Thursday, 31 July 2014

Word Crimes - "Weird Al" Yankovic

The king of music parody, “Weird Al” Yankovic, has absolutely outdone himself with his take on Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines.

Check this out – I’m hoping that watching it will help me with my grammar…

Word Crimes - "Weird Al" Yankovic

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Dog Shaming

This is my kind of dog! Source: Flickr - Journee Myles This is my kind of dog!
Source: Flickr – Journee Myles

I love this pinterest board! View more dog shaming pictures here.


Dog Shaming

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Jedi Cat

Two of my favourite things in life: Star Wars and Cats.

The epic battle of cats with lightsabers.

Jedi Cat

Monday, 28 July 2014

A Groom Goes All Bryan Adams To Surprise His New Wife

How is this for romantic? Okay, by my own admission I’m not the most romantic person in the world but as romantic gestures go, this has to be up there among the best – and if it’s not, it has to win the prize for being the funniest.

The background to this story is that the bride had always wanted her first dance to be to Everything I do (I do It For You), because as a kid Robin Hood was her favourite film and she loved that song. Her fiancé however, flat out refused.

But he surprised her with the next best thing, as soon as the first dance was over (to Elton John’s Your Song) the groom wheeled out a TV screen and played her this: his own performance of the Bryan Adams hit.

If this video doesn’t go viral then there’s something wrong in the world.

A Groom Goes All Bryan Adams To Surprise His New Wife

Friday, 25 July 2014

Cover Art

Here it is… The cover art for Inspired by Night. Look at it, remember it and in four weeks time go find it on Amazon!


Cover Art

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Prologue Part Three

March 2006

I’ll never forget the day it happened. I was sat in front of an old computer waiting for the egg timer to disappear while an ancient copy of Microsoft word opened up. I was working in the most boring job that I could possibly imagine and had worn a path in the carpet between my desk and the hot drinks machine, to break up the tedium. I was even considering taking up smoking as an excuse to walk outside for five minutes.

My mobile phone rang. Usually unknown numbers get ignored but I was so bored, I decided to answer it.

“Can I speak to Olivia Jones please?” A woman’s voice spoke to me.


“Hi, Olivia, my name is Julie and I’m calling from Sony. We’re interested in your Jerk Chicken animation.”

I was speechless. Jerk Chicken was an animated character I’d created at university. I found the files recently and uploaded the video to YouTube. I don’t know who found it and shared it but it’d had over a million views and even I was sick of being sent the link by email.

“Oh, okay, interested in what way?” My mind was racing; Sony – maybe a Playstation game? Oh please let it be a playstation game!

“We’d like to sample it and release a single.”


“You’d animate the video for it, of course.” Julie continued, “would you be interested in coming in to meet with us?”


      The radio was already on when I arrived at Ruth’s house. Her husband Andrew opened the door, grinning widely when he saw me.

“The count down is on, Olly,” he informed me, “they’re into the top ten now and still no sign of that jerk,” he grinned, pleased with his joke.

I followed the sound of music into the kitchen and found Ruth slicing meat.

“Just tell me it’s not chicken,” I laughed. She shook her head.

“It’s turkey.”

Ruth and Andrew had invited me over for dinner, to listen to the top forty count down on Radio One. Jerk Chicken was tipped for the number one spot. I wasn’t convinced it would make it. the song was terrible – a Euro pop style dance tune with a sample of the Jerk Chicken video mixed into the chorus. The video was pretty cool, though I say it myself, but by the time I’d finished the 3 minute animation I was sick to death of the song.

“No sign of my song yet then?” I asked, I’d left it as late as possible to turn up in the hope of missing it. Ruth grinned, knowingly.

“Nope, I am telling you, it’s number one.”

“I got this in the post today,” I placed a plush chicken doll on the counter top, “merchandise, can you believe that?”

“Oh stop moaning,” she laughed, “how much did they pay you again?”

“An obscene non-refundable advance, so it can flop for all I care.” I grinned.

“And what do you plan to do with your new found riches?” Andrew asked as he handed me a bottle of beer.

“I just rented an office in that old school building round the corner. I’m going to make my own apps.” I said proudly.

“That’s great news, nice one Olly.” Andrew raised his bottle and clinked it against mine.

“Oh here we go the final count down.” Ruth shushed us, turning up the volume on the radio.

  “Which means this week we have a new number one, straight in to the top spot it’s Jerk Chicken with The Chicken Song.”

Ruth threw her arms straight up in the air in celebration and I leaned over to give her a hi-five.

“Guess I can tick ‘have a number one hit single’ off my to do list then!” I grinned.


Prologue Part Three

Friday, 18 July 2014

How can wearing no make up be considered brave?

Who started the rumour..?

You know – this rumour that women should care more about their appearance and their attractiveness than anything else.

This idea that they have to be a certain shape, wear certain clothes and set their hair in curlers. That they have to spend a fortune on styling products, equipment, salon visits, false nails, false eyelashes and false boobs!

I’ve been reading lots of empowering blogs and social media posts (like this one and this one) recently – they seem to be in fashion right now – but there’s something that really irks me about them. They all have an undercurrant that suggests these women are justifying why they don’t conform to society’s expectations of them:

I’m making a stand…”

But I don’t see why we have to make a stand why can’t we just live our normal lives without feeling the need to justify why we don’t look like a Barbie doll.

There are times when I look in the mirror, or see a photo of myself and I think “I really should do something about my weight” and then I think “why?” Why do I need to lose weight? I enjoy eating far too much to make myself miserable by dieting. And what am I losing weight for?

I saw this on my time line this week.

It really annoyed me. I don’t have kids but I don’t spend any time in a salon either. Lots of mothers shared this image like it was a powerful message “yeah we don’t need to look pretty, we have the unconditional love of children.” But do you know what would be more powerful? If there wasn’t a trade off or a need for justification.

We don’t have ‘pretty police’. There’s no one checking our efforts and awarding us an attractive license. We don’t need to use being a parent as an excuse for being tired, needing a hair cut or wearing sweat pants.

I am always tired because I don’t get enough sleep. I don’t get my hair cut because I just can’t be bothered,  I wear sweat pants because they’re comfortable. And I eat way too many takeaways because I don’t always feel like cooking and they taste good.

I couldn’t care less about beauty and fashion: I get bought make up for Christmas and I turn to Google to find out what it is and how to apply it. I own a variety of heated hair implements that are gathering dust because I can’t be bothered spending 3 hours getting ready for a night out when 30 minutes will suffice. I had work shirts made because I have better things to think about than what I should wear every day.

I don’t think women who have suddenly decided to take a stand are being brave by not wearing make up. Brave is going to war, not wearing your hair in a pony tail.

It has been said that women dress to impress other women.

Most of my friends are male and I don’t think any of them prefer their girlfriends/wives when they have lots of make up on. They would generally rather spend time with them relaxing than wait 3 hours for them to look presentable.

So if it’s not men, then who actually placed this ridiculous expectation of grooming and attractiveness on women? Is it the media? The fashion industry? The manufacturers of beauty products?

It’s not time for women to take a stand or justify our intention to break the mould. It’s time for women to just realise that there are more important things to be judged on than how much make up we wear. We talk about beauty being in the eye of the beholder, how personality, sense of humour etc is more important than looks, but then we either spend a fortune on trying to improve our appearance, or waste our energy justifying why we don’t spend a fortune trying to look pretty.

Just enjoy life, without reference to anyone else. The people that matter won’t care what we do, or how we look, as long as we’re happy.

How can wearing no make up be considered brave?

Friday, 11 July 2014

This is the last time I read this...

As you know, this is my first novel. I never imagined when I started writing it, that it would end up getting published. I had explored the Kindle option for self publishing and that was about as much as I was planning. I thought if anyone buys it, then wow, that would be great. But I had no expectations at all.

The problem is, despite wanting to write for as long as I can remember, I discovered that my grasp of grammar rules and punctuation, is awful. I have that salt and pepper rule – write it, then liberally sprinkle some commas over it and it’ll be fine.

I assumed that being an expert in all that stuff was a pre-requisite to being an author.

Two weeks ago I received an email from my editor at Xcite books. I offered my commiseration that she had the unenviable task of correcting my work. She told it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought. Which was fabulous news. Made me very happy indeed.

I set about reading the edits and found myself skipping through to the comments and ignoring the bulk of the content. In truth, I am sick of reading this story!

The comments were very helpful, things I hadn’t thought about, small inconsistencies that hadn’t occurred to me. it was nice really, seeing that someone had read it and absorbed the character details and could say things like “would he really do that though?”

So, changes made, the book has now been past a proof-reader and I have one last version to read through before I say “Okay, I’m happy with that, press the big red button!”

I know I will need to pay close attention this time, so I’ve mentally prepared myself for hiding away in a corner all weekend and reading my novel again.

It almost saddens me that I don’t want to read it. I spent a lot of time writing it, even longer editing it and polishing it up to the point where I was happy to show people. But now I’ve read so many versions of it I can’t imagine I’ll ever read it again.

Which is a great shame – coz I’ve got plenty of novels that I’ve read ten times or more over the years. I guess that means Inspired by Night is unlikely to become something of a classic that will be read over and over… or maybe all authors secretly hate their own work by the time it hits the shelves. I wonder how many times Jane Austen read Pride and Prejudice after it was published? I bet it wasn’t as many times as I’ve read it!

I wish I could read my novel, not knowing what was going to happen. I knew the plot twists and turns even before they were committed to [virtual] paper. i just hope that people read it and enjoy it and that it has the impact I was aiming for.

Well not much longer tip we find out. Only 6 more weeks!


This is the last time I read this...

Friday, 4 July 2014

Let's talk about the sex, shall we?

I don’t know much about the hierarchy of erotic fiction, hell, I don’t know much about erotica at all, despite having written a novel that is scheduled for publication by the UKs leading publisher of erotic fiction.

I find myself saying adult romance rather than erotic fiction because it feels more apt. Inspired by Night is more of a nerdy romantic comedy than it is porn, but I did consciously write sex scenes so it does kind of need it’s own parental advisory sticker!

But I can’t pretend to be an expert in erotica. My Twitter feed, much like my blog, is filled with references to pizza and cake and I just can’t do the whole innuendo and saucy jokes thing. My mind doesn’t look at a situation and naturally see something phallic to give a leering grin and a cheeky wink at.

Inspired by Night does contain scenes of a sexual nature. But there’s a very good reason for that. Although when I try to explain the reasoning behind some of the sex scenes, I feel a bit like Jack Davenport trying to explain the plot line to his favourite porn video erotic art film ‘Lesbian Spank Inferno’ in the TV show ‘Coupling’.

You can watch it here

I didn’t want to write sex scenes for the sake of it. I didn’t really set out to write erotica but I did want to have some kind of development. I wanted my character to grow. I was largely inspired by an article I read about Fifty Shades of Grey and how sex shops had seen a huge boom in sales of vibrators and love eggs. Whatever criticism anyone has of the series, it did reach an audience that wouldn’t normally have read BDSM erotica and it, perhaps, gave women some ideas for spicing up their sex lives and showing people that it’s okay to enjoy sex, it’s even okay to enjoy kinky sex without feeling like you’re some kind of sexual deviant. So I suppose in my own way I wanted to address something too. I went with masturbation. I remember many years ago having a conversation with a friend who was quite sexually active to the point where she needed to have sex regularly but was downright disgusted by the thought of doing it herself. No man, no orgasm!

Thinking back on it, I’ve had many conversations with men who all giggle and show wide eyed shock and wonder at the mere suggestion of a woman masturbating, despite the many hours they’ve probably spent pleasuring themselves over that very scene in numerous erotic art porn films!

So Inspired by Night addresses this issue. Under Chris Knight’s “expert” guidance, Olivia learns to explore her body, find out what it responds to and lose the associated feelings of guilt and embarrassment at enjoying the sensations she’s been missing out on in the wilderness years since she last had a relationship.

There is an overriding theme of anonymity, given that Chris is just a voice coming out of her laptop because his webcam broke and she can’t see him. There’s something almost (unintentionally) ‘Catfish’ After Dark about the whole thing.

But anyway, there you have it, the nature of the sex scenes in Inspired By Night. It’s practically a self help book… One that I really don’t want my Mum to read!

Now then, that’s enough mucky talk, think it’s time for a nice cup of tea and a slice of cake…

Let's talk about the sex, shall we?