Monday, 26 September 2022

Using the library versus buying books

 I really wish I had a different answer for this topic from Long and Short Reviews, because as a child I was always in the library and still consider it a worthwhile thing to have in a city.

But I have to admit, while I own a library card, I haven't been to a library in years. I always have new books lined up on my Kindle and download more samples all the time, so I am definitely in the camp of buying books rather than borrowing them.

I don't even get any royalties from people borrowing mine, because most libraries wouldn't dream of stocking the sort of thing I write (unless it's written by E. L. James, who seems to have a pass). So I'm ashamed to admit I tend to forget libraries are there these days.

Speaking of my own writing, I have a new cover to reveal...


He dominates the charts, but can he dominate her heart?

Pop-rock singer Tamsin Keller likes to dominate, but when she breaks up with her cheating ex-boyfriend, she visits BDSM club Dante’s for another reason—to submit.

Her experience is heightened when she locks eyes with a mysterious stranger, who turns out to be rock star and Dominant Aspen LaRoche. Fascinated by Tamsin, he invites her to his holiday home for the weekend and Tamsin accepts, hoping to discover more about her submissive side.

Aspen proves to be an expert tutor, and Tamsin finds herself addicted to the pleasures he shows her. When Aspen also discovers she is a singer, he offers her band an audition with his recording company, and Tamsin jumps at the chance, knowing he can provide opportunities that she has never had before.

But when Tamsin’s jealous ex reappears in her life, will Tamsin’s career and happiness be over, or will this be the start of something for both her and Aspen?

"The Start of Something" is out on December 27th and I'm looking forward to it already.

So do you prefer buying books or using the library?

Monday, 12 September 2022

What makes you pick up or buy a book?

 I had to think about this topic from Long and Short Reviews, because a lot of the time I have books by my favourite authors on pre-order, so it can be quite rare that I'll choose a book from someone I haven't read before. I also get lists of new releases from Goodreads, so I'll use those to check out possible new reads, but what about them makes me pick up a book?

If a book is a historical, the period in history might get me interested. I often enjoy books set at royal courts, but I'm also into American history so that would draw my attention. I also love stories set in schools or universities, so that would probably get me to at least download the sample.

And of course, there's the title.

I admit I'm a sucker for a good title. I read "Here Be Sexist Vampires" and "Stacy's Dad Has Got It Going On" purely because I found the titles irresistible. As a writer I know it's very important to pick one that grabs the reader, and I always work hard to make sure I pick the perfect one for my own writing.

So what makes you pick up or buy a book?

Monday, 5 September 2022

A plotline you love to read or watch and why

 After the topic from last week, this one was a little more difficult. There are very few plotlines I won't at least try, so which are my favourites? Hard to say.

I do know that I've always loved stories in school settings, but I have one preference there - I would rather read about the cool kids. Obviously there is still going to be conflict and that's fine, but speaking as someone who was the nerdy introvert in school, I don't particularly want to live through that again when I'm reading. There was a film I saw last year, "Seance", which handled the cool kids dealing with a ghost in a boarding school, and it was exactly what I was looking for.

And the other point is probably obvious for a romance writer like me - I want a happy ending. Nicholas Sparks is great if you like that kind of thing, but I don't want to read a love story where one or both end up dead. I want them to walk off into the sunset together, and I can promise they'll always do that in my writing.

So what plotlines do you love to read or watch?

Tuesday, 30 August 2022

A plotline you refuse to read/watch and why

 This particular topic from Long and Short Reviews was fairly straightforward, as one plotline immediately leapt to mind. There may well be more if I give it some thought, but I think most will be connected to this one.

Rape.

I'm not saying it's impossible to include it in a story and have it be good, but all too often I've seen this lovingly lingered on by the writer and it drives me mad. I put down a historical novel once not because the heroine was a victim of rape, but because it was constantly mentioned in every chapter - her parents used it to blackmail her and her rapist was always hanging around her, and after four chapters of this I simply gave up.

Another instance was a TV drama about a couple who liked to spice up their sex life by typing up the wife in her underwear in a public place and have the husband pretend to find her there. According to the description in the Radio Times, the tied-up wife is horrified when her husband's car pulls up and another man gets out and approaches her. That may have been an excellent episode, but my immediate response was "Nope!" I don't want to watch it and I don't want to read about it.

So which plotline do you refuse to read or watch?

Monday, 22 August 2022

Bookmark, scrap paper or dog-ear?

 I can already see this topic from Long and Short Reviews will be a polarising one. I've seen many posts about how people hate people who dog-ear their books.

Fortunately, as I have a Kindle, it's not usually a problem. However, I do occasionally collect signed copies of books, so I have on occasion read hardbacks or paperbacks. But no, I don't dog-ear the pages. I don't have any bookmarks, so I generally use a piece of scrap paper.

Or, horror of horrors, I just leave the book open, which I'm sure does terrible things to the spine.

So what do you prefer - bookmark, scrap paper or dog-ear?

Tuesday, 16 August 2022

Where would you spend one day in the past?

 This topic from Long and Short Reviews was an easy one. I spend a lot of time going to the theatre and have an ambition to see every Shakespeare play in the theatre at least once (I've seen them all streamed, but have about ten left to see live). 

So if I was going to spend a day in the past, I would go to the original Globe Theatre and see Shakespeare as it was originally shown.

I would love to see how similar the atmosphere is to the current Globe, and would also love to hear how Shakespeare's language was pronounced back then. There are definitely a few rhymes in there which don't work in current idiom but may have been different back in the day.

So where would you spend a day in the past?

Monday, 8 August 2022

Thoughts on fanfiction

 I'm glad this topic came up on Long and Short Reviews, because it's one I've mentioned a few times in interviews. Whenever I'm asked how a person might learn to write, I tell them one of my best teaching tools was fanfiction. Specifically slash fanfiction.

It might not sound like a great tool - fanfiction is, by its nature, amateur, and so some of the stories posted online aren't great quality. However that didn't matter - I found them very useful. It was good to be able to read a story and analyse why I liked it or didn't like it, or how I enjoyed it but couldn't help noticing its flaws. 

This one is so poetically written I gave up halfway through.

This one is enjoyable, but uses the word "release" in nearly every sentence.

This one is obsessed with food and stops the action every chapter to rave about what the characters are eating.

As a result, when I started writing for publication I was aware of a lot of the pitfalls already, although I admit that some of them (like overusing one particular word) are still easy to fall into.

I haven't read any fanfiction for a while, but I may have to have a look - I'm sure there are lots of new ones out by now.

So how do you feel about fanfiction?

Tuesday, 2 August 2022

Weirdest food you love

 I spent a bit of time thinking about this one from Long and Short Reviews, because my bar for thinking a food is weird is set very high. I have a broad palate and will try anything once, so I was struggling to think of anything that I loved and yet also considered weird - the few things that I did feel were weird (like jellied eels and pigs' trotters) I also didn't like.

So the best I could come up with was that I like to mix different cuisines within the same meal. I've often been called weird for that, because for many people if they're eating Thai, then they're eating Thai for the whole meal. I, on the other hand, am quite happy to start a meal with larb, move on to fish and chips and cap it with a glass of plum wine or apple ice cider, thereby going round the world in one evening.

So what's the weirdest food you love?

Monday, 18 July 2022

Describe a perfect weekend getaway

 I surprisingly had a bit of trouble with this topic from Long and Short Reviews. My husband and I go away for the weekend a few times a year, and where I want to go can vary wildly depending on my mood. Pretty much everywhere we've been has been perfect at some point.

For instance, last weekend we popped down to London as I had tickets to the Globe and he wanted to visit the RAF Museum. While I was busy watching King Lear he roamed around the capital taking photos of things and then we met up in the evening to visit our favourite restaurant. It's all good.

We've also been to Rome, the Lake District and Scotland for weekend getaways, all of which I would do again - Rome in particular is a beautiful city, I could have stood at the Trevi Fountain all day - and I would love to go back to Amsterdam one day.

However, at the moment my idea of a perfect getaway would be Iceland. It's not cheap, but I would dearly love to see the Northern Lights.

So what's your idea of a perfect weekend getaway?

Monday, 11 July 2022

Character in a book you'd love to meet and why

 This sort of topic has come up a few times on the Long and Short Reviews list, and I always find myself turning to Jane Austen and the Brontes for inspiration. So this time I decided to go a bit closer to home and pick one of my own characters.

As you might imagine, I spend so much time in my characters' heads that I would have to like being there, so there aren't many that I wouldn't want to meet. Possibly my arrogant medium character Reed James from I Heard Your Voice and its sequels would be one to avoid. But one I would particularly like to meet would be Azure Wilder from Photograph.


Part of this is practicality - Azure is extremely rich and lives in an American theme park, so you're already guaranteed a good time. However, as well as being fun, Azure is also caring and thoughtful, very much the type of person who would see to all your needs and keep you entertained with sparkling conversation.

So which character would you like to meet?

Monday, 4 July 2022

Have you met anyone famous? Who?

 This topic from Long and Short Reviews depends entirely on how you define the word "met".

A couple of soap operas are filmed in our area, so I've certainly seen several actors around town. I saw Stephen Tompkinson having dinner with his family in the same restaurant we were in, and encountered Richard Madeley and Judy Finnegan in a theatre. However, they were out in public and I didn't bother them - as an autograph collector I make it a rule never to bother a celebrity when they're off the clock.

I also encountered Ricky Gervais out jogging in Central Park once, but again I let him go straight past me. I doubt he'd have appreciated being spoken to.

I got autographs from Darren Day and Philip Schofield at a Radio One roadshow in a theme park once, which was certainly fun, but extremely fleeting.

However, the one celebrity I can say I've properly met was Lee Otway of "Hollyoaks" fame. My brother-in-law knew him and invited him to a party I was also at. I can't say I spoke much to him - he was much more interested in the food and waitresses - but he did get us into the VIP room at a nightclub afterwards, so I can't complain!

So have you met anyone famous?

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?

Tuesday, 12 April 2022

What's on my TBR list

 I always have a TBR list as long as my arm, so I've decided not to go too mad with this topic from Long and Short Reviews - I'll just stick to a few that I have on preorder from Amazon.

I have three books due later this year:

Undoctored by Adam Kay. I loved his previous two books and so am looking forward to this one.

The Bullet That Missed by Richard Osman. Again I loved his previous two cosy mysteries and am expecting nothing less from his upcoming one.

Back to the Prairie by Melissa Gilbert. I've read a lot of the autobiographies of the "Little House on the Prairie" cast and am always interested to read more of what they have to say.

So what's on your TBR list?

Monday, 4 April 2022

A unique talent I have

 This topic from Long and Short Reviews was an interesting one. My husband would probably say my most unique talent is the ability to make a mess and not notice, a talent I share with my two cats. While he has a point there, it's probably not that unique. In fact, I'm struggling to think of one that truly is.

The one thing that I did think of was related to my day job as an admin. I have a gift for organisation. I am very good at arranging meetings, having all the paperwork in order, planning residentials. And something that for some reason seemed to floor people I had meetings with - I could always anticipate them. 

What that last means in real terms is that somebody would be holding forth on a particular topic and would need a particular document to prove their point. At the moment they needed it they would turn to me to ask for it and I would already be holding it out for them. Apparently people don't realise just how predictable they can be in these situations - or maybe it was just that I had been reading their paperwork for ages and knew it inside out.

So what unique talent do you have?

Monday, 28 March 2022

What mythological animal I'd want as a pet

 I skipped last weeks' Long and Short Reviews topic as I don't listen to podcasts, but this one interested me. I've always liked the idea of having an unusual pet. Growing up I had fish, which were pretty but not especially entertaining, and now I have cats whose primary function is making a mess.

So for a mythological creature, I like the idea of a unicorn. Let's face it, it's basically a horse with a horn, so shouldn't be that complicated to take care of. I used to help a friend with her horse as a child and it was fairly straightforward, although probably expensive. If I was really lucky I'd like one crossbred with a pegasus so I could go flying on its back whenever the mood took me.

Since that's never going to happen, I'm going to put in a mention of one of my favourite Instagram animals, Alfie the Alpaca in Adelaide, because he is also an animal I would love to have. While you would probably be shocked to see a unicorn in my back garden, would you be any less shocked to see an alpaca?

So what mythological animal would you like?

Saturday, 19 March 2022

Cover reveal!

 Today I am very happy to reveal the cover for my upcoming novella "Hyperventilating". It's the first book in the "Rock My World" series and will be out on pre-order on May 10th.


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?


Tuesday, 15 March 2022

Something lucky that happened to me

 This topic from Long and Short Reviews was a tough one. My first thought was about winning something, and to be honest I am not a person who wins things. I once won a prize in a bingo game for being the only person in the room not to have had a single number called off their ticket, so needless to say I am not a "lucky" person.

I did manage to win a prize a few months ago which was pretty impressive - it involved a free trip to Go Ape, a year's free bus travel in Yorkshire and a £100 bar tab at a bar in Otley. I haven't bothered with the Go Ape voucher, but I can't complain about the bus pass or the afternoon we spent getting drunk on orange wine.

Other than that, the only thing I can think of as lucky is my writing. I have had the good fortune to be published by publishers who love my writing and who recently offered me a three-book deal. The first in the series, Hyperventilating, will be out on 21st June and I can't wait to unleash it on the world.

In fact, I have a partial cover to reveal today.



So what lucky things have happened to you?

Monday, 7 March 2022

Book setting you'd like to visit and why

 This topic from Long and Short Reviews was a tough one. I read a lot of historicals which, much as I enjoy them, don't tend to be settings I would actually want to visit. The royal court may have been attractive in Henry VIII's time but you could still catch a raging case of the sweat.

The setting I eventually came up with was from a short story of Isaac Asimov's called "Gold". 

Why? It's set in a time where films can be made using perfect CGI and heavy subliminal imagery to add depth to the performance. In the first half of the story our lead character is working on the perfect version of "King Lear". I would absolutely value being able to experience Shakespeare in an era where filmed performances could be enhanced that way.

So where would you like to visit?

Monday, 28 February 2022

Tell us something about a pet

 Like a lot of pet owners, I could talk about mine all day. The difficult part is deciding what exactly to tell. My two cats Dash and Spot are a bonded pair (a brother and sister duo) and absolutely inseparable.



This is about as happy as Dash ever gets. She is extremely moody and is just as likely to claw you as she is to accept stroking. She will never be a lap cat, but when she's in the right mood she loves to be petted on her head and at the base of her tail. She is also extremely skittish and has never left our garden, not even to follow her brother.


Spot is our little house panther; he loves to roam the neighbourhood and often brings random food items home to eat (I would love to know which of our neighbours routinely leaves a carcass of chicken out for him to steal). He likes to sit on my lap while I work, which is adorable if inconvenient to type round his head.

I'm very much looking forward to seeing everyone else's pets.

Monday, 14 February 2022

Favourite book genre and why

 You might reasonably think that because I'm an erotic romance writer, my favourite genre would be erotic romance, or maybe just romance in general. It's certainly true that I enjoy romance, erotic or otherwise, and I'm always open to reading a new one. You might also think that because I love horror films I would love horror novels. However, when I have spare time, I have other favourite genres I turn to.

For fiction, I'm a great fan of historicals. I'm particularly keen on Anne O'Brien and Philippa Gregory, although I tend to stick to the ones based on true stories - I'm less keen on alternative histories. I like to look up the true history behind each story as I'm reading it, since I'm well aware that as writers we have some license to elaborate.

As for non-fiction, I love biographies and autobiographies. I've read a lot of the autobiographies of the cast of "Little House on the Prairie" and quite a lot of other actors too, such as Burt Reynolds and Miriam Margolyes. I also discovered the writer Gavin Maxwell through a very well-written biography by Douglas Botting, which was impressive considering I knew nothing about him before picking it up.

I think I just love reading about people, past and present, and finding out the truth about them. I'm currently working through some new biographies of the Bronte sisters and those are always fascinating as opinions change year after year.

So what are your favourite genres?

Monday, 31 January 2022

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My theme song for this year

 It's hopefully going to be an interesting year, so which song or songs would I use as a theme?

My first thought on reading this was "definitely not Aerosmith", purely because the concert in July that I've been looking forward to for a year has just been cancelled because of covid. Typical that it should happen just as things over here are starting to open up again.

So instead I'm going to take a writing angle.

I'm currently working on edits for my new novella Hyperventilating, which is the first in my new series "Rock My World". So the first song I'd use for this year would be "Hyperventilating" by Peppercorn - it charted low but I've always thought it was a classic.

And I'm also working on the next in the series, which has the working title The Start of Something - so I would also use "The Start of Something" by the Stone Gods. 

Why yes, I do name a lot of books after the songs that inspired them.

So what would be your theme song for the year?

Monday, 24 January 2022

Best book or movie from 2021

 The original topic included TV shows, but I've deliberately ignored that one as I don't watch TV series that often. Books and movies, on the other hand... absolutely.

Of course, the tricky part is in remembering which ones actually came out in 2021 and which I just got round to in that time. I had to check a few release dates before posting.

In terms of books, my favourite two were "The Storyteller" by Dave Grohl and "The Man Who Died Twice" by Richard Osman. I love autobiographies and Dave Grohl has proved to be a great writer, being able to evoke passion in his stories while always holding the reader's attention (which is definitely not the case for some of the autobiographies I read last year). As for Richard Osman, I loved his first book and the sequel definitely didn't disappoint. He creates great characters in his elderly crimefighters and I wanted them to win from the first page.

Films? Probably "The Matrix Resurrections" and "Black Widow". I'm not going to include the newest Spider-Man film because I didn't really like the direction that went in, although many would disagree. However, I love Florence Pugh and would watch anything she was in. As for "The Matrix Resurrections", while I'm hoping they don't turn it into a new trilogy - I think it's better as a stand-alone - I enjoyed every minute.

So what were your favourites of 2021?

Monday, 17 January 2022

What inventive ways do you have to keep warm?

 This one is particularly appropriate at the moment. Here in the UK there is panic about energy bills rising by up to 50% and it's also extremely cold, meaning that if we don't want to turn the heating up full blast all the time, we have to come up with ways to keep warm.

And by that I mean realistic ways to keep warm. Two energy companies have already been attacked in the press after they sent their customers socks in the post and suggested they eat porridge and leave the oven door open. A little tone deaf, I think.

One of the suggestions they made, however, was something I've incorporated by accident. I have a fluffy blanket on my couch which I wrap myself up in of an evening - nicely warming to start with - but I discovered that when I have this blanket across my knees, the cats can't resist it. They're not lap cats most of the time, but they will sit on it and pretend I'm not underneath it.

And cats are warm.

Couple that with an oversize fleece I've picked up for emergencies, and that should keep me going through the winter.

So what inventive ways do you have to keep warm?

Monday, 10 January 2022

Books I want to read in 2022

 One of my longstanding new year's resolutions is to read one new book every month (along with watching one new film and trying one new food). Last year I managed 40 books and have set a Goodreads challenge at 35 for this year. However, I discover new books I want to try all the time, so I don't have a full list yet.

I'm in the middle of "Bright Lights, Prairie Dust" by Karen Grassle (Ma Ingalls in Little House on the Prairie) and "Murder Isn't Easy" by Carla Valentine (about the science behind Agatha Christie's crime novels). I'm also working my way through Kate Andersen Brower's nonfiction books about the US presidency - a little niche I admit, but I'm enjoying them so far.

As for future plans, I have Richard Osman's as-yet-untitled new novel on pre-order for this year and am planning to read some shifter and menage stories, as I'm thinking about trying my hand at writing some and need some inspiration. I've also downloaded a sample of Xio Axelrod's "The Girl With Stars In Her Eyes" after it was recommended to me as a worthy successor to "Daisy Jones and the Six", which I read last year and loved (and as I'm currently working on a series about rock stars, it's quite appropriate).

So what do you have on your reading list for this year?

Tuesday, 4 January 2022

My goals for 2022

 I think a lot of us made plans for 2021 in the hope that things would be different and were slightly disappointed. I certainly was, and with Omicron I'm not sure how different 2022 is going to be yet. I'm still not convinced I'll get to go on holiday. However...

My writing goals? I've just signed a three-book contract for a new series called Rock My World, and the first in the series, Hyperventilating, is due out in June. So I'll be working on edits for that in January and also on finishing the second in the series this year.

I'm also working on a standalone piece called When I Look In The Mirror, and we'll see how that goes.

For personal goals, I want to finally go abroad again (in February with any luck) and finish seeing all of Shakespeare's plays in theatres. I have several tickets, so fingers crossed things don't shut down again.

So what are your goals for 2022?