Wednesday 27 June 2018

When in Wales

On Saturday I did something that I haven't done for a long time - attended a multi author book signing. I've done them as both reader and author in the US, but never in the UK before, so that was a first. The event was When in Wales which was held at the Mercure Hotel, in Cardiff, and it brought together nearly forty independent authors from the UK and from the US, to meet readers and to display, sign and sell their books. It was one of a series of similar events that are now being held all around the country and I have to say I really enjoyed it.

The format was like that adopted at the big romance conventions in America - each author had a table - and the decorations, give-aways and the range of books were really impressive. A few authors had even brought their favourite cover model with them - and yes, I know I should have got pictures, but I was too busy looking at books and taking names.

A work of art and a good start to the afternoon.
And it tasted as good as it looked.
One of the author tables.
I took a picture of the whole room,
but for some reason it came out too blurred to use.
Camera shake, but it wasn't the mocktail!
These were indie authors - the majority of whom were self published, or with small presses, so you are unlikely to see their wares in bookshops - only on the Internet. There were writers who had come all the way from America especially to attend, and also authors from around the UK - even a few who were locals. The range of books was phenomenal -  from horror to fantasy to romantic suspense - all with a
common feature -

they were romance books. There were mega hot strictly-adults-only offerings at one end of the scale, with young adult at the other and everything else in between. It was great to see fresh titles from authors I'd not encountered before, and my e-reader is now busy downloading samples and clicking away. Those I've had a peek at so far all seem to have two things in common - strong heroines and gorgeous heroes - sometimes two gorgeous heroes in the M/M categories.

As I'd only just got back from a trip to London - research for the day job - I opted for an afternoon ticket - some super keen fans spent the day, lunching with the authors. I started my afternoon with a fabulous mocktail in the bar and then spent a couple of hours chatting and laughing. Romance authors are great people and know how to have fun, as well as write great books.

I'm hoping to go to other similar events in the future. Maybe even as a signing author, on the other side of the table?

Wednesday 20 June 2018

Summer in San Remo - Out in Paperback

I can't remember if I've told you - Summer in San Remo is going to be out in paperback on 3rd July. Just in time for the summer holidays, if you like to read on paper and you haven't caught up with it yet.

 Needless to say I'm pleased and excited about this, and am hoping to do at least one event to celebrate - more of that soon. And of course there will be a lot of squeeing and pictures of author copies of books - but sadly no champagne, as I am now on the waggon ... but I do have some pink lemonade stashed away.

San Remo is intended to be first of a series and I had hoped that the second book might be ready by now - I think my publisher probably did too. It's making progress, but a bit slower than I would like - blame the day job and life in general. It is actually finished but still in hand written draft and not ready to be set loose on Other People. I just hope the Choc-Lit Tasting Panel like it, once they finally get to see it! 

Wednesday 13 June 2018

Summoned by Bells?

Writers are told – often - to ensure that they use all the senses when writing. Hearing and sound is most obviously covered by speech, but what about other sounds?

The thought behind this post came from a trip to a concert at St David’s Hall in Cardiff, last Sunday afternoon. I don’t know a lot about classical music – but I do like going to concerts occasionally. This one was the violinist Maxim Vengerov playing with the Wurth Philharmonic Orchestra, and  they were brilliant. I really enjoyed it.

Music is obviously one thing to include in a book, but it was one small part of the concert that got me thinking. There was a tiny passage in the overture to Die Fledermaus where there was a bell tolling. I don’t know if it was supposed to, but it sent shivers up my spine – and I realised that I have a bit of a thing about bells. Sometimes, on a Sunday, if the wind is in the right direction I can hear the church bells from the mainland. And if I go for a walk in the evening the clock on the Dock Offices, which is on the other side of the water, chimes the hour. It’s a very evocative sound and one that I need to remember when I want some atmosphere.    

I have used church bells – there is a scene in Never Coming Home when Kaz is startled by a sudden peal of bells, with interesting results, as you will know if you have read the book.

The more mysterious side of a tolling or chiming bell is something to ponder though. I’ll have to make a note to come back to it when I’m writing romantic suspense. I have a book in the works that has some mildly supernatural elements along with the suspense. I have an idea that a bell might fit right in.

Something to think about.

Wednesday 6 June 2018

Smile please! Getting some new pictures taken.

Romantic Novelists' Association parties aside, writers don't get that many chances for a bit of glamour, off the page, so a photo shoot for some new PR pictures was kind of exciting. Well  - you know authors don't get out much. The picture I'm currently using is seven years old. I haven't changed that much - more bags and sags and sadly a few more pounds - and maybe  some wear and tear after the effects of surgery and other life stuff. I don't look that different, but I'd been thinking for some while that it was about time I updated.

Internet research  - googling 'headshots, Cardiff area'  - brought up the name Sian Trenberth and when I looked at the website I really liked what I saw. Sian does a lot of work for people in the entertainment industry - and writing is entertainment - well, the kind I do is. I hope.

First I did some preparation - haircut, highlights renewed, had my eyebrows professionally shaped for only the second time in my life - come on, I had to have some help - see bags and sags, above - figured out what I was going to wear, organised my makeup bag ...

Once all that was done and I was as ready as I was ever going to be, I made a booking and trotted off  to Sian's studio in Cardiff, clutching a case with several changes of clothes (all carefully pressed the night before, all suitable creased once I arrived) in some excitement and a small amount of trepidation. It helped that it was a lovely sunny day, so I didn't arrive soaking wet with frizzy hair, although I did have to stand in the shade of a tree at one point to cool off!!

Once I got there and we talked about what I wanted - basically just me, but on a good day - and Sian started work, I knew I was in good hands, and I enjoyed myself. I know it's vain, but it is quite nice to focus on yourself for a little while.  I did some quick changes and sat on various stools and chairs and we even managed to take a few picture in the garden.

And a couple of days later the pictures arrived. I don't know what anyone else will think, but I was thrilled with them. They were exactly what I wanted -  me, on a good day. I'm not sure how I'm going to chose just one  - I think I might have to rotate them. These are my five favourites.

If you have a favourite ...