Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Beekeeping in February

Time was that I would have never dreamt of having anything to do with the bees in February.They were hibernating, clumped in a ball. I might have to lift a beehive to make sure they had enough stores. If it was a clear day with snow on theground, I would look for the signs that the bees had done their flying. I could also think about getting into the bee garden -- not in full bee suit.
Those days are over -- a t least for this winter.
Yesterday, the bees were so busy, and hanging off the hive that I decided the time had come to put a super on. I am repeating what I did last year in hopes that it will yield the same fantastic results. The theory is that Queen starts laying in the super, and shaken down, and the queen excluder put on. Then the workers are most likely to go and put the honey up in th super, rather than in the frames.And fingers crossed, no honey congestion, and therefore no swarms. Swarms are the bane of my life in early Spring...

That is all I shall do until late March/Early April with the mousegurads comes off, the floors are changed and any old disgusting brood comb is removed. The air temperature is still far too cold to go into the brood box its self, but the bees were very numerous...

My wip continues to move forward. I was in full of tears yesterday as I was typing . My dh thought me odd. I only hope one tenth of the emotion I felt is conveyed to the reader when the book is eventually published. My editor's wise words keep circling in my brain -- just keep writing.

The decorating is done and the items moved backinto the kitchen. The blue green grey colour makes the pine stand out. And as the ceiling is now gleaming white instead of a dingy coal dust grey, the whole thing looks far better.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Half Term Chaos

The house is in ana uproar again -- the decorators have come to paint the kitchen. It is the last room in the house we are doing. Thank Goodness. The colour is best described as a sort of duckegg blue/green. It goes by the name of Ultramarine ashes. It looks very good, very Regency actually.
The lad who is doing the painting likes the colour and admires us for being bold.

Both dags and one of the cats have ended up streaked with blue. The dogs are quite sill but I am still uncertain how Penny received a blue ear.

However, as it is half term, other things are happening. First my youngest has had a friend to stay the night. Second my middle is doing a pony day and third my eldest is doing a prearranged route march with some friends. And I am trying to write, write, write. It is all v chaotic.

It is at times like these that I do like to read romance and Cheryl St John's The Tenderfoot Bride is proving an excellent antidote to chaos. It is a wonderful tale about a woman attempting to make a new start for herself (and baby) out on a ranch in Colorado in the 19th century. It is perfectly lovely and does help to fill my need for a Western.
Equally it brings back memories of when I used to visit my mother in Colorado in the late 1990s. The Tattered Cover bookstore still ranks as one of my favourite bookstores in the whole world. And me being me, made sure we also visited every historical site we could. Molly Brown's house had too long of a wait...

Friday, February 16, 2007

10 random things posts

Donna Alward did this to me as she is my cp, I feel I have to oblige.

Ten Random things about me.

1. I am left handed

2. I had early on set cataracts and had a set of operations to correct them in 2005 and 2006

3. I am more interested in the story than the details.

4. I adore fairy tales.

5. I adore olives.

6. I keep bees and had over 200 lbs of honey harvested last season from two hives.

7. I am not allergic to bee stings.

8. I am currently writing my 7th book for HM&B Historicals and have promised my editor the book by the end of March.

9. I have Scandanavian ancestors -- Norwegian and Swedish so writing about Vikings is fun.

10. I went to Rome for my 40th birthday as it was one place in the world that I really wanted to go.

Who shall I tag? My mind is a blank and I should be writng my next Viking as they are about to be savaged by wolves, I suppose I had best get back to it. If you do this, please tell me.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Sold and Seduced Contest winner

I drew the name for the winner of the Sold and Seduced hardback. It was Janet Chamberlain.
Hopefully she will email me with her actual address so I can send the signed copy to her.

The next contest will be for a copy of Kate Walker's The Antonakos Marriage along with a paperback of Sold and Seduced. There will be three winners and the full details will appear on my next newsletter. Then there will be a contest for a hardback of The Roman's Virgin Mistress.

In order to partcipate in the contests, you must be subscribed to my newsletter.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

On remembering small snippets

I am in the midst of my second Viking book. In Taken by The Viking, I decided the vikings had come from Viken. I knew I had good reasons for doing so at the time. But when I came to write the second book, could I find the piece of research that told me -- yes it was okay. For several days I worried -- had I made some sort of horrible conjecture? Would I get letters on it? That sort of thing.

Then I opened the latest non fiction book my dh bought me -- Queen Emma and the Vikings -- the woman who shaped the events of 1066 by Harriet O Brien. Not becuase I was hopeful of find a solution to my problem, but rather because I was interested to seewhat she said about women during the Viking age -- even if it was slightly later than my Vikens.

On page 15 I found it -- a reference to Viken -- an area around the Oslo Fjord. And MsO Brien went on to speak about the orgin of the word viking. Vik means bay in Old Scandanavian. By the end of the period, viking had come to mean raider, but did it originate from a trader/raider who kept his ship in a bay or from Viken, that area around Oslo and gradually come to be applied to all Norse raiders? O Brien ponder the question, and decided that the answer is lost in the mists of time.

The clouds in my mind cleared. I still don't know where I saw the original citation, but now I can press forward with my Vikens. Confident that they are in the right geographical place. The morale of this story I think is to keep better track of my notes.

Queen Emma and The Vikings despite the sort of YA adventure book title is a very interesting read. It has already sparked several ideas for future novels. Queen Emma was also an extraordinary woman -- a Norman descedent of Rollo, the Viking founder of Normandy, she married two kings and witnessed the coronation of two of her sons. The book appears to be fast paced and full of intrigue. Just the sort of thing I like to read, even if it two hundred years after the events I am currently writing about.

But the feeling of relief is enormous. I actually had a sound historical basis for naming my vikings Viken -- even if I could not remember it when it came to write the second book.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Time marching on

Today is 10 Feb. Yikes! Time keeps marching on. You think -- ah such and such a date is a long time a way and suddenly, it is nearly there. I should know this by now. At the start of January, Valentine's Day seemed a long time away, and now it is here or very nearly. And half term looms.

Tomorrow, Rosemary Laurey the US Today bestselling author of vampire romances is coming to speak to the RNA Northumberland about her work.It should be interesting to hear her prespective. I know her from other writer loops. When she was first writing her vampires -- no one wanted to know. Paranormals were out. She wrote her books because deep down inside her was a yearning. Persistence pays. And I am very much looking forward to chatting with her.

If you want a real uplift for adull February day -- read Liz Fielding's latest The Valentine Bride -- it is fun, sparkling and thoroughly enjoyable.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Snowy day

Yesterday was a glorious frosty day, so my dh and I went for a walk at the National Trust property Allen Banks. It is a very popular walking destination but as we were there reasonably early, no one was on the paths we were on. It is old mature woodland and some of the best landscape in England. The sort of jaw dropping brilliance that makes going for a walk in the woods worthwhile.The landscape was developed during the Regency period. Allen Banks was part of the Ridley Hall estate.

The local parish newsletter recnetly traced its history and that of Staward Peel as well. It was very interesting, but the real beauty of the place is its unspoilt landscape with little stone paths and steps.

And it was useful in gettng me to think about how my hero and heroine would ibeinteracting in such a place. My dh did point out that the trees would be slightly different. More pine and birch.

Today, lots of lovely lovely white flakes are floating down from the sky, and sticking. I hate driving in the snow -- my Califorian upbringing, I think. However, in some ways this is ridiculous as I have been driving in the snow for far longer than I ever drove in California. Some mindsets are hard to break.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Weekly weight loss

I have got my ticker back and I have decided to be a bit more adventerous. Going for 50 lbs instead of the weight I was going for ealier. I did weigh my target weight in my 20s, so it is achievable. I have also started this A List Workout 12 weeks to Red Carpet Ready and perhaps it has made more ambitious. Who knows. The interval thing on the ski machine was much harder yesterday than I thought it would be.

The Pink Heart Society is having its monthly mulling over. Everyone has made a start, and that is what is important.

I emailed my partial to my editor yesterday and now I have to get on with writing VC. I am happier with it than I was before. But I shall be happier stil lwhen the first draft is completed and I am doing revisions!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Getting Red carpet Ready

My copy of the A List Workout arrived last week. They have a number of 12 week programmes -- including one for weight loss. The whole aim is to get you red carpet ready.And as thesavoy is in about 12 weeks...it seems a perfect time to up my exercise level.

Funnily enough, the one factor most people need is dedication. I found this highly ironic as I am always quoting -- dedication, desire, determination and discipline to my cps and anyone else who will listen. It would appear that if one wants to lose weight and shape up, one needs the same sorts of behaviour. Dedication and persistence will get you far in most things.

I was uncertain about the book, but it appears to be very good and well thought out. I am into town later to purchase a stability bad and a set of resistance bands. Determination here. But then I also too k my measurments. ACK!! There is one thing about weighing yourself and quite another thing about taking your measurements.

On the writing front, I have sent my partial off to my lovely editor, and have promised her the full by the end of March. Both my cps appear to like it, and I am getting to the point where I do have to write the story. I never feel like I am fully into astory until I reach about page 80. After that I know I must finish this story. My word count is going up, and I am starting to get a better grasp of the structure.

I will still admit to envying various writer's collages, charts and other methods, but right now the best way for me to work is to write. Dedication again.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Sold and Seduced cover

The cover for Sold and Seduced is up on Amazon.co.uk. It is a lovely cover and does capture the mood.

Interestingly I have seen a prototype of Taken by the Viking's cover (which is truly inspirational) and I think it is by the same artist.

This is a probably a good time to remind all of you of the contest for a S&S hardback copy. All you have to do is be signed up to receive my newsletter and email me, giving me the names of the hero and heroine of S&S.

On writing to authors

Loretta Chase was one of my big author finds of last year. My wonderful editor told me about her. If you want to spend several very engrossing read Mr Impossible. It is a truly brilliant book and has just been properly published in the UK by Piatkus. She is one of the very few American Regency writers who gets the time and place right. I have found that having lived in a Regency house etc etc, the little missing details in some books irk, but hers are great and I can become immersed in her world.

Anyway, I decided last summer to writer her as I had enjoyed her books so much and being a published author, I know how readers' letters mean to me. She kindly returned my email, and mention she was intrigued by Gladiator's Honour. I duly sent a copy, and you can read her reaction here.

It totally made my day!

So if you have found an author you are fond of, go on write to her and you never know....