Thursday, December 24, 2015

Happy Christmas from Renee and me



So, the last time I updated my blog, one book had been published, and I'd just finished co-writing a psychological suspense novel with my lovely friend, Amanda Brittany.

Back then, the sun was shining, summer was underway, and there was still a good six months to Christmas. So how in the name of Peter Rabbit is Christmas here, just a few days later?? It makes no sense at all.

Yet, things have happened in the meantime ...

We sadly lost our beloved Mollydog in July, just shy of her 13th birthday. We're still getting used to not having her around and miss her a lot. We'll probably get another, but it doesn't feel quite right yet.

Then I finally finished the first draft of my standalone novel, which is awaiting another going over before I send it to my agent for approval (or disapproval. Hopefully, the former.)

The co-written novel has been out with publishers for a while now, and we're still waiting with bated breath to hear some news. Preferably good news. Although all that bated breath is taking its toll; we're red in the face and light-headed now.

Another joint novel is underway, and there'll be more of that in the New Year, all being well. (I always add 'all being well' to avoid 'tempting Fate'. A habit I can't seem to break.)

I've read lots and lots of books, more than ever, thanks to under-the-duvet Kindle reading before sleeping at night and sometimes first thing in the morning. I like to think reading good books helps me hone my writing skills, but mostly I just like reading good books.

A rather bizarre highlight of recent months was the actress, Renee Zellweger, rocking up at the house opposite ours ...
 

with around twenty film trucks, multiple extras, actors Jim Broadbent and Celia Imrie - among others - to film scenes for the new Bridget Jones movie.  Embarrassingly, Renee spotted my daughter and me, standing on my bed to get a photo, and waved. Which was nice. I doubt we'll make it into the movie though.

And on that bombshell it just remains for me to say, as I have for the past eight (yes EIGHT) years, thank you for reading, supporting, and being generally lovely all year.

Have a wonderful Christmas, and a happy, healthy and peaceful New Year.

See you in 2016 (all being well.)

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Wishing



My third novel PUT A SPELL ON YOU is out today, and availiable to download from Amazon.

The story imagines what might happen if someone was granted several wishes but they all went wrong. (Just the kind of thing that would happen to me - them going wrong, that is.)

Here's a little taster from Chapter One to whet your appetite ...




Things I would wish for right now if I could wave a magic wand:

1) My boyfriend Will to stop being a born-again hippy and propose before I’m shrivelled to the point where no other man will look at me.
2) To find the perfect location to film Sibling Rivalry before I get fired. (Preferably one that doesn’t involve the owner changing his mind at the last minute and chasing me off his property, brandishing a shotgun).
3) Lara’s baby to stop bawling 24/7 so she can get some sleep and go back to being my lovable best friend instead of a slitty-eyed wreck in ill-fitting clothes.
4) Mum’s boyfriend, Del – a pervy, tattooed trucker from Letchworth – to disappear.
5) Glossy, flame-red hair instead of my cowpat-brown frizz. And to be a cup size bigger. With dainty fingers. And a smaller bum. (And to be less shallow.)

My twenty-seventh birthday started much like any other day, except that I was cross with Will.
‘You didn’t even buy me a card!’
‘I made you one, Josie. It’s more meaningful. Anyone can go to a shop and buy one.’
He spoke softly and without reproach, because that’s how Will speaks these days.
He did look hurt though – his hazel eyes sort of bruised – but I was so disappointed I pretended not to notice. ‘You stuck some dried bits of pasta to a piece of card cut from a Bran Flakes box.’ I waggled it at him. ‘I made a better fist of this sort of thing when I was six.’
‘I’ve spelt out your name in a love heart,’ he pointed out, reasonably. ‘You’ve got to admit that’s romantic.’
‘But some of the bits have dropped off. It says “Joie”.’
‘That’s because you keep waving it about.’
I wondered whether to mention I’d been secretly hoping for an iPad and possibly a trip to Venice, but decided against it.
‘I’ve made you a commitment bracelet,’ he said, clearly deciding not to acknowledge his blunder. He pushed back his wavy brown hair, hoicked up his boxers, and loped across to the dressing table with puppyish eagerness.
Will never used to lope or have floppy hair, or be puppyish. Before he was coaxed into a trip to the Shambalaya – a spiritual retreat in Kent – by his brother Ben (or Moonfox as he insisted on being called) he’d worked in advertising and was being tipped for big things.

He wouldn’t have been seen dead in tie-dye T-shirts and frayed jeans, but the retreat had forced him to ‘reassess his priorities’ – along with his dress sense, presumably . . .

If you were granted one wish, what would it be? I'm still trying to think of one that encompasses world peace, toned thighs, wealth, and good health forever, without coming across as incredibly greedy.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Two Heads



So, another few months have flown by since my last post, but I haven't been idling around. Oh no. Well, maybe a little bit, but only when absolutely necessary, and if cake was involved.

In fact, I've been deeply involved in co-writing a novel with my lovely writer and 'real-life' friend Amanda Brittany and it's been a more enjoyable and motivating experience than I could ever have imagined.

We first had the idea last year, during one of our meet-ups in London, and got so carried away we decided to give it a go after thinking of a suitable story, writing a chapter each as separate characters.

It could have gone totally pear-shaped, and led to the mother of all fallouts, but I think we knew each other well enough before starting to know we'd work well together - that there'd be no clash of egos, or stomping off and sulking, or tearing apart each other's ideas in a cruel and unnecessary fashion.

We agreed to be kind but honest with our feedback, and to take each other's thoughts on board, but not at the expense of the story. If we really felt something wasn't working we had to say so, and likewise if one of us strongly believed an idea would strengthen the plot.

We each brought different strengths to the writing process, which created a good balance, and it was great to be able to brainstorm with someone when the plot got a bit tricky, instead of banging my head against a wall. (Not that I would do that, of course, unless the wall was padded.)

We've now finished the third draft, and it's ready to go off for a critical and impartial read-through by my lovely agent, which feels both scary and exciting. We're both rather bereft now it's finished. Well, finished for now.

So I need to get back to the one I started writing before this one, and to write some short stories. It's the first time I've been so involved in a project I've let weeks go by without writing one, which is possibly a good sign.

Only time will tell ...

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Flying Start




It's often hard to feel motivated at this time of year - the bleak mid-winter and all that, plus it was my *%th birthday in January - but writing-wise things have got off to a flying start, with several short story sales, and a trip to meet my editor at their lovely Little, Brown offices in London.

Once there, I had to stop myself stroking all the shiny new books arranged temptingly on shelves and tables, and from staring around, wide-eyed like a girl in a story, visiting New York for the first time (or doing something equally awe-inspiring and dream-come-trueish).

I'm sure if my lovely agent hadn't been with me, keeping the conversation on track, and asking relevant questions, they'd have assumed I'd wandered in off the street, and arranged to have me escorted out of the building.

As it was, there are plans afoot to publicise my third novel before it's release in June, so we brainstormed a few ideas and I came away feeling enthused and raring to go.

So here I am, gazing out of the window, snow blizzarding (is that a word?) down, and I'm suddenly in the mood for writing a Christmas story, even though it's too late for that. Or too early.

Still, I've found that when inspiration strikes, in any form, it's best not to ignore her. Inspiration is a her, I'm sure. I can smell her perfume.*


*Clearly my meeting in London has made me more mad fanciful than usual.

Change of address...

To coincide with my 10th year of blogging (TEN YEARS??!!!) I've decided to move my blog over to my website, where I hope to update...