Happy birthday to me! TWG turns ONE! #happybirthdayTWG #bookblogger #authors #firstbirthday

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AHHHHHHHHH!! Happy birthday to TWG! One year ago today, 15th March 2016, my first ever blog post was published. I even remember which one it was too – The woman who upped and left – Review. I didn’t even think anyone would read my reviews, let alone be following me a year down the line. It has been a surreal year for TWG and I have loved every single moment of it. Well, most of it!

This last year I have:

– Created a signed book collection of 35 books, containing novels from authors such as Lindsey Kelk, Jodi Picoult, Carol Wyer, Paige Toon, Sophie Kinsella, Michelle Visage, David Videcette, Mary-Jane Riley, Liane Moriarty, Sue Moorcroft, Sue Watson, Sam Carrington, Louise Jensen, Tilly Tennant, Sue Fortin, Jan Brigden, Laura James, Marcie Steele, Holly Martin, Sarah Morgan, Elli Darkins, Eva Jordan, Lisa Jewell, Cathy Bramley, Mhairi McFarlane, Susan Gander, Rosie Blake, Heidi Swain, Milly Johnson, Jennifer Bohnet, and Rebecca Raisin.

Huge thank you to the authors who have sent me those signed books as a competition prize or for another reason, thank you to the publishers, and thank you to the authors for signing those books so that they were available to buy. I feel extremely lucky and I will forever be grateful.

– Became friends with most of those authors above, AND MORE. A year ago I was in dream world when it came to authors tweeting me back. A year later, I am still in dream world when they do that and have to pinch myself when I am in conversation with them. Am I dreaming?

– Found some truly loyal bloggers to build brilliant friendships with. I also am so thankful to Joanne R for taking me under her wing at the very beginning, making sure that I wasn’t on my own in a huge group.

– Huge thank you to Anita Chapman for letting me know about Book connectors FB group! Without you, I don’t think I would have known anything about it.

– Received books to review from publishers and authors I have admired for many, many years. Every time I get book post it feels like it’s my birthday all over again. Thank you to Accent Press for being the first publisher to put me on their blogger list, and a huge thank you to all of the other publishers who continue to bless me with bookpost and book related things. Living the dream.

– This last year I also met Jodi Picoult. Another author who I have admired for many years and made me catch my breath when I met her, with fellow blogger Dee. Amazing experience.

There are so, SO many highlights from this past year, I couldn’t begin to list them all. I have been on several hundred blog tours, taken part in multiple cover reveals, been lucky enough to interview Jenny Colgan, Ali McNamara, Carol Wyer, Cathy Bramley, Andi Michael, Tilly Tennant and many, many more. My interviews are no longer called ‘interviews’, some authors know of them as interrogations! A fellow blogger, Lorraine, let me know that I was now the ‘blogger who made authors cry’ (in a good way), with my reviews. I don’t set out to do that (honestly)! A special thank you needs to go to Carol Wyer and Kim Nash. When I first started blogging, I had no idea about most things yet Carol became such a good friend in such a short space of time, becoming the support network and confidante that I treasured, and I still do. Carol stood by my side and championed me and TWG from the very beginning, and she still does to this day. I will always be grateful for your kind words and support Carol, you truly are one of kind. As for Kim Nash, you were the first publisher I ever spoke to directly (well, over e-mail) and we built a good friendship from that moment. Plus, you had copious amounts of patience with me when I kept pestering you! Thank you for believing in me now and today.

This last year has seen me read a total of 214 books (so far), with 154 books being from 2016 and 60 being my current total. I have been lucky enough to try so many new authors and fall in love with genres I never thought I would see myself reading. I have been made to feel included to various book groups on FB and this whole year has seen my blog posts being shared far and wide by bloggers. BLOGGERS, thank you for always sharing my posts, championing my reviews and being such stars. You are all incredibly wonderful and it’s a pleasure to become your friends. You all know who you are!

This year has also seen an article of mine get published on mental health and illness website, The Mighty. Within 2 weeks it had been shared over 3000 times. You can find my article here. I also have had one of my quotes published on the back of a paperback, with another one (or two) to be expected further on in the year. I have also found my quotes on publishers publicity pictures, and yes, a year later the feeling is still surreal with every new one. Thank you.

This post could go on forever, as there are so many people I would like to thank for helping my dream get on its way to becoming a reality. Reading books is my only respite from the hell of daily life and for that reason, I will forever be in authors debt for writing those books that allow me to travel to France, New York etc, or allow me to ‘work’ in various different places without having to worry about my P45!

Ever since I was a little girl, I have wanted to write and be involved in books/writing some way or another. I’m involved in books thanks to my blog. I just need someone to give me that break to change my life, and allow me to work freelance as a writer/publicist etc. It’s getting to a point now where the chances of me working outside are slim. Fingers crossed that 2017 allows me to get even closer to getting that job. Thank you all for following my blog, supporting me, reading my posts and just being you.

Lots of love,

TWG x

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TWG kicks off ‘Nice day for a white wedding’ (@ALMichael_) #blogtour! What would YOU choose? @UKCarina

I am truly honoured to be kicking off A.L.Michael’s blog tour for her latest release ‘Nice day for a white wedding’! Everyone loves a good wedding, and seeing as TWG is kicking off the tour, I had to really think outside of the box!

TWG + The Wedding Singer + Billy Idol = Nice day for a white wedding!

Today joining me on the blog is the main character from ‘Nice day for a white wedding’; Chelsea. This book is the second in the House on Camden Square series, following ‘Goodbye Ruby Tuesday’. 
 I have given Chelsea a task, a very interesting one if I do say so myself! Feel free to play along and let me know in the comments which YOU would choose.

Let’s get this show on the road!

Welcome to TWG Chelsea! I hope you’re ready for this as we’re going to have a bit of fun (I hope!).

TWG: Have you have thought about your own wedding Chelsea? 
Chelsea: Hiya! Yes, well, weddings have been in the air recently, and whilst I’d never really thought about mine before, I guess now is the time! I have a feeling it’s going to be hard though.

TWG: Well, today on TWG you’re going to choose what YOU would like for your wedding if money was no issue. What I would like you to do is to pick just ONE choice from each heading. All headings have three options, except for the wedding dress which has four (most important thing, obviously).

Chelsea, are you ready to ‘say YES to the dress’, with the possibility of meeting the ‘wedding singer’?

Choose ONE wedding ring.

rings
Option 1: Stand out like Ruby Tuesday?
Option 2: Pretty in pink like Esme?
Option 3: Bold like Evie?

Chelsea: I love the first one. It’s classic, elegant, but completely huge and a little edgy. Lots of drama!

Choose ONE wedding theme.

theme
Option 1: Vintage and demure
Option 2: Winter wonderland
Option 3: Christmas theme.

Chelsea: I never had great Christmas experiences growing up, we didn’t have the tree and the turkey and the hundreds of presents. I hadn’t thought about it until now, but it would be so great to be able to correct that! To make Christmas something special for both me and Kit.

Choose ONE wedding venue.

venue
Option 1: A castle fit for a Princess.
Option 2: Shake your tail feather in a barn.
Option 3: Get acquainted with nature.

Chelsea: I am definitely no princess! Mama always said I was born in a barn, and I”m afraid I’m not the outdoorsy type. Some dancing and drinking in a barn sounds about right.

Choose ONE wedding entertainment.

singers
Option 1: THE wedding singer (do I even need to continue?)
Option 2: Boogie nights with a disco.
Option 3: Have you ‘White Wedding’ with Billy Idol.

Chelsea: My old bad girl ways would probably love some Billy Idol, but how can you choose anyone but the wedding singer! Plus, Kit loves cheesy music, more than he’d like to admit!

Choose ONE wedding cake (yes, sorry, just one).

cake
Option 1: As white as dulux…
Option 2: Classy zebra cake
Option 3: Fruity and FABULOUS

Chelsea: Cake 2! Drama! So much drama! Love it, love it!

Choose ONE bridesmaid dress.

bridesmaid
Option 1: Strapless, mid-length dress with flower embellishment and a ribbon belt.
Option 2: A strapless, full length gown with multi layers at the bottom and floral design. Option 3: Halter neck, full length chiffon gown with a bling belt.

Chelsea: I mean, I can’t see Evie getting into a bridesmaids dress either way, unless it’s got ripped bits and safety pins on it, but if she can be classy for a day, number three is definitely it for Evie and Molls!

Choose ONE bouquet.

flowers
Option 1: Subtle yet classy
Option 2: Beautiful in blue
Option 3: The Ruby Tuesday bouquet.

Chelsea: It would be so great to honour Ruby in the flowers, add a little colour and sparkle to everything. Like I’ve said, drama drama!

Choose ONE wedding shoe (yes, ONE, sorry!!)

shoes
Option 1: Sexy!
Option 2: ‘Runaway Bride’?
Option 3: Statement!

Chelsea: I’m slightly more traditional with shoes – the higher the heel, the better to stamp down the aisle with! Sparkle, lace and skyscraper heels – check, shoe 3.

Okay Chelsea. It’s now time for the BIG one; THE wedding dress. You ready?

wedding dress
Option 1: Lace, full length dress with capped sleeves.
Option 2: It’s a Pnina Tornai…need I say more?
Option 3: I think Ruby is trying to tell you something…!
Option 4: This dress is inspired by Cinderella (I’m being serious).

Chelsea: I know I said I’m no princess, but, well, it’s one day, right? Some ruffles and a happy ending, that’s all I’m after. (TWG: Chelsea, you SHALL the ball ;). Good choice with number 4!)

Have you chosen your dress? Ready for the big question?
TWG!!
Chelsea, do you say YES to the dress?!

Chelsea: I’m saying YES! Thanks so much!

Were you all picking your choices whilst you read this? This was the first feature that I thought of completely on my own. A.L.Michael gave me the true honour of kicking off her tour and I just want to do her and the book proud!

Speaking of which….

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Blurb.

Sometimes, Happy Ever After is where the real trouble begins…
Chelsea Donnolly wasn’t supposed to amount to anything. But if there’s one thing the bad girl from the estate liked better than trouble, it was a challenge. So, to the amusement of her best friends Evie, Mollie and Ruby – and the disbelief of her teachers – this bad girl turned good.

These days, Chelsea is the kind of girl people are proud to know – and, after a surprise trip to Venice, she has a ring on her finger to prove it. But to get there, she’s had to learn to keep her deepest secrets from everyone – even her fiancé. And when wedding preparations threaten to blow her cover, Chelsea can’t help but wonder: in her battle to the top, might she have left the best parts of herself behind?

Nice day for a white wedding, by A.L.Michael, published by Carina, is available to buy right now from Amazon.
If you missed the first book in the series ‘Goodbye Ruby Tuesday’ (don’t worry, ‘nice day for a white wedding’ can be read as a standalone if necessary), you can pick up your copy from Amazon UK.

I hope you’ve enjoyed TWG’s wedding planning! Thank you so much to A.L.Michael for being an amazing sport with this feature, as always. Also, thank you to Chelsea for taking part!

No longer ‘Goodbye Ruby Tuesday’, more ‘Hiya younger Ruby!’. Courtesy of A.L.Michael.

Seeing as A.L.Michael and I enjoy bringing something different to TWG, we obviously need to keep that momentum going. Obviously! The last blog post we had, featured a wonderful cake recipe. Any of you made it yet? If you don’t know what I’m on about, take a nosy here —> Love cake, ‘Ruby Tuesday’, cake, A.L.Michael and…cake? <— and go into the kitchen and make cake!

I hope the title of the blog, or part of it, sounds a bit familiar to you. Author A.L.Michael released the first book in a series back in April, called ‘Goodbye Ruby Tuesday’.
Goodbye Ruby Tuesday by A.L.Michael. Book Tour!
The second book in the series is released in August, and I am already very impatient because I want to read it yesterday! A.L.Michael has put together these posts for me so I can get my fix of her amazing book whilst I’m pacing the floor waiting for the next one. Well, she didn’t know that bit, but she does now. Hiya!!!!

Today’s post is yet again something different. A character from the book,  Ruby Tuesday has written a letter to her younger self, and it certainly isn’t one to be missed. Powerful words. Enjoy.

What I would tell my younger self
by Ruby Tuesday
This feels kind of like a school report, one of the ones I would have bunked off doing, and somehow managed to get away with, instead of an article for a magazine. It’s funny how
things end up seeming the same.
I loved being young, there was nothing better than being seventeen and in love with every
boy who jutted his lip and looked at you like you were a delicious piece of pie, or the most
glorious ice cream sundae. I loved the power I had then, people just seemed to do what I
want without me even really trying. I know that sounds stuck up, and no doubt there’ll be a headline in a tabloid newspaper tomorrow saying ‘Ruby Tuesday thinks people love her’,
but it was true. Something about having nothing to lose, I guess.
I was never mean, I don’t think, and I can be proud of that, but I had to be in control.
I loved my friends, like, my school friends, more than anything. I had moved so many times by that point, foster home to foster home, and I knew none of them would ever stick, because I always caused trouble. I just couldn’t help it, it was my way. But I wouldn’t tell myself to cause less trouble, because that’s how I found my friends. In detentions and after school sessions, random and peculiar punishments (are they still getting kids to scrape chewing gum off desks and put dots in every corner on a page of squared paper, because that’s a real fucking waste of time – give them a newspaper and tell them about the world, would you?) is how I made friends. And enemies. Maybe that should be my advice, to have made fewer enemies, been nicer about everything.

I had a certain thing I liked to do, and I thought I was being good, a vigilante for justice, and female empowerment, as much as anyone knows what they’re doing at seventeen. I used to test their boyfriends, used to see if they’d cave and fall for flattery and flirtation. The boys who fell for it were publicly shamed and their girlfriends were told. They were found unworthy, and it proved to me just how fickle men were. Yes, I know, I shouldn’t have based my opinion of all men on the pricks of horny teenage boys, but I did. And the weirdest thing happened – the girls stayed with them. They blamed me, and they stayed with the boyfriend, convinced it was my evil feminine wiles, and not their less than significant others. And that was the way of the world then, and it’s the same now.

So I play the part a little more. I put on my make up and I curl my hair and I sing to the world that the boy is treating you bad, and I want to be your friend and I wish you would listen. I want to save every one of those women from throwing themselves away on someone who’s unworthy. But…it made me a bitch, obviously, so maybe I should tell my younger self to stop all that shit. Maybe I should have told her to chill with the drinking and the need for drama, to stop acting like every day was her last on earth and just do her fucking maths homework. No wonder I got screwed in my first contract – could they add that to the syllabus as well?

Learning about percentages would be so much better in context! I think I would tell Ruby to wait, not to run whenever things got hard, not to be so eager to dish out the advice and so unwilling to take it. I loved people and I still held them away from me, never letting them see the whole. And now everyone sees Ruby Tuesday, and Ruby Montgomery, that poor little girl with no parents and no lunchbox, who grinned and caused trouble, well, there’s only three people in the world who still remember her.
And maybe I’ll get really lucky, and they’ll read this, and know how much I miss them.

The next book in the House On Camden Square series, is available to pre-order right now via Amazon UK.
Big thank you to A.L.Michael for yet another wonderful post. If you wish to keep up to date with the latest from her then you can do so via Twitter.

Time for a Weekly Wrap Up!

Weekly Wrap Up!

If you have been hiding under a rock this week or you were washing your hair, then you have missed all this lovely lot! Time for The Writing Garnet’s debut Weekly Wrap Up!

This week has seen the lovable Maya Berger talk about her Luna Tree in her guest post:
An insight into Maya Berger’s ‘Luna Tree – The Baby Project’.

I managed to have a natter with the lovely Evie who features in ‘Goodbye Ruby Tuesday’ by A.L.Michael. Managed to grab and exclusive from her aswell. A.L.Michael can’t say no to me, obvs ;).  Such fun!
*NOT TO BE MISSED*. Evie from ‘Goodbye Ruby Tuesday’ by A.L.Michael stops by for a chat, and an EXCLUSIVE!

Now, it seems that I have two posts this week that have been fighting for top spot in terms of views. Goodbye Ruby Tuesday and…..Darcie Boleyn’s book Something Old, Something New!
So much for a bank holiday weekend, we went on tour with Darcie and Annie, and decided that moonwalking was the in thing. Or rather I did, alone, completely alone. Whilst watching Annie admire a lolly stick…..
The Blog Tour bus has stopped right here with ‘Something Old, Something New’ with Darcie! (and Annie!)

This week has also seen the release Lily Graham’s Summer Escape novel and I decided to sit down with Lily and talk about The Magic Faraway Tree, as you do. Oh, and the book obviously….
TWG speaks to Lily Graham on the publication day for Summer Escape. OUT NOW!!

Oh there is more! Samantha Tonge decided she fancied a bit of Poldark for breakfast. No, wait, Poldark’s breakfast? Ahem. Ah, Samantha decided to reveal Poldark’s breakfast! No, still not right? How many innuendo’s can one fit in a paragraph…..
Pfftt fine, Samantha Tonge had a reveal of her gorgeous new cover for ‘Breakfast at Poldarks’. Can see where I went wrong….
**COVER REVEAL** It’s time for ‘Breakfast at Poldarks’ with Samantha Tonge!

And if all of that wasn’t enough fun for you, we went on tour AGAIN courtesy of a lovely Bear(@batbtweets). ‘I wish I could remember you’ by L.J.Epps.
Book Tour of ‘I Wish I Could Remember You’ by L.J.Epps.

Books received:
I’m only going to write the physical books as I may have, ever so slightly, lost track of the kindle ones…I haven’t been buying more, I swear. Pinocchio what are you doing here?!?

My lovely book post this week was: ‘We’ve come to take you home’ by Susan Gander and ‘Now and then friends’ by Kate Hewitt.

I also bought a physical book: ‘The Girls’ by Lisa Jewell.

The number of books that I have read this week has only been three, I think!

Next week sees more book reviews, book tours, Q&A’s and giggles! Enjoy your week!

*NOT TO BE MISSED*. Evie from ‘Goodbye Ruby Tuesday’ by A.L.Michael stops by for a chat, and an EXCLUSIVE!

Important question time. How many of you have read A.L.Michael’s ‘Goodbye Ruby Tuesday’? If you haven’t, why not?! At the start of May I blogged about the book and its main ladies Chelsea, Evie and Mollie.
If you need a recap: Goodbye Ruby Tuesday by A.L.Michael. Book Tour!
For those that have already read the book, wasn’t it FABULOUS?  Lucky for us, it is part of a series and the second book ‘Nice Day For A White Wedding’ is out next month! I know, I know, I’m jumping up and down right now too (no really, I am). So excited!

Tonight on the blog, I have something very special for you. I spoke with A.L.Michael and asked her if one of her characters from the book would stop by for a good ol’ girly chinwag, and of course she said yes (she doesn’t say no to me y’know 😉 ).

Shall I stop talking at you and get on with it? Lets give Evie  from ‘Goodbye Ruby Tuesday’ a very warm welcome to The Writing Garnet!

TWG: Good evening Evie! Thank you for stopping by for a chat! I know you have recently lost Ruby, how are you coping now? 
Hiya. Well, we lost touch a while ago, but it’s ridiculous to think she’s not here, not somewhere in London singing and performing and living this crazy, ridiculous life. She was always so full of life, it’s weird to think she’s not here. But I feel better knowing we’re doing what she would have wanted.
TWG: When we caught up with you last you couldn’t seem to fathom why you all broke contact for years and lost touch, do you have any idea as to who or what caused that?
It wasn’t on purpose, we always meant to catch up and get together again. I think…well, I thought fame would change her. It’s hard to watch this amazing, talented performer on stage and think she’d actually be interested in seeing a friend she knew for a couple of years when she was a teenager. I was scared of being rejected, I guess.
TWG: I understand that your dad was a pain in the neck when you were growing up, do you think he really did care about you?
Or was your mum too blind to the situations when you were a child? That must have been difficult! Especially with your painting getting sold!
That man isn’t capable of love, or caring about anyone but himself. My mum…she’s blinded by love. I always swore I would never be like that, never become a doormat. 
TWG: What were your thoughts when you found out that Ruby had left you a house in Camden Square? Was that a surprise to you given the circumstances?
I don’t think I could imagine something more strange. It was amazing to think she remembered our dream, that she still wanted that for us, it was a way of telling us she still knew us, and I’ll cherish that.
TWG: Chelsea didn’t seem too excited about your plans, I know Mollie had to think of little Esme (say hi to her for me!) but she didn’t really have much to lose did she? Unless there is something she isn’t telling us?
Chelsea has a lot more to lose, she went to a big posh university, she created a whole new person – I’m just glad the Chels we knew is still in there! She just spent so long trying to wipe away any signs of our past, anything that happened on the estate, some of the things she saw, the way she was…I get why it’s been harder for her. She’s got secrets, she’s got her own story to tell.
TWG: I felt sorry for you, you took all of the pressure of the house, just so people would change their opinion of you. Why? I got the impression you were quite fiery when you were growing up, what else happened?
I was always a pain in the arse, no surprises there! I’m the one who makes things happen, I always have been. When the others can’t do things, or are too scared to do something, I try to make it easy. And maybe, there’s something about feeling like a failure. I didn’t want that life, that little life in Badgeley that everyone else had. I could see Mollie falling into it, and I didn’t want Esme to grow up like we did, with no hope of anything better.
TWG: Sorry for the personal question, why are you so guarded with males? Didn’t you want to find your Prince Charming?
Fairytales are for kids. That all enduring, endless, crazy love, it’s dangerous stuff. You’re vulnerable, and you can get hurt, and you just end up making terrible decisions. Just like my mum. I didn’t ever want to be like that. So I picked safe people, who’d never make me feel anything too dangerous.
TWG: If someone came to you for advice about dreams and not knowing whether they should just ‘go for it’, what advice would you give them? I would say Esme but she seems to be good at giving you advice!
Of course they should go for it! Always go for it. Life is so short, and shitty stuff happens. Grab joy while you can. Don’t waste a minute being miserable.

Okay, I did say that there was going to be an exclusive in this blog. I must say, I’m very excited about this too. Cor, highly excitable tonight eh! A bit like one of my Twitter followers who is super excited for this blog post! (Hi Clair 😉 ). When I was having a chat with Evie, I asked if she could tell us, well, ‘me’, any secrets or gossip. Here, exclusively for The Writing Garnet, is what she had to say…..

TWG: Between you and me, what secrets can you tell me about the other two ladies? Do you have any juicy gossip?
I can tell you that the lovely Kit has talked to me about Chelsea, he might have shown me a very beautiful ring he wants to give her! And Mollie has to keep her promise to start dating, it’s been long enough, don’t you think? Not that I’m being bossy, obviously!

Thank you Evie for stopping by, and thank you to A.L.Michael for arranging it! Now, if you have read this giggle fest already, PLEASE leave a review on Amazon & Goodreads as they’re vital for authors. Doesn’t have to be an essay, but constructive as these books are their babies! Words multiply….obviously!!!

The next book in the series is available to pre-order right NOW! To do so, click HERE.
If you’re wanting to buy the first one, Goodbye Ruby Tuesday, then I would highly suggest you do so ASAP aka now, as it’s currently 99p. There is no guarantee as to how long the book will stay that price, so do not miss out on all the excitement! Buy ‘Goodbye Ruby Tuesday’.