Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Who Hit 50 at Newcastle

Last night, the dh and I went to the Metro Arena to see one of the all time great rock and roll bands, legends in fact.
Pete Townshend can be forgiven for wearing track pants and a leisure wear type top when he can play the guitar so fantastically. Roger Daltrey may be older and greyer but his smile still shines. And his eyes. Plus he can still belt them out. He wore an untucked denim shirt  and jeans.
They started with  Can't Explain and did Magic Bus for the 'encore'. It was good to see to see that they didn't bother to leave the stage but just played it.
By the courtesy of technology, past performances from John Entwhistle and Keith Moon were worked in seamlessly.
Townshend is a grumpy old man but he can play the guitar. No smashing up of guitars but he did slam one down in disgust. The guitar techie rapidly brought another.
I was so pleased they played Pinball Wizard and the Kids are alright. 2 1/2 hours of the Who without a break. It is the Who hits 50 tour so they played their hits from years gone by which was totally fine by me.
This is the last tour for Daltrey and Townshend. After it, they will retire -- something they repeated several times. I believe in the last date is 26 June 2015 in Hyde Park. Each venue has a different support act before the Who came on. Newcastle based Makimo Park played last night and were excellent but not a patch on the Who. The difference between excellence and genius, I suppose.  But I do need to get the dh some of their stuff as it was very listenable to. He had heard them before on Jools Holland and so was pleased to see them live.
As ever at these concerts, the crowd has aged with them.  Lots of Who memorabilia and thicker middles. Although I stood for the entire concert, some seemed to struggle.
It was another one to tick off my list (Jackson Browne was ticked off last month). And I am so very pleased I went. My ears may take awhile to recover though. And unlike the Jackson Browne concert, the Who were not conducive to plotting. It was more letting the wall of music surround me.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Excerpt from Taming His Viking Woman

Because it will be published in February 2015, here is brief excerpt from Taming His Viking Woman:

“Sayrid, I marry a woman, not a man. Find a dress.”
Sayrid stared at Hrolf uncomprehendingly. “A dress?”
“You do own a dress…don’t you?”
She released a breath and offered a prayer up to all goddesses in the Aesir and Vanir. At last, a way to postpone the evil day with dignity. Somehow she’d discover what he truly wanted before she started believing that he wanted her. She could use this to buy time and find a solution to the mess. It wasn’t over until the ceremony was done.
“My best dress is at home. What a pity. We will have to name another day when I can be attired in the sort of clothes fit for a sea-king’s bride.”
“Borrow one.” A glint showed in his eyes as he raked her form. “Or come naked. But I marry a woman. Today."

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Thoughts Tracy Anderson Method Y3

Right I am in Year three Month 8, the last two days.
Things are going slower because I took the decision (or rather my body did!) that 6x a week of both the MS and DC was  too much. I have gone to 5x week for the MS and DC plus a longer DC session on the sixth day. The seventh day remains a rest day. And my body has thanked me.
#Months 7 - 9 are no joke. I am finding them very difficult. there is no added equipment but TA is really working you.
I am still undecided about Year 4. I have heard rumours that it is v hard -- thigh weights and back weights. Plus the usual problems with discs not working etc.  And I am pretty satisfied with my body now.  I do have three years worth of workouts that I can repeat.
As I have still have awhile to go on Y3, the ultimate decision is a ways off.
The editing is not the best on 3.3 but the exercises do get  into my muscles. I can feel it in my abs.

It remains one of the stress busters I know and my life is currently full of stress.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Sometimes you have to just roll with the universe

Yesterday, I realised what the universe was saying to me.
I accepted the message back on 23 October when I went for the pixie cut but now the universe had a different message.

Therefore I am stopping my Nanowrimo project as it doesn't suit my current needs.
That being said, I did learn a lot.
1. Caffeine free makes me efficient.
2. Limiting social media until after I have done my words makes me efficient.
3. I like to go back and tinker after I have written a few chapters.
4. My best time to write is early and then by about three my head spins.

So while this one at 23k will be living on my computer and nowhere else, I'm glad I did it.
And self-knowledge is priceless.

What I will be focusing on is a brand new project which is a departure for me but something I really want to write and in the way I want to write it.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

NaNoWriMo and revisions

I started my month's challenge of writing with all guns blazing and managed 17,500 words in 6 days which is great for me.
Going  caffeine free obviously works ( darn it)
Then last Friday morning my revs for Summer of Her Viking Warrior hit. They were doable -- lots of consistency and clarity questions. So I put the Wip to one side and worked on the revs.
I have finished them now and sent them back to my editor. I have also done the Art Fact Sheet. So fingers crossed, I have made this book strong enough. It is one which is close to my heart.
So now it is back to the NaNoWriMo and trying to get it done. It is a bit of shift gears and remember where I was moment. But I have time to reach 66 k by the end of the month -- she says optimistically.

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Selfie for Fall Back In TIme

This is me with one of the books which made me want to write Historical Romance. It is one of my great comfort reads. These Old Shades by Georgette Heyer.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Sunday, October 26, 2014

NaNoWriMo and me

November is nearly upon us and this in the writing world means National Novel Writing Month. It is all about writing the first draft of a novel in a month. (Not the draft you will submit but the first draft -- they are vrey different kettle of fish).
I have agreed to take part with two others from the Pink Heart Society. So I have gone and actually signed up for NaNoWriMo  It is only 50k.
This is slightly huge. Mostly I get a rabbit in the headlight feeling when I say something about doing a novel this quickly. But I am putting this on record as I want to get this novel done and dusted. I want to get back to writing several thousand words a day.
The main caveat is that IF my editor gets back to me with her thoughts -- that one takes precedence and all bets are off. Summer is under contract after all and I write for money. It is my day job.

So I am going to start the manuscript which comes before the M&B that I originally thought I would write at the beginning of the month. Basically the characters decided it for me and I am not a writer to allow good narrative action to go to waste.

So right now, for the next 5 days (I have to start writing on 1 Nov) I have to make sure my planning is up to scratch. I am more a pantser in many ways but there are certain bits which need to be done.
Updates will be forthcoming.

Please wish me luck.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Cover reveal for Taming His Viking Woman

I know I should be less bouncy than I am and do AN event but I am far too excited!!!

The sea-king's warrior bride 
Legendary shield maiden Sayrid Avildottar will marry no man unless he first defeats her in combat. And in powerful sea-king Hrolf Eymundsson she has finally met her match. 
Hrolf may have won her lands—and her body—but can Sayrid welcome a stranger to her bed? The world of fighting is all she knows! With a husband intent on seducing his new bride, perhaps, just this once, Sayrid will discover that surrender can bring the greatest pleasure of all… 
"Maintains the myth while adding sexual tension, nonstop action and spice." —RT Book Reviews on The Viking's Captive Princess

As a side note I appear to be channeling pixie cut hair and so no prizes for guessing how my hair is going to be cut come Thursday.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Delving into the 7th century

Yesterday saw the release of my Victorian trio -To Marry a Matchmaker, Compromising Miss Milton and Breaking the Governess's Rules in the North American market. Cue banners and trumpets. I have waited a long time for this to happen.
Currently I am working on two projects while waiting to hear my editor's thoughts about Summer of Her Viking Warrior. The only really successful approach to keep the Crows of Doubt at bay is to write another book or several books. IN short to become excited about something else.

My first project is a historical fiction project set in the 7th century. It is on an epic scale and requires an epic amount of research.  I need to get things straight in my head. There is much which has been lost and will probably never be found. We are not talking 7 kingdoms but many kingdoms and the written historical record starts about the time I want to focus on. Fascinating but frustrating. Where precisely was the decisive battle of Degsastan which put an end to Dal Raidic ambitions in England for over 130 years... It will be interesting to see if I can bring it to life.

My second project is a more conventional M&B Viking set historical but this time in the Western Isles. I loved visiting Islay in September. Very little remains of their Viking heritage (apparently Colonsay is much better) but it is utterly fascinating.  The Vikings did not just raid, they came and stayed. And the land being the land, it grew into their very souls and the Vikings became Gallowglass -- foreign Gaels.  It is where the term Galloway comes from.
Somerled who wrestled the Isles from the King of Man (and Norwegian control) was  at least half Norse. It is thought with a Norse mother and a Celtic father (some dispute this saying he was fully Norse).
The full integration of the Western Isles into Scotland didn't really happen until after 1607. Some might it never has as the Western Isles maintain their own identity.
It is when you are there that you can a sense of the Sea Kingdom that once was.
But again it is not a very well researched time.  I think mostly people prefer to concentrate on the Celts or Gaels, forgetting that the Vikings did really shape Scotland.
And I have to keep remembering that Scots in the 9th century meant Irish, not where we think of it today.

And the kilt or short kilt was invented in 1707 by Thomas Rawlinson, an Englishman who had moved his factory up North to back take advantage of the fuel. However his workers were getting too hot and discarding their Great  kilts. or getting burnt. So the short kilt was a compromise. It proved so popular that it soon took off. The great kilt dates from the late medieval period. Apparently one battle was known as the battle of the shirts as it was too hot to fight in the Great kilt and so they were discarded.  I am afraid the mental image amused me.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

US Cover for Breaking the Governess's Rules

And this is the US cover for Breaking the Governess's Rules. More of a Regency feel than an early Victorian but still a decent feel about.

‘How delightful to meet you again, Miss Louisa Sibson.’
Jonathon Lord Chesterholm’s eyes bored holes into Louisa Sibson’s back. The former fiancĂ©e he’s thought dead is very much alive…
Louisa has rebuilt her life, after being dishonourably dismissed from her post as governess for allowing Jonathon to seduce her. Now Louisa lives by a rulebook of morals and virtue—the devastating Lord Chesterholm will not ruin her again!
But Jonathon will get to the bottom of Louisa’s disappearance – and he’ll enjoy breaking a few of her rules along the way…!

Monday, September 01, 2014

US cover for Compromising Miss Milton

The US cover for Compromising Miss Milton (to be released as an ebook in the US --finally in October 2014). One of my least favourite covers. The clinch is fine , but the clothes and the hair!  The year is 1837, not 1893. Women did not wear Gibson Girl style hair then. Neither did they wear bustles. I spent ages  scouring through various books etc to find appropriate clothing and hairstyles but these were ignored. When it was out originally it got listed by Amazon on their Western list. It is set in Cumberland at Gilsland Spa.
The blurb for it is:

Marrying the Governess!
Buttoned-up governess Daisy Milton buries dreams of marriage and family life in order to support her sister and orphaned niece. But maddeningly attractive Adam, Viscount Ravensworth, is one distraction that shakes Daisy’s safe, stable existence.
Now ghosts from Adam’s past in India threaten Daisy’s future. Just what will it take to convince a tightly-laced miss to forgo society’s strict code of conduct…and come undone in the arms of a reformed rake?

Saturday, August 30, 2014

US cover for To Marry a Matchmaker

I love the feel of this cover so I am very pleased that it will be used for the North American version of To Marry a Matchmaker which is released digitally on 1 October.
It is the prequel to An Ideal Husband? and I am hoping US readers will enjoy it.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Some news

Awhile ago (June 2011 to be precise) I found out that three of my books To Marry A Matchmaker (An Ideal Husband? is the sequel to this and has been out for over a year -- so much for me trying to force the issue), Compromising Miss Milton and Breaking the Governess's Rules were caught up in the transition to simultaneous publication for the Harlequin/Mills and Boon Historical series. They had already appeared in the UK but not in the North American market. They were supposed to go out digitally.
I found out that all three (!) are listed to be published electronically in October 2014.  I don't have anymore info than this but I am trying to find out.
It is a bit like waiting forever  for a number 7 bus and having three come along at once. I am just thrilled that my US and Canadian readers who read electronically will be able to get these books.
I knew this was happening and so have saved a few print copies which will be used for giveaways.
But it feels good to be moving forward.

Monday, August 25, 2014

3 Years of TAM

Today I officially completed three years of exercising with Tracy Anderson. I also finished Y3 Month 6 and am officially done with the band and the pole.

My thoughts on the band  (after using it and reading about others experiences). The band you can buy from her site appears to be junk. It often snaps after the first few uses. She has sold two different bands. The band which is currently on offer is the smaller band which is suitable for 3.2 but not 3.1. 3.1 has moves which you need to be able to be completely within the band.
I used a yellow theraband. I bought a roll off Amazon UK and tied it to a about a metre length. I found when I went shorter, it had tendency to snap. I needed the whole roll in the end and did retie when various loops broke.
Some people say that yellow therabands are too light weight resistance. I don't know.I went with what people were using. Some people have seen bulking. The bulking seems to be solved by making the band longer and using a lighter (ie yellow) resistance.
The moves are hard what ever the resistance. We are talking generally 50+ min of intense MS work. L7 on 3.2 is 41 min. L8 is 1 hr and L9 is 56 min for example.
For all the *trouble* with the band snapping, I did like the moves and felt v much puppet on a string in 3.1. the band is used in a slightly different way in 3.2. There are more pole moves. The pole can be painful but good. It does really stretch your triceps, for example.
I have seen how my strength has grown. I can do rollover type planks without too much difficulty. The plankorama is coming up so this is good. My balance is much better. In 3.2 L9, the easiest exercise for me was the modified headstand.
I have come a long way in three years. I am an on-going work in progress. I do like doing TAM. I enjoy the challenge.
But I am looking forward to no added equipment except for handheld weights and the ankle weights.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

'15 significant anniversary?

In 1915, we had WW1 in full swing
In 1815 we had Waterloo
In 1715 we had the Jacobite rebellion with Bonnie Prince Charlie.

I just realised this when I heard a woman at the Tourist Information speaking to a lady at Dilston Hall. Dilston was the home of the Earls of Derwentwater. The Earl was beheaded for his part in the Jacobite rebellion. It is why a lot of land in Haydon Bridge  belongs to  Greenwich Hospital.  It became part of the Crown's lands as a result of the rebellion.
All three events really changed society. As a result of the Jacobite rebellion, many left Scotland and went to the US, primarily the Carolinas including some of my forebearers, Their sons and grandsons later took part in the American Revolution. The fighting was absolutely bitter in the Carolinas.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Did I raise my daughter to be a feminist?

This morning the Times had an article on how to raise your daughter to be a feminist.
As my daughter is 21, it is perhaps too late. There again as she just her BSc  in Geography (2.1) and is about to do a Masters in Rivers Environmental management plus nearly slotted her grandfather when he suggested that she might make some man a good wife (my father in law is of a certain generation and I often have to  rise above, darling, rise above), I believe she is a feminist. For the record, she also likes to bake and seems to prefer short skirts (too short for my dh's taste but then he is her father...) to trousers and inhales romance novels.
In short, she is a Modern woman who refuses to be defined by narrow stereo types. Hopefully some day she will decide to make an honest man out of a man who adores the ground she walks on, but it is her choice (as she keeps telling me and I am not supposed to hold my breath for grandchildren).
She is also between two brothers. She says you can tell who has brothers and who doesn't. And she doesn't take many prisoners as she knows what brothers can be like.
My sons are  for the most part polite and I like to think treat women in a courteous and considerate manner. There are times that they are MEN. (And it is hard when despite your best efforts, genetics take over and your sons become MEN)  Thankfully they have decided not to share their doings with the rowing club or the kayaking club. I don't friend them on Facebook as well I prefer to think of them as not being MEN but nice, polite humans.
But  I did realise when a woman becomes a mother, she wants her children to succeed -- whether or not they are of the same sex as her. When you become a mother of boys, you discover that boys just like different things.  You want to push all your children (I do have tiger mother tendencies at times).  But it is important to treat your children like people. And I think everyone has a mind and a mind is terrible thing to waste. And I do hate it that journalists feel they comment on how many times Angela Merkel wears a jacket but not how many times David Cameron wears the same suit.  But hopefully as the generations grow, it will become a more equitable place.
So did I raise my daughter to be a feminist? No, I raised her to be a person. There is a subtle difference.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Faulty logic

Today a story in the Daily Telegraph reminded me of faulty logic -- you know the one  which goes cats has four legs, whiskers and a tail A dog has four legs whiskers and a tail. Therefore a dog is a cat.
After a protest outside its doors, urging a boycott of Israeli produced food, a Sainsbury manager decide in order to avoid trouble, he would clear all KOSHER food from its shelves and duly did. I am not about to debate the rights or wrongs of boycotting food produced in Israel, but merely want to point out that no all Kosher food is produced in Israel and not all food produced in Israel is necessarily labelled Kosher.
In a country famed for its tolerance of religion like the UK, it alarms me to see creeping Antisemitism and the banal response from Sainsbury. There is a huge difference between people who are Jewish and the Israeli government's actions. It is like blaming everyone who happens to be Muslim for the actions of the IS.
I suspect the better response would have been to call the police and to ask them to deal with intimidating protesters.  Lawful protest is fine but intimidation is not.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Nearly three years of doing the Tracy Anderson Method

On 25 August 2011, I started doing TAM with Tracy Anderson's book -- The 30 Day Method. After finishing that, I then went on to her Metamorphosis and Continuity programmes.
I continue to do TAM to this day.  I am on Year 3 Month 6 L9. In many tangible ways TAM has changed my life.
Thus far I have survived the ball, the chair, the hoop (easily my most hated), the band  and the pole. When I start Y3 Month 7 (3.3) is a plank-o-rama but no added additions beyond the hand held weights and the  strap on weights. It apparently is very hard but I am sure I will be up for the challenge.
Something that I started for very shallow reasons has become necessary for my mental health. I enjoy doing TAM and it makes me feel better. This year has been horrendous in many respects (my mother in law was taken into care with severe dementia and my father in law now lives in what was our dining room. He  had a hip replaced in June. He is not a good patient. He shows no sign of wanting to leave... It is complicated but we are muddling through) TAM has helped me keep my sanity.
It is the one exercise programme that I have kept up. My life is littered with exercise programmes  I started and didn't keep up for more than a few weeks. To have kept for three years really is astonishing. I tend to workout 6 x a week with one rest day.
Year 3 with its longer muscular structure workouts has necessitated me taking rest days, sometimes even the odd extra day. I find I am more likely to get sore now than in the early stages of Meta. I do like the longer MS workouts in some ways. I know I am certainly sweating lots. MOre during the MS than during the DC.
I still do my Dance cardio, normally 30 min. I used to do an hour of the DC and then brought it down to 45 min, but with the longer MS, I just don't have the time. I am a better dancer than I was which is possibly not saying not much. But I enjoy it.
I do the DC straight after the MS and it does loosen my muscles.

And my body? I am happy with it. I am 50 and apparently really don't look it (I also started dying my hair about a year ago -- brown and I do think people judge women on if they have gray hair or not. My gray stopped at my ears so the back of my head was completely brown while I had gone v gray/white at the front)
 I have kept the weight off for the most part (see about the above situation -- I am not perfect, nor am I a saint and sometimes...eating for emotional reasons can assist. It has truly been a nightmare). If I had not been doing TAM, I hate to think what would have happened! TAM has really had my back. (And I do know the stats for people who have lost as much I did!) My current slight increase in weight might also be due to the decrease in the DC. But I am fine with being a UK size 8/10 (US 6). When I was US 2/4, I was far too boney up top and strangers used to tell me not to lose any more weight!  I have noticed that since things are settling down a bit, I seem to be losing again/my clothes are fitting better.
I can see myself getting stronger and more capable. My balance is excellent (although I do on occasion tumble -- not good when you are holding a pole!)
My posture is better and my confidence has grown. I like being able to eat what I want (within reason). I like not having to count calories.
So TAM works for me. It is something that I do. I will have to see what I am like at the end of 5 years -- will my body have been completely re-sculpted? I know I am having fun trying.
I think it is important for people to exercise. I don't think there are any real shortcuts. I have found something that works for me and right now that is enough.

I should probably write more but I have a 1 October deadline for my latest wip.

Friday, August 01, 2014

Saved by the Viking Warrior on sale

As today 1 August, Saved by the Viking Warrior is on sale at  Harlequin and Mills & Boon.

I also found out that two of my earlier books -- An Impulsive Debutante and A Question of Impropriety are being republished (officially in April 2015) but you can get them as part of a boxed set with 22 other great books set in the Regency as part of the In Regency Society series.  AID and QI are titled Prejudice in Regency Society. I love the cover!

And Taming His Viking Woman comes out in February 2015.
Now to get the next one done...

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Good reads giveaway for Saved by the Viking Warrior

As Saved by the Viking Warrior comes out on 19th August, I am doing a Goodreads giveaway.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Saved By The Viking Warrior by Michelle Styles

Saved By The Viking Warrior

by Michelle Styles

Giveaway ends August 18, 2014.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Back cover blurb for Saved By the Viking Warrior

My editor just sent this through and I really love it.

Battle-scarred Thrand the Destroyer has only one thing on his mind: settling old scores. But with the beautiful Lady of Lingfold as his prisoner, the unyielding warrior starts to dream of a loving wife and a home to call his own.
Cwen is also seeking justice, but she knows the fragile alliance she’s built with Thrand will only last as long as they share a common enemy. Unless they can find a way to leave revenge to the gods to forge a new life together.

It comes out in September 2014. And you can read an excerpt here.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Goodreads giveaway for Return of the Viking Warrior

My Goodreads giveaway  for Return of the VIking Warrior is now live.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Return of the Viking Warrior by Michelle Styles

Return of the Viking Warrior

by Michelle Styles

Giveaway ends April 28, 2014.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Return of the VIking Warrior excerpt

Time swiftly marches on. I am currently working on my latest but suddenly realised that I have not put up an excerpt for Return of the Viking Warrior. You can find it here. And if you are interested I have alos put up an excerpt for Saved by the Viking Warrior. The two are not linked btw.

The Goodreads giveaway will be sorted in the next few days.
I am expecting my author copies to arrive within the week....

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Cover Reveal Return of the VIking Warrior

Events have rather over taken me which is the reason for the long silence. Long story but my father in law is living with us now and my mother in law who is later stage dementia has been taken into care.

I am slowly writing my current wip but it is slow going.

Not entirely sure why Ash is ginger but I love the cover model for Kara. Overall it has a good feel.