Monthly Archives: October 2012

Beware all who enter…

I live in a house filled with disease. Ever since my eldest started nursery she has brought one bug after another into our house with such frequency we should have a cross painted on the door to ward off visitors. The brave people who do actually manage to brave the lurgies and kindly come and help me out for the day(kind, kind people ) leave contaminated and within a couple of days are coughing and sniffing with the rest of us only dispelling the germs in time to come and catch the next batch.

But we have managed the first half term. Well sort of, as my little one is currently stretched out on the sofa and I need to ring up the nursery again and tell them she won’t be attending the last day of the half-term, but overall we have survived. An achievement of sorts. Just the next twenty years or so to get everyone through school… piece of cake.

I’m sure it won’t surprise you to know my stories aren’t usually rife with disease, so this link is a bit of a stretch but I’m going for the stomachache angle. I’m still tinkering away at the first chapter of Held in the Balance. I would love to throw myself in full force but I’m still in editing mode for Braving Madness and I know if I don’t get on with that now I never will. Still, this snippet is at Lydia’s engagement ball and starts with Lydia’s father toasting the happy couple.

He lifted an elegant crystal glass ceiling-wards and the light from the chandeliers turned the champagne into the palest honey, catching the carved facets and making his hands impossibly large. “Ladies and gentlemen, will you all join me in wishing the happy couple a hearty congratulations on their engagement this evening. To the happy couple.”

The toast rippled across the ballroom, a mixture of sincerity, envy and downright apathy from those only interested in the free champagne flowing so freely through the evening they should be swimming in the stuff. She’d drunk enough herself and her stomach churned with bubbles and the inevitability of her future sank like a stone to the bottom.



I’m not quite sure when it happened but it seems autumn is finally upon us. One minute I had roses still blooming in my garden and the next day the leaves on my dogwood had turned a fiery shade of red. And I’ve still not got my bulbs planted out. I went out yesterday and dug a couple of pits (with a little helper) and chucked some in, in half hearted attempt but it didn’t seem to make too much of a dent on the supply. This happens every year. I order bulbs from a catalogue some time in the summer when I am all enthusiastic and the prospect of planting out the odd few hundred bulbs doesn’t seem that daunting, a challenge even, my mind fixed on the images in the catalogue and all the pretty flowers my garden will have in the spring. But when it actually comes to planting them out I remember how half of the bulbs got eaten by slugs the minute they put their shoots up and how I spent much of the spring looking at the neon pink tulip and then at the catalogue picture of the lovely pastel shade of pink and thinking how unfortunate I should have planted them right next to the neon yellow tulips, which should have been the palest of creams according to the catalogue.

But nevermind. My riotous spring garden with its jumble of colours can wait a few months, right now I’m busy enjoying the autumn shades and snuggling under a blanket as the nights draw in early.

Now I’m going to struggle to find a snippet related to autumn in either Braving Madness or my new WIP Held in the Balance as both of them are set in the spring. Rats. So I’ll just cheat and share a snippet from my new WIP just because I can. This is written in Lydia’s POV and her father is announcing her engagement to Lord Curzon to the rest of the tonne. He is not a man accustomed to making speeches…

Sir John tipped his head towards his future son-in-law. “I hope you realise what you’re getting yourself into Curzon, my boy. She’ll not be an easy handful. I should know, had to raise the chit myself for longer than I care to remember. Shouldn’t admit she’s used to wearing the britches about the house but I’m sure a man like you will be able to charm her out of them once you’re married.”

Lydia refused to cringe and thanked her lucky stars that she never blushed. This time the titters were loud enough to be heard even from the ladies clustered at the back of the hall. Her mother would have been mortified. Not that it had ever taken much.

“I can assure you I will do my utmost.” Lord Simon Curzon’s reply was uniform, nothing in the words to tell he had even noticed Sir John’s accidental innuendo.


I don’t normally write posts about writing.

I figure I waffle on enough about writing to family and friends that I don’t really have any reason to bore you guys about it. Instead I waffle on about a range of other sometimes boring topics. But today I feel like I have sufficient reason to bend my own rules.

The book I have been working on for the last EIGHTEEN months is finally finished. Well, the first draft at least. I was beginning to think it would never happen. Admittedly I did somewhat slow the pace down by throwing the whole thing in the bin at 60,000 words but finally it is finished at a whopping 110500 words. In fact about 15,000 words longer than I wanted it to be.

But it is done. Printed out, (with steadily fading ink) and bound in a folder just a teeny bit too small for it so the pages all keep falling out. An unfortunate circumstance considering I forgot to put page numbers on. Oops. So now I am in editing mode, chiefly with my red pen handy for cutting that odd 15,000 words.

And I get to start a new story. Lovely lovely lovely. I’m 1500 words into ‘Held in the balance’ and I am loving it already.

So chocolate cake at the ready, here is a snippet from the epilogue to kick start the celebrations.

“I think now would be a good idea to take that constitutional walk of yours,” Edward said in a hushed undertone to wife. Considering the impressive lung capacity of their new grandson and the frequency he felt compelled to use them to their full extent, Edward could have bellowed the words to Betty and the rest of the company would have been none the wiser.

Leaving his son-in-law with his arms full of squalling baby and a comic look of dismay on his face, the pair of them crept from the overheated room even as the formidable nurse clad in a heavily starched uniform strode towards the infant with her arms outstretched and a disapproving look on her face.

Arm in arm, they hurried down the corridor like naughty children escaped from the nursery, gathering cloaks and shawls as they went from a sympathetic footman. Outside dusk was already approaching and the long shadows of grand oaks stretched out onto the lawn in front of Carrington house, and fiery leaves tumbled and swirled along the gravelled path and crunched beneath Betty’s sturdy boots.

Twenty years and he still hadn’t persuaded her into the lures of dainty footwear despite numerous pricey gifts, all outrageously boxed items with lengths of silk ribbons and mounds of the finest tissue paper. Not that he’d spent twenty years continually concerned about her feet; nine boisterous children and now an equally boisterous grandchild had a habit of forcing all but the most urgent matters from a man’s mind.