Preparing for lift-off – Launching Taming Tom Jones

It has been a long time coming, but finally on Friday 2 October, my novel Taming Tom Jones will be launch into the world! Hurrah! Incidentally, it’s available for pre-order, and will magically appear on your kindles on Friday if you buy it now. Hint, hint. Ha ha!
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Right, having got that out of the way, let’s talk about launches. I’ve published a fair few books because, apart from my women’s fiction, I’ve written a lot of readers for people learning to speak English. The experience of launching these books has always been a bit of anti-climax. Almost inevitably publication day has been marked by the arrival of a box of books on my doorstep, and this has been the first I’ve known about them being available to the public. Not that I’m knocking receiving a box of gleaming, newly-printed books with my name on the cover – that has always been a delicious treat.

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However, it’s hardly a red carpet premiere is it? So when my last novel A Nightingale in Winter was due to be published in July, I wanted to celebrate properly. I love writing language readers, and I’m very proud that one of them – Kilimanjaro – has just won a Language Learner Literature Award. But by their nature, language readers demand restricted vocabulary and grammar, and when I write my women’s fiction, I revel in the freedom of being able to write what I want to write in the way I want to write it. So I organised a get together with friends. Sadly though, publication of A Nightingale in Winter was delayed by several weeks due to cover issues, so my friends and I just went out for a drink on what was to have been publication day. We has a good time anyway, but by the time the book was published on 24 August, the summer holidays were in full flow, and people weren’t so available. So apart from raising a glass of wine with my partner, that book’s launch into the world went sort of unmarked too.

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So this time, encouraged by my publishers Crooked Cat Publishing, and all the other lovely Crooked Cat authors, I’m going to try something different – an online launch party. It’s on Friday 2 October 1.30pm – 7.30pm GMT, and you’re all welcome to attend. There will be fun and games as well as tasters of the book, and PRIZES.

ONLINE PARTY INVITATION

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​As well as that, if you’re a writer or a would-be writer, I’m going to be putting my creative writing tutor hat on between 4pm and 5pm to answer any writing-related questions you may have.

Click on your party invitation and then click JOIN to reserve your slot.

Here’s a bit about Taming Tom Jones:

​Jen’s partner Michael has never been in a relationship for more than four years, so with their fourth anniversary coming up, she’s getting understandably nervous. Especially as she’s just discovered she’s pregnant, and she knows Michael doesn’t want any more children other than Kyle, his teenage son.

Jen means to tell Michael about the baby right away, but then he comes home on a brand new motorbike, having traded in his sensible car, and the moment is lost. Is Michael having an early mid-life crisis?

Jen decides to do some detective work about Michael’s exes in an effort to save their relationship, and embarks on a journey that will take her as far afield as North Norfolk and Cuba. But she has no idea of the can of worms she’s about to open.

Why do all Michael’s relationships break up? And what’s the big secret he’s hiding?

I hope to see you on Friday 2 October between 1.30pm – 7.30pm GMT. Tell your friends!

ONLINE PARTY INVITATION

Consulting an Oracle to help with decision-making

Do you ever wish you could consult an oracle when you need reassurance that you’re on the right path in your life?

Back in my single, childless days when I lacked confidence and was pretty much drifting and dreaming my way through life, I used to frequently consult the I Ching , the ancient Chinese book of changes, when I had a question about my life. Hundreds of years ago, people consulting the I Ching threw yarrow sticks, but my book suggested throwing three coins six times, the combination of the heads and tails making a pattern or hexagram.

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Coins thrown, I would read the relevant page in the book for that hexagram, trying to interpret the poetic language that described the answer to my question. Almost invariably the ancient, translated words felt uncannily wise and right, if only because they helped me to tap into my intuition and gut reactions.

Recently, an article in The Guardian newspaper reported that the actor Mark Rylance had consulted the I Ching in 1987 in order to decide between working with Stephen Spielberg or at The National Theatre. Quite a decision to have to make, eh? He chose the theatre, and has done very well for himself. I’d forgotten all about the I Ching until I read the article, but now I clicked a link in the piece which took me to an I Ching Website. No need to even throw coins these days, let alone yarrow sticks, whatever they are!

I posed my question: “What is the best way to proceed with my business?” The judgment was instantaneous and, thankfully, encouraging.

This blog is moving!! To read the rest of this post, please go to:

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Cheers!

Phone Confidence – How to sabotage your fledgling business with one grunt

Are you good at answering the phone? Me, not so much.

Picture it. I’m in the heart of writing a scene where my heroine is meeting her birth mother for the first time. She’s feeling beyond excited – can’t eat, can’t sleep, can’t string two words together excited – and yet she’s terrified too. This is what she’s wanted all her life; the event that’s been the focus of her dreams and plans for years, ever since she first made the decision to search for her birth mother. What if it doesn’t work out? What if her mother hates her? With her confidence beginning to slip away, she slowly approaches the café where she and her mother have arranged to meet…

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Then the phone rings. But it’s not my heroine’s phone, it’s mine; about two feet away from my ear, jolting me violently out of my writing zone. I know as soon as the bright, smiley voice on the other end of the line asks how I am, that she’s from a green energy company trying to sell me solar panels, because the same company has already phoned me twice that week. So I scream internally, cutting off her cheerful sales patter with my best assertive phrases, but the damage, as far as my writing goes, has been done. I have to leave my heroine at the café door and go to make a restorative cup of coffee for myself.

So when I get back to work and the phone rings again, it isn’t surprising that I snarl my hello. Not surprising, but not such a good idea either when I want to attract people to my writing courses.

A woman – let’s call her Linda – has wanted to do a creative writing class for ages, because she has a dream about writing a book. Her self-esteem is low about it because people have always laughed at her dream, demanding to know what on earth she could possibly have to write about. Linda sees the advert for my WriteUP Courses, and reads that they combine creative writing with confidence building activities. It is like a sign to her. “Yes,” she thinks. “That’s just what I need.” So she takes a deep breath and finds the courage to pick up the phone to make the call. “Hello?” snaps the woman on the other end of the line bad-temperedly, sounding as if she’s standing in the middle of a kennels. Off putting? Just a bit.

My blog is moving! Read the rest of this post at its new home – and if you fancy hitting the subscribe button, it would be fantastic to have you! Cheers!

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