Monday, 28 March 2011

Large families and other people

Warning: This is a long overdue and hormonally fuelled rant of a pregnant, very fed up woman on the proverbial warpath!

Why you might ask am I so annoyed? I tell you, shall I!

Other's people's opinions on large families and this pregnancy in  particular. Ever since it became apparent that I was expecting again, the usual comments have started...

Now after eight babies I am used to it and it is largely water down a duck's back. And really folks have absolutely no originality in  their comments. There are only so many times you can hear the old "Oh, haven't you got a telly then?" "Are you sure its not twins?" "Have you not heard of contraception?" "Are you mad?" "Why would you want to, I can't cope with my two." "Popping out another one for the benefits then?" "Are they all yours?" "Oh, you're bigger again."  "Have they all got the same father?"

My usual response to the above is as follows:
"Yes, we have but we like sex much more!"
"No actually its quads!"
"Yes thank you very much if I hadn't I'd have twenty kids  by now!"
"Certifiable, clearly."
"Funnily enough, some of us are good mothers and actually like our children!"
"My husband works to support us thank you very much and pays out more in taxes than we ever get back in tax credits!"
"No I collect them."
"You don't say, funnily enough they grow."
"Yes, thank you. I have been happily married for twenty two years!"

Now, like I said those are the usual inane comments and largely they are so preposterous I just laugh them off. But recently we had some other comments that quite frankly do hurt.

Apparently we are selfish, our children must be deprived. Some folks have even gone as far as calling the fact that we are expecting #9 disgusting.
Yes, you heard me right DISGUSTING! This was said to my husband at his work place. And being the polite person that he is he has not responded to this in kind. And don't even get me started on the comments from his own family.

Everyone is of course entitled to their opinion, BUT they are not entitled to express that opinion in a manner hurtful to me or mine.

Call me old fashioned if you like but I was brought up with two basic principles.

Manners cost nothing and get you a long way. And if you haven't go anything nice to say, then don't say anything at all!

Sadly these old fashioned values do not seem to exist in society nowadays. But they certainly exist in our household. I would be mortified if my children expressed such views as detailed above. Not that they would! They have not been  dragged up, but are part of  a loving, large family and know right from wrong. They are not deprived, far from it. They have a mother and father, who love each other and a brood of siblings, who will always watch out for them. And not only that. Ask any of my friends and they will confirm that my brood adopts their kids and looks after them when they are at mine. It is something that comes naturally to my lot.

Sure, we do not live in a big house, drive flash cars, have holidays abroad and sometimes they - gosh, horror- have to wait for large things they really want, instead of getting them instantly. They do not get £5.00 from the tooth fairy for instance, as some of my six year old's class mates do. No, mine are happy with 0.20p and some sweets and I am proud of them for not being that materialistic. They do not have the latest gadgets, but neither are they left to be babysat by the telly and dvd player in their bedrooms at age three.

They may have to wait for things and they do not have the latest designer labels, but they are rich in the things that matter. They are taught life values and to respect each other and their bodies. No teenage pregnancies in this house!

You will not find my children hanging around street corners, smoking, taking drugs, vandalising and whatever else seems to pass for amusement these days. My older teenagers have clear goals and are studying hard and I am very proud of the young adults they are turning into. Now don't get me wrong, none of them are angels.

I recall the time our eldest son broke into a what he thought was a disused garage and threw a lot of paint around. (He and his mate were going to make a den.) We marched him to the owner to apologise and he repaired the damage and repainted everything himself with the help of daddy and we had the police have a word with him too.

Need less to say he was never tempted to do anything like this again!

So, do enlighten me, how any of that makes my children deprived or my husband and myself selfish for wanting another baby? I get the whole - the world is overpopulated enough as it is argument- I do, BUT our carbon foot print is less than the average family of four and who is to say baby #nine is not the one who finds the solution to global warming or world peace?

At the very least I know that my children will contribute to society, instead of being a drain on them and if decent people like my husband and I do not have children, how is society ever going to change for the better? And btw. all you neigh sayers, my children will pay for your pensions one day! Or have you conveniently forgotten that at least in Western society the birth rate is not high enough to support the ageing population?

I accept that not everyone will share my views and that is fine. Large families are not for everyone and quite frankly some people should not be allowed to have children at all! I always say people show more consideration to their pets than they do to their children. But those of us that value children for the blessing they are, why should we not have as many as we choose to do. Be that one or twenty... As long as we can afford to have them and they are raised by a loving family, really what business is it of yours?

I do not ask you to look after my children or to provide for them. We work hard, we pay our taxes, we follow the law and we keep ourselves to ourselves.

I have lots of very strong opinions about lots of things, do not get me started on smoking in pregnancy  for instance or baby feeding issues, but I keep those to myself, unless I am challenged.

I will not come up to you and lecture you on how many children you should and shouldn't have, so at the very least extend the same courtesy to me and mine and leave me to live my life as I see fit. Because quite frankly I do not give a damn what you think of me or my choices.  I know they are the right choices for my family and if you do not agree with that....

Just remember the next time you open your mouth, your words have the power to wound!

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Exciting times

I am quite literally bursting with excitement. Not only did I receive an e-mail from my editor last night, requesting the full manuscript - yey - cue me hardly sleeping all night, but today was also our gender scan.

Now deep down I have always thought that newbie was a boy, we had a boy's name picked for ages and Tj has been adamant that he was having a baby brother and at our NHS scan on Monday I was sure I had seen boy bits.

So today was the big reveal and just like Tj was at his, Markus was very obliging and not at all shy, as you can see in this pic, which I am definitely blowing up for his 18th Birthday!

Just like his brothers and the girls too, come to think of it, he has big feet and amazingly long legs. No mistaking the family genes!

Feet, heart beat and profile in the above pics.

Here he is looking straight us.

and finally, here he is snuggling into the placenta.

We were shown some free 4 D footage too, which was amazing. It clearly showed him yawning, and sucking his thumb and much to the sonographer's amusement, he wasn't shy in 4 D either ;-) Just like the males in this house really...

So there you have it, I give you Markus, an already much loved addition to our brood. Tristan is making plans for him already. "I can show him how to kick a football."

Actually Tj was a scream at the scan. When we told him that newbie was indeed a boy, he just shrugged his shoulders. "Yeah...and... I knew that!"

Out of the mouth of babes and all that.

Friday, 25 March 2011

The pitfalls of writing and being conned

The ever helpful Sally Quilford has blogged today about the pitfalls of writing here and it is certainly an eye opener. Thankfully I have never been conned in my writing endeavours, but then I am naturally suspicious and we never have any spare money anyway.

However, Sally's blog reminds me of an experience where we were conned out of quite a lot of money for us. Our eldest daughter wanted to break into modelling and she did attract the attention of an agent. Alarm bells stated ringing when you had to pay a joining fee etc. and we said thanks, but no thanks, only to fall foul a few weeks later. The free photo shoot and introduction tuned out to be a "Oh but you need to buy the pictures for your portfolio" session *rolls eyes*.

Now she does have some stunning photos, but needless to say that introduction was never forthcoming and whilst she did secure some modelling work on her own, she has not been discovered as the next Kate Moss ;-)

It was an experience anyway and I think she realised that actually this modelling lark was far too much like hard work and she is now concentrating on her studies.

Of course this anecdote has nothing to do with writing, but it shows that conmen are everywhere, praying on our desires and ambitions and sometimes we do get caught out.

Personally I live by the motto that if something looks too good to be true then it usually is! So I shall stick to well known publishers for my quest into publication and practice patience. It is a virtue after all and I am not constantly checking my e-mail to see whether I have one from my editor, no of course not...

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Book Review - Cupcakes and Killer Heels by Heidi Rice

Heidi kindly sent me an advance copy of her new book Cupcakes and Killer Heels and as you would expect of Heidi she does not disappoint.

She had me hooked from the first sentence Take a chill pill pal. This is a make up emergency. When fiery Ruby Delisantro meets Callum Westmore QC in a fender bender, the mutual attraction is instant and explosive. As the two of them start to explore each other, it is obvious to the reader how much they belong together, but needless to say it takes them the rest of the book to figure it out.

Callum is a Hero to die for, who has more than met his match in Ruby and I enjoyed their verbal sparring throughout the book immensely. They both go on an intense emotional journey, as they deal with childhood traumas and I was with them every step of the way.

I laughed, I gasped, I wanted to bang their heads together...and the ending left me with a nice warm fuzzy feeling like any good romance should.

This is Heidi Rice at her best, funny, sassy, sensual and a jolly good read. If you have read any of her other books, you will love this one too and if you haven't? Why ever not? Where have you been? ;-)

Go on, read it, you won't regret it!

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Men and Romance novels

I find myself pondering the above this morning. How many men do read romance novels do you think? Does your other half?

I ask, because my dear husband never used to read them. In fact he used to scoff at my devouring of M&B novels with the usual male snigger. All that changed however when I entered last year's New Voices competition. Being the lovely, supportive husband he is he took interest in my writing and started reading some of the other entries. Following on from the competition and my continued writing and Nano frenzy in November, he discovered the free first chapters on the M&B website. He used to read them at work in his lunch hour.

Still denying that he actually enjoyed them this was research so that he could offer me a more informed opinion on my own writing endeavours.

He then started mentioning the ones he liked and invariably I had the book handy so he could read it. Now he has always been a slow reader and even an M&B used to take him ages.

Well fast forward a few months and he is reading them faster than I am! To say the man is hooked is an understatement. Last night, having finished the latest Riva in record time he even nicked MY Kindle and proceeded to read in the bath.

He takes the books to work, he talks about them to his work colleagues, he reads them at the doctor's surgery, he even reads them whilst eating his dinner. Last night he forgot to eat, he was so engrossed in finishing. It is highly amusing I tell you.

Perhaps I shouldn't be surprised. This is the man who thoroughly enjoys chick flicks even though he grumbles when I drag him along to one, so I guess this is just a natural progression.

A friend asked me yesterday whether my husband was an Alpha male and it got me thinking. I wouldn't have necessarily thought of him as one, but on reflection yes he is. Not in the obvious way you would think of when you think of Alpha males but in all the ways that matter and that in my opinion make a true man.

He is secure enough in his sexuality to not feel threatened by anything not considered manly. He is confident, a natural born leader, successful in his profession, loyal, responsible, honest, caring and a romantic through and through. In fact I suspect at times he is far more romantic than me. He is a brilliant father and husband and I consider myself very lucky to have him :-)

On the flip side he is also a typically stubborn male, loves his motorbikes, aviation, martial arts and is obsessed with weight training and keeping fit generally. He is also moody as hell when tired and completely immovable when he doesn't want to do something, lol. And his temper is something to behold...But then, that's what makes life interesting.

So, over to you. Is your significant other an Alpha male? Interested in Romance? Or completely non plussed by the whole thing?

Friday, 11 March 2011

Oh the excitement...

You could say I woke up with a start this morning. It normally takes me ages to crawl out of bed on Friday mornings and this morning was no exception. I always have a quick peek at my e-mails on my phone and I'm lying in bed, still half asleep, squinting at my little phone screen and there is a response from Wild Rose Press. Still squinting I gingerly open it, mentally preparing myself for the thanks but no thanks response - only it wasn't!

They liked the synop of Too Hot to Handle and would like to to see the first three chapters! Well, I haven't moved that quickly off my bed in a long time I tell you :-D

Now, the rational side of my brain knows of course, that they may still come back and say on reflection this isn't right for them, but the little girl in me has been doing excited cartwheels all day. Figuratively speaking, of course - I don't think the baby would appreciate me doing actual cartwheels, even I could still manage them...

And the kids would probably call the men in the white coats and have me carted off, once they had stopped laughing of course.

So, watch this space...

Eeek and Squeal and Eeek!

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Some ramblings

Has it really been almost a month since I blogged last? Crazy and it's not as though I haven't got plenty to say, trust me I do, but somehow I haven't taken the time to blog about it.

It's been a bit crazy around here to say the least. Newbie decided to misbehave, cue lots of worry for yours truly, until things settled down again. I'm pleased to report we are both well, I just feel extremely pregnant all of a sudden and wondering why I ever thought that being pregnant at the grand old age of 43 would be a good idea. Ah well, I just have to remind myself on a regular basis, that I am not a spring chicken any more and that I am entitled to take it easy. A fact my dear husband reminds me of frequently, but as someone who is usually always on the go with bundles of energy, it's a hard pill to swallow.

On the upside I have been getting lots of baby related parcels this week, namely nappies. There is something so incredibly cute about newborn cloth nappies - happy sigh.

Last week we were visited by the dreaded lurgie. Tj went down with it at first, then Gabs, then me, Molly was next and finally Esther. Thankfully, fingers crossed, touch wood etc. this now seems to be the end of it. The one time having a large family is not the best of ideas is when there is a D&V bug. Thankfully my new tumble dryer arrived just in time to cope with the influx of washing. Having managed without one for almost nine months, I am really, really appreciating having one again. Best invention ever if you ask me :-)

Writing related I have had a couple of rejections for Scandinavian Scandal, so this has been shelved for now. Looking at it through objective eyes, my writing has improved lots since I wrote this, so I will eventually rewrite it completely I think. It could definitely be better.

Still waiting very patiently to hear back about Too Hot to Handle from the powers that be. No news is good news I tell myself. My latest manuscript Too Devious to Tame is taking shape slowly but surely. Much to my surprise this has turned into a thriller and there are some dark scenes in there, which have been quite difficult to write. I'm told it's one of my best pieces of writing to date, so we'll see. Slow process, as pregnancy tiredness means no late night writing sessions for me. Add to that general blondness and placenta brain, well it has hysterical consequences at times...

I do have two contemporary entries in the Romance Junkies competition one of which is on the site this week, so if any of you have the time to read and vote, feel free... My entries are under a pen name, as per the rules, so just vote for your favourite :-)

Right, have just received another parcel of nappies and maternity clothes, so excuse me whilst I go and drool for a while.