Wednesday, 19 November 2014

5 of the Best Things to Receive in the Post

5. Actual Letters 
It's quite rare to get a proper letter these days, isn't it? In the olden days, my friends and I used to write letters to each other as often as a character from a Jane Austen novel. Nowadays the top 3 things to pass through my letter box is a) fast food menus b) letters from estate agents c) bills for the previous tenant. Booooooring.

4. Flowers 
Yep, it's a classic. I don't think I've ever actually been sent flowers before, only given them face to face. Don't feel sorry for me though, a blog reader once sent me socks after I complained about cold feet. The only downside of getting flowers is having to locate a suitable vase. Mine are never quite the right size!*

(*don't let this minor problem put you off sending me flowers) 

3. Letter from your hero
I was only a fan girl for a brief moment in the 1994 when I etched E17 into my pencil case with my compass. Obviously I would have been thrilled to hear from them, or of course, the Spice Girls. It's got to be a great feeling to get a letter from someone who you look up to!  

2. A Baby 
It would be pretty alarming to get a baby in the post, but it would be much better than the traditional delivery method, which I've heard is both painful and gruesome. I work in an osteopathic clinic part time, and I reckon most of the women who go for treatment would be perfectly fine had their baby been delivered in a jiffy bag!

Nothing compares to the feeling of having your book printed and bound in your hands. Yesterday I received the first paperback proof of The Temp. I have danced around the living room and now I'm mostly stroking its shiny cover. I absolutely love it and I hope you do too! 

... and I can relive the moment it arrived, forever, with this vine video!

Thank you post men and women out there. May your days be filled with sunshine and friendly dogs,  may everyone's letter box open smoothly and and without snapping back on your hands, or scratching you with that broom like fringe thing they put to keep the draft out... oh, and may you deliver all those pre-orders of The Temp as soon as you can! 

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Dealing with Your Inner Demons

Cartoon by C3LTICFURY

A demon is trying to convince me to give up writing. His name is DORONTOTHOR, demonic leader of paralysing uncertainty and creator of the doubting whispers. 

I prefer to call him Dennis. It seems to take the wind out of his sails. 

Dennis usually appears when I'm feeling tired, hungry, premenstrual, or when I've run out of matching socks and there's no food in the fridge, or when the only tea bag left in the house is a herbal one (ie. smells nice, but tastes of cardboard).

Dennis pretends to be my friend at first, pretends to be interested in my welfare... 

Demon: So, how's The Temp selling? 
Me: *shrugs* can't say yet. 

Demon: Well, what's its amazon ranking? Wow... 250,000? Not exactly Harry Potter then! 
Me: It's not the winning but the participation that counts. 

Demon: If you say so. How long did it take you to write again? 
Me: I think it's best not to dwell on the past. 

Demon: How's the publicity going? 
Me: Well, my grandma gave out some of my promotional postcards to a few people in church yesterday! 

Demon: Those postcards that cost you £65? 
Me: Yup. 

Demon: Those postcards you bought for a talk which paid you less that £65?
Me: I needed something physical! With an ebook it feels like you're promoting thin air sometimes. 

Demon: But you didn't even leave the cards out on the book stand at the talk, did you? 
Me: It was awkward... The book stand was run by a bookshop owner and they don't like ebooks, do they?  

Dennis can really ware me down sometimes. The other day, I lay awake in bed and I thought, alright what would I do if I didn't write? 

1. Clean Oven 
2. Clean Fridge 
3. Clean Washing Machine 
4. Clean Underneath Oven, Fridge and Washing Machine 
5. Consider decorating flat 
6. Decide not to decorate flat since it's only rented and we might move 
7. Become a social butterfly 
8. Get another job to fund social butterfly activities 
9. Think about how much I miss writing while doing new job I had to get to earn money to fund social butterflies activities 

I'm going to show Dennis the list when I see him next. 

Demon: Blablabla...

In other news, my blog is a candidate in the UK Blog Awards 2015 and the public voting has now opened! If you've ever enjoyed my blog, it only take a moment to vote, and every vote makes a huge difference... 

Demon: You're being too pushy. 

Me: You want to see pushy? 

*pushes Dennis off cliff*

Me: That's better... now where we? Oh yes, please vote! 

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Guest Author: AL Michael - Driving Home for Christmas

It's November and I think it's almost safe to talk about Christmas. It's definitely chilly enough. From here to March, you'll find me wrapped in a duvet-like jacket, grinding my teeth while the husband wonders around in a short-sleeved t-shirt, declaring it's still too warm to put the heating on. 

But this isn't the time to talk about my faulty body thermostat, we have a guest!

Today, AL Michael, author of The Last Word, is on the blog as part of a blog tour to celebrate the release of her new novel Driving Home for Christmas.


Megan McAllister is home for Christmas…
whether she likes it or not!

Christmas is about family…and for Megan family means two people: herself, and her daughter Skye. It doesn’t mean her parents who, ten years ago, saw her pregnancy as anything but a miracle. And it definitely doesn’t include her irresistible ex-boyfriend Lucas Bright.

So ‘Driving Home for Christmas’ has never been top of Megan’s festive playlist. But for Skye, she knows she needs to spend the holiday season with the people she’s left behind. She can do this. Even if the thought of meeting Lucas under the mistletoe still has her feeling like she’s drunk one-too-many Snowballs!

But somewhere between the hanging of stockings and the crackle of wrapping paper, Christmas starts to sparkle. And Megan begins to wonder if family could be bigger than her and Skye after all… 


What three words would best describe your new novel, Driving Home for Christmas?

Nostalgic, bittersweet, hopeful.

Was it strange writing a Christmas novel over Summer? How did you get in the mood?

It was ridiculous trying to write a Christmas book in July! Sitting in flipflops and dreaming of icicles! I started scanning Pinterest for Christmas craft ideas and just focused on all the things I used to get excited about at that time of the year. Mainly food and booze. I can get excited about a turkey sandwich and a glass of baileys anytime in the year!

Your main character isn't looking forward to Christmas because of a tricky relationship with her family. What's Christmas like for you?

Christmas for me is...complex, I guess? When we were kids my mum made it this amazing over-the-top Idyllic Xmas. And she still does, really, it's just that when you get older and see how much money and effort and time goes into it, you're not sure it's worth it for one day. I think when there are young kids in the family it'll be crazy fun again. So now Christmas is about chilling out, eating great food with my massive family and then vegging out on the sofa! 

What would be in your ideal stocking?

Ideal stocking presents- benefit cosmetics, pens, sparkly nail varnishes, lots of clementines and chocolate coins!

This is your third novel and you're still only 'twenty-something', what's your secret?

I've always wanted to be a writer and once I got a little encouragement from people who wanted to publish me, I just ran with it! Now it's actually starting to feel normal! 

December 2004

Maybe they’ll be merciful, Megan McAllister thought as she hung Christmas decorations onto the same Christmas tree they’d had every year since she could remember. Old Piney spent the year out in the garden, and was cruelly uprooted every December and brought into the sweltering heat of the living room, with the log fire crackling, almost as a warning of what happened to bad trees. It was starting to look like it was suffering. It wasn’t the only one.
Maybe they’d see it as a Christmas miracle, and look to the kindness and understanding of the people of Bethlehem when she told them. But she doubted it somehow.
She was meant to be off to Cambridge, to read English. She was meant to go off and do great things. She’d only just got her head around the idea of being independent, leaving their little village for a proper town. Leaving Lucas behind. And now…well, none of that really mattered any more, did it?
She paused, looking at the decoration she’d picked up. A red clay hand imprint, heavy and solid, with ‘Megan’s first Christmas’ marker-penned across the front.
Oh shit.

Or, Visit to find out more about the author and her books!