Archive for the ‘One Night Stand’ Category




setting deja vu

Filed under: One Night Stand, reading

Being a writer has all kinds of odd side effects. Aside from the obvious ones—bad back, bad neck, bad hands, spreading butt, an inability to carry on a normal conversation about television or recognise real people in the street—there’s an interesting side effect when you set one of your stories in a real-life place.

This morning I’m going into Reading to do some Christmas shopping, and for the past three years, I haven’t been able to do that without thinking of the scene in One Night Stand where my pregnant heroine goes Christmas shopping in Reading. She says:

Reading was hell at Christmastime. Hundreds and thousands and millions of people all descending on the town centre to do their shopping, queues of traffic clogging up the roads, and car parks practically bulging at the sides.

I didn’t have to drive to get to the high street, but I did have to squeeze my way through crowds of screaming children and grumpy shoppers whenever I walked into a shop, a task made even more unpleasant by my growing belly, threatened by other people’s sharp elbows and unwieldy shopping bags. At one point I had to leap backwards to keep my foetus from being stabbed by a man carrying a fake Christmas tree.

I’m not pregnant, and I have a bit more Christmassy cheer than grumpy Eleanor, but Reading really does get that crowded at Christmas, and when I negotiate the crowds with my shopping bags, I always have to smile. Because I’m not only living my real life, but I’m remembering my characters as if they’re friends, and living their memories too.

I’ve set at least parts of four of my novels in Reading, so this sort of double-life happens to me quite often. It’s as if my imaginary landscape is overlaid on my real one. Last week I wrote a short story set at Mad House, which is the local soft-play area, and I went there yesterday for a birthday party. I kept on expecting to see one of the characters there. (Of course this probably was exacerbated by my hangover, which meant I’d hardly have been surprised if slavering zombies had erupted from the ball pit, but let’s gently skim over that part…)

I had the sort of fictional equivalent last month, when I read the wonderful Mariana by Susanna Kearsley. She’s set the story in a fictional Avebury. Now, I set Getting Away With It in a fictional Avebury, too. And I’ve been to the real Avebury many, many times. Reading the book, I kept on getting this sort of double deja-vu. It was really fun.

Have you had an experience like that lately—experiencing a real place through the lens of your, or someone else’s, fiction?





One Night Stand in Turkish

Filed under: One Night Stand

Imagine my surprise to find this upon waking this morning…One Night Stand in Turkish.

Tek Gecelik Ask

Tek Gecelik Ask

Pretty sexy cover, eh? The title translates as Single From Love.

Though I suspect Google Translate leaves something to be desired. The blurb is evidently translated into Turkish from the original, which is this:

Eleanor Connor has written lots of steamy novels, but sadly her own life is more mundane. In fact the nearest she comes to passion for ages is having to listen through the thin walls of her house as friend and neighbour Hugh seduces an endless stream of women.

But then Eleanor has a one-night fling of her own, waking up alone, repentant, and as she later realises, pregnant. Desperate to find her missing lover, if only to tell him he’s going to be a father, she enlists Hugh to help her search. But should she be looking much closer to home to find out what she really needs?

However, translated back into English by Google, what we come up with is this:

What are these accidents in life, what a coincidence fate thumbs up!

Eleanor Connor, but unfortunately, was the author of passionate romance in the life of private business was bad stagnate. Friends and neighbors of the countless women throughout Hugh’un removal sessions to listen through the thin wall of his office except in the moment, there was no passion to mihtirasla theme. Derkennn …

Do not have a one-night relationship! Morning wake up alone and regretted that the young woman, this is not enough, as profligate as beginner climbing to the peak of the delay does not fuck! The chase is over compulsorily loss. Casanova is willing to help neighbors Eleanor’a guys. Really need one so far has to wonder if looking at? Hımmm.

There you go…what I’m sure is a perfectly comprehensible blurb in Turkish, rendered into gibberish by the wonders of modern technology.





the boy next door

Filed under: One Night Stand

Ooh ooh, look at this! I just found out that One Night Stand was published in France last month. Who knew?!? That means it’s newly out in France and Germany right now.

Anyway, check out this cover!

the boy next door

I like Hugh’s red jumper with his shirt underneath. It is actually very Hugh.

(Reading residents will be pleased to know that the book is part of a series, “Girls in the City”, and that the city in this particular case is…well, Reading.)

EDIT: My author copies have come in the post. It is really lovely in real life. Embossed, glossy, and there’s a picture on the back of a very pregnant Eleanor in a red gown being led down a red carpet by a mysterious man in dark glasses. George…? Hugh…? I’m not exactly sure myself but I love it!





sex, books and lemonade

Filed under: about me, courses, free book, friends, One Night Stand

What a nice day. It’s sunny, for one thing. It was sunny yesterday, too, and Fecklet and I visited the crocuses in the park (I said hello, but Fecklet had to touch every one). It feels like it hasn’t been sunny in ages, but maybe that’s because I’ve been holed up in here with my 56+ cups of tea, revising.

For another, I’m spending this afternoon at Datchet library, talking about writing sex scenes. I’ve done this workshop quite a bit, all over the UK and in the USA too, and once (frighteningly) on television. But I haven’t done it for about a year now, so last night I went through and rejigged everything to update it a bit, and include some more words to describe penises. It should be lots of fun. (I’m doing this particular sex scene seminar in memory of Dee’s sister, Daphnee.)

der glucksunfallI’ve had lots of little snippets of good news. Like a box full of my German book, Der Glücksunfall (One Night Stand). It’s lovely and pink, a nice chunky mass-market paperback, and as always it’s fun to speculate about the translation, but I’ve got six of them and I can’t actually read them. If you read German and would like a copy, send me an email.

I won a copy of After the Fall at Cat Marsters/Kate Johnson’s blog for relating my humiliating Valentine’s Day story. Nice one.

Rachael Johns has given me a “When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemonade” Award. I guess this means I’m optimistic or something. Anyway, I never turn down lemonade and its sweet-tart goodness, and apparently I have to give it to ten other people too. Hence, some people who habitually make things sweeter:
Rach 🙂
Janet Gover
Kris Starr
Biddy Coady
Jan Jones
Anna Louise Lucia
Anna Adams
Mary Beth Lee
Donna Alward (Who, you know, I named a foul-mouthed male character after in Girl from Mars. Just so you know, Donna.)

You don’t have to pass it on if you don’t want to, but you can.

Now I’m off to talk about sex.





goodbye County Arms

Filed under: One Night Stand

The County Arms

The County Arms on Watlington Street in Reading is shutting down. This is the pub I used in One Night Stand, renamed The Mouse and Duck.

It also used to be my local. I used to meet my friend Jenny there once a week for pints of cider. They used to do rather splendid jacket potatoes with tuna and sweetcorn and architectural salads. We went there for New Year’s Eve for a couple of years, and sang “The Timewarp” on the karaoke machine. I’ve got a photo on my desk of me and my friends at a table in the County Arms, hugging and laughing. At the time, my husband and I lived in a damp, cold basement flat and I was working as a teacher, and some days when I got home from school and it was particularly unpleasant in our flat, I used to bring my marking to the County Arms and do it in a corner near the radiator, whilst nursing a grapefruit juice and soda. The same people were always at the bar and through various landlords, there was always the same arrangement of plastic flowers in the ladies’ toilet.

I was very fond of it. The pub in my book is seedier than the real one, and the people in it are different, but it’s the same basic architecture. The heroine Eleanor first kisses her one night stand George just underneath where the “For Sale” sign is in the picture above, and Hugh’s normal seat is in the right-hand window.

I haven’t had a chance to hang out there for quite a while, but it’s a very vivid place in my memory and imagination. I’m sorry to see it go.





covers covers covers

Filed under: covers, One Night Stand

This week is a week of covers. I’ve received my covers for my Samhain release as B. H. Dark, Close Encounters, and also for my May 09 Little Black Dress release, Girl from Mars. I’ll be posting them here, this week.

But first, I discovered this cover, for the German version of One Night Stand:

der glucksunfall

Beautiful. Pink. Involves lipstick. Title means “The Lucky Accident”.

It’s out in March.





whoredom and loyalty

Filed under: Girl from Mars, One Night Stand, writing

Because I am being an internet whore (hooray!) I’m a guest today on Jennifer’s Random Musings. Pop on over for a chance to talk about beautiful men and also to win a copy of One Night Stand!

I said I’d blog a little bit about my process for plotting a novel. I’m not much good with plot as a whole; I tend to find that the characters provide the action, so my main job is figuring out the characters. Yesterday, I wrote down a whole bunch of questions about my main character, her three best friends, and the comic book she works on. I’ve answered some of those questions, but I’ve got more work to do on it. As I answer the questions, often scenes pop into my head.

In the early stages of structuring a novel I need to think about how the themes of the book work, and how the secondary characters reflect the main character. Like, for example, in One Night Stand, the characters of Eleanor’s relatives, Sheila and June, reflect issues that Eleanor herself is going through, about change, parenthood, and the nature of responsibility. I developed them and chose what happened to them purely because of how these things would affect Eleanor.

Girl from Mars is about loyalty, and I’ve begun to figure out why and how loyalty affects Fil (the heroine) and Dan (the hero). Now I’m going to do some work about what loyalty means to her three best friends, Jim, Digger, and Stevo–and also what it means to the character in the comic book she draws, “Girl from Mars”.

This should, pretty much, give me the plot! For example, I’m suspecting that Digger has a secret about his family, a very good reason why he doesn’t owe his father any loyalty at all. But something traumatic will happen that tests how he feels about his father and what kind of person Digger is. Of course Digger is a secondary character, so I need to think about how and where I can place this traumatic event so that it actually tests the protagonist Fil’s emotions and sense of herself, too.

I really find that choosing themes in this way, or an issue I want to explore in various permutations, helps me develop the story. Other themes come in, too, and it all gets complicated, but having a general “big idea” is really useful to me.





my launch party

Filed under: One Night Stand

I would like to say that I was all Zen-like clam on the day of my launch party, but to tell you the truth I was as hyped up as a speed freak. I was up at 5 am with the Fecklet, and pretty much paced around the house until about eleven when Waterstone’s called to say my books had arrived, after which Fecklet and I danced like wild things all over the living room.

After that I relaxed a bit (though by that time my post on Romancing the Blog about being a neurotic fool had already been published). I went out and bought a bunch of wine, picked up the seven dozen glasses I was borrowing, bought crisps and orange juice and dropped it all off at the shop by 2 pm. That gave me a whole five hours left to…well, let’s put me in a good light, shall we, and say I relaxed? 😉

Husband took care of the baby while I performed the rituals of putting on makeup and doing my hair and nails, rituals to which I have become a stranger in the past thirteen months. Oh, hello, foundation, where have you been? And you, lipliner, wow, is that what you look like? Then I tripped happily down to Waterstone’s, where my lovely agent had already arrived and the staff had already set up everything for me.

Then, the party started!

fabulous agent and editors, darling
My editor Cat Cobain, agent Teresa Chris, me, and Headline editor Claire Baldwin

I’d made name tags, each one describing a different character from One Night Stand, and everyone had to choose the one that best suited him/her. For example, Gets Drunk, Gets Horny, Gets Angry. Or Former Geek, Now Babe Magnet. Or Pregnant By Mistake.


My guests were a great mix of people. I had my mates, of course. Then there were members of Reading Writers, and Thames Valley Writers’ Circle, and the RNA. Several local authors dropped by, including crime writer Patrick Lennon, children’s author Lee Weatherly (aka Titania Woods), Roisin McAuley, and Tania Crosse, as well as booksellers and my local councillor. I was happily surprised to see my MP, Rob Wilson–and promptly made him wear a name tag saying Throbbing Member of Parliament. And of course, there was David Tennant, and his date.

David and a Dalek

No, wait. I tell a lie. David didn’t show up, though I did invite him. But here are some more photos of the people who did.

more guests

guests 3

guests 2

After much drinking and chatting (and, I hear, networking), my Fantastic Editor, Darling, Cat, tapped on a bottle of champagne with a pen, immediately sending the contents frothing everywhere. Having grabbed everyone’s attention with flying booze, she said a few very embarrassingly nice things about me. Then Teresa (Fabulous Agent, Darling) announced that I’d been shortlisted for the Romance prize (hooray!).

Julie Cohen
Me listening to people saying nice things about me

Then Teresa poured me a very large glass of bubbly and I toasted Teresa, Cat, my husband Dave, and the Fecklet and no doubt would have continued toasting everyone had I not been required to read a bit from One Night Stand, with silly voices and everything.

toasting Cat
I think I was talking about Cat giving me lots of revisions–ahh sweet revenge! Note killer boots which still don’t make me as tall as my editor.

I’m not sure what happened next in the room because happily, I was deluged with people wanting books signed. Signing books is what every writer dreams about before they are published. The idea that someone could want something you’ve written, with your scrappy signature on it, is quite incredible. The reality, of course, is that you can never think of anything witty to write.

signing books
What the heck do you write!?!?

Then we went to the pub.

Today, I am washing seven dozen glasses!

(PS Photos provided by Brigid Coady)
(PPS If you lost a glasses case at the launch, or alternatively if you are David Tennant wanting to apologise for not making it, please email me!)


Top ↑