Thursday, 18 October 2012

Technophobia

There I was, basking in the glory of being a best selling author in Paris, when BANG I'm asked to do something on the computer that - to me - and several other authors - finds impossible.   I need someone to tell me how on earth you send a file with both script and photographs as an email - not as an attachment, but with the file in the body of the email itself.   If any of you out there has a suggestion, I would be very grateful.   I've already spent eighteen hours messing about, getting dubious and often wrong advice, and tearing my hair out.   And actually, all I want to do is write my next book!

Bonjour La France - in the rain!

Hi there, I know it has been a while, but I've been rather busy as you will see.
Now I'm writing as Ellie Dean it means I must write three books a year - and none of them are small affairs - I like to write big, sweeping stories, and of course with research etc., these take a while.   But, hey, I'm not complaining.   People seem to like what I do, and in these difficult times I count myself as very fortunate indeed to be offered another four book deal by Arrow.
Having finished Where the Heart Lies (Ellie Dean), I have just completed Firestorm, (Tamara Mckinley) and then it was off to gay Pareee for a long weekend.   Although Paris was at the end of the signing trip, I first went to Le Mans for the 25 hour salon du livre - or to those who don't have much French - like me - a book festival.
It rained.   Absolutely fell down like stair-rods.   But that didn't deter the hardy French who turned up to the festival in their thousands.   All generations, including babes in arms, pushchairs and back-packs, and all avid readers.   It was a great festival, the theme this year being Oceanna, so there were Aboriginal artifacts on show, Polynesian dancers and singers, writers, poets, cartoonists, rap poets - I could go on, but you get the general idea.
Luckily I had a fellow Aussie next to me at our signing table, Chris Wormersley, and thank goodness for that.   Our French was just about understandable, but it was much less stressful to be able to natter away in English - or 'Strain'!   But the organisers treated us brilliantly, with food and wine and coffee so strong you could stand a spoon up in it!
Then it was off to Paris.   In the rain.   Lugging my suitcase up flights of stairs, escalators and over kerbs and cobbles.   It was at this point I wished him indoors had come too - husbands can be very useful when one has a heavy case.   The hotel was very grand, right in the heart of Paris, with views over the rooftops to the Eiffel Tower which glittered and shimmered against the skyline.   Beautiful - but too knackered to do much on arrival, so had a gin and tonic, a long bath and then a good night's sleep.
I came back late to find him indoors waiting for me to drive me home.   He admitted that he'd made the bed that morning - for the first time in four days - and that he'd actually hoovered.   Goodness, whatever next?   He also gave a supper party, having stuffed chicken breasts himself with garlic butter and wrapping them in bacon.   I can see there's a Jamie Oliver lurking in there somewhere.   Perhaps I ought to go away again.

Monday, 28 May 2012

You never know who might be watching....

Just spoke to someone I used to know when I was about eleven or twelve.   This is great, but it does remind me of how ancient I'm getting.
Being an author is an odd thing - I think I've said this before - you go along, stuck in your office minding your own business when you get a letter or an email from someone you've lost contact with.   I was even doing a book signing once when this lady came up to me, and she obviously knew me, and my familiy - but when she told me who she was married to, it all became clear.   Life is funny, isn't it?   But in this age of digital inquisitiveness, it's quite surprising who knows what you're doing!

HOT, HOT HOT

Summer has arrived and as we swelter in this heatwave, it's almost like being back home in Australia.  Which is good, because I've just finished writing my latest Ellie Dean tiltle, and now must start working on a synopsis for my next Australian based novel.   I'm calling it Firestorm, so the heat will help me to live through it!

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

THE OCEAN CHILD EXCLUSIVE E-BOOK

To those of you who don't know, THE OCEAN CHILD is now exclusively in English as an e-book and can be downloaded on all that wonderful technical wizzardry.   It's set in Tasmania where I was born, and the cover is a photograph of me on Bluff Beach when I was about 2 or 3.   I hope you enjoy it.

STRESS, STRESS, STRESS

I had a day off yesterday with lunch and drinks sitting in the rare sunshine.   One always has to get out there when the sun shines, it could be our summer, and therefore too precious to miss.   Now it's the next day and I'm in my office again - the sun has gone in, the rain is threatening and I have more work to do than every before.   Three books to be written in one year?   Offspring and husband demanding attention - shopping, cooking etc.,  Yes, I'm having a moan.   But now I've written it down I feel better.  Let me know how you cope when the world seems to want a piece of you and is spinning out of control.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

ELLIE DEAN

If you enjoy Tamara McKinley, maybe you'll enjoy Ellie Dean. We are one and the same, but the format is a little different. Ellie Dean is writing about England in WW2, and the stories are set on the south coast in a boarding house called Beach View. There are at least four books in the series, each one following the Reilly family who live at Beach View, and concentrating on the character who has come to live there for the duration of each book. I hope you give them a go, I really love writing them.

THE OCEAN CHILD

Just a quick reminder. The Ocean Child isn't available in the English language, so I've put it on Amazon as an e-book. You can download it now. I hope you enjoy it.

THE QUEEN AND I

Sounds frightfully grand, doesn't it? But last year I actually got to meet Her Majesty. This is what happened. My agent phoned and asked if I'd got the letter she'd forwarded. I hadn't. The post in our village is erratic at the best of times, and certainly doesn't arrive much before mid-day. I asked what she'd sent. She wouldn't tell me. I thought it must be a huge offer for a book, or a massive cheque - or even notifying me I'd won the lottery. But nothing could have prepared me for what she'd forwarded. It was an invitation to attend an evening reception at Buckingham Palace! I thought someone was playing a joke on me. It had to be a hoax! But there were stamps and seals and all sorts of hints that this was the real deal. Her Majesty was hosting a reception for prominent Australians ( no jokes about my bosome please, keep it clean) to attend for the evening prior to her leaving on her tour of Australia. I of course went into complete panic. What does one wear - it says day dress, but someone very helpfully said it was not the thing to wear black, so that was out. Such a shame, black is so forgiving of the fuller figure. I went on a diet - a very strict diet and then went shopping. Disaster. The shops are full of skimpy llittle numbers that go down to there and up to there, and show every bump, lump and curve. I'm a mature lady - I can't get away with it any more. I did Brighton, London, Lewes, and finally found something in Tunbridge Wells. But the diet had to continue, and I needed reinforced underwear to ensure that everything remained smooth and unrevealing. Spanks to the fore! Then it was the shoes. Not too high, I would be standing up for at least three hours. Had to be blue - it would go with the velvet jacket. Do you think I could find a pair of blue shoes that didn't have six inch heels and a wedge for the sole that made me clomp about like Coco the Clown? Did I heck? Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Then I found a little shop in Sussex and found the very thing. Pretty, low heeled, smart and not a glitter or a sequin in sight. Dull, dull, dull, but oh so right for the occasion.
Him indoors was not impressed that he hadn't been invited - but then he's a Pom, and this was for Aussies only. He drove me to the palace and was turned back at the gates - no Poms allowed, he had to go away and come back later. Nothing like having a personal chauffeur, and him indooors is nothing like a personal chauffeur, believe me. The language turned the air blue.
I walked in behind Craig Revel thingy from Strictly - super fun, cutting wit, and altogether absolutely charming. Jason Donovan was lovely too, and we had a chat. Then I saw Hugh Jackman and the knees went. Lovely - and far too young for an old bat like me to get weak kneed, so I admired and drooled from afar. Canapes and champagne came round in never ending circles, but one has to be careful not to drink too much, and it's sod's law that if you bite into a canape it will go down your front or choke you. I drank, but didn't eat - remembering the diet and the very tight knickers that were holding everything in.
Everyone started moving towards the far wall and not knowing what was going on, I followed - a bit like a mob of sheep on round up. The doors opened, and wow. There she was. The Queen. That's when the truth hit, that's when I actually fully realised exactly where I was and what I was doing, for up to now it was all a bit of a dream. I was introduced to Her Majesty, and to Prince Philip, who has got a twinkle in his eye and looks damned good for a man of ninety. Then it was off into another room to drink more champagne, eat canapes and talk nonsense with the great and the good. Prince Edward appeared and we had a lovely long chat. He's very handsome and absolutely charming - I went quite weak kneed.
As the evening progressed I met lots of lovely people - quite difficult being a woman on her own at what was to all intents and purposes a cocktail party - him indoors would have loved it! At the end of the evening I was escorted down the many red carpeted stairs and out across the gravel and through gates by a lovely chap from Melbourne. Him indoors looked at him sideways and drove off rather quickly. I took off my shoes, rolled off my stockings, changed knickers and we went to the Cheddar Cheese in Fleet Street for supper. What a night. And what a priviledge. My grandmother would have been so proud - but then so was I. It was the most wonderful, amazing evening, and it all happened because I was an Australian author living in England! Writing can't get any better than this. All those long solitary hours working away - who knows. I might even get asked again.

TWO YEARS OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY

Hi there, it's been a while I know, but things have been going on, and writing a blog is the last thing I've had time for.
My last two years have been full of drama and so you'll have to excuse my lack of information over that time. Firstly, I've been writing as if my life depended upon it - and it has really, for without writing I would be a nightmare to live with. Him indoors has enough to put up with without this really scary woman with nothing better to do than housework, shopping, cleaning etc., getting a bee in her bonnet about the washing up, the muck on the floor, the lack of help etc. He's really happy when I'm writing, because I can't see what he's up to, don't notice the cargo nets of spider webs hanging beautifully from the ceiling and don't care if the cat has been sick on the carpet. Our cat is always being sick - he keeps catching things in the fields, eating them and then depositing them in the most inconvenient place in the house. We woke up one night and he was throwing up on the end of our bed. Needless to say we didn't sleep very well after that as we had to chuck all the bedclothes off and sleep in our dressing gowns. Not much fun when it's two degrees below freezing. Needless to say, the cat was booted out of the bedroom.
But two years of living dangerously? Let me explain. The world of writing is a very strange one, and the sort of living one doesn't take lightly, for any minute now it will bite your bottom and pull you up short. I was having a bit of trouble - a bit like Frank in Some Mothers do Have Them - when I was offered the chance to write something really different. The promise of a series of six books turned my head and off I went into unknown territory. I wrote a synopsis. It was turned down. I wrote another, another, another and yet another. Everyone was at breaking point, and then things clicked and off I went, happily writing away as Ellie Dean. And would you know it - I had some success - I really enjoyed writing these books. But now I have to switch off Ellie Dean and get back to Tamara Mckinley. Not easy - in fact almost impossible. But I will do it. I will, I promise. I really, really will.