Thursday, December 23, 2010

Writing, Book 3 and Ian Fleming?!

Thought you might like to see this...

I was interviewed by the very lovely Brad Baker at Waterstones Wolverhampton a couple of weeks ago - and here is the result! This was during a signing for Welcome to My World. It was great fun to do and even earned me a comparison with Ian Fleming!

I'd love to know what you think - leave me a comment below. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Say it with Muppets!

Here's something to warm the cockles of your heart on this wintry December day...

American photographer, Sid Ceaser, proposed to his long-term girlfriend Sara Prindiville last week by arranging to have the following homemade trailer shown in his local cinema. A lifelong Muppets fan, he created two lookalike characters and filmed the story of their love... Sara had no idea it was going to happen - or that thirty of her friends and family were sat behind her in the audience! Here's what she saw on the big screen:

You can read all about the making of the film - and what happened when Sara and Sid watched it - here

Now, admit it: did you manage to watch the proposal trailer without crying?!

For more true love stories, head over to my research blog, It Had To Be You. You can even share your own stories of how you met the love of your life there!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Christmas Goodies!

It's winter, it's freezing, people are walking round looking like Michelin men and women and there don't seem to be enough smiles to go round... But panic not! Coffee and Roses is here to bring a little bit of sparkle into the dingy winter days!

Frosty Berry © Miranda Dickinson

So how about an extra-special Christmas pressie from me?

In two weeks' time, I will be sending out an exclusive, Christmassy short story to everyone who subscribes to my newsletter. It's a little something to say thank you to everyone who has supported my writing so far, especially with my latest novel, Welcome to My World. It's been a massive encouragement to me to find out how many lovely, generous and kind people there are - and with the battles I've faced this year, your support means more than I could ever express.

So if you'd like to get your hands on a magical, wintry short story to warm your heart for Christmas, all you have to do is to sign up for my newsletter (see the form at the top right-hand corner of my blog). It's completely free, and I only ever send out one a month, so you won't get bombarded with emails! I'm planning all kinds of exclusive goodies for my subscribers, so if you want to be the first to read extracts of my forthcoming novel, have the chance to enter special competitions and receive exclusive 'behind-the-scenes' book extras, sign up now!

May your December be merry and bright (and more than a little bit sparkly!) xx

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Blog Special: Help Talli Roland!

At Coffee and Roses I love to support other authors. So today, I'm throwing the floor open to the very lovely TALLI ROLAND, whose debut novel The Hating Game is published as an e-book today. It's a fabulous, sassy novel and well worth treating yourself to on this snowy Wednesday!

Help Talli Roland's debut novel The Hating Game hit the Kindle bestseller list at and by spreading the word today. Even a few sales in a short period of time on Amazon helps push the book up the rankings, making it more visible to other readers.

About The Hating Game:
When man-eater Mattie Johns agrees to star on a dating game show to save her ailing recruitment business, she's confident she'll sail through to the end without letting down the perma-guard she's perfected from years of her love 'em and leave 'em dating strategy. After all, what can go wrong with dating a few losers and hanging out long enough to pick up a juicy £2000,000 prize? Plenty, Mattie discovers, when it's revealed that the contestants are four of her very unhappy exes. Can Mattie confront her past to get the prize money she so desperately needs, or will her exes finally wreak their long-awaited revenge? And what about the ambitious TV producer whose career depends on stopping her from making it to the end?

If you don't have Kindle, don't panic! You can download a free app at Amazon for Mac, iPhone, PC, Android and more.

The Hating Game will also soon be available in paperback. To keep up with the latest news on Talli, visit her website.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Guest Blogger: Simon Forward

It's not often I hand over the Coffee and Roses reins, but today I'm making an exception. My very good friend, former Authonomy Forum-chum and all-round mustardy genius (which might have had something to do with him reaching the Ed's Desk twice) Simon Forward has a rather fabulous book out on Kindle and asked if he could have a word with you. So, without further ado, it's over to you.... *wanders off to put the kettle on*...


We all know Miranda is a successful bestselling novelist, but not everyone will know that she is also the unofficial Chief of PR for Evil UnLtd. She’s done such a sterling job in her role that we felt it was high time we honoured her services as well as celebrating the release of her second novel, Welcome To My World.

In that spirit then, it’s interesting to reflect that if my book, Evil UnLtd, had been picked up by HarperCollins like Miranda’s, it would most probably have been pigeon-holed under the heading Sci-Fi Comedy. But that would have been to heinously overlook its broader appeal, the deeper themes of the story and the strong, independent heroine around which everything in the book revolves.

Never judge a book by its cover, they say. So here, take a look at the cover and the blurb that give a truer picture of a story with femme-appeal for women everywhere:


Tanith Troy had it all. Glamorous movie star career, cocktails-and-limos lifestyle, wardrobe the size of a planet, a figure to die for and a big hunk of man wrapped around her little finger.

All that – apart from the figure - is set to go pear-shaped when a group of ruthless criminals interrupt her trip to the bank. Suddenly she’s a hostage, a bargaining chip for the villains in pursuit of their dastardly schemes.

But a woman like Tanith is no victim. And as she’s whisked away from everything she knows, she’s determined to make sure that the criminals – just like her when she goes shopping – get way more than they bargained for.

She’s going to show Evil UnLtd the real meaning of Girl Power...

So after enjoying the delights of Miranda’s latest, why not give Evil UnLtd a try? Many readers on Authonomy did and were very pleasantly surprised! Only two out of ten preferred cat food...


Simon Forward is an author of a number of licensed fiction books, including Doctor Who novels and novelisations for the BBC’s Merlin series. These days, he is focused primarily on his original works, including science fiction, fantasy for kids and young adults, and of course books that are downright Evil...

Find out more about Simon here.

My thanks to Simon for his Guest Blog! Normal service at Coffee and Roses will now resume... :o)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Welcome to My World - first reviews!!

EEK - the first reviews for Welcome to My World are in...

One More Page said:
"Welcome to my World is a fabulous book filled with heartwarming characters, mouthwatering food and lots of romance and it will make you want to book your next holiday right now!"

The Bookbag said:
"There's some nice lines in gentle humour and a lot of joshing. Very easy to read... Altogether this is a fun and frothy read."

Dot Scribbles said: "...a lovely book that I couldn't put down... Welcome to my World is a great read... extremely entertaining and romantic."

A huge thank you to the reviewers who have taken the time to read my book! I'd love to hear what you think, too, so please let me know!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

It's almost P-Day! Woooooo-hoooo!!

I am very proud to announce that Welcome to My World! is officially unleashed tomorrow!

Some of my lovely twitter friends have told me they've already seen it in their local bookshops and several of them are reading it already - eek!

When a book is published, you receive a list of all the places that are doing special promotions for your novel. It's just amazing to think that my little story is Paperback of the Week and a 3 for 2 title in Waterstones, (something I dreamed of being when I was an aspiring writer), has a free limited edition mirror at Sainsbury's (see pic - I have shrink-wrap, too! Unbelievably cool...), has a free limited edition lipgloss in Tesco (awesome stuff) and has a 'Buy Welcome to My World, Get Fairytale of New York Free' in Asda...

What's so strange is that this is the 400-page Word document that has, in one form or another, been a major part of my life all year. To see it finally unleashed in all its sparkly glory on the bookshelves of my favourite shops is impossibly wonderful. If you'd told me three years ago that this would be happening, I would have thought you'd been sneaking a snifter of Christmas sherry a month early... There's no other word for it: it's wonderful.

I'd love to know what you think of Welcome to My World- leave me a comment here, or email me at

Right. I'm off to sneak into a bookshop and revel in the sight of my books out in the big wide world - woo-hoo!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Writer Spotlight: Julie Cohen

On Coffee and Roses I like to bring you news of exciting authors who are either waiting to be published or published and worth checking out.

This week, I'm really excited to welcome the thoroughly lovely
JULIE COHEN into the Coffee and Roses Writer Spotlight.

When did you first decide that you wanted to write?
I’ve always wanted to write. I made little “books” out of paper when I was a kid and made up stories about my marble collection. I was forever playing Dungeons and Dragons, which is basically collective storytelling. I remember very clearly when I wrote my first actual novel. I was about eleven and I’d just read the Earthsea trilogy by Ursula LeGuin, and I sat right down and wrote a 125-page handwritten story about a female wizard who gets kidnapped by a really sexy evil king. I made maps and illustrations and everything. (She didn’t end up with the evil king, though; she chose a humble but pure-hearted sailor instead. I think I missed a trick there.)

My teachers at school were encouraging, and I had poems and short stories published in small press magazines. I recently found a photocopy of the first money I ever earned writing – it was a cheque for six US dollars paid for a poem. But I had no idea of how to become a novelist, and nobody could really advise it as a career path, so I plumped for academia instead.

I probably should have noticed something when I kept on putting off working on what was supposed to be my PhD thesis so I could write a Mills & Boon novel. But it wasn’t until a couple years later when I was teaching secondary school English that I suddenly thought, “This is silly. I’ve been playing around enough with writing. I should try to write that book and get it published.”

So that’s what I did. Not that first book, obviously, which was awful and got rejected pretty much by return of post, but a few books later.

What interests you as a writer?
I find myself drawn again and again to similar themes in my stories: of deception and truth, identity and outsiderdom, acceptance and forgiveness. I like reading books about these themes, too. I love, love, love writing those parts in a novel where the heroine realises that she’s been wrong and that she really can open her heart. Lately, I’ve enjoyed writing in first person, because I enjoy the limitations and constrictions that it imposes on the writer. I’m a total sucker for dramatic irony, when the reader realises things that the viewpoint character doesn’t, and it’s so delicious writing that in first person. Yes, I know I’m geeky like that.

One of the greatest things about being a writer is that you can build your books around topics that interest you. So with Getting Away With It, for example, I’ve had the perfect excuse to research ice cream and twinship, stone circles and cereology, fast cars and memory loss. I spent several days in Avebury and other neolithic sites in Wiltshire, as research for the setting. Lovely.

Do you have a typical writing day? If not, when is the best time to write for you?
I’m not a morning person as a rule, but I have a young son and I have to write while he’s in nursery, which is in the morning. So I slave away at the keyboard from 8 am till about one o’clock most days. I try to write 1000 to 2000 words a day while I’m in first draft mode – though I might end up cutting all of that later, or I might end up writing more if I’m really cruising, like at the end of a book.

What made you decide to write Getting Away With It?
Twins. I just love identical twins. I think the whole concept is fascinating. And because I’m obsessed with stories about identity and deception, I was hooked by the idea of a woman taking over her identical twin sister’s life when her sister disappears. I think I was having an ice cream on the Isle of Wight when it first struck me. I knew it was going to be a bigger book than anything I’d written before, so I was thrilled to get the opportunity to write it for Headline Review.

What are the best things about being a writer?
The two best things are probably getting so involved in the world of your characters that you forget everything else. That’s just magical. And, I can’t lie – the other best thing is when someone reads your book and says they like it. I’m a sucker for positive reinforcement.

And the worst?
Being attacked by crows of doubt – you know, those moments when you’re sure the book doesn’t work, that you can’t write, that you suck, that you’re going to crash and burn. It happens at some point in every single book for me, and I never really believe it will all work itself out. Even though it always has, so far.

Tell me about what you're working on now.
I just gave in the manuscript for my second book with Headline Review. It’s a contemporary women’s fiction novel about a woman who gets a job as costumed historical interpreter in a restored stately home where they’re re-enacting the summer of 1814. There are two story threads – the contemporary one in the heroine’s real life, which is a bit of a mess, and the pretend-1814 one, which is a Heyer-esque Regency romp. Eventually the two threads start coming together in some unexpected ways.

You're a much-loved speaker and workshop leader at writing events across the country. What would be your top three tips for aspiring writers?
1) Read.
Good writers are voracious readers. How else are you going to learn about characterisation, story structure, the mechanics of writing? Or what you want to spend your time writing? Reading is probably the best training for writing, except of course, writing.
2) Write Crap.
I have a post-it note on my computer saying this. What it means is, just get the first draft written. Don’t spend a lot of time fretting about how bad it is. Just do the best you can with what you’ve got. Once you’ve finished your first draft, then you can think about how to change your work to make it suitable for a reader. Of course, maybe you’re a genius and your first draft is solid gold. But all of my first drafts are crap, and most writers that I know say the same thing about theirs. For some reason, you have to give yourself permission to write badly before you can get down to work on making your writing good.
3) Get a Support Network.
When I decided I wanted to write for publication, one of the first things I did was to join writing groups. I joined my local writing group, Reading Writers, and I also joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association in the UK, and Romance Writers of America. All of these groups helped me materially on my way to publication (for example, I made the final in a RWA contest which got me noticed by editors, and I met my agent at an RNA meeting). But more importantly, they’ve given me a support network who I can lean on when the writing’s not going well, and who I can celebrate with when it is. You don’t have to be a joiner to get a support network – one writing friend, online or in real life, is enough to validate your perception of yourself as a writer. This job is hard enough without trying to do it in a vacuum.

Do you have a dream project you'd love to write?
You know, I’m lucky enough to feel like every project I’m working on is my dream project at the time.

Big thanks to Julie for her brilliant questions. I can’t wait to read Getting Away With It - it’s going to be my Christmas treat this year!

Julie's gorgeous book, Getting Away With It, is out now in hardback and will be released in paperback next year. To find out more about Julie, visit her website

If you would like to feature in a future Coffee and Roses Writer Spotlight, drop me a line at and I'll see what I can do!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Here it is!!

Finally, after a year of pretty much hard slog, here is my new sparkly novel, Welcome to My World!
The first copies arrived this week and I have to say they look throughly gorgeous.
Here are the first-look pics:

This time, the sparkles continue in full glorious technicolour on the inside cover and I even have a strap-line now: Escape with Miranda - how mad is that?!

The thing I love the most is the 'By the same author' page - so nice to have not just one but two books out there now (or soon...)

So it's all really exciting! I'm also chuffed to bits because, after five years of begging studio time and lots of writing, my very first album About Time is going to be launched on the same day as Welcome to My World - 11th November! Here's a sneaky peek at the album cover:

Keep your eyes peeled here on Coffee and Roses for a chance to win signed copies of Welcome to My World and About Time coming very soon!

It's all ridiculously exciting and I can't quite believe it's all happening. Seeing my book for the first time was amazing - I've written about the moment I saw the finished copies of Welcome to My World for the first time over on the Authonomy blog this week.

You can hear some of the tracks from About Time here - and, although the completed master mixes on the album are much better than these, it should give you an idea of what my music sounds like!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Writer Spotlight: Tom Cox

On Coffee and Roses I like to bring you news of exciting authors who are either waiting to be published or published and worth checking out.

So this week, the Coffee and Roses Writer Spotlight falls upon the brilliant (and very lovely)

When did you first decide that you wanted to write?
As a very young child I would always nag my parents to read to me before bed and I remember when I was about seven I had three ideal jobs: writer, librarian or inventor. Somehow, things all went awry in my adolescence and I decided I wanted to be a pro golfer, and essentially didn't read a thing between the age of ten and eighteen. I then got back on my original track when I decided I wanted to be a music journalist, but I was always a stage ahead of myself: as soon as I got my dream job writing for the NME, I was yearning to write about other subjects other than music; as soon as I'd started broadening my journalistic canvas, I started yearning to stop doing journalism altogether and write books.

What interests you as a writer?
Finding the humour in the mundane has become a bit of a theme, recently. I also love writing about weird parts of British life. More and more, I like the actual detail of writing - fiddling with sentences until they're nice and clean. For several years I beat myself up for not having written a "serious" book. I've started (fairly humourless) works of fiction twice, got up to around 30,000 words, and scrapped them. I'd love to write a ghost story or a horror story or a historical novel but I don't think it's where my real talent lies, or at least not if I approach it in the style I was approaching it before. I'm now thankfully over the idea that a very funny book can't be serious as well. My favourite writers - Richard Russo, John Irving, David Sedaris, Kate Atkinson - prove this pretty comprehensively. When I think about what really makes me happy as a writer, it's conveying something funny or absurd that's happened to me or people I know in the most economical and pithy way, or discovering a new turn of phrase, or that moment when you actually learn something as you're writing it. Plot is not something I've found myself hugely interested in yet - I like to have as little idea as possible where a book is going when I start - but that might change. I'd still love to write fiction one day, but I don't want to be the person in that Peter Cook anecdote who's always "working on a novel" ("Oh, really? Neither am I.").

Do you have a typical writing day? If not, when is the best time to write for you?
I remember Salman Rushdie saying that there's a specific writing energy first thing in the morning that has to be bottled before it escapes. The belief in that might just be the only thing Salman Rushdie and I have in common as writers. My ideal day would involve working from about six am until one pm, with cocktail gherkin and cold Malteser treats as incentives for finishing paragraphs, then spending the afternoon lazing about in cafes people-watching and reading, but it never quite works out that way (apart from the cocktail gherkins and Maltesers). My life is a fairly comprehensive lesson in how not to time manage at the moment: I spend far too much time socialising to be a Proper Writer, find it hard to not see another human being for more than 24 hours, and get too caught up in the stuff surrounding writing (Twitter/chasing for money/convincing myself I can't write a decent sentence before I've vacuumed my floor), but I keep hoping I'll be a better-behaved crafter of prose. One thing I've learned, as a slightly reformed workaholic, is the importance of battery-recharging time.

What made you decide to write 'Under the Paw'?

I think there were originally seventeen references to my cats in my previous book, Bring Me The Head Of Sergio Garcia. Even the most ardent cat lover - and certainly the cat-disdaining editor of the book, who quite understandably asked me to remove several of them - would probably agree that that's too many cats for a book about golf. This kind of thing had been happening for years, though: my cats bullying their way into totally inappropriate areas of my writing. I thought I'd relent and give them centre stage - especially as they treat my house like a hotel, and it was about time they started pulling their weight financially. One thing that probably stopped me writing the book earlier was the inevitability of being known as "The Cat Man" but maybe I'm more comfortable being weird, as I get older, even though "Cat Man" is only one of many weird shelves of the weird cupboard that is my brain. Publishers are going to want to use that gimmick in the marketing of a book like Under The Paw, and I accept it. But I'd like to be known as a humour writer more than someone who writes about cats, or golf (or - especially - music, which I don't think I've ever written really well about), and I think that's one of the challenges I face with future books. I'm hoping I've started meeting the challenge with Talk To The Tail which, though a form of sequel to Under The Paw, is only 50% about cats, with other animals "getting the floor'" for the other half of the book. Some of the non-cat essays in the book are my favourites. But I feel sure I'll be writing again about cats in the future.

What are the best things (so far) about being a writer?
1) Ability to choose your own hours.
2) The strange assumptions people make about what The Writing Life might be comprised of.
3) The fact that my whole house can become an office.
4) Snacks.

And the worst?
1) Ability to choose your own hours.
2) The strange assumptions people make about what The Writing Life might be comprised of.
3) The fact that my whole house can become my office.
4) Snacks.

Tell me about your new book, 'Talk to the Tail'.

At the moment, I'm feeling very pleased with it. I want to remember this feeling - that I've done my very best with it - because (and I think this happens to everyone who has a book published at some point, no matter how successful) there'll inevitably be a time when a bad review or a comment here or there makes me question myself. I think it's a (deliberately) messier book than Under The Paw, which doesn't run in chronological order, and a more profane one (mainly due to my dad's greater presence in the book, and my cat Shipley's increasing bad language), but I hope a slightly more strongly felt and funnier one. I was late delivering - mainly for the reason that during its inception, in spring 2009, my relationship broke up. It's ultimately supposed to be a fun read, so I didn't have to write about the break-up in great detail, and wouldn't have felt that was fair on my ex, but because that relationship was a fairly sizeable element of Under The Paw, it would have been an insult to my readers not to write about it at all. I needed time to get the distance to write about it the way I wanted to.

You've written about pop music, golf, growing up and cats. What's next?
More growing up - in the form of a book about being from the Midlands, or a "A Middle Person". I wrote about the golf stage of my adolescence in Nice Jumper, but I feel there are still a lot of odd stories from my childhood and early twenties that are untold: stuff that I've only now realised is genuinely odd. For example: living in a small town where every boy except you gets his hair cut for 50p in exactly the same style by a man called "Mad George", or imbibing no beverage but Special Brew for your first two years as a consumer of alcohol. I used to think that was run-of-the-mill stuff. The Midlands is an odd place and I'd like to try to capture it. I'm also working on a "very Norfolk" project, in a similar vein. So, all in all: more light, inconsequential stories about provincial British life that might hopefully make a train or plane ride go a little bit more quickly.

Anything else you'd like to say?
Thank you for having me!

You can see all of Tom's books here. Read more about Tom's feline residents at his Under The Paw blog. Also, check out parts one, two and three of the Marathon Diaries that Tom wrote about his dad (which may appear in his next book). Big thanks to Tom for giving this interview! I'm reading Under The Paw at the moment and loving it - it's a brilliantly written, hilarious and very real account of the various moggies Tom has shared his life with. I can thoroughly recommend it!

If you would like to feature in a future Coffee and Roses Writer Spotlight, drop me a line at and I'll see what I can do!

Monday, August 23, 2010

A bit of silliness for a dreary Monday...

It's August, but nobody seems to have told the weather that.
So, in the name of all things Eternally Optimistic, here's a little bit of silliness (with a classical theme) to brighten your day. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Ever get the feeling you're in the wrong place..?

Having been in various bands for years, I've occasionally found myself playing gigs with people I don't quite feel as connected to as I should...

...such as the gig I did with a frustrated 80s-style lead guitarist, for example, where he turned every song into an eight-minute, plank-spanking epic. Or the gig where the drummer ran the band and didn't stick to the setlist (so the start of every song was like a live version of 'Name That Tune'...). Or the time I did backing vocals for a Nigerian gospel singer and had to do them all in a faux Nigerian accent so they didn't sound out of place...

So when my drummer mate, Nic, told me about this video and I just had to share it with you. Enjoy!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Short Story Special

Every now and again on Coffee and Roses, I want to bring you bits of writing I've done in the past that you might not have seen - just for fun!

In 2008, before I was published, I decided to start a short story blog. The main reason for this was just to have an outlet for my writing (in the vain hope that it might be read by someone other than me!). The result was September's - a series of short stories set in a small Shropshire cafe. Unfortunately, because the blog is - well - a blog, it means that the first story is hidden beneath all the others. It kind of sets the scene for the rest as it introduces Nessa, who manages the cafe.

I think you might like it... Read Open for Business - Meet Nessa and let me know what you think!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Writer Spotlight: Jamie Guiney

As a new feature on Coffee and Roses I am going to bring you news of exciting authors who are either waiting to be published or published and worth checking out.

One of the first successes I had in writing was when Steve, a friend from writer's forum published one of my short stories on his blog. As a startlingly unsuccessful aspiring writer until that point, it gave me a massive confidence boost - so I would like to do the same for other writers. After all, you never know who might be reading!

So this week, the Coffee and Roses Spotlight falls upon the immensely talented JAMIE GUINEY.

photo ©Jamie Guiney 2010

I met Jamie when I first joined in 2008 - and his novel A Man in Grey Shoes was one of the first books I read on the site. I loved it immediately and it's remained on my Authonomy bookshelf ever since.

This week, Jamie announced the brilliant news that two of his short stories, Christmas and Changes, have just been published worldwide for iPad and iPhone by Ether Books. You can read them with a free app which you download from the iTunes store here. You won't be disappointed, trust me. Both of the stories are fantastically written - Jamie brings a real sense of place and time to his writing, with vivid characters moving through evocative landscapes. You can feel the bitter winter wind in Christmas and the brooding summer dust bowl of Changes... A real treat for the eyes and imagination!

Check out Jamie's website here.

If you would like to feature in a future Coffee and Roses Spotlight, drop me a line at and I'll see what I can do!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

A bit of a treat for you...

I thought you might like to have a sneak preview of one of the tracks from my forthcoming album About Time...

Let The Sun Shine is a song that I worked on with the extremely talented Reuben Halsey, chill-out producer, composer and all-round superstar (that's his picture on the video). I was chuffed to bits when he said I could include it on my album because it's just such a fab, summery song.

If you like it, you can already buy this on Amazon as part of Reuben's amazing EP, Somewhere Along The Way, or search for 'Reuben Halsey' on iTunes. On his EP is the first song I wrote with him, which will be appearing on the album too - Running Home. Let me know what you think! x


Thursday, July 8, 2010

BIG NEWS! I've signed my SECOND three-book deal!

I'm delighted to be able to confirm that I have just signed a second three-book deal with AVON (HarperCollins) - a year earlier than I was expecting!

Following the amazing success of Fairytale of New York (to date, nearly 104,000 copies sold and the Turkish language version New York Masali entering the top 20 bestsellers chart in Turkey), my publishers offered me another three-book deal - meaning that I will be publishing one book a year to 2014!

I'm absolutely delighted to be staying with AVON and, in particular, to keep working with my fantastic editor Sammia Rafique, who first found my book Coffee At Kowalski's on

I have lots of stories I want to tell and I hope I can continue to write books that people want to read. It's an immense honour for me to hear from people who have loved my book and I just don't want to let them down! My books are always going to have something different about them - I'm planning lots of surprises!

My second novel, Welcome to My World, will be published on 11th November 2010 and I'm currently writing my third book, Started With A Kiss, which will hit the shelves at the end of 2011. It still feels incredibly unreal to be a published author and it's every inch the dream come true. I'm looking forward to many more happy years with AVON, doing what I love!

Must stop grinning like a Cheshire Cat now! :o)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Forget the Budget and the World Cup...

What with Mr Osborne's doom-laden budget and England's - um - mixed fortunes at the World Cup, it would be easy to feel depressed this week...

But all is not lost. Ever the optimist, I would like to present a truly positive story to bring a much-needed smile back to your face.

Click here to watch Smudge - the biker dog!

(I dare you to watch it and not smile!)

Feeling better? All part of the service, ladies and gents!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Fairytale auf Deutsch!

Just thought you might like to see this...

It's the cover for the German edition of Fairytale of New York! Der Wunderbare Welt der Rosie Duncan will be released by Heyne (part of Random House) in December this year and I'm so excited about it! I was interviewed by the lovely people at Heyne for their site - you can read it here.

I love the design and I'm hoping that the German readers love it too. Let me know what you think!

Lots of exciting stuff coming soon - including my very exclusive sparkly newsletter! Keep visiting Coffee and Roses for updates...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Big cuts and scary times...

Editing. It's a scary thing.

I'm working on my second novel, Welcome to My World, which will be hitting the shops in November this year. It's all written (the fun bit), has undergone its first edit (a structural one - the not as much fun bit) and now, while I'm getting ready to do the line edit (the tedious but necessary, couldn't-be-less-fun-if-it-tried bit), I'm doing a major rework on one of the main characters of the book. Which is downright terrifying...

It needs to happen. This character just wasn't working and it's taken me a couple of months to work out why. Now the penny has dropped, it's time for some serious remodelling!

This bit always terrifies me - not least because I've technically 'finished' the book twice so far with the character complete in his current state. Deleting large sections of text and following all the corresponding threads takes time and nerves of steel, but it will be worth it in the end (repeat after me, Dickinson, 'It will be worth it in the end'...)

I have to admit that I thought writing my second novel would be a lot easier than my first. For most of last year I was like the proverbial rabbit-in-headlights as I went through the various editing, proofing and promoting stages for Fairytale of New York, on quite possibly the steepest learning curve of my life. So I assumed that book 2 would be simpler, less scary and altogether a more relaxed affair.

And then Fairytale went stratospheric...

While I'm confident in the story and characters for Welcome to My World, I'm terrified about my second novel not being good enough for the wonderful people who so kindly bought my first book. I don't want to write the 'disappointing second novel' and, most of all, I don't want to let people down. I was scared witless about my first book, but at least last year there were no expectations as everything was unknown. This year, people are counting on me. And that is both ultimately thrilling and downright scary!

I also know that I'm a perfectionist when it comes to my writing (although, sadly, not when it comes to housework...) so this pressure I'm feeling is completely self-imposed. It's actually a good thing for me to be a little scared - I trained in drama at university and what they say about stage-fright is absolutely true: the time to worry is when you don't feel nervous before you step into the spotlight.

So Mr Previously Unworkable is swiftly being transformed into Mr Believable Three-Dimensional. And I'll try not to think about the impending P-Day in November!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Quit while you're... um... behind?

Some people just don't know when to stop...

Yesterday I shared with you the, quite frankly, bonkers reply I received from UKIP. Well, it gets better. Much...

Quite a few people on Twitter asked if I was going to reply to the guy at UKIP headquarters who I shall henceforth refer to as 'Mr Ranty'. So I did. Here's what I wrote:

'Dear David

Blimey, um, thanks...

Problem is, if you've sent that complete rant out to everyone who contacted you about the campaign to save 6Music and BBC Asian Network, then it might just have persuaded an awful lot of people not to vote for you.

Bearing in mind that you are presumably canvassing hard for votes in the upcoming General Election, I would gently suggest that alienating anyone who is interested in the environment, anyone who reads The Guardian or anyone who considers themselves to be, as you term it, 'yoof' is perhaps not the best policy.

Nevertheless, in an age where the public rarely gets a straight answer from politicians, I thank you for your enlightening answer. I haven't laughed so much in ages!

Kind regards


And, would you believe it, Mr Ranty replied! Blatantly missing the point of my gentle suggestion that his original email might possibly not endear him to potential voters, he seemed to think I actually agreed with his 'reasonable' views. Oh, Mr Ranty, how wrong you are... This is what he said:

'Dear Miranda

Glad you enjoyed it.  Unlike the Lib/Lab/Con we always try to give it straight... and given UKIP's scepticism on anthropogenic climate change, few eco-Guardianistas are likely to vote UKIP anyway.

I'd ask you to visit [website address] and click on 'policies'.  You'll find the environment policy there, and I believe that it is eminently sensible.

All the best


Oh, that's OK then. Seeing as I read the Guardian and care about the environment (not to mention enjoying more than four channels on my television, liking both 'yoof' music on Radio 1 and the brilliant 6Music, and have no particular preference when it comes to metric or imperial), Mr Ranty won't be surprised to discover that I won't be voting for his party at the General Election!

So that's enough politics for me for now. It's been fun but it would be cruel to continue to mock someone who makes it so easy!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

All I did was ask them to support BBC 6Music!

I'm the last person to ever get political, but I just had to share this with you...

I took part in the brilliant campaign by 38 Degrees to save 6Music and AsianNetwork from proposed cuts at the BBC, part of which was to write to our prospective Parliamentary candidates to ask for their support. So I did... writing to Labour, the Conservatives, the Lib Dems and UKIP (because those were the four I had options to email) and received this quite stunningly ranty email from UKIP - a piece of writing that manages to offend just about anybody (good job I'm not a 'yoof' or else I might have been really offended). Global warming? Liberal-lefty rubbish! TV channels? Bring back the days when we only had four! And as for your metric malarkey, you can shove it - miles are the way forward...

But enough of my giggling - here is the very email itself in all its superbly subjective rantiness:

"Thank you for your email. UKIP is receiving many thousands of questionnaires on various topics (from protection of our precious woodland, to the hunting debate, to tackling global poverty).

I'm sorry but we simply don't have time to forward each of these on to the 500+ UKIP candidates. We're a small party that relies on donations from members and well-wishers, and are not backed by big business or, indeed, the TUC. I am afraid that we are therefore unable to respond to your query in great detail. This does not imply either support or opposition to the particular matter you have raised.

UKIP is a great fan of the BBC and recognises the huge contribution it has made to British cultural life over the decades. We also support a publicly funded licence fee. (If you've ever watched American TV you'll know what we mean). Nevertheless the Corporation has certainly allowed itself to dumb-down during the last few years, and seems to have completely surrendered to the liberal-left agenda.

One example is "Global Warming" which the BBC completely embraced, ignoring the fact that thousands of reputable scientists had grave doubts about the "science" behind it, doubts that have now burst to the surface. Another example is the BBC's insistence on quoting distances in metric when the British equivalent is 'miles'. For example, BBC journalist John Simpson, during the first Iraq War, doing a piece to camera: "The Iraqi positions are five kilometres down the valley." Suddenly there was a loud 'whooshing' noise and the air was thick with dust, stones and falling rocks. Off camera we heard Simpson say: "BLOODY HELL, that was 20 feet away!"

We might also add that when the BBC stops advertising its vacancies in leftie newspapers like the Guardian, critics might be more convinced of its neutrality.

If a miracle happened and the BBC ever returned to the Reithian doctrine of "Inform, Explain, Entertain", I suspect that it might be astounded at the positive response from the public.

On the issue of Music-6 etc... UKIP would have no objection to the Corporation shedding some of its services (frankly we think it already tries to do far, far too much) and would applaud a policy of fewer channels but of greater quality.

Before we opened up the airwaves to multiple channels British television (ITV and BBC) produced programmes of quality that shone throughout the world. Now we have literally dozens of channels of drivel, with advertising revenue so diluted that we are now at the stage where even Channel 4 is seeking public funds just in order to survive.

We cannot comment on which particular services should be axed... that is an operational decision for those running the BBC.... but we would encourage the Corporation to pay greater attention to 'middle-England' which actually pays the bills, and devote less time to 'Yoof', most of whom are on the internet anyway.

I could elaborate further but hopefully you have by now received the picture. Thank you for contacting us."

So, if you care about the environment, like reading The Guardian, are under 45 and like the internet, it's probably best not to vote UKIP at the General Election!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Not sexy enough for you, Daily Mail?

Well, according to Danuta Kean, Fairytale of New York 'offers little escape from the drudgery of real life'...

That's funny. I thought it offered hope.

Apparently, Rosie my protagonist shouldn't still be nursing a broken heart six years after the event: 'Now, don’t get me wrong, there is not a woman alive who hasn’t mourned the passing of a relationship. But please, six years after being dumped? After two, I’d be calling in specialist help.' Well, clearly Ms. Kean has been fortunate enough never to have had the kind of relationship that crushes your self-confidence. But plenty of women have - and I have received countless letters from readers who say reading how Rosie faces the man from her past has given them hope for the future.

And that's the point: Rosie faces her biggest fear head-on and emerges strong, dignified and triumphant.

Rosie is a successful businesswoman, who loves her adopted city of New York and her close friends. Her life is great, she has worked hard to achieve success despite the fact that the secret from her past six years before threatened everything she knew. But instead of dashing home with her tail between her legs, she chose to stay in America and got on with her life. I don't see that as 'drudgery' - I see that as a brave young woman making a success of her life.

Has she even read my book? Or just read the blurb on the back?

She also singles out Lucy Dillon's brilliant Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts for her 'helpful' advice - completely crazy as the book is packed full of hope, humour, wit and originality. If you haven't got a copy of the book that deservedly scooped the RNA Romantic Novel of the Year award this year, then you need to treat yourself!

Now, I'm not saying that everyone is going to love the kind of romantic comedies that Lucy Dillon and I write. It's absolutely the reader's right to like and dislike whatever they choose. Diversity in publishing is what makes this industry so unique and special and I would defend a reader's right to choose to the end of all. But simply attacking a style of writing that is popular - and loved by millions of readers - is, quite frankly, a cheap shot.

Ms. Kean says she wants strong female characters who don't need men, but then goes on to praise the masculine 'manly Rhett Butler' males who lord it over their women, expect them to swoon over them and never reveal their true feelings. So we have to have women who don't need men who swoon over men that 'treat them mean to keep them keen'? I don't see how the two are mutually compatible. I don't want one-dimensional male characters. They bore me. I want real men who aren't perfect but who are interesting, witty and sexy. They don't have to reveal their feelings constantly, but they need to be honest about themselves - that's not a weak quality, it actually shows real strength. The male characters in my book are largely based on my male friends, all of whom occasionally talk about what they're feeling but all of whom are undeniably masculine and very heterosexual. The notion that men who open up aren't sexy is plain silly. My gorgeous boyfriend is open, honest, very masculine and sexy as hell!

I think the problem lies in whether you want a sledgehammer approach to fiction or prefer something a bit more subtle - gentler, lighter even, but still as interesting and absorbing as any good book should be. Most of all, subtle, warm, engaging stories of love are romantic. For me it's about the suggestion, the 'will-they-won't-they' journey through a book, that makes it truly romantic. Look at Sleepless in Seattle - the two leads only meet at the end, but after the build up of the story, one touch of their hands is, to quote the film, 'magic'. That's what makes a story romantic for me - real people, making real mistakes, having real lives and still finding a happy ending.

So I'm sorry if that doesn't do it for you, Daily Mail. But for me and the lovely people who read - and love - my stories, we'll take subtle every time.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Help! Let's Kick Cancer...

Cancer is an evil disease. It robs you of loved ones and it needs to be stopped...

In my next novel, Welcome to My World, my main character Harri has lost both her parents to cancer - both dying within a year of each other. I've written it from personal experience - I lost my lovely, much adored Grandpa to the disease a couple of years ago and I still miss him immeasurably (there's a character called Geoff in the story in honour of him) and have also now lost three friends to cancer.

So this year, I've entered the Dudley Race for Life at Himley Hall on Sunday 11th July this year to raise money for Cancer Research UK. I'm going to attempt to run the whole 5k (which, if you look at the gargantuan pics of me in the posts below, you'll know this is no mean feat!), which means getting in some serious training between now and then (and July's not that far away - eek!)

Being really cheeky, would you like to help me raise money by sponsoring me? My initial target is £300, but I'm hoping to exceed that... You can sponsor me here Every penny counts and will make a difference to the millions of people who face this disease every day - plus, if you tick the Gift Aid box, the lovely taxman will give Cancer Research UK an extra 25%, plus a 3% supplement (all at no cost to you!)

I'll be posting updates of my training for the event here at Coffee and Roses, so keep checking back to see how I'm doing (there will probably be highly unflattering photos, too, but I promise to keep these to a minimum to avoid scaring young children and those of a nervous disposition!) There will also be regular updates on Twitter, so make sure you're following to read all the gory details!

Thanks so much - let me know if you're doing a Race for Life event this year and I'll post the details on this blog :o)

Friday, March 5, 2010

Simple pleasures

Every now and again it's good to just enjoy something simple that makes you smile...

This is a brilliant video I first saw on the fabulous Mr Neil Gaiman's blog and it's bloomin' excellent - just watch and feel your inner kid jump up and down in sheer delight...


Friday, February 19, 2010

Pics and a LIVE EVENT!

Here are some pics of the Pure Passion Awards launch I was at last week (in all their garish hugeness - the diet's going well, by the way!)

Posing with book - it still feels surreal that people want to know what I look like!

All books and grins - even though it was freezing! The shortlisted authors for the 2010 RNA Romantic Novel of the Year Award (whoop!): (left to right Santa Montefiore, me, Lucy Dillon, Louise Bagshawe, Jean Fullerton and Rachel Hore.

I'm also speaking at an event this Sunday 21st Feb at Calvary Church, Stallings Lane, Kingswinford, West Midlands DY6 7HS! I'll be talking about Fairytale of New York and will be singing a track from my forthcoming album About Time. For more details, click here It's FREE and you'll even get a nice cuppa and biscuit at the end. I'm happy to sign books, too - or just have a chinwag! Come along if you're in the area - it would be lovely to see you!
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Listen to my album tracks!