A Thank You to the Heart Breakers. Ps, I used you in my book. Revenge? Me? Would I? Er…

I’m very excited today because my novel Taming Tom Jones is available to pre-order! You can get by clicking HERE, and it will appear as if by magic on your Kindle on October 2nd, which is publication day. If you haven’t got a Kindle, then please ask your Kindle-owning friends to download it, because if enough people buy the e-book, my wonderful publishers Crooked Cat Publishing will produce it as a paperback.
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Okay, enough pleading! Why should you buy it? Why should you frankly even give a fig about my book when there are all those others out there, lining the shelves, both physical and digital? Well, I suffered to write this book. Just for you. Okay, that’s not strictly true. I suffered and I learnt, but I’ve got to be honest, at the time I wasn’t thinking about you curled up on your sofa reading about it all. I was too busy living it. Which doesn’t mean that Taming Tom Jones is autobiographical at all. I’ve just drawn on the feelings I experienced at the time. Let me explain…

When I was younger, before I met the amazing man I’ve been with now for ten happy years, I had an unfortunate habit to fall for men who were commitment phobics or serial monogamists. They were all charming, attractive, funny, practically helpful, but only for a certain amount of time; then they scarpered and moved on to the next woman they’d got lined up. I’ve no idea why I was drawn to the type – maybe it’s to do with my relationship with my father or something deep like that, but I certainly don’t think I’m alone in this tendency. Women everywhere fall for charismatic, illusive types, deluding themselves that they will be the one to change them. That’s certainly what I believed with Rob the joiner, Chris the plumber, Paul the musician…

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Er.. hmm, maybe I’ll stop there, to avoid getting a reputation. Gosh, I certainly went for the practical types, didn’t I? All those talents. To a man, these guys showed their feelings by doing things for me – making shelves, repairing fireplaces, singing me songs, instead of telling me how they felt. And just as soon as they felt in the least bit moved to actually putting anything into words, they were off to pastures new.

So what, you may ask, has all this to do with Taming Tom Jones? Well, Michael is my heroine Jen’s partner – the man she adores, and the man yes, you’ve guessed it, she fears is about to move on to someone new. He’s never stayed in a relationship for more than four years, and their four year anniversary is fast approaching. And she’s got some news for him which he might not like…

Jen goes to some extreme lengths to try to save their relationship, which is more than I did. I wish I’d had her nerve when I was on the receiving end of all those rejections. I sobbed and languished and got mopped up by the friends I was fortunate enough to have; friends, incidentally, who are nothing like Jen’s best friends – Marcia, a spiky school friend who believes in tough love and saying it how it is, and Hannah, Jen’s almost mother-in-law from a previous relationship. Marcia and Hannah aid and abet Jen as she embarks on a quest which takes her as far afield as North Norfolk and Cuba to investigate Michael’s past relationships. If she can find out why they failed, maybe she can stop the same thing happening to them?

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But is it ever a good idea to track down your partner’s exes? And why do all Michael’s relationships break up? What’s the big secret he’s hiding?

Pre-order Taming Tom Jones now to find out!
Amazon.co.uk
Amazon.com
Smashwords

And here’s your invitation to the online launch party – do join us! The more the merrier!
JOIN THE FUN-FILLED ONLINE LAUNCH PARTY FOR TAMING TOM JONES – 2 OCTOBER!

Cheers! And Rob, Chris, Paul and all the others… I suppose I should say thank you. Without you, here might be no book!

Margaret X

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To Pen-name or Not to Pen- name? That is the question.

I have just published a new novel – a romance called Secret Millionaire. It’s different to my other books because while they contain romances, so far they have been about more than that – about relationships, friendships, and the growth of self-confidence born out of facing the challenges of life. So because I wanted to distinguish between these two areas of writing, I decided to use a pen name for the book, and chose the name Kitty Alexander. (Kitty was the name I would have used for my son had he been a girl, and Alexander – no reason, it just sounded right).

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Having a pen name means I will have to publicize the book under the name of Kitty Alexander to avoid confusion. It makes sense to have a separate author page on Facebook for my Kitty books, and a separate Twitter account. (This is somewhat alarming, since when I’m absorbed in my writing, I forget to tweet for weeks at a time already). But perhaps Kitty will be different. Maybe Kitty will be media savvy and enthusiastic, tweeting in an entertaining way that draws new fans to follow her.

In fact, perhaps it doesn’t need to stop there – perhaps Kitty can be my alter ego. Maybe I can re-invent myself through her. The world is my oyster! Hopefully, Kitty will come to have the kind of lifestyle that includes impulsive mini breaks to Cannes and champagne suppers.

Here’s the photo I plan to use for Kitty. It is me, but a different me! I think it will suit her fine. I think she – sorry, I – look like a romantic novelist in this image. What do you think? (Please don’t say it looks as if I’ve been cuddling chickens).

Kitty Alexander pic

Tomorrow though,  I’m going to a master class on thriller writing. I booked onto it because I like to take course now and then to give me a shot in the arm, and the course is all about keeping suspense going and writing twists in the tail, which are very useful things to know about for any kind of writing. I do have a germ of an idea for a thriller though … Oh no; does that mean I might need a third identity in the future?!

In the meantime, here’s the link to my Kitty Alexander Facebook page, and here’s the link to Kitty on Twitter. Please Like me so I don’t look as lonely as I do now! I’ll be eternally grateful to you, and I’ve posted a very fine photograph of a sunrise on there. Here’s a sneak peak. I took it the other morning, and it’s the view from my bedroom window. What a start to the day!

Copper Beech woman

Margaret / Kitty X

A Couple of Baby Owls.

Last time in my series of posts where I look at how major life events have shaped my writing, I wrote about a satisfying way I got revenge after being cruelly and suddenly dumped by the man I thought was the love of my life. This time I’m writing about something else I did to help me survive and thrive in the aftermath – I attended a course called Rebuilding When Your Relationship Ends. (I used such a course recently in my novel The Dare Club, only I renamed it the Lift Up course).

One of the best things about the course was that I was in a room full of people who knew exactly what I was going through because they were going through it too! Friendships were quickly formed, and wild nights out arranged. We boogied together, rode on the back of fast motorbikes (well, I did!), but mostly, we talked, we listened and we cried.

The course covered many things, but one of the sessions that has really stuck in my mind was the session on the different relationship styles. They were illustrated with drawings of stick people, and I’ve attempted to reproduce them here from the book that accompanied the course. Please excuse the quality of my drawings!

 

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Master/Slave Relationship – speaks for itself!

 

 

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Martyr Relationship – 1 person always making sacrifices for the other in a controlling, emotionally blackmailing way.

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Pedestal Relationship – Loving someone for who you think they are rather than who they are. Hard to live up to?

 

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Dependency Relationship – holding each other up. But what if one wants to move? The other will fall over.

 

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Smothering Relationship – Is this what we think is the ideal? That special in love feeling? Feels great for a while.

 

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Back-to-back Relationship – still joined, but leading virtually separate lives.

 

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Healthy Relationship – 2 people happy within themselves, choosing to be together out of love.

My relationship that broke up was somewhere between a Pedestal Relationship with a touch of a Master/Slave relationship thrown in! In my novel The Dare Club, which is about what happens when 4 very different people meet at a Lift Up Course Colette has a similar experience, while Nick has recently come out of a dependency relationship. He has a photo of himself and his ex-wife leaning together looking like a “pair of baby owls” – sweet, but a bit helpless!

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What shape is your relationship?

Margaret XX

 

The book Rebuilding When Your Relationship ends is by Dr Bruce Fisher and Dr Robert Alberti, and is available on Amazon.

The Best Revenge

One afternoon in early summer in the year 2000, my life changed forever. I’d been to the shops to buy bread so my partner could take sandwiches to work the next day. When I returned home his car was in the drive, but the house was silent. This was very unusual – noise followed Andy around like a cloud of flies. He wasn’t the kind of person who could handle being on his own very well, and normally when I came in he’d be laughing with a friend on the phone, or at the very least playing loud music. I went into the sitting room, and there he was, just sitting. The TV wasn’t even on. Immediately, I was worried. The previous December my dad had died, and the previous July Andy’s best friend had been killed in a cycling accident. All my instincts told me that something else big had happened.

‘What’s wrong?’ I asked and sat beside him, taking his hand. Andy couldn’t meet my eyes. I thought it was because he was trying not to cry. But no, it was because he was bowed down by guilt. ‘I’ve met someone else,’ he said.

Twenty minutes later I left the house, taking only the dog and a small bag with me. It took me 4 years to rebuild my life.

What has all this got to do with Getting Published and Getting laughs, you may ask? Well, a great deal actually. Because the experience of this has given me a huge amount of material for my writing! In my novel The Goddess Workshop, my character Kate is very bitter following a similar break-up. Kate resorts to acts of revenge to try to assuage her feelings. So did I, but in a more subtle and much more satisfying way than Kate. I imagine most of us have heard of tales of wronged women stuffing prawns in curtain rails or cutting up their ex’s trousers. Andy clearly thought I would do such things, as he posted one of his friends in the house when I went to collect the rest of my things. He didn’t trust me to be there on my own.

But instead of seafood and scissors, I moved to a new city and got a new job. Then I saved my money and went on an adventure holiday to Cuba. Andy and I had been learning Spanish with a view to travelling somewhere exotic, and I knew Cuba would be top on his list of destinations. The whole time I was there, I was imagining how jealous he’d be if he found out. When I got back, I used the country as one of the settings in a book. The book was a reader for people learning to speak English and I called it Murder Maker.

Murder Maker

Murder Maker begins with the main character Carla being dumped by the love of her life. Here’s how it starts:

I used to think that murderers were born murderers, but now I know differently. Now I know they can be made.

            In my case, it was shock that did it. Four brutal words that changed my life forever. And who spoke those words?

            You.

            Congratulations, you created a murderer.

Can you guess what the 4 words were? Yes – I’ve met someone else. Carla goes on to become a serial killer, and the whole story is narrated by Carla to her ex. I changed names, but there are no prizes for guessing who her ex is based on. And satisfyingly, by the end of the book, we know time is running out for him…

After Murder Maker was a published, it was on sale in a specialist bookshop in Cambridge, near to where I used to live with Andy. And the best revenge of all? Well, a mutual friend told me that Andy had walked by the bookshop and seen it in the window. He’d been compelled to go in and buy it!

Murder Maker has since sold thousands of copies around the world and still continues to earn me money. Best of all, my experience of dealing with heartbreak and of rebuilding my life has continued to provide me with meaty material for writing. In my latest novel – The Dare Club – my characters meet at a course for the newly divorced and separated. I did such a course myself when I moved to a new city.

But more about that another day…

www.margaretkjohnson.co.uk

Join The Dare Club!

Drum roll please ….Today’s the day! The Dare Club is published!

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For this book I have scared myself stupid swinging through the trees high up in the forest canopy at Go Ape.

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I have also done something I never imagined I would do in my wildest dreams – I actually went up on stage and performed stand-up comedy! I know, I said the same thing too – “I could never do that!” But I did, and there’s a YouTube clip to prove it!

Watch me performing at Up The Creek in Greenwich here.

So join Aleysha, Nick, Colette and Emma as they attempt to scare themselves into forgetting about their problems. Will it go smoothly? Of course not! But they’ll have a lot of fun trying!

And as a special bonus to celebrate the launch of The Dare club, my novel The Goddess Workshop is available for 1 week only for the bargain price of 99p! That’s until 11pm on Sunday 1 December.

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What have daring things have you done? I’d love to know!

Margaret X

www.margaretkjohnson.co.uk

 

Cover Reveal – The Dare Club

Not long to go now – The Dare Club, my follow-up book to The Goddess Workshop, should be hitting the virtual shelves next week!

The Dare Club follows the fates of 4 very different people – Aleysha, Nick, Colette and Emma – who meet on a Lift Up Course for the newly divorced and separated. After initial tensions, the group bond and Colette has the idea of setting up a dare club to help them to forget their problems.  If they’re cavorting several metres off the ground, or standing under a spotlight, it’s bound to help them to forget about their troubles, isn’t it? At the very least, they’ll have some fun, and who knows? It might just change their lives forever.

I’ve had a lot of fun doing scary research for this novel – like my characters, I feel changed forever after doing things like swinging through the tree tops and performing stand-up comedy. I look forward to many more scary challenges in the future!

So, without further ado, here’s the cover for The Dare Club. I think my illustrator, Jane Newland, has got it just right.

THE DARE CLUB cover 2

www.margaretkjohnson.co.uk

Facebook: Margaret K Johnson Author

Twitter: @margaretkaj

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Clink champagne glasses – The Goddess Workshop is published!

WooHoo! The Goddess Workshop is published on Amazon! Sooo excited! Here’s the link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Goddess-Workshop-ebook/dp/B00BO9CM0M/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1362999584&sr=8-1

My website is up and running too. Here’s the address – http://www.margaretkjohnson>co.uk  Now I’ve just got to let everyone know about it. Oh, and get on with writing the follow up book, The Dare Club. Oh, and practice the gag I’m taking to the Stand-up Comedy course in less than 2 weeks’ time…!

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