Monday, December 31, 2012

The Seventh Day of Christmas...Chris Stovell

On the seventh day of Christmas Chris Stovell adds to the RNA tree...

My parents rarely took holidays when my sister and I were growing up; there simply wasn’t enough money to go round.  In later life, however, there was no stopping them and my dad took great pleasure in the growing number of pins in his travel map of every place they’d visited.  I love this nativity scene, which they brought back from Peru for me, not just for itself and because it’s so jolly, but because it reminds me of Mum and Dad’s beaming faces (under Peruvian hats!) when we picked them up from the airport. 
One of the highlights of that holiday had been their river trip up the Amazon.  The skipper must have decided to give them added value as the trip went on far longer than my parents had anticipated.  With only bananas and Coke to sustain them – generously provided by their host - but no loo on board, by the time they disembarked they felt as if they’d travelled the entire length of the river.  They always roared with laughter when they talked about it, but it was a very long time before either of them could eat bananas again!

Chris's latest book...

When is it time to stop running?
Coralie Casey is haunted by her past. Deciding it’s time for a fresh start, she sets up ‘Sweet Cleans’, a range of natural beauty and cleaning products, and escapes to Penmorfa, a quiet coastal village in west Wales.
Gethin Lewis thinks he’s about to put his home village Penmorfa behind him for good. Now an internationally-acclaimed artist living in New York, he just has to return one last time to wind up his father’s estate.
But the village soon disrupts their carefully laid plans. As truths are uncovered which threaten to split the community apart, Gethin is forced to question his real reasons for abandoning Penmorfa, and Coralie is made to face the fact that some stains just won’t go away.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

On the Sixth Day of Christmas...Jan Jones

On the sixth day of Christmas Jan Jones adds to the RNA tree...

My mother loved robins, so we always had one on the tree when I was growing up. When I moved out, she bought me one for my firstChristmas tree. They've been added to over the years, and since she died, her robins have always been on my tree too. This year, because of the strange shape of the tree, all the robins are roosting together!

Jan's newest serial "Fairlights", about a house on a cliff in the mist, will start in Woman's Weekly on February12th 2013

Saturday, December 29, 2012

On The Fifth Day of Christmas...Fiona Harper

On the fifth day of Christmas Fiona Harper decorates the RNA tree...

I love a lot of my Christmas decorations. Some because they’re special – like the miniature painted wooden toys that belonged to my grandmother – and some just because they’re pretty, but my absolute favourite are the home-made orange and clove decorations I make with my daughters every couple of years. They’re not the most stunning of tree ornaments, just a slice of orange with cloves studded in the rind and a bit of ribbon pushed through the middle and tied in a bow, but they’re my favourites.

This year my youngest daughter helped me make them, and we sat and chatted and watched a film on the television while we carefully pierced the edges of a few thick orange slices with the sharp end of some whole cloves. The weather outside was grey and drizzly and the fire was on, and the lights of the Christmas tree were twinkling away. It was the first time this year that I stopped rushing around and had a peaceful Christmas ‘moment’. Once we’d done our studding the orange slices went into a very low oven and dried out for the next couple of hours.

The reason these are my absolute favourite decorations…? Well, my eldest daughter put it best when she came downstairs, opened the living room door and exclaimed, “It smells like Christmas in here!”

Fiona's latest book...

This Christmas, ex-WAG Louise Thornton is starting her new life, away from the paparazzi - and her cheating husband. Un-manicured, back on carbs and holding herself together courtesy of some seriously good foundation, Louise will make things perfect for her son, right up until he leaves for his dad's on the big day. Then she'll be free to curl up and cancel Christmas.

But it turns out escaping the fame goldfish bowl comes with some perks:
peace and quiet, no baying press, plus regular battles with her Mr Darcy-esque new neighbour to keep her edge. And the best thing about a real,
country Christmas is that there's always lots of mistletoe to be found."

Friday, December 28, 2012

The Fourth Day of Christmas...Anne Bennett

On the fourth day of Christmas Anne Bennett adds her ornament to the RNA Tree...

This is why the boots mean so much to me.

"I'm sorry, Mr Bennett, but you have lung cancer." the surgeon said.  It was September 2010 and my husband. Denis had just recovered from a very virulent strain of double pneumonia that had badly scarred his lungs and the surgeon's words shocked us both  The good news, if there is any good news that can come for cancer diagnosis, was that the tumour  was localised and not in the blood stream.  Surgery to remove it  was the only option, but Denis's lungs were so scarred the surgeon didn't know whether he would either not survive the operation, or die shortly afterwards.  However he decided to go for it and so in late September he was in the Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital and I was in the Robert Owen House  in the hospital grounds. 

He pulled through and though the cancer was gone so were two lobes of his right lung, for the tumour was blocking the airways to both, and he was advised to have chemotherapy in case any stray cell had escaped.   It was as we came down the stairs in December after his first bout of chemo lasting eight hours that I saw the two hand knitted boots hanging from the tree the 'Friends of the Hospital' had put up.  I don't know why those boots affected me so much but they did.  We both knew ahead of us was four months of harrowing chemo  and to me those boots symbolized hope and the belief that life was worth fighting for and that year and every year those boots will hang on my tree to remind us that that time that is now behind us and we must look ahead.

Anne's next book is out on the 17th of January 2013...

Their love crossed the class divide, but will it survive the ravages of war?

When Lucy’s father dies and her family is plunged into poverty, she is forced to take a job in service as a housemaid at Windthorpe House, home to the aristocratic Hetherington’s, who lost three of their four sons in the Great War.
When their only remaining son, Clive, returns home from university, he and Lucy strike up an immediate bond, which only deepens as Lucy becomes indispensable to the family. Clive however, much to his family’s consternation, decides to volunteer to fight against the Fascists in the Spanish Civil War, though he returns injured and full of rage at the hated regime.
As Lucy tends his wounds, the two fall in love and Clive is determined that the class difference won’t keep them apart. But Hitler’s troops are gathering and fate has something very different in store for both of them…

Thursday, December 27, 2012

On The Third Day of Christmas - Julia Williams Brings A Rather Unusual Ornament...

On the third day of Chritmas Julia Williams adds to the RNA Christmas Tree...

I have been married to a dentist for an extraordinarily long time. His name being Dave, he's gone by the moniker of Dave the Dentist ever since I've known him. So we were delighted yesterday to be given this charming little chappie to go on our Christmas tree. He's a dentist, and his name is Dave.  Perfect.

Julia's latest book...

With four children, a Christmas cookbook to write, and her mum suffering from dementia, Cat Tinsall has plenty to juggle. When her eldest daughter, Mel, starts going off the rails, Cat has even more on her plate.

Pippa Holliday adores her family, although often finds her hands full. When Dan is involved in a terrible accident, Pippa’s world is suddenly turned upside down.

Balancing her job as a school teacher with twins and her step-son Steven isn’t easy for Marianne North. With her husband’s ex causing trouble, life is getting even trickier.

As Cat, Pippa and Marianne help each other through a difficult year, they’re all hoping for a much brighter Christmas.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

On The Second Day of Christmas...Scarlett Bailey

On the second day of Christmas Scarlett Bailey add to our RNA Christmas tree...

This is the Glitter Globe I brought home from my first ever trip to New York, one Christmas a few years ago now. It was a magical trip; New York was cold and brightly dressed in sparkling lights, and I truly felt like I had stepped out of my humdrum life and onto a movie set. I felt like a film star, even though no one noticed little old me.
It was in New York, on the rink under the Rockefeller centre, whilst listening to Christmas Carols that I first tried my hand at ice-skating, and spent most of the time of my backside.
It was standing outside the Christmas window at Saks, that I finally understood all the fuss about shoes that my friends regularly made when I saw how the Saks window dresser had turns a pair of Prada shoes into works of art, as dazzling as any I might find in MOMA.
And it was in Macy’s that I found, right at the front of store, in the part designed to attract tourists, my Glitter Globe. Now it sits on my desk with a few other treasured items, and I look at it everyday. And when, in ‘Married by Christmas’, Anna is awe struck by the wonder of New York at Christmas, and feels like she is living in her own little snow globe world, its was my Gorgeous, kitschy, lovely Glitter Globe that I looked at every time I needed inspiration. Oh and by the way, it also plays Sinatra’s ‘New York, New York’. Perfect.

Scarlett's latest book....

All she wants is a perfect Christmas Eve wedding...
It's been on Anna's wish-list since she was a little girl, dreaming of a far happier family life than she'd ever experienced.
But now - only two weeks before her big day - her perfect husband-to-be drops a bombshell...
Only nothing's going to stop Anna's plans - not even the pesky inconvenience of discovering her groom already has a wife!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

On The First Day of Christmas... Carole Matthews

On the first day of Christmas Carole Matthews add the first ornament to the RNA Christmas Tree...

My favourite decoration isn’t steeped in family history and it’s a very recent acquisition, but it will still hold lots of lovely memories for me.
     On a spectacularly rainy day last summer my partner, Lovely Kev, and I were lucky enough to have a tour of Prince Charles’ Highgrove Garden followed by a champagne afternoon tea. It was a fabulous day, a sunny opening in the clouds lasting just the required two hours for our walk round these beautiful grounds.
     Then, last week, we went to The Ritz hotel for the weekend on a quick pre-Christmas break . The break included a Highgrove Christmas shopping excursion to Clarence House, former residence of The Queen Mother and current home to Charles and Camilla and also Prince Harry. How could we resist a glimpse of that?
     The shopping was wonderful experience, conducted with plenty of champagne flowing and warm mince pies. Clarence House was resplendent in its festive garb and I was only disappointed that we weren’t allowed to take cameras in as I would have loved to have copied some of the ideas!
     The key to getting Lovely Kev to enjoy shopping is, I’ve discovered, give him lots of fizz beforehand. After a few drinks, nothing is too glittery to buy! Hurrah! So, among a million other things from the Highgrove Estate, we bought this pretty golden apple to remind us of our trip to both Clarence House and the marvellous gardens at Highgrove. I can’t wait to put it on the tree.

Carole's latest book...

Can the imperfect family really have the perfect Christmas?
Juliet Joyce adores Christmas.  She loves the presents, the tree, the turkey, the tinsel, everything. Already the festive spirit is upon her, which is just as well as this Christmas things are starting to get out of hand. Her son Tom is out of work and bringing home a slew of unsuitable partners; pregnant daughter Chloe and her little boy have moved back in; Juliet’s father, Frank, is getting over a heartbreak of his own and Rita, her eccentric mother, is behaving more erratically each day.  And has the chaos got too much for Juliet’s husband Rick?  With the big day fast approaching, Juliet hopes that she can stop everything spiralling out of control, because the only thing she wants is her family all around her and her home to be filled… WITH LOVE AT CHRISTMAS