Tuesday 11 August 2015

Summer Suitcase of Six

If I can catch you before you go on your holidays, and if you’re having one of those trips where you read an entire year’s worth of books in two weeks (apologies to those who are guffawing at the prospect, with small children tugging at their ankles, the lasagne smelling just a little too cooked and the nit situation propelling itself to top evening’s priority because they’re starting to bounce) you might be interested in my Summer Suitcase of Six featured in the latest copy of Chase. 

You can view the full article here, pages 80/81 which features:

Do No Harm by Henry Marsh: perhaps not your typical beach read but the plight of the brain surgeon as much as that of his patients had me hooked.

Close of Play by PJ Whiteley: a roncom for men and cricket-loving women. Really? It works! Try it!

Until You’re Mine by Samantha Hayes: very creepy, great twist.

The Universe versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence: wry, touching sentimentality – my favourite kind of read.

Us by David Nicholls: very funny, brilliant observation which made me laugh out loud but it’s a little soppy, too.

Flight by Isabel Ashdown: another brilliant concept from Ashdown with page-turning characters and dilemmas.Chase have two signed copies of Flight up for grabs. Email Chase with your answer to the simple question here, before the closing date of 30 August, and you’re in with a chance.

Meanwhile, what should I be reading on my holiday - being at the pleading with the children to sit down with me, rather than the ankle hanging stage of parenthood -? Recommendations welcome, please!

Wednesday 5 August 2015

Glass Houses and Tidy Wardrobes

I write with some good news.

Finally, after two long years of good intentions I have finally sorted out my wardrobe – and the drawers. I’ve had half-hearted stabs at it before but this time I did A Proper Job. Phew. I feel the space. Charity shops in Harrogate are rejoicing. EBay has applied for more bandwidth.

But it isn’t that.

I have also cleared out the cupboard in the kitchen, cunningly disguised as a bench, filled as it was with an interactive memorial to my children’s younger years: un-sticky stickers, half-filled sticker books, solid pots of glue, dehydrated finger paint, lumps of tissue paper, defunct pens, plastic boxes with compartments in varying sizes - long since emptied, save for the odd pencil sharpening - pompons, half-made pompons, cardboard clothes with little tabs but lacking the bodies on which to hang them. And shoe polish which reluctantly had to stay.

But it isn’t really that. Although I will admit to lifting the lid every second time I walk past to admire my handy work.

I still have the small matter of the hooks to sew back on the blinds and some rejected bootleg jeans from the wardrobe cull which I can’t bear to part with, sitting in a pile waiting to be ‘skinny-jeaned’. Of course, the moment I’ve threaded the sewing machine, life will revert back to bootlegs (at last – with me not being of the six foot, legs which make a toilet roll tube look baggy - variety). The perennial, Sorting Out The Wi-Fi, is, of course, also on the list. I will not, repeat, will not use my blog to moan about my Wi-Fi. Suffice it to say, Orange say it works, I say it doesn’t.

Can you tell school’s out for the summer?

I’ve managed my fifteen minutes of fiction every day, bar one – a long story – and it’s proving both fun and productive. There's one little ditty, inspired by the silent passenger next to me on the train, which has morphed into 5,000 words and I’m starting to think it might make it into a novel. Exciting as that is, that isn’t what I came here to write about.

Glass Houses has been short-listed in the Retreat West First Chapter Competition. You can read more about it here. Although I am chuffed to little pieces about it, it isn’t really that either. Although we’re getting close.

Remember Urbane Publications, wonderful publisher of Tea and Chemo, due out in November? I blogged about my excitement here. Well, I am absolutely thrilled to announce that Urbane have also signed my novel, Glass Houses for publication in May 2016. We’re currently working on the cover and blurb. (I have to look behind me when I say that to check that it isn’t someone else speaking.) The idea of somebody beavering away to produce the cover of my novel just blows my mind. I’m impressed by the professionalism and dynamism of Urbane Publications, and also their book list. I also like to work with happy, enthusiastic people and this is how my contract came back to me. You can see why I'm thrilled. This is very good news, indeed!

I’ll be busy. We’re working on the final edits of Tea and Chemo now and Glass Houses will be edited at the end of the year. In theory it’s ready for the red pen already. But of course, I’ll have to have another peek before I send it off. I know what that means: a challenge to lose another 5,000 words. Some people constantly diet, I’m always trying to lose words. I apologise in advance if I venture back into recluse-dom for a while as I add, take-away, insert, amend and delete, stopping only briefly to marvel at my pristine wardrobe and sparse cupboard-cum-bench, and shake my head despairingly at the, ‘it’s not slow, no, really, it is,’ speed of my Wi-Fi.

But I’ll see you all at the launch :)