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…

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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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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.”

This just about covers it!

This week has been very exciting because the cover of my book ‘Who Does He Think He Is?‘ has been revealed to the world. In fact if you take a little peek below, that’s it there:
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So how did the cover come about? My publisher Crooked Cat really encouraged me to be part of the process which was brilliant. We talked a lot about how to make it bright and tempting to readers. I am very appreciative of how they were incredibly tolerant of the child-like sketches I sent them of some of my ideas. (Actually, most children can probably draw a lot better than me!)

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Early cutting and sticking job!

The sketches then graduated into some cutting out and sticking of pictures. I did a bit of brainstorming on a train journey to come up with the tagline, and then the marvellous Laurence from Crooked Cat worked his magic and produced the cover.

 

What do you think? I am so thrilled with it. Suddenly the book seems even more real and I can’t wait for 15th December when it is released….

Paws for thought

Oh heck, it’s autumn! In the last couple of days I’ve found myself digging out jumpers, zipping on boots and even contemplating putting the heating on.img_2565

But while I’m fighting the urge to hibernate, my dog is loving the change of seasons. Admittedly Humph loves all times of the year, but I think he’s particularly fond of autumn, judging by the way he dives into piles of leaves and drags me into the mud as he investigates all manner of interesting smells. He is the definition of exuberance, and his joy is contagious.

I can’t imagine life without a dog. After all, I was only 9 months old when my family got our first dog. So, it was only natural that dogs had to feature in my first book, ‘Who Does He Think He Is?‘ The heroine Aurelia has two dogs (lucky her!) called Morecambe and Wise who get into all kinds of scrapes. Like their namesakes, they take their role as entertainers very seriously. Aurelia may despair at their ability to drag her into embarrassing situations, but like me, she wouldn’t be without her doggy companions.
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And speaking of doggy companions, mine is looking at me with pleading brown eyes. I think it may be time for a W-A-L-K….