Posted in Crime Thriller, Holidays, MONTHLY UPDATE, Psychological Thriller, Writing

MONTHLY UPDATE

First post of 2023! January has simply whizzed by and now we’re saying goodbye to February. The first month of the year is my least favourite and usually the most quiet. So, I decided to move on and save my first update for February. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to have happened, here so I am, finishing off the post during the first few days of March!

What a lot of difference these weeks have made. The days are lighter and the dusk is nudging towards six pm. Whether you believe in Seasonal Affected Disorder or not, dark mornings and the early onset of dark evenings as the year ends definitely makes an impression on me. And not a good one. The run up to Christmas, with all its social activities acts as a distraction. There are things to look forward to. Purchases to make, get togethers to organise. And then, soon after the last strains of Auld Lang Syne have faded, there you are, face to face with January and a whole month which makes me feel I want to hibernate. No, of course that’s an exaggeration. It’s another year. New things to plan and look forward to. Nevertheless, I always find myself eager to get away from those thirty one days and move into February. And now, here we are, and I know I should not wish my life away, but I’m so glad January and February are behind me.

Fitness classes have resumed and I’m glad because I really felt the need to get back to proper exercise. Standing in the kitchen using two tins of beans for weights is no substitution. Joking aside, I do actually have some proper weights (in a girly pink circa late 1980s). I also have a step exerciser, and a selection of exercise bands, and I try to make time for home exercise. There is no substitution, however, for exercising as a group with a proper fitness trainer.

Holidays – I think everyone thought I was mad booking two holidays for 2023 in November. However, it’s clear from the situation with the current level of bookings on holiday websites that UK holidays a very much in demand. I’m spending my birthday in Norfolk at Wells Next The Sea. We first came here in 2007. Friends of ours retired to Dereham and love it so we always catch up with them whenever we stay here. I’ve always had this thing about boats and water and love Wells. It’s also a place for walkers and is a great opportunity to walk those extra pounds off (the pubs here are very good!)

In June we travel down to Devon. This time we’re in Kingsbridge; somewhere we haven’t stayed for quite a few years, usually opting for Dartmouth if we decide to stay in South Hams. And finally, in September we’re spending a week at Lake Garda. I really love the Italian Lakes and this time we’re going back to Desenzano, staying in the same hotel as we did in 2016. It will be my first trip overseas since Covid. The last time I holidayed out of the UK was in 2018 in Menorca. Memorable for all the wrong reasons, as I broke my ankle stepping awkwardly off the bottom step of the staircase in the villa where we were staying. As a result, I spent most of the summer in plaster, followed by a boot and physio. Not something I’m keen to repeat…

And finally –

READING AND REVIEWING

A busy two months so far – and some exceptionally good reads. For an excellent crime drama, I can recommend The Lonely Lake Killings by Wes Markham. Or if you are a lover of psychological thrillers then why not try The Summer Party by Rebecca Heath?

JANUARY and FEBRUARY

Have a good March everyone, by the time I’m here again, we’ll be looking forward to Easter and hopefully, the weather will be a tad warmer…

Posted in Cornwall, Costal Romance, MONTHLY UPDATE, ROMANTIC SUSPENSE, Writer's Journey, Writing

JULY UPDATE…

Another month over and a milestone reached. Yes, at last I’ve arrived at the point in my writing where I can finally type THE END.  At just over 103,000 words, it’s the smallest book I’ve written so far. And it has been one of the toughest. Some books almost write themselves. This one hasn’t. Part of the problem has been I’ve had one or two health issues. They have been irritating rather than worrying ones but nevertheless distracting enough for my writing to go into stop-start mode.  Not a good thing when you have a timetable to keep to.

This month has seen another trip – a mid-week break to Alderminster, just outside Stratford Upon Avon. The Bell is a favourite stop over of ours. I can highly recommend this as a place to stay if you’re planning to visit Stratford. Not only is the accommodation first class, it has a really good restaurant if you fancy staying put for the evening.  And if you want to leave the car behind, there’s a good bus service into Stratford with a bus stop right outside the pub.

We had a two night stopover, giving us a whole day to ourselves. Deciding to make use of our National Trust membership, we decided on a trip to Coughton Court, near Alcester (about 12 miles away). A Tudor Country house with extensive grounds and gardens, we spent a few hours there before returning for a late lunch in the pub garden.

 

Book News – The manuscript has left the building, which you would think leaves me with a huge amount of time on my hands. Not so. In fact I seem to be busier.  As a great fan of period drama, I managed to get some chill out time watching Jane Austen’s Emma and Persuasion. I loved Anya Taylor-Joy in the lead role of Emma Woodhouse and Bill Nighy did a great job as her father.  Netflix and Persuasion not a good mix. Not only was this my set book for English Literature ‘O’ level, the action takes place in Bath (my home town) and Lyme Regis. That means I’ve always had a special affection for it. I’ve also carried with me my own idea of what Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth should look like – which as any reader knows is dangerous once a book finds its way onto the screen. I have seen two previous versions, one with Ciaran Hinds (1995) and the other with Rupert Penry-Jones (2007) taking the role of Captain Wentworth.  Although Hinds was quite imposing as a senior naval officer, I preferred Penry-Jones (far more handsome), and was keen to see how this twenty first century version compared.  Unfortunately, all I managed to watch was 33 minutes then sadly, I gave up.  Maybe my expectations were too high, who knows? The whole thing simply didn’t work for me, particularly having Cosmo Jarvis as Frederick Wentworth.  

JULY BOOK REVIEWS

And finally, when I next post, I will be including a cover reveal for my new romantic suspense novel Secrets That We Keep. It is the third part of my Cornish Estuary series set in the fictitious town of Kingswater. When I finished the first book Shadows on the Water I had no plans to turn it into a series. However, with three young women featuring, I soon saw the potential for two more stories. What happens next? Well, that’s all in the lap of the gods at the moment. We’re staying in Fowey during September so perhaps I’ll pick up those Cornish vibes and return home with the inspiration for another book. Who knows?

Until next month, take care and enjoy August…

Posted in Cornwall, Devon, MONTHLY UPDATE, Writing

September/October Update

The change from late summer to full blown autumn seems to have happened in the blink of an eye. One moment there we are, sitting having lunch in the garden, the next we’re wrapped up and pondering whether to turn on the central heating, -which as I write has already happened.

This year has been a strange one. Covid, of course, has changed everything.  Since emerging from lockdown we have managed three escapes. The first during July to celebrate a friend’s birthday and then just the two of us on a three night stay at Alderminster, just outside Stratford on Avon. Both enabled us to relax somewhere other than home and (very luckily) to enjoy some good weather. Last week we took a break in Cornwall. I’d really wanted to return to South Devon but back in September when I looked at availability it seemed any self catering accommodation for two or four people was fully booked. So I tried Cornwall instead and managed to bag a really lovely apartment in Fowey at The Old Stationmaster’s House. There we had a relaxing week, did a lot of walking and ate some fabulous food.  It was good to get away from home and forget about domestic and day to day stuff for a while.  But all good things come to an end and here we are, back again.  My OH has been busy clearing the garden while I’ve had my eye on the loft and five boxes and three suitcases long overdue for sorting out.  Happily two of the suitcases were empty and the third, containing a set of ancient curtains, will go to the local recycling centre once we’ve collected enough items to book a time slot.  With the coming of autumn and changing into something warmer it’s also been an opportunity to sort out clothes for the local charity shop.  

Last week, our first since returning from Cornwall, turned out to be a little manic. There was just so much activity in those seven days that we even postponed our daily walk.  Of course the weather had a part to play in the latter.  After my surgery earlier in the year I was keen to get back to full health and walking played an important part in my recovery.  Yesterday, the 26th, we had an afternoon walk and it was amazing how everything had changed since the last time we’d been out (8th October).  With the clocks going back at the weekend, we were walking at what would have been five o’clock.  It was colder, what was left of the sun was well on its way towards the horizon and there were carpets of leaves along the pavement.  That is one thing that is noticeable here. Usually the council have contractors out clearing the pavements but not this year.  No doubt the Covid situation has something to do with it.  It means we really can kick our way through the leaves as we walk.

On the writing front, while I was in Cornwall I had time to think about the current state of play with my WIP.  My writing mojo had decided to take itself off on holiday and for a few weeks progress had been very slow.  Added to this were the other social media platforms that all needed regular attention. Something had to give and so on my return I decided to take a step back from Facebook.   I simply did not have the time to keep up with all the posts.  It’s not a total goodbye.  I will return at some stage, it’s just that for now dipping in and out of Twitter and Instagram works better for me.  Happily I’m gradually getting back into the swing of writing more.  Sitting in front of a blank screen, wanting to write a post and having absolutely no inspiration for any topic at all was scary. Even more scary (and frustrating) was having to admit that my WIP simply wasn’t working.  After publishing Shadows on the Water I realised I needed to make some radical changes. So it’s been consigned to the bin and I’m taking the characters and location and incorporating them into a completely new and different story.  The plotting has been done and I’m pleased with the new version. Now all I need to do is sit and write.

Well that’s about it for September and October.  I’ll be back at the end of November, hopefully with the news that the new WIP is going well. Crossing fingers!

And finally, I’ll leave you with a few reminders of our summer.

AT HOME

 

 

AND AWAY