And then there were six!

Finally, the twins are here. They arrived two and half weeks ago, full term and each a healthy six and half pounds.

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James William is on the left, and his sister Lily Ann is on the right. Colour coordinated by dummies but they do actually look quite different, so I’ve yet to have revert to checking nappies for who is who. (Although I did confuse the health visitor by putting James in pink and Lily in blue, she just gave me a look like I was mad. What can I say? I dressed them at night and to be honest fashion wasn’t rated anywhere nearly so high as trying to get some sleep.)

As you might have guessed my writing has somewhat fallen along the wayside these last couple of months. First through lack of sleep, my immense proportions and difficulty in balancing the laptop anywhere I could actually reach, and lately due to only getting a few hours of sleep each night. But happily things are starting to settle down and I am currently only up for a couple of hours each night so the creative juices have started to flow (makes a change from milk being everywhere. You would not believe how much milk I am having to produce to feed two hungry babies! I’ve had to dig out my over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder-bras.) So far I’ve managed to write about 700 words. Not a huge amount but it is a start. I’m working on a new beginning to Braving Madness as although I’m pleased with the second half of the book, the first half still needs a fair bit of work, so I’m giving myself license to play with it for the next few weeks.

Oh and just in case you fancy a laugh, this is how big I got just before going into the hospital…

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Sorry for being quiet…

Despite the radio silence I am still here and still pregnant. 8 months now. Not bad going with twins. I’ve not been posting as I’ve been in and out of hospital with preterm labour issues etc and to be honest I just haven’t had the puff. Literally. One baby has had his not so little bum tucked up in the depths of my ribcage for longer than I like to remember.
As a consequence my daily word count has trickled down to well… zilch. zero. nothing. Any way I spell it, I’ve just not been writing. I’m hoping it isn’t a permanent measure. I don’t think it will be. The other ladies of the dashing 100 will kick my butt otherwise….

What a waste…

Are any of you out there hoarders?

My husband is a hoarder. My in-laws are extreme hoarders. But I would have said that I wasn’t a hoarder, that I was good at making sure I only kept the minimum of what I needed.


Since finding out I am expecting twins, I, with a LOT of help from my family (thank you!) have been clearing the house to make enough room for everyone. And sure, there are boxes and boxes of junk interesting belongings of my husband, from empty boxes of things we no longer have, to all manners of things he thinks he might use ONE day. But in a way I am just as bad. My actual belongings are fairly neat and I don’t tend to double up on things, but as I go through drawers and boxes etc, I seem to find things like a carefully stored, empty bag of wine gums. An empty sweetie bag. Right. So it appears that I hoard rubbish. Yesterday I went through the cupboards under the sink and generated a bag of rubbish and I mean that literally. Likewise with the medicine cabinet, after I threw away half the empty boxes, the cupboard was practically empty. It’s bizarre.

This is what I hoard. There's no way I can pretend I am really planning on using an empty sweetie packet...

This is what I hoard. There’s no way I can pretend I am really planning on using an empty sweetie packet…

So it appears that I need to stand up, hang my head and admit I collect rubbish. That for some reason I’ve found it easier to find storage space for rubbish rather than just chucking it in the bin to start off with. I am a rubbish hoarder.

So I am turning over a new leaf. Rubbish goes straight in the bin. No messing. Out it goes. Even if I have to get in the bin and jump up and down to squash it all down to fit. (Probably won’t do that just yet due to immense size of stomach, see whale post…)

Now what I am supposed to do is find a link to my current work-in-progress. About rubbish. Hmmmm… Okay this passage has the word ‘waste’ in it. Is that good enough? In this snippet from Held in the Balance, Simon (Lord Curzon) is talking to his cousin Betty’s new husband.

Simon gave his usual small smile. “Fortunately I wasn’t cursed with an extended family, but I was perfectly willing to marry Betty and she’s my only cousin.”

“I can’t say I’m unhappy matters didn’t work out for you in that regard.”

Surprisingly neither was he, although he cringed to think of that final scene between Betty and him where he had but laid his heart out on the sleeve for her. A waste of time considering the strength of feeling she had for the other man. He hadn’t stood a chance. They had danced together, Betty in a gown of the midnight blue, the fabric encrusted with gemstones so she might have dropped down from heaven for the night. He had almost been afraid to touch her.

Now muslin and silks swirled about the ballroom in front of them as another waltz took hold, some couples stiff and formal, bodies held at arms-length, others so close as to be scandalous, pushing the boundaries of acceptable behaviour. His own dance with Miss Taunton had definitely veered in that direction, no concern for her fragility held him back this evening. She was a world apart from his cousin.

I was thinking this kind of colour for her dress, liberally encrusted with tiny crystals...

I was thinking this kind of colour for her dress, liberally encrusted with tiny crystals…


Relaxing Whale

Sorry I’ve been a bit quiet on here of late. I’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed by the whole twin pregnancy, both in terms of my huge whale-like proportions and of the amount of preparation that’s needed doing. But finally things are starting to get better. I’ve obviously still whale like, and I can’t imagine how big I’m going to get but I’m definitely as big as I was when I was full term with my youngest and I still technically have just under three months left. Eek!

This is how big I feel

This is how big I feel

But on the up side, the nursery is decorated and ready, cots are ready, my husband just paid for a new-to-me big seven seater car to fit everyone in, I have both a buggy to fit twins and a fantastic big pram that will fit in my two year old as well, the housework is just about under control, and I am finally starting to feel more relaxed and happy to put my feet up and wait for these two little miracles to finish getting big enough to put in an appearance.

This is what I shall be doing as often as I can

This is what I shall be doing as often as I can

Which means that I finally have time to get on with some writing. Hurrah. So this last week I have written over 1000 words. Alright, 1000 words is small fry compared to some of the figures other writers manage to rack up, but it’s a hell of a lot better than I’ve managed of late and that makes me very happy.

So who cares if my word count is the equivalent of a small fish in a big pond. At least I'm swimming.

So who cares if my word count is the equivalent of a small fish in a big pond. At least I’m swimming.

So here’s a snippet from Held in the Balance with Lydia and Simon’s first kiss.

She traced her fingers along the pronounced line of his cheek bone, around the curve of his earlobe before grasping strands of hair into her fist and pulling his head closer. This time he did respond, deepening the kiss, pushing her back against the door, hard enough to send a fleeting worry through her mind about the strength of the door-catch.

Slow and steadily he possessed her mouth, as if there were all the time in the world, his dominating confidence sufficient to make her toes curl within the confines of her slippers. She would have expected such arrogance to make her want to push him away but instead she melted into him, relaxing against the firm plane of his chest, her free hand gripping his shoulder to prevent her knees from giving way beneath her. She surrendered herself to the kiss, to the sensations tumbling through her and blinked open eyes drugged with pleasure as Simon pulled away.

Wallflower or English Rose…

These last few weeks I’ve been reading a lot of regency romances, in the realms of one per day. Probably has something to do with the fact my expanding waistline means I need to take a break from chores about every ten minutes, even unloading the dishwasher has me out of breath. Although you would think I would pick a reading material which didn’t boast arms full of young and slender girls decked in empire line dresses. A fair proportion of my current wardrobe has empire line fitting but let me tell you, below my bustline I definitely don’t have the willowly column these girls have.
But that aside, reading so much in the era does remind me how difficult a young lady’s position could be when it came to finding a suitable partner, and with no employment for such ladies, marriage would be everything. A crooked nose, an excess of freckles, or an unfortunate hair colour, all would be enough to send the suitors scurrying and the season would turn into one long wait with the other wallflowers.
And even if you should be blessed with fashionable looks, the chase would be no less difficult. Family line, size of dowry, manner and voice, a lack of accomplishments, all could tip the scale between Rose and wallflower.
So how would I have faired? Well ignoring the fact that my family history seems to be farmers or labourers, I don’t think I would been a success, in fact a blue-stocking would have been an appropriate label.


This is NOT the kind of blue stocking I mean.

I’ve studied hard, and I have no objection to supplying my opinion whether it is asked for or not. Now, romance books are teeming with blue-stockings but exactly like the feel-good romance movies we have these days, under every blue-stocking there is a pretty heroine waiting to emerge. You know the type, clad in ugly glasses, frumpy clothes and hairstyle, all it needs is a few hours with a stylist and viola, a beauty emerges that the hero could really fall in love with.
So what has all this reading taught me? That in the next story, my heroine Harriet is NOT going to be pretty. And I don’t mean that in the normal romance way, you know, where she just has slightly unfashionable looks, I mean a proper plain Jane with only her wit to recommend her. I want my hero to really have to look beneath the skin.

Here is the first description of Harriet from Held in the Balance as Lydia Taunton’s best friend.

“Harriet, I can’t do it.” The words burst from Lydia in a rush. If it had been anyone other than Harriet she would have been tempted to get a bit more drama in. “I’ve made a mistake.”
“A mistake?” Harriet’s eyebrows nearly disappeared into the flaming carrot orange hair the poor girl had been cursed with. The hair, along with a heavy enough case of freckles sufficient to look like a skin disease, was referred to them only as ‘the affliction’ and as far as Harriet was concerned was the reason for enduring her third season.

The Romanchics and the ladies of the dashing 100

For a while now I’ve been writing with a lovely group of ladies and we’ve formed a super supportive little group, the Dashing 100.

We are all busy ladies and we all write romance but there the similarities end. We all write different styles.

pots of paint

Incy writes romantic thrillers that keep you on the seat of your pants, with super hot heroes that make you warm all over.

Joanne writes the kind of close-to-your-heart stories that you make you feel like you’ve just snuggled under a cosy blanket.

Meg writes a range of genres, all with a beautiful meter and elegant turn of phrase that makes you just want to drink up all the yummy details.

Aimee writes sexy contemporary romances for the modern, independent girl with sassy heroines and alpha males to die for.

And me, well I enjoy writing regency romps.

So you wouldn’t think a writing group between us all would work. But it does. Every thursday we aim to share 100 words of our current work and the email banter begins. I think sometimes it works better because we all have such different styles.

It’s a lot easier to read something very different from your own work with non judgemental eyes, you just read to enjoy and you don’t wonder how you would have done the same paragraph. And because 100 words (give or take a bit!) is all we share, you get this intriguing peek into another’s work each week. Not enough to really know what’s happening in the story but enough to get well and truly caught up in the characters.

I get a lot of support from this group, and sometimes when life gets too busy, thursday morning will still see me trying to knock up 100 words just so I have something to share. And you can’t knock anything that keeps you actually gets words down on paper.

The ladies of the dashing 100 have just launched their own blog, the Romanchics.
romanchics blog button.

So pop on over and get to know these super ladies and their stories. You won’t regret it.

Needle and thread

This week I’ve had a little industry set up making baby dungarees. With a boy to sew for, my fabric choices have suddenly boomed. Not that I’ve always had my two little girls dressed head to toe in pink, but there is a bit of a princess/flower/teddy theme for the most part. No more. Super fabric is made for boys, from tanks and trains to material covered with all types of creepy crawlies realistic enough to have any mother in a flap batting them away. This time I settled for one with cars, one with chocolates, two french fashion prints and an emergency service print. Pretty exciting.

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Sadly I don’t tend to have the time to make my own clothes. When I did, I used to make myself a fair few period clothes. I like the individuality of making and designing clothes, to know I’m never going to meet anyone wearing the same dress or shirt.

I do wonder sometimes whether that would have happened to any of the tonne. Would any of the ladies recoiled in horror as the entered the ballroom as another woman waltzed past them wearing the exact same dress. It seems pretty unlikely. I think any modiste worth her salt wouldn’t do exact copies of dresses, she’d make sure there was something different in each one.  An extra ruffle, a extra pleat, some small detail changed. And to honest, when you’re handsewing getting things to look exactly the same is no easy task, believe me, especially if you are rusing to meet an ambitious deadline set by some demanding lady.

I like to make sure all my heroines can sew. Sewing isn’t really that difficult, and at a time when clothes would be very expensive, I think mending would be a skill all mothers would want to instill in their daughters, and would be a skill likely to be appreciated by husbands and fathers more than a dubious talent for watercolours.

In the following snippet from Held in the Balance, Lydia is about to demonstrate her mending skills….

Remembering the excuse she’d thought up, Lydia stepped back from the door and routed through her reticule, pushing past charcoal pencils to find a rather grubby needlework kit. Needle and silk at the ready, she just needed a rented hem and her presence would be explainable even if the ladies retiring room would have been a more obvious place to re-stitch the trailing piece. She jammed her low heel into the fine silk of her skirt and jerked the fabric upwards with a satisfying rip.

“Am I intruding?”

Lydia gritted her teeth at Simon’s gentle tones. Now she had no chance of spying upon Lord Goodall and had a torn hem to boot. Perfect. She span around, needlework kit clutched in one fist and made no attempt to smooth out her creased skirts. “Intruding? Of course not, I always like an audience while I attempt to do mending.”

New Year Resolutions

2013 is going to be a busy year for me, I might as well accept that now. I don’t suppose anyone gets to add new born twins into an already busy household and expect to get a lot of other things done. So I’m not going to set myself pie-in-the-sky ambitions.

So what do I want to get done?

1) Deliver two happy healthy babies so my happy family of four becomes an even happier family of six. Preferably I’d like to do this without tearing my hair out or going prematurely grey, without actually turning into a whale, and with my sanity intact.

2) Get Braving Madness out there in the big wide world. I’ve already started on this fretful journey and sent the second draft winging its way to Meg McNulty, (, the world’s best critique partner.

3) Crack on with Held in the Balance. I’d love to say get a first draft done, but realistically that means writing 80,000+ words in a year where sleep will be a luxury. So a total word count doesn’t matter, I just want to keep on writing, just a little bit, every day, and not get completely bogged down with moaning about little people kicking my internal organs to pieces or being buried under the mounds of dirty nappies that are bound to be generated over the year.

Doesn’t sound too ambitious list does it? Probably. Oh well. Happy New Year to you all, and all the best fo 2013.

Sorry for my tardiness in posting

Things have been a bit quiet on here in the last few months. I do apologise but I’ve had the mother of all excuses. Not writing related I’m afraid, no sudden confessions of fantastic contracts etc, but an even more exciting announcement, to me at least.

I’m expecting twins. Yup. You heard me right. 2012-12-18 14.40.30A little boy and a little girl. 2012-12-18 15.08.39Come April/May my world is going to get a whole lot busier as I will be a mother with four children under five.

Oh yeah. To say I am excited would a huge understatement. I couldn’t have asked for anything so very special. I’m currently 21 weeks pregnant and the last scan showed my two little people to be happy and healthy and doing everything they are supposed to do.

My eldest is excited and is already making plans for where the pair should sleep and sit in the car etc, not sure about Nancy, thinks she’s a little to understand exactly why mummy’s tummy suddenly looks like she’s eaten all the pies and then some.2012-12-17 08.41.31

So, don’t fret, I’m still writing. I’m about 15K into the next story and I’m currently 50% of the way through editing Braving Madness (which happily isn’t as bad as I had feared, well bits of it are, but some of it is pretty entertaining,) with the hopes of sending it out early next year and getting myself an agent. I’ll try and get on here when I can but as you might expect I’m pretty tired at the moment and that’s not a situation that’s going to improve for the considerable future. (For example it took me ten minutes to get into my support tights this morning…)

But I am just about ready for christmas thanks to a little help from my little helpers…2012-12-23 14.23.37

So Merry Christmas, I’m off to deliver a few last cards and presents, but I’ll leave you with a snippet from chapter 4 of Held in the Balance. This is Lord Curzon’s point of view at his engagement ball to Miss Lydia Taunton.

Simon stood at the far side of the ballroom, his back an inch from the ivory wainscoting, close enough to make the position defensible against the milling crowds of feathered and turbaned frights without taking advantage of the bevelled sill at hip level, a penance for his earlier lapse of concentration.AssemblyRooms

A dark figure made his way towards him with a determined stride. Simon slow breathed air into his lungs and prepared to talk to his cousin’s new husband, as if the evening hadn’t gone badly enough already. Carrington handed him a glass of champagne and Simon nodded his thanks, taking the smallest of sips of the bubbling wine, enough to be polite but no more. His entire six months on the continent had passed in an alcoholic haze, these days a cup of tea or coffee was more agreeable to his palate and conscious.


“Curzon.” Carrington leant against the wall, a slight wrinkle in the smooth line of his coat, the creases about cravat all suggestive of a bout of physical activity since dressing. Simon had no intention of trying to detect similar discrepancies to Betty’s dress, one didn’t look for tell-tale signs of sexual satisfaction in a woman who had until recently been promised to him instead. Three months and so much had changed.

Still plodding forwards

I seem to be on a bit of a reading binge at the moment. I go through phases with reading, you know you find a new author and love the book and then go rushing back to the front cover to see how many books they’ve written. And recently all my new authors had written lots of books. Bliss. I am now waiting for Janet Evanovich’s 19th Stephanie Plum book to be released.

On the downside you do risk getting caught up in another world for a while, so much so, when you come to the end of the series it feels a bit of a shock to have to go back to real life.

Not so disimilar to finishing writing a novel I guess. After a year and a half I’m back at the first stage of writing those initial chapters and creating characters I’m going to have to live with for maybe a year or so (or more the way my life is heading at the moment.)

So far though I’m enjoying it.

I have Lord Simon Curzon, the antagonist from the last story. A man of few words with a core of steel. Miss Lydia Taunton, against from the last story, and is a drama queen of the first order, out for fun and mayhem, and looking to break off her engagement with Lord-dull-grey-Curzon. Miss Harriet Baird, cursed with ginger hair and freckles, she’s Lydia’s unfortunate side-kick. Lord Goodall, a dark character full of hidden agendas. And finally, Samuel Stibbons, a shaggy, bleached blond haired charmer set to provide Lydia with the ideal opportunity for a bit of scandal.

Can you tell I’m having fun?

Here’s a snippet about Samuel Stibbons, written in Lydia’s POV.

Rather than sitting further away, Stibbons opted for the footstool. Stuffed to almost bursting point and covered in the softest velvet, the footstool reigned supreme amongst footstools, her father wouldn’t have put up with anything less, but having to sit with his knees about his ears shouldn’t have done a thing for Stibbons’ manliness. No-one seemed to have told him that though and he sat with his big frame hunched over and the memory of the months of summer still showing on his skin. Maybe the girls flocking around him were acting on baser instincts than securing marriage offers.