Friday, 29 February 2008

I don't usually...

... blog twice in a day, but this just had me screeching with laughter!

Many thanks to the wonderful people at Cute Overload for bringing it to my attention.

This time things will be better...

First of all, these aren't my feet and they aren't my scales... :)

Anyway, after many years of not watching my weight, due to obsessive dieting in my youth that took me to the brink of anorexia, I'm keeping an eye on it again now. But this time, I'm not going to be silly, just relearn my eating habits a bit for long term control.

I think trying trousers on in BHS the other month was a bit of a shock... not only the beached whale I saw in the mirror, but moving up a size. So now I'm cutting back a bit, in a sensible way, so that I can lose a few pounds by RWA. I am allowing my once a week fish and chips and Stella Artois night, so that I don't feel entirely deprived, and I am eating an ordinary dinner at night. But I'm trying to eat more fruit, and cut out the choc and cake for a while, and I'm doing things like not slapping a load of butter on my veg, and following the Kelloggs Special K 'two bowls a day' regime and eating cereal for lunch as well as breakfast. The cereal thing works a treat for me, because it's so easy and doesn't take any prep time... a boon for the busy writer! And as I have boxes of at least five different cereals on the go, I can ring the changes.

I'm not saying I'll never eat choc and cake again... that would be too horrific to contemplate. But what I'm trying to do is reclassify them as 'treats' again, to be savoured as a special indulgence, rather than the regular part of my daily diet that they'd somehow become...

Anyway, I think these relatively painless changes are working. Have lost a couple of pounds since I begun about three weeks ago. Slow, but steady are the watchwords... and it's so much easier this time around because the brutal fact is that as you get older, your appetite does decrease, and I'm far less obsessed with food than I was when I was younger...

Wish me luck!

Thursday, 28 February 2008

an insane orgy of widgets

That's what my blog is turning into!

I'm especially fond of countdowns, and you'll see a new one on the left, already counting down to the end of the new Sweat with Sven Challenge that starts on Saturday! I'm sponsoring again, and I'll be trying to set a good, industrious example, but awkwardly, for the first couple of weeks, I'll probably be editing In Too Deep rather than adding new words to a WIP! But even if I'm not racking up the wordcount, I'll still be cheering everyone on and hopefully motivating everyone with words of wisdom. Not mine, 'cos I have no wisdom to speak of, but bon mots from the great and the good of the writing world!

Talking of the great and the good, check out the list of Sweatmates... there are some pretty big names amongst the throng!

Today, I sent my Victorian extravaganza to my lovely and long suffering critique partner and... she loved it! Yippee! I sort of knew it had a certain je ne sais quoi myself, but with me not being a regular historical writer, I really wasn't confident to judge. Any road up, Mrs. Sofia Harewood and her naughty 'educational' chums have been lobbed off to my agent, who will read their story, sigh at it's magnifience, then lob it off to the lovely editor, who will also sigh, think 'this woman is awesome... I need to give her a huge contract... for she is the next big thing'... and I will be in Tesco buying champagne instead of bottled water and alcohol free lager!

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

victorian frolics... and a fun new board

Yesterday and today, I've been working on a long short story/short novella that's set in Victorian times. It's about this rich widow who decides that next time around, she wants her sex life to be a bit more exciting, so seeks advice from a mysterious therapist called 'Madame Chamfort' and gets rather more than she bargained for...

I'm not a historical author as a rule. [Hysterical, yes, but not historical]. So A GENTLEWOMAN'S PREDICAMENT is probably wildly anachronistic and a bit mental into the bargain, but it's been surprisingly entertaining to write. It's originally inspired by a short I wrote sometime back in the actual Victorian age, but I've twisted it and mauled it and improved it and generally shoved a lot more blokes into it. Here's one of them, the whiskery, sturdy, but very naughty/sexy Ambrose... vaguely familiar, you'll note. ;)

I've finished the first draft of this bunch of nonsense, and now it's to go off to my critique partner, and then my agent, then to a nice editor who will hopefully say, 'Portia, you're a genius! I'll take it!'

More nonsensical fantasy there...

And here's something new for fans of Black Lace, whether they be readers, authors, or prospective authors. The fabulous Madelynne Ellis, with a tiny bit of foofery from me, has set up a fandabidosy new Black Lace Chat Board!

Click the ugly logo that I designed in order to visit us and say hello!

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

More fabboo BOUND BRITS news!

There's now a fun contest to take part in to celebrate the launch of BOUND BRITS!

It was devised by the wonderful Lisabet Sarai and Barbara Huffert and you can go here to take part.

Good luck! :)

Monday, 25 February 2008


I'm blogging about THE RETREAT, my contribution to Bound Brits, over at Lust Bites today. Here's the link:


Intrigued? Nip on over and read all about it... there's a chance to win a signed copy of one of my books there too!

Also, hope to be back shortly to post details of another fun competition for BOUND BRITS, held by all of us BB authors!

Watch this space... :)

Sunday, 24 February 2008

Triple mega me-me

Recently three buddies have tagged me for me-mes and I feel extremely guilty about not responding. So, as they're all very similar, I'm doing a quick combination reply here to Lucy, Dakota and Sandie. I won't post the rules, because I won't be tagging anybody, but if you feel the urge to answer these questions on your own blogs, folks, let me know and I'll link to you. :)

Seven assorted and fairly unimportant facts about me!

1. my bedroom is my office as my actual office is so full of junk it's uninhabitable

2. I used to be a Chartered Librarian but now I'm lapsed

3. I became a writer more or less by accident

4. I'm afraid of stairs because I live in a bungalow

5. if reincarnation exists, I'd quite like to come back as a cat [as long as it's in a total pamporium of a household like ours]

6. himself has four motorcycles and I've never ridden pillion on any of them... yet

7. I haven't been in an aircraft for almost three decades but I'm flying over 5,000 miles to San Francisco this year

See, I told you they were unimportant... :)

Saturday, 23 February 2008

I am so lucky!

I am a very lucky author! One of the greatest blessings of my writing life is that I'm able to actually meet up with some of my lovely author friends face to face. Writing is a lonely lark, and though email friendships can be a great support and solace, nothing beats actually hanging with your homegirls and having a damn good laugh.

Last Saturday, I had a totally brilliant day out to meet Madelynne Ellis [pictured in the post below] and Janine Ashbless in Manchester - in which we went to our usual haunt, the famous pub, Via Fossa, and also rampaged around the shops a bit looking for our own books on sale - and yesterday, I met up with my fab buddy, Saskia Walker! Two fantastic author meetings in the space of only seven days... that's why I say I'm so lucky!

Saskia and I ended up in BB's, after a thwarted attempt to secure a seat in Cafe Revive, which was full to bursting with senior citizens, mums and ladies who do coffee, taking advantage of a free hot drinks before 11am special offer. But BB's is just as nice in its own way, and the tuna baguettes with reduced calorie mayonaise and the skinniccinos were spot on! We had a brilliant chat that was half our usual ribald and bitchy discussion of the publishing scene and its idiosyncrasies and half forward planning for our RWA trip at the end of July. The time flew by and when it was time to go, we could have gabbed for hours longer!

Thursday, 21 February 2008

Memories of Saturday...

This is me, in Via Fossa, Manchester, with my good buddy Madelynne Ellis, last Saturday!

Serious writers' meeting... yeah, right!

Photo taken by another great writing chum, Janine Ashbless.

ps. sorry, Sandie, I can't do the me-me right at the moment... am sort of drowning in my to do list, and I already owe me-mes to Dakota and Lucy! :(

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

busy day...

It's been a weird and busyish day today. Some work, but quite a bit of communication.

First I was chatting to a friend, hoping to support her in the face of something very disquieting that's happened and convince her that she will prevail in the end and reap the just rewards of her exceptional writing talent. Then my agent called, and we had a nice chat about this and that, and various projects I have at different stages of development. Sounds like more of my books that were originally print works might pop up as ebooks soon too. Some stuff has already appeared in Kindle format, if you check the various book listings on the left.

Found it tough to settle after all the above, but finally got stuck into a short story/novella thing I'm working on at the moment. This is one of my very rare forays into the historical erotic sub genre, and is a spicy tale about a slightly naive Victorian widow who falls into the very frisky hands of not one, but two, or possibly even three very naughty gentlemen! Should be a laugh... but for the right reasons, I hope... not for my questionable cod Victorian dialogue and narration. Will have to get some pretty stringent critique on that!

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

slothful blogger

I'm not doing very well with blogging lately. I'm not depressed, or feeling reclusive, or anything like that... I'm just quite busy, and I'm channelling most of my energy into writing and thinking and planning for RWA in July.

I'm going to try and do better...

Thursday, 14 February 2008

It's that day again!

Happy Valentine's Day, everybody! Hope you all got a card and/or a nice pressie from your honeybunch...

I scored a very pretty card, a bunch of flame coloured roses and some Dairy Box chocolates! Yum! I got himself a cute card with a gerbil type animal on the front that goes 'eek! eek! eek!' when you open it up... well, I thought it was rather droll... LOL

Telly: not yet
Choc/Yummy: banana, but those Dairy Box are calling
Mood: bit stressed
Writing: not yet
Reading: not yet
RSI/FMS: very very sore and aching

Don't forget Portia's Promos - new stuff being added all the time!

Monday, 11 February 2008

Sven's back... and so are my guys!

The new Seventy Days of Sweat Challenge starts on 1st March... so that's seventy days of writing 1K per day, hopefully, or doing the equivalent in editing and polishing. Most Sweaters will be under the stern thumb of Sven...

While I, of course, will be subject to my own coaches, Mr Blue and Professor Hottie, each with their own idiosyncratic approaches to making me write... :)

Telly: Numb3rs, Strictly Ballroom
Choc/Yummy: fruit... yawn...
Mood: busy
Writing: editing Thief
Reading: nothing today
RSI/FMS: sore

Don't forget Portia's Promos - new stuff being added all the time!

Sunday, 10 February 2008

still bad blogger....

I'm still having trouble summoning the will to blog at the moment. I'm afraid that I'm not going to be able to find anything interesting to say. I've never been one for writerly posts... 'cos I know my way of doing things is a pretty ridiculous one, even though it does seem to get results in the end, judging by the kind things folks sometimes say about my work. But I wouldn't inflict my shambolic way of writing and working on anybody, when I wish that it was different for myself anyway.

So, what's happening? The first draft of IN TOO DEEP is in the maturing vat at the moment, and in the meantime, I'm working on an old partial I wrote about two years ago [working title Thief] and 'bringing it up to code'. I thought this thing was pretty spiffy when I wrote it, but now I see it's not as good as it could be. It wasn't out and out terrible, just a bit 'flat' somehow. I'm getting a feeling I should change the voice, but it's complicated. Basically, my heroine wants to speak in 'first person, present' while my hero seems to want to tell his side of things in 'third person, past'!!!

Writers... have you ever had a dilemma like this? And how did you deal with it? Readers, if you started reading a book with two different viewpoints like this, would that put you off, even if you liked the story and the characters and the writing style in general?

[Editors, would you give a proven author a chance to get away with something like this? LOL]

Telly: not yet
Choc/Yummy: banana
Mood: okay
Writing: Theif
Reading: Exclusive
RSI/FMS: bit sore generally

Don't forget Portia's Promos - new stuff being added all the time!

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Bad dreams....

For the past two nights I've had very similar dreams, that have disturbed me and caused feelings unease to linger with me for quite a while after I've actually woken up. In each case, I'm getting ready to go somewhere or do something [not exactly a specified thing] and in each case my preparations are hampered in every possible way. Every stage of getting ready 'goes wrong' and I get more and more desperate and panicky, and the more desperate and panicky I get, the more the things go wrong... and in the meantime, someone's waiting and getting more impatient or something that's important to me is slipping away. I woke up with a nasty, very unsettled feeling that somehow hasn't really quite gone away yet...

Thanks to those who commented in the pretty white corset I found yesterday for the final scene in IN TOO DEEP. Madelynne suggested a site which might have pix of lingerie for curvier ladies, and the image below is more my heroine Gwendolynne's build. She's not really what I'd class as out and out fat, but in her own words, she's 'plentiful'... and of course, Professor Hottie can't get enough of her sexy, curvaceous body!

Telly: Top Gear
Choc/Yummy: fruit :(
Mood: troubled
Writing: not yet
Reading: Wild Nights
RSI/FMS: bit sore generally

Don't forget Portia's Promos - new stuff being added all the time!

Monday, 4 February 2008


In the latter stages of IN TOO DEEP now, and suddenly I find myself writing about a white satin basque! Don't know where this idea came from... but it just suddenly seemed the right thing to dress Gwendolynne in for this particular scene. Obviously, as a lushly curvy girl, she doesn't look quite like the above illustration, but it's the sort of thing I'm thinking of...

I usually think of black, or crimson, or some other deep, vibrant colour for this sort of lingerie in my books, but choosing white takes me in a direction that just seems so right for an erotic *romance*... :)

Telly: documentary about gravity
Choc/Yummy: banana... it's just not the same... :(
Mood: better
Writing: In Too Deep
Reading: Wild Nights, Jaci Burton
RSI/FMS: not too bad

Don't forget Portia's Promos - new stuff being added all the time!

Sunday, 3 February 2008

bad blogger... and good film!

I'm getting to be a bad blogger... I miss lots of days, and I don't post much of interest. I have good ideas for what I want to say, but somehow, when faced with creating a post, I just run out of momentum... even when I've got plenty to post about, like now. I've got a couple of fabulous reviews to post, from Lucy Felthouse and from Two Lips reviews, and I should really showcase them here, 'cos they make me sound so good! Just gotta get round to that in the next couple of days... not to mention those me-mes I need to be attending to...

But today, I don't want to do anything but watch the rest of the Die Hard 4.0 DVD I've got out from Amazon rental! This is a corking film, all action and really outrageously improbable, but with great characterisation from the splendid Bruce Willis and also his computer geek sidekick lad, whose name escapes me. I'm just loving all the crashing and the flames and the shooting and good old John McClane surviving impacts that would have anybody else in traction yet managing to get up and keep on kicking ass. I don't care if the whole thing's totally mad... it's raw entertainment and I love it, love it, love it!

Telly: see above
Choc/Yummy: bananas :(
Mood: in the mood for movies
Writing: nothing, but did some yesterday
Reading: Exclusive
RSI/FMS: bit sore in the wrist area and shoulder

Don't forget Portia's Promos - new stuff being added all the time!

Friday, 1 February 2008

Wahey, a new sale!

Time to crack open the Asti! I've got a new sale to announce...

CHANCE OF A LIFETIME - my naughty short novella about an eccentric but delicious 20th Century marquis who lives in a crumbling stately home and who loves to spank young ladies - has been accepted by Harlequin Spice Briefs!

No more details yet, but I'm particularly thrilled about this one because Harlequin is synonymous with romance writing, and it's a kind of fulfilment of a writing lifetime dream for me. For years, I craved and craved to be published by Mills and Boon. It was my dearest wish. And now, even though it's not a M&B sale as such, it's publication by Harlequin, which is M&B's parent company! Yay for me, eh? :)

ps. and what makes this even nicer is that my writing buddy and RWA travelling companion Saskia Walker got accepted by Spice Briefs at the same time!!!

Telly: documentary about gravity
Choc/Yummy: banana
Mood: v. good
Writing: to excited
Reading: Exclusive
RSI/FMS: so so

Don't forget Portia's Promos - new stuff being added all the time!