Friday, 25 April 2014


Ooops!  There's been a Misfit stuff-up.  As we approach the final month of FUNKY FRIDAY I've just realised that the next three guests I had booked in, haven't sent me their answers yet so I need to chase them up.

*Sits and twiddles thumbs, thinking of something entertaining to fill the embarrassing silence*

Ahem!  So what have I been up to?

Last week saw me handing the novel over to Mr Misfit and he's currently working his magic (READ: putting annoying little squiggles and scribbles everywhere). The joint edit is the next step and then it will wing its way to my loyal test readers before hitting the virtual shelves in June.

With the book in the capable hands of The Scribbler, I took the opportunity to start on the biggest Spring Clean I've ever attempted.  Our bedroom was the first to be blitzed and after accumulating approximately 13 sacks of clothes, shoes and handbags we decided to try our luck at our first car-boot sale in years.  We did rather well, but boy do you earn your money!

The minute the boot was opened, we were attacked by punters and bargain hunters.  The three of us were working non-stop with the hagglers and the downright cheeky.  A leather purse for 50p and you have the cheek to offer me 20p?  I'd rather it went to a charity shop, actually.

AND ... we almost had a case of fistycuffs over a black woolen cape!  A lady had it in her hands, decided she didn't want to pay £4 for it and went to place it back on the rail.  At this point another lady grabbed the edge of it and sparks flew.  A tug of war began and the lady who had been looking at it initially was determined that she was now going to pay the full asking price just so that she could win the battle.

LADY ONE: (on realising that someone else was holding the cape) Let go!
LADY TWO:  NO!  You didn't want it.
LADY ONE:  I hadn't decided.
LADY TWO:  Yes you had.  You were putting it back.
LADY ONE:  I'm still holding it (tug, pull, tug, pull)
LADY TWO: You need to decide quicker.
LADY ONE:  What do you mean, you stupid woman.  I know about people like you.  You come to these places and buy loads of stuff you don't really need to fill up your house.  (hello?)

At this point they tried to get me involved and, a bit like a mum at playgroup trying to placate non-sharing toddlers, I mumbled a few calming words while smiling sweetly and praying that my cape was going to survive the onslaught.

Lady One won with a final pull and smugly placed her four pounds in my hand before sashaying off to a barrage of Lady Two's insults and obscenities!

Drama over, we went back to work and giggled every time our customers picked up a HUGE dolly, pulled down her pants and looked at her lady-bits!  She must have been accosted thirty times, poor girl - it was a chilly day too.

When the MASSIVE doll was final heading off to her new home, the TINY Indian lady who bought her realised that she couldn't actually pick her up and asked me, in all seriousness, if she could walk!  Erm, no!  I don't know how she actually managed to transport her purchase but I still have visions of a little lady buried and struggling to escape from beneath a dolly somewhere in the Wimbledon area.

So ... all in all an entertaining and financially rewarding day was had by all.  Except the teen came away £94 poorer as he bought me a painting and himself a guitar!

This week I've been attacking the 'Cupboard of Doom' in his bedroom but that's a whole other blog!

Happy FUNKLESS FRIDAY to you all - see you next week when hopefully normal service should be resumed.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

FUNKY FRIDAY - With Book Blogger & Reviewer Jody Hoekstra

Today I'm chatting to Jody from  A Spoonful of Happy Endings.

How many books do you read a week, Jody?  Is reading like breathing to you?

Ever since I started blogging, the amount of books I read in a week has definitely increased. I think at the moment I manage to finish 3 or 4 novels per week, but this definitely depends on how much free time I have. I have a regular full-time job next to my blog, so sometimes there are weeks in which I get to read less/more. I’m secretly quite happy with my travel time from and to work, because this gives me extra reading time.

I wouldn’t say reading is like breathing to me, but it is definitely a very important part of my life. I love getting lost in books, tracing the steps of imaginary characters, wandering around in a completely different world. I’ve always been an avid reader and it has definitely influenced my personality, made me the person I am today. It’s without a doubt a crucial aspect of my life.

If you really don't like a book, how do you review it?  Are you kind and tactful or do you say it as it is?

I think not liking a book you have to review is something no blogger enjoys, but it is also something you can’t avoid. No one can like every single book he/she reads. However, it doesn’t happen to me that often because I mainly review the genre of books I love the most: chick lit. If the basic recipe of a romantic story is there, there are almost always certain elements of the novel I enjoy and want to focus on in my review. At the end of the day, I think it is really important that bloggers are honest. You’re not helping authors by lying about your reading experience. Yet, being kind and tactful has never hurt anyone, so if you didn’t like a novel, write a fitting review, keeping in mind that no one’s the same and there might be readers out there who will definitely enjoy that particular novel, in contrast to your own experience.

What grabs you the most in a book?  The type of book you can't put down.

I’m a sucker for true romance and happy endings. I love books that have an amazing love story at their centre, for example Nicholas Sparks’ novels. I also really enjoy reading books in which I can easily relate to the main character, someone who is perhaps a bit like me, or finds him- or herself in situations I could imagine myself in.

As an avid reader and reviewer will you put pen to paper yourself?  If so, what genre would you choose?

I’ve been writing since I was 15 years old, and I thoroughly enjoy it. I love creating a different world with characters that have a story to tell, and using my own experiences, emotions and dreams as a basis for it. The genre has to be chick lit, I can’t imagine myself ever writing anything else!

Dream time.  Your ideal holiday and the books you'd have with you.

My ideal holiday, now that’s a difficult one because there are so many places in the world I want to visit someday. However, if I really have to pick the perfect holiday, I’d end up in a gorgeous cottage somewhere in a beautiful place in the UK, close to the beach, and with an amazing view, slightly secluded from the rest of the world. I’d have a large pile of books, including some classics like Jane Austen’s novels but also some feel-good reads like anything by Paige Toon or Cecelia Ahern, to spend the time... Sounds like heaven!

Have you always been a reader?  What's the first book you remember reading?

Yes, definitely. I remember going to the library when I was a little girl and I was only allowed to take 10 books with me every time; I never took less than those allowed 10. I remember reading books like ‘Matilda’ by Roald Dahl, and I also remember getting lost in the first Harry Potter book. As a child, stories are even more magical and I sometimes wish I could be 11 years old again, discovering these different worlds and not caring about anything else around me. I can only hope my own children will love reading as much as I do, so they can experience the same things!

* * * *

You can read Jody's reviews on her blog, A Spoonful of Happy Endings or follow her on Twitter.

* * * NEWSFLASH * * *

My latest novel has been handed to Mr Misfit and is being scrutinised ready for our joint edit.  In the meantime, I'm blitzing the house and ridding it of stuff that should have been gone years ago!  How many baby toys does one teen need?!

BUT ... cleaning and de-cluttering is great for the brain and a new book just might start taking root as I attack the next cobweb.

AND ... after 'Stilettos & Stubble' finished its free promo, sales have rocketed and, at the time of writing this blog, it is at #73 in humour on Amazon UK.  Very happy with that!

Have a lovely Easter and I'll see you on the other side.

Friday, 11 April 2014

FUNKY FRIDAY - With Reviewer Bella Lane

Today we welcome book blogger, Bella Lane.  We settled with our coffee and popcorn and talked all things bookish.

Bella, what made you start up a book blog?

I love to read, and I get so enthused when I have read a good book that I just want to shout it from the rooftops and get my friends to experience it too.  Rather than get the sack from too much time spent "at the water cooler" sharing my reading recommendations with my friends at work, I decided to write a blog.  There I could share my reading jewels with like minded people and hopefully to get comments back which would expand my reading "stable".

What type of book will keep you up all night turning the pages?

I would have to say thrillers and suspenseful novels are most likely to keep me turning the pages deep into the night.  If the book is particularly scary, then I may not want to turn the light off at all!  I find the fast paced action and the "in and out if trouble" storytelling in the Sookie Stackhouse series (by Charlaine Harris) is likely to keep me reading way past my bed-time too!

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

The last book I threw at the wall was Fifty Shades Darker!  I had been curious to read Fifty Shades of Grey to see what all the fuss was about, and was pretty disappointed, partly with its lack of complexity and finesse, but mostly because it was not worthy of the hype - (having read much more explicit and raunchy material). The sequel however did  a u-turn on the premise on which the first novel had been built, in a way that I found totally unbelievable, so at that point I boiled over and the book got tossed!

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

Coffee is, I  guess, a bit obvious but I do love it sweet and black, along with oodles of chocolate or butter-toffee popcorn. One particular series of books I enjoy - the Stephanie Plum bounty-hunter series (by Janet Evanovitch), makes me long for all the fast food and fantastic Italian home cooking with which she punctuates her adventures, but I think I might get stuck in the armchair if I ate every time Stephanie did!

As an avid reader, would you ever be tempted to pen your own book?

I'm tempted all the time.  Then I read a really well crafted novel, with a twisty-turny plot, and I think "I'm not worthy" and I wonder how I would ever write something I feel proud of.  But like a cork, my urge to write creatively soon bobs to the surface again.  I have a few chapters written of a couple of different ideas, one a teen chiller and the other on a chick-lit theme.

Have you ever read a book that you've thought was begging to be made into a film?

Yes - anything I have ever read by John Grisham always rolled like a film in my head, similarly the Lee Child novels, and happily the Cassandra Clare 'Mortal Instruments' series (with a film just out of the first book I think I'm behind the curve).  Last summer I read Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Laini Taylor) - and with the current fascination for supernatural and other-worldy themes I think the audience would lap it up if the film-makers made an authentic version.

* * * *

You can find out more about Bella at her blog - she also contributes to the entertainment section of 'The Best of Hertford and Ware'.

* * * NEWSFLASH * * *

I'm running another promotion of 'Stilettos & Stubble' so if you fancy a freebie with giggles, love, drag queens and good tempered bitching download NOW! Offer ends on Monday .  UK and .com

My current novel is about to be handed to Mr Misfit for his evil pen to begin its work.  We will EVENTUALLY go head-to-head and thrash it out (literally) to make it a better book and it will then head off to my test readers.  Watch this space for title and first chapter reveal ...

Friday, 4 April 2014

FUNKY FRIDAY - with author Jaimie Admans

Happy FUNKY FRIDAY to allPlease welcome fellow Indie writer and Twitter buddy, Jaimie Admans.

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

Procrastinator, self-doubting, sarcastic, funny (hopefully!) and romantic (hopefully!)

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

Yes, without a doubt! I love Big Brother, it’s a secret ambition to go on there although I’d be homesick within two hours and begging them to let me leave!

Oooh!  I love it too but I'd never go on it!  OK, it's your dream week as a writer - tell us what happens.

Let’s see... On Monday, an agent takes me on, on Tuesday a publisher loves my book and offers me a ten-book deal, on Wednesday the film rights are sold, on Thursday Hugh Jackman phones to say he’s playing the lead role, and on Friday he takes me out for a slap-up meal to celebrate such a good week and buys me the winning lottery ticket on the way home! Now that would be a good week!

Sounds heavenly!  Ultimate dinner party? You can have anyone dead or alive - who would you have and why?

Judy Blume, her books meant so much to me when I was a teenager, and hopefully she could pass on some advice on writing for teenagers! And Enid Blyton, her books were so magical and imaginative, she would be an amazing person to talk to! Other than that, I’d invite all of my Twitter friends just because they’re awesome!

Yay for Twitter!  How do you deal with the dreaded bad review - are you a sulker or a shrugger?

A shrugger. I think there are always going to be bad reviews, not everyone is going to like your book, and you can’t expect them to. It’s so easy to take the bad reviews to heart, to convince yourself that every good review is ‘just being nice’ and the bad ones are the only ones being honest, but you have to read them, take on board any constructive criticism, and ignore the rest.

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

Honestly, for a squillion pounds, probably! Hell, for that kind of money I could pay someone to write for me! That wouldn’t count as writing, would it? If I sat with my feet up and narrated while some hot, young, shirtless man typed it up for me?

Cheeky!  And a great answer!


Planner or Winger?
A little bit of both. I can’t start writing without at least a vague idea of where I’m going. I need to know how it ends or I’ll end up meandering around for pages and going nowhere, and I like a little bullet-point list of scenes I’ve thought of in a rough order that they might appear in the book, but I don’t do anything too rigidly. Plots develop so much once I start writing them that outlines become pretty much useless anyway!

Night or Morning?
Night. I don’t really do mornings, if it’s too early I just tend to sit and stare at Twitter in a daze, rather than actually doing anything! I hit my stride late morning after a few cups of tea and can carry on until the early hours then. I get much more done when everyone else has gone to bed anyway!

Doer or procrastinator?
Procrastinator. Oh God, such a procrastinator! No matter how much I want to write something or how excited I am to write a particular scene, I just cannot seem to make myself sit down and actually write it! So many things become vitally important instead, like cleaning! The house is never as clean as it is when I’m supposed to be writing!

Writing/first draft or editing?
First draft, definitely! I love the first draft stage! It’s the best bit of writing for me, when you can just sit back and let the characters take over, throw anything you want in there no matter how outrageous, and just not worry about the editing or the spelling or the sentence structure! I don’t do any editing while I’m writing – I’m a big believer in getting the rubbish first draft done, then making it readable after the story is told!

Tea or coffee?
TEA! There is no comparison! I actually can’t stand coffee, I don’t know why anyone likes it! I can’t start the day without a cup of tea though, and can’t survive a day without multiple cups!

You can find Jaimie's books on her Author Page at Amazon. Her latest book, 'North Pole Reform School', was released in October.

If you'd like to find out more about Jaimie, here are her other links:

* * * NEWSFLASH * * *

 Big week in the Misfit House!  The first draft of my WIP is done!  Woo-hoo, yee-ha and all that.  Now, the chopping, hacking, tears and tempers start.  I'm on track for a mid June release.