Saturday, June 30, 2007

Kate’s 25th party, guest blogger #3 – Jessica Hart

I’m very pleased to welcome Romance author Jessica Hart today. I had the privilege of being shortlisted with her for the RNA Romance Prize in 2006, and sitting on the same table as her so I could cheer when she won! I have to admit that at my first ever author lunch (the one Liz Fielding referred to yesterday), I was absolutely terrified of Jessica Hart because she looked so utterly glamorous in this amazing red dress and wonderful shoes. However, I’m delighted to say that once I’d plucked up the courage to say hello, I discovered that she was actually very easy to talk to. We have much in common – a love of animals, history, music – though Jessica’s historical research has gone much further than mine and I’m very proud of her for getting her PhD.

So here's Jessica:
The whole idea of a blog party is new to me, and I must confess I was a little anxious as I started this. When it comes to parties and blogging (and much else in life at the moment) my confidence hovers around zero, so a blog party seemed like a double whammy! But I can’t pass up the opportunity to congratulate Kate on 25 great books. Every book is a wonderful achievement, and writing 25 is definitely worthy of a special celebration. I hope you’ll be celebrating in real time as well as in cyberspace, Kate!

In spite of being utterly pathetic on the party front, I did, in fact, throw a cocktail party to mark 25 books myself. That was in the days before blogs were invented, and before I knew any of my fellow authors – or, indeed, many people in York. I was incredibly nervous about the whole thing, but I went ahead and invited everyone I knew even slightly for champagne cocktails between 6pm and 8pm. I frosted the glasses, set out an array of canapés (I love making fiddly-diddly things with dinky garnishes) and waited for two people to turn up, stand around looking bored and then make their excuses and leave, leaving me with three cases of champagne (OK, sparkling wine) and plates and plates of canapés curling at the edges. And you know what? EVERYBODY came. They drank every bottle, devoured the last peanut and left at 3.00 am.
It became a legendary party, and the most successful I’ve ever had. I spent all evening introducing guests I barely knew myself, and discovered to my surprise that everyone was absolutely delighted to come and help me celebrate – just as I know everyone here is thrilled to celebrate with Kate. So party on, Kate, and here’s to the next 25!
Love Jessica
GIVEAWAY: Today’s giveaway is an advance copy of Jessica’s September release, Outback Boss, City Bride.
GIVEAWAY QUESTION : What is the best – or worst – party you’ve ever been to?
In memory of good times – or in commiseration for the bad! – I’m offering an advance copy of Outback Boss, City Bride for the best answer. This book is the first part of the Bridegroom Boss duet which is out in North America and the UK this September, and I have to admit that my paperback copies haven’t actually arrived yet. They should turn up in July, though, so although the winner might have to wait a little while for her prize, it really will be hot off the press …
You can read more about the Bridegroom Boss duet at Jessica’s website,

1 comment:

Kate Hardy said...

Comments moved from party:

NELL DIXON SAID: Hi Jessica, the worst party ever was one I gave for my middle daughter when she was two. Everyone was ill and she ended up with just two toddlers coming. It was a teletubby themed party which she was mad on at the time. She was too young to care so long as she had cake but her older sister was so upset as she'd made posters and was looking forward to it so much.

LIZ SAID: Gorgeous cover, Jessica. And your party sounds fabulous. I absolutely loathe parties and do my best to avoid them at any costs -- giving or going. I think my v. worst was a cocktail party for the Queen's Birthday in the Political Agency in Qatar. Everyone was just soooo on their best behaviour -- what kind of fun is that!

MICHELLE STYLES SAID: Worst party? Disasters I have had a few. Oh dear, do I admit to the dinner party that I gave years ago where I made cassoulet and did not let the beans soften properly as well as putting a haberno chile into guacamole without realising how they are are -- only to watch steam coming out of people's ears! Still the two couples we had over seemed to enjoy it as it was sort of a bonding exercise.
Or the first party I gave at my current house where I thought no one was going to show up so invited tons only to have them all show up plus bring friends. The roast I made was terribly inadequate and the Aga also went out without me realising until about ten minutes before the party began. Luckily at that time, I still had the oven. Then of course there was the blood as several of the children decided to go on a scavenger hunt and fell down the dene. And one of the couples were busy fighting...But I suppose it was memorable!
And then there was a predebutante Christmas ball that I went to where the highlight was pulling a drunken lady out of a toilet stall. Her sliver slippers stuck out like the Wicked Witch of the East's.

KATE HARDY SAID: Nell, I so feel for your eldest! The worst one we threw was open house for my son's first birthday. I had this bright idea that we'd have the babies in the morning, the family in the afternoon and the people who were at work in the evening... and I didn't stop. Cooking, sorting drinks, answering the door, fishing things out of son's mouth when his dad was too busy yakking to notice... and I think I finally cracked at 9pm when son started teething and only calpol worked at the time and I ended up with calpol all over me... (And yes, I did have a hissy fit on DH. After that, he's been brilliant.)

Liz - nightmare party. Posh and correct. Ouch.

Michelle - you REALLY had to pull a drunk woman out of the loo?? (lightbulb pings...)

CRYSTAL B: The worst party I ever went to was during college. I got really sick while I was there and didn't have a way home because the girls I went there with refused to take me back to the dorm.

INDIA ‘WORST MOTHER OF THE YEAR 2003’ GREY SAID: Why is it that the really memorable parties are the awful ones?! I'm with Nell-- my worst was a birthday party for my middle daughter when she was in reception. At that age you have to invite the whole class, but she was in a mixed year-group class and there were only 3 other girls! So, we ended up with something like 14 boys, many of them older than her, charging around this dingy church hall on an e-number-fuelled high. To add to the agony, we'd hired an entertainer who was desperate for my very shy daughter to be the star of the show at all times and kept asking her to come out to the front and perform. The moment when she sidled up to me, her little face pinched with the effort of trying not to cry, and whispered in this awful, broken voice 'Mummy, I want to go home,'was not only my worst party moment, but one of my lowest parenting ones too!

(Am reaching for the cooking sherry now at the very memory...)

KATE HARDY SAID: Crystal, that's such a MEAN thing for your friend to do.
India - oh, big hugs to your middle daughter. All those boys... I did the last one at home (with a magician) and it was OK... but this year we're doing Build-a-Bear followed by McDs. (I'm vying for the Worst Mum crown. But she does get a family party as well, and dinner out…)

LIDIA SAID: My worst was a dinner party for 12. I cooked and cleaned for two days with very little sleep. Made everything from scratch, appetizers to dessert including the rolls/bread. I was exhausted by the time the guests arrived. I was fine through the main course. Then after clearing the plates, I excused myself, went to the bedroom, lay down on the bed, and promptly fell asleep. My husband made the coffee, served the dessert and cleaned up. As the guests were leaving they all stopped by the bedroom to say good night.

KATE WALKER SAID: Best party? Unquestionably the celebration dinner I just had to celebrate my 50th title - it was wonderful. Worst party? The one I organised for the Offspring when he was a small person (age 5) Everyone was fine when they arrived but after two hours (and *before* I fed them anything - honest!) the first signs of the sickness bug that was going round the school showed. Within 30 minutes, everyone was being ill - there was no room in the bathrrom for any more sick people and all the carefull prepared buns, cakes, crisps etc were just sitting on the table wilting as we mopped up everywhere.

MAUREEN SAID: My husband's cousin had her wedding on a yacht in New York Harbor. We were served prime rib and, even though I was pregnant and could not drink, it was amazing to see New York City and the Statue of Liberty lit up at night.