Wednesday, 22 December 2010

On... my favourite books of 2010

I love reading.

What a painfully obvious thing to say. Never mind, let us continue.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

On... Mannerfrei

The German cover for The Dating Detox just landed! I adore it. I am clapping my hands with glee.

It's called Mannerfrei: Roman in German (Man Free: A Novel) Which I kind of love. Claudia Geng translated it. I hope she enjoyed it... I wonder what 'cockmonkey' is in German?

By the way, this is how Google translates the German back blurb. It works for me:

Problems with men? The solution is men free!

Men are dangerous and have various side effects. After the sixth failed relationship Sass decides to start a romantic Lent: no men, no divisions, no disappointments. And what happened? Their lives - usually filled with joy-traumatic with dates, clothes, and the relationship of vodka after that - is suddenly released! Abstinence is cool, and suddenly you're flying to all, especially men, especially Jake: witty, intelligent and ever ... If Sass break the rules? Or is the carefree life too good to turn it to gamble?

About the Author
Gemma Burgess moved to London at age 22. She worked at an advertising agency and was looking for happiness. Eight years later she decided to process the most important findings of this beautiful and turbulent period in a novel. Men free is for all self-conscious, intelligent, witty women of style who have difficulties to recognize the love, even when it is standing before them.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

On... what I wore

Yesterday was the photoshoot and interview for North East magazine.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

On... publication nerves

So my second book, A GIRL LIKE YOU, is coming out in a few weeks.

Naturally I feel sick about it.

Friday, 10 December 2010

On... cover shoot

I have my first ever photoshoot on Tuesday.

What the sweet hell am I going to wear?

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

On.... my fauxmance

I just found something that I wrote years ago. It was crumpled in the bottom of a box of keepsakes, old tickets, cards, letters and things.

It's a pretend page from a fauxmance - that's a parody of a Mills & Boon-style romance novel, of course - called Hot Nights And Cold Shoulders.

On... overhighlighted hair

My hair was overhighlighted by an overzealous hairdresser about six months ago, and promptly started to break off. I've been trying to protect and nourish it ever since - singing to it in the morning, taking it out for quiet dinners and spoonfeeding it organic risotto at night, etc.

(That's not what I mean, of course, I mean I'm not using hairdryers and tongs, but it seemed such an obvious thing to say that I thought I'd surprise you.)


I realised today that on a hangover, when my back hurts, I look exactly like this.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

On... an ode to my glasses

I am reclaiming my glasses.

On... Snow

There are a lot of pictures of the snow around: it's -6 in London today. So I'm a-jumpin' on the frosty bandwagon. This is the view from my place.

Notting Hill is quite the winter goddess, n'est-ce pas? I just saw a little girl rugged up like a teeny Arctic explorer, doing a joyful skippy-hoppy-jump into the square.

Now what the sweet hell am I going to get Fox for Christmas?

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

On... writing tips

The lovely @bookgal, @bookbuzzr and @marelisa just RTd this on Twitter, and it seems like the kind of thing you lot might be interested in.

54 Writing Tips For Writers, From Writers

Mwah. x

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

On... Judy Blume covers

I just remembered Judy Blume.

'Good Lord!' I thought (I often start thoughts with little exclamations like that), 'How could I have not thought about her for so long? I was obsessed with her books...' And then I thought: 'why, I wonder how her covers have changed over the years?'

Man, did I find some doozies.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

On... my little black book of London

This morning I woke up early, read some of the delicious THE HATING GAME by Talli Roland, then lost Stone-Paper-Scissors with Fox and was forced to tramp down to the Coffee Plant on Portobello. And now, as I am back in bed slurping in a deliberately-annoying-but-hopefully-endearing way, all I can think is ‘this is the best coffee in the world. I should blog about it’.

And then I thought, fuck it, what about my favourite, essential places in London?

Saturday, 13 November 2010

On.... dialogue

I’ve been thinking about dialogue. I really LOVE writing dialogue. If I ever feel stuck, I just start writing conversations between my characters. It’s like a creative enema: it unblocks everything. I love working out how characters speak; their attitude and humour and syntax and slang; how the structure of a sentence can change the entire meaning behind it… And so on.

Monday, 1 November 2010

On... getting away from it all

I’m back from a break with Fox (aka my husband) in New York and Turks & Caicos. It was [insert your favourite positive superlative HERE], particularly since we haven’t spent more than three nights in a row together since we got married in April (he’s been working in Zurich from Monday to Friday, and I’m still in London. So it’s been fun, because every weekend I get really excited about seeing him. But it also sucks because, well, you know, it sucks). Anyway, rather than bore you senseless with a rundown of exactly what it was like (you’ve had holidays, you know they rock), here are the top ten best things about the last three weeks.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

On... my newsletter

Seems silly to call it a 'newsletter' when I'm not a big company, I'm just me. But, whatever you want to call it: I send an email out about once a month, and here's the latest. Want to get the next email? Just email and put 'Email me!' in the title.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

On... perfumes. And blogging. And... oh, stuff.

As mentioned umpteen times before, I often don't know what to write on this blog. I’m not going to bore you with stories from my day-to-day life (“And then i was like, I am SO not pleased with the standard of that drycleaner, and she was like, I KNOW!”). There's only so much one can say about writing ("Read, write, edit. Repeat"). And I’m not just going to talk about the career side of writing the whole time, either (“So, the German rights have sold, and I’m hoping for the Dutch soon clunkzzzzz”).

Thursday, 23 September 2010

On... my new cover

This is the cover for A GIRL LIKE YOU (coming out December 2010).

I am so happy with it, I want to clap my hands like the ex-Brownie geek I am.

The title really pops and the colours work, but above and beyond all that good stuff, the girl is clearly doing a walk of shame. She's barefoot. She's drinking champagne from a bottle. She has what appear to be knickers popping out of her 2.55.

Plus, I really like her jacket. Pale grey is awesome.

All in all, this is a girl I could hang out with.

What do you think?

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

On... failure

My friend Sarah is a psychologist and journalist. She’s also impossibly beautiful and hilarious. I am friends with her despite these massive flaws.

She emailed last week saying she’d been tasked with writing about ‘famous failures’. People who overcome huge life-changing fuck-ups and go on to become bigger and better, like Nicole Kidman post-divorce and Al Gore post-election.

My first reaction (after ‘Nicole Kidman is ‘bigger and better’? When was the last time anyone watched a movie she was in? And anyway, is it called ‘failure’ when the marriage contract simply expired?’) was that there are a lot of them. In fact it’s hard to think of anyone successful who hasn’t overcome fuck-ups.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

On... cows

I love cows. Isn't she beautiful?

Sunday, 29 August 2010

On... Paris

It's Sunday, and I'm in Paris. And almost everything is closed (bless you, European cities! Defying the modern-day 24-7 culture of ON!).

Tuesday, 24 August 2010


Dudes, I just got the typeset proofs for A GIRL LIKE YOU. It's nearly cooked!

Monday, 23 August 2010

On... Hungover Owls

This site is so funny that I started to cry and smack the desk.

Monday, 16 August 2010

On... things I wish I'd known at 18.

1. Don’t dye your hair. Seriously, GemGem, trust me on this one.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

On.... 13,000 trailer hits

The Dating Detox trailer - made by me and a cast of friends over the Easter weekend for a budget of pretty close to nil - has reached 13,000 hits.

I hate to keep blowing the same mucky old trumpet, but just in case you're new here (sit down! can I get you a drink?), you might like to check it out.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

On... The Dating Detox, The Musical

Imagine if life was like Glee - not for the daily faux-climax (the club is threatened! Oh, the club's okay. The club is threatened AGAIN! Oh, what do you know, the club's okay. Scooby Doo plots had more dramatic variation. If it wasn't for those pesky kids, etc) but because of the spirit, humour and of course the songs.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

On... my internet diet

I've been going over my copyedits.

Copyediting is when a person with supposed eagle eyes goes over the manuscript and spots things like, oh, I don't know, someone getting a drink twice in a page, for example (my characters make that mistake a lot, the little boozehounds).

I'm not sure that the copyeditor really gets my writing, though. One character said 'ballache' and the comment said 'is this French?'

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

On.... summer playlists

Don’t you find that iPods are such needy things?

Monday, 12 July 2010

On... Eastbound and Down

Eastbound and Down is about an ex-baseball star called Kenny Powers forced to retire to small-town America. But God, that doesn't even begin to describe it. Think this might be the funniest show I've ever seen. Awesome, awesome, awesome.

Check this out if you're interested

On... shopping

My new SheerLuxe blog is up! (Warning: The Maje Dress features... again. What can I say, I heart it.)

Thursday, 8 July 2010

On... a new dress

I think you should all know that I am in love.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010


I don't post about books that often, for many reasons. There are much better book reviewers than me in the blogiverse, I read purely for pleasure and it would feel like a job if I reviewed them, and um, I'm lazy.

Sunday, 4 July 2010


... will remain a mystery until you read A Girl Like You. (BOOM!)

Friday, 2 July 2010


Dave or Harry? Who would be your bastard of choice?

Hurry! Vote now or forever hold your peace.

Just add it as an anonymous comment or email me

Want to read ALL the bastard entries? Check out

Monday, 28 June 2010


I started the Name That Bastard blog as a funny, silly way to find a name for the bad guy in my second book, A Girl Like You. I knew what he'd do to be such a bastard - I just didn't know what he'd be called.

Monday, 14 June 2010

Sunday, 13 June 2010

On... the joy of clothes

This post is not about trailers / writing / A Girl Like You / being published, so if you’re here to read about that stuff then scroll on down, sister.

This blog is about something completely shallow and delightful.


Wednesday, 9 June 2010

On... BookBrunch

BookBrunch is THE must-read daily news and information site for the book industry. I wrote a little piece for them about the making of The Dating Detox trailer.

Check out 'Lights, Camera, Traction' or read it after the jump.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Thank you everyone

Dear everyone who has been watching the trailer - tweeting about it - Facebooking - blogging - emailing their friends - skywriting - and so on and so forth.


You rock.

More soon.


Thursday, 3 June 2010

Watch THE DATING DETOX trailer

Press play! Watch the trailer! (If it's stalling, please just reload. That's Vimeo for you and you know there are like thousands of people watching it right now. Yah.)

The Dating Detox Trailer from sam eastall on Vimeo.

Like it? Check out the proper trailer site at

On... the trailer (yet again)

Yep, the trailer is done. If you enjoyed it, and want to know more about making it, and whether I have a cameo, or the answers to any of other many questions I've received since the trailer came out, read this post.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010


The title for my second book, out December 2010, has been chosen.


(Cool, huh?!)

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Friday, 21 May 2010

My new SheerLuxe blog

My new SheerLuxe blog is up!

Bit of an email snafu so it's un peu late. It's about getting my skin glowy for the wedding, and as you know I got hitched a month ago. But it's all still pretty good advice, if I do say so myself.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

On Like Bees To Honey

So! I'm hosting a blog tour for the lovely Caroline Smailes.

Monday, 17 May 2010

On romance

What do you want in your chicklit?

My needs are simple. I want to not think the heroine is a drip.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

On New York

So as the plane approached Heathrow after almost a month of wedding fun in New York and Anguilla, I decided to start writing a list of my favourite places in Manhattan.

Now! I'm not a New York expert, just an enthusiast. And I won't even try to sum up the best places to go when lists like do it so much better, particularly since there are more restaurants in Manhattan than you can poke a breadstick at. I'm just going to tell you my favourites.

After all, it's hard to get a bad meal in New York - but why take the risk?

Friday, 30 April 2010

More wedding photos

Is this the right place to post wedding photos? I don't know. Is it relevant to someone who wants to know more about writing and publishing? Negatory. If that's what you're after, scroll down. I write about writing a lot because that's what I do most of the time. Just not lately. Lately I've been getting mawwied. (Said in Princess Bride voice.)

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

On relaxing

I’m still on honeymoon. But I thought I’d say hello. You see, it’s been three weeks since we left London, and I haven’t gone this long without writing in a decade.

And I really miss it.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

On mawwiage

Dearest loveliest everyone - Paul (aka Foxy) and I got married on Friday. Awesome day. I've lost my voice from talking and singing and laughing.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

On packing

I am packing for a long long trip away. Wedding, honeymoon, then some work stuff. I'm excited, with a touch of anxiety and a sprinkle of stress. Excietressy.


This is how I feel when I start packing.

This is how I feel at the end of packing.

(I'm the idiot in the middle.)

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

The Dating Detox book trailer

Daisy Aitkens as Sass, seen from the window of The Only Running Footman.

Friday, 2 April 2010

On Make Up Alley

This post isn’t about writing. It’s about make-up. So if you don't love make-up, please scroll down. There's lots about reading and writing in other posts.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

On honeymoon reading

As you may know, I’m getting hitched in a few weeks. After the ceremony in New York, we’re going to Anguilla for sun and relaxation... so I’ve been book shopping.

I like a balanced reading diet and would never binge on a single genre; I need meaty classics, chewy biographies, spicy modern fiction, frothy romance, nutty humour and sweet, creamy escapism to sate my palate. So it follows that choosing the perfect holiday selection takes a lot of thought.

Here’s my list so far.

New SheerLuxe blog entry

You can read my latest SheerLuxe blog entry here.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

On Book Deux - PLUS an extract...

Book Deux still hasn’t got a confirmed title.

I realise how tedious this is for you guys, and I’m so sorry. The good people at Harper Collins aren’t crazy about my ideas (The Dating Virgin, The Late Starter, The Bastardette, The Single Life – you get the picture, it’s about learning to be single) but they haven’t finalised their suggestions yet. I don’t think my titles are that good either, mind you - titles really aren’t my favourite thing; I secretly wish The Dating Detox was still called The Dating Sabbatical, after all. So I’ve been fatuously and probably irritatingly calling the thing Book Deux, because ‘my second novel' is too prim and well, there aren’t many alternatives.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

On trailers

This Easter, The Dating Detox is becoming a movie.

A very, very short movie.

We’re filming a key scene from the book, and we’re going to put it on the internet as a trailer.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

On other writers

The Guardian compiled (oh, marvellous start to a post) a list of Rules For Writers by, yes, famous writers.

All of them have different opinions, expressed very differently. I guess the point is that if you're a writer and you've figured out what works for you, great. If you haven't, give some of these a bash.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

A new blog

Guess what? I'm writing a new blog for Sheer Luxe. You can read the first post here.

I'll write a new post every week or so. What's the difference between that blog and this ol' thing? Because this one is about writing, most of the time. And that one's about shopping. And if you've read The Dating Detox, you know how I feel about clothes. (Hint: I really like them.)

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

On editing

As usual, the full and very heartfelt caveat: I have only written one book, ‘The Dating Detox’. My second book is out in December this year. I am a literary neophyte. So when I say things like ‘editing is as important as writing, maybe more so’, you have to remember that I am, well, me.

Editing is as important as writing, maybe more so.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

On the search for a new heroine

Brilliant feature from Lucy Mangan at The Guardian.

"Do you know how I long for a… a female figure somewhere, somehow, who is not a total drip, who may have and who is yet not defined by her emotional weakness and other incompetencies. Like a real woman, perhaps."

Choir, preaching to, etc.

Monday, 1 March 2010

On writing (again)

A few people have emailed me to ask how I wrote The Dating Detox - how I plotted, and if I have any writing tips.

With novel-writing, as with everything else in life, I specialise in intuitive improvisation (AKA, winging it). So if you read this post and think ‘this chick knows nothing’, you’re right. I don’t.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

On reading

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay.

I feel like this book was the reason I learned to read.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

On inspiration

It's Thursday. It's cold. And this song is cheering me up.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

On remorse

Since The Dating Detox came out five weeks ago, I’ve received some lovely emails from readers. Most of them are just a little hello with a note about what they thought about the book, some of them are long and funny dating-related diatribes, some are asking for postcards or suggesting bastard names. I reply to every single one (though one girl replied that she was impressed I replied – I promise, there is no Gem-bot, this is all me, dude). And thus we come to my story. It’s about remorse.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Sheer Luxe is the new black

I'm not posting every time I have a review, I promise - but I LOVE this one so much I had to put it here. Sheer Luxe is THE online luxury shopping mecca, and you can trust it to give only Top Gun tips. (The best of the best, obviously.) It also has a brilliant book club. And the reviewers are clearly utterly lovely women. I'd like to take them out for a drink.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

On me

A few people have commented that I’m not awfully, hmm, personal on this blog. This isn’t because I’m particularly shy, I just don't think I'm that interesting... Anyway, someone suggested I do a '10 things you didn’t know about me' piece. I got to 15.
1. I can tie a cherry stalk in a knot in my mouth with my tongue. I really can, it’s not a porn thing.
2. I sometimes think about clothes to help me fall asleep at night. Like counting sheep. I used to worry that this made me shallow. Now I don’t care.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

On editing

I’m chest-deep in the quagmire that is the first edit of Book Deux.

And whilst it’s fine (it’s not particularly difficult or stressful, and anything to do with writing is kind of fun) it’s also like carrying on 11 conversations at once. Or, a better analogy: it's like keeping 50 pins in your mouth for 50 tiny tweaks in a dress that you're altering. (For this to work, we need to imagine for a moment that you and I are the kind of people who alter dresses.)

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Vanity Fair Q&A

Sorry for the blogette, chaps, but the beautiful Lauren Sozio has posted a lovely Q&A on the Vanity Fair blog about The Dating Detox.

Read it in its glorious entirity here.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

On breaking up

I've had a few emails from people about love-woes. I guess because The Dating Detox is a compendium of love-woes.

So, to help you pass the time while your heart heals, here something I wrote earlier: The Rules Of Breaking Up.

1. First, you cry

Day one: wallow. It’s over. Forget who dumped who, what he did, what you said, what you were wearing and how you have to now burn those clothes in a pagan closure ceremony, etc. Nothing you do now will change the past. So have a good weep. Cry in the bath, in bed, on the bus, at work in the toilets. Just remember that from now on, every minute – every second – will hurt a bit less than this one. I promise. And don’t call him.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

On music

According to my iPod, I have listened to the Divinyls ‘Ring Me Up’ 26 times in the last 24 hours.

You can listen to it here.

OD-ing on a song is very typical of me. I am currently recovering from recent overdoses of Don Henley’s ‘Dirty Laundry’; Roxy Music's 'Oh Yeah'; the Pixies 'Here Comes Your Man'; Placebo's 'Nancy Boy'; Flesh For Lulu 'I Go Crazy' and the Ga-Gas 'Our Lips Are Sealed'. These songs are the soundtrack to my second book (the first draft is done! I am tinkering with it right now and am sending it to my agent on Monday. So, in other words, it's blogcrastination as usual in Casa Burgess).

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

On publication

I’ve noticed that there are a lot of would-be authors out there waiting to get signed. And I thought I’d tell you exactly what I did – timeline, cover letters, absolutely everything, as you might find it useful.

If you're just here to kill time, please scroll down. There was a post on drinking a few weeks ago that is probably a bit more entertaining.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Try before you buy

Want to see what The Dating Detox is like before you order it?

Email me and I'll email you the first three chapters in PDF format, immediatement. (That's French, baby.)

Saturday, 2 January 2010

On fiction

My Dad rang yesterday to ask, in a very serious and concerned voice, if any of 'The Dating Detox' was true, “because if so...” – if so what, I never got to find out. I assume a team of vigilantes would be flying in from Hong Kong to wreak havoc on a handful of unsuspecting bastards in South-West London.

I assured him that it's fiction. And I thought it was worth saying again here.

It's fiction.

It’s totally made up. The characters are made up, the events, all of it. Fiction, innit.

My own single life was, of course, marked by various dreadful relationshits, all a bit less dramatic than the ones in the book but no less painful nonetheless, and a couple of very nice ones that simply Weren’t Quite Right. I went on a Dating Sabbatical once, after a series of seriously bad dates, and stayed on it mostly because I thought it was a funny thing to say and I didn’t meet anyone particularly tempting. It lasted about six weeks before I gave in and went out with a guy who turned out to be a complete ass-hat.

It's worth adding that in those six weeks, life got better in a hundred tiny ways, just because I was looking at it differently. So after the ass-hat dumped me, I took stock of everything, remembered my change in perspective, and started again. (Lessons in real life are never as linear as they are in books.) And that changed the way I approached work and love and everything else, for years. And then I met a ricockulously funny and lovely guy who I'm getting married to in April and wrote a book and well, became the happy little bunny that you see before you today.

All my friends wanted to know 'who is who'. Who is Rick, and if Kate is so-and-so, and if Jake is (my young man) Foxy, etc. One friend is so convinced that one character in my second book is Foxy's brother that she rang me, during the reading of an early draft, shocked that one particular thing actually happened. But I made it all up, guys. I really did. I promise. I know those characters a thousand times better than I know my friends, in a weird way, because I invented them. They do as I say and come to my whistle. If it sounds real, then high five me, as that's what I'm aiming for... but it's fiction.

I should caveat that my sister read The Dating Detox and said 'it's like talking to you but I can't talk back'. But then she read the second book recently, which has a totally different main character, and said 'this just sounds like you too, in a different way, but still you'. I hope it's just the way I write. I try to be chatty and confiding and real.

Having said all that, I need to be honest and say there are similar details: I'm a copywriter in advertising, I always have a yellow clutch, I lived in Pimlico for years and spent my 20s trying not to get dumped, drunk, broke or lost - and frequently failed, but still had fun. And I'm the same combination of show-off-and-shy, confident-and-worried - but then, I think a lot of us are like that. Right?