Monday, August 18, 2014

Game, Set and Match

So, as usual, I am spending the summer holidays on the tennis circuit. This year has been slightly different as last week Master Benedict got the chance to play at Wimbledon in a national U14 tournament. He reached the last sixteen of the singles and won the doubles title 6 - 4,  6 - 1. Being only 13, if he gets through the qualifying rounds next year, he will get a chance to compete again. I'm looking forward to him taking on the might of the LTA sponsored kids and seeing just what he can do at the next level.

My boys, Jacob and Ben, now hold nine county titles and one national title between them but, despite Jacob being no 1 in our county almost consistently since the age of nine and Ben since the age of seven, in all that time they have only received £300 of funding between them - which will just about pay for two reels of their tennis strings. Unfortunately, in order to get them to the next level, it looks like I'm gonna have to write some sleazy sex and gun-toting blockbuster to finance their training because having a nine to five job when you're committed to sport is nigh impossible and tennis is seriously expensive. So my ManBooker dream is well and truly over. Ah well. You can't win 'em all.  Anyhow, if you can't wait for my take on Fifty Shades meets Pulp Fiction you can help spread the word about my novel, The Changing Room, which isn't Fifty Shades meets Pulp Fiction - although it is kinda sleazy in places. (Hey ho.) The eBook is less than a cup of coffee on Amazon at the moment. So yep, I do have other motivations for wanting to be a successful writer other than just the sound of my own voice (although admittedly that is a quite a big attraction) so now with Master Ben's big win I suppose one might say - it's game on.

The good looks and athleticism are inherited from his mother. And I'm not talking about Tim Henman. I don't know where the ears come from but they're not mine.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Should Scotland vote "Yes"?

So it's the early hours of Sunday morning and, as I have insomnia, I have been occupying my time by reading the news over at The Guardian.

Yes, I've been trying to take-in some big words and long sentences over at the Guardian. Toughen myself up enough so I can open-up Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall without gulping.

So anyway over at The Big G they've got some high profile writers giving their views on whether the Scots should vote aye or nay to stay in the union. (You folks abroad may not know but, in the autumn, the Scots are voting on whether they want to still hold hands with the rest of the UK - or whether they just want to do it discreetly behind the bike sheds.)

Anyway I thought it was appropriate that some lesser known folks i.e -  me and a few of my buddies should have our say too.

Now firstly, I should say that my experience of Scotland is two weeks in a small cottage with my in-laws in a remote field in 1988.

So we're not exactly starting on the best footing. On the plus side, I do have a small amount of Scots blood in me (to add to my English, Irish and Welsh blood) so I think I'm able to give a pretty balanced overview of things.

So after some deep thought on the matter, my answer is that the Scots should definitely go their own way because I am not convinced that any plan to make haggis as a currency is going to work. And I want to see the aftermath. I also want to know where the Scots are going to keep their haggis currency - cos there's no pockets in those kilts you know - so the only place to keep their new bigger currency would be in their sporrans. Which would look kinda...awkward. Okay, okay, maybe a few Scots would get some extra dates wearing their heavily-weighted sporrans but I reckon when the kilts come off or up (depending on the wind speed) it would be a bit of anti-climax for us girls.

So anyway, I asked some of my buddies to sum-up their thoughts on the Scottish vote as I reckon what is needed is more sincere debate on the subject by people on the street - not just these big cheesy writers weighing in with their self-important views.

Okay, so let's get down to business and see what my buddies said:

Hugh Pounceby-Smythe:  "The Scots are voting on whether to stay in the union? I say that's jolly inconvenient ...Are they using chalk or ink on the ballot papers?"

Dougie MacDougMcDouglas: "Aye, aye, aye, aye. Of course we should vote "Aye". I'm all for haggis currency. I could wear a sporran as big Ben Nevis and it'll not affect me walk. That puny wee Cameron can keep his pound and his pea-sized wallet. I'll be wearing me sporran with pride."

Connor Macleod: "I've lived for a thousand years and I've a chill between me legs that even a haggis won't stop."

Her Majesty: "Put the servants at Balmoral on siege rations and hoist the flag, Mr Butler. We are at war! I may have the weak and feeble body of an eighty-eighty year old woman but I the heart and soul of a noble Englishman. When you've done that bring me my tea. With crumpets and some of Charles' jam."

Russell Brandit: "Let's have a *ucking revolution! No haggis, no pound. Just a big *ucking revolution!"

Her Majesty: "Take Mr Brandit to The Tower."

Darth McVader: "I am your father, Alex. Use The Force. Destroy your enemies."

Alex Skywalkersalmond: "As you wish, Father. But first - lend me your cape. It'll look good with my skirt."

Obi Wan-Kenobe Esq: "You are not well, Alex. Do not use The Force - it will destroy you and all that you hold dear. Also, try my tailors in Savile Row."

Billy Connolly: " really......och...... did you hear the one about .....ah...oy.....och....ah....oy."

Her Majesty: "Take Mr Connolly to The Tower."

Some geezer at Luton Airport dressed in a tartan turban, a kilt and wearing a suspicious-looking sporran: "I have nothing to declare. I'm just flying to Iraq for a holiday."

So there you are. Just a few comments from some of Mrs T's buddies. All thought-provoking stuff. As for Mrs T what does she think about a UK without the Scots? Well she thinks it would be like Oreos without the cream in the middle.

Kinda sad really.

"On the count of three, gentlemen. Let's give the English the scare they deserve."

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Word Crimes and Fashion Crimes

The musical parody of Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines by Al Yankovic is a fun reminder to us all about the value of literacy. I've no objection to people cutting corners with their grammar on social media - but I do think it's important they know how to use it correctly in the first place. I'm starting to get the hang of text-speak myself - if I'm pressed for time I occasionally substitute "u" for "you" and sometimes I substitute "No way!" for anything which would normally be a 5 page rant.  I'm also  trying to brush-up my vocab by working my way through Mr Blobby's Guide to the ABC. I am up to the letter F. Which is handy as I find f-words invaluable.

You see I like to keep up with the times. I know you lot think I'm an old stick-in-the-mud but I'm actually a forward-thinking and liberal person. Some might say I'm even fashion-concious and trendy. In fact I recently bought some trendy black leggings. Although I had to take them back for a refund - when I realised they weren't a triple pack of car-polishing cloths.

Anyway, that's my post on writers' news finished. Hoorah. It's dull stuff I know but I feel I must fit-in with the crowd and do what all the other writers are doing. Of course, the good news is now that I have one post I can work it into a self-help manual in about twenty years time when I've thought up some other ground-breaking advice.

 So, to sum up, so far two I've got two valuable pointers for inclusion in my self-help guide:

1.Writers - know your grammar.

2. Writers - don't wear black leggings it makes you look even more mentally unstable. Especially if you wear them with a fuzzy hat and a paisley scarf.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

It's that time of year

Yep, it's that time of year when I double my intake of painkillers - the school holidays. So that means I am not around so much merely because every time I settle down to do some writing I get a request for food.

You see the problem with teenage sons is they never stop eating. It's okay for you parents of girls because they are almost always watching their weight but try adopting three sons and then you'll know real misery. As soon as I've washed up from one meal and sat down with a coffee a Young Master appears from nowhere with one of the three following questions:

"Have we got anything to eat?"

 "What's for tea/lunch/breakfast?"

 "Have you been shopping yet?"

Now since I like to look on the bright side of things, I am consoling myself that Young Sam is still away at college completing his MA so my food-making capacity only needs to be a two-thirds output. However, the bad news is the two younger masters are both very sporty and can eat their weight in food in a day. Basically, they have massive appetites and can eat any old rubbish and get away with it - which is why it was huge mistake on my part to allow Young Master Benedict to come shopping with me yesterday.

To cut a long story short - I had a panic attack at the checkout. Because after Master Benedict had filled the trolley with all sorts of goodies including profiteroles, three DVDs, crisps, cookies, cherry coke and an assortment of other luxuries the bills was so big I thought I might have to take out a second mortgage. Instead I just passed out and woke up in the car seat with him sitting next to me eating profiteroles and scanning the backs of his newly acquired DVDS.

So anyway, I probably won't around much the next few weeks. Just popping in with a few pithy remarks from time to time - usually in the early hours of the morning when the boys are asleep and they and their stomachs haven't woken up.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Day Five of The Five Day Positive Thinking Challenge

And so it's time for my last five positive thoughts:

1. I am really hoping that some of you folks out there will rise to the challenge of setting me some new topics to write about on my blog. It can be ANY topic you like - except religion. Even I don't go there - it's too easy to upset folks. Which I probably do anyway but it's only the zealots who want to burn you at the stake that you have to worry about. And I'm still too young to be roasted. (Just.)

2. I am hoping if I get some good topics and I write some entertaining posts, I'll include them in my next book. So please leave a comment or email me via my contact page if you have a topic you'd like me to get my tongue around.

3. This is the cover to my next book - coming later in the year. I like it. It makes me feel slim. It's not an entirely accurate picture of me obviously but reasonably representative.

4. I got my paperback delivery yesterday and my bookmarks. This means I can now flog my books out of the back of my car or swap them for fuel at the petrol station or maybe, just maybe, exchange them for repair work at the garage. (See yesterday's post.)

5. I haven't told Mr T yet about yesterday's encounter with the concrete block. I'm going to keep it that way. I am almost sure he's not going to spot the damage. And, believe me, that really IS positive thinking.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Day Four of The Five Day Positive Thinking Challenge

It's a quickie again. Five positive thoughts:

No 1. Tomorrow I am pretty sure I am going to be less tired.
No 2. Tomorrow the sun will be shining.
No 3 . Tomorrow I will going swimming.
No 4. Tomorrow I will make a salad. (Hopefully)
No 5  Tomorrow I will not drive into a concrete block.

And yes I didn't see it.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Day Three of the Positive Thinking Challenge - On Football

Wow, I'm on my third post in three days.

Okay before I go any further, I just need to inform you that I had a really, really bad bout of insomnia last night. I've only have had 90 mins of sleep so I'm like the walking dead and I may crash out at any moment. If you hear about a woman found sleeping in Tesco's meat aisle on the six o'clock news - that'll be me.

Yep, so if this post is full of typos and gibberish and is even more incoherent than the norm you'll just have to forgive me and put it down to sleep deprivation. I'm going to deliberately follow that laborious method that drunks use when there try to convince everyone they're not drunk (talking and walking really slowly to try and prove they're still capable) by methodically studying each word before I press "publish". However, since this doesn't usually work as a normal method for me - please accept that this post might be a complete balls-up anyway.

So five positive thoughts for today that keep me with a smile on my face:

1. Do you remember Rod Hull and Emu? Emu famously attacked Michael Parkinson in an interview back in the 1970s

Well my positive thought is:

I'd love to see Emu take on Suarez. Now that would be quality entertainment.

2. My second positive thought:

You know Gary Linekar, ex-England striker and now sports presenter?

Well I'd love to see him streak across Wembley stadium. But more importantly - I'd like to hear Alan Hanson commentate on it.

3. My third positive thought is mainly for the ladies (cos be fair - even you boys would like to hear Alan Hanson commentate on Gary streaking.)

Ladies -  I think it would be brilliant if there was a power-cut in the last ten minutes of play in the cup final. How fantastic would that be? That sort of thought really makes my day.

4. Fourth positive thought:

Wouldn't it be fun if football managers were wired into their players' boots so that every time the ball got kicked they had to dance like Michael Jackson or Wayne Sleep? It would be even better if viewers got to chose the moves - maybe moonwalking for a goal, crutch-grabbing for a penalty and a pirouette for a rebound off the posts. You know - I don't think these sports bodies have thought hard enough about the entertainment factor for us consumers. They could do so much better.

5.  My fifth and final positive thought for the day:

It really cheers me up to think that one day "football" might be renamed "toeball".

Hey - they changed Marathon bars to Snickers so nothing's impossible.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Day Two of The Five Day Positive Thinking Challenge

Oh blimey - it's nearly 4 pm and I've only just remembered today's positive thinking challenge. Okay I'm going to have to think quickly as I'm off out to an evening of cricket at 5.15 and I haven't even started tea yet.

So here goes:

1. If it rains - the cricket match will be cancelled.

2. It's not a test match.

3. I might get a free tea if I sweep the floor after drinks.

4. It also might be men's training night.  Which is slightly more interesting than U13 cricket. Just sayin'.

5. With any luck some of the men might ask me to shine their balls.

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Five Day Positive Thought Challenge (and other stuff)

I have been challenged by an old school friend, Jacqui Crowe, via Facebook, to come up with five positive thoughts for five days. That's pretty tough going even for the eternal optimistic like me but I am going to try my best. Now just for a bit of background information, Jacqui and I went to a state school and were in many of the same classes and played in the school hockey team together.  Our hockey team put the fear of God in those posh girls from the private schools. They were no match for us because girls who have survived the terror of state school toilets have NO fear. We were hard, ruthless and, even though some of us had furry pencil cases, we had a reputation as being near invincible. Think Britney Spears in her gym-slip with with a flame-thrower and a bazooka and you're just about there. We didn't have mouth-guards, shin-guards and most of us didn't even even have hockey boots but we still got stuck into the opposition in Rambo-like fashion. Anyhow, needless to say, with all this activity on the playing fields we all got a few bruises and bumps on the legs  -which leads to my first positive thought for the day:

1. I am absolutely convinced that Jacqui is going to get varicose veins before me. It seems only fair as she waaaayyyy thinner than me. I had a reasonable amount of "insulation" as a teenager but now I have even more insulation I am convinced any varicose veins will not be at all noticeable. 'Course, it'll be tough on Jacqui when I post close-ups of my blemish-free legs on Facebook but you know - where needs must.

2. My second positive thought for the day is:

I am not dead. Yippee. You know the best thing about being alive is - you're not dead. And you get to eat chocolate and have sex. And, if you're lucky, you get to do both at the same time. When you get to my age you have to be grateful for every day you get. And I am truly grateful I'm getting to watch my kids grow up, fulfil my ambitions and get to watch lots of Jason Statham films. What could be better? I'm going to celebrate in a minute with some chocolate. I might have some sex later too - but that depends if Mr T still has enough pocket money left over from the weekend.

3. My third positive thought for the day is:

I am so so happy my beloved chicken, Miss Agatha, is still alive. Every morning at the crack of dawn there is a strangely dressed woman, usually wearing Crocs five sizes too big for her, pyjamas and sporting a dishevelled haircut who rushes into our garden when Miss Agatha starts crowing (sadly Miss Agatha is a bit confused about her gender) and lifts a large spade over Miss Agatha's head. Somehow, just as the spade is about to fall the strange woman appears to come to her senses, gives Miss Agatha some food, a sharp telling off and disappears again. Bizarre.

Miss Agatha is named after Agatha Christie. And yes she is nosey. However, she doesn't wear a tweed hat.
Well not yet anyway.  She's put in a request for one but I've turned her down on the basis I need to save for some ear muffs and a machete.

4. My fourth positive thought for the day is:

You know Tunnocks' marshmallow biscuits? The round ones in the silver and red foil? Well - they were on offer in the supermarket last week and I bought two packets. And I haven't told anyone else.

Tunnocks biscuits. Yummy. Not available to the young masters without prior testing by Mrs Jane Turley, Housewife Extraordinaire.
Piccy courtesy of Wikipedia.

5. My fifth and final positive thought for the day is:

Apparently, Robin Thicke's new album has only sold about 500 copies.

So there we have it - 5 positive thoughts for the day. And now cos it's the last full week before the school week I have other things I need to blog about.

Okay, so on Saturday the last of my paperback proofs arrived which was an edition of A Modern Life. I've had two editions made of both my books - the same covers but the Amazon editions are on white paper and the other two, which will be for all other outlets, are on cream paper. Anyway, now that I have approved the last proofs, I shall be placing a bulk order in anticipation of a flood of requests for signed copies. (Ho hum) I will also be sending out review copies and fulfilling any promises I've made to readers about receiving a free book. That's it. More ramblings tomorrow.

My books - oh and a poster in the middle. I'm going to stick one in my bathroom. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Thoughts on Football and Depressed Writers (again)

They're couldn't be a worse final for a British person to watch - Germany V Argentina.

Two countries we have been at war with. Who the hell I am going to support? I suppose it's going to come down to whether I prefer German frankfurters or Argentinian beef.

Decisions. Decisions. Hmm. Tricky.

Pity the Dutch didn't get through last night. I like tulips. I could have waved tulips and worn my Crocs and given the evening a Dutch feel to it. We do that at my book club. Luckily, the themes usually revolve around stories set in Italy, France, Spain and Australia -countries where they just so happen to have a good selection of wines. How lucky is that? Occasionally, we read a book from the UK though but then we have to drink tea so we don't do that too much. Sometimes we read a book from the US and then we dispense with the wine and move straight to the milkshakes.

I'm trying to remember what we are supposed to be reading this month. It's on Friday so I better think hard. Thank God for Kindle. Okay, I'm going to have to look up the email as I can't remember.

Oh it's the The Humans by Matt Haig. I've heard good things about that.

It's £2.69 on Kindle and £3.50 in paperback. I prefer the paperback. Not that it'll matter to the author as he's going to get screwed by his publisher either way.

Oh Lord I've just read his bio. First line:

"Matt Haig suffered a breakdown in his early twenties. After battling depression for a long while he turned to writing."

Oh God. Why do all writers think readers what to know these things. Why, why, why? Do they think that being ill gives you better artistic integrity? 

Why has every author, actor, TV presenter got to keep coming out with this stuff? Have any of them had a childhood that hasn't involved some sort of mental and physical cruelty?

Woman: "My mother hit me with a damp tea towel when I was young. Now I suffer from recurrent tea towel nightmares and drowning in the washing bowl."

Career officer: "Have you thought about writing a novel?"

Man: "My father forced to brush my teeth every night. He would stand over me and whilst my gums bled. Now I dream about beaten with a toothbrush and being trapped inside a bathroom cabinet."

Career officer. "You have wonderful teeth. Have you thought about becoming an actor?"

Okay, so what I need to do for my book to take-off is start writing some articles about my traumatic childhood and flogging it around the net. Then everyone will buy my book out of sympathy.

Okay. Let me trawl back through my memories and find some stuff I can utilize.


Hmm. Oh yes....There was that time when ...... no I think that was my own fault.

Hmm... I fell off my bike into some brambles once. Would that count? Maybe not dramatic enough? I did get some scratches... but no amputations.

I could invent some amputations. My leg could become a false leg. I could be traumatised by having a false leg.

Maybe a false hand would be better. As a writer it would be more traumatising for me to have a false hand. Imagine all the typing problems. I would get severe depression. And I 'd probably get repetitive strain injury on my other hand so that would be at least a bi-polar disorder, if not the occasional bout of schizophrenia.

Right, that's nailed it. I feel my novel rocketing to top of the best sellers now once I get this stuff going viral.

This writer was traumatised by her first experiments with make-up.
Tip from Mrs T: always use caution when applying mascara.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

It's cheaper than a cup of coffee, lasts a lot longer and has a much sweeter taste - my début novel, The Changing Room

Today, after over two years work, I am launching my début novel, The Changing Room, A British Comedy of Love, Loss and Laughter which is now available as an eBook and in paperback on Amazon.

The Blurb

"Today, I am in the changing room of my life and tomorrow, win or lose, I'll move forward a stronger and wiser woman." 

Sandy Lovett's confused mother and chaotic life are having an effect on her waistline. She knows she needs to change her life but doesn't know how until she buys a risqué dress which sets in motion a sequence of life-changing events.

After years as a mother, carer and full-time employee, Sandy quits her job and places her mother in a care home, and life seems on the up. But disaster is never far away for the hapless Sandy as her mother’s obsessions continue to wreak havoc and her husband’s business begins to fail. Short of cash and needing a flexible job, Sandy joins a sex-chat service. At The Beaver Club Sandy discovers a talent for selling telephone sex - a skill she later regrets when she meets unscrupulous local politician and prospective MP, Trewin Thackeray.

The Amazon paperback is 8 x 5 inches, 368 pages on white paper.


The Changing Room will also soon be available, on request, from bookshops and libraries all over the world. The paperback cover is particularly gorgeous but, if you want to hang on and see if Amazon drop the price from £9.99, I have priced my eBook very competitively at £1.87 ($3.19) for the opening week of my launch to encourage people to jump-in and enjoy the read after that the price will rise. In the US I have also entered The Changing Room into Amazon's matchbook scheme so for an additional $0.99, if you buy the paperback this week, you will be able to purchase the eBook for just $0.99. The paperback cover to The Changing Room is particularly gorgeous and (in my rather prejudiced opinion) knocks the socks off many traditionally published novels. It would make the ideal gift for any woman who enjoys a light read and hopefully a few men too. (They'll probably enjoy the risqué bits!) 

I suspect that those of you who have been reading my blog for a while will have a fairly good idea of what you're letting yourself in for if you succumb to my (dubious) sales patter. However, for those of you who are not so familiar with my writing, you'll be getting a full-length novel of Mrs T's unique slapstick comedy (with a little heartbreak thrown in for good measure) a further book-club feature with discussion questions and a Q & A with yours truly and, hopefully, most importantly, a lot of giggles. So all of this fun stuff for just £1.87 for the eBook- which is cheaper than a cup of coffee and less than half the price of a woman's glossy magazine. What a bargain!

The genuine article. The coffee and chocolate covered flapjack are out of sight. My copy of Fifty Shades is under the table and The Daily Mail is lining the cat litter tray.

So there you have it. My novel is finally here. I hope that some of you will be tempted to give it a read. If you do, please do think about leaving a review on Amazon UK as reviews significantly affect Amazon algorithms and my book needs some visibility in order to sell - Mr T has finally demanded a return on his investment that isn't my weight gain. So, as an added incentive, if you are one of the first few people to make a verified purchase on Amazon UK  AND leave a review please come back to this post and leave a message (tick the follow-up email option in the comments section so I can contact you) as I will be giving away three signed paperbacks of The Changing Room accompanied by two gorgeous bookmarks and an A4 poster all designed by my wonderful cover artist, Gracie Klumpp, to the first three reviewers linking back here. For the fourth, fifth and sixth people to do the same (purchase in UK, review in UK and comment on this post) you will receive signed paperbacks of A Modern Life and a selection of bookmarks. To anyone else who purchases - I thank you and I sincerely hope you enjoy the read and, if you sign-up to my newsletter, you will receive my next short story direct into your inbox!

 Front and rear of  Bookmark 1

Front and rear of Bookmark 2

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Teenage Troubles

If you have a teenage son, you'll probably appreciate this. I know I do. Ho hum.

Monday, June 23, 2014

To be British, is to be Patient - Ten Examples of British Stoicism

I may have talked about this before - a peculiar characteristic of being British is being very patient and stoic even in the most difficult of times. But I am going to revisit this subject again as needs must. You'll find out why later. I would say I am a very patient person - although I am getting less so as I get older as my tolerance to ignorance grows shorter. (Please refer to the 500+ posts on this blog for details.)

So anyway enough about me. Lets look at some examples of this peculiar British habit:


It goes without saying that at the top of the examples list is the British habit of waiting patiently in a queue. Sometimes people wait in queues for whole days outside Harrods at sale-time or sleep on the pavements outside Buckingham Palace for a glimpse of HRH. There is no greater crime in the UK than queue-jumping. Try it and you will be met with scathing looks or, at the very least, whispers about being mentally unstable, drunk or "not from around here." If you are in the doctors, dentists or hospital waiting room the conversation will always be about what position you are in the queue:

"He's first, I'm second, so you must be after the woman in the polka dot dress who's third."

"But my appointment is 10.30 and your card says 10.40."

"You were late. You've missed your place in the queue."


You're covered in blue welts, have ear ache, gangrene in one foot and ulcers on your tongue:

"Why don't you go to the doctors?"

"There's nothing wrong with me. If I'm not better in a few days I'll book an appointment."


You've been waiting in the queue at the newsagents with a copy of  The Daily Mail and a pint of milk for thirty minutes. You didn't really want The Daily Mail but the pictures of the front caught your eye and the pint of milk is going sour but you did really want a lottery ticket and a packet of Benson and Hedges ciggies. You get to the front of the queue and:

"I'll have two lucky dips and a packet of Benson and Hedges."

"I'm afraid the lottery machine's just broken down."

"Oh. Just the Benson and Hedges then."

"I'm afraid I've just sold the last three packets to the man with the walking stick."

"I'll have a packet of Gillette razors."


You're sitting outside your child's reception classroom. Your appointment was at 6.45 pm and it's now 7.55 pm. You've missed your favourite soap opera and peed on your trousers because you could only find the kids loos and your bladder was bursting. The teacher bounces to the door wearing her Jesus sandals, flowered smock and a daisy chain around her neck.

"Who's next?"

You leap up overjoyed: "I am!"

The woman next to you bursts into tears: "I can't wait any longer. My mother's in hospital and my husband goes on night shift in thirty minutes."

You sit back down with a thump. "You can go first."

The teachers wraps her arms around the other parent and give you an encouraging wink. You open up your bag and take a Sudoku puzzle and fill in random numbers whilst you imagine torching the school.


Your ring British Telecommunications (BT) for the twentieth time to tell them your mother died three years ago, you no longer own that property and to stop harassing you for an outstanding payment you don't even owe.

"Oh, I see. I quite understand the problem. I'll just transfer you to someone who deals with this..."

" No! Wait......"

*Music plays*


You go to the hairdresser and ask for a "few light waves" to add a bit of bounce to your thinning hair. Ninety minutes later you look into the mirror and see you transformed from a middle-aged, white middle class woman into a young Michael Jackson. You politely thank the hairdresser and walk to the nearest alternative hairdresser and ask them to cut it all off. Three months later, after you've spent thirty minutes smoothing down the last of the curls with extra strong gel, you open your Sudoku puzzle book and randomly fill out the numbers whilst fantasying about torching the hairdressers.

Your confidence can really be affected when you get the wrong haircut. If you're like me and get an  unexpected afro it ain't so bad as you can say you're a big fan of MJ and you're going to a rock-star fancy dress party. Unfortunately, the  gentleman above couldn't use the same excuse as his haircut made him look like Justin Beiber.

You been waiting for fifteen minutes in the queue at the petrol station. When you finally pull up at the pump, just as you get out of your car the attendant appears and puts the "empty" sign on the diesel. You get back into your car, drive out of the station and onto the next petrol station. When you get there is it closed due to "Unforeseen circumstances." You drive home without the air conditioning on, trying to not to brake or speed and wondering whether you have a new book of Sudoku puzzles.


You are just about to step on the 9.30 am train to London for a day's shopping, revisiting old haunts and tea with your best friend from college who you haven't seen for twenty years when your phone rings:


"Mrs Turley?"


"I'm afraid Ben fell over and has a slight scratch on one of his fingernails and the hairs on his eyebrows look slightly out of place."

"Is he concussed?

"I don't think so."

"Is he bleeding?"


"Well he sounds okay. And as I'm just about to step on the train to London and I've already bought my ticket can you send him back to class, please."

"I really think you should come. It could turn into something serious."

*Long pause*

"Are you there, Mrs Turley?"


"Well we see you in thirty minutes then. I'll give Ben a cold compress."


You ring BT and get cut off. You ring BT and get cut off. You ring BT and get cut off. You ring BT and get through to customer services and just as you tell them your problem you get cut off. You ring BT, you get through, tell them your problem and then you get put on hold. After ten minutes on hold a man comes on line and you tell him your problem again. He says "You've come through to the wrong department, I'll transfer you."

 *Music plays*


You order the proof copy of your (stunning) début novel from the US. You are thrilled at the prospect of it arriving on the 9th June. On the 16th of June you are still throwing open the door with girlish optimism but sadly, it still doesn't arrive. You put the delays down to customs having a good read of the naughty bits and remember what your parents said about patience being a virtue. On the 23rd June you finally ring the US and discover your book has not even been sent. They claim it has been "lost en route" but you know better because you've looked up the tracking information. You gratefully accept the $15.00 dollar refund for the express dispatch fee and decide to invest in a new Sudoku book.

Subject to no further delays and my proof copy arriving with no further hitches I shall be launching The Changing Room on Tuesday July 1st. And yes The Changing Room is already online as an eBook but on the 2/3 of July I will be offering it at a reduced price to encourage all you good people to buy and help push it up the Amazon charts. In the meantime, if you live in the UK and want to splash out the few extra pence, you can get ahead in a little competition I shall be giving details of later in the week by purchasing and reviewing The Changing Room on

And now for a break. It's been another disappointing day. Time to be patient and stoic (with the aid of some very nice chocolate and a glass of vino.)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A Eye-Opening Question

How is it possible to own so many pairs of reading glasses and not be able to find a single pair?

I am almost embarrassed to mention the exact number of pairs. They're not all prescription glasses (just in case you think I'm loaded) I have two pairs from the 99p shop, several pairs from the "slightly better packaging almost 99p shop" and then there's some others from the cheap chemist...

And I can't find a single pair.


In  desperation, I have taken to wearing glasses on my head and on a string around my neck like some mad old biddy. 

But most of the time that doesn't work either.

I doomed, doomed to an old age squinting at pictures and print whilst unintentionally signing myself up for constipation supplements. 

Doomed, I tell you.

I'm also tired of checking for the whereabouts of my glasses by tapping myself on the head which causes people to think I'm some sort of fruitcake. They should be grateful I don't stick my tongue out and sing "It's A Long Way to Tipperary" as well.

But there's good news, folks, whilst I am having to write this blog post in large print to see what the hell I am doing - I do not yet need glasses for driving.

Well that's what my lawyer said.

You know, I've had a good idea for a new kids' picture book series. It would be like Where's Wally but would be called Where's Mum's Glasses. 

I could make a whole series out of that for sure. Might even follow it up with a second series called Where's Mum's Car Keys.

When I said I couldn't find my glasses my neighbour kindly offered her dog to read to me. It's torture - I don't understand a word he's saying. Still, we've become great friends - I took him for a walk and he watered my plants. You can't say fairer than that.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Senility Strikes

Yesterday, I got into my car and drove to Tesco Express (an open-all-hours supermarket in the UK) with the intention of buying some food to make a spaghetti bolognese for tea. Food stocks are currently low in the Turley household and, as I hadn't fancied doing a big shop earlier in the day, drastic action was called for at 7pm.

Unfortunately, whilst I was driving I forgot that's what I was planning to do and drove past Tescos Express and back home again.

Tea was a minimal affair. Formal complaints were lodged and duly noted. I shall be producing a roast chicken and spuds today.

Well at least I remembered to get into my car. This woman has more problems than I do.

Ps I am hoping to have some news on my novel soon. The paperback production has been rather more long-winded than I expected. But, hopefully, not long to go now!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Importance of Tea... and Kettles

Now because my life is so exciting I need to report that I have a new kettle arriving today via Amazon prime delivery.

This is because my other kettle has gone all hormonal on me.

Sometimes it boils, sometimes it doesn't.

Sometimes I have to hold down the all systems "go" button. Sometimes I don't.

Yeah, I know all this "on and off" stuff sounds like foreplay. But let me assure you, dear readers, my kettle never, ever, turns on by itself.

Which is a pity because, as any woman knows, turning on by yourself can be a real bonus. Men seem to have a far greater capacity for turning on by themselves though which is not very fair.

Still, it's not always a good thing to turn on remotely when you're in the gym. Or the office. Or down the pub. Or in the cinema.

Question: is there anywhere a man cannot turn on by himself?

Hmm. Let me think about that.

I'd like to say "public lavatories". But I'm afraid George Michael put at end to my idea of what's they're used for.

Maybe the Cabinet Office?

Nah. I feel sure there's a lot of turning on in the Cabinet Office.

Anyway, back to my kettle. Sometimes I weigh down the all systems "go" button with a variation of objects so I don't have to stand there like a lemon with my finger on it. Cos you know what? Waiting for the kettle to boil with my finger on the button for a whole minute is so damn tedious. I could be filing my nails or reading the Daily Mail. So, if I am not in the mood to wait and I really, really need to finish reading that article on Kim Kardashian's arse, I weigh down the switch. The fact that an elaborate system of levers and pulleys involving rolling pins, knives, spatulas and any handy kitchen utensil which I've cunningly constructed and wedged up against the wall takes me longer to devise than the minute is takes for me to stand there with my finger on the kettle and wait for it to boil is neither here nor there -  I have got one over on my kettle and that is all that matters.

Because I am just shallow like that.  Getting a kick out of getting one over on my kettle means a lot to me.

Yeah, yeah I know you lot out there are saying I shouldn't be moaning about my First World problem but a gal's gotta have a cup of tea, right?

I mean how would I function without my tea? How would I cope with the daily grind?

Anyway, I've ordered an extra-special kettle which filters the water first so you don't get that scum on your tea. Yeah, I know I could just pour water from the filter jug into the kettle but that would take way tooooooo long and I've got important things to do. Like clean the bathroom.

I wonder what time my new kettle is going to arrive? I'm so excited. It's got a blue light on it like a police car! That is cool. Seriously cool.

Right, time to get back to work and work up a thirst before it arrives.

I have no interest in gadgets whatsoever. Only in ones that make my life easier. And make tea.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Writers' Curse -Typofuckitupitius

I will be talking about French trains and German engineering very soon. However, I have to stray from my agenda this morning as I have finally discovered why most writers are mad. I've heard about writers who imagine aliens and psychotic wide-eyed rabbits peering out of bushes at them. I've never considered myself as one of them because, as anyone who knows me is aware, I am completely normal.

However, what I have discovered this morning is that these crazed writers are not just authors of science fiction, fantasy and obscure meaningless poetry as I imagined. They are not even affected by booze, drugs and mental illness. (Well not all of them.) They are just poor unfortunate writers, such as Mrs T, who have been cruelly afflicted by a terrible disease called Typo Fuckitupitus

Now there are several degrees of this Typo Fuckitupitus. Unfortunately, I am in the advanced stage. This is because I have started seeing typos and grammatical errors that don't even exist. This is where every full-stop, comma, capital letter in my entire manuscript is leaping out at me wearing striped socks, red jumpers and rotating lights whilst screaming;


I have now got to the point where a heroin trip, accompanied by a bottle of  whiskey and a large joint would be like a stroll in the park.

I am, in fact, going insane. I'm developing acute paranoia. Writing a novel has turned out to be like giving birth. Only with less blood.

Well so far. That could change.

This is what happens to writers with Typo Fuckitupitus. As the author of children's picture books, this writer thought she was immune from the illness - until she found she'd spelt her own name wrong on front cover.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Paperback Cover to The Changing Room

The final cover for the paperback version of The Changing Room has arrived. You can see pre-barcoded version below. I think it's fantastic and on a par, if not better, than many of the traditionally published women's novels. It just what I wanted - something unique and with an almost seaside-postcard feel that will hopefully create interest from both men and women.

I've added a little clothes tag-style ticket to the upper left-hand corner of the rear cover which reads " A book club novel." This is because I believe The Changing Room is an ideal novel for book clubs as it incorporates many themes for discussion. (Although probably not in my book club where we prefer to discuss the choice of wine and latest village scandals.) So I've also included a book club section at the rear which includes bullet points for discussion and a Q & A section with me where I waffle on in my usual dubious manner.

The principle theme of my novel is "change" as suggested by the title. This is "change" as an individual that stems from the choices we make in our lives when faced with big decisions. In the case of my heroine, Sandy, these are crucial decisions such as whether or not to place her mother in a care home and how she will deal with the failing family business. But there are also deeper strands to the novel which I hope will open up discussion about how we deal with problems such as age and senility, not just on an individual basis, but also in the wider context of government and politics. The antagonist in my book, the unscrupulous local politician Trewin Thackeray, is another talking point whose dastardly behaviour I hope will generate conversation amongst readers about whether or not there should be "change" in the way MPs are recruited and how governments conduct their business.

I suppose, ultimately, I've written a book I wanted to read and, interpreting my friends' favourite book club choices,  what they might want to read too - a book which is light and fun but underneath addresses some serious issues. I've felt that this is an element missing from the women's market with publishers rarely taking a chance on "fun" fiction except when it's romance-oriented and, more often than not, in the chick-lit style. Jo Jo Moyes Me Before You is a rare exception to this but even that was a set within the boundaries of an almost-conventional romance. As for the comedic elements of my novel -  from a personal perspective I feel I'm probably pushing the comedic boundaries much further than current mainstream novels. But that is the freedom that self-publishing has given me - to take a chance on what I believe women may enjoy reading and not feel constrained by agents' and publishers' preferences.

Okay that's it for today. I only have to wait for approval and for the proof copies. Once I've approved them I can hit the publish button and a few days later the paperback will be available to order. In the meantime, if there's any of you out there who are book reviewers, librarians, are part of a book group or have a blog and would like to receive a free ebook, gifted via Amazon, of The Changing Room or A Modern Life in exchange for honest, impartial reviews on Amazon and/or Goodreads or on your blog please do get in touch via my contact page.

I'm nearly there now. Phew.

And just to keep you updated my next blog will be on a topic which is not close to my heart but definitely close to my sense of humour. It will be called French Trains and German Engineering. I haven't written it yet - but I have a feeling it might be a little politically incorrect.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Kindle Board Promotion.

My short story collection is being promoted via Kindle Boards at the moment. Accordingly, I've dropped the price a little to see if I can tempt anyone to buy this work of (dubious) genius. For a mere £1.82  or about $3.00 dollars you can get to read this masterpiece of English literature at your leisure.

Now that's got to be better than filing your nails.
If you have any  promotional tips/ideas for my books let me know. Especially ones that require minimal effort. After all, I'm suppose to be a writer not a marketing expert. Also, I'm not prepared to sell my body for a headline spot in the Daily Mail. I can do that by just writing an article about having sex with aliens.

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