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.
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!
Breakfast the next morning was something else...
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 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...