Monday, 27 July 2020

Stuff on my bucket list

This topic from Long and Short Reviews was an interesting one. I am the kind of person who adds stuff to my bucket list all the time - I'm always wanting to try new things. So I could be here all day listing stuff I want to do, but to spare everyone I'll narrow it down to a few.

Go up in a glider. I've always loved flying as long as it's not in a commercial plane (I do hate all the messing about at airports) but have never been up in a glider, although I've been up in a hot air balloon. There's something very peaceful about being up in the air.

Visit Iceland. It's always been ruled off our holiday list as being too expensive, but since my sister-in-law went a few years ago I've wanted to go. I'd love to see the Northern Lights.

Dinner on the Orient Express. This one is potentially easier as voucher companies have this all the time. It's only the getting there that has put me off. I love Agatha Christie, so the idea of going on the Orient Express - even within the UK - thrills me.

Write for Harlequin. I've looked into this one more since they started their Dare line, but so far have been put off by the long list of requirements. However, I may get there in the end.

So what's on your list?

Tuesday, 14 July 2020

Things I collect

Looking at this topic from Long and Short Reviews, there was only really one answer to give. I've been a collector of a lot of things over the years - I used to collect keyrings as a child, and had a huge bunch of them before I was forced to throw them out when I left home - but I have one thing in particular I've been collecting for the last few years.

Autographs. Occasionally via eBay, but primarily through writing to celebrities.

The above is one of my Holy Grails. Gene Wilder was well known for being difficult to get unless you jumped through certain hoops - you had to provide your own photo, mention more than one thing you'd seen him in (no hardship there, I loved his work) and add that you knew he was a very busy man, otherwise you'd get a pre-print and a note about how he was too busy to sign. I managed to get it right, and the above picture was the result.

I have also bought autographs by way of celebrities' websites, such as the Felissa Rose one above. These are better than going via eBay since you can pretty much guarantee they're genuine and you can also get them personalised, which is a win for me since I'm never going to sell them.

So what do you collect?

Tuesday, 7 July 2020

A project or hobby of mine inspired by a book

This topic from Long and Short Reviews was an interesting one. I couldn't think of any interest of mine that had been inspired by a book. There was, however, an interest which had been revived, if you will, by a book - that book being The American Presidents Without The Boring Bits.

As a teenager I was fixated with the USA. I would spend hours poring over world atlases and an enormous dictionary my dad had bought because it had all the presidents in the back, memorising state capitals and presidents and anything else I could come up with. I fully intended to emigrate and get my green card as soon as I finished university, so I figured I needed all the information I could get.

However, life happened, and here I am still in the UK. I happened upon the above book, bought it, and found myself fascinated by the USA all over again. I no longer have plans to emigrate (I'd be lost without the NHS) but my retro-Americana is all over the house and I can still remember all the state capitals. Well, nearly. I still get the Dakotas and Carolinas mixed up.

So what about you?

Wednesday, 1 July 2020

The last place I travelled to and why

This topic from Long and Short Reviews made me smile.

Ah, travel. After so many weeks in lockdown I feel like I've forgotten what that's like. I haven't gone further than the supermarket lately, and my holiday was of course cancelled. So where was the last place I travelled to?


It's one of my ambitions to see every Shakespeare play in the theatre at least once, and where would be better than the Royal Shakespeare Theatre? So I drove four and a half hours (I can see Americans laughing at my thinking that that's a long way) to Stratford-upon-Avon to see King John.

It was an amazing play, despite being seated next to a man who put his legs in two different counties, and Stratford is a beautiful town. I got there early so had plenty of time to look around and relax in the park.

So where was the last place you travelled to?

Monday, 22 June 2020

My "go-to" book or movie for a pick-me-up

This topic from Long and Short Reviews was an interesting one. For one thing, when I need a pick-me-up, I don't tend to turn to a book. I don't know why - I think it's just the immediacy of a film that does it. And my favourite film, funnily enough, is not one that people are likely to think of for a pick-me-up.

Heavenly Creatures.

I know a lot of people would look at that film and think "How on earth could a film with an ending like that be enjoyable?" And I would agree, except that the rest of the film is both passionate and uplifting. Peter Jackson's direction takes you through a wild swirl of romance and excitement which sweeps you up, all the more to shock you at the end - by which point I'm in a better mood and more ready for it.

My other two go-to films are Blazing Saddles and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I absolutely adore Gene Wilder and he is at his hysterical best in these two films, especially Blazing Saddles which is one of the few comedies I actually like. Even though I've seen them both dozens of times I don't miss a moment whenever I watch them.

So what do you go to for a pick-me-up?

Monday, 15 June 2020

My life in photos

I am terrible at taking photos - my husband is the photographer in our family. So when this topic from Long and Short Reviews came up, I had him to thank for taking so many. In fact, I almost had too many to choose from. Before lockdown we went to a lot of scenic places and he always, always takes his camera, knowing full well that if he doesn't a red kite will start posing in front of him.

Firstly we have Dash and Spot, my two adorable little furballs who like to watch me write while begging for treats.

Then we have Cala D'Or, which is our favourite holiday destination. The bar in the photo is Kallypso Tutti Frutti, owned by two of our friends and governed by their two parrots Tutti and Frutti. We intend to go back there as soon as we're able, which will probably be next year now.

This was taken at Bruntingthorpe. We love going to aircraft museums - my husband gets to explain what everything is, while I get to admire them. We came here specifically to see this plane as I had never seen one before.

And of course, we have my writing.

The green bag above was a gift from a Smut By The Sea event run by Victoria Blisse. I haven't got to a Smut event for a while, but it was always fun playing games and listening to readings. I will always remember one by Rachel Kincaid which caused someone behind me to gasp "Oh my God!"

"The Hand He Dealt" was my first novel, published after being critiqued by the Romantic Novelists' Association, and it still holds a place in my heart after all this time. I've had many heroes and heroines over the years, but Ash will always be the hero to die for.

I'm so looking forward to seeing your photos!

Monday, 8 June 2020

Favourite poems, short stories or novellas

An interesting topic from Long and Short Reviews this week. Most of my favourite stories are novel-length, so I had to stop and think which shorts I enjoyed. The first one was probably obvious.

Sherlock Holmes - Arthur Conan Doyle.

Oh, how I love Sherlock Holmes. Not so much as a personality - Watson is more likeable - but I love his stories. My favourite in particular is Silver Blaze, which contained the famous phrase "the curious incident of the dog in the night-time".

The others I immediately thought of were Stephen King, although I can't remember which book they were in. One was "Dolan's Cadillac", the other was "You Know They Got A Hell Of A Band".

"Dolan's Cadillac", which was later made into a rather poor quality film, involved a car being buried under a road and, according to King, could never have happened the way he told it as he didn't want to give people ideas.

"You Know They Got A Hell Of A Band" is probably best read without spoilers, but it was one of the creepiest King stories I've ever read, focussing on the fact that so many rock stars died young.

So which are your favourites?