Read the whole e-mail here.

Now Kindle has a big part of the e-book market. When they launched the latest version of Kindle they were offering some well known books at exceptionally low prices compared to other suppliers.

Call me a cynic, but are they totally thinking of the customer having to pay more or are they concerned about their profits?

And what about the writer in all this? How much will they get?

Even that is variable...

You can read the Society of Authors recommendations here.

So what will happen next? Share your views.

Personally, I want to be able to buy an e-book for a reasonable price (for its length) but still ensure the writer gets a royalty rate that rewards their hard work and their level of sales, while the publisher makes enough money too...

Wednesday 13 October 2010

Reference books I wouldn't part with...Part 1

We all have favourite books that we keep and wouldn't think of giving away. I've heard them referred to as 'keepers' when speaking about fiction, but not relating to non-fiction.

I certainly have a few books that I wouldn't part with, mainly because of the subject matter, but they can sometimes cost quite a bit if there isn't a modern paperback reprint available, and not always available from local libraries.

Fashions in Hair: The First Five Thousand Years by Richard Corson.
My hardback copy- slightly tatty- is a 1984 reprint and was bought from a book sale at our County library about eight years ago for 80p. The most interesting 80 pence I have ever spent.

(It is a rather heavy book and 6cm thick.)

It starts with 1400BC and ends with 1978, over 3,000 black and white illustrations- and yes there is a hairstyle shown that I did actually have myself, around 1978. :)

There's explanatory text discussing how the styles developed during specific time periods, with additional images such as 14thC Venetian hairpins to caricatures of hairstyles.

There was a later reprint, but second hand prices are similar to the previous version.

I've not yet found another book that is as comprehensive as this one.

So do you have a reference book that you wouldn't part with ?

Please use the comment form to tell us about it ...

Sunday 10 October 2010

Handbags say a lot too...

How many Handbags do you have?

Now I will admit to at least half a dozen (that I can think of immediately) but there may be a few more...

But do you ever think about their purpose, or even what they say about the owner?

I'm a large handbag girl- everything but the kitchen sink basically- so it's fortunate I didn't live hundreds of years ago when I would have only had a small reticule spacious enough to hold a hanky, smelling salts and some small change perhaps... just in case.

Go forward to the early part of the 20th C and the small bag might hold a powder compact, a cigarette case, perhaps a lipstick and of course the hanky/small change were probably still there too.

Whether your character is contemporary or historical look inside her bag (or his, men now have them too) and see if they have anything you don't expect, and if they have, ask them about it.

If you just want to wallow in bags from different times then here is a link to the V&A search the collections option, put bags in the search box and then click on resulting images.

Books on handbags often concentrate on the 20th century designs, but if you want beautiful images then you will certainly find them in books.

The V&A (Victoria and Albert Museum) currently have a book available with images from the museum's collection:

Bags by Claire Wilcox  (PB) ISBN 10: 978-1851775361

Other books available from online booksellers include:

Handbags by Anna L Johnson (PB) ISBN 10: 978-1851775361

Vintage Handbags by Marnie Fogg (PB)  ISBN 10: 1847323006

Perhaps I better clear the junk out of my handbag...

Saturday 9 October 2010

Plot Bunnies

I'd never thought that those 'moments' writers get, had a name. You know those times when an idea or a character pops into your thoughts and won't let go until you've started writing or typing  it. This is a plot bunny...

I always have a notebook in my handbag- whatever the size, I just change the usual  A5 notebook for a smaller one that fits the bag- just in case I overhear a bit of conversation or see something interesting and don't want to forget it. Or when one of those bunny's hops into view.

If you are a writer and don't always carry some device for recording those moments- shame on you. :)

Last week I blogged about clothes and the character. This was the indirect result of a plot bunny.

I was out food shopping and stopped to look at the woolly dresses that are one of this winter's fashions, and realised that they are too short for me. I'm a calf length hem type of girl, not above the knee- I don't have suitable legs for them!

(Though a few of my friends think I was born in the wrong century entirely...)

It started me thinking about the difficulties some young women must have had with clothes in the past and this was when the plot bunny struck.

Before I even got on the bus to go home I had my hero and heroine, and an idea of their problems. So on my next writing session I sat down to get on with one of my longer projects, but the plot bunny was thumping me on the head- until I gave in and started writing about them and the bunny went back to its warren happy.

So next time a plot bunny jumps into view, take it home with you and listen...

Thursday 7 October 2010

National Poetry Day 2010

Thursday 7th October is National Poetry Day. This year's theme is Home, and I've no doubt that many poets have been inspired by where they've grown up, their childhood experiences and memories- however you interpret 'home'..

I have a number of friends who are poets, and I envy their ability to create often moving verse, that speaks to the reader, pulling an emotional response from us.

Writing poetry is hard- I've tried it. Personally I don't think I will ever be a poet, so I won't inflict my one poem on you (inspired by an old table that was a part of my family life as I grew up. It is now with me).

If you want to listen to some poetry being read then go here and click on any of the red marked links.

Alternatively if you want to discover what's going on in your area then check out the website for National Poetry Day information.

Have fun...

Monday 4 October 2010

The Trials of buying Romance books

I met my friend Catherine for coffee and cake today (okay I was the one eating the cake, lemon, very tasty) and like me she writes, though her choice is horror- traditional bloodthirsty vampires not the vampire/werewolve romances that have started to predominate since the Twighlight series of books became best sellers.

We always look to see what books are on the shelves in our local branch of the big W (you all know who I mean) in our preferred genres, and I've not bought a romance novel from there for quite some time, though I used to spend quite a bit every couple of months.

For many years our branch had at least four bookcases of romance covering contemporary, historical, paranormal and traditional Regencies- many of them were imports from the USA as there were few UK imprints of the best known authors recent books.

I didn't mind paying more instore, even though I could have bought them from Amazon cheaper. I could start reading my favourite author's latest book on the bus home.

Then Twighlight happened.

Two of the bookcases became filled with nothing but paranormal romances with their black covers. A stark depressing contrast to the depth of colours binding the remaining romance books. Even bright pink chick-lit covers didn't look too bad then.

More changes and the romances were moved around the back of the bookcase and placed next to Erotica. Now I didn't have a problem with that, as some romances can border on erotica, and there is now a wider market for this area of writing.

Then the major store changes were implemented and everything was moved, which leads to the current situation of a limited number of historical romance being situated between Erotica and Horror- yes next to Horror, Stephen King and his ilk.

Just doesn't help when you're trying to find a good romance to read.

So now I buy online, or as e-book downloads, and my research and historical romance fixes are satisfied.

Okay, book shops of any size can't stock everything for everybody the way online suppliers can.

So, if you buy romances of any category, do you buy instore or online? Does price play a part in your choice?

I'd like to hear your views...

Thursday 30 September 2010

Clothes and the Writer

When I'm creating a modern character in a story, clothes are a way of showing their personality or even their profession.

A suit worn by a modern man could be Marks and Spencer or Armani. It wouldn't neccesarily tell you whether the guy wearing the designer suit is rich, or a man who likes designer gear and has bought it on his credit card- or saved for it. (There could be a story there.)

So when I'm faced with my historical heroes and heroines of the 18th/19th century I have to remember that clothes are very important. They reflect social class and status, how they move and how they sit.

If a girl in your story turns up in a silk gown when you know she normally wears a plain wool dress and can't afford silk there's got to be a reason- the reason could lead anywhere, or to anyone.

As to female underwear, I don't think my heroines would be able to run very far or for very long in corsets or stays, or a hooped petticoat. So if my heroine is being chased she's at a disadvantage and needs to use her wits to escape- or not.

When you get to working on scenes of intimacy, how the characters get out of their clothes between the kissing and carressing has erotic potential.

Whatever time period your characters inhabit you'll find a costume book to cover it, from basic to detailed info, and some with beautiful colour pictures of surviving outfits.

Here's a few of the costume books I have in my reference collection:

Costume in Detail 1730-1930- Nancy Bradfield. (2007 Edition) ISBN: 978-1-85882-038-5

Costume 1066-1990's-John Peacock (Reprinted 2000) ISBN: 0-500-27791-5

The Art of Dress: Clothes Through History 1500-1914- Jane Ashleford/ National Trust-
ISBN: 9781905400799

The History of Underclothes-C.Willett Cunnington and Phillis E. Cunnington-(1992)

Two major costume collections that can be seen are at The Costume Museum in Bath, in the basement of the famous Assembly Rooms, and in London at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

If you ever have the opportunity to try on hooped petticoats, cages or bustles I would recommend it. Try walking around and you will quickly be very appreciative of the clothing we wear today.

Now all this talk of clothes has given me an idea, and a couple of characters have just popped into my head to go with it...

Tuesday 28 September 2010

Very very short stories

I've been writing today and actually sent off a story by e-mail.

Well it was only 60 words in total.

This is the third time I've submitted very short stories this year, and as a break from longer projects they are satisfying even if the rewards are small.

Yes, every word has to count just as it does with a standard length short story or novel, but how you use those limited number of words is the important bit, and it certainly works your brain to be original- hopefully.

Currently, I and a lot of other writers are waiting to hear the results of the Arvon Foundation 6 Word Story. Though with only 6 words I'm sure there will have been a large number of  entries, so I don't expect to get anywhere.

Though it is a good excercise in summing up a story in a few words and still making sense...

Monday 27 September 2010

Monday snippets

Another writing week and the Mills and Boon New Voices shortlist is on their competition website.

Sadly my writing friends who entered didn't make the shortlist, but I hope they will keep working on their tales as there were certainly some intriguing openings and characters that I wanted to find out more about.

I hope that many of the stories that didn't get beyond Chapter 1, will eventually find their way through the normal submission process, or life elsewhere.

Good luck to the final ten.

Friday 24 September 2010

Get Your Stiletto in the Door Competition

Thanks to Van on the 'Writers' News' Talkback Forum for providing information on this competition.

It's being run by the Romance Writers of America (RWA) and the Chick-Lit Writers of the World (CLW) and you don't have to be a member of either organisation to enter.

There are a number of categories, with explanations if you're not sure which one your story fits into.

You need the first 5,000 words of your manuscript for judging,and an optional 500 word synopsis which is recommended you include, though it won't be judged.

Entries must be sent electronically (RTF file) with your entry number. Payment can be made by PAYPAL. Entry fee is $25 for non members.

The prize is a $50 Amazon Gift Card.

Entries must be received ELECTRONICALLY NO LATER than 2nd October 2010, 11.59PM EDT.

(EDT is Eastern Daylight Time-so you'll need to do some calculations.)

Guidance and entry rules are available on a downloadable PDF on the website:

The good aspect is that entrants will receive their score sheets from the four first round judges. So even if you don't get shortlisted you get something useful back.

Good luck to all who enter...

Thursday 23 September 2010

Romance is certainly NOT dead

Last night the first stage of the Mills and Boon New Voices competition closed with a total of 824 entries.

The judges now have to produce a shortlist of 10- a hard task when the entries ranged from historical and paranormal to the very popular contemporary category.

A number of writer friends have entered and I'm keeping my fingers crossed for them all- you know who you are (Good luck).

Romance writing often gets derided by those who have never read it, not understanding or realising how much skill it takes to write good romance.

Just like any other genre, there has to be a good story. Characters have to be believable, the conflicts and the problems recognisable to the reader, while still being an entertaining read.

After all writers are in the entertainment business, our stage is our stories, the reader our audience.

So good luck to all 824 writers. If you don't make the shortlist I hope you'll persevere as there is clearly talent out there.

Tuesday 21 September 2010

E-Book advantages

Yes, I'm a convert to e-books, but I do still buy them in paper form too- though I tend to reserve that for my favourite writers, rather than newer authors who I've not read before.

In May I bought a basic e-reader, after saying I wouldn't for more than a year, and my reading landscape has expanded into books I wouldn't have tried. I've dipped into Alan Bennett's 'An Uncommon Reader', and classics by Jules Verne and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle that I've always meant to find time for but never have. I can now appreciate Douglas Adams 'A Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy'.

Researching my preferred market of Romance has become easier and certainly more enjoyable. I can wallow in any historical era I want, read short stories or category fiction, even related non-fiction like 'Georgette Heyer's Regency World' by Jennifer Kloester, a must read for any romance writer.

My Billy bookcases no longer overflow...

My OH does not look in dismay as he sees another half dozen books lingering on the sofa or chair...

They are all in my e-reader- bliss...

Thursday 16 September 2010


I've been considering starting a blog for some time and decided today was the day to begin. So here I am...

I'm based in the East Midlands, belong to a writers' club and when I'm not writing or feeding the family I enjoy a couple of excercise classes- aquarobics and belly dancing (I've promised my class mates that I will write a story involving belly dancing one day- I have a vague idea for it already).

Carol's Corner is here to not only showcase my writing, both Contemporary and Historical Romance fiction, but also interesting snippets of writing related news, and any other items that get me writing.

My first literary efforts (written as a teenager) were Science Fiction, but no matter what stories I created- and some of them were sagas- there was always a romance involved somewhere in the story.

A few of my stories don't have romance in them, but variety is good for a writer...
In May 2009 my story ' 'Do You Want to Know A Secret?'  was published on the brilliant Thrillers, Killers 'n' Chillers blog- a must see for anyone who reads or writes thrillers, crime, horror and/or mystery stories.

Sometimes my writing does produce amusing items and even I'm surprised.

A few months ago I recorded for audio, a piece of flash fiction 'Positive Exposure' which you can listen to here Audio and hopefully it will make you smile.
250 words from a mixture of ideas- a radio interview with an actress who'd had costume problems and the number of awards ceremonies, at the time, where the female celebrities had chosen to wear strapless dresses.
They went together so well that it won a club competition judged by members attending on the night.

My first published short story Goose Fair Past appeared on the local BBC website in 2003 and romance was involved in the end. I'd only been seriously writing for four years when this story was posted, and I've learnt so much since then.

Currently I'm working on a novel set in Dorset. A couple of novellas and a few short stories that I hope will eventually get published and paid for. When it happens you will hear about it.