Thursday, 28 January 2016

And here are the photos... (#2 - sightseeing in London)

And, especially for my oversees readers and friends, here are photos from the following day. We took a rather long, winding walk back to the train station, just so we could take pictures and go to toy shops!
Hamley's - Hubby's suggestion!

Lots of Harry Potter merchandise in Hamley's

Regent Street


The only bit of Selfridges I could photograph without buses in the way!

221b Baker Street, honest. If you look carefully at the glass
above the door, it says so.

The H.G. Wells plaque

I had a quick look for the Doctor, but he must
have been busy

Had a chat with Paddington instead
On our way home

For photos of the evening, see my #1 post

And here are the photos... (#1 - the award ceremony)

I know you know I won 3rd Place, so I won't mention that, I'll just get on with the photos.

We're on our way!

On camera for my BBC Spotlight interview

Back to the hotel to get changed

Waiting for the announcements to start

Receiving my award!!

Me with Erin Soros (2nd Place) and Danny Murphy (1st Place)

The room, so many people

It's all over, just about to leave

Breakfast, the morning after
Here's the link to my sightseeing photos, from the following day.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

And breathe...

Well, that was a busy few days!
New Shoes! Need socks!

I thought I knew what to expect, but I didn't.

Before I continue, I'd just like to say a huge thank you for all the comments - here, on Facebook and on Twitter. I couldn't keep up with commenting, but I read them all.

I was at work when the announcement press release went out from the Costa Book Awards team.

Half way through my shift, I received an email asking if I was available to be interviewed by the Guardian. Yes, I am! But I'm at work...

It's okay, I was told, they'd send an email. I rushed home, answered the questions put to me, and the article was up that afternoon. (You can read it here.) What you might notice is that I'm quoted quite a lot, and the other short listed authors aren't. I imagine we were all sent the same email, but I replied quickest.

The next day, while I was working out at the gym, I received an email asking if I was available to be interviewed live on BBC Radio Cornwall. I paused. Hmm... Radio is different to an printed interview. I have to speak, out loud, fluffed words and muddled thoughts and all. Yes, I am! I replied before I had chance to talk myself out of it.

Luckily, the radio host thought that day was a bit of a rush, so it was moved to the following day, yesterday. (I won't link here, because the link will only be valid for a month.) Of course, that meant I had longer to think about it, but enough time to calm down.

I haven't listened to it. I doubt I will. I dislike hearing my own voice. I don't sound the way I think I do. But that's not the point. The point is, I did it! Something I always panicked about. And it was all right - nothing bad happened.

Things I've Learnt This Week
  • Say yes - people who don't know me heard me on the radio, they've seen my name in the paper (in a sub-heading, no less!), they may be moved to search out my books.
  • Say yes, quickly - if I'd dallied on that email interview, one of the other authors might have got in first. Okay, replying to emails within five or ten minutes might seem needy and too eager, but to a journalist with a deadline it's vital.
  • Say yes, even when you don't want to - in normal circumstances I would have probably run a mile from anyone suggesting a radio interview. But these aren't normal - by entering the competition I agreed to take part in promotion and marketing should I reach this far. Okay, they probably wouldn't have come after me with pitchforks if I refused, but I used that image to force myself into it. And next time, well... it won't be my first!
In short, say yes.

What have you said yes to recently?

Monday, 18 January 2016

Shortlisted, off to London!

I've been sitting on this secret since the middle of November, and at last I can share it...

I'm one of the shortlisted authors for the Costa Short Story Award!

For those of you not up to date with the short story scene, and/or not based in the UK, this is a big deal.

It's a competition, linked in with the Costa Book Awards, for UK only writers. Judging - and subsequent voting by the general public - is completely anonymous, which obviously keeps the judging solely about the stories not the authors.

I've done a proper, author-sounding announcement on my web site, so right now I'm just going to...

Right, that's done... although I don't think it fully reflects the excitement and nervousness I'm feeling. In fact, I don't think I have the words at all... which is a little bit worrying for a writer, I know.

Next week, I'll be going to the Costa Book Awards to find out if I've won, and also to see the winner of their Book of the Year announced. I've got my dress ready, and all I need to do is practise walking in my new shoes, and stop panicking... Easier said than done, on both counts.

There will be updates. And photos... Lots and lots of photos!

Until then, please cross your fingers and think positive thoughts for me.

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

The second post of the year

I wrote a great post the other day, about my New Year's resolution, and promptly posted it on my web site instead. If you're curious, please pop over and see what I'm planning this year!

And then I realised, I should post something here too, because there's only so long you can wish people Happy New Year before it's weird.

So... Happy 6th January.

I'm currently writing another short story, which obviously means I've been doing a lot of other things instead!

I have
  • redesigned my writing submission database (yes, all parts of that are as geeky as it sounds)
  • voluntarily taken the dog for a walk during really heavy downpours
  • walked to town to pay a bill... a bill!
  • possibly organised a book signing with my local independent bookshop owner, and then bought a book from her (A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson)
  • chomped my way through lots of Christmas chocolates
  • celebrated the return of Castle - yay!
I guess, all that's left is to get on with this story.