Monthly Chat: November 2015

Collage 2015-11-30 10_54_47

What I did

November. Once Bonfire Night is over, it’s a bit of a nothing month, right? At least Americans have Thanksgiving to break things up a bit. But for me, November is cold, damp and expensive (at least I’m 90% done with my Christmas shopping!).

I could help a little with the expense. For ten days at the beginning of November my bestselling debut novel The Best Thing I Never Had was completely free for UK Kindles. It’s been great to be able to open the door to Harriet and Adam’s story for a whole new bunch of readers. If you downloaded, I hope you enjoyed! Please do leave me a review if you did. This week I am running an international Twitter competition to win a signed paperback copy of Best Thing – just follow and RT to enter!

Babies, babies everywhere this month. My favourite little lady Isabelle turned two years old (time flies!) and so it was up to Lincolnshire for toddler celebrations. On Thanksgiving Thursday a pair of our oldest friends welcomed Theodore – small but perfectly formed – their first child. I was bang on with the gender and looks, but I was one day early and way off in my weight prediction. Better luck next time!!

More things to celebrate in November. My dear friend Vicky turned 30 and we surprised her with a super-classy piss-up at the Barvarian Beer House in London (here comes the Jagertrain, pulling into the station… woo-woo!). I also had a rather messy work night out – it started well, with private dining and dignified glasses of wine. It ended because I was turned away from a local club for being too old. The shame of it.

I’ve introduced a new item over on my Facebook page, Find-A-Read Friday, where I recommended a book (or a series!) and ask for recommendations in return. Come check it out!

November was also a month of hard choices. I am horrendously attached to my over-long, knotty, ratty, frizzy hair. I was forced to keep it short as a child and I think it’s my way of rebelling. I sat cringing in the salon chair as my hairdresser took it “shorter than he ever has before.” Before I knew it, I was sat in a pile of hair that we both remarked would have made an excellent charity wig. Seven inches gone. I grabbed the mirror, panicked. I look exactly the same. So much for a big change!!

I also finally knuckled down and submitted my very first self-assessment tax return (oh, the glamour!). This basically involved: me trading up a cup of tea for a glass of wine; drowning in receipts and resolving to keep better records going forward; getting my extremely reluctant husband involved; crying – literally crying – at the amount I have to pay dear old HMRC and getting very angry when I realised I have to pay next year on account at the same time (what the actual fuck?). Oh well. It’s done now. As long as they don’t come back and audit me, that is. Gulp.

Finally, to close off a bit of a rollercoaster month, I had the great pleasure of joining Book Editor for The Sun Natasha Harding and fellow romance authors Lucy Holliday, Eva Woods and Jessica Gilmore for an evening of wine, mince-pies and chatter at Riverside Reads. You can read my catch-up post about the event here!

Looking forwards to next month… well, it’s Christmas, isn’t it! I am completely over-excited; this is our first Christmas in our very own house, and I’ve bought a huge fuck-off mistletoe wreath for the front door. I hope the postman doesn’t take it as a come on.

See you in December!!

 

What I read

Carry On, Rainbow Rowell (☆☆☆☆)
A Thousand Nights, E.K. Johnston (☆☆☆☆)
The Kind Worth Killing, Peter Swanson (☆☆☆☆)
The Mince Pie Mix-Up, Jennifer Joyce (☆☆☆☆)
A Miracle at Macy’s, Lynn Marie Hulsman (☆☆☆☆☆)
The Rabbi’s Cat, Joan Sfar (☆☆☆)
Cruel Beauty, Rosamund Hodge (☆☆☆☆)
The Boy At The Bakery, Katey Lovell (☆☆☆☆☆)
Legacy of Kings, Eleanor Herman (☆☆)
The Last Queen of England, Steve Robinson (☆☆☆☆)
How To Stuff Up Christmas, Rosie Blake (☆☆☆☆)
The Lost Empress, Steve Robinson (☆☆☆☆)
Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman, Robert K. Massie (☆☆☆)

 

What I wrote

More concrete news on current writing project coming via Harper Impulse in mid-December. I did however drop a little hint during the Riverside Reads event on November 24th: “Hunky best men, and too many jagerbombs…”

I finished my holiday offering for Christmas 2015. You can join Josie and Ted for Christmas Eve in DECK THE HALLS, available for free from the Harper Impulse website! Pour yourself a strong gin and let’s get festive!

 

What I listened to

Top 5 tracks on my Spotify this month

  • Fleur East, Breakfast
  • Marianas Trench, Desperate Measures
  • Timbaland/Justin Timberlake, Carry Out
  • Ellie Goulding, Army
  • DNCE, Cake By The Ocean
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