Monday, 27 January 2014

Chiplitfest, me and hopefully you!

Got plans for the 26th April? What do you mean it's months away? It's early(ish) spring and now the first snowdrops are out, spring is just around the corner.
The lovely people at Chiplitfest have asked me to do a workshop on writing for the world's best known romance publisher. As they helpfully point out in the publicity I spent long enough trying so I should know something about it. I have to admit I find the prospect a wee bit daunting and a tad presumptuous - after all my debut book will be less than a month old at the time - but luckily my lovely editor will be there to supply the wisdom. Flo edits some of the biggest and best and I know how lucky I am to have her as an editor - so don't miss out on a chance to hear what she has to say!

Saturday 26th April 2014

17:00 - 18:00 at The Chequers

So you want to write Mills & Boon?

Every three seconds someone in Britain buys a Mills & Boon novel. It seems romance is far from dead but just how hard is it to write one? Jessica Gilmore spent three years learning to write the perfect Mills and Boon, finally signing a two-book deal in 2013. Jessica is joined by her editor, Flo Nicoll, to discuss the unique ingredients of one of the most popular genres in the world.
Ticket price: £5.00 each

So please do come along! I'd love to see you there x

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Pretty pretty things

I knew better. I knew that getting into Pinterest would only lead to compulsive pinning of pretty, pretty things. That's why I was determined to resist.
But, a little voice insisted, wouldn't it be useful. For erm, plotting, and thinking, and visualising? As for getting addicted, I was strong. I could handle it. It would be for work purposes only.
And so I paid the site a visit. Put together a mood board for The Return of Mrs Jones. So. Much. Fun.
Another one quickly followed, after all Summer With the Millionaire needed one too and if that meant searching through many pictures of Rufus Sewell well, it's hard work being a romance writer. Book Three was feeling very left out so obviously I needed to make a third board.
Still not addicted.
The boards for recipes and inspirations and books I love and places are all perfectly respectable and purely for research purposes. As is my Tatty Devine wishlist.
See, I am completely in control.
If you need me I'll be over on Pinterest. Researching.
See you there...

Friday, 10 January 2014

Cover Reveal

So last night I was in a 'what to read next dilemma' and Twitter did what Twitter does best, sending me loads of fab recommendations. I was busy so adding titles to wishlists and sending recommendations of my own out in turn that I barely noticed when an email popped up.
This is what that email contained....

This is the cover for the North America release, out in April. Isn't it utterly gorgeous????

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

To market to market to buy a new book

It's not long now until my debut. Less than three months.
Okay, three months is quite a long time. Time for two London trips, one work, one fun. My daughter has to rehearse and I have to endure watching a dance show. I'll go through two cycles of the monthly work data stuff that underpins my day job. The clocks will go forward. Snowdrops will elegantly foreshadow spring, followed by garish daffodils colouring the city walls.
Book number three will be finished.
And yet it doesn't feel like long enough. There is so much for an author, especially a debut author to do. Ten years ago I might have planned a signing at my local bookshop and bribed all my friends to come, had an interview in the local paper - and then I would go back to writing. Now a writer needs to be able to market themselves.Constantly.
Well, this should be easy. I know all about marketing - just look at my top rated post to your left. See, I am a guru. That post went mildly viral one day. Marketing should be as easy as eating cake for me!
But there are so many channels now. I don't know where to start.
I blog. A few people read it *waves*. But it was always meant more as a sounding board rather than a marketing tool. Hence the long navel gazing posts.
Who wouldn't want pictures of this on their Twitter feed?
I tweet and try and keep down the ranting/pictures of cake/puppy stories/parental boasting and occasionally succeed. It's a great conversation tool and I have bought books by people I chat to on Twitter so it does work but I would need ten/fifty/hundred times the followers for it to be a useful selling tool. (I promise you here and now that I will never ever schedule those awful auto tweets with links. Or DM spam you. Ever.).

I have a Facebook page which I forget is there. I know for optimum useage I should be posting something daily, I don't. I will try.
I finally have a website! It's industrial grey, I mean chic and understated but it features buy now buttons (tick) and an author photo which is the best out of a bunch I persuaded my husband to take.
(Him: This isn't going to end well.
Me: It'll be fine
Him: ready?
Me: I'm not relaxed!
*cue tears and tantrums*)
Hurrah for photo editing features on a standard lap top.

That should be enough, right?
No! I should be sorting out blog tours. I have no idea what, how or where but did you know some blogs fill up SIX months in advance?
and baking. I can't help it. Successful
baking feels like a miracle!
I should be utilising instagram (untouched for a year), Tumblr (am clueless), Goodreads (according to Goodreads I am still reading a David Mitchell that was a Book Club choice in 2012. I have no idea how the author side works. Or are they combined?). Pinterest. Is it even possible to do all these things, write, hold down the day job, parent, walk the dog, read, bake and learn the quickstep from my new Strictly fitness DVD?

I doubt it. I'll do my best but if you want me I'll be over at Twitter posting pictures of the very fluffy dog, Tatty Devine necklaces and trying not to rant too much. Come and say hi. I'll never ask you to buy my book (but the links will be there if you want to find out how). 

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

The Bear Necessities

I have a theory. It's not exactly scientific but hey, people make fortunes out of theories with absolutely no scientific basis so why not me? (*immediately copyrights theory in order to write bestselling self-help book*)
My theory is that people once lived like bears in a Disney film. Or possibly a John Lewis advert.

As the nights drew in and the leaves turned we in turn turned to comfort food, bulking up on crumbles and pies, cakes and casseroles, tins of Quality Street adding the necessary fat stores we needed to get us through the long, cold, barren winter. The whole fattening process ending with a great Winter Festival of food, drink, excess and more food until, exhausted, we crawled into our cave, pulled on our thermal onesies and slept through until Spring when we woke, miraculously thin, hungry and ready to jump into mountain streams to spear spawning salmon.
It makes sense doesn't it? All that feasting has a purpose. We don't need to make resolutions to get rid of the excess, it melts away as we sleep. And best of all we get to skip January and February, swapping dark, icy mornings for one long, heavenly snooze.
Bears have it good!
That pretty much sums up my Christmas and New Year. For the first time ever it was just me, OH, 10yo and pup and we have spent most of the holidays hidden away like medieval hermits on a binge; feasting (on food and on the last two seasons of Sherlock ready for tonight's revelations!), living in pyjamas, indulging in lazy days of reading (me), Lego (10yo), watching sport (OH). It's been blissful.
And we all feel completely refreshed.
It makes going into the New Year so much easier, ready to take up the mantles of our busy lives with a new spring in our step. Our resolutions are short and doable, more a continuation of the best that we do rather than unrealistic, lofty achievements (except 10yo's promise to keep her room tidy. That is aiming very high).
Mine are: 1000 words a day, 2 fasting days a week, to try and see the good in every situation.
See? Doable.
Imagine how much more doable they would be if I could just carry on hibernating until the first of March!