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Thursday, 29 December 2016

Most bestestest ever! Heroes - do they really have to be QUITE so fabulous?

Right. Christmas is over - so put down that tin of Celebrations and stop drinking double cream straight from the carton with the fridge door open to cover what you are doing... I am going to force you in to a discussion here, because it's either write this or take the dogs on a three mile run, and there's freezing fog out there and a fire in here, plus two packets of unopened biscuits and the tail end of a Christmas pudding, so...discussion it is!

Reading a lot of blurbs of a lot of books lately, has made me realise that there is a whole stream of books, maybe even a sub-genre, where the active participants in the story seem to have beamed down from the planet PERFECTO.  I'm not talking about the multi-billionaires here, they are a different species already, we all know that.  I'm talking about the ones that aren't just ordinary dog-trainers for the average person in the street whose terrier won't stop widdling on the mat (and yes, Teal, I AM looking at you...and no, insanity is not a defence, so I'm told)

No, they have to be training dogs for military defence work. Or mountain rescue work. Now, I have a reasonable grasp on dog training (although, evidenced by my mat, not a complete one), but have no knowledge whatever of what it takes to train a military dog. More sturdy mats, perhaps. So are these men more attractive by virtue of doing a job that I don't understand?  Dog training is just an example - these men seem to have jobs that are so far outside my normal comprehension of the world that I find them vaguely unrelatable. Of course not many people are going to be interested in reading about a man who cuts lawns and plants potatoes for a living, but there's surely some ground in between him and the TV landscape gardener with the limitless budget who can get five acres of turf down without blinking?

So, my post Christmas question to you is - when does a hero become more than his job? Is a man more attractive because he test drives Lamborghinis rather than Fiats? OK, he might get paid more, but is that all it is - a rich man in a borrowed Lamborghini is more hero-worthy than the bloke down the road in his Fiat 500? How much of who he is is affected by what he does?

Yeah, okay, not doing myself any favours with these pictures, am I?

And now I'm back to mopping the carpet and trying to pretend that the last of the pudding just happened to fall out of the fridge and be eaten by the dog. Or cat. Yes, the cats look slightly guilty. let's blame them..

Sunday, 11 December 2016

My day out with not-evil-sock-puppets!

On Wednesday I had the most brilliant day. Partly in the interests of research, but also because I'd been given a voucher as a Christmas present. Yes, last Christmas. Yes, I am a trifle disorganised when it comes to arranging things like this. Yes, it would be entirely my own fault if I got soaked, frozen and then dragged through nine foot mud by a deranged llama.

Anyway.  Last year my lovely OH Steve (who doesn't get nearly enough credit for quietly enabling me) bought me a llama walk for Christmas, and this Wednesday was when I got to go. And everything conspired to make it the most wonderful day... the fog that had prevailed lifted, the temperature was a ridiculous (for North Yorkshire in December) 13 degrees, the sun shone...and there were llamas!  (For reference, we went to Nidderdale Llamas, which I can thoroughly recommend), and we walked around the dales... with llamas!  Although I had an alpaca, called Paddy, so not a llama, but basically the same only smaller and cuddlier and with more fur.
I am the one on the right. Slightly less furry and a lot less cuddly
Steve had a proper big llama called Toby.
It's like the Little and Large of the camelid world
And, even though it was December, we walked around in sunshine and looked at llamas...although sometimes they do look a bit like evil sock puppets...
...they are nothing of the sort. And it was great, and I even found myself assessing my bit of rough paddock out the back to see if I could fit the odd llama out there (the answer was 'yes', but you really need to keep them in pairs, and two of these would drive the terriers into fits).  And now I want to go again...(PS, there was also tea and cake, which were instrumental in no small part in my desire to revisit...)

Sunday, 4 December 2016

What have I been up to? Well, I am glad you asked...

I know I've been very quiet lately (well, quiet for me, that is. Which means you could probably only hear me from the moon). And I have to say sorry for that, but I've been quite busy, one way and another. There's been the day job, book type thingies (hello, Lowestoft!) and spending time with DD2, who is moving out to Australia at Christmas, so I'm packing in as much seeing her as is reasonable.

So, what do I have to say to you?  Right. Well you might not be aware, but I have a Christmas Novella due out on 06 December!  At the moment you can only pre-order through iBooks, but it will be available for all platforms. Here's the blurb...
Who are the boys of Christmas?
Mattie Arden has just escaped from a toxic relationship so when, a few days before Christmas, she receives a letter informing her that she has inherited a house from her great aunt Millie, it’s a welcome distraction.
Except it comes with a strange proviso: if Mattie wants the house, she must fulfil Millie’s last wish and scatter her ashes over ‘the boys of Christmas’.
In the company of her best friend Toby, Mattie sets out for the seaside village of Christmas Steepleton in the hope of finding out the meaning of her aunt’s bizarre request.
Whilst there, a snowstorm leaves them stranded for Christmas, and still no nearer to finding ‘the boys’. But as the weather gives Mattie time to reflect, she realises the answer to the mystery might have been under her nose all along –and that’s not the only thing …

It's a very 'rompy' sort of book, if you see what I mean, lots of dashing about in thigh-deep snow, as much as one can dash in thigh deep snow, looking for clues.
And it has a cover that is just sooooo Christmassy it almost makes me want to get the tree up (and I am well known for not putting up the tree until Christmas is practically over). There's something about lighted windows in the snow that just shouts 'presents! Eggnog!', although if anyone actually does shout Eggnog! at you then I think you are allowed to hit them with a reinforced Stollen.

And here is a lovely picture of three of my offspring, Fern, Will and Addie, during a long winter walk!
Now. Have you finished your Christmas shopping yet?