Friday, June 29, 2012


Current work: revisions and stuff
Listening to: Def Leppard
Reading: next on TBR

Thank you to everyone who took part in the competition – the subtle changes were the colour (a bit deeper), the strapline (changed from ‘drama passion danger’ to ‘warmth heart charm’ because I’ve stopped kidding myself and I’m playing to what my readers tell me my strengths are rather than what I thought they were, LOL) and the hearts are a little bit different, too. So any of those would’ve been acceptable as an answer,

Congratulations to Kayla – please email me your snail mail address (email contact is on my website) and I’ll post the book to you on Monday :o)

Sorry to disappoint everyone else, but please keep visiting my website – there’s going to be a massive two-month-long blog party with fabulous guests and giveaways every single day (because my writer mates are lovely, supportive and generous) as well as more chances to win my 50th M&B!

Meanwhile, I hope everyone who’s experiencing these extreme weather conditions (flooding in the UK and forest fires in the US) is staying safe. We’ve been lucky in that the massive storms missed us yesterday, but it’s been disgustingly sticky here in Norwich. Mr Kate is being dragged off to John Lewis tonight in search of a whisper-quiet fan – he can’t stand the noise of our fan and won’t let me have the bedroom window open because he says the birds wake him up (!), but I can’t cope with humidity and I’ve spent two nights pacing the house/sitting in front of the fan in my study. Not good. There are four possibilities on the JL website, so hopefully one will be quiet enough to keep him happy and mean that I have lovely cool air.

Have a nice weekend!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

tweak (aka chance to win a book)

Current work: revisions and stuff
Listening to: Bach
Reading: next on TBR

Up to eyes. Apologies for being slack. Please bear with me because I have lots of guests coming with book giveaways in August, September and it looks like October as well, to celebrate the release of my 50th M&B title.

In the meantime, my lovely web designer Heather Reed has made a couple of tweaks to the website for me. They’re subtle, but I didn’t want to change the rest of the website because it’s easy to navigate and it works. So. This is the challenge. Tell me what’s changed (clue: it’s reflected in the blog, too) and I’ll put you in the draw to win a book (the new one, i.e. #50, The Hidden Heart of Rico Rossi – hopefully my author copies will turn up this week). Will be picking a name from the hat on Friday morning UK time, when I’m back from the gym.

Have a nice day!

Monday, June 18, 2012

church crawling again :)

Current work: revisions
Listening to: Bach
Reading: next on TBR

Revisions have landed, so I’ve spent the weekend thinking about them. Which effectively means I went out doing nerdy stuff with DH. We had to nip into town to get Madam a new water bottle (Byron pinched it and chewed it to pieces), then afterwards he decided we’d go out for a little bit of nerdiness. I do wish he’d warn me if he’s planning to go churchcrawling, so I have my camera with me (not to mention Pevsner). I apologise in advance for these pics being awful, because I had to resort to the iPod - which is fine for little snaps but isn’t really up to the job.

Anyway. This is St Michael at Coston – it’s a redundant church, but I’m glad it’s still open as it’s so pretty. You can actually still see the rood stairs there. (And go up them a little way. If you’re thin enough. The Wife of Bath would definitely not have managed it.)

I was taken by this headstop.

And then there was Runhall – another of the gorgeous round-towered churches in Norfolk.

The thing I liked there was the sanctuary ring on the door.

Actually, that’s a fib. I was also really, really taken by the little church organ – one of those you have to pump by hand – which was given in memory of those who’d died in the first world war. Sadly, my picture of it is utterly awful, and even fiddling with it on iPhoto hasn’t helped :o( But it really made me think of Thomas Hardy. All we would've needed were sheep in the meadow next door... (Yup, Hardy's Dorset rather than Norfolk. But the two counties have a lot in common.)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

new cover – for my 50th M&B!

Current work: new book
Listening to: Take That
Reading: Louisa Young, My Dear I Wanted to Tell You (really enjoyed it)

Bit busy on Planet Kate (catching up with stuff, and doing work neglected by other people that has an impact on me. Not best pleased about that one, but whining about it will achieve nothing – it’s a matter of getting on with it, being polite and being very firm). The Kate Unlardy Project is going OK – I’m not seeing the change myself, but my personal trainer today says she’s noticed a change in my shape and she can see a definite change in my fitness. (And, hey, I managed 10 mins on the stepper on Monday. Couldn’t even do 5, three weeks ago.) But the big thing for me is the change in my confidence. I really didn't expect that as a by-product of getting fitter. Mens sana in corpore sano, indeedy.

Dance class tonight – we think we cracked the spin turn and the waltz last week (definitely the hardest dance), and am hoping we can remember it tonight!

But while I’m in a snowstorm (or, rather, my characters are), I’ll leave you with the cover of my UK August release, aka my 50th M&B :o) You may, um, notice some overexcitement in the coming weeks. I am planning a big blog bash… with guests… and giveaways… and… well, I love planning parties. This is going to be fun.

Monday, June 11, 2012

how I nearly met Alan Rickman...

Current work: new book – getting to know characters
Listening to: Joe Bonamassa (love the new album)
Reading: Stanley Wells, Shakespeare and Love (very interesting)

Fabulous weekend. Stayed with my best friend and we took Son to the Roundhouse on Chalk Farm Road to see the RSC production of ‘The Tempest’.

The building itself was gorgeous, a Victorian roundhouse which used to contain a turntable for steam locomotives (which couldn’t go backwards very easily). When the engines grew too big to use the turntable, the building was used as a warehouse by a gin distillery company, and then became a space for performance arts.

The set was very well done – it worked both as the deck of a ship and as the bare, rocky island. The box in the corner worked as Prospero’s cell and the ship.

Jonathan Slinger was absolutely superb as Prospero (which I expected, as I liked his Macbeth very much indeed); Ariel was nicely done, too, and the masque worked very well (nice to see the spirits acting as ‘puppeteers’ to make it very clear it was a masque). The music was beautiful – the first time I’ve heard ‘Where the bee sucks’ done in a melancholy fashion, and I really liked the use of a violin bow with a glockenspiel – very eerie.

Would highly recommend the performance – the supporting cast were all good, too.

And Mr Rickman? Well… my best friend nudged me in the interval and asked me quietly, did I realise who was sitting four rows in front of us?

Yes, I did. And it was confirmed at the end of the performance, when he stood up.

It’s a terrible pic because I was trying to be discreet (I mean, the guy was out for a nice evening watching Shakespeare – he wouldn’t want to be bothered with a short, round, middle-aged woman coming up to him and running on about how much she enjoys his work, particularly ‘Truly, Madly, Deeply’, which is her second all-time favourite film). We also passed him on the way back to Chalk Farm tube. As in walked right next to him… I think son was a bit amused to see his mother and godmother going into girly teen fangirl mode for a moment.

(And, Mr Rickman, if you get Google alerts and pick this up – I think you’re a superb actor, and I’d dearly love to see you in an RSC performance.)

Wednesday, June 06, 2012


Current work: well-refilling :o)
Listening to: Joe Bonamassa (love the new album)
Reading: next on TBR

  • Book #53 off my desk and on my editor’s – tick
  • PLR and ALCS records updated – tick
  • Sorted out cooking plan for son’s party tomorrow (involves gluten-and-dairy-free baking as he has a friend with major allergies; there is absolutely no way I’m going to tell a teenage boy that no, he can’t have one of the choc-chip cookies fresh out of the oven and make him watch everyone else scoff them. We’ve experimented and adapted our recipe so everyone can have one) – tick
  • Sent off M&B author lunch cheque and put note on calendar to book train ticket – tick
  • Regular gym sessions – tick
  • Sulk at unfairness of putting on 2lbs this weekend when I wasn’t actually very naughty (was DH’s bday) – tick
  • Getting excited about this weekend – tick, tick, tick

Weekend? Major well-refilling. Going to London with son to see The Tempest at the RSC with his godmother (aka my bestest friend). Am trying to work out if I can squeeze in a trip to Fortnum’s as I’m almost out of tea (sadly, Twinings’ Lady Grey is nowhere near as nice as F&M’s Countess Grey – and there are far worse things that I could be into). Feel slightly guilty that am not taking daughter, but I did take her to Grease with her godmother for her birthday, a couple of years back, and this is a late birthday treat for her brother. Besides, I want her to enjoy her first Shakespeare, so it’d be better to wait until she’s a little older and then pick something like Much Ado or Twelfth Night.

Righty. I have a couple of contracts to go through with a fine-tooth comb. And a tumble-dryer that has decided it is really a pneumatic drill - I think it's the drum, and it has a sensor, so fixing it is going to cost a fortune. Given its age, we might be better off going for a new one. Need to persuade DH...