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Tuesday, 21 March 2023

A famous book I've never read and why

 This topic from Long and Short Reviews took a bit of thought. I went through a phase many years ago of trying to catch up on my classics, so I got quite a lot of famous books under my belt in those years. I can, however, come up with one I've never managed to get through.

"Tom Jones" by Henry Fielding.

I tried, I really did. I even had a go at the Clandestine Classics version Totally Bound brought out. But it was no good - I just couldn't do it. It's so wordy and so little seems to happen that I simply gave up.

I did initially consider mentioning "Nicholas Nickleby" for this as well. I like some of Dickens, but I prefer his more deeply psychological books like "David Copperfield". I found "Nicholas Nickleby" to be too heavy on the comedy.

So which famous book have you never read?

Tuesday, 14 March 2023

Favourite historical personage to read about

 Firstly, I love this topic from Long and Short Reviews, just because I love the word "personage". We don't hear it enough these days.

In any event, I love history, and in the past I would definitely have said Henry VIII for this. I spent a lot of time reading about him and his wives - it was a remarkable period in history and all six of his wives were interesting to read about, especially Katherine Parr. However, after I started reading further back and got into the Wars of the Roses, I changed my mind about my favourite historical figure.

Now it's Richard III.

Richard is becoming better known in recent years and there is a lot more debate as to whether he genuinely did kill the Princes in the Tower. Personally, as a staunch Ricardian, I don't believe he did it. I'm leaning towards Henry VII myself, although there are some interesting theories about one or both of the princes possibly escaping and surviving into adulthood. Until we're able to test the bones found in the Tower we'll never know for sure.

It also helps that I have scoliosis myself, so that's something I share with Richard III.

So who is your favourite historical personage to read about?

Monday, 6 March 2023

Something funny that happened to me

 I had to think about this topic from Long and Short Reviews. I had a few funny things that had happened to me at work, but figured it was probably best to avoid mentioning those in case former bosses got annoyed. So I eventually remembered something which wasn't particularly funny at the time, but did make me laugh afterwards.

I used to drive a Kia Soul Burner. These were fairly unique in that they only came in black with a dragon decal down each side. It was very rare that I saw another one, and if I did, the other driver and I would often wave to each other. Needless to say, they were very distinctive, which proved to be useful one very hot Saturday when I had popped to the supermarket.

I got back to the car, went to reverse out of the space and found the gears had got stuck. No matter what I did, I couldn't get it out of reverse, neither could I get the car to move in any direction (which was probably for the best given it was in reverse). So I called the RAC and explained where I was.

For some reason they were really struggling to locate the supermarket on their system. For pity's sake, it's a huge Asda, it can't be that difficult. They then wanted to know how they would find the car, since it was one of many in a large car park. I told them it was a black car with a dragon down the side, so they couldn't miss it.

Then, since it was a scorching hot day and the car park was fairly empty, I stretched out on the car blanket in the next space and sunbathed.

They showed up ten minutes later and, wouldn't you know, had no problems finding me. I don't know if it was the dragon or the blue-haired freak lying in a parking space, but they came straight to me. They also managed to fix the gearbox without having to take the car away, so I made it home about half an hour later.

My husband's comment was "It could only happen to you."

So what funny things have happened to you?

Tuesday, 28 February 2023

My favourite subject in school and why

 This topic from Long and Short Reviews brought back a few memories. I hated school, but was very academic, so loved to study and there were a lot of subjects I was good at, whether I liked them or not.

I was good at English and languages and loved them (although for some reason I didn't get on with a lot of the English teachers - I think they'd be quite surprised to hear I was a writer now) but my favourite subject?

Drama. Or Theatre Studies, as it was at A'Level.

At the time I wanted to be an actress, so I was always going to take that subject, even though my dad was ripping his hair out because he wanted me to take another language. I can remember working on monologues and duologues at A'Level, spending hours on the devised piece (a group piece written entirely by the students, and stressful as hell) and doing an abbreviated version of "The Tempest", which awakened my love of Shakespeare. But the other part I loved was getting to go and see plays all the time. We had to write reviews of them afterwards, but I was fine with that. I still do it now to a degree, although only a few lines in my journal these days.

So what was your favourite subject?

Tuesday, 21 February 2023

The first website I remember visiting

 This topic from Long and Short Reviews took me back. I didn't go in the internet much when I still lived with my parents, as they had dial-up which was incredibly slow, but as soon as I got to university I was online all the time and checking out every website I could find. Which led me to this one.

Soup Central.

For the life of me I can't remember how I found it. I think it was on a site which had given links to places you could get freebies, which sounded good to a skint student. All I can remember about Soup Central was that you could order, among other things, a sample box of powdered soups which was completely free, even the shipping (not bad when it was coming from the US). So I ordered one to my parents' house.

A few weeks later I got a very confused call from my dad. The order had arrived and he was trying to figure out if someone had sent him a box of anthrax. He wasn't much less confused when I told him what it was, but at least he didn't think someone in America was trying to kill him.

I did try one of the soups when I next visited home, but I wasn't impressed, and the rest went in the bin.

So which websites do you remember visiting?

Monday, 13 February 2023

My favourite food

 This topic from Long and Short Reviews was definitely a tough one, and I'm still not convinced I've got a straight answer for it.

Whenever people give me that question about "If you could only have one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?" I get stuck, because my favourite food varies all the time. I usually just stick to a cuisine for the answer and pick Thai, because I absolutely love Thai food (although not curries, because I can't stand coconut). 

And if I'm asked for a favourite dessert, it would probably be lime cheesecake. Lime is one of my favourite flavours, and it's never a bad day for cheesecake.

However, my favourite meals at the moment in general are probably pizza - usually a meat feast - or fish and chips. It always amazes me that apparently they don't have fish and chips in the US. Believe me, you're missing out.

So what's your favourite food?

Tuesday, 7 February 2023

Books that pleasantly surprised me

 I had to think about this topic from Long and Short Reviews, as it's been a while since any book has pleasantly surprised me. When I choose a book I tend to read reviews first and also download the sample, so I don't buy it unless I'm sure I'm going to like it. It's more likely that I'll be deceived by the sample and end up unpleasantly surprised.

However, I will admit to one.

Other than Agatha Christie, I'm not one for crime fiction, even cosy crime fiction. However, when I heard Richard Osman had written a book, I decided to give it a go. I took a chance and pre-ordered "The Thursday Murder Club" and crossed my fingers it would be good.

And I'm now three books in and have the fourth on pre-order. It was that good.

I'm still not into crime fiction. But the characters in Osman's series are so engaging and the plots so entertaining that I make an exception for him.

So which book were you pleasantly surprised by?

Monday, 30 January 2023

What I eat in the average day - and COVER REVEAL!

 Speaking as someone who works from home most days, this topic from Long and Short Reviews should have inspired me to come up with all sorts of exciting recipes I cook. I wish that was the case. I am a terrible, lazy cook, I admit. Everything is quick and easy.

Mornings? Boiled eggs, mostly.

Lunches? Something I can put in the oven and ignore for thirty minutes. I'm fond of ready meals as they're nice and straightforward, and I almost never use the microwave because those meals tend to come out terrible.

Dinners? Much the same, although I may switch it up and do burgers and chips. It would probably help if my husband and I cooked together, but as we eat separate things, it hardly seems worth making a big effort for one person. In the past I've made resolutions to learn how to cook, but I simply don't have the patience, particularly when every recipe is for 4 people.

And, of course, I will snack on crisps all day.

Yes, I agree I'm unhealthy.

So while I'm here, I just have to reveal my brand new cover for "I'm With The Band".

His only regret was letting her go.

When filmmaker Tawny Michaels is asked to make a documentary about recently re-formed band Greycomet, she already knows who she’ll have to face – her ex-boyfriend Marsh Kilmer, lead singer of the band. In the ten years they’ve been apart Tawny has been happy with nothing but flings, choosing to avoid relationships, but Marsh’s only regret is losing her – and he’s determined to win her back, no matter what.

Knowing the production company is in the financial hole and finding herself still attracted to Marsh, Tawny decides to go along for the ride, but their passionate reunion hits trouble when the documentary attracts a stalker who has been relentlessly chasing the band. Tawny finds herself hiding out with Marsh, fighting to keep her business afloat while keeping herself safe – but soon realises her safety is the last thing on her mind. Can she forgive Marsh the past and trust him with her heart?

"I'm With The Band" is now on pre-order from Totally Bound and will be on general release on 9th May 2023.

So what do you eat in the average day?

Monday, 23 January 2023

Something I'm proud of doing

 An interesting topic from Long and Short Reviews this week. I can think of two things I'm proud of doing, and both are things that take up a lot of my time.

During the day I work as a debt advisor for a charity. It can be stressful - you can probably imagine the sort of things we hear from clients, particularly during our current cost of living crisis - but it's also very rewarding. Debt can sneak up on anyone at the worst possible times; all it takes is a divorce, a death, a huge medical bill or the loss of a job. Knowing that the work we do makes a genuine difference in the lives of people who are struggling makes it all worthwhile.

And of course, outside of work I am an erotic romance writer, and yes, I am proud of that. The romance genre is often dismissed as "slush" or "trash", and the erotic romance genre is even more often dismissed as porn - I have been called a sex worker before by people who really should know better. But I'm proud of what I write and nobody is going to convince me otherwise. There's nothing wrong with wanting a bit of fantasy and a happy ever after.

So what are you proud of doing?

Monday, 16 January 2023

New things I've tried recently

 I thought this would be an easy topic from Long and Short Reviews, as - previously discussed on my blog - I make resolutions every year to watch new films, read new books and try new foods all the time. However, I have to admit I was struggling for anything I'd tried recently. Possibly because the Christmas period was spent running around like a headless chicken in work and out, I didn't have time to do much that was new.

So the best I can come up with is the new foods I've tried recently.

My husband and I tried out a new Indian restaurant we'd been meaning to give a go for ages, since they have an interesting menu with items I'd never seen before. I ended up with a keema paneer dish, a combination I'd never had, and while it didn't taste quite like I expected (somehow I expected the cheese to melt, but it was mostly solid) it was delicious.

I also discovered blue hen's eggs recently while we were having an egg shortage at our supermarket. They didn't taste any different from non-blue eggs, but apparently they smelled different, as our two cats were utterly baffled by the shells.

So what have you tried recently?

Tuesday, 10 January 2023

What I think of New Year's resolutions

 A nice topic to follow on from last week. As I said then, I tend to use the same resolutions every year, simply because I know I'll do them.

I used to decide things like go to the gym, work out five times a week, lose weight and learn to cook new recipes. These always went nowhere. Like many people, I would quit the gym at the end of January, would never remember to work out inside the house, and while I did occasionally manage to lose weight, the cooking of new recipes would never last either. I think I managed one, it came out terrible and I gave up. I am not a cook.

So I stick to challenges that match what I enjoy so that I'll definitely do them. Reading more, watching more films, going to the theatre more, trying new foods. They're all things that I do anyway so it doesn't hurt to do more of them. I'm also challenging myself to finish off Agatha Christie's catalogue - I've read most of them now (including all the Poirots, Marples and Tommy and Tuppences) but have a few left still.

So what do you think of New Year's Resolutions?

Tuesday, 3 January 2023

My goals for 2023

 I always love this topic from Long and Short Reviews. It's nice to give some thought to what my goals are for the year, writing-wise and otherwise. I have a set of resolutions I set every year, but I always try to think of others as well.

My usual resolutions are to read one book, watch one film and try one new food every month. Last year I managed 30 books (as tracked by the Goodreads challenge), 45 new foods and I don't know how many films, but it was definitely more than 12. I hope to do the same this year - and since I've watched 3 films already, I think that one is well on the way.

I also plan to see as many plays as I can and try to finish off my list of Shakespeare plays, as I'm aiming to see all of them on stage at some point. I have tickets for about five at the moment, so that one is going well.

As far as writing goes, I plan to write more in the Rock My World series and possibly branch out with a couple of new writing challenges. We'll see how those go, but I've just started a new one, so fingers crossed.

So what are your goals for 2023?