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A birthday, a book bash and a Time Lord

This week, June Kearns and I travelled to London for Trisha Ashley‘s book launch at Daunt’s, Marylebone High Street. Our plan was to spend the day  window shopping, have lunch and then head for Daunt’s – all part of my birthday celebration. An unexpected guest turned up at Daunt’s and really provided the icing on the (birthday) cake . . . as you will see, if you read on.

I love London and luckily, there is a direct line from Leicester to St Pancras. The whole London vibe really inspires me as a writer. The first time I bought a Diptych candle I was in Notting Hill researching my debut novel, Tall Dark and Kilted. June very kindly bought me a tuberose candle in the Marylebone High Street shop as a birthday present. I will be burning it in my study as I get on with book #5.

Marylebone High Street has lots of niche shops and cafes and June and I plan a return visit later this spring with friends. In one of the pubs, I visited the ladies’ loo and the cubicles were decorated with reclining nudes – there was a purple velvet chaise longue to languish on, should the mood take you. Recline and Sprawl ?

We eventually remembered that we weren’t there to enjoy ourselves (hah!), we were there to attend Trisha’s book launch and meet fellow writers and readers. So we got down to it.

We hoped we might meet fellow Romantic Novelists’ Association members at the launch and we weren’t disappointed. I was especially thrilled to ‘bump into’ Kate Hardy who is on the short list for a Rona Rose award on Monday with: Billionaire, Boss … Bridegroom?  In 2012, Kate dedicated her book : The Ex Who Hired Her to my naughty parrot Jasper, and me (he appears on page 6).

Here is a slideshow of other RNA friends who rocked up at Trisha’s book launch –

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I’ve been a Doctor Who fan ever since I watched the first episode back in nineteen sixty – something.  So, the unexpected appearance of Peter Davison at Trisha’s book launch really was the icing on the cake and  topped off my Birthday Bash in London. He was charming and agreed to pose with some of his fangirls. Not every day a girl meets a Time Lord, is it?

The Five(ish) Doctors, reboot – video BBC.co.uk 

To sum up – it was so good to kick back, chill, and every other adjective I can think of because (drum roll) my new novel has been returned from fabulous proofreader, Julia Gibbs and is now in the capable hands of Sarah Houldcroft being formatted. And breathe.

Pre-order date coming soon

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The Exeter Novel Prize – and a fabulous birthday weekend

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Many thanks to Isabella Tartaruga for making this collage. Isabella is one of my beta readers and helped me with the Italian in SCOTCH ON THE ROCKS, which reached the final of the Exeter Novel Prize. I named a character in the novel after her –  hence the plaque in the top left hand corner.

Here’s my report of the Exeter Novel Prize

& fabulous birthday weekend

First up – The Exeter Novel Prize, organised by Creative Writing Matters. Check out their website if you are just starting out on your writing career. Their slogan is: WHAT’S YOUR STORY and you’ll find lots of advice to help you achieve those famous words at the bottom of your manuscript THE END!

Exeter Novel Prize  the award ceremony was held in St Stephen’s Church, Exeter High Street. There were over 300 entries from all over the world and I was thrilled to be one of the six finalists. The  prize is held in high esteem by writers and comes with the added bonus that the short list is commented upon by respected agent Broo Doherty. 

 

Here’s what she said about SCOTCH ON THE ROCKS 

The novel opens with Ishabel Stuart racing across a Scottish causeway to her aunt’s house seeking comfort and solace, having discovered her fiancée has been unfaithful. She has the added burden of her recently deceased father’s ashes in her car; he has requested that his ashes be scattered from a Munro and Ishabel is expected to know how to organise it. 
Her aunt, Esme, a life long protester, runs a B&B on the island, and inevitably the hotel is full when Ishabel arrives.  Not only full, but full of an unwanted American who is going to stay on in the hotel while Esmee heads down south with her ancient hippy dippy friends to protest about fracking in Manchester.
This is a lively and amusing opening to a romantic novel. The setting is authentic, the characters original and the stroppy parrot who has the perfect answer for every situation certainly raised a smile whenever he appeared. 
2016-03-12 17.55.28Pershing – the parrot in the  novel is based on our parrot, Jasper. Here he is with my award. Or should that be, his award ?!

Although I wasn’t overall winner, it was still a great day and a validation of me as a writer. Many thanks to Margaret James, Cathie Hartigan and Sophie Duffy for all their hard work. Now all I’ve got to do is write the next one. Simples.

If you’d like to see a full report and more pictures of the event, go to the website

Here are some snaps of what I DID NEXT

 

  • Opened some birthday cards and had breakfast of croissants and bucks fizz in bed (!)
  • Had lunch at the Oxenham Arms, South Zeal, touched the lucky standing stone – and sat in the VERY place where David Bowie ate lunch.
  • Met up with friends  Sharyn Farnaby and Lin Tredgold
  • Returned to Exeter, had coffee in Patisserie Valerie and went on a birthday shopping spree
  • went home to find a lovely shout out from Amazon for SCOTCH ON THE ROCKS

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