Monday, June 18

Welcome to the World, Little Flump!

Introducing Charlie Malcolm, born at 5.37pm on Saturday 16 June safely at home and at a healthy weight of 7lb 11oz. Labour was monitored at 13 hours.

I cannot recommend a homebirth enough for women with a good support network and a healthy pregnancy. I felt calm throughout the entire process and got through it using a TENS machine for one hour while waiting for the midwife to arrive, then by getting into my heaven-sent birth pool and going on the gas-and-air when things got more intense. I doubt the birth would have been the same had I not been in my own environment.

God bless my Bloke, my sister, my two fantastic midwives, my birth pool, the gas-and-air, and Charlie for being more than worth the whole experience (including the half an hour of late-stage contractions I got through without gas-and-air because the second canister had run out and the second midwife was still zipping round the local clinics trying to get more...).

Charlie's birthday featured a range of weather from heavy rain to bright sunshine to thunder and lightning to a shining rainbow right after he was born. It also coincided with the Trooping the Colour at Buckingham Palace to celebrate the Queen's official birthday; while I was labouring in the pool in the afternoon there was an almighty roar outside as the Red Arrows flew over our house on their way back from the ceremonial fly-past.

Thursday, June 14

Judy Wins the Baby Race!

If you haven't already seen it, check out Judy Jarvie's blog for the birth announcement posted by her hubby last night! Sounds like Judy was an absolute trooper. Many, many congratulations to her, hubby, her DD and their new little baby girl, Esme Kate! :) :)

Flump: "Meh. I'm still happy where I am for now. Stop pestering me."

Yesterday I finished the first chapter of WISTERIA COTTAGE, which I'm very pleased about. It will require much polishing and editing whenever I manage to reach The End and go back to the beginning for the second draft, but I still have this great sense of accomplishment. I'm not sure why... I mean, I've had three works published now and am therefore gradually losing my "newbie" shine, so finishing a chapter is nothing new for me, but this one feels a little bit different. Maybe it's because I thought I wouldn't even start writing the book before Flump's birth, or maybe it's because once I had started it, I didn't expect to get very far with a mind that's so full of other life-changing thoughts. Or maybe it's because WISTERIA COTTAGE is different. I have plans for this book -- a publisher (and line) in mind, and even two more connected books if all goes to plan.

Either way, I feel good :)

Wednesday, June 13

Thought for the Day

Having your feet massaged while heavily pregnant = BLISS.

Just finished reading: The Dating Game by Shirley Jump

Monday, June 11

Contest Reminder

There's one week left to enter the contest that myself and Nell Dixon are running to celebrate our recent release, A TASTE OF SUMMER. Here are the details --

  • A paperback copy of A TASTE OF SUMMER, signed by myself and Nell
  • A paperback copy of FALL IN LOVE: AN ANTHOLOGY, signed by Nell
  • Inflatable pink beach ball (suitable for ages 1+) and a frisbee for beach fun
  • Alba Organics SPF30 green tea sunscreen
  • 400g Cornish cream fudge assortment box (coffee, chocolate, vanilla, rum & raisin flavours) fresh from The Buttermilk Fudge Shop in Padstow, Cornwall
  • Assorted Jessica Raymond goodies, including jotter pad, pens, post-it notes, fridge magnets and bookmarks
  • Assorted Nell Dixon goodies, including pens, cards, and fridge magnets,
How to Enter:

Just answer this easy question:

What is the name of the fish-and-chip shop where Carrie and Noah are due to meet for dinner? (click here for a hint)

Email your answer along with your name, mailing address and email address to to enter the prize pool. Gain an extra entry by going to Nell's website and answering her question, too.

Contest ends 18 June 2007 and worldwide entries are welcome. Good luck!

Just finished reading: Northern Lights by Nora Roberts

Sunday, June 10

No News Yet

Flump is still in utero and I have a week and one day to go to our predicted due date. My raspberry tea bags are disappearing at a rate of knots and every night when we go to bed I think to myself "maybe this time tomorrow it will all be over and the baby will be here", but baby is obviously still quite comfortable! Good news though -- when my midwife came round on Friday to drop off two gas-and-air canisters she confirmed that Flump is now just one stage away from being fully engaged. Today I have some mild on/off lower backache, so maybe that could be the start of something...

Yesterday I wrote another six pages of the first chapter of WISTERIA COTTAGE and with some luck I might finish it off later this afternoon. That's if I haven't melted by then. Even though I'm wafting around in a big, loose Gap shirt-dress made of white cotton with every window open and the fan running, I still feel sticky. It would be nice to sit around in my maternity bikini, but oh, the horror... Maybe I'll get The Bloke to set up my birth pool this evening so that I can just wallow in cool water for the foreseeable future.

Thursday, June 7

Desperate Housewife

Do you think ironing counts as a nesting activity?

I only ask because I've done more ironing in the last ten days than I have in the last two years!

I've always hated ironing and thought of it as a very boring activity that I'd much rather swap for cleaning the toilet. Truly.

But recently I've been pressing and steaming away, mainly for a lack of other things to do. It's quite tedious sitting at home and waiting for Flump to get moving. There's only so much walking I can do each day and I'm loathe to go to the shops because (a) sitting in a driving seat is too uncomfortable; and (b) I don't want to spend unnecessary money. So I've been ironing almost anything I can get my hands on while simultaneously watching episodes of CSI that I've stored up in our Sky Plus planner. It's been quite soothing. But what scares me most is...

...I've actually been enjoying it.

Am I normal? Or has pregnancy turned me into a happy little 1950s housewife?

Just finished reading: The Laws of Attraction by Sherryl Woods

Tuesday, June 5

Good Deeds

I'm pleased to say that my "Taste of England" gift box from Brenda Novak's diabetes auction sold to its winning bidder for a brilliant USD $96. It's great to have helped raise money towards diabetes research; I won a couple of cool auctions myself. I love waiting for the items to turn up in the mail -- I won a couple of gift baskets in last year's auctions and it was great fun to rip open the big cardboard boxes and unpack signed books and American chocolate which is very hard to come by over here in the UK! The total amount raised this year was an astounding USD $141,700.

Also in the strain of doing good deeds, today I came across the Cool Earth initiative. This is a charity that combats global warming, protects ecosystems and provides sustainable jobs for local people by selling plots of the Brazilian rainforest in acre and half-acre measures that would otherwise be razed by loggers. Plots can be "bought" for as little as £35 in order to protect them, and you can pick a certain area of rainforest and have updates and pictures sent to you to keep track of your patch. I'm thinking of buying an acre in Flump's name. You can find out more about Cool Earth by clicking here.

Just finished reading: Birthright by Nora Roberts

Sunday, June 3

A Wonderful Weekend

The sun has been shining, the birds have been singing, my plants and flowers are flourishing, etc... I've spent virtually the whole weekend in the garden, sitting underneath a parasol on the deck with my laptop, a cold drink, and a Nora Roberts book (yep, another one). Yesterday I caught up with one of my friends, who is also pregnant and whom I hadn't seen since Christmas. Last night The Bloke and I had a little barbecue and sat outside to eat yummy chicken wings and salad with candles for company.

I've been noting down some ideas I've had for a novella which I'm considering for entry in the Brava Novella Contest, and I've also read my latest edition of Romantic Times magazine from cover to cover and added some new books on to my Amazon wish list (as if it needs to be expanded any further...).

I've also finally started writing WISTERIA COTTAGE (see word counter, to the right) and am now six pages into the first chapter and loving it so far! I don't know how steady my progress will be with this book, especially once Flump has decided that he/she is ready to grace us with his/her presence, but it's nice to have started a new book -- especially one whose characters I love, whose setting is beautiful, whose plot I'm very excited about and whose deadline is down to my choosing :)

How's your weekend been?

Friday, June 1

Congratulations Pip!

I'm thrilled to tell you (if you don't already know from other blogs) that one of my personal picks for the RNA New Writers' Award, Phillipa Ashley, was named the winner on Wednesday night for her wonderful Little Black Dress book Decent Exposure. Congratulations, Pip! Not only will she be over the moon with her win, but her second book with Little Black Dress, Wish You Were Here, is out this month. My copy's been sitting on my Amazon wish-list for some time, and I'm really looking forward to reading it.

The judges said some lovely things about my book, HAUNTED HEARTS. Here are their comments:

We really fell for Sam and his struggles with the violence in his past. We also loved the heartwarming, open-minded heroine and her problem-solving approach to life. In the best gothic tradition, there is a delicious haunted house, which is pivotal to the plot. You know there's Something Going On right from the path to the front door, although once inside the atmosphere builds with satisfactory slowness. Oh, and we loved the cat!

I received a lovely certificate and prize from the award sponsor, Dr David Hessayon, and a beautiful bunch of pink and cream roses from the RNA. I get the warm fuzzies every time I read the judges' comments and I'm already planning to frame my certificate and put it up in the entrance hall where everybody will see it :)

In other cool news, I saw the midwife this morning and Flump has started to engage him-/herself -- hurrah!