Friday, 22 April 2011

T = Talli Roland - The Hating Game Book Review!

Posting this a day early: got a lot on tomorrow (Sat).

The Hating Game by Talli Roland.

Book Blurb: When man-eater Mattie Johns agrees to star on a dating game show to save her ailing recruitment business, she's confident she'll sail through to the end without letting down the perma-guard she's perfected from years of her love 'em and leave 'em dating strategy. After all, what can go wrong with dating a few losers and hanging out long enough to pick up a juicy two-hundred thousand pound prize?

Plenty, Mattie discovers, when it's revealed that the contestants are four of her very unhappy exes. Can Mattie confront her past to get the prize money she so desperately needs, or will her exes finally wreak their long-awaited revenge? And what about the ambitious TV producer whose career depends on stopping her from making it to the end? Who will win The Hating Game?

Book Review:

I’m no fan of reality TV shows: I hate them. But, from what I’d seen of Talli and how she expresses herself on her blog, I had a sneaking suspicion “The Hating Game” would turn out pretty much as expected. It didn’t disappoint, it’s a hilarious sock-it-to ‘em chick-lit novel, which takes the p*ss out of reality shows. Not least, that of backstage politics: bitching and rivalry between production staff.

Being chick-lit, needless to say the protagonist, Mattie Johns, is self-obsessed, fashion conscious, hopeless at any thing domestic and, embittered in post-relationship blues. With a failing business, her ex love interest also ex partner in her company and his new business now thriving, no one is spared her critical scorn, whether in thought mode or verbal outburst. She’s thoroughly obnoxious, and as a reader one begins to think her ex, Kyle, did the best thing in quitting the Mattie Johns zone. Yet, one can sympathise in her despair and in her belief she's been betrayed in love and in business.

Enter Nate Reilly, a wannabe producer of new reality TV show plus £250,000 bait trailing from metaphorical hook. In dire financial straits Mattie sees the benefit in taking the bait. Given bad press relating to reality TV shows, and even if the worst comes to the worst what’s a little humiliation on the back of a 250 grand cheque? In preparation for each night’s show her expectation of humiliation is far from reality, and although wanting to quit the worst reality TV show to hit TV screens the prize money keeps her dangling on the most horrid thread of her life. Yes, ex boyfriends are key for The Hating Game-show.

Without spoiling the plot, I can tell you Mattie’s comeuppance for utter bitchiness, for having a nasty little chip on her shoulder, and for assuming the worst of Kyle, places her in a position of extreme vulnerability. An ex with psychological malfunction and obsession to possess her scares the hell out of Mattie on the final Hating Game Date. The knight in shining armour who saves her is the last person Mattie would have expected to come to her aid. As true reality shocks her to the core, it's finally lesson learnt in how not to p*ss off a thoroughly decent bloke . Buy it and enjoy!! Go to Amazon.

Friday, 15 April 2011

M = Wendy's Blogaversary Blogfest!

Neat this, having a blogfest within the A-Z Challenge!
Good for Wendy Tyler Ryan for celebrating her blog anniversary on April 15th.

For this blogfest we have to write a short piece, take it from existing novel, or from WIP. The "challenge" to include the following words: mist(y), mambo, moon, musk(y), mongrel, myth.

Mine is from a romance novel written 2010, set in the Bahamas.
Brief: in this the MC is with her boss, though not a boss as we tend to think of a boss. Tara has undertaken a PA job that requires compassion, friendship and awareness to Darrell's illness. I dare not reveal more or the plot will out itself. They have become close, but not close enough in Tara's case for a romance to develop in the time he has left, unless . . . As it is, she's still in love with another (the real story) and Darrell's a renowned womaniser with mistress galore notched to his belt.

Three drinks downed, a plate of lobster and salad decimated along with fresh fruit and cheese nibbles, the Friday night fire dance routine stole their attention; the dancers light-footing it centre stage to rhythmic mambo.

Darrell said, ‘Hadn’t we better make a move?’ He glanced at his watch. ‘It’s quite a walk back ’ His gaze returned to the masked fire dancer on the dance floor; two scantily clad girls tantalising the young man with their voluptuous bodies. ‘Hell, that’s a sexy number,’ he remarked, whilst pushing back his chair, the bill already accounted for.

‘A bit risqué if you ask me, and you’re right, we should be going.’ She too rose from her seat, turned and strolled away from their table. ‘Shall we take the cliff path or the road?’

‘The cliff path,’ he said, sounding a tad distracted.

As she ascended the steps leading to the main coastal path, she sensed him hanging back. Casting a quick glance over her shoulder, she said, ‘Come on slow coach.’

‘Give me a break,’ he said, a big grin. ‘I’m enjoying the view.’

‘View? It’s almost dark and it’s a view you could paint blindfolded.’

‘Not the view I’m looking at,’ he said, tilting his head to one side. ‘What I’d give to run my hand up just one.’

‘Run your hand up what exactly?’ she asked, looking around to see what had caught his eye and incited wont to touch.

‘Your legs, what else?’

She sensed a flush to her cheeks, for she hadn’t expected that from him. ‘Mongrel. You’ll have to catch me first.’ His laughter echoed, as she paused to slip stiletto-heeled sandals from her feet. In a flash she turned and headed up a slight incline, making sure to keep a good few paces ahead. The long winding path from the beachside bar soon became narrow and evening seriously fallen to night, the tropical canopy so dense a rising moon had little impact in lighting their way. Sense of chill rippled down her spine. Dampness in the air prevailed: a sea mist, perhaps, drifting in with the tide, hence salty brine on the ether.

The high walls of the villa loomed and she hurried onward until sharp stones encountered near the gateway. She paused to re-don her sandals. ‘I wouldn’t have worn stilettos if I’d known you’d intended we walk back to the villa,’ she muttered, more to herself than to Darrell.

Darrell, following in her wake, called after her, ‘What’s the rush?’

She stopped in her tracks, turned and waited for him to catch up. She caught hold of his hand, a moment of compassion. ‘Sorry. It was terribly remiss of me to dash off and set such a testing pace. It’s just that it was . . .’

‘All rather arousing back there in the bar,’ he said, sounding amused. ‘Not surprising really. To be quite honest, what with those girls prancing around half-naked and your cleavage I very nearly had a hard problem, hence my wishing to leave. I feel as randy as hell, and if I kissed you now you’d probably slap my face. So I’ll just let you know that I would if I thought I could get away with it.’

‘Is that what you want, just a kiss?’ She reached up and kissed his cheek. ‘So kiss me.’

Heady scent of tropical flowers she likened to musky incense, and as Darrell’s mouth took possession of hers it was akin to being kissed by a boy on his first date. She couldn’t believe this of a man renowned as a womanizer. It barely lasted a few seconds, and he stepped back like a scalded cat. ‘You taste divine,’ he said squeezing her hand, clearly something else on his mind. ‘What I really want would be asking too much of you.’

Aware of his arousal as he’d drawn her close against him, she said, ‘Tell me then, because I can’t mind read, and . . .’ Sudden conscious of a bell ringing, a bell never heard before she lost momentum. ‘Sorry, but say what you’re thinking, or you’ll never know whether I might have said yes.’

He clasped her hand tighter, and they strolled on and into the lush garden of Tamlin Villa. ‘Tara as much as I want you, in a physical sense, there’s the matter of age difference and the fact that you don’t love me.’

About to say age immaterial, and in no way looking to a relationship with anyone for the time being, to imply otherwise would be downright mean. ‘It’s not that I don’t . . . Oh Hell, that damn bell is so distracting.‘

He squeezed her hand. ‘What bell?’

‘Can’t you hear it? It’s out near the point. Sounds as though it’s coming from Buccaneers Retreat.’

‘I can’t hear a thing, but I believe you.’


‘You say you hear it, I believe you. Other people have said they’ve heard it and I never believed them. I thought them . . . well, just taking the mick.’

‘How can you not hear it, Darrell?’

‘There’s no bell at Buccaneers Retreat, Tara. It doesn’t exist. People claim it’s a ghost' ship bell. The bell of a pirate ship sunk off the headland by an English buccaneer, the man who built Buccaneers Retreat.’

‘That bell is real, it can’t be . . .’

Myth, fable, legend, whatever? The worst part about it . . . when heard it usually hails bad tidings for the island or someone on it.’

She shivered, the sea mist now ghostlike, creeping through the garden toward them as if by stealth of a predator and intent on cloaking their very existence.

Hope you enjoyed! ;)

To see entries by other participants go here

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Kings of Legend & Knowledge from Storytelling!

If I knew who painted this I'd gladly put up a credit to the artist! But I don't, and can't, but this image so easily represents a mythical person related to Great Britain, and of more kings who actually existed. 

Isn't it strange how almost everyone in the Western world and ex-colonial states have heard or read of the myth surrounding King Arthur. Was he ever a king? Did he ever exist? And, with every legend there really has to be an element of truth: is that right!?

Given that storytelling in the era Arthur supposedly walked, rode and fought across the wild untamed countryside of England & Wales, it's likely old oral tales told to youngsters over the centuries have deviated from the original, sometimes embellished, sometimes, perhaps, played down. 

The sword in the stone, taken to mean a sword wedged in some dirty great rock. Think about the logistics and reality kind of quashes that theory. But, add a little magic and it all appears quite feasible, and for kids a little added magic makes for a WOW!  Now, if one takes the logical route of iron from the ground (steel) heated, (smelted) and turned into a sword, we have the logic of "sword from the stone".

Getting back to Arthur, how then did he pull the sword from the stone?  Was he a blacksmith?  If he was and the sword, probably not his first but his greatest and worthy of display, boy was he an important man! He had the power of knowledge in how to turn iron into a sword. No doubt he'd fought alongside his fellow men when need arose and knew the power of a fighting tool/weapon, and back in the dark past a nobody-man could become a great leader!

Right, that's Arthur sorted. But no, there's the added myth of the lady in the lake who supposedly seized the sword - when cast into the lake - and there to guard it. A mermaid? Hardly, they belong to myth and legend, too. So what could possibly represent the lady in the lake?

I give you the moon: the lady, the goddess! She who controls the tides, she who sets the calendar of the cycle of a woman's life. She whom caused men - rat-assed on cider - to rake about in a pond in belief it was a floating cheese: The Moonrakers! Ahem, I digress, and another story entirely.

Anyhoo, part of Arthur's legend we've kind of solved, and he makes for a great mythical king, but with every story there's always an element of truth within! Don't most writers/story tellers, draw on personal and second/third-hand experieces whether from own life or that of reading/hearing about others misfortunes and triumphs, and many authors draw inspiration from favourite books. 

Now, that image up top has been tickling my subconscious, and I don't see Arthur, I see Owain Glyndwr, the last "true" Prince of Wales. Man not myth!

This image of Owain Glyndwr's statue copyright BBC Wales.

You can read about Owain Glyndwr here.
He being the first warrior prince to set up a parliament!  A real man for sure, a hero, his legacy in defeat to the victor: "how-to" run your country in a democratic way.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Fairy Folk - Fact or Fiction?

Fact or fiction, either way, almost every little girl has at one time or another dreamed of seeing a fairy.

So, how did a Victorian photographer achieve this photographic image?

It stunned people at the time it was taken. Cute, ain't it?

I really posted today to say, although I've quit the A-Z challenge, I'm still visiting blogs as and when.
It really had to be a case of priorities: my WIP beckoned, revisions beckoned, the garden beckoned, and all fell neglected due to the challenge. Yesterday I spent the morning in the garden, bunked off with dog across my own land in the afternoon, and penned 1500 words in the evening.

Pure Inspiration!

Best to all who are blogging on with A-Z ;)

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

A-Z: D = Daniel Day Lewis!

Today is a special treat for fans of Daniel Day Lewis: the Last of the Mohicans one of my favourite movies!    

 The movie was based on the novel "Last of the Mohicans": A Narrative of 1757 written by James Fenimore Cooper. It was first published in February 1826 - the second book of the "Leatherstocking Tales" pentalogy and the best known. The Pathfinder was published 14 years later in 1840: the sequel.

The story takes place in 1757, during the French and Indian War (the Seven Years' War), when France and Great Britain battled for control of the North American colonies. During this war, the French called on allied Native American tribes to fight against the more numerous British colonists.

Today I'm bowing out of the A-Z challenge, because since day one my present WIP has suffered, and as I have revisions on the go as well, plus the garden is crying out for attention, something has to give. That said,  I'll be slipping back into visiting blogs as normal and posting as and when.  BTW: Clannad are my fav band!

Sorry: this item removed. Better that than have my blog crash!

Before I go: any blogfests going down in May onward let me know and I'll post up your banner.

Monday, 4 April 2011

A-Z = C for Sex Sells!

Most Americans will be familiar with bonkbuster novels written by Jackie Collins, in which she pokes fun at Hollywood's glitterati, tweaks their sparkly bits and mocks their lifestyles.

Whereas, here in the UK, the queen of bonkbuster novels is Jilly Cooper, who shreds the honesty and credibility of the upper-classes (toffs) and mocks the nouveau riche, albeit in a jolly hockey sticks kind of way.  She learned wordsmithing as a journalist and columnist, her background having afforded much knowledge of the upper-classes. She is, though, a lovely person, and a secret fan of Georgette Heyer! 

I simply adored many of her non-fiction works and loved her novels and all available through her new website inclusive extensive backlist: now on Kindle!

The most famous of her bonkbusters started with Riders culminating in a long series of outrageous novels, and the latest that of Jump

Besides her bonkbusters, Jilly has penned loads of books inclusive animal related stories.    

Anyhoo, if you've never read a Jilly Cooper bonkbuster, you've missed out on saying:

Ooooh . . . really . . . in that position.

OMG, is he for real?

What was she thinking!

You've got to be joking!

WOW! Yikes! I don't believe it!

Grief! Oh no, not him! Why?

And more . . .

Incidentally, if you're considering a new pseudonym you might do well with J and C 

Jackie Collins, her sister Joan Collins and Jilly Cooper all famous.  Tempting, ain't it?

  I'm also at Heroines' with Hearts today talking about writing whilst music on the ether, and emotions stirred by such !

Saturday, 2 April 2011

A-Z & B for one of the best writers, ever.

If you’ve never read an H. E. Bates novel,
you’ve missed some of the best novel writing ever.

Born 16th May 1905, Bates loved writing but life got in the way, until a young girl in a red lined cloak getting out of a carriage at a station inspired the writing of Love for Lydia: a truly sweet story. After many rejections from publishers, he finally cracked it with The Two Sisters, The Seekers, and many more novels alongside his wartime writing: Flying Officer X Stories.
The latter reflected his time in the RAF 

He’s probably best known to all of us for The Darling Buds of May (TV series), and Fair Stood the Wind for France. But, I urge you to read books such as The Purple Plain and The Jacaranda Tree: both made into movies, and a reflection of his time as a pilot in war torn Burma. His prose, sense of time, place, and emotions of characters are second to none. He was a master wordsmith! His writing career initially proved the path to rank of published author just as rocky back then as we have all found to our cost now, but good luck befell him. His post-war writing received a setback too, and ever the brave he took control of his own destiny. His biography page is here.  

Never, never give up on your writing if you believe in your work as worthy of publication!

Friday, 1 April 2011

A-Z & All Fools Day!

My A-Z will feature first letter of a literary-minded person's name: or not, as may be the case with Z. 

First off nostalgic image of 1930’s English steam train: bear with me, it has purpose!

Allen Lane, director of Bodley Head (publisher) - after a weekend visit to Agatha Christie - found himself on the platform at Exeter railway station (Devon) . He fancied something to read on his journey home and searched a nearby bookstand. Stunned by the crap selection of crude paperback magazine type novels on offer, Lane decided good quality contemporary fiction at an attractive price was in short supply. So, he decided to set up a new cheap paperback line.

The first "Penguin" paperbacks appeared in the summer of 1935, with unique Penguin logo and eye-catching covers. Ernest Hemingway, André Maurois and Agatha Christie led the Penguin flock. All books were colour coded per genre, their cost just sixpence. The paperback revolution had begun and Penguin soon became a separate company: in 1936 its HQ located in the oddest of places, the Crypt of Holy Trinity Church on Marylebone Road.

A "must see" new species of penguin!

This clip removed! I don't want my blog going into crash mode!
To check new blogs folow the A-Z apple in side bar.