Devon days and interesting nights


Brad and Debbie in Trafalagar Square Oh oh – have had one of those busy weeks where it flies by as it's so packed and all of a sudden here I am writing another blog!

First – see below for some fabulous pics from my Devon break with my writing pal Alix, taken on this Saturday night's TSV from Fuji. What a lovely relaxing time it was and got tons more story done too! 38300 words down, another 17000 to go… and also this week – the May RNA party – inspiration from some of the stalwarts of British fiction.

Second – what a fabulous birthday theatre trip I had last weekend, too, courtesy of my lovely son Brad! A day up London where we saw something quintessentially English, as well as a highly recommended production of something archetypally American!

And third, it seems I may have been asked to do something I haven't done for a long time…

Devon tease
Dartmoor When I got the invite from one of my lovely writing group to come stay and get away from it all for a few days, I never realised how far away from it all it would be! But actually, my pal Alix has a lovely little place in Belstone in Devon, near Exeter, and it backs onto some fab Dartmoor hills – with all the wildlife.

So 200 miles later, there I was catching up with one of my lovely friends and being looked after wonderfully – am very lucky to have had such a fabulous host, bless her! Shame about the weather – it's been so lovely here but quite overcast in Devon – disappointing but everything else was fab. Including being able to use a new product I'm launching tomorrow on QVC…

Cows on Dartmoor Almost in Alix's back garden there are fields galore, with free-roaming cows, sheep and the native Dartmoor ponies that delight the children by wandering up to their school bus stop every morning – it's a different world. And so quiet, and the freshest of fresh air – I slept like a log, and felt invigorated, despite being up late both nights, continuing the story of Sadie the businesswoman and her quest to find an investor but who ends up finding romance…

And the best thing of all is that I'm one step closer to finishing the first draft of the novel! (more below)

Fuji bridge the gap
The pics above were, believe it or not, taken from the same place the only difference being the incredible zoom on the Today's Special Value Fuji bridge camera I'm launching on Saturday night at midnight. It's amazing, 16MP with an HD camcorder built in – and a flash, wideangle and so much more. And lots of manual modes as well as being a point and shoot. Good Father's Day pressie eh! Here are some more examples:

Close up shot of the house
This pretty house is not far from where I was staying in Devon.

Long shot of the distant house
But you only realise how far when you take off the zoom!

Both taken from the same spot remember! Imagine what you could take without moving from the spot. And it's a camera with a zoom that's controlled on the lens instead of a rocker on the top of the camera – so it's even more like an SLR – so even more reasons to get it for that proud guy who's a bit fussy about what his camera looks like!

Guys – imagine no more moaning 'cos the shot's too far away and you've missed something – get the camera for those intimate shots of the kids you wouldn't normally be able to achieve 'cos they'd become self-conscious, or 'cos you'd scare the wildlife away, eg. you could you get this –

Close up shot of a bird
even though you're this far away, and it's through the lounge window!

Well I've been well-impressed by it! Am looking forward to launching it on Saturday night at midnight so do join me then if you can. Considering the last time I did a bridge camera, it sold out, again, it's a good idea to order it earlier rather than later – especially if it's for dad on Father's Day (June 19th).

RNA party Now being fully in 'creative writing' mode, it was only appropriate that I rushed back from Devon to attend the May party for the Romantic Novelists' Association, where I met some interesting characters, and caught up with a few friends I've been making at the various writing courses I've been on.

Was particularly chuffed to chat to Sue Moorcroft (Google her, her books are fab!) whose workshop I attended last year in York. Her first book 'Starting Over' was a bestseller for WHS Travel amongst other things. She's agreed to do an interview with me over the next few weeks, like the one I did a few blogs back with Liz Chadwick.

Sue teaches writing, and has had success with a new publisher called Choc-Lit – my kind of books! They're unusual as a publisher, because they don't insist that their authors have agents – nearly every other publisher does. Hence my interest in them too – when I eventually deem my tome to be worthy of sending to them! I also chatted to a Daily Mail photographer called Grant – maybe you'll spot their mention of the Party night.

The party was particularly important for the new writers – last year's finalists for the New Writers' Scheme were announced – and the winner won £1000 and a prestigious award – well done to them all. It's always worth lookin g out for these new authors – some of their work is excellent (see Romance novelists

This year, I'm one of their New Writers on their scheme – it's a highly sought-after opportunity that they're always oversubscribed for – it was full the day after the application forms went up in January this year. Thank goodness I got in by being sneaky and sending the form off immediately to arrive guaranteed next day before 9am. The lady in charge said it was full by the time the postman came the next morning!

RNA logo Part of the NWS membership is to obtain a full critique of your new novel, and the deadline's August. So having done another 5000 words at Alix's house this week, I'm progressing nicely towards submitting my 55-60000 total.

The 'SFD' should be done by end of May – or perhaps during my June hol in Center Parcs – see below for more news of that holiday (:-)). And then I'll revise it several times before sending it in and holding my breath for a couple of months to see what they say! If they think they're good enough, they pass them on to agents and publishers, so it's really beneficial to be involved with this lovely group of ladies.

Morris or Judy?
I mentioned last week that Brad and I were off to London as he was treating me to a theatre show, well he didn't let me down! On the way there, we passed through Trafalgar Square, where the tourists were getting a sample of fully-fledged English entertainment – a Morris dancing competition! The juxtaposition of all the dancers and the tourists in one of the UK’s most famous landmarks was not something you see every day – so I videoed a sample for you!


Anyway, after a lovely lunch we then saw the Judy Garland life story 'Over the Rainbow' – I can't praise it highly enough. Tracie Bennet played Judy. Tracie is a great actress whom you may remember playing Sharon I think it was several years ago on 'Coronation St', and also I think from 'A Bit Of a Do' with David Jason (correct me if I'm wrong – not got time to Google it!). Anyway her characterisation is superb, her acting phenomenal and her singing perfect. Sooooo entertaining – and not too dear, given it's in a smaller theatre off Whitehall.

And finally…
Also last weekend, I joined up with an old friend of mine, whom I attended drama classes with 30 years ago, to go to see 'Thor' at the cinema (not bad, specially if you like sci-fi and six packs). Anyway, he kind of asked me out on a kind of date – not been on a 'proper' one of those for ages!

So I'll keep you informed how that's all going… maybe! And we may be going on holiday together in the summer… If there's anything major to report back in the romance department you can be sure I'll… keep it to myself! Haha!!

Anyway that's all for now – am off shortly to meet an agent from a big London company, to find out all about an exciting new author you may wish to read, more about that next week. And about the date. Or not… hee hee…
Have a fab weekend,


  1. Caz Jones May 20, 2011 at 8:16 pm -  Reply

    Wow Debs I’m out of breath after reading your blog lol ;o) Sounds like you’re having a well deserved wonderful time. The pics with the bridge camera are fab and the zoom distance on it looks similar to the one on my Canon TSV Camera (remember my pics of the moon I took with it?) Your book sounds like it’s coming on a treat and I can’t wait for it to come out so that I can read it. I’ve finished the first of my yesterdays purchase of Liz Chadwick novels (as per my message on FB) and I’m well into the second one now! Have fun on your date Debs and speak soon.
    Caz J xxxx

  2. Linda, Glasgow May 21, 2011 at 1:46 pm -  Reply

    Hiya Debs
    Brilliant blog,as usual. You are so into your writing eh – i’m really looking forward to buying and reading your first novel.I’m a “light” reader(any “heavy” reading is for work or study purposes only!!) and my two favourite authors are Adriana Trigiani(Lucia,Lucia) and Cecilia Ahern(PS,I Love You) i’ve given example titles(both made me cry and laugh) but they have both written loads and i’ve got them all, i also loved reading Brick Lane by Monica Ali this was a great account of a the experiences of a 16 year old Pakistani/Indian girl coming over to England from a small village to marry(arranged) an older man she didnt really know,starts a family and during the marriage she falls in love with a young Pakistani/Indian radicalist – i’ll not say anymore only that its a great read.Did you mention Romance,Romance you say(i sound like the butcher in Corrie!!) – Debs you cant keep this to yourself, please, please share,but i do understand that its very early days but when the time is right us cyber girfriends need to know the facts eh!! I hope things work out,you deserve happinessXX and that the holiday comes off and its all sun,sea and romance!!I cant believe how grown up Brad is – i remember both him and Lauren bouncing around the QVC studio when they came into bring in the new year(remember you sang – i think the TSV was a Kareoke(sp!!)machine?)in 19oatcake – how lovely that he took mum to the theatre for her birthday(21 again eh!!)- your blessed with two lovely and thoughtful children. i caught your Ken Paves hour last night(i bought the 18” ponytail and the set of two extenstion pieces both in light brown(i’ve got highlights at the top T-Bar)- i’ve go to say you really suit Ken’s pieces – the “Bump up” piece looked fab as was the “Style a do” – i hope he allowed you to “look after” the pony tail he put on you as it made you look so elegant. Lovely to speak to you again Debs – i’ll see you soon on QVC. Look after yourself Love Linda, Glasgow

  3. Michelle Roberts May 21, 2011 at 3:57 pm -  Reply

    Hi Debs Just wrote you a long blog back, then i went and lost it all!!
    This is the short version now(thank god i can hear!!)
    Well i will be watching tonight after the pub,hope the camera is a good price and i can afford it.
    Romance on the cards sounds nice, hubby can’t understands why you haven’t been snapped up, i told him this lady has taste and will not put with any rubbish!!
    All yorkie’s had a great time on Rhyl beach this morning, Rosie one with the horrid tumour is holding up well apart from peeing everywhere!!
    Wow this book is coming along i do hope you get it published Debs you have worked so hard on it, i will be first to buy!!
    How do you stay awake for the midnight launch after that busy week?
    Love to pogs
    Take care for now
    Michelle wet and windy North Wales!!

  4. Susan May 21, 2011 at 10:15 pm -  Reply

    Hi Debs,
    Just had to wish you luck on your date!! And I would love to know how it goes…but it’s private I know…darn it!!! You looked AMAZING on your show the other night by the way…red dress! Stunning on you. Don’t know why you haven’t had a date in so long!! Mad men out there though.
    Susan x

  5. Martin forbes May 22, 2011 at 9:38 am -  Reply

    you always seem so bisy debbie/
    Hope you are weel

  6. Susan May 22, 2011 at 9:02 pm -  Reply

    Hi Debs,
    Sorry I have a question! I think it was you I saw on with this product but it may not have been…I know you’re good at asking the buyers though! It was on a back care show I think and it’s like a Yantra mat you get in that health store. It’s an acupressure mat basically and I cannot find it on your website anywhere! In fact I can’t find a lot of the back care products!
    Many thanks in advance if you find the item number!
    Susan x

  7. Jean May 23, 2011 at 8:59 am -  Reply

    Hi Debbie,
    Wow how do you fit it all in, you are always doing something. I am glad your writing is going okay. You cant help but love Devon, there is some lovely countryside, we live in Somerset and often go down to parts of Devon at the weekends when we are working our Labs in a working test. How are all your labs by the way?
    You had a nice time in London, lunch and theatre super. You mentioned romance, watch this space, will you have time for romance with your busy schedule.
    I watched the programme on QVC the other night with the hair pieces, the one’s you had on were great, the long hair really suited you.
    Anyway Debbie keep up the good work, take care and will speak to you soon.
    Love Jean XX

  8. Julie May 23, 2011 at 7:08 pm -  Reply

    Your blogs are brilliant. You can really read/feel the passion you have for reading and writing. Can’t wait to read your books.
    Have to say I enjoyed your show a few weeks ago when you were presenting Easiyo.You made me laugh you were dipping into everything!
    How are your dogs? we lost our yellow Lab to Cancer 4 years ago. I think Labs are the best dogs ever although now we have a rescued GSD.
    We’re going to Devon next month hope the weather’s better then than now(doggie coming too) as in Wales it’s pretty grim at the moment and so cold!!
    Take care
    Julie xx

  9. debs flint May 27, 2011 at 1:14 am -  Reply

    Hi CAZ – yes I remember the moon pics. I’ll put you on the list for an early ‘sanity check’ read of my first drafts if you like! If you read a lot will be good to have some other input – just to tell me if it makes sense! lol.
    Blimey you’re a speedy reader eh! What did you think to the Liz Chadwick book then? Which one was it?

  10. debs flint May 27, 2011 at 1:17 am -  Reply

    Linda – thanks so much for your reading recommendations – interesting! I’ll add you to my list of people to email an early copy too if you like – are we friends on facebook? that way you can send me your email address for when the time comes – which should be this summer!
    yes time flies with the kids eh – brad getting engaged and lauren just about to finish uni – all growed up! now just have to be a grown up myself – am working on it! haha!
    ps date was fun. Good chatting and had a laugh! seeing him this sun/bank holiday mon too! 🙂

  11. debs flint May 27, 2011 at 1:18 am -  Reply

    Ps linda yes i did get to keep the ‘bump up’ hairpiece – I love it! See next blog for pic! 🙂

  12. debs flint May 27, 2011 at 1:21 am -  Reply

    Michelle – staying up is the easy bit! It’s getting up that’s hard! lol
    hope the camera was ok for you? it’s amazing, really.
    Will also add you to the ‘first draft’ list if you like?
    And your hubby is very sweet – bless’im. yes I am very fussy – and very independent nowadays, which may prove a problem if it ever came to living with someone again full time! ooer! We’ll see tho – lots of time yet! 🙂
    ps poor rosie – give her a big pog hug!

  13. debs flint May 27, 2011 at 1:24 am -  Reply

    Susan – thanks to you too, bless you! the red dress was fab, it’s a Lenny one (nina leonard) that keeps going out of stock – waiting for the blue to come back! Soooo comfy too. Wore the purple to dinner tonight too.
    and re that mat thing – it wasn’t me but I know which one you mean – it’s got pointy plastic spikes on hasn’t it? it’s amazing to lay on – I did the guest audition – really relaxed me. not sure at all who to ask about it – tell you what/ best bet is to ask the QVC facebook team, it’s their job to respond – they may be able to help! I’m off for a couple of days so they’ll be quicker than me!
    hug hug

  14. debs flint May 27, 2011 at 1:27 am -  Reply

    Martin – very well thank you!
    Jean – my clan are all good ta – Daisy’s getting a lot better nowadays – she’s learned to retrieve a ball, loves it. So boisterous tho! Gracie’s bearing up with her hip dysplasia and soooo cute. The other two are easy as anything but I think the oldest, holly is getting a bit deaf in her old age!
    Romance – hey, it’s just nice to have someone ask me out for a pizza ‘and I’m paying’ he said, which is always nice and makes a change for me considering the last ten years! and the marriage! lol.
    ps somerset’s lovely too eh!

  15. debs flint May 27, 2011 at 1:30 am -  Reply

    Julie – ta for writing again hon – so sorry to hear about your poggie. glad you liked the Easiyo – I absolutely love it. Jilly would be horrified – the other day I made a raspberry and drank half of it before it set! hehehhahah! I have another hour with her coming up soon – sure to be some good bargains on it as it’s an anni show! 🙂
    yes, praying for good weather in june – my hol with Nigel’s in Suffolk so fingers crossed!

  16. debs flint May 27, 2011 at 1:33 am -  Reply

    NEWSFLASH – update for you about the RNA event – it got a double page spread in Mail on Sunday last weekend – quite a funny little feature about the majority of older ladies who write the novels – am sure it will have inspired a few comedy sketch show writers out there! Needless to say the ROMNA gang are none too pleased, but to be honest, it gave a couple of authors a good mention so I wouldn’t mind betting they sold a good few extra copies that weekend! And if ‘all publicity is good publicity,’ then maybe it’s not all bad news.
    ps max clifford disagrees with that by the way – and I’m sure Ryan Giggs would possibly feel the same at the moment!

  17. Caz Jones May 28, 2011 at 3:13 pm -  Reply

    Hi Debbie,
    Yes please! Put me on the list for a read of your first draft – that would be brill, and also good practice for my proof reading skills! I’ll very much look forward to that, and if you need to email me my address is on my FB info page. The Liz Chadwick book I read was ‘Daughters of the Grail’ and it was fabulous – I’ve now lent it to a colleague and started ‘The Scarlet Lion’ which I’m thoroughly enjoying too. So glad you recommended her :o) My Zumba DVD set arrived last week and it’s absolutely brilliant, and the L’Occitane and Gale Hayman items I ordered last Monday both arrived on Wednesday – how about that for fantastic service from QVC? I’ve also got the Acer Smartphone on advance order which I’m going to use for my proofreading business when I set it up so am looking forward to that also. You looked gorgeous in the red Nina Leonard dress the other night, and I bet you loooked stunning in your purple version too! Glad you enjoyed your date :o)
    Have fun, take care, and cya on the Q soon
    Caz J xxxx
    PS ty for offering to put me on your list xxx

  18. debs flint June 2, 2011 at 1:23 am -  Reply

    Caz – is a pleasure but my self-imposed deadline has passed for finishing my ‘S’ First Draft, so I’ll just have to self-impose another one! lol

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