Wednesday, October 29

The End is Nigh

A couple of years ago a title like that would have referred to the completion of a story or a book, but as regular readers of this blog will have noticed, things haven't been like that in the world of Jessica Raymond for quite some time.

"The End", in this case, refers to some sad news: the closure of Moonlit Romance, the publishers of all three of my books. The house will be closing down at the end of this year, with 31st December being their final day of business. It was very sad news to hear but, in truth, it has forced to me to have a big think about where my writing career is heading. Once Moonlit Romance ceases trading, none of my books will be available, nor do I have any new books on the horizon.

I have a lot to think about at the moment, and this news may have solidified some decisions for me. However, I still haven't picked out a clear path for the future of Jessica Raymond, so for now, that's all the news there is.

In the meantime, if you would like to purchase any of my books before they go out of print, here are the links:

Wednesday, October 22

By The Way...

... I'm still here, I'm just not doing much in the blogosphere; apologies to those whose blogs I usually read and comment on.

I'm doing a lot of thinking about a lot of things at the moment, although some days I don't feel like I'm getting very far with any of it! Some of my thoughts are writing-related, so when there's news to be shared, I'll share it.

In the meantime, I need to update my "Just Finished Reading" list...

Just finished reading:
1. The Accidental Mother by Rowan Coleman
2. Being Jordan by Katie Price
3. The Two Pearls of Wisdom by Alison Goodman
4. A Whole New World by Katie Price

Tuesday, October 7

And the Winner is...

Virtual Voyage!

Congrats to you, because you've been drawn as the winner of my contest and will be receiving a two-month guest pass to! If you could visit my website and send me your address through the Contact Me page, I'll send your prize to you straightaway.

Thank you to everybody for your entries and suggestions of favourite children's books. I have a feeling Little Frog's bookshelves will be expanding at Christmas!

We had a lovely time in Cornwall -- great weather, great food, and lots of lovely time together as a family. Here's a picture of Little Frog "sharing" the Bloke's ice cream.

Just finished reading: Obsession by Jonathan Kellerman

Tuesday, September 16

CSI: Vegas Preview

If you, like me, are waiting waiting waiting for the good TV shows to start, you might be interested in watching this little snippet. It's a preview of the new ninth season of CSI, which follows on from the cliffhanger at the end of season eight involving Warrick Brown. (We temporarily interrupt this blog post for a sharp intake of breath, some nibbling of fingernails and the acquisition of a couple of tissues.) My sources tell me the new season starts in the US in mid October, so hopefully ol' slowcoach UK won't be too far behind.

Still loving the distraction activity of Black Boxes (see my sidebar) and the subsequent meetings with many different bloggers around the world. Don't forget to leave a quick comment if you want to be entered into my contest. I'll draw winners at the end of this weekend.

Just finished reading: Honey Trap by Julie Cohen

Tuesday, September 9

Books and Movies

Lots of stuff going on round our way at the moment. We've repainted the living room and had wood flooring put down in that room and also in the hallway, since our carpet (which was only three years old) had been beaten into submission by baby food splats and smears. Bizarrely, banana stains were the worst culprits -- even super carpet cleaner wouldn't get them out! We've also got a new sofa suite coming and I am starting to make lists ready for our cottage holiday in a couple of weeks' time. Hurrah!

Little Frog is still not walking (boo), but learning a new word pretty much every few days (yay). New additions to his repertoire include CAR, BEAR, POO-EEE (during nappy change), and GO! GO! GO! He resumed his Water Babies swimming lessons yesterday following the summer break and did really well, considering we only got round to taking him to the pool twice during the hiatus... At the end of the month he has an underwater photoshoot and I am nervous about it but very excited to see the results.

He's also got more interested in books now that he is a bit older. I'd heard it was never too early to start reading to your baby so I began when he was just a few weeks old, but he didn't really care and when he got to the grabby stage he just closed the book and threw it on the floor. Now, however, he will actually sit with me and look at the book, and sometimes we manage to read a short one through to the end. His current favourite is Little Monkey Says Goodnight, which involves me making lots of funny noises and movements. Here is a picture of him unpacking an Amazon delivery and preparing to read Run Among Thorns by Anna Louise Lucia and Honey Trap by Julie Cohen.

So, on to the movies part of my post. I've decided it's been WAY too long since I've done a contest of some sort, and I have a neat little prize to give away: a two-month guest pass to LoveFilm. This entitles you to sixty days free membership, whereupon you can have the movies, games and TV series of your choice delivered to your door absolutely free to enjoy at your leisure! (I use this service myself and we have saved sooo much money in late fees because with LoveFilm there are NONE!)

All you have to do is tell me your favourite childhood book (inspired by Little Frog) in the comment section. I'll draw a winner just before we leave for our holiday. Due to LoveFilm mailing restrictions, this prize is only available to residents of the UK and Channel Islands, but if you live outside these areas please do comment: I may bring a little something back from Cornwall for an international winner :)

Just finished reading: My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier

Wednesday, August 20

These Poor, Poor Blokes...

I'm still chuckling at this, four days after it was aired on TV.

I feel bad for these two blokes because they obviously believe in themselves, even if nobody else does (except maybe their mum). And the worst of it is that I'm fairly sure the rest of the nation are sniggering at their audition as well. I bet they wish they'd never applied. Either that or they'll have the last laugh and be signed up to advertise and promote all sorts of things.


Friday, August 15


Don't worry, it's not the dancing sort. Haven't attempted the limbo since a youth-club disco many moons ago, and nor would I like to! Little Frog, on the other hand, will probably be very good at it, since it has transpired that he is double-jointed. Honestly, he sits (and sleeps) in the strangest, most painful-looking positions and doesn't seem to care a bit.

The limbo of which I speak is the indecisive kind. Yep, it's me again, wondering what to do with my life and trying to work out how I should prioritise everything I want/need/would like to do. Subjects include (a) making improvements to our house; (b) getting a part-time job; (c) fitting in writing; and (d) possibly starting a business; along with other mundane things like (e) dieting; and (f) the colour of my hair. (Some of these things are obviously more important than others.)

Probably the easiest solution would be to write a To Do list, but then if I write one of those I'm going to have to start making Pro & Con lists, which'll be no help whatsoever with my decision-making and will only make me spend money on fancy stationery and pretty pens.


Maybe I should see a fortune teller or an astrologist or something. Or get a life coach. Does anyone want to volunteer?

Saturday, August 9


So it's 3:45 on Saturday afternoon. I'm taking a "lunch break" from proofreading and wondering if the occasional back massage might possibly be construed as a business expense. (Why is it that my fancy good-posture kneeling stool no longer seems to be doing its job?)

As is typical, I was halfway through one proofreading job when another arrived (with a very short deadline) and another one shortly after that. What's that saying again, about raining and pouring? Funny how these flurries of proofreading always occur when I've dared to apply for a "normal" job!

The job I've just finished and the one I'm breaking from at the moment are both books that I would never normally pick up to read for my own personal pleasure. In fact, I would say that probably eighty per cent of the books I proofread fit into such a category. But I've found that in almost every case I enjoy reading these books, the ones which would not attract me if I saw them on a shop bookshelf and read their back-cover blurb. This is one of the things I love most about my job -- it widens my personal reading scope and I find myself inspired in various ways as a result of enjoying something I would not have otherwise tried.

What about you -- have you ever made yourself read a book that you instinctively thought you wouldn't like? What made you try it, and how did you get on with it?

Just finished reading: Marriage, Interrupted by Karen Templeton

Sunday, August 3

Jean Genie

It's been a good week. Reasons:

1. I've applied for a handful of part-time jobs that would really interest me and which have nice little benefits.

2. I've written some more notes on the book idea that's been prodding me for attention every now and then, as well as deciding on names for my hero and heroine.

3. I FINALLY got hold of a copy of the lovely Nell Dixon's brand-new release, Blue Remembered Heels ... My local WHSmith and Waterstones? Sold out!

4. I tracked down two pairs of jeans that actually fit me, and for me this is a momentous event -- it's extremely difficult to find a good pair when you are only 5 foot 1.

5. I lost two pounds on the SlimFast plan, thanks in no small part to the lovely lady on eBay who sells American SlimFast bars (which are way better than the paltry three flavours we have here in the UK).

6. We found a fab new childminder for Little Frog.

7. We booked our summer mini-break and will be staying in a lovely little cottage in Cornwall.

But the week is set to finish on a not-so-happy note. The afore-mentioned Frog has been very unhappy all weekend, mainly due to the fact that he is cutting three big fat pointy molar teeth all at once. When I check inside his mouth to see how they are doing I just have to clasp him to myself in sorrow because it looks SO PAINFUL.

Just finished reading: The Hollow by Nora Roberts

Saturday, July 19

Which Path?

Had a lovely day today. Little Frog and I went to see his grandma and auntie, and the four of us spent the day browsing the high-street sales and chatting. I even got to amble around the book shop for twenty minutes on my own, picking up random books and reading bits of them before putting them back (sadly, I couldn't afford to buy any -- boo). I haven't book-browsed like that for ages, and it was really nice. Especially nice when I found a book I proofread; I always remember the consistent problems that appeared in each book I've worked on and it's a thrill to look at the published product and see all the things I pointed out that have been put right.

The only slight damper on my day was in the Marks & Spencer coffee shop, when Little Frog decided to throw up all down himself and, accordingly, all over my jeans. I beat a hasty retreat to the baby changing room with the small sodden one tucked under my arm and thanked God that I always have a fresh set of clothes for him in the change bag. Not so much luck for me -- I had to do the best I could on my jeans with a baby wipe and then... sigh... had to buy a new skirt to change into. Ah well.

Lately I've been floundering again as to what path I should be taking, career-wise. Proofreading is still going well but is extremely sporadic, and in the current state of the country's finances I need to have a regular and guaranteed income. Basically, I need to find a job. But I also need to find a new childminder, since Frog will stop going to his current one in mid-August. It is likely that his care days are going to change and I can't commit to anything until I know when those days will be. In the meantime, I'm spending a few hours a week fruitlessly searching local job websites and keeping my fingers crossed for a National Lottery/Premium Bond win.

On the plus side, I've been having thoughts about my book idea almost every day at the moment and have made quite a few notes on it this week. Perhaps once my new childcare arrangements are settled and I've managed to figure out some way of having a regular flow of money then I can start to structure in some writing. I mean, please... how long has it been?!

Just finished reading: The Rise and Fall of a Yummy Mummy by Polly Williams

Monday, July 14

Family Trip

Firstly, I interrupt this blog post (even though I've barely started it) to remind you all that my critique partner and good friend Nell Dixon's brand new book Blue Remembered Heels, published by Little Black Dress, is OUT NOW and AVAILABLE TO BUY in all good bookshops, both physical and online.

Buy it! Read it! Love it! Then I can say I told you so :)

Today The Bloke, Little Frog and I went to the little Cotswolds town of Bourton-on-the-Water.

Now, I'm English born and bred, and I grew up in the kind of village that was too small for a shop or bus service and barely qualified for a post box, so I know what our villages are like. But Bourton-on-the-Water is almost unreal in its lovely little postcard prettiness. It's the sort of rural English village you see in movies.

After our pub lunch, we spent the afternoon strolling up and down the river paths and ambling into gift shops. Then we took Little Frog to Birdland, a nearby tourist attraction filled with, well... birds... from all over the world. We paid good money for him to see lots of exotic and strange-looking winged things, and what did he do? Gaze around with a bored/haughty expression on his face, then eventually show some interest and laugh... at a bog-standard pigeon that happened to be waddling past.

Just finished reading: Her Parenthood Assignment by Fiona Harper

Tuesday, July 1


We recently celebrated Little Frog's birthday -- can you believe it? I know I can't! He had a wonderful little party where he played with his baby friends in the garden and was fed cake by Granny.

Here is a cutie picture of the little man all dressed up ready for his party. His auntie commented that he looks like Tommy from Rugrats here, which I think is true! What do you think?

Just finished reading:
The Wedding Officer by Anthony Capella (LOVED it)

Thursday, June 12

Guest Spot: Author Cindy Green

Today I welcome a special visitor: By Grace author Cindy Green. She'll be taking over my blog for today as part of her virtual book tour for her new release, Meeting Mr Right Online. Take care of the place, Cindy!

-- Jessica

This past May marks the date for the release of Cindy K. Green’s sixth book title, Meeting Mr. Right Online. It is a sweet chick-lit novella. What is chick-lit you might ask? Here is a little introduction from the author:

Chick-lit is primarily about young women in their 20’s or 30’s dealing with life (some newer titles include older women as well). It contains a light, humorous and most importantly a confiding tone (like you’re speaking to your girlfriends)—almost always in the first person. The themes focus around love, relationships, friendships, professional dilemmas, and a penchant for fashion—usually facing hilarious and embarrassing situations. But what it all comes down to is the heroine figuring out herself and what she really wants out of life. There is usually some kind of epiphany that blows her mind away and finally she can see clearly about what she really wants—or more importantly—needs.

Chick-lit is a completely different genre from romance because the focus is on the woman and how she navigates her way through the twists and turns life throws at her. But the romantic angle is usually at the forefront of the story. Another thing about chick-lit is that it does not always end in a happily ever after for the heroine and her love interest. Now I am an HEA girl all the way, so never fear, mine is very romantic and sweet and ends with an HEA.
-- Cindy

A few questions for Cindy about writing this book...

How did you go about writing this story?

This story resulted from a few factors. I was reading a couple of chick-lit novels last spring, I’d just watched several episodes of a certain TV show with my sisters which resulted in the names of all the side characters, and I really did have an online friend like this who I had come to rely on and then all of a sudden didn’t hear from. My friend though was only a friend and we started writing again in a very short time. But the situation made me think…What if??? It all went from there.

Did you plot out this story or write it pantser style?

There was no plotting to this story until toward the end and then it was only ideas of what I wanted to happen to bring about the conclusion. I began writing this story on my PDA late at night in the dark (this is also how I wrote NovelTea #1). Sounds weird, right? :) Well, we authors are an odd lot. LOL! I was in the middle of editing a full-length novel and to those of you who have ever done that we know how consuming it is. I needed to write something new. So, there in the dark as my husband slept, I began this story.

Is the finished version much different from your first draft?

Yes, actually, it is. It is about 5,000 words longer to begin with. I changed the heroine’s profession, adding a secondary plot line about her work worries. And I made her love interest British instead of American. My husband calls me an Anglophile as I love all things British, especially Period Dramas and British television. I thought, ‘I can write an English bloke.’ I had a couple English author friends read through his passages to make sure he seemed real. It seems he passed muster.

About the Book...

Meeting Mr. Right Online by Cindy K. Green
Sweet/Chicklit Novella
By Grace Publishing

Watch the book trailer

What’s a girl to do when she’s thirty-three and all her friends have started their lives and left her behind?

Lucinda Kelley works for a local cable television show, assists her sister in her tumultuous relationships, and yearns for the day she can meet Mr. Right. All that seems to change when she meets Londoner Julian Crawford in an on-line tv chat room. Eight months later, via email he has become her best friend and closest confidant. Then one day the messages cease, and Lucinda feels lost until she makes a vow to end this infatuation with someone she has never met and move on to something real. When an alarming revelation is exposed, it could be Lucinda’s undoing or it might be exactly what she was looking for.

Excerpt #1: The Opening

Good evening, this is Amber Heffernan reporting live for Channel 11 entertainment news outside the beautiful Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City. In just a few minutes, the glamorous Lucinda Kelley will emerge with her new husband, that handsome British financier. This couple has been in the media limelight since they first started seeing each other almost six months ago, outshining all of the other popular Hollywood pairs. The bride was married today in a Vera Wang strapless scoop-neck wedding gown, and I’m told she looked absolutely stunning. When the couple exits the hotel, they will travel to JFK International Airport to board the family jet to Jamaica where the twosome plan to depart for a two week honeymoon. After that they will settle into their Malibu home in California where Lucinda produces her award winning television sitcom…

The computer beeped letting me know it had finally booted up, and there I was, daydreaming again. I really had to stop doing that. I clicked the button once more, hoping this time it would be there. I held my breath for the few seconds it took to check my email messages, feeling that depressed, empty sensation yet again when I didn’t see it. Rubbing my forehead, I closed my eyes. This was absolutely ridiculous. Why did I torture myself so?

Read some more excerpts and watch the book trailer on Cindy's website.

About Cindy...

Cindy K. Green is a multi-published author with degrees in History and Education. Previously a middle school English & History teacher, she now homeschools her own children and writes in several genres: Inspirational, Contemporary, Suspense and Historical romance. Find out more about Cindy and her books at

Monday, June 2

Pies, Pies, and More Pies

Unfortunately, it's not the sort of pie that one would eat. Although on second thought, that's probably a good thing -- I could do without the extra calories. No, the pies my title refers to are those that feature in the "fingers in many..." saying, since I currently have numerous things in process on the career/work front.

I am still proofreading as well as trying to write when the opportunity arises, although I admit that this is not happening as often as I would like. I'm also looking for a part-time job to bring in some extra cash, due to plans we've made for some home improvements and, basically, the soaring cost of pretty much everything in the current economic climate... The third thing that is ticking along in my little mind is an idea for a business that I would very much like to start up. I think it would fulfil a popular need in my local area and it is something I would enjoy doing, plus the financial outlay would not be too monstrous. I've started doing some market research and planning and am feeling quite excited about it all. Will have to see if it pans out.

In home news, Little Frog has now started to crawl, is saying "Mummy" on a regular basis (and something that sounds like "doggy" but could be "Daddy"), and turns one year old in less than TWO WEEKS!

Good news from the Diabetes Auction -- my gift box eventually sold for USD $62! I was very pleased and privileged to be able to help with this year's fundraising effort, not just from my own donation but also from the couple of auctions that I won myself (but not the trip to Las Vegas, alas!).

Just finished reading: Body Work by Fiona Brand

Tuesday, May 13

Book Tag

Nell (who recently received the most gorgeous cover for her July release from Little Black Dress -- see it here) has book-tagged me, so here it is...

1. Pick up the nearest book.
2. Open it to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people and post a comment to the person who tagged you once you've posted your three sentences.

I feel like maybe I should give some sort of critical analysis of whatever I post, but I think it depends on what I get!

*looks around for the nearest book*

I've laid my hands on Barbara Erskine's Whispers in the Sand, which I haven't actually read yet. Hope I don't come across a spoiler. Anyway, here are the relevant sentences:

She slipped off the canvas folding stool upon which she had been sitting before her easel and sank cross-legged on the Persian rug, fluffing her skirts up around her. When she glanced up he was offering her a plate, his deep brown eyes grave as they rested for a moment on her face. There wasn't a trace of servitude in his manner as he smiled the slow serious smile she was growing to like so much.

This book is set in the present and when I read this paragraph I thought it sounded quite historical. A flip back through the pages revealed that this comes from a scene which is actually a flashback into the past. I'm most intrigued by who "he" is, and why his eyes are so grave when he looks at her and yet he smiles anyway.

I tag: Sue, Karen, Judy, Julie... and whoever else would like to do it.

Just finished reading: Loose Screws by Karen Templeton

Wednesday, May 7

Bids Away!

Brenda Novak's Diabetes Auction is now in full swing. The first week is over and it looks like it's going to be a very successful year again in terms of fundraising. My gift box is already bid up to $56 -- last year it sold for an eventual $96. I'm bidding on a number of things myself (yeah, I know I won't win the trip to Vegas, but I'll have a go at it). Check out my gift box here, and go here for the auction main page, from which you can search through the many, many lots up for the taking.

Our trip to Spain went very well. Little Frog, in particular, made us very proud with his "what's all the fuss about?" attitude to flying! The weather was great and we had some lovely relaxation time. Oh, and here's a pic of The Bloke and Little Frog by the sea. Can you see what he's doing? The weirdest thing was that after we stopped him and emptied his hand, he tried to do it again -- and again. Did it really taste that nice?

Just finished reading: An Eligible Bachelor by Veronica Henry

Saturday, April 19

My gift box for the Diabetes Auction

Here are the details on the gift box I am donating to Brenda Novak's Diabetes Auction:

A Taste of England -- a gift box from author Jessica Raymond
  • A Lily of the Valley gift set from Woods of Windsor
  • English Lavender bath herbs
  • Twinings English Breakfast tea bags
  • A box of slow-baked all-butter shortbread fingers
  • A signed copy of A Taste of Summer, a duet beach romance by Jessica Raymond and Nell Dixon
  • Jessica Raymond notepad, pens, bookmarks, and fridge magnets

The auction begins on May 1st and runs until May 31st. Bids on my box will start at USD $2 and you can pay by Paypal, credit card, cheque (US-drawn) or money order. There are LOADS of other fabulous things up for grabs and Brenda will be giving an amazing prize away to the person who places the most bids, even if they don't win anything.

Once the auction starts I'll post up a permanent link to my gift box on the sidebar.

I'll be away from the blog for a little while now, as tomorrow we fly to Spain to visit my mother. This is Little Frog's first ever trip on an aeroplane and I'm really hoping he behaves. (It doesn't help when both Mummy and Daddy hate flying.) But I'm just going to think about the nice sunshine and the good food and seeing the look on his face when he squelches his toes into some soggy sand on the beach :)

Wednesday, April 16

A Short Story - "Rearview"

A short story of mine appeared on the Moonlit Romance Authors Blog last week. If you'd like to read Rearview, just click here. I'd love to hear what you thought of it!

News of my Diabetes Auction gift box coming very soon.

Sunday, April 6

The Soundtrack to My Life?

I shamelessly stole this from Liz Fenwick, who usually has some of the best meme's and tag-posts :)

If Your Life Were a Movie…What Would the Soundtrack Be?

Here’s how it works:

1. Open your music library (iTunes, Winamp, Media Player, iPod, etc)
2. Put it on shuffle
3. Press play
4. For every question/bullet-point, type the song that’s playing
5. When you go to a new question/bullet-point, press the next button
6. Don’t lie and try to pretend you’re cool, because you’re not!

Opening Credits: Feelin' Good by Nina Simone

Waking Up: Save Me by Remy Zero (the theme tune to Smallville)

First Day at School: Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out by Nina Simone (??!! -- and I have over 400 songs in my library and it picks the first artist again...?)

Falling in Love: Whisper of a Thrill by Thomas Newman (from the score to Meet Joe Black, and this is a pretty good match)

Fight Song: Inertia Creeps by Massive Attack (which could work!)

Breaking Up: Respect by Train (I think this is from one of my Dawson's Creek soundtracks and the lyrics kind of fit)

Prom/Dance/Ball: Angel by Ralph Fridge (a dance tune which, bizarrely enough, was released around the time of my high-school graduation)

Life’s OK: Toca Me by Fragma (the original version, not the one that's just been re-worked)

Mental Breakdown: Times Like These by Foo Fighters (another reasonable match!)

Flashback: Smoke by Natalie Imbruglia (and this is quite good, too, because it reminds me of my dad for some reason)

Getting Back Together: Everything by Lifehouse (which you must listen to because it's gorgeous... and also sort of fits lyrics-wise... I sometimes imagine this as a first-dance-at-wedding song)

Birth of Child: Daniel's 9th Cipher by Hans Zimmer (from the Da Vinci Code origin
al score... thankfully I don't own the score for The Omen!)

Wedding: Poe Meets Larkin by Mark Mancina/Trevor Rabin (from the Con Air original score... bizarre fit movie-wise, but it is a very beautiful orchestral arrangement)

Final Battle: Deadline by Dutch Force (a dance tune... I half-hoped something from the Flash Gordon soundtrack -- yep, I own it -- would pop up here)

Funeral Song: On Hallowed Ground by Graeme Revell (from the original score of The Crow... a pretty eerie match)

End Credits: Call the Police by James Morrison (and what should I make of that?!)

Thursday, April 3

Dreams of Danny Dyer

For those of you who don't know who Danny Dyer is, here's a photo:

He's a British actor, and for some reason I had a dream about him last night. Not that I'm complaining ;)

Today I got one of those kneel-pad office stools, in an effort to be kind to my back. When I'm proofreading I have been known to sit in one spot for three hours or more (I know, I know, I should take a break every half an hour and stretch...) and my dining-room chairs just haven't been cutting the mustard.

I'm in the process of finalizing my gift box for Brenda Novak's Diabetes Auction, so keep an eye out for news and a photo of the prizes. (Speaking of which, Debs, I have not heard from you yet about your prize!)

Just finished reading: The Wives of Bath by Wendy Holden (Thanks, Pip! Really enjoyed it, although if the character of Jake was real I would need to be held back from punching him in his smarmy face.)

Friday, March 28

Can't Wait

I am so excited about this. Anyone else?

Thursday, March 20

Full Plate

Hmm, so I was away from the blog for a little bit longer than I'd expected...

It's been very busy around here lately. Little Frog didn't get any better any faster and ended up going into hospital and staying overnight for dehydration. Fortunately we were allowed home the next day and he made a very steady recovery. Now he is eating more than ever and he is about to produce his third tooth!

I've also been mega-busy with proofreading. Every time I've finished one job I've had another sitting on the table ready to go, so there hasn't been much R&R for me. Still, it's nice to be tackling work again -- and it doesn't hurt the bank balance, of course!

Thank you so much for all your suggestions on things I could include in my English-themed gift box for Brenda Novak's annual diabetes auction. I have drawn a winner from all those who posted and it is... DEBS! Congratulations! If you could head over to the "Get in Touch" page of my website and let me know your details then I'll get your signed copy of Haunted Hearts and some chocolate in the post to you ASAP :)

Food items were the most popular suggestions for the gift box (who knew?), and so I have decided on the theme of British Cooking. I'm thinking a classic cookery book along with various typically British ingredients and condiments. Keep an eye out for pics of the gift box and a link to the auction page when it all goes live.

Just finished reading: Blood Brothers by Nora Roberts

Monday, February 25

Swings and Roundabouts

Positives from the last few days:

1. I finished my mountain of proofreading.

2. I won Phillipa Ashley's contest and now have a nice copy of Wendy Holden's The Wives of Bath sitting on my bookshelf.

3. I had a precious extra hour in bed on Saturday morning.

Negatives from the last few days:

1. An elderly member of the family, who had been unwell for some time, passed away.

2. Little Frog has contracted a very nasty bout of gastroenteritis.

At times like this I find it helps to think, "This too shall pass."

While I'm away from the blog for a few days, I'd like you all to put your thinking caps on for me. Brenda Novak's Diabetes Auction is coming up in a few months, and I will once again be contributing a gift box full of great items, probably on the theme of "England". So, I'd like to know a few things:

1. What sort of things would you love to get in a gift box?

2. What sort of gifts/prizes do you think of as being typically English?

I'd particularly appreciate the viewpoints of those of you who don't live in England, for whom English things will be a bit more of a novelty! Everybody who leaves me a comment with their suggestions will be entered to win a signed copy of Haunted Hearts -- and I might throw in some English chocolate too :)

Just finished reading: Full Exposure by Diana Duncan

Wednesday, February 20

Quick Bulletin

Still here. Busy working. Maternity leave finished and lots of proofreading to do. Great to be exercising the brain and earning money again, but hardly any time leftover to do anything else -- hence no progress on word counter. Really don't think I'll fulfill the To Do list this month... But stranger things have happened!

Thursday, February 14

Mystified by MySpace

I've finally succumbed to the progress of technology and joined MySpace. There are people I know who've been on there for quite a while but I've never done it myself before now -- mainly because... well, if I'm going to be honest about it, the pages always look really cluttered and messy to me! But I think you can customise your own page, yes?

I would appreciate any pointers or advice anyone can give me about MySpace. How do I find new friends? How do your customise your page? What sort of things do you normally do on there?

If you would like to be my friend (shades of primary school...) then you can see my profile here.

I'll be looking for advice again in the next couple of weeks, this time to do with contest prizes and the sort of things you like to win! So look out for that :)

Thursday, February 7

Cake Helps You Write

Question: How can we already be a week into February?!

It's been a time of great milestones for Little Frog lately. In the last fortnight he sprouted his first tooth, finally worked out how to sit up unaided, spent a trial day with his childminder (during which he went to a birthday party and was helped to play pass-the-parcel: be still my sniffy motherly heart), and then promptly sprouted his second tooth. How can this be when he was only recently a little pink wrinkly person who just knew how to sleep, poop, and cry??

And so to writerly things... I meant to post my February "To Do" list on the 1st, but got distracted by baby teeth and suchlike. So here it is:

1. Continue subbing my motherhood article. (Am still waiting to hear from the first magazine.)
2. Write chapters two and three of Truck of Luck.
3. Write another short story.
4. Update my website.

I finish my maternity leave next week and will be back to proofreading, but I am going to try my best to continue to meet my writing goals. I may need a couple of slices of Marks & Spencer's chocolate fudge cake to help me, but if that's what it takes then that's what I gotta do!

Just finished reading: One Night Stand by Julie Cohen

Saturday, February 2

Whoop Whoop!

The first chapter of The Truck of Luck is DONE! And I am loving my characters. Their dialogue feels really effortless to me, which is great (I sometimes think my dialogue sounds a little forced) and I lurve my hero -- always a good sign.

*happy sigh*

And now I get to celebrate, because today is mine and The Bloke's sixth anniversary (of our first date) and Little Frog is at his grandparents, so we are going out for dinner :)

Thursday, January 31


My maternity leave comes to an end in just a couple of weeks now, and Little Frog is booked in to have a trial day next week with the lady who will hopefully be his childminder. My feelings are mixed about the whole thing (as I imagine most mothers' are). It will be the first time he has been looked after by somebody who is not family, which makes me feel weird and nervous, but equally I am really looking forward to working again. Ah, the guilt...

Oh, and did I mention that he finally has his first tooth? It broke through quite suddenly last week and he's been enjoying testing it out on his baby board books.

So, back to my January To Do list. Did I complete it? Almost.

Tax return? Done. Article about motherhood finished and submitted? Done (but yet to hear back from magazine). Short story? Done (just needs a final check-over before it is sent out).

And on to the final item on the list... Completion of plot and first chapter for Truck of Luck? Not done. Sigh. Although I am much further along with my plotting. I got distracted by another story idea halfway through the month, on which I spent quite a bit of time, so if that hadn't happened I imagine I would have achieved my target. This one will have to be moved on to my February To Do list (look out for it tomorrow) and I think I should expand my goal to include the completion of chapters one, two, and three.

Just finished reading: English Lord, Ordinary Lady by Fiona Harper -- which is a finalist for the RNA's Romance Prize 2008, so best of luck to Fiona (and the other nominees)!

Wednesday, January 23

Me in a Glass

Liz Fenwick had this on her blog the other day -- What's the Recipe for Your Personality? I did it for myself and came up with the following results.

For my real name:

3 parts Grace
2 parts Fascination
1 part Panache

Splash of Prosperity

Finish off with an olive

For Jessica Raymond:

3 parts Warmth
2 parts Sass
1 part Style

Splash of Intellect

Finish off with a little umbrella and straw

Interesting differences between the two!

I've also been tagged by Nell for a list of six random quirks/things about me. I'm always terrible at thinking of amusing things to put in the list, but here goes.

  • Link to the person that tagged you
  • Post the rules on your blog
  • Share six non-important things/habits/quirks about yourself
  • Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs
  1. My toes are always more presentable than my fingernails. If I haven't got nail polish on my toes then something feels very wrong, so they are never without some decoration. My fingernails, however, are lucky if they get painted once a month and then the poor things have to cope with gradual flaking for a couple of weeks before I finally get around to removing the remains of what's left.
  2. Every now and then I get inexplicably addicted to some teen-targeted schlock TV show. At the moment I have to catch every episode of The Search for the Next Pussycat Doll, even though I know who wins and I know she jacked in the job about two seconds later (what a cheek!). I've also taken to having MTV's The Hills on during the day. Save me, someone.
  3. I'm very picky about how I have my tea. I need to actually taste the flavour of the tea leaves, but I also need to have enough milk for it not to be mega-strong. The balance is delicate, and not many people can achieve it.
  4. There is a lamp-post almost directly outside our bedroom window and in the two and a half years that we have lived here it has never bothered me -- until Little Frog moved out of our room and into his own. After that it felt like our room was flooded with light and it really started to get on my nerves. I guess it's because sleep became such a precious commodity. So now I have to plaster on a pink silk eyemask that is embroidered with the words "In Your Dreams" (it's the only one I could find, okay?) to ensure I get to sleep quick-smart.
  5. Lately I can't stop eating junk food. I know it's gross, I know it's bad for me, but almost every day I want to eat some McDonald's or a KFC or some egg fried rice. Guess what I had for dinner last night? A Big Mac. Sigh.
  6. I can't have a bath without a book. I always read in the bath before I had a baby, but now a nice bath is one of very few precious periods of Me Time, and I always use it to catch up on my reading.
I tag: Fiona Harper, Judy Jarvie, Julie Cohen, Karen Templeton, Phillipa Ashley, and Sue aka Ms Creativity. Sorry ladies!

Monday, January 21

Little Miss Change-Her-Mind

Thanks for all the comments and input on how to settle on a project. The last couple of days have seen my Libran trait of indecisiveness hit an ultimate peak. I started off the weekend wanting to work on the pregnancy book, changed my mind to Truck of Luck at lunchtime, then back to babies later on in the day. Yesterday I did some plotting for the baby book, but today I've been plotting Truck.

I'm wondering if the best way to handle this is just to plot both, start writing both, and see which one wins. I'm almost certain that one will take the lead. At the moment I think Truck is winning. I've worked on my characters more today and they're feeling a lot more three-dimensional now, and I find that always gets the story moving properly.

We can but wait and see!

Friday, January 18


So I have just under two weeks to check off the last two items on my January To-Do list: writing a short story and finishing my plotting for The Truck of Luck. The short story's in the works, but the book plotting is being a bit troublesome.

What do you do when you are trying to work on the initial stages of a book but you keep getting distracted by another idea? Because that is what's happening. I keep thinking about another story (pregnancy-related, by the way) when I should be working on Truck.

Since I am writing to my own schedule and not to a contract or a proposal, I am technically free to work on whatever I would like. So what do I do? Continue with Truck, or back-burner it and take on the other story? I guess that, practically speaking, working on the pregnancy book might be a bit more sensible while I'm still close enough to the condition to remember what it was really like...

Votes, please!

Just finished reading: Taking the Leap by Judy Jarvie

Wednesday, January 16

Waiting to Hear

My motherhood article is finished and I am waiting to hear if the features editor of my targeted magazine is interested in it. Fingers crossed.

At the weekend I read a horoscope for my year ahead. It said that I would be very motivated and approach my career with sensibility and concentration. Hurrah! I have high hopes for 2008; hopefully Mystic Meg is telling the truth.

We've also been finalizing our childcare plans for Little Frog, since my maternity leave comes to an end in a month's time and I will be resuming my proofreading on a part-time basis. It will be strange not to spend all day/every day with the little one, but I am looking forward to giving my brain a regular workout and snatching back just a little bit of my 21st-century career-girl persona.

Wednesday, January 9

Item number one: Check!

That's one item crossed off my list -- the tax return. I filed it online and it's a lot easier. I still have trouble understanding most of it, though; the guidance notes can only be so clear to a person who isn't very maths-minded. I dream of the day when I might be able to afford an accountant...

Item two on my list is also half-done. I've finished my motherhood article and now I'm just researching markets. I hope to send it out on submission by the end of this week.

Next up after that it's either a short story or my plans for TRUCK OF LUCK.

Tuesday, January 8

My "To Do" List

I've decided to make a "To Do" list at the start of every month to keep track of my goals and put pressure on myself to achieve them. I'm feeling very motivated at the moment, but that may not always be the case!

January's "To Do" list:

1. Do my tax return.

2. Finish my article about the surprises of new motherhood and submit it to a magazine.

3. Write a short story.

4. Finish my plotting for TRUCK OF LUCK and write the first chapter.

Wish me luck!

Just finished reading: Holly and Mistletoe by Susan Mallery

Wednesday, January 2

Fresh Starts

Happy New Year! I hope you had an enjoyable time on the Big Night and that your Christmas was also wonderful.

I'm always a little relieved when the festive season is over -- not because I don't like it, because I do! But I always find myself reflecting over the year that is about to finish and planning ahead for the one that's about to start. For that reason I'm always quite excited by the start of the new year. It's a great time to get rid of all that you don't need, like house clutter, extra poundage, and internet distractions (*cough* Facebook *cough*). Then you can put into motion all the new changes you want to make, like room redecoration, fitness regimes, a new book idea, or a new hobby.

I admit that I don't always keep to my resolutions, but I like to make them anyway. Mine are:

1. Be more productive with my spare time. This is why I am quitting aforementioned Facebook and getting my life back!

2. Eat more fruit. Veg I'm fine with, but I know I don't get enough of the sweet stuff.

3. Stop accumulating rubbish in the house. I've already started a decluttering session and I am not going to fill the fresh empty spaces with new stuff I don't need.

4. Write a LOT more than I did in 2007. I want to finish one full-length book, preferably two, ideally three. I also want to write one short story a month.

What are your resolutions, and do you think you'll stick to them?

Oh, one other thing. The Moonlit Romance Authors Blog has relocated and can now be found right here on Blogspot. The first post goes up today, and if you post a comment any time between now and Friday you could win a free e-book!