REVIEW – “DELICIOUS JUST DESSERTS” By Lisa Fulham

Delicious Just DesertsI’m lucky enough to know Lisa Fulham personally, and I’ve seen her journey as a writer from the very first step, all the way up to standing beside her at our first author event.  I am so proud to be able to review this…

A book of beautiful short encounters and longer novellas, peppered with sweet poetry, this is a work that will delight you regardless of mood.  There’s romance, drama, passion, eroticism, kink and lashings of humour.

Ms Fulham writes real women so well – their insecurities, their desires and their needs.  One of my favourite stories here, Lust Through A Lens, features two characters both with qualms about how they look, but they take the leap with the help of a camera to show off their beauty.  It’s uplifting and beautiul.

Her comedy skills really come to the fore in The Wedding Guest, another favourite tale in the book about a relationship potentially rekindled at a friend’s wedding.  It’s an honest portrayal of a real big day, with real romance and love flowing off the pages.

The stories are never cliched, fresh and original and real.  You’re definitely going to have fun with this book – whether you’re craving romance or raw sensuality, or simply a poetic smile.  Highly recommended.

Get it on Amazon UK.

Get it on Amazon US.

REVIEW – “Survival” by Rebecca Sherwin – 5 Stars

B6WAvUCIcAAQejtA wonderful and heartbreaking story of a young woman finding her place in a world that is too often unkind, Survival is a great entry into the slice-of-life romance genre and a cut above the rest.

Skye is such a real, flawed and excellent character – a born fighter faced with challenge after challenge, and each victory and defeat she faces is written so well with a clear cinematic eye.  The book takes place over several years and covers several time jumps, but it’s always clear we’re following the same, evolving characters through their trials and successes.

Rebecca Sherwin has a punchy, natural style that works so well for the passionate romance and the gut-punching tragedy, which you’ll get plenty of.  She’ll certainly put you through the wringer but, like Skye, there’s always that desire to continue to the next chapter, to see where the story goes.  This is a highly recommended story and a wonderful first entry to a series I’ll definitely keep up with.

Get it here.

All About Hourglass Events And The Orchard Book Club Peterborough Signing

In just a few weeks, I shall be attending my first signing event as an author, and I couldn’t be more thrilled.  It’s an event organised by the fabulous Hourglass Events, run by Rachel and Jo.  I’m honoured to be part of this event, and I’m thrilled to be joined now by these splendid ladies, who are going to give us the low down on the big day and the future of Hourglass…

Thanks for joining us Rachel.  Tell us about about Hourglass Events…

Rachel & JoWe are two very close friends who have worked perfectly together on many events and over time knew we could achieve a better and higher standard of event planning.  So after many talks, and many gins, Hourglass was born.  Each of us brings a different skill to Hourglass and the benefits to clients have been amazing.  We work hard to go over and beyond, adding the little touches that are so important to make each event special and unique.

 What encouraged you to set up Hourglass and put on this event?

Hourglass was a long time coming.  We started life on our children’s school parents committee. We would plan and set up summer fetes, Christmas bazaars and prom nights.  Even our kids party would have themes!  We loved every minute so knew we could make more of what we were doing. As for putting on the Peterborough event, we both love reading and as part of the Orchard Book Club we had chatted to many authors and knew we could host a fabulous intimate signing.

Why hold the signing in the lovely Peterborough?

A few reasons… It’s easy to get to, the cost for authors and fans to attend isn’t as high as the bigger cites which allowed more of a chance to attend.  We wanted an event with a close and fun feel, and, well… because we live here.

There’s such a diverse array of authors and genres represented. How did you go about pulling together such a talented bunch of people?

We have been so very honoured to have such a great following now. Orchard has been a help with that, so many wonderful authors use the blog so we just put it out there.  We wanted a mixed of genres, and I’m sure readers will agree.   Although I favour erotica I also love a good thriller or horror, and Jo loves a crime or romance so why not meet a mix of authors and open up the love of reading all genres!

This is going to by my first event.  What advice would you give to the new (and experienced) authors coming to the event?

Relax, be confident in yourself, enjoy meeting a some new friends and don’t forget the Sharpies!  You are all going to be ace.

And what about advice to any readers still making their mind up about attending?

Our advice would be not to miss this event! We have 31 amazing authors attending, all with great stories to share……Book tickets now, visit every table, take the time to chat with all the authors, and enjoy the whole day and night!

Fantastic.  There is a charity presence related to the event.  Can you tell me about that?
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The British Dyslexia Association supports people with dyslexia and their families through a UK-wide network of local dyslexia associations and a national helpline. The BDA also campaigns to raise awareness, break down barriers and create a dyslexia friendly society. My 8 year son has Dyslexia and attends a local workshop called ” Children Will Shine” in Peterborough. The group is charity run and and as we were hosting a book event it seemed very fitting to help this charity, so with Jo’s agreement we are.  Rachel and her husband climbed Ben Nevis for this charity a couple of years ago.  This is a much nicer way to help them!

Wonderful, and such a worthy cause. What’s next for Hourglass Events ?

Oh, lots!  We have a few things locally in the pipe line over the next few months we are focusing on the craft and art world. The biggest event for 2016 is going to be the Leeds author signing event. This has already had a great response from lots of authors, so after the Peterborough signing you will see us shouting about Leeds and the fabulous line up! We plan to keep pushing Hourglass forward and we are truly thankful to everyone who has supported us.

I can’t wait to see the dizzy heights you take Hourglass to.  You deserve every success in the world.  Thanks for joining me here – the event is going to be wonderful!

Thank you for giving us this chance to share!

Rachel & Jo

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So there you have it.  The event takes place at the Great Northern Hotel in Peterborough on March 14th.  There are morning and afternoon signing sessions, and an intimate meal and ball in the evening.  Tickets are still available but are very limited, to hurry over to this page and get yours now.

Personally, I can’t wait to meet a wide range of amazing authors, a lot of my wonderful readers, and make new friends on the day.  See you there!

REVIEW – “The Stand-In” By Rosanna Leo – 5 Stars

24881284This is a wonderful romance book filled with engaging characters and a great set up – a struggling actress applies to be a professional ‘stand-in’ bridesmaid, and is tailed by a disgraced reporter looking for a story. It’s romance heaven and the story never skips a romantic, humorous, erotic or dramatic beat, and you’re going to get plenty of all four.

Rosanna Leo is one of the most naturally gifted writers of romance working today, a born storyteller with an ear for natural dialogue and a skill for crafting real, flawed but endlessly likeable characters. It’s impossible not to root for them, even when their pasts come into play and their weaknesses show. Winn Busby and Patrick Lincoln are wonderfully charming and a perfect pair to go on such an adventure with. Rosanna’s swift and punchy style suits them to a tee – and the story sparkles when they get to banter.

The Stand In has everything a great romance novel should, and comes highly recommended!

Get it here.

On Expectation, Hype, Cynicism and Geek Love

A thing happened this week which, if you read certain hyperbolic sources, “Cracked the internet in half.”  Said cracking wasn’t due to a cyber-terrorist attack or particularly rampant virus, but in response to the release of an 88 second (I know this, because every article in the build up was very specific about it) teaser trailer for a film that isn’t due to be released for just over a full calendar year.  As a species, we’ll have been on a road trip round the sun and back before our asses even hit the seats to see this thing.  I’m talking of course about the teaser trailer for Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens: Colons Are Cool.  Admittedly, I may have added that last part.  Maybe.  The film is so shrouded in secrecy, who knows.  And, just to reassure, the internet isn’t cleft in twain just yet.  It seems these days there’s always something new every week threatening to rend the structural integrity of an intangible concept, but we dodged a blaster-burst again.

Cool, decadent and refreshing and ideal for getting around Tatooine

In that 88 seconds, we see 11 shots.  Yes, I counted them myself, just to make sure I wasn’t making it up.  A sweaty young man in a stormtrooper outfit stands up in the desert.  A beeping football rolls through the desert.  A spunky young woman rides a giant Magnum ice cream across the desert. The Millennium Falcon, the ship that made the Kessel run in less than 12 parsecs, loops-the-loop and is strafed by TIE Fighters.  Spoilers – it happens in the desert. The Sahara must have great tax incentives.  There’s also some shots of stormtroopers and a dude with a nifty hilted lightsabre that take place at night because shooting in the desert must be a warm affair and everyone needs to cool down.

Some people got excited to religious-zealot levels of positivity, declaring it the best film made in the history of putting things in celluloid.  On the flipside, some people got angry.  Some people poured scorn over it in such vociferous quantities it threatened to extinguish the world’s supply of good will, and some called for the heads of the filmmakers to be severed and displayed in public for crimes against their childhood and cinematic purity.

A friend, a big fan of Star Wars, sent me said trailer (after I’d already watched it, naturally) without comment.  I asked his verdict.  His response was: “That little football droid is crap.  This is going to be terrible.” So in 88 seconds and 11 shots, he knew this movie was beyond hope, and a likely-throwaway shot of a world-building droid scurrying about was enough to illustrate the film would likely have no plot, pathos, standout moments, or anything worth going for it.  This is in a trailer where we see arguably the most iconic ship in science fiction history fly for the first time in thirty years, and fly like we’ve never seen it fly before, thanks to the great work of today’s modern VFX artists.  Not even that wonderful image was enough to melt even an ounce of the icy cynicism crusted round a heart that once would thunder for the things he supposedly loves.  Incidentally, this is the same person who, after being so disappointed by the sequel to a seminal sci-fi action movie classic, boycotted the original Matrix movie as terrible and refused to ever watch it again, as if it wasn’t its own independent work.  Some people are never happy unless they’re miserable.

What did I ever do to you?
What did I ever do to you?

This is happening everywhere now.  What was once the domain of the angry fanboy and fangirl fretting over what Wolverine’s costume looks like is as mainstream as the parade of new big screen book adaptations or TV shows about sexy vampires doing sexy vampire things.

It happened not so long back, and happens every time a new image, rumour, or sliver of new footage appears, for the behemoth that is Fifty Shades Of Grey.  Swathes of the mummyporn community cried foul at casting, at locations, at the clothing, at the stance and expressions of the actors in publicity shots, while others devoted the kind of love reserved for newborn babies at the same flimsy material.  I’ve seen whole blog posts devoted to hastily-snapped pictures of an elevator in a hotel where the characters get all frisky.  The guy playing the spanking businessman was either the devil or the second coming, just that scraggly Geordie bloke from Pacific Rim had been not two weeks before.   How soon we do forget.

FSOG lovers, meet the comic book nerds.  You’re the same now.  Dress it up all you want, but complaining about the style and cut of a chap’s tie is identical to bemoaning the length of Batman’s cape.

Bruce&Chris
The entertainment hype machine and the instantaneous nature of media consumption has become such that over-analysing and taking staunch standpoints for one side or another as fast as the things appear is becoming the norm.  Scratch that.  Has become the norm.  We’re defining our happiness through the media we consume; lashing out when it’s not as we envision it in our minds and hearts, or decrying anybody who doesn’t adore every last frame as ignoble heathens.  Scornful cynicism and blind love are two sides of the same, endlessly spinning coin.

I’ve been both, in my time.  I’ve defended dreck and railed against mediocrity using my own disappointment as a weapon to bludgeon the dissenters – and I’ve done it before and after seeing whatever the hell it was that got me so positively passionate or negatively narked.  I’ve been both enough, and I’ve seen enough of the end results to know, either way, it’s so rarely worth it.  The great things will endure in your heart long after their time in the limelight has passed, and the disappointments will, hopefully, be eclipsed by the good.  Man Of Steel made me spit bile, but I still love the idea of Superman.

The thrust of this piece isn’t ‘Don’t love and don’t hate’, because passion is a wonderful thing.  It’s merely a message of ‘wait and see’ and ‘let it go.’  I’m resisting the urge to sing that song which, despite never having seen the film, I seem to know every lyric of by osmosis.

As a writer, thinking that someone would write off an entire novel based on a single paragraph is disheartening.  It may not be for you, sure, but being so vocally against or in support of it based on such tiny pickings ahead of time doesn’t do anybody any good.  The hype train just keeps rolling.  Likewise, hanging onto the things you despise and trawling through their failings merely perpetuates the cynicism that pervades the cultural landscape like a crawling red weed (not all my pop-culture references are so bang up to date).

So, I watched Star Wars trailer, and I took a step back for a moment.  I love that there’s going to be new stories told in that galaxy far, far away.  I expect I’m going to love some of it, dislike some of it, be passionate and indifferent side by side.  But what I have now, in this moment, is the hope, that wonderful, nostalgic hope, of a great story, well told, using elements that make me giddy.

The Falcon flies again, and my heart might just fly with it.

Falcon

Author & Poet

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