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Saturday, 20 October 2012

Meeting the Editors!

Yesterday, on Friday 19th October, exactly one month to the day that I received The Call, I went to Rom HQ in Richmond. When I reached HQ, I admit to feeling a teensy bit of disappointment. In my head I'd imagined a bright pink building with glitter on the doormat! Instead it was just an ordinary meeting.

I was nearly half an hour early and caught them on the hop (oops) but they were wonderful about it. Honestly, I never noticed the boxes on the floor they had intended to put away before I arrived...

Inside, I met my editor (the lovely Charlotte Ledger) and the rest of the editorial team (pictured below is Carly Byrne, Joanne Grant, Charlotte, me, Lucy Gilmore and Sally Williamson). I couldn't believe how tall and beautiful they all were - I'm really glad I wore my heels!

This picture may show the six of us, but all the other editors and marketing staff welcomed me too, including  Linda Fildew and Tessa Shapcott, the latter of whom has just celebrated twenty five years at Mills & Boon. I was given the grand tour of the editorial office (it's open plan for those who like to know these things) and then they opened a couple of bottles of champagne.
After that, I was whisked off to a purple room with Ali from Marketing and Charlotte to do a podcast about being a new Modern/Presents author. If the podcast ever sees the light of day I shall apologise now - I'm a giggler and completely incapable of showing professionalism. I dread to think what the finished article will look like (poor Ali has some serious editing to do).
Charlotte then took me up to the Library. All I can say about the library was 'Wow'. Every category and single title book produced by Harlequin over the past five years or so were on those shelves (once the shelves are full the books are archived, freeing space for the next generation of books). Honestly, it was a romance junkie's idea of heaven.
By that point it was time for lunch, so Charlotte and I said our goodbyes and headed off to a restaurant called Rock & Rose. I swear the owners of this restaurant knew there was a building full of romance junkies around the corner when they opened it. I would go so far as to say it was exactly how I picture Rom HQ itself (I'm seriously considering taking a can of pink spray paint and a suitcase of glitter if I'm ever invited there again!).
The food was wonderful, the cocktails were divine and Charlotte was... I don't think there are enough superlatives to describe how lovely she is.
All in all, it was a fantastic day. The Mills & Boon staff are a fantastic bunch - all incredibly welcoming and lovely, and so enthusiastic about the books they produce. I can never thank them enough for making me feel so spoiled and wanted.

Take care all xxx

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Getting to Know You.

In all the time I've been doing this blog I have rarely strayed from the topic of me. Me, me, me, me, me! Well not anymore. Today I would like to introduce you to a debut author who I am certain will soon be a tour de force in the romance industry. She also happens to be a good friend of mine, so, without any further ado, allow me to introduce you to Aimee Duffy, author of The Monster of Fame.

Now, for those of you expecting an in-depth interview on the writing process blah, blah, blah, I apologise. I'm only interested in the, well, interesting stuff!

Q) How many pairs of shoes do you own?
A) I have a cupboard for my shoes, a shelf at my front door and I have shoes in boxes. If I was to hazard a guess, I’d say somewhere around 30 pairs. Funny thing is, I don’t own trainers!

Q) If you were stuck on a desert island and could only choose one book, one film and one album, what would they be and why? Also, what fictional man would you want there with you (he must come from a book) and why?
A) One book. Really? Okay, I’d probably choose something really erotic (since I’m gonna be there with a hot guy. We could try out the scenes). The film would be Lord of the Rings, the second one. Orlando Bloom is lush as a blond! I’d have to take U2’s Joshua Tree, cause I can’t go any length of time without Bono. I’m in love with that man’s voice! The guy would have to be Gideon Cross from Bared To You. I love a tortured hero and he’s way hotter than Christian Grey.

Q) If you could have any superpower for a day, what would it be and why?
A) Is x-ray vision a perverted answer? I’d like to have the ability to change the weather, like Storm from X-men. Then I could be warm all year round without moving ;)

Q) Does it always rain in Scotland?
A) For the most part. It also snows and you get big hailstones. This is why I want the ability to change the weather.

Q) What was your dream job when you were five years old? (personally, I wanted to work on a till in a shop!).
A) I wanted to be a vet, then realised animal blood makes my stomach churn. Plus I don’t think I could cope with watching anything die, so doctor and nurse was ruled out quickly.

Q) What was your favourite childhood book and why?
A) I loved the Goosebumps books, especially Welcome to Dead House by R.L. Stine. It freaked me out, but I couldn’t get enough of it. I was obsessed with ghost stories, and as a result slept with the light on. Drove my mum nuts.

Q)) If you won the lottery (and we're talking squillions not a paltry million or two), what would be the first thing you would buy after a magnum of champagne?
A) The first ticket out of Scotland. Seriously. I want to travel the world and after handing out a big chunk to all my family and friends, I’d be off. Preferably Vegas first, but I’m not fussy ;).

Q) What's your favourite drink?
A) It’s a toss up between vodka with diet cola or Jagerbombs.

Q) What's your favourite joke (be as rude as you like)? *
A) How do you make a potato puff?

     Chase it round the garden.

Q) If you could go back in time and talk to your ten year old self, what advice would you give and why?

A) I wouldn’t know where to start. I was a terror. I used to climb trees and my friends and I spent our summers in the woods, breaking things (mostly bones from falling out of trees), getting hurt after pinching hammers and nails to build tree-houses (I have the scars to prove it!) and when it rained, we weren’t discouraged. I’d have probably said to listen to my mum and look after my clothes because I always came in covered in mud. Oh, and I’d have said to stay away from the River Forth. Falling in was the most unpleasant experience of my life. I’d have taken a broken leg over that any day!
* I would like to point out that Aimee was a nightmare to get a joke out of as she only knows rude jokes and refused to share one of those beauties in case of offending anyone. I'm very disappointed in her quality of joke and if anyone out there has a better one please leave it as a comment.

Thank you Aimee! And all the best of luck with your debut book, The Monster of Fame.

Can the voice of an angel heal a tortured soul?

As a general rule I do not write reviews. If I like a book I shout about it from the rooftops but reviews? Nope. Quite frankly I am pants at them, so I will try to keep this one short but sweet.

The Monster of Fame is a love story set around the ficitional reality show Do You have What It Takes? Think X-Factor meets The Voice featuring a sexy Simon Cowell without the Botox or moobs, and with an actual personality. And a heart (although this is kept well hidden from the world).This would be Miles, our gorgeous tortured hero.
Then we have our heroine, Anna, a sweet Scottish girl with the voice of an angel and the self-confidence of a dustpan.
I'm not going to tell you what happens or give any spoilers (you'll have to read it for yourselves to find out!), but suffice it to say, I adored this book. Aimee's writing is so fluid you get sucked right into the story and right into a showbiz world that rarely has substance behind the floss - The Monster of Fame has substance aplenty. There were moments when I laughed out loud and, I am not ashamed to say, moments of despair that made me cry.

All-in-all, this is a cracking debut and a book I will gladly shout about from the rooftops.

(The Monster of Fame can be purchased via , and Barnes & Noble

Take care all xxx