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



Feb 1st-14th

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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?