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Sunday, 25 November 2012

A short post about Prunes (my similiarity to), the proximity of Christmas, the misfortune of hats - and an In Memoriam.

This will be a quick post today (and shut up, you at the back, I heard that cheering and whooping.  You don't have to read my words of wisdomish, you know, you could go out and get a proper hobby).  I'm busily writing, trying to get the first draft of my Vampire State of Mind (available in all good bookshops and online) sequel finished, and also the first draft of the late, great Starman (otherwise known as The One about The Astrophysicist) finished too.  So, you know, busy.

Plus it's raining.  And it's nearly my birthday.  And I haven't had nearly enough chocolate, so I'm crabby and out of sorts, and probably the last thing you need to listen to is a writer who's chocolate-deprived, writing very hard and, with one fatal swoop of the calendar, is about to turn another year older and watch yet another portion of her face fall off, or at the very least sink into wrinkles.  It's like watching a plum in time-lapse photography; one moment all shiny and bearing the bloom of perfect ripeness, the next it's a prune-in-waiting, with a slight tinge of mould and suddenly very attractive to flies.

My face.
It's on Wednesday, by the way.  My birthday.  In case you want to pop over, with a cake or chocolate or expensive perfume or something.  Or even just to reassure me that I don't look like an incipient prune.  Although, of course, you may be saving the cake, chocolate and perfume for Christmas (she said, hopefully). That's one of the problems with a birthday so close to Christmas (just under four weeks, not that I want to panic you of course, but, you know, LESS THAN FOUR WEEKS..), I get many lovely gifts but I get them all within the space of a month, and have to spend the rest of the year carefully rationing them out. 

I shall petition to be like the Queen, and have a second birthday in June.  That way I might get some summery things for my birthday.  No-one ever thinks, early in November, as they shop for my birthday, 'Do you know, what I think Jane needs is some nice sunglasses?' even if I do.  They look at the goods available in the shops and they buy me gloves and hats and scarves.  Which, of course, are much appreciated, obviously, because I have all the thermoregulation ability of a rock and am permanently cold, even when sitting inside the fireplace with a large fire burning but.  You know.  Principle of the Thing, especially when the people concerned then do it again for Christmas.
These are cute, don't you think?  Not that I'm hinting or anything, know, saying.

Please, someone, admit I have a point here...

Whereas I, on the other hand, once gave a flannel as a gift, so am probably not best placed to remark on the Suitability of Presents...

And now, having planted that little seed in your mind, I shall take myself off and do something useful like writing.  Or, more probably, panic-buying of Christmas presents.  I mean, FOUR WEEKS ON TUESDAY, PEOPLE!  Let's see some ACTION!

This blog post is dedicated to the memory of our little Maggie-cat, who passed away on Thursday and is, even now, stalking her way through cat-heaven, terrorising the voles and eating all the sardines.

Monday, 19 November 2012

This is it, the real thing. Better latte than never...

Hello again.

No, it's all right, I'm awake now.  Your constant chivvying and nagging has had its effect, and I'm here to tell you about the Goings On at the weekend.  Many and varied were the goings...

Firstly, we drove to Bedford in fog, to attend the Festival of Romance, where I pranced about in a borrowed frock and was allowed to present two awards!  Yes, they let me open envelopes with people's names in!  And my publisher, Choc Lit was awarded Publisher of the Year!  Which was a true thing, and not me being busy with a crayon behind everyone's backs and just pretending to open the envelope!  And later, and not presented by me, the lovely and wonderful Christina Courtney won the Best Historical section for her book The Silent Touch of Shadows, so of course we had to have some drinks.

My book Vampire State of Mind was shortlisted for the Best Book, with some lovely other people, but it didn't win because the equally lovely Rowan Coleman won with her book, Dearest Rose, and we had some more drinks.  In the morning I think I read in a shopping centre.  Well, my body did, because my head was still lying in bed complaining about all the drinks it had been given.  Later on, when my head had rejoined us, I read at a Rock Star Party.  Look...

I'm wearing a basque under that jacket, if that helps you to think of me as Rock Starry, rather than 'In a wind tunnel in my underwear'.  And, yes, Morrissey does appear to be staring into my left ear, doesn't he?

In a stunning turn of fate, our team came second in the Romaniacs Romance Quiz after the Saturday night dinner (at which I told my Big Black Cock story again).  We would have won the competition if we'd got more answers right, but I feel we performed creditably under the circumstances, so big ups to our team Norfolk In Chance - Sarah Tranter, Liz Harris, Christina Courtney, Sue Moorcroft, Jane Wenham-Jones, me, and my OH Steve!

Then we went home.  Where I promised never to drink again.


Sunday, 18 November 2012

Apologies for the late arrival of your post

A million apologies if you've landed here all revved up and awaiting the next installment of me.  However, due to the entirely foreseen circumstances of having returned from the Festival of Romance (pause for whoops of delight) slightly hungover and completely exhausted, this post will be slightly delayed.  Not, obviously, delayed enough for you to contemplate getting another blog, just long enough for you to get tired and cold and hungry waiting for the arrival of this one.

But it will arrive tomorrow, promise.  Probably.  Unless another hangover intervenes, or I wander off, or something else happens and I forget all about it.  If I do, you can prod me. Not too hard or anything, you don't want to make me cry, just...gently.  With marshmallows and kittens and things.

In the meantime, here is a picture of me, doing something.  Don't ask what, it was something to do with eyebrows, apparently.  Quite why I am talking about eyebrows whilst dressed as a set of curtains I do not know.  I had a hangover, cut me some slack...


Sunday, 11 November 2012

The Next Big Thing. Maybe. Plus kittens, but they are right at the bottom, so you have to read ALL OF IT! Mwhaha...etc,

So, anyway.  I've been tagged (no, it's all right, it's not one of those that means I can't go out after dark.  I don't go out after dark anyway, so it would be pointless...) by the lovely Caroline Green ..yes, it's all right, I'll wait while you follow the link and find out more about her... I'll just sit here and twiddle my thumbs....  Caroline writes YA (Young Adult) books, and we first met when we both won our categories at the Romantic Novel of the Year Awards (did I mention I'd won an award?  I did?  Oh.).  Where was I?  Oh, yes, Caroline's tagged me in The Next Big Thing, which is where I tell you about my, well, next big thing I suppose.

So I jolly well will.  There are questions I have to answer, it's all done properly and everything, not just me randomly standing on a box and yelling, so you might want to go and get a cup of tea and a biscuit (I recommend HobNobs), so you can properly absorb my words of wisdomish.  Which are thusly:-

What is the working title of your book?

Hubble Bubble.  It seems to be working so far...

Where did the idea come from for the book?

Walking through local woods, a smattering of a knowledge of hedge-witchery (I can kill a man with a look, you know.  Well, as long as I'm holding a gun, anyway), horrible winter weather and the nature of friendship.
I know this isn't very enlightening but I'm never quite sure where my ideas come from.  I just sort of point myself at a page and things happen.

What genre does your book fall under?

Although someone did say that it had a bit of everything, magic, romance, mystery, fantasy, primarily it's a  romantic comedy.  Because that's what I do.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Oh dear.  I was afraid you'd ask me that.  Y'see, I don't watch enough TV to know who anyone is these days.  Hmmm, let me think (and Google like a bitch)...  Hmmm.  Tom Ellis could probably play Kai, if he wore built up shoes and grew his hair a bit, plus played up his Welsh accent.  Holly.. I'm not sure.  Most actresses are a little bit too 'fey', since Holly is very down-to-earth and practical.  Freema Agyeman would do a lovely Megan and I'd plump for Ben Wishaw as Rowan.  Those are my best guesses, sorry.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Be careful what you wish for - you might get what you need, rather than what you want.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

It's under contract to Choc Lit to be published in June 2013.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Six weeks.  I wrote it as my NaNoWriMo exercise three years ago.  Mind you, it's had an awful lot of work done to it since then...

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I'm not sure I've ever read anything quite like it!  I know there are books out there that are magic brought into the real world, Jenny Colgan's Working Wonders for one, but this is more about amateur witchcraft, so...not sure. Pass.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

I honestly don't know.  I think there are stories out there, sleeting through the atmosphere, and sometimes a little germ of one hatches inside the mind that wants to write, I just loved the whole 'wishes coming true but in a very warped way' idea.  Apparently that happens in the horror films 'Wishmaster', but I've never seen it, because I am a wuss.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

There's a sexy Welsh journalist who gets caught up in the whole thing, against his will, whilst being very cynical and a bit brusque; he's cute.  And my MC, Holly Grey, who is adamant that she doesn't wish for anything - her life is complete as it is.  And yet...

And now I have to tag some people to carry on in this vein.  Supposedly it should be five, but I can only find two people willing to have their names attached to this blog (it's not like it's catching or anything.  They might just feel a bit...itchy for a day or two.  And spots, there may be spots.)  But I have managed to round up and corral a couple of volunteers, so watch their blogs for they shall be offering their own Words of Wisdomish about their upcoming Works in Progress, very shortly.  Or, you know, when they get round to it, they're busy people.  Itchy, busy people.  With spots...

Firstly there is Kate Johnson.   Kate and I go way back.  So far back, in fact, that sometimes we fall over.  This is a bit about her.

Kate Johnson lives behind a keyboard in Essex and belongs to a small pride of cats. 

She also seems to have developed a habit of talking about herself in the third person, which she'll stop now.

I was born in the 1980s and have spent the intervening years watching romantic comedies and reading Terry Pratchett, which sort of made it inevitable that I'd grow up to write fantastical stories about people falling in love.

I've worked in an airport and in a laboratory, but much prefer being an author since it allows me to look at pictures of handsome men all day for the purposes of research.

I spend a lot of time online (seriously, a lot of time), Tweeting, reading other people's blogs, and trying to justify the purchase of more shoes, and when I've completely run out of other things to do, I occasionally write books.

My hobbies include
reading lots of books researching the literary competition, watching films and TV researching through a broad spectrum of media, drooling over admiring the work of fine actors such as David Tennant, Richard Armitage and Hugh Jackman, and being used as a bed/scratch-post/chew-toy/human slave by the aforementioned collection of animals.

I also write award-winning erotic romance under the name Cat Marsters.  

My other willing (honestly!) volunteer, is Rhoda Baxter, in whose company I have also been indecently drunk.  Plus, she knows about The Bat...

Hi. I’m Rhoda. I write smart contemporary romantic comedy. In real life, I’m a former scientist who now works with intellectual property. The rest of the time I’m a sensible grown up.
Years ago, when I commuted into London every day, I read a lot. I now write the sort of books I wanted to read.
My first book, Patently In Love is out now! The second, Having a Ball is scheduled for release spring 2013. I am a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.

And now, as a reward, here are some kittens.


Sunday, 4 November 2012

Whitby Goth Weekend - Panda, a corset, dusting and being 'An Entourage'.

Oh, veritably have I been jet-setting this past week!  Well, no, there were no actual jets involved, mostly cars and legs, and it wasn't so much set as a bit...well, wobbly; definitely one stage up from liquid but not quite as firm as one would like one's set to be, so...all right, not so much jet-setting as leg-wobbling then.  But I have most definitely been it.  For this week I have been signing books all over the place.  Mostly just inside the front cover, it has to be admitted, but also in York, Leeds, Scarborough and, particularly noteably, at the Goth Weekend in Whitby.

Also my mother came to criticise the curtains and make noises at the cats and this always distracts me from the process of writing.  She hasn't been up to visit us here in the wilds of Yorkshire for a couple of years, so you can only imagine the lengths I had to go to to cover up the dirt before she arrived.  I DUSTED, people!  And you know that dust and I have a slightly symbiotic relationship, and I have, on occasion, used to it make notes on an upcoming work in progress, so the cleaning and clearing up that this maternal visit initiated was like ridding myself of old friends. Anyway.  It accounts for my somewhat lackadaisical appearance on the Internet recently.

But!  And it is a big but, particularly in these trousers... I have delightful pictures to show you!  Here, look, this is one of them...

This is me, engothulated and about to sign some copies of Vampire State of Mind, in Whitby Bookshop.  It was absolutely lovely, so many lovely people in such beautiful costumes, and me in a tight corset and three inch heels.  I could neither breathe nor walk, I was like a typical Victorian Miss.  For a while I thought about having consumption just to complete the picture, but since I couldn't cough either this would merely have consisted of me holding a hanky in front of my face, and passers by may have thought this was a ploy to prevent my make-up from scaring the horses.  So I didn't.  I don't know why it says Vintage Gifts behind me.  I am neither.

Here I am, sitting down, to my great relief.  Try not to be distracted by my heaving bosoms, when you are laced into a corset your bosoms are the least of your worries, even if, it transpires, you can balance a pint on them.  I am accompanied in this picture by Panda - a gentlemanly specimen of his species, who belongs to Paul and Jeremy and who kindly posed with me to prevent me from looking quite so Billy No-Mates.  Paul was there to read from some of his 'Brenda and Effie' novels later in the day, which I also attended and which was lovely, and I actually got to be part of his entourage - well, we walked from the pub to the bookshop together and I guess that qualifies as entouraging - which is something else I've never done before!  Yey!  Although I do have to add that we were actually in the pub beforehand, talking about forebodings, which is not quite as rock and roll, although I did rock and roll considerably whilst walking over cobbles in three inch heels, and the wine came as something of a relief.

And now, to allow your eyes to stop rotating in their sockets at the sight of me in a corset, with a panda, here is a delightful photograph of the bridlepath outside my house, in the mist.  Look on it as a holiday for your brain...

And try not to dwell on the thought of me in a corset, it's not good for you.