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Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Floods of tears? No - let's just get on with it!!

One of the most moving images of flooded Britain this week was of a couple in their eighties surveying their ruined cottage - once the centre of their world.  As the wife started to take crockery out of a mud-soaked cupboard she was asked what she thought of insurance companies  refusing to cover claimants who try to renew their home policies.

 Looking thoughtful she said: I can see their point. It must be costing them a lot of money to  repair all this damage.  

We witnessed no signs of self-pity , no  'look at us we have worked for this all our lives' - just humble acceptance of the situation.

Believe me, my heart goes out to everyone in Britain who has  suffered from the appalling floods, especially the sick and those with young children.

But I can't help thinking that some people might have come up with a very different cry: Who's going to pay for all this, then? What are we supposed to do now?

Back in the North West, the floods have reached no further than our back garden. We're lucky, I know, but we'd be luckier still if we had half as much courage as that amazing couple. Let's just hope they are getting all the help they need.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Help me - I'm snookered!

Can you tell me where and who?

Searching through some old papers  recently I found this photograph of my father, Harry Brown,  (second from right) presenting a snooker trophy, probably taken towards the end of the Nineteen  Fifties.  Dad was a sports journalist, (though he mostly wrote about football,) and worked on the Leicester Mercury around this time. I'd love to know what the trophy was for, and the names of the others in the photo. 

Curious - me? My nickname's Alice in Wonderland...

Monday, 19 November 2012

Sex and Swearing? Not Us! Meet the Romaniacs...

  The six  Romaniacs shortlisted for the Festival of Romance 2012 New Talent  Award -  (in no particular order)  Celia, Lucie, Catherine. Laura, Sue, Jan, Liz, Vanessa, Debbie

One of the highlights of the Festival of Romance for me this weekend was meeting The Romaniacs.  An amazing group of nine talented writers, the Romaniacs represent this year's Romantic Novelists' Association's New Writers scheme which showcases the writing talent of the future.

The girls met a year ago at the first-ever Festival of Romance in Hertford  and have since developed a close friendship, not to mention a feisty blog that is followed all over the world.

At this year's conference 'After Fifty Shades - What Next? ' the Romaniacs were among those who dared to  predict  the future of women's fiction. (I can't give away too many secrets...)

On the subject of blogs the question was simple : what makes people sit up and take notice?

'Sex and swearing' quipped one of the panelists. Whether or not she was serious, I duly took note.

Romaniac Celia Anderson won the Piaktus Prize for her novel 'The Chocolate Project' which will be published as an e-book in the new year.

 Congratulations also go also to Lesley Eames who won this year's New Talent Award with her work-in-progress When Storm Clouds Rage.

The rest of us enjoyed every pink-tinged minute and, hopefully, will  be back again next year.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Calling the BBC...

Image courtesy of

Calling the BBC

Why am I calling the BBC?

Why am I calling the BBC?

Why am I calling the BBC?

Why am I calling the BBC?

Why am I calling the BBC?

Why am I calling the BBC?

Because the BBC used to be a calling and now it's just a calamity.

I wish to put forward Andy Pandy for the next Director General. Now there's someone who knew how to pull the strings...

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Feeling Guilty? Click here..

Well - that put paid to half the population... Now, all you women out there, as I was saying - what is it about guilt that gets to us like no other emotion? We feel guilty because we work, guilty because we don't, guilty because we're too fat, too thin, too pretty, too ugly, not clever or adventurous enough,well, let's be honest, we're just Jerusalem-jam-packed full of the stuff!

Listen to a man, any man, found guilty of 'mal-administration' such as fiddling his expenses, claiming invalidity benefit after winning the local marathon, or 'forgetting' he had another wife and child in the next village. He will never say that it's his fault.  The most likely excuse goes something like, 'I thought everyone else was doing it?'

When I was at school I had a tendency to say 'It's my fault,' when anything bad happened, just in case it actually was.  I remember, aged about eight, finding out that someone had broken the large glass thermometer (on display in the entrance hall)  that was a gift from one of the Governors.  The whole school was kept in the hall that morning until the culprit owned up. Strangely, I don't remember the outcome, just me racking my brains to see if I had got up in the middle of the night and  committed the awful crime whilst asleep in my pyjamas.   I still shiver at the thought.

Meanwhile, the latest study by the US Carnegie Mellon  University tells us that guilty women make better friends. Clearly they rush around doing everything they can for you in the hope that you'll be pleased with them, approve of them and love them forever.   I have to say that I can't think of anyone I know who is remotely like that. But I can't stop any longer to discuss it now because I promised to  take my best friend's dogs out for a walk half an hour ago.  And they'll no doubt be waiting for me. And, well, you know just how fickle animals can be...

Friday, 2 November 2012

New Talent - Old Tricks!

I mentioned Sophie's Secret here recently as part of 'The Next Big Thing' writers' blog and someone must have been listening. For my work-in-progress, a time-slip novel with a twist, has just been shortlisted for the Festival of Romance 2012 New Talent Award. 

      'You - new talent?' was my daughter's response when I told her the news.
      'New-ish!' I replied indignantly.
      'Does that mean you'll get to wear a new dress?'
      'Yes - and killing, I mean, killer heels.'

I think I can still hear her laughing...  Anyway, click on the link and take a look at all the amazing people from the publishing industry who will be getting together in Bedford over the festival weekend. And in the meantime - did someone mention Botox?