Saturday, 31 October 2009

Virtual Book Tour - Day 16 (The Lucy Brown Interview!)

Today we're doing something a bit different.

Today it's not me that's being interviewed.

It's the main character from my novel - Lucy Brown!

And the interviewer is non-other than the wonderful, and very talented (I know, I've read some of her stuff) L-Plate author.

Pop over to her blog now to find out how L-Plate and I met a train to Manchester, and what Lucy's got to say for herself...

p.s. I've finally finished the first edit of novel 2! I've got a month left to do edits 2, 3 and 4 (i.e. polish it to death!)

Friday, 30 October 2009

Virtual Book Tour - Day 15 (my favourite books to curl up with)

Did anyone spot the deliberate typo in my last virtual book tour post? No? Too polite to mention it? It was day 14 and I said we weren't even halfway through the 26 leg tour. Doh! It just feels like the world's longest virtual book tour (maybe because it is!).

Anyway, today we're off to 5 Minutes Peace - a fantastic site full of book reviews, book covers and beautiful things that make me go "Oooh" - where I'm guest blogging about my five favourite books to curl up with. It took me AGES to write that post, mostly because I couldn't work out which books to choose. I've read so many books it was an almost impossible decision.

Normally I would have gone to look at my bookshelves to see which books jumped out at me but I'm nearly book-free at the moment (apart from my 'to be read' pile). Earlier this year I massively decluttered my flat so I could put it on the market and most of my books disappeared into cardboard boxes. I had to rely on my memory instead - never good at the best of times - and I'm sure I've missed a favourite or two off the list!

What are your five favourite books to curl up with? Pop on over to Five Minutes Peace and let them know:

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Countdown to December 1st...

I can't WAIT until 1st December!


Because that's the day I hand over novel 2 to my editor and I'll get (I hope) at least two or three weeks before she comes back with the edits (I just know there's going to be LOADS this time around!)

Do you know what I'm going to do on December 2nd? I'm going to get started on one of these little beauties (all ordered over the last few months but I've had no time to do anything other than look longingly at them).

I MISS reading and watching DVD boxed sets soooooo much!

One more month, one more month...

Virtual Book Tour - Day 14 (how I write my books)

*to be read in a Geordie accent* Day 5,293 in the virtual book tour house...

Is it just me or does this blog tour seem to be going on FOREVER? And we're not even halfway through yet! Why I thought it was a good idea to do a TWENTY-SIX leg blog tour I have no idea - you're all going to be sick of the sight/sound of me soon (if you're not already!).

If nothing else hopefully I'm introducing you to some lovely bloggers you might not have discovered before.

And talking of lovely bloggers (smooth segue) we're off to visit Captain Black today to find out how I write my books...

I *heart* @Petronella

Look what my Twitter friend @Petronella sent me!

I don't know Petronella in real life. We 'met', randomly, on Twitter.

Earlier this year she tweeted me to say that Waterstones, where she works, had received a proof of my novel and she'd taken it home to read. A couple of days after that she got in touch to say she loved it. Then she wrote me a lovely 5 star review on the Waterstones website!

Now she's only gone and recommended it on the Waterstones Wolverhamptom twitter account AND in store!

So that's why I *heart* Petronella.

And Twitter. :)

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Virtual Book Tour - Day 13 (writing marathons, writing drunk and Jeffrey Archer)

Today we're off to Tom Conoboy's blog. Tom's an old mucker from the 'kickarse' short story group I was a member of and I'm very flattered that he asked me to be on his very clever, very literary blog.

Find out more about writing marathons, writing 'drunk' and killing my babies...

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Heaven Can Wait Virtual Book Tour - Day 12 (writers block, regrets and how long it takes to get a novel published)

Today we're off to the USA to visit Cassandra's blog for a mixture of questions from Cassandra and her blog visitors.

One of the most interesting questions she asked me was, "How long was your writing journey in total?"

I had to work out the exact number of years and months it took from writing the first word of the first draft of "Heaven Can Wait" to holding my published novel in my hands.

You might be surprised...

Monday, 26 October 2009

Heaven Can Wait Virtual Book Tour Day 11 - Something completely different...

Today we're off to visit Sally Quilford, long time blogger friend and talented short story writer.

Sally Quilford has had 50 stories, articles and poems published in print, including publications such as Yours Fiction Special, The Weekly News, My Weekly, Dark Horizons and others. She has also been placed in 27 competitions including Leaf Books (twice), Momaya, Milton Keynes Speakeasy, The British Fantasy Society, The New Writer and Teifi Scribblers.

She is also a regular contributor to the Amazon Shorts programme and recently became a columnist with Writers Forum magazine, with a column based on her popular writing competition calendar.

(And she's one of the co-judges in my short story competition).

You'd expect someone with Sally's credentials to ask me some very serious writerly questions, wouldn't you?

You'd be wrong (she's a lot more fun that that!).

Click the link below to find out about my most embarrassing moment, whether I think the Loch Ness monster is real and whether I've ever been cornered in a round room...

More book photos!

Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who has sent me photos of my books in the shops, in their hands or in unusual locations. I love them! Here's some more...

Twitter friend Becka W (@oriares) has a copy sent from to her home in Germany!

Graeme finds a copy in in WHSmiths

My friend Dan finds copies in WHSmiths Liverpool Street station, London

Twitter friend Dave Bartlett (@DaveBartlett1) finds copies in WHSmiths Hull

Twitter friend Poodle Powered (@PoodlePowered) finds copies in WHSmiths Warwick

Blog reader and short story writer Teresa Stenson ent me a photo of my book on her bedside 'to be read' pile

Twitter friend Anna Ganderton (@AnnaGanderton) finds copies in WHSmiths Sandbach

One of my work colleagues finds it in WHSmiths Didcott

Lily takes my book (and Peter Andre) to her hairdressers to amuse her while she's having her hair done!

Blog reader Claire Ryan finds lots of copies in Eason's Bookstore, Cork, Ireland

Twitter friend Ben Johncock (@benjohncock) gets hold of a copy in a 'three way book swap' at the Firestation Bookswap.

Blog friend Nik Perring takes his copy to the pub!

And this has to be my favourite photo of them all because it makes me smile every time I look at it!

My friend Kelly's son Piran gets a kick out of the wee and fart jokes in my book (yes, I share a sense of humour with a three month old)!

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Heaven Can Wait Virtual Book Tour Day 10 - Birthdays and cake!

It's my birthday!

And I'm a bit too hungover to write anything witty or informative (I celebrated last night with cocktails in The Grand hotel followed by my first ever lobster in Dermot O'Leary's restaurant, Fishy Fishy) but that's okay because I'm not being interviewed about anything heavy or serious today, I'm being interviewed about cake. Yum! :)

Helen Redders has a fabulous baking blog and makes the best cakes (she's hugely talented).

She also asked me some brilliant cake-related questions like "if your main character was a cake what cake would she be?"

Here's her blog:

Would cake would your main character be?

Friday, 23 October 2009

Heaven Can Wait Virtual Book Tour Day 9 - The Publishing Dream verses the Reality

When Collette asked me to write a post on the dream of getting a book published verses the reality I was tempted to answer it like this...


You get a gazillion pound advance, give up the day job and buy a house that would make Beckingham Palace look shoddy - or possibly your own private island. Your second book flows out of you, perfectly formed, in 24 hours and you spend the next 364 days reclining on a chaise longue while a perfectly-formed member of the gender of your choice feeds you peeled grapes/chocolate/champagne. When you deliver it to your editor on day 365 they say "I love it. Don't change a word."


A ha ha ha ha ha.

... but I didn't think that would be particularly helpful.

Instead I've come up with my top 6 ways in which the dream differs from the reality. I'll be exploring some of them in more detail in my guest post for Kate Harrison later on in the blog tour.

Here's Collette's blog:

Tomorrow it's my birthday and what could be more fitting than a chat with Helen Redders about cake! Hope you come back then.

My, ever-so-slightly delayed, publication lunch with my publishers

In the guest entry I've written for tomorrow's leg of the virtual blog tour I talk about how the dream of getting published involves lots of lovely dinners, awards ceremonies and parties whereas the reality is very different.

That's still true, the dinners/awards/parties are thin on the ground but when they do happen, oh wow...

Yesterday I met up with my publishers and agent for a celebratory publication lunch. It was supposed to happen on publication day (15th October) but my agent was in Frankfurt at the time so we postponed until this week. My editor emailed me a selection of restaurants to choose from and when I saw the website for Galvin at Windows (on the 28th floor of the Hilton hotel, Park Lane) I was sold!

I arrived on time then instantly a tit of myself when the Maitre-D came up to me and said, "one of the ladies at the table already has a ticket. Would like to put it on her ticket or your own?"

"I'm not paying for lunch," I said, terrified at the thought of a huge credit card bill. "My publisher is."

"I was talking about your coat, madam. Would you like it on your ticket or the lady's?"


"My own ticket please. We might leave at different times."

I took off my coat and handed it to the Maitre-D who passed it to someone else.

"If you'd like to follow me to your table, madam," he said as he lead me into the restaurant. "And don't worry, I won't bill you for the meal."

(I felt this big).

When I got to the table my editor, my paperback editor, my publicist, my marketing manager and my agent were all waiting for me. I was the last to arrive! But wow, what a table, and what an amazing view of London from the window behind us.

(photo taken at the end of the meal after a few people had left)

Everyone greeted me warmly and I did the round of double kisses on the cheek (although I initially forgot about the second kiss and nearly had a nose collision with my editor!) and then sat down. I was really nervous at first - it doesn't matter how many times I meet my publishers I always feel overwhelmed and a bit of a fraud - but when the waiter poured us all a glass of pink champagne and we did the whole 'cheers' thing I started to relax.

And that's the moment my paperback editor decided to surprise me by handing me the most beautiful autumn bouquet of flowers! I love how they look so halloweeny. One of the flowers looks like a little pumpkin!

We talked about my book for a bit and then my agent asked me to sign her copy! She had another surprise for me - a copy of the Spanish edition of my book! - the publisher had given her a copy while she was at Frankfurt. It looked beautiful, even more pretty than the photo I found on a website a few weeks ago.

Finally we got round to ordering food.

I made another faux pas by trying to order my dessert (the waiter raised his eyebrows, "just the starter and main course, madam") and had to ask what a cep was (it's a mushroom) but finally decided on smoked potato velouté & duxelle of ceps for my starter and belly of pork with something, something (it's not on the menu today so I can't copy and paste the fancy name!).

My starter was absolutely delicious - like a potato soup (not what I was expecting) with mushrooms in the middle and when my main course arrived I was so wowed by the presentation (I've been watching a lot of Masterchef Professional - it's all about the presentation) I said to my agent, "do you think I could get away with taking a photo and posting it to Twitter?" She thought that was a great idea so I did!

I did the same thing when dessert arrived (liquorice pannacotta, tangerine jelly & brioche crouton). You can tell I don't get out much!

Just when I thought I was all surprised out for the day, this arrived with my coffee:

How lovely was that?!

Tempted as I was to put the whole thing in my bag (I have a very big bag!) and take it home I shared the chocolates around (the circular ones were gorgeous, they seemed to pop in your mouth) and left the plate on the table. As we continued to chat over wine members of our group started to leave to attend important meetings and when it got to about 3pm the waiter asked us if we wouldn't mind moving to the bar as they had to re-lay the tables for the evening sitting. We took that as our prompt to leave!

We piled into the lift along with another group of people. As it travelled downwards a lady turned to me and said, "lovely flowers, are you getting married?". I explained that I wasn't and that the flowers were because I'd just published my debut novel. My agent promptly whipped her copy out of her bag and said "this one!". The lady congratulated, me, said she'd look out for it and the lift fell silent again. I looked around the lift and vaguely recognised the black guy standing in the middle but couldn't work out where I knew him from. At roughly the same time my marketing manager tapped him on the shoulder and said, "I don't mean to bother you but I just wanted to say that I'm a huge fan of your music and you were great on the Jools Holland show the other night." The man nodded his thanks. One stop later he got off.

Everyone in the lift turned to look at the marketing manager.

"Who was that?" we chorused.

"Smokie Robinson!" she said.

What a perfect ending to a perfect lunch.

"Heaven Can Wait" Virtual Book Tour - Day 8 (I get interview by cats)

In a WORLD FIRST today I am interviewed by some cats.

Yep, you read that right.


Four of them in fact (that's one of them on the left, taking his turn on the laptop) and they belong to Helen Hunt.

No, not the actress, the other one - the lovely and talented writer Helen Hunt (I know she's lovely, I've met her).

So, what kind of questions do cats ask a newly published author?

You know you want to find out...

Tomorrow we're off to visit Colette who'll be posting a guest post I've written about how the reality of getting a published compares to the dream.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Heaven Can Wait Virtual Book Tour - Day 7 (writing highlights of the last year)

Today I'm off to visit veritable short story SUPERSTAR, Karen Clarke!

Karen is a member of the short story group I set up back in April last year and she's the only member to have written a story every single fortnight, clocking up an astonishing thirty-six stories.

She has also sold more stories than anyone else in the group - eighteen at the last count! - and has been published by Take a Break, Woman's Weekly, Best, Yours, The Lady, That's Life! (Australia) and had one of her stories translated by Swedish magazine Allas.

Karen is proof that hard work + talent + perseverance = success and I'm sure it's only a matter of time until an agent snaps up her recently completed novel.

Now that I've suitably embarrassed her, on with the virtual book tour!

When Karen asked me to do a guest post about my writing highlights of the last year I thought, that's cool I can do that, but when actually started writing it I felt embarrassed and self-conscious, like I was all "Oooh, look at me and what I've achieved". If there's one thing I don't like it's people who big themselves up and crow about their success and I never want to be one of those people.

The truth is, my writing highlights post only tells part of the reality of my writing year (the good bits!). Later on in the blog tour I'll be visiting author Kate Harrison's blog to talk about 'the things they don't tell you about getting published' where I'll discuss the less glamorous/exciting side of getting a book deal.

But for now, it's all about the highlights. Here's Karen's blog:

Tomorrow, in a WORLD FIRST, I'll be interviewed over on Helen Hunt's blog by....her cats! (yes, you read that right!)

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Heaven Can Wait Virtual Book Tour - Day 6 (film version of my book, negative comments, dreaming about characters)

I'm very excited about today's leg of the virtual book tour because Amanda asked me about something I've been fantasising about since I my novel was called "The House of Wannabe Ghosts" - who would play the main characters in the film?

I actually wrote a blog post about who I'd choose to play each of the characters a while ago but I've since changed my mind about who'd play Lucy and Dan.

Friends of mine have suggested that Isla Fischer should play Lucy but I'm not so sure, she'll always be Becky Bloomwood after appearing in the Shopaholic film!

Can you work out who I've picked from the blurred images above?


You'd better get yourself off to Amanda's blog to find out then!

I also answer questions about dealing with negative comments, whether I dream about my characters and whether they're based on real people!

Here's the interview:

Tomorrow we're off to visit Karen who'll be publishing a guest post about my writing highlights of the last year...

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

More book pics, a naughty video and a cautionary tale!

An ex-colleague settles down with my book

Nik receives his copy!

JJ spots my book in WHSmiths Maidstone

And it's sold out in WH Smiths Malvern (thanks Xuxanna)

And I couldn't possibly condone people doing this! ;) (though I did grin, a lot, when I was sent this video!). The suspect shall remain nameless...

Thanks to everyone who's sent me a photo or promised to go into town with their camera - it's hugely exciting.

One word though - if you're going to try and take a photo of someone reading my book in a public place I recommend you take the photo surreptitiously rather than ask the person's permission...

A few days ago I told you that a friend of mine saw someone reading my book on the train to East London. Well he saw her again today. This is the text he sent me...

"So, I saw the same girl on the train today, she's still reading your book! I chose my moment, wriggled past a few passengers, went up to her and explained that 'I know the author', 'it's her first novel' and 'she's very excited' and that I'd like to send her a picture of someone actually reading her book and would she mind?

And this girl just looked at me, didn't say anything for what must've been 5-10 seconds, and then eventually, with a completely deadpan expression on her face, responded, "That's the worst chat up line I've ever heard.." and just walked off."

Heaven Can Wait Virtual Book Tour - Day 5 (writing snacks, booker vs film deal, women's fiction tips)

Today we're off to visit 'Strictly Writing' for Day 5 of the Virtual Book Tour.

'Strictly' (love writing that) is a collaborative blog, and a hugely useful for one for writers.

It's run by six writers and features fascinating, insightful and often very funny articles about writing. Guest posts and interviews also pop up regularly. It's always a great read and if you haven't added them to your blog roll yet, what are you waiting for?

Pop along to Strictly to find out which writers I'd invite to a dinner party, what my favourite writing snack is and what the best thing about being published is.

Oh, and you can win a signed copy of "Heaven Can Wait" too!

p.s. Sorry, forget to mention that tomorrow I'll be talking to Mandy Britanny about who I'd like to play Dan and Lucy if a film was ever made of my book, whether I considered sending out the first 3 chapters to agents before I'd finished editing them and whether or not I dream about my characters...

Monday, 19 October 2009

Book photos!

One of the most exciting things about the last few days are the emails people are sending me - particularly the ones including photos of sightings of my book and people reading/receiving it!

Here's a selection:

"Heaven Can Wait" in Borders, Brighton

And in WHSmiths Northampton

A friend of mine receives the copies he ordered on Amazon

"Heaven Can Wait" in WHSmiths Dundee

Fellow blogger Karen gets stuck in!

WH Smiths in Brighton

Borders in Cheshire Oaks

I've also had reports of someone reading my book on a train in London and three people clutching a copy in a queue at WHSmiths Picadilly in Manchester!

I'd love to get more photos of my book in different shops in the UK so please send them my way ( And if you could, please let me know if you've spotted anyone reading or buying my book (even better if you can get a photo of them doing it!).

This blog has been like a diary of my attempt to get published and I'd love to include lots of photos of HcW so I can look back on them in years to come.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Heaven Can Wait Virtual Book Tour - Day 4 (why I wrote my novel, dealing with rejection, editing novels)

Today I'm very excited to be visiting Caroline's blog (somewhere in North-West England) for the fourth day of my tour.

I started reading Caroline's blog back in 2006, when she was still reeling from the news that Clare Christian, then MD of The Friday Project, had read an online extract of her novel "In Search of Adam" and wanted to publish it.

Caroline's excitement was tangible and I eagerly followed her blog, desperate to find out more about the reality of getting your book published. I was hugely encouraged by Caroline's story. To me she was living proof that dreams can come true (sorry, I know sound like an X Factor contestant, I'm a bit obsessed with the series this year) and it made me chase my own dream even more urgently.

Caroline has since had her second book "Black Boxes" published and her third book "Like Bees to Honey" will be published by The Friday Project (Harper Collins) in May 2010.

As well as being a hugely successful author Caroline is a very nice person and incredibly generous with her advice. She's so nice in fact that that when she introduced herself to the woman who worked in her local post office the woman replied, "Oooh, so you're nice Caroline."

Anyway, Caroline interviewed me for this leg of my virtual book tour and a strange thing happened when I was answering the questions - firstly I got a bit fixated about Marcia from the Brady Bunch (you'll see), then I made myself cry when I talked about my 'journey into publication', and then I pulled myself together and talked about rejection letters, editing novels and, er, how I know Simon Cowell.

You know you want to find out...

Tomorrow I'm off to visit the lovely ladies at 'Strictly Writing' where I'll talk about my favourite writing snack, the authors I'd invite to dinner and reveal whether I'd rather land a Booker prize or get Hollywood film deal...

Heaven Can Wait Virtual Book Tour - Day 3 (writing with a full time job, motivating yourself, writing the second novel)

Today the Virtual Blog Tour is off to Thailand to visit JJ!

I absolutely love JJ's blog - she's a British woman living in Bangkok and posts the most amazing photos of the things she spots when she's out and about (like the photo on the left which I've, er, borrowed).

Today Jen's interviewing me about how I manage to write and hold down a full time job, how I keep writing when I want to give up, and what it's like writing that 'difficult second novel'.

Go and visit Jen now!

Tomorrow we're off to the North-West of England to visit the lovely Caroline Smailes. I'll be revealing how I dealt with rejection letters, how I redraft/edit and whether or not I know Simon Cowell...

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Heaven Can Wait Virtual Book Tour - Day 2 (agents and cover letters)

Yesterday I promised I'd write about publication day and I didn't. Sorry. I could claim that I was really busy or that something amazing had happened that took me away from blog world but, to be honest, I wasn't/it didn't. After the frenzy that was Thursday I really needed Friday to gather my thoughts, take it all in and generally calm down a bit!

I woke up on Thursday (publication day) to six texts on my mobile - all saying such lovely things I nearly cried. I logged onto Facebook and people said so many lovely things I nearly cried. I logged onto Twitter and get the picture!

I didn't cry though (even though I said in Thursday's blog post that I thought I might). I didn't cry when I saw my book on the shelves, under T for Taylor - and right next to Donna Tartt - in Borders:

And I didn't cry when I saw my book sitting in the #45 stop in WHSmiths

I didn't cry when the friend I was with took two copies of my book to the counter and paid for them.

I didn't cry when I went to a local bar and drank champagne with 14 very good friends.

I didn't cry when I got home and lay on the sofa and watched, through slightly drunken eyes, the Masterchef Professional repeat on BBC iplayer.

I didn't cry once on Thursday.


I don't know. I honestly don't know. There have been so many occasions en route to publication day when I have cried - when I got my agent, when I received the box of my books to name just two - and I was sure I'd definitely cry on THE MOST IMPORTANT DAY IN THE WORLD. But I didn't.

I felt excited.
I felt relief.
I felt incredulous.
I felt like my fingers were going to fall off from writing 'thank you' to everyone who tweeted me, facebooked me, texted me and emailed me.
I felt like my eyes were going to fall out of my head when people sent me photos of my book on their doorstep, their sofa, in their hands.
I felt like I was living in a dream.
I felt the most overwhelming waves of support, love, and pride from the people around me.

And you know what? When you're feeling that many emotions, when you're typing and texting and emailing and tweeting and bookspying and sitting on the seafront drinking frappucino while your friend's children pretend to be pirates in a washed up boat, when you turn up late to your own champagne celebration because you only had 5 minutes to do your hair and needed 10, when you chatter and laugh and take silly photos and end up eating a burger at 1am...

...there's no time to cry.

Not when every single minute of your day is crammed full of incredulity, happiness, surprise, shock, delight and,

My publication joy wasn't about seeing my book on the shelves, it wasn't knowing that it was finally 'out there', it was all about the reaction of the people around me. People I love, people I like, people I barely even know. THAT'S what made publication day so special for me - the people who cared enough to say 'congratulations', to put up a blog post about my book, to retweet my competitions, to post a photo on Facebook, to send me a text.

Okay so now I'm going to shut up because I really might actually cry...


(sorry about that!)

On to Day Two of my Virtual Blog Tour (she said in her best professional, non wobbly voice).

We're off to the Berkshire/Hants border (that's what it says on her blog profile anyway) to visit Fia.

I've written a guest post about getting a literary agent and *world exclusive* have given Fia a copy of the cover letter I sent to my literary agency when I first approached them. It's not something I've ever published on this blog and I hope people find it useful.

Right then...

Off to Fia's blog you go!

Tomorrow the Virtual Blog Tour travels all the way to Thailand to talk to JJ about my defining moment, fitting in writing with day job and 'that difficult second novel'...

Friday, 16 October 2009

Heaven Can Wait Virtual Book Tour - Day 1 (route to publication)

After weeks of preparation, tears and toil (oh okay, me answering some interview questions and writing some blog posts) the Virtual Blog Tour has started!

First stop is Tenerife and the UK, both at the same time - it's a magical virtual blog tour, you try saying that after six glasses of champagne ;) - and I'm visiting:

to talk about how a childhood dream turned into reality.

Tomorrow we're off to Berkshire where I talk about agents and Fia publishes the actual cover letter I sent to my own agent when I was subbing my novel...

p.s. Thanks so much for all the lovely messages yesterday. More than seeing my books in the shops (more on that later) it was the wave of good wishes and excitement from friends and family that made yesterday so magical. I'll never, ever forget it. More later...when my hangover's faded a bit!

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Publication Day! At last!

It's here! It's really here! It's publication day and I am...finally...officially... a published author!

Thank you to everyone who sent me an email, text or left me a message on Facebook or Twitter - you've really helped make today feel special! One friend sent me a picture message of him holding my book and that made me grin like you wouldn't believe!

To be honest today's felt a lot like a normal day - coffee and a smoothie for breakfast, check work emails, pick bills off door mat etc - apart from the exciting feeling fizzing sensation I could feel my stomach when I woke up.

What I need to do is make it feel real - I need to go into town and SEE, with my own eyes, my books on the shelves! And I'm going to do that very soon (there might even be photos next time I blog).

I didn't get the chance to do an acknowledgements page for the first printing of my novel so, at the risk of doing a Gwyneth Paltrow (and covering you all with snot and tears) I'd like to thank a few people...

Thank you to the Novel Racers for being such a fab group of writers. Your encouragement and 'race' ethic helped me power through the first draft and you've provided me with lots of laughs and encouragement ever since.

Thank you to the SAF girls. I know I haven't written many short stories recently *coughs, any* but I LOVE being part of the group and you're all fab.

Blog readers and friends - thanks SO MUCH for visiting this blog and sharing my ups and downs en route to publication. It would have been a very lonely experience without all your lovely, supportive and/or cheering comments.

Thank you to Sally Q and the artist formerly known as A.Writer for looking at my synopsis what feels like YEARS ago! Your input was invaluable.

Thanks to my friends and family for putting up with me saying, "I can't come out tonight, I'm writing/editing/crying with despair because I think my novel's shit". Tonight we celebrate with champagne! :)

To everyone who has ordered a copy of my novel THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU. I know copies are plopping through letter boxes right now and that makes me so excited (and a tiny bit scared!) you wouldn't believe it! It's just...surreal! I really do hope you enjoy it (and don't think 'how the hell did THIS get published?' ;)). If you DO enjoy it my Amazon page is looking a bit empty on the review front at the moment!

Okay, okay...speech over!

Now for the exciting bit!


Competition #1 - Short Story

I got my big break by being a runner up in the Woman's Own short story competition in 2006. It gave me the confidence to believe in my writing and start work on a novel and I want to give that kind of break to another writer. That's why I'm running (and funding the prizes for) my OWN short story competition!

There are some fab prizes available and, even better than that, you could win a one-on-one consultation with someone from the literary agency that represent me!

To find out more click here

Competition #2 - Chocolates, Jewellery & a signed copy of my book

If you don't fancy writing a short story but DO love jewellery by Tatty Devine, Hotel Chocolat chocolates and would like to win a signed copy of my novel just sign up for my newsletter and I'll be drawing a name out of a hat a week tomorrow.

You can enter that competition here.

Please feel free to spread the word about my competitions on your own blogs. Sally, Tam and I are preparing ourselves to judge a LOT of short story entries :)

Competition #3 - Shopping Spree!

Competition #3 is being run by my publishers! You could win a £200 shopping trip for you and a friend. Enter here!

Thank you all again, so, so much, for reading this blog and generally being fab!


Monday, 12 October 2009

Not long now...

I can't believe it's Monday. Only 3 more sleeps until my book comes out! How mental is that? I can still remember when my agent told me, about a year ago, that Orion would be publishing my novel. Back then publication day felt like a distant dream that could be snatched away from me in a heartbeat and now it's nearly here!

Thank you all SO MUCH for the lovely comments you left on my last post. You'll be pleased to hear I've stopped crying! Sorry I didn't reply but I've been hard at work answering interview questions and writing guest posts for the Virtual Book Tour which starts this Friday. I've completed seventeen interviews/posts with eight left to do!

I've also managed to squeeze in a little bit of editing of novel 2 which is now at a healthy 70%. My aim is to complete the first edit by the end of this month (squeezing it in between the day job, various nights out and the sale of my flat!) and then take a week off in November to read it aloud to myself and really get it up to scratch. What's the betting I'll end up moving house in that week?!

These last few months have been the busiest of my life and there have been times when I've felt like I was drowing in a sea of 'to do' lists but I'm gradually getting there. By December 1st (when I have to deliver novel 2 to my editor) I'll be able to breathe again!

Other published authors have told me to make sure I leave enough space in my life to really enjoy the publication of my novel (as one said, "You only publish your debut novel once") and that's my plan for this week. Earlier today I rang a local bar to ask them to reserve a table for me and fourteen friends so we can have a champagne celebration on publication day. The manager said he'd give me a free bottle of champagne if I signed a copy of my book for him. It was his suggestion - I didn't try and blag one or anything ! Amazing!

I think I'll spend part of Thursday (pre-drinks) wandering around various bookshops in town to see if I can spot my novel. It's going to be promoted in WHSmiths Travel Shops but shops like Waterstones and Borders should also stock it (although it'll be on the shelves under T for Taylor rather than on the tables). If you spot my book anywhere please let me know. And if you could take a photo that would be very cool!

Okay, right. That's about it for now. I'll be back on Thursday to announce the details of a very special short story competition I'm running to celebrate the launch of my novel. Please spread the word on your blogs/twitter/facebook etc if you can. I'm soooooo excited about it and I hope you will be too.

p.s. I did let out a loud squeeeeeeeee earlier this week when gave my book 5/5 and a lovely review. You can check it out by clicking HERE.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

A very special delivery!

I had a feeling I knew what was in the box when the delivery man handed it over to me.

I carried it up the stairs.

Put it on the sofa.

And carefully ripped off the lid (for once in my life I actually followed the instructions on which side to open).

Look what I found inside...

I stared at them.

And I stared at them.

And I stared at them some more (I just couldn't take it in).

Then I picked one up.

And I touched the cover, running my finger over the gold lettering.

Then opened it.

And saw my words inside.

I went on Twitter and shared my excitement/astonishment/sense of unreality with the world.

And people wrote such lovely things.

Such, such, lovely things.

And re-tweeted my excitement and told more people.

And my Twitter account was going 'Ping, ping, ping!' as more and more people said congratulations and well done and it's so pretty and I can't wait to read it.

I wrote back to all of them, thanking them, feeling like I was living in a dream.

And then I wrote "I've wanted to be an author since I was EIGHT YEARS OLD. And now I am."

And then I burst into tears.

And then someone told me I should stack my books up in a big pile and take a photo.

So I did.

They're still there. Still stacked up in my living room.

I keep walking in, just to check.