Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Covers and concert

What a proud Mummy! Last night I went to see Phillipa in the end of term concert at the Royal Academy of Music. A stunning ensemble of thirty young people all selected for their outstanding talent, who are now one third of the way through their course. You wonder how much more they can learn. The orchestra, of course, also Royal Academy students, were fabulous, as you would expect, the MD and chorus master, Stephen Hill, a marvel.

Each member of the course had a solo, Philly's small, as they are saving her voice until after she's had her throat operation a week on Monday. There were many moments through the evening which made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, and the only thing I could have wished for was that Philly's elder sister Lou (also a singer, in case you don't know) could have been there. Her best friend, best friend's brother, sister-in-law-elect and two sponsors were there with me, and we all agreed it was a fab evening.

Other stunning news - I am being rejacketed. A whole new matching set will be out next year, and apparently one of the wholesalers (Bertrams) is to do a special promotion of them all when book 6 comes out in April. Oh - and book 7 will also be out next year on October 25th, in time for Christmas. Long live Libby Sarjeant.

Last week I attended the RNA winter party, had lunch and shopping before with Bernardine Kennedy and a lightening catch up with other friends when we got there. The result - dreadful feet for two days. One day in London equals ratcheted up arthritis for days afterwards. As I was up there yesterday, guess how I feel today?

Friday, October 30, 2009

Ain't yer got no sense of yoomer?

Having actually watched poor Ian Rankin (teehee!) on the Crime Thriller Awards last night, I have to admit that his comment was, indeed, a throwaway joke. I'm not apologising for being defensive on behalf of the Romantic Novelists' Association, or writers of the ubiquitous Women's Fiction, merely saying yes, it was a joke, and I'm sure he would be astonished at the reaction it has provoked in our community.

I can, unfortunately, see how our combined raised spines would appear to the general public. Do I need to spell it out? I think the title of this post says it all. So come on, ladies and gents, think of a good joke for the crime writers. (Oh, that includes me, doesn't it? Bother.)

After a comforting discussion with my publisher the other day, I'm pleased to report that I have a stay of execution on the current book - pub. date now moved to April - another book is required after that, and large print and audio versions of Murder in Bloom are out on Monday. All the Libby Sarjeant series is now in audio, but this will be my first large print. Thrilled to bits. I will be able to eat for at least another year...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Blood on the carpet says Mr Rankin

Apparently this is what happens whenever two or more romantic novelists gather together. Harpies and harridans, the lot of us.

Now, I'm a member of the Romantic Novelists' Association and the Crime Writers' Association. Over my years of membership, I have met more close friends through the RNA than the CWA could shake a stick at. They are supportive, helpful, genuinely pleased at each other's successes and have a unique New Writers' Scheme. I have been a member of the CWA for three years. (Sorry - was there more to that sentence? No? Ah.)

So please, crime writers, leave it out. It isn't funny - it may have been when first uttered fifteen years ago - and it most certainly isn't true.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A gentle trot through October

I did try to blog while on holiday in Cavus, Turkey, but for some reason the Turkish server wouldn't let me! I managed everything else; I wrote, Tweeted, Facebooked and emailed, and listened to music and comedy on the ipod and the laptop. Fab. Three weeks is, however, too long. I've spent three weeks there before, but when I was still fairly new to the place (ie, only been there three or four times). Now, however, three weeks away from home, the cats and the children is too long. My friend Marie suggested I shouldn't have kept up with home so much, but she can talk! She, grandmother of the year, who has to phone home to find out how grandson 1 has done at football, not to mention phoning to wish him luck before every match...

Cats were spoilt by their Auntie Alison, who lived in for the whole time. Despite the fact that they now think they can have at least two breakfasts and can sleep on my bed with me (shades of Alan Davis's cats who went to live with his sister), I am so grateful to Alison, who (the mug) has said she'll do it anytime.

I am on the home straight with Murder in Bloom, and it has been even more of a struggle. I suppose each one will get harder and harder. Four of the books are now in audio, and I'm still hoping Magna or Thorpe will pick them up for large print. I have a beautiful new map of Steeple Martin drawn by my friend Susan Alison which is on my website and will appear in each new book.

Jack and the Beanstalk will be the pantomime at the Whitstable Playhouse in January 2010, and I'm extremely pleased to say I shall be playing the Queen. It's years since I was actually IN a panto, having been conned - I mean, asked - to direct more recently. Luckily directed ones wot I had writ, so got the royalties, but it's not the same as being in one.

Daughter Phillipa is having the time of her life at the Royal Academy of Music, and I would like to add my own thanks to all those who helped her get there.

That's about it for now. Do let me know if you've read this by commenting.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Looking for a fan!

I received a lovely email via my website this morning, and have tried to reply three times, only to have the horrible FAILURE message come whizzing back on elastic. Part of the address was sue@pepper, and she says she read the blog, so if she does - please get in touch again!

Otherwise, not much to report. Still struggling with book 6, but spent a whole afternoon doing hard copy editing yesterday and feel a little happier with it. One Twitter-friend says she's aiming to do 6000 words a day this week for a deadline. Deadline? I'd be dead! I aim for 2000 a day, but the amount of thinking I do uses up so much time that I flag at about the 1500 mark. I wish I could think it all through first and then just type the words, like copytyping. Doesn't work like that, though, does it?

Philly moves up to London at the weekend (between gigs) and starts at The Royal Academy on Tuesday. Gor blimey. I would like to thank all my friends who have so generously helped her. I am truly gob-smacked. You all deserve - well, I don't know what you deserve. Sainthood, possibly.

Now to plod on with book 6. See you soon -ish.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Bad Babes, Music Hall, Lou's and Leo's birthdays

Lots of catching up to do.

On Sunday 19th July Catherine Aird and I had our very badly attended book signing in Oxfam in Canterbury. I think (God Bless Simon Hall for thinking of it) it was a mistake. Oxfam bookshops are pushing indie bookshops out of the market place, when they're already under threat from the big chains. Also, of course, second hand book sales are NOT good for authors. If customers only buy second hand books, we don't get any money! And please don't compare us to washing machines or clothes, which are also sold second hand. A book is due solely to the industry of its author, and our ancillary editors, publishers and printers, of course!

Number one child Lou's birthday was fun, held in her garden which she and Jarrod had decked out very prettily. Both children slept through it. Music Hall - very hard on the feet - was sold out every night and received high praise from everyone, including Those In The Know from the British Music Hall Society, but from one couple, whom I thought of as friends, total disparagement. However, as their daughter is on the West End stage, perhaps their critical faculties are set rather high!

Talking of West End Stage, those who follow us will know that Phillipa, number three child, has obtained a place at The Royal Academy of Music starting in September. Her course has been informed that they are to form the choir at Elton John's Albert Hall concert with Teddy Thompson, introduced by Stephen Fry on September 22nd. Oh, WOW!!! Of course the tickets have been sold out long before they were told they were doing it, so fond parents will not be admitted.

Number four child, Leo, came home from Manchester for a week, during which he celebrated his 25th birthday (notice I didn't say which one Louise celebrated) with a party on the day and a trip to The Globe with the aged p to see As You Like It. We were both enchanted. If the arthritis could stand the underground I'd go every week.

Number two child Miles has organised, bless him, for a downstairs loo to be put into my house - if I can get my office cleared out in time for the visiting New Zealand plumber. Otherwise, Miles just goes on being a good son who lives over the road and is performing locally tonight. I shall be there cheering.

Last night, Linda Regan, Kaye C Hill, Mary Andrea Clarke and I held the first "Bad Babes" event at Waterstones, Bromley. We, or rather Linda, had devised a crime quiz, which she and I ran. I didn't know the answers, sadly. The winners received tickets for performances of "The Spider's Web" by Agatha Christie at The Churchill Theatre in November. We then talked about our writing, helped greatly by Linda's husband, Brian Murphy, who kept us going with very intelligent questions. I want to have Brian when Linda's finished with him. A successful evening, organised by the lovely lady whose last event it was, as she is moving from bookselling to librarianship. Everyone even got more than one glass of wine!

That's it for now. All comments gratefully received - let me know there are people out there reading it!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Bad Babes, Oxfam and Twitter

I am at home and wishing I was at the RNA conference in Penrith. However, have a christening to go to tomorrow afternoon and my eldest daughter's birthday party tomorrow night, so all is not lost.

Next Sunday, as part of the Oxfam Bookfest, another Kent crime writer, Catherine Aird, and I will be signing our books at the Oxfam bookshop in St Peter's Street, Canterbury, an iniative by CWA member Simon Hall, of whom there is a picture somewhere way back in this blog. To publicise this event I shall be on Red Sands Radio on - well, possibly, Thursday, or Friday - or even Saturday! I shall also be publicising the Music Hall at The Playhouse the following week, Whitstable Oyster Week, in which I am appearing. Not, as in times past, taking a hugely active role, because I'm lazy.

Also, news on the Bad Babes front. Our inaugural event, a quiz, glass of wine and panel is to take place at Waterstones, Bromley, at 6.15 pm on August 12th. We have two other crime writers with us, so cover all shades of crime writing.

I have also linked Twitter feed to this blog in case anyone who reads it(is there anyone?) would like to follow me, or would like me to follow them. I know there are those who don't "get" Twitter, but I've actually made some new friends there, believe it or not. You usually end up with like minded people - in my case, mainly authors!

Hey ho, it's off to work we go. Bye for now.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Murder in the Green

Catching up to say that Murder in the Green has to be delivered by mid September when I go to Turkey for the annual jolly. It's going like treacle despite all that research I did previously, but hey-ho. Sure I'll make it.

Since last post I've been to Majorca to my oldest friend's villa. Unfortunately, I can't walk that far these days and there was no shade in her garden, so not unalloyed joy. Very nice, though, although home-in-the-sun owning seems to be a lot of hard work.

Other work related news: fellow crime writer Linda Regan and I are now calling ourselves Bad Babes. Not my idea, obviously! Went to her recent book launch in London and everyone there loved the name, including Simon Brett, whom I thought would have Known Better! Anyway, we have our inaugural outing in August at a branch of Waterstones, hopefully. I also have a signing/event at the Oxfam bookshop in Canterbury on July 19th with another crime writer, Catherine Aird, as part of the Oxfam BookFest.

Sadly, new agent Kate Nash and I have parted company. Kate has more than enough on her plate this year without having me to worry about, and as I already have a happy relationship with my publisher, Accent Press, there isn't too much she could do for me. When I finally get writing the stand alone, or a new series, that'll be time to try for an agent.

Off I go then - another 2000 words to write today.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Sixth Libby on its way!

Thank you, Leigh! I'm sure you must have done the trick.

Yes, Hazel Cushion, MD of Accent Press, rang me yesterday to say they would like a 6th Libby Sarjeant novel. That's good, because I'd already done most of the research. So, next March 8th, Murder in The Green will make its appearance. I have actually started writing it, so with a bit of luck I won't end up in a mad panic at the end.

I shall try and continue with the stand-alone along side MITG. I know writers who can do this, the indefatigable Penny Jordan, for instance, who not only writes her three M&Bs a year, but one for Avon and another for HC under the name of Annie Groves. Don't know how she does it. I think I'm much lazier.

Now looking forward to the RNA Summer party next Wednesday, and my own little launch party on May 18th. Such larks.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Girls, shed and new Libby

Baby Kitty, Auntie Philly, Nana, Lou and my shed. on Twitpic

Spontaneous snap of us in the garden taken by son-in-law on his Blackberry. Show off. Ghastly of me, as usual, but the girls look pretty. My shed/summerhouse is behind us where I sleep - sorry, work - occasionally in the afternoons, and where yesterday I began research for a new Libby book, suggested by Lou on Monday while we watched May Day celebrations (a lot of people stamping and waving sticks and hankies) in Whitstable. Will now offer it with great trepidation to Accent Press and hope they want me to go ahead. Please all email them and say how much you want a 6th in the series! Not if you hate them, of course.

Oh, and congratulations to Christina's TBT on passing his CBC. Hooray!

Sunday, May 03, 2009

May day, may day!

It's the May bank holiday weekend and I've been out in the evening two days running. First to an excellent gig, Kit Curtis and The Scene, a band comprised of family and friends (how unusual - I'm called the band mafia mother in this part of the world) and second to a Mama Mia evening at the theatre. Not in the auditorium, but just for rowdy members in the bar, where we all sang and giggled and made fools of ourselves. Great fun.

Now I'm on Twitter I procrastinate even more, as I said before, but at least it's helping me post pictures: Baby Kitty with Nana Lesley on TwitpicGus and Kitty Coombes.  I am NOT a doting grandmother... on Twitpic


Book comes out in two weeks. Might have a little party to celebrate.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

New Website and Murdering Mistresses

My new website is now operational at the same address as before, so please take a look and let me know what you think.

Linda Regan and I have settled on her name for us, which is Murdering Mistresses! We will be offering joint talks and workshops in much the same way as Sarah Rayne and Maureen Carter do as Lethal Ladies, although we haven't quite worked out the details yet! She has a much fuller calendar than I do, as she's still a working actress, but we'll manage something eventually.

I've managed to waste even more time now I'm on Twitter, but did find out about a new review of one of my books on a US website through Twittering, so not all bad.

Please leave a comment if you've read this post so I know I'm not spouting into a void. Liz and Jan, bless you for yours.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Criminal Tendencies and Linda Regan

As previously posted, Criminal Tendencies is out this month, and fellow contributor Linda Regan and I are going to pal up to do some publicity for it. http://www.lindareganonline.co.uk/ There are also plans for us to do a little more than that, too. Watch this space.

I am also having my website professionally redesigned for the first time since my late husband designed the very first one for my pantomimes. I'm very pleased with it so far, and will post a new link as soon as it's finished.

The other thing I've done is joined Twitter. I could procrastinate for England all on my own, I thought, until I discovered all my friends doing the same thing.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Criminal Tendencies and Support your Local High Street - not!

Criminal Tendencies has landed on my desk and will escape into the wider world any minute now. I'm proud to be part of it, and fellow mystery author Linda Regan (married to actor Brian Murphy and once a Yellowcoat in Hi!-de-Hi) and I are going on a joint publicity hunt. Look out Radio Kent.

This morning, I decided to try out my local library, which I do periodically, retiring disappointed every time. This time it was even worse. They are "upgrading services" so can't even look up a book or an author. Have they binned all the old paper systems? Where are all the old cards? Babies and bathwater springs to mind. Neither did they have ANY of the authors I was looking for, all members of either the Romantic Novelists' Association or the Crime Writers' Association. What????????

My new Co-op membership number didn't work, I couldn't buy several items I'd gone out for - in fact, the only success was taking bottles to the bottle bank. I managed that all right.

Murder in Bloom is still waiting for final edits, but I'm assured it's still on track.
So I'm currently working on the research for the stand-alone. Heigh ho.

Monday, March 23, 2009


Having worried like mad about Murder in Bloom, expecting it to flop into the inbox with Rejection! stamped all over it, I've just heard from Kind Editor Bob that he's up to his neck in paperwork, but he doesn't think there's any need for major rewrites. I can now set up the Waterstones signing and anything else we've got lined up without the embarrassment of having to cancel it all because I've been dropped. Could, of course, be dropped afterwards, so I'd better get on with writing the stand-alone in the hope that Clever Agent Kate can sell it...

I've been asked to contribute a piece to Crime Time Online: http://www.crimetime.co.uk to coincide with the escape of Murder in Bloom, and, of course, I'm hoping to do some publicity for Criminal Tendencies, the charity anthology to which I've contributed: http://www.cremedelacrime.com/books.htm. Also, with advice from my friend Jenny and Clever Agent Kate, I'm going to attempt to beef up my online presence - viral marketing they call it...

As I'm writing this on the new laptop I don't have a cover picture to upload, but as soon as I'm sent a replacement I'll pop it on. Watch this space. (If you can be bothered.)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Blooming Murder

The book, Murder in Bloom, is about to wing its way to the publishers at last. It's been a struggle, but who said being a novelist was easy?

Much excersised by media controversy surrounding the exploitation of one's own children. I am now very wary of reporting anything to do with my hugely talented, beautiful and extraordinary children! (Do hope they read this.) I have recently reported the birth of my grandaughter, Kitty; perhaps I shouldn't have? However, that was included in the newspaper report of my burglary (don't ask - will post a picture of the placard), so is in the public domain. What I haven't reported is that one of those hugely talented etc etc, Phillipa, has gained a place at the Royal Academy of Music, one of the most prestigious conservatoires in the world. This is a huge step towards her dream, which has been held since she was 12. She has achieved her degree in Music, she teaches it and performs, but this would be the pinnacle. So now we're going all out for sponsorship. Anybody got any ideas?

Youngest of above mentioned etc etc, Leo arrives for a week's visit today. Aah, my baby's coming home...

Saturday, March 07, 2009

News and Blues

After alarums and excursions of February, I am delighted to announce the arrival of Kitty Coombes to Louise and Jarrod, born on March 1st at 7.50 pm (sensible time), a sister for Gus. She weighed in at 7lbs 7oz after her mother arrived at hospital for her water birth half an hour before! And born in the caul, if anyone knows what that means!

My birthday on March 3rd, and Miles and Phillipa took me to dinner at our local Thai restaurant. I have found another car - a Seat Arosa - although I'm having to top up the insurance settlement, naturally. Gone are the days when I could buy a new car.

My poor book has suffered during this period. I haven't reported the subsequent theft of Phillipa's car by the villains who took mine and her spare key. Hers was discovered a few days later in Milton Keynes with £1000 damage, mine has not been recovered and the incident now connected to a much more serious crime, about which we know nothing, but have to be kept in the loop, apparently.

I have new 5 bar mortice locks front and back and a quote for an alarm system which I can't afford. I am very p*ssed off at the cost of this burglary; even with insurance one ends up doling out money every which way. Not to mention the paranoia which means I'm still wary about coming out of my room in the morning and worried about what I will find when I come home if I've been out.

Book will be finished this weekend, then I will have to start on the next one. I'm very grateful that I still have gainful employment...


Monday, February 16, 2009

Burglars, babies and birthdays

Is this a record? Updating my blog so quickly? Well, yes, probably, but I'm no longer a happy bunny.

On Saturday morning I woke up to find I'd been burgled during the night. Still makes my stomach turn over when I think about it. The b*ggers were creeping around downstairs while I was asleep. They found my car keys and took my car, the TV, my mobile, money and my G4 ibook (laptop).

Son Miles has now nailed up the utility room door where they got in, his partner Clare cleaned and tidied the whole of the downstairs of my house - including, to my shame, the office - and Philly came home to take me shopping and provide in-house support. Lou was on the phone every five minutes, but bless her, her imminent baby has been taking its toll and she has been very poorly. Goodness, I even had to go down by train to put my grandson to bed on Friday! Quelle sacrifice...

Leo (in Manchester) read me the riot act about security, and wished all sorts of blights on the perpetrators.

To happier things, I attended the 60th birthday party yesterday of my friend Judith, held in her friend Sue's spectacular ancient farmhouse in a gorgeous part of Kent. Wonderful food, great frinds and plenty of champagne. I had a great time, but coming back to reality was a bit of bump.

Will now wait for the insurers and try and focus on The Book. Will it get finished, I ask myself? Of course I reply - even if it's a day or so late!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Talks and thoughts

Last Tuesday, 10th February, I was invited to give a talk on how I became a novelist and how to write a novel. Not that I know, of course! The hotel was the Hythe Imperial, where I had hosted the CWA conference last year, and the ladies, none of whom were writers, were a lovely bunch. We had a great lunch and I sold all the books I had taken with me. Most enjoyable, and a break from sitting at the keyboard dredging up scintillating prose.

Last night, there was a programme on publishing on BBC2. How extremely depressing. Most of us novelists knew it all, of course, but to see it on The Money Programme really brought it home. So far, in the last few years, the government has gradually eroded the very cornerstones of my life. The independent bookshop has almost disappeared. The pub is following close behind, thanks to the smoking ban and the cheap alcohol in supermarkets. Oh - hang on! The bookshop's disappeared because of - yesss! The cheap books in the supermarkets.

The supermarkets, of course, keep a close eye on what, in the way of reading matter, they allow us to buy. So unless your publisher has the wherewithal to pay huge marketing fees to get your book onto their shelves, you're pretty well doomed. Therefore, you are relegated to the status of "mid-list" author, and who are the authors who are getting dropped to make room for celebrities who are asked to "write" romance novels? (Naming no names.) The mid-list authors. It honestly makes you wonder why we do it?

Neill Denny of The Bookseller believes the changes in the book world have led to a more democratic list for readers.
"The market is better reflecting the tastes of the entire population rather than an educated elite that went to bookshops," he says.
"That educated elite are still going to bookshops and buying books, but loads of other people are buying books now that weren't 10 or 20 years ago.
"I think that's a good thing." (Courtesy of the bbc website.)

Is he right? The problem is that these new readers are only given the choice of the books on sale in supermarkets, not the thousands of books written by people like me and many of my friends, who have to fight to bring our books to the notice of the general public.

I don't know - no smoking, no pub, no bookshop. Stop the world, I want to get off.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Romantic Novelists vote Richard Armitage

Sexiest Thing On Two Legs

British actor Richard Armitage has leapt from last year’s 4th place to this
year topping the ratings in the Romantic Novelists’ Association 2009
Valentine’s poll, to take the title of Sexiest Thing on Two Legs, beating
top Hollywood stars to the number one spot.
Johnny Depp, who topped last year’s poll, was pushed firmly into second
place, with Hugh Jackman and George Clooney mere also-rans. “Richard
Armitage took 20% of the vote, more than double the count of any other male on the list,” said the RNA pollster. “He was a clear winner from the off.”
The RNA is not alone in admiration of the actor, as numerous online Richard Armitage fan sites will testify. The ardency began with North and South, grew by leaps and bounds with the leather-clad baddie in Robin Hood, and shows no sign of diminishing as Spooks takes to the airwaves.
‘It’s a coup for Britain,’ said one starstruck writer, ‘not just for sexy

According to romantic novelists, the sexiest male celebrities of 2009 are:

1 Richard Armitage

2 Johnny Depp

3 Hugh Jackman

4 George Clooney

5 Daniel Craig

6 Sean Bean

7 Alan Rickman

8 David Tennant

9 Pierce Brosnan

10 Gerard Butler
(Courtesy of the RNA Press Officer)

I can only say, I agree!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Shirley Valentine

On Wednesday evening I watched a BBC television programme called Movie Connections. Only just watched, as it happened. Because on Wednesday morning, my friend Roy Brown, who, when he isn't being an actor and a singer, is a builder, came to mend my roof and my guttering. I have Sky TV, with - natch - Sky Plus, and unbeknownst to Roy, during his stirling efforts, something must have happened to my Sky dish. So, when I turned on the television for the news, nothing happened. The upshot was that the nice Sky man on the end of the phone, after taking me through the requisite checks, confirmed that I needed an engineer. Meanwhile, how do I survive without the, admittedly small, amount of TV I normally watch?
DS1 (writers' parlance for Dear Son One, namely, Miles) to the rescue. He plugged various cables into different sockets, re-programmed the television, and Lo! I could receive terrestrial TV.
And there it was. Movie Connections on Shirley Valentine. How peeved I was that I hadn't been able to Sky Plus it for perpetuity. For twice, over ten years ago now, I played Shirley. As someone on the programme said, it was the defining moment and the greatest role any actress could ever have. Forget Lady Macbeth, this is the one. More people came up to talk to me in Tesco than ever before. "That was me, you know," they all said. And it was. There is a greater truth in Shirley's story than there ever was in that sad woman forever washing her hands.
I shall be forever grateful to my friend Judith, who cast me in the role and whose birthday party I shall attend next week, for giving me the greatest chance ever. And for anyone who has never seen it - at least rent the DVD!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Happy New Year

Oh, dear, I've done it again. Only because I've suddenly discovered my friend Christina Jones has a blog have I realised it's almost a month and a half since I updated my own - if, of course, anyone reads it.

Christina's books, if you don't know, are the absolute best sort of romantic comedy, which she calls Bucolic Frolics, which is also the name of her blog. Why she isn't celebrated as much as Katie Fforde and Jill Mansell (my two other favourites and also mates) I shall never know.

I am now over half way through the mss of Murder in Bloom, which means I have to complete the other half in just over five weeks. I make all sorts of calculations, i.e. if I write two thousand words a day, seven days a week, I could do it in three weeks. On the other hand, if I do two thousand words FIVE days a week I could do it in three weeks. Huh? Like a lot of us writers, maths was never my strong point.

There are other things to take into consideration; for instance: yesterday I went to London to have lunch with my new agent. Yes, at last I have an agent, and no, I'm not going to say who it is. It is however, very encouraging that someone other than my publisher thinks I am A Proper Writer, and she is going through my contracts with an eagle eye and showing me just what I've been missing. I'm also trying to get the publishers to change the cover for Murdeer in Bloom, which is about the garden of a semi-stately home being landscaped. Have a look at the current cover on amazon and let me know what sort of book it suggests to you!

Anyway, that was a day away from writing, because, unlike a lot of my workaholic friends I really can't work in the evening. That time is for open fires, cats and other people's books, with a smattering of television. (Rented a Bill Bailey dvd for tonight. Can't wait.) Another day away is on February 10th, when I'm giving an after-lunch speech at The Hythe Imperial hotel. And occasionally, the family require a little attention, although while I'm slaving at my deadline they're being very good and leaving me alone.

And now I'd better got on...after all, I have to finish work at five. (Self imposed office hours.) Do leave a comment if you chance on this blog. It all helps to spread the word. Happy New Year!