Thursday, 22 October 2015

Catch up: Weight loss, book/writing news, The RNA Winter Party and The Mousetrap

Hello folks. I really ought to keep this blog updated more often, so this is my attempt to do that. I don't normally write about my day to day life on my blog, as I'm mindful that I owe privacy to others in my life. But I figure I can keep everyone updated more regularly as long as I don't get too personal about others.

Since 9th August I have been on a healthy eating plan as I need to lose 3 stone so that I can have an operation on my hernia. Those who have met me in the past year or so will have seen it, as it sticks out a mile (not quite literally, but it can feel like it at times). Sometimes people think I'm pregnant, which is quite flattering, considering my baby-making days are long since gone. However, as I tend not to disabuse people of the notion, it does get me a seat on the tube whenever I'm in London.

For me the lump just brings to mind John Hurt in Alien, lying back on the table as his stomach explodes... It looks awful (to me) and I have to wear dresses that are two sizes larger just to allow room for it.

The good news is that I've already lost 1st 10 and 1/2lb. I've been attending a Live Life Better course run by Derbyshire Primary Care Trust, which is a 12 week course, where we're weighed (privately, we don't have to share our weight with anyone) and we discuss making small changes to our diets to cut out fats and sugars, whilst increasing our intake of healthy vegetables and fruit. On the course women are allowed 1500 calories a day and men 1800, so it's quite generous and I seldom feel hungry. I've been losing around 2-3lb a week (though I am also on Orlistat/Xenical which is helping).

I've also got 12 weeks free membership to the gym at Staveley and I had my first session on Tuesday. I'll be off again tomorrow. Added to that, I've downloaded the Map My Walk app onto my phone to log my day to day exercise. I've started parking further away at Tesco or any other supermarket I visit, just to log up those kilometres and calories. It links to My Fitness Pal so I keep everything in place, and that encourages me to try harder.

So far, so good, but I know how diets go, having been on and off them for most of my adult life, so I'm taking nothing for granted.

In book news, Ulverscroft/Linford Romance Library have just accepted three books from me: A Christmas Moon, Big Girls Don't Cry and The Dark Marshes.

I'm now working on a novel for Maggie Swinburne at My Weekly Pocket Novels, which we're hoping will be published on New Year's Eve. It's an epic 'Indiana Jones' style adventure set in Egypt called Eye of the Storm. It has a plucky heroine, and a hero called Lancaster Smith, which has to be my best hero name yet!  When I started writing it, I was reminded of the Saturday matinees I used to attend at the pictures as a child; particularly Sheena, Queen of the Jungle.  Every week, Sheena would be left in some dire circumstance and we would have to wait a week to find out if she got out of it. Let's face it, being children we didn't understand the importance of her name being in the title... The last time I saw her, she was literally hanging off a cliff. Or off a rope bridge off a cliff. You get the gist. For some reason I didn't go back after that - we moved around a lot when I was a child - so I never knew how she got out of that one. I still imagine her hanging from that cliff for eternity...

I've tried to imbue my story with the same heart-stopping cliff hangers on a regular basis, and with the epic feel of an Indiana Jones film. I've had the most fun thinking up the many boobie traps left behind by those who built the temples in Egypt.

My next project, when I've finished this novel, is to finally write that 'straight' western I keep promising/threatening to write for Robert Hale's Black Horse westerns. I have a title and an idea, and I have a masculine pen name (Pep Tracy). Now all I need is the story...

To show that not all my writing life is full of success, and that even I have disappointments, I entered the So You Think You Can Write comp on Wattpad, hoping to at least impress Mills & Boon. Sadly they continue to be unimpressed with my writing, so I've now sent the novel elsewhere (I shan't say where as I don't want to put that publisher on the spot). Failing that I will put it up on Kindle as it's a follow up - of sorts - to The Dark Marshes.

This is also the time of year I'm dealing with the bookings for the Romantic Novelists Association Winter Party, which takes place on 18th November 2015. I have plenty of tickets left and non-members are welcome to come without a member if they would like to see what we're all about. If you're interested you can download a booking form HERE.

As I'm travelling down the day before - because I have a meeting with the rest of the RNA committee quite early in the day - I have booked myself matinee tickets to go and see The Mousetrap on Tuesday 17th November. It's an Agatha Christie story I don't know (so please don't put spoilers in the comments!) and I've always wanted to see it. The tickets were the cheapest so I'll be so high I may get a nosebleed, but at least I'll get to see the play!


  1. You've been busy! Well done on all the successes, not least the weight loss, and may they all continue.

  2. So pleased your weight-loss is bringing you nearer the op, Sally.

    Despite the disappointing outcome of your M&B entry, there's still your other successes- congratulations on them.

    I hope to go to one of the RNA parties next year as a non-member- when the weather is better. :-)

    1. You'll be very welcome, Carol! We're a really friendly lot and will look after you.

  3. Well done on the weight loss, Sally. I had to loose a couple of stone for health reasons and feel much better. It's the maintaining that's the thing as well. Shame about M & B, you'll get there one day. Can't wait to read the Egyptian story.


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