Friday, February 28, 2014

February Update

How has another month disappeared? At least this one has been productive for my writing. Here's my Bridget style update.

Writing: I returned to pen & paper this month and I've written in the region of 10,000 words. It's not all typed up yet & it's in need of an edit for all the overused words, but at least I've found a way to get back to the WIP.
Health: My weight loss has reached 10 pounds and I'm hoping to reach a stone by the end of next month. Happy Days!
I managed to do my first Good a Food recipe. 11 more to go!
Reading: At long last I finished the book I was reading on my kindle. I really didn't get into it so it's taken me a while. I've now started reading A Cornish House by Liz Fenwick and I'm already enjoying it.

Competitions: It's been books, books, books this month! I wanted to win a fiction book and I've won 5 this month from Goodreads. That'll keep me in good stead given my current reading pace! I only have one item left on my achievable things to win which is a family day out, so I'm going to add two more to the list. First, an item of clothing. Second, an evening out for my husband and me. These are both things that I would love, but have little money for now my maternity pay is ending. So if I could win them, it would be fabulous! 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Deliveries: 27th February 2014

Today I received another book from Goodreads. Having not been picked for the first month of the year, this month I received 3 emails in 3 days! This is the second of those books to arrive. I best get reading! 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Good Food Recipe: January Done!

At the beginning of the year I set myself several challenges. One was to cook a recipe from every copy of Good Food magazine this year. For January I picked the Mexican chicken stew with rice & beans. 
How it should look!
How it did look!
It was a fairly easy recipe. My only alteration was using left over roast chicken whereas the recipe suggested chicken breasts which you then shred. It was fairly hot which I like and the yogurt worked well to reduce the heat. It's definitely a recipe I would do again.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Deliveries: 25th February 2014

Today the So Baby Hamper arrived that I won after sharing a post on Facebook. There was a mistake with the delivery date at first but having contacted the company they rearranged delivery for today. I'm looking forward to the girls trying these as one of the twins got bad nappy rash with jarred products. It will be interesting to see how she does with these.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Deliveries: 24th February 2014

In the post today I received another book from Goodreads: Cut Dead by Mark Sennen. It sounds pretty grim, but it's the kind of crime novel I enjoy. Read far too much romance of late. It's on the TBR pile but if my brother reads this he might claim first read. 

Romaniac Shorts Interview with Debbie Fuller-White

Today I'm joined by fellow Romaniac, Debbie Fuller-White. Debbie and I have shared a room, many a giggle and a glass or two of wine. Now it's time for her to get a sensible grilling about being a Romaniac and the release of Romaniac Shorts...

Can you tell me about the infamous car journey on the day The Romaniacs started to meet?
Oh, Catherine, I’m giggling, just thinking about it. October 2011, the inaugural Festival of Romance at Watford, was the first time I met Celia, Laura and Lucie. Laura was staying at a different hotel and offered us a lift to ours after the gala dinner on the Saturday evening. I’d had … errm … a few to drink and was on top form. Such top form that when I got in the car, I turned to Laura and said, ‘Bye heck, it’s a bit chilly. Look at that, it’s zero degrees,’ to which she replied, ‘Debbie, that’s the speedometer. It’s actually zero miles per hour!’
Well, we laughed and guffawed until our sides ached and the tears streamed down our faces. Laura could hardly drive as she was almost bent double in hysterics. Back at the hotel, I promptly fell out of the car which set us all off again. After we said our goodbyes to Laura it must have taken fifteen minutes to get up to our rooms, we were still laughing so much. And when I got into my room, Lucie and Liz Crump had to knock on the wall to tell me to be quiet as I was still laughing in bed! You missed a classic Romaniac night out, Catherine. I think that night rather set the tone for what was to come from us all…

In the same year as meeting The Romaniacs you were runner-up in the New Talent Award. How has your writing progressed since then?
Honestly? The words snail and pace come to mind. I've had a tough couple of years with the breakup of my marriage of twenty-three years and subsequent divorce and house move last year. Then I've had lots of health problems. I simply haven’t been in the right frame of mind to write, or at least not to write anything of quality. However, for the first time in a long while, these last few months, I’m starting to see a way through. I've got a plan and a goal. I've spent too long ‘talking’ about writing and realised a dream is just a wish without a plan. I can make all the excuses in the world but it ain't going to get me that book deal. Writers write and that’s what I need to get on and do.
You recently attended an Arvon course. What did you gain from going?

Oh, where do I begin? My confidence back for starters. Thanks to two wonderful tutors (Kate Long and Simon Thirsk) and a great group of attendees, I found the muse again. Being away from the stresses and strains of day to day life I wrote more in the week than I had in two years. My distinct ‘voice’ had been lost for such a long time but a couple of the group said they thought I was like, ‘Catherine Cookson meets Stan Barstow.’ It summed up how I’d like to see myself and gave me a huge boost. It was this course that’s put me back on the right track and given me back my belief in myself.
I’ve heard you could have had a very different occupation involving shorts. Could you tell me about it?
Haha, yes. I was about eighteen and in a pub with my (then) boyfriend when a man and woman came up to me and asked if I’d ever thought about modelling as they thought I could be a bottom model, modelling jeans! It seemed a bit weird to me and anyway, my Nan (who brought me up) would have gone mad so I said I wasn't interested. A year or two later I found their business card in a drawer and someone told me it was a top modelling agency. I was never brave enough to pursue it but yes, maybe I could have modelled jeans, or knickers!   
Tell us about the pieces you have in Romaniac Shorts?

I’d only ever done one short story before the Anthology but I enjoyed the process of writing a short and intend to have a go at writing some more. My two contributions couldn't be more different. ‘Baby Blue’ is rather dark. It’s a courtroom story about a lady who’s had several miscarriages then has a baby. I can’t say too much more as I might spoil it for anyone who wants to read it as there’s quite a twist. ‘Train of Thought’ came to me when I was on the train to the Romantic Novelists’ winter party. It was two separate couples – one a young, flirty pair who were clearly besotted and the other, an older couple – and I wondered what their relationships were like behind closed doors.
You suggested supporting a Dyslexia charity. What does it mean to you to be able to support them in this way?

We had our own charities that we each supported but I thought Dyslexia was one that might touch us all and people wishing to support us might relate to easier. My eldest son had epilepsy and a mild learning difficulty so he never found reading or writing easy. For a long time he was labelled lazy or ‘thick’ and it wasn’t until he was in secondary school that he got the correct diagnosis and support. The charity has done well to influence people’s perceptions that if someone can’t spell or read well they are in some way ‘backward’ or ‘thick.’ It’s all to do with different sides of the brain working. My son is very intelligent and much better doing practical work to academic. And look at the likes of Sir Richard Branson, Kirsty Allsop, Theo Pathitis, Jamie Oliver – they are all celebrity dyslexics and it hasn’t stopped them achieving their dreams!
Thank you so much for joining me, Debbie. It was lovely to learn more about you and I'm looking forward to getting together again and being less sensible.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Deliveries: 22nd February 2014

Today this lovely selection of teas arrived from Nutrition Centre after they held a RT competition on twitter. I entered rather last minute so it was wonderful to receive a tweet informing me I'd won. Twitter competitions often just involve retweeting a tweet and whilst looking after the girls this is one of the easiest things for me to do. They are well worth doing as there are lots of them.

Good Luck,

Catherine x

Thursday, February 20, 2014

My first short story in audio!

The first short story I wrote, Going Once, went into audio a while ago. It was originally published in Hampshire View magazine and then recorded for the Talking Echo, a local service for those who are blind or unable to read print. It went out some time ago but I've just received a copy of the recording.
I haven't had the chance to listen to it yet, but it will really be something to play a story I wrote to the girls! We'll have to schedule in a listen between feeds and playtime soon.

Catherine x

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Deliveries: 19th February 2014

Today is the kind of post I'd love to get more often:
The 2 bottles of wine are from iheartwine over on twitter after I won their Valentine's competition. Crimson Ribbon is from Headline after being selected for First Reads on Goodreads. I've already read the first few lines and I'm already hooked. I think this will make it to the top of the TBR pile soon. 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Deliveries: Whilst we were away

We had a couple of parcels arrive whilst we were away in Kent.
 This lovely sticker book was from theschoolrun website. The girls are a bit young for it at the moment but we'll be able to put it away for a later date.
I won this fabulous air fryer with a photo on the Phillips Facebook page. Sorry about the poor photo. It does show the rather interesting hole in the side where someone was clearly checking out what it was. I'm looking forward to getting this out and trying it and will take another photo then! It will be great for my Slimming World efforts.

We also had a delivery fail! I won a hamper of baby food from So Organics after sharing a FB comment. I requested delivery for the 18th when we would be back from our break. However it was delivered whilst we were away. As it was frozen goods they have spoiled and we've had to throw it all out. What a waste! If I'd been paying customer I would have been very annoyed. I've emailed the company to let them know about the error but so far no reply! 

I managed to get a fair bit of writing done whilst away so I'm hoping to continue with that over the next few months to get my first draft written.

Catherine x

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Romaniac Shorts is launched!

I'm so pleased to be able to say that Romaniac Shorts is launched and now available on Amazon. The link is over on The Romaniacs site. The collection of short stories and flash fiction is £1 and all proceeds are going to Dyslexia Action and the Romantic Novelists' Association. I have two items in there and the talent of these ladies is abundant in this book. Well worth purchasing for your coffee breaks!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Something big is happening...

I wish I could say more in this post, but instead I'll send you on a short reroute to The Romaniacs where all will be revealed!