There has been a tussle in Kate’s head as naughty Kate Pearce has finally been gagged, tied up and dumped in the corner so that nice Kate can hijack this blog.
Nice Kate has a nice short story coming out today from The Wild Rose Press
(who are very good people to work with)
The story is called “The Talisman” and it’s set in England after WWII when an injured US airman comes back to the village he was stationed in during the war to see if he can find his lucky charm.
I wrote it quite a while ago and only remembered it when my crit partner Dana Mentink suggested I send something in to them. (She has 2 books coming out with TWRP soon and she is a fabulous writer!)Well, when I say suggested, I mean nagged but then that’s what crit partners are there for isn’t it?
The link to the TWRP is on my website if anyone would like to go and check out that Kate can actually write something without a single rude word in it.
My mother will be proud of me. I even dedicated the book to her!
Other news-we have found a dog! I’m so excited, and no, it’s not a chicken breast although I have to say that Lillian’s Chinese crested hairless doggie did come quite close to the Mr Kate criteria. It’s a 3 year old Cavalier King Charles spaniel called Hunter.
He’s arriving on Tuesday so I’ll tell you all about him then.
The first thing on my mind for this blog is pets. Having a family of 4, we’ve had a few. There was the ferocious iguana who attacked anyone who tried to open his habitat, the snake which had to be fed live mice (shriek!)the hermit crabs-I personally liked them a lot as they didn’t get out much and the big drama of choosing a new shell? Better than any reality show. BTW-I noticed in Petco recently that they now sell ‘bling’ for your hermit crab-no kidding.
So son number 2 is having a birthday and he wants 2 goldfish-he has already named them Rocky and Ringo. Fish are okay, I suppose, although I suspect these will not have a long and happy life due to No. 2 son’s desire to poke and prod and fiddle with everything until it breaks. We shall see how it goes.
I have a cat, he’s the only pet who has managed to survive our family for several years mainly because he treats us with total contempt, probably has at least three other families feeding him and weighs twenty pounds. Nothing gets to him much and I like that in a pet.
We did have a dog once but true to our good choosing skills he turned out to be completely neurotic. It’s obviously catching. I’d just like to mention at this point in case Mr Kate is reading this blog, that I didn’t want a dog and I was right wasn’t I?
Now I want a dog. Having 3 teenage sons I’ve realized that I want to return to a time of uncritical adoration and unconditional love. Mr Kate insists I get that from him already but I know his attentions are shared between me, his daughter, his mother and his horse.Oh I forgot his car. I”m not quite sure where I come on this list and I’m afraid to ask.
My boys and I recently sat Mr K down and asked him about what he wanted in a dog. He decided it needed to a) have no hair b) not bark or whimper c) not drool d) not smell and e) be small.
We concluded that he’d be better off with a skinless chicken breast.
I want a King Charles spaniel-I look a bit like one apparently, so growing to look like my dog would be easy. And I quite fancy the idea of my photo in the back of one of my mega selling books clasping said spaniel to my face. Can’t you just picture it?
While you get over that horrific image, let me change the subject and talk about my upcoming short story in “Sex and Shopping” Changing Rooms. I got my advance copy of the book today and it was a thrill to finally see a real print book with my name in it. And yes, of course I licked the cover! Last time I looked, Amazon UK had the book at 3.99 so rush out and pre order your copy now! (there’s a direct link on my website) That’s for the Brits who read this blog. It comes out in the US at the end of December so you all know what you are getting for Christmas now don’t you?
It also made me wonder, oh blog readers,what’s the worst pet you’ve ever had?
I get the impression that many of you who read this blog think my life is full of rainbows, chocolate bunnies and jelly beans. Well, it is, mainly because my daughter insists that I must dream about these things every night, and sometimes it isn’t because I have 3 teenage sons who are kind of gross.
Today, my glamorous life involved buying vast quantities of cleaning products and gallons of milk at Target. Of course I also had to fork out mega dollars for the necessary piece of over-sized pink plastic my daughter insists she needs-I believe we’re into Littlest Pet Shop now having bought up every bit of Polly Pocket available.
Back to the cleaning products. Two of my teenage sons share a bathroom. I hate going in there because they are seriously disgusting. No one ever throws out a shampoo bottle or shower gel, puts a toilet roll on the hanger or cleans out the bath. They both insist it is the other’s job/fault if the place gets dirty.
This time the bath has soap scum, long hair and unmentionables floating around in an inch of soapy water. I had to forsake my environmental concerns and resort to Drano and clean the bath. Mr Kate refuses to go into their bathroom because he fears he might kill someone (and he’s probably right for cleanliness is his god) So guess who has to do it?
So my life isn’t always full of chocolate bunnies. But, okay, I am still very lucky.
People keep telling me how sad I’ll feel when my kids leave home to go to college or get jobs. I look at them funny and think, hell NO! I was one of those mum’s who danced away from school on the first morning cackling with joy. I want a portion of my life back please! I love them all but still…can I have my life back please?
My own mother insists that you never quite get rid of them even when they are old and she should know. My dad always said that the wedding present he wanted from each of us when we left was our house key-I think he was joking.
Writing news-more jelly beans! I’ve been offered representation by The Knight Agency! Amazing but true! I’ll get the website and blog up on my site asap (or asamkgrti as soon as Mr Kate gets round to it) I’m looking forward to a new challenge.
Things I’ve learned since living in the USA
1. You can put mail in your mail box as well as take it out (only took me 2 years to figure that out)
2. When someone asks you what state you are in, they don’t mean mental.
3. Herb is pronounced ‘erb’ like the French but coupe is pronounced coop and not coopay (like the French)
4. Fags are not cigarettes and rubbers are not for erasing pencil marks
5. People get concerned when you tell them the Brits put a Guy on the fire and burn him to celebrate Bonfire night.
There are more but I’ll get to them next week!
I think I’ve worked out why I’ve got two tickets this year and none in the preceeding fouteen years. It’s my car’s fault.
Up until just under a year ago I drove great big vehicles filled with my kids, their friends, their bags and anything else I could squeeze in there. Did I ever get stopped by the police? No, because I was too busy driving the monster things. But now after a mini rebellion, I have this beeyootiful BMW which truly wants me to drive faster.
And the police seem to like it too. After my second ticket this one was for not doing a full 3 second stop at a stop line (I did a 1 second stop apparently)I realized that I’m going to have to drive completely by the book for the next 18 months to avoid Mr Kate’s wrath about the insurance rates. That depressed me because I have this gorgeous car and I might as well have a pushbike.
What is the point of having said sexy car if I’m worried about being tempted to break that 3-second stop rule again? I told Mr Kate that if I do get stopped again, I’m not, (stopping that is)-I’m going to make sure I do something worthy of a ticket like speeding down the freeway the wrong way. Or I might leap out of the car and try and strangle the police officer at which point he will either shoot me or send me to jail. Mr Kate says that there is something very wrong with my value system if I’m willing to go that far just to prove a point but I think he’s just worried about being left with the kids.
So I think I’ll go back to driving the big 8 seater and leave the BMW for Mr K-which was probably part of his evil plan anyway.
Other news-We were thinking about getting a home help type of person who could take the boys to school, do a bit of housework and generally make our lives run smoother. The other day I passed Mr Kate a page of adverts for Nanny/homehelp type people. A little while later I found him and eldest son looking up aupairs on the computer.Both of them seemed very keen on the idea. I had to have a ‘little chat’ withthem both to straighten them out. Cheeky.
I’ve signed the contract for Antonia’s Bargain for EC. No idea when it will come out yet but I’ll let you all know as soon as I do.
I also sold a very sweet story to The Wild Rose Press a new internet publisher. It doesn’t even have a kiss in it! Can you believe it? Finally something my mother can read…
And a final piece of shameless self-promotion-if you have time, go and check out the Avon Fan Lit chapter contest. Mine is called “The Spy who left me” write a snarky comment, give me a star or 5 and I’ll be a happy girl!
My advice? Don’t do it. Or find some legal way of drugging the little darling.
My daughter is a sweetie but I seriously wanted to murder her about 6 hours into our return journey from the UK. She was bored sitting in her tiny space, she wanted to jump up and down and jiggle her hair and scream-and so did I but for slightly different reasons. I felt so bad for the very nice guy who had to sit next to us.
I was deeply grateful for the large activity and sticker book I picked up for her in the Early Learning Center. We colored and stickered for hours. At least she didn’t throw up on the return journey altho she had great fun pretending to do so-just to keep me on my toes of course!
I didn’t get to read a page of my book either way. I must confess I did stick my ipod on for about 40 minutes so I couldn’t hear her too well-but I swear I still continued to crayon and smile brightly.
The wedding was lovely. The reception was held in a very old posting house (inn) called The Angel on Guildford High Street. Apparently Jane Austen and the Duke of Wellington stayed there-not sure if that was at the same time but it certainly was historic. Our room was up in the eaves of the house through several winding corridors, fire doors and dead ends which made me worry that I’d need to leave a trail of breadcrumbs behind me to ever find it again.
My daughter couldn’t quite believe how many aunties, uncles and cousins she had and spent quite a while hiding behind me until she realized that everyone was delighted to see her and that she could run around from group to group. Everyone seemed to have a great time although we had to go to bed just after nine because of the jet lag. My daughter fell asleep on the couch so I arranged her pillows and covers over her and left her be.
I managed to get in a little shopping. Mainly for sweets, crisps and biscuits which all my boys back home, including Mr Kate were eagerly anticipating. Actually,they all complained that I should’ve brought more. But I was a bit worried how I would explain a suitcase full of tea bags and Haribo at customs.
I even went to the old sweet shop in Bishops Stortford (my old home town) where they still measure the sweets out of a big jar just to get my favorite toffee bon-bons. This shop smells just like the one I used to go to as a child to buy my dad’s favorite request-’half oz of golden virginia and a packet of green papers’ Never occurred to me that I was aiding his smoking habit.
It’s good to be back. After eight years in the USA I don’t really feel like I quite belong in England any more-although I don’t feel I quite belong in California either (but who does?)Emotionally I’m somewhere in between as half my family are in the UK and my own family, Mr Kate and the kids, are in the US. My kids don’t really remember England at all so all their memories are here.
Writing news-I came back to find that Harlequin Mills and Boon had rejected my Regency set historical “Dishonor and Desire” but said some very nice things about my writing.
Ellora’s Cave have bought the follow-up to ‘Eden’s Pleasure’ which is called
“Antonia’s Bargain” and concentrates on the other twin, Gideon Harcourt.I’m very pleased with this one.
Romantic Times only gave me 2 stars for EP ouch-I think my subject matter was a little out there for the reviewer although she did say I showed promise.
As Mr Kate said-all publicity is good publicity!
I’m trying to write a shortish story to get me back in the writing groove so I’d better get on!
I’m off to England on Wednesday with my 4 year old daughter. My youngest sister is getting married and we’re looking forward to seeing all the family!
I was a bit worried about the original strict guidelines about exactly what you could take on the plane with you. it’s hard to imagine entertaining a 4 year old for over ten hours with the contents of your wallet, sky magazine and your passport. Luckily things have eased up a little so hopefully we’ll be okay.
My daughter has already picked out 2 ‘geowns’ (her word) that she wants to take-she can’t decide which one goes best with her pink sparkly shoes and purple fairy purse-ah decisions…
I’ve been reading some interesting literary fiction recently in a desperate attempt to awaken my brain. I really enjoy the issues Jodi Picoult brings up in her novels and I’ve totally fallen in love with Ian McEwan. He writes the most perfect, concise beautiful sentences I think I have ever read.
I tried to convey the wonderous nature of Mr. McEwan’s fiction to Mr Kate but he gave me one of those, ‘what the hell are you talking about looks’. He thinks writers are strange especially when they read.
In other news, I sold a short story called “Cowboy Up” to Virgin Black Lace for Sex in Public which I think comes out next Feb. I was concerned this one wouldn’t make it as I wrote the whole thing in male point of view before it dawned on me that VBL usually prefer the female point of view. But thankfully they liked it! It’s very comforting to keep selling things-it gives me hope that this is a career as opposed to a flash in the pan!
I’ll let you know how the big trip went when I get over the jet lag!
To celebrate the fact that Mr Kate and me have been married for twenty years-yes twenty-as of yesterday, I thought I’d share some ‘romantic’ erm information/facts about the enigma of ‘Mr Kate’ and exactly why we’ve managed to remain married and still speaking to each other.
1. Mr Kate is not his real name.(gasp) When I told him I was writing a blog I was given strict instructions not to name him because he is a high up lardy-dah business type person.
2. Mr Kate now has several fans who work with him who read my blog and think it is hilarious that a big lardy-dah business man gets called Mr Kate.
3. Mr Kate is very fit. He goes to the gym three times a week and also rides a horse. I swear there is not an inch of flab to pinch on the man.
4. The first time we kissed, I knew I was going to marry him.
5. The first time we kissed, Mr Kate knew that we were going to have a problem avoiding over-bites.
6. On one of our first dates, Mr Kate scratched the immortal words “DD 4 CH” within a heart into the brickwork by my front door with his keys-where it still remains (as far as I know)
7. Mr Kate always writes the above message in every card he gives me.
8 Mr Kate likes AC/DC and loud rock music. He also had a fine collection of black T-shirts bearing band names when I first met him-come to think of it he still does.
9. Mr Kate also has a secret liking for Shania Twain and the occasional Madonna song. I’m sorry but his pathetic excuse of accidentally taking “Ray of Light’ on his business trips didn’t wash with me. I know he knows the words and can even be coaxed into the occasional philisophical discussion about what in the world will Madonna do next?
10. Mr Kate doesn’t drink coffee much as he is totally wired. If he was growing up these days he’d be classified as having ADHD. In our day, he was simply made to stand in the corner and told that he’d never make anything of himself.
11. As a kid his first dream job was ‘bin man’
12. He supports Manchester United football team (loser)
13. His second dream job was ‘astronaut’. He’s still a total space addict. If he gets really rich I expect he’ll book himself a seat on a moon tour. (alone)
14. Mr Kate used to think it was funny to leap out at me and scare me. He doesn’t do it so much anymore because once I nearly expired with fright.
15. After our first ten years of marriage Mr Kate told me that he’d realized that when I shared something with him, it didn’t necessarily mean that I was asking him to fix it for me or tell me what to do. He had discovered empathy-a big moment in a man’s life.
16. After our first fifteen years of marriage he stopped taking my shoes upstairs and let me leave them on the bottom of the stairs. (did I mention he’s a cleaning nazi?)
17. He always tells me I look nice. Sometimes I have to stamp on his toes until he’ll tell me what he really thinks.
18. He thinks I look better without make up (he thinks I don’t wear it snort)
19. He loves me despite the fact that the first time he took me to dinner at his parents I lost a whole fried tomato up my sleeve and got trifle in my hair.
20. When our daughter was born, he got up at four a.m. every morning to feed her so that I could sleep and never missed a night.
Can you see why he’s so lovable? I’m a very lucky lady
I’ve been a bit slow posting a new blog, mainly because since the conference I’ve made some serious career decisions (I have a writing career?) about where I want to be in five years time and how I intend to achieve that. Some of those decisions have been hard because one thing I have learned about achieving your dream is that this is also a business. Sometimes that’s difficult for us creative types to understand.
I know now that I have to write to deadlines, promote myself, keep an eye on the market, edit on time, keep my website up to date and generally try and bring up my four kids without becoming a stranger. It’s an interesting time and I’m enjoying the challenge. Oh and I forgot, keep writing quality fiction.
I read a fascinating interview with Nora Roberts in this month’s RWR and I have to say she is my new hero. Her kick-ass attitude is absolutely what I need to cultivate. She doesn’t make excuses, she just gets her butt in her chair and writes the damn book. (or books in her case)
Anyway, back to Atlanta. I got to go to the top secret PAN workshops (Professional Author Network) so secret that they don’t even print the agenda in the conference handbook but pass it out on a separate sheet. And yes, the workshops were a real eye opener. Not so much of the ra ra you can do it! more of the ‘how to get out of this publishing house, how to make more money, how to run a business etc. Very helpful and again ramming home the message that the life of a published romance writer isn’t all sweetness and roses.
I also got to meet my editor from Virgin Books, Adam Neville who came over for the conference. I think he was amazed at the sight of 2000 plus romance writers all in one place and being as he was one of the very few men there, he drew a lot of attention. It’s great to have the opportunity to chat face to face. You’d be amazed at the number of people who never actually meet their editor!
If you ever read Claire Delacroix’s blog she mentions the value of publisher enthusiasm for you and your book. So it was extra nice for me to hear Adam pitch my book with enthusiasm. And he did it much better than I could! The other good thing is that Virgin have big plans for both the Black Lace and the Cheek lines in the U.S. Here’s hoping that all works out.
What else to say about the conference? It was helpful and it was different being published and I mean that in a good way. It was great to see all my friends again and make some new ones. (especially my very own stalker, Louisa)
I’m writing consistently and back to my old machine-like self
Next year should be even better.
Did you miss me?
According to Mr Kate the web site hit rate dropped dramatically when I was in Atlanta at the RWA conference, which he said indicates that most people who read my blog etc are just my buddies rather than real readers. I think he’s wrong-why would anyone visit if they know I’m not here? (duh) Of course, next time I’ll invite Mr K to be my guest blogger and then the stats would probably go up.
Atlanta was…interesting. I’m going to have to write a few blogs to explain that comment but I’ll start by saying that it was great to reconnect with some of the people I met last year and all my RWAOnline buddies who I ‘cyber know’ very well.
It’s weird how you build up a mental picture of how people will look from their posts and their choice of avatars. Some people are exactly how you pictured them, others are a complete shock. Some people’s posts and writing don’t reflect their personalities at all and other’s, the moment they open their mouth, you feel comfortable with them.
For example-and I hope Pamela Hodges won’t mind me saying this-I had the pleasure of doing a little critting on Pamela’s excellent story, The Timestone Key, and we got to meet at the RWAOnline party. Now in my head, I kind of pictured Pamela as a little grey haired lady (sorry Pamela) instead she was this glamorous, charming, brunette with a great sense of humor (that bit I already knew)I couldn’t believe she was already a granny-granny’s didn’t look like that in my day!
At RWAOnline I got to meet up with Mel, Maria, Pamela H, Jenna, Jamie, Kristen, Louisa, Aurora, Terri, Gina, Nicole, Michelle, Adrian et al and a whole collection of Aussies who kindly brought an Australian delicacy called TimTams all the way from Oz and packets of Cadbury’s Koala bears which were yummy.
I still managed to miss talking to a whole portion of the room-not sure how. The trouble is is that you assume you’ll bump into them again and of course you don’t. I bumped into Adrian and Louisa constantly but the others? Not a single siting.
It’s also strange how you spend a lot of your time with your gaze fixed at bosom level as you try and make out the other person’s name badge and status. The other guests at the hotel always look terrified when a whole elevator of romance writers greets them-sometimes, especially the men, refuse to get in. Not sure what they think we’ll do to them-the elevator’s are glass.
I still have that hero-worship element when I see Nora Roberts, Jenny Crusie, Susan Elizabeth Philips etc. I gawp and pray that they won’t actually talk to me just in case I make a fool of myself in front of them. And here’s another strange thing- as a published author I had to deal with a bit of that myself. Some people, when I chatted to them, got all weird on me and almost always ended up pitching their book as if I could do something about it. I still don’t have the magic key. I wish I did, I’m still a newbie.
With Mr Kate’s coaching I made a decision to go and be more outgoing and ‘sell’ myself. It proved to be easier than I thought. Editors and agents were more approachable and so were the other published authors-strange what a change of badge can do.
I have to go and get back to work now. I’ll post more soon. The conference definitely inspired me to get writing!
The day Planet Mail came out was obviously a happy one for me. But as I spent half an hour erasing pencil scrawl from my daughter’s chair, table and hutch and mopping up the apple juice she had deliberately spread over every surface, I found myself wondering whether I was the only author who found not a lot had changed.
When will I be able to command my personal assistant to take care of the mess so that I can go back to my muse? How many books do I have to write before I become the new Barbara Cartland or Nora Roberts? Quite a lot I imagine. I keep hearing that I need to write steadily for the next 5-10 years or so, gain a steady following and then bask in my glory. That seems like a very long time to wait…
I blame this attitude on Mr Kate. When I hit 40 he pointed out very kindly that I was probably halfway through my life. This kind of startled me. I hadn’t really thought about it like that before. But was I a glass half full or a glass half empty? That is the question. And I’m still not sure. Hence my impatience to write faster and do better quicker.
I got to do a nice writerly thing last Saturday. My friend Susan and I went to a writer’s class to support our friend Caron Kamps Widden in one of her first forays as a published writer. She talked about her book, Restoration, did a reading and answered questions. She was really calm and professional and authorly.
I still can’t quite see myself doing that. First off, finding a passage to read in one of my books that wouldn’t frighten/offend/titillate someone would be tricky. Secondly as a famous blusher (read my previous blog on this) I’m not sure if I could deal with someone actually asking me about the sex scenes!
Email and the internet are definitely my preferred medium. People can imagine me how they want to imagine an erotic romance writer and I can write to them with confidence that they’d never guess it was me if they met me on the street. One delightful thing is fan mail from readers. When someone responds to your characters as if they are real people or wants to know what happens to secondary characters, you can only feel that you have ‘communicated’-that magical alchemy between writer and reader we all strive for.
It’s really hot here at the moment and my keyboard is a bit sticky. It makes it hard to type and even harder to concentrate when all I can think about is a nice big glass of cold water! In a week, I’m off to the Romance Writers conference in Atlanta. I’m really looking forward to spending some time with my ‘peeps’. People who understand my vagaries and my inability to live in the real world. People who understand that a first sale ribbon means something. (stop laughing Mr Kate)
Mr Kate is girding his loins to look after our 4 kids. He’s actually very good at it. The only thing I notice is that when I come back they are pleased to see me cooking anything. I’m not quite sure what he feeds them while I’m away. It’s probably better that I don’t know. But one great thing about dear Mr K-he is super tidy and I always walk in to a gleaming kitchen and clean floors. (then I wonder why I came back) (no, Mr Kate-that’s a joke-don’t pout!)