Monday, 20 June 2022

Your list of auto-buy authors

 This topic from Long and Short Reviews was an easy one - I follow a lot of authors on Amazon and there are three in particular that I always buy from when a new one comes up. It's good to know that an author will always be reliably good.

The first is Richard Osman, of "Pointless" fame. I loved The Thursday Murder Club and its sequel, and have the third book on pre-order. He takes what could have been a bland cosy mystery and makes it irresistible.

The second is Anne O'Brien. I love historicals and Anne O'Brien is very good at taking strong women and making them come to life on the page. I used to automatically buy Philippa Gregory too but her recent books have been fictional characters rather than historical ones, so I've bowed out of those.

And finally Kate Andersen Brower, whose books about the US presidency satisfy my need to read up on American history.

And while I'm here, I couldn't resist mentioning that it's release day for my new novella "Hyperventilating".

With her, he can reach the stars – but can she reach his heart?

Amber Blake is fleeing a terrible betrayal in her past by touring with rock band Puppetmaster as a make-up artist with her best friend Elyse. Knowing the band is struggling, she hopes to use her make-up skills to reinvent their image, but when a member of the crew drops out, Amber finds herself asked to contribute in a different way – in the form of heated sexual conversations with hot lead singer Cassian Marsh to put him in top form before every concert.

Despite her past, Amber is unable to resist Cassian’s charm and raw energy, and enjoys knowing she can drive him wild with just her voice – but their increasingly passionate meetings leave her longing for more. Can she move past the betrayal she suffered – and can she convince a man as commitment-phobic as Cassian to break his no-dating rule and let her into his heart?

So who are your auto-buy authors?

Monday, 6 June 2022

Design your perfect wedding

 I'm in a fairly unique position with this topic from Long and Short Reviews, because my own wedding was pretty damn perfect in my opinion. So, rather than try to blue-sky it too much, I thought about how I might improve on it with hindsight.

As beautiful as many locations may be, I could never have a wedding somewhere hot, so I would still base it in the UK. I did consider a boutique hotel on the Isle of Wight at the time - The Enchanted Manor - which is decorated like a fairytale, so that would be on the list.

For my dress, I went to The Dark Angel in Sowerby Bridge. The actual dress isn't on the site any more, but frankly anything they sell would work for me. I love the medieval-gothic look. I would also go for a mantilla veil - I didn't bother with one at the time as I didn't think a modern veil would work with the dress, but a mantilla (just covering the hair) would work nicely.

Food? Well, it's my choice, so I'd go with an Asian menu. I love Chinese and Thai food. I would also go with a five-tier fruit cake with a swirl of sugar flowers and plenty of glitter. The one we had was only three tiers and the hotel saved the top tier for us, so the pieces were a bit small.

I would go nuts with the decorations at the venue - violet roses are my favourite, so I 'd have plenty of those. I would also get in ice sculptures and a champagne fountain, although only pink champagne. And for music, I'd hire the Darkness for the first part of the evening and then get in a DJ for later so that everyone could dance.

So what would you have for your perfect wedding?

Monday, 30 May 2022

Book, movie or TV Show set in or near your town

 I had a tough time with this topic from Long and Short Reviews. I live in Yorkshire, and I suppose the obvious answer is to go with the Brontes for books since they lived around here, but I seem to think of them every time. I wanted to think of something different this time.

Then I remembered the show Last of the Summer Wine.

I gave up watching it years ago, but I've visited Holmfirth where it was set. Essentially it was a gentle comedy about three retired men (in the case of one, possibly never having had a job at all) having fun in the Yorkshire countryside. I stopped watching after Compo died and they tried to diversify the cast, but I remember it as being funny in an inoffensive sort of way.

And Holmfirth is a lovely little village which is well worth visiting, even if you aren't walking around going "I recognise that!"

So what has been set near your town?

Tuesday, 24 May 2022

Favourite quote from a book?

 When this topic from Long and Short Reviews came up I had to think a little. I've already posted about the Isaac Asimov quote that inspired my novel Photograph, so I thought I would try to find one from a novel this time.

Then I remembered my favourite scene from Jane Austen's Emma - the proposal by Mr Knightley.

"I cannot make speeches, Emma... If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more. But you know what I am. You hear nothing but truth from me. I have blamed you, and lectured you, and you have borne it as no other woman in England would have borne it. Bear with the truths I would tell you now, dearest Emma, as well as you have borne with them. The manner, perhaps, may have as little to recommend them. God knows, I have been a very indifferent lover. But you understand me. Yes, you see - you understand my feelings - and will return them if you can. At present, I ask only to hear, once to hear your voice."

For me this is the most romantic proposal Austen ever wrote, and I will never forgive the Anya Taylor-Joy adaptation for playing it for comedy by having Emma get a nosebleed in the middle of it.

So what's your favourite quote?

Monday, 9 May 2022

Do you believe in aliens? Why or why not?

 This topic from Long and Short Reviews was interesting. I'd like to give a better answer than "don't know", so I gave it a decent amount of thought, but whether I came up with a good answer is open to question.

I dealt with aliens in my short "Watch the Skies", about a group of alien hunters whose lives are transformed when they end up encountering more than they bargained for. This was inspired by numerous paranormal shows I had watched on Really and Syfy, and came from the fact that - unsurprisingly - none of these shows ever find anything. They might see the odd light in the sky, but it's probably a plane or a planet.

My own thoughts? I think it's plausible that there is alien life out there, but much as I like the idea of a Star Trek Federation, I highly doubt I'm ever going to encounter one. It's probably for the best. I don't think any aliens would be remotely interested in me.

So do you believe in aliens?

Monday, 2 May 2022

Best mother in a movie

 This topic from Long and Short Reviews was a tough one. Mother characters aren't ones I tend to notice and I also watch a lot of horror, so I've seen a lot of mothers who were utterly horrible, abusive or absent entirely.

Then I remembered Rosa Vasquez from Shazam! 

The parents in Shazam! are foster parents who run a group home for foster kids. Given superhero films are also famous for having broken family backgrounds and foster families are also often portrayed as abusive, it is extremely refreshing to see Rosa written and played as a loving, caring mother who works hard to provide a secure family environment for her foster kids.

So who are your favourite mothers in books, TV or films?

Monday, 25 April 2022

Book, movie or TV show you can't wait for

 This topic from Long and Short Reviews was a straightforward one. I've been re-watching all the MCU films as well as the TV series that have recently been showing, such as WandaVision and Hawkeye, so I know exactly which one I can't wait for.

Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness.

I'm not sure it's going to go in the direction I wanted - Wanda is one of my favourite characters, and it looks like she's going to be the Big Bad in this film - but I love Elizabeth Olsen and Benedict Cumberbatch, so it's still going to be worth seeing.

So what can't you wait for?