Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Weather Outside

This post is a bit of a mish-mash; quite representative of my head at the moment. Bear with me!

The Take On Amazon Web Splash is tomorrow! I can't quite believe the day is finally here. A massive thank you to everyone taking part and to those who've taken the time to read and review The Hating Game. Fingers crossed!

I'll be on Twitter all day, keeping people up to date on Amazon rankings with the hash tag #TheHatingGame. Along with posting updates, I'll also be serving virtual champagne, chocolate, cupcakes and assorted fizzy drinks for everyone. Pop by on Twitter and say hi! Make sure to use the tag #TheHatingGame so your tweet won't be missed. I'll also be guest posting on Strictly Writing, talking about the importance of social networking (big thanks to Debs Riccio for organising that!).

I want to give Sangu Mandanna a big shout-out today: her novel Woven is going to be published! Head over and say congrats if you get a chance!

And finally, since the UK is covered in a blanket of snow and ice (rare for November), I leave you with this photo taken a few years ago during London's snowstorm. Only in Britain!

Roll on December 1!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Bundt in the Oven

(Two more days until the Web Splash! All the text to post is here.)

The object you see is not a lifesaver nor a flying saucer... nor a donut. What you see is a Devil's Food Bundt cake topped with cream cheese frosting, baked by yours truly last weekend.

I'm a very experimental cook and loathe to actually follow a recipe. So when something turns out right, I'm ecstatic. In times of excitement, I turn to Twitter. After posting a photo of the my masterpiece, I sat back and waited for the compliments to roll in.

Instead, I got: 'Why is there a hole in the middle?' and 'Why have you baked a giant donut?' When I responded that 'it's a Bundt cake', I was met with tweets of confusion. Being Europeans, these people had obviously never experienced the great Bundt revolution like North America had. Bundts were an enigma.

Although they originated in Germany, the distinctive pan was first trademarked in the States and Bundts rose in popularity in the 1950s after a Bundt cake won second place in a Pillsbury baking content (Wikipedia). Thus began North America's love affair with the Bundt!

Bet you were dying to know that!

Have you ever baked a Bundt?

(Writing-related posts will return soon!)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Around the Block

(Web Splashers: The email with all the details went out today! Click here to see the html version.)

So it being Friday and all, I thought I'd give you a little tour around my part of London. If I seem to be focused on London lately, it's because I haven't been writing much this week but I have been venturing out of the flat! I hope you enjoy the little tour around the area as much as I love living here.

Kensington Church Walk - a quiet little walkway lined with shops.

The Churchill Arms, my local pub. Delicious Thai food!
One of the many antique shops on my street.

Notting Hill Brasserie: a great neighbourhood restaurant, tucked away in a quiet street. And I'm off there this afternoon!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

No Joke!

Happy Turkey Day to everyone in the States!

On this side of the ocean, something called 'The Twitter Joke Trial' has been unfolding. Way back in January, a guy from Nottingham was about to fly to Belfast. Bad weather shut down his airport and in frustration, he tweeted the following:

Crap! Robin Hood airport is closed. You've got a week and a bit to get your shit together otherwise I'm blowing the airport sky high!

In retrospect, maybe not the brightest thing to do. But worthy of prosecution and being convicted of 'menace'? He's now appealing and taking his case to the High Court. To help raise funds, publisher Scott Pack is auctioning off his MS critiquing services. As you can see by his blog, he tells it like it is!

You have until 10 pm GMT to get in your bids.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Feel the Love?

Web Splash Announcement! A small reminder that the Splash will take place one week from today. Due to some technical issues with Amazon that are making my head explode -- oh, there goes my ear -- the email with all the Splash information will hopefully be going out sometime on Friday.

Since yesterday's post, of course I've thought of a million more reasons why I love living in London. If you want to know about other cities, check out Ellen's post on Dublin and Helen's on Edinburgh.

So. On to today, and a somewhat controversial topic: using your blog to get feedback on your writing.

Of course there's nothing wrong with posting your writing for others to read -- pieces of work you're proud of, et cetera. But I'd argue if you're looking for genuine, critical feedback, your blog is probably not the best place to go.

Why? Well, first of all, it's a public forum -- people are always reticent to say what they really think in public, and unsure of the reception if they do. No one wants to looks like a crotchety miser who can't feel the love. We all want people to like our writing, but... do we really want our egos stoked with a false sense of security? When it comes to improving a passage, it's not really helpful.

Secondly, time. Most of us visit and comment on a lot of blogs, and thoughtful critiquing takes time. It's much easier to say something nice and move on than it is to give detailed feedback, especially if it's a long passage.

There are great blogs and bloggers out there who do offer valuable feedback: Clarissa Draper's chapter critique, for one. And there are always beta readers, writers' groups and plenty of forums to turn to for help.

What do you think? Are blogs a good place to get useful feedback on writing?

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Ten for Tuesday: Why I Love London

Happy Tuesday!

Although I have been known to complain from time to time about the tube (and if you live in London, I know you feel my pain), I do love living here.

1. The architecture! If you come from North America where many of the buildings are sixties and seventies-style or steel and glass, London's ornate architecture is awe-inspiring.

2. The variation from one part of the city to the other. It's impossible to get bored in London; moving from east London to west London is akin to visiting a different country. Every borough has a different feel to it, since London is really a collection of smaller communities that were gradually gobbled up by the metropolis.

3. The museums -- which are free! I have a crush on The Tate Modern. I love drifting through the galleries, then up to the cafe where you can have a glass of wine and gaze out over the Thames and St Paul's.

4. The markets. These days Portobello is swamped with tourists, but it's still worth a stroll down between the stalls. Columbia Road flower market and Borough market are also among my favourites.

5. Hyde Park. I love wandering around the park, particularly in the winter when it's empty and the sky is grey. My husband and I have our own spot, right in front of The Serpentine.

6. The South Bank. Yes, it's where I got engaged, got married, yada yada yada, but it's also the cultural centre of London with the British Film Institute, The National Theatre, and The Royal Festival Hall.

7. Daunt Books. Located in an old Edwardian bookshop in Marylebone, I feel calmer as soon as I walk into this shop.

There are plenty of other reasons I love living here, but I must now go placate my stomach with chocolate.

Do you love where you live? Or would you escape faster than Houdini on speed?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Christmas Treats: Love or Hate?

Before I delve into the goodies, I just wanted to say a big thanks for all the very helpful comments on my last post!

Now then, onto the treats! Venturing into Marks & Spencer last night, I was accosted by shelves heaped with Christmas offerings: mince pies, fruit cake and more. I cannot stand mince pies or fruit cake, but my other half fell upon them with all the glee of an bulimic elf.

So: when it comes to the goodies below, do you love 'em or hate 'em?

Mince pies. A British festive sweet pastry, traditionally consumed during the Christmas and New Year period and also for Thanksgiving in America ... Mince pies are filled with mincemeat – a preserve typically containing apple, dried fruits such as raisins and sultanas, spices, and either suet or vegetable shortening. Source: Wikipedia.

Fruit cake. A cake made with chopped candied fruit and/or dried fruit, nuts, and spices, and (optionally) soaked in spirits. In the United Kingdom, certain rich versions may be iced and decorated. Fruitcakes are often served in celebration of weddings and Christmas. Source: Wikipedia.

Terry's Chocolate Orange. A popular British chocolate product, made by Kraft Foods, originally sold only in the United Kingdom, but now sold all across the world. It is a ball of chocolate mixed with orange oil, divided into 20 "segments", similar to a real orange. Source: Wikipedia.

Mulled wine. Wine, usually red, combined with spices and typically served warm. Nowadays, it is a traditional drink during winter, especially around Christmas. Source: Wikipedia.

Chicken Bones (Canadians, is this is a Canadian thing? I haven't seen it in the UK). A unique pink cinnamon outer shell surrounding Ganong semi-sweet chocolate in the centre. Source: Ganong.

What's your favourite or most hated Christmas treat?

Friday, November 19, 2010

How Much Is Too Much?

Two very nice things happened to me recently: I got lovely blurbs from Irish bestselling author Colette Caddle as well as one of the biggest chick lit websites, Chick Lit Reviews. As I've bored you all to tears with, it is extremely barfable asking -- and then waiting -- for authors and reviewers to read your work. So when I heard back from both, my immediate response was to post the blurbs everywhere I could think of!

Then I wondered: if I post these kind words, will people think I'm bragging? Yes, I'm proud, excited and relieved, but I'd need a good ten courses of arrogance drugs to even come near the bragging factor -- that's how insecure I've been. I really just want to share the words with people I know will understand.

So I ask you: how much is too much? When do you feel an author crosses the line from acceptable promotion to just plain annoying?

(And if you're interested in what the blurbs said, go here)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Sore Heads, Soaking Stockings and More

I've fallen down on my blog commenting a bit this week, and I apologize! It's all down to the weekend away, house guests and midnight lamb -- and the Romantic Novelists' Association Winter Party! I shall redeem myself shortly, I promise.

Since I don't get out much, the thought of dressing up (and even brushing my hair) had me quivering in anticipation. The annual RNA Winter Party was held last night in the gorgeous Library of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers in Westminster.
The exterior of the Institute.
After meeting up with several RNA Tweeters at the Waterstones bar in Piccadilly (have you ever heard of anything so fabulous? A bar in a bookstore?), we coerced the doorman at The Ritz to flag us down a cab for the short journey to the Institute.

The interior of the Library.
The library was packed with writers, agents, editors and publishers -- all there to party it up! It was noisy and crowded but loads of fun, and I got to catch up with a lot of people I'd met at the conference and meet some new writers, too. It was all good except for one thing: my feet. Shoved into my foreign high heels, I was experiencing pain like never before. Despite the rain and the freezing cold, I couldn't help ditching the shoes and running in my stocking-ed feet down the street towards home! Freedom!
And the fun continues today: I'm off to Hannibal House (yes. Hannibal) to prove my identity for my first British passport! Other exciting news: over on High Heels and Book Deals, The Hating Game is reviewed! Pop over if you get a chance. And I'm very sorry to say I've finally had to enable word verification on my blog. I like enlarged penises and all, but... not on my blog, no.
What are you up to today? And do you believe high heels were invented to inflict pain on the women of the world?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Breakthrough Blog Tour - Conflict

Thank you to everyone for taking part in the quiz yesterday! As its creator, I admit the results might have been slightly skewed -- and by slightly, I mean there was only one possible outcome: romantic comedy! So I do look forward to seeing Alex Cavanaugh and Matthew Rush embrace their new genre with passion.

Today I'm delighted to welcome Stephen Tremp on the latest leg of his blog tour. Every post of Stephen's I've read has been full of useful advice and this one's no different! Take it away, Stephen.

"The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph” - Thomas Paine

Authors love to incorporate conflict not only into their stories, but into the very fabric of their characters. It is conflict that drives the plot forward and engages the reader. The more adverse the conflict is, or a state of opposition, the more rewarding the victory is to the overcomers.

According to Gillian Roberts in You Can Write A Mystery, the fundamental element of all drama is conflict, a clash between good an evil. Life vs. death. Law vs. disorder. There are internal and external conflicts and personality conflicts with people of different goals, hostile witnesses, uncooperative employees, or frustrating red tape. Murder is often the “crime of choice” as it is the ultimate offense and “therefore produces the most absolute and unequivocal conflicts.” But conflict can manifest in numerous other less-violent forms, as long as it wrongs the accepted norms of a society or individuals. Gillain suggests the two sides of conflict be equally weighted (easier said than done). The protagonist should be the mental equal of the antagonist. Otherwise, it’s an unfair fight or a rout rather than a difficult quest and the tension would be reduced.

Internal conflict, or the conflict that takes place within the mind if a character, and external conflict, the struggle against some outside force, can be deciding factors as to what separates a good story from a great story. The protagonist has to meet a challenge and conquer it. But it’s hard if not seemingly impossible. He’s repeatedly foiled time and again along his journey, but must press forward. There is also conflict between individuals and their interactions, whether they are friend or foe. Characters can have differing goals. There can be hostile witnesses or frustrating beaurocracy and red tape.

Conflict also offers the author the opportunity to weave into the plot twists and turns that will keep the reader up late at night, turning the pages. When the protagonist, antagonist, or other characters overcome a seemingly insurmountable obstacle, the author can take advantage of the opportunity to bamboozle the reader by shifting the plot and make an unexpected sharp left or right turn.

Utilitarianism, or conduct directed toward promoting the greatest good for the greatest number of people, provides an excellent opportunity for an author to implement the element of internal and eternal conflict. Throughout history, men and women in positions of authority, during exceedingly excruciating circumstances, have had to make utilitarian decisions that affect countless lives and history itself. During World War II, Allied decision makers had to sacrifice entire towns and cities in order to take one more step toward winning the war. Dropping nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in order to save literally millions of American and Japanese casualties would be another extreme example.

In my book Breakthrough, Chase Manhattan’s utilitarian decisions may seem to be on a much smaller scale. However, as the Breakthrough trilogy progresses, we see a Pandora’s Box that is opened and the key is the discovery of wormholes. Indeed, a seemingly innocent breakthrough that can benefit mankind can instead threaten life as we know it and send us back to the dark ages. The protagonist must overcome his own internal and external conflict if he is to stop the madness and destroy this breakthrough discovery.

Please join me tomorrow as I visit L. Diane Wolfe at Spunk on a Stick’s Tips for Researching the Research.

Stephen Tremp is author of the action thriller Breakthrough . You can visit Stephen at Breakthrough Blogs where Breakthrough is available for purchase and download to all eReaders.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Big Reveal

It being Tuesday and all, I thought I'd replace today's Ten for Tuesday with a handy-dandy quiz to help you uncover your ideal reading genre. (Sorry, I tried to embed it, but it keeps crashing! Maybe later...).

Who knows, you may even be surprised! Enjoy!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Two More Weeks!

I've returned safe and sound (albeit somewhat fluey) from my forray to the land of the Beatles! It was a great trip and good to get out of London, but even better to be back again.

I keep banging on about my forthcoming ebook release, but when you have little else besides wine and chocolate to focus on, such things do become a bit of an obsession. Over the past few days, I've received a few emails from people asking just what they have to do on December 1 for my big Take On Amazon Web Splash, so -- for lack of anything better to post about today -- I thought I'd clarify! Still plenty of time to sign up, if you haven't yet. And a big thanks to everyone who has!

So! Next week, I will be sending out an email to everyone who's signed up with the book blurb and the links to the Amazon Kindle listing on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. On December 1, you can post the book blurb (and cover, if you like) along with the Kindle links on your blog. Basically, the aim is to let people know about the book release on that day, in hopes of driving sales to get as high as possible on Amazon charts. If you'd like to buy the book, that would be fantastic, but please don't feel in any way obliged -- I know how tight funds are at this time of year. It's really all about spreading the word.

Check your junk mail, as I'll be sending from a newsletter site that allows me to send to lots of recipients at one time. I'll also have all the info available on this blog, as well as on the Facebook events page. And if you blog or tweet, I'll provide status updates for you to share.

If you're reviewing the book (thank you, thank you!), you can post your Amazon review any time from when the Kindle listing is live (I'll email to let you know).

Phew! That's everything, I think! And, to top it all off, there's an extract from Chapter One of The Hating Game available here. Take a peek, if you have a chance.

Happy Monday! And thank you a million zillion times for all your support!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Breaking News - I'm Leaving the Flat!

The unthinkable is happening. Not only am I leaving my flat, I'm leaving London! Yes, I am going to venture out into the wide world... all the way to Liverpool -- for the weekend, anyway. So, I thought I'd leave you with a few things for which Liverpool is known (see how awkward that sentence is? Really, ending sentences with prepositions should be fine! It should! See, this is why I need to leave my flat).

Ferry on the Mersey River. When I did this a few years ago, I nearly froze my arse off.

The Beatles. I am the only person in the history of the human race not to really appreciate their music. Yes, I know, I know...

WAGs. Need I say more?

The Albert Docks.

My favourite bar in Liverpool! Alma de Cuba, in a restored church.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Wonderful World of Hair!

Me and my brother, hanging out in the tree in all our polyester glory.

Thank you all for the wonderfully reassuring comments yesterday! At the risk of sounding all smushy, I feel so lucky to have such a great group of online friends!

Today's post has nothing to do with writing. Nothing at all. Today's post is, in fact, all about hair -- another small obsession of mine.

It may shock you that despite being born a blonde, platinum is no longer my natural colour (yes, I know! I hear the sighs of disbelief, ha!). In fact, platinum is just one of the many colours that has graced my locks, from black to red and back again.

My obsession with hair began early on, when I took to trimming the hair of my Strawberry Shortcake dolls until they were nigh on scalped (and let me assure you, a scalped Lemon Meringue doll is just plain scary). Even My Little Pony tails didn't stand a chance against me and my scissors. I was the five-year-old Edward Scissorhands of my block.

In junior high, I crimped, I hairsprayed, I banana-clipped, I permed... there was nothing my poor old hair didn't handle. With SunIn, Flirt (a hideous red 'temporary' dye that turned everything orange) and lemon juice, I was determined to be transformed. Honestly, it's a wonder I still have hair on my head!

What were you obsessed with when you were young? And have you outgrown it?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Giant Mushy Sponge

Three weeks to go until The Hating Game ebook release and my insides are like a giant mushy sponge, sucking up every bit of doubt and fear and stubbornly hanging onto them despite multiple wringings.

I remember reading about authors with pre-publication nerves and rolling my eyes. Whatever. They're getting published! I'd think, dismissing their fears with a blithe 'I should be so lucky'.

But now that I'm here, I can safely say this is probably the most stressed out I've been. Yes, I like to worry: I got my gold star in anxiety long ago. But when it's something you've created and dreamed about, it's absolutely terrifying -- enough to even put me off chocolate (for five minutes).

Still, it's part of the process and I need to learn to embrace it. If I don't put my work out there, I won't get lovely emails and comments from early readers that have made my heart sing and helped to calm me (thank you!). I won't ever set a foot on the road to my career, if I let my worry stop me. So... as anxiety-inducing as this time is, it's also exciting. This book isn't the end (hopefully!) of my career. It's only the beginning.

What have you found most terrifying about the writing process?

(If you'd like to sign up for my Web Splash on December 1 to help with my ebook release, there's still plenty of time!)

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Ten for Tuesday: Keeping Cozy

I'm going to have to re-name this feature, because there's no way I can make it to ten most days!

Winter has come to the UK. By 'winter', I mean the temperature has fallen below 10 degrees C and there's plenty of rain and wind, along with general gloom. Having grown up in Canada with snow and such, there's no excuse for me to complain of cold. But really, the cold in England gets into your bones and takes up a clammy residence, spreading mould and damp... well, you get the picture.

It doesn't help that I sit in front of an old sash window, which oozes cold air right onto me. Brr. So, in honour of the season, today's not-so-ten for Tuesday is all about staying warm. Here are my top tips!

1. Fingerless gloves. Yeah, baby! Not so sexy, but they keep your hands toasty warm and your fingers free for munching. And typing.

2. Under-desk heater. I shove a heater right up under my desk (not an euphemism for anything, I assure you) and then press my legs against it. Ohhhh ssooooo satisfying.

3. Chocolate-scented blanket. What's this, you ask? So easy to create. Simply choose a plain blanket, melt some chocolate in strategic (or accidental) locations, then wrap yourself up tightly.

4. The sock layering organisational system. If you're like me and you can never keep track of your socks, why not wear them all at once? Your feet will be warm and you'll never lose them again.

5. Mulled wine. Hey, it's almost Christmas! Get in the spirit early and keep your insides cheery by having a cup of mulled wine. You deserve it!

How do you keep warm? Happy Tuesday!

Monday, November 08, 2010

Does Your Book Have the X-Factor?

The UK is caught in the grip of reality TV these days. In particular, the X-Factor: a show like American Idol, but with old(er) deluded people as well as young. Being a reality TV junkie, of course I'm loving the caterwauling and lapping up the tears.

But, amongst the screeching and nasally tones, there are some singers who just have it. They shine onstage and they 'can sing the phone book', to quote Simon's favourite line. They just sparkle.

I've been doing a lot of reading these days, and I've come to the conclusion the x factor can be applied to books, as well. There are some books I've read where I'm gripped straight away, lured into the narrative and soaring through the plot. They have that elusive quality that makes them shine.

What kind of book has the x factor for you? Beautiful writing, unique voice... or can you put your finger on it?

PS - BIG CONGRATS to Jessica Bell, who just announced her novel is going to be published! Woo! Head over to say congrats, if you have a sec!

Friday, November 05, 2010

The Cap'n and Ali G

Big thanks to everyone for the wonderful comments yesterday! Wishing all a productive year ahead.

Today, I'm over on Joanna St James's blog, expounding on Cap'n Crunch, Ali G and more. Check it out if you have a second.

And there are lots of great contests going on these days! The lovely Jen Daiker's almost at 1000 -- if you're not already following, get over there and read all about her contest.

Everyone's favourite Alliterative Allomorph is also holding a 400 followers contest.

And over at Candyland, you can donate to help the women and children of Ghana.

Any more contests? Feel free to post about it in the comments! Have a fantastic weekend, everyone!

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Getting Published - One Year On

It's a year to the day since my first book, 24 Hours London (published under my real name), hit the bookshops! And wow, what a year it's been! Since then, 24 Hours Paris has also been released, with Sydney on its way -- and, of course, The Hating Game.

Although I've always longed to have my fiction published, the anniversary of 24 Hours London holds a special place in my heart. It was the first sign to everyone that what I was doing wasn't so crazy, after all; that I could get something published. I was on my way.

A lot of great things have happened this past year, but I'd thought I'd share a few. One of the best was being asked to contribute to a London feature The Times was running, then getting a request to take part in a live online Q&A, run by London experts. My internet being what it is (dodgy), I decided to head into The Times to do it in their newsroom. And of course I got lost. Oh the irony. The 'London expert', lost in London.

Another highlight was being interviewed on BBC London by Robert Elms. I was absolutely terrified of messing up -- I even had loads of cheat sheets on late-night London in case I froze -- but it was fun and I don't think too many people noticed the tremor in my voice!

And wow, it was so spectacular when a junior editor at my publishers spotted my book on display at the British Museum! I nearly keeled over with joy.

Of course, signing a contract for The Hating Game and realising that my fiction would finally be published is right up there too.

All in all, it's been quite a year!

Where would you like to be, one year from now?

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

The Mad Ones Wear Bow-Ties

I have the great pleasure of living in a place crowded with hundreds of characters. Last year, while grabbing an early morning Sunday coffee on Portobello, my husband and I had a close encounter with one of them.

I sip my strong coffee as the unfamiliar sun caresses my head. Nearby, an old-school ghetto blaster belts out Lionel Richie as the street slowly stretches its Sunday morning arms.

'Am I annoying you?'

My head swivels. At the next table, a middle-aged posh-looking man is settling into a chair next to a complete stranger.

'No, you're alright, mate,' the stranger says. Eyes glued to newspaper and head down, he maintains Londoners' strict code of conduct.

'I smoked seven grams of cocaine and had six hookers last night,' says Posh Man, swaying slightly.

Stranger barely looks up. 'Sounds like a messy night,' he says in a typically understated British way.

Posh Man pulls a face. 'No, not messy. Not messy at all. I'm just coming down. I smoked seven grams of cocaine and had six hookers last night,' he repeats, louder, in case any of us have missed it. Stranger continues with his newspaper. Silence falls.

'I'm the best film maker on this street. Too bad my wife has left me. Man, she was hot.' He points to Stranger. 'Now, if she was with you, I'd be impressed. You're rich. Not as rich as me. I have a Rolex that used to be owned by Frank Sinatra. I'm the best film maker on this street.'

Stranger folds his paper and gets up, walking away without a word. Silence descends again, until another man nabs the chair Stranger's just vacated. Posh Man looks his way. 'I smoked seven grams of cocaine and had six hookers last night,' he says, delighted to have a new audience.

Husband and I get up to leave, stifling our laughter. 'He's a nutter!' my husband says.

'But he looked so posh...' For some reason, I find it hard to believe a man who speaks like Prince Charles could be clinically insane.

'He's wearing a bow-tie,' my husband responds assuredly. 'The mad ones always wear bow-ties.'

Any mad characters in your neck of the woods?

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Ten for Tuesday: Literary Hotties

For me, the perfect man can be found in books. Not only can you create them in your mind's eye, but you can close the cover on them whenever you like! Shame the same can't be said for real life partners, who make you do pesky things like wash your dishes straight away...

Anyway. I digress! Without further ado or husband bashing, here are my literary hotties, past and present. I'm telling you now, I'm not going to make it to ten! Memory does not serve me well.

1. Philip, in the Adventure series by Enid Blyton. He was so well-loved by animals and I adored the tuft in the front of his hair. Plus, he was very brave. I do hope it doesn't need to be pointed out that I no longer find Philip as attractive as I did, say, 25 years ago.

2. Boots, in the Bruno and Boots series by Gordon Korman. Bruno was the more audacious of the two, but I had a soft spot in my heart for the more cautious Boots.

3. Todd, in Sweet Valley High. Elizabeth's boyfriend, I mourned his loss when he moved miles away to Vermont and they broke up. Jeffrey was nowhere near as good as Todd!

4. Mr Rochester, in Jane Eyre. A bit of a jerk (okay, a big jerk). But he's blind in the end! Jane must take care of him! Awwww!

5. Colin Firth. Colin Firth, Colin Firth, Colin Firth. Yes, I know he's not in a book. But... Colin Firth!

6. Dermot, in Love Letters by Katie Fforde. A dark and brooding Irish man. Need I say more?

And I'll stop there, mopping up the drool that seems to have accumulated on my keyboard in the creation of this post!

Who's on your list of literary hotties?

Monday, November 01, 2010

Into the Shadows Blog Splash!

I've received so much wonderful support from the blogosphere that when I heard about Karly Kirkpatrick's release date (today!), I was more than happy to help spread the word!

Here's more about Karly's book, Into the Shadows.

Paivi Anderson has it all—friends, a spot on the varsity basketball team, wonderful parents, and quite possibly, her first boyfriend. It was everything a freshman in high school could ask for. Her perfect life begins to crumble when she discovers her name on a list distributed by a power-hungry presidential candidate. How could anyone think of Paivi as an Enemy of the State? Could it be because of her special powers? No one was supposed to know about them, but the mysterious messages in her tater tots say otherwise. In INTO THE SHADOWS, Paivi quickly learns who her friends are and is forced into a reality she didn’t see coming.

Help INTO THE SHADOWS climb the bestseller list at Amazon.com by purchasing your copy for $2.99 here http://amzn.to/c4QRzo November 1st. Even one day of great sales on Amazon helps push the book up the bestseller list, which makes the ebook more visible to other readers. No Kindle? No problem! Download a free app at Amazon.com. Also available at http://www.smashwords.com/, http://www.amazon.co.uk/, and http://www.barnesandnoble.com/ . Coming soon in paperback. Keep up with the latest at http://www.karlykirkpatrick.com/ .

Go Karly go!

And now, for something totally different, Summer is hosting a writing space blogfest!

This is my zone. It's certainly not going to win anything on its glam factor, I know. The thing is, I like my space to be fairly neutral and ordered. Yes, that's TweetDeck I have open there, alongside my favourite pen and notebook... and beside that, a booklet that keeps reminding me I need to do my taxes! The camel by the back wall was given to me by my husband's cousin in Cairo last year and that gold sphere beside it is an ashtray because she thought 'all writers smoke'.

One thing I cannot live without is my Aloe Vera Vaseline lip therapy (to the left of the computer). Nothing irks me like dry lips! If ever anything would prevent me from writing, that would be it.

Thanks, Summer, for hosting this!