I know I’ve neglected posting on my blog but editing and proofing the latest book and starting a new one seems to have taken up more time than usual, besides other smaller writing projects, one of them being a volunteer to be a reader in the New Writers’ Scheme of the Romantic Novelists’ Association. It made me realise what a huge responsibility it is to comment and steer newbies in the right direction without discouraging them. I put my own manuscripts through the NWS a decade ago and found the reports to be really helpful so I do hope my protégée will feel the same!
And then I’ve had two wonderful trips away – the first with my three pals in Port Isaac (Doc Martin’s seaside location!) where we use much of the time to concentrate on developing our current novels, broken up by delicious meals and walks to the harbour in the evenings with a bottle of something fizzy between us, all interspersed with giggles and laughter. What a tonic they were, just when I needed it.
In June my sister and I went to see her son and his family who live in Savannah in the USA. Having lived in the States, including Georgia, for many years, Carole and I knew the city a little, but this time we really got to know it. Thank goodness it remains very similar to how we remembered it, as it’s under all sorts of protection because of its unique history. And of course it was lovely to be with her family again after many years and to see that my great-niece has become such a beautiful and gifted young lady.
Adam, my nephew, and his wife, Liz, took us to this amazing bookshop in an ancient building (for America!) where they have three cats who live there and lazily greet the customers – if they feel like it, that is. I was in heaven and could have stayed all day wandering around all the nooks and crannies gazing at US books I’d never come across, as well as making a fuss of the cats. I found a fascinating book, a recently published best-seller about the American women codebreakers in the Second World War that I knew nothing about.
Although their working circumstances were more bearable than that of our girls who were working in freezing cold Huts at Bletchley Park, they worked just as hard and were just as successful as their British compatriots, not to mention they put up with the same kind of comments from the men as our girls did – that women were not suitable for that kind of work. For anyone interested in women working in the war on the other side of the pond, I can’t recommend it highly enough: Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II by Liza Mundy.
Talking of cats, I have another cat! I’ve been without Dougie for a whole year and was miserable but couldn’t have one until I’d finished my travels this year. But a week ago Bella was delivered. She’s another rescued cat, 13 years old, one eye, both ears lopped because of suspected cancer, skin allergy (mainly dealt with by special diet), arthritis, and very overweight. It wasn’t a surprise to be told I was the first one to enquire about her after I’d spotted her on the website where she stayed month after month.
Well, people who overlooked her don’t know what they’re missing. She’s the most lovable, sweetest cat I’ve ever known, and I’ve had some fabulous cats in my life. And her purr – it’s deafening! I told her she sounds like a Spitfire revving up. Her whole body, not to mention my lap and the sofa, vibrates! If I can get her weight down gradually, she’s going to live a really good life. I can’t wait to introduce her to my garden as she hasn’t been outside for many months and keeps looking wistfully through my patio doors.
And my last piece of news is that my garden office is nearly finished. My two incredibly talented builders (I call them ‘the boys’) have created it in the shape of a carriage on a steam train! Inside, is a First Class compartment which leads to the office. I love old trains and my heroines are always travelling on them in my wartime novels, so when I move my temporary office out to my carriage this week I will have a perfect atmosphere to work in. Photos for you to see in next post.
The only thing left for me to say is that the third Bletchley Park book in the series: Wartime Wishes at Bletchley Park is out on 23rd November. Here’s the cover so do look out for it.
I wish you all happy reading in what at this minute appears to be an extended summer.