Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Holiday Greetings!

I'd like to wish everybody a very Merry Christmas and the Happiest New Year!

I will not be posting until after Christmas.  May you all have the best Holiday Season ever!


Saturday, 18 December 2010

Why I love Christmas

A lot had been said about Christmas.  Some like it, some don't.  I've read about how people don't like the commercialism attached to it and how it makes people worry about getting all the gifts for their loved ones.  Having considered all that, I'd still like to say that I love Christmas.  I really do.  I am not religious but I get excited about it.

Here's why:

Because it reminds me of the happiness of my childhood.  Well, I did not get so much from Santa during those years - except for a sock full of sweets - yes every year!  At the time, we did not use decorative socks that you can now buy from the shops - we used my father's old socks!  I remember I'd get the longest ones for me and my sister because I thought we'd get more sweets in them.  Well, we didn't.  LOL.

I grew up in a Christian environment.  Back home, Christmas is a big thing.  I love this time of the year when everybody is on holiday, people get together to celebrate, children are happy and excited, enemies forgive each other, friends and families swap gifts, it's festive everywhere and Santa Claus comes alive once again in the hearts and minds of the little ones!

You may find this post excessively sentimental for your taste but Christmas is sentimental, isn't it?  So please forgive me because I have to write it anyway - I love Christmas because it's the time of the year when I see all things beautiful around the world.  Friendship.  Family.  Love.  Togetherness.  Peace. Things that I wish to see more everyday.

What do you love about Christmas?

Sunday, 12 December 2010

A Chat with Author Talli Roland

Weekend is almost over, I know! It comes and goes quick, doesn’t it? *Sigh* But don’t fret, because you know what? It’s going to be weekend again before you know it!

So, how did you spend your weekend? Christmas shopping? I bet you were busy, weren’t you? I know everybody is – including Author Talli Roland – but being the kind person that she is, she spared me some time for an interview, yes while we were virtually nibbling on cupcakes and drinking coffee!

Talli’s debut novel The Hating Game reached No. 24 on Amazon .UK Kindle and No. 460 on She was thrilled to bits by all the support she received from everybody. I’ve enjoyed her book so much that I wanted to know when’s the next one going to be??? And yes, yes, please, I’d like to know more about Talli! So, here’s my chat with Talli which I can only describe as super-fab! It’s rather long but absolutely fun-tastic!

When did you realise you wanted to be a writer?

Funnily enough, although I always loved creative writing, I never considered it as a career – it just wasn’t an option. I tried to compromise with journalism, but over time I realised factual writing wasn’t what I really wanted. It took several more career changes before I finally decided to give writing novels a serious try.

Do you remember the first book you ever read when you were a child?

I've tried really hard to remember, but I have no recollection of the first book. I do remember loving Roald Dahl books ('James and the Giant Peach' was one of my favourites). 'Anne of Green Gables' was also another one I enjoyed, particularly since I grew up close to Prince Edward Island.

Is there a particular place, aside from your work space at home, that you favour when you write?

I am very much a creature of habit when it comes to writing. I need routines to anchor me or I tend to float about, wasting time (something I’m very good at). I always write in the same place: my office. It has a big window overlooking the street, so I can feel all smug as I watch the zombies lurch towards the tube and their daily commute. I live on quite a busy street and there’s always something going on, from shrieking police cars to a collection of random people rooting through rubbish bins.

Do you want it quiet when you write or do you prefer some kind of music in the background to help you concentrate?

I would love to be able to write with music in the background, and I’m always so envious when I read about writers creating super-cool playlists. Unfortunately, music interferes with the voices in my head when I’m writing. The most I can handle is the street noise from the traffic and the neighbourhood crazies.

Can you share with us your favourite authors? And favourite books?

'Something Borrowed' by Emily Giffin has been a favourite for a few years now. I remember a friend lending it to me on a train to Barcelona, and I devoured it as quickly as I could because I knew she'd need it back at the end of the journey! I've since bought my own copy. I also enjoy Sophie Kinsella for the pure fun factor of her novels, as well as Marian Keyes. It's funny; people sometimes think writing in a light tone is easy. It's not, and I really admire those who can pull it off successfully.

Let’s talk about your debut novel, The Hating Game – how long ago was it when you began to write this novel?

I only started writing the novel last April, but I’d already pitched the concept and the first three chapters to my publisher. That’s one of the really great things about working with a smaller publisher: the turnaround time is much faster. I wrote the first draft in around six weeks, then did quite a few massive overhauls over the next few months! The finished product bears little resemblance to that first draft.

Can you tell us about The Hating Game? What is it about?

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 £200,000 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?

Did you have to research to write the story?

I’ve worked as a TV reporter and I also did a few internships in and around the sets of TV shows, so I had some basic knowledge of the television industry. I also love watching reality TV – it gave me a great deal of pleasure to justify my TV watching with ‘it’s research’! I did have to do some more research into the process of how reality shows are created, from the actual pitch to the people involved.

How did you create Mattie Johns as your lead character? Is she a real person?

She’s real to me! But no, she’s not a real person. The best piece of advice I ever heard for writing novels was that it’s not real life – it’s a novel. People in real life aren’t usually as over the top as my characters, and things in real life might seem random, or not have happy endings. But in novels, writing wishy-washy characters, having random things happen and endings with no pay-off is just dire. So, when I was creating Mattie, I thought of a woman with a hard shell who doesn’t trust men – then ratcheted it up a notch or two. Hopefully creating strong characters makes their journeys that much more satisfying to readers.

Do you have any of Mattie Johns’ characteristics?

Ha! I joke sometimes that Mattie Johns is my inner snark. She’s all the thoughts inside my head that I would never dream of uttering – but for her, it’s no problem, mainly because she needs to assert her control. I like to be in control, too, but I wouldn’t go about it like she does! I do love prawn cocktail crisps, though, just like Mattie.

Do you have a favourite character in The Hating Game?

My favourite character would have to be Nate, the bumbling TV producer, because he tries so hard to be tough but inside he’s just a big cuddly teddy bear! He’s got a good heart underneath his desperation to be cool.

Are you working on any other projects right now? If so, can you tell us about them?

I've just had the go-ahead from my editor for my next novel. It features Willow Watts, whose life is turned upside down when a YouTube video of her Marilyn Monroe impersonation gets over 50 million hits after a viewer spots Marilyn's face in a cloud of cigarette smoke. Instantly, Willow's small English village is overrun with fans flocking to see the 'new Marilyn'. Egged on by the villagers -- whose shops and businesses are cashing in -- Willow embraces her new identity, dying her chestnut hair platinum and ramming herself full of cakes to achieve Marilyn’s legendary curves. But when a former flame returns seeking the old Willow, Willow must decide: can she risk her stardom and her village’s newfound fortune on love, or is being Marilyn her ticket to happiness?

Wow, the new novel sounds another interesting read!  I am sure all your readers - that includes moi - are looking forward to reading Willow!
Do you have any tips to share with aspiring writers out there who would like to follow in your footsteps?

Just keep writing! Share your work with other writers, too – there’s nothing like an objective eye to help you along. I have five novels that will never see the light of day and I know many successful authors who took years to be published, so it can happen if you keep at it. But more than that, enjoy the writing and the creation process.

Thank you very much, Talli, do you have anything else to add?

A big thanks to my blogging friends who have encouraged and supported me! I’ve never met such a wonderful community of people, and I’m so glad to have you all beside me!

Talli Roland has three loves in her life: rom coms, cupcakes and chocolate. Born and raised in Canada, Talli now lives in London, where she savours the great cultural life (cupcakes and chocolate). Despite training as a journalist, Talli soon found she preferred making up her own stories – complete with happy endings. The Hating Game is her first novel. The ebook is available now ahead of its paperback release next year. To learn more Talli, go to, or follow Talli on Twitter or on her blog.

I hope you enjoyed the interview!  We have some more virtual cupcakes over here, please feel free to have some!  Thank you very much, Talli, for this wonderful opportunity! Really appreciate it.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

The character who doesn't speak!!!

Revise.  Revise.  Revise.  That's what I have been doing.  My manuscript is now completely different from the first one, well, except of course for the names of the characters and their backgrounds.  Yeah, yeah, tell me about it.  But the good thing is - I think it's getting better.  I think. 

The funny thing about re-reading the first draft is finding out that there are plenty of unanswered questions.  A lot of rubbish.  Chapter one that's totally going to be put in the rubbish bin.  And I just noticed - there's this one character that has been there, all along, but doesn't talk!  Of course she had a few lines here and there...but just a few words.  LOL.  I think I better make her more interesting and give her more to say!

Hmmm. That's just me updating you on what I have been doing.  There's another thing - I'd like to share with you two wonderful blogs that I have just began following.  I thought you'd be interested, too!

I've heard of a 17-year old YA writer, Vee, who's got a really cooooool blog.  Check it out!  It's called Ramblings of a Writer - click here!  Thank you Author Mandy Hubbard for sharing this on Facebook!

And a good friend of mine, Writer Lisa Stowe, has got a new blog, The Story River.  Another awesome blog to have a look!

Hey, friends, it's almost the weekend, eh?  Time to happy dance!!!!!!

Monday, 6 December 2010

I have not disappeared. Still here.

Hi there.  Sorry it took me awhile to update my blog.  It has been really crazy these past few days. And it is absolutely freeeezzzziiinnngggg. 

Nothing much to say, really.  Except that I feel really really 'low.'  Like I've got no energy.  My husband keeps asking me if I'm okay because I'm unusually quiet.  I think it's the gloomy weather, the lack of the sun and the very low temperature.  Yeah, blame it on the weather! 

I hope you are all well.  Please do keep warm.  Will try to think of something exciting to post next time, LOL.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

A Must-read: Talli Roland's The Hating Game

I read all kinds of genre.  It has been awhile since the last time I read a rom-com.  When I started reading Author Talli Roland's debut novel, The Hating Game, I was really looking for a nice, feel-good book to read.  It did not disappoint!  I loved it.

So if you are also looking for a good book that will both make you laugh and entertain you...a book that is gripping and a page-turner, this is the one! Talli Roland's The Hating Game.

Here's a preview:
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 £200,000 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.

This is captivating, unputdownable book! Mattie Johns is an enthralling character that may appear to be tough and vicious outside, a man-eater, and unhappy human being...but in my opinion, I think every woman needs a little bit of that toughness, of her confidence and poise, a vision of strength and inner power even if the reality is she is crumbling inside. Even when she's losing an argument, she makes sure she says something smart in the end, even if it's only a one-word 'Whatever!' You'll both love and hate her, such an amazing character that Talli had created in this wonderful book! This is not the usual rom-com novel where the protagonist is a sweet, softie woman who wears her heart on her sleeve...that's what I love about it!

You will love the twist just before the end of the story.  I wasn't expecting that at all but that was what was gripping - - - I couldn't put it down - - I just had to finish reading it!  The other characters are as interesting as Mattie.

I enjoyed it, loved it to bits and I promise, you will too! A side-splitting, witty, clever book! Hats off to Talli! Five stars!

Please also check for more reviews on this wondeful book!

Today is Talli's Web Splash!

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.

No Kindle? Download a free app at Amazon for Mac, iPhone, PC, Android and more.  Coming soon in paperback. Keep up with the latest at