Tag Archives: Lincoln

Guilty! I broke the author’s first commandment.

Yes, I certainly did. The author’s first commandment being, “Always carry a notebook and a pen.”

So I found myself on a bus to Lincoln last week Wednesday. It was early, just after school drop-off, and the sun was shining brightly on the green and lush Lincolnshire countryside as the bus trundled its way towards the city centre. Already the spires of the Cathedral were in full view, and the scenery was growing more suburban by the minute.

I was sitting on the top deck, idly minding my own business. Actually, I wasn’t minding my own business at all. I don’t recall thinking about anything in particular. I had no worries on my mind, no urgent tasks, no remnants of a frazzled morning to analyse. I was simply… sitting there. When, quite suddenly and completely out of the blue, an idea struck. What if a famous rock star, for a whole host of complicated reasons, had to up-end his life and start over, deep, deep under cover? Dah-dah-daaaang!

My nose twitched. (My nose always twitches when I’m onto something, idea-wise). Oh-uh. While the bus rambled on, its passengers oblivious of the creative avalanche in my brain, ideas for the story clicked into place like fragments of a jigsaw. Places, motivations, crisis points, laugh-out-loud potential… everything swirled round and settled into place faster than I could say (not out loud, of course), “hang on, I haven’t got a pen.”

Because yes, my friends, I had committed the unthinkable crime. I had left the house with a rucksack devoid of writerly implements. No notebook, no notepad, not even a pen with which to write on my bus ticket (tiny though it was, it would have been a scrap of hope!). I had nothing. Nada. Nixiplonks, as my other half would say. There was a reason for this of course. The previous Monday, I had got utterly drenched in a phenomenal rain storm, and I had to empty out my rucksack completely, disposing of notepads, pens, and various other things I habitually carry.

The normal contents of my rucksack... including a notepad and several pens!

The normal contents of my rucksack… including a notepad and several pens!

My fingers itched, and I was feeling frantic.

The problem wasn’t so much that I was fearful of losing the idea. The idea was firmly embedded in my head in broad strokes. No, the problem was that whole scenes were coming to me thick and fast, as though I’d already written the book and was germinating edits. This is what usually happens when I conceive a novel, except it usually happens in the middle of the night when I’m at home with access to all manner of writing accoutrements, most notably my laptop.

Worse! Next thing I knew, the bus pulled into my stop, and I had to hurl myself down the stairs so that I wouldn’t be carried further than I wanted.

Breathless and discombobulated, I paused under the big plane tree on Broadgate (if indeed it is a plane tree. Who am I to know these things? Details, details!) and dug out my mobile phone. Needs must!

See? Ancient.

See? Ancient.

That probably sounds like an inspired course of action to you, but you have to understand that my mobile phone is old. As in, seriously old. It’s the exact opposite of a smartphone. It makes calls and sends and receives texts, and that’s it. It does not access the Internet, Facebook, Twitter, email or my blog. It does not have voice-recognition or a pseudo-work-environment. But it does have a ‘to do’ list function.

For the next twenty minutes, I stumbled all over Lincoln, crossing various roads and only barely just dodging cars, bikers, and delivery trucks, while clumsily tapping the bare bones of my next novel into this ancient old phone one painstaking letter at a time. I would bet you that I was the epitome of the irresponsible phone user, and that many an irate driver shook their fist at me. But hey, I didn’t have a choice. I was a woman possessed.

I broke the author’s first commandment, and I had a sore thumb for days, but I rescued the plot, the plan, the grand idea. And that, people, means that you can look forward to yet another book in my catalogue. After Fallen for Rock (out 30 June) and my Christmas novella (Fairy Tale in New York, out in October or November) and my current work-in-progress (bringing you a glamorous rock star couple and their rather disastrous honeymoon with epic consequences, due for release in the spring of 2015), I have the next story in the hopper. And so the fun goes on!

But I counsel thee this. Never, ever, ever leave your house without a notepad and a pen. I shall learn my lesson, too!

Your turn! Have you ever been assailed by an idea, a concept, a thought, that you had to eternalise without any means of doing so? What did you do?

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Everybody *Had* a Good Time–Interview with The Darkness!!

Happy Friday! I can’t believe where this week’s gone. Doesn’t time fly when you have a good time?

So Tuesday saw my interview with ultimate UK glam rock band, THE DARKNESS. Dan Hawkins, Ed Graham and Frankie Poullain took time out of their busy schedules to sit down with myself, Ed Wellman and Tom Stevens to be interviewed for Siren 107.3 FM. It was amazing and humbling to chat with these guys. They were relaxed and very friendly, funny, thoughtful, and just a little tongue-in-cheek at times. Exactly how you’d imagine an iconic rock band to be between lunch and sound check. If you happen to be reading this, guys, I just want to say “thank you” again. You rocked!

DarknessSiren2

At The Engine Shed: Frankie, Dan, myself and Ed, scrutinising my interview crib sheet (or not, LOL). 🙂

This interview was on air on Wednesday and Thursday night ~ but if you missed it, you can tune in now, right now, right here:

THE DARKNESS INTERVIEW ON SIREN 1073.FM

As if this wasn’t exciting enough, I also had the gig to go to later that day!  And it was brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. Justin’s vocals as strong and unique as ever. Dan’s guitar playing extraordinary and breathtaking. Ed’s drumming powerful and mind-boggling. And Frankie’s bass playing bone-shaking and still-buzzing-in-my-head. The show had everything: Shrill riffs, stand-up comedy, handstands (you’ve got to see Justin’s leg-clapping to understand what I mean), crowd walking, awkward silences (Justin likes awkward silences, it appears), more comedy, audience participation, jump suits, a shiny bolero, and bobble hats. AWE-SOME.

 

Unfortunately, due to a technical hitch, my camera refused to take any photos, and my very ancient mobile wasn’t quite up to the task. To cap it all, I no longer have the lead to get photos off the mobile, so this… with apologies… is the best I can do. It’s my token, “I Was There” photo. And TBH, I was way too busy singing and rocking along to worry about taking photos.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
So. Everybody Had a Good Time. I’m still reeling. What a week!

The Darkness very definitely rocks!

Everybody Have A Good Time!

It’s Music Monday!

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There really is only one song I could possibly post today. Here it is:

And here’s the reason why this is the only song I could possibly post today:

DarknessNovNicky

Wooohooo!!!

And there’s more! Because: *squeeeeeeeeeeeee* All things being well and no hiccups, disasters or other unscheduled mishaps getting in the way, I’ll be interviewing The Darkness briefly tomorrow before the show, for and on behalf of The Midweek Drive on Siren 107.3 FM.  Excuse me a moment while I go cheer quietly in a corner of my study…  Okay, back again. The interview is scheduled to be aired on Wednesday, 27 November 2013, on Siren 107.3 FM between 5pm and 7pm. Tune in or miss out! More news plus photos –assuming I get Permission to Land Post! — soon…. 😀

Village May Fair

It’s been nearly a year since this here rock-loving city girl moved to a small and entirely lovely village just outside Lincoln. So of course, I’m still finding out new things all the time about what this more… country-fied style of life really has to offer. This weekend, I discovered the Village May Fair. I have to confess, I didn’t expect too much. But it was fabulous!

Intrigued! No idea what to expect...

Intrigued! No idea what to expect…

Wow. They take the party seriously here! (This is the main road through the village!)

Wow. They take the party seriously here! (This is the main road through the village!)

Cake stall!

Cake stall!

Home made jams and chutneys. (Not by me, you gather) We bought some Whisky Marmalade...yum!

Home made jams and chutneys. (Not by me, you gather) We bought some Whisky Marmalade…yum!

Not just a fair... and international fair! #loveitalianfood

Not just a fair… an international fair! #loveitalianfood

Oh. I think I might fancy some of that. *cheers*

Oh. I think I might fancy some of that. *cheers*

Bring on the entertainment! The local majorettes offer a stunning show.

Bring on the entertainment! The local majorettes offer a stunning show.

Band! Love me a good band!

Band! Love me a good band!

Juggling clown ~ it's a 'yes' from me!

Juggling clown ~ it’s a ‘yes’ from me!

Morris dancing!!! Bring it on!

Morris dancing!!! Bring it on!

Yes, with hankies, too! I'm loving this!

Yes, with hankies, too! I’m loving this!

And the ladies, too. (But no, I won't be joining any time soon. Sorry!)

And the ladies, too. (But no, I won’t be joining any time soon. Sorry!)

So we missed the actual dancing around the May Pole but we *did* see it, touch it...and think about it. Next year?

So we missed the actual dancing around the May Pole but we *did* see it, touch it…and think about it. Next year?

I tried to convince OH to have a go but... he refused.

I tried to convince OH to have a go but… he refused.

YES! Boat swings! Quick, quick, let's have a go....

YES! Boat swings! Quick, quick, let’s have a go….

Me. On Swing. "Tonight... I am young!!" LOL

Me. On Swing. “Tonight… I am young!!” LOL

It's a bit small, but I reckon Sophie and Dan would have had a go.

It’s a bit small, but I reckon Sophie and Dan would have had a go.

The boys particularly loved this slide. Alas, I wasn't allowed... #notsoyoungafterall

The boys particularly loved this slide. Alas, I wasn’t allowed… #notsoyoungafterall

Glorious village fair. Well, I'm sold!

Glorious village fair. Well, I’m sold!

And there you have it. The weather was glorious ~ this must have been the hottest Bank Holiday Monday for decades ~ and the fair was fantastic. I’ll look forward to next year.

How about you ~ how did you spend your weekend or Bank Holiday Monday?

Grand Opening of the BookStop Cafe Lincoln ~ 4th May 2013

Huge congratulations to Joff Gainey and Becky Lindley on fulfilling a
life- long dream!

This past Saturday, 4th May 2013, they opened the BookStop Cafe Lincoln. The idea is brilliant: a book shop that supports independent and local authors where you can sit and drink a fabulous cup of coffee and have some cake. Or, to stand the idea on its head: a coffee shop where you can sit leisurely and drink a fabulous cup of coffee… whilst also perusing, and purchasing if you so wish, some of today’s best fiction as brought to you by the local and independent authors that Joff stocks. AWESOME!

It was my great pleasure to be present for the Grand Opening and here are some photos for you to share in the excitement.

Cut, cut, cut that ribbon, Joff and Becky!

Cut, cut, cut that ribbon, Joff and Becky!

Done! The BookStop Cafe is open. And the sun's come out and the bells are ringing. Amazing!

Done! The BookStop Cafe is open. And the sun’s come out and the bells are ringing. Amazing!

We are all terribly excited about this! With Lizzie Lamb and June Kearns

We are all terribly excited about this! With Lizzie Lamb and June Kearns

Proud coffee shop owner Joff and local author~Me!

Proud coffee shop owner Joff and local author~Me!

TWO proud owners ~ Joff and Becky. Photo courtesy of Lizzie Lamb with thanks.

TWO proud owners ~ Joff and Becky. Photo courtesy of Lizzie Lamb, with thanks.

Cakes. Did I mention you can get fabulous cake here? Photo courtesy of Lizzie Lamb, with thanks.

Cakes. Did I mention you can get fabulous cake here? Photo courtesy of Lizzie Lamb, with thanks.

Woohoo! I am ON THE SHELF!

Woohoo! I am ON THE SHELF!

The BookStop Cafe is doing its magic! And I'm doing a quick signing. :-)

The BookStop Cafe is doing its magic! And I’m doing a quick signing. 🙂

Happy BookStop Cafe customers! They had cake, they found a book, they got it signed... Everybody's smiling. What a result!

Happy BookStop Cafe customers! They had cake, they found a book, they got it signed… Everybody’s smiling. What a result!

Huge congratulations again to Joff and Becky and wishing you every success. Rock on!

Find the BookStop Cafe here:

47b Steep Hill, Lincoln

Or, if you can’t get there, find it on TWITTER. Or visit Joff’s WEBSITE.

SEE YOU THERE SOMETIME!

Sign, Author, Sign

Yesterday saw another first in this, my year of authorly firsts. I hosted my first meet-the-author and book signing event. Hooray!

A few weeks ago, I connected with my local librarian, the lovely Karen Waring, and she was extremely enthusiastic about the idea of hosting a local author in one of her libraries, complete with book signing event. We picked a date (20 October) and a place (Welton Library, in Welton-by-Lincoln) and even set a time (10 a.m. to 1 p.m.). We were on!

Both of us set to work publicising the event and yesterday morning, I presented myself at 9:50 a.m. to set up shop.

Was I nervous? Of course I was a little nervous. One worry was simply: would anyone turn up? And the second worry was: how would people feel about being invited to buy a book in a library, where they normally come to loan their reading material?

Well, here’s how it went.

Setting Up Shop

Books ~ check. Postcards ~ check. Bookmarks ~ check. Tasty treat ~ check. Visual hooks ~ check (1 book standing up, 1 big poster).

Taking a closer look… yes, I think this is good. Spy the fancy bookmark in the upright copy? This was a publication day present from two very special people and doesn’t it just add panache to the ensemble?

I’m ready… I think!

A big Thank You to my amazing loveahappyending friend, Sheryl Browne. I owe most of the ideas for this display, specifically the visual hooks, getting a copy of my book to stand upright, and the absolute need for a table-cloth (!) to a stellar blogpost she wrote on book signings on the Romaniacs blog. Sheryl, it worked!

The Quiet Before the Storm…

Meet the librarian: give it up for Karen!

Caught sharing a laugh off camera…  Having fun already.

huge Thank You to Karen for her amazing enthusiasm and stellar support. It is outstanding to have a library working so hard at creating a real sense of community and at bringing authors and readers together. I feel honoured and privileged to have made friends and I look forward to many more book signings in libraries up and down the county (and beyond?). You rock!

Thank you also, of course, to Karen’s fellow librarian, Jo, for helping set up, directing people my way, taking photos, printing photos, making cups of tea and generally keeping things ticking over. You ladies are a brilliant team!

…And Action!

Yes! Readers came! My first visitor arrived at just a few minutes after 10 a.m. Witness: my first author signature in a newly-purchased reader’s copy of Sophie’s Turn. Awesome feeling!

That was fun. Let’s have another go…

Of course I’ll sign another!

Meet Some of My Guests

Honestly, I had no idea this would be so much fun! Thank you to everybody who agreed to have their photo taken and let me post it right here on my blog.

And the Verdict?

Obviously, I had a lot of fun. Huge amounts of fun, in fact. I look forward to doing it all again.

Did people come? They certainly did. I barely had a moment’s rest during the three hours. I met some wonderful people and had some fantastically interesting conversations. It was amazing.

Did I sell and sign some books? You already know the answer to that. Yes, I sold some books. Not dozens, and dozens. But more than I dared hope.

Moreover, two of my guests took a copy of Sophie’s Turn out of the library there and then in addition to the copy that had already been borrowed earlier in the week.  There are copies in circulation! And as if that wasn’t enough, I’m told that two or three people requested a loan copy today so there is now a waiting list. My heart sings.

Lessons learned. Was it a perfect event? Probably not. Here’s what I will do differently next time.

1) I will have a proper stand for my huge visual.

2) Wherever possible, I will set myself up in direct line of vision (and walking) of the front entrance. The most important tool I had to draw people into conversation, apart from the librarians’ kind assistance, was eye contact. It’s easier to make eye contact if you’re unmissably in the line of sight; therefore, in future, I will put myself there.

3) I will print out and have available for perusing some of the fabulous reviews that Sophie’s Turn has received. This will get me around the uncomfortable moment of reassuring potential readers that of course Sophie’s Turn is a fantastic read. Instead of bragging, I can just let the reviews do their work. Easy, and obvious (hindsight is always 20-20!).

So this was it. My inaugural book signing event. I am elated, excited and exhausted. I feel very fortunate to have had my first signing event in such a lovely and supportive environment, and with such enthusiastic hosts.

I hope everyone who bought or borrowed my book will enjoy it and spread the word. Thank you. And I look forward to the next event… Karen has some places and dates in mind, and I am in her extremely capable hands.

Rock On! 🙂