Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Hell-o! I'm Back!

In every sense of the word. It’s amazing what a couple of days in London can do: like add two inches to your hips, kill off a few liver cells, melt your Visa card, remind you EXACTLY why writing for Mills & Boon is the coolest and best job on the planet and make your head virtually explode with new ideas. (Or was that just the hangover? Oh no… there really are pages of excited scribble, involving the words 'rampaging', 'taut', 'catastrophic' and 'walk of shame' in my notebook.)

The summer break is over, ladies. I’m back in business.

(Ahem... This dramatic, cinema-trailer-style revelation is intended to distract you all from the fact that once again I have failed to take a single photograph of my three days in London. Mostly because I failed to remember to take a camera with me. However, as compensation here is a picture of my new hero. Now, isn't he nice?)

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

And the Winner is...

I’ve been so busy trying to get myself organized for my annual trip to London for the Mills & Boon Authors’ Lunch (and the associated glamorous revelry that goes on with it) that there hasn’t been a moment to announce that the winner of the Spanish Aristocrat Forced Bride competition is Lesley, with Johanna as a runner-up. Congratulations ladies, and I’ll get prizes in the post early next week on my return from the Big Smoke.

Once again this year Abby Green and I shall be setting up our Campaign Headquarters in a shared hotel room with a well-stocked mini bar. Over the next few days I am looking forward to…
  • Applying my butterfly mind (too easily distracted here by the internet, the laundry pile, the telephone, the writing on the back of the cereal packets) to my New Book for the entire length of the train journey and then boring Abby Green with the plot dilemmas.
  • Seeing Abby and Natalie Rivers and Christina Hollis and Michelle Styles and the Kates (Hardy and Walker) and Carole Mortimer and Sabrina Phillips and Sharon Kendrick and Penny Jordan and Chantelle Shaw and EVERYONE!
  • Having hotel-room biscuits in bed for breakfast. With a hangover.
  • Meeting my editor for afternoon tea tomorrow.
  • Not having to decide what’s for dinner
  • Wearing make-up and posh underwear (ie not faded, elastic-less or more than 5 years old)
  • Not having to get up in time for the school run
  • Coming home and hugging the daughters. And Him. Because no matter how much fun it is to go away, that’s always one of the best bits.

Back next week with a full report!

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

At last!

After a long journey halfway around the world Tristan has finally arrived on my doorstep. I’m very pleased to see him because it means that I can finally send copies out to people I promised them to as long ago as May. Here’s what he looks like in paperback format…

… hmmm, being brutally frank, not much better than he did in hardback. For a wicked moment I did consider making the contest to think up a caption/explaination of what’s going through Tristan’s head in this picture, but decided it would be cruel. And besides, the lovely Margaret James who interviewed me recently for Writing Magazine came up with the definitive answer to that question. She reckons that Lily "is standing on Tristan's foot and he is too much of a gentleman to say so - he is suffering in silence and being all Zen about it. Or he has got indigestion. Or he has just remembered he is wearing his Manchester United novelty thong because all his others are in the wash and he wasn't expecting to get lucky tonight."

Sorry Tristan, but that did make me laugh immoderately.

Thanks to everyone who’s entered the contest so far. For anyone who hasn’t got round to it yet and would like a chance to win a well-travelled copy of Spanish Aristocrat, Forced Bride and other assorted goodies (which might just be added to on my trip to London next week—I love an excuse to shop) you've got until Friday to mail the names of Tristan and Lily’s best friends to this address. (*whispers* You can find them in the blog post from 24th August.)

In other news, I am struggling to drag myself out of my blissful state of holiday ennui. Honestly, I am…

Friday, 4 September 2009

Where did THAT week go?

Sorry, have been absent much longer than I intended, due to a combination of post-fabulous-weekend-exhaustion, an avalanche of washing and the last minute frenzied panic of getting the children back to school. The headlines are that my team didn’t bring home the wooden spoon this year (no thanks to me, of course) and that the fancy dress was riotously funny. You can’t ever really say you know your own brothers until you’ve seen them in wigs and dresses, I’d say. We were predictably poor at taking photos, but as soon as those from more organized members of the family filter through I’ll post a selection of edited highlights. One magical moment we did manage to capture was the bit on Sunday night when my Auntie Moira (who has always had an incredible talent for making things feel special and leaving a trail of fairy dust everywhere she goes) gave us all fire lanterns, and we made a wish as we lit them and watched them drift up through the night sky and float high over the dark fields like glowing stars, or very languid comets. It’s a scene that will no doubt go in a book one day, but in the meantime is safely stored in my mental box of Gorgeous Memories.

Anyway, back to business and I find myself thwarted at every turn. Not only have my author copies STILL not shown up, but with the children out of the way at school I’ve been trying to put together a post with Tristan and Lily’s playlist, only to discover that copyright law now prevents it. (See those playlist things over there <-- ?? Purely decorative now, it seems.) Like all authors I’m all in favour of anything that stops the free distribution of stuff people have sweated blood, neglected their children and given up sleep to produce so I’m not grumbling about this at all, but I could have done without the hours of mind-numbing internet searching I’ve endured trying to work out if I can post stuff here that I’ve bought from i-tunes. The answer, I believe, is no but if anyone knows different do get in touch! I adored this playlist way too much not to share it—it’s my favourite of them all by miles, largely because it naturally fit the book so damned well. If you’ve read Tristan and Lily's story you might like to check out some of these songs…. Tonight and the Rest of my Life—Nina Gordon (The mood of this inspired the first chapter to such a degree that a couple of lines are spookily similar. See if you can spot them!)

Gravity of Love—Enigma (Chapter Two… It even mentions a dove!)

Remember When it Rained—Josh Groban (Lily remembers waking up in the night with Tristan.)

This Woman’s Work—Kate Bush. (Tristan’s regrets as he watches Lily sleeping in the hospital in Barcelona.)
My Immortal-- Evanescence and Breathe Me—Sia (Lily struggles to come to terms with what she’s lost.)

9 Crimes—Damien Rice (Loving each other/destroying each other. Sigh. Gorgeous song.)

Now all that I need to do, if everyone hasn’t passed out from extreme apathy while waiting, is post the question. It’s been so long since I began all this that I suspect ‘What is the title of the book I’ve been rambling on about?’ might be a good one, but instead I’m asking for the names of Tristan and Lily’s best friends. (First names only will do—you’ll find them in the post from 24th August, below.) Email me via the website, and I’ll pick out a winner a week today and send them (hopefully) one of the elusive copies of the book, some of my favourite L’Occitane soap from where Lily gets her ‘milk and honey’ fragrance, and some other bits and pieces.

There, now you see I’ve finally got round to finishing this off, and now I’ve gone and mentioned the website. And that’s a whole new chapter on my Things To Do list. (Buries head in hands and weeps.)