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Thursday’s Cat has far to go – before he comes back!

Today is Max’s 17th day after going AWOL.  This morning I had a call from the village shop where a poster had been left.  Did I know, the woman asked, that my poster is in one window and a found poster for a ginger and white cat is in the other?  Now this should have boosted my hopes that my wandering furry boy had been found.  Unfortunately it didn’t.  I remembered a call I had received on my mobile a couple of days after Max had gone missing.  It was from someone at the far end of the next village who told me a ginger and white cat had been lurking in their garden for a few days.  Very sensibly he took a photo of it and then dropped into the village vet to compare it with the poster I’d left.  Not the same cat unfortunately and after consideration the distance travelled was quite a way, even for a fit feline.  So sadly I had to explain to the woman in the shop that the posters were for two completely different cats.

There’s been so many highs and lows here; a sighting on Saturday where we missed the cat in question by minutes (cats do have this awful inconvenient habit of not staying in one place, even if they are curled up asleep at the time they are spotted!)  And then last night.  Steve was upstairs on the main computer and I was downstairs on the laptop, firmly plugged in to my iPod, oblivious of the doorbell.  When Steve eventually came down to answer it he found our next door neighbour on the doorstep proudly announcing that he’d found Max.  Unfortunately the cat in his arms was Billy, one of my cats’ holiday mother’s animals.  Billy, or Bilbo Baggins which is his full name, is 12 and looks more like Shaun the Sheep than a cat.  He is like a huge furry ball on legs and far bigger than Max.  Not only was he the wrong cat, he’d decided he wasn’t at all amused at being grabbed without so much as a by-your-leave and set about embedding his claws in our neighbour’s arm.  He let go immediately with a yelp of pain and off Billy ran, stopping at the end of the driveway to give our neighbour the evil eye before making his way home.

I’m still convinced the prodigal will return – I just have that feeling he’s out there somewhere.  It’s a shame cats can’t talk as I’m sure when he does eventually decide to put in an appearance his adventures would make a great childrens’ book!

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A Quiet Tuesday – Not!

I’ve had a strange week in that my normal Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday morning off has had a bit of a tweak to help out my other half at work who needed to take Monday off.  So this week I worked Monday but today as usual has been me at home with the place to myself and mistress of my own devices.  As normal I’ve spent most of the day on the computer.  I’ve put something together for a promotion on my writers’ website this coming weekend, placed a lost ad in the local rag for this week and caught up with e-mails and had a look at Twitter and Facebook.  This latter two, essential for writers I know, gives me a constant headache.  You seem to need so much time on both not only to pick up and reply but to post yourself – nightmare!  It’s a plate spinning exercise that I never quite managed to get a grip on.  Blogging is another thing, only more difficult as unless I have anything specific to talk about I really can’t get my head round what to write.  There are so many people out there with absolutely wonderful blogs, am very envious of their skills, and of course it all helps improve your Twitter and Facebook following.

Outside the weather has been a mixture of sun/showers and blustery wind.  The neighbours opposite are having extensive work done on their house and three vans have been there permanently most days with DIY SOS-type guys going in and out.  Today a kitchen arrived – felt very envious as I know just how it feels to have a brand new kitchen with all fresh appliances.  Oh yes and we’ve been strafed by the RAF twice with low-flying Hercules passing over just a little too close for comfort – part and parcel of living fairly near an RAF base I guess.

As I type my cat Max is still missing.  Two weeks today and counting…. Still feeling upbeat as other cat owners have told me theirs have gone missing for much longer.  Am glad in a way there is so much else going on in life to distract me, althought  I have nights when I go to sleep and then wake up only to find I can’t get back to sleep again.  The last one of these was Sunday night when I slept till 1.15 and the last time I looked at the bedside clock before drifting off again it was 3.45!  And the worse thing of all was that I had to get up at 6am to go to work!  However, I went through the day OK, not at all the zombie I thought I’d be.  But anyway, while I was lying awake, thoughts were about Max, but then they managed to swing round to the new book.  I had a start idea for it but it really wasn’t working.  Not enough impact to draw the reader into the story.  But as I lay there, another angle occurred to me and within half an hour I had a great beginning mapped out.  I plan to begin writing this weekend and will still use the scenes from my original start ideas but put them further into the manuscript.  So I guess some positive has come out of the negative which is good.  I just wish that darned cat would put in an appearance!

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The Next Big Thing


Friend and writer Melanie Robertson-King asked me if I would like to be tagged in The Next Big Thing.  I agreed to do this and here are my responses to the questions.  Unfortunately most of the authors I contacted had either already been tagged to do this or were very busy with other projects.  However three of them were happy for me to post their websites/blog details at the foot of my responses.  I have also detailed my own website and that of Famous Five Plus.  Founded by Pauline Barclay, it showcases independent authors from all over the world and is well worth a look.  Now to the questions:

What is the working title of your book?

The Other Side of Morning

Where did the idea come from for the book?

I’ve previously written a trilogy (When Tomorrow Comes, Love Lies and Promises and The Ghost of You and Me), a sequel to the trilogy (Between Today and Yesterday) and this is the final part of the series.

What genre does your book fall under?

Romance/Contemporary fiction

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Based on looks alone, I would choose Rachel Weisz for Charlotte.  My inspiration for Christian who fronts the band Rosetti, (and is one of the main characters in Between Today and Yesterday), came from seeing Kelly Jones of the Stereophonics.  He’s, not an actor, but a rock musician and was just how I visualised Christian would look.  And for Alessandro my choice would be the very handsome Santiago Cabrera who starred as Sir Launcelot in Merlin.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Falling in love with the wrong man was Charlotte’s first mistake – her second was thinking marrying someone else would mean she could forget him.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?


How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Am just about to start, but hopefully it will be ready after Christmas

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Oh dear, this is a difficult one.  My original trilogy was a saga/romance set in the 60’s and 70’s, which one reviewer said readers of Lesley Pearse would love.  Between Today and Yesterday moved everything on into more contemporary writing and the current book I’m working on continues that theme. I’m still with the same family so guess we’re looking at saga/romance but in a more modern way as the story has evolved.  I’m not sure any other writer has done this so have nothing to compare it with.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

I needed to take the journey just one step further.  The trilogy told Matt and Ella’s story and Between Today and Yesterday brought their journey to an end and I’m leaving them to enjoy a peaceful middle-age.  It’s the turn of the next generation now and Ella’s niece Charlotte is the central character.  She is engaged to Christian but falls passionately in love with Alessandro.  She breaks off her engagement to be with him, only to discover a secret that brings their affair to an abrupt and painful end.  She returns to Christian and they eventually marry.   But the feelings she has for Alessandro have never quite gone away.  A chance meeting some years later sees the resumption of their passionate affair – something which will have far-reaching consequences not only for her marriage to Christian, but for the rest of the family.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Every book I’ve written so far has a central story with lots of other sub plots running parallel with it.  Therefore although the reader is principally concentrating on the central characters, there’s other action going on, all which dovetails into the main plot.  I therefore like to think that readers are well entertained.  I’m not giving any of the plot away other than the small teaser I’ve written above. – Joanna Lambert Website – Pauline Barclay’s Website – Pauline Barclay’s Blog – Famous Five Plus – for Indie Authors whose passion is to succeed    – Owen Carey Jones’ Blog – Owen Cary Jones’ Website – Kit Domino’s Website – Kit Domino’s Blog

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I haven’t forgotten what the date is today.  Nor will I ever forget how I got to learn of the horrific events in New York.  I was working in the Education Centre of our local hospital at the time.  One of the secretaries had her own office and always kept the radio on during the day.  I remember her coming into our office to report a plane had crashed into the World Trade Centre.  Our first thoughts were that it was some small two manned thing which had accidently hit the building.  Then reports came in of a second plane and we knew something was badly wrong.  During the day more news came in; the plane which hit the Pentagon and another which was brought down by the heroic actions of the passengers, who lost their lives depriving it of its target which I believe was the White House.  What did occur to me at the time was that we seem to have been somewhat anaethsetised by the movie industry. Witnessing what happened on screen later that evening as our national news reported the days events, it looked like a disaster movie, it didn’t seem real.  Learning that a friend’s ex-wife had died, however, brought the reality of the whole thing home.  The sad thing is, over the centuries, many innocent people have died quite needlessly as misguided  idealists seek to stamp their beliefs on the world.  My own uncle lost his life at 19 years old during World War II.  We took my grandparents to visit his grave on the Dutch/German border in the late seventies.  Over 8,000 were buried in a cemetry which was beautifully kept and exuded a gentle, peaceful atmosphere.  But what struck me more than anything was the futility of it all.  Was the world really a better place?  At the time football hooliganism was rife in the UK and I wondered what these 8,000 would think about the world we now lived in, one that was probably not at all what they had dreamed they were fighting for.   And the awful thing is, we’re sadly still in the same position today. 


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Back to Normal

Well here we are, Tuesday morning and am gradually getting my life back together after what turned out to be a wonderful holiday.  I have to say, though, that there is no way I am ever going to catch a 6am flight again, or for that matter, get up at 5.30am to catch the return flight.  Unfortunately, if we wanted to use our local airport, that was all that was available for a rent which had a Saturday changeover.  Having said that, the flight, for both me and Mr H, is probably the worst part of the holiday.  Even at 4am in the morning Bristol Airport was heaving; a mixture of age groups.  What surprised me was the large number of young families with pre-school children and small babies.  One little girl three rows behind us in the plane cried for the whole of the flight and her mother seemed unable to pacify her.  To put small children through this seems wrong to me, but again, if they, like us, were tied to a Saturday to Saturday holiday there was no option.  There is one other flight out of Bristol, at 6pm in the evening, so if you take that effectively, you’ve lost a day’s holiday.  And it doesn’t get any better knowing that, well, it means you can stay for most of the Saturday you’re due to return home.  We had to vacate our house by 10 am, so we would have spent the whole day until the check in at 4pm wandering around with suitcases.

Anyway, enough of the downside. The holiday, all in all, was fabulous.  We ignored the rain, which fell intermittently for the first couple of days, and immersed ourselves in the wonderful Spanish town that is Pollensa.  Our house was in a narrow street with limited parking, but we had no problems leaving the car fairly near.  All that could be viewed from the road was a door and shuttered windows and nothing could have prepared us for the sight when that door was opened.  A long wide cool hall with stairs going up on the left.  Beyond this a large lounge/dining room with a glassed area containing large plants.  And then along the back of the house a huge kitchen diner with an outside BBQ and eating area and beyond that the pool.  We tossed a coin for who got the master bedroom and we won.  Outside our room was a huge sun balcony with steps down to the pool and off the balcony a door  leading to a fully equipped laundry room which also contained the hot water boiler for the house.  All in all a fabulous house!

As I said before, the first couple of days weren’t that great.  In fact once we’d unpacked we wandered into the main square in Pollensa for a coffee, only to find ourselves sitting under an umbrella as the rain fell.  We ate inside that night at a small corner restaurant which did the most amazing grilled sole.  The next day we woke up to thunder and lightening, which cleared by ten.  We wandered into Pollensa to get provisions (we had a starter pack in the house but obviously needed to top up).  We found an amazing deli and also a fantastic bakers.  I think that’s what I miss most at home now  – the little corner shops.  After lunch the sun came out and we managed some time by the pool.  Tuesday we caught the train into Palma for some retail therapy and lunch in a really lovely restaurant.  After lunch more browsing, then as we were taking our tourist shots outside Palma Cathedral the rain put in an appearance and it was time to head back to the station.

The rest of the week shot by.  I managed to read two books which I’d promised to write reviews on and also got some notes down for my own new novel.  It was the perfect place to be; away from the distractions of home, thinking about nothing other than my characters and potential scenes.

Returning home this Saturday it was good to land in brilliant sunshine and to glimpse the sort of weather we might have had earlier on in the year, but which had decided to save itself until September.

When we got home we found Max, our ginger cat had decided to disappear – apparently he’d done the same thing in the middle of the week, although my neighbour hadn’t wanted to worry me so didn’t mention it in any of her texts.  Then when I came to download my holiday shots I found somehow I had managed to put my finger across the camera lens at some point in time, which left what looked like a ghostly smudge in the middle left hand of each picture.    Happlily Max is now back with us after a 31 hour absence (probably locked in someone’s shed we think) and I’m planning to steal some of Mr H’s photos when he’s downloaded and will post them on Facebook.  So all problems resolved and life is back to normal.  But I’m already missing the gentle, relaxing place that was Pollensa.  I loved the narrow streets, the great aroma coming from the local bakery, the evening buzz in the Square as the lights came on and the restaurants began to fill up.   And of couse, the friendly Spanish who greeted us every morning as we walked into the town.  I must make a note to escape the rat race more frequently.