Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Help Talli Roland's debut novel THE HATING GAME hit the Kindle bestseller list at and by spreading the word today.
Even a few sales in a short period of time on Amazon helps push the book up the rankings, making it more visible to other readers.

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Coming soon in paperback.  Keep up with the latest at


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 £2000,000 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?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Earthquake Bird

I know - if you don't blog regularly, people forget about you. That is one of the rules of blogging. And no - that's not one of the rules you can actually break and expect to get away with it. It won't work. I need to remind myself that. But, in my defence, I have not been well. The upside of not being well is being able to lie in bed and read without feeling guilty.

I have read The Earthquake Bird by Susanna Jones. What a brilliant book!

Early this morning, several hours before my arrest, I was woken by an earth tremor. I mention the incident not to suggest that there was a connection - that somehow the fault lines in my life came crashing together in the form of a couple of policemen - for in Tokyo we have a quake like this every month. I am simply relating the sequence of events as it happened. It has been an unusual day and I would hate to forget anything.

Lucy Fly left an unhappy life behind in England 10 years previously and is living in Japan as a translator of technical manuals. She meets Lily Bridges and reluctantly helps her get settled in Tokyo. Lily has also left an unhappy life behind in England and at first Lucy resents the constant reminders that Lily, herself having escaped an unhappy situation,  brings of a life she had left behind. When Lily's dismembered body is found in Tokyo Bay, Lucy is the chief suspect. As she tries to prove her innocence, the details of her life, her reason for leaving England, her obsession with her lover Teiji and her friendship with Lily is revealed.

The Earthquake Bird is a powerful psychological drama with a superb ending.

This is the first Susanna Jones book I have read, but it certainly won't be the last. A fantastic read!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

What I loved about the writing course

What I loved about the online writing course that I did with Jeremy Shipp, (don't forget to follow him on Twitter @JeremyCShipp)  is that I was creatively stretched. I was taken out of my comfort zone and had to write about things I had previously never even given any thought to.
I am not a particularly big fan of gnomes or goblins. In fact, even as a child I wasn't overly keen on fairies. I didn't seeks out these kinds of books and unlike some of my friends, I wasn't collecting kitch fairy ornaments or hanging them from my bedroom ceiling.

So, for me having to write something that would include fantasy figures, was totally new and I had no previous experience to fall back on.
But let me tell you what happened. I loved it! I now see that genre in a totally different light too and I learnt so much about writing and about myself. One of the pieces that was part of the course had to include Charlie the Gnome (with some details that were given to us). This is what I wrote:

Charlie was already regretting agreeing to go out with Jack the Pixie. Jack had said they’d find a quiet pub and just have a pint, but now Jack was mumbling about going to see The Gnome People, and Jack knew that Charlie didn’t like hard rock. Charlie was not very good at saying no, so he trailed behind Jack, down dark alleyways that had rats scuttling into rubbish bags that had been dropped against the walls. He almost screamed as a bat swooped down low, nearly touching his head.

He could hear the thump-thump-thump of the music getting closer. The club entrance was through a tiny door that hundreds of gnomes and pixies were trying to squeeze through. It was stuffy inside with no windows to open. and it stank. It stank of everyone’s smelly, hot breaths and Charlie felt like he could be sick.

He couldn’t move and the noise of the music was thumping deep into his head. Jack had disappeared shouting over his shoulder to Charlie he’d be back in five minutes and that was half an hour ago. The music was so loud Charlie felt like the concert was going on in his brain.
The dancing floor was crowded  and a fairy was trying to talk to him, but Charlie couldn’t hear a word she was saying and he didn’t want to stand any closer, because her breath stank like rats tails and that made Charlie think of the dark alleyways that he was going to have to go through again to get home.

Charlie couldn’t take it anymore. The noise and stink was making him feel dizzy and ill. He would need to find his way to the tiny door and get out of there. He fought his way through the crowds and finally found the tiny door. He squeezed out into the cold night air. He was terrified of walking home on his own, but going back into the club was even scarier. There was nothing to do, except just to put one foot in front of the other and to keep walking.

Now, I know this isn't anything wow, not something that I can submit, but that's not the point really.
The point is that I wrote something that I've never written before and had to think about writing something that I've never thought of writing before.
The strange thing is, I actually started to like Charlie and started thinking about him more and wondered after he had left the pub, how his trip home went and where did he live and what did his house look like and what did his room look like and what music did he listen to (we already know he can't stand rock).....and so it carries on.

And now - I have a file on my laptop named Charlie. I don't have a plan with Charlie at the moment. I'm just writing bit by bit, so who knows - he might never make it out into the big, scary world of publishing, but again - that's not the point.
Writing is about discovering parts of ourselves that we never knew existed, developing new interests and generally pushing ourselves all the time.
This can be a frustrating, hair-pulling, head-bashing-on-keyboard kind of experience, but man, it's wonderful to be a writer!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Neglected Blog & Bootcamp

Yes, yes, I know I have neglected this blog terribly.
I have a few excuses:
  • I thought I needed to be terribly funny to be blogging. It would seem the last time I felt funny was 3 months ago
  • I read other blogs and feel totally inadequate
  • I have a life that is mostly taken over by 3 children & a husband
  • Oh...and I have another blog: so you can check that out too if you like
However - I have now decided to pull finger and stop neglecting this blog because:
  • I like to write and so what if I'm not always funny
  • I need an audience - because not all writing can take place in my head (lack of space up there)
  • I will use other blogs for inspiration and not intimidation
  • And I will teach 3 children and a husband to become more independent so that I can write more
So - I did this online writing course with Jeremy Shipp - who I must tell you I highly recommend as an awesome writing tutor. You can follow him on Twitter @JeremyCShipp.
Just a word of warning - his writers course was not called Yard Gnome Army Fiction Writing Summer Bootcamp for nothing! If you go anywhere, attend anything or take part in anything that includes the word BOOTCAMP, then you need to know this: BOOTCAMP means THIS IS SERIOUS BUSINESS. I have even decided not to go to that Chocolate Eating Bootcamp that I saw advertised. I'm too scared.

But, seriously - it was an awesome course and anyone feeling they need a bit of a push as far as their writing is concerned, will benefit from this course. I found the assignments and deadlines very beneficial. All day every day even when I wasn't writing, I was thinking writing and 'got down to it' more seriously than I have in a very long time. It reminded me of who I am - a writer. And what I need to be doing - writing.
And you get personal feedback from Jeremy for every assignment, which is priceless. Anybody writing knows how hard it is to get proper, decent feedback. Well, it has been for me anyway.

Let me just mention - Jeremy isn't some fly-by-night-flash-in-the-pan writing tutor. Jeremy is a decent author. Just type in Jeremy C Shipp in the Amazon search bar and see what it spits out. (Cursed, Vacation and others)

I welcome any comments and hope that this blog (and my other one - don't forget to check it out) - will help me to grow and develop as a writer.
Hop on and come with for the ride.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Stupid Things to Say and Do...

My GP is a lovely man and it is an open secret in my family that I have a serious crush on him. He has the hands of an artist and the face of a poet. Perhaps he’s both of these and moonlights as a doctor. I only go to him for the basic ailments like sore ears (which I make sure are thoroughly clean) and the odd sore foot (which I make sure is perfectly manicured.) Nothing that would require of me to lift my shirt or pull down my pants.
Today I needed to visit a different doctor. One that my dear Dr. P has referred me to for an ultrasound. No chance of a baby – thank heavens for that – but there does seem to be something brewing and let’s just get it checked, you see.
I am taken to a cubical to get undressed and thankfully am spared possible embarrassment as it is made quite clear to me how much undressing I need to do. “Strip to your pants and then put on the gown.” No room for guessing. There seems to be slightly more confusion going on in the cubicle next to me. “Keep your pants on. Take your bra off.” “Pants on?”
I put on the gown that says ‘hospital use only’ all over it in primary colours. Really? Hospital use only? What else could you possibly use it for? It’s not the kind of clothing item you would steal to wear on a night out. Not even a clothing item you would wear to lounge around the house in!

I’m ushered into the radiology room and lie on the bed waiting for the doctor. He is drop dead gorgeous. I’ve said this before; there should be a law against there being good looking doctors. If I was self-conscious a minute ago, I am even more so now. ‘Hospital use only’ is now hitched up to almost under my chin, exposing my belly that resembles a stood on hot cross bun. Yes, I have been seen in far more compromising positions than this, but those were different doctors, thankfully in a different country and hopefully have since seen enough patients that me and my nether regions have been erased from their medical memories.
Gorgeous Doctor scans my jelly belly with the transducer. “Take a deep breath” (I already did this when I saw him) “and relax”. Impossible. He works gently and speaks gently. “Now push out your stomach muscles...” Four c-sections, a hysterectomy, two hernia repair ops, not to mention the numerous laparoscopies and now you want to talk to me about stomach muscles!
I wonder what the doctor can see. What exactly does he make of this picture that resembles a tempestuous satellite weather image? Which is slightly how my stomach is feeling now. A second doctor is called in just to confirm the weather report, it seems. That’s it. I’m all done.

Now you see, I have this file of ‘Stupid Things to Say and Do’ stored in the back of my brain and every now and then without warning, this file opens and the contents come spilling out. Unfortunately it happens now, when the doctor bids me goodbye. I blurt; “Thanks, that was lovely.” In that instant I am horrified by what has just unexpectedly come out of my mouth! I blush bright red from the roots of my hair to the tips of my toes. “It’s a pleasure,” he says without batting an eye, but I do notice the nurse lifting her head and raising an eyebrow.
When I get into the car my husband asks; “How was the doctor?”
“Gorgeous." I say.
“You always get the hot ones.” He says.
Of course I reveal nothing about my faux pas and hope that I never have to see that doctor again.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sometimes I change my mind...

I don't like camping.

My idea of camping is staying in a hotel without a hairdryer. Or without room service. But, the truth is, I don't really like to stay in hotels that much either. It annoys me that when I want to sleep late and forget to put the 'Do Not Disturb' sign hanging outside the door, I'll be awoken by someone from housekeeping who wants to clean the room at a time that does not suit me. I've always felt this a bit of an invasion of privacy too. I've always preferred self catering accommodation, but - I don't know that I feel that way anymore. I've just come back from a 2 week holiday, where there was no housekeeping (unless you count me), no meals just ready to be dished up and made by somebody else, no laundry service (unless you count me, my two hands and the basin) - I don't think I like self-catering anymore.
No Sirree!
My next holiday will be serviced accommodation and at least half board. I don't care what we eat, as long as I don't have to make it. I don't care what time housekeeping wants to tidy the room - as long as I don't have to do it! They don't even need to have room service, or a hairdryer. So, I have changed my mind about staying in a hotel, but I must confess - there's no way I'm changing my mind about camping. I'm still not going to do that.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Testing, testing....

I was just wondering while watching a pregnancy test advert.... Not only can this test tell you if you're pregnant or not, it can also tell you how far along you are. So - I just wondered - maybe you can get a test (I don't know of any on the market at the moment) - that can tell you how far along mad you are. Almost like a GPS giving you information at how close you are to your destination - which in this case will be the mad house. Should you suddenly start recovering, it will start saying something along the lines of ''recalculating, recalculating...'' and direct you back home again.

Or perhaps you could actually set the destination as you like, but should you change your mind or become a little saner on the way, you can chose a new destination point and use the funny farm as a via point. Hmm.....but maybe once you're there they don't let you go.
Perhaps just a simple test - not one that goes into recalculating or anything like that - just one that gives you the measurements - Madness Measurement - sold there right next to the pregnancy tests and thermometers: you are very sane, you are sane, you are slightly mad, you are very mad...and then maybe just a really loud alarm bell when you are totally mad and the men in white coats come running.

I want the men in white coats right now, I really do..... A padded cell with the key lost or thrown away will be an absolute blessing right now.