Wot-another writing course?

Ahh, but this is not just another course, this is THE writing course. I’m going on an Arvon romantic writing course in Yorkshire and I just know it’s going to be BRILLIANT. The wonderful Mike Gayle

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and Crissie Manby are the tutors and I believe Jenny Colgan is to be a guest speaker.

Whenever I am in the doldrums about my writing I always find a course to attend, so that I have something to bring me back from the precipice and this time was no different.

I was awake at four o clock one morning (but luckily don’t have to put on a uniform and a load of slap like the old days- just reach for my iPad which is always inches away from me!) and an email popped up from Arvon.

‘Can I go on a writing course in Lumb Bank, Yorkshire?’ I asked my sleeping husband.’ It once belonged to Ted Hughes,’ I added, as if that would clinch it.

‘Have I ever stopped you?’ he mumbled. By the time he was properly awake I’d paid the deposit and was feeling upbeat once more. How easy was that? index LUMB BANK 

Since then, I have had some brilliant news as my airline novel ‘Air Guitar and Caviar,’ has been shortlisted with Choc Lit in their Search for a Star competition. Choc Lit are a smallish publisher, but publish terrific romance books.

I am so happy to be shorlisted that I’ve barely thought about what I would do if I win. I will be driving back to Hertfordshire from Yorkshire when they announce the winner, so might have to stop a couple – or a million times to check their website on the way. It could be a very long journey home!! Guess it goes without saying that if I win, I will be dancing around the table with happiness, a cat under each arm and chilling down the ancient bottle of champagne that is probably bright orange by now, it’s been hanging around that long!

Wish me luck!

Here’s a picture of our kitten- just because she’s so beautiful!

She likes bags!

 

 

 

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Did I say I’d finished?

The euphoria didn’t last long! Hurrah, I’d finished the third book in my airline series- the one set in Africa which had dastardly deeds going on all over the show. Except, when I read through it again I realised that I had written two gorgeous heroes in it. That’s one too many really, for any girl- even a beautiful air stewardess, and the more I thought about it, the more I decided it would be much more fun if she could…well…have fun with the MI5 guy who thought she was a baddie. She also thought HE was a baddie, so throughout the book they were very wary of each other. So, I’m going to turn it into two books and then my series of three will be a series of four! Here we go again- one day I will plot out my stories BEFORE I finish them!

Found an old picture of the gardener at my senior school, St Dominic’s, and it suddenly clicked that HE was the guy in all of my books that I subconsciously imagine, when I’m writing a new hero.IMG_2347

I was so in love with him! I’d thought it was the lovely Simon Baker or Paul Nicholas in his younger, pretty days who I visualised – or even Heath Ledger, (yep, always with the blond hair!), but now I realise that his was the face that haunted me! (sorry, lovely husband of mine!) Don’t suppose he ever thinks of me- I was only twelve! I’m the show off with the knobbly knees, holding up a flower to show my love for him!

 

 

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More Books! Yes please.

Look what the lovely Harper Impulse sent me just for being wonderful 🙂 -or something like that! IMG_2184

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FINISHED!

Well at long last, the very first story that I completed has been re-written and re-edited, and I love it. It started off being called Blue Skies and Stars, a title which I will probably use for another of my airline novels as I still like it. It is now called Air Guitar and Caviar which I love as much and is more appropriate for this novel. It’s about a busker who falls for an aloof air stewardess and has his work cut out trying to make her love him. Just when he becomes famous and it’s all looking good, Scarlett, the air stewardess, decides she can’t cope with his fame and leaves him. Will he be destined to play sweet music all on his own?

I now have three airline novels completed and have a good feeling about them.

This lovely little aircraft used to be called the ‘flying shed’ but we all knew her as Daisy cos her registration was Dasi. It was not a good aircraft to fly in bad weather, believe me!

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Mills And Boon competition

Who hoo- good news for me. Found out I’m shortlisted for a competition I entered with one of my airline stories. One of the top ten with results in Prima magazine in August. Don’t suppose I’ll win but it’s a huge boost just to get this far. Read all about it here: http://www.millsandboon.co.uk/flirty-fiction-shortlist-announced

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Breaking the Mould Potteries Novel

I visited this museum l week or so ago having re-opened my languishing novel called ‘Breaking the Mould,’ needing to propel myself back into the 1900’s. The Gladstone museum is the last complete Victorian pottery factory in the country and was saved from being pulled down at the last minute. It is a fascinating insight to the working life of the average Potteries worker back in the day . Surprisingly, most of the report’s suggest that although the work was hard and unhealthy, (Potters Rot did away with many a Potteries worker) the general temperament was stoic and upbeat.

I lived in Stoke-on Trent until I was ten and remember the Potbanks and the Marl Hole’s (deep, dangerous holes left to fill up with water once the ‘marl’ had been excavated) There was an ‘oatcake’ shop at the end of our road (sold only oatcakes which were made while you waited) and my aunty Irene was a ‘cup handler’ which I always thought meant she handled cups for some reason, but actually just meant she glued the handles on cups with ‘slip.’ (watery clay) As kids we used to catch a bus to Stoke market where we’d buy broken biscuits from a stall which was overflowing with loose biscuits, and every other stall had ‘seconds’ pottery of some sort. It was an automatic action to turn a cup or saucer upside down to see the makers mark and if it was a ‘second’ or even a ‘third,’ which might have a tiny chip out of it, or a piece of dirt embedded in it, but had been glazed anyway. The accent was sometimes impenetrable in the heart of Stoke and the houses were set in row upon row of redbrick, with tiny front garden’s if you were lucky.

We lived in ‘Moseley Villa’ which was a big house with an apple orchard in James Street where the Industrialist’s used to live, away from the smoke and noise, although prior to that we lived in Newcastle- Under- Lyme in one of the many terraced houses until our family became too large!

My novel is set in Fenton, the town that Arnold Bennett ‘forgot’ when he wrote his ‘Anna of the Five Towns’ and is about Maddie, a working class Potteries girl who falls for a rich Industrialist’s son when he rescues her younger brother from drowning -in a marl hole! It’s a late Victorian/early Edwardian novel and I suppose it is a ‘rags to riches’ style story. Maddie is not considered good enough for Daniel, so determines to prove everyone wrong even though she thinks she has lost him to a more respectable woman. It was tricky to convey the accent without overdoing it, and also trying to get it right. I mean would you know that ‘atalrate’ means ‘are you all right?’ and ‘theesen’ is ‘yourself’ (as in ‘thee self’) See what I mean? Tricky!

Inside the Bottle Kiln

Inside the Bottle Kiln

Gladstone museum

Gladstone museum

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Chelmsford Writers RNA lunch

Great food too

Great food too

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I AM a writer, I am, I am, I am!

I suppose I always felt as if I was the creative sort. Even in the absence of any hard evidence, I thought that one day my hidden talents would become so glaringly obvious that I couldn’t pretend not to notice any longer.
In the meantime real life intruded and I took the words of my headmistress literally. ‘Girls who are not up to par should become hairdresser’s or air stewardess’s.’ My career path was decided even though the nearest airport was fifty miles away.
My creative streak was consequently numbed by journeys to outlying airports, twelve hour shifts and early morning starts in a car that often wouldn’t, and hindered by the many, many plastic mini bottles of leftover airline wine shared out at the end of the night.
But when I set eyes on a pilot who was just on the wrong side of handsome and therefore in my eyes attainable, I discovered the only way to achieve the happy ending I was looking for, was to write it myself. The real pilot, for some reason chose some willowy brunette over the slightly dumpy blonde, (me!) But once he was in my story he had the sense to choose the right girl (me!) and became attentive and caring too. Soon, the pilot was history and my creative streak was finally free to invent more gorgeous men and beautiful women to have the ‘happy ever afters’ I hadn’t yet managed to achieve.
But now, here I am with my own ‘happy ever after’ husband, two wonderful daughters, an adopted cat and time to “be serious” about my writing. More than a few of my hero’s and heroine’s have been left in the limbo of a half written novel and some were doomed to languish forever. The dashing millionaire was thrown in the trash along with the gorgeous redhead who was not so much feisty as just plain nasty, and some just wouldn’t do as they were meant to, so have no-one to blame but themselves for disappearing down dead ends, never to return.
But I’m still here, getting closer to my dream of being published. My hero’s are piling up behind me waiting to be loved, oh and I’m still drinking wine, although these days it tends to come from a glass bottle with a cork and a proper label.

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Poor tree!

Poor tree! Stood in next doors garden for over eighty years,had a root fungus and was gone in a day! Very sad,but I suppose I’d be more upset if it crashed over our house!

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Air Stewardess or Cabin Staff?

Started off writing ‘Flying romances’ and am now editing one of the first complete novels I wrote, which is about – Flying! (Duh!) I found this old picture of me in my first uniform. I’m on the right and Michelle (Cooper?) is on the left. Woe betide anyone who dared to take their hat or gloves off unless you were sitting down at a dining table. My novel, to be edited this year is called ‘Blue Skies and Stars’ and is about a wannabe rock star and an air stewardess. Will think up a good blurb when I’ve finished it.!

Those were the days

First Uniform at Air UK (Norwich)

Shorts 330?

Just me!

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