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

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...