Thursday, 28 April 2011

This calls for a celebration

So, revisions are in (thank goodness for easter chocolate) the bunting is up and the children have been put to work making Union Jack paperchains. Royal Wedding excitement is mounting here by the second.

Call me shallow, but I'm so not interested in the political arguments about elitism and shameless extravagance. It's the wanton romance and emotion of the whole event that I'm excited about. And the outfits... and the excuse to drink champagne in the morning and eat cake all day*. In fact, it's a bit like being at your own wedding without the crushing feeling that you should have started dieting sooner.

So, are you in the mood to celebrate too or are you just going to take advantage of the day off and the fact that she shops will be empty and avoid it all?

(*I'm also a surprisingly excited about the opportunity to gawp at Harry all day. Am I the only one who's finding him oddly inspiring at the moment, in all sorts of ways?)

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Getting Away With It

Thanks to everyone who emailed for my spare copy of Julie Cohen's wonderful book. The winner is Catherine J, so as soon as I can bear to tear myself away from revisions and get down to the post office it'll be on its way to her. (That'll be this afternoon then.)

Actually, following a long phonecall with my editor yesterday, I'm feeling much more positive about the revisions and the book in general. It's been a very different experience writing this one as it's the second book in a two-part continuity, featuring the same hero and heroine, so the usual challenges of building a story have been complicated a little by the need to link the books, but make each one stand alone. I loved doing it, but writing the end of the second book has been really difficult. Probably twice as difficult as normal in fact, as it had to provide a sense of resolution to two stories. It's requiring an awful lot of Toblerone - so much, in fact that I even felt I needed to mention it in the book. Hope it gets past the copy-editor.

Better get on with it. (The book, not the Toblerone.)


Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Crisis Management

So, in the interests of promoting healthy living (always a priority of mine, see the 'Snacks' section for proof) I thought I'd better follow up my last post with some slightly more wholesome coping strategies for times of crisis. Even I have to admit that there's only so much cake, chocolate and Bakewell tart you can use to get you through tough times before it leads to a whole new set of problems, like not being able to go out in public as none of your clothes fit anymore. So, I've been busily trialling some calorie-free alternatives. That don't involve wine either.

I know the lovely (and now envy-makingly svelte) Michelle Styles would say that exercise is the way to go to boost endorphins and clear your mind. She's right, of course, but I've shamefully let my morning run slide this year as I really did find the half-hour recovery period spent gossiping with my running partner afterwards it cut into my working day too much. I guess we could re-schedule it for the evening, but by then my energy-levels have hit the floor and the only running I want to do is a hot bath.

Which brings me neatly onto my rigorously road-tested, calorie-free stress-relief method of choice: reading in the bath.

I do love my kindle, but its one huge downfalls is that it can't really be used in water (as my husband, chief screen-police officer in our house, regularly reminds me) which means I'm still buying paperbacks like a woman with a problem. Reading in the bath has been the thing that got me through the Deadline Weeks (and is my best hope for surviving the subsequent Revisiongate) and going straight to the top of my Book of the Year list is Julie Cohen's Getting Away With It.

Although perfect for bathtime escapism, it's the kind of book you have to keep near you at all times so you can top up your fix at regular intervals during the day, when reality gets a bit much. The thing is, it's so perfectly written that it actually feels like it could be reality, and given that I am about as far removed from the kick-boxing, smart-talking, independent twin heroine as it's probably possible to be, that is quite a feat of clever writing. I identified with Liza all the way. I understood her dilemma perfectly. And I bloody loved her man.

I ordered a copy of the book from Amazon on the day it came out, but before it arrived I spotted it in the book aisle of our brand-new, Wembley Stadium-sized Sainsburys. I'm such an instant-gratification girl I couldn't quite stop myself from slipping it into my basket, which means that I now find myself with a spare copy in need of a good home. So, if you feel a bit like you're swimming against the tide at the moment for whatever reason, and could do with escaping into a fabulous story, drop me a line via the website and leave your address. I'll pick a name out over the weekend.

It's funny too, did I mention that? You know when books are described in the back blurb as being 'laugh-out-loud funny' and you don't laugh once and feel a bit cheated? Well, this one isn't doesn't say that on the back, but I still did A LOT of inelegant snorting. I suppose that would make it a dangerous book to read on the bus, but still more perfect for solitary bathtime devouring. I'd better slip something fragrant and bath-y in with it, so you don't forget.

What's everyone else been reading and loving lately? In the bath or elsewhere...

Monday, 4 April 2011

Three reasons why today is not the day to start that diet...

1. The chocolates and cake that were part of the fabulous haul of goodies the daughters bought me for Mothers Day. (sniff.)

2. The remains of the most outrageously delicious and calorific Bakewell tart in the history of baking, made by my own lovely mother and given to us to bring home after lunch at her house yesterday.

3. The monster revisions I received on my latest ms late on Friday afternoon.

'Nuff said?