Writing life

Planet Kate, 25 June 2018

What’s happening in my world, this week:

  • Work: writing M&B #84 (True Love romance set in the world of art, partly in Florence); revising M&B #83; updating my website one backlist book per day; and faffing about with my Big Book; and I thought it was publication day this week for my 80th M&B, but that turned out to be last week…
  • Reading: Jane Smiley, A Thousand Acres
  • Looking forward to: open day at the University of Nottingham on Saturday
  • Workouts: managed one last week at the gym along with dogwalking…
  • Planet Kate last week: Revisions, but I did have some outings – Travis on 21 June in Ipswich (great and enjoyed hugely) and Sheryl Crow on 22 June in Nottingham (one of my all-time top 10 gigs – fantastic); Belvoir Castle on the way home on 23 June (gorgeous rose garden) and Wells-next-the-Sea on Sunday. Also new hair (Chloe had hers dyed green!) and a brief trip out to find a field of poppies in the middle of the week because the world got a bit much mid-week. (I do think we need more kindness in the world.)
  • Fave pic from the last week: LTR: top row – Poppies at Caistor St Edmund, roses and alliums at Belvoir Castle, and lovely Sheryl Crow; bottom row Travis, a mackerel sky over our back garden, and Book 80 on the beach where it’s set 🙂
Writing life

Planet Kate, 18 June 2018

What’s happening in my world, this week:

  • Work: revising M&B #83 (Medical romance, Marriage of Convenience); writing M&B #84 (True Love romance set in the world of art, partly in Florence); updating my website one backlist book per day; and faffing about with my Big Book
  • Reading: Small Town Love, Susan Meier (enjoyed); Vinegar Girl, Anne Tyler (enjoyed – very, very clever retelling of Shrew)
  • Looking forward to: Travis at Ipswich on Thursday (they’re doing the whole of The Man Who, so that will be great) and Sheryl Crow in Nottingham on Friday (bucket list – I’ve adored Sheryl ever since I first heard ‘All I Want to Do’ – and we share a birthday).
  • Workouts: two gym sessions last week, plus dogwalking; intend to be good this week, too…
  • Planet Kate last week: plotting my book; taking Archie for his first haircut (which ended up with me being soaked and covered in hair while wussy spaniel leaned on me); going to Mannington Hall for a writery day with my good friend Rosie Hendry on Friday (inspirational place and I’ve kind of sorted out location inspiration for a couple of books, plus sorted out a knot in my Big Book); off to London on Saturday to meet my friend Ali Williams to see Two Noble Kinsmen at the Globe (sorted out another book knot, and also I really recommend Tas Pide, which is opposite the Globe, as the staff are lovely and the food is fantastic); and off to Norwich for breakfast out with my daughter on Sunday and some photographs to help with the publicity for my 80th M&B – which I thought was out at the end of the month, but it seems that publication day is flexible and it’s already out. There might also have been an accidental foray into bookshops and accidental purchases (all right, a signed copy of a Terry Jones medieval book and a facsimile of the manuscript of The Wasteland and a few other things – this is why I’m not allowed in second-hand bookshops without adult supervision, and I think my daughter might fall under the label of Bad Influence rather than Responsible Adult). Also my son came home for the summer on Sunday afternoon, and it’s lovely to have a full complement in the house. Archie is particularly pleased to have Eldest back.
  • Fave pic from the last week  – I was going to include some faces in here as well, but for some reason WordPress tipped them upside down and I couldn’t get them to tip the right way up again! Anyway. Mannington Hall chapel ruins; Mannington Hall moat; and the Globe stage.

     

 

Writing life

Planet Kate, 11 June 2018

What’s happening in my world, this week:

  • Work: finished M&B #83; sort of wrote the outline for M&B #85; started writing M&B #84 (True Love romance set in the world of art, partly in Florence); updating my website one backlist book per day; and faffing about with my Big Book
  • Reading: Who We Were Before, Leah Mercer (enjoyed)
  • Looking forward to: Two Noble Kinsmen at the Globe in London on Saturday
  • Workouts: I am so going to the gym this week…
  • Planet Kate last week: worked hard on the book all week and finished it on Wednesday; spent Thursday in Ipswich with Caroline Anderson as a plotting day (and bonus of meeting her new pup); collected Youngest from her school trip to Stratford at 3am Friday night, left for Leicester and a look round the uni at 7am Saturday morning (yes, 4 hours later – was nice to see my old uni), and saw Bill Bailey in Peterborough on the way home (probably the best standup show I’ve ever seen, but it was another post-midnight trip home and up to take Youngest to work at 7am).
  • Fave pics from the last week: Caroline’s gorgeous pup needing a carry past the Scary Lorry in the park; my own gorgeous pup, trying to make me for guilty for not taking me with him; and my youngest discovering the delights of the stack system in the library where I spent my student years.
Writing life

Planet Kate, 4 June 2018

What’s happening in my world, this week:

  • Work: writing M&B #84 (True Love romance set in the world of art, partly in Florence); updating my website one backlist book per day; and faffing about with my Big Book
  • Reading: looking forward to seeing what’s next on my TBR
  • Looking forward to: Chloe’s uni open day at Leicester at the weekend (aka my old uni) and Bill Bailey on the way home
  • Workouts: planning to go to the gym – I need to show my face and get back into routine
  • Planet Kate last week: Absolutely manic, even by my standards! I’ve been trying to finish my book and fit in a whole bunch of other stuff. So Tuesday morning started with a trip to Manchester for an open day at the university for Chloe. Whatever the satnav says, I never seem to manage it in less than five hours (and we don’t stop that long for lunch!). But we got there safely, had a look round the science museum, had dinner and went to the Royal Exchange to see Beckett’s ‘Happy Days’. Maxine Peake was excellent, but the play was very challenging! Wednesday, we visited Mrs Gaskell’s house, and what a joy it was. The original furnishings were sold, so the curators worked with inventories and letters to find what was there and then purchased pretty much the nearest equivalent (exactly right in period terms). Best of all, WE WERE ALLOWED TO TOUCH THE BOOKS. There might have been a bit of squeaking over being allowed to touch an actual Currer Bell. Then we had the uni open day, and it’s currently in top slot – lovely buildings, a good and honest talk, and then being shown round by one of the students. Thursday, met up with a friend I’ve known for more than 10 years online but hadn’t actually met in person before, so there was much walking and talking and it was so nice to meet her; and then the five-hour drive home. Two days of concentrated work to catch up, then Gerry’s birthday and a trip to the beach, where Archie decided he was brave enough to go right into the sea for a swim (and was less than happy to discover that meant a bath to get the salt and sand out of his coat!). Oh, wait, I forgot something: publication day for my 79th Harlequin Mills & Boon! (Read more about it here on the website.)
  • Fave pic from the last week: Mrs Gaskell’s writing desk, the Faculty of Arts building at the University of Manchester, and Wells-next-the-Sea. And then I think I ought to include my book…

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Writing life

Planet Kate, 28 May 2018

What’s happening in my world, this week:

  • Work: finishing M&B #83 (overdue, sigh); updating my website one backlist book per day (in theory, but in practice I’m away so won’t have the time); and faffing about with my Big Book (need to decide which of the four ideas in my head needs writing first and stop messing about)
  • Reading: The Light Behind the Window, Lucinda Riley (enjoyed)
  • Looking forward to: King Lear on TV tonight; uni open day trip with Chloe to Manchester – as it’s a long drive there, we’re staying overnight and going to see Happy Days at the Royal Exchange; also planning to see the Museum of Industry and Mrs Gaskell’s house, and meeting up with friends; and it’s Gerry’s birthday at the weekend
  • Workouts: as I’m not here most of the week, it’ll be walking in Manchester
  • Planet Kate last week: busy with work – managed to get my dates wrong so we missed seeing Jon Richardson, which is a shame, but we did have nice weather at the weekend so we took Archie to the park on Saturday and to the beach at Holkham (i.e. the beach you see in Shakespeare In Love) on Sunday
  • Fave pic from the last week: Arch with very fluffy hair, cow parsley (I love the structure of the flowers) and one very happy spaniel on the beach

 

Writing life

Planet Kate, 21 May 2018

What’s happening in my world, this week:

  • Work: writing M&B #83 (cardiac unit, marriage of convenience book); updating my website one backlist book per day; and faffing about with my Big Book
  • Reading: haven’t had time to read, this week!
  • Looking forward to: picking Archie up from kennels today; Jon Richardson at Norwich Theatre Royal (comedy)
  • Workouts: probably no time for gym this week, but I did walk 130,000 steps in Tuscany last week, including climbing the towers of the Palazzo Vecchio, the Campanile and the Duomo itself, and the leaning tower of Pisa…
  • Planet Kate last week: Florence. What a city. So much beautiful art and architecture. We had a wonderful time in the art galleries and museums, chilling out in cafes and having dinner in gorgeous little trattorias. And we had a bonus when we spent our last day in Pisa, because we managed to get tickets for the tower (which was a very strange experience – as you walk round, you can feel the ‘lean’ changing). And also it was our son’s 21st birthday at the weekend. Where did that time go? Great that we actually got to see him on the day and took him out for lunch.
  • Top tip from me for Florence: buy the Firenze card (72 museums, access for 72 hours – and most importantly you get priority queuing, so it saves time – it more than pays for itself in admission fees, too). Get to the Uffizi for about 8.30 to avoid the massive queues. And if you want to climb the Duomo, book your tickets on the first day (and if you’re going to be there at a weekend, probably pre book from England, because places are limited and tickets sell really fast – we booked on Tuesday morning and the first ticket available was Thursday lunchtime.)
  • My fave bits of Florence: the library at the San Lorenzo complex; climbing the Duomo  (and the crypt in the cathedral, which has the most gorgeous Roman mosaic pavement); seeing the Botticellis at the Uffizi; and the modern art gallery at the Pitti (only in Florence does ‘modern’ mean 1750 to about 1920! That’s the one with the Macchiaioi paintings, which is what the book I’m about to start writing features quite heavily).
  • Favourite church in Florence: torn between Santa Maria Novella (for the camera obscura meridian, and the frescoes in the cloisters) and Santa Croce (tombs of Michelangelo, Dante and Galileo).
  • Fave pic from the last week: Bearing in mind I took rather a lot…  The San Lorenzo library, the peacock in the crypt at Santa Mara, the inside of the Duomo, cathedral complex, the Botticelli that made me cry because it was so beautiful, the leaning tower of Pisa and a quick shot of the four of us on Chris’s 21st. (Large, because it came out upside down on a WordPress gallery and I couldn’t work out how to change it!)

 

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Writing life

Planet Kate, 14 May 2018

What’s happening in my world, this week:

  • Work: Research trip in Florence for M&B #84 (art world, opposites, needs a better conflict) while trying to finish off M&B #83 (cardiac unit, marriage of convenience book);
  • Reading: The Teashop on the Corner, Milly Johnson (made me cry); The Light at the Window, Lucinda Riley
  • Looking forward to: Florence!! – and also it’s Chris’s 21st birthday on Sunday so we’re going to see him in Nottingham
  • Workouts: didn’t make the gym last week – too much on – but walked Arch a lot
  • Planet Kate last week: blur of deadline!! The oven broke halfway through a barbecue  at the weekend (aka veggie kebabs and cooking the chicken so it finished off on the barbecue and was cooked properly without being charred); the repair man came out on Thursday and didn’t have the right part on his van, so that had to be ordered in; haircut Thursday and went a shade lighter for the summer (I don’t have grey hair and certainly wouldn’t be worried if I did, but I do have horrendously fine hair, and the dyeing process improves the texture enormously); signed the deal memo for my next M&B contract (which takes me up to #90 – scary!!); emergency dog visit to vet on Friday as Arch had a lump on his chest – two nasty ticks, so he’s on antibiotics and had some super-expensive flea and tick treatment that should mean he won’t suffer again. (Ticks are vile. I’d never seen one before. Nasty, bloated things.) Sunday was mad dash down to London to see The Taming of the Shrew at the Globe (Chloe’s A level text – and the only performance I could guarantee as it’s touring in the summer on a ‘voter’s choice’ basis – was very good), and then to the airport.
  • Fave pic from the last week: the Globe, which is a place I love very much.

 

 

Writing life

Planet Kate, 7 May 2018

What’s happening in my world, this week:

  • Work: writing M&B #83 (cardiac unit, marriage of convenience book); updating my website one backlist book per day (slipped a bit with that as am up to my eyes); faffing about with my Big Book; and doing the #RomanceAuthorChallenge over at Instagram
  • Reading: Juliet Bell, The Heights (utterly brilliant reworking of Wuthering Heights and I wish I’d written it); CL Taylor, The Escape (you owe me sleep, Cally Taylor!); Kate Field, The Magic of Ramblings (very sweet); Kerry Barrett, The Forgotten Girl (enjoyed – plot was quite close to an idea I had, some years back, so it was nice to see how it was handled)
  • Looking forward to: Taming of the Shrew on Sunday at the Globe (one of my daughter’s A level set texts and the only performance where it’s not chosen by the audience so I can guarantee it! Not my favourite play and it always sends me into a massive feminist rant; but I am looking forward to taking Chloe to her first production at the Globe); and I’m really, really, really looking forward to my research trip to Florence on Monday – our first ever visit.
  • Workouts: dogwalking, and one session at the gym
  • Planet Kate last week: Monday and Tuesday, new boiler installed; Tuesday night, Scott Matthews at Norwich Arts Centre (excellent – also one of my fave venues in the city because there’s no barrier, just the edge of the stage, so it’s really intimate); Weds-Fri, working like mad; Saturday, barbecue with the neighbours (and the oven decided to pack up, arrgh! Luckily the top oven still worked so I could finish cooking the chicken properly before putting it on the barbecue for flavour – but I need to sort out a repair next D week); Sunday, walk at the Great Wood in Blicking to see the bluebells, and they were utterly glorious (that was a research trip, but it was a nice one where husband, daughter and dog could join me).
  • Fave pic from the last week: three from Blickling because it was just glorious. Although the car park was really full, the woods are so large that you have space to enjoy them and the birdsong.

 

Writing life

Planet Kate, 30 April 2018

What’s happening in my world, this week:

  • Work: writing M&B #83 (cardiac unit, marriage of convenience book); updating my website one backlist book per day; and faffing about with my Big Book
  • Reading: Jill Mansell, You and Me Always (Jill never disappoints); Catherine Miller, All that is Left of Us (enjoyed); Stephen Westaby, Fragile Lives (really interesting – also research!)
  • Looking forward to: Scott Matthews at Norwich Arts Centre (music); new boiler being installed (though that is going to involve some chaos)
  • Workouts: Managed circuits at the gym twice last week plus dogwalking
  • Planet Kate last week: eye appointment on Wednesday – thankfully no need to redo the iridotomy, and the ophthalmologist is writing me a letter to take to future opticians, explaining that I have a thicker-than-average cornea and an odd-shaped iris, so the higher pressure behind my eyes is nothing to worry about (we both enjoyed the appointment and he thinks I should write an eye doctor book); dentist on Thursday (all healing well); saw Art at the Theatre Royal in Norwich on Saturday (fabulous); intended to go walking among bluebells on Sunday but the weather was utterly vile.
  • Fave pic from the last week: Just one, this week, as my proper bluebell walk didn’t happen! But here’s Archie pretending to be asleep in the bluebells just down the road…

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Writing life

Planet Kate, 23 April 2016

What’s happening in my world, this week:

  • Work: writing M&B #83 (cardiac unit, marriage of convenience book); updating my website one backlist book per day; and faffing about with my Big Book
  • Reading: Ian Rankin, A Question of Blood (fabulous); Karin Baine, From Fling to Wedding Ring (if you like medical romance and ballroom dancing, one for you);
  • Looking forward to: Art at Norwich Theatre Royal (Nigel Havers!!) and my best friend staying for the weekend
  • Workouts: mainly dogwalking (but I did nearly 20,000 steps in London!)
  • Planet Kate last week: Tuesday, writery day in London with Fiona Harper and Heidi Rice – really enjoyed plotting books, walking down by the Regent’s Canal and lunch at Ottolenghi’s. Wednesday, it was back to the dentist because I was still hurting: it was a dry socket that needed cleaning out and packing (painful!) and antibiotics. I did have a nice walk back through the cathedral grounds, though, and thoroughly enjoyed a sneaky visit to St George’s Tombland in the city. Thursday, catching up with work; Friday, dinner out and then Radio Days at Norwich Playhouse (absolutely hilarious and we’d forgotten how much we liked the Heebee Jeebees – a real treat to meet the cast afterwards and say how much we enjoyed it); Saturday, sorting out Chloe’s 18th birthday; Sunday, walk in the park with Archie (first bluebells!), dinner out and then Sheridan Smith at Norwich Theatre Royal.
  • Fave pic from the last week: Again, cheating with three – Regent Canal in London, sunrise over the lake near us, and the first bluebells this summer.