Friday, December 20, 2013

Guest post: Bring Me Sunshine by Janet Gover

It's nearly Christmas, I'm in a rush (deadline, Christmas prep and a million and one other things), and I can't think of anything better to do than to share my blog with an old friend today and celebrate her new book (especially given where it's set and what's in the book - oh, yes!).

So please welcome Janet Gover and help her celebrate the release of her new book, Bring Me Sunshine!

It’s lovely to be here on Kate’s blog – Kate and I met years ago through the RNA – and we share, among so many other things, a penchant for changing our hair colour.

I am totally in awe of Kate’s amazing work – 59 books. Wow! I’ve got a way to go to catch her - I’ve just launched my 4th novel, and the fifth will be out in March.

Mostly my books are set in Australia – because that’s where I grew up. But I’ve just had the most enormous fun writing a book set even further south… What’s further south than Australia? You guessed it – Antarctica.

A chance comment from a friend about a holiday trip planted a small seed in the back of my head which grew into Bring Me Sunshine.

I really wanted to take a trip to Antarctica. The tax man would let me deduct it as a business expense, wouldn’t he? Well, maybe not. Unfortunately my budget didn’t stretch quite that far. It did however stretch to the Arctic.
I love research!

I’m from outback Queensland – I attended school in 40 degree temperatures – and there was no air conditioning in my small country town. I am fascinated by snow and ice.

I have never been so cold in my life

I had such a lot of fun writing the book. It’s about loss and loneliness and the healing power of love. It’s about a girl who brings sunshine back into the life of a man who has been hurting for far too long. And a man who would go to the end of the earth, almost literally, for the women he loves.

And – it’s got penguins in it.  It’s even got penguins on the cover!

Adore the penguins - holding hands or, rather, flippers!

And everyone loves a book with penguins on the cover – right?

twitter  @janet_gover


Monday, November 25, 2013


Current work: revision to working on M&B #59 (like working through treacle) and two or three other projects
Listening to: 30 Seconds To Mars
Reading: Rachel Hore, The Silent Tide (loved it, though it made me really angry in places - the treatment of professional women in the 1950s was atrocious); Jill Shalvis, Simply Irresistible (also loved it)
Gym: 121 (smashed my PB on the deadlift – is now 75kg) and yoga

So this weekend saw the final part of my daughter’s birthday (aka her main present – a weekend in London to see 30 Seconds to Mars at the O2, and her BFF came with us).

So, after we'd checked in to our hotel and explored a little bit of Westfield (which was crammed full of people, because it was Saturday afternoon), off we went to the O2 in North Greenwich – and seeing the Dome all lit up was so exciting. (I’ve only been there in the daytime before – last time was the Tutankhamun exhibition.)

Look at our destination – Mars!

We had dinner at Frankie and Benny's (and for once I didn't have a crab salad - I had scampi. AND fries). Then we queued up. And then it was up a couple of escalators to our block. We were very high up (this is the stage set for the support band, You Me at Six - who were very good) and, as you can see, the top tier is very steeply banked, so it was a tiny bit scary.

And then YMAS came on. I enjoyed the music, though didn't really sing along as I didn't know the words.

Interval. Waiting a l-o-n-g time. And then the lights went up, and Jared Leto was on the top of the platform, and all was very well with the world. My daughter would like to point out that I scored 8 out of 10 on Embarrassing Parent of a Teen scale, because I sang, danced and - as she put it - 'raved' through the rest of the show. Well, hey. Singing along with a whole stadium to one of your favourite songs is just an amazing buzz. And when Jared Leto tells you to get up and dance because it's a rock concert, not the movies - well, hey. Despite the fact that we were in the scary seats, we did it, and it was fine because everyone around us did it too.

As well as fabulous music (and an acoustic section which I really, really loved), there were fabulous lights and acrobatics (backflips on a see-saw, and one of those rings where you spin round the entire stage).

And there was confetti. And balloons (some of them were GIANT ones, as big as a giant space hopper).

And streamers.

All in all, it was a fantastic show, and I'd love a time machine right now so I can see the whole thing all over again. Happy, happy teenage birthday to my littlest for earlier this month, and thank you for asking me to take you to such a fabulous show. 

Friday, November 08, 2013

Guest post: Donna Alward

I'm delighted to host Donna Alward today - she's been a friend for years and years, and has inspired me hugely on the Kate Unlardy project (ahem, with the exception of what she's posting here, LOL!). Anyway, over to Donna...

In Search of a Recipe  - Donna Alward

Every single time I write a book there’s food in it. New foods, favourite foods, comfort foods, foods with history that resonate with the characters (and me!).

Writing a Christmas book? Take that and triple it. At least. Because don’t we all have favourite recipes and foods that we make only at the holidays?

In A CADENCE CREEK CHRISTMAS, my heroine, Taylor Shepard, takes a morning to shop the stores of the small western town. She’s suddenly keen on having a big, traditional family Christmas. So it goes to follow that there will be turkey, and homemade cranberry sauce. Cranberry sauce, by the way, is dead easy. One bag of cranberries, one cup of water and one cup of sugar. Boil the crap out of it (but don’t let it burn!) and cool. That’s it.

Taylor’s last stop is the bakery, where she’s hoping to get a sweet treat and something for the family when they arrive for the holiday. She picks up a Christmas Stollen, and also a Steamed Pudding and sauce, with instructions for adding the brandy. And then she settles down for a cup of caramel hot chocolate and a piece of cherry strudel.

Hungry yet? Maybe if I tell you her friend Angela arrives and gets Carrot Cake topped with thick Cream Cheese icing?

Anyway, here’s the thing. I love Christmas Stollen (bread! Fruit! Marzipan! What’s not to love?) but I’ve never made one. Does anyone out there know of a good recipe for it? I’d love to try it on my own this year (since it’s freaking expensive to purchase it at the specialty shops or markets!). You can post the link in the comments if your recipe is somewhere online, or e-mail it to me

And just so I don’t leave you without any recipes to try – here’s one I love for entertaining.

Chocolate Chip Toffee Cheese Ball
8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened (no substitutes)
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
2 TB brown sugar
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup toffee bits (like Skor)
3/4 cup pecans, finely chopped
Cookies, like graham crackers or chocolate or vanilla wafers

Beat together cream cheese, butter, and vanilla. Add in sugars. Fold in chocolate chips and toffee bits.

Form into as much of a ball as possible, and put on a plate. Cut a piece of waxed paper and put it over top of the mound of yumminess. J With the waxed paper, use your hands to form it into a ball. Leave the waxed paper on it and put it in the fridge for a couple of hours.

When it’s fairly firm, roll it in the chopped pecans. Put in the center of a pretty plate and surround it with assorted cookies. It disappears in a HURRY and you’ll be very popular.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Santa's on tour! (And I'm going places, too…)

Survived half term and much partying (do NOT ask about the scales, sob). And now everything's all systems go! (Well, they will be when my revisions land. I need to learn how to wait productively.)

Today is Bonfire Night and I'm talking fireworks over at the Chocolate Box. I'm also talking firework food over at the Pink Heart Society (aka my recipe for fajitas).

And then I'm on a blog tour with Tis the Season to Kiss Santa (look at the lovely, lovely banner my publisher made for me!).

You can find out where I am on the tour over at Buy the Book (thank you to Florence). And there are three holiday books up for grabs, along with excerpts, so do go along and see Santa.

And thank you to everyone who's given me such nice reviews on Amazon. As an author, it's hard to judge your own books - I always try my best, but I also always worry that it's not good enough. So I'm very glad and relieved that people seem to like Santa :)

Have a nice day!

Friday, November 01, 2013

red letter day

Current work: working on M&B #60 (Medical – tropical medicine) and two or three other projects
Listening to: 30 Seconds To Mars/All Time Low
Reading: next on TBR
Gym: skiving off today as it’s my daughter’s birthday!

So today my daughter becomes a teen. Happy birthday, Chloe! I’m not going to embarrass her by saying how much I love her and how lucky I am to have such a great daughter, but… (Ha – see how I got round teenage squirmy embarrassment, there? But I’m not posting one of her baby pics this year because I don’t want to embarrass and upset her.)

It’s also an anniversary day for me – 12 years since I had The Call from M&B, and 11 years since my first M&B hit the shelves. We’ve just had a massive storm in the UK, and that’s exactly what happened at my launch party… :o)

Oh, and I have two books out today. The first is Her Real Family Christmas (aka my 56th M&B).

And the second is a novella that was originally part of a quartet last year, so it has a shiny new cover – ’Tis the Season to Kiss Santa. (And lookie, I have a cover quote from an NYT bestseller!!! Thank you, Shirley.)

HRFC is available from stores in the UK and Aus, and at the the Harlequin/M&B websites in the US, UK and Aus; both books are also available at Amazon. I hate pimping my books, but I guess it's expected nowadays. So. Should you wish to acquire a copy...

HRFC - Amazon UK print, Amazon UK ebook, Amazon US ebook

TSKS - Amazon UK ebook, Amazon US ebook

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Nicola Marsh - cover reveal!

I'm thrilled to be part of the cover reveal for my friend Nicola Marsh's new book!

Good girls finish last? Screw that.

Being a small town girl isn’t so bad. Unless Mom’s the town joke and I’ve spent my entire life shying away from her flamboyance. College in Las Vegas should be so much cooler. But it’s not. Bad things happen there. Real bad.

So when my big brother Reid offers me an all-expenses paid vacation to Australia for a month, I am so there. Discounting the deadly snakes on the outback cattle station, I should be safe. Until I meet Jack.

Jack defines bad boy and then some. And the guy can cook. He’s big, buffed, bronzed, and hotter than any guy I’ve ever met. And his sexy Aussie accent makes me melt.

But he’s my brother’s new bestie and he lives on the other side of the world. There’s no future for us.
Is there?

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Half term...

Current work: working on M&B #60 (Medical – tropical medicine) and two or three other projects
Listening to: Beethoven
Reading: Sleigh Bells in the Snow, Sarah Morgan (loved it – great characters, great warmth, great dialogue, a puppy to die for and an ice waterfall – can’t wait for the next in the series), The Tycoon’s Secret Daughter and Nanny for the Millionaire’s Twins (enjoyed very much), The Forgotten Garden, Kate Morton (liked it so much I bought the rest of her backlist – HOW did I miss this when it came out? Beautifully written)
Gym: cardio – intervals (2m run, 1m walk, for 20mins) on the treadmill, Kilimanjaro on the stepper, and ‘random’ on the cross-trainer

Half term. We survived the big storm yesterday (thankfully it wasn’t as harsh as predicted), and we’ve started birthday celebrations for Youngest with a night out bowling (and breakfast out this morning at Frank’s bar – terribly decadent of us, and the food was excellent. Ditto the coffee, and the staff were lovely). The end of last week turned out to be a bit on the pricey side, with a replacement washing machine, two new tyres and a vet visit on Friday… but at least my old boy seems a bit more comfortable, and I can stop worrying about his heart murmur (at least for a couple of weeks).

This week means birthday celebrations – and I also have a couple of books out this week. More of which later!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Twilight Race for Life

So yesterday was the 5km Twilight Race for Life, raising funds for cancer research in Norwich at the Showground. I’ve never done anything like this in my life before so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it’s a cause very close to my heart. I lost my mum to cancer, as well as other family and friends, and yesterday was my friend and former agent Dorothy Lumley’s funeral, so the timing of the race was bittersweet. We were SO lucky with the weather because it stayed dry.

My wonderful daughter Chloe agreed to do it with me – despite the fact that she hates sport – and I really appreciated the support. Thank you to everyone who sponsored us.

We ended up walking to the Showground from Sainsbury’s as we had to drop son off for his shift at work first, and the traffic was a bit sticky so we were worried about being late… AND I forgot the glowsticks! Arrgh.

I had a lump in my throat when we walked in at the ‘entrance’ and there were little lanterns in people’s memory – a very simple but effective idea, a bag you can write a message on with sand to weight it down and a glowstick to light it. We did one for my mum and for Dot, my friend and former agent whose funeral was on the RfL day. (They did glow - I had to take this with a flash because the one without a flash didn't work well!)

I wasn’t just running for my mum and Dot, though – this is a global thing, and my friend and fellow author Amy Andrews in Australia lost her mum to the disease (and sponsored me – thanks, Amy!), so I was running for Sandra Baxter as well.

There were nearly a thousand of us last night – some running amazingly fast (especially in the dark – that threw me a bit and slowed me down), some running with dogs in coats covered with flashing lights, some walking with small children, and some pushing wheelchairs. All of us were there because we’d been touched by cancer and we wanted to make a difference. So many, many people commemorated on those sheets on people’s backs. (Again, not the best pic, but it was either slow speed with no flash, or a lot of blobs of light! I hope this gives you an idea of the atmosphere.)

There were glowsticks available to everyone. There was also a stall selling flashy things and, once Chloe had seen how outrageously a lot of people were dressed, she agreed to pink fluffy, flashing tiaras to humour me :o) (Well, hey, you can’t let cancer take your sense of humour as well.)

Heart FM were in charge of entertainments, and we became world record holders last night because we were the biggest group ever to make their ‘heart’ sign. And then it was a zumba warm-up (that was great) and time to do the run. The runners went first – we’re not that fast (and hadn’t had time to do the training for running the whole lot), so we joined the next group, the joggers; and then it was the walkers. The course basically went through the whole showground, through the barns, round the back, and then we doubled back on ourselves.

The end was amazing, with people cheering us on and people with those big foam hands giving us high fives. (DH was yelling at us near the finish line but we couldn't see him - all we could focus on was getting to that line.)

And then we were handed a bottle of water and a Race for Life medal.

We finished in 50 minutes, which is an overall pace of 6km an hour. At the gym, I do intervals of 5mph and 3mph (ha – normally just for 15 minutes, so this was a lot longer!), which averages out at 4mph. So I guess an overall speed of 6kmh isn’t too far off, especially given that it was dark. 409 calories. (Well, hey – course I had the Polar on.)

Thank you to everyone who sponsored us. I hope we did you proud. And you’re all stars because together we’ve raised the best part of £1000 (if you include giftaid). That’s pretty amazing and it’s going to make a difference. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support.

Mum, Dot and Sandra – I hope we did you proud, too. And sleep tight. You’ll never be forgotten xxx

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A day at M&B (aka London trip #4)

Current work: working on M&B #60 (Medical – tropical medicine) and two or three other projects
Listening to: All Time Low (borrowed from daughter)
Reading: The Sweetheart Bargain, Shirley Jump (fantastic, with a comic creation to rival Grandma Mazur); The Billionaire’s Matchmaker (anthology – Shirley Jump, Barbara Wallace, Susan Meier and Jackie Braun – loved it); The Disappearance of Emily Marr, Louise Candlish (very well done and I didn’t see the twist coming at all!); partway though The Sweetness of Forgetting by Kristin Harmel (enjoying so far)
Gym: day off to recover from London (six hours of train travel yesterday, and I am middle-aged and need travel recovery time nowadays!)

Yesterday was (ahem) my fourth trip to London in two months. Yesterday was because my editor asked me to go and meet Barbara Vey from Publishers’ Weekly and do an interview.

Going to Richmond means a three-hour train journey each way, so I decided to refill the well rather than work. (Insert rave about how brilliant it is to have an e-reader instead of having to carry at least three decent-sized paperbacks around for said train journey…) So this is my ‘desk’ on the train. (NB first class travel doesn’t cost that much more than second class if you book it in advance, and it’s a lot easier on my hearing.)

And this is Romance HQ, i.e. Eton House on Paradise Road.

Barbara Vey was totally charming and a very kind interviewer (apart from her last question, which caught me a bit on the hop! … but I’m not giving any spoilers, here). It was lovely to meet her, and to catch up with my mates Sarah Morgan and Fiona Harper (albeit very briefly). (LTR Sarah Morgan, Carole Mortimer, Barbara Vey, Fiona Harper, me)

It was also lovely to catch up with the editorial and production team. Especially as I got to meet Carolyn from the production team, whom I’ve worked with for many years (I used to be one of the freelancers for the team, before A Baby of Her Own was accepted), but it’s the first time one of my visits has coincided with her days in the office.

I guess everyone thinks that when a romance novelist goes to see her publisher, champagne is involved. It doesn’t happen every time (!), but it did yesterday. (I might also add that Jo Grant and I had been talking about my weightlifting at the M&B party a couple of weeks ago, so I lifted her up – despite the fact she’s a gazillion miles taller than I am. I’m not sure which of us was more amused by it, though she got to Twitter first, LOL – and there could well be a new sport of editor-lifting ;) )

This is me with the Meds team – ltr Charlotte, Sheila (senior Medicals ed and my editor), me and Laurie.

And then it was lunch with my lovely ed at Jamie’s, and discussion about the next year’s books.

And then back home. I’m having a day off from the gym today as I’m shattered from travelling (haaa – might have to admit I’m middle-aged now) and also still recovering from a bug. It’s the Twilight Race for Life on Friday, and I need to be in a fit state for that, so I’m going a little gently right now. Sadly, my friend and former agent Dot Lumley – one of the people for whom I’m running – passed away last week, and her funeral’s actually on the day of the race. It’s kind of a fitting tribute, but Friday’s going to be a very sad day. (And if you’d like to sponsor me and my daughter – even if it’s £1 or the price of a cup of coffee – the link to our page is - no pressure, especially as there's a recession on, and if you can’t sponsor us then please just wish us speed on the night.)

Monday, September 30, 2013

Beethoven, aka London trip #3, aka utterly sublime

Current work: working on M&B #59 (Rom – Mediterranean prince) and two or three other projects
Listening to: Kathryn William, Crown Electric (excellent - and today is release day so I'm so glad it arrived this morning!)
Reading: next on TBR
Gym: 121 (weights and cardio intervals), with zumba and jazz tonight

Seeing a performance of Beethoven’s Ninth was joint top of my secret bucket list (the other is seeing the Northern Lights, but that’s outside my budget for the time being). So when I saw this weekend’s performance advertised, just before Christmas, I booked tickets. (Best available. Because if you’re going to do it, really enjoy it.)

So I was a bit overexcited about it. And the nearer the time of the performance got, the fizzier I was getting.

Kensington Tube. So pretty.

Seeing the Royal Albert Hall for the first time (kind of like seeing the Pantheon for the first time…).

Seeing the Albert Memorial for the first time.

Going to Café Consort for dinner (the décor kind of reminded me of a music score).

Oh, yes – dinner. Very nice. Hake with a pesto crust, cream sauce, gnocchi and spinach.

And then polenta cake with rhubarb and clotted cream.

And it was my first ever performance of my favourite piece of music in the world, so I had a glass of champagne as well. Definitely something worth celebrating. (I don’t drink champagne very often!)

This was the door to our box. (I was very, very, very excited by this point.)

This is the ceiling in the Royal Albert Hall.

And this was our view! (On the left, you can see the tiers of boxes - we were on the bottom tier.)

The Emperor piano concerto was very good. (If you’ve ever wondered how a grand piano is moved off the stage, they wrap it up, take the legs off, turn it on its side and put it onto a trolley.)

And then it was the symphony. From the very first note, I was blown away. I know the music very well, but seeing a live performance (not just on the TV) adds an extra dimension. Sharing it with what looked like about four or five thousand people (it was pretty much sold out), all of whom clearly loved it as much as I did because there were quite a lot of people conducting. Very discreetly, with a hand an inch above the knee (I’d been pre-warned by youngest not to embarrass her godmother by conducting, LOL – honey, your godmother has been my best friend for nearly 30 years and she was expecting it).

I particularly love the second movement. But the fourth, when you get all the little teasing trails of themes from the first three, and then you get those first sublime notes of the Ode to Joy… I was moved to tears.

And then the choir comes in. Utterly, utterly sublime.

Now, I know Beethoven was deaf by this point and couldn’t hear the audience’s reaction – apparently he had to be turned round to see them going wild – but surely as a composer he could hear it in his head, and knew how perfect it was. Surely he had to know that no other piece of music could ever be written to touch this. I really hope he knew. Because the only word to describe it is ‘sublime’. I’m so glad I went.

(I will do another post about the Pompeii exhibition, but I thought Beethoven deserved his own.)

Monday, September 23, 2013

making a difference

Current work: working on M&B #59 (Rom – Mediterranean prince) and two or three other projects
Listening to: Alex Cornish, No Shore
Reading: next on TBR
Gym: weights (no new PBs today, but we did different combos of exercises), with zumba and jazz tonight

This last week has been mainly catching up with work, and a little research (aka church-crawling). And buying son a suit for his induction day (scary, when your child has a man-sized suit…).

Also, had some very sad news on Saturday regarding a friend. Later that day, I saw a very appropriate ad in the local paper about the local Twilight Race for Life, raising funds for cancer research. My daughter has kindly agreed to do it with me, so that’s why there’s a link on the right-hand column to our page. If you’d like to sponsor us, however small a sum, we would appreciate it; if funds are too tight or it’s too much hassle, then just please raise a cup of tea or what have you to us on that day and wish us good speed :o)

This week: I’m over at the Chocolate Box tomorrow, talking about music; and on Saturday I’m off to London yet again – this time for a Bucket List trip! And in between, I have a deadline…

Monday, September 16, 2013

tea, cake and naughtiness (aka London trip #2)

So last Friday was the annual M&B authors' lunch in London. I had a wonderful time. Starting with meeting four of my fellow Medical authors at the Royal Horseguards for a cup of tea - LTR that's Caroline Anderson, Scarlet Wilson, Jennifer Taylor and Annie Claydon. (I had chai tea, if you were wondering. And yes, those are silver teapots. We're talking POSH, here. It doesn't happen very often, so it's worth celebrating!)

And then we went via the most amazing staircase...

... next door to One Whitehall Place, for lunch. Those pillars, by the way, have the most beautiful ceramic tiles.

Lunch itself was scrumptious - starting with goat's cheese crotin (basically cheese that had been flashed under the grill or with a blowtorch, served chilled, and very nice it was too). 

And then salmon.

And then vanilla cheesecake.

Did I mention that the loos were really, really posh? As in so posh that there was a chaise longue?

And it would've been rude not to take the opportunity to sit and read... (Thanks to Victoria Fox for taking the pic.)

I got to talk to lots of my friends. Apologies in advance for the namedropping, but this includes (as well as the people I've already mentioned and will mention below) Liz Fielding, Sarah Morgan, Heidi Rice, Abby Green, Fiona Harper, Louise Allen, Annie Burrows, Elizabeth Power, Anna Sugden, Jessica Gilmore, and Kate Walker. (Apologies also to anyone I've missed off - it takes me ages to bounce back from a long day in London nowadays and stop being a Bear of Very Little Brain. I know I met a couple more new authors - oh yes, Rachel Brimble and Charlotte Phillips). And I also got to have a hug with Kimberly Lang (and I still love her Southern accent). And everyone was gratifyingly nice about the WIP known as the Kate Unlardy Project. (Yes, it's true, I did get people to prod my quads, and I explained that the reason my thighs are now like iron is because of the weight lifting, which I love love love love love. I'm even learning to love burpees. How mad is that?)

After that, I headed over to one of my favourite shops (but I had six responsible adults with me and they kept me out of the chocolate department and away from the violet biscuits).

We had tea (in my case, Countess Grey, which is my very favourite tea in the whole wide world) and cake. This pic of Katherine Garbera, Kandy Shepherd, Caroline Anderson and me was taken by a very kind gentleman. 

Because there were more than four of us, we had to have two tables, so at the second table were CC Coburn, Kimberly Lang and Sophie Pembroke.

(There are pics of the tea and cake on Facebook.) 

And after that, it was off to the Meridien for cocktails with the M&B eds. I've already posted a pic on Facebook, but now I know the official name (thank you, Annie Burrows) is a Rossini. Basically it's a bellini, made with strawberries rather than peaches. And I took this pic on a zoom lens in low lighting, before the tray was whisked away, which is why it's not good quality! (The Rossinis were lovely, though. Nice and tart.)

Nice ambience to the terrace bar, too. 

And I got to have a chat to Lucy King, and I met Marguerite Kaye for the first time (we have so much in common - yay, another ballroom dancer!), and I saw my editor (well, my editor's assistant, who's looking after me at the moment) and YAY my new outline is fine, and I got to chat to the production team (they like what I'm plotting now my ed has nixed Project Ferret that we hatched up last year and told them they are not to be bad influences on me). And Jennifer Taylor got a beautiful Tiffany keyring as the milestone for her 75th book - yay, Jennifer!

And M&B also gave us a fabby goody bag, which made me feel very spoiled. 

And then it was a mad dash for the train home (I'm on the same line as Caroline Anderson, so it's always a pleasure travelling). The annual lunch is always something to look forward to - there's never enough time, but it was so so lovely to see everyone, even if only for a very brief chat.

It isn't actually that often that an author's life is a glamorous one (we're usually found at a desk, which might not be very tidy, wearing scruffy clothes and maybe with a dog or cat around for company). But the times that are... they're wonderful. Thanks to Fiona Harper, Heidi Rice and Sharon Kendrick for organising the lunch, and to M&B for the cocktail party and goody bags.