|Posted by Mandy Baggot on September 14, 2014 at 8:00 PM||comments (2)|
I'm blogging this morning after eight hours uninterrupted sleep last night. This came after literally no sleep for two nights at the Festival of Romance in Leighton Buzzard. A combination of late night revellers and market stall holders setting up at 4am meant I had to drink twice as much wine to induce coma and get me through. The breakfast certainly helped too!
On the Friday night I was part of Girls Night In with the lovely Jane Lovering, Jill Steeples and Rowan Coleman. We read from our books, we asked each other questions in a Loose Women kind of a way and we took questions from the floor. We also ate cake and drank pink fizz - a necessity at these things. I really enjoyed this informal banter, so much so I revealed rather too much about my five year diary and my need to test fire fighters equipment.
On Saturday, joining the market traders, were several authors selling their books and wares to the public. I opted not to sell this year but the stalls looked lovely and there were sweets and treats to be tempted with!
L-R Liz Fenwick and Brigid Coady
L-R Susie Medwell (Zara Stoneley) and Jane Linfoot
I took part in Meet the Publishers and Pitch Your Novel live. It was an interesting debate about digital, paperback, booksellers and agents. Thirteen or so pitches were heard, all lively and interesting and the publishers and my agent, Kate Nash, gave feedback.
L-R JB Johnston (Brook Cottage Books), Linn B Halton and Tracey Risebrow (Book Thing)
After a pit stop for pork scratchings and a swift wine it was back to the theatre for an hour with award-winning authors.
L-R Carmel Harrington, Katie Fforde, Liz Fenwick, Fiona Harper and Tracy Bloom
I particularly enjoyed Tracy's reading from the wonderfully titled 'I Will Marry George Clooney (by Christmas)'. And we had more fun with George in the pub.
L-R Jane Linfoot, Mandy Baggot, George Clooney and Tracy Bloom
It was lovely to share some fizz with my HarperImpulse editor, Charlotte Ledger too!
The evening brought the awards and some wonderful entertainment in the form of dance, song and a stand-up routine worthy of a Night at the Apollo from Kate Nash.
I also got to go on stage to present an award. This year Carina UK scooped the publisher prize for Innovation in Romantic Fiction.
But at the Festival of Romance, everyone's a winner and we all got stuck into the wine and sushi after the prize-giving.
The only dampner was the curry house turning us away. But when there's a kebab house in town who needs a vindaloo?
I can't wait for next year!
|Posted by Mandy Baggot on September 10, 2014 at 2:00 AM||comments (0)|
Happy Hump Day! Today I'm excited to be hosting the gorgeous Rory from new sexy read, Stables Mates by Zara Stoneley!
What makes Rory Steel the perfect hero?
If there’s such a thing as a man who can laugh you into bed, then it’s Rory. He’s fun, energetic but a bit like one of his terriers, happy to flop at the end of the day and have a cuddle. He’s fit (who wouldn’t be when he’s outside working the horses all day), protective (like his terriers, again!), and up for any challenge… In short, Rory is the perfect hero for you if you who wants a hunk who can easily sweep you off your feet, throw you over his shoulder, and have the stamina to keep you entertained all night – and wake you up smiling.
What would Rory plan for a perfect date?
Rory believes in working hard and playing hard. His ideal date would probably involve an exhilarating ride cross country on the horses, followed by a picnic or barbecue gazing at the stars and sharing food… he’s more of a blanket and finger food man than fine food. Although he does know how to live it up and spend the day in 5 star luxury – and he scrubs up very well if he decides to go ‘posh’!
What is Rory’s favourite TV show and music style?
He’s not really a guy who sits round watching TV (apart from eventing, Horse of the Year show and racing), but he’s not averse to the odd session on the sofa as long as it’s something entertaining enough to keep his attention. He’s more than likely to get distracted half way through by whoever he’s with though. Rory likes to pick his music to fit his mood, so his music collection ranges from Jake Bugg, to King’s of Leon with some heavy rock and beach music in between. Predictable doesn’t come into it!
Buy Stable Mates here!
|Posted by Mandy Baggot on September 3, 2014 at 2:00 AM||comments (2)|
What makes Adam the perfect hero?
Adam is Mr. Nice Guy. The problem with nice guys is that they can spend too much time procrastinating. But when they are stirred into action—watch out. Don’t underestimate a guy who is fired up with passion when he’s after the girl of his dreams.
What would Adam plan for a perfect date?
Dinner for two, and Adam would be the chef. As a devoted dad to a nine-year-old, he knows his way around a kitchen. Adam’s idea of a perfect date is a night in with a cosy fire, a bottle of wine and the company of a woman he finds fascinating. But then, he’s not adverse to being a bit of a party animal ...
What is Adam’s favourite TV show and music style?
Adam is into Sam Smith, John Newman and a whole host of oldies. Add in a little Rihanna and a big helping of Coldplay, and there you have it. He’s not big on TV programmes, but enjoys watching films. He admits to having watched the odd chick flick, but won’t say another word on the subject. He tends to spend his spare time online, whenever he’s free. He works in IT and has created several online games; his hobby is programming.
Katie’s relationship has had more than its fair share of problems. After a difficult few years things begin to pick up and Katie finally realises her dream of opening up a bakery. Sweet Occasions specialises in novelty and celebration cakes, plus the most inspiring range of cupcakes anyone could possibly ask for!
Utilising her passion and skill helps to inject happiness back into her life, but it’s short-lived as things begin to fall apart. The reality is that you need to run a business with your heart AND your head. Help is at hand in the shape of her partner, Steve. He has the necessary experience, but does Katie want to tie herself to him financially, as well as personally?
Then one rainy, wintry day a bedraggled customer steps inside the door to order a cake …
Sometimes a turning point centres around one single moment in time: sometimes it takes two Christmases and three birthdays.
Linn's upcoming October 2014 release: http://viewBook.at/FallingAngelsAmongUsSeries
|Posted by Mandy Baggot on August 29, 2014 at 4:45 AM||comments (2)|
Welcome to a BRAND NEW feature on my blog - The Friday Meow!
It's been a long week and this is your chance to vent! What has got your back up this week?
Mine involves the hideous price of school shoes. How come my children's shoes cost so much? £46 and £47! Yes, they are leather and fitted but still, it's a crime! No wonder I have to buy cheap trainers and wellies to compensate.
Also, have you noticed supermarkets are bringing down the price of things but putting less in the packet? Used to get a pack of 10 sausage rolls for £1 now it's 8. Used to get 12 sachets of cat food in a box, now it's 8. Grrrr!
So, have you had lots of stupid sales calls? Bad customer service? Hubby or wife been particularly annoying? Share your moans and groans here and let's all feel better together!
|Posted by Mandy Baggot on August 28, 2014 at 11:00 AM||comments (1)|
It's only a couple of weeks until I head off to Leighton Buzzard for this year's Festival of Romance. It's a weekend I always look forward to because it's always full of laughs, great friends and good books!
I'm totally excited that Made in Nashville has been nominated for the Best E-book Award and I will be keeping everything crossed for Jared and Honor! And *coughs* if you haven't read it yet, it's currently on offer at 69p in the UK and $0.99 in the US. Here's the link.
This year at the Festival I'm taking part in a Girls Night In at the Leighton Buzzard Library on Friday 12 September. With me will be the fabulous (and now part of the Autumn Richard and Judy Book Club) Rowan Coleman, award-winning Jane Lovering and Carina author, Jill Steeples.
It promises to be an evening of fun including readings, Q&A and surprises! It should get the Festival off to a great start!
If you haven't got your tickets yet, hop over to the Festival website for all the details.
|Posted by Mandy Baggot on August 25, 2014 at 2:35 PM||comments (0)|
The school summer holidays are almost over and that means one thing - from 2 September I will be able to get back to being a writer for an uniterrupted six hours a day! As much as I love my girls the long holiday does take me away from work a bit too much for my liking and it makes me itchy!
So, what's been happening in the House of Baggot? Well, trials and tribulations with my website. Having upgraded to a new version of the builder the whole thing went wrong this morning. It's left me with a doubled up logo on every page except the home page and I have to wait for a tech guy to sort it out. Who knows when that will be done so please bear with me.
They've promised me the new version can do all sorts of super things though, so over the next few weeks I intend to see just what I can get it to do. Heroes popping out for real might not be in its remit though! Sorry!
But over the holidays I have done some writing. I've completed a 7,000 word short story for a secret project being announced soon and I've started two novels. Made in Nashville will be getting a sequel! Stand by for Born in Nashville and more Jared and Honor!
The other novel involves a hot fireman but that's all I'm saying for now!
|Posted by Mandy Baggot on August 17, 2014 at 2:00 AM||comments (0)|
Today is the launch of Rory's Proposal by the lovely Lynda Renham!
When 29-year-old Flora Robson reversed her car into Tom’s Audi she had no idea who he was. Only after she has started to fall in love with him does she discover the gorgeous blue-eyed Tom is the man who is trying to close down her hairdressing business. It seems that Tom will stop at nothing to get what he wants, but Flora is not giving in to anyone. Can she win the battle against her multimillionaire enemy or will her feelings for him get in the way? Follow Flora’s hilarious journey of love, hot chocolate and marshmallows, and the man who changes everything.
To celebrate Lynda's release I'm giving away a signed paperback copy of my summer read, Do You Remember?
To WIN all you have to go is answer the following question in the comments:-
Which year was the most traumatic year of Emma Barron's life? Click here for a clue!
Happy Launch Day, Lynda and Happy Entering! One winner will be picked on Monday 18th August!
|Posted by Mandy Baggot on August 6, 2014 at 2:00 AM||comments (4)|
Joining me this week on, In The Sack, is novelist, Samantha Tonge!
Samantha Tonge lives in Cheshire with her lovely family, and two cats who think they are dogs. When not writing, she spends her days cycling and willing cakes to rise. She has sold over 80 short stories to women’s magazines. Her bestselling debut novel, Doubting Abbey, came out in November 2013.
Every girl dreams of hearing those four magical words Will you marry me? But no-one tells you what’s supposed to happen next…
Fun-loving Gemma Goodwin knows she should be revelling in her happy-ever-after. Except when her boyfriend Lord Edward popped the question, after a whirlwind romance, although she didn’t say no….she didn’t exactly say yes either!
A month-long cookery course in Paris could be just the place to make sure her heart and her head are on the same page… And however disenchanted with romance Gemma is feeling, the City of Love has plenty to keep her busy; the champagne is decadently quaffable, the croissants almost too delicious, and shopping is a national past-time! In fact, everything in Paris makes her want to say Je t’aime… Except Edward!
But whilst Paris might offer plenty of distractions from wedding planning – including her new friends, mysterious Joe and hot French rockstar Blade - there’s no reason she couldn’t just try one or two couture dresses is there? Just for fun…
I’ve never really been much of a handbag girl – given the chance I’ll try to get away with sticking my purse in the back pocket of my jeans. However, if I’m going on a long shopping trip or a journey of considerable length, needs must for all those girlie essentials!
This is my favourite.
Its lovely warm ginger colour matches Junior, my tomcat. How I’d love to carry him around it in, so I thought I’d measure them together… Fat chance, he is way to long. Shame. I’ll just have to continue to fill it with the usual suspects.
WHAT'S IN THE SACK?
Umbrella, plasters, tissues and Paracetamol
I blame these contents on my maternal gene which was switched on when I gave birth to eldest. You know, the one that means you have to cater for every possibility – in this case, rain, heel blisters, sudden sneezes and headaches. The umbrella is also crucial on a vain level, as I straighten my curly hair and the slightest shower will turn it into frizz. Plus as I’ve got older, regular headaches seem to feature in my life (thank you Mother Nature) so like a middle-aged Girl Guide, I would rather be prepared.
Sachet of decaffeinated coffee
Whilst many establishments now provide for those of us who can’t cope with the strong stuff, I’d rather bring along my own, just in case. Not that I’m fussy (who, me?) but I suffer from insomnia, and have convinced myself over the years that just one cup of real caffeinated coffee will keep me awake all night.
This carries an array of music – current chart-toppers by Justin Timberlake and Bruno Mars (that’s me, down wi’ da kids). Ahem, okay, so there is also a bit of Barry Manilow on my playlist, plus soppy tunes from Twilight and some old Motown classics.
Whilst Snickers is, admittedly, my favourite chocolate bar – and every girl needs to carry one for emergencies, right? – this is actually for my husband, who suffers from Coeliacs disease, for when we go out for coffee and cake. Whilst most cafés nowadays are brilliant at supplying gluten-free alternatives, some still are not. In fact I admit to getting rather evangelical about it in some places, quoting statistics about how one in two hundred people have the disease and that’s a huge gap in the market to exploit and… See what I mean?
How great is that? Eldest introduced me to the the BabyLips product from Maybelline, available in peach or red. I’m a huge lip balm fan, as lipstick dries out my skin, so this little beauty is a compromise.
Cool foldable brush
That’s the round pink and black thing. It opens out into a brush and is my idea of the perfect gadget. It is easy to use, never refuses to open and doesn’t need to be charged.
Thank you so much for getting in the sack with me, Samantha!
|Posted by Mandy Baggot on July 30, 2014 at 2:00 AM||comments (4)|
Happy Hump Day! Today Jane Linfoot is sharing her hero from romance High Heels & Bicycle Wheels, Jackson!
What makes Jackson Gale the perfect hero?
Where to begin...a view of his fabulous butt is what heroine, Bryony, unwittingly stumbles over, and the rest of him is just as hot. This guy’s a world champion pro cyclist, and TBH he needs his own HANDLE WITH CARE – MAY SPONTANEOUSLY IGNITE label. He’s strong, successful and arrogant enough to drive Bryony around the bend, with a lot of hidden scars. But for me he’s perfect hero material, because despite the sparks, he changes so much through the novel, and he changes Bryony too. And when it comes down to it, he really digs deep and steps up to the mark. I’ve got a lot of time for a guy like that.
What would Jackson plan for a perfect date?
Jackson’s perfect date used to be dinner then hot sex, and he didn’t mind if he missed out the dinner part. But with Bryony he’d prefer to get away from the old pattern and try something new. I think he may just whisk her away to a tropical island...
What is Jackson Gale’s favourite TV show and music style?
Jackson’s favourite way of chilling out is to watch his collection of Disney movies. On his first evening with Bryony, they bond over Despicable Me. And he likes rock music, anything raw, and interesting, especially vintage Lou Reed.
Check out High Heels & Bicycle Wheels here!
|Posted by Mandy Baggot on July 22, 2014 at 6:00 AM||comments (1)|
Introducing the Written Fireside August Blog Hop! Fifteen authors, fifteen stories - one shared starting paragraph! Read a taste of what's coming for Christmas!
Here is the first chapter of my short story, Home for Christmas!
Home for Christmas
Chapter One – Christmas sucks!
Charlotte sat at the bus stop wondering whether she would make the naughty or nice list this year. Last year she had rescued a stray kitten and therefore considered herself most definitely ‘nice’. This year she had broken Daniel’s heart into a million tiny pieces, so ‘naughty’ seemed to be the only answer. There’d be no Santa Claus coming down her chimney anytime soon.
My eyes are rolling now and I close the magazine up. I should have guessed this week’s fiction feast would be another lame Christmas story.
It’s Christmas Eve Eve and I am so sick of the sleigh bells ring-a-linging and Rudolph’s very shiny nose and I would happily stamp all over the Little Saint Nick. What I want to know is, who decided the whole of December should be sugar-coated, sickly sweet and drizzled in tinsel?
My mom for one. The woman who was born wearing an apron and pays homage to Nigella Lawson. Thanks to my mom there’s always packets of stuff I don’t understand in our kitchen. Foreign nuts, damsons (?!), royal icing (as if the Queen of England has actually commissioned it), essence of wild boar…OK, that one might not be strictly true. But there are cherries that have had every natural flavor removed from them and are so glazed I can use them like a mirror.
I’m watching her now, in between reading lame stories and pretending to do homework. Homework in the holidays sucks particularly when it’s math. I understand math a whole lot less than I understand damsons.
Mom’s humming freaking Nat King Cole while she sashays around the kitchen in her ‘Queen of the Grill’ apron. Dad bought it for her last birthday. Most moms would have thrown it back at him and demanded to know where the diamond necklace was. Not my mom. She squealed like she was sixteen, threw her arms around him and said it was the best present she’d ever been given. That’s the last time I buy her really really expensive tickets to the theatre with all my allowance…and every cent I could find down the back of the couch.
‘You won’t finish that math by looking at me, Darla.’
Darn. Note to self: When reliving family memories stare down at homework book not into space.
I drop my head before she can suggest I get all sugar-coated with her.
‘Why don’t you come help me bake?’
Uh oh. Note to self: Drop head back into book a whole lot faster next time or do homework in your bedroom.
I clear my throat for dramatic effect. I’m great at this. It’s almost Shakespearean.
‘Oh, Mom, I can’t possibly have all that fun yet. It would be wrong to stop important high school math for mixing and frothing.’ I bat my eyelids and try to look sincere. I’m not so great at this.
She hits me with that look, the one that knows I’m lying and isn’t going to let me get away with it.
‘All this isn’t for me, Darla. It’s for the community.’
As much as I hate to admit it, her words are a dart to the heart and make me feel completely guilty. Here I am moaning about chestnuts roasting on an open fire and baubles to rival Dolly Parton’s…earrings and my mom is baking up a storm for the homeless day at the community center.
‘I know, Mom,’ I respond, suitably contrite. ‘But baking… you know it isn’t really my thing.’
She lets out a sigh and I know what’s coming next as she dusts her hands off on a towel.
‘You did not kill Aunt Mary.’
As she says the words all I can see is my dad’s radish red face as he performs the Heimlich maneuver, a flying pecan and Aunt Mary gasping for air. I haven’t baked since. I haven’t even touched a wooden spoon, except when I helped my little brother Marlon make puppets for a school project. Making puppets was a lot safer than baking.
Perhaps my face is giving away everything I’m feeling, because Mom comes right across the kitchen and puts her hand over mine. I think it’s supposed to be a loving, supportive touch but she’s jarred my pen and now I have a squiggle over my equations.
‘Aunt Mary had a stroke. The doctors said it had absolutely nothing to do with the pecan pie.’
I nod but there’s no conviction to it. Aunt Mary had the stroke two days after she choked on a pecan pie I had made…alone…without supervision. It was six years ago. I was nine. Should nine year olds be allowed to cook on their own? I’ve always been advanced, or so I used to think. The nine year olds in Marlon’s class have trouble opening their lunchboxes. I wouldn’t trust them to make a sandwich, let alone a complex dessert. Especially Sapphire Dimmick. She basically has one tooth and paws for hands.
Nat King Cole is bringing it home on the radio and Mom is still looking at me for some sort of response. What do I do? Confess I still feel responsible? Laugh it off? What?
‘I know what we’re going to do.’
Mom sounds like a sheriff about to lay it on the line to the prisoner. I should have said something. I had options before she jumped right on in. I could interrupt her.
‘I’m fine, Mom, no need for an intervention or anything lame like that. I just don’t do baking. Like I don’t do skateboarding or cheerleading or spying on our neighbors…anymore.’
‘When this last cake is done you can come with me to the community center and help me serve.’
It’s like I didn’t speak at all. She’s decided. An afternoon of hell. I know they’re homeless and everything but why do homeless people want to get so freaking joyful about peace and goodwill to all men? Where was the peace and goodwill when they really needed it, huh? No one was offering them handouts when their home was about to be repossessed where they? If I was homeless I’d be telling the do-gooders exactly where to stick their figgy pudding.
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