Sunday, 25 January 2015

Releasing Your Creativity

Are you a writer who feels creatively blocked or unmotivated? If so, my first course with The Writers' Study might be the perfect solution for you. It is a four week course, designed to get you inspired and motivated for future or current writing projects.

I am really excited about starting the course on 9th February, and hope you can join us.

Find out more here: www.WritersStudy.blogspot.com.

Follow me!

I have Twitter and Instagram accounts if you'd like to give me a follow. My name is MMWriterGirl on both. I also have FaceBook at The Official Michelle Morgan Author Page.

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Well, well, well!

My goodness I am so embarrassed that I haven't updated my blog for so long. But I do have a good excuse - I was busy, busy, busy writing three books and setting up other aspects of my business. So let me share the news with you now....

 
The Mammoth Book of Madonna is out in the UK in April, and the USA in May. To say I am excited would be an understatement, and I absolutely love the cover. I haven't seen the physical book yet but I have seen the layouts and it is really lovely. I am a  huge Madonna fan as you know, so to have written a celebration of her life and work has been a dream-come-true for me. I can't wait to see what it looks like, and I'm very anxious to see it published. Oh and also my publisher is busy looking into selling overseas rights as we speak, so watch this space for further news as I get it.

You can order the UK version of the book here:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Madonna-Michelle-Morgan/dp/1472118863/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1421757896&sr=8-1&keywords=madonna+michelle+morgan

And the USA version of the book here:
http://www.amazon.com/Mammoth-Book-Madonna-Michelle-Morgan/dp/0762456213/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1421758014&sr=8-1&keywords=madonna+michelle+morgan

***

Before Marilyn: The Blue Book Modelling Years by myself and Astrid Franse, will be out in the UK in July. As we speak, the publisher is just putting the finishing touches to the cover design, and as soon as I have a green light, I will share it here. I must say that the cover as I have seen it, is bright, colourful and very, very beautiful. I'm sure it won't disappoint!

The book itself was finished at the end of October and sent to the publisher in November. Astrid and I worked very hard to make sure that the text and photos were delivered to the publisher on time, and now we are waiting for the edits and layouts to arrive. I for one cannot wait to see what the publisher does with the materials. The book was hard work due to the volume of materials involved, and a lot of time was spent organising everything. But this book is one-of-a-kind and I am so pleased to have been asked to provide the text for it. The story of Marilyn's association with the Blue Book Agency has never been fully told until now, and it is a story that will take the reader on a voyage of different emotions, from hopeful to happy, to sad and heart-breaking. It made me smile and shed the odd tear, and I am sure when I see what the book finally looks like, I will shed many more.

The UK will see the release in early July. As yet there are no dates for the rest of the world,(but watch this space for further details). It is - of course - available to order from all the usual online sources around the world, including Amazon:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Before-Marilyn-Blue-Modelling-Years/dp/0750961171/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1421758134&sr=1-1&keywords=before+Marilyn

***

My Thelma Todd book has been renamed The Ice Cream Blonde and will be published by Chicago Review Press in the USA in October. The book was finished in September and the publisher is in the process of organising the line edits as we speak. I don't mind telling you that I'm kind of dreading the edits coming in, because this was a huge story with many twists and turns, especially towards the end. I'm sure there will be many questions to answer, but I know that by the end of the process, there will be a book that is concise, informative and worthwhile. I think it is one of the most rewarding books I have ever worked on, and I'm very, very proud that I was able to tackle it with the respect that Thelma deserves. I grew to love her so much during the research and writing of the book and I know that I will adore and collect items related to her, for the rest of my life.

The publisher is working on the cover at the moment and I will share it as soon as I am able to. I can tell you that from the sample I've been sent, it is one of the best covers I have ever seen in my entire life. I can't wait to share it with you all.

The book is not on Amazon just yet, but I will be sure to post the links as soon as it is.

***

The Carole Lombard book is with my agent, and doing the rounds with publishers as we speak. I will let you know when I have some firm news, but I am very keen to get it finished and out in the next year. Watch this space!!

***

 
I have written an article for Vintage Life magazine recently, which deals with old magazine adverts and the often crazy and funny things they tried to sell us 'back in the day.' I am told it will be in a future edition of the magazine - I'm thinking probably April time - but I will let you know when I hear more.
 
***
 
As I look to the future, I am very excited and happy to announce that I have added another branch to my career. Inspired by the many questions and emails I have had over the years, I have created The Writers' Study, a series of courses and workshops for creative people. These workshops are designed to inspire, motivate and inform people who are interested not only the business of writing, but in using the art to release their own creativity.
 
I have created a special blog especially for The Writers' Study and it can be viewed here:
 
 
The first course will be announced very soon, so check it out!
 
***
 
I think that's about all I can share with you right now. I have lots of plans and projects that are quietly bubbling away, and I will be happy to share those when I can. Until then, Happy New Year and I hope that 2015 is a good one for all of us.
 
Warmly
 
Michelle
 
 
 
 
 


Sunday, 11 May 2014

News, News, News

Wow I cannot believe I haven't updated my blog since November!  Yikes, I am sorry for being so lax!  However, here I am now and I have some great news to share.....

  1. The Thelma Todd book is going very well.  I am more than half-way through the writing, and it is all on schedule to be finished by the deadline in September.  I must say that I am having such a lovely time working on the book.  I'll admit that on the days when I'm working on the death section, it is fairly draining due to trying to figure out solutions to a case that is almost 80 years old.  But I do feel as though I am getting somewhere with it, and dispelling some of the myths that have sprung up over the years.  The rest of the book - Thelma's life and career, is going fabulously too, and I love every minute of working on it.  She was a terrific woman and writing about her life certainly cheers me up.  It will be published by Chicago Review Press, in Autumn/Winter 2015.
  2. I am really pleased to tell you that 'Marilyn's Blue Book Years' now has a publisher and can be pre-ordered on Amazon!  We are really excited about it, and Astrid and I are working hard on obtaining information that is rare and previously unknown.  I am working on the text while Astrid works on the photos, and we are on schedule to meet our deadline of February 2015.  The book will be published by The History Press in August 2015.
  3. Astrid and I are trying to find the estates of the following photographers, so that we can contact them about our book: Lawrence Kronquist, Leo Caloia, Bob Earle (aka Photography By Earle), H Maier Studios, Ed Cronenworth, Laszlo Willinger, and Potter Heuth.   If anyone can share any information, or if you’d like to help try to find them, we’d absolutely love it.  Please let us know if you can help, and thanks so much in advance!!
  4. I am proud, pleased and excited to announce that I have just been commissioned to write an illustrated book about Madonna.  Since I have been a fan from the age of 14, this project is a dream come true, and involves me choosing 220 photos, and writing extended captions to go with each one.  The book will be published by Constable/Little, Brown in Spring 2015, and to say I am pleased would be an understatement.  It really is a wonderful project and gives me a great excuse to watch Madonna interviews and videos on a very regular basis!  Anyone who knows me will tell you that I simply adore Madonna, and it seems really fitting that on the 30th anniversary of me discovering her (whilst she was on Top of the Pops singing Like A Virgin) I am now working on this book.  I will look forward to sharing it with you all next year.
  5. Finally, the secret project I was working on late last year is still progressing.  I need to make a few adjustments, and then it will be sent off to the interested party...  I can't tell you any more than that at this moment, but let's just say that if it all goes ahead, this will be the biggest thing I have ever worked on in my life.  I'll keep you up-to-date as things develop.
  6. The Carole Lombard project is currently on-hold while I work through the projects I've mentioned above.  However, I am working on a proposal for the book, which I will give to my agent in due course, and hopefully I will be able to obtain a publisher who will give her the attention she deserves, before long.
I think we've caught up on everything now.  I promise not to be so long in sharing news with you in future, and I hope you are all having a great spring!

Best
Michelle

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Exclusive News - Thelma Todd Book!


Several weeks ago I promised you some exclusive news.  Well here I am, and at last I can finally tell you that I have just signed a contract with Chicago Review Press, to write my long-awaited book about Thelma Todd.  This is a huge deal for me because I have wanted to write the book for almost four years now.  It took a long time to get together a proposal that both myself and my agent were happy with, but finally last year we found the perfect words, and two months ago, Chicago Review Press made an offer to publish.  CRP are also the authors of the new book on Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle, entitled 'Room 1219,' which has had fabulous reviews.  For this and many other reasons, I know that CRP are the perfect publisher for my Thelma book.

Provisionally titled '271 Steps: The Mysterious Life and Death of Thelma Todd', the book will chart Thelma's life from birth to death, and will include a special investigation into what I believe happened to her on that last, fateful evening.

I am hard at work on the research and writing of the book, and am currently looking for anyone who can help with rare documents, letters, photographs etc, and would love to hear from anyone in that regard.  Perhaps you know someone who owns something rare, or was related to Thelma in some way; or maybe you have a photo that you would like to share.  If that is you, I'd love to hear from you.  Just leave a message and your email address in the comments section, and I will get straight back to you. (please note that all comments are private until I approve them, so you can leave your email address in confidence that it won't be published here).

So that is my news, and I hope you are as excited about it as I am. You will see the finished product in December 2015, to coincide with the 80th anniversary of Thelma's passing.  It seems far away, but when you have 80,000 words to write before September 2014, it is actually quite close!  So I must get back to it, but look out for news and updates along the way towards publication.

Thanks for all your support!


Thursday, 31 October 2013

News!

Hello Everyone!

I just wanted to share some news with you all, about my forthcoming and current projects.....

First of all, I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who has bought my book, 'The Mammoth Book of Hollywood Scandals' so far.  The response has been very positive and I'm so glad that people are enjoying it.  One thing I'd like to address, are the publication dates, which are as follows:

UK (published by Constable & Robinson) - 17th October.
USA (published by Running Press) - 3rd December (though Amazon seems to have the Kindle version available now).

The rest of the world seems to be coming out at any time between those two dates, so if you can't find it straight away, please ask your local book shop and they'll be able to tell you when the book is out.  It is currently available in hundreds of Waterstones stores up and down the UK, and of course is on sale at Amazon, WH Smith etc.  I am absolutely thrilled with the way the book came out, and it makes a great Christmas present for anyone and everyone interested in scandals from the 1920s to the present day!

I'd also like to thank everyone who continues to buy the Marilyn biography, which is still selling well, over a year after publication.  It truly was a great honour for me to tell Marilyn's story in the updated book and so I'm glad people are enjoying it.

'Marilyn's Blue Book Days' is going well and I'm hoping to bring you some good news about that, some time next year.  In the meantime, please join the FaceBook page dedicated to the project:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/629269130427851/

I am currently working on a secret project which - when finished - should be huge!  It is one of the hardest, but most rewarding things I have worked on and I can't wait to share that news with you as soon as possible.  It won't be until next year, but believe me, if all goes well it will be worth the wait.

After the success of my V & A talk, I'm happy to say that I will probably be returning next summer, to talk about The Mammoth Book of Hollywood Scandals.  Watch this space for more details....

Lots of people have been asking me about the Carole Lombard book.  Well I am still writing it, but the focus has changed from a straight-forward biography, to what I  hope will be a beautiful coffee-table book.  My ideas changed after receiving a great many fabulous photos which need to be published in a glossy book in my opinion.  With that in mind, the search is on for a publisher who will be able to do this, and I will keep you up-to-date on all developments.

Finally, in a few weeks time I will be able to share some very, very exciting news about an upcoming project with you all.  For now my lips must remain sealed but I am ecstatically happy and will look forward to being able to tell you all about it soon....

I promise I will update the blog with more news soon.  Until then, please feel free to join my official page on FaceBook:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/124973377514850/

Thanks everyone and Happy Halloween!!

Love
Michelle






Thursday, 17 October 2013

The Mammoth Book of Hollywood Scandals



I am thrilled that publication day is finally here for my new book, 'The Mammoth Book of Hollywood Scandals'.  I'm really excited to learn that Amazon seems to be re-stocking their supplies, after selling out of pre-ordered copies, and almost every Waterstones store in the UK is currently selling more than one copy of the book.

Some people have been asking me if I have plans to do some book signings.  I don't at the moment, but anything I do decide to do, will be reported here so please keep checking back.

Until then, thanks to everyone who has bought the book and I hope you enjoy it!!!

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Marilyn's Blue Book Days

Astrid Franse, Michelle Morgan and Van Osch Film Produkties are proud to announce Marilyn’s Blue Book Days, (working title) comprising a book and documentary, celebrating Marilyn Monroe, the Blue Book Model Agency and agency boss Emmeline Snively. 

In 1945, Norma Jeane Dougherty walked into the Blue Book Model Agency and was immediately signed to their books.  From that moment on, her career went from being a little-known model to an International starlet, with her image gracing magazine covers around the world.  It wasn’t long before Norma Jeane was signed to Twentieth Century Fox, her name changed to Marilyn Monroe and her acting career began.  However, Marilyn still modelled occasionally for Blue Book and its associated photographers, and Miss Snively kept in touch with the young woman who the agency had catapulted into stardom.

When Marilyn sadly passed away in 1962, Miss Snively put her agency records into a storage box, where they stayed until Astrid and Ben Franse discovered them many years later.  The box was taken to the Netherlands, and the announcement in 2012 of what was found inside, created headlines around the world.  Eager to tell the story of Marilyn and Emmeline, Astrid has now begun work on the documentary project with film-makers Frank van Osch and Suzanne van Leendert, and the book with author Michelle Morgan.  The intention of both is simple: during her lifetime, Miss Snively tried to make the files into a book or film herself, so everyone is adamant that this project should be an extension of what Miss Snively began all those years ago.

The book and documentary are not biographies; they are instead a unique look into Marilyn’s early career in the 1940s, and her continuing relationship with the Blue Book Agency.  At the same time the projects will also give an insight into Emmeline herself; telling the fascinating story of how she played her part in creating a legend.  “If Miss Snively hadn’t been around, there would not have been a Marilyn,” says Astrid.  “She discovered her, she saw her potential.”

The book, Marilyn’s Blue Book Days will begin with Emmeline Snively discovering that her most famous client has passed away, and will then travel back in time to the early days of the agency, and of Marilyn Monroe’s early life and modelling career.  We will discover how she became a Blue Book Model in 1945; what Miss Snively thought of the young girl who walked into her office; and the modelling jobs and personal appearances she had during the years ahead.  The project will be a tribute to Marilyn, Emmeline, the agency itself, and the models who walked through its doors in search of fame and fortune.

There is a FaceBook page dedicated to the project, which all fans are very welcome to join.  You can join here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/629269130427851/

For Archive and Exhibition queries, please contact Astrid Franse: astridfranse[at]Hotmail[dot]com.


For book queries, please contact Astrid Franse: astridfranse[at]Hotmail[dot]com and Michelle Morgan: Michelle[at]MichelleMorgan[dot]co[dot]uk

For documentary queries, please contact Suzanne van Leendert: Suzanne[at]vofprodukties[dot]tv


 

Thursday, 8 August 2013

News, news and more news....

Goodness, has it really been so long since I updated my blog?  Time flies by when you're having fun, and I can certainly say that I'm having lots of that!

I'm working on many projects at the moment (some I'm not allowed to talk about but believe me they are very exciting!) and here is some news about everything I'm up to:

1) The V and A talk was amazing and lots of people turned out to see me and have their books signed afterwards.  I'm really pleased about that and I'm happy to say that they have asked me back to do a talk about the Hollywood Scandals book!  My parents had a lovely time too and we all enjoyed a beautiful meal and a wander round London afterwards.  Here are a few photographs taken at the event....


 
 

2)  I'm happy to say that I'm in the process of having a play published.  It was written several years ago with Hollywood scriptwriter Steve Hayes, and will be available soon (more news on that later).  For now, take a look at the fun cover:

 
 
3) The Mammoth Book of Hollywood Scandals is going to be published in the UK in October and the USA in December.  I will be receiving my author copies next month (eek!!) so I will share my thoughts with you then.  I'm very excited about this book and can't wait until it is released.  I'm crossing my fingers that it becomes a bestseller like the Marilyn book did, so we will wait and see!
 
4)  Carole Lombard: Twentieth Century Star is still being worked on.  I must admit that for the past month I have not been able to do as much work as I had hoped (for reasons I will reveal soon!) but it is still on course to be finished in early 2014, with a summer 2014 release date.
 
 
I think that's about it for now but I promise to update you all on more news very soon.  Until then, have a very happy summer and thanks for your continued support!!
 
Love
Michelle


Friday, 24 May 2013

Marilyn Monroe - The Victoria and Albert Museum

Hello Everyone

I'm so sorry I haven't updated my blog in so long.  I have lots of work at the moment and promise to fill you in very soon. 

In the meantime, there are still some tickets left for my talk at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, on 6th June. If you would like to come, please check out the website attached and call the number to book your tickets... (You don't need to be a member). Thanks!! 

http://www.vam.ac.uk/whatson/event/2361/marilyn-monroe-private-and-undisclosed-3646/

Monday, 11 March 2013

The V & A

Tickets for my talk at the Victoria and Albert in June, go on sale today.  Tickets are mainly for members only, but I have arranged for some to be reserved for my readers.  If you would like to come and hear me speak, and then have refreshments/book signing afterwards, the website has all you need to know, as well as the telephone number to call.

Here is a link to their site:

 http://www.vam.ac.uk/whatson/event/2361/date/20130606/

Monday, 4 March 2013

The Victoria and Albert Museum

Ladies and Gentlemen, here is my big announcement....
 
On the afternoon of Thursday 6 June I will be appearing at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, to give a one hour talk about Marilyn and my book. It will be followed by refreshments and a book signing. Tickets are strictly for members of the museum only but I have arranged for a limited amount to be put aside for my friends and readers. Tickets go on sale next Monday and more information can be found by clicking the link below. I have known about this since last year, so it's lovely to be able to share it with you now! I hope to see some of you there!
 

Thursday, 28 February 2013

Hollywood Scandals

Ladies and Gentlemen.... Here is the cover for my book, The Mammoth Book of Hollywood Scandals, coming October 2013......

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Dale Robertson

I was really sad today, to hear the news of Dale Robertson's passing.  I interviewed him whilst writing the first edition of 'Marilyn Monroe: Private and Undisclosed' and he had nothing but the nicest things to say about Marilyn.  In addition to that, he was also extremely sweet to me when I spoke to him on the telephone, and it was an absolute honour for me to interview him.
 
The thing about being a biographer of people long-gone, is that you come into contact with many people who knew your subject but who are in advancing years themselves.  They are often happy to talk about the person you are writing about as well as anything else too - the weather, the state of the world, their favourite films...  I can't remember much of what we spoke about outside of Marilyn, but I do know I told him that I thought he was a gorgeous looking man.  I can't remember what he said in reply, but I do know he laughed and made a little joke of it.  But who can blame me for thinking he was good looking - take a look at the man and you'll know exactly what I mean!
 
I don't know about other biographers but I for one have become very close to some of the people I have interviewed.  I won't pretend that I was close to Dale Robertson, in fact I never spoke to him again after I had interviewed him back in 2006, but he was such a lovely person that I truly felt very blessed to have been in touch with him, no matter how short our association had been.
 
For my book, Dale told me that he knew Marilyn and the two would often go to ball games together.  They enjoyed each other's company, but there was never a question of romance between the two.  "We just weren't attracted to each other," he admitted.
 
While he did find Marilyn to be a good sport and someone he enjoyed being with, underneath her persona he sensed a sadness in her which he still remembered over fifty years later.  "She had a rough time for a while," he told me, "and her biggest enemy was herself."
 
So now the time has come to say good bye to Dale Robertson.  He lived a long life, and left behind films and memories that will live on forever, but he will be sadly missed by everyone who's life he touched.  I for one will never forget the kindness he showed me when talking to me about his friendship with Marilyn.  I am a true believer in the after life and I hope that when he meets Marilyn in heaven, they'll go to another ball game together.  You never know, they may even see Joe DiMaggio play, while they are there.
 
I hope they do.
 
 
 
 
 

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

MY BOOK HAS A TITLE!!!

Excuse me for shouting, but I am proud and happy to say that my Carole Lombard book now has an amazing and fabulous final title.

After Swing High, Swing Low turned out to be a rugby song, I knew I'd have to put my thinking cap on and decide again.  Well tonight I was chatting with my author friend Lyndsy and she suggested...

Wait for it.....

CAROLE LOMBARD: TWENTIETH CENTURY STAR.

What do you think?  I absolutely love it.  Twentieth Century was one of Carole's films, plus she was a very forward thinking and modern lady for her time and so the title fits Miss Lombard perfectly.  I am absolutely thrilled to pieces to finally have a title I am truly happy with.

Hooray!

Now back to work to get this biography finished!!!

Marilyn's Footsteps

My book, 'Marilyn's Footsteps' is still on sale. It is a book filled with addresses and background on the places Marilyn lived, worked, played, ate, and much more! 

Marilyn's Footsteps

It can be ordered here:
http://www.lulu.com/shop/michelle-morgan/marilyns-footsteps/paperback/product-20058020.html

Monday, 25 February 2013

Carole and Co

The Carole and Co website has done a piece about the Carole Lombard biography, which can be seen by clicking the link below, along with some nice photos of Carole too:

http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/578542.html

Please note, the cover of my Marilyn book that can be seen in the feature, is not actually the one used in the published version.  This was a very early version of the proposed 2007 cover, so don't panic if you see it and think it is a whole different book - it isn't. :-)

Also, I've had lots of feedback about the proposal title of my book, 'Carole Lombard: Swing High, Swing Low.'  Some people love it, while others have said it is also the title of a rugby song (which I did not know previously.)  Of course I chose the words Swing High Swing Low because of Carole's film of the same name, but perhaps if it has too close an association with rugby, I may have to change.

Do you have any ideas for a great title?  If so, leave a comment here.  I'd love to hear from you!!

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Changeling... And Christine Collins

Here is the trailer of an amazing film, and the lady at the heart of the story - Christine Collins - is featured in my Hollywood Scandals book. 

I often have a romantic idea of what 1920s Los Angeles was like, but the story of Christine Collins shows that evil has always existed, no matter what era.... If you haven't seen this film, I truly consider it a 'must see.' http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=PmfjureC-5I


News, news, news....

I have been working hard on the Carole Lombard biography over the past few weeks and have acquired a great many photographs, as well as articles, interviews, documents and much more.  I am really enjoying it very much I must say, though I will admit that it took me a while to get back into it after the intensity of writing Hollywood Scandals.  BUT I'm now very much into Carole and I couldn't be happier.

So do you want to know the title of the book?  Well I have today decided that it will be called.... drum roll please..... 'Carole Lombard: Swing High, Swing Low.'  The subtitle is the name of one of her films, and also quite fitting for her life too, which did have swings of great highs and sad lows....  I'm very happy with the title, and hope that readers will be too!

I am still on the look-out for photographs, articles, interviews, letters and documents related to Carole's life, so if you have anything that can help me, please, please, please leave a comment on the bottom of this page so that I can contact you.  I'd be really grateful!  Also, if you know anyone who knew someone who knew Carole.... well I'd love to hear from you too. :-)

In other news, this week my Hollywood Scandals book will be going to the copy editor who will be contacting me with any queries he has in the next few weeks.  I'm looking forward to it because I know then that the book will be moving forward in a positive way and I will be able to clear up anything that needs to be ironed out in the manuscript.  After that I will be looking forward to Easter, when I will receive the proofs, which is always a hugely exciting time for me.  I love looking through everything when it is starting to look like a real book, and as soon as that's done, it will be onto the publication date which will be in October for the UK and December for USA.

Several weeks ago I received a photograph of the cover, which I will be revealing very soon.  It is fabulous.  Very different than I thought; very modern and colourful, and I love it.  Watch this space for more details!

Finally, my Marilyn book is up to 103 reviews on Amazon.com!  I can hardly believe it!  Okay so I'd quite happily throw at least 15 of those out of the window, but the rest of them are great, and I'm very proud of the amount of comments my little book has received.  If you haven't yet reviewed the book, please consider doing so.  But please be kind! :-)  Thank you!

And with that, I shall get back to working on the Carole book.  Thanks for all your support!

M.



Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Amazon reviews.....


My Marilyn book has received 99 reviews on Amazon! Who will be number 100?

I will send a little something to the person who writes the 100th review (but only if it's a nice one of course! LOL!)

Click here to review the book yourself:

http://www.amazon.com/Marilyn-Monroe-ebook/dp/B00946RGJE/ref=zg_bs_917064_2

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Hollywood Scandals is finished!


I'm really sorry I haven't uploaded anything on my blog recently but I was trying very hard to get my Hollywood Scandals book finished.  Thank goodness I can now tell you that I finished a week ago and the manuscript is now with the publisher.  Hooray!!  I am waiting to see what they think of it before I get too excited but hopefully they will approve it sooner rather than later so I can breathe again!

Of course now that I have finished on Scandals I am going full-steam ahead with my Carole Lombard book which I am extremely excited about.  After working full-time on Scandals for the best part of a year, it is a strange feeling to be beginning a new project, but I'm very lucky in that a lot of the Lombard research was done some years ago so I have a good start on the project.

But of course there is still a long way to go and with that in mind I have just posted the following on my FaceBook page so if you can help with my queries I'd be so grateful.  Thanks:

"To all my author friends and Hollywood-loving friends... As work has now begun in earnest on my Carole Lombard book, I would love your help.  I am currently looking for anyone who has Lombard photographs that I can use in the book, along with cuttings, letters, interviews, contacts etc etc.  Basically anything and everything related to Lombard I would love to hear about.  I'm also looking for a Los Angeles based friend who wouldn't mind doing some research for me at the Herrick library.  Please leave a comment here or PM me if you can help.  Thanks!! Xx"


Saturday, 12 January 2013

Keep Connected...

If you'd like to keep connected with me, you can join my FaceBook page here:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/124973377514850/

And my Twitter account is @MMWriterGirl although I'm guilty of FaceBooking much more than Tweeting I must say!




BBC Radio Tees

I did an interview this morning with BBC Radio Tees, talking briefly about the success of the Marilyn book and then quite in-depth about the new Hollywood Scandals book.  We spoke about Lupe Velez, Roscoe Arbuckle, Clara Bow and many others and apart from accidentally calling John Belushi 'Jim' (that's his brother of course!) it went very well.  Can't believe I got the two names mixed up but it's very early here so that's my excuse.  It's spelled correctly in the book I promise. :-) 

If you missed the interview, you can find links to it for the next week or so, on their website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbctees

Monday, 31 December 2012

Bye Bye 2012!

Well here in the UK we are just seven hours away from the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013.  As I look back on this year, I can't help but smile.  What an absolutely amazing year this has been for my career!

I started 2012 not sure what was going to happen with my writing, and I am absolutely amazed at what has occurred  including a bestselling book, two book contracts, numerous signings, talks, an up-coming film appearance, translations of my Marilyn book, interviews and even a spot on television!  To say I am shocked that this has happened to me would be an understatement, but I am so happy with everything I have been able to achieve and I look forward to 2013 with great excitement.

In January I will be editing my Hollywood Scandals book, which will be published in the UK and USA in October 2013.  Then as soon as the manuscript goes to my publisher, I will be diving into writing the Carole Lombard book which may be out a little later than originally thought - in early 2014.  I don't want to rush the work and while I have lots of research already done, there is still much more to do, so to give myself extra time will be beneficial all-round.

Of course then there is the Thelma Todd book which my agent is scouting to publishers at the moment.  Hopefully that will find a home during 2013, ready for a publication date of around December 2014.  As well as that, there will be other projects and appearances coming up too, which I will share in due course.

Before I sign off I would just like to thank everyone for taking the time to buy my books, and for making my Marilyn biography into a bestseller.  This year has literally been a dream come true for me and I thank you all very much for turning my dreams into reality.

I wish all my friends and readers a very Happy New Year and I look forward to keeping in touch with you all during 2013!!

Much love
Michelle


Saturday, 29 December 2012

Marilyn on Kindle

I would like to wish all my friends and readers a very Happy New Year.  I hope you had a terrific Christmas!

US friends might be interested to know that Amazon currently has the Kindle version of my Marilyn Monroe book at a very nice price indeed and it is number 117 in their bestseller chart!  Yippee!  I am hoping it will enter the top 100 so my fingers are crossed!

You can order the Kindle version here, but hurry as it won't be on special offer for long!

http://www.amazon.com/Marilyn-Monroe-ebook/dp/B00946RGJE/ref=zg_bs_917064_1

Friday, 21 December 2012

Thrive in Life

I just realised that I forgot to tell you all about an article I wrote for Thrive In Life magazine, which was published several weeks ago.

The article is all about how I became a full-time writer, and the struggles I went through to get here.  I wrote it for all those who want to be something 'out of the ordinary' and don't get much support in their endeavours.  I wanted to show that if you work hard enough and ignore the detractors, dreams really do come true, so I hope it will inspire others to go after their dreams and ambitions too.

You can read the article here:
http://www.thriveinlife.ca/thrive/index.php/when-all-my-dreams-came-true/

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Hollywood Scandals

My Hollywood Scandals book will be published on 17 October 2013 in the UK and in December 2013 in the USA.  It may be almost a year away, but hopefully worth the wait, and until then here (in no particular order) is a list of the people and events you can expect to read about in the book:


  • Lou-Tellegen
  • The Wrong Door Raid
  • Marilyn Monroe's nude calendar
  • Thelma Todd
  • The rape of Patricia Douglas
  • Albert Dekker
  • The death of Marilyn Monroe
  • The Clark Gable baby scandal part one and two
  • Norman 'Kid McCoy' Selby
  • Florence Laurence
  • The Choy Ling Foo Dance Troupe
  • Peg Entwistle
  • Lottie Pickford
  • Madonna and Sean Penn
  • Whitney Houston
  • Hugh Grant
  • George Michael
  • Madonna nude pictures
  • Lupe Velez
  • Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston
  • Paris Hilton 
  • Madonna's stalker
  • Russ Colombo 
  • Anna Nicole Smith
  • Christine Collins and the Chicken Ranch murders
  • Charlie Sheen
  • Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher
  • The Suicide Apartments
  • Marie Prevost
  • Aleta Freel Alexander and Ross Alexander
  • Karl Dane
  • The Knickerbocker Hotel
  • Ramon Novarro
  • Clark Gable tackles a burglar
  • The deaths of Charles Wagenheim and Victor Kilian
  • Zsa Zsa Gabor slaps a policeman
  • Pete Duel
  • Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes
  • River Phoenix
  • Winona Ryder
  • Carole Lombard
  • Jean Harlow
  • Paul Bern
  • Clara Bow's love life
  • Clara Bow's lawsuit
  • Kelsey Grammer and Camille Grammer
  • Mommie Dearest/My Mother's Keeper
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger
  • Lucille Ricksen
  • Carole Landis
  • Peggy Shannon and Albert Roberts
  • The Almost Perfect Murder
  • Rock Hudson
  • John Belushi
  • Michael Jackson
  • Elvis Presley
  • Roscoe Arbuckle
  • Lana Turner
  • Natalie Wood
  • John Denver
  • James Dean
  • Sal Mineo

No words

As mother to a beautiful 8 year old daughter, I can find no words to describe how I feel for the poor parents, teachers and children affected by the disgusting events held in Connecticut yesterday.  My heart goes out to them all.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

RIP Hal Schaefer

I am very sorry to hear about the death of Hal Schaefer, respected musician, Hollywood voice coach and friend of Marilyn's.

Hal was a lovely man; a true gentleman and he helped me a lot with my book.  I really didn't expect him to - I had heard that he no longer spoke to authors, but I thought I'd give it a go anyway; write to him and see what he said.  I remember getting his reply very, very early one morning during the writing of the first edition of my book.  I was up with my daughter at about 5 am (her standard time to wake up when she was 2!) and there in my in-box was a lovely email from Hal, telling me that he never spoke to authors any more, but that something about my letter had intrigued him and made him want to talk to me.

I was really thrilled and we arranged for a time to speak on the telephone, which was just after he had taught a music lesson to one of his students.  When we spoke, I could really tell immediately just why Marilyn was so fond of him.  He was softly spoken, very intelligent, calm and just a really beautiful soul.  After the ups and downs she had encountered with Joe DiMaggio, it wasn't really a surprise to me that she had turned to Hal as he seemed to such a calm, reassuring presence, and I told him that on the phone.

I spoke to Hal on several occasions on the telephone and we corresponded by email too. During that time he told me about his CDs, which you can see here and order below.  One of his albums he was still working on when I first interviewed him was called 'June 1st' and he told me it would include music for Marilyn and his beloved wife Brenda on it.  I have added a link to that CD below.

I had such a great respect for him, because in spite of him being way past the age of retirement, he kept on going, working all the hours he could, doing what he loved.  I admired him so much for that.

During our interviews he told me that he'd really encouraged Marilyn to listen to Ella Fitzgerald, and made it clear to her that he would not suffer any of her lateness.  He wanted her at the lessons on time and prepared!  He also revealed everything about the Wrong Door Raid to me - the truth finally after all these years, and it became a really important part of the book.

It was hard during one part of the interview because I had read that when Marilyn cooled their friendship in order to try and make it work with DiMaggio (before the Wrong Door Raid, not after as some have reported,) Hal responded by trying to commit suicide.  This obviously is a terrible thing for a person to do; to be so desperate that they can see no way out but that.  I knew that while 1954 might seem a long time ago to us, it isn't so long to someone who lived through it and of course the memories of that event were still fresh in Hal's mind.  I had to tread carefully, but actually Hal made it very easy for me to talk about it.  He told me why he had done it; what happened afterwards and then that was that; we moved on and never spoke about it again.

Many people think that Marilyn was the love of Hal's life, and that after she left him, he never really recovered from it.  This is wrong and it was very important for me to get that across in the book.  Yes he did very much love Marilyn, but he lived a wonderful life after she left, so with that in mind, here is a section from my revised book, which explains a little about what Hal did after breaking up with Marilyn:

"Before Marilyn left for New York she had a few loose ends to tie up, including breaking the news of her departure to Hal Schaefer. He remembered: "Shortly after the Wrong Door Raid she went to New York to begin her new life, and that was the last time I ever saw her. She phoned me and said she didn't know how long she'd be there, but I never saw her again." 


But it wasn't all bad news for the respected vocal coach, as not long after he met the woman who was to become the love of his life: "I was extremely happy with my wife, Brenda - who shared the same birthday as Marilyn. Brenda was the best thing that ever happened to me. She was a remarkable woman."


After the first edition of my book was published, one of Hal's students emailed me to say thank you for presenting him exactly as he was - a respectful and decent human being. I am very, very sad to hear he passed, but he lived a very full, happy life and inspired thousands of people including myself, so his life was very much one of value.

Now he will get to see his dear wife again, and I'm sure at this very moment, Hal and all his old Hollywood friends are all gathered round his piano in Heaven, playing the numbers he so loved to play during his life time.

RIP Hal - you will never be forgotten and through your music, your memory will live on forever.

---------

You can visit Hal's website here: http://www.halschaefer.com

You can order his CD, 'Just His Own Sweet Self' here: http://www.cduniverse.com/productinfo.asp?pid=7944126&style=music

You can order the CD, 'June 1st' here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/June-1st-Schaefer/dp/B00005B59R/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1355400118&sr=8-8

You can read the New York Times' obituary for Hal, here:
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/13/arts/music/hal-schaefer-jazz-pianist-and-marilyn-monroes-vocal-coach-dies.html?_r=1&

And you can order 'Marilyn Monroe: Private and Undisclosed' here:

UK - http://www.amazon.co.uk/Marilyn-Monroe-Private-Undisclosed-expanded/dp/1780331282/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1355398885&sr=8-1

USA - http://www.amazon.com/Marilyn-Monroe-Confidential-Michelle-Morgan/dp/1616087196/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1355398914&sr=8-1&keywords=marilyn+monroe+private+and+confidential

Sunday, 2 December 2012

I'm back!

Firstly I must apologise to you for not updating my blog before now.  When I saw just how long it had been since the last entry, I was quite embarrassed, but I promise you I have a good excuse!  I've been working really, really hard on the Hollywood Scandals book, and at the moment I have written 152000 words with 18000 left before it is finished.  All being well I should have it all done in the next two weeks, which would be absolutely awesome as it would mean I can put my feet up for Christmas and not have to worry about my impending deadline!

I need to have the book with the publisher on 1 February which - if I get the writing done in the next few weeks - means that I have a nice month or so to proof-read and edit before I hand it over.  Some of it has been edited already but there's still lots to do, which I'll look forward to in January.

I've enjoyed writing the book very much indeed but I'm ready to move on now, so I can't wait for it all to be finished.  After that I will be working on the Carole Lombard book which I am just so excited about.  I've already sourced a lot of photographs over the past few weeks, and various other items that are helping to shed light on Carole's life and career.  I will be working hard on the book during 2013 and hopefully it will be out by Christmas next year, or failing that, early 2014.  Then of course there is the Thelma Todd book which is being shown to publishers as we speak.  If I have my way this book will be out - I hope - by the end of 2014.

Working on the Hollywood Scandals book has been amazing for finding new subjects, and as a result I now have lots more ideas for people I desperately want to write about.  Watch this space to find out who is being added to my list of book subjects in the future!!

In the meantime, you may be interested to know that the Kindle version of my Marilyn book, 'Marilyn Monroe: Private and Confidential' is available at a fantastic price on Amazon for a limited time only.  You can order it here: http://www.amazon.com/Marilyn-Monroe-ebook/dp/B00946RGJE/ref=zg_bs_917064_1 Don't forget it is also available as a paperback and makes a great stocking stuffer! ;-)

I think that's about it for now but I promise I will write another blog post soon!!


Friday, 12 October 2012

The Alan Titchmarsh Show

I had a wonderful time at The Alan Titchmarsh Show on Wednesday and now that I'm back to reality, it all seems as though it was a strange but fun dream!

The moment I walked into the ITV studios I bumped straight into Carol Vorderman coming down the stairs. This was the beginning of a long line of celebrity encounters that day, including Bradley Walsh, Kevin McLoud, the Loose Women, Jane Asher, Mathew Horne, and Joanna Page.  I was lucky enough to speak to Kevin and Bradley and they were extremely friendly and down-to-earth - exactly as they seem on the television in fact.


I began the day by greeting my friend Suzie Kennedy who is a Marilyn Monroe lookalike and was there to sing and take part in the same feature as me.  I was then rushed to make-up and into rehearsal with Alan Titchmarsh himself.

The first thing I will say about Alan is just how wonderfully warm and welcoming he is.  I was sitting on the stage while he had his back to me, checking his introductions for the day.  He suddenly looked round and realised I was there.  He rushed over, apologised profusely for not saying hello earlier, and then sat down to chat with me about Marilyn, my book, the film 'My Week with Marilyn' and much more.  It was then time to have our quick rehearsal before we headed off to lunch.

In a segment that was being taped that day but scheduled for the next, there were a variety of lookalikes including Simon Cowell and Kate Middleton.  The one that excited me the most, however, was the Margaret Thatcher lookalike who I immediately recognised as Steve Nallon who was very famous in the 1980s as an impersonator of the Iron Lady, as well as providing her voice for her Spitting Image puppet.  We had lunch with Steve and the other tribute artists and we had such a relaxed time that to be honest I forgot that I was there to do a live television show, and just enjoyed my day.  My only regret is that I didn't get a photo of Steve, but I hope you like the picture I got of me, Suzie, 'Kate' and 'Simon.'

By the time 3 pm came, it was time for Suzie to do her first song and she was ushered backstage to wait to go on.  Then a few minutes later the producer came in search of me too, and before I knew it I was sitting in the dark backstage area, whispering to Ashley the showbiz correspondent who was coming onto the stage to talk about Marilyn with me.  Then before we knew it, it was the commercial break and we walked up the steps onto the stage, where hundreds of people in the audience were being entertained by a warm-up man.  Then the floor manager shouted "30 seconds until we're live" and everyone started cheering as the music played once again.

Alan gave me a nice introduction and then we saw Marilyn in action on screen, before finally it was time for me to talk about my book.  The funny thing is, that while I felt nervous backstage, I was absolutely fine on-stage, probably because Alan has a real knack at putting you at ease.  I forgot there was an audience in the studio, although I was always very much aware of the millions of people watching at home - the vast amount of cameras kept reminding me of that!  Still, I really did feel okay about the interview and the questions were friendly and informal, which was a great thing.

Suzie entertained the crowd with her singing once again, and then we chatted for a few minutes before finally it was time to wrap things up and say good bye.  Alan was then whisked onto the next set to speak to Jane Asher and Michael Horne, while we sneaked off backstage, trying not to get caught by one of the ever-present cameras.


After that it was time to leave the studio, and just an hour after my appearance, I was back on the train, whizzing away from London and back to my 'normal' life.  It was an amazing day and one that I certainly won't ever forget.  What a great experience it was and I'm happy to say that since my appearance, my book has gone shooting up the Amazon charts once again and I've received some lovely emails and comments on FaceBook and Twitter.



The next day my parents' next-door-neighbour was very kind and gave me a photo montage of the day, which was a really super surprise.  I've included it here and I hope you like it!


You can see a video of the show below.  It is a little shaky as it was taped from my laptop onto my iPad, but hopefully it will still be enjoyable:


If you like to order 'Marilyn Monroe: Private and Undisclosed' (or Private and Confidential as it is called in the USA), you can do so here:




Classic Images - Carole Lombard


I was recently asked to write an article about the Carole Lombard book I am working on, for inclusion in Classic Images magazine.  It ran in the September issue, but in case you didn't see it, here it is:

The Carole Lombard project
By Michelle Morgan

I am a 42 year old English writer, and yet all of my subjects are about old-time Hollywood stars: Marilyn Monroe; Thelma Todd, and Carole Lombard.  I’ve loved Hollywood since I was a teenager in the 1980s, first through being a fan of Marilyn Monroe, then Jean Harlow, Clara Bow, and the wonderful Bette Davis.  I fell in love with Bette when I discovered I was born on her birthday, and I’ve adored her ever since; collecting not only books about her, but recently items from her personal collection, and signed volumes too.


My first book was ‘Marilyn’s Addresses’ which was a 1995 guidebook to the places Marilyn Monroe lived, worked and played.  Next came ‘Marilyn Monroe: Private and Undisclosed’ which was published in the UK by Constable and USA by Carroll and Graf in 2007.  It became a big success and lead me towards my ultimate goal of becoming a full-time writer, which happened very recently.
Once the Marilyn book was finished, I was desperate to find another subject to write about.  I had flirted with the idea of writing about Vivien Leigh or Grace Kelly, but they just didn’t feel right to me.  I admired both actresses, but there was something not quite exciting enough about either project and I decided to go on the lookout for another subject to concentrate my efforts on.
To this day I have no idea how Carole Lombard came to me as a possible biography subject.  It may have been a photograph of her and Gable together; or possibly a film on the television.  Whatever it was though, something just clicked and I knew that Lombard was to be my next project.  I collected everything I could find: old newspaper reports, magazine articles, interviews and photographs.  Fans of Lombard very kindly sent me a number of her movies, which I devoured for hours on end, and others sent me rare clippings and little titbits that they’d discovered over the years. 
I didn’t know much about Carole at first, but quickly discovered the basics.  Born Jane Alice Peters on 6 October 1908, Carole Lombard was raised for the first six years with her brothers, Stuart and Fred, in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  However, the divorce of her parents spurred on her mother, Elizabeth (Beth), to take her children away from their hometown and to move west in order to settle in Los Angeles, California.


Lombard made her debut in the 1921 movie, ‘A Perfect Crime,’ and became a very popular silent star throughout the 1920s.  She had the world at her feet, but it all threatened to come crashing down in 1926 when she was involved in a terrible car accident which saw the actress’s cheek being sliced to such a degree that she required plastic surgery. 
Thankfully it left only a small scar, (which actually made her look even more beautiful) and after taking some time off, the young actress was finally able to resume her career and her love life; marrying actor William Powell in 1931 (though the two later divorced) and then dating singer Russ Columbo.  Sadly, this romance came to an abrupt and tragic end when he was accidentally shot dead by a friend, one day in 1934. 
Her love life in tatters, Carole concentrated on her career, and made a successful of films including Bolero’ (1934) and ‘We’re Not Dressing,’ (1934.)  Later films included, ‘My Man Godfrey,’ (1936) which she played opposite her ex-husband William Powell; and ‘Hands Across the Table,’ (1935) which teamed her up with tragic star Marie Prevost.
Carole became romantically linked to Clark Gable in the mid 1930s, and the two eventually married in 1939 after Gable’s much publicized divorce from his older wife, Ria.  Clark and Carole were known as Hollywood’s happiest couple, though they were forever parted in January 1942 when Lombard was tragically killed in a plane accident while on tour to sell Defense Bonds.
I found the story of Carole Lombard to be deeply tragic and extremely unfair.  Here was a young woman with the world at her feet, and yet it was cruelly snatched from her one winter’s night at the peak of her career.   My research into her life completely consumed me and I ordered documents from libraries; found letters in auction house websites; and on and on it went. 
I collected quite a lot of material, but unfortunately I was unable to find a publisher who believed in the project as much as I did.  This was sad, but I was determined that one day I’d finally get the book done.  Until then I filed everything away and started work on revising my Marilyn Monroe biography, which was recently published in the US as ‘Marilyn Monroe: Private and Confidential.’


Once again, after finishing the rewrite for the book, I began looking around for another project.  I started a book about Thelma Todd which I am still working on and loving immensely, but I also had my Carole Lombard files too, and I desperately didn’t want to give up on her.  I felt she needed a good biography and was determined to find someone who would want to publish my work.
Fortunately I didn’t have to look far.  While I had always admired BearManor Media’s books (and have rather a lot in my possession), I had never thought to ask them about the Carole Lombard project.  This is something that has amused me ever since, but I guess everything happens when it is supposed to, and as it turns out, now is most definitely the time.
Within minutes of emailing Ben Ohmart, the founder of BearManor Media, I was offered a contract.  I couldn’t believe it!  After all the time of worrying that I would never get a publisher interested in Carole’s story, here I was being offered a contract by someone who was more than interested in doing a book.  It was definitely a dream come true.
Since then I have been working hard on three projects – a Hollywood Scandals book which will be published in the USA by Running Press in 2013; the Thelma Todd book which I’m hoping to see published in the coming years, and of course my beloved Carole Lombard.  I’ve decided to make it an illustrated biography which will be fun to put together and it will be published by BearManor Media in either late 2013 or early 2014.  Needless to say, I can hardly wait.
Researching Carole’s life has been a long process, with many stops and starts due to the other projects that have come my way, but it is a book very definitely worth doing.  As far as I can see, she has never had an illustrated biography, and it is my job to give her the best book I can possibly do.  I know I will do my best, and in the safe hands of BearManor Media, I know it will look amazing too.

&&&&&&&

Carole Lombard: The Illustrated  Biography will be out in late 2013

Monday, 8 October 2012

The Alan Titchmarsh Show


I am thrilled to tell you that I will be on ITV's The Alan Titchmarsh show on Wednesday 10th October.  My segment will see me discussing Marilyn and her time in England with the curator of the National Portrait Gallery exhibition, and possibly another guest too (details to be confirmed.)  Marilyn lookalike Suzie Kennedy will also be appearing, performing one of her Marilyn songs and talking about her life as a tribute artist.

I am really, really excited to be part of the show and it will be fabulous exposure for my book.  I can't wait to tell you all about it when I get back, but for now, please tune into the Alan Titchmarsh show on Wednesday at 3 pm to see me talking with Alan!


Sunday, 7 October 2012

Thursday at the National Portrait Gallery

When I was first asked to do a talk and book signing at the National Portrait Gallery, it was February 2012, and October seemed a very long way away.  However, time has a habit of moving on and before I knew it, I was travelling to the city with my mum and dad, clutching my 6000 word speech in my hand.

My mum and I at Russell Square, one of my favourite parts of London

To say I was nervous would be an understatement.  When I was a teenager I took acting lessons and various public speaking courses, but that was really the last time I'd ever done anything like this, so as we sat in Foyles' restaurant, it was all I could do to choke down half a croissant and pray that I could make it through the day.

My lecture on the Billboard!  Who would ever have thought it?!

We arrived at the National Portrait Gallery at 12 pm and were amazed to see the billboard outside with my name on it, and details of the lecture.  For seventeen years I worked a day job I disliked and would dream of being a full-time writer, whilst doing endless hours of photocopying.  Who would have ever thought I'd one day see my name outside the National Portrait Gallery?  And yet here it was, for all to see.  It was, to say the least, a very surreal experience.

Me outside the huge gallery.  Deep breaths!

Inside we were met by the wonderful staff who were to look after me during the afternoon: Mary and Catherine.  I really can't thank them enough for being so wonderful to me, as without their calm and caring attitudes, I'm pretty sure I'd have run out of the nearest fire door.

Me doing the soundcheck in the empty theatre... But not empty for long!

By the time we arrived at the gallery theatre, there was already a small line of people, waiting to be let in, and after doing a sound check and familiarising myself with the fabulous theatre, I sat down to get myself together and calm my nerves.  The doors weren't supposed to open until 1 pm but at 12.50 a gentleman came in to ask if he could open the doors early.  Apparently the line had by then stretched all the way across the large hall, down a flight of stairs and into the book shop, which was quite a way from the theatre.  The man estimated that there must be about 50 people lined up, but when the doors opened, it became extremely clear that there were many, many more and by the time the doors closed, all 150 seats were taken; it was standing room only and people were being turned away as there was just no room left in the theatre.  Needless to say, this was a terrifying but absolutely wonderful sight.  These people had come to see me talk about Marilyn; it was quite literally a dream come true.

As I was sitting waiting to go on, a beautiful young woman approached and introduced herself to me.  She said that she was on holiday from New Zealand and had been thrilled to discover that I was speaking at the gallery.  She told me that I was one of her favourite authors, and she just had to meet me.  This was absolutely amazing, to think that someone from New Zealand loved my books and wanted to see me.  We chatted for a while about Marilyn and Carole Lombard before it was time for her to take her seat.  Then it was 1.15 and it was time for Mary to introduce me to the stage.

I remember walking across the stage and the light being on me, and Roger G Taylor's beautiful Marilyn portraits being projected behind me.  Everyone was clapping and I made a little joke that perhaps it was too late for me to run away now.  Everyone laughed and it was at this point that I knew I was going to be all right.  That the people who had come to see me were on my side and there because they wanted to hear what I had to say.  That was a great moment for me because after that I was able to relax and enjoy the next 35 minutes, talking about how I became a fan, what started my fascination for Marilyn's trip to England and the ups and downs of writing a book about Marilyn's life.  

People laughed at the funny parts, gasped at the more serious ones, and at the point where I started to sum up what Marilyn means to me, the entire audience were silent.  I could have dropped a pin and it would have sounded like an explosion, such was the silence in the theatre at that moment.

My mum, dad and myself, posing for the camera.  It was so nice to have them here on my big day.


Once I ended my talk, the lights went up and there was a huge round of applause, which made me so happy.  I was relieved it was over, but I had enjoyed speaking so much that I felt like a million dollars.  Once I had exited the stage, I was met by friends and family before being whisked off to a lovely, calm space next to the book shop, where people began arriving for me to sign their books.  I don't know how many I signed, but it was a lot and I achieved my dream of having a line of people waiting to meet me.  What a thrill that was!  

I think I'm somewhere behind all these people!

I met so many interesting people, including readers who had travelled from all over the UK to see me; friends; my publishing team; the wonderful curators at the Gallery and so many more.  I can't begin to tell you just how many hugs I received, and was over-come when I was presented with gifts such as a book from the gallery staff; a big gift bag of goodies from my friend; a typewriter charm from my parents and some beautiful bath essence and perfume from Marilyn's favourite London perfume shop, Floris.  I felt like a superstar and I still can't believe that it actually happened.

After the signing was finished, we went into the Marilyn exhibition which is just lovely.  Full of photographs of Marilyn from various points in her career; it is small but perfectly formed.  There were a great deal of people in there and everyone seemed to really enjoy the items on display.

Gabriella and I have a laugh while I'm signing her book.

And then it was time for everyone to go their separate ways, and we found ourselves in the Gallery Restaurant with my literary agent and friends, talking about the day and enjoying a laugh.  The day went so quickly, it is as if it was over in the blink of an eye, but it will definitely be one I remember forever more.  My feet were covered in blisters by the time we got back to the station, but I don't care; it was all completely worth it and if I could turn back time and live the day over and over again, I really, truly would.

Suzie, me and a reader pose for the cameras.

I'd just like to end by thanking everyone from the gallery and those readers and friends who came to the talk from near and far.  You all made my day; my week; my year and I will never forget how very special you made me feel.  It truly was a dream come true and one I will remember for the rest of my life.

Thank you!!!!