Monday, 18 March 2019

Characters I Want to Meet

The main problem I had with this topic from Long and Short Reviews’ blog hop was narrowing it down. Nearly every time I read a good book I find a character I want to meet.

However, the first time I can remember feeling this way was when I read the Foundation series by Isaac Asimov. Hari Seldon, the inventor of psychohistory, is a highly intelligent and also highly charismatic character, able to present a fascinating area of study in an interesting way. I particularly enjoyed him in Prelude to Foundation, where he is shown as a young man, ably fighting off attackers with martial arts and charming Dors Venabili, the woman who would become his wife.

My favourite female characters, on the other hand, are Cassandra Mortmain and Emma Woodhouse. Cassandra, of I Capture the Castle, is a writer and acute observer of people, capable of feeling intensely while also flawed enough to make her human. And Emma, of Jane Austen fame, is equally flawed but also equally witty and intelligent. I love watching her try to matchmake other people while being blissfully unaware of her own heart.

Of course, as a writer myself, I often find myself writing characters I want to meet. So I’ll finish off with my favourite hero Ash Drake from The Hand He Dealt

Tall, blond and athletic, Ash initially presents as a stereotypical meathead, a college football player who knows his way around women. But as my heroine Astra gets to know him, she finds a passionate and exciting man underneath.

So which characters would you like to meet?

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

A Day in My Life

This topic from Long and Short Reviews’ blog hop was a tricky one because, as a writer, you would probably expect me to say that I write all day. I’m deeply envious of writers who can do this, but I have a day job, so I can’t.

On weekdays I am a debt advisor, so I spend most of my day attempting to reassure clients who are understandably worried about their debts. My evenings, at the moment, vary a little because I am in the middle of moving house – we haven’t sold the old house yet so I will probably make at least one trip to collect a box or two of stuff to bring back to our new place. On nights when we don’t do this I will write for an hour and then spend the rest of my time with a can of Strongbow catching up on junk television and reading on my Kindle.

On weekends I will write for a few hours, then if the weather’s good my husband and I will go out somewhere with his camera so he can photograph wildlife or get high altitude aeroplane shots. In the evenings I’m likely to put a film on – I have dozens saved on my V+ box and usually have a few on rental as well. I love horror, but I also enjoy historicals, action films and biopics, so we have a wide range of options in our blu-ray rack.

So how do you like to spend your day?

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Favourite Hobby and Why

This topic from Long and Short Reviews’ blog hop was an interesting one. I’m not a person who does arts and crafts or sports, so my idea of a hobby was always going to be less practical and more sedentary. What do I like to do in my spare time?

The cinema.

A lot of people will say that dinner and a film is an unimaginative date, but seeing films at the cinema is one of my favourite things to do. There’s something about the experience of watching a film on the big screen – the atmosphere, the darkness, the surround sound – that I absolutely love. I’ll see almost anything, although I’m not a lover of comedy (apart from Blazing Saddles). Action, historical, biopics – and of course horror.

Horror films are my guilty pleasure. Other than torture porn, I’ll watch any kind of horror and probably enjoy it. I particularly love paranormal horror, as there’s something about the paranormal that fascinates me – I’ve even been on paranormal investigations, although I highly doubt I’ll ever see anything real. But watching a really good horror that scares you out of your skin is something I absolutely love.

So what are your favourite hobbies?

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Fictional Worlds I'd Rather Not Visit

This topic from Long and Short Reviews’ blog hop was an interesting one. I’ve read a lot of dystopian fiction and have, on occasion, found myself staring at the book thinking “You know, this doesn’t actually sound that bad.”

Take the “Uglies” series, for instance. The concept there is that teenagers are classified as Uglies until a certain age (16 or 17, I can’t remember which) when they are given extensive surgery to make them manga-inspired Pretties, at which point they move to New Pretty Town and spend the next couple of decades partying with their pretty friends. Sounds fine to me. The characters want to remain Ugly on principle, especially when they discover that Pretties also have brain surgery to make them more docile, but even with that I found myself thinking I’d be quite happy to go ahead.

However, if you take something like “The Hunger Games”, that’s a world I’d like to stay away from. A corrupt government who pits children against each other for entertainment and makes half the population live in poverty? Definitely one to avoid.

And the other one that I would hate to visit? “Matched”. This is a series about a controlled society where the powers that be choose your partner for you and everything is limited – they only have one hundred songs, one hundred stories, one hundred poems and so forth. The matching of a partner is one thing – it seems to work out OK for a lot of the characters. But only having one hundred stories? I could work through those in the space of a year.

So which fictional worlds would you avoid?

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

What to read to learn about the Princes in the Tower

This week’s topic in Long and Short Reviews’ blog hop was a tough one. While I write erotic romance, I don’t read a lot about it, so that was off the table. The main subject I read about is history, and my favourite era is the Wars of the Roses. So my best topic is probably Richard III and the Princes in the Tower.

It's a part of history that always fascinated me. What really happened to the Princes? Were they killed? Did they escape? Who was responsible? History, of course, is written by the winners. What if the official line wasn't actually the case?

I didn’t know much on the subject until I read Bertram Fields’ “Royal Blood”. This was the first Ricardian take on the Princes in the Tower I had ever heard of. Most historians, over the years, have followed the Tudor line and blamed Richard III for their disappearance – but what if it wasn’t him? Fields comes up with numerous suggestions, the primary one being Henry VII, who scoured the Tower immediately upon taking the throne. He seemed very sure they were dead – so did he do it?

A good background comes from “The Mythology of the Princes in the Tower” by John Ashdown-Hill, but a particularly interesting take is “The Survival of the Princes in the Tower” by Matthew Lewis. Their survival, or at least of one of them, has been discussed before since Perkin Warbeck attempted to take the throne, claiming to be Prince Richard. But Lewis suggests that the Princes never died in the Tower and were hidden away to live out full lives in hiding.

It’s unlikely we’ll ever know. The bones which were found in the Tower are highly unlikely to ever be tested for DNA. But it’s an interesting idea.

So what do you like to read?

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Most Romantic Memory

When I saw this topic come up on Long and Short Reviews bloghop, it was a tricky one. Despite the fact that I write erotic romance, I’m not a very romantic person. On gift-giving occasions I’ll always prefer a proper gift rather than flowers, and we never do Valentine’s Day on the actual day to avoid the fancy menus restaurants always do.

So what would be my most romantic memory?

It would have to be the day my husband proposed.

For anyone wondering if this was an elaborate grand gesture, hearts and flowers, down on one knee, it wasn’t. We were sunbathing on our favourite beach, Cala D’Or beach in Majorca, watching the waves.

And later that evening, to celebrate our engagement, we went to our favourite restaurant on the marina and had cava sangria.

So what’s your most romantic memory?

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Favourite Movies of All Time and Why

I love the cinema, so this topic from Long and Short Reviews’ blog hop was perfect for me. I can think of hundreds of films that I love – the difficult part is narrowing it down to a few favourites. I watch so many films – often horror, but not always – that my top ten tend to shuffle a lot with time.

My longstanding favourite film is “Heavenly Creatures”, a Peter Jackson classic starring Melanie Lynskey and a young Kate Winslet as two schoolgirls who murder one of their mothers. The spectacular acting, passionate direction and shocking ending – even after I’ve seen it dozens of times – make this one a masterpiece for me.

More recently I discovered the mockumentary horror “Hell House LLC”. Found footage has become something of a cliché now, but this film carries a sense of dread throughout, throwing in little moments you only just notice but that make your stomach turn. Its sequel was almost as good, but did suffer from an excessive amount of exposition towards the end.

“Blazing Saddles” is a comedy classic, starring the great Gene Wilder and skewering racism at every turn. And finally there’s “The Innkeepers”. An understated little horror movie with one of my favourite actresses, Sara Paxton, playing a young ghost-hunter who gets more than she bargained for. It balances fear and comedy perfectly.

So what would you choose?