Vodafone and the deranged sister

We all do something daft every now and then. When we give ourselves a mental head-slap, mutter, ‘Dummy!’ look around to see if anyone’s noticed and then try to carry on as normal. Well, I’ve just made the most colossal fool of myself, so for anyone who’s ever embarrassed themselves in public and wondered how they’ll ever have the nerve to show their face again, I offer the following:

I was out with the eminent author (as he likes to be called and after my performance, trust me, I’m in no position to argue) and I remembered I needed to top up my phone. Pleased and proud that I’d actually remembered before my last credit disappeared, I shoved him into the Vodafone shop and requested a top up.

Everyone with me so far?

Picture the scene, if you will. A small shop in a pleasant rural town, smiling scarlet-clad staff, happy customers – everything is sweetness and light. Enter an eminent author and his sister, the madwoman.

Things went well. I had the right credit card – I could remember my pin – I didn’t have a finger failure putting it in – the little slip curled out of the top of the machine and I was – as I thought – topped up and ready to go.

Alas!

The really very nice lady bashing away at my phone paused, and said, ‘Oh.’

‘Problem?’ I said, with the practised ease of one to whom this happens a lot.

‘Yes,’ she said. ‘It hasn’t worked. It says O2. Are you O2?’

‘Certainly not,’ I said, indignant at the implication I didn’t know who my provider was. ‘I’m Vodafone. Always have been.’

She flipped off the back of the phone – something I only ever manage to do accidentally – and pulled out the sim card.

‘It says O2.’

And – I can’t believe I did this – I slapped the eminent author on the arm and said, ‘Oh my God, some thieving bugger’s stolen my Vodafone sim and replaced it with an O2 one. Who would do that?’

Thoughtful people began to edge towards the door.

‘No, they haven’t,’ he said, dismayed at the levels of stupidity being demonstrated by a close relative. ‘You’re O2.’

‘No, I’m not,’ I said, exasperated at his complete failure to grasp the essentials of the problem. How dim did he think I was? ‘I’m Vodafone. Steve (name changed to protect the innocent) set me up when he worked there. Remember?’

‘Steve works for O2,’ he said, trying to prise my fingers from the phone.

There followed one of those ghastly moments when you realise that

a) No one’s stolen your Vodafone sim

b) You’re with O2 and always have been

c) You’ve just made a complete arse of yourself and this will be dragged up at every Christmas lunch until the end of time

d) This is yet another shop you can never return to

I have to say – all credit to the staff. No one laughed. Except for the eminent author, of course, giving himself a well-deserved hernia in the corner. They assured me things like this happen all the time – although I doubt that – and gave me a refund.

We left quickly. I had to help the eminent author out of the door because he still couldn’t see properly. The temptation to push him under a bus was familiar and overwhelming.

For those of you who don’t like cliff-hanger endings – I successfully topped up my phone the next day. At O2.

 

If you want to ask me about the latest ridiculous things I’ve done, I’ll be doing a couple of events next week!

On Friday March 3rd I’ll be at Octavo’s in Cardiff Bay: first to film with the lovely Josie from The Gin Book Club and then afterwards we’re having afternoon tea! You can join us by buying a ticket right here.

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Then on March 4th and 5th I’ll be at Cardiff Comic Con! Plus there might be some gorgeous covers coming with us…

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Don’t forget to enter the Comic Con competition right here! I’m having a great time reading through the entries so far.

The Best Things About Being a Writer

As it is time for another blog I was thinking about what the things are I love most about my job (this is what I do when I should be working!).

The best things about being a writer:

  • You can stare aimlessly into space for hours and hours, and as long as you have a pen in your hand, people think you’re working.

 

  • You can read for hours and hours and people think you’re researching your next book.

 

  • You can avoid doing anything unpleasant by citing deadlines. People nod understandingly and sometimes bring you a cup of tea.

 

  • You can bundle your brother, the eminent author, into a car and demand to be taken somewhere exciting on the grounds you need background for your next book. Of course, it’s a good idea to check the weather first. This week’s excursion was to Lydney Harbour – a bit of a surprise for me because I always thought the Forest of Dean was landlocked but we did the Amazon basin in geography and I’m a bit hazy about anything not connected with rubber – and it was cold. It was very, very cold. A Force Ten gale was whistling up that well-known wind tunnel, the Severn Estuary, and at one point I could barely keep my feet. Somewhere in this blog there should be an image of an author slowly freezing to death for the benefit of her readers.

  • You can eat endless chocolate, telling people it stimulates the little grey cells. The extra weight is actually useful as ballast. See the above about barely keeping my feet. Ten thousand Chocolate Brazils have finally justified themselves. And nuts are good for you, too. They stimulate something or other.

 

  • Any and all bizarre behaviour is explained away as being creative. You can get away with murder (not quite but you know what I mean) as long as you’re being creative.

 

So let’s hear it for the pen clutching, staring, geographically challenged, chocolate stuffed creatives – well this one certainly, currently staring cross-eyed at her screen and wondering how much a lightly armoured horse would weigh. Sadly, having neither horse nor bathroom scales, I’m a little stumped. I estimate about half a ton, but if anyone out there possesses both items and can actually arrange a merger of the two, I’d be incredibly grateful.

Reluctantly putting heavy horses to one side, I’ve just begun the edit for the paperback anthology of short stories – The Long and the Short of It – which is now available for pre-order on Amazon.co.uk right here! Signed copies will be available at Cardiff Comic Con or direct from Accent Press.

long short pre pre

There are no details for Amazon.com or Audible release dates, but as soon as we have links I will post them here. You are not forgotten!

Hurray! And The Rest of History is Live to pre-order on Kindle!

Great news! For all of you impatient souls out there – And the Rest is History is live for pre-order on Amazon.co.uk – http://amzn.to/2jsXwMm

And for all you impatient souls in the US – I have been informed that the American Publishers will be putting it up in March.

And for all you impatient souls who like to listen to St Mary’s, we don’t have a date from Audible yet, but we will, and as soon as we do, I’ll post it on this page. Well, not me, obviously, but someone who knows what they’re doing will post it on this page.

And for those wondering how I’m passing the time these days, I’m editing The Something Girl ready for its launch at Comic Con, finishing the first draft of a thriller I’m struggling with. Yes, I have bitten off more than I can chew there. I’ve made a start on Book 10, which has turned out to be far more complex than I imagined and I have to ask – does anyone out there know – if I fell off a three-storey roof onto soft ground would it kill me? Or could I get away with just a few broken bones? Why don’t I pack all this in and write books for children? Very few characters in children’s books die horribly. Except for the wicked queen in Snow White, of course, who was forced to wear red hot shoes and dance until she died. Or the grandmother in Red Riding Hood who was eaten by a wolf. Or the ugly sisters in Cinderella who cut off their own toes so they could squeeze their feet into the glass slipper. And who wears glass footwear anyway? Or voluntarily marries a prince? And now I’ve lost the thread.

Yes – And the Rest is History – pre-orders. Links. Progress report. All done. Have a great day!

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An Interesting Thought – How Important is a Book’s Cover?

nothing girl finalHere’s an interesting thought – how important is a book’s cover? When you’re browsing the bookshelves, what makes you pick up a book? Is it the title? Or the author’s name? Or an interesting looking cover?

I ask because I’ve just discovered The Nothing Girl has suddenly raced up the Amazon Bestseller Rank and I’m wondering why. It wasn’t doing too badly before, but over the last week, it’s done really well.

Why is this?

 

Is it renewed interest because the sequel – The Something Girl – is due out in a couple of The Something Girl green final smallmonths?

Is it just some random fluctuation of fate? I get a lot of that. Fate fluctuates all over me all the time!

Or is it because of the fabulous new covers – chosen by you, thanks very much. And if so, how important are cover designs in the scheme of things?

I myself would buy anything by M R C Kasasian or Ben Aaronovitch or Lindsey Davis, even if the cover was blank. Or even if it had the words – DO NOT READ THIS BOOK – in small friendly letters across the front. On the other hand, when browsing through bookshops – especially in this day and age when many books are displayed face up on tables – it’s the cover design that attracts me. And there are some beautiful covers around these days. Some of them are works of art in themselves. In fact, I’m so fond of the new covers for the Frogmorton Farm series, I persuaded Accent Press to print them off for me. I’m going to frame them and put them on my walls.

little donkey red altSo – back to the original question – what do you think? What attracts you to a book?

The title?

The author?

Or the cover?

If you are interested the Nothing Girl is available to buy here, you can buy Little Donkey here and pre-order The Something Girl here.

nothing girl banner BOTH

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meet Jodi Taylor at Cardiff ComiCon – March 4th & 5th 2017

15418376_764606737023460_3701665643783417355_oCome and meet the fabulous Jodi Taylor in person at Cardiff ComiCon.

This will be an exclusive opportunity to get signed copies of ‘And The Rest Is History’ over a month before the official publication date plus copies of the rest of the series with the new jacket designs. And, if that’s not enough excitement there will also be copies of The Nothing Girl and The Something Girl with their beautiful new covers!

Click here for more details and to order tickets.

Merry Christmas!

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star-ribbon-by-merlin2525-300pxI’ve just realised Christmas is next week and I’d better get a move on. Where does all the time
go? I’m sure everyone is better prepared for Christmas than I am. I’ve just spent a dreadful day wrapping presents – something at which I am enormously bad. I try to make things easy for myself by only buying square or rectangular gifts, but today has just been a disaster and my strategy hasn’t worked at all.

Firstly, there was something wrong with the scissors. I don’t know what, but they wouldn’t cut the paper. Then there was the traditional Sellotape struggle, of course. I lost count of the number of times I lost the end. And have you ever noticed that you can encase a parcel in yards of the stuff and still completely fail to stick down the important bits. Then I lost the roll itself. I crawled around all over the floor wondering if I was going mad, looking behind the furniture, under the cat – who had turned up because she knows entertainment when she sees it – eventually discovering the stupid thing hanging off my elbow. How did that happen?

christmas-003-300pxAnd then, of course, today was the day when nothing went right. I struggled endlessly with a small, square, scented candle. Easy peasy you’d think, but no. I wrestled endlessly with a combination of recalcitrant wrapping paper, dodgy scissors and homicidal Sellotape, ripping it all off and starting again more times than I care to relate. The paper was lovely stuff too – gold and purple. Although not as purple as my language. In the end, I ran out of paper. I’d used nine yards of the bloody stuff and only three small parcels wrapped.

The cat, realising the entertainment was at an end, stuck her tail in the air, assumed her normal expression of bored contempt and strolled away.  I peeled large lumps of Sellotape off my jeans, the carpet, my slippers, my elbow, and so on, and wandered off to put the kettle on. Now I have to go out tomorrow and buy another half mile of wrapping paper for Round Two.

Anyway, in case it gets the better of me – and we all know it will – let me take this opportunity to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Don’t forget Markham on Christmas Day and I’ll see you all in 2017.

If you haven’t pre-ordered Markham yet, you can do so here! 

christmas-markham-new

Good morning to everyone.

Good morning to everyone. I thought I’d better take a moment out from writing – I’m working on a supernatural thriller and the heroine is currently being menaced by a telephone. Don’t ask! – to clarify the position on Timeless, the new series now appearing on both UK and US TV.

I haven’t seen it, so I can’t comment on its apparent similarities to my books, but I can assure everyone that it’s nothing to do with me or St Mary’s. I haven’t been involved in any way. I do still own the TV and film rights and there have been several enquiries recently, but they are still in the very early stages, so I can confidently say that any resemblance to The Chronicles of St Mary’s is not of my making.

I hope this clears things up.

In other news – as they say – it would seem that my publishers – All hail, Accent Press – have succumbed to pressure and are bringing forward the release of The Someone Girl from October to March. This is for the eBook only – the paperback version will still be out in October. So not long to find out why Russell has named a hairy-legged chicken after his ex-girlfriend.

Actually, March is quite busy for me. I’ll be at Comicon in Cardiff – I think there’s an event notification somewhere on my Facebook page – where we’ll be releasing the paperback edition of the latest in the Chronicles, And the Rest is History for anyone turning up to buy one.  This is a special one-off event ahead of the official release in April, so if you fancy a signed copy before everyone else, Cardiff Comicon is the place to be. Especially if you also want one of the famous St Mary’s Disaster Magnet tote bags currently in hot demand.

See you there.

St Mary's Tote bags

Coming up in 2017…

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I meant to do this last week but what with Christmas shopping, the weather, the excitement over at Goodreads, Mr Flappy, and the excitement of finishing next year’s summer story, I forgot all about it.

Anyway, setting aside my inconvenient private life for one moment, I’ve made a cup of tea, put on an episode of DIY SOS for Mr Flappy, and picked up a pen. So, without further ado – as promised – here’s the publication schedule for next year:

April

For those of us who have made it this far into the new year – And the Rest is History, Book 8 of the Chronicles of St Mary’s will be will be published. It will be available for pre-order on Amazon in paperback very soon  (with the Kindle pre-order going live in February).

June

The long-awaited paperback edition of all the St Mary’s short stories will be available and will include the new summer short story. The edition will be entitled The Long and the Short of It (look out for the paperback pre-order in January and the Kindle pre-order going live in March). The summer story is, at the moment, entitled ‘Cleaning the Toilet.’ Don’t ask – it was a bad day – but is more likely to be entitled A Week in the Life ….

July

A Week in the Life … will be available in ebook form – we’re doing things the other way around for a change.

July

The sequel to The Nothing Girl will be available for pre-order. We’re still discussing the title. It’s likely to be either The Someone Girl or The Something Girl. Could go either way. There’s going to be blood up the walls.

October

Publication of the above. By the survivors, presumably.

December

The Christmas story. No it’s not written yet. Before anyone asks.

Anyway, that’s it – subject to climate change, adequate supplies of chocolate, author failure, or any combination of the above.

Have a good week…

P.s. Just in case you haven’t seen, Accent have revamped all my covers – for Kindle UK!

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My Adventures at Cardiff Comic Con…

Getting  ready for the fun to begin!

Getting ready for the fun to begin!

Well, here I am, back from Cardiff Comic Con and the fantastic time I had there. Giant thank you’s to everyone who was kind enough to drop by and say hello. Double thanks to those of you who bought a book. Or a mug. Or a disaster magnet. Or a St Mary’s tote bag. And huge thanks for the comments and encouragement. It’s lovely to get feedback from readers. And suggestions, too. So yes, although And the Rest is History is a little dark, the short stories will – hopefully – be great fun. And yes, to the lady who begged and pleaded with me – and in public, too! – there is a very faint possibility that Dr Bairstow might find a lady capable of getting to the end of the book alive. And huge thanks also to the gentlemen who gave me the title for Book 9 – I’m definitely considering What’s the Worst That Could Happen?

Fabulous meeting Sian Williams again - the lovely lady brought chocolate

Fabulous meeting Sian Williams again – the lovely lady brought chocolate

The slight delay in posting this blog is due to a sudden and very inconvenient bout of travel sickness on the train coming back from Cardiff. One minute I was sitting quietly, staring out at the fog and thinking of that film I was forbidden to watch as a child – The Terror of Trollenberg – the one where hideously tentacled monsters live in a cloud half way up a mountain and rip the heads off passing mountaineers – as you can imagine, I’d seen it three times by the time I was nine – and imagining millions of tentacles boiling out of the mist to eat the 0912 from Cardiff calling at Newport, Chepstow, Severn Tunnel, etc etc, when all of a sudden the carriage rotated 180 degrees and I had a sudden and very desperate need to get off. Now. The train was packed and there was no chance of getting to the loo. In fact there were only two carriages so there probably wasn’t one anyway. However, I’m very resourceful, and I was actually considering vomiting into my handbag – Great Western Railways inexplicably failing to provide sick bags – when it began to subside. I was fine so long as I kept my eyes closed so my I had to find and hand over my ticket by Braille. It did subside eventually, only to rear its head in the taxi home. My apologies to the driver – he would have had a bigger tip but I had to nip off a bit sharpish.

So now I have the hat trick. I’m air sick – that’s always fun at 30,000 feet! Car sick – I have a vehicular range of about twelve feet. And now train sick. There’s only bicycles left. I can see now why vampires travel in their coffins. Such a practical idea.

Anyway, that’s it for this blog. Autumn is here and I’m helping my brother, the eminent author, in his garden. Since we both see ourselves as purely supervisory, there’s not a lot being done at the moment. And apparently, it’s my turn to make the tea again.

PS – I should be receiving the publishing schedule for next year, so the next blog will advise the dates for

And the Rest is History

The Long and the Short of It (an anthology of short stories previously only available on ebooks),

The summer short story – not written yet.

The Someone (or possibly Something) Girl

And the Christmas Story. Also not written yet.

As you can see, I’ve been busy and need to be busier still…

P.s. If you fancy getting your hands on the disaster magnet tote bag in the pictures, it’s available from Zazzle here.