Friday, June 29, 2012

Works in Progress: Inside and Out

Happy Friday! You'll be happy to hear the road resurfacing nightmare is over, and we now have a pristine street out front that really didn't need any work done in the first place. Must be the end of the fiscal year... our tax dollars hard at work.

London is bursting with construction from one end to the other in preparation for the Olympics, actually. Everywhere you turn, the city is polishing itself up in readiness for the five bazillion visitors who will soon be descending upon us. Should make for some interesting times!

Apart from the joys of asphalt, there's been another little development in my life -- currently about the size of a lemon! I'm happy to report that Mini TR will be joining us in early January. Mr TR and I had our first peek as he happily bounced around inside me yesterday, and the doctor informed us the baby was 'very male'. Yikes!

So, that's my latest work in progress. Thankfully, he'll do all the hard work himself -- no revisions or editing needed!

What are you working on these days, internally or externally? :) Have a great weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Talk Talk

Brace yourself: this post is going to be boring. (Can you imagine if I started a novel like that? I wonder how many people would read on...) Anyway, I do apologise. I'm utterly brain-dead after a torturous night listening to heavy BEEPING machinery scrape the asphalt off the street in front of my flat all night until 5 a.m. And even worse? They'll be back tonight!

(I've tried earplugs. They don't work.)

So, in lieu of a functioning brain, I thought I'd share a couple talks I'll be doing over the next few months.

July 14: The Romantic Novelists' Association Annual Conference, Penrith. Marketing for Writers. I'll be talking about the many social media platforms and strategies writers can use to market themselves. And I assure you, one of those will NOT being DM'ing everyone on Twitter your Amazon buy-links! Grr!

July 17: Byte the Book, Digital Literary Soirée, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., The Ivy, London. The Author Experience of Publishing in a Digital Age. 

Sept 7: York Festival of Writing, 2 to 6 pm. How to be a Professional Self-Publisher and Succeed (mini-workshop)

Sept 8: York Festival of Writing, 4:40 pmTraditional or Self-Publishing: How to Know What's Right for You

Nov 16-18: Festival of Romance, Bedford. TBD.

Are you still reading? Hope so! A small shout-out for a very supportive chick lit reader, Kevin Loh, who has just started his own review blog. You can check it out and follow here.

Happy Wednesday, everyone. Think of me while you're sleeping soundly this evening.  

Monday, June 25, 2012

Guilty Pleasures

I won't even tell you what kind of photos I found searching for 'guilty pleasures'. My eyes, my eyes!

I've started plotting my next novel, The Pollyanna Plan, but as you know, lately I'm been embracing the faff. And to that end, I've indulged in a few guilty pleasures. So here they are... in no particular order.

1. Afternoon naps. There's something so decadent about shutting your eyes and drifting away...

2. Phil and Kirsty. Give me any property show with these two, and I'll watch for hours. I don't care how boring real estate is -- I love their chemistry.

3. Staring into space. Mr TR calls it 'being a horse' (like animals in fields staring at nothing), and I love it. I can only manage a few minutes before getting bored, though.

4. Window shopping. I'm lucky enough (well, not for my budget) to live close to High Street Kensington, a street lined with loads of shops. Although I'm not much a browser, I do love looking into shop windows and people watching.

5. The Daily Mail. Every day, a story in this paper makes me laugh. From cancer-causing veggies to sperm-squirting squids (don't ask), the more ridiculous, the better.

So there you have it! A few of my tamer guilty pleasures.

What are yours?

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Yin and Yang of Wine and Coffee

Happy Friday! I'm still occupied with my faffing, so today I'm pleased to host the lovely Hart Johnson, talking about hew new novel, The Azalea Assault. I loved this book --  the cast of characters were all interesting and varied, and I liked that Cam was intelligent and interesting. The wonderfully lush setting in Roanoke really come alive, too. I'm not a big mystery reader, but this one has whet my appetite for more.

Over to Hart!

First I want to thank Talli so much for hosting me as part of my blog book tour! I think Talli is such an amazing presence, always cheerful, always fun, but MAN can she nail that marketing creativity thing! She's had some of the most unique ideas for really getting herself out there, and I think all of us can learn from her. She pushes all of us to up our game!!!

I thought, because Talli is a coffee and wine gal, I'd talk about the ongoing struggles my MC and her best friend have on exactly these topics (and how it's symbolic for their character differences overall) See, Camellia Harris (Cam) is pragmatic, calorie conscious (sort of a light weight where liquor is concerned) and prefers things mild. Annie, her long-time best friend, is sassy, bold, spicy... all about life's little pleasures (and big, if you can find them). [Cam is a PR professional and Annie owns a cupcake shop]

 In the very opening scene there is a debate about CREAM... Cam using the non-fat, non-dairy substitute and Annie insisting she is missing the point entirely, lecturing her about TEXTURE. Likewise on the wine. Cam is white, not too dry, not too sweet (a nice grigio). Annie is red and bold, usually choosing a merlot, but enjoying unusual twists. I had such fun setting up their personality contrasts in terms of flavor—seriously.

There is also an ongoing beer debate and Annie constantly pushing Cam to add a little spice to her palate. (And swear more, but never mind) I think the details like this can be so telling, and give a great sense of personality without having to... you know... describe personality.

 So the coffee or wine bar are open, depending on what time it is: How do you prefer yours? I am a black coffee drinker most days (though at Christmas always need at least one eggnog latte) and drink wine like a high school kid (pretty and sweet—I get that from my grandma).

 The Azalea Assault 
 Cam Harris loves her job as public relations manager for the Roanoke Garden Society. It allows her to combine her three loves, spinning the press, showing off her favorite town, and promoting her favorite activity. She's just achieved a huge coup by enlisting Garden Delights, the country's premiere gardening magazine, to feature the exquisite garden of RGS founder, Neil Patrick. She's even managed to enlist world-famous photographer Jean-Jacques Georges. Unfortunately, Jean-Jacques is a first-rate cad—insulting the RGS members and gardening, goosing every woman in the room, and drinking like a lush. It is hardly a surprise when he turns up dead. But when Cam's brother-in-law is accused and her sister begs her to solve the crime, that is when things really get prickly.Available at: Barnes & Noble Paperback or Nook Amazon Paperback or Kindle (pretty much any book store and some big boxes) 

Alyse Carlson is the pen name for the author some of you may know as Hart Johnson. She writes books from her bathtub and when she isn't writing, does research for a large, midwest University or leads the Naked World Domination Movement (your choice). Alyse/Hart/The Tart can be found at: Confessions of a Watery Tart.

Thank you for your kind words, Hart (I didn't pay her, I swear!). Before I go, you can read about my fifteen firsts over at the Chick Lit Bee, and there's a chance to win a copy of Construct A Couple at the wonderful Book Chick blog.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Embrace the Faff

Although in my normal life, I'm extremely goal-oriented to the point of obsession, I'm an expert faffer when I put my mind to it. And with the launch of the book behind me, most of the accompanying activities squared away, and a few free days looming before diving into my next novel, that's exactly what I intend on doing.

'Faffing' for me usually entails a few hours aimlessly surfing the 'net (Daily Mail, anyone?), entering random Google searches and snickering at some of the ruder results. What can I say, in this current state, it doesn't take much to amuse me! Then, when I finally haul my arse off the sofa and away from Whiny Housewives of Orange County -- strangely addictive, I might add -- I'll wander down to Kensington High Street and peruse the shops for red trousers (!!), grab a yummy strawberries and cream drink thingy from one of the gazillions of Starbucks along the way, and saunter through the park past Kensington Palace on my way home.


What's your favourite way to faff?

Monday, June 18, 2012

In the Headlights

Hope everyone had a great weekend, and that all the dads out there had a fantastic Father's Day!

I'm in the headlights at Rebecca Leith's blog today, answering some very interesting questions about temptations and animals. Drop by to say hi if you can!

And in other news, there's a chance to win Construct A Couple over on Chick Lit Central. Just comment on your favourite dad to enter.

I'll keep this short and sweet as I think I've said it all over at Rebecca's. Have a great Monday, everyone!

PS! Blog buddy Stephen Tremp is having a Breakthrough Breakout Book Giveaway today and tomorrow. For these 2 days, his debut novel Breakthrough will be available for free on Amazon. Check out Stephen's blog for the details.

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Aftermath

TGIF, everyone!

First off, a massive thanks to everyone who popped by on Wednesday, helped spread the word about Construct A Couple, or even took the time to review my novel. I am constantly amazed by the level of support in the writing world!

It's a funny thing when launch activities die down, the hoopla fades away, and you're left staring at the computer screen wondering what to do next. Of course, there are plenty of things I should be doing, but I find I always need a little time to regroup and recharge. Next week, I'll start in on The Pollyanna Plan, due out in the autumn, and I've already got a draft cover designed for Marriage To Measure, the next in the Serenity Holland series.

But until then, I'm going to sit on my arse, eat raspberry trifle to my heart's content, and ogle the monitor mindlessly.

Have a great weekend, everyone, and thanks again!

(Today is the last day Build A Man is free on Amazon (.com; Yay! Grab your copy now if you haven't already.)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Launch Day!

Yippee! It's launch day for Construct A Couple (.com; for 99c/99p), and there's lots of exciting stuff going on! 

Over on High Heels and Book Deals, I'm talking about how many drafts I go through, among other things. 

On Trashionista, you can enter to win a copy of Construct A Couple

The lovely Meredith Moore has posted a rather nice review of Construct A Couple on her blog. Thanks, Meredith!

And to celebrate the launch, Build A Man will be free on Amazon for the next three days (.com; Yay! Grab your copy now if you haven't already. 

A big thank you to everyone in blogland who, as always, is super-encouraging and supportive. So grab a glass of wine, champagne, or wine, and tell me:

What do you think makes a successful couple? 

I'm going to say patience. For both Mr TR and me!

Have a great day, everyone, and thanks for dropping by to help me celebrate!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Into the Light

Happy Monday! You'll be stunned to hear it's still raining (har). Hope everyone had a wonderfully dry weekend.

Things have been pretty quiet of late at TR Towers. As I may have mentioned one or thrice, I've had my head down, working away on Construct A Couple. My deadline was originally the end of May. I'm a sticker for deadlines, but this time around I just needed that bit more time to finesse the text, and make sure I was happy.

After working like mad for the past few weeks and neglecting everything but bodily functions (TMI?), I'm pleased to report Construct A Couple is now up on your friend and mine, Amazon (.com; for 99c/99p! Phew.

There's always a sense of relief when a big project is finished, mixed with nerves about people actually reading the novel. Not to mention, I have a list a mile long of everything I pushed to one side while trying to get this book out the door! And part of that includes catching up on my blog rounds, which has suffered a little over recent weeks.

I hope you'll come by on Wednesday for the official launch, when there will be wine, wine, wine and wine. And if you don't like wine, there's always wine!

Have a fab day, and I'll see you then!

Friday, June 08, 2012

Give Poetry A Chance

Happy Friday, all! Today, I'm delighted to welcome Jessica Bell to the blog, in celebration of Fabric, her new book of poetry. I'm a massive poetry fan, and this book is not only beautifully laid out, it's very accessible. Drawing heavily on Greek terminology and mythology, Jess's poems are an assault to the senses - it's writing you can't be neutral about. 

Jessica says:
My poetry will not baffle you with phrasing that scholars award for academic genius and that can only be understood by those who wrote it. My poetry is for the everyday reader. In fact, it is even for those who don’t like to read poetry at all. Because it is real, stark and simple.

The poems in Fabric are no different. They explore specific moments in different people’s lives that are significant to whom they have become, the choices they’ve made. It’s about how they perceive the world around them, and how each and every one of their thoughts and actions contributes to the fabric of society. Perhaps you will even learn something new about yourself.

So, even if you do not usually read poetry, I urge you to give this one a go. Not because I want sales (though, they are fun!), but because I want more people to understand that not all poetry is scary and complex. Not all poetry is going to take you back to high school English, and not all poetry is going make you feel “stupid”.

You can still say to people that you don’t read poetry … I really don’t mind. Because if you read Fabric, you’re not reading poetry, you’re reading about people. And that’s what reading is about, yes? Living the lives of others? 
The e-book is only $1.99 and the paperback $5.50. Here are the links: Amazon USAmazon UKGoodreads

About Jessica:

If Jessica Bell could choose only one creative mentor, she’d give the role to Euterpe, the Greek muse of music and lyrics. And not because she currently lives in Greece, either. The Australian-native author, poet and singer/songwriter/guitarist has her roots firmly planted in music, and admits inspiration often stems from lyrics she’s written.She is the Co-Publishing Editor of Vine Leaves Literary Journal, and co-hosts the Homeric Writers' Retreat  Workshop on the Greek Isle of Ithaca, with Chuck Sambuchino of Writer’s Digest. Website

Thanks, Jess! Have a great weekend, everyone.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

The Sequel Cometh

Ladies and gentlemen! Dogs and cats! Children and... okay, I'll stop. But you can see how excited I am to share the news that Construct A Couple, the follow-up to Build A Man, will be available as an ebook next week! And even more delightful (for me, anyway), I'm really happy with it.

If any of you would like a review copy, please let me know -- either in the comments or by emailing me at talliroland AT I'll gleefully fire one your way with the utmost of thanks!

With a great job at a reputable magazine and a man who’s the perfect match, Serenity Holland thinks she’s laid the foundation for an ideal London life. When a routine assignment uncovers a shocking secret threatening her boyfriend’s company, Serenity decides to leave nothing to chance, taking matters into her own hands. Soon, though, she realises keeping secrets isn't as easy as she thought . . . and the consequences are far worse than she ever imagined.

All I can say is... phew! With every novel I've written, there's always a sweaty-palmed, heart-fluttering moment where I think that I'll never be able to turn my pile of crud into something readable. This novel has been written through Canada and Egypt, house-guests galore, some very exciting news, and more. And it's finally done! Just a few more read-throughs, and it's ready to go. 

I'm off to collapse in a corner now...

Have a great Wednesday! (It is Wednesday, right? I've lost all track of time.)

Monday, June 04, 2012

Rivers and Romance

It's Monday, we're in the middle of a four-day weekend, and if you caught a glimpse of the Jubilee flotilla yesterday, you'd see the weather has returned to its usual Apocalyptic self! Mr TR and I had contemplated heading to the Jubilee Piccadilly street party, but with wind and rain lashing down, well . . . the comfort of our sofa beckoned.

It was wonderful to see the Thames in such splendour, though -- the river is one of my favourite London spots. Since I'm still in a Jubilee kinda mood, I thought I'd share some photos from my own celebratory flotilla: my wedding reception, which was held on The Edwardian on the Thames. And I'm proud to say I spotted our boat in yesterday's spectacle!

(All credit goes to Monika and Marek of Gold Lens Photography.)

The bell of The Edwardian, with Blackfriars Bridge in the distance. 
The Millennium Bridge.

Chatting on board.

Wonderful jazz singers atop the boat, with County Hall in the background.

Canary Wharf. 

London Bridge, lit up pink.

The National Theatre, with the London Eye in the background.

And even more cause for celebration! Tomorrow is the launch of DJ Kirkby's novel My Dream of You. Everyone who leaves a ‘pick me’ comment on the online launch party blog post or shares the post from DJ's Facebook author page or Tweets using the #MDOY hashtag making sure to copy @djkirkby gets their name entered into a draw for the following prizes:
  • A Bothams of Whitby champagne afternoon tea hamper custom made for the My Dream of You launch party (UK only).
  • One of five limited edition (signed) paperback copies of MDOY (open to worldwide entrants). 
  • A character named after you in my next novel (open to worldwide entrants). 
  • One of 15 MDOY fridge magnets (open to worldwide entrants). 
Have a great day, everyone. 

Friday, June 01, 2012

Jubilation Nation

You'd have to be living under a rock in this nation to escape knowledge that this weekend is the big'un: The Queen's Diamond Jubilee. The city is awash with Union Jacks, road closures, street parties, and a rubbish weather forecast (in keeping with the British theme). And to top it all off? A four-day weekend! I ask you, what could be better?

As this Land of Hope and Glory is my adopted country and one to which I've become a citizen, I hereby present my own Best of Britain, the very things I love.

In no particular order...

1. Free museums! I was astounded when I first realised 99.9 per cent of the wonderful museums you don't need to pay for. What a fantastic thing.

2. Drinking outside pubs. Drinking in parks. Heck, you could even drink on the tube until our kindly (ha!) Mayor put a stop to it. I like that alcohol beyond the bar confines isn't automatically vilified.

3. Black cabs. They cost a pretty penny, but they're roomy, plentiful, and the drivers knows the city like the back of their hands.

4. Markets. From Camden in the North to Borough in the South, London has a market for almost everything. They're colourful, vibrant, and perfect for people watching.

5. Rule Britannia. Seriously, what other country has a song that goes: 'Rule, Britannia! Britannia, rule the waves. And Britains never never NEVER will be slaves.' That never bit cracks me up. I get it, people. Never. Never ever.

6. Sticky toffee pudding. Moist sponge base, gooey toffee sauce . . . *slurp*

7. The Proms. Every summer for something like 100 nights, you can pay a fiver for access to the Royal Albert Hall to see legends of classical music. Over the past few years, I've heard Yo Yo Ma, among many others.

8. Red trousers. Okay, so it's a love-hate relationship. But it makes me giggle!

9. The fact that Canadians can simply exchange their driver's license without taking a test. Words cannot express how much this boosted my love for Britain. I was a bit of a danger on the roads until I figured out what half the signs meant, but . . .

10. Red double-decker buses. There's nothing better than grabbing a set at the front of the top deck and watching the city rush by.

So there you have it! What do you love about your country? (Besides freedom, la la la...)