Someone get me a freakin’ gold jumpsuit!

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I am a tad excited. Okay, that’s a big fat mahoosive lie! I’ve given myself another excitement headache I’m so completely and utterly chuffed! Because today, a couple of hours ago actually, I did something that once upon a time I would’ve thought was completely out of reach. But then very little is ever really out of reach, I understand this now. Not even body-popping with Johnny Depp in matching gold jumpsuits. (Although that particular fantasy’s on hold after the latest Dior ad put me right off him. Sigh.) Anyway, poppin’ with Johnny’s another issue entirely, and probably not one anyone else needs to know too much about. So, an hour or so ago…

After scribbling my signature on a few cheques for the school bills I owe, drumming lessons, lunch money, typical Monday stuff… I eagerly moved my clammy hands to sign a couple of other bits and bobs I’ve been anxiously watching the letterbox for. Paperwork. Contracts, to be more specific. The business end of an offer totally inconceivable a few years back, my next two book deals.

Say what? Booky what’s? TWO BLOOMIN BOOK DEALS! With publishing colossus, Harlequin/Harper Collins?!

Holy moly, I need an aspirin. This doesn’t happen, does it? Somewhere between loading the dishwasher this morning and burning dinner this evening, people don’t go around signing book deals, do they? Hell yee-HAW they do! The very lucky buggers, anyway. Y’know I might need two aspirin, actually. This really is pretty wonderful. A couple of years ago, when I still fancied Johnny to death, I didn’t have any grasp, whatsoever, on how things would pan out for me and this writing lark. I was given a pretty darned fantastico opportunity, a shot at being an author. I never, ever, expected more than that initial book deal, let alone to still be hanging around two years on indulging in something I love and getting to call it my job, something I’ve managed to perfect saying now while holding a straight face.  Because it’s true! It’s flipping true! It wasn’t a flash in the pan, it’s here… in black and white… with my signature scrawled at the bottom of it. I am a writer. I’m still here! And I’m going to be here for a while yet, thank goodness. Thanks Heavens. Thank the universe. Thank the good folk who buy my stories.

After three novels, lots of ups and downs, the occasional bout of self-doubt and thankfully a whole load of utter contentedness, we’ve come a long way, baby. And we’re still going. Signing on the dotted. Raring to go. Now all I need me is a gold freakin jumpsuit, because Johnny or no, I’ve got me some serious body-poppin to get done tonight 🙂 xx

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A Part Of Me

apom

Click here to buy…

‘A real talent’ – Lorraine Kelly

‘It caught me by surprise how much I loved it’ – Hello

‘He’s back,’ purred a honeyed voice from the crowd behind me. Another appreciative spectator. I kept my eyes trained on Rohan, wondering how many of these people had known him before his accident, and how incredibly gifted he must have been if losing his leg had made him any lesser an athlete.

Something clicked repeatedly near to my right shoulder. I turned and was greeted by a chunky black zoom lens and a scruffy chignon of blonde hair. She’d flown in from Barcelona a day early.

Megan took a few more action shots of her ex boyfriend before turning her pale blue eyes on me. ‘You really did keep an eye on them, didn’t you?’ She smiled, slipping the camera strap over her arm. She held her hands out to me for her child. I swallowed, knowing that my cheeks were on fire. Lily whimpered as I passed her to her mother, the indentation of my wrinkled dress on her cheek. Megan looked at me as if she could see the imprint Lily had left on me too, and just like that, I was redundant again.

***

After years of heartache, Amy and James’ dream of a happy ever after is looking like a reality.But all these years of waiting for their hopes to be realised has changed them. Can they find their way back to each other or is a hopeful new beginning on the horizon? An exploration of love, heartbreak and finding the ‘one’. A Part Of Me is in turns smart, laugh-out-loud funny and heart-warming – and above all, recognizable to women everywhere.

Letting You Go

lyg

Out now! Click here for info

‘I loved it’ – Hello

‘Moving’ – The Sun

‘A riveting read’ – Sunday Express S Magazine

‘Tense and smart family drama’ – Heat

‘Where the hell were you?’ her father demanded, taking in the state of Alex’s nettle-stung arms and legs. Alex watched him look accusingly at Joseph Finn’s lower body, Finn’s matching affliction where the stingers had got him too. Finn’s shirt was inside out. As if he’d gotten dressed in a hurry.

Alex waited uselessly for her dad to turn that look of furious disbelief back on her. A stab of pain seared like a hot iron through her chest as she saw more devastated tears dancing down her dad’s face.

‘YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO BE WATCHING MY SON!’

***

What if a tragedy occurred and you only had yourself to blame? How do you move on from the past?

Alex Foster lives a quiet life, avoiding the home she hasn’t visited in eight years. Then her sister Jaime calls. Their mother is sick, and Alex must return. Suddenly she’s plunged back into the past she’s been trying to escape.

Returning to her hometown, memories of the tragic accident that has haunted her and her family are impossible to ignore. Alex still blames herself for what happened to her brother and it’s soon clear that her father holds her responsible too. As Alex struggles to cope, can she ever escape the ghosts of the past?

Pre-publication jitters…

My book cover!

My book cover!

Ok, so I got to thinking and after receiving a few lovely tweets from a few lovely writers I reckoned that someone, somewhere out there might like to dip in and out of the goings on of a rookie author (that would be me) as I try to suss out this weird and wonderful journey I’ve found myself on.

I should probably start at the start, but I’ll get to that in another post. (I said I was a rookie, and with that in mind, you should probably expect the odd smidging of dodgy chronology, grammar and/or spelling)

So then. Today. It wasn’t a game-changer, but it was defo something of a curve-ball. Today, I suffered the first real stirrings of something I can only assume to be pre-publication jitters?! Do other people get these? Please say yes.

In fairness, my mood was already on a knife edge after the boys (think of Thing A & Thing B from The Cat in the Hat) decided to join forces before school. They aren’t always like Thing A and Thing B, most of the time they’re actually quite awesome, but not today. Today they were a tag team of pain-in-the-assdom, and I sent them off to school with a telling off, and the sound of my mother’s voice ringing in my ears as I blew. Which sucked. All day.

Then, I got home to a filthy credit card bill and a dubious bank charge letter. I phoned the hubster to offload as he tucked into his mid-morning brew with the other fellas on site. He told me his van had broken on the way to work. Triffic. The morning was a bit of a downer.

So, I got off the phone before the hubster could tell me how much the van would inevitably cost, and began the daily ritual of checking emails. And, joy of joys, I’d missed one yesterday from the lovely Ali at Mills & Boon, telling me that my book cover was about to get its first public outing today!! Yippee!!

The morning was looking up!

I was going to get to share with my facebook friends yet more amazingness of the publication process. The same process I’ve clogged their news feeds with over several whirlwind months. Because I can’t help myself. Because it is completely brillopads. Because they are completely brillopads.

My facebook muckas have been more than awesome since ITV’s Racy Reads took our world and flipped it sunny side up. They’ve been encouraging, and excited, and to be honest I don’t think they even really care what Since You’ve Been Gone is about, or if it’s any good. They’re just super cool, and vocally happy for my unbelievable good fortune. Their consistently positive vibes make me feel bloody epic, and so I couldn’t wait to share with them my beautiful book cover.

But…then came the jitterations.

It’s not just my friends who are going to read my debut novel. (Well, hopefully not, or else my mum is going to have to step up her grand plan of ordering ten copies and start getting down to some serious bulk-buying. That credit card is not going to pay itself)

I started to get a teeny bit anxious about what people on the other side of my circle are going to think and say. Not only about the book cover, but about the book itself. People who don’t know me are going to have opinions on the story, my writing style (I assume I have one?!) my grammar, my breadth of vocabulary – or lack thereof – whether the story is ‘Racy Reads’ enough, whether it’s too racy for some. (My dad has already flat out declared he won’t be reading it. I should remind him that he used to wear a t-shirt that said ‘I choked Linda Lovelace’ on it)

When I started querying my choice of character names (really? at this stage?) it was time for spoonful of peanut butter and a reality check.

Not everyone is going to say nice things about my book. There, I said it.

And I’m still breathing.

It’s gonna be OK.

Another spoonful of pb. Of course I’m mithering about this stuff. I care! It’s important! And other authors must to some degree feel the same way about their work, and how theirs will be received too. And so they should be. Writing a book, I’ve found, might well be a wonderful experience, but it’s a hungry practice. Hungry for your time, and dedication and energy…all the things you have to take from somewhere else. Like your little boys and hubster, the housework (I’m not really bothered about that one) or hours of sleep (that was a toughie). It’s a hefty personal investment. Are you getting how important it is?!

I know I’m probably supposed to pretend that I don’t have these worries. But I doooo! Boy, do I ever! Not very many months ago, I was dreaming about self-publishing something with not a clue as to how to make it happen, wondering about what goes on this side of the divide. Today was an enlightening part of my learning. No doubt at some stage, I will have to learn to toughen up a bit and stop being so wet. Just not today.

After a third comforting dollop of peanut butter, I’d uploaded my fab cover for my pals to see. And guess what? They think it rocks. And I think so too. And I reeeally hope that anyone who might see my book thinks the same. And if they don’t? Well…that’s what peanut butter and my buddies are for :¬) x

Mmmm...peanut butter

Mmmm…peanut butter