Harlequin Romance Lunch in London

The New Normal – Life As A Full Time Writer

Harlequin Romance Lunch in London

Fancy Author Lunch: Me, Michelle Douglas, Fiona Harper, Liz Fielding, Pamela Hartshorne, Caroline Anderson, Nina Harrington and Kate Hardy

It’s been a week since my first Harlequin Romance novel, Stranded with the Tycoon, was published. A whole week! And in that week, the following things (not all entirely related to the book) have also happened:

  • I got to go for a fancy lunch in London with other HR authors, including the lovely Michelle Douglas, who was visiting from Australia
  • I have become addicted to checking for new reviews, and looking at the Amazon.com rankings for my book
  • I received my contract back for my story, The Fairytale Way, to be included in the next Romantic Novelists Association short story anthology
  • The daughter started full time school. In a tiny little uniform and everything
  • I became a full time writer

So, food first. It just so happened that the lunch arranged for Michelle happened to coincide with my release day. Which meant I got to spend that very special day with a host of wonderful women whose books I have read and enjoyed for years. And they all toasted me over lunch at Brasserie Blanc in Covent Garden. Me! As you can see from my beaming smile in the photo, I was a very happy Sophie. And not just because of the prosecco.

While the review and ranking checking still shows no sign of abating, I am pleased to report that Stranded with the Tycoon has garnered some lovely reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. Here’s a snippet of one of my favourites, from Jessica, who won a copy of the book in my Goodreads giveaway last month:

Jessica Hale (via Goodreads) 4 stars!

If you want a book with simmering attraction slowly building between two characters who think they have nothing in common then you might want to read this book.

Of course, with Ben and Luce’s story on the shelves, I’m already looking forward to the next release. Obviously there’s the third instalment of my Love from Wales series, Summer of Love, available as an e-book on November 4th, and then my next Harlequin Mills and Boon Romance, Heiress on the Run, out in February. But now I have something new to add to the list!

I loved the last RNA/Mills and Boon short story anthology, Loves Me, Loves Me Not, so when I saw that they were asking for submissions for a second one, of course I had to send a story. Given the calibre of writers included in the first one, I didn’t have high hopes of mine being picked, which only made it doubly exciting when I received the news that The Fairytale Way would be part of both the print and digital editions of the new anthology, Truly, Madly, Deeply. Check out this post on the RNA blog to read about some of the big names involved in the project.

First Day at SchoolExciting as all this has been, the biggest event in Pembroke Cottage this week was obviously the daughter’s first day at school. She graciously allowed me to take a couple of photos, although not to actually stand still while I was  trying to do so. Still, I managed one decent shot and, to everyone’s extreme relief, after a summer of her worrying and fretting, the daughter appears to be enjoying school immensely. Which isn’t to say that she wouldn’t rather be at home, snuggled on the sofa, watching SpongeBob SquarePants, but at least she’s not unhappy there.

Yesterday was her first full day, after three half days last week to get them used to the idea. I picked her up at 3.20, and she came racing out. When asked how her day went, she merely shrugged and said, “I liked it.” Cue huge sigh of relief. At least, until her teacher followed her out with an armful of barely painted and glued cereal boxes and kitchen roll tubes. “I’m not sure exactly what they’re meant to be,” teacher said. “But she really does like junk modelling, doesn’t she?” Sadly, yes. Yes she does. And apparently we’re in for another year of my house being filled with such ‘inventions.’

But with the daughter out at school for a whole six hours a day, I am now, as mentioned often to anyone who will listen, a Full Time Writer. Which, contrary to popular belief, does not mean I’m going out for coffee all the time (just ask my poor, neglected friends) or getting on top of the housework (just look at my carpets) or able to just pop into town and get that thing (whatever my husband says). It means I’m writing. Actually, for the next six weeks, I shall be writing All The Words, so that I can take half term off for our first trip abroad with the daughter.

It’s taking some getting used to. I don’t have a new routine yet, or a plan for how to make the most of my time. But I’m working on it – and I’m definitely open to suggestions!  So, if you’ve got any tips for best writing practice, please leave a comment. And I’ll let you all know how I’m getting on once I’ve settled into my New Normal. For now, I need to go write some more words before I collect the daughter…