Wednesday, 31 December 2008

I *heart* Lesbian Nurses - The Kick Ass Cool Competition Edition, Plus: Even More Books To Give Away

Ok Kids,

Christmas is over and, like me, you'll be all skint and stuff. So I have a treat for you. Those lovely chaps at Tonto have donated three copies of 9987 to ease your January woes. And, cos I'm dead nice and things I'm going to sign them, and give them away.

For nowt.


See, you'll all have stuffed yourselves full of turkey and stuffing and brandy and wine and rum and beer and pudding and cheese and chocolates and anchovies and syrup and milk and biscuits and small, round, vegetables.

So you'll have to do a bit of work for it...

Here's the deal:

In order to win your very own, signed copy, of 9987 (and, if you like, you can have it presented to you at the launch on the 29th Jan - assuming you're coming...) you need to get your typing fingers all stretched out and nimble.

9987 takes place, primarily, in a DVD rental store with the narrator watching people milling about the store, speculating on their lives and judging their movie tastes. The customers play a very important role in the narrators life, and so I think a few more customers might do him some good.

To that end I want you to create a customer. I want you to bring them to life. I want to be sat behind a desk in a DVD rental shop and to watch them wandering the shop. And I want you to do all this in no more than 25 words.

Quite the challenge I know...

But hey, what good will 2009 be without pushing yourself a bit?

Please email your entry to with your name and address before the closing date of January 17th. 

To keep up to date with 9987 news and events join the facebook group I *heart* Lesbian Nurses.

And remember, 9987 is available here and here and other places too...

Good Luck, and Best Wishes for 2009.


Fiona Robyn is also giving her book away here. It's one I've already added to my wish list and I've heard some really really good things about it. It's not out until March but you can be the envy of your friends by nabbing one of the free advance copies she's giving away. 

Go have a look, you won't regret it. Honest.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Don't Read My Book!

New problems. New things to worry about. New things to mark.

It has come to my attention, and why it surprises me I’m not sure, that people have been reading my book.

Now, yes, I know. I had sort of expected this. And yes, I know, it is surely a good thing. I am assuming that these people who are reading the book have paid for the book and so surely riches cannot be far away.


People are reading my book. At work, sat in the staff room, people are telling me how far through they are, asking me questions, and saying nice things. This is all very good, I am aware of this.

But I don’t know how to respond. I find myself changing the subject. I find myself avoiding the staff room.

Because I know what’s coming.

Although it’s all nicely, darkly comic to begin, it goes a bit … well … odd, toward the end. It all goes a bit… twisted… toward the end.

And of course, in all my wisdom, I wrote in the first person.

And so people think that it’s about me.

This worries me.

If you’re one of the few that’s read it, you’ll understand why.

You’ll understand why the thought that my parents might read it terrifies me. You’ll understand why I envision some awkward conversations.

To those of you buying my book: Don't read it, just stroke the cover a bit...

Monday, 1 December 2008

Holding My Book. Dancing A Hula. Misplacing A Student Union.

And so, suddenly, things seem a bit more…

What’s the word?



Proper Mint? How.

Well yeah, I think that does it. Proper Mint. How.

Because it’s been a very, very exciting week for me.

I’ve struggled, quite a bit really, since I found out I was getting published. I was chuffed, obviously. Grinning secretly between lessons and when no one was looking. I had, whilst writing 9987, planned great things for the day I got THAT phone call, received THAT letter, heard THAT news.

But when it happened I felt, well, I dunno. I was excited, ecstatic, euphoric, erudite (ran out of ‘e’ words there, went for a fairly poor English Teacher joke here…). Strangely though, amongst people, even amongst friends, I felt embarrassed. It just felt too… distant. Too flimsy. Too much time for something to go wrong.

Somewhere in the back of my head a withered, grey haired little man, stroking his beard sadly and sucking at the gaps between his teeth. He was shaking his head a lot and cackling at moments of publishing related excitement.

Even when I saw the cover, I was dubious.

Even when I had the t-shirts sorted, I was reluctant to relax.

I have been widely ridiculed for my inability to answer simple questions about my own book. I have blushed at the mention of Lesbian Nurses.

This week has been different.

This week has been kick ass cool.

This week I’ve felt like a writer.

It all began in the Bath…

I was invited, quite a while ago actually, to go down to Bath Spa University. (MY university. Oh yes. And a very nice one it is too. It has muffin stealing squirrels.) They wanted me to have a chat with some undergrads doing the Creative Studies in English Degree. The one I was doing when I started writing 9987. So I went.

There were some niggling problems. Getting up at five in the morning to catch the plane (oh yes, quite the jetsetter me), the fact that someone had moved the Students Union (and the truly terrifying fact that when I found it at 3:30 no one was drinking. At all. Soft drinks all round. Muchos disturbing, I fear for the students of today.) and of course, a slight problem that the group of students I was expecting to chat to were slightly larger (in number, not stature) and in a slightly more formal setting that I was prepared for.

So I walk into a lecture theatre facing one hundred and eighty people. Some were making notes. Some had laptops out. One may have been sleeping.

Luckily I HAD been drinking in the Students Union.

So. I talked about Prostitutes. I discussed Magical Pub toilets and alternative routes to Narnia. I did a little Hula Dance to demonstrate rhythmic prose. It was most successful.

Oh. And I failed completely, twice, to answer the question – Why was the book originally titled Lesbian Nurses?

Cos I’m mint.

But, hey, it was fun. Then Carrie Etter, poet, lecturer, pint buyer, took me for a drink. Which I felt I needed.

But then.

Then BIG things happened.

Then I got an email.

Then I took a drive.

Then I collected a pile of books.

And all of them,

Each and every single one of them,

Had my name on.

Ten, count’em, ten pristine, ever so pretty and real and strokable and actual copies of my actual book.

They’ve got pages and words in and everything.

And, suddenly, I found it a bit easier to talk about it.

I found it strangely exhilarating to show it to people.

I acted a bit smug, and I think I had a licence to.

I am so very, very chuffed. How.

(and no, before you ask, yo ucan't have one of the ten copies. They've all been given out. The first one to someone who makes me grin. The rest to people of various import after. And Caroline got a special one from the publishers. So sorry kids, all gone.)