Hello December!

Oh my goodness, it’s December! How did that happen? I know the shops have been full of Christmassy stuff for ages, but now they seem to be playing the Christmas tunes and shoving the tinsel in people’s face with serious intent. I’ve got the advent calendar out (you’re never too old for an advent calendar, right?) img_2767It’s made me realise that actually there’s not all that much time before the big day to get in all the shopping, card writing and sorting of stuff that I need to do, gulp. I’m starting to have to make lists of my ‘to-do’ lists!

However, I don’t mind as I love this time of year. There’s always something magical in the air, and the glittering lights and sparkling decorations make even the most ordinary scene special. img_1448My own tree and decorations are somewhat on the modest side at the moment, but they’re work in progress, and at least I don’t have  a huge sprawling mansion to decorate, unlike the main character in my book ‘Who Does He Think He Is?’ The lovely Aurelia lives in a manor house called Leydale Park. It’s a grand Regency home, but it’s more of a pile in a state than a stately pile. The poor girl is at the end of her tether trying to keep the place from falling apart, but I do like to imagine that at this time of the year she might get the chance to put her feet up for a little bit. After all, Christmas decorations can hide all kinds of cracks in the floors and damp patches on the walls. Alas, chaos has a habit of following Aurelia around…

Lights, camera, action – it’s movies time!

It may come as no surprise to you that I am a big fan of the movies. After all, my debut rom com ‘Who Does He Think He Is?’ is all about the chaos that ensues when a film crew descends on a sleepy Yorkshire dale to make a movie.  image2-1But as well as writing about the glamorous world of Hollywood, did you know that I also broadcast about it? Yes, every other Sunday afternoon, I can be found in the hallowed studios of Tempo FM presenting my radio show ‘Music from the Movies’. It’s a mixture of music and chat about the movies, funny that. I’ve done the show for at least six or so years now (gulp, how time flies!) and during that time I’ve learnt so much, not just about films, but also about live radio broadcasting. There’s always lots going on behind the scenes in a radio studio. img_2529When I’m talking away on the microphone, I have to press all the buttons, move all the faders and generally make sure that everything is working from the technical point of view. It’s definitely a lesson in multi-tasking! And when something goes wrong, for example when a track won’t play, I have to be like the proverbial swan – remain calm on the surface while frantically paddling away to sort things out. Thankfully the gremlins don’t attack too often, but you always have to be on your toes with live radio! img_2530I really enjoy putting together my show, and with the wide range of tracks which have featured in films, I’m generally spoilt for choice for great tunes to play. Some weeks I like to do a bit of a theme, for example around the time of the Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race I might do a show featuring tunes from movies which have starred actors who went to those universities. There’s usually a spooky theme at Halloween, and it’s now getting to the time of year when a few Christmas tracks might have to creep in. In fact, I can’t wait to play something from ‘Love Actually‘ which in my opinion is the ultimate Christmas movie. So there we go. My name is Emily, and I love the movies. How about you?

Party and pre-ordering time!

It’s a good thing I’m typing this post rather than having to say it out loud as I am rather hoarse after attending the Romantic Novelists’ Association Winter Party! I’m not sure what the collective term for a group of romantic novelists is, but it should definitely be a word which conveys both how welcoming everyone is, and how chatty they are. I would have illustrated this post with lots of pictures of the party, but I was too busy enjoying myself to take any!

I was delighted to attend the event, but it was made even more lovely because I had been invited by my reader on the New Writers’ Scheme.fullsizerender-5 For those who don’t know, the New Writers’ Scheme is a marvellous thing whereby established authors read manuscripts from new writers and provide a report with lots of useful help and guidance. My debut novel ‘Who Does He Think He Is?’ went through the New Writers’ Scheme, and I am hugely grateful to my wonderful reader for the advice she gave me. fullsizerender-6

When she heard that my book was being published by Crooked Cat Books, she got in touch and sent me a ticket to the party to say ‘well done’. I was absolutely delighted to meet her, and chatting with her gave me a huge boost as I count down to publication day.

And the count down is definitely on, as ‘Who Does He Think He Is?’ is now officially available to pre-order on Amazon at the bargain introductory price of just 99p. Eek, exciting times! If you want to find out more about it, check out the blurb below.

image2-1Lady Aurelia Osbourne-Lloyd has long wished her bank balance was as big as her name. But her home, Leydale Park, is more of a pile in a state than stately pile, and with her father off ‘finding himself’ in Thailand, it’s up to her to turn the family fortunes around by entertaining demanding tourists.

When – thanks to her father’s interference – a Hollywood production company chooses the estate as a location for a Regency movie, a whole new level of chaos enters Aurelia’s life. Her quiet days shattered and privacy non-existent, she has no choice but to go with the flow and let them take over.

Never mind the added distraction of dishy leading man, Xander Lord, who may have an ulterior motive for wanting to get close to her…

Can Aurelia keep her cool in light of all the upheaval?

 

Welcoming winter…

What a difference a week makes! On Wednesday I woke to two startling things:  1. Donald Trump had been elected president of America, and 2. it had snowed. I know which of those two I was happier about! Thankfully I was in the fortunate position of not having to go anywhere until the evening, so I spent the day snuggled up and writing, what a treat!

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I know it’s only November, but I’m afraid the snow started making me feel a little Christmassy. And I’m not the only one. The shops are definitely jumping on the winter bandwagon with windows full of Christmas trees, and of course the Christmas ads are on the TV. The big talking point nowadays always seems to be the John Lewis ad and this year’s has certainly divided opinion. It may not have a deeper meaning like last year’s Man on the Moon, but it did bring a smile to my face. After all, what’s not to love about a dog bouncing on a trampoline?! I think I’ll have to make sure my dog doesn’t see it, otherwise he’ll be getting ideas about his Christmas present…
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Remember, remember the 5th of November

Remember, remember the 5th of November, gunpowder, treason and plot!

Ah, Bonfire Night. The evening where we all gather round fires and set off fireworks to celebrate the failure of what I guess would nowadays be termed an attempted act of terrorism. With the increasing popularity of Halloween, I fear that Bonfire Night is becoming rather overshadowed. But then again, judging by the barrage of explosions currently echoing around the valley, it would seem that in my part of Yorkshire at least the tradition is still going strong.

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The most famous of the Gunpowder plotters was a Yorkshire lad. Guy Fawkes was educated at St Peter’s School in York. Although the school has its own fireworks display every year, it never puts a Guy on the bonfire. Well, I guess it would be considered rather bad form to burn an effigy of an alumnus!

However, elsewhere in the country, there have been pretty impressive Guys created, including one of Donald Trump in his underpants. Got to love a bit of political comment on Bonfire Night!

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This year I attended my local firework display where I learnt that however stunning the fireworks are in the air, they nevertheless look pretty rubbish when I attempt to take a picture of them. You’ll have to take my word for it that it was spectacular and well worth the hour and a half we spent standing around in the cold.

Now that Bonfire Night is nearly done, I guess the countdown is on to the next big event of the year….Christmas? Oh yes, well there’s that of course. But before that is the 15th December, otherwise known as Publication Day of my book ‘Who Does He Think He Is?’ Exciting times!

Murder mystery mayhem!

 

It’s nearly Halloween so it seems appropriate to have a bit of a gory theme to my blog this week. As you may know I’m a big fan of murder mysteries, and enjoy writing them myself. But what you may not know is that I also enjoying trying to solve mysteries. For the past few years my friends and I have  been going on murder mystery weekend breaks run by the fabulous Joy Swift. They take place in lovely country house  hotels across the country. From Friday night to Sunday morning we become detectives, working to solve dastardly deeds and catch cunning criminals. 

Basically among all the guests will be around 10 actors. They’re in character for the whole time and over the course of the weekend they’ll have huge arguments, catch each other in compromising positions and ultimately at least three of them will end up ‘dead’. Fear not, no actual murders take place! It’s then the task of guests such as ourselves to piece together the clues, crack codes, question suspects and come up with our solution. In between all the sleuthing there’s also lot of extra fun and games with quizzes, charades and a fancy dress disco. 


The mysteries certainly give the old brain cells a workout, and for the duration of the weekend, you end up forgetting what’s going on in the rest of the world. 

The company is celebrating its 35th anniversary this weekend, so happy birthday to all the team, and here’s to many more mysteries to get us sleuthing! 

One should always have something sensational to read on the train

As the nights draw in and the weather gets increasingly grim, I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s thinking wistfully about my summer holiday.

At the beginning of September I packed my Greek dictionary, and set off for a little bit of island hopping with friends. We went to Crete and Santorini and had lots of adventures along the way. From being trampled by a herd of donkeys in Santorini to discovering quite possibly the best ice-cream shop in the world in Rethymno, Crete, I chronicled it all in my holiday journal.

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When I was little, my parents encouraged me to write a holiday diary and I’m so glad they started what has turned into a lifelong habit. I love that I have a collection of diaries spanning all my travels since I was about 14-years-old. When I read back through my travel journals, I am instantly transported back to the holiday and find myself recalling little details that I would otherwise have forgotten. And when I’m searching for ideas, sometimes a little incident from a holiday can spark the plot for a short story or even a book.

I think the character Gwendolyn Fairfax in Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest sums up for me why a diary is a good idea. As she says, “One should always have something sensational to read on the train.”