This is how it began. My sister Anna, a brilliant and witty writer, suggested that we should try to write a romance novel according to the guidelines published by Mills & Boon. Not as easy as it sounds, apparently. She created a finely judged opening paragraph and sent it to me. And, intoxicated by the stylistic possibilities that are simply not offered by my usual literary output of press releases on Bedfordshire’s latest social housing project, I have taken up the gauntlet. The idea is that we will take it in turns to develop the story, in full view of you, dear reader.

We are taking this project seriously, but I am already acutely aware that writing about simmering desire with one’s own sister might be possible only with tongue tentatively in cheek. We have agreed not to discuss our plot ideas, so the novel will unfold as unpredictably to us as to our readers. This could lead to trouble later on, but for now it seems a very liberating way to start.

Who knows where this project will take us? To the dizzying heights of publication by the world’s leading romance brand? Probably not. But wherever we end up, it should be fun getting there…

Monday, 12 December 2011

Spilling the Beans

You know how Life keeps getting in the way? Ages ago, Fay C at Glass Half Full tagged me to one of those strangely compulsive ‘memes’ in which you find yourself unable to stop spilling all sorts of beans to complete strangers. She told me to answer ten questions about myself. I was all for it, but holidays and work and parenthood and more work conspired to keep my beans firmly under control.

No longer: Fay, I have finally obliged. The ego has been fired up once more, my inhibitions have been tossed aside and I can finally reveal my answers to those impertinent questions.

Describe yourself in seven words
Lazy, procrastinatory (is that a word?), realistic, affable, pedantic, opinionated, content

What keeps you up at night?
Used to be money, or lack thereof. Last night, wondering what to blog about what keeps me up at night. Usually, insomnia.

Who would you like to be?
A baronet with a private income and a small manor house in Dorset.

What are you wearing now?
A pale blue Oxford shirt, navy pullover and beige jeans. And slippers.

What scares you?
Snakes, pensions and a film I once saw 20 minutes of by accident called Wrong Turn.

What are the best and worst things about blogging?
The best: a wonderful displacement activity; a brilliant impetus for creative writing; the warm feeling you get inside when somebody comments.

The worst: the cold feeling you get inside when nobody comments; the stress of trying to get people to read it; the worry that readers will think that Topaz is my ideal woman, and Desire Be My Destiny my ideal fantasy.

What is the last website you looked at?, to find a contact number to rearrange a delivery. Well, you did ask.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
My nose. Or my jawline. OK, my nose.

Slankets, yes or no?
No, no, no. Nothing with a contrived, conflated name. No Manx. No Mankles. No Manbags. No Moobs. Although at my age I’m going to have to concede the Moobs.

Tell us something about the person who tagged you.
We know each other only electronically, but I am always inspired by her emotional honesty and her musings on syn-free recipes, hence my feelings of inadequacy about using Bolognese sauce from a jar in a recent flurry of despairing Tweets. And anyone who gives their blog such a positive title must be a mighty pleasant person to hang out with. I, too, love a half-full glass, but not as much as a full one.

The rules of this meme, as set out in the original post by Super Amazing Mum state that, having answered the questions, I must tag others to do the same then return to the original post and leave a comment confirming Mission Accomplished. So I tag Ordinary Parent, the Middle-Aged Matron and Motherventing to answer the same ten questions.

Maybe I’ll find out what makes such awesome bloggers tick. Maybe some of it will rub off on me.


  1. Well thank you! I've already revealed seven interesting things about myself. There aren't any more. But why a small manor?

  2. Because it would be vulgar to have a big one, and there's only so much housework I can cope with.

  3. Thanks for the tag. I actually have 'Wrong Turn' on DVD so, if you like, you could borrow it and scare yourself witless...

    ...and what on earth is *frantically taps keyboard to google it*