A champagne-kinda week

It’s been quite a big week for me and the weekend is bringing a fabulous excuse to celebrate in style.

On Tuesday I actually finished the first draft of my fourth novel. It will need lots of editing and amends but I like this stage best of all – when you actually know you have a story that works. I’ll put it aside for a few weeks and go back to reviewing it in autumn. So at the moment, I have lots of free time and I’m not exactly sure what a normal human being does when they’re not making things up! I imagine the dog will have some extra walks.

And the next big thing to happen this week – The Heat is On is out in paperback today! The kindle version was released earlier but many of you have been asking about the “real” book and the good news is that you can get hold of it, literally, today.

Finally – this week is my little sister’s birthday! So I’ll be up in Newcastle celebrating with the family and no doubt having a bit of bubbly. People often ask if any of my novels are based on real life and there is an anecdote in The Heat is On which is based on a trip Victoria and I had to Amsterdam – look out for it.

It’s going to be a lovely week for me and I hope you too. Enjoy The Heat is On and raise a glass to my wee sister if you like – any excuse will do !

Helen x


The Heat Is On

The Blog Tour has started so, it’s official, the sequel is on it’s way! Angie, Patty and the rest of the Mercury Travel crew will be getting up to all kinds of shenanigans (love that word!) as they grapple with a toady new competitor. I mean to say, how dare anyone take on the wonderful Mercury!

It was a little strange sitting down to write the sequel because so many people I’ve met have views on what Angie would and wouldn’t do. It was quite interesting to hear and at one stage (when I was researching a particular shopping trip between Angie & Patty – no spoilers though), it was downright hilarious hearing the views as to who would buy what! I think you’ll spot the scene I’m talking about quite quickly.

As well as the main battle, Mercury continues to take customers around the world and I’ve included some of the places I’ve really loved. It’s great to be able to tell readers about them and I hope the novel inspires some travel.

I’ll update everyone when the novel is ready & available – meanwhile, here’s the list of bloggers taking a sneaky first peak xblogtour

Happy Book-iversary !

A year ago this week, The Mercury Travel Club appeared on the shelves and I had a little glass or two to celebrate with friends. After all, it would have been rude not to. I remember being overwhelmed by the support and kindness of everyone but boy did I need it. People ask if I was excited when the actual printed copy arrived through the letter box and of course I told them I was, but honestly? I was absolutely terrified! It’s a very scary thing, unleashing your musings on the world and then waiting to hear what people think. I had many a sleepless night before the first reviews came in and there’d have been no point having a manicure as I’d bitten my nails down to the bone. I can’t remember ever being as nervous as I was then – so if you’re out there about to publish your first book and you recognise this angst – then get in touch and I’ll reassure you that you’re not the only one!

Happily, a year on and I’ve calmed down a little; so far readers have been very, very kind and started to ask me what happens next to the Mercury team? I’ve been delighted and surprised to have conversations about what Angie and Patty might do next – I wanted them to seem like friends we all might have and I’m always glad when someone says they know women just like them. The good news is that the sequel isn’t far away. We’re dotting i’s and crossing t’s as we speak so watch this space for more news.

Meanwhile, to celebrate this anniversary week, I thought I’d give away a signed copy of Mercury – so if you’d like the chance to win one, then share, RT, like, follow or whatever else can be done on social meedja and I’ll pick a name at random then get in touch.

Thank you for your support so far – it has been very, very much appreciated,

Helen x

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Book Hangover

I’m no stranger to the normal type of hangover but who’d have thought the booky type would be just as exhausting? Here I am needing comfort food, jammies and easy conversation and I haven’t touched a drop! It’s simply not on – the next time I feel this bad, I want to have had a wee tipple at the very least.

The source of this exhaustion is my new kindle. I’ve always been a paperback & bookmark kind of girl but recently I had to buy a new phone and the screen is so darn big I thought I might as well download the app.

Those of you less Luddite than myself will already know the kindle format but this was a complete novelty – there are no pages…that’s right no pages. Instead you’re told what percentage of the book you’ve read. This is an absolute nightmare for someone as competitive as me – ‘I’ve done 50%? That’s not even a pass mark!’  I had to do a whole lot better than 50% – I couldn’t stop until I’d scored at least 75%. That’s a B+ in old money I think.

Then there’s the whole light-off discipline. With a normal book & a hubby with a normal job, you tend to do the decent thing – you get just to the end of the chapter and switch off so everyone can get some shut-eye. Now I can read all night without him indoors even noticing. It’s like owning that mythical wine glass – the one that just keeps re-filling itself.

So if I ever want to finish writing my next novel, I’m going to have to go back to paper and that gentle moment when you close the pages and get some sleep.

Kindle – it should some with a health warning “May Cause Book Hangovers”



Mary Poppins ft. The Clash

Hurrah! After several months of editing, my second novel is finally ready for submission. And now for the first time in ages, I’m free to walk in the sunshine or stroll along the river bank – anything other than sit tied to the laptop. I’ve anticipated this moment for weeks now. Manchester has been bathed in glorious sunshine recently and so I envisaged stepping out into the warmth and getting some much needed vitamin D before having to head back indoors to start writing again. So what happens? On my first day of freedom, it’s absolutely pouring with rain. Even the dog doesn’t want to go out in this. I dragged him out this morning but now he’s hiding in case I try that again. So what to do? It’s too early for a G&T (even for me) and going to the gym is holding no appeal whatsoever (again) – I know! I’ll play with Spotify.

I’m not great with technology but I think I’ve just managed to create a Mercury Travel Club playlist. As anyone who has read my first novel knows, 80’s music plays a big part in my heroine’s life and the playlist is an eclectic mix!  I truly believe that the music you grow up with stays with you forever. Just yesterday, I received a text from an old friend who simply said “They’re playing our tune”. I knew instantly what she meant and turned on the radio – even though we were over 300 miles apart, we were both dancing round the kitchen to the same song.

Many readers have told me that they loved the music in the book and I’m sure dancing round the kitchen is much better exercise than trotting on a treadmill.  It’s a perfect distraction on a rainy day – so if you enjoyed the book, try the soundtrack. Just turn up the volume and get dancing!

The Mercury Travel Club Playlistdance

Launch Day

Publication day has finally arrived and I couldn’t be happier. Two years after deciding to write the novel, it’s on the shelves and that’s incredible exciting.

I hadn’t realised how emotional the whole process would be. It is tough submitting your manuscript and facing rejection but there have been real highs too. When I’d actually written 83,000 words and then was accepted for publication by Red Door I felt completely euphoric. I’d achieved my goal. It was a late spring day and I had a little glass of bubbly in the garden.

The publishing process takes longer than I’d imagined but I’m delighted with the book and can’t stop stroking the lovely shiny cover! Tonight is my first launch event with friends in Chorlton – where the novel is set. I hope I manage to hold it together for the evening and I hope everyone has a good time.

So for now, I’d like to thank everyone who has helped me along the way. If I can offer you help with your writing goals, drop me a line. We’re all in this together.

Finally – thanks to my dog Angus. He’s been with me through all the angst and as long as he gets a good walk, quite frankly he can’t see what all the fuss is about!20170221_121550[1]

Thank You!

The Mercury Travel Club launches in five weeks and to say I’m starting to feel nervous would be an understatement! I really hope it gives everyone a good laugh. It’s a bit like planning a party; you just want everyone to have a great time and you know you won’t relax until you see your guests smiling and chatting. That’s why, right now, I need to say thank you to all those who have reviewed the book so far and given some fabulous feedback. Helen Lederer is a comedienne and actress I love to watch; she invented the genre “mid-lit” and really supports women who write comedy. Having read Mercury, I was delighted when she gave us a cover quote “A joyfully warm and witty read with real sparkle and knowing “. The day we heard back from her, I did a little dance!

I’ve also had some fabulous feedback and support from authors Carol E Wyer, Mandy Baggott, Alex Brown and Laura Lockington. In fact the whole writing community has been tremendous, offering advice and answers to my probably naive questions.

Mercury is now being read by the blogging community and I thank everyone who is taking part for your time and consideration. It does mean a great deal to me.

Finally, I have to thank all those who have pre-ordered Mercury. When I hear that you’ve had the faith in me to buy my book, it’s like a lovely big hug! I hope you enjoy it and once again – thank you, thank you, thank you !

You’re all absolute stars xxxxx