Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Me + Ant and Dec = Squeeeeeeeeee!!!!

Look what amazing blog reader Francine just sent me and made my night!

<<< Click to see bigger image

Candis magazine have reviewed my book!

And their verdict?

"You'll find yourself laughing one minute and crying the next"

My novel...sharing magazine space with Ant and Dec...I can't believe it! I don't think it's possible to feel more excited and elated than I do right now.

Monday, 28 September 2009

It's all happening!

A couple of weeks ago my agent emailed me some interview questions for "First Edition" magazine. I spent hours answering the questions, emailed them back to her and then got on with something else (probably organising my Virtual Book Tour!).

I'd almost forgotten about the interview until I checked my email earlier today. An ex-colleague had sent me a message to say he'd seen a copy of the magazine and my name was on the front cover. A quick check of their website revealed he wasn't kidding.

<<< Look!

I had my first ever interview with a journalist this week - a journalist from a very, very popular woman's magazine! I have to admit I was poo-ing my pants a little bit as I watched the clock on my laptop count down the minutes until she was due to ring and I started to worry that maybe I'd give away a terrible secret or she'd twist my words and publish some fabricated story about my route to publication like

"I bedded half of London's literary agents before I got signed"

or

"I signed my publishing deal in pig blood" *

(and they say writers have over-active imaginations).

I needn't have worried. The journalist was really lovely, didn't ask me a single dodgy question and made all the right noises (i.e. interested uh-huhs rather than snores) when I gave her the background information she'd asked for.

The Virtual Blog Tour seems to be coming along nicely with most people now signed up for a date (if you haven't please scroll down to the previous blog post) and I've received lots of fab interview questions. Thank you all! Now there's just the small *ahem* matter of answering them all and writing ten or twelve guest posts. Eeek!

I gave myself this weekend off promotional stuff and got stuck into editing novel 2 instead. I've got just over two months to get it as perfect as possible, ready to hand over to my editor on 1st December, and am trying not to freak out about the fact I haven't even finished the first edit yet (my first novel had at least 3 or 4 edits before I tried to get an agent!).

Hmmmm.

I've got 6 days annual leave left this year. I think I'm going to need them.

*Of course the interview won't be published for a while yet so I could still open the magazine to read one of the headlines above. But I hope not!

Friday, 18 September 2009

Blog Tour Part 2 - I need your dates!

No one ever tells you when you're offered a book deal quite how stressful arranging publicity and PR can be. My brain is mush at the moment as I try and sort out interviews, giveaways, competitions, articles and a launch party. I can't remember who I've promised what, or when. As a result I haven't edited a word of novel 2 this week and October is looking even busier. Then there's the day job and the sale of my flat to fit in too. Urrggggh.

Sorry to whinge (I know I'm very lucky to be in this position, I just feel a bit overwhelmed by how bloody much there is to do at the moment). Bear with me if I don't answer your email immediately or forget that you offered to help out by doing X or Y. Just give me a nudge if I have forgotten.

Anyway, back to the blog tour. Here's what's going to happen...

On 15 October I'm going to launch the details of a very special short story competition on this blog to celebrate the publication of my novel.

On 16th October (the day after publication) I'll be posting a link to the first person to host a leg of my virtual tour. On the same day they'll publish a post with either an interview or a guest blog from me. The day after that I'll be linking to the next person and so on.

A couple of people have already contacted me to ask for certain dates so I've added them below in red.

There are 27 different people hosting a leg of the tour so, in theory, you can pick a date from 16th October to 12th November (excluding the dates that have already gone). Ideally there should only be one 'leg' on each date but it doesn't really matter if a couple double up.

If you're hosting a leg of my tour please use the comments box to ask for the date you want.

Also - if you are going to be interviewing me please get your questions to me via email Calistrowriter@googlemail.com

If you could send them sooner rather than later that would be great so I spread out answering them between now and 16th October. If I'm writing a guest post please send me an email letting me know what you want me to write about - or just put 'up to you' in the email. That way I can get organised, put everything in one email folder and work through them all.

I'll try and keep up with the comments and update this post to show which dates have been taken.

Clear as mud? Great ;)

Here's the list of the tour legs again:

1. Chicklit reviews (http://chicklitreviews.com) - Berkshire & Tenerife - guest post - Friday 16 October (guest post written and sent)

2. Fia (http://fias-blog.blogspot.com/) - Berkshire/Hants border - guest post, Subbing to agents - Sat 17 October (guest post written and sent)

3. JJ (teastains) (http://tea-stains.blogspot.com/) - Thailand - interview - Sunday 18 October (questions received and answered)

4. Caroline Smailes (http://www.carolinesmailes.co.uk/blog/) - North-West England - Interview & giveaway - Monday 19 October (questions received and answered)

5. Strictly Writing (http://strictlywriting.blogspot.com/) - International - interview - Tuesday 20 October (questions received and answered)

6. Amanda (http://writingallsorts.blogspot.com/) - United Kingdom - Interview - Wednesday 21st October (questions received and answered)

7. Karen (http://writewritingwritten.blogspot.com/) - United Kingdom - Guest post: writing highlights of the last year - Thurs 22 October (guest post written and sent)

8. Helen MH (http://fictionisstrangerthanfact.blogspot.com) - United Kingdom - Interview with her cats! (+ Bookersatz review http://bookersatz.blogspot.com/) - Friday 23 October (questions received and answered)

9. Colette - (http://withinkfromthepinkpen.blogspot.com/) - North-East - guest post - how the reality compares to the dream - Saturday 24 October (guest post written and sent)

10. Helen (http://redders.typepad.com/simply_bake/) -United Kingdom - Cake chat! :) - Sun 25 October (questions received and answered)

11. Sally Quilford (http://sallyquilfordblog.co.uk/) - Chesterfield - interview & giveaway - Monday 26th October (questions received and answered)

12. Cassandra (http://camarshall.blogspot.com/) - United States - Informal interview - Sunday 27 October (questions received and answered)

13. Tom Conoboy (http://tomconoboy.blogspot.com/) - Yorkshire - the craft of writing - Wed 28 October (questions received and answered)

14. Captain Black (http://cloud-base.blogspot.com/) - Sutton - questions about writing process/ tools of the trade - Thurs 29 October (questions received and answered)

15. Five minutes Peace
(http://www.keris.typepad.com/books/) - Wirral - Guest post: 5 favourite books - Fri 30 October (guest post written and sent)

16. L-Plate (http://lplateauthor.blogspot.com) - Stoke on Trent - one word interview - Sat 31 October (questions received and answered)

17. Cathy W (http://cwnotebook.blogspot.com/) - London - guest post on reward and motivation - Sun 1 November (guest post written and sent)

18. Queenie (http://qwertyqueen.blogspot.com/) - United Kingdom - Interview/questions - Mon 2 November (questions received and answered)

19. Kate Lord Brown (http://katelordbrown.blogspot.com/) - Hampshire - Guest blog post - Tues 3 November (guest post written and sent)

20. Womagwriter (http://womagwriter.blogspot.com/) - United Kingdom - Guest blog post/giveaway - background in short story writing - Wed 4 November (guest post written and sent)

21. SueG (http://sueguineyblog.blogspot.com) - London - Anam Cara, retreats and things in general - Thurs 5 November (questions received and answered)

22. Catherine Withnay (http://withenay.blogspot.com/) - ? - Interview - Friday 6 November (questions received and answered)

23. Kate Harrison (http://chicklitworkinprogress.blogspot.com/) - Barcelona - Guest blog post about post-deal experiences - Sat 7 November

24. Debs (http://debcarrs-daydreams.blogspot.com/) - United Kingdom - Review and book giveaway - Sun 8 November

25. DOT (http://westpierwords.blogspot.com) - Brighton- dinner party questions - Mon 9 November (questions received and answered)

p.s. To the editors of Novelicious, and Nik Perring - I think I promised to do something for you. Could you remind me what?!!

p.p.s. Cassandra (leg #12) is currently running a competition on her blog. It's an 'Ask the Author Anything' contest and I'm the author in question! If there's anything you've ever wanted to ask me (writing related. Keep it clean!) please pop over there and leave a comment and you could win a copy of New York Times bestselling author Sarah Dessen's "The Truth About Forever"

Here's the link to Cassandra's blog and the competition:

http://camarshall.blogspot.com/2009/09/ask-author-anything-contest.html

Monday, 14 September 2009

Blog Tour Update

Blog tour update (to help spread the word about "Heaven Can Wait" after it's published on 15 October). So far I have:

1. Five minutes Peace - Guest post: 5 favourite books

2. Chicklit reviews - guest post

3. L-Plate - to be arranged later

4. Karen - Guest post: writing highlights of the last year

5. SueG - Anam Cara, retreats and things in general

6. Tom Conoboy - the craft of writing

7. Captain Black - questions about my writing process and tools of the trade

8. Fia - Subbing to agents

9. Queenie - Interview/questions

10. Caroline Smailes - TBA

11. Helen MH - TBA (+ Bookersatz review)

12. Cassandra - Informal interview

13. Helen - Cake chat! :)

14. Colette - TBA

15. DOT - *thinking* ;)

16. Leatherdykeuk - Interview on Dogsbyte

17. Jumbly Girl - TBA

18. Catherine Withnay - Interview or guest blog

19. Amanda - Interview

20. Kate Harrison - Guest blog post about post-deal experiences

21. Kate Lord Brown - Guest blog post

22. Womagwriter - Guest blog post - background in short story writing

23. Amber Lynae - Guest post/giveaway

24. JJ (teastains) - TBA

25. Strictly Writing - Interview

*** Update: I think I'll have to stop there or I'll be writing guest posts and answering interview questions for the rest of my life!! Thanks SO much for everyone for sticking their hands in the air. Makes me feel giddily happy. My next blog post will be about arranging the dates they'll take place. Ideally, one leg of the tour a day - so it'll last 24 days!!! ***

p.s. If anyone said yes and I've accidentally missed you off the list please let me know and I'll add you.

Any more for any more?

It really doesn't matter if your blog doesn't have a huge following, I'd just like to spread the word as much as I can. There isn't the funding available at my publishers for any advertising or an amazing marketing strategy (apart from a few competitions that will be run in conjunction with my blog and website) so I'm really relying on word of mouth - and the handful of interviews my wonderful writer friends are trying to arrange for me - to let people know about my book.

Anything you can do to help would be hugely appreciated x

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Introducing the best dad in the world...

The other day I received an email from my dad titled "Fan club t-shirt".

I had no idea what he was on about...

I clicked open on the email...

And look what I found!
























He made it himself (not the T-shirt obviously but he did print the cover of my book onto it).

I'll fight anyone that disputes the fact that he's the best dad in the world :)

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

I'm back... from Ireland in case you were wondering!

Gosh, can't believe it's been a fortnight since I last updated my blog. I spent one of my weeks away at a writing retreat in Ireland called Anam Cara - and what an amazing place it is.














The website really doesn't do it justice and, when I booked my week away, I had no idea of the delights that would await me:
  • A beautiful location













  • Three delicious home-cooked meals a day (although I only got up in time for breakfast once!)
  • A breathtaking view of the countryside and the sea from my room













  • A hot tub in the garden! (with a view of the sea)















  • A sauna
  • Books in every room
  • Fascinating conversations with the other writers/artists/poets staying at the retreat
  • A snug filled with over 200 films
  • A maze of paths in the 5 acre gardens that lead to a waterfall and river














  • A cute little dog called Jack who happily accompanied me on my walks through the countryside to the sea


























  • Fun nights out in the local pubs - pints of Guinness (of course), Bulmers cider, Irish music, dancing and the mostly wonderfully friendly locals (I was chatted up by a 21 year old one night and it wasn't for a bet! ;))
  • And best of all - the freedom, space and quiet to get on with editing my novel.

Anam Cara is a magical place - not just because it's so homely and welcoming and sits in one of the most beautiful parts of the world I've ever visited - but because it frees you up from all the stresses of real life and allows you to write. Before I left I was editing an average of 500 words every other day. Whilst there I edited between 2,500 and 5,000 word a day!

I really, really didn't want to leave but it seems I've brought a bit of the magic back with me as, after a couple of days off, I've continued to edit about 3,000 words a day. I'm now 45% of the way through novel 2 and am hoping to complete the first edit by the beginning of October (I'm aiming to get to 50% by the end of this week). There will be a few more edits after I've finished this one, including one where I'll read out my novel aloud, before it'll be in a good enough state to show to my agent and editor but it's finally starting to come together and several scenes have even made me laugh out loud.

What else? While I was away I found out that Take a Break Fiction Feast would like to publish my story "Marry Me Man" and, before I left, my agent informed me that my first book has been sold to China! That's eight countries (including the UK) that will be publishing it now - something I still can't quite get my head around. In fact, I don't think I'll really believe it until I've touched and stroked each version of my book!

Talking of the first book - not long now until publication day (15th October). I can't believe it's nearly here. Last October, when I found out Orion were going to be publishing it, feels like yesterday. No news yet on a date or venue for the launch party but we're working on that. Chances are it won't be until some time in November - but at least there's more chance of my book actually being in the shops then! I'll release more details when I know them.

I'm also planning some fantastic competitions to celebrate my book's launch - including a short story competition with a prize that, hopefully, un-agented writers will find very exciting (I'm saying no more!). Details of all the comps will be publicised on this blog and my website nearer the time.

I've also answered a few emailed interviews with a few more still to complete.

Oh! I'd love to have some kind of virtual blog tour to celebrate the launch of my novel. I think the way it works is that bloggers who'd like to host a 'leg' of my tour let me know (in the comments box?) and then we work out some kind of a schedule so each blogger posts on a different day. If you'd like to take part (you can ask me questions, I could write a guest post for your blog, anything you fancy really) please leave a comment below. I'm hoping it can all kick off with the first tour 'stop' on 16th October - the day after publication day.

Okay, now my head's spinning with everything I have to do...