I didn't go to any book launches last year. Why? Because it's extraordinarily difficult for me to get to them:
1) They're typically in London and I live in Bristol
2) Even though I work from home the day job doesn't finish until 5pm which is when I have to pick up my toddler son.
The planets pretty much need to collide for me to attend a launch party but, luckily, this year they have (in no small part thanks to my wonderful partner) and what magical launch parties they've been.
The first was Mel Sherratt's launch for 'WATCHING OVER YOU'. Although this isn't Mel's first book (she's had astonishing success with her self - published 'Estate' series and Amazon bestseller 'Taunting the Dead') it is her first to be published by Thomas and Mercer. Mel's excitement and delight was infectious and her speech was one the most touching I've ever heard (and she called my new book THE ACCIDENT 'shit hot' which was nice!).
We share an agent (Madeleine Milburn) so she made a speech too and it was great to catch up with both of them afterwards. I also chatted with fellow Maddy author Talli Roland, lovely Liz Fenwick (not a Maddy author! ), an editor I knew from my Orion days, and some Tweeters and aspiring authors. The biggest surprise of the night was when a heavily pregnant lady came over to me and said how much she'd enjoyed 'The Accident' and that she was my proofreader! We ended up chatting for ages - and not about my book.
I stayed at Mel's do for much longer than I meant to and didn't end up rolling into bed back in Bristol into 2am. My toddler woke up for the day at 5.30am. Ouch.
Me and Mel!
(My signed copy - a limited edition as the knife has been removed in the second print run!)
I didn't make the same mistake last Thursday even though I had just as much fun at the brilliant Rowan Coleman's book launch (I was in bed by 12.30am. Result!). Poor Rowan had the gods conspiring against her what with the floods and
the tube strike but she still had a brilliant turn out.
Talk about author spotting - I talked to Kate Harrison,
Lucy Robinson, Rosie Blake, Julie Cohen, Katy Regan, Ali Harris, Rebecca
Chance, Alex Marwood, Tamsyn Murray and Veronica Henry. And Rowan's competition winner! And lovely book bloggers One More Page and Rea and Anne. And Fabulous magazine's book blogger Claire. And even Rowan's husband!
Rowan's launch was her first with her new publisher Ebury and we were lucky enough to hear her read an extract.
There was a real fizz of excitement and anticipation about Rowan's new book 'THE MEMORY BOOK'. I think it's going to be huge.
The best launch party goodie bag EVER - postcard, notebook, forget me not seeds and CHOCOLATES!
p.s. This has nothing to do with book launches but, if you're on Goodreads, I'd love it if you could friend my CL Taylor page there. She's looking a bit short of friends compared to my Cally Taylor page!
As if all the excitement of 'Home for Christmas' being optioned for a film wasn't exciting enough, today I get to reveal the UK and US covers for my first pyschological suspense novel (out in April in the UK and June in the US).
Last month I signed a contract with JumpStart productions - an independent film company in Brighton - for the right to turn my novel 'Home for Christmas' into a film.
Nathalie, one of the co-owners of the company read my book and fell in love with it. She loved the story, she loved the characters and she really loved the location - the 'Picture Box' independent cinema which is based on the Duke of York's cinema in Brighton - where Nathalie happens to work! Signing the contract was a no brainer. Okay so they couldn't afford to pay me a penny to option my novel but that wasn't important. What mattered most was the fact that she loved my novel and was genuinely enthusiastic about turning it into a film.
With a day job, a toddler and a psychological suspense novel to edit (The Accident as my pen name CL Taylor) there was no way I'd be able to find the time to write the script so Jamie, co-owner of JumpStart, did that. I've been reviewing it and it's pretty much there.
A cast has been found - and what a cast! An actress from 'Skins', an actress from 'True Blood' and an actor from 'Where Eagles Dare'!
April Pearson (Skins,
Tormented) as Beth Prince.
Lucy Griffiths (BBC's Robin Hood, True Blood).
Derren Nesbit as Grandad (Where Eagles Dare, Flawless).
Production meetings are being held, locations are being scouted (we get to film in the Duke of York's - yay!) and now there's just the 'small' matter of funding.
JumpStart have applied for some grants but we need as much money as we can get for the film to stand a chance of being made and that's why the producers have set up an indiegogo account to appeal for sponsors. For as little as £10 you can sponsor the film and get an 'executive producer' credit. For £250 you can buy product placement and/or your company logo in the credits and an 'associate producer' credit. I'm adding 20 signed copies of Home for Christmas for anyone who sponsors £25.
The indiegogo account expires on 14th February. After that your chance to support the film and see your name in the credits is gone forever!
I know times are hard so totally understand if you can't afford to sponsor the film but if you could , blog or Facebook about this I'd be eternally grateful. Or if you work for a company that fancies some product placement in a film or their logo in the credits do point them towards my blog or the link below! I've DREAMED about seeing my characters come to life on the big screen and that dream is nearly within touching distance. I promise to visit the set and blog a million photos and videos if it does happen.
For those of you who don't follow me on Facebook here's a look at what I've been up to since I last blogged...
15th October: I received the artwork that will become the covers of the UK version of my psych suspense novel ('The Accident' out 10th April 2014) and the US version ('Before I Wake' out June 2014) but they haven't been 100% signed off yet so I still can't show them to you!
October 25th: I celebrated my 40th birthday (this tile is a present from my Mum who knows me so well!). We stayed in a gorgeous hotel in London and visited the Natural History Museum followed by lunch in a Michelin starred pub, then off to the Warner Brother Studios in Watford to see the 'Making of Harry Potter' followed by drinks and ribs and chicken with friends in an American BBQ restaurant in London. A busy but amazing day!
October 28th: Quotes from me appeared in Writers' Forum and Writing Magazine in articles by Helen M Hunt on writerly superstitions (I buy charms for my Tiffany bracelet for each book I have published but won't buy them until AFTER the book is published just in case I jinx it) and Clare Mackintosh about alternatives to NaNoWriMo (I suggested reading - lots of reading!).
31st October: I carved my first ever pumpkin! (in less than an hour while my son was napping hence its very hacked appearance!)
10th November: I took myself off to a hotel in Taunton for the weekend to rewrite the first two chapters of my second psychological thriller for my editor (for possible inclusion in the back of 'The Accident'). It was very odd staying in a hotel on my own for the weekend but I got LOTS done. I highly recommend it.
20th November: I received the UK proofs of 'The Accident' in the post (and the US ones via email).
21st November: I went to Covent Garden to meet with the PR company who will be helping me promote 'The Accident.
1st December: I wrote a blog post for my agent's blog about my son's first Christmas and why I can't remember it.
4th December: I received copies of the Brazilian version of 'Home for Christmas' (which was published in the UK in 2011).
16th December: I took myself off to Wilko's to raid their stationery department so I can start planning the rewrite of my second psych thriller (work begins in earnest in January).
So that's it! Apologies for the blog silence over the last few months. I was planning on making something to give away to my newsletter subscribers before Christmas but I just haven't had time.
Thank you for continuing to read my blog and follow me on Facebook and Twitter this year. I really appreciate all your support and comments.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all! May all your dreams come true in 2014.
I've been blown away by the response to my short story collection 'Secrets and Rain' - not because my sales have been through the roof or made any bestseller lists but because people have said such lovely things about the book. One story in particular seems to have touched people more deeply than the rest (and made several book bloggers cry!). That story is 'The Little Box of Wishes' and this giveaway is all about that story.
Whenever I have a novel published I buy myself a little something - a picture, a pair of earrings, a charm for my bracelet - and so I found myself browsing Ebay the other day, looking for something to celebrate this publication.
When I found this book book-shaped box, with a lock and key, I instantly fell in love:
It so reminded me of the 'Little Box of Wishes' I had in mind when I wrote the story that I had to buy it. When it arrived today I couldn't stop stroking it but then I thought about all the readers who have contacted me to tell why that story meant so much to them and figured that maybe I should give the box away instead.
Who knows, maybe whoever wins it will make it their own 'little box' and lock some wishes inside. Or maybe they'll keep nik-naks in it or just put it on the shelf and think 'I won that!'.
Anyway, I'm giving it away before I change my mind! And if you'd like to enter (and please do!) then just use the Rafflecopter form below and I'll use Random.org to pick the winner on Sunday 15th September.
I just wanted to say a HUGE thank you to everyone for their best wishes and support re my recent dabble in self-publishing. Loads of people bought the book the day it came out (Sunday 18th August) and I was really excited when it shot up to #2 in Amazon's Women Writers Short Story chart:
It's currently #20 in the charts so, while it's not riding high any more it's still doing okay and I'm delighted that people are buying and enjoying it. Well, when I say I enjoying it seems like a couple of stories have made book bloggers cry their eyes out!
Kim the Bookworm tweeted "Am reading @callytaylor's Secrets and Rain. Only read 1st story but was a blubbering wreck! T'was fab!"
Then Tishylou posted a lovely review and called the collection 'Heart-breaking, heart-warming, tender, sweet, sad' and gave it 5/5 which made my day.
It's funny, it's been two years since I last had a novel out and, writing in isolation, it's so easy to start doubting yourself and thinking that everything you write is poo, so when someone tells you that something you wrote made them 'sob into my brew' it gives you such an amazing lift. I don't write for myself - if I did I'd never publish anything - I write to connect with others, to entertain or scare them, to get them thinking or make them cry. Hearing feedback that you did just that has to be one - if not THE - most rewarding parts of being a writer.
And that's it! Nik Perring got in touch to ask if I fancied visiting his blog so I'll probably put together a post for him in the next few days but that's me pretty much done with promotion for this book. Unless, um, you'd like to buy it! It's not a complete sob-fest, I promise! There are some amusing and romantic stories in there too (Tishylou totally fell for the male character in 'The Woman Who Became a Tree'). So here it is again, 'Secrets and Rain' - twelve prizewinning and previous publishing short stories by me, for just £1.53 (for a limited time).