Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Charlie's Diary

Big day. Today I'm going to my forever home. Can't wait. But first I had to stoke up on cat crunchies. You never know when you're going to get enough to eat. I live with five other kittens (my litter brothers and sister and Christopher and Pollyanna from the other litter) so I need to make sure I get to the food bowl in good time. Was still stoking up when my Mum and Dad arrived. Sorry, but they had to wait. A guy's got his priorities. And my belly is my priority.
I got put in the cat transporter. Not happy about that as it usually means a trip to the v-e-t but then I usually go along with the whole gang for that. This time I was in a cosy bed - but I still didn't want to be shut in. So I complained . Loudly. Got some good head rubs - result!

At the house I was let out at last. This looks like a good place. They had grub waiting for me straight away - a treat to settle in they said. I'm settling! And The Offspring and his lady came to welcome me too - I got lots of strokes and head rubs.

Met Grandad Dylan. He's OK for an old dude (he's nearly 17!!!). Small though. I'll soon be bigger than him. Cool! He just dozes or stare into the flame thing. (We didn't have one of those in my old place). Says he's worshipping the fire. His answer to anything - meeting me - me pouncing on his tail - trying out his bed - is 'Whatever' . He's got a great attitude for an old. (But I think I'd better not pinch his spot in front of the flame thing.)

Met Sid the Cat. Seems like he's the main man around here. Big respect. Gotta go careful with him or I get the paw round the ear. But I've been hanging out with the really big guys like Harley, Raven and my dad so I can handle myself. Sid says he's ACOSB - a cat of superior breeding. I said I was a COSH - a cat of stunning handsomeness. I think we'll get along. I fancy pouncing on his tail but I think I'll wait - that paw to the ear wasn't funny!

Met Flora - oh boy! She's a Maine Coon like me and quite a doll for an older woman but what an attitude! Hissing and wrinkling her nose at me. The language! Well I wasn't standing for that so I gave her The Growl and went off to play in my tunnel. You could tell she wanted to join in but she was keeping her dignity! The spider ball and the purr got her tempted though - I give great purr! And as for the catnip mouse - does she think I didn't catch her playing with that when she thought my back was turned? I'll soon have her playing pounce and chase. Can't wait - that long fluffy tail of hers is just asking to be pounced on. And we did touch noses at the end of the day. She's just playing hard to get. I'll play it cool and we'll see. .

Found out where all the important stuff is - food bowls, water - litter tray - I'm all set!

Oh - and this place has STAIRS! Man, I love the stairs! We didn't have stairs in my old place! I can run up and down them all day long. It makes a great noise.

But now I'm going to take a nap . . .It's been a long day.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Introducing Charlie

A long, long time ago, when I was first married and we moved into a tiny terraced house as our first married home, it was just about perfect . . .

Just about, because as far as I was concerned, there was one thing that was needed to make that home perfect - and that was a cat. I've always agreed with Pam Brown who said: One small cat changes coming home to an empty house, to coming home.

We had a house but we didn't have one small cat . Then one day I was walking past a pet shop when a small ginger kitten came up to the window and waved a paw at me. I was sold - and so was he! I brought him back to the house - and he turned it into a home. We named him Rumpuss because he made a lot of noise. The Babe Magnet wanted to add some of the names of his favourite people at the time so he became Alexander JB Hopkins Rumpuscat. Most people couldn't get their head round Rumpuss. Our elderly neighbour always called him Rufus, but he was polite - he'd answer to anything . He shared our lives for many years - nearly 19 of them. He was there when I had my first book accepted, then published.

When he died, we missed ginger fur so much we had to find another ginger kitten - it wasn't easy. But eventually we found a tiny red and white boy who still had big blue eyes so we named him Robert Redford - though to all his real friends he was just Bob.

Long time blog readers will know that Bob had a stroke and we lost him 3 years ago., As a result of that, I was thrilled to have Flora as a very special Christmas present. A gorgeous, flighty, fun Christmas present.

But I still missed red and white fur around the house. And because of Flora I'd fallen in love with the wonderful cats that Maine Coons are. So when I discovered a lady who lived locally, bred Maine Coons - and had some red cats, I watched her web site just in case. . .

And one day I found this little person on her 'Kittens available ' page.

Now who could resist those baby blue eyes? And even more - how could I resist when I saw that his litter name was Rumpuss! So we went to see him to decide if we liked him - but really there was no decision to be made. He walked right into our hearts and we fell in love all over again. We named him Charlie - but we had to keep that special name as well so he's Charlie Rumpuss now.

He's officially my Christmas present but Christmas has come early this year and yesterday we went to collect him and bring him home. He's crashed out on the settee right now, exhausted after a busy day charging around the house (he loves stairs), chewing his catnip mouse, dashing from one end of his play tunnel to the other - and chewing my toes as I sit at the desk. Last night he came up on to the bed with us. I thought he might be lonely after leaving behind his two brother and sister - but every time I woke up all I heard was loud, continual purring - and he's rarely stopped purring all day.

He has met everyone else in the cat family. Dylan, being a grandfather sort of cat has the attitude of ‘kittens – see it all before’ and he just sleeps through all the fuss. Flora hissed a bit but was intrigued by the fact that he was playing with a ball and purring and she’s keeping an eye on things. It's obvious she really wants to join in but right now she's pretending to hold on to her dignity and holding back for a while. Sid warned him to know his place - but then Charlie was trying to snaffle some of the big guy’s meat at the time! But Charlie's mixed with bigger cats that Sid (I know I've seen them) and he's not cowed - just keeping a respectful distance . . . though Sid's tail is an awafulk temptation . . . (Flora's is a worse one - I think that's going to get pounced on before very long.)

He's just 13 weeks old so he's lost those baby blue eyes and now he looks more like this. He has explored every inch of the house, staked his claim to a seat on the sofa, and knows where all the important places are - food bowl, water bowl, litter tray, food bowl . . . He's also well aware of what the sound of a door opening means and he's furious that Flora and Sid get to go outside while he has to stay indoors. He can just see the garden out there and wants to go and investigate.
I'll have some new pics of him in his forever home as soon as I can upload them - right now he's usually movng too fast for a photo opportunity. But I'll try.
So that's the new member of the family - and I'm sure you'll be hearing lots more about him in the months to come.

My special thanks to Kay and Neil for such a lovely calm, confident kitten - a tribute to the way they care for their babies a
nd socialising them so wonderfully. Believe me, I was tempted by every single one of the kittens they had but Charlie Rumpuss is really rather special.
He has a long heritage of wonderful red and white cats to live up to but I feel he's well up to the task.

And if you're wondering how big he might grow - here's a photo of his Dad McKenzie to show you where the next couple of years might take him. He has big paws and strong bones, so I suspect he will match his father . . . . watch this space.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Busy . . .

What was that I said about being between books and ending up so busy I don't know when I have time to write?

I'm not at all sure where the last week has gone. Catching up on emails, organising promos for the third edition of the 12 Point Guide - my thanks to some lovely people who have been helping me with that. I've also written letters - you know, those funny hand scribbled things that you put in envelopes and stick stamps on them and then they travel miles until the arrive - physically not electronically - at the home of the person you intend them for.

I've been preparing for an early Christmas gift which is arriving on Saturday and . . .Oh yes, I've been reading . . . Now that my book is finished (well the first draft anyway - we'll see what my editor says about it!) I have been free to read exactly what I want for a while.

If you'd like to know what I've taken from my TBR pile and enjoyed then I've been talking about it over on We Write Romance where as always the 15th of the month is the date for my regular guest blog there - Kate's Corner. So why not come and tell me what you've been reading lately?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Parcels and Pink Hearts

Sometimes when I'm in between books I find I'm so busy catching up that I wonder how I ever have the time to write! Donna Alward recently did a blog post on what happens when you're not writing and it's so true. People think that writers sit at home and write - and the rest looks after itself.

I wish! Just as an example, I finished the book on Friday, tweaked it over the weekend and sent it to my editor on Monday. Then the last couple of days I've been packing up prizes for my 25th Anninversary contest - 30 of them in all (Sid can't count and there are always a couple of extras on my Newsletter List) I've had accounts to sort, emails to answer, phone calls to make and receive, friends to catch up on, blogs to write . . . Oh, and a little bit of sleep to catch up on. And there's this awful rumour that someone put Christmas on December 25th and I didn't get the memo.

So - talking about blogs to write - today I'm blogging over at The Pink Heart Society . Because of the great news that the brand new 3rd reprint of The 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance is now in stock at places like The Book Depository - and should be in Amazon soon - or Waterstones if you prefer a physical bookshop (if it's not on the shelves you can order or ask why it ain't there!) - I'm writing about the effect this book has had on my life and the teaching that I do as a result.

Oh and there's a chance to win a copy of the hot -from-the-press 3rd edition. See you there!

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Today is the first Sunday of the month so I'm blogging over on Tote Bags 'N' Blogs.

I'm talking abo9ut the reasons for - this year - I'm already loving November. And I'm giving away a copy of my Romantic Times Award short -listed book The Konstantos Marriage Demand so someone else can celebrate with me.

Hope I'll see you there!

Saturday, November 06, 2010

25th Anniversary Contest - WINNERS

Well - that took some time!

Even Sid was slightly outfaced by the 200 or so entries I had for the contest. But we got there in the end and the names of all the winners are listed below.

Each winner wins one of my backlist books plus a Kate Walker tote bag.

I don't know whether it was Sid's plan but we do seem to have come up with a wide variety of countries - and a large selection of USA states. At one point I thought he was going to pick names from every state in America but not quite

Congratulations to the winners - you should all have been notified but if your name is on here and you haven't heard, check your spam folder - or email me at the address at the bottom of the page

Maggie C Yorkshire
Zoe M Singapore
Winnie K Michigan
Pamela S Alabama
Theresa N S Carolina
Joanne A Massachusetts
Nyla T South Dakota
Rachel B Wiltshire
Linda B Illinois
Debra S Minneapolis
Jayne H Worcestershire
Maurine A Maryland
Debra C New York
Annie Martin New Zealand
Linda E Alberta
Juanita I Florida
Kelly W Manitoba
Frana L Croatia
Hannah B Connecticut
Christine H Coventry
Laurie G Wisconsin
Metha C Georgia
Mary K Tennessee
Christine N Indonesia
Kamini N
Jo G
Louise L from Massachusetts
Alison W from Dumfriesshire Scotland

And the special Newsletter extra prizes go to:

Pat C Texas
Michelle H Durham
Audra H
Xandra James
Afshan N from New York

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Great News

I have SO much to do today -

A book to finish - an editor to please by doing so - that's top of my list today.

25 names to pick from the 200+ entries for the 25th Anniversary contest . . . (Sid's pleased - I have to write all those names on different pieces of paper. He just gets to eat the cat treats!)

A book launch for a 3rd edition of a book . . . More later

Shopping to prepare for an important event happening at the end of the month . . . More later

So I don't really have time to put my head over the parapet - but . . .

I do want to celebrate the fact that I just learned that The Konstantos Marriage Demand has been nominated for the short list for Best Harlequin Presents Extra of 2010 by Romantic Times Book Review Magazine.

That has really made my morning. Thank you RT!

Now back to the grindstone - but with a smile on my face.

In case you missed it, here is the RT review. If you remember The Konstantos Marriage Demand was also an RT Top Pick for March 2010


As far as Nikos Konstantos is concerned, Sadie used him, humiliated him and then walked out on him -- on what was to be their wedding day no less. Five years later, the tables have been turned. A penniless Sadie has her work cut out for when she approaches Nikos to save her family home. Nikos intends to exact retribution against the woman he still lusts after, but where does his mysterious new bride fit into his plans? Misunderstandings and family betrayals propel this terrifically well-paced and fiery romance to its very rewarding conclusion.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Writing Around the World

Yesterday was a crazy day - there was a rush of comments to answer over on the I Heart Presents blog. So many had been caught up in moderation over the weekend and were released when Canada woke up on Monday morning. They all needed to be answered.

And then there was the great excitement of the announcement of the winner of the New Voices contest (Congratulations again Leah!)

And then (my editor will like this best) a book that I had been struggling with suddenly decided to be more cooperative . . .

And so I forgot to mentin that as part of the So You Think You Can Write Editorial Week blog over on EHarlequin, I had been asked to contribute a blog to special section for the week called Writing Around The World. As I understand it, I'm one of only two Presents authors who have been asked to contribute to the Editorial Weeek and so I was honoured to be part of it. I specially loved being able to write about Writing Around the World as I have so many wonderful readers in so many countries. Only this morning I had a notificatin that my blog has had 126,400 visitors from 155 different countries!

You are all so welcome - and I'm really glad you come to visit. Writing for Harlequin Presents is truly an international experience - and that's what my blog is about on Eharlequin.com. If you'd like to read more then you can find it here .

And I know that the 25th anniversary contest winners have to be chosen - but Sid The Cat was busy yesterday with another giveaway - from the I Heart Presents blog - and as I said there's this book . . .

But watch this space!

Oh and Jo who commented on my blog yesterday that it was a pity SYTYCW isn't open to UK residents - is that the case? I haven't had a chance to go and check - see the above! - but from my experience of EHarlequin and their boards they are truly international. You just need to be a member of the Community - so easy to sign up for. I often chat with lots of people - and authors - from the UK in different places on that site. Will double check if I get a minute but I think a lot of it will be available to all.

PS - Thanks to Nas who commented already this morning (thanks so much Nas!) - to clarify SYTYCW IS open to all - here's what Nas said:

It was clarified in the forums that SYTYCW is indeed international. There was some misunderstanding regarding the contest rules but its cleared now.

So I hope lots of you will join in and gain a lot from it.

Monday, November 01, 2010

New Voices winner

Just when everyone was waiting - technical difficulties hit the New Voices site and they haven't been able to announced the winner on there

But they have managed to get the news out on Facebook - and the winner is


Many congratulations to Leah - and to everyone who was in the Final Four.

So you think you can write . . .

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Find out more over on eHarlequin all week.
Meanwhile the 25th anniversary contest is now closed. I'll be getting Sid the Cat on the job of picking winners - there were a huge number of entries so even with 25 prizes to choose we may be some time!

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