Saturday, December 30

Fall in Love Anthology: The First Review

I hope you all had a good Christmas. I did, and I got some lovely presents that included various Mummy-related things. The baby (whom we have been referring to as Flump, after the fluffy cartoon characters) even got some things of its own, too. Those have all been packed into a capacious storage box and put in the loft with the other things we've already been very generously given. I quite fortunately hit I-Can-No-Longer-Button-Up-My-Jeans time right before the sales too, so I've managed to get some nice things in the maternity sales for not a lot of money.

Back to writing-related subjects, and hot on the heels of Haunted Hearts' first review, Fall in Love: An Anthology has also just received its first review. This, too, comes from new blog Romance Reviewed, and I, along with my anthology-mates Nell Dixon and Rebecca Ruger, can bask quite happily in the glow of the compliments we have received.

Here's a snippet:

... [T]his tale really ends the anthology on a high note ... Jessica Raymond manages to pack a great deal of back-story and incident into fifty pages of text, while never making the story feel rushed or confusing ... [T]he tale feels expertly paced, an intriguing storyline interspersed with memorable characterisation, some expert dialogue and some touchingly romantic moments ...
"The Little Shop of Dreams" was awarded a maximum 5 roses from Romance Reviewed, and you can read the full review of the anthology here.

Saturday, December 23

Merry Christmas Everybody

Well, the cookies are cooked and iced, strawberry creams set (and sampled), presents wrapped, and afternoon nap has been taken. Therefore, I am pretty much ready for the start of our Christmas celebrations tomorrow. I hope you are too.

I'd like to take this opportunity to wish all visitors to my blog a very Merry Christmas; I hope you all have a wonderful time full of fun, relaxation, good times, and good food. If I don't blog again before 2006 runs out (which is a possibility), then may I wish you all a Happy New Year.

Thanks for visiting.

Just finished reading: Sugar and Spice by Beverly Barton, Joanne Fluke, Shirley Jump and Fern Michaels

Wednesday, December 20

Haunted Hearts: The First Review!

It is so frosty today that it almost looks like it has snowed. All the trees, hedges, and lawns are frosted white and there suddenly seem to be cobwebs everywhere, laced with little ice particles like threaded white ropes. To me, it smells like it could snow, and it certainly feels cold enough. White Christmas? Maybe? Go on...

Anyway, I have an exciting announcement to make today: Haunted Hearts has received its first review! It's by Gray from Romance Reviewed, a new blog dedicated to book reviews focusing mainly on romance. HH got 5 roses and the most wonderful review that makes my jaw drop. Here's a snippet:

The author’s special touch is in making her characters feel real, and it’s the little things that do that; for instance, their mannerisms and personal quirks. Jessica Raymond proves to be a mistress of the art of description and there are many beautifully written scenes in the novel; descriptions of eyes glinting in the moonlight are guaranteed to send a shiver down the spine of any reader. The sexual tension is palpable throughout and the overwhelming emotion of the story makes some scenes intensely romantic.

You can read the entire review here.

Sunday, December 17

The Twelve Days of Tagmas

Yup, here's the second tag list I mentioned. This one has been passed on by Laura Hamby, whose festive romance novella "Christmas Grace" appears with Robin Bayne in the anthology Christmas Grace, just released from By Grace Publishing. Laura, the amazing multi-tasker, authored this list *herself* so I feel it deserves prompt attention :) It works on the same principle as the previous one I did, where we bold up the things we've done.

1. Used real snow to make/eat a snow cone
2. Slept in your car while parked at the side of the road
3. Didn't go to bed until 4 in the morning on New Year's Day
4. Dyed an Easter egg, using all the colors available
5. Catch a scent on the air that reminded you of something from your childhood
6. Taken a picture of the sky because it was a remarkable shade of blue that day

7. Caught a fish and cleaned it yourself, then cooked it for dinner
8. Wished you bought two pairs of your favorite shoes
9. Made a list like this

10. Taken art lessons
11. Taken ballet lessons
12. Driven a really scary stretch of road
13. Read a book from cover to cover in one sitting
14. Written a letter to your Congressman (MP)
15. Changed political parties

16. Made a boat yourself, and sailed in it
17. Worn mismatched shoes by accident
18. Been so happy you wanted to burst into song
19. Watched Barney, as an adult, without becoming annoyed
20. Thought you could walk to Sesame Street
21. Invented something
22. Came up with a new recipe
23. Snorkeled or dived a coral reef
24. Been in a shark cage
25. Been told that a character in a Nora Roberts book reminded a friend of you
26. Howled in the car with your kids
27. Loved someone so much your heart hurt
28. Painted a house

29. Painted a picture in the style of a famous painter
30. Seen the Mona Lisa
31. Seen the Hope Diamond

32. Been the president of the PTA
33. Sat on Santa's an adult
34. Lost your spouse
35. Driven a race car
36. Eaten fried okra
37. Climbed Mt. Everest
38. Seen Mt. Rushmore
39. Saved a baby bird that had fallen from its nest
40. Tried a food you always thought was gross and discovered you loved it
41. Been to Hawaii
42. Been to Africa
42. Had an "old-time" picture taken with your family, your friends or alone
43. Made good friends via the Internet

44. Met a movie star
45. Seen the Queen of England in person
46. Indulged in a tinsel fight while decorating the Christmas tree
47. Attended a family reunion
48. Couldn't turn out the lights for the night after reading a Stephen King novel

49. Gone on a cruise
50. Can you remember where you where the day the Challenger exploded? (No, but I remember where I was when Columbia disintegrated -- The Bloke and I were away at a Cotswolds hotel for our first anniversary and saw it on the news.)

I'm not going to tag anybody to do this list, because I'll be able to hear the groans from here! So, instead, if you *think* I would have tagged you for this list (or you would just like to do it), please feel free to do so and let me know so I can come and read.

Saturday, December 16


Maybe it's just me, but I like being tagged for stuff :) Here's another one from Nell:

Four Things

Four jobs I've had:
1. Deli assistant
2. Pub washing-up girl
3. Secretary
4. Professional procrastinator

Four places I've lived:
1. Buckinghamshire
2. Ditto
3. Ditto
4. Ditto. Yawn.

Four favourite foods:
1. Cheese
2. Rice
3. Gravy
4. Avocado

Four movies I could watch over and over:
1. Practical Magic
2. The Goonies
3. Overboard
4. Romancing the Stone

Four TV shows I enjoy:
1. Sex and the City
2. Friends
3. Spooks
4. Nick & Jessica: Newlyweds (it's my guilty pleasure, okay?!)

Four places I've travelled:
1. Florida
2. France
3. Cuba
4. Belgium

Four places I'd like to visit:
1. New York
2. Italy
3. Jersey
4. Louisiana

Four websites I go to daily:
1. Yahoo
2. My online bank
3. Remote email access
4. A bunch of blogs

Four people I tag to do this list:
1. Sue aka Ms Creativity
2. Laura Hamby
3. Lis
4. Jill

I've already been tagged to do another list, but I don't think I'll hit you with two in one day...

Wednesday, December 13

I Wrote Actual Words

Seems like a strange subject to have on a writer's blog, yes? But, you see, the truth is that I actually haven't written anything new (Moonlit Romance Authors Blog writing prompts excepted) for a number of months now. I've had projects in my schedule and I've worked on their ideas (as well as a couple of others that popped up along the way), but I hadn't actually typed "Chapter One" and started writing the real story.

Until today, when I wrote ten pages: just under 2,500 words. (Have updated my word counter accordingly.) It felt so good! And here's a strange thing... It was so hard to get started on this, because I've sat down many a time in at least the last month (probably more), thinking: "I must start writing..." but would end up doing some stupid distraction activity. I was worried today might be the same: that although I'd actually manage to start writing, I'd only manage a couple of lines and that they would be on a par with drawing blood from a stone. But I got more done than I was expecting and the words pretty much flowed through the keyboard.

Nice, huh? :)

You may notice that I've removed the word counter for the "Fax Suspense" idea I was working on. It was a bit of a seat-of-my-pants idea and wasn't actually on a schedule (as opposed to "One Shore Thing", which is), plus I was struggling to find the right characters. So I've shelved that for now and might start working on it again next year.

Just finished reading: Heat of the Moment by Diana Duncan

Tuesday, December 12

A Picture Says Four Words

In this case, those four words are...

We're having a baby!

I am 13 weeks' pregnant and Bloke and I are so excited! This may explain why I haven't been as up-to-speed on the blog lately, and why my brain keeps running away when I need it ;) Everything is going well so far and we are on target for an ETA of 18 June 2007. It also seems that I am not the only person in the online romance-writing community who currently has a bun in the oven! I know of at least three others -- something in the water maybe?

*Big grin*

Some more great news this week -- my critique partner Nell Dixon's medical romance Charlie Darling has had its full manuscript requested by Mills & Boon. Go Nell!!

Just finished reading:
Blue Dahlia by Nora Roberts

Thursday, December 7

Tagged by Robin Bayne

I've been tagged for a list by Robin Bayne, co-author of Christmas Grace, a seasonal anthology that is being released this month by Moonlit Romance's sister company, By Grace Publishing. In this list I have to "bold up" the things I have done. Here are my answers, Robin!

1. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
2. Swam with wild dolphins
3. Climbed a mountain (It was pretty small... In fact, it was probably just a big hill.)
4. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
5. Been inside the Great Pyramid
6. Held a tarantula
7. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
8. Said “I love you” and meant it
9. Hugged a tree -- for photo purposes only
10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game (and survived the crush afterwards)
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby’s diaper
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster
35. Hit a home run
36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer
40. Visited all 50 states
41. Taken care of someone who was drunk
42. Had amazing friends
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched wild whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe
47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing
49. Midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger’s table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow
56. Alphabetized your CDs
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day
60. Played touch football
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theater
66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites
70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played Dungeons & Dragons for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo
81. Rafted the Snake River
82. Been on television news programs as an “expert”
83. Got flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage
85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
88. Kissed on the first date
89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house
91. Been in a combat zone
92. Buried one/both of your parents
93. Been on a cruise ship
94. Spoken more than one language fluently
95. Performed in Rocky Horror
96. Raised children
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn’t stop when you knew someone was looking
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn’t have survived
105. Wrote articles for a large publication
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Touched a stingray
110. Broken someone’s heart
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a TV game show
113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a facial part pierced other than your ears
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol (only the kind you shoot cans with in amusement arcades)
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper
129. Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school
131. Parasailed
132. Touched a cockroach
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad -- and the Odyssey
135. Selected one “important” author who you missed in school, and read
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipped all your school reunions
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn’t know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146. Dyed your hair
147. Been a DJ
148. Shaved your head
149. Caused a car accident
150. Saved someone’s life

I tag Nell, Sue, and Liz Fenwick!

Saturday, December 2

A Gremlin Ate My Email

Public service announcement in the world of Jessica Raymond -- my Outlook mail program has been invaded by gremlins and glitches and after a week of slowness, has now officially given up the ghost and refuses to open. Something to do with corruption, full disks, write-protection, and that wonderful message "access denied"... So all of the emails I have saved in my individual folders, plus anything that anybody sent me before last night, is being held hostage. There is a chance they could be recovered, but it's not looking likely :(

So if you happen to have emailed me lately, especially if it's something important, please forgive me for not replying, and consider re-sending your missive. I *can* now access my email in a new program, but it means I have no record of any emails I received before today. Ever.