Sunday, May 21, 2017

Inspiring theatre

Back from a couple of days relaxing and enjoying in York - can one have a birthday *month* celebration?

One of the best things while there was attending this great Watermill Theatre production of Twelfth Night  at York Theatre Royal. The thing I love about creativity and creative people is the way that something so often repeated can be replayed again and again with a new twist, a new approach, a new setting and so becomes something new instead of the same old same old.

I suppose I'm very conscious of this because the sort of romances I write are so often dismissed as 'all the same' or - even worse - painting by numbers stories! The truth is that in the hands (and minds) of an inspired writer/director/actor, something you have seen/read/heard so often before can take on a whole new edge and emphasis and while telling the same story yet again can make it new and fresh and as a result parts of it ring sharper and have more impact than before. For example, I'd never have thought that a female Sir Toby Belch would work . . .

This production is reimagined in the 1920s where prohibition is rife and Europe is still reeling in the wake of war. With a great selection of energetic jazz music, and with an innovative approach to staging, the hugely talented cast created a fabulous and fresh version of a play I have seen so many times. So glad we saw it

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

VERY special weekend

Many many thanks to every kind person who sent me  fabulous birthday wishes.  I  was away in the countryside in Derbyshire enjoying a wonderful birthday weekend in a lovely cottage, with some very special friends. We shared so much fun and laughter, writing discussions, walks in the bluebell woods, fabulous food courtesy of Sallyann, a glass of prosecco or two - so much happiness and the joy of sharing friendship. The best birthday present (and there were a couple of wonderful gifts to unwrap too!!)

I've managed to get some photos to share - the lovely cottage and the bluebell wood - and a rather special cake! Once upon a time the fabulous organisers of Writers' Holiday let slip the WH nickname of Ms Whiplash for me on-air for a radio broadcast - and the nickname stuck. So now, Gerald P Hobbs
 - and Anne - I am coming prepared for this summer - July 24th-29th - can't wait!!  ;-)

Thank you to everyone who posted birthday wishes - and to

my lovely friends who shared a fabulous birthday weekend - and gave me this cake!

Friday, May 05, 2017

Special weekend

I'm not at all sure where time  has gone - but somehow it's almost the weekend and I've been so looking forward to this weekend.

 Can't think of any way better to celebrate a special day than to meet with special friends - people who care about you - and have a long weekend in a farm cottage in the countryside. I expect there will be a lot of laughter, great food and a really relaxing time . Just what I need to help me ignore getting older . ..

After I posted the great news about Rachael Thomas's brilliant success people have been enquiring about courses and I meant to post details of the ones coming up but time has just s-l-i- p-p-e-d away from me. And now I'm busy packing for that weekend - but I will post more details when I get back - or you can check out Writers' Holiday for the next summer course - Writing Romantic Fiction - if you can't wait. I will be in Derbyshire. . . 

Celebrating a student's success

    Years ago, I taught my very first Writing Romance course at Fishguard Writing Weekends with  Writers Holiday

    In that class was lovely Rachael Thomas who had a dream of becoming a writer of romance for Harlequin Mills and Boon. She was one of the hardest working people in pursuit of her dreams that I have ever met. She tried and submitted, got knocked back, tried again . . . Once she even thought about giving up - but she didn't. 

     What's that they say about... success being able to get up one more time than you've been knocked down - well, Rachael proved that. She never gave up on her dream. And now, today she is celebrating the publication of her 10th Romance - Di Marcello's Secret Son. That's definitely worth celebrating. Dreams really can come true - specially if you work as hard at them as Rachael!

    I'm so so pleased for you Rachael - and so proud of all you've achieved since you were in that very first class (though I miss having you as one of my student!)

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Garden birds

Not sure if you can see these photos clearly but I hope you can.

 We have been feeding lots of birds that come into our garden - including wood pigeons and magpies. The magpies are predatory and yesterday they swooped down on a peaceful wood pigeon who was happily pecking at a suet block on the bird table. The pigeon started up and flew away wildly - fast and straight into the patio doors. 

The thud was loud - and the impact with the glass must have hurt. He/she landed on the ground then picked itself up, shook its head and flew off.

But it left behind the imprint of its impact on the door!

 All I can say is  ouch, that must have hurt!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Catch up

I'm sure that 2017  has entered a timeslip.  I do not know what has happened to the days or where they've gone. But they seem to be rushing by at a ridiculous rate.  Perhaps it's because of concentration  -  focusing on work in all sorts of ways.  

I'd just got back from the fabulous Writers' Weekend at Fishguard  and I had to start concentrating on the new book. This is the second book in the duo that I've  called   as my working title - The Scandalous O'Sullivan Sisters.  Incidentally I had such a fabulous time at Fishguard that I really didn't want to come home. I just can't wait till the next weekend course I'm running so that I can have all the fun, the laughter - and the fantastic discussions all over again. (More of that in a moment)

More fun - and more great discussions of writing/plots/heroes/heroines  etc  came   when we were  able to enjoy the great company of the fabulous Anne McAllister when  she came to visit us for a weekend while she was in the UK researching her latest book.   Anne was made extra welcome by the cats - Ruby who is always friendly, and, unexpectedly, by Charlie the Maine Coon. Charlie
 is usually a bit  stand-offish when new visitors arrive, but he  took to Anne straight away.   He even decided that he wanted to become a lap cat now that she was here.  Perhaps Anne might have wished that he hadn't felt that way as Charlie is of course a Cat of Large Proportions so he is something of a weight when he is on one's knee!

Now I'm busy again - with that second part of the O'Sullivan Sisters'  story - and planning the next course I'm teaching. This is coming up just before  Easter  and it's  a  weekend with Relax and Write to be held at the Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester.   It's a new course, aimed at anyone writing fiction - and hopefully dealing with the  problems that so many people meet when trying to write a novel.
Things like:
 Show don’t tell
When /where to begin
Writers’ block
Sagging middleClichés – tropes
Self-editing/reviewing your work

Because it's a 'examine the problem and  repair it' course I've called it the
and it takes place  the weekend of  7th - 9th April at Cirencester

If you want more details about the weekend  - or if you're interested in booking  a place on this course. there are already students who have booked ahead, but there are still places left if you're interested.  If so, contact Relax and Write on the website here

Now I have to get back to work on the second O'Sullivan Sister and get her story finished  - because as well as the Writers' Repair Shop Weekend in  Cirencester, I have a couple of other trips away, including one that is a very special  trip for me - and for the Babe Magnet - when we head  to  Leicester . . . . but more about that late.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

New author - familiar name!

Last year I was disappointed when one of the best editors I've ever had left Harlequin to work on her own writing. Now I get to welcome her back - but as a fellow author this time! Congratulations, Pippa!
Flo Nicoll
February 27 at 12:06pm ·
We've bought a fab new #HarlequinPresents author... and it's our very own @PippaRoscoe! So much excitement! 🍾🎉@HarlequinBooks

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Back home from Wales

Back home  after the wonderful Writers And Artists weekend in Fishguard with everyone there.  I had such a good time with all my friends and making new ones - plus fellow tutors Alison Chisholm Della Galton Susan Alison  and of course my own former student and now multi-published author - and tutor on  the Novel Course - Rachael Thomas.  I had a fabulous time.

So many of my students have been on other courses before that they are affectionately known as
  Walker's Stalkers - they wanted to thank me for the course and  I came home laden down with gifts! (There was another bottle of Walkers' Bay wine, but that was enjoyed on the last night before I left Wales!)  

So very generous - but the real truth is that the fun and laughter - and the great discussions we shared was more than gift enough.  But a huge thank you to everyone who was there and who contributed.  I really enjoy these weekends - and can't wait to do it again!
I'm also so looking forward to teaching the  Writing Romantic Fiction course at Fishguard in July.

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