Thursday, June 20, 2019

Foreign Parts

Well, yet more foreign editions arrived in the mail today but  I think we've seen enough of them.  Instead, people have been asking about our trip away and where we've been  - so here's a brief travel
report   now that I've woken from the jet lag and unpacking/washing.

We flew to America-  to Montana to be exact. There we met up with and stayed with the wonderful Anne McAllister. Book discussions galore - I don;t think you've seen anyone really talk until you've seen a couple of writers get together and discuss books.

Anne and I of course talked romance and looked into the prospect of possibly working together - or working with another publisher  perhaps in the future. The Babe Magnet meanwhile did lots of research into the wild west and its history. (Did I ever mention that he has a second identity as a writer of Westerns - and he's embarking on a bigger, deeper story right now. )  So he thrilled to explore the town of Cody Wyoming.  The town is  named for its legendary founder, Buffalo Bill Cody, that  remains as full of Old West adventure as it was during the days when Bill himself roamed Wyoming.

The Fountain Paint Pot is a mud pot located in
 Lower Geyser basin in Yellowstone National Park.
We drove from Montana to Cody, going through Yellowstone Park on the way and it was a real thrill to come face to face (almost literally) with the huge buffaloes that roam through there.  Encountering one right in the middle of the road  mean we decided the wisest course was to stop and wait for him to move on – which he did, eventually.  A huge animal.

In Cody we stayed in the historic Irma Hotel which was built by Buffalo Bill himself and named for his younger daughter Irma. The rooms are decorated in ‘historic’ style so you can imagine what it would have been like to stay there in the past. And there’s even a dramatized. ‘gun fight ‘ out in the street one evening.

  The Buffalo Bill Centre provides huge amounts of research information and displays so DH spent an age in there. I loved the Plains Indians displays
there - so many beautiful things. And as anyone who knows me knows that I’m partial to a pair of fancy shoes, there were several pairs of embroidered and beaded moccasins  I would have liked to bring home with me.

Montana is one of those places where the weather can change several times from sunrise to sunset. Driving through Yellowstone, in  68+degrees,  it was a shock to see snow still piled up by the roadside – in June. We ever stopped to have a game of snowballs at one point!

And there was a special delight in waking every morning to see the mountains away in the distance – that is, when the rain and the snow (yes there was a brief snowstorm!) had cleared away. So many memories - and I'm sure that so much of what we saw will end up in one book or another at some point.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Foreign Editions - all over the world.

It's a good week for foreign editions - the Norwegian and Danish ones yesterday, and I found myself in a 3 in 1 collection with none other than Nora Roberts!  That's quite something.

 There were some German editions before that - and now today these great Manga editions.

I love the Manga versions of my stories and there's a special delight in seeing one of the graphic editions translated into English so I can read the words as well as delight in the illustrations.

So there's the Manga version of The Devil and Miss Jones with the runaway bride and her biker hero. 

 Then this fabulous collection of different stories with Miranda Lee, Sharon
Josephine Kendrick, and Chantelle Shaw has The Sicilian's Wife included, and finally the English-translation of the Japanese-translation of the Manga The Antonakos Marriage. 

 The covers are just amazing and you can really get the atmosphere and emotions of the books through the graphic novels inside. I  love them.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Back home

I've been away - travelling, researching, discussing writing, books and heroes (it's a hard job but someone has to do it!) with the wonderful Anne McAllister but now I'm back.

Have slept away jet lag (I hope), done six tonnes of washing which is proving impossible to get dry in the torrential downpours we're experiencing. But today I went to one of my favourite events of the year.

I was at the local library, handing out the certificates to the successful students who have completed The Reading Agency's Reading Ahead 6 book challenge. It was wonderful to meet all the students who have struggled with their reading but have managed to complete the 6 books through the year and were celebrating getting their 'Completer' certificates. This is the third year I've done this and this time there was the largest numbers of successful students - 45 in total. It's always such a happy occasion as they show their enthusiasm and sense of achievement.

I was asked to give a short talk as well (not an easy thing when I'm still feeling as if my brain is left in America where I was till the beginning of the week . But I talked about my personal 6 books - books that meant a lot to me and everyone seems to have enjoyed it.

Thank you again to North Lincolnshire Libraries for inviting me to join them and present the certificates. I had a great afternoon and it was a fantastic way to encourage these students to read and enjoy books.

Now I have to go and add some extra feed to the run-down supplies for the hedgehogs who have been well looked after while we were away, but are snuffling about in the garden, demanding to know when supper will be served. I have a suspicion that there are more of them than when we went away!!

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Writing retreats

Writers' retreats are one of the best things in life

 Even if you don't actually write a lot the talk is always about writing/publishing/romance novels/heroines/ heroes - definitely heroes! We spent a wonderful weekend retreat in a fabulous old Rectory in Worcestershire and covered so much ground (writing-wise!) that we needed a little wine to keep us going. I didn't want to home - but I had  another writers' convention to look forward to.

 Now I'm planning and organising the trip to visit - and discuss writing plans - with the wonderful Anne McAllister - there will be yet more book talk, writing, publishing discussions etc . . can't wait!

Friday, May 24, 2019

Spring Birdwatching

This happens every year.

 I heard recently that there is supposed to be a shortage of starlings. with numbers very much reduced. Not in our garden. We have had regular visits from a gang of adult birds for months and this last week or so they have been joined by an equally large number of nestlings, newly emerged from the home nest. These youngsters are often as big as - if not bigger - than the poor mother bird and perfectly capable of getting their own food, specially when I put out seeds, fat cakes and mealworms for them all to enjoy. 

But they still appear to think they are little babies and need mum's help to get the food. Every morning there is a loud ruckus of 'little' ones - who are standing on a lawn scattered with
mealworms - shrieking 'feed me ! Feed me!' They stand there with their beaks wide open while the poor mother bird picks the food up from round their feet and stuffs it into their gaping mouths

. This morning I watched one poor mother bird working so hard to feed 3 demanding youngsters - all bigger than her - while if the 'little ones' only looked down, they would have seen the feast that was scattered around their feet. The noise of their demands was deafening.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

More TV connections

Last week DH went 'back home' when he was filmed as a contribution to a TV programme about a crime 
set there. He enjoyed visiting his past home town as well, as being involved in the programme.

 This week it's my turn to be reminded of the place I grew up as the BBC shows Gentleman Jack - the story of the unconventional Anne Lister of Shibden Hall just outside Halifax. As girls, my sisters and I often went to Shibden Park in which the hall was set - for picnics or walks or rowing a boat on the lake. Later, a friend of mine from school became the curator of the Hall for a time.

 We thought we knew a lot about the history of the Hall - but back then the amazing diaries Anne Lister wrote in code telling the story of her life as well as her 
lesbian life and many affairs had not yet been published.

For the next few weeks I shall be able to go back to my childhood days and memories as I watch the TV drama and spot places I knew and often visited in my past. I always loved Shibden Hall and it's wonderful to see it again - even if only on TV

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Living with a TV star!

So today is a big day for the Babe Magnet. He set off at silly o'clock to go to Leeds where he is filming in his role of consultant on a TV investigation of a murder (maybe murders?) in Leeds early last century. Can't reveal details as yet but when it's all sorted I can share.

It's interesting though, the way that your 'birthplace/home town' can reach out and involve one even when you've moved away and haven't lived in the city for -eek! Half a century!!   

This has all come about following the publication of his book Murder in Mind in which - as the blurb says - "he looks at his favourite investigations in his home county of Yorkshire, rich with villainous acts, painstaking investigations and outright injustices." One particular case has always intrigued him and he's had a chance to investigate it further - and now contribute to this programme. Should be a fascinating day - and the sun's even shining!

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