I’ve just returned from a trip to London and, as usual, I had a blast…although it’s kind of scary how quickly time flies whenever I’m there. No matter how much I see and do while visiting London, I always leave with a long list of more things I’d love to squeeze in…which is a good thing, actually, as it means I always leave London with a reason to return! My first stop was a visit to Goffs School in Hertfordshire. I visited this school when Stolen with Style was published and loved it, so was thrilled to return. Meeting my readers is the BEST thing EVER!!! At Goffs School! I met with two of my editors from my UK publisher, Usborne, to talk about MY NEW AND SUPER EXCITING SERIES!!! I can’t say anything about it yet, but I’ll put a blog post up soon with the very few details about it that I’m allowed to share. Stay tuned! I also stopped by my to visit my agent, Jenny Savill at Andrew Nurnberg Associates: I love the books on my agent’s shelves! 😂 I love the ballet and opera and try to watch something at the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden whenever I can. This time I saw Puccini’s Madama Butterfly which was stunning. MY OPERA TIP OF THE DAY: if you’ve never been to the opera but would like to go, then Madama Butterfly is a good one to start with – it’s a tragic story but the music is wonderful. Model Under Cover readers know that a walk through Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens is one of my favourite things to do in London – it’s something I mention in my London List of favourite places to visit, at the back of MUC book 3, Deadly by Design…so, yeessss, I walked through the park while in London – it’s impossible to resist, especially in spring! I also stopped by my new favourite London books store, John Sandoe Books off the King’s Road in Chelsea – in fact, I made not one but two visits. I’ll do a post on this gorgeous corner of bookworm heaven next week, so I’ll save all the juicy details for that. But here’s a pic: Tea with my good friend and fellow author, Holly Bourne, is always a treat – especially as Holly and I are on a quest to try all the best teas in London. This time we went to Fortnum & Mason and we both decided that we love their pretty duck-egg-blue and white china tea service. While in London I did something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time: I visited the Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace. I recommend a visit! It’s worth going just to see the Golden Coach used for coronations – it really is like something straight out of Cinderella. Plus I finally found out why they’re called the MEWS. And, no, I will not tell you why here…but suffice it to say that the royal stables are called the Mews for a reason I’d bet a thousand books you’d never, ever guess (FYI: my guess was SO wrong!). Are you intrigued yet? Then go and visit! The Pumpkin Coach! I also did some shopping and found two gorgeous new additions to my wardrobe, but I’m going to keep you guessing about what they are until I do a blog post about them. Bye bye, London! See you soon! Carina x Read more.
A few days ago I stopped by my local library to check out some of the new books they bought with funds I raised for them last year through the sales of my Advent Calendar. Most local libraries everywhere are struggling because of government funding cuts – especially those in the countryside. So if you’re interested in helping out your local library, here are my top three tips for doing so: The quickest and easiest way to help your local library is to CHECK BOOKS OUT!!! I know this is an obvious one…but when was the last time you did it? This is something ANYONE can do! Volunteer to help at your local library (or talk your parents or grandparents into doing it). This is a great way to pass on your passion for reading and encourage others to feed their inner book worms. Raise funds to put towards your local library’s book budget. More on this below… Those of you who follow me on Instagram and Facebook know that I have a lot of fun doing option number three. And while there are as many ways to raise money as there are birds in the sky, I decided that what works best for me and my neighbourhood is a Christmas Advent calendar that I sell to raise funds. Here’s a close-up of my calendar: Selling an Advent calendar at Christmas is easy: I find that people are in a generous spirit – even if they don’t regularly visit their local library! I designed and drew it, then had it printed; all proceeds, minus printing costs, goes to the kids’ department of my local library. I started selling them seven years ago and since then have raised over 8,000 Euros for my local library. Every little bit adds up so over the course of the last seven years, the kids’ department of my town library has grown by hundreds of books, which is great! Here’s a picture of me with some of the books bought this year – thanks to the 2016 sales of my calendar: Happy reading! Carina x Read more.
Channel you inner fashion detective and join my World Book Day giveaway! Calling all MUC readers: join my World Book Day giveaway!!! As many of you already know, World Book Day will be celebrated in the UK this Thursday, March 2nd…so to celebrate this fabulous bookworm kind of day I’m going to hold a SUPER EXCITING giveaway! Every year many of you send me the cutest pics of your Axelle costumes for WBD…so this year I thought it would be fun to give away signed copies of Model Under Cover books 1 and 4 to the best costume. So start channeling your inner fashion detective! I’ll be holding the competition on Instagram, but if you or your parents don’t have an account don’t worry, I have a way for you to enter, too – just keep reading! But, if you are on Instagram, then all you have to do is make sure you’re following me, “like” my post announcing this giveaway, then send me a picture of yourself dressed as Axelle by DM, by Thursday night. Easy peasy! I’ll choose a winner this Friday, March 3rd. And if you are not on Instagram but would like to enter this giveaway, all you have to do is email me a picture of yourself in your best Axelle costume. Send it to me via the Contact page of my website (you’ll find it in the Menu bar) by Thursday night and I’ll include you in the giveaway. And if you need a few tips on how to dress like Axelle, look no further – I wrote a blog post all about dressing up as Axelle! Just click here to get started. Oh, and having trouble getting your own pair of glasses just like Axelle’s? Well guess what? Thanks to my publisher, being a fashion detective has never been easier! You can download, print and cut out your very own pair of fashion detective glasses just by clicking here and heading over to their site. Check out my publisher’s website to download your very own pair of fashion detective glasses just like Axelle’s! LOVE! If you have any more questions just let me know by contacting me via the Contact page of my website. In the meantime, get creative, start channeling your inner fashion detective, and have fun! Carina x Read more.
The haute couture (check out how to pronounce “haute couture” in the “How To Speak Supermodel” glossary at the back of A Crime of Fashion or Dressed to Kill!) fashion shows have just finished wrapping up in Paris and as usual, I followed them (Model Under Cover research!). Just a reminder: Haute Couture refers to the super gorgeous and super high end hand-made clothes that only a few of the fashion houses still make. They are shown in Paris, twice a year, and separately form the “normal” pret-a porter fashion shows. There were, as always for the couture shows, some stunning dresses on the runways…but there was one in particular that reminded me of my favourite Disney animated films. Can you guess which one? Here it is: How GORGEOUS is this??? If you guessed Beauty and the Beast then we’re on the same wavelength! It’s exactly what jumped to mind when I saw this yummy, lemony, fluffy Gaimbattista Valli number. Wouldn’t it be perfect for Belle? It’s SO the kind of gown she’d wear – and it’s even in “her” colour. And have you noticed how even the runway looks like it could be out of Beauty and the Beast: the chandelier, gilded wood panelling, dainty ballroom chairs… I cannot wait to see the new Disney live-action version starring Emma Watson! It’s out on March 17th and, yeah, you bet I’m counting the days. If you haven’t seen the trailer yet, then what are you waiting for??? Click below to watch it! here I cannot wait to see Beauty and the Beast!!! Here’s a Model Under Cover trivia question for you: Which Model Under Cover book features haute couture dresses? Scroll all the way down for the answer. Dreamy blue from Elie Saab… Pretty pastels and cinched waists at Chanel… Another yummy ballgown from the Giambattista Valli show… Answer: Dressed to Kill!!! Happy reading! Carina x Read more.
Happy New Year! I’ve been away from my blog for a while but I hope you all had a lovely holiday season! Doesn’t the month of December fly by? Between writing deadlines, drawing deadlines, decorating the trees and house, preparing lists of Christmas presents, then buying the presents, plus baking (!), plus eating the baking, an endless round of Christmas parties AND doing all the normal stuff like WORK (and there always seems to be more at Christmas), taking the dogs out, running the house, etc., time just DISAPPEARS, basically. But I always have fun doing it all and that’s what counts, really, don’t you think? For those of you not following me on Instagram (and you should be!!!), here’s a quick peek at what I did over the holidays: I love decorating the Christmas trees…and I enjoy it even more with my dogs around. Getting the downstairs tree ready with the help of my fur-baby elves! Aren’t they sweet! My Cocker Spaniel dream team! Dream team or double trouble – I can’t decide! If those eyes aren’t saying “PLEASE”, nothing does! My taste-testing team, ready to try a sample of my chocolate-peppermint filled-choclate-dipped cookies. One word: Yuuummmmm! LOOK at the fabulous Christophe Robin giveaway swag I included in my Christmas competition… I held a MUC giveaway with some fab swag – all the more reason to follow me on Instagram or Facebook! Thank you to all of the readers who set me pics and letters and emails over the holidays – I loved hearing from all of you! I was sent lots of lovely pics from readers! Here’s MUC book 3 in French… One thing I always squeeze in at this time of the year is some kind of commissioned art work. This year it was a Christmas card for my friend and hair colourist, Christophe Robin. I’ve been doing Christophe’s Christmas cards off and on for the last twenty years and always have a blast doing them. This year’s included the fabulous interiors of his beautiful new Paris salon. I was thrilled to receive my printed copies in the mail! I had such fun drawing this card! If this ornament doesn’t make you laugh, nothing will! And if you’ve never seen a fish wearing a wig – now you have! I escaped to Dorset over the holidays, too. I love it Dorset! I was in beautiful Dorset over the holidays, too! Travel tip: Don’t bother trying to have a good hair day in Dorset – it’ll never work! Yes, I gained weight over the holidays!!! No, the pig is not real! Standing outside the Pig on the Beach in Dorset, where I ate like a…yup, you guessed it… I was in Scotland to ring in the New Year. I was thrilled to be there because I love Scotland! And I hadn’t been since last August when I was there for my Model Under Cover event at the Edinburgh Book Festival….so it was time for another visit, this time to the gorgeous Highlands! There’s nothing like a dog walk in the Highlands. I think New Year’s Eve is special – although I don’t think you necessarily need to do anything special to celebrate it. Sometimes a quiet night in, watching a good film and maybe making yourself a nice dinner, is the best way to do it. But no matter where I am or what I’m doing to celebrate New Year’s, I have to have my dogs with me! My favourite Christmas clutch (by Lulu Guinness). It always looks better with a fur-baby next to it, though! I wore it on New Year’s Eve. And now I’m back home, in the mountains, and back at work on a secret project I’m excited about. I can’t wait to tell you what it’s all about! A little fur-baby love helps me ease back into my writing routine… It’s still looking very Christmas-y here in Germany, though, which is nice… I’v never met a dog who doesn’t LOVE running through fresh snow… That’s it for now because if I carry on I’ll be here all night. But if you’d like to see more pics of what I did over the holidays head over to my Instagram page here. I wish you all a fabulous 2017 filled with much love, good health, happy times, success in school and work…and a TON of great books to read! AND THANK YOU for being my readers!!! You’re THE BEST!!! Here’s to many more happy times together in the coming year! Carina x Read more.
Holding a new edition for the first time is ALWAYS the most exciting thing!!! Model Under Cover book 3 is now out in French!!! It was published on October 28th, is called Le Secret de Johnny Vane, and I couldn’t be more excited. I love the cover, love the graphics on the inside of the book, and love that French readers can now add it to their Fashion Detective collection! (Yup, in France Model Under Cover is known as Fashion Detective). LOVE!!! My French publisher, Editions Fleurus , created yet another colourful, fun cover that I think perfectly captures Axelle’s sassy spirit and sense of adventure. And I particularly like how on this new cover Axelle has her sunglasses pushed up on her head and wears her hair in one long thick plait. C’est très chic! I also love how Axelle is holding super-cute and clever Halley! It was Aunt Venetia’s cat Miu Miu who graced the French covers of books 1 and 2, but considering how Halley has such a large role to play in solving book 3’s mystery, she should be on this one’s cover! You can check out Axelle’s other French covers at the bottom of the post. When your puppy photobombs your book birthday cover shot! For a quick peek at Fashion Detective: Le Secret de Johnny Vane click here. Or, to read the first chapter you can also head straight over to my publisher’s website (remember to click on the “Feuillter” option of the page you link to). Yeeesss! I’ve updated my French website page. check it out! In the meantime, I hope you’re all enjoying the fall and having fun! And make sure you check back here again soon because my next post will be about my new puppy!!! (She is SOOOOOO cute!!! And, yes, she’s the sweetie in the above pic!) Carina x Book 1, A Crime of Fashion, in French! Book 2, Stolen with Style, looking très chic! Read more.
Bet you can’t guess what my favourite sandwich filling is… I love the new super cute and rapid-fire Q&A interview I did with teen newbie blogger, Kate Emsley, for her My Internet Home book and lifestyle blog. We covered everything from my dogs’ names to probably the most original question I’ve ever been asked in an interview: what is my favourite sandwich filling! (Like they say, there is a first for everything!) You’ll also find out what my favourite back-to-school tip is – plus more about Model Under Cover… I won’t give more away, so just take two minutes and head over to Kate’s blog for the full scoop. And after you’ve read my interview take another two minutes to check out some of Kate’s short but sweet book reviews. Happy reading! Carina x Pic from my Instagram. Click to see more! Read more.
The view overlooking the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy. STUNNING! At the end of summer I had the fantastic luck of visiting Venice, Italy. It was a very short trip – less than a full weekend…BUT…Even in that tiny time span I had such an amazing day and a half that I cannot wait to revisit! Seriously, can a place be more beautiful??? This was the early morning view from my hotel room. TO DIE FOR! Like everyone else, I’d always heard so much about Venice: how beautiful it is, how amazing, how incredible, on and on. Despite all of that I didn’t let myself get carried away with expecting too much because I didn’t think any place could possibly live up to all the hype I’d heard. But guess what? IT TOTALLY lived up to all the big talk! It IS as unique, romantic and magical as I’d been told to expect. In the water taxi on my way into the city. Even the taxi rides are chic in Venice! So if you don’t have any plans to go…I suggest you make some. I plan on returning in the spring. Apparently, the best times to visit are in the fall and spring. Winter is best avoided because of all the rain, and summer because of the tourists. In what other city do you get to buzz around on retro wooden boats, on water canals, feeling like James Bond? I went to Venice to celebrate a friend’s birthday, so I didn’t get to do much in the way of sight-seeing – that’s why I can’t wait to go back! So I’ll share my favourite things about Venice after my next trip…but in the meantime, I’ll give you this one tip: make sure you have a drink on the terrace of the Gritti Palace hotel. It overlooks the Grand Canal and you won’t find a more beautiful – or chic – place to enjoy the Venetian view. By the way, I took all of these pictures with my iPhone, which just goes to show you how incredibly beautiful Venice is! Even with a phone it’s impossible to capture a view that is anything but magical! The dinner table. The flowers were gorgeous! About to leave for the party…Click on the picture to find out more about my dress. This city has the dreamiest views. I can’t wait to visit again! To see a few more of my Venice pics, head over to my Instagram! Carina x Read more.
Carina Axelsson at the EdBookFest in Edinburgh. I had THE BEST time at my EdBookFest event in Edinburgh, Scotland this August! I can’t believe a month has passed since that wonderful weekend. Thank you SO, SO much to all of you who came to see me! Meeting you all totally made my day – in fact, it made my whole week! I’m especially thankful to you all for your patience. I know some of you waited up to an hour in the queue to get your books signed and I just want to let you know that I really appreciate the time you took and I hope that it was as much fun for you to meet me, as it was for me to meet you! I get so fired up at events because there is nothing better than meeting my readers. I always say it’s the best perk of my job. To be honest, I love making up stories so much that I’d still write even if my work wasn’t published or read by anyone other than myself. But…having said that, frankly, it’s a whole lot more fun when I get back so much excitement and enthusiasm from readers! Meeting readers is the best perk of my job! The tools of the trade! Getting my bag together on the morning of my event. So what’s it like to do an event at a large book festival? In one word: FUN! Especially at the EdBookFest because it is so well organised and everyone working there is so friendly and helpful – and they LOVE books, of course, so what’s not to like?! Even so, I’m always a bit nervous before my event begins because I really want readers to have great time. But by the time I step on stage I’m super excited and ready to start. One thing that I always enjoy at events is meeting my Instagram followers! I love it when readers introduce themselves, and especially when they let me know that they follow me on my social media. It’s always fun to put a face to a name! Click on the photos below to see a few of my Instagram followers that I met in Edinburgh… I managed to squeeze in some research while in Scotland, too, including a visit to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the Queen’s official Scottish residence, to see an exhibition of the Queen’s dresses. If you get a chance to see this exhibition, do! There were three absolutely stunning ball gowns from the 1950s that I particularly liked. And the most charming outfit was a pink coat worn by the queen as a child. Her younger sister, Princess Margaret had a matching one, and I can imagine how sweet they must have looked up dressed up in their matching coats. I’d show you photos, only we weren’t allowed to take any! I also paid a visit to Lindisfarne Castle, an incredibly romantic 16th century castle built on a jutting, windswept rock on the Northumberland coast. I managed to squeeze in some research at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, where I saw an exhibition on the Queen’s dresses. The gardens at Lindisfarne Castle in Northumberland. Yup – even gardens can count as research! Thanks again to all of you who came to see me. I had a blast with you all and I look forward to meeting more readers during my upcoming book tour of UK schools! I can’t wait!!! Carina x Read more.
On holiday on the Dorset coast! I’m back at my writing desk and it’s PILED HIGH with STUFF that needs my attention! Coming back from holiday is always the same, isn’t it? It makes me even more thankful for the fantastic summer I had. I had a great time in Dorset, on the southern coast of England, which is where I spent most of my summer holiday. When I’m there I stay in a cottage that is near the dramatic cliffs of the magnificent Jurassic coast, which means lots of lovely walks for me and my dogs. I tend to be someone who gets up early no matter where I am, but on holiday, even if I wake up early, I make sure I enjoy a LONG and LEISURELY breakfast – something I don’t have the chance to do normally because I like to get to my writing desk first thing in the morning. But on holiday I LOVE having a long breakfast. In fact, I consider it a huge luxury. As far as I’m concerned, long breakfasts are right up there with other luxuries like large yachts and expensive handbags…only better because I can easily afford a long breakfast! And I can share a long breakfast with my dogs. I’m not sure how I’d share an expensive handbag with them…and I really doubt they’d like being on a yacht the whole day – they like their long walks too much! I love a long and leisurely breakfast – preferably with a view! So, do I write when I’m on holiday? Well…this was the first holiday I’ve had since I started writing Model Under Cover where I did not have to write. For the last few years I’ve had endless deadlines to meet – but this year, for once, I didn’t! So I did NOT write. Not a lot, anyway. What I did do was to write notes and think about the secret project I’m working on. (I can’t tell you anything about it yet, but, yeah, it’s a new book series! Shhh!) Which leads me to my Holiday Writing Tip… Holidays are a great time to soak in all kinds of new information and experiences. A holiday is the perfect time to visit new places, see new landscapes, try different projects, read books, and, basically, just do a ton of fun stuff that you normally don’t have the chance to do (like long breakfasts!). In other words, holidays are the perfect occasion to fill your memory bank with all kinds of new experiences that you can recycle once you’re back home and at your writing desk. Pay attention to whatever the tour guide might have to say, or buy a guide book so you learn about what you’re looking at. Any little detail you come across, whether it’s a tantalising tidbit of historical information about a painting, a scary local legend (check out the ones in Dorset about the screaming skull), or a famous romance from way back when, can fire up your imagination and give you all kinds of exciting ideas to consider for a story. I went to the Edinburgh Book Festival whilst on holiday. Here I am checking out Holyroodhouse Palace in Ediburgh. Research, research! Speeding through London on my way to Edinburgh. Travelling is a great source of writing inspiration! Personally, I find it especially exciting to see new landscapes. I find that visiting a place I’ve never been to or meeting new people can really get my creative juices flowing with ideas in a way that just sitting at my writing desk at home, surfing online, can’t do. And, like I said, the more you experience while on holiday the more inspiration you’ll have to draw on when it comes time to creating characters and scenes for the book you’re writing. Don’t forget to find out about any local legends – they’re a great source of inspiration! So remember: Use your holidays to soak in new information and experiences, any of which can inspire new characters or scenes in a the book you’re writing. I also recommend buying a guidebook or a postcard (I buy a TON of postcards) to remind yourself about what you’ve learned. You can also take photos with your phone – this is something I do all the time. I take pictures of the labels next to a painting if there is something interesting I want to remember about the painting or the artist who painted it (and I also take a picture of the painting if it’s allowed). And you can take notes, either at the time (carry a notebook and pen with you – I do!) or once you’re back home. Keep all of this information and take it out once the ideas start flowing. Which leads me to my next piece of advice. Don’t expect the ideas to start flowing as soon as you’re back in the car and on your way home from your sightseeing trip. A great idea might come immediately, of course…but sometimes it can take longer. Sometimes a tiny nugget of information needs a while before it becomes a brilliant idea. In fact, an idea from your summer holiday might not hit you until one day a few months down the line, when you’re crossing the street to buy some winter boots, Holy Dior!, it will come to you out of nowhere! That’s how it works with me, anyway… So when will my next holiday be? Hmmm…probably at Christmas time. And do I have some new places and things lined up that I’d like to see? Yup, you bet! So I’ll make sure I have my phone fully charged and my notebook and pen with me when I go! Carina x Remember! Sometimes even a restaurant experience – good or bad! – can make its way into your writing! Read more.
Hey MUC readers, want to read the 1st chapter of Dressed To Kill? Axelle, Ellie and Sebastian are back – and they’re waiting for YOU! The latest Model Under Cover adventure was published on Friday – yup, July 1st!!! – and I am SUPER excited! Head over to my previous blog post to read all about what I did – and what I else I’ll be doing ( #EdBookFest here I come!) – to celebrate the book’s UK publication. But for those of you who want to head straight to Milan and jump right into Axelle’s new fashion mystery then click HERE to check out the entire 1st chapter of Dressed To Kill on my publisher, Usborne’s, website! To order Dressed To Kill from my website click here. Happy reading! Carina x Read more.
Dressed To Kill is out! And FYI MUC readers: to celebrate the publication of Axelle’s 4th mystery I was in London last week to sign some early copies for a number of London bookstores. So if any of you happen to live in the London area you might still be able to find a signed copy of Dressed to Kill at one of the following bookstores: Watersones Piccadilly – yes the HUGE one on Piccadilly! The Kew Bookshop just across the road from Kew Gardens. Nomad Books on Fulham Road near Parsons Green. Watersones at Notting Hill Gate – although I think they sold out of the signed copies the day after I was in! Waterstones on Trafalgar Square. They have a fab kids department. Waterstones on King’s Road in Chelsea. I signed a small MOUNTAIN of books at this one, so chances might be best here for a signed one. At Waterstones Piccadilly. A little more FYI: I’ll be doing author events at schools in the fall as soon as the new school term starts. I’ll visit schools both in and around London and also in the north of England. But before all of that I will be doing an event at the Edinburgh Book Festival on Saturday, August 13th! I can’t wait! Book your tickets and find out all about my upcoming event at the #EdBookFest here. I hope to see as many of you there as possible. I loved meeting so many of you there last year! When I think of the last few years, it seems just a short while ago that I was editing the first fashion mystery in my Model Under Cover series…and now we’re already on book 4. What a thrilling adventure it’s been and I’ve loved every second of the writing and publishing process. For me, though, by far the best perk of the job is meeting my readers. Thank you SO MUCH to all of you! I love all of your comments, emails, pictures and photos. You guys make my day, every day, and I love you all to bits. Writing for you is a thrill and I love how you keep me on my toes!!! Happy reading and let me know how you like Dressed To Kill!!! Carina x At the super cute Nomad Books! Read more.