Friday, 29 November 2013

FUNKY FRIDAY - with author Kathryn O'Halloran

Friday's don't get much funkier than this as I chat to an author who has turned her hands to many things.  Read on ... and learn!

So, Kathryn, you've had some interesting jobs aside from writing - phone psychic and community television star, to name a few!  (please explain)  Would you ever incorporate these into a book?

I hadn't before but I am now! The phone psychic job was actually really depressing.  I thought it'd be a hoot but about 90% of the calls were "I'm in love with a married man.  Will he leave his wife for me?"  You don't need to be a psychic to answer that.  I'm sure it could be worked into a much more fun scenario than that.

As you tend to write the raunchier side of things, what happens when you have a 'headache'?!

I think about food! Like a chewy, fruit macaroon with creamy filling ... you get the idea.  Then take all those emotions and put them into sex. Other than that, I guess it's like anything.  How do you write an action scene when you can't be bothered getting off the couch?

What's the worst thing about writing for you?

The marketing side.  I wish someone would do that for me.  Someone who doesn't charge a fortune.  I don't even want them to do it for me, to be honest.  I'd be happy if they told me what to do.  Or people could just buy my books and I wouldn't need to do anything.

Dream time.  Ultimate dinner party?  You can have anyone dead or alive there - who would you have and why?

I'd probably have to get some celebrity chef in so they could do all the cooking instead of me.  That way everyone would make it out alive and I could relax and drink wine.

Jensen Ackles because he's so pretty!

Helena Bonham Carter because she's awesome.

And maybe someone who knows the secrets of Amazon's algorithms so I can ply them with alcohol and find out all the secrets!

Now, I'm definitely with you on that!
Could you ditch the saucy stuff and write slushy romance for the right price?

Hells yeah! For the right price I'd write just about anything.  Except maybe lactation porn.

Oooh, felt just a little bit sick there!  You need to distract me and describe yourself as a writer in five words.

Sassy, whimsical, risque, evocative, redolent.


Planner or Winger?

Night or Morning?

Doer or procrastinator?

Writing/first draft or editing?
First draft.

Tea or coffee?

Kathryn’s book 'The Bad Girls' Club' is available on Amazon / (Amazon UK) and Goodreads.  You can also visit her Facebook page, blog or follow her on Twitter.

Thank you for joining me Kathryn - it was fun.  Aside from the lactating!

* * * NEWSFLASH * * *

Before I get to book-related stuff, I’d like to introduce you to a lovely lady I met on Twitter last night (@maggiewatts).  She’s on a mission - with a subject very dear to my heart.  Pancreatic cancer still continues to be the silent, speedy killer and very little time or money goes into research.  PLEASE read her story and sign the government petition here. Go on - do your bit, and make the Misfit happy!

My twitter buddy, Jamie Dougan (who likes to party in my virtual kitchen with his cider!) is releasing his latest novella, this weekend.  'Offside!' is a footballing romance with a bit of steam. You can buy it here, for just 77p. At that price, what have you got to lose?!

My December novel is ready to go for the 12th and has a yummy looking cover - watch this space ...

Saturday, 23 November 2013

A Short Post About an Elephant with a Long Trunk.

Caring for someone you love is a tricky one and anyone who does it on a day-to-day basis will know that things can change from one minute to the next.  Just as you think you've overcome one problem or managed to get an issue covered off, a new one will raise its ugly head.

I'm managing to cope with those curve balls that get thrown at me (actually, read: 'I'm dealing with them but still learning on the job!').  But the hardest part is dealing with the emotional side - when my mum says something that rocks my world.  The world I'm trying very hard to keep stable.

She said one of those things to me last week.  Now, I won't share what she said - that wouldn't be fair or necessary - but it made me stop and think.  The more I thought, the more I knew that something had to change and that we needed to do a whole lot more talking.

I felt happy with our progress ... until I took her to her hairdressers yesterday and got some insight, from a family outsider, about my mum that I knew had been troubling her but had no idea that she'd chosen to share the severity of her upset to such an extent.  That hurt.  Quite a lot.

It was like seeing a tiny raw piece of the woman who brought me into the world - a piece that I knew was there, but magnified under a microscope.  It was out there, beyond us.  Suddenly, it became bigger than an elephant in the corner and it's since been there waving its trunk at me.

I can care for my mum, feed her, do her washing, clean her house, do her shopping, boost her spirits, keep her company and can generally be her 'cheer-leader' but, deep down, I know I can never make her truly happy.

Not by myself.  And not until that elephant in the corner is gone.

Friday, 22 November 2013

FUNKY FRIDAY - with author Kimberly Menozzi

This week we welcome to the stage Kimberly Menozzi.  We settled with a cool Italian cocktail and had a chat. 

Kimberly, can you describe yourself as a writer in five words. 

Heartfelt, detailed, wordy, realistically romantic. 

As a writer of affairs of the heart, what do you do to motivate yourself on a day you're just not feeling it? 

If I'm really struggling, I'll set the scene aside and come back to it later. If at all possible, I'll sit and listen to music – often the music which inspired the scene in the first place – and that will get me through it. If there's just no hope at all, I might even take a full-on break from writing for the day. Unless I'm on a deadline, of course. When I have a deadline, I power through the scene and fix it ASAP. 

Tell us about your ideal writing day. 

I wake up after a fully refreshing sleep to find the day is cool and a little cloudy. I have my breakfast and after a short period checking my email, I ride my exercise bike (or go for a ride outside), shower, dress, prepare the ingredients for dinner in the slow cooker, and then sit down to write. I work for roughly six to eight hours, with only short pauses for lunch and/or to give the cat some attention. Ideally, I continue writing until the hubby calls to say he's on his way home from work. I finish up the scene I'm working on and conclude it, wrapping up as the hubby arrives home. On days like this, I can get through an entire chapter and work out the bones for the next one, too.

Unfortunately, those days don't happen very often. 

Dream time.  Ultimate dinner party? You can have anyone dead or alive there - who would you have and why? 

To be honest, I'm crap at dinner parties. At best, I'd like an evening hanging out having snacks with Stephen King and John Irving. I bet they have great stories to share. 

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

If that meant never publishing again, maybe. I could never stop writing, though. The only periods in my life when I didn't write were miserable. I couldn't do that again. 

What's your ultimate writing goal? 

I would love to be able to simply make a living with my writing. By which I mean earning enough money to stand on my own two feet financially with the income from book sales. I'd also like to be respected as a writer, which isn't easy as an Indie. 

I couldn't agree more, Kimberly - but we keep on keeping on, don't we? 


Planner or Winger? 
Mostly, I'm a winger. 

Night or Morning? 

Doer or procrastinator? 

Writing/first draft or editing? 

Tea or coffee? 

You can follow Kimberly on Twitter (@KMenozzi), Facebook or on her Blog.

Her books can be found on Amazon / (Amazon UK), Barnes & Noble, kobo and Apple.

Thank you for joining me Kimberly - it was great to chat and I wish you well in the future.


My full length novel has been edited and is now with my test readers - release date is looking to be on 12th December and I can't wait to reveal the cover and 1st chapter - watch this space.

My fellow Indie and good friend, Michelle Betham won a competition run by Harper Impulse and I am so, so proud of her.  You can currently buy her books here. 

The sequel to 'Trouble at Toff Towers' by Anne Ullah has been released - if it's as funny as the first, I can't wait to have time to read it. Buy it here.

Friday, 15 November 2013

FUNKY FRIDAY - with reader 'Indie Girl'

We welcome a reader this week, someone I got to know on Twitter and who I have good reason to believe may one day get a book of her own out there.

So let's settle with Elle and find out a bit more about her and what she likes to read.

As an avid reader, what ticks all the boxes for you?

As a mum of two who works full-time I need books for escapism that make me laugh, or at the very least that make me smile!

You can take five books on holiday - what are they?

Union Street by Pat barker. It’s a snapshot that is so bleak it’s terrifying - it’s proof that life for modern women has improved hugely since the 70’s.
Charlie Big Potatoes by Phil Robinson. A cautionary tail of the highs and lows of drugs, I really loved this book and had great empathy for him.
My Mad Fat Teenage Diary by Rae Earl. Loved this, it was funny and heartbreaking and a fantastic read.
Lottie’s Luck by Amanda Egan (!!!) At the time of answering these questions I'm four chapters in and looking forward to reading while flying.
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.  I loved that it was written from the two opposing perspectives of man and wife - quite surreal and very very odd in places!

Dream time!  Ideal dinner party - five guests, dead or alive - who would they be and why?

Morrissey – caustic wit (not sure what I’d cook him as I’ve returned to my meat eating ways).
Jim Morrison – I wouldn’t be wanting Poetry Jim – I’d want Party Jim.
Courtney Love – I can’t see anyone eating anything at this dinner party but I imagine she would have some great stories to tell.
Janet Street Porter – again, great stories and I think she might help me keep the peace with the above.
Jamie Oliver ... well I’m going to need a hand cooking for these picky guests aren’t I? Not sure whiskey, a few lines of cocaine and a carrot will really cut it!

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

Anything with the word cupcake in the title!
50 Shades of Grey was utter dirge in my opinion – not my bag at all!

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

Tiger’s Eye by Judy Blume
My Mad Fat Teenage Diary – Rae Earl
Maribou Stork Nightmares – Irvine Welsh

What were the books you read as a child that got you hooked?

I was an only child in the 1970’s.  TV was slim pickings, there were no games consoles so I read avidly. I started off with Enid Blyton (I rile against the recent criticism of her books, she wrote about the time and her books reflect that and the ideals and prejudices of those times), The Magic Faraway Tree, The Famous Five and I loved Mallory Towers. I yearned to go to boarding school, sleep in a dorm and have midnight feasts; it was certainly a far cry from a 60’s built council estate in Jarrow and the discontent of Thatcher’s Britain! I progressed to Judy Blume and learned about life, love and relationships through the likes of Are You There God It’s Me Margaret, Forever and Tiger’s Eye.

That concludes my Funky Friday and I if I sound interesting, I can be found on Twitter @indiegirl101 

Thanks for dropping in, Elle [and no, I didn't bribe her for plugging Lottie's Luck !]

Friday, 8 November 2013

FUNKY FRIDAY - with author Rachel Dove

Today I welcome my fellow 'Big-Balls' friend and Indie writer Rachel Dove.  Rachel juggles studying, working, writing, reviewing, editing and being a mum to two young boys and I am in constant awe of her and what she manages to achieve in a 24hr period.

So, Rachel, how do you organise your time between studying, being a mum and writing?

Writing always tends to take a back seat unfortunately, but now my boys are at full time school, I have time to write daily - which will make a huge difference! I have a pad full of notes.

Tell us about your ideal writing day.

Take the boys to school, come home to a tidy house, write with coffee till noon, then have some lunch, work on some ideas in the afternoon and then put my mum hat on at pick up time. When the kids were in bed, I would read or write some more, or go through my WIP.

Dream time!  It's the most perfect week for you as a writer - what happens?

I finish Book 2, which is zinging around in my brain ALL the time. I am happy as I am for now, as I have a great publisher in Bayou Brew Publishing. A few more sales would not go amiss though! Book 3 is planned out and is based on personal experience so this is my most serious book.

What's the worst thing about writing for you?

Tiredness - when I do grab two minutes I am so tired that the words often do not flow, and working from home is a lot harder than a day job, with distractions of housework and social networking!

'Loose Women' want you as their new face!  Would you?

Hmm, I am far too opinionated and independent - my husband would kill me! Be a great laugh though, setting the world to rights.

You've been offered a squillion pounds to never write again - do you take it?

No, money would help my family, but my brain would explode if I could not write. Books are my favourite thing in the world, aside from my family (and wine!)


Planner or Winger?

Night or Morning?
I like both, I don't sleep enough by far!

Doer or procrastinator?
Depends on the task! Ironing etc, procrastination is the key!

Writing/first draft or editing?
First draft! Getting the words out of my head makes me happy, although I do love editing for my clients.

Tea or coffee?
Is Red Bull not an option? Tea then, I love herbal fruit teas.

‘Crossing Life Lines’, Rachel’s women's fiction book, is out now in paperback and ebook on Amazon.

Her new horror short is out now too from Bayou Brew Publishing - ‘The House of Sugar Blood’ out in ebook only.

You can also follow Rachel on Facebook, on her blog or on Twitter.

It's been great, as always, to chat to you Rachel - thank you for joining me on FUNKY FRIDAY.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

When it's best to keep quiet.

People have been asking why I've not been posting any blogs, other than FUNKY FRIDAY, and I guess I owe those loyal followers an explanation.

How do I sum this up without giving too much away or ranting?

I'm tired, sad, angry, emotional and not too much fun to be around at the moment.  I feel like I'm grieving - grieving for many things but with no actual death to show for it.  That's a funny kind of grief - but it doesn't make me laugh. And it doesn't make me want to write blogs that will draw in the crowds - no one likes a misery.

I'm just so relieved that I have my new novel under my belt and undergoing the editing process because, right now, I don't have it in me to lose myself in another world - my real one is too consuming.

In short, I take my hat off to all those carers who do it for love - it's a 24/7 job and often has little reward.  It's so hard to keep someone UP as they drag you DOWN.  It's also hard to remember that you love that person with all your heart, to not resent them and to remember to think of yourself in amongst all the other stuff you're dealing with.

I realised, on yet another sleepless night last week, that I've had a total of seven years of caring in unusual circumstances - I'm not talking just being a mum, or a daughter to an elderly parent.  In 2006 my mum had a tough time and needed to be guided through it.  As soon as she 'emerged' my son then developed school phobia and I needed to be there to see him through that.  He's now left school but I find myself back on 'Mum Duty' again.  In all of those years, I haven't had one holiday.  No, I'm not asking for you to bring out the violins, I'm simply stating the facts as they are.

I love them both - I will do anything for them.  I've proved that.  But now, I'm tired and a little bit fed up.

That's why I've not been blogging.

Thank you all so much for your support and love - whether it's been through Facebook, Twitter, emails, phone-calls, texts or lovely, little parcels.  You know who you are.

Friday, 1 November 2013

FUNKY FRIDAY - with author Carol Hedges

Today I welcome my Twitter buddy and fellow lady Pope (we live in hope of a world of sparkly things, cake and bubbles!) Carol Hedges ...

Carol and I lounged in silk pyjamas, had grapes peeled for us by hunky men and sipped on our Champers (after she'd parked her pink 2CV - which you can see in all its glory over at her blog). 

So, Carol, describe yourself as a writer in five words.

Perfectionist, adventurer, pantster, OCDer (is there a word?), worrier.

You've been invited on Big Brother - Writers Special!  Do you accept?

No - the thought of lots of other stressy writers appals!!

Dream time.  Ultimate dinner party?  You can have anyone dead or alive there - who would you have and why?

Charles Dickens - pick his brain about Victorian London
William Blake - fascinating man
Seamus Heaney - sit at his feet

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

Bit of both, though so far reviews haven't been bad.

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

No.  Absolutely no.  Never. Never ever ever.  Hahaha.

It's your dream week as a writer - ANYTHING is possible!  Tell us what happens.

My books get reviewed enthusiastically in the press.  I sell.  I buy a Tuscan Villa and a Maserati for my husband.  Following week: back to the laptop .... sigh.


Planner or Winger?
Winger, but with an outline plan

Night or Morning?
Afternoon - from about 2ish

Doer or procrastinator?
The latter leading to the former - though will always 'do' if there's a deadline awaiting

Writing/first draft or editing?

Tea or coffee?
Coffee.  IN a bucket.  All day!!!

Thanks so much for joining me, Carol - it's always a pleasure and one day we WILL rule the world! 

If you want to know more about Carol, follow her on Twitter: @carolJhedges  or buy her books here.

Next week, I chat to fellow Indie and friend, Rachel Dove.


This week saw me release my latest Christmas novella, 'Cinderella's Buttons'.  For less than you'd spend in the Poundshop, it's panto in a book and available for Kindle at Amazon.  Also in paperback at Lulu.