Monthly Chat: May 2016

Collage 2016-05-31 13_14_01

What I did

After an extremely bipolar April, May didn’t have a very high bar. Off to a good start – my two sisters came to stay for a long weekend. Alongside general eating, mooching, board games and chain-making cups of tea, we also spent the day at Croome Park, a National Trust property where I had my first picnic of the year, and also my first sunburn (down just one half of me, naturally).

It was finally time for the huge-scale summer party that my work has been planning for months and months, and the weather *just about* held; in any case, I was perfectly beer-jacketed and ensconced in the silent disco tent for the vast majority of the evening. I worked out about an hour into the festivities that it wasn’t just beer and wine at the open bar – there was Jagermeister too, and as I got drunker I just took to ordering six Jagerbombs and carrying them around, three in each hand, until I found people willing to neck them with me, before heading back and ordering six more. The bartender started preparing the glasses when he saw me waiting in line.

Needless to say, the husband and I didn’t get much done for the rest of the weekend. Unless you include binge-watching the entire first season of American Horror Story and ordering two, count ’em, two orders of Domino’s Pizza.

In the middle of the month I hightailed it back to the home-of-my-heart, good old London, to be Brigid Coady’s date to the RNA (Romantic Novelist’s Association) Summer Party. Brigid was the incumbent winner of the award for best debut (for her excellent read ‘No One Wants To Be Miss Havisham’ – if you haven’t read it, pick it up now!!) so quite an impressive person to be tagging along with. First I had to do a whole day in the London office of my firm. I wanted to keep baggage down to a minimum, so I “dressed down” by wearing flats, no make-up and throwing a baggy jumper on over my cocktail dress. When the time came to leave the office and go and meet Brigid, my editor Charlotte and some other lovely Harper authors for pre-drinks, I did this like crazy 90 movies makeover in the toilets, in about five minutes’ flat. One of my colleagues was very startled. “You look like a completely different person!”

The RNAs completely flew by (and I spent a fair portion of it giving people unwarranted trade mark advice – sorry Holly Martin, haha!). I was booked on the midnight coach out of London, so Brigid – being a good date – let me tag along for a late dinner at her local Italian. I hit my bed at gone 3.30am and let’s just say I was just ‘going through the motions’ for most of the next day at work. You can see a couple of photos from the evening over on my Facebook.

It was time to get my fancy dress on! My dear old friend Rhi was turning 30, and so there was nothing for it but to head to a Rowing Club while dressed up as things beginning with R. We had Robin Hoods, Referees, Rhinos, Racing Girls, Rimmer from Red Dwarf – the birthday girl herself was the Ringmaster, naturally. I was dressed up as Rizzo from Grease, which was largely lost on the boys I traveled to the party with. Despite the wig and the clothes and the heels and the fifties sunglasses, and the bloody Pink Ladies jacket, they were still at a loss. Methinks I need to arrange a mass viewing (after all, Grease is the word and all that).

Always a nail-biting moment no matter how many books get released… the advance reader copies of THE ONE WITH THE ENGAGEMENT PARTY went up on Netgalley, meaning that people would be READING IT and JUDGING IT and writing REVIEWS and gahhhh flail flail. I am the least cool author ever. Luckily the feedback so far has been good! All 4 and 5 stars as far as I know, apart from one 3 star review where the reviewer praises the writing and such, but complains she didn’t know it was a novella and therefore only the first quarter of the story. I was so nervous of this happening, I’ve been (internet)screaming the words ‘novella’ and ‘parts’ and similar… The bind up will be out eventually guys, if you’re not into episodic novellas, then you won’t have long to wait until the story is traditionally presented as one. (Please don’t mark Nora & co down on a matter of logistics, it hurts my heart!)

So despite the month starting off with sunburn weather, the rest of the weather left a little to be desired. Since the fire last month (sad face) we’ve been without our washing machine and tumble drier and so I’ve had to get very creative with what I’m wearing day-to-day now the flow of clean laundry is seriously curtailed (we’ve been using friends’ facilities as and when we can, but that’s really got to be for underwear, gymwear, towels, sheets…). I had thought that come late May the sun would be pretty much here to stay for a few months and I could crack the maxi dresses out. I was wrong. It’s now officially June as I type this, and it’s pissing it down out there. The bank holiday weekend offered two evenings relatively warm and dry though, and I had a BBQ on both of them. Make hay (/burgers) while the sun shines, and all that.

I finished off my month by going to see Graeme of Thrones: “Created by a team of some of the UK’s top comedy writers, Graeme of Thrones is a wacky and wicked parody on the international phenomenon that is Game Of Thrones”. It could have gone either way and been really cringe, but luckily it was very funny! I was almost on the floor I was laughing so hard during the ‘Sansa’s first period’ bit… if you are a GoT fan who is not easily offended, and it tours near you, you should definitely check it out!

Okay so June is going to be (fingers crossed) absolutely epic!! We’re going away to the Surrey countryside for my mother-in-law’s 60th birthday for some R&R. That should gear us up for four days in New York, woohoo! I’ve always wanted to go, and having it as my last “twenty-something” holiday seems right somehow. Prepare for many, many NYCgrams over on Instagram!!

And, excitingly, right at the end of the month my favourite little lady Isabelle should be getting a little brother… I can’t believe how quickly my friend’s second pregnancy has gone. I can’t wait to buy the little chap tiny chinos and dude clothes!!

Don’t forget that THE ONE WITH THE ENGAGEMENT PARTY releases on Friday 10th June – the day I’m flying to New York! I’d really appreciate all and any social media posts and reposts about it 🙂 xx

PS: If you don’t already, consider following me on Instagram (at @rinylou) as I’m waiting to hit 250 followers so I can do an Instagram-only giveaway to celebrate!! Also – Twitter! Also @rinylou. I’m getting close to 1,500 followers there, and I’m already preparing the swag!


What I read

A Dance of Dragons, George R R Martin (☆☆☆☆)
A Court of Mist and Fury, Sarah J Maas (☆☆☆☆☆)
The Square Root of Summer, Harriet Reuter Hapgood (☆☆☆☆)
The Winner’s Kiss, Marie Rutkoski (☆☆☆☆)
Random Acts of Heroic Love, Danny Scheinmann (☆☆☆☆)

Hmmm… not an awful lot! But I take A Dance of Dragons to be about ten books’ worth.


What I wrote

As well as generally cracking on with finishing off novella 2 in the Bridesmaids series, I wrote blog posts recounting my proposal story and what happened when I went wedding dress shopping.

The cover for novella 3 THE ONE WITH THE HEN WEEKEND was revealed and I think it might be my favourite so far! I talked about my real life hen do here, what I was currently reading and planning to write next here and a combination here – chat about books and pictures from my hen!


I also have a SECRET. If you follow this blog, it might be more because you appreciate my history fangirling than my contemporary romcoms. If so, you definitely need to watch this space….


What I listened to

Top 5 tracks on my Spotify this month

  • Lauren Alaina, Next Boyfriend
  • Meghan Trainor, Walkashame
  • Justin Timberlake, CAN’T STOP THE FEELING!
  • Rip_Chord, It Girl
  • The Cocktails, Shark in the Water

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