Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Win a signed novel & help a charity

If you're on Facebook and you haven't heard of 'Make for Macmillan' you're missing a treat. Created by Claire, who wanted a project to help take her mind of her own battle with cancer, it's a fantastic online community where crafters donate some of the wonderful things they've made so they can be auctioned off to the highest bidder.

You can get your hands on some really unusual and unique items AND help charity at the same time. I've won some fantastic items including a hand-carved name plate for my niece, a cross-stitch kit and crocheted 'angry birds'!

Claire's latest auction is brilliant - dozens of authors have donated signed books (you can request a dedication or particular wording) and there's a huge selection to choose from including:

  • Allie Danielle aka Allie Spencer
  • Cally Taylor (that'd be me!)
  • David Nicholls
  • Julie Cohen
  • Kate Hardy
  • Rowan Coleman
  • Rosy Thornton
  • Michelle Gorman
  • Freya North
  • Milly Johnson
  • Adele parks
  • Jenny Colgan
  • Emma Donoghue
  • Sarra Manning
  • Jo Carnegie
  • Kate Regan
  • Matt Harvey
  • Katie Fford
  • Louise Bagshaw
To join in you just need to leave a comment with your bid amount by Sunday 5th June, 8pm.

What are you waiting for?

To 'like' the page go here: http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/makeformacmillan?sk=wall

And to look at the books (and bid!) go here: http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/media/set/?set=a.175705379147025.55498.163410227043207

And there's a Young Adult/Childrens' signed book auction kicking off very soon...

Monday, 23 May 2011

And we're off! (in more ways than one)

If you haven't clicked 'like' on my Facebook page (if not, why not?! ;)) you won't know that my copy-edits were approved and 'Home for Christmas' has officially gone into production.* Woo hoo!

If that wasn't good enough I've also (with a bit of help) pretty much finished all the packing for my impending move to Bristol (five bags of stuff to charity, 6 bags in the skip and a MOUNTAIN of stuff to a car boot sale) and I'm off to Nice for my writing retreat on Wednesday!

I was worried that I'd blub during my official leaving do yesterday but, to my surprise I didn't shed a single tear. That may have had something to do with the fact that I'm seeing most of my friends/family again, individually, before I leave or that I'm in denial about the fact I'm actually going to leave Brighton after all this time but, mainly, I think it's because I'm so excited about the future. There's been a certain predictability to my life for the last 13 years and that's all about to change. Bring it on, ready or not!

I've spent today crossing boring moving-related things off my 'to-do' list, answering an interview for my Brazilian publishers and completing an online course I'm doing to help me complete 'Project B'. More on that when I've finished the first draft.

More of the same tomorrow - maybe squeeze in a trip to the Brighton Pavilion (I know, 13 years and I've never been!) - and then I'm off to Nice to get cracking with Project B. I still need to do a ton of planning before I can REALLY start writing Project B but I'd like to bash out the first couple of chapters if I can. They can always be re-written later.

Back on Sunday. Have a good week!

* page setting and proofreading

Friday, 13 May 2011

Copy edits. Moving on. And news of a competition...

After a bit of a nudge from the trade paperback editor to hurry up (in the nicest possible way!) I finally finished reading aloud novel 2 and sent in completed my copy edits. Now I just have to wait and see if they're given the ok.

I'm itching to see what the revised cover looks like. I saw a draft last year which was lovely and very similar in style to 'Heaven Can Wait' but that was before we decided to set the novel at Christmas time. Now I'm imagining snowflakes and sparkles!

I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before but, unlike 'Heaven Can Wait' which was set in North London, 'Home for Christmas' is set in Brighton. I've lived in Brighton for the last 13 years (the longest I've lived anywhere) and I love the place, know it inside out and many of the pubs, restaurants and cinemas mentioned in the book will ring a bell with people who live here. Unfortunately however, I'm not going to be around in October to drum up local interest in the book because...

...in just under 3 weeks time I'm moving to Bristol!

Although I'll miss Brighton, especially in the summer (not much beats a BBQ on the beach), I'm really excited about this move. It'll be the start of an exciting new era in my life and I'm sure there are many amazing adventures to be had in and around the city. Any of my blog readers live there, or nearby?

It's a good job I've handed in my copy edits because I'm off to a writing retreat in Nice the week before I move house (I know, I've never been very good at being sensible!) and I'm finally going to start Project B. I'm hugely looking forward to hanging out with my old screenwriting tutor (who's going to get us to do 'right brained exercises' each morning) and meeting some new writers. Then there's the fact the villa's got a swimming pool. Mmmm.....

I promised news of a competition in the title so here we go... the Alan Titchmarsh show, in conjunction with HarperCollins is running a competition to find 'The People's Novelist'. A similar competition was run in 2009 with Orion to find 'The People's Author' (fellow blogger Kate Lord Brown was a finalist and appeared on TV!) . Unlike 2009, however, it looks like they're looking for commercial fiction this time rather than a memoir. For more details see The Bookseller article here. Best of luck if you enter!

Any tips for staying sane when moving from one city to another? It's been a long time since I last did it...