2013 card reverse 500dpi

Doesn’t that look cute?

It’s one side of my business card. Hugo designed it and there’s a reason why I’m telling you this.

My first book was published at the beginning May 2012. And although it was an event that thrilled, it also terrified the bejesus out of me. It was a leap into the unknown, a bit like giving birth to my first child.

My immediate family obviously know I’m a romance writer but they tend to keep it quiet and that’s fine.

My youngest daughter mentioned it to her pals and they laughed and said, ‘Are the books like that Fifty Shades of Grey woman?’ As I’ve said before, I get that all the time. And she said, ‘No. They’re better.’ Bless her little heart, how’s that for mother love?

My son just gives me the look which says, ‘As if!’ when I ask him if he’s told his pals.

Fair enough, boys are sensitive, I get it.

Anyway, No 1 daughter has kept the fact her mother is a romance author a carefully guarded secret.

Until recently.

Why she’s suddenly found the need to spread the word in our town I’ve no idea – might have something to do with the fact that her mother’s books were all in the top 100 in iTunes over the festive period. I know, it stunned me too.

So the Thursday before Christmas I was doing the usual female thing of having my hair done at Toni & Guy (shameless plug – Sumin is THE best) and Sumin told me about the fabulous deal for Christmas toilet paper in Marks & Spencer (upmarket supermarket) three packs for the price of two.

Well, I had to have it! I mean, who could resist?

But here’s the thing, it was raining (no surprises there, this is the UK and the way things are going the country is going to float into the Atlantic) and since I’m always prepared, I wore a waxed peak cap to protect the ‘doo (a sleek blonde bob, which comes just above my shoulders for anyone who’s remotely interested).

So, grabbing a basket I surfed through the food section of Marks & Spencer, picked up a few luxury items, including the toilet paper and headed for the check-out. I absolutely refuse to use the self-service check-outs because I prefer dealing with a human. Although after the trauma of what happened next I might change my mind.

Now working at the check-out was a girl I hadn’t seen in ages. She’s lovely and always chats to me, and my daughters when they go in for the odd thing.

As she finished serving the lady in front of me, she looked up and her eyes went really big.

‘Well, helloooooooo you!’ she cried in a very high voice.

I grinned.

What a sweetie.

‘Hello to you too,’ I said. ‘Merry Christmas.’

She stood, leaned over the till and grabbed my hand and squeezed tight. ‘It’s sooooo amazing to see you!! You look fabulous.’

I do? Gosh, I thought, I must come in here more often.

‘Your daughter’s told me all about you!’

‘Did she? Which one?’

‘I can never tell them apart, they’re so gorgeous!’

I grinned again flushed with maternal pride.

By this time there were about six ladies behind me. I glanced at them and gave a nervous laugh.

After all it’s Christmas and like most women they all looked in a hurry and a bit wild-eyed.

‘Thank you,’ I said and tried to take my hand from hers.

She clung on like a limpet and there was a sort of crazy gleam in her eye.

She smiled at the ladies in the queue. ‘This!’ she announced and held up my hand, ‘Is a best-selling author.’

I swear my heart stopped.

A hot flash burned up my neck into my cheeks.


Every woman within twenty yards all turned to stare. I’m telling you I PRAYED for the floor to open up and take me.

‘No, no, I’m not a best seller,’ I whimpered.

‘What do you write?’ piped up a very smart lady in her sixties.

‘Romance,’ I said in a voice that didn’t sound anything like me.

‘Ahh,’ said another woman. ‘Like Fifty Shades of Grey?’

‘Noooo,’ cried the girl serving me. ‘She’s much better.’


‘I do like a good sex scene,’ the lady in her sixties informed the entire store without a blush.

‘So do I,’ said another check-out girl behind mine. She didn’t turn round, she just kept serving a man who looked as if he’d rather be anywhere else except in Marks & Spencer listening to a group of over-sexed women.

During all this my toilet paper was winging its way through the scanner.

Still beaming at me, my check-out girl looked at the queue who were all watching me.

I nodded, gave them big eyes and smiled.

‘We have quite a lot of authors in this town,’ the woman in her sixties cocked her head to watch me hand over my bank card. I keyed in my pin. Her mouth kept flapping, ‘You should do a talk at the library.’

No chance.

‘Good idea. I’d come to that,’ another woman said.

By this time I was trying really hard not to laugh like a lunatic and was putting the card in my purse.

‘Do you have a business card?’ The woman in her sixties asked.

‘I do,’ I said. And handed her one.

‘Please will you autograph one for me,’ my check-out girl begged.


By this time I was pledging never, ever to set foot in the store for as long as I live.

‘Sure.’ I signed it, grabbed my bags.

‘Oh look, she’s wearing a hat! She’s travelling incognito!’ the check-out girl from hell cried.

‘No, no. I’ve had my hair done and it’s raining. Seriously. Can I just say that you’re totally insane?’ I told her.

She just laughed, stood up and grabbed me in a big hug.

‘I’m going to spread the word, tell all my family and my friends.’

I bit down really hard on my bottom lip. ‘You’re very kind,’ I said.

As I hightailed it through the store towards the exit, I couldn’t help it. I cried laughing.

And do you know that three people stopped me to ask if I was alright?

Who says kindness is dead?

I haven’t been back. Not yet. But when I do its dark glasses and a ski cap with a muffler for me, or maybe I’ll use the self-service check-out. Might be safer.

Have you ever been mortified by someone in your life?

Come and share it with us, knowing you lot there’ll be lots of good ones!

Big Hug,

Christine x


Hello, my lovelies.

This was taken in the lovely Cheshire town of Wilmslow last week. I’m a regular visitor, usually with one or both of my daughters where we enjoy a coffee at a French cafe people watching before surfing through Benetton. We’ve shopped at the Benetton store in Wilmslow for over twenty years. And if you just happen to be passing feel free to pop in and say hello because the people who run it deserve a big gold star for customer service and buying choices. The stock is always fantastic. Awesomesauce.

Speaking of sartorial choices, a recent survey came to my attention a couple of weeks ago. Apparently, and this is true, fifty per cent of the men responding to the survey admitted to being dressed by their wife, partner or significant other. For example, ‘helping them choose which tie went with which shirt.’

Hmm. I can hear many of you sputtering over your coffee, ‘Nonsense!’ I hear you cry.

Well, I’ve got news for you. I don’t let mine out of the door unless I’ve cast a wary eye over what he’s wearing. You see mine likes to wear his ‘favourite’ shirt/jeans/cords/shoes etc., until they’re threadbare which is fine as long as I’m not with him. BUT when I go out with him, he’d better be polished, coordinated and a picture of sartorial elegance and that includes zipping up his fly.

Why is it a man can forget to zip up his fly? I remember once walking down the high street in our town and out of the corner of my eye I realised his gate was open. ‘ZIP!’ I hissed and walked in front of him so that he could do it unobtrusively. Can’t call me a passive-aggressive – I’m aggressive all the way.

Anyway, I asked my good friend Mags about this. Mags is a card carrying feminist. Did she dress her husband? I wondered.  She rolled her eyes and said, ‘Of course I do. I’ve better things to do with my time than argue with him about choices. I make it easy and don’t give him a choice. If I left it up to him he’d look like reject from Oxfam.’

‘That’s a bit harsh, isn’t it?’ I said. Her husband’s a big pussy cat and lovely.

She snorted. ‘I draw the line at matching anoraks. Those woollen hats with a pompom irritate the hell out of me too.’

Oookay. Since I’ve been giving the survey much thought (instead of editing the hard bits of Run, Rosie, Run) I reckon being married is why men can’t be bothered. Once they’ve snared won the woman of their heart’s desire, most married men care about their clothes the way they might look after bird seed: with a total lack of care and attention.

However, there is one part of Hugo’s wardrobe that certainly claims his attention. Gilets and cargo pants. He has duck down gilets, quilted, cotton, waterproof and many more and in many colour ways and the reason for that is they have plenty of pockets. It’s the pockets that do it for him. A pocket for his cell phone. A pocket for his keys. A pocket for his wallet. A pocket for loose change. A special pocket for pens. A pocket for his camera lens. A pocket for his glasses. A secret pocket for his secret cigars. (Supposed to have kicked that habit, darling.)

I blame David Beckham for the unfortunate rise in popularity of the woollen cardigan among middle-aged men who should know better. It is not a good look, guys. David is built like Adonis and as much as it pains me to tell you this. You do not.

So, guys, do you allow your wife to dress you?

Girls, do you dress your husband?

You know I adore hearing from you!


PS Reckless Nights In Rome is at varying levels in the top twenty in iTunes across many countries and sales of A Stormy Spring are rocking too. Click on the iTunes link on the top right hand corner of the blog to get your free copy of Reckless! Enjoy!





Hello darlings,

Read this story and simply needed to share. It’s by The Mail’s Jan Moir about a toy shop in London:


About six weeks ago, my lovely godson Nye Davies took it upon himself to write to his favorite toy shop.

In a letter to a London branch of Hawkin’s Bazaar, Nye explained he wanted to own a joke shop when he grew up and wondered if the Bazaar had any Saturday jobs going as he needed to get some experience.

Yes, he already has a busy schedule that includes school, rugby and the regular consumption of sausages, but good to know that my Nye is planning ahead.

This week, coincidentally, on his eighth birthday, Nye received a huge box of lovely presents, including a radio-controlled car and a revolving planetarium.

Who were these extravagant gifts from, wondered his parents?

Surely not his daffy fairy godmother Jan, because her presents always arrive about a week late! In fact the parcel was sent from a Tina Campbell of Hawkin’s Bazaar and included a note thanking Nye for his lovely letter and explaining he was a little too young to work in one of their shops, but that they would be delighted to employ him when he was older.

She also hoped Nye enjoyed the gifts and wondered if he would like to tour their factory and play with some of the toys there.

Isn’t that charming? We hear so much about poor service in these straitened times, so how cheering to see such a triumph in customer relations.

A hat tip to you, Hawkin’s Bazaar.

And a big hug to Tina Campbell, who – out of the simple goodness of her heart – nourished a little boy’s dreams, encouraged his ambition and absolutely made his eighth birthday.


I LOVED this story because most of the time customer service in shops has me spitting nails.

Like the time I entered a bank in Zimbabwe and found the tellers with their bum perched on a desk discussing a romantic interlude that had gone wrong while the queue was growing to the door and the customers stood there like lemmings and said nothing. Until, I let rip and then I received a ‘hear, hear’ from all the customers and then I let rip into them for just standing there accepting poor service. Lucky for them I just happened to have the Managing Director’s telephone number on me and was happy to share. His wife later asked me if I’d been in the Borrowdale branch and I said yes, and she said, ‘He thought it must have been you. They said a scary Scottish woman told them to phone him to complain.

Or the time in the supermarket when I’d been charged twice for a microwave and when I mentioned it to the girl at the checkout she said it was too late to reimburse me the money because she’d just closed the till and I’d need to go to customer service with the receipt for a refund. Eh? It’s not often I’m speechless, but even my daughter’s eyes went huge at that one! (She’s laid back and easy-going compared to her mother.)

And this week I’ve had another great experience with Kobo customer service who have put up my romance A Stormy Spring on their site – woo hoo!

And since I’ve your undivided attention, here’s an excerpt – please feel free to share around your social networks.

A Stormy Spring

A Stormy Spring


‘If I could move the way she does I’d be useless in the kitchen too,’ Moira informed him, totally unrepentant that she’d overheard part of their conversation.

Lucas caught Becca’s shocked wide-eyed stare.

Si, my housekeeper has no filter between her brain and her mouth.’

Completely unfazed by the insult, Moira simply shot him a look.

‘Lunch is served in the orangery.’

Becca turned laughing eyes on him. ‘I’ll go and change.’

But he captured her hand in his. ‘No, please, let me have the pleasure of looking at you just as you are. And I have a present for you.’

Moments later Becca caught her hands behind her back and peered up into his face.

‘Are you serious?’

Baffled, he looked at her. ‘It is a laptop.’

She stared at it as if it was an atomic bomb. ‘I know it’s a laptop. But I’m a complete technophobe. It’ll probably burst into flames or self-destruct.’

He blinked. ‘What about social networking?’


‘Shopping, email, facebook, twitter, pinterest?’

‘Nope. And I don’t want to know what pinterest is.’

‘It is very creative, you would enjoy it. What about business?’

Becca shook her head still glowering at the laptop. ‘I do my level best never to be left in a room alone with one.’

Bewildered now he stared at her. ‘Alone with one what?’

‘A computer.’ His laugh had her glare at him. ‘Seriously, you never know what it might do.’

Querida,’ he said in a silky voice. ‘I will show you.’

‘If an IT wizard couldn’t teach me, what makes you think you’ll crack it?’

He gave his signature shrug. ‘It is very simple and you are clever and creative.’

She simply stared at the slim silver laptop and didn’t bother to hide the bitterness in her voice.

‘Life was so much easier when Apple and Blackberry were fruit.’


There’s a reason I’ve used that excerpt and it’s because I’ve a new Mac and the word Demented is now used to describe me in this house. I’ve just sent away for iPages for Dummies and since I can touch type the keyboard’s driving me crazy too so we’re buying a new one and since it needs to be compatible with a Mac it’s costing a bloody fortune. Thus far I am NOT impressed.

You know your comments make my week!

So, tell us, what fabulous customer service have you enjoyed? Let’s give them a BIG round of applause!

What customer service has been bloody awful? Name and shame them here!