Monday, 24 November 2008

Gas Masks, the Blackout and Strange Scary Places...

Aka the Book of my Heart

I've been wanting to write this (children's) book for a long time - probably since I first read 'Goodnight Mr Tom' waaaay back in 1980/1.
I used to talk to my Mum about it and, although she lived in Newcastle when WW2 started, she was never an evacuee. She loved my book idea and told me a lot about people she'd known who did go to a safer place - and those who came back after a few weeks and about Life on the Home Front.
So just over a year ago I decided I'd start writing it. But then...

Mum died and I couldn't bring myself to do it.

Maybe it was getting the first anniversary of her death over, or maybe it was one of my CPs niggling me to write it, or that I've got a two or three mss out with publishers and an agent and I know it will be a while before I hear anything. Whatever, the time feels right now.

As usual when I'm about to start writing something new, I make myself picture prompts while I'm getting to know my characters and the ups and downs of their lives.

Have any of you waited over 27 years to write the book of your heart?

Sunday, 16 November 2008

A Question for Dog Owners

Have any of you ever had, or known, a dog who seems spooked by a smell? On Wednesday on our usual afternoon walk, Tessa B suddenly let out one looooong howl then turned round and ran, barking like crazy, to a nearby drystone wall. She stood on her hind legs staring to the downwards fields, hair on end, wild look in her eyes. I hadn't heard any unusual noise and the fields were empty, the sheep out of sight. I put her on the lead, calmed her slightly and took her home. Indoors, she stared out of the window (facing the downwards fields again) carried on sniffing, barking, sniffing, barking.
She's booked in for spaying on Tuesday so, although I couldn't see any sign, in case she was having a phantom pregnancy and barking to protect 'the puppies', we took her to the vet. Definitely not a phantom pregnancy; the vet gave her a thorough check all over and said she's now in tip top condition. Vet couldn't shed any light on the spooked problem and suggested a DAP collar. We put it on her straight away. She's very slightly less spooked but not much and we sussed out when she sniffs it seems to be towards where the ram is about to - or has just done - his duty. The strange thing is, we've walked her really close to the ram and she didn't bat an eyelid. But all three times we've done that, the ram has been 'resting'. We have foxes, badgers, squirrels and weasels come in the garden so she's used to the smell of them - though I suppose there could be a newcomer who smells different.
I've asked farmers and a few blogging friends who have sheep farms if they've ever known a dog spooked by the scent of a ram but they haven't. Tessa B still enjoys playing out with her doggy friends but stops mid-play to sniff the air.
LOL, sorry for the smelly post but it's just so sad and worrying to see Tessa B acting this way, she obviously feels threatened by the smell; any thoughts, suggestions and/or advice will be very gratefully received.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

The Draw Has Taken Place

Congratulations, Honeysuckle! Please send Christina your email so you can receive a download of her fantastic novella.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

You'll Never Guess What!!

Christina Phillips (yes, THE Christina who guested here to answer our questions) has just been offered a contract by The Wild Rose Press for her Scarlet Rosette, Touch of the Demon. Pop over to her blog Christina Phillips to congratulate her.