Three months on.
Approaching 70,000 downloads, and 199 (almost all lovely) Amazon reviews.
To celebrate three months of Sealed with a Kiss being out there in the wild (and it’s been a pretty amazing, whirlwindy sort of three months) you can download the Kindle version absolutely free today. Tell your friends!
For Amazon.com users, pop over here.
And thank you all, so much. I’m in the process of moving all my writing stuff over to the Rachael Lucas author blog so this is probably the last one of these sort of posts you’ll see here. Coming up later this week: cake, cats, and a review of an amazing book I’ve been reading.
Over on Tara’s blog it’s week 140 of The Gallery and the theme is ‘Self Portrait’.
I’m mostly behind the camera, partly because I like taking photographs and also because as soon as anyone points a camera at me I tend to pull a ridiculous face, like a five year old.
I took this one myself. I turned 40 this January and decided this was the year I was going to do things – to publish the book, to take up roller derby. It’s the first of May today, five months into my year of being brave. I suppose some people would consider putting an untouched photograph of myself with no make up to be brave, but I happen to like being 40. My mum went on a gap year at 46 and maintains her 40s were her favourite decade. I’m inclined to agree with her. This article about turning 60 says it all for me. I like getting older. I actually like myself more now than I ever have. I don’t take any crap, I’m brave enough to do things that scare me, and I know when to walk away (even if that does mean disappearing to bed halfway through a night out because I’m exhausted by midnight).
This week I’m madly decluttering the house. This is an annual thing for me and always seems to be quite therapeutic, because it reminds me that we don’t need all the mountains of stuff we carry around. With four children living here, and another two some of the time, there’s a lot of stuff which accumulates in corners. I’m recycling, giving things to charity, and clearing my head at the same time.
I’ve been fiddling around with the blog this week and giving it a spring makeover. I’ve decided that it’s time to make a few changes – I realised the other day when I was out in the garden taking flower photographs that I’ve been so busy working that I’ve forgotten to take the time to get out with my camera.
One of the things I always enjoyed best about writing Tales from the Village was that it provided an escape from day to day life, and work, and all the rest of that stuff.
It’s been almost three years since I started the blog. Having had a chat with a blogging friend, Nickie, and after taking some advice from writerly friends like Liz, I’ve decided to move the books and writing over to my author blog which is still a work in progress right now. I’m going to keep the roller derby stuff over at my roller derby blog.
So this one’s going back to basics.
there. I feel better already.
I’m sitting here with coffee, watching the London Marathon. Three years ago I ran with my sister in memory of our dad. Blogging about our training is what got me back into writing, and running the marathon changed my life, so here’s a post from my training blog:
To set the scene, my sister Zoe and I were staying in a hotel overnight in London and trying to have an early night…
Unfortunately I then got out of bed around 11.45. And 12.30. And 1.30. And 2.30, 3, and 3.30. For a couple of days before I’d had a bit of a headache and felt a bit wobbly, but I’d put it down to nerves and excitement. Suffice to say I spent the whole night on the loo, which wasn’t exactly the best way to prepare for 26.2 miles of running.
I think this weekend I’m going to get outside.
But look, look. Sunshine and shoots and tiny baby clematis and spring. This is a post brought to you from the Department of Cheering Upping.
and a daisy – the first one in the garden, waiting for some sunshine. That’s just how I feel.
No words today. Just pictures.
You can find this post over at my author blog now – pop over and say hello!
I’m going to London tomorrow with a girlfriend for a 24 hour child free break.
I’m also failing TERRIBLY on my post-every-day mission. So here’s a little update.
Given that I look like I’ve been dragged through a hedge backwards and have out of control eyebrows, I thought perhaps I should try and make an effort to make myself a bit respectable. There’s a gorgeous day spa near our house, so I pootled in, hair unbrushed, no make up on, and managed to bag a last minute appointment.
The spa is breathtakingly beautiful. Set in an old synagogue, it’s all stained glass windows and floaty music and candles.
The beauty therapist opened the door to a gorgeous treatment room.
Therapist: “If you can just take off your top, and slip your bra straps off your shoulders. I’ll step out.”
Me: *removes top, slips bra straps off shoulders, stands awkwardly in room*
Therapist (on returning to room): “Er, if you could just get onto the bed?”
Therapist leaves room.
Me: *gets onto bed thing in manner of person at doctor, wondering about shoes on covers*
Me: (Feeling like a complete moron) “Gosh I feel a bit awkward with my shoes on this nice blankety thing.”
Therapist: (looking like she’s wondering if there’s a secret camera in the room)
“Er, if you could just slip your shoes off and pop under the cover? I’ll give you a moment.”
Me: *Lies down on bed in awkward manner, with cover half over my body in the hope that if it’s not right it’ll look like it just sort of fell there*
Therapist: (slightly exasperated but hiding it well) “We’ll just” (pulls cover up over my chest) “cover you up. Have you had a facial before?”
Me: (gabbling) “Gosh yes heaps of times. Well, once. My sister’s a beauty therapist you know she worked for Virgin as cabin crew and now she works for Aveda which is nice because I get lovely presents. Have you tried Aveda stuff? It’s lovely.”
Therapist: “If you could just lie back and close your…(I swear she was thinking mouth) eyes.”
Me: (three seconds later) *BIG SNORTY SNORE*
Therapist: “All finished. We’ll just do your eyebrows…”
Next stop nail salon. I was wearing the remains of last week’s dark purple nail varnish and my fingernails were filthy. Oh, and I have a giant festering cut on my thumb from a roller derby fall.
Nail bar man: “You’ve never had gel nails? Ooh, this is going to change your life!”
Me: “Er. Right.”
Nail bar man: *files fingernails with alarming machine*
Me: (inwardly) “Eek”
Nail bar man: *shaking my hand in most unrelaxing manner* “Relax your hands!”
Me: “I didn’t know they were tense!”
Nail bar man: “RELAX YOUR HANDS”
Me: (Trying to think relaxing thoughts) “I’m trying.”
Repeat x 35
Lovely nails completed.
Nail bar man: “You see! Life is transformed, yes?”
Me: “Can I get back to you on that in a couple of weeks?”
I can’t help thinking some of us are designed to be low maintenance.
I love gardening. I am also astoundingly lazy.
Here are my gardening tips for those of you who want to sit doing this:
(that’s sitting smugly with coffee admiring your lovely plants)
Thing one: Make some coffee. This is a very Sunday-ish sort of gardening method.
Thing two: Pop over to Higgledy Garden’s blog for a fab tutorial in how to use those cheapie greenhouses to fill your house with more cut flowers than you’ll know what to do with. Ben also sells seeds which are utterly gorgeous and at the top of my shopping list for this week.
Thing three: Have a look at Pinterest, if you haven’t already. If you take a look at my Pinterest board you can get some ideas. I use it to choose planting ideas and colour schemes, and to drool over beautiful gardens I’m going to have when I’m a millionaire writer. Also it’s been great for me because we’ve moved to a totally different garden now and I’m having to learn now to cope with a walled, sandy, weirdly boggy, slightly damp, tree-overhung, half shaded townhouse garden. (Any tips? Anyone?)
Thing four: Ways to get yourself outside and doing the garden when it seems like an insurmountable task: Go for a walk. Look at what’s growing in the gardens nearby. Tell yourself you have to do housework. Tell yourself you only have to do half an hour. I love it once I get out there, especially once the nights are longer, but this ice planet winter has left the garden soggy and freezing and I can’t face it. Looking around our street, I’m not the only one. I have to keep reminding myself that we will actually have sunny days again.
Which reminds me. I was chatting on twitter the other day about coping with this never ending winter and the shorter growing season we’re going to have as a result.
Thing five: Have a look at Calgary Garden Coach and Frostbite and Sunburn, both blogs from Alberta, Canada. They’ve got gardening tips for short season gardening and they’re lovely garden blogs in their own right, too.
All of that said, it’s a positively tropical 10 degrees here today, so I’m planning a day in the garden tomorrow.
(That’s guaranteed to make it rain.)
I was reclining in my study this morning, listening to Woman’s Hour on Radio 4 and drinking some coffee when the doorbell rang. The delivery man stood on the doorstep, box in hand.
Actually that’s a big lie. I was standing in the hall half dressed, wondering where the hell my jeans had gone and having just yelled at one of the children. I had to shout upstairs for someone to get the door because I don’t think the delivery man needs that sort of trauma at 10am on a Thursday.
So anyway, in the time-honoured family tradition of unboxing videos (more often scooters and computer games round here) I bring you the Sealed with a Kiss debut, filmed by Archie.
(the link, for those of you with awkward laptops like mine, is here)
We decided that it’d be nice to have a photo of me with the books, like a Proper Writer. If I tell you these are the best of the bunch, that’s probably all you need to know. I pull so many faces and talk so much that it’s impossible to get a picture of me.
I can actually hear my mother telling me to stop being silly.
I hate hate HATE having my photo taken. I was once interviewed for a newspaper article and the photographer took 1500 photographs in one afternoon. I had my eyes closed or my mouth open in every single one.
Look at that. One photo where I don’t look like a complete lunatic and actually look like a proper grown up writer. A bit of a tired one, mind you. Pass the coffee…
And look: proof that I’ve been a disaster in front of the camera for a very long time.
The exciting bit. To win a copy of Sealed with a Kiss with anything you want written inside (not the sequel, before someone suggests that) just leave a comment below telling me your favourite comfort reading.
I’m giving away one copy in the UK, and one overseas, so if you can mention where you live, that’d be lovely, too.
terms and conditions here
The US edition is up on Amazon (you can buy it or the Kindle version here), The UK version of Sealed with a Kiss is available here via Evertype. Meanwhile you can buy it on UK Kindle here (still only 77p this weekend!).
Congratulations to Inheritance Ade and Joyce from Alabama! Hooray. I’ll be in touch tomorrow to find out your addresses and what you’d like written in your signed copy.
Joining in, as part of my post-every-day April theme, with The Gallery at Sticky Fingers, Tara’s blog for the first time in aaaaages. It’s a sign of how long we’ve all been blogging that I remember week six and she’s now on week 136.
The theme this week is Together. My four children fight like demons, but they love each other fiercely, too.
Gathering these photos made me feel quite proud. They’re a lovely bunch of horrorchops – and time passes SO fast.