Sunday, February 02, 2014

The best wedding date

And a happy February to you too!

Now, I've been busy organising things like the book launch for Impossible Things, and various interviews, talks and guest blogs relating to Impossible Things, and freaking out over the fact that its nearly release time for Impossible Things (!!!!!) and so blogging has fallen by the wayside. Also I've been busy attending the wedding of my lovely friend Lisa, who said such nice things in her wedding speech that I asked her if I could share it here.

Before I do (obviously, Lisa said yes!), here are some of the upcoming events I've got planned:

Dates unconfirmed, but soon: 
Australian Romance Readers Association release day blog
Shaz's Book blog: Interview
Free flash fiction from Choc Lit: Pirate Smile
Choc Lit blog: interview with Kael from Impossible Things

Wednesday 5th February: How to Write a Romantic Novel panel with Jan Jones & Louise Allen at RAF Lakenheath (only available to RAF/ASAF personnel, I believe, but I'll share some of the content with you later if you like).

Friday 7th February: Impossible Things available as a paperback!

Sunday 9th February: 8pm BBC Radio Cambridge, live on air with Sue Marchant. You can listen live on the BBC website, or I believe it's also syndicated to other East Anglian BBC stations.

Tuesday 18th February: Bookpushers guest blog.

Tuesday 18th February: Impossible Things book launch. Reports will follow!

And now to Lisa's wedding speech, reproduced here by kind courtesy of the bride herself. I haven't posted all of it, just the bits that particularly seemed relevant as a writer and a romantic!

I kind of felt these speeches were a bit heavily weighted with males, so sorry JR but I’m going to be a typical woman and keep you waiting a bit longer. I just wanted to say a few thank-yous myself.... 
...As many of you know there is an aspiring side of me that would like to leave behind the world of property one day and be a fully published, grown-up author, like some of my friends here today.  My writing over the past few years has also provided me with some very good friends, especially my good friend ‘that’ Elley Westbrook over there.  We both met when we began creative writing classes together and struck a friendship over the drinks afterwards where we would compete over who had the most awful life.  I am pleased to report that both of us are now competing over who has the best one instead. 

Then there’s my good friend Alison, now a published novelist, don’t you know [with Choc Lit, no less!].  Not only is she inspirational in a literary capacity but quite often she is good at giving me the ‘talking to’ I need, be it about my writing, or otherwise. 
Me, Lisa, & Alison
Then there’s the tremendous Kate who likes to talk about heroes and hot men and brought the wonderful character Harker to entertain my singleton life.
[See why I wanted to post this? Harker got mentioned in a wedding speech! How often does that happen?]

And that is where my writing stemmed from.  I was unhappy and I wanted a hero to come and save me.  So I wrote about one instead.  Now Matt thinks I have an unhealthy obsession with Sean Bean, but I don’t really, it’s Richard Sharpe.  It’s the man who knows his own mind, is slightly on the bad side of good and doesn’t give a damn what he says or what he does as long as it’s for the greater good.  Of course, he’s hot, mean, lean and pretty much can fix every problem as well as treating his heroine like a princess.  And I didn’t know that when I went on a date with the ‘hot electrician’ from work that that was who I was going on a date with but, happily for me, that’s exactly who I got and it’s worked out rather splendidly.

Now [PICK UP FRAME] this is what Matt, has to put up with looking down on him in the living room every evening when he watches television and I have promised that when we move Mr Sharpe is going to be relegated to the downstairs toilet.  However, having found my perfect hero, I really felt that today was the day to show Matt my commitment, so, Bollyknickers, if you would like to come up to collect this, I know you’ve coveted it long enough...

[And then she picked up another frame and had it sent over to me. And what was in the frame, you ask?]
Sharpe! She gave me Richard Sharpe!

...A good author friend once said to me that real life isn’t like a book.  In a book the story builds from a crap existence to a happy ever after but she said that real life just muddles on from one event to another.  But I like to think I’ve proved her wrong.  I’ve had my inciting event, I’ve had my turning points, I’ve even had my darkest moments and today I get my happy ending. So I would be grateful if you would raise your glasses and toast Matt, my hero.

To Matt!
Lisa & Matt, in a rather shoddy shot taken with my iPhone (sorry guys)

And I got the best wedding date ever. Look! I went home with Richard Sharpe!

He's mine now...

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Impossible Things now available as an ebook!

Yes, that's right! You can now buy Impossible Things as an ebook from Amazon UK, Amazon US, and the iBookstore. Other formats to follow soon.

If you'd rather read it as a paperback, you don't have long to wait: only a month until 7th February!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Impossible Things at Christmas

In the world of Impossible Things, there is no such thing as Christmas. Except that there is, because wherever there's a winter there's a festival in the middle of it, from the Winter Solstice to Saturnalia and on to the our own Christmas, with all its holly, and feeling jolly, and...other things ending in olly.

In Krulland, land of ice and snow and more importantly, my hero Kael, Midwinter is a good old-fashioned feast day in the middle of the darkest part of winter. Here's a little excerpt from Impossible Things on the subject...

Despite Kael’s best efforts, the story of Ishtaer and the Wild Hunt spread through the castle quicker than a forest fire. As with every other story he’d heard about her, it soon became wildly exaggerated, with fire-breathing giant Huntsmen and hellhounds the size of stallions. Ishtaer had, according to rumour, screamed some exciting, inspirational and snappy lines at the invaders, his favourite of which was, ‘You shall not take this place! It! Is! Defended!’

‘I never said that,’ Ishtaer muttered as they passed a family retelling the story amongst themselves.

‘No, I think Eirenn was responsible for that. Don’t worry about it. It makes people feel safer that there’s someone here who frightened off the Wild Hunt.’

She frowned at him, but said nothing. Three days into the Dark, and everyone was getting bored and fractious. Stories were one of the best ways to pass the time, and Eirenn was pretty good at telling them.

‘Are you looking forward to Midwinter?’

‘Yes,’ she said, and added, ‘although I don’t really know what to expect. In Ilanium it was all visits to the Temple and prayers and readings I didn’t understand.’

‘Well, here we have visits to the longhouse for feast food and stories even the kids can understand. Uh. I did mention to you about Midwinter gifts, right?’

She smiled. ‘Yes, you did, and I went shopping in Utgangen with Aune.’ She hesitated. ‘We must write and find out how she’s doing, after the Dark.’

He smiled at the ‘we’. ‘Absolutely. But I did enquire about her sister and it seems she’s a stout farmer’s wife who has been known to intervene in fights between full grown men and come out the champion.’

‘A fierce pair of sisters.’

‘Yeah. I think she’ll be all right.’

‘I hope so,’ Ishtaer said quietly.

‘You can’t save everyone, Ishtaer.’

‘Neither can you,’ she said, and his heart clutched.

He thought again about the gift he’d bought, totally on impulse, walking back from the town hall in Utgangen. The covered market, the only way to shop in such frigid temperatures, was warm and glowing and he’d wandered through, looking for trinkets for the boys for Midwinter. What he hadn’t expected was something calling out to him from one small stall, crying like a siren that it would be perfect for Ishtaer.

He hoped she wouldn’t take it the wrong way. And then again, a small secret part of him hoped she would.

That night they sat around the huge fire in the longhouse, a fire that would burn continuously throughout the Dark, and told stories. Eirenn told once more his very popular and heavily embellished version of Ishtaer’s encounter with the Wild Hunt, and she sat there smiling, saying nothing. Between them sat Garik and Durran, the younger boy curled up against Ishtaer’s side. She put her arm around him, whispered something in his ear that made him smile, and turned her attention back to Eirenn.

Kael’s heart ached at that, even worse when Mags caught his eye and sent him a very speaking glance. We look like a family, he thought, and wished painfully that they were.

When Durran finally drifted off, halfway through Old Alvar’s traditional tale of how the Wild Hunt came to be – traditional in that he traditionally never told it the same way twice – Kael glanced over and saw that Garik was fast asleep, and Ishtaer was about to nod off too.

He nudged her gently, and to his delight she barely flinched. ‘The boys are asleep,’ he said. ‘We should get them to bed.’ She nodded and rose gracefully with Garik already in her

arms. But when she headed towards the door leading to the part of the castle where they slept, Kael stopped her. ‘No. In here.’


‘Yes. It’s traditional to spend Midwinter night all in the same room. Some people even spend the whole Dark in their longhouses. I guess it goes back to when the longhouse was the only room there was.’

‘But, the beds ...’

‘Follow me.

The benches around the edge of the longhouse were used for storage, and tonight they’d been packed with bedrolls and blankets. He made up a couple for the boys, close by each other, then another for himself and, casually, one for Ishtaer too.

‘It’ll tickle them no end to wake up with Brutus next to them,’ he added, and Ishtaer nodded, looking slightly uncertain. ‘You don’t have to stay here. You can go somewhere else, or back to your room if you like.’

She bit her lip and turned her head back to the huge central fire and the group of rapt listeners. Ishtaer was the only castle resident who hadn’t gone chalky white in the dark of the midwinter, where the weak sun showed for less than twenty minutes a day, and her bronze complexion turned golden in the firelight. Her hair shone like a crown.

I love you, Ishtaer, he thought, and wasn’t even surprised by the idea.

‘I’ll stay,’ she said, and he smiled.

Impossible Things is out in February.

Monday, December 02, 2013

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Do you write chick-lit?

Here's a handy flow-chart to help you work it out.
click to enlarge
(normal blogging service will resume soon. I'm just doing edits on Impossible Things, and then I'll be back to tell you all about Impossible Things. Did I mention my book is called Impossible Things?)

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Welcome to Ilanium

So, in between edits on Impossible Things, I thought I'd sketch out a map of the world it inhabits. I already had a very crude version on my computer, for reference, but here's a slightly prettier one. To the west, the New Lands where the story begins. To the north, Krulland where our hero dwells. In the centre, the city of Ilanium where our heroine learns...well, I'll let you read it to find out what she learns!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Did I mention my trophy?

So, last weekend was the Romantic Novelists Association annual conference, which is always one of my favourite events of the year. This year it was in Sheffield, land of my forefathers, up in the Frozen North. Except, confusingly, it was quite the opposite of frozen, which is why so many pictures of us all are a bit...shiny. 
The Choc-Liteers glammed up for the Saturday gala dinner, including our lovely two new recruits, Rhoda Baxter & Alison May (front right).

As ever, it was a fab mix of informative and useful talks (thanks especially to Julie Cohen & Fiona Harper who helped me figure out a few things about my Wip, and Janet Gover who told me what not to do in radio interviews), and lots of socialising. Maybe a bit too much socialising.'re right. There can't be too much. 

Of course, on the Saturday night, the Elizabeth Goudge trophy was presented. This is open to all conference attendees, regardless of published status, and is entirely anonymous, which is really lovely. This year, the entry was the first chapter of a novel on the theme of ice. I wrote mine in about five minutes and raced for the last post, then forgot about it.

Then it won. 

No, look, it won! I won a trophy! Did I mention my trophy?

After the conference I needed to sleep for a week, but instead went on to Derbyshire for a few days holiday in the Peak District. It's quite astonishingly pretty up there, although I might have wished for slightly cooler weather--still, it's a wonderful excuse for a pint of cold lager in the afternoon!

Back to work now (well, maybe on Monday) with plenty of ideas for a new, improved Wip. Strengthen the theme, improve the structure, and don't forget to describe the heat oppression in those summer scenes.

Now, did I mention my trophy?

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Kindle books under £2.99

Have I mentioned that The Untied Kingdom is part of Amazon's Kindle books under £2.99 deal during June? Oh yes, it is! And not only is it under £2.99, it's under £1.99 too. In fact it's only 99p for the rest of the month! Go on, fill yer boots.