On Sunday, I had the very great pleasure of being the guest speaker at a lunch held by The Arthur Ransome Society to celebrate the great man’s birthday. It was held at the Norfolk Arms in Arundel – a fabulous coaching inn – and there were over forty members all of whom made me very welcome. I gave a talk about ‘Writing Rules’, looking at those which Arthur Ransome sticks to and a few he breaks as well, and then read a passage from Winter Holiday – that magical scene where Dorothea wakes up to the first snow of the year.
The afternoon rushed by but there was just enough time to pop into Kim’s Bookshop – a fabulous place with wall to wall books on three floors! I could happily lose a few hours there.
When the first snow fell on Jane Austen’s birthday on 16th December, I didn’t think it would still be snowing a whole month later! Our recent trip to the Pembrokeshire coast turned into a bit of an expedition as we battled the elements.
Here’s our local beach covered in snow. I’ve never walked on frozen sand before and the icicles on the cliffs were simply stunning.
The Preseli Hills looked especially beautiful in the snow and we headed up their on my birthday and had a little car picnic, watching everyone sledging down the hills. But I’m a bit worried about the inhabitants at the end of this farm track and hope they’ve got plenty of food and are managing to keep warm!
And here’s me wearing as many woolly items as possible (and a pair of sparkly birthday earrings too!) It was a truly memorable trip and I even managed to do some work – clocking up 9,000 words of the new novel.
I can’t believe we’re coming to the end of 2009. It’s been an amazing year. My first UK novel, Molly’s Millions, was published, I had two short stories in anthologies, my third German novel was published and I wrote two more romantic comedies. Not bad for a year!
I’ve also read some amazing books. If you’d like to see my personal favourites, click here.
Wishing you all an amazing 2010!
The 16th December marks the birthday of Jane Austen and we took a trip to her cottage in Chawton which was serving mince pies and drinks in celebration. An extra delight was that we had our first snow and it fell thick and fast, covering the garden and the cottages in the village. It was a scene straight from a Christmas card.
We also had the pleasure of chatting to the Jane Austen museum’s writer in residence, Rebecca Smith. Rebecca is the great, great, great, great, great niece of Jane and it’s lovely to think of a direct descendent writing in the cottage today. Read her lovely blog here.
Chawton House looked especially beautiful and the churchyard at St Nicholas – where Jane’s mother and sister are buried – was silent and snowy.
Then it was on to Winchester where the final chapter of my novel is set. The cathedral was wonderfully quiet and I sat by Jane Austen’s grave in the north aisle, making some notes for my book.
Happy Birthday, Jane! You’re one of the best Christmas presents ever given to the world!
Cause for a bit of celebrating this week as my third magical romance hit the shelves in Germany. This is a story about a naughty eighteenth century ghost who makes life very interesting for my heroine. It was a lot of fun to write. Here’s the gorgeous cover which is one of my favourite ever!
And there are two more wonderful Writer Top Tens for you: this time it’s the boys’ turn to reveal all – Mike Gayle and Matt Dunn. I’m sure anyone would be happy to find either one of them in their Christmas stocking!
Much excitement this week! I was contacted by a US film company about my romantic comedy, Molly’s Millions. My first published novel, Flights of Angels, was made into a film in Germany last year and it would be so exciting to see another of my books adapted. We’re keeping all fingers crossed here!
On Wednesday night, we had the pleasure of celebrating the launch of the RNA’s fabulous anthology, Loves Me, Loves Me Not. This wonderful golden tome contains over forty fabulous short stories and is published to celebrate the RNA’s 50th anniversary. Most of the contributors were there and we were all happy to pose in our finery on the amazing staircase at the Cavalry and Guards Club in Piccadilly.
Here I am with the RNA’s marvellous chair and writer extraordinaire, Katie Fforde – both of us wearing celebratory gold.
And chatting to the gorgeous and gracious Joanna Trollope.
I also met the lovely Adele Parks…
and Carole Matthews whose heels were snapped for Janet Gover’s shoe blog!
And here I am posing on that fabulous staircase.
It was such a great evening and I hope we don’t have to wait another 50 years until the next one!
Just home from a week in windswept Wales to find I’ve been nominated for the ‘Lovely Blog Award’ – thanks to fellow writer, Rosemary Gemmell, for the nomination. In the spirit of the award, I’m delighted to pass it on to writer, Debs Carr who has a gorgeous blog full of fun for book lovers.
Also discovered a lovely review of Molly’s Millions at Chick Lit Reviews. Isn’t it super?
Well, Wales may have been gale-torn but we had a fabulous time. We met up with artist Naomi Tydeman and walked our dogs on a stunning beach at sunset.
We also had lunch with thriller writer Scott Mariani at his wonderful rambling home set deep in the Welsh countryside. I love Scott’s Ben Hope series and there’s great excitement as its now been optioned by Amber Entertainment!
I got lots written whilst away and I’m rapidly racing towards the end of my novel about Jane Austen addicts. This has been such a fun book to write and has meant many wonderful research trips. I even managed to sneak a quick visit to the Jane Austen Centre in Bath en route to Wales and had an absolute ball in the gift shop!
I’ve just discovered a lovely little showreel for actress, Maren Scheel. It features clips from the film adaptation of my book, Flights of Angels which was published in Germany as Unter deinem Stern and filmed as Himmlischer Besuch für Lisa. The angels look so cute! To see it, follow this link and click on Himmlischer Besuch für Lisa.
I have two really brilliant Writer Top Tens this week from the sensational sisters, Louise and Tilly Bagshawe. More exciting author secrets to follow soon…
Also new to the site is my Manuscript Appraisal service. So, if you’re a budding author who would like a helping hand, do take a look.
This was the question being asked last night at Mostly Books in Abingdon where I joined fellow author Kate Harrison. The event was sold out and there were lots of writers in the audience who kept us on our toes with plenty of questions. Thanks to Nicki for organising such a fabulous event and to Gabby from the Abingdon Writers’ Group for chairing the evening. And the verdict? Well, we think vampires are here to stay – for a while, at least, but I don’t think Kate or I will be giving our own heroes fangs!
And I’ve just seen I have a lovely new edition of one of my German novels. This is my romantic comedy set in Venice about a young woman who’s given a magical Venetian mask. I love it!
When four romantic novelists get together, there’s always lots to discuss especially when we’ve been booked to talk about our favourite subject: love! The venue was Waterstone’s in Uxbridge – the first outing for our Let’s Talk About Love group.
Here I am with fellow authors Juliet Archer, Janet Gover and Jean Fullerton. You can find out more about the group at our website. We’re booking lots of other events so watch out – we may be visiting a books shop or library near you soon!
Back to the novel now and I’m half way through – chronologically that is. It’s a nice settling feeling to be in the middle of a new story but I’m equally aware of all the work that is yet to be done.