Friday, 28 February 2014

FUNKY FRIDAY - with reader and friend Moira Kennard

How happy am I to be welcoming someone I know in real life on this FUNKY FRIDAY? It's the lovely Moira, who became a friend through our husbands with a story that I cannot tell as it's too rude and may involve a swear word beginning with the letter 'C'.  Drum roll please, as Moira and I chat over a crate of wine, a curry and some sweeties (yes, we've done this before - but the last time it also involved teens, husbands, nipples(!), gargling(!), bed at about 4am and massive hangovers!).  Trust me, it was a night to remember!

So, Moira, what type of book will keep you up all night turning the pages?

Apart from yours? (good answer, Moira! You can come again!) If I find a book I enjoy I find it really difficult to put it down. Cecilia Aherne for example. Some of hers are funny and some aren't, but they will pretty much without fail have me desperate to see what's coming next. This may be a bit controversial but I absolutely love Jeffery Archer's novels. They will keep me up at night. I have read them all, some more than once.  I read most of the Harry Potter books in as few sittings as possible so they definitely kept me up.

What type of book makes you want to chuck it at the wall?

I don't think I have ever wanted to throw a book at the wall (well, not since I left school, anyway). I tend to research a book a bit, especially if I don't know the author and most of what I read has been recommended. I'm not really into historical stuff although I do rather enjoy Kate Mosse's books and Victoria Hislop's - so no, nothing really I'm afraid. If I thought it was likely to be a wall chucker, I wouldn't pick it up.

What's your ideal nibble and tipple when you're reading?

Well, obviously I don't drink or eat very much.  Yeah, OK, I do but nothing in particular when I'm reading as more often than not I'm in bed with my pint of water. I'm painting a very interesting picture of myself aren't I?

Oh, Moira - the image of you with a pint of water is one that I'm finding just a bit tricky!  Moving swiftly on ... As an avid reader, would you ever be tempted to pen your own book?

I did start one. I wrote about 4,000 words on quite a personal level, adding a bit of humour, but then I went and got a job.  I've not picked it up again despite not working anymore but it is on my list of things to do for this year so we will see.  There is a lot of stuff on that list that isn't anywhere near completion, including (and I quote, so excuse the language) 'Eat less shit' and 'Drink less shit'. Maybe I will succeed with the book ...

You're invited to become the new face of 'Loose Women' as the book reviewer - do you accept?

Oh good Lord, no.  I can't stand that programme I'm afraid. I'm not very good at daytime telly apart from Neighbours and Doctors. I've never missed an episode of either. Again painting a sad picture.

Can you remember the first book you read that had you hooked on reading?

Yep. As a kid it was Gobolino the Witch's Cat and as an adult it was definitely Kane & Abel by Jeffery Archer. I've read it a few times since and I think I will be persuading my 15 year old daughter to give it a go soon if I can get her away from her studying Pride & Prejudice which she is finding to be a page turner.

 Happy memories, eh Moira?
Our kids may be all grown up now but the bond lives on! 

Thanks so much for joining me today, 'Mad Moira', and also for being such a huge supporter of my books and my dream.  You've now become one of the biggest members of 'Team Misfit' and your help with editing and proof reading is invaluable - we love you and your horrible husband! 

You can follow this lovely lady on Twitter @Moiraken

Friday, 21 February 2014

FUNKY FRIDAY - with author Nicky Wells

Here we are again!  Another lovely weekend and another lovely chicklit writer for me to chat to.  Please put your hands together for Nicky Wells ...

So Nicky, as a writer of affairs of the heart, what do you do to motivate yourself on a day you're just not ‘feeling’ it?

Great question. That doesn't happen very often, but there's nothing that a nice cappuccino and a lovely chunk of chocolate wouldn't cure. Once I'm sufficiently sugared-up, I re-read a few chapters of my current WiP and launch myself straight in.

If you weren't a writer, what would your dream job be?

Well. My dream job would be to be the front woman in a high-profile rock band! As I'm not the world's most confident singer (I'd never make it through an X-factor audition, that's for sure), I'll set my sights to something more realistic, and my dream job would have to be ... a lighthouse keeper.

OK!  A lighthouse keeper?!  I'll save that for another blog!  What are the best and worst things about writing for you?

The best thing about writing is getting that 'zzzzzingy' feeling when you know you're onto a good thing, the plot flows well, the characters come alive, and you get so embroiled in your work that you forget the time of day. Oh, and let's not forget the absolute chart topper: hearing from readers who enjoyed my book. Recently a reviewer told me that she got so carried away by my novel that she had to hide in the photocopy room at work to finish it. That made my day!

The most difficult thing about writing is letting go. That's letting go at a micro level (leaving the manuscript to collect the children from school, for example; this can be particularly tricky on the heels of a hot sex scene!), but also a macro level , when you've proofed and edited and proofed again, and it's finally time to say 'goodbye' to your work and send it to the printer. SCARY moment!

SO scary! OK, you're asked to become the new face of Loose Women - do you accept?

Heck, yes. I'm a writer. I'll give anything a go. Well, almost anything.

It's your dream week as a writer - anything is possible!  Tell us about it.

Really? Anything? Okay, here goes:

Monday: I finish off a manuscript and send it to the publisher for review. I get a call back within THREE hours informing me that this is, without the shadow of a doubt, the best thing I've ever written.

Tuesday: I take a day off to go to the seaside for a bit of chillaxation. When I come back, there's an email in my inbox from Graham Norton inviting me onto his show in two weeks' time. That's in addition to several dozen emails from happy readers! (Evidently, the answer to Graham is 'Yes!')

Wednesday: I start work on my new manuscript and manage to squeeze out 10,000 words before it's time to collect the kids from school.

Thursday: I get a phone call informing me that I've won "Best Romantic Novel of the Decade, Ever", and could I please attend a reception in London next month to collect my award and prize cheque. I'm so psyched that I write another 10,000 words of my manuscript.

Friday: My publicist rings me to tell that he's heard from Universal studios and that the deal for turning the Rock Star Romance Trilogy into a movie is finally in the bag. I try to keep it real by re-reading my week's work, then adding another 5,000 words (What, only 5,000 words, you ask? Well, c'mon, half the morning was consumed by dancing around the house like a mad woman and having a little pre-lunch bubbly with my OH, who rushed back from work at hearing the Film News!).

There. Now wouldn't that be a cool week?

Cool?!  Awesome!  And so similar to my dreams!  So, if you were offered a squillion pounds to never write again, would you take it?

No. That would be like asking me to give up my kids and family, or cutting off my right arm.


Planner or Winger?
Planner (OCD planner, actually)

Night or Morning?
Both. Morning, because the kids are at school. Night, because I'm a chronic insomniac.

Doer or procrastinator?

Writing/first draft or editing?
Writing. Although I guess that 'editing' is where it's really happening. Hmm .... *scratches head*. Nah, writing. Feverish, frenzied, ecstatic writing.

Tea or coffee?
Both. Tea in the morning, coffee in the afternoon.

You can find Nicky's books on Amazon UK or .com for Kindle/paperback and also in paperback at Barnes & Noble.

Or find out more about her on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Thank you so much for joining me, Nicky - and let's hope we get our 'dream week' one day!

Sunday, 16 February 2014

"I went to a Marvellous Party"!

I'm 50 tomorrow and boy, do I feel it right now!  Weeks of preparation leading up to my party last night and two full-on days of catering have left me feeling like a geriatric.  Forget the sore head this morning, it was my poor feet that were suffering - part toil, part endless dancing.

But ... I had the BEST time and learned some lessons along the way:

1.  NEVER be over ambitious with food.  Tiny morsels of interesting canapes may look delicious and enticing but they take forever and should always be left to professional caterers.  At one point I wanted to suffocate myself under a pile of mozzarella and basil. At four o'clock (when I hit meltdown) son was calmly making food and telling me, 'No tears, Mum - only dreams!'  I wanted to kill him but he was invaluable so I refrained.

We made a few dozen different types of canapes served to 
guests by my son and Goddaughter. 
This is the tiniest selection of what was on offer.
A lot went in the bin!

2.  Teens are in your house for a reason.  They have very young legs, learn quickly and are great for doing all those jobs you don't have time to do or have lost the will to live for.  I have to say MASSIVE thanks to my hard-working son and Goddaughter.  We would never have coped without you.

Dancing with my Goddaughter.
No pics with my son as he was too busy being DJ!

3.  My husband is the best.  OK, I knew that all along but the work he put into my party just proved it even more so.  In the early hours of Saturday morning he was out securing our gazebo against the gales so that we didn't lose it or the decorations he'd worked so hard on.  None of our guests could believe that it had stayed in place through the severe London weather and that although we lost a hefty tree and our aerial came adrift from the roof, our structure survived!

My Bedouin tent - complete with chandelier!

Hubbie making his speech.

4. Cats will put up with anything. This picture was taken with music pounding through the speaker as he sits and watches the dancers, but he looks like he doesn't have a care in the world!

5. Turning 50 doesn't mean that you become old and boring. Dance?  We never stopped and people left saying that it was one of the best parties they'd been to and how sore their feet were!

6.  My mum is amazing! At 86 and still recovering from a broken pelvis she did me proud and I love her so much.

7.  Twitter is the most surprising place.  After two years of talking to @Aurora_Therapy either on Twitter, on the phone, by email or text I felt as if I'd known her all my life.  Imagine how delighted I was when she said she was flying from Glasgow to London to be at my party!  It was the first time we'd ever met face to face and it was an instant connection - even hubbie and son said they felt like it was just an old friend coming into the house. Our shared love of fancy dress, partying, Barry Manilow and drag queens brought us together and we hit it off instantly.  Also huge thanks to Andy, another Twitter buddie who came along - we have to put that date in our diary!

Twitter Love!

8.  When you're meeting a Twitter pal for the first time and you know they have a SERIOUS obsession with Noel Edmonds, you have to make sure 'he's' there.  Maybe not in person but a mask will do!  I won't blog her reaction but it was hilarious and would need to be bleeped.  She was a little out of sorts for quite a while afterwards!
 Look at the love on that face!

8.  Clearing up takes FOREVER!  My house is now clean but I'm sick of finding jars of olives in the cat food cupboard or serving dishes in the office. Next time I'm 50 (!) I'm just giving everyone cheese and crackers.

So, I did it!  I partied in style. Thanks go to my mum, Robes, Ben, all my Ozzie family, Maddy, Linda, Elizabeth, Marylou, Lucinda, Mireille and Andy for all that you did to make it so special.  Also to another Twitter friend @DropDeadChocs who I do believe may have sent me something yummy.  Hubbie has either hidden it or had a secret chocolate party!

Being 50 rocks!

Friday, 14 February 2014

FUNKY FRIDAY - with author Suzy Turner

Today I shine the spotlight on YA and chicklit writer Suzy Turner.  

Suzy, describe yourself as a writer in five words.

Dreamy, Spontaneous, Imaginative, Creative, Inspired

What are the best and worst things about writing for you?

The worst thing about writing is the editing process. I find after doing it a couple of times, I get so bored and want to move onto the next book already! The best thing, other than actually creating whole new worlds, is the positive feedback from readers. It makes everything worthwhile (even the editing!).

I couldn't agree more with you! OK. it's your dream week as a writer - anything can happen!  Tell us about it.

Monday morning I get a call from a huge Hollywood producer who devoured my latest book and is desperate to make it into a movie. She asks if I can hop on a plane to LA pronto to discuss. 'Hell Yeah!' I reply. 'Good, there's first class tickets waiting at the airport for you and your husband.'

The rest of the week is spent in an LA daze after I signed a several million dollar contract for the movie to be made - and they've already got two of Hollywood's top actors vying for the lead role ;)

Sounds a bit like my dream week!  What are your top tips for writers' block?

Put on some inspirational music (if I'm writing YA urban fantasy, then it should be something a little dark like the movie soundtrack to Premonition or Twilight. If I'm writing Chick Lit, I want something upbeat and romantic, like the Glee soundtrack lol!)

Alternatively, switch off the computer and go and watch your favourite movie or TV show. Or - watch one of those shows about Hollywood stars who've made it big (that always makes me want to get right back to the computer and produce my best work!).

And then there's Pinterest - it always gives me great ideas and helps me to write.

How do you deal with the dreaded bad review - are you a sulker of a shrugger?

When I first started out, I guess I was a sulker until my author pals made me realise it's just one bad review among hundreds of brilliant ones. So now I'm a shrugger. I've come to realise that not everyone has the same tastes and the world would be a boring place if they did.

If you were offered a squillion pounds to never write again, would you take it?

I'm afraid I would take it. I know, I know, not very authorly of me but a squillion pounds?!?! Instead of writing, I'd just start reading a heck of a lot more instead ;)


Planner or Winger?

Night or Morning?
Neither! I prefer the middle of the day

Doer or procrastinator?

Writing/first draft or editing?
Writing/first draft

Tea or coffee?
Rooibos Tea

Thanks for stopping by, Suzy, it was good to find out more about you.
Links to follow Suzy, chat or buy books.

 The works of Suzie Turner
*****NEWSFLASH *****
Too busy for a newsflash!  I'm about to hit 50 and I am in complete party mode.  Thank you all for your kind wishes and I'll see you when I come out the other side!

Friday, 7 February 2014

FUNKY FRIDAY - with reviewer Sonya from A Lover of Books

It's that time again - where do the weeks goThis week I'm chatting to Sonya at A Lover of Books - read her blog here.  Sonya has always been an avid supporter of writers, both Indie and traditional and I'd like to thank her for all her tweets and reviews of my own books. 

So, Sonya, what made you decide to start a book review blog? 

I realised after doing a few book reviews that some authors and publishers preferred it if you had a blog for publicity purposes.  I never actually dreamt that I would start one and it took some courage, but I decided to give it a go.  I'm so glad I did.

What type of book keeps you turning the pages and up all night? 

Anything light hearted such as your novel 'Diary of a Mummy Misfit', plus exciting crime thrillers tend to keep me turning the pages and staying up for ages.

Oh!  Thank you - remind me to buy you an extra large glass of something if we ever meet!  As an avid reader and reviewer, would you ever put pen to paper yourself?

At one point I did want to write but seemed to give up on the idea.  Who knows though, one day I might change my mind.  It's good to know that if I was to ever publish a novel there would be lots of support out there from people hopefully wanting to review my book. 

What type of books make you want to chuck them at the wall?

I read a large variety of books and have been lucky enough so far not to have come across any that I just haven't got on with. 

How would you tactfully say you hated a book?  Or do you say it as it is?

If I was given a book to review which I really didn't like I would either let the author  know, or on reviewing it, I would take into consideration that other people might enjoy reading it even if I didn't get on with it.  We all have different tastes after all. 

Is there one book you could read over and over again?

I'm sure there are a few books I could read over and over again, but I would wait for several months before doing that. 

You can follow Sonya on Twitter @destinylover09

* * * NEWSFLASH * * *
Twitter buddy, Jamie Dougan is running a freebie promotion on Amazon this weekend.  Grab a copy of 'Grande Plage' while you can and help boost those rankings.

My current WIP is half way there and I'm thoroughly enjoying myself - writing about a not particularly nice person is fun!