Archive for the ‘social life?’ Category




book launch pics

Filed under: about me, Getting Away With It, social life?

The launch for GETTING AWAY WITH IT was absolutely wonderful, but as I was too overwhelmed to describe it properly, here are some pics, mostly taken by my photographer for the night, the ever-gallant Ben Pearson.

Me and my lovely agent, Teresa Chris

Vicky from Headline scoops out the beetroot and horseradish ice cream

The ice cream, by the way, was AMAZING. It was creamy and slightly sweet, with a definite flavour of fresh beetroot. And then, as it melted on your tongue, the heat of the horseradish came out.

There is a great picture of me trying it for the first time, but Biddy’s got it and she hasn’t sent it to me yet. I’ll put it up as soon as I have it.

Guests mingling and chatting in Reading Library

My editor, Sherise Hobbs, giving a speech while I look on gratefully. (Check out her shoes!) Pic by Jan Jones.

The book stall, run by Chapter One in Woodley. This is my mate Lizi buying a book. Every copy was sold...thank you everyone!

Me signing copies. Note the flowery tablecloths and the tulips, both provided by Headline PR. And MANY empty fizz glasses.

More books, hurrah! Pic by Jan Jones.

My purple shoes. Pic by Jan Jones

The after-party, in the pub. Writers Roger Sanderson, Jan Jones, Josh Williams, Valerie Dubord.

Maura Brickell of Headline, writer Brigid Coady, honorary neighbour Lorna, neighbours Anne and Gemma, and me.

Thank you so much to Madeleine at Reading Library, Maura from Headline PR, Vicky from Headline marketing, Sherise and Lucy and Kate from Headline editorial, Purbeck Ice Cream, Lesley from Chapter One in Woodley, Strange Sweets in Harris Arcade, Reading, and all of my friends, readers and fellow writers who came to support my book.





links to the lunch

Filed under: RNA, social life?

So apparently I haven’t blogged for a week. My excuse is that the RNA awards luncheon was so fantastic that I wore myself out for an entire seven days. So much so that it’s exhausting even to think about blogging about it, but fortunately others have done that for me, so I’ll just point you to the links (each link opens in a new window):

Julie Cohen, Brigid Coady, Catherine Cobain
Kate Hardy’s blog about it for the RNA blog (My shoes are on there, and Barry Norman. Not together, sadly.)

Some wonderful photos on the RNA blog including this one of me, Brigid Coady and Catherine Cobain

Photo gallery on the RNA website, and official release about the event with the winners

Love Story of the Year winner Nell Dixon’s blog (Hooray Nell!)

Love Story of the Year nominee Nina Harrington’s blog (I took the shoe photo.)

Fiona Harper’s blog (She doesn’t include the fact that I incessantly babbled at her in the pub across the street afterwards.)

It was a wonderful, glittering occasion perfect for celebrating the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s 50th anniversary.

And I’ve just about recovered.





RNA awards lunch

Filed under: RNA, social life?

Oh, man, do I love the Romantic Novelists’ Association. Not only have they given me some of my best friends, and helped me hugely in my writing career, but they also really know how to throw a party.

After a frantic wardrobe consultation in the Starbucks across the street, Biddy and I strolled over the red carpet into the Kensington Garden Hotel yesterday morning to attend the RNA awards lunch. Because it was absolutely freezing, Biddy and I had to duck into the mirrored labyrinth of the ladies’ room to shed some layers and change into more suitable tights and shoes. Of course half the RNA, resourceful ladies that they are, were doing exactly the same thing. Mary Z, for example, turned up in perfectly ordinary clothes and then proceeded to pull the most gorgeous blue satin outfit out of her bag. I half-expected her to pull out a coat rack, a la Mary Poppins.

Then it was champagne all round in the foyer, meeting old friends and new ones, chatting with editors and my agent, and then we were called in to lunch. The tables were decorated with black candlabras and red and black ostrich feathers, but more impressive was the sight of a couple hundred romantic novelists dressed in their finest. This being the year of the Credit Crunch, conversations focused around the topic of how cheaply we got our outfits…two novelists, who shall remain nameless, found their fabulousness at Asda and Primark, a certain RVA VIP had picked up the most gorgeously sophisticated red shoes at M&S, and I personally was wearing a gold linen sale bargain.

Fortunately my agent was wearing an ivory silk blouse that probably cost millions and I believe my editor had just stepped off the catwalk in Milan.

The wine flowed and the food was delicious, and talking to other authors, I found to my great relief that a) every writer has lots of doubts and struggles, even if they are mega-bestsellers, and b) novelists will always admit that their spouses have a rough deal.

Then the awards were announced. The Romance Prize shortlist were all friends, and I was happy when the lovely India Grey was the winner (go read her speech on her blog). I have to admit that I hadn’t read the shortlist for the Romantic Novel award, but I was intrigued by all of them and I’m going to the library this weekend to pick up or order the lot of them, including East of the Sun by Julia Gregson, which won.

After the lunch, we made our way to the pub across the street where we took over the front room like a flock of beautifully-plumed wine-swilling exotic birds, and thence to dinner with Vicky, Gemma, Pia and a very nice Canadian woman who I realised very late on was Susanna Kearsley, one of the authors shortlisted for the main award. Caught the late train home and a taxi and poured myself into bed.

I might be a tiny little wee bit hungover today. Just a little bit. But it was worth it.





revisions and lunch

Filed under: Girl from Mars, social life?

On Friday, my lovely editor sent me a revision letter for Girl from Mars, so I’ve got to drop everything (including YouTube soaps) and get to work on that now. Of course, down deep, as an author you always want your editor to tell you “This is great, a work of genius, don’t change a single thing” but actually, it’s much better to have revisions to make the book stronger.

In this case, nearly all of her revisions focus around doing something that I know I wasn’t capable of doing when I wrote the book originally. I’ve spent so many years being so focused and disciplined in my stories that the idea of breaking out a little bit makes me hyperventilate. However, distance, time and having written another book makes me more confident of being able to do what she’s asking. It’s exciting.

Today, I started reading the manuscript, which I haven’t done since last spring. I sat on my bed with it spread out around me and attacked it with pens. I got about a third of the way through. My best guess is I’m going to have to write two or three new scenes, and change the focus of several more.

Tomorrow, though, I have the day off because I’m going to the RNA Awards Lunch in Kensington to see my lovely agent and lovely editor and lots of my lovely lovely fellow romantic novelist friends. More snow is predicted (the south of England is brought to its knees by an inch or two of snow) and I’m coming down with a cold but I will not be deterred! I have a new dress and I will wear it!!!





back from the conference

Filed under: social life?, writing | Tags:

On Saturday I whizzed down to Chichester for the Romantic Novelists’ Association conference. Originally I’d planned to only go on the Sunday, because I was giving a workshop on pacing, but my husband had an unexpected night off so I begged the lovely organiser Jan Jones to let me come for Saturday night, too, and stay over. And she let me. (Yes, I plied her with chocolate.)

Romantic novelists en masse are wonderful. For one thing, we are strangely obsessed with shoes. For another, we think nothing of talking about heroes all night and when we are together we drink more than is humanly possible. Well, in any case, I do.

I was thrilled to see my friends and colleagues…there are far too many to name-drop about. Besides, I was far, far too drunk. (I don’t get out that often, you know.)

Brigid Coady won third place in the Elizabeth Gouge award. She rules. Nell Dixon and Anna Louise Lucia sold out of their books at the bookstall. They also rule.

I seem to remember drinking much champagne very late at night and then staggering across a field. And the next day I had a hangover of epic proportions. Fortunately Jane Wenham-Jones spoke in the morning about writers’ bottom and her hilarious body wrap experiences in Egypt and I laughed most of my headache away. I also went to Kate Walker’s talk about author websites, and Kate Hardy’s talk about using local history in your novel. Useful and fascinating, both of them. I also wheedled Kate Harrison out of her handout on “Botox for Writers”, even though I couldn’t stay for her talk.

I gave a talk about pacing which involved photographs of my closet door. And I came home with lots of lovely lovely shiny new books to read! (And a lighter purse.)

Anyway, being amongst romantic novelists is always a life-affirming experience. They are warm, friendly, talented and generous and I feel privileged to be part of the group.

Plus, man, can they drink me under the table.





fairy magic

Filed under: about me, social life?

Glitterwings Academy 1

Last night I went to the launch party of Titania Woods’s Glitterwings Academy series. They’re magical little books about a fairy school, published by Bloomsbury.

Titania is actually my good friend Lee Weatherly, and the launch was held in the garden pavilion of a lovely red-brick country hotel. As the dress code stipulated that “fairy wings are a must!” the guests were all very colourful and ethereal. Titania’s wings were things of beauty, purple and pink and glittery and flowery, made specially for her. Here’s a pic of the two of us:

The books’ illustrator, Smiljana Coh, had come all the way from Croatia to be at the launch and (poor woman) I grilled her about using Photoshop in illustration. And I met all sorts of children’s writers. The interesting difference between children’s writers and romance writers is that when romance writers get together and talk about work, they say “I’m doing sexy vampires” or “I’m doing a Greek tycoon” or “I’ve got a marriage of convenience.” Children’s writers say “I’m doing ice-skating princesses” or “I’m doing dragons in World War I.”

I can heartily recommend an evening in the company of fairies!





authors on the loose

Filed under: social life?

Kate Hardy sent me a photo from the Mills & Boon author evening in London…this is me and Kate Walker.

Julie Cohen and Kate Walker

Note the nearly empty glass of champagne…

I’m feeling better today. Yesterday I brought the Fecklet into London for lunch with a bunch of authors–Anna Lucia, Brigid Coady, Fiona Harper, Nell Dixon, Carol (and baby-to-be), and Donna Alward, over from Canada. We enjoyed three courses of Turkish food–Fecklet loved it, particularly the creamy, lemony rice pudding–and lots of conversation and laughs.

Must write like madwoman today.





the price

Filed under: social life?

Last night, I went to a Mills & Boon author evening in London. There was one particularly good-looking waiter bringing the champagne round and I (and several other authors) found him very difficult to say no to.

This morning, I am hung over.


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