Christmas Games: Operation?

Operation 2

I had the game of Operation when I was young. The buzzer made my mum jump so much, she’d mutter something under her breath. We have a modern version of it in the house, but it’s a fiddly game, requiring dexterity and good manipulation skills. With my disabled fingers, I quite often lose. I have grown oblivious to the buzzer, and the children love to win.

I’ve had plenty of operations over the years, mainly to repair my hands from rheumatoid arthritis. I have complete faith in my surgeon – he’s not put a foot, wrist or tendon wrong. He and his team have enabled my hands to function.IMG_3476

Okay, my hands don’t function as well as an able-bodied person, but on good days, I can wag a beautifully fused finger at Gajitman, and I can write.

My next op is Friday 13th December. An interesting date for some, but one that doesn’t worry me. My daughter was born on the 13th (not December). I consider 13 a fantastic number. This is a wrist operation, designed to save my tendons further damage, and to alleviate some pain.

Hands 2There will be photos, because I am fascinated by the whole process. I was allowed to take a peek during my thumb fusion surgery a few years ago, but I suspect taking my camera in to the theatre for this might be pushing things.

I’m not particularly prone to nerves, unless I know I’ve done something wrong, and them I’m sick to the stomach with them, so at this stage, I’m calm, and looking forward to getting this repair done and dusted. I can then focus on writing book 3. I’m more concerned about getting everything ready in time for Christmas.

This year, Gajitman (old enough) and Child Number One (13) will be in charge of Christmas Lunch. Child Number Two, (8) who has developed a fondness for washing the dishes, will make sure things are clean and tidy around the house. He even straightened my collar for me yesterday, and when I thanked him for taking care of me, he said, ‘Well, you won’t be able to do it when you’re in plaster.’

I’m smiling now, knowing how incredibly lucky I am.IMG_6365

See you the other side.

With photos.

Laura xx

Alison May: Much Ado about Sweet Nothing

Alison May

‘I quake before it.’

That’s what Howard Jacobson said, earlier this year, about the challenge of writing a novel retelling Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice. That’s Howard Jacobson the 2010 winner of the Man Booker Prize. Howard Jacobson, two times winner of the Wodehouse Prize for comic literature, and that Howard Jacobson is quaking before the challenge of adapting a Shakespeare play.

As you can imagine, hearing that is a tiny bit disheartening if you’re a wee little insignificant newbie writer, about to publish their first novel, based, entirely coincidentally, on a Shakespeare play. Much Ado About Sweet Nothing, out now with Choc Lit’s digital Choc Lit Lite imprint, is inspired, not surprisingly, by Much Ado About Nothing, which is a play I’ve loved since I watched Kenneth Branagh’s film version when I was a teenager, and fell a little bit in love with Emma Thompson’s sunkissed, titian-curled Beatrice, and quite a lot in love with Denzel Washington’s Don Pedro.

But why try to turn a play into a novel? There’s all sorts of reasons that that’s a stupid idea, especially with a writer like Shakespeare who has a propensity for comic confusions between twins and ladies dressing up as men. There’s really only so much of that you can get away with in a contemporary, and supposedly realistic, novel.

Alison May Cover Shot

For me Much Ado About Nothing is the story that made me fall in love with romantic comedy. I was never an Austen girl, and I’ve always had a deep seated urge to give Bridget Jones a sandwich and tell her to stop whining. But Beatrice is a proper romantic heroine – grown-up, bad-tempered, stubborn, intelligent, more than equal to Benedick in thought, word and deed. And their relationship is the template for every bicker-flirty rom-com couple you’ve ever seen (or read). They’re Harry and Sally, Lorelai and Luke, Spike and Linda, the Doctor and River Song and so very many more.

And I’m not the only one who thinks that Shakespeare’s comedies are worth a revisit and retelling. As well as Howard Jacobson, Margaret Attwood, Jeanette Winterson, and Anne Tyler have also signed up to write Shakespeare adaptations for the Hogarth Shakespeare series, which all sounds terribly impressive and interesting. I just hope they won’t be too disappointed when hear that me and Choc Lit got there first.

About Alison May

Alison May was born and raised in North Yorkshire, but now lives in Worcester with one husband, no kids and no pets. There were goldfish once. That ended badly.

Alison has studied History at the University of York, and worked as a waitress, a shop assistant, a learning adviser, an advice centre manager, and a freelance trainer, before settling on ‘making up stories’ as an entirely acceptable grown-up career plan.

Alison has been a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association since 2011, and won the Elizabeth Goudge Trophy in 2012. She has a degree in Creative Writing, and now writes contemporary romantic comedies. Her debut novel, Much Ado About Sweet Nothing, is published by Choc Lit, in November 2013.

You can follow Alison on Twitter @MsAlisonMay, and find out more about her at

About Much Ado About Sweet Nothing

Is something always better than nothing?

Ben Messina is a maths genius and romance sceptic.  He and Trix met at university and have been quarrelling and quibbling ever since, not least because of Ben’s decision to abandon their relationship in favour of … more maths! Can Trix forget past hurt and help Ben see a life beyond numbers, or is their long history in danger of ending in nothing?

Charming and sensitive, Claudio Messina, is as different from his brother as it is possible to be and Trix’s best friend, Henrietta, cannot believe her luck when the Italian model of her dreams chooses her. But will Claudio and Henrietta’s pursuit for perfection end in a disaster that will see both of them starting from zero once again?

This is a fresh and funny retelling of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, set in the present day.

Much Ado About Sweet Nothing is available as an Amazon kindle ebook here

Roving Romaniacs – 6 Go To London

We’re getting about lately, the other week it was the Festival of Romance and last week, en masse, six of us attended the RNA Winter Party.  As always, lovely to meet up with each other at a Kensington hotel which is rapidly becoming our London HQ. The only downside was that our lovely Jan and Catherine weren’t able to make it this time.  

It was great to see so many people at the Winter Party but, as is usual at these events, never enough time to speak to everyone. We also realised that we need to get the camera out a bit more – so, watch out at the next RNA event, we’ll be snapping away and trying to get as many of you as possible for our blog post. 

Six of The Romaniacs, RNA Winter Party 13
Six of The Romaniacs, RNA Winter Party 13
lizzie lamb
Lizzie Lamb
Brigid Coady
Brigid Coady


RNA winter 13


Debbie, Celia, Laura and Vanessa
Debbie, Celia, Laura and Vanessa
Putting on The Ritz
Putting on The Ritz
A blustery walk to the tube
A blustery walk to the tube


Thank you to Jan Jones and everyone at the RNA for a lovely evening.