Wednesday, February 29, 2012

answer to Monday’s question: Kate’s so on the naughty step…

Current work: Vienna book
Listening to: Sam Brown/Jon Lord
Reading: Donna Alward, Honeymoon with the Rancher

Busy day, Monday. Blood test (hmm, going to make sure I follow up thyroid results as mine feels as if it’s dipping again); blood pressure check (best in years, yippee); daughter’s music exam (fingers crossed she gets what she deserves – and actually, it’s pretty daunting playing for a total stranger and knowing you’re going to be assessed); school meeting for daughter’s school residential trip.

Oh, yes. And a teensy online shop at Fortnum’s. (In my defence, it was with birthday money AND I was much better than I would’ve been had I gone into the actual shop next week – plus you really can’t turn up to lunch with your publisher and then an awards do with a big pile of shopping, can you?)

Busy day, Tuesday. Guitar lesson (have not practised enough, so that’s another reason for the naughty step – and boy did the Tarrega piece feel like punishment; Jim definitely made his point); parents’ evening (excellent. Very pleased with son’s progress – and also a bit surprised as I’d pegged him as a scientist, and where he’s really flying seems to be in my subjects. Had to smile when the teacher said he was picky about grammar. Son, pointing at me: that’s her influence…). Poor boy is stuck with Romeo and Juliet as his GCSE text; but there’s an RSC production of The Tempest coming up around his birthday…

Monday, February 27, 2012

how naughty is naughty?

Current work: Vienna book
Listening to: various dance stuff (ballroom, people, ballroom)
Reading: Their Christmas Family Miracle, Caroline Anderson (fabulou, though made me cry); Snowbound Bride-to-be, Cara Colter; Not-so-Perfect Princess, Melissa McClone; The Heart of a Hero, Barbara Wallace; Firefighter’s Doorstep Baby, Barbara McMahon; The Soldier’s Untamed Heart, Nikki Logan; Expecting Royal Twins, Melissa McClone; To Dance with a Prince, Cara Colter.

OK, from the list above, you can guess what I spent this weekend doing – and no, it wasn’t being naughty and skiving off, it was a bit of necessary well-refilling :o) In addition to shopping for shoes with Madam (and buying chocolate as instructed for son, who did not need shoes). Also watched a Kate Hudson film, ‘Little Bit of Heaven’ – very funny in places, but it had me in bits. Daughter always says she sleeps like the dead, so I thought I was safe to go in and give her a kiss goodnight, and she semi-woke and gave me a hug and told me she loved me (which made it even worse). LOL, she didn’t remember a thing in the morning, but when I explained about the film she sucked her teeth and said her dad shouldn’t have let me watch it and I should’ve woken her properly for a real hug instead of a sleepwalking one, bless her. Son unglued himself from the X-box to give me a hug, too, bless him.

Anyway. I came up with a new outline (on ed’s desk this morning), so that time off was definitely productive.

And I’m currently considering being a bit naughty. Doing my proofs on Friday reminded me of the box of Fortnum’s Superbe that lovely Anna Cleary sent me (and which, ahem, found their way into the book), and I had this yen… And then there’s the tea (am thinking their Countess Grey blend – and I really ought to try their Smoky Grey one as well – especially as it seems that the F&M tea caddies match my kitchen), the coffee (well, hey, their ice cream is Sandringham blend coffee, and Sandringham is about forty minutes up the road from me, so it has my name on it, right?), the violet shortbread (which I was hoping Santa would bring me, but Santa does his shopping at the very last minute so it didn’t happen)… And it’s one tube stop away from where I’m meeting my ed for lunch on Monday before the RNA do. Hmm.

Alternatively, I could just order the stuff online, because I think Fortnum’s would be at at the top of the ‘not without a responsible adult’ list – kind of Waitrose times ten. And I’m much better behaved online because I stick to my list instead of getting carried away and being an impulse shopper.

Actually, I’ve had a bit of a tricky month (hence the lack of posts). And good coffee and tea helpeth an author write. And I have a blood test this morning (routine annual ones for the thyroid) and I HATE needles, so I’ll need cheering up afterwards. (That's the excuse for the chocs.)

How naughty is naughty?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Friday already?

Current work: proofs for ‘Once a Playboy…’
Listening to: Albeniz, Asturias
Reading: Barbara Wallace, Beauty and the Brooding Boss; Nikki Logan, Friends to Forever (take as read that I enjoyed both - I don't post about books I didn't enjoy because I know how much work goes into a book and I am not going to stomp on other people's feelings and trash their work, particularly as I'm aware that readers have different tastes and some people may like the ones I didn't, just as some might not like the ones I do)

Where did the week go?

Great dancing lesson on Wednesday – we learned to do a spot turn in the cha cha cha (and also practised the foxtrot and the waltz). Swimming on Thursday (managed two more lengths this week, and pleased to say my arms don’t hurt this week, so that’s clearly a good increase to make each week). Fabulous sunset while we were in the pool, with a stunning crimson sky, so I was kicking myself for my camera being at home. However. I am making progress with this ‘getting fit’ lark. (No change on the scales. And this is despite eating VERY healthily. Keep going. Onwards and upwards.)

I’m making progress with the ballroom dancing (Vienna) book and also have the beginnings of an idea for the next Medical. I haven’t done a friends-to-lovers book for ages, and I have a yen to do one now. Just need to work out the hero’s conflict.

Righty. Proofs, then sharing my salmon with dog (is good for his coat – oh, OK, so I am a soft touch and a sucker for those big brown soulful eyes) and then a bit of progress on the new book until school run.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

fabulous review

Current work: Vienna book
Listening to: Mozart’s Requiem
Reading: Cara Colter, Rescued in a Wedding Dress (enjoyed)

Romantic Times really, really made my day yesterday with a fabulous review of The Ex Who Hired Her.

My confidence is still pretty much in the doldrums, so I hope you’ll indulge me in posting what they said right here (dear confidence, will you please read it, too?).

THE EX WHO HIRED HER (4.5) by Kate Hardy: Department store CEO Jordan Smith had the final say about who would be his next marketing manager, so he’s at a loss to explain why he hired his gold-digging, conniving ex-girlfriend. Alexandra Bennett has learned to live with the scars from her past, but forgiving the man who abandoned her when she needed him the most is much harder to do. Sparks fly, but even with past mistakes forgiven, is it too late for Alex and Jordan to pick up where they left off 10 years ago? The couple’s misunderstandings are cleared up early on, leaving readers to enjoy a heartfelt romance with engaging dialogue.

Thank you, RT.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

heigh ho, heigh ho

Current work: Vienna book
Listening to: Beethoven (7th, second movement)
Reading: Nikki Logan, Her Miracle Twins (enjoyed)

Right now, all’s very tickety-boo on Planet Kate – there’s a pan of soup bubbling away on the hob for the next 20 minutes, a cup of fresh coffee on my desk, and my characters are talking away in my head. (Plus the Sainsbury’s driver today happens to be a fellow writer and was telling me about his WIP – fascinating stuff, as he works in a totally different genre – and the postie has just brought a pile of Chris Higgins novels to keep Madam happy as well as some of the books I used my birthday vouchers on; am dying to read the new Susanna Kearsley, but had better earmark that as a carrot for reaching the halfway point on my own book.) Nice quiet house, too.

So that’s me very happily in ‘heigh ho’ mode :o)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Kate Tardy

Current work: Vienna book
Listening to: Joe Lynn Turner
Reading: Barbara Wallace, Daring to Date the Boss (enjoyed), Elizabeth McGregor, Second Sight (really enjoyed a modern gothic!)

OK. Half term is over. I am back to normal routine. Almost. Much as I love my husband and children, there’s a lot to be said for a quiet house. (And no, it isn’t the younger two who are noisy and interrupt me all the time – that would be their dad.) Right now I seem to be running behind on everything. (Haven’t had time for a coffee yet today.)

Apple training this morning. Superb. I’m very impressed with the editing suite that comes with iPhoto. However, I will need a timer and to use it as my treat, because otherwise I could spend all day playing with it. Very pleased that I’m not going to have to fork out for Toast just yet – there is a way of burning DVDs, so I can sort out certain films and pics for people. And this afternoon I am going to decide on the music I need for the Vienna book and sort that out. (You know your RLH loves you when, despite the fact that he loathes Michael Buble, he goes to ballroom dancing lessons with you for research purposes...)

Friday, February 17, 2012

signs of spring

Current work: Vienna book
Listening to: Peter Gabriel
Reading: Rachel Hore, The Glass Painter’s Daughter (enjoying)

Apologies for being such a hopeless blogger this week. It’s half term, which means normal routine goes out of the window and I have no idea what day it is (well, I do now, but I had to look it up first!).

So what have I been up to? Apple training; annual health check (blood pressure not great – but as she suggested doing the blood test there and then AND also making me get on the scales, that didn’t help! – and I was very polite but explained that thank you, I would rather keep my blood test appointment with the phlebo, who can get blood out of me more easily than anyone else at the surgery and I am all for reducing stress); car coolant bottle problem fixed; bit of shopping with daughter (was going to spend some of birthday book tokens but couldn’t find Susanna Kearsley’s new one so will have to order it); dance class (learned a new step for the cha cha cha – great fun); went swimming (yesterday, and my arms and shoulders really hurt today – and that had BETTER show on the scales on Monday); bit more shopping with daughter (she seems to have grown up overnight, so today's was all girly stuff); oh yes, guitar lesson (I love the chords of the acoustic version of ‘Here Comes the Flood’ – Jim was snooty about it but eventually admitted it’s a nice progression).

So it’s been a little busy :)

Signs of spring? Last autumn, my stepmum and I planted lots (and I mean lots) of bulbs on Dad’s grave. I planted the leftovers in the border underneath our living room window, and was thrilled to see that they’ve started coming up. They’re all still at the shoot stage on the grave, but I have several iris reticulata (i.e. the tiny ones) gracing the garden as of yesterday. Just lovely.

Monday, February 13, 2012

wonderful weekend

Current work: Vienna book
Listening to: (silent house right now, as am only one up)
Reading: Rachel Hore, The Glass Painter’s Daughter (enjoying)

Really lovely weekend. Spoiled rotten with lots of flowers, lots of cards, lots of chocolates, lots of gift vouchers for all my favourite vices (aka books, music and Pandora/Radley – especially handy as I’m due a new bead for having a new book accepted), and lots of phone calls. Sadly my bestest cousin couldn’t make it up for the weekend in the end, but it was lovely to see my best friend (especially as I was able to give her a copy of the book I dedicated to her, out next month – Dr Cinderella’s Midnight Fling), and lovely to see my stepmum on Friday.

It was a weekend full of naughtiness, starting with the bacon and avocado sandwich for lunch on Saturday (oh, the joy of nice seeded wholemeal bread – the naughtiness being that if I don’t walk at least 20k steps in a day, I put on about 1lb for every slice of bread, which is a bit annoying as I lurrrve good bread). Dinner out on Saturday night; although I had said I wasn’t going to be boring and order what I order every single time we go to Mambo’s, I lied :o) (I happen to like Caribbean chicken , i.e. in a spicy mango sauce, served with rice and salad.) And there was a really unusual pud on the specials board – cinnamon and toffee nachos. Being a cinnamon fiend, how could I resist that?

Possibly a little too much Chablis, too. (Do I admit that I fell asleep during Cowboys & Aliens on Friday night? Half a glass of Chablis + not enough sleep during the week = me wiped out. Feel guilty now as DH bought the film for me. Am total lightweight on the alcohol front.)

And I am definitely not confessing how many boxes of chocolates ended up in our house. Or how many of them have been scoffed :o) (With help!!)

Thank you to everyone who sent me lovely wishes either via Facebook or by email. Much appreciated. And it was much, much better than my birthday last year, which I found a real struggle – this year, I had the chance to enjoy it and celebrate the RNA shortlisting, too. Raised a silent glass to my dad (who would’ve been 77, two days before my birthday – hence last year’s being very tough, and I think changing the way we celebrate my day was a really good idea).

Half term this week, so I’m hoping we have a bit of a thaw and get the chance to go out a bit. Otherwise, I think it’s staying indoors with mugs of hot chocolate and playing board games/X-box marathons! Apple training today (plus sorting out my mouse – am on my fifth set of batteries in 3 weeks, whereas the keyboard is still at 100% battery life, so clearly something isn’t quite right), and a bit of quality shopping time with my daughter (aka hello, indie bookshop…)

Friday, February 10, 2012

some thrilling news

Current work: Vienna book
Listening to: Josh Groban
Reading: Rachel Hore, The Glass Painter’s Daughter (enjoying)

Sorry for my absence this week – it’s been a bit of a tricky time, but my mantra for the week is ‘onwards and upwards’.

Anyway, I’m pleased to say that my 51st M&B, ‘Once a Playboy…’, has just been accepted and will be out as a Medical Romance in September 2012.

There’s more – wait for it – something that I’ve been sitting on since Christmas Eve (and what a Christmas pressie that was). Excellent birthday pressie, as the news is out today: the RoNA shortlists have been announced, and I’ve been shortlisted for the RoNA Rose award with A Christmas Knight.

It’s a real thrill to be shortlisted – especially as I’ve read all the other books on the shortlist and know how high the bar is set. And everyone on the list is a friend of mine, so I am really looking forward to cheering on the winner on 5 March :o)

You can see more about it here – on the RNA awards website, and you can also see the other categories, too. Congratulations to all the shortlistees!

Monday, February 06, 2012

elsewhere today

Current work: Vienna book
Listening to: Corelli’s Concerti Grossi (good for calmness, i.e. for driving in snow)
Reading: next on TBR

I’m over at the eHarlequin medical authors’ blog today, talking about…

This :o)

(School run this morning. Verrrry pretty. The roads were clear, so I was able to enjoy it. After we reached the main road, that is! Hate driving in the stuff.)

Friday, February 03, 2012

A bit of a hare day

Current work: Vienna book
Listening to: Michael Buble
Reading: next on TBR (but I’m reading Locatelli’s ‘Made in Sicily’ at lunchtimes – fabulous and a bit inspirational as well)

I have very good intentions about the tortoise stuff, but yesterday ended up as a hare day. It was a teensy bit disrupted, as in I didn’t seem to get a clear hour to work in peace and quiet at any point. And my car has to go back again next week because it isn’t a sensor problem – and they need a part to fix it. Luckily it’s a warranty thing so won’t cost a fortune. (But we have snow and ice forecast. Note to self: you have traction control, now. Be brave. Stop stressing.)

I did however manage to get my revisions done. (The ones that gave me three nights of wakefulness. So I am officially knackered and need a day off, actually.)

And I had my hair re-coloured. (Author who almost never wears makeup so has shiny face, but does live in a pair of shades on her optician's advice - this isn't gratuitous posing!)

Both children were looking a bit worried when lovely Louise mentioned having slices of purple through my hair for the summer. (Daughter is just used to this colour and likes it now. She’s not happy at the idea of her mother having purple hair. Sorry, honey. When you’re staring 46 in the face, you might go through the teenage rebellion you never had, too.)

What else, this week? Guitar – did a bit of Sloe Gin (which is very much the song for the book I just revised, and I so hope it doesn’t come back with more of what my ed calls ‘tweaks’ – beware the T-word, because what on the surface looks like one small change can actually alter the tone of the whole book). Dancing – oh, tricky, as it was doing a turn in the waltz. Let’s just say that more practice might be required.

Oh yes – and anyone local who gets the EDP Norfolk magazine might recognise someone on page 48 of the February issue. (Thank you to lovely Rowan Mantell for a great piece. And for putting in pics of two of my absolutely favourite bits of Norfolk.)

Righty. Work, this morning, then lunch out with Jo and Sarah :o)

Thursday, February 02, 2012

planner or pantster?

Current work: second revs on Medical
Listening to: Bach
Reading: next on TBR (but I’m reading Locatelli’s ‘Made in Sicily’ at lunchtimes – fabulous and a bit inspirational as well)

Definitely back to being a hare this week. Sigh. Up to eyes in revisions, car due in to have a sensor sorted out, and... yeah. Hare day.

Anyway – I’m over at lovely Kate Jackson’s blog today, talking about being a plotter. Do come over and say hello!