Showing posts from 2019

'It's a Wonderful Life'

If you're lucky enough to live in Wales, you might have seen the recent production of 'Its a Wonderful Life' bySwansea-based Lighthouse Theatre Company that has been touring the country since November.  This wasn't a performance of the famous film, however, but a staged radio play.  The set was a 1940s radio studio and the cast were dressed in the everyday clothes the players would have worn when it was originally broadcast in 1947.  Two actors played George (with a remarkably authentic Jimmy Stewart accent!) and Mary, and the remaining four taking the other parts, one of them  doing all the sound effects as well. We, as the 'live' audience, were part of the production too, with a light coming on to tell us when to applaud and treated to intermittent 'live' adverts in between. It was an illuminating, brilliant and fabulously festive theatre experience which received - deservedly - a standing ovation at the end.  

All good wishes for a Merry Christmas  an…

Autumn in Meirionydd

Making the most of the sunny autumn weather today, I went for a stroll along the Mawddach trail in Dolgellau.   Crossing over the bridge, I was lucky enough to spot a heron sitting in a tree, though I couldn't get a close up with my phone camera, sadly.  It sat there for quite a while - on the biggish branch over the river - maybe soaking up the sun in between spotting for fish!

I really do love this time of year, when the heat and hurry of the summer is over and the bustle of Christmas yet to come. Everything around seems to be taking a rest and enjoying a period of calm, not least Mother Nature.

It was a lovely crisp, clear afternoon and the colours of the trees was stunning. In a month or two, their branches will all be bare and the sky not always so blue, but for now the landscape truly is a sight to behold.

Website design for writers . . .

And others, of course! One of my day jobs, and by far the most  creative and satisfying for me personally, is designing websites.  I've been dabbling in this for over a decade now and have recently taken the plunge and gone freelance.  Website design fits in perfectly with the job of writing because it can be done from home. It can also be done flexibly over the course of several days or weeks.

Typically, I use Wordpress because it has an extensive choice of 'themes' and also because it is easier for customers to manage their sites themselves once complete. But, far from working 'off the shelf,' I prefer to establish a close relationship with my clients, in order to design them an attractive site that best reflects their personality and their work.

A word of warning, however, if you are feeling tempted to rush off and get yourself a website - choose your designer with care!  Wordpress, while powerful and flexible, is also pitted with holes that are a godsend for ha…

Gothic Romance : time for a revival?

Occasionally I come across an author whose name I've known for as long as I've been reading romance, and recently I 'discovered' one of these, namely Victoria Holt, aka Jean Plaidy, aka Elbur Ford, Kathleen Kellor  and Phillipa Carr - real name Eleanor Hibbert.  As you might suppose from all those pseudonyms, she wrote a lot of novels. And she did - over 2000 in fact!

Anyway, I picked up a copy of The Lord of the Far Island in a second-hand bookshop recently and, once I'd begun to read, I was hooked.  It's a modern Gothic romance, rather derivative of Daphne Du Maurier, but none the less enjoyable for that.  And, having raced to the end in a few days, I ordered some more of Victoria Holt's book online.  These are the ones I chose and the blurb on the back convey far better than I could why they are so hard to put down even now, fifty years after publication.

Bride of Pendorric: Favel Farington and her new husband were almost strangers. In Capri, the dashing…

RNA Conference 2019

The weekend before last, I was at Lancaster University for the RNA's annual conference.  The venue, which I'd been to before, was lovely and as usual I was sharing a block with my wonderful writing friends, including HMB authors Kate Walker and Rachael Thomas .  And, as usual, the 'Naughty Kitchen' was well stocked with gin, prosecco and nibbles (thank you lovely Andrea for the delicious pink gin and vegan chocolate :)

The conference sessions, all in the University's George Fox Building, were particularly good this year and especially relevant for me. Among the highlights were 'The Heroine's Journey' with Fiona Harper, which was really useful for me and my current HMB heroine;  'Quiz the Agents,' since I'm aiming my timeslip wip at agents and mainstream publishers; and a very illuminating session entitled 'Slush Pile Slam,' that highlighted the whys and whynots that make agents and editors read on beyond the first page of a submis…

A visit to Gregynog

This weekend, I went to Gregynog in rural Powys to an afternoon tea and a musical concert of a Bach programme of arias for tenor, flute, cello and harpsichord, performed by the Flemish tenor and French Baroque ensemble A Nocte Temporis. The concert was wonderful and very special as it was this group's first ever appearance in the UK. In the lovely setting of the Music Room, and the peaceful surroundings of the gardens, it was an evening to remember.

For those who don't know Gregynog, here's a quick bit of history. For hundreds of years, it was one of Montgomeryshire’s leading landed estates but in 1913 a huge estate sale saw Gregynog’s farms, cottages and woodlands sold off, many to their tenants. Gregynog Hall might have been demolished had not the wealthy Davies sisters acquired it in 1920 to become the headquarters of their enterprise to bring art, music and creative skills to the people of Wales in the aftermath of the First World War.

For twenty years the hous…

A non-writing weekend away

Last weekend I spent a wonderful few days with some writing friends in Shropshire in an old Rectory near Burford House and Gardens. Even though most of us didn't actually do any writing, there was much discussion about current trends and sharing of experiences and, as always, just to be in the company of fellow writers was an infusion of much needed energy, creative and otherwise.

The location was lovely. Shropshire is one of my favourite counties and Burford a hitherto undiscovered area for me.  Although just off the busy A49, the house we were staying in and the surrounding area was unbelievably pretty and tranquil. Right opposite us was Burford House and Gardens, which I discovered was a real haven for lovers of history, plants and nature.  

The Georgian house itself serves a variety of purposes now - from gifts for the home to a beauty parlour to a wedding venue.  Attached is a nursery and cafe and the stunning gardens behind the house, which ask for a donation to visit, are …

Spring in Ceredigion . . .

. . . or the calm before Storm Hannah hits!  It's been a while since I've posted, due mainly to the upheaval of a house move and getting settled into my new place.  It took a while!  Interestingly, setting up my study began the process, even though most of my stuff was still in boxes - some of it still is! - and I was sleeping on my futon in my living room while waiting for my bedroom curtains to arrive.

Needless to say, not much writing was getting done; in fact, I took the momentous decision last week to take the rest of the year 'off.'  I put 'off' in inverted commas because I'm still awaiting feedback on my partial submission to Harlequin Mills and Boon back in January, and I aim to submit my timeslip to the RNA's New Writers' Scheme and, of course, go to the annual conference in July.

So the actual writing may be on hold at the moment but my characters are milling around in the back of my mind nevertheless.

And never more so than when I'm…