petite anglaise

February 29, 2008

l'oeil du cyclone

Filed under: book stuff, good time girl — petiteanglaise @ 8:11 am

This week has been oh so quiet.

I mean, yes, there were hundreds of emails flying back and forth, and I did have a couple of magazine pieces to finish off, but the fact that my book seems to be in many UK bookshops now (what do release dates actually mean and does anyone pay attention to them?) left me strangely unmoved.

I think it’s worth mentioning here (at the risk of attracting criticism that I am all about the hard sell) that although I don’t endorse any particular bookshop over another, Amazon do have “petite” as a deal of the week this week, meaning that it has a whopping 55% off. If you were planning to buy it, this seems like a good time to snap it up.

I also wanted to give you a heads up about some of the places you may be able to catch me next week, when I embark on a four day whirlwind book pimping trip in London, Leeds and York.

  • You Magazine, in this Sunday’s Mail – an interview and book extract.
  • This Sunday’s Observer (travel section) and online there should be some sort of associated web content. You’ll see…
  • Monday morning, Woman’s Hour on BBC Radio 4.
  • If I don’t miss my train (schedule is horrendously tight) I’ll also be on BBC Radio Leeds around 3.30pm and then interviewed on BBC Look North news programme around 6.30pm. (I’m from York, in case you are wondering about the choice of towns. There is a logic to this…)

There’s much more in the pipeline, and I’ll try and update the blog and press page as much as possible while I’m sitting on trains next Monday and Tuesday. For the TV bits, if you are in possession of the kind of technology that enables you to record snippets of TV and post them to YouTube, it might be fun to share some of the upcoming TV appearances (more info to follow) with my non Yorkshire/UK public.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to make a final DESPERATE PLEA to anyone reading this who lives within striking distance of York Library. I’m doing a small, low-key reading/book signing on Tuesday evening (info here) and this is a ticketed event. So far it looks as though I’ll be reading to a small group comprising mostly family members and fielding questions from my grandma. Help!

Today I will be mostly taking deliveries of (indecent amounts of) champagne, ice (60 kilos thereof, destined for the bathtub), and assisting my caterer, the lovely Meg, with the assembly of some very complicated-looking canapés.

Because I had to celebrate this book coming out thing just a little bit, didn’t I? So I’m throwing a little party.

update: My very first review! Ooh!

NB:  The Paris signing on 20 March is not a ticketed event but, in order to give WH Smiths an idea of numbers for room layout and enable them to stock up on sensible amounts of wine, it is recommended you sign up here.

February 27, 2008

une pièce montée

Filed under: misc — petiteanglaise @ 1:06 pm

As a rule, I don’t much enjoy memes and usually pretend I haven’t noticed when someone tags me. But Meg and I live on the same street and run into each other practically every day, so I didn’t fancy my chances of successfully dodging this one.

I’ve dutifully picked up the nearest book, Une Pièce Montée by Blandine Le Callet, turned to page 123, skipped to the fifth sentence and below are the next three. Note how differently the French punctuate speech.

Jean-Philippe, on ne peut pas continuer à se couper de tout le monde comme ça…
Tu sais bien qu’on ne va pas se sentir à l’aise.
Parle pour toi!

I haven’t started yet, I must confess, but page 123 catapults the reader straight into the midst of a domestic dispute about wedding arrangements, albeit a somewhat restrained and polite one.

Le Callet’s novel, the cover blurb of which describes her pen as “acerbic”, apparently sets about mocking the rituals of bourgeois weddings. I stumbled across it while seeking an anti-Valentine’s present for The Boy, then ended up popping it in my virtual shopping basket for myself.

Because one thing I love about the French is their ability to couch the most bitter of arguments in the most irreproachably polite language.

The Boy’s Valentine gift, in case you are wondering, was an otter adoption package, complete with soft toy otter and a packet of ‘otter droppings’, aka chocolate raisins.

We might be eschewing most of the more traditional wedding day customs when we tie the knot, in late spring, but I do plan on having a pièce montée. Whether it will be made of macarons or a choux pyramid coated in caramel, remains to be hotly disputed.

And now I get to tag: so, ams tram gram or however that French eeny meeny miny mo(e) chant goes… Tim and Lucy. You’re tagged.

February 25, 2008


Filed under: book stuff — petiteanglaise @ 6:32 pm

I’ll be writing some blog posts for over the coming weeks, and you’ll find the first one – the story behind the Sunday Times red dress photo shoot (much less glamorous than it may have looked) – here.

A big thank you to those readers who sent me emails to tell me you found a copy in your local supermarket, or your pre-ordered copy thudded onto your doormat on Saturday morning… It felt very odd, this weekend, imagining all those eyes on my book…

Once you have read it, I’d love to hear your feedback. One of the weirdest things about writing a book, for me, has been having to work on the manuscript for many months in isolation, offline, without any feedback from my ‘regulars’. When you’ve got used to writing blog posts, pressing “publish” and getting the first comment within five minutes, this feels very odd indeed.

My facebook page is be a good place to leave your review, or you might consider writing one here.

I’m saddened by some of the ugly reviews already received on the Amazon page. Not because I imagine everyone will love it. Of course I don’t. Petite Anglaise may not be everyone’s cup of tea, and I can handle that. But I have reason to believe some of these reviewers haven’t actually read the book. One, in particular, repeats almost verbatim an unpleasant comment left on the Sunday Times website and, given the person hated the extracts, I find it hard to imagine she rushed out to procure herself a copy of the book and read it so quickly. Hardly constructive criticism, that.

Ah well. Trolls will be trolls.

February 22, 2008


Filed under: mills & boon, Tadpole rearing — petiteanglaise @ 10:15 am

The Boy and Tadpole return from their pilgrimage to McDonalds. The Boy is looking disproportionately pleased with himself, far more so than the feat of having hunted and gathered a happy meal and a couple of burgers would usually warrant.

“What have you two been up to?” I ask, suspiciously, as I unpack Tadpole’s chicken nuggets and arrange them on a proper plate – which increases the nutritional value of the food tenfold, because it is no longer takeaway – and set the Asterix toy aside for later.

“We had a very important conversation, she and I, while we were queuing up to be served,” says The Boy, unwrapping his own dinner. “N’est-ce pas biquette?”

Tadpole nods, her mouth full of nugget. We’ve both grown used to being referred to as a “small female goat”, The Boy’s favoured term of endearment.

“Go on…” I say, wondering what on earth the terrible two have been plotting behind my back.

“Well,” says The Boy, pausing to bite, chew and swallow, enjoying keeping me on tenterhooks, “I asked your daughter if it was okay for me to marry you… It’s the done thing, you know, when someone already has children, to ask their permission.” I feel rather emotional all of a sudden, tears prickling the back of my eyes. What a lovely thing to do. Even if McDonalds wasn’t the venue I would have chosen for such a conversation.

“And what did she say?” I ask, wiping some ketchup from Tadpole’s chin with a serviette. I don’t think she has even heard our exchange. She’s selectively deaf at the best of times, but especially so when focused on food.

“She said that she thought it was a very good idea for us to marry ourselves,” the Boy replies. “And then we got talking about princess dresses and flowers, as you do… But when I said ‘you’re going to look just like a princess’, she said the loveliest thing…” He takes another bite, spinning out his story for as long as possible.

“I did say that it’s not me who will be the princess on that day,” pipes up Tadpole suddenly. Apparently she has been listening in, all along. “Because it’s mummy who will be the princess, not me. I’ll just be a little princess. Or a middle-sized. But you will be the real one, that day.”

I smile, under cover of my Royal Cheese, my eyes moist. “What a double act you are, you two,” I say, when I’ve recovered my composure. Then, turning to The Boy: “And what would you have done if she had said ‘no’?”

February 21, 2008

best places to pick up "petite", in France

Filed under: book stuff — petiteanglaise @ 12:16 pm


A little bird has just told me that “petite” is on sale in France RIGHT THIS MINUTE in the following bookshops:

I’m feeling a little faint.

February 18, 2008


Filed under: Tadpole rearing — petiteanglaise @ 10:46 am

“When mummy gets married, I’m going to wear an extremely pretty princess dress,” Tadpole has been telling everyone who will listen. “And a tiara. And when mummy gets little bit busy, I’m going to help with carrying the flowers…”

Tadpole’s Disney Princess phase has lasted upwards of a year now, and shows no sign of abating. Given every self-respecting princess story culminates with a sumptuous ceremony, my daughter seems to have all sorts of preconceived notions of what my wedding day should be like. I do hope my strenuously low-key nuptials will not be a disappointment to her, when the time comes, but there’s no way I can stomach the idea of wearing a frothy white meringue, not even for my daughter’s sake.

A few days after my botched proposal, Tadpole returned from her New Year’s holiday with mamie and papy. I hadn’t yet had an opportunity to speak to Mr Frog, so sharing the news with my motormouthed daughter was a risky business. But one morning, when I crawled into her bed for our morning cuddle, I just couldn’t help myself.

“If I tell you something really, really exciting, can you keep it a secret?” I ask. There is a silence, and for a moment I wonder if she’s sleeping. I seem to have a knack for broaching important subjects when my listener is only semi-conscious. But Tadpole isn’t asleep. She turns to face me, her eyes serious.

“If it’s a secret, you have to whisper it in my ear,” she says. “Because otherwise somebody else might hear.” The only somebody else in the flat is snoring gently in the next room, fully aware of his impending marital predicament, but I humour Tadpole and snuggle closer to her ear.

“In a few months, I’m going to get married to …. ,” I whisper.

“Just like Ariel, in the Little Mermaid?” Tadpole cries, her eyes widening to the size of dinner plates, the need for whispering apparently forgotten.

“Kind of like Ariel, yes…” I reply. “Although probably not with the same colour dress. Or on a boat.”

“I’m going to marry myself as well,” Tadpole says matter of factly.

“Well, yes, one day you will,” I say. “When you’re just a little bit older.”

“NO, NOT when I’m older, mummy! I’m going to marry myself with my daddy, on the SAME DAY as you.”

My daughter speaks with such fierce certainty that I decide not to contradict her, for now, and make a mental note to add Freud to the guest list.

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