Friday, 24 December 2010

Merry Christmas

A friend's blog entry got me thinking, well crying actually, so I thought I would put my thoughts down here.My  friends will know that Christmas is an emotional time for me and that I spend a large chunk of the run up to Christmas in tears every  year.

I grew up in Germany and over there we clebrate Christmas very differently to here. For one I do not remember it ever being this commercialised. Christmas adverts in September for instance!

Christmas for me, as for most people I dare say is all about family and whilst Tony and I have a wonderful brood of eight, that is it for Christmas, just us. For reasons I cannot go into here, we do not see Tony's parents, Tony's sister does come and see us just before Christmas, armed with toys for the kids - always a highlight for them - and we usually have a phone call from his brother, but really it is just our little family unit.

My parents passed away some time ago, well my dad did. I have not seen my biological mother since I was three, so have no idea whether she still lives. I have no siblings, so to all intents and purposes I'm an orphan and never do I feel this more acutely then at Christmas time.

Growing up, Christmas was a magical time, made special by one truly beautiful lady, my gran or Omi, as I used to call her. We never had much money, but that never mattered, because she always managed to pull the most fantastic food out of nowhere and I always somehow got the presents I really wanted. But it wasn't even about that, it was the way she used to make me feel loved and protected and no matter what trauma went on in my child's or later teenage mind (and there were plenty I tell you, I was a *very* dramatic  child!) curling up on her lap, or later sitting by her feet, my head in her lap, just pouring it all out to her, made everything better. She wouldn't always have the answers and sometimes the answers she did have were not what I wanted to hear, but she was a very wise and special lady and if I can be half the mother to my own children that she was to me, then I'll be happy.

Christmas to me will always be the excitment of the Christmas Market, Dortmund has a very good one! The smells, the sounds, the stalls, we never used to buy a lot, but a walk through the Christmas Market always signified the start of Christmas.

Singing Christmas carols very off key, usually, the once a year trip to Church (my gran was an atheist, yet every Christmas we went to church, because that is what you did!) still makes me smile now. Her stories about Christmases gone by, the way she used to lock me out the living room on Christmas Eve and I was only allowed in at 6.00 pm, after the bells announced that Santa had been.

She kept that up right through my teenage years bless her.

The goose or duck we used to have for Christmas day, that left us so stuffed we couldn't move for days and just simply being together. It was a special, special time and try as I might since she passed on, Christmas just hasn't been the same for *me*.

Tony and I have made our traditions with the children of course and they love Christmas, but a little part of me always feels that they are missing out. I like to think that my Omi is watching over us wherever she may be now and I hope I have made her proud. She never met any of the children, passing away the year we got married, but at least she got to meet my mad husband. My decision to move to England was hard on her and I'm not sure she really understood why I had to, but she accepted it nonetheless.

She was a very special lady, so this year, like every year, I will shed a few tears and raise a glass or two to my wonderful Omi.

Frohe Weihnachten Omilein!!!

Sunday, 5 December 2010

A bit of a rant and a thank you

As you may remember I entered Scandinavian Scandal into the Circalit competition which seemed a good idea at the time. It is sitting at the top of the ratings, much to my surprise. However recent comments have left me reeling with the sheer vitriol expressed. I must have ruffled some feathers and I shall not be commenting again, but I must admit to being stunned. It really rankles to be accused like this, when all the reviews I have received have been genuine. Needless to say I will not be posting anything else to that site.

Maybe I have been spoiled by the writing friends I have made. They have all been supportive and given constructive criticism, when needed and I thank all of you, you know who you are :-)

This whole thing has done one thing though. It has made me more determined to carry on writing to perfect my skills and hopefully one day be published. I will be submitting Too hot To Handle to Blaze come the New Year and the sequel Too cold to love is taking shape slowly.

We recently had some bad news concerning our eldest son, who is going into hospital on Tuesday for a biopsy on an aggressive mass, which is eating away at his jawbone. They are pretty sure it is benign, but they are not sure what exactly it is or how best to treat it and he will almost certainly need reconstructive surgery, as his jaw is so weak now, he could break it just by eating :-S

Writing has been my way of keeping my sanity through all this and again my writing buddies have been invaluable in jollying me along. I'm sure I will be leaning heavily on them and my friends to see me through this. I don't know where I would be without all of you, so a heart felt THANK YOU!

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

So now what?

As most of you will know I have completed my very first NaNoWriMo and am very chuffed that I did, and I hope got a half decent novel out of it. I will be taking the Nano blog down after November, as I will be submitting to Blaze all being well. *Fingers firmly crossed* and all that.

Scandinavian Scandal is with the powers that be at Harlequin thanks to SYTYCW so *fingers crossed again*

Having been completely wrapped up in Nano and Too hot to handle I now find myself at a loose end with far to much time on my hands, especially as I promised hubbie to not write anything till the New Year. There is of course the beginning of another story bubbling in my head, but am managing to ignore it mostly.

The house has never been cleaner, so can't even do housework to keep myself occupied, what a shame ;-)
I do have a brand new subscription to Blaze, so am merrily reading myself through those *fans herself* but as I'm a fast reader that's not going to last long and I have other books to read, but it's not the same as getting caught up in your own story and the excitement of seeing it all come together.

I think I may be addicted to writing, which is not necessarily a bad thing I suppose.

Ah well, I shall figure it out. Am probably just trying to escape the nightmare that is potty training Tj. Unfortunately he is most keen to wear big boy pants and at the grand old age of three he should be ready, yet I have my doubts. He manages very well at nursery, yet home is another matter....

I wouldn't  mind too much, but he gets himself ever so upset when he has a number two accident in particular and I do wonder whether it would not just be all much easier to leave it a while longer, for everyone's sakes. But then again he does have some successes and when he does he is so pleased with himself, bless him.

You'd think with child number eight I'd have it figured, but I never had these problems with the others, especially the other two boys were dry within two days and the last two girls never even had one accident when *they* decided to come out of nappies, so this is all new territory. It's probably Karma for writing a potty training toddler into my story right......

Ho hum and all that, this too will pass!

Saturday, 6 November 2010

A much better day and a personal plug

After my woe is me blog of yesterday, inspiration struck and I have managed to write lots more with a fairly clear view of where I'm going now. Current word count stands at 15150 words :-)

On a different note, I got post today and was happy to see that my Weaning Story is in this month's edition of Breastfeeding matters by the charity La Leche League GB.

I hadn't read my story in a while and I still had tears in my eyes at the end, so be warned.

Every purchase helps to increase much needed funds for LLL, whose leaders work tirelessly at supporting breastfeeding mothers wherever they are in their breastfeeding journey. It is an amazing organisation I am very proud to be part of, run entirely by volunteers.

Right, I best go and see what my brood is up to. Teenage son number two is fretting about a lift - he can't possibly walk the ten minutes to his friend's house, as he is taking his X Box.... Though as he was mugged at knife point earlier in the year for just his old phone, not too far from us, he may have a valid point there!

Teenage son number one is I believe still asleep, or at the very least, hidden away in his room.

Teenage daughter number one is at her boy friend's house and I dare say the phone will ring soon for a lift home.

Teenage daughter number two is, well being very teenage like, if the keifing at everyone else is anything to go by and the rest of them.  I couldn't eat a whole one, let's leave it that ;-)

Oh and of course, joy of joys! I have mountains of washing waiting for my attention, thanks to teenage son number two not having put said washing in the basket for a week...

And folks wonder why I like to write Romance!!!

Friday, 5 November 2010

Inspiration, where art though..

Five days into Nano, I don't seem to be able to get myself motivated. Probably in part due to coming down with a cold, which means my head has turned into a jack hammer in much the same way Kitty's heart has whenever she is around Alex.

And therein lies the problem. I know where I want them to end up. I have a few scenes in my head, but can I put fingers to keyboard to convey that... no!
I found myself rabbiting on with my story last night, just for the sake of rabbiting, but am far from happy with it. And the urge to go back and rewrite that last chapter is huge, but I am resisting. Wouldn't know what else to write anyway.

So, where do I find the next scene, this is the question. So far am toying with staying at the party, conversation in the car on the way home, being called away for a major fire (actually favouring that one, leaving Kitty at the party and the mercy of hero's mother...)

Hmmm that has potential. And when exactly does Kitty give in and her and Alex have their fire works? Decisions, decisions.. right now I want someone else to tell me what to do, as I am second guessing everything and am convinced that the plot is, well not a plot and my writing not good enough and, and....

Woe is me and all that. Someone please give me a proverbial kick up the jacksy. Why did I ever think this was a good idea?!?

Monday, 1 November 2010

My Nano blog

I have decided to blog my Nano efforts here. So you can cringe along with me at my attempts to write a novel in thirty days...

First two chapters are up.
Be kind please!

Saturday, 30 October 2010

My very own Plot Ninjas

I haven't blogged for ages, mainly because I have been knee deep in my manuscript for Scandinavian Scandal, which *drum roll, takes a bow* I have finished! :-) I am extremely pleased with it, even if I say so myself and it's a great feeling to know that I have completed it. Word count keeps changing, due to editing but right now it stands at 51105.

It is a certain amount of relief that Sven does not reside in my head anymore, though you know I didn't mind too much having to dream of that sexy Swede ;-) Hmm I digress....

Which brings me to the title of this post.I thought I would introduce you to my very own plot ninjas. Meet my eldest and youngest, both of them a constant source of inspiration in very different ways.

Tj, my little whirlwind, who gives me all the material I'll ever need for the children that seem to invariably find themselves in my stories - can't think why really - and Nate, my beautiful almost twenty year old daughter. She has come up with one of the twists for Scandinavian Scandal, so a very public Thank You!

Nate and I were still up in the early hours of this morning, putting the world to rights as only we can, when we started talking heroes. Such a hardship ;-)

Any hows, as you all know, mad woman that I am, have entered Nano this year and I had yet to figure out exactly who my hero was going to be, had vague ideas, but nothing concrete. Was he Italian, Greek, Russian -that had us giggling I tell you! Think we both have watched too many James Bond Movies as the only Russians we could picture in our heads were very tall, pale, menacing and wearing a fur hat! Apologies to any Russians who may be reading this btw...
I have been to your beautiful country many times and know how badly stereo typical that was.

We eventually decided that he is going to be English with an Italian mother and a firefighter. Cue both of us away with the fairies for a little while, imagining hunky firefighters as you do - ahem. Next we had to figure out my heroine. Nate decided she would be a fiery redhead, who hates her hair and her name. The heroine's mother called her Kitty, after reading Pride and Prejudice. "Seriously of all the names she could have chosen, she chose Kitty?!!"

Kitty will have a son called Noah, result of a hen weekend, five years ago, where she met a certain firefighter, who has no idea Noah exists....

Oh yeah, I'm going to have fun with this one! We came up with several other ideas too, that may or not make themselves into stories in the future.  But as I can clearly picture my hero in my head already, will be going with hunky Alex Giovanni.

Thanks Nate, for the giggle, the ranting about boobs and for just being you. Couldn't imagine anyone I would rather have those late night brainstorming sessions with.

Friday, 22 October 2010

Another day, another competition

I have entered Scandinavian Scandal into the Circalit Competition, so if anyone has the time, please read and write a review. The first three chapters are there. *gulp*

Nothing ventured, nothing gained and all that. The newbies novella is now mostly finished too and we have started a new project.

Isla amore can be read here and part two here.

On a personal level I had to giggle yesterday. It was parent's evening at the girl's school and I am pleased to report that they are doing very well.
Molly's teacher is new to the school and in conversation she said that Molly was quite quiet and she was wondering what her position in the family was. She guessed that she was either an only child or the youngest of two...

Cue, hubbie and I looking at each other, wondering what number Molly was (yes we really, did have to think about it, she is number six btw.) and bless the teacher she was completely flummoxed. She never would have guessed that apparently.
We're taking it as a compliment. Apparently children of large families are usually noisy, boisterous and ill behaved. Urm, no we would be mortified if ours acted like that! It does make me cross though, the stereo typing that goes on about large families. Not all of us live off the state and have children running riot in the streets!
Anyways, stepping off my soap box for a minute, we did work out that we had been parents at that school for a staggering fifteen years :-O

We have at least another eight years left at that school too. Does make me feel rather old, I tell you. I wonder whether you can get some sort of long service award for parents...

Friday, 15 October 2010

It's official

I have hopelessly fallen in love with my hero in Scandinavian Scandal. Now I am assuming this is a good thing, at least that's what I tell my husband, who finds all this still rather amusing. Not sure how he will feel once he has read chapter five mind you... Ahem.

This is after all the man, who has been known to express jealousy at my hopeless crush on one of  Charlaine Harris' characters in her hugely successful Sookie Stakehouse series of books. For those of you that have read them, well how can you resist Eric? And if you haven't discovered them yet, then start reading!

Anyhow, I digress slightly, easy to do when I start thinking of sexy vampires and back to Sven. As someone pointed out to me, if I don't fall in love with the hero of my book, then how can I expect anyone else to do so? Would this reasoning work on hubbie do you think? I have my doubts, but we'll find out I guess...

On a  different note, I am off just after lunch to pursue the other passion of my life, all things breastfeeding at the La Leche League  annual workshop in Newcastle.  Really looking forward to hearing Carlos Gonzales' Talk and generally speaking, soak up the LLL atmosphere. So good to be surrounded by like minded people, who value the nursing relationship between  mother and child as much as Tj and I still do. Not that he is coming with me this time. He is quite happy to stay home with daddy and his siblings and I will have a hotel room all to myself tonight. Pure bliss!

I am planning an early night with one of my favourite M&B authors, and copious amounts of chocolate ;-)

See you all when I get back. 

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Scandinavian Scandal anyone?

I have decided that 'What are the odds?' really was not the best title for my story about Sven and Sylvia, so Scandinavian Scandal it is. Thank you Manda for the brilliant title :-)

I have been busy rewriting and adding bits and am now on chapter 4, with at long last a clear view of where these two are heading. Well, I always had the end, just needed a few twists and turns to get there. And as the title suggests, there will be a few scandals along the way and a few skeletons will be tumbling out of cupboards. *rubs her hands in glee*

Well, if you can't have fun writing your own story, when can you?

I was reminded that it would probably be wise to run a spell check, mind you. Yeah, sort of forgot about that in my haste to get the story down so far. Still, it will all need a good edit etc anyway, so for now am concentrating on getting that insistent  mental knocking out of my head and on paper. Those two definitely want to be told, I just hope I do them justice.

I have also entered the Reader's Digest 100 word story competition with a little story inspired by my three year old and his love of monsters or nompsters as he likes to call them.

Amazing, how inspiration strikes at the oddest times.

And now I guess I really ought to get on with the housework.  *sigh*

Friday, 8 October 2010

Woe is me ...

I am not happy, far from it it has to be said. New voices announced today a staggering 45 entries that they wanted to follow up on. I was not one of them! Not that I thought my entry was fantastic, it wasn't, but still, a small part of me was hoping.

It didn't help, when my ever truthful husband announced that he did not expect me to get through. How dare he!
He did go on to say, that he felt that my writing now was much better, then the hastily constructed chapter I submitted. And once I stopped sulking and feeling sorry for myself, I had to admit that he is right. I can do much better. That chapter is currently in it's third revision and I dare say it will have a few more, before I bite the bullet and submit to M&B through the normal channels.

But still, ya know, surely he must realise that I have got the makings of a great literacy genius ;-)

So, back to the drawing board and on with writing. I will get there one day...

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Long time no blog

There was me thinking it would be easy to blog, hmmm, think again then. Whilst I have plenty to say in real life, somehow putting it down on paper, so to speak is harder to do. After all,  no one may want to read my ramblings, what if I bore folks, become the laughing stock of blogs... Other people's blogs are so much more interesting.

Deary me, what angst about a simple blog!

In my defence I have been keeping busy with all things romance and the writing of the Newbies Novella in particular.  Now this is pure writing by the seat of your pants stuff and I have quite surprised myself, how much I am enjoying it and the at times strange journey Astrid and Rashid are finding themselves on.

Have a look if you dare ;-)

One thing it has achieved is get me into the habit of writing in short bursts daily, which is just as well, as I have signed up for NaNoWriMo

The idea is that you write a 50000 word novel in a month, easily achieved, so they say by writing about 1000 words a day.... Hmmm, we shall see. I dare say I will be a nervous wreck come November and my children will be seen foraging for food.....
Mind you the teens do that on  regular basis, with the accusing wails of "There is no food in the house, mum.." ringing round the tardis on a daily basis.

I would like to reassure anyone reading these ramblings, that there is indeed no need to call out social services yet, as there is plenty of food, just not what my darling teenagers fancy.


And as my three year old teen in training is now demanding my attention I will sign off for now. You can wake up now, if you've nodded off!

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Just when I thought I may get my life back

There is an announcement on the NV site that they will let us know tomorrow what will happen with the other ten entries out of their original shortlist of twenty. So I'll be back to feeling nervous, excited, hopeful and despondent all rolled into one then *sigh*

Whilst this is very exciting it is also extremely nerve wrecking. I am sure I have not felt this nervous since passing my driving test over twenty years ago!

The editors are also putting names into a hat to critique directly on entries. Needless to say muggins here has put her name into that hat. So that will be more waiting with bated breath then.

On the upside us newbies have got together to write a novella and I have my character figured out, so it's all good. Looking forward to writing my chapter just for fun :-)

Have also joined an online critique group *gulp*

I must say that I am really enjoying being part of this wonderfully supportive community of aspiring romance writers!

And as I had one of *those* days, you know the ones where you can really understand why some animals eat their young(!) escaping into my own little world and creating stories is most certainly a bonus. I am sure my teenage son will thank me for it when he does live to see his eighteen's birthday...

As tigger would say TTFN :-)

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Romance is not dead

Well not in this house anyway.

Now whilst hubbie and I have been married for 21 years (I am still waiting for parole) it is not our romance I am talking about, though come to think of it, could probably make a book out of that too. It's been quite a ride, I tell you.

No, I am referring to the Mills and Boon New Voices competition that a friend inspired me to enter.

You can find my entry here . Now I didn't get through to the final ten, but the whole experience has been really positive and I have been inspired to carry on writing.

So watch this space as they say :-)

And now I really must go to bed!

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Why the tardis

I am new to the world of blogging, so bear with me.  :-)

I should perhaps start by explaining the title of my blog. Whilst we are all Dr Who fanatics in this house, this has nothing to do with Dr Who, well almost nothing.

No the Tardis is what we call our little bungalow. People are always commenting on the size of it, so the name stuck. It is certainly bigger on the inside then it is on the outside. Quite amusing to see folks walk up the path and watch their face.

<What, this place, no way> kinda look.  Makes me chuckle anyway.

You see this tardis of ours holds a family of ten. Yes you read that right. Ten.

Eight kids (well four teenagers and 4 kids), hubbie and myself. Also home to three cats and two dogs.

Are we mad, you betcha ;-)

So this blog will be about my mad ramblings, you have been warned!