With the sunnier days upon us, I've had a busy week – niece Ashley's 'first grandchild' baby shower, with all my family, which was fun – including 'baby bingo', 'drain the bottle' and 'eat the rusk' competitions!
Ashley can't wait for her little baby girl to arrive in a few weeks' time, and has been asking us for suggestions for names. I can't understand why she didn't like my idea of naming her after one of our ancestors – Fanny Flint!
Yes in around 1864 she married my great great granddad Henry Flint – at least that meant losing her maiden name of … Tidey!
More socialising the same weekend with a lovely afternoon tea in nearby Abinger Tearooms with my lovely daughter who was home for a few days. I had some funny comments about this pic – people saying the woman in the background needs a caption! Wonder what it'd be! lol.
It was lovely sitting there looking over the sunny village green. Then it was back to sort out the pogs again!
By hook or by crook or by five foot pen…
Been prompted to go out into the garden cos of the sunshine this week – how lovely and spring-like it is some days! I even sat outside with a book and a cuppa and the dogs at my feet one afternoon – albeit with my coat on! I guess it'll be time to do the first lawn-mowing of the year soon…
At least this year the dogs will be unable to wreak havoc on my little allotment… their new outdoor habitat is going down a treat, and of course Daisy Dog can no longer escape – she's hung up her Houdini kit and is settling down to life in The Pen. As long as she doesn't learn how to climb the 5 foot fence, I'm ok! They still come inside at night though, or when I'm in and feel like some company. I thought this was a funny pic – it's a Daisy-chain! Lol.
Now they're taken care of finally, it's a lot off my mind. And it means I've got more head-space for my novel-writing – especially important as the York Festival's in two weeks' time (writersworkshop.co.uk). I'm a bit nervous 'cos I've booked in for a couple of one-to-ones with agents this year, and it's always fascinating to see what they think.
I'm also thinking of putting up the first 500 words of 'The Playboy Billionaire's Hawaiian Affair' – (yes, really! Well it is for Mills and Boon ) – for the Friday Night 'Authonomy' competition. The best ten submissions are chosen, and you then read out your work in front of everybody else - a scary after-dinner audience -who vote for the winner. Not sure mine's good enough to make the final ten tho', or whether I'd be too nervous to stand up and read it out! We'll see!
And the winner is…
As you may know, I use Twitter to follow a lot of published authors. The idea is that one day when I'm a grown up, their tweets and ongoing companionship during this solitary craft will have helped inspire me to be one of them!
Well this week, the furore was all about the Romantic Novelists Association 2011 Pure Passion awards. In our realm of the writing world, it's a pretty big deal so I went off straight away to download some of them onto my Kindle – including the overall winner of Romantic Novel of the Year award – Jo Jo Moyes 'The Last Letter from your Lover'. Can't wait to read it! Haven't read any of her stuff yet though so it'll be interesting.
Another winner was Elizabeth Chadwick (@ChadwickAuthor on Twitter) whose 'To Defy A King' won Best Historical Novel award. Now here's a thing – just look at how some of the current authors are embracing the whole social networking thing.
Not just Facebook and Twitter, but now YouTube! I was most fascinated by her innovative clip below – check it out – it's actually a trailer, like the kind you'd get for a TV show or film, but for a book! Clever!
I asked Elizabeth by email how it felt to win and if she had any advice for a new author. To my delight she rang me back and we had a fabulously inspiring chat. So much so I'm going to blog about it separately! Really interesting about men in chain mail and medieval re-enactment events! As well as tips on how to write a novel. Watch out for it soon.
Also worth a quick mention, my previous tutor Julie Cohen's new book just out – 'Getting Away With It' – about a stunt woman! It's even been spotted already in Sainsburys! She's a very funny writer and worth a read.
Record-breaking Facebook comments
Finally this week in true writer form I find myself very able to write a blog, or a Facebook or Twitter update, but strangely less able to finish my novel! One cause for distraction left me amazed at the responses – a record number of comments on one particular strand on Facebook last week – over 90 in fact! Shame we didn't reach the magic hundred! Lol. Anyway, guess what it was about? Favourite actors! Of course!
We accumulated a long, long list of 'definitely-would's! My faves are Colin Firth (of course, isn't everyone's?), John Cusack, Clive Owen and several others. Have to say I nearly forgot one of the best – Paul Rudd, (Phoebe's hubby from Friends, Role Models, Anchor Man etc.) but it was interesting seeing some of the 'guilty secret crushes' – the most unusual one mentioned was Keith Lemon! Ooer!
Another popular strand was when I said I was watching Shutter Island and it was brilliant but scary – it just shows you how film and TV spur people into sharing their opinions! As do the clips that get passed around between friends. BTW if you are awaiting a friend request I am a bit behind but will do some more this week – promise!
A funny from YouTube
So here's a little treat from me, for you. Interesting story about a little Labrador (of course!) who has a special swimming pal…
Dog swims with dolphin… Tory Island styleee
Bless! Fit dog eh?! Also for more of the same, there's a fascinating clip if you search 'dolphins and dogs' for an interaction through the wall of an aquarium. Cool!
Me? In distraction? Never!! Lol. Now back to the novel – seriously one day I'll get beyond chapter eight!!!
Till next week
PS – have spoken to Ali K and passed on your best wishes – she's beginning chemo this week but seems quite chipper. She's an amazing lady. Keep up to date with her via her blog, and do leave a message for her there.
PPS – stop press! If you're able to spend a night in Guildford this week, Paul Lavers – one of the original QVC presenters – is in an Agatha Christie spoof at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre. He's there till Saturday night (12th) so go along if you can!
PPPS – competition to win a QVC Presenters 2011 Calendar coming soon!