ON WRITING

“It’s very easy to quit during the first ten years of writing. Nobody cares whether you write or not, and it’s very hard to write when nobody cares one way or the other. You can’t get fired if you don’t write, and most of the time you don’t get rewarded if you do. But don’t quit.” Andre Dubus

Friday, 28 September 2012

Do editors know what readers want? Author Linda Gillard channels Jane Eyre. Do you prefer heroines or anti-heroines? Naughty or Nice?

Hello there!

Not so long ago I did a post on all of the fantasy books I've read on my holidays in Fiji. One of the novels was The Glass Guardian which I thought was amazing. I caught the author, Linda Gillard on Talli Roland's blog. Linda popped up in the comments which I thought was pretty cool. I returned the favour, and did a troll of Linda's blog, to find that she had some very strong opinions on creating heroines.

Linda was very happy to appear on my blog to talk about how she feels about her heroines and how her opinions may conflict with an editor.

We all know it's difficult  being a writer looking for publication. Well, according to Linda it can be hard for an author seeking publication - again and again. There are many frustrations along with the exciting stuff, but one thing that can cause conflict between writer and editor is that their agendas are different. 
So, Linda, what is this conflict you've become aware of between editors and authors?
A writer wants to write a great book, a bestseller would be nice, but the publisher's agenda is of course to sell as many copies as possible of that great book. Sometimes this leads to creative loggerheads over what readers want.
Don't editors know best?
I actually think they are out of touch with what readers want and they often lag behind the trends now being set by indy books. Editors' choices are now being driven by retailers (and in the UK that means the big supermarkets.) Something that the average reader doesn't grasp is that publishers aren't marketing to readers, they're marketing to retailers. If the book chains and supermarkets won't take your book, it's dead in the water. Retailers like genre fiction, with everything very clear cut. They want to know what shelf to put it on. 

I think it's probably just conservatism. Editors don't like taking risks with female characters in women's commercial fiction. Heroines have to be likeable. Ideally, they must also be morally spotless. It's a given that they should be youngish, thin, gorgeous (or at least pretty!) but it's also expected they should be good. A nice mix of Pollyanna and Mother Theresa, with the addition of sex appeal.
Linda, how would you describe your heroines? From reading 'The Glass Guardian' I suspect you reject the accepted stereotype of accepted heroine.
You're right Denise. I write about spiky, awkward, real women and most of them aren’t young, pretty or thin, which only compounds their felonies. The heroine of STAR GAZING is middle-aged, widowed and blind and she’s not too happy about any of that. (In fact the Scots hero describes her as "crabbit".) Over the years my heroines’ bolshy behaviour has led to some editorial conflict as I’ve resisted attempts made by patient and longsuffering editors to make my female protagonists nicer.
Do you consider 'nice', boring?
It’s not just that I think, in fiction, nice is generally boring. It’s that I’m steeped in the classics and know niceness is not necessary; that many a book has stood the test of time despite the heroine’s lack of social skills.
Can you give us some examples from the classics of the type of heroine you're alluding to?
Let’s face it, Jane Eyre is not exactly Miss Congeniality. And I'm surely not the only one who’d like to slap Emma Woodhouse. Cathy Earnshaw is a minx at best, demon at worst. Becky Sharp, Anna Karenina, Emma Bovary, Scarlett O'Hara, Tess D'Urberville … none of them would have made Head Girl. Even everyone’s favourite, Elizabeth Bennet, is tricky. At a time when marrying for love was just a fanciful notion, turning down Collins' marriage proposal was a selfish act that would rebound on her large and impecunious family. But we love her anyway.

These problematic heroines haven’t exactly blighted the books in which they appear. On the contrary, they are the reason we read and re-read. We relish their complexity, their guts and their moral ambiguity

Why do you think our concept of the ideal heroine has changed?
Times have changed. There seems to be a belief now among editors of popular women's fiction that female protagonists must set some sort of example. They mustn’t drink to excess or swear; they mustn’t desert or even dislike their children; they mustn’t have casual sex and should always be kind to old people and animals. 
Do you think editors and publishers are guarding our morality?
It’s not that publishers see themselves as moral arbiters, rather they’re convinced readers won’t like a woman who is less than perfect, and if they don’t like her, they won’t like the book. I can see why they might think that. I'm astonished at the number of Amazon reviewers who rate a book according to how much they liked the heroine or whether she behaved the way the reviewer would behave.
Linda, do you have an example of an anti-heroine from one of your books who connected with readers?
 Sure. In my second novel, A LIFETIME BURNING, my anti-heroine Flora, a clergyman’s wife, commits every sin apart from murder, but when she dies, some readers cry their eyes out. I know because they've told me. They don't like Flora, but they do pity her. 
Now call me old-fashioned, but I think evoking readers’ compassion is a higher goal for novelist and publisher than avoiding readers’ censure.  What I discovered when I went indy and put my books on Kindle (books every UK editor had rejected) was that readers loved my conflicted older heroines! The romantic heroine of HOUSE OF SILENCE has to choose between two very different men and she behaves in a way that some readers will find problematic, but HOS quickly became a Kindle bestseller and has brought me thousands of new fans.
I often like to think about some of our classics of the past and how they'd go about finding a modern publisher. Would Moby Dick find a publisher? The Great Gatsby? I somehow think not...
Yes, I think about this too. Sometimes I wonder how the Brontës’ novels might have fared in today’s slush piles. In an idle, possibly vengeful moment, I composed an imaginary rejection letter sent to an aspiring Charlotte Bronte. I tried to emulate the tone and content of the kind of helpful editorial feedback that many authors receive nowadays…

Dear Ms Brontë

We enjoyed your manuscript JANE EYRE. You write well and most of your characters are believable, but I'm afraid we found your plot relentlessly downbeat and depressing. Does Helen Burns really have to die? Does Rochester have to be blinded? A disfigured hero is not appealing and spoils your otherwise feel-good ending. We wondered whether superficial burns and a partial loss of sight would serve just as well?

We found Rochester himself problematic. He isn't likeable, nor is he physically attractive. He is wealthy (a point in his favour) but you fail to clarify whether or not Adèle is his illegitimate daughter. In short, he just isn't hero material.

Sadly, Jane herself is not very appealing as a heroine. She’s feisty, but physically unattractive and a little prissy. There's little for a female reader to identify with here. Something more upbeat is required for a romantic heroine. Readers might forgive Jane rejecting Rochester's immoral proposal, but to reject St John Rivers as well makes her look priggish and ungrateful.

You might want to think about demoting Rochester to a subplot and upgrading Rivers to main hero, perhaps dropping the unappealing religious aspect of his character. (No one loves a do-gooder.) You could then dispense with your frankly unconvincing plot device of Jane hearing Rochester call to her after the fire. (We don't think paranormal romance has a future.)

You write well and with passion, but JANE EYRE belongs to no clear genre and this would make it extremely difficult to market. Sorry not to be more encouraging, but in a fiercely competitive field, a romantic novel has to have stand-out qualities to be commercially viable.

Thank you for letting us read your manuscript.

Yours sincerely
A N Editor.


Thanks so much Linda for visiting my blog today. If you want to check out Linda's books, follow the links below. Don't miss her new release,  'The Glass Guardian'. 


Ruth Travers has lost a lover, both parents and her job. Now she thinks she might be losing her mind...

When death strikes again, Ruth finds herself the owner of a dilapidated Victorian house on the Isle of Skye: Tigh na Linne, the summer home she shared as a child with her beloved Aunt Janet, the woman she’d regarded as a mother. 

As Ruth prepares to put the old house up for sale, she’s astonished to find she’s not the only occupant. Worse, she suspects she might be falling in love... 

With a man who died almost a hundred years ago.



www.lindagillard.co.uk

You can buy Linda's books on Amazon  $2.99









Linda Gillard lives in the Scottish Highlands and has been an actress, journalist and teacher. She’s the author of six novels, including STAR GAZING, short-listed in 2009 for Romantic Novel of the Year and the Robin Jenkins Literary Award (for writing that promotes the Scottish landscape.) STAR GAZING was also votedFavourite Romantic Novel 1960 - 2010 by Woman's Weekly readers.  

Linda's fourth novel, HOUSE OF SILENCE became a Kindle bestseller, selling over 20,000 copies in its first year. It was selected by Amazon as one of their Top Ten "Best of 2011" in the Indie Author category.

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ANNOUNCING ROMANTIC FRIDAY WRITERS NEXT CHALLENGES - OPEN TO ALL WRITERS OF PROSE AND POETRY:


This challenge is to celebrate the shared birthdays of your hosts. Perhaps you share an October birthday too? 


Have you ever been to a birthday party that was so extravagant it actually made you jealous? Create a story or poem in which a character goes to a birthday party that is completely out of his/her  league. This especially includes the present that you got this person. Totally inadequate :).

Get penning your 400 words of prose/prosetry now!


CHALLENGE NO 47 - Friday October 19



It's Halloween!

Another FW/RU Challenge

We’re looking for chilling stories of ghosts and haunted locations – and maybe even love from beyond the grave. 
A romantic element is essential, but we’re looking for stories with a thrilling edge of fear to add to the romantic tension building between our Hero/Heroine.

Have fun with this one! 
Don't forget the Romantic Element!

Let your head go! 
You can write up to 1,000 words of prose/prosetry!



  • Don't forget that next Wednesday, October 10, is Alex J Cavanaugh's Insecure Writers Support Group.







Monday, 24 September 2012

Spring has Sprung Down Under and a writer's thoughts return to the Brisbane Writer's Festival and Tall Stories and little ships...


Oh! Beautiful Spring! What better time to hold the Brisbane Writer's Festival - 5 days of writerly fun and games to welcome September. But you should have been there for the official opening... 

Germaine Greer likes to visit writer's festivals as she's written a book or two, and she might be able to sell a few. So someone thoughtfully asked her to open proceedings. They failed to note the evil look on her countenance for which they will forever rue the day. I saw it as I was lining up to have my copy of Peaches for Monsieur Le Curé  by Joanne Harris, the most popular book of the show, signed.

Clutching Joanne's book, I rushed to the opening where I'd planned to meet my blogger friend Charmaine who has recently become a Queenslander. Up there on the podium, I could see Germaine sussing up the crowd in that way she has, nodding her head, shaking her head. I knew we were in for a tongue lashing, as always. 'Just watch this Charmaine honey. You're in for a wild ride!' I said as I nudged her in the ribs, waking her from her bored napping.

Germaine creaked to the podium.

She berated her Queensland audience (with a few notable exceptions of exceptional writers from more academic climes - there was Joanne Harris from the Empirical UK, after all.) Joanne didn't mind rubbing shoulders with the colonials Down Under. After all, they were sending her books to the top of the best seller list as Australians, even Queenslanders, like to collect books! They look so pretty on the shelves, don't they, and a pile of print books comes in handy for that extra chair or keeping the fire going if you run out of kindling. Germaine was probably thinking - how dare those rednecks buy Joanne's books, but not hers! She had Queenslanders in her sights alright.

'47% of Queenslanders can't even read the newspaper,' she smirked, dodging the odd rotten tomato and raw egg. This was too much! She'd been discussing percentages with Mitt Romney again! 47%! This is where the US/Aussie alliance is worrying! Where do they pluck these figures from? The entrails of chooks?

'But doesn't she live in Queensland?' asked a bemused Charmaine.

'Yep. Work it out. That's why she's nuts, innit?'

That's when the screaming from the masses began.

'Fair go, mate! We didn't muck out the cow bails early to listen to this s*i@t!' yelled an irate granny in dungarees and headscarf, (she must have already read Peaches for Monsieur Le Curé) sitting two seats from me.

'Get orf!' yelled the farmer type in an outsize cowboy hat next to me, jangling his bridle and flicking the spurs he'd somehow managed to smuggle past security. I pulled my head in before I lost it.

'Get back on your horse, cowboy! 47% of Queenslanders can't even read!  Fancy holding a writer's festival here for you yobbos! It's a disgrace!' the Female Eunuch screeched.

That was too much! As one the crowd surged towards the podium, clutching their tablets with their hieroglypical alphabet figures they'd been etching earnestly, taking notes as the guru spoke, chipping away, chipping away. They'd show her! They did so know how to read and write and they had the pictures to prove it!

Ms Greer watched the ominous crowd nearing her safe place. Not big on negotiating skills, she continued to hurl insults - 'peasants!', 'great unwashed', 'your lives will be brutish and short!' These were difficult concepts for the great unwashed to grapple with, so they began hurling their tablets at the shrill dame until she stopped her foul haranguing.

'To the river!' an American sailor (where did he come from?) began the chant which was picked up by the Aussie seamen, all on shore leave with nothing to do but read, then the farmers, then the schoolteachers, then the housewives, then...everyone! I feared Germaine was about to be levelled. Great burly arms held her aloft and down to the river we went, chortling hideously.

The peasants quickly crafted a wicker basket and raft from bullrushes that grew profusely by the banks of the mighty muddy Brisbane River. There's a time when brawn is needful over brain. They raised her supine intellectual aging female form onto the sailing craft and launched her into the river, along with a couple of bottles of water and a packet of muesli bars and the cowboy's hat to protect her from the fierce Queensland sun. Just let her try drinking that river water! Although it's not as murky as the Yarra! She didn't have a prayer. No one broke a bottle of Veuve Clicquot against the boat as Charmaine and I snuck up and grabbed it already and ran up to the Pineapple Lounge bar. No one wished her 'bon voyage' as this was a foreign language, far too difficult for the illiterate masses to enunciate.

'Silly old bugger.' I'd know that voice anywhere. The old silver budgie, Bob Hawke, past and most popular and okker of Prime Ministers, was standing on the river bank chuckling, then crying, as Bob is wont to do. 'Come and have a beer, Bob,' we yelled as we rushed up the hill. This was going to be some party!

I was a little sad for Germaine though. I hope she sailed to more serious, more academic climes like Sydney or Melbourne, where the folk aren't quite so unwashed and really love to read their newspapers except when they're owned by rich-as-Croesus female miners who also have a thing about the great unwashed. You just try washing in the Brisbane River, Gina my girl!

You might wonder why you didn't read about this assailing of the great Female Eunuch herself at the Brisbane Writer's Festival, but the little hieroglyphic tablets are all we have this side of the border and they weren't up to the reportage, especially when they were in pieces on the podium. There were some letters we've not learned yet. And why publish a story when nearly half of the population is illiterate? Maybe when Germaine floats into Melbourne, The Age will pick up on it. Or the Sydney Morning Herald. They love an anti-Queensland story as we keep licking them every year at the Rugby! Brawn over brains again!

'Ah, only in Queensland,' they'll sigh in their upper class accents.

Two bright sparks, Charmaine and I. grabbed our Veuve Clicquot and watched proceedings from the safety of the
Writer's Pineapple Lounge overlooking the Brisbane River (as Queenslanders are wont to do...)
This is a fantasy brought on by the hot Queensland sun. There is a 'germ' of truth in it! But we sure had a mighty good Writer's Festival. More from the Ministry of Truth later...




Thursday, 20 September 2012

#RomanticFridayWriters - Challenge No 45 - Oh How I Hate My Beautiful Friend!

It's time for our bi-monthly challenge for RomanticFridayWriters. Today the prompt is 'Oh How I Hate My Beautiful Friend.' The linky is up and fingers are furiously dashing over keyboards as writers and poets come up with all sorts of takes on the theme. If you'd like to try the challenge, it's open to all! Go to the RFW Challenges Page for more info. on the prompt. If you like the idea, please join us.

Today I'm continuing the Inya and Sally series. Sally has returned to Anam Island to continue her love affair with a Fijian local. She's handed over the reins of her New York corporation and plans to stay on the island with Inya. Her tough New York BFF, Agnetha, has other ideas and isn't afraid to share them...


BFF? Best Friends Forever? 


Sally delighted in the silvery moonlight flickering across the Pacific Ocean. Her adrenalin surged. She wanted to run along the beach, scream and shout. 

Don’t you just love jet lag?

She’d just hit the pillow when she heard the thump, thump, thump. Was it Inya? Surely he knew she wasn’t up for an early-morning surf. He’d seen the wreck she was last night.

She fell out of bed, dragged on a robe, pushed her hair out of her eyes and tugged the door open – and screamed!

‘God, Sally, you’re one wrecked chick. I thought island life suited you?’

‘What the – what are you doing here, Aggie?’

‘Well, can I come in?’

Sally opened the door and watched as Aggie dragged all four designer suitcases inside, leaving them where they fell.

‘What – ?’

‘I’m glad to see you too, honey.’

‘But - ?’

‘How did I get here? Well, I caught a plane, a bus, a boat…and asked about you at the dive shop and they pointed me in this direction.’

‘What are you doing following me?’

‘I’ve been your friend since we were in trainer bras honey. The Sally I know doesn’t rush all the way across the world, give up corporate life in the most exciting city in the world, for, what – an uneducated guy on an atoll? I’m here to find out if it’s just reef and beef – or is there more to it?’

‘There’s a lot more to it. I love Inya. I plan to spend the rest of my life with him, wherever, however that works out.’

‘You’ve known him – how long was that again?’

‘Six months. Long enough.’

‘You’re taking yourself off the market after six months? Six months is too short for the TFA.’

‘The what?’

‘Together. Forever. Always. You’re already falling behind. You’re way too easy,’ she said, plopping on the saggy sofa. ‘You gotta let this guy woo you.’

‘Woo me? Now who’s out of touch?’

‘Enough sass. Guys got this primeval need to win us, make us theirs. What’s this Inya gonna think with you running over here, giving everything up for him, huh?’

‘I think he was pretty pleased, judging by his reaction when I arrived.’

‘You think? It’s early in the game. A dame needs to hold back a little.’

‘Sometimes, my friend, I hate you.’

‘That’s just how the fudge melts, honey.’


 ©DeniseCovey2012




WORD COUNT - 397
FCA

Join us for upcoming RFW Challenges:

Friday Oct 5th   - BIRTHDAY MADNESS!
Friday Oct 19th - HOUSE OF HORRORS HALLOWEEN CHALLENGE. This is for Featured Writer. 








Monday, 17 September 2012

Genre Favorites Blogfest, September 17, 2012 - Alex J Cavanaugh

Click to read more entries...

Alex J Cavanaugh has the simplest of blogfests, so very easy to enter, and he even reminds you so you don't forget. It sounds easy to pick your favourite genre of anything, but when it comes down to it, it's jolly hard. I still think of favourite songs I didn't think of for his Favourite Music Blogfest. Anyway, they are always heaps of fun and informative at the same time helping us to get to know more about each other in this great blogging community. Here's the guff:


Genre Favorites Blogfest, September 17, 2012

One blogfest, four favorites!
List your favorite genre of:
Movie
Music
Books
And a guilty pleasure genre from any of the three categories!


My favourite genre - Movie

Drama with a historical and romantic element - a la Gone With the Wind - in case you don't know this one (yeah, highly unlikely) - it is a sizzling love story set against the backdrop of the American Civil War based on one of the biggest selling books of all time by Margaret Mitchell, American author and journalist. So many timeless themes...


**


My favourite genre - Music

Industrial Rock a la U2 - I love their lyrics, their music and their overall political, at times 'save the world' style. What other high school garage band is still going strong after all these years? I've visited their hometown on the outskirts of Dublin, Ireland, and I can see some of where their inspiration came from. Seeing some of their album cover settings was pretty awesome for this die hard fan.


**

My favourite genre - Book

Realistic Fiction a la Jodi Picoult - I love so many book genres, there' s very few I don't read and enjoy, but my favourite will always remain big, fat, print books of realistic contemporary fiction exploring the issues humans are grappling with. Jodi seems to keep one step ahead of the NEXT BIG THING and researches and writes a powerful story every year. I also love how she travels to Australia, so far away for a 'mom', on a regular basis, to visit her large fan base Down Under (and sell the odd book or two).

Jodi and me at Noosa when Change of Heart was released

Guilty Pleasure for any category -  Movie - BLACK SWAN

2010 American psychological thriller and horror film

**
I love thrillers in both Movies and Books, but not usually horror. This was the most amazing movie I'll never forget! The horror was handled lightly until the very end...

** I have no right to use the  images ((slaps hand)) marked with ** so I will be deleting them as soon as this blogfest is over! Do be careful of any stolen images you may have used for this blogfest. Hard to source free images for genres.


  • What is your favourite genre of Movie, Music or Book?

Click on the badge at the top to go to more entries...Thanks Captain for the opportunity to wax lyrical about my favourites.

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For any writer - prose or poetry - who'd like to write 400 words or less for the next RomanticFridayChallenge, here is the prompt and this Friday is the day! Hope to see you there...



for more details of this and projected prompts, go to the Challenges Page...

TODAY on RomanticFridayWriters we have an Author Guest Post from much-awarded author Linda Gillard. Pay us a visit to learn more about where characters come from...

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Thursday, 13 September 2012

J L Campbell's Distraction Friendship Tour. What are friends for?


Hi folks! I'm sorry this is a little late, but I've been having computer problems, grrr...but I hope better late than never Joy! A thousand apologies to those who've come by and had to be content with Cadbury's Chocolates instead of Joy!

I'm honoured to be hosting another of our published RomanticFridayWriter members, J L Campbell today, as part of her Friendship is Forever blog tour for her latest release, Distraction (which is all about 3 friends...)

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Joy's book and asked her if she'd answer the questions I came up with as I read her book. She was happy to oblige. 

Joy, your novel is well named Distraction as the three girlfriends, Justine, Kyra and Dionne are certainly distracted in many areas of their lives, whether by their men or their children, or even by each other at times. Did you set out to write a novel about the distractions that happen in life, or was it in the writing that the idea of distraction raised its head?

In writing the book, Justine is the first character that came to me along with her problem. Although Justine is self-contained, like everybody else, she needs support. Dionne and Kyra, although they have their problems, provide somewhere for Justine to turn.

Do you write about the close friendship between girlfriends from personal experience? Do you have close buddies with whom you share your most intimate secrets?

The friendship the women share in Distraction would be an ideal scenario for me. Unfortunately, life is not like that. Not a lot of us can keep secrets without eventually spilling them, but I’ve had (and still do) one particular friend that I can talk to frankly without fear of being judged or having my confidence broken.

Do you think friends should counsel each other on life choices? 

When friends and associates have big challenges, I advise them to make a pro/con list and work from there. If the person with the problem is someone who will take advice in the way it’s meant, then I have no problem giving it. However, there are people who tend to be defiant, especially when they know their choices are morally wrong. In such cases, I keep my own counsel. 

I once knew two very close girlfriends of long standing whose friendship was shattered because one of them embarked on an affair with a married man. Justine, Dionne and Kyra seem to be able to value their friendship above their moral judgements. Is that a good thing in your opinion?

I think it’s important for people to recognize that someone else’s choices are their own. Some friends have relationships wherein they can say just about anything to each other without getting into a snit, which is a good thing. I also think it’s wonderful to know that no matter the situation, you have a friend who won’t give up on you, even when you make bad choices. 

Justine seemed conflicted between spending time with her lover Xavier and her daughter Yolanda early in your novel. Do you think this shows a moral weakness? Shouldn’t her daughter naturally come first? Shouldn’t a mother cherish that friendship between Mother and Daughter which these two share when Justine’s lust for Xavier doesn’t interfere?

Definitely, Justine displays moral weakness. It was challenging to create a character who did the right thing most of the time, but had this particular weakness. I figured though, that some readers would be able to identify with Justine’s dilemma. I also thought a lot about whether I wanted to tell this particular story. Critics can be harsh as it pertains to books that include subjects such as adultery and homosexuality.
Ultimately, Justine makes the right choice and I hope readers will see the book more as a story about women surviving their weaknesses rather than one that glorifies immorality.

Xavier and Justin begin their affair, risking both their marriages, at church. Would you say this is common or were you being deliberately provocative?

That’s an interesting one, Denise. I was amazed when a reader at the online writing network where I’m a member told me that many affairs start in church. I’ve asked people about that, but you know how that goes, mostly rumor mongering. From the responses I got, I have concluded that it does happen.

Justine, Kyra and Dionne are very sensitive to each other’s moods. I love this passage where Kyra picks up on Justine’s distress over her breakup with her lover, Xavier. I think it encapsulates the closeness of the three and their care for each other.

Something was wrong with Justine. She’d sensed it earlier, but the time wasn’t right to ask what was going on. Before she forgot again,
Kyra said, “Is why you so quiet, ma’am.”

Justine shook her head. “I’m all right.”

“You look far from all right. You look like somebody in your family
dropped dead or like you lost your best friend.”

A harsh cry escaped Justine, who hunched over the table, tears
wetting her face.

Kyra frowned at Dionne and mouthed, “Is what happen to her?”

Dionne shrugged and spread her hands.

Justine laid her forehead on her arm and continued to sob.

Of the three, Justine was the most even-tempered, self-contained
and composed. The one who held them together in a crisis and handed
out good advice. What had happened to make her fall apart like this?
They allowed her to cry, and when her sobs turned into sniffles, Kyra got
a square of hand towel off the roll and pushed it into Justine’s hand. She
dried her eyes and tugged at the buttons on her shirt, head held down.

“What was that all about?” Dionne asked.

“Xavier and I broke up last night.”


Yes, intimate friendship with girlfriends can be life enhancing.
What was going through your mind when you wrote this passage, Joy?

Many of us have friends that have seen us through some tough time and we look to them, knowing they’ll be there whenever we need their support. It’s an awesome thing to have the security of friends who instinctively know when you’re not yourself, love you as you are and are willing to slap some sense into you when you falter. That’s the essence of Distraction – surviving and triumphing over bad choices, with the help of friends.

If you’ve stuck with us to this point, please feel free to download a complimentary copy of A Baker’s Dozen: Thirteen Steps to Distraction. In this prequel, you’ll meet Dionne, Kyra and Justine a year before Distraction takes place. I hope you’ll enjoy this taste of things Jamaican.


Each person who leaves a comment on this post will be entered to win an e-copy of Distraction. At the end of this Friendship tour, there’ll be a main prize of a Distraction note pad & pen and a $10 Amazon gift card. The second prize is a paperback copy of Distraction. Sign up for that at the Rafflecopter here.

Denise, thanks so much for being a good friend and for hosting me.


J.L. Campbell is a proud Jamaican and the author of Contraband, Distraction, Dissolution, Don’t Get Mad…Get Even, Giving up the Dream and Hardware (pen name Jayda McTyson). Campbell is always on the lookout for story making material, loves company and can usually be found lollygagging on her blog at http://thecharacterdepot. blogspot.com



It was great hosting Joy today. I hope you enjoyed the interview and download some of Joy's excellent books.

Thanks for coming by today.




Tuesday, 11 September 2012

What's Your Chocolate? Blogfest - Monday Sept 10




So today is the “What’s Your Chocolate” Blogfest. Well with a name like that, I'm surprised everyone isn't an entrant! 

Simply...Do you love chocolate? Does the very word make you drool with anticipation? Share...

So I'm to post about my favorite chocolate – what it means to me, where and when I indulge, a favorite memory – anything chocolate-related.

Hosted by M. PaxLaura EnoBrinda Berry, and Ciara Knight.


Do I love chocolate? Well, rather. I succumb to all that's good about chocolate - how it calms you, how it makes you feel - but not how it makes you feel guilty for eating it. High quality food should be guilt free and shouldn't lead to self hatred should it? I love reading all those spurious articles in magazines which always give me spurious reasons for eating chocolate - so I eat it. 

There must be a reason why chocolates are the gift of choice in the early romance stage of a relationship. When a man continues to ply you with chocolates after the first date, maybe that means he's a keeper, lol! (Well, it's one point in his favour anyway!)

There are different chocolates for different occasions. I'd hate to get sick of them, ahem, as if...

Mother's Day chocolates are usually of the boxed up variety - in Australia, Cadbury Roses is a perennial favourite, or Darrel Lea (which, unfortunately, has just gone to the wall.)  It's an iconic Aussie brand since Cadbury's (which I wrongly thought was Australian) was whisked away by those 'dastardly Americans' as one article says. It went for $19 billion in 2010! There must be money in chocolate! It was originally a UK company which set up a factory in the antipodes early in the 20th Century. You can still visit the Cadbury's factory in Tasmania and gorge yourself silly if you want. My one disappointment  with Cadbury's is that instead of being nice thick chunky portions, a block is now made up of these flat little bits which don't give a full chokky flavour.

My favourite chocolate is hard to say, but if I buy a block of chocolate, I like Cadbury's Roast Almond. I'm not a fan of Lindt chocolates - they have a lot of oil in them apparently, which makes me sickish. 

If I really give it a lot of thought (and I don't usually - I just grab myself a chokkie), I adore Ferrero Rocher, good Italian brand, especially the white chocolate variety covered in coconut (I adore coconut.) I try to only eat them on a special occasion and by golly, if they catch my eye I can think of a special occasion very quickly!

AFTERWORD:

Just read the other day that some company has found that by adding orange juice to the recipe they can replicate the full chocolate flavour with greatly reduced calories, which diet companies have been trying to do for ages. 

I'm sorry I forgot to preschedule this post and how quick did Sept 10 come around!! Now I'm off for a run to counter all that chocolate...


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  • What's your favourite chocolate?