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Friday, 30 September 2011


To celebrate the launch of An Autumn Crush, here’s a competition to win a box of 30 delicious choccys from the very yummy Walkers Handmade Chocolates company. That’s one to cheer up every day in November (like you’re going to wait though!)
Walkers Handmade Chocolates is a family business in Skipton, North Yorkshire, owned and run by Belgian trained chocolatier Robert Walker.

Fuelled by a passion for traditional hand crafted skills and artisan foods, Walkers Handmade Chocolates use the finest ingredients, locally sourced where possible, to produce beautiful, fresh handmade chocolates, chocolate gifts and novelties. The collections are inspired by the best English and continental chocolate traditions and feature nostalgic heritage flavours, Swiss style truffles and a classic Signature range with alcoholic and non alcoholic selections. Beautifully boxed and made with love they are the perfect luxury gift.
Just answer this one simple question (the answer can be found on the Walkers Chocolate site
All the correct entries will be put in a hat and picked out by a third party.
What year did the English invent a process for making solid chocolate bars?
Send me your answer on my contact page. If you can't get through that way - email me on this number

There won't be a return receipt - but don't worry, they all get here safely. The winner will be notified after the competition closes on midnight SATURDAY 8TH OCTOBER.

Monday, 26 September 2011

And the winners are....

Lesley and Celebrity Monkey. I laughed that CM really had seen Vladimir Darq in the bus station and thought was Lesley said about Lou was very sweet.

If you both send me your addresses and whose name you want me to personalise the books to - if you do - I'll get those bundles out to you.

Thanks everyone. Please pop back as I have competitions running all through October for wine and handmade choccys.

Milly x

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Launch Week - Buns, Books... and Bishops

We had the official launch of An Autumn Crush at Barnsley library this week. They're always great fun but I have to do two launches as the room will only hold 100 people. However they are always great fun - although quite hard work too. Alas I don't have an official entourage who upload and unload stuff for me - it's the library staff who help, above and beyond the job description, and boy am I lucky that the library lot - and volunteers - in Barnsley are absolute STARS (thank you Jill Craven, Rachel, Linda, the lads and the gorgeous Phyllis.)
The car was full to brimming with books, my lovely book bags (from and the worlds biggest supply of coffee and shortbread from the fabtabulous Douwe Egberts and Walkers Shortbread. A launch wouldn't be the same without them as their coffee and biscuits kept me propped up whilst I was writing The Yorkshire Pudding Club through the night.
There was a production line of us stuffing my book bags with coffee and shortbread, vouchers and my sons were making sure everyone had one.
...and the raffle prize tables needed to be set up
We had some brilliant prizes - Mother's Ruin, books from my lovely author friends, wine, a voucher from Bannatyne's Spa, Sunday lunch plus plonk at the Holiday Inn - chocolates, bookmarks, handmade cards, cuddly toys, vouchers from Picture Proud photography in Elsecar - cupcakes from the lovely Shelley - who was busy setting up the treats in the next room. All the cupcakes were autumn themed - and she'd had to source a lot of the ingredients from the States. They didn't just look good enough to eat, they were. And just the right amount of frosting too - not too overdone. And - bless her - she'd even made some diabetic ones for our lovely Phyllis to nosh on :)
Nice to have a cupcake named after you - Chocolate and peanut butter. A bit like me - a little goes a long way ;)

The little gingerbread men and pumpkins on the 'Pumpkin Pie' cakes were so cute and the leaves on the vanilla were stunningly detailed.
The French Toast ones were to die for...

The books were out on display.
The formidable Phyllis was leaping on everyone and anyone and 'persuading' them to buy raffle tickets - although they're a generous lot in Barnsley.
I took my mum with me - here are three generations of my family together in the library.
The room started to fill up, totally filled up and then I was off on my rant.

Some fabulous people turned out to support me - the lovely Mayor Cllr Karen Dyson, who I just think is ace -

Here we are with Sara Atkinson from Haworth Cat Rescue on the second night. And my lovely fellow novelist Victoria Howard

Then it was raffle drawing time, book signing...

Here I am with the gorgeous Mel Dyke who is a top Barnsley bird and has been both an inspiration and Godsend to me. I love her.

And here is the wonderful Phyllis who no raffle-holding should ever be without.

Thanks to her 'gentle coercion' the two nights brought in nearly £600 and I think everyone went away with a smile on their face. My son did - because he nabbed the last French Toasts for supper...

Mine went down very well with the couple of rewarding glasses of red waiting with my name on, sitting on the sofa next to the dog

And inbetween the two events - I was speaker at the Bishop's Breakfast, which was the nicest start to a morning I've had in ages. Bacon butties with the Bish is probably one of the best perks of the job - so nice to be treated like a lady. It doesn't happy very often.

The official publication date for the rest of Britain is this week so I've got a busy time coming up. Radio shows, judging at the Clothes Show (diet here I come - and Armani shop, here I come when I've done the first bit.) Have a 'research' trip in Paris, talking at various events, Sheffield Literary Festival, more talks in lovely Wigan - where I was made most welcome last time. So many gorgeous things coming up for me. And amongst them all I've got to finish off White Wedding

And my pictoral homage to wrestling in Barnsley. No rest for the wicked? Then I never want to be good :)

Thanks to everyone who has made this week SOOO special for me and raised a few bob for 'The Well' and Haworth Cat Rescue. Mwah.

Milly xxx

Monday, 19 September 2011


To celebrate my launch of AN AUTUMN CRUSH I'm going to be giving away 2 Autumn Crush gift sets - a book, a bookbag and a gorgeous autumnal bookmark - one with a leaf, one with an acorn.

All you have to do it post on my blog a one sentence answer to this question: Which character in my books do you like the most - and why? The winners will be the ones that make me smile the most. Competition ends next Monday (26th) at midnight. Winners names will be posted on the blog for them to contact me with their postal details.

Good luck :)

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

It's Out!!!

Well... three weeks early, the horse has broken out of the starting gate. Too late to stuff it back in so let it romp. Hopefully it will be a 'favourite', hopefully it won't unseat its rider. I am very excited about watching it run. I can't believe I have 6 published books out there to be honest - how did that happen?

Of course, the official launches are next Monday and Thursday in the library. It's bittersweet that they are attracting too many people to fit into even two evenings, so next year the launch of White Wedding will most likely be held in Brooklands (still using the old name - sorry). When I was writing my first book I was propped up through the night by Douwe Egberts Coffee and Walkers Shortbread - and they always send me some 'anniversary goodies' to giveaway. So all those who come to the launch will receive the customary coffee and biscuits and a book bag from me. There will be an evening fund-raising for 'The Well' which is a complementary therapy centre for sufferers of the awful 'C' and one for who take in a lot of cats whose owners are terminally ill and cannot look after them any more. It's a source of comfort for them to know that their beloved pets won't be put down and that a new home will be sought for them.

I have some fab raffle prizes to tempt raffle ticket buyers... a facial spa, signed books from Tara Hyland, Lucy Diamond, Miranda Dickinson, Cesca Martin, Debbie Viggiano, jewellery, dinner out, booze!

So what's the book about?
...and how it won't go where it's pushed. How our hearts often beat for the bad boys and keep a steady rhythm for the nice guys. How love is a total minx but who'd want to live without it.
I also explore the world of internet dating. There are more and more genuine people on dating sites these days but it is still prey to those who are less than honest, or less than ready to go on there. Not forgetting the ones who are downright dangerous and shouldn't be in the dating game, they should be in solitary confinement. I've got quite a few friends who have met and married lovely guys on the net, so I do paint a full picture.
And for anyone who has experienced 'the disappearing lover', well, this book might strike a chord with you ;)

It's also a very respectful nod to the world of wrestling, of which I have always been inordinately fond as it's part of my history. My grandad was pursued to fight by the legend that is Burt Assirati, an absolute sadistic nutter in the ring - and for anyone who thinks that wrestling is fake, they should have got in with him!

It's also about the best fun I ever had in my life - copywriting for greetings cards. In the golden days it was wonderful - as you may see by the dedication. My fellow writers include the brilliantly talented Tony Husband and children and teen fiction writer Alec Sillifant - And if you think that the briefs that Floz receives are exaggerated - just let me tell you that I've underplayed them. I could tell you some stories...

So, my baby is out and doing its stuff. And I'm proud and as nervous as a new mum.

And I need some nosebag, so I'll be seeing you!

Milly x

Friday, 9 September 2011

Cupcakes and Carousels

Oh boy.
I feel a bit like Cinderella did dancing at the ball and then having to come home and start sweeping the cellar again.
When I was invited to be part of 'The Carousel' evening, I wasn't that sure what to expect.

At least I knew there would be friendly faces I knew - Jane Costello, who is always a delight to see. And my agent Lizzy and the publishing team at S & S who are like my family after all this time (poor buggers). And always brill to meet up with my lovely friend Tara Hyland for our usual coffee in St Pank and catch up on gossip before.

The hotel - W - in Wardour Street, Leicester Square was like something out of a film of the future. I couldn't work out how the flaming heck to put the lights on. For the first hour, I couldn't find the loo. It turned out it was behind a mirrored panel which I presumed was fixed to the wall. Thank goodness all four of us authors were able to exchange stories of similar confusion - I thought it was just me being an old fart.

Did an interview with the Times ten minutes before I met the others in the bar - like you do.

I hadn't met Paige or Ali before - and I never want to again. Joke. They were so lovely and friendly and I think we were all united by our nervousness at what to expect.
You'll notice here that when the four of us are together, three of us look like prima ballerinas and one of us looks like the little dwarf Russian ballet teacher whose career was scuppered by a gammy leg.
When we arrived at the venue, there were a LOT of cupcakes.
All of them with our names on them - and not only that, we all had special cocktails. Mine was 'Purple Iced Tea' (blimey it was strong) and each of us had a themed room - again mine was purple.
Jane's was pink, Ali's blue and Paige's yellow.
The pic doesn't really do it justice. I even had a woman's portrait on the wall with a very purple tinge to her face. She hadn't been touched up for the purpose of the evening, but she did look as if she was decomposing before our eyes.

The idea was that we hosted a table of 10 people - buyers and journalists and people in the book buying/advertising industry - for one course, then they would all change to another room and we would entertain another set. And what a jolly lot of people they were as well. Totally out to enjoy the evening and courses of salmon, the nicest chicken I have ever tasted, pavlova and then enough cheese to make you grow whiskers.
Didn't manage to convince the lady from Cosmo that a feature with Johnny Depp and me would increase circulation of her mag. Not even after plying her with my Milly cocktail.
The champagne came out after midnight back at the hotel - always a lovely way to end an evening and yep, I stayed sober, I wanted to remember everything. Plus the swanky room was hard enough to negotiate when you hadn't had anything to drink!
I can't remember upstairs to bed though - think I floated.
Breakfast the next morning was something else...
Couldn't possibly have eaten everything but the egg and field mushrooms and the rosti were gorgeous. And it would have been rude to leave the black pudding - obviously. Freshly squeezed orange juice (and can't you taste the difference when it is), cwoffee and rye toast - which I ordered and was a cock up on my part. Ugh.
I waddled down to the taxi after that and off to HQ for a pow wow on how well my books are doing.

Well. Very well. Here and in Australia - thanks to the success of Come Dine With Me as a programme and my appearance on it. Supermarkets are buying up the backlist, all my books are in the top 25 e-books and everyone's happy, in short. And I now know the title of book 8 AND I've seen the cover for White Wedding - and it's absolutely beautiful. I can't wait to show it off.

More cupcakes
and a podcast with the DIVINE Alice and S-J, who are the beautiful brains behind Books and the City - which book lovers really should check out because it's fab and there are great competitions on it.
Talking of which, I'm heavily involved in the project to find the young creative writer of the year in conjunction with the Clothes Show - which you can read all about on the site. And I've been asked to join the judging panel of a wonderful new competition in Barnsley. PROUD OF BARNSLEY gives kids at 'big school' the chance to say why they are proud of the town - and the winner is in for a treat. The prize is fabulous.

So, I'm just gearing up now for the launch of Autumn Crush and living on a diet of fingernails until I see what the reviewers think of it. If I had any fingers left, I'd cross them.We shall be eating our own cupcakes from Cupcake Heaven - autumn flavours of Pumpkin Pie, French Toast and Gingerbread. I might even have a diva fit in the library if it isn't themed in my colours ;)

More to come...

Milly x