Monday, 18 January 2010


Well I said that the next time I blog it will be about puppies and shoes and it is sort of, although my puppy is six years old and the shoe in question is mostly in her stomach. It's not her fault, her dog walker's had flu and she's been cooped up for a bit, so I forgive her, plus it wasn't one of my very best ones and now I have a reason to buy a new pair.

It made me think though how reliant I have had to become on paying people to help me out. I used to tease a friend of mine about her 'staff' telling her she was a proper lady of the manor - but actually I employ quite a lot of people now. It's not that I am lazy or rich - I am actually the opposite of those things. Its just that there are only a certain number of waking hours in every day (although my baby thinks there are considerably more than I do).

When I do have some time when I am not trying to write a book with a baby on my knee whilst singing him my version of Copacabana (where everyone loves a banana) I don't want to clean the house. I want to play with my baby and little girl, talk at length with her over every single dance move of The High School Musical trilogy and bake some cakes or something! After all I also pay people to look after my eight year old three afternoons a week after school and very soon my baby will be starting part-time at nursery. This is not the way I want it, this is the way it is. Granted I have my dream job, a job I love most of the time - but like most working mums I also have the bills and the mortgage to pay - still I do feel wracked with guilt on a daily basis, and what spare time I have is play time not dusting time. So I have a lady who comes and cleans for me. Apart from anything else it means I tidy up at least once a week in preparation for her arrival, which has got to be a good thing.

Why do I need a dog walker, you might ask? Walking a dog is fun - and at weekends I do walk her and I love it, although recently she has taken to making flying leaps into the canal for no apparent reason, which always results in drama because she seems to be the only dog on earth who can't do the doggy paddle and results in another trip to the groomers (I pay someone to groom my dog too). but during the week i rarely get time to give her the exercise she needs. I have recently exchanged one dog walker for another. My first a surly teen who grew more monosyllabic as each week passed announced his retirement grimly just before Christmas - he has plans of becoming a rock star - I don't think walking a poodle did his cred any good. His replacement is the same age but a good deal bouncier, much like the dog. I also pay for a personal trainer -I need to be shouted at, I'm not naturally drawn toward training shoes as they tend not to have kitten heels - and yet I still don't seem to have the body of Angelina Jolie though....

If my budget as endless what else would I pay people do for me?

Pick up my clothes and hang them up. By the end of the day I'm exhausted - that clothes hanger just seems like a step too far.
Take my make-up off and apply a night cream - see above.
Drive me places. I don't like driving. I didn't learn until I was 35, its just seems wrong to be all these big hunks of metal whizzing along a high speed. I do like being a passenger though, that's one of my best things.
Shoulder massage. One a day would seem like a bare minimum.
Deliver flowers daily - a bunch of tulips always gives me a lift.
Cook me healthy fresh food - I'm fairly sure the microwave doesn't count.
Produce chocolate at a moment's notice.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Twelve Months in the Life of....

Funny how the last time I wrote something here, almost a year ago, it was also snowing. I'd spent the morning rolling around in it with my dog and my daughter and I still feel pretty much the same way about snow today as I did then. I am fully over it. And that really is the only thing over the last year that hasn't changed.

I suppose if anyone has troubled to come back to this blog over the last few months they'll be wondering why I haven't posted anything here for so long. Perhaps they'll think I've been too busy, or I couldn't be bothered or that I'd given up writing all together. The truth is that when ever I sat down to blog, I've reflected on everything that has changed in my life over the past few months and I've been speechless - or more accurately wordless. I've found it impossible to describe until now.

For starters it is almost a year since I became divorced. This isn't something that I feel I can write about here - its too personal, but for some months instead of writing about emotional turmoil I've been living it. I was my decision, if there is anyone to blame it is me - I want to say that, but that's all.

In February of this year my last book THE ACCIDENTAL FAMILY was published. It was a book I'd been meaning to write for a long time - a sequel to THE ACCIDENTAL MOTHER a book that several readers who had enjoyed that book had asked for, both in the UK and America. It sold into accounts well - everybody was optimistic - but the the book didn't do quite as well as previous titles. Perhaps because it was published in a dark depressing February when the credit crunch was really starting to bite, perhaps because in retrospect the title and the cover didn't work as well as they could or perhaps because it simply wasn't good enough. But in any case, it shook my confidence. I'd written it during a very emotionally turbulent time struggling to write about things that were in someways the exact opposite of what I was experiencing in my daily life.

Last year was also the year of being pregnant. I can't say that I loved being pregnant - I don't think I suit it especially and with all the other ups and downs and stresses going on around me it wasn't exactly an idyllic time. But my baby son is here now and he is wonderful. He and my daughter are a constant source of joy. Writing when you are pregnant is a curious thing. Its almost like someone has peeled off a layer of your skin, as if your nerve endings are exposed to the world. You feel everything more keenly, joy more intensely, sadness more deeply. Every day, every hour, from minute to minute is a roller coaster of emotion. But the words keep flowing, the ideas keep coming, its a very creative time, a time of creation - and of acid reflux - there's a lot of acid reflux too.

I've moved house twice last year too. Firstly into a rented house which felt a little less comfortable that camping in a leaking tent in the pouring rain during the winter in a peat bog. And I had to pay almost a thousand pounds a month for the privilege. And then into my new house, which is lovely but brand, brand new and taking some settling into. And also there are those annoying little things - like the fact that once you move into it, it's all full of stuff that needs putting away. Must get round to that sometime...

Which brings me to the practical reason that I haven't blogged here for so long. In amongst all of the other things that I have been doing I've also written two and a half books. THE MAKING OF ELLIE WOODS which will be published in April 2010, and its American edition which will be called A HOME FOR BROKEN HEARTS out in September 2010. Also my teen supernatural novel NEARLY DEPARTED written under the name of Rook Hastings which is out next month and half of its follow up novel IMMORTAL REMAINS which will be out next September. I've also planned and will soon be starting work a new novel for adults to be published in 2011, its an idea that I am really excited about.

So that is it. I don't suppose the last year has been any more or any less difficult or tumultuous than the average persons, and there have been some wonderful moments in amongst all the difficult ones. And from now on I'm going to try and blog here more regularly and I promise that the next thing I write will be about shoes and puppies. Seriously.