Friday, May 25, 2007

Murder at The Laurels... finally out! It's been a big week, really, starting with Jane Wenham-Jones' launch of Wannabe a Writer at Borders in Charing Cross Road on Saturday. Thoroughly enjoyable, much wine was consumed and there were many mates to talk to. I also vaguely remember being asked to write a column about sex for the over fifties. I think I said yes, despite knowing nothing about it - from experience, that is, not age - but as I can't remember what it was for (magazine? Website?) I don't suppose it matters. Had even more drinks with Jane, Lynne Barrett-Lee and our publisher afterwards, a rather nice pub meal and a long taxi journey to Victoria via Euston. Don't ask.

Sunday my arthritis objected to too much wine and five hours of standing. My knees were so painful I could barely walk. I went to bed early on account of having to pick Travelling Daughter up at Heathrow at stupid o'clock and naturally didn't sleep. Duly picked her up, she having had only two hours sleep in 24, whereupon she phoned everyone in her phone book, had her hair done, downloaded all her photographs onto the computer, got them printed and insisted on the fizzy being opened the minute her big sister and nephew arrived at 5pm. By this time I was a wreck, having had roughly the same amount of sleep and cooked a four dish curry (her request) for 6 of us.

Tuesday I went to sign copies of Murder at The Laurels, which had officially come out on Monday, at our local indie bookshop, Pirie and Cavender. No public signing this time, as I want to do one for the next book in November, asnd I don't want the inhabitants of Whitstable to get fed up with me. Leo and I had a rehearsal for Murder Music and Mayhem and Wednesday both of them (Philly and Leo) left. Philly has gone up to spend the last two weeks of her tenancy at her London flat and Leo can't bear to stay in the house with his sister. (I did say she wouldn't be here for the next two weeks, but he'd been offered a room and it seemed churlish to refuse, especially as the offeree has also offered him a job.)

Yesterday, feeling bereft -empty nest syndrome - I went to pick up books (Jane's and Lynne's) I had ordered from afore-mentioned bookshop and the owner showed me our local paper, in which I appear larger than life with a whole page to myself. I am a "Whitstable Pearl" and the (extremely good looking) young reporter has been exceptionally kind and actually got things right. He's left out all the things I would have wanted in there, like mention of all my children and how talented they are, but otherwise it's fine. However, there will be a touch of the schadenfreudes among those who know me, I'm sure. Wait for her to trip up, they'll be saying.

Today I will work. Publisher telephoned on Monday to ask if I had the revisions ready for new edition of panto book which comes out in December and had I got a title for book 4 in the Libby Sarjeant series scheduled for next June. ?????? This, of course, all sounds wonderful to anyone not in the writing game. The reality is explained beautifully, and comically, in Jane's book. Read it, and you will realise why we're all still broke - and still doing it. Oh - and read mine, too.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Wannabe a Writer

On Saturday 19th May at Borders, Charing Cross Road, I shall be among the "Assorted Other Writers" at the launch event of Jane Wenham-Jones' book "Wannabe a Writer". I'm hoping our mutual publishers will send along copies of Murder at The Laurels, even though its official escape day is Monday. It promises to be a meeting of old mates, as the writers in the photograph below will be there, along with many others, most of whom belong to the RNA. If you're in the area, come along and say hello.

Meanwhile, I have developed ANOTHER cold and have the works to go with it. Wobbly legs, temperature, sore throat and a complete inability to breathe through my nose. No sleep last night, then. Naturally, I have the first rehearsal of Music, Murder and Mayhem tonight, the cod radio play in which I shall be portraying Lady Evadne Thrusting, and tomorrow I'm being interviewed and photographed for a feature in the local paper. I shall no doubt sound like someone drowning and be photographed in a hooded cloak with impressive atmospheric shadows. All I really want to do is go to bed and put my head under the covers. How did I cope when I had four children running round? Did I cope? Comments from children no doubt coming up!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

In the Coal Hole

As promised, a photograph taken in the Coal Hole after the Savoy lunch. L to r: Judy Astley, Katie Fforde, Gilli Allen, Bernardine Kennedy, me and slightly behind, Jenny Harper. Photograph taken by Jan Jones.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Conferences and lunch

Thanks to the wonderful Amanda Grange, there will soon be a slideshow of my titles. The woman should get a medal.

A month since I last posted, during which I've sent more money to Phillipa in New Zealand and Thailand, worked a bit more on the novel (62000 now, and should be a LOT more) and been to the Crime Writers' Association Conference in Ilkley and the Romantic Novel of the Year Award lunch at The Savoy.

The Crime Writers' conference was interesting and enjoyable. Much more relaxed than the RNA conference, but that's probably because it's only published writers, so they don't bother to have writers talking about their work or giving workshops. Some useful speakers, particularly Ian and Helen Pepper, a husband and wife team who lecture on the crime scene and aspects of forensic science. Very entertaining and informative. However, the most notable feature of the weekend, my first, was that somehow or other, I was talked into organising next year's conference. Certainly made me a lot of friends! Luckily, the estimable Tim Bates of Pollingers offered to help, so we have formed a committee of two, and already sorted out the venue.

The problem has been cost. Two nights and conference facilities in Yorkshire, booked over a year ago with prices held, is vastly different to the South East. However, we have received and ALMOST accepted a very competitive quote from the hotel both Tim and I favoured, The Hythe Imperial. I went to visit on Friday, and it's terrific.

The Savoy lunch was as mad as ever. You never get to speak to everyone you want to and the best bit is in The Coal Hole next door afterwards. When I find it, I'll post a picture. Rosie Thomas won the main award with Iris and Ruby, which is now on my TBR pile, and Nell Dixon won the Romance Prize with Marrying Max, ditto.

Daughter-in-law-elect Clare took me out to dinner on Friday night at the Morroccan Restaurant in Canterbury, very posh, and the Champagne Bar, newly opened in what was the County Hotel. Even posher and London prices. Shan't go again.

My ankles have gone into summer mode and swell almost as soon as I get up in the morning, so I'm off to the sofa with the laptop to work for the rest of this bank holiday Sunday. Well, what else would I do?