Tracy Bloom on Being a Bestseller

I’m delighted to welcome the lovely Tracy Bloom as my guest on the blog today  – over to you, Tracy!

The day NO-ONE EVER HAS SEX ON A TUESDAY become a Best Seller!

I thought you might like the low-down on what happens the first day you become a best selling writer.  Is it champagne filled glamour or just another day at the office? Read on to find out how it went for me.

Daughter climbed in bed at 2am waking me up. Couldn’t resist a quick check of my Amazon rankings. #6!!! Spent next hour gazing at Best Seller screen on Kindle.

Woke at 6am. Looked again at rankings. #4!! Sent text to husband who is away with work. He called immediately waking daughter and son up. A bit cross with him!!

Spoke to husband who was on speaker phone whilst he shaved. First time he has ever multi-tasked. This is turning out to be an amazing day.

Show son Best Seller screen on Amazon. He asks when am I going to get ahead of that ‘David Brown’ and said he prefers the cover of the ‘Bolero’ book to mine.

Have Froot Loops in celebration for breakfast rather than Special K. Success is already no good for my diet!

Still only 7.30am so pace the house waiting to be able to call someone…..anyone!

Build some Lego for sons Harry Potter assault course. One of Harry’s challenges is now to do Karaoke with daughters Lego Friends.

Mop the kitchen floor.

Speak to agent just after 9am. Unable to with-hold emotion. Have a little cry.

Finally get mother on the phone. She is openly proud. That’s a first.

Strip the beds and put sheets in the wash (it’s a good drying day) whilst children pretend to be slugs in the empty duvet covers.

Console wailing children who have banged heads whilst pretending to be slugs in empty duvet covers.

Tell kids we’ll go out for a celebratory lunch. They choose to go to a Carvery! (they are so eighties retro)

Eat too much roast beef. Feel a bit sick.

Play tag in the pub garden. Feel really sick.

Go to visit the in-laws so they can play tag and I can sit down.

Iron ten thousand white shirts in preparation for kids going back to school the next day. Kids watch TV for too long but it’s Horrible Histories so I’m educating them.

Inevitable shouting match at bedtime as we are all tired and irritable but eventually kids settle down.

Do 30 mins on the exercise bike. Success is good for my diet.

Drink half a bottle of wine to toast my success.

Send texts to anyone who knows me….some replied….some told me to just calm down!!

So there you have it. A day in the life of a best selling author! NO-ONE EVER HAS SEX ON A TUESDAY actually went on to hit the number 1 spot  at which point the champagne did make an appearance as I did a Formula 1 style spraying all over the garden. Kids now ask loudly outside school “When are we doing that champagne thing again mummy?” which means the other mothers no-longer speak to me for my poor parenting habits!

Thanks, Tracy! I think I’m most impressed at the exercise bike part…

Never has a one-night stand led to such chaos!

Childhood sweethearts Matthew and Katy agree they must never see each other again after they end up in bed together following a school re-union.
So all is forgotten… until eight months later when a shock meeting at an antenatal class forces them to confront the fact that Matthew could be the father of Katy’s baby. Oblivious to the mayhem unfolding, Matthew’s highly-strung wife frets over giving birth to twins and Katy’s much younger boyfriend refuses to take fatherhood seriously.

Love and life are messy but Katy and Matthew take things to a whole new level as deep emotions begin to resurface and hormones run riot.

How will they navigate their way through this almighty cock-up?

Catch up with Tracy on Twitter at @TracyBBloom and buy her brilliant book here

Live From The RNA Conference Again!

There were a few tired faces this morning over breakfast following last night’s Gala Dinner, where Kate Johnson won the Elizabeth Goudge prize for her first two thousand words of a novel.

Highlights of yesterday include the fabulous Julie Cohen’s workshop on Using Theme in your Novel, which I found hugely useful and came away reassured that I’m doing a few things right. It’s still super hot and the air conditioning is still broken but we are soldiering on. Today, I’ve attended Janet Gover’s session on Dos and Don’ts of TV and Radio Interviews (fascinating and v useful) and Freda Lightfoot’s very inspiring talk on her success as an indie author (she published her entire thirty-five book backlist and has had spectacular sales). I’ve chatted to Kate Harrison and Rowan Coleman, plus the lovely Miranda Dickinson and my conference vlog will be up on her website soon.

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The conference is drawing to a close soon and I’m already looking forward to next year in Shropshire. I might have got over my hangover by then…

Live From The RNA Conference 2013!

This year’s Romantic Novelists’ Association Conference is hot stuff, and not only because the air conditioning at the Sheffield conference centre has broken down. We kicked off yesterday with a celebration of Associate members’ successes in the last year – as you can imagine the list was quite long! Then we were treated to a panel event including Bernardine Kennedy and Rowan Coleman.

Our accommodation is very nice – we’re in clusters six flats centred around a small kitchen. In our kitchen last night, we decorated our own wine glasses with pictures of gorgeous men – can you guess who they are?

Overall, the line-up of speakers looks brilliant, the company is fabulous and the wine is flowing (or it was last night, this morning it’s probably a little early, even for romantic novelists). I’m looking forward to catching up with friends (and making some new ones – last night I chatted to Milly Johnson and Tracy Bloom, who is guest blogging on here next week, and learning a lot – today’s sessions include workshops from seasoned romantic superstars like Julie Cohen, Sue Moorcroft and Catherine King, plus agent extraordinaire, Carole Blake. Then there’s the Gala Dinner tonight, where the winner of the Elizabeth Goudge prize (a competition open to all full members of the RNA – the winner gets a trophy which is passed on from year to year) will be announced.

But I can’t sit around here all day, breakfast is waiting. More photos and another report tomorrow!

This is Holly Hepburn, in Sheffield.

This Is My Jam – Midsummer Magic by Julia Williams

I should start this review with a disclaimer: I am a huge fan of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and I have been ever since I saw Russ Abbot’s* Bottom in Regent’s Park some years ago. So I wasn’t sure if I’d enjoy Julia Williams modern take on the familiar story. It’s one of Shakespeare’s most complicated plays (and that is saying something) – how would that translate into a twenty-first century romantic comedy?

Of course, I needn’t have worried; Midsummer Magic glitters with moonlit mischief and mystery. Set in Cornwall, the action stays true to the original story; we have four mixed-up lovers, a band of actors in a production of a certain play and a meddler who isn’t quite who he seems to be. The ingredients are all there for a perfect mix of summer delight and Julia whips them into the best kind of frothy pudding, with lashings of fun along the way.

I adored the way the plot twisted and turned – these characters are not in for an easy ride. It was a little like watching a master illusionist playing an extremely complex version of the three cup shuffle, except with people instead of cups. Keeping track of who was where, and with whom, was a mental workout worthy of my Brain Training game. I particularly enjoyed spotting all the clever references to the original  within the text – a little treat for Shakespeare geeks.

Of all the characters, the one who intrigued me the most was Freddie Puck, and I would have loved to have had more of his back story. But there was more than enough to get my teeth into with the interwoven stories of the others and I finished with the kind of whoosh you get from having been on a magical, exhilarating journey. Midsummer Magic is a joy from start to finish – I defy you not to love it.

And if you want to sample the book for yourself, I have one copy of Midsummer Magic to give away to a UK reader – simply leave a comment below to enter. I’ll pick a winner at random at 5pm on Sunday 7th July. Someone is about to get Pucky!

 

*Note for anyone born after 1980: Russ Abbot is a TV comedian who had a popular sketch show in the early 80s and who has gone on to become a brilliant character actor. He was very, very funny when I saw him, much funnier than on TV and I came away quite transfixed. As you would by seeing someone’s Bottom. Have I exhausted that joke yet?

LIFE BEGINS at 22

At twenty-two, I was still a baby. I had no idea who I was , or what I wanted to do with my life. I’d just finished university and was killing time working in a London estate agency, drinking too much and trying to figure out what I was supposed to do now that I’d finished learning stuff. What I didn’t get, of course, was that my education had just begun.

The year I turned twenty-two was the year I realised that the love of my life would never love me back (sob), although we were building a friendship that would last a long time. It was the year I decided my degree had been fun but it wasn’t something I wanted to pursue further. And it was the year I finally read Pride and Prejudice (OK, I may have watched it first) and decided that I wanted to be Jane Austen when I grew up. So I started writing (a thriller about some animal rights warriors who broke into a laboratory and unwittingly unleashed infected baboons on the world – sound familiar? They totally stole my idea for 28 Days Later) and faffed about with improbable Mills and Boon plots about sexy archaeologists. Then I found Jill Mansell and had the kind of epiphany that starts religions – I would write a romance and, lo, it would be good. It took me several years to do it, but I did finally finish writing that book.

So twenty-two really was the age that everything began. It was exciting, terrifying and sometimes fun. Would I want to be twenty-two again? Hell, no!

 

LIFE BEGINS AT 22 is a blorgy of sharing to celebrate the launch of BROOKLYN GIRLS by Gemma Burgess. Find out more about the book here and read more LIFE BEGINS AT 22 entries here.

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