Out Now

Monday 25 March 2019

Favourite websites, podcasts or blogs

This topic from Long and Short Reviews was a tricky one. I don’t listen to any podcasts and don’t follow a lot of blogs. I do, however, have a number of favourite websites, so I have those to fall back on.

Until fairly recently my favourite website of all time was Etiquette Hell, which had a blog section to post etiquette fails and also a forum to discuss everyone’s experiences. Last year the forum closed; I still read the blogs, but my primary attention has migrated to Bad Manners And Brimstone, a newly created forum for people who still want to discuss etiquette questions and bemoan stories of rudeness in today’s society. For anyone who has been pissed off by someone yelling on their phone behind them on the bus, or who has witnessed an appallingly rude customer swearing at a hapless shop clerk, this is the place for you.

Similar to this is Customers Suck, a forum primarily for customer service workers who have to deal with rude people every day. Despite the title, it’s not a place for people to brag about how badly they treat their customers – people who try that get short shrift. It is, however, a haven for people who have been given abuse by someone who wanted the sale price for a shirt that wasn’t in the sale.

My other favourite for relaxation is, unsurprisingly, Facebook, but primarily for two games that I love to play. Criminal Case is a found-objects game with a plotline where you are a detective solving murders and uncovering conspiracies along the way. I could play that all day, as I could SongPop, a game of guessing the songs and artists from brief clips.

So what are your favourites?

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?