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.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Blubbing about Blurbs

I think one of the hardest challenges I've had to face on my journey to publication is writing the blurb to my paperback version of The Changing Room. After numerous attempts, and equal amounts of wine, I've finally come up with this:

“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 Changing Room is a comedy-drama for all those whose glass is half-full. Preferably with gin and a big fat cherry.

Gez, I hope that's good enough!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

"I've got some hot book tips to make your sexy best-seller reach new heights," she said, breathing heavily and unclasping her bra.

Mr and  Mrs T are in the kitchen. Mrs T is making chicken pie (which turned out to be minced-beef pie - but that's another story.)

Mrs T: Have you got any ideas for promoting The Changing Room when I launch it?

Mr T: You need to write a blog post with lots of popular links in the title.

Mrs T: Oh yes, I always get more hits on my blog when I use key words.

Mr T: Something like;

"Cat jumps on keyboard to write last sentence"

Mrs T: (Puzzled look) Eh? It needs something with "sex" in it.

Mr T: Eh?

Mrs T: Something like:

"Sexy pussy gets knickers down in churchyard"

Mr T: That's how we met.

Now that is simply not true, dear readers!  Mr T is fibbing! I saw Mr T in a shop window and bought him very cheaply in exchange for two months supply of lunchtime sandwiches and a couple of cans of Pepsi.

However, Mr T is right - sex does sells books. Look at E L James success with Fifty Shades of Grey and all that whipping cream.

Hmm...was there whipping cream in Fifty Shades or not? I can't remember. Ah...who cares. I'm pretty sure there were whips and chains in it and something called a Red Room.

I have a Messy Room. It is way more interesting than a Red Room - try self flagellating with a copy of Collins English Dictionary and Woman's Weekly. It is soooooo much more fun. And you can increase your vocabulary and peruse knitting patterns at the same time.

So sex sells. Has anyone told Kim Kardashian that? I don't think she knows. Somebody tell her. I think she's missing a trick.

So I suppose what you folks want to know is - is there sex in Mrs T's novel?

Well yes...and no.

It's what I would call funny sex. Not graphic sex. You know - graphic sex is when you see two two dogs mating and it kinda makes you feel a bit embarrassed. Funny sex is when see a picture of two hippos mating and you post it on Facebook.

It's kinda like that. Funny sex but not with hippos. With a turkey.

Well if this post doesn't get some interest in The Changing Room I shall have to review my marketing techniques. Maybe go for the hard-core marketing stuff.

Anyone tried self-flagellating with War and Peace?

A sexy pussy.
"Come here, baby...Wanna stroke my fur and fondle my whiskers?"

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Room Service

I am in my study writing and I have just been interrupted by a phone call from Master Benedict asking for "Room Service."

I have been informed that he would like crackers, cheese and smoked salmon.

I shall now go down to the lounge where the Young Master is reclining in his pink onesie and discuss the pros and cons of ringing his mother for "Room Service."

It may be a short conversation.

Master Ben has high expectations. Which is probably not a good idea.

Is Exam Time More Stressful for Parents or for Children?

The above question is one I have often asked myself over the years as I've dealt with exam-stress fall-out.

Is it my imagination or were we a lot calmer about exams in days gone by?

I don't remember being that stressed about exams. I remember thinking; "Oh crap, I don't know anything. Maybe if I use some big pretentious words it will pull the wool over the examiners eyes?" But I don't remember getting too stressed.

I think my "Big Pretentious Word Theory" must have worked as I passed most of my exams - except Maths. I tried using big pretentious numbers for Maths - but nobody fell for it.

It was only afterwards did I realise the sums were mainly subtractions.

It didn't work in German either. Apparently, the examiner was English and I'd counted on the examiner being German so I suspect my repetitive use of the word "lebensraum" didn't go down too well.

You can't win them all.

Anyway, Master Jacob started his GCSEs yesterday. So, in order to alleviate some of the stress and knowing boys are NEVER prepared, on Saturday I went out and bought new pens, a maths set, a clear plastic pencil case, extra paper, a long ruler, highlighters and a note book.

At 8.45 am this morning (bus leaves at 8.54) this is what happened:

Master Jacob: Have you got a calculator?

Mrs T: (momentarily stunned by this very last minute request) Take the one in Ben's bag!

Master Jacob: (rummages through bag) I can't find it!

Mrs T:  (stomps upstairs and back down) Here, take this new one I bought on special offer a few months ago exactly to pre-empt this situation.

So, the good news is that Master Jacob caught his bus. And I successfully managed to avoid a coronary.


So to answer my question: Is exam time more stressful for parents or children?

The answer is parents, of course.

I shall be picking up Master Jacob later in the day. I will be equipped with handkerchiefs, fizzy drinks, chocolate and a leaflet for The Samaritans in case things haven't gone too well.

It's amazing how many women take up prayer during exam-time. Desperation does strange things to you. I actually have holes in my trousers and, for once, it's nothing to do with my lack of ironing skills.

Monday, May 12, 2014


Oh God. I have bad news, dear readers.

I have an ear infection.

I know, I know, it's not exactly global apocalyptic news. But it's catastrophic news for me.

I shall now have to wear one of the *ucking awful rubber caps in the pool this week.

How gross is that?

Oh God. No. Please. No.

Picture courtesy of Amazon where they also sell a number of other more discreet swimming caps.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Cover Reveal: My Début Novel, The Changing Room

So I am in the final stages of preparing my novel The Changing Room for publication, and I will be announcing a release date very soon. In the meantime, here's a taster of what's in store with the first public airing of the cover by the very talented, Gracie Klumpp.

My Nominees for the US and UK Elections and Other Waffle

It's the early hours of the morning, and I have had a large gin... Late-night alcohol is always a good recipe for writing gibberish. And...