8.38 a.m. It’s the morning after Pamela’s Book club session.
I am lying in state on the sofa with a cold flannel on my forehead and Beryl, my author assistant, holding my hand.
“I am not going to drink wine ever again Beryl!” I groan, closing my eyes and squeezing her hand.
“I know dear” soothes Beryl.
“I am never going to a Book Club session ever again!” I whimper.
“I know dear” soothes Beryl.
“I think I am close to the pearly gates Beryl” I moan, wondering whether my time on Earth is up. If I do pass over due to my hangover no one will get to read ‘Beautiful & Kidnapped’
“Don’t die just yet Tina as I have a book signing to go to in an hour” says Beryl.
I sit bolt upright and chuck my cold compress away. “What did you say?” I demand, glaring at my assistant.
“The author of Ghost Romance, Barbara Houghton, is going to be signing her book at the local store on the high street. I fancied going along to meet her” announces Beryl.
“I loved that book!” I mumble as the room starts to sway. Nausea washes over me. “It was the book we discussed last night at the Book Club”
“I loved it too!” exclaims Beryl, sensing trouble and leaning over to push me back down onto the sofa.
“Oh I adored the bit in the book when she woke up after dreaming about him…and he was sat on the end of her bed waiting for her. It wasn’t creepy at all!” Beryl purrs.
“Calm down Beryl, Barbara Houghton is not the only one who can write a good story” I snap, feeling irritated at Beryl’s author infatuation and at Pamela for making me drink so much wine.
“I would ask you to come with me but you don’t look very well” say Beryl, casting me a look of concern.
“I would love to come with you!” I shriek, sitting bolt upright again and visualising Babs (I am sure all her author mates call her this) and I taking selfies, tweeting each other and organising literary lunches.
“The author of ‘Ghost Romance’ and I could become great literary friends !” I say, as the room starts to spin. Beryl quickly pushes me back down onto the sofa.
“Tina, Barbara Houghton is a proper author. She does not go to Book Club meetings and drink too much wine!” exclaims Beryl, passing me a sick bowl.
I am prickling with agitation at Beryl. How dare she say that I am not a proper author?
9.08 a.m. Beryl is going to the Book Signing armed with some spare tissues, a copy of Ghost Romance for Babs to sign and some peppermints in case meeting a famous author brings on her indigestion.
I am preparing to dazzle Barbara and any literary professionals who are wandering about. So I am going armed with:
- A copy of Beautiful & Kidnapped (missing the last 12k words)
- A printed copy of my political thriller ‘Intrigue at No. 10 Downing St’
- A bottle of water
- A box of headache tablets
- A hand held fan – to stop the nausea
- A copy of Ghost Romance.
- Dark shades – to hide the fact that I have a raging hangover and look like something which has just been dug up.
Beryl has been busy printing out copies of my work, whilst I lie in a helpless state on the sofa.
“I don’t see why you have to take all your work to a book signing Tina!” snaps Beryl, as the printer jams with paper.
“I am hot property in the literary world so an opportunity to show someone your world will arise” I say, struggling to sit up.
Beryl mutters something to herself and shakes her head.
“Errrr…Beryl can you make sure the paper is not creased and the printer jam light is still flashing” I say pointing behind her.
9.55 a.m. We are stood in the queue for the book signing.
I have propped myself up against a Science Fiction book shelf and asked Beryl to fan me.
10.30 a.m. There seems to be a delay as Barbara Houghton has disappeared from her book signing table.
Beryl is busy gossiping with the lady in front of us in the queue, whilst I am concentrating on breathing in and out. This hangover is getting worse.
11.00 a.m. Still no sign of the author. I feel sick.
11.09 a.m. I am running at speed through the shop and up the escalator to the customer toilets.
Luckily only one cubicle is taken and there is no queue. I fly towards a toilet basin.
As I cling onto the toilet for dear life I hear groaning in the cubicle next door.
“Oh…I feel so rough!” groans a female voice.
“Tell me about it!” I moan back. “I am never going to a Book Club evening ever again!”
I hear a little giggle. “I was at a Book Club evening too last night!” chuckles the voice.
“They are wild literary events!” I say, gripping onto the white basin as the toilet cubicle starts to sway.
“My readers certainly know how to review a book and enjoy themselves at the same time!” groans the voice.
I lift my head and stare in astonishment at the wall of the cubicle. “Are you a writer?” I ask, trembling at the thought of being in close proximity to another writer.
“Yes” says the voice. “I am supposed to be doing a book signing downstairs but I feel really rough…we had wine and cocktails last night…ugh!”
“OMG are you Barbara Houghton?” I screech. “You wrote ‘Ghost Romance!”
“Yes I am and that is my book. What do you do?” asks Barbara, through the toilet cubicle wall.
“I’m Tina and I am a writer too!” I gush with pride. Announcing that I am a writer fills me with such joy, even as I hang my head over a toilet basin.
“Nice to meet you Tina” groans Barbara.
“You too!” I moan.
“I need something to take my mind off this hangover!” mutters Barbara from her cubicle.
A cunning plan springs to mind.
12.34 p.m. I feel a lot better and I am getting ready to walk up to Barbara’s book signing table.
Beryl didn’t believe me when I told her that Barbara and I had met in the toilets, whilst heaving our guts up.
“Are you hallucinating again Tina?” she asked, before whispering something to the woman next to her.
12.36 p.m. Beryl is hopping from one to foot to another with excitement, as Barbara Houghton signs her book.
Barbara turns to look at me. I am still wearing my shades and clutching the paper copies of my work. Her face breaks into a huge grin.
“Hello Tina” she says, making Beryl stare at me in surprise.
Barbara spends a few minutes writing something inside the cover of my ‘Ghost Romance’ copy. This makes Beryl roll her eyes.
Barbara finally hands my book to me and gives me a cheeky wink.
As I move along and open the book I see that Barbara has scribbled her email address and the words ‘Tina – thx for being there for me in my hour of need. It was great that you had a copy of ‘Beautiful & Kidnapped’ on hand to read to me. It took my mind off my sickness. Let’s have coffee sometime Barbara x’
12.50 p.m. Beryl keeps giving me odd looks as we walk home.
“I thought you were at death’s door?” Beryl asks.
“Barbara Houghton made me feel a lot better!” I say with a smile.