Thursday, May 30, 2013

Men are like buses - and so is good news

Man (of Laurence Fox variety)

There is a great poem by Wendy Cope which likens men to bloody buses, you wait for one and then two or three appear. I’ve had that happen before but I’ve also noticed that sometimes good news can be the same. You sit round waiting for good stuff to happen, you have your head down and you keep on going. One foot in front of the other, inching forward day by day. Almost screaming in frustration when there is another obstacle.
And then suddenly, someone taps yuo on your shoulder (or sends you an email) and goes ‘here is something wonderful’. While you coo over that you get a call about something else that you thought had disappeared into the ether. And then something you never even thought of comes winging its way out of left field and suddenly you have an array of good stuff.
Which is no way a bad thing, all the more to celebrate!
What good news have you had recently? Or alternative tell me about men and buses...

“Bloody men are like bloody buses —
You wait for about a year
And as soon as one approaches your stop
Two or three others appear.

You look at them flashing their indicators,
Offering you a ride.
You’re trying to read the destinations,
You haven’t much time to decide.

If you make a mistake, there is no turning back.
Jump off, and you’ll stand there and gaze
While the cars and the taxis and lorries go by
And the minutes, the hours, the days.”

Thursday, May 23, 2013

A Launch Party for A Cornish Affair....

Today A CORNISH AFFAIR hits the shelves and it's time to think of escaping to Cornwall and the Heroine Addicts are no exception....on our way there will be scones and clotted cream and champagne...

Running out on your wedding day never goes down well. When the pressure of her forthcoming marriage becomes too much, Jude bolts from the church, leaving a good man at the altar, her mother in a fury, and the guests with enough gossip to last a year.
Guilty and ashamed, Jude flees to Pengarrock, a crumbling cliff-top mansion in Cornwall, where she takes a job cataloguing the Trevillion family's extensive library. The house is a welcome escape for Jude, full of history and secrets, but when its new owner arrives, it's clear that Pengarrock is not beloved by everyone.
As Jude falls under the spell of the house, she learns of a family riddle stemming from a terrible tragedy centuries before, hinting at a lost treasure. And when Pengarrock is put up for sale, it seems that time is running out for the house and for Jude.

So on our escape to Cornwall to celebrate Christina is bringing Eythor Ingi so he can sing to us...

And Julie Cohen is bring Paul Bettany and his lovely jack russell (which is so cheeky since I saw him first on a Cornish Lane!!!)
And of course Julie has brought some treats for the lovely dog...

Biddy intends to nick my kayak and a bottle of wine and take Lawrence Fox on a private trip down Frenchman's Creek...

Susanna is thinking long walks so she is bringing Bertie and a pair of Wellies to go puddle splashing with him...

Finally as my companion I'd bring Matthew MacFadyen as I based the hero of A Cornish Affair, Tristan, on him...particularly from this clip of Pride and Prejudice....
And to give us all a sense of Cornwall here's the book trailer that my daughter made for me...

What and who would you bring along to the launch party???

Thursday, May 16, 2013

other women

Over the past couple of years, I've noticed something about myself. I like looking at women.

Our society is so sexist that saying that you like to look at women is opening yourself up to assumptions. Do I like looking at other women because I'm attracted to them? Do I like looking at women because I'm comparing myself to them or because I envy them? Do I like looking at women because they're naturally more attractive than men?

There may be elements of all of this but in the main, I don't like looking at women because I'm objectifying them as things to be desired or emulated. I actually like looking at women because I'm interested in women. I'm interested in how they move, how they dress, how they make themselves happy.

I like looking at young women and seeing the risks they take with fashion. I like looking at older women who have found the clothes that they are comfortable in. I like looking at women thinking, women working, women reading, women holding hands with their partners or talking with their children or laughing with other women. I like seeing a woman, any woman, any shape or size or age or colour, walking or pushing herself or skipping down the street and taking joy in her surroundings.

Image courtesy of Sira Anamwong

It's not just women, of course; I like watching people in general. But when I see an interesting woman, someone who is beautiful according to her own lights, it's easier for me to make that imaginative leap into her skin. For me to imagine her happiness, her worries, her wonder.

This is what I do when I'm writing, I guess, so this everyday watching and empathy and interest is practice for that. Or maybe the writing is practice for everyday.

I had a really pleasurable experience in the hairdresser the other day. I went in to have my hair cut and dyed, which is always fun, but as I was sitting there with the dye in my hair, a woman came in without an appointment. She was in her fifties, I think, though her face was unlined, fresh, without any makeup. Her hair was a long grey ponytail secured with a scrunchie.

'I haven't had it cut in years,' she said to the hairdresser who met her at the door—an impossibly, frighteningly glamorous young woman with a mane of blonde hair and skin-tight jeans. 'It was a disaster last time so I haven't dared.'

I couldn't hear all of their conversation but it was clear that the customer was reluctant to have anything done, but also very much wanted a transformation. The hairdresser coaxed her, sat her down, brushed her hair out of the scrunchie, talked about strand tests. Eventually, the customer got up, put back in her scrunchie, and said, 'I'll have to think about it.' She left.

Five minutes later she was back. 'Let's do it,' she said. Her voice was brave and slighly giddy. And while my own hair was cut, I watched that hairdresser cut that woman's hair into a glorious confection of silver.

She looked stunning. She wasn't a model, she wasn't Helen Mirren, she was herself. She stood up straighter and smiled. And I felt like applauding.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Having a Ball!

Sue Moorcroft with me and Susanna
A writer’s life can be very lonely, but occasionally Cinderella gets to go to the ball – literally!  This week I am at the RT Booklovers’ Convention in Kansas City with Susanna and we are having the most wonderful time!

It’s the 30th Anniversary of this convention (and the RT magazine has been going for longer than that) so we attended a special ball to celebrate this achievement.  Kathryn Falk, the founder of RT, made a speech and reminded us how far romance has come during these 30 years, how things have changed and improved for romance writers, which was great to hear.  She also introduced some of the legends of romance – such as Jude Devereux, Robyn Carr, Karen Robards, Janelle Taylor, Bobbi Smith (who I’ve had the pleasure to talk to during the convention) and Mary Balogh.  I'm ever so slightly (ok, very!) starstruck, but these ladies are all so nice!

There are talks, workshops and “mixers” galore with drinks, nibbles (such as chocolate fountains!) and giveaways.  My suitcase will be groaning when I go home and my head is more or less spinning the whole time, but I am very glad I came.  The best thing about this convention though is that there are so many enthusiastic readers here and it’s great fun chatting to them, whether it’s in the lift/elevator, in the queue for lunch or at a party.

I don’t often get to play dress-up, but at the ball I really did feel like Cinderella in my (fake) tiara and evening gloves.  Then I had to turn into more of an evil step-sister for the Freaky Friday party – Goth-rella perhaps?  But it was just as much fun and everyone joined in.

As for the fabled cover models (yes, I attended the Cover Model Party), well, they’re really nice guys.  The fact that some of them have longer hair than me is a bit weird, and I would have preferred not to see them in tights (!?!), but they seem to enjoy what they do and who can blame them?  What’s that I hear?  You want photos?  Ok, then, here’s one I took the other day :-)

CJ Hollenbach
Hope your week has been as good as mine!