Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Wednesday Fun - I've been tagged!

I have just learned that I've been tagged by Author Jessica Bell last month!  Yes, last month! Can you imagine how bad I am that I have not read it???  So if I have not visited your blog for awhile, forgive me.  It's not only you.  I have noticed quite recently that a few of my followers are 'unfollowing' me, maybe they think I've forgotten them because I have not been commenting for awhile.  That's sad.  Believe me, I have been trying.  I am! I really am! Just can't keep up, lovelies!  Eeeeeeekkkk!!!

*Calming self down*

*Breath in.  Breath out.*

Shall we continue? Jess tagged me so here's what I need to do:  I have to answer the following questions and follow the instructions and tag five lovely bloggers.

Do you think you're hot?
Are you referring to my body temperature? I can assure you, it is normal. Hehehe.

Upload a picture of wallpaper you are using at the moment.
This was taken in 2008 when husband and I went to London with our two good friends, Jemima and Orren.  I loved those two days with them. This shot was taken by Orren and it reminds me so much of how much fun we all had.

When was the last time you ate chicken? 
Last week.  I made chicken/pasta soup.  

The songs you listened to recently?
I Finallly Found Someone by Barbra Streisand and Bryan Adams.  I loved the film, Mirror Has to Faces and it was on TV a few days I thought I'd listen to the 'theme song' on youtube.

What were you thinking as you were doing this?
I need to sleep.  Yes, I do.  I really do.  ZZZzzzzzzzzzz.

Do you have nicknames?

I am called:
Len by everybody
Leni by family and closest friends

Tag five bloggers and state the reason why:

Theresa Milstein - because she's a lovely friend.  It always makes me smile when I get an email from her.  She is always so kind and helpful to me, always has the answer to my questions.  She's a great friend and a talented writer. I heart her! 

LindyLou Mac - for all her book reviews which I love and look forward to reading.

Glynis Smy - she's been a blogger friend since I began blogging and I did not even realise she's always there to visit my blog, even when I had no followers!

Lisa Stowe - she believes in me and my writing and that is huge.  Her words of encouragement are something I hold on to when I get really down and I feel like I write crap.

Jessica Bell - tagging you back, Jess! She's such an inspiration to me.  I cannot think of anything she can't do - she writes novels, poetry, she sings (and she's got an angelic voice!) and she edits, too! Not to mention her good looks! I think when the Universe distributed talent and all things good, she was in the front row!


The winner of the Book Give-away is Ycel Zaleta!!!  I will be posting/mailing the book soon! Congratulations!


Monday, 25 July 2011

What are you reading?

Have you heard about Susan Schreyer's third book in the Thea Campbell series?  It's out now on Smashwords!
Now OUT on Smashwords!


When Thea's long time friend is arrested for murdering her wealthy husband, Thea and boyfriend Paul vow to clear her. But they are caught between warring business partners jockeying for control and slighted family members turning ruthless. The investigation twists with the arrival of an old nemesis who is capable of orchestrating not only the murder but the grave danger stalking Thea and Paul. 

I've enjoyed the first in the series (I posted a review sometime ago) - please click HERE to find out.  If you love mystery novels and you haven't read the first two, I suggest you get them now.  Death by a Dark Horse (Book 1) is only $2.99 and Levels of Deception (Book 2) is only $0.99!
The 2nd in the series you shouldn't miss!
I will be posting a review on Book 2 (above) very soon!  I hope you come back for that *winks*

Another book I'm currently reading is Witch Song by Amber Argyle.  I will be posting a review in September and guess what? I'm interviewing Amber, too!  I'm excited!!!! *happy dance*

The book will be released on 01 September 2011.  Amber is giving away a free copy on Goodreads, please click HERE to enter.

The world is changing. 
For thousands of years, witch song has controlled everything from the winds to the shifting of the seasons. But not anymore. All the Witches are gone, taken captive by the dark Witch, Espen.
As the last echoes of witch song fade, Espen grows stronger as winter and summer come within the space of a day. Now she’s coming for the one she missed—a shy, untrained girl of fifteen named Brusenna.
Somehow, Brusenna has to succeed where every other Witch has failed. Find Espen. Fight her. Defeat her. 

It's the beginning of the week again so let me all give you the warmest ((((HUG))))) and hope that you are enjoying some sunshine! *carry on happy dancing*

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Title or Cover?

I had a lovely chat tonight with a good friend who is both a writer and editor.  One of the things we discussed was what makes one pick up a book, what makes one take a second look and eventually walk down to the till to buy it?

Is it the title?  A book must have an eye-catching title, mustn't it? Something that captivates perhaps?

Is it the cover? Does it have to have an enthralling photo?  Does the colour matter?

I must admit that what catches my eye most of the time is the title, cover is only second.  Most of time the cover doesn't really matter to me as long as I like the summary on the back cover.  But the title must get my attention first.

This, for me, is a perfect title and cover.

My judgement is not always right of course.  I do make a mistake of getting a book that I think is good and end up not being able to finish it because the first 3 chapters aren't interesting enough for me.  But then again, I must mention that there were cases when I chose the right books! Take for example Diane Chamberlain's Breaking the Silence (see above).  I loved the title.  I loved the cover.  And it did not disappoint!  It was a story that I both enjoyed and loved. (I've posted a book review on this one, click HERE.) Would you say it was a perfect package?  I'd say it was.  Maybe for my taste.  It all depends on one's taste at the end of the day, doesn't it?

The cover is just so heavenly. Ahhh!

How about a good cover?  The perfect example here is Sister by Rosamund Lupton.  I did not choose it for the title.  I got it because of the fascinating cover! It just looks so immaculate to me.  I mean I could just put that cover in a frame and I've got a beautiful winter scene on my desk.  The story is even better!

It is a lot easier to say 'oh I like that title'  or 'oh, I'll get that, the cover intrigues me' when you are a reader but when you are the one writing the story and it is your own manuscript you are finding a title for, it is a different kettle of fish.  There are words that don't sound catching to me, words that for others would probably sound interesting.

I'm currently working on a novel which I originally called 'When I Close my Eyes.'  It began as a short story which I submitted to a writing competition (which sadly did not win), now it's turned into a novel.  My writer/editor friend suggested the new title, Voice of Silence.  When I first saw her email and I read it out loud, it just sounded so perfect.  It felt right.  But that's just me.  I don't know if it sounds right to other people.

So I will have to ask these questions:

As a reader, do you look for an eye-catching title to make you get the book?  

As a writer, how do you decide on the title of your manuscript?  Do you follow your instinct?  Does it have to feel right?  


My Book Give-away!

I will be announcing who gets the book, Starring in the Movie of my Life by Laurel Osterkamp in the next few days so please stay tuned! :)

You still have a chance to enter, please check it out by clicking HERE.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

This is why I love him

I don't want to get all mushy.  I have no right to be, unless it's Valentine's Day, but it isn't.  But then this is just so nice I'd like to share it with you.  So never mind if it's all mawkish, ha!

Sometime ago, I was in the car with my adorable husband.  One thing I will admit in this post - I am very clumsy.  So what do you do when you are clumsy? Of course - spill something on anything whenever you can!  I spilled Coke over my shirt and my trousers and on the seat of the car.

Husband laughed.  I don't know why he finds me so comical when I do this.

Me:  "Oh, God.  Sorry.  I spilled softdrink on the car seat! Shoot!"

Husband:  *Still laughing*

Me:  "I think I ruined the seat cover."

Husband:  "You are really funny, you."

Me:  "Aren't you angry?"

Husband:  "For what?"

Me:  "Well, I think I ruined the seat.  This will stain..."

Husband:  "It's only a car seat.  My wife is more important than a car!"

He laughed again and held my hand.

Isn't he lovely?  This is what I keep in mind when things aren't as good as the good days.

My adorable hubby doing what he loves:  birdwatching.

PS.  Yes, I wiped the seat dry.  And luckily, it didn't stain. :)  But on my white shirt, it did.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Where are you summer?

It's been wet and raining!  The only thing I wish right now is for the sun to come up again!  So I'm staring at this photo:

and the plants on my windowsill:

Let's just say that inside my head, it's summer!!!! Arrrghh.

Hope it's sunny where you are! x

Friday, 15 July 2011

Tiny Dancer and Fascinating Females

I've got to share some exciting news!!!

One - My short story, Discovering the Gift, will be included in a Tiny Dancer anthology, published by Literary Mix Tapes.  I am very thrilled to tell you that two lovely ladies are also writing for it, Theresa Milstein and Jessica Bell.  Theresa told me about the anthology and I'm really very chuffed that I got included!

And two - My non-fiction piece, Moments, is going to be included in a book project, Fascinating Females.  And do you know that Michelle Alba-Lim is still looking for participants for this book project?  Yes, she still is! For those who are interested, please see details below.  Thank you, Theresa for helping spread the word.

I'm now inviting anyone who has a fascinating story or article to share, to send it to

You may write it as a mini-biography, a snapshot, or a vignette. You can write about your adventures (or misadventures) in Mensa, Rotary, Toastmasters, the Red Cross, WOVI, ASTD, SHRM, IAC, the military, or any organization/s (or movements) you belong to. You can write about your life as a wife, a mom, a sister, a girlfriend, a daughter, a student, etc., or you can write about a single defining moment in your life, and so on.

Note that fascination, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder, so what you may consider as a humdrum, boring life may be fascinating for others.

You will retain full copyright to whatever gets published, and can have your articles published again anywhere.

Articles can be anywhere from 1-4 pages of letter size (8-1/2 x 11), double-spaced, font 12, Times New Roman.

You may write in first person or third person (whichever you prefer). You may opt to use a pseudonym if you wish.

Please email me at if you have any questions or suggestions.

Looking forward to seeing some fascinating articles in my inbox very soon!

Michelle Alba-Lim

Michelle is also on Facebook.  

Thank you all and have a wonderful Friday!!! 


I have a book give-away!

Please don't miss my book giveaway - Starring in the Movie of my Life by Laurel Osterkamp, please click here to see my post.  The book is a finalist for Chick-Lit and International Book Awards (Women's Fiction and Young Adult Fiction).  To see more details, please visit Laurel's website and Blog.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Starring in the Movie of my Life by Laurel Osterkamp

A review and a book give-away!!!

Back cover summary:

Thirty-five-year-old Samantha acts without thinking. Her heart is huge while her sense of purpose is small; she's willing to fight for those she loves, but she's never learned to fight for herself. Eighteen-year-old Melody is cold and calculating, and she's driven by the desire to better herself. As these compelling yet deeply flawed women battle for the affections of 25-year-old Nathan, he becomes increasingly confused and torn between them.

Nathan is Melody's English teacher, and after he saves her from being raped, she becomes attached. Melody longs for the affection she's never felt, so she involves people in her self-invented drama, making sure she is at once the star and the director. Meanwhile, Samantha is newly married to Nathan. But Samantha has hang-ups about motherhood and lingering feelings for her ex. To make sense of the world, Sam relates her life to the themes of her favorite movies, while she independently makes a documentary to jump-start her non-existent film career.

What I think about it:

The story is almost multi-plotted, with an interesting sub-stories pertaining to each character.  It has an efficacious plot in keeping one engaged.  The story revolves around characters with secrets that are slowly revealed from chapter to chapter.  

The creation of a selfish brat Melody is quite impressive that as I was beginning to despise her and her callous, heartless actions, I was so surprised near the end at how much I warmed up to her.  All of a sudden, I discovered that after all, she had a good heart.

In the story, Sam and Melody needed redemption.  In the end, however, I think it was Nathan who needed to be redeemed.  I felt sorry for him.  He seemed to be the victim of it all and did not deserve any of it. He was a good man and was manipulated by not just Melody, but also Sam in my view.  Whilst I loved Sam at first, in the end I couldn't understand what she was doing - making the story even more riveting and interesting.

There were typo errors which distracted my reading but over all, with intriguing, multi-faceted characters, combined with well-woven, dark, murky, and sometimes even perplexing secrets within the storyline, I can say this is a good book and an excellent read.

I have a copy of Starring in the Movie of my Life to give away! Woot-woot!  Thank you, Laurel!

All you have to do is follow and leave me a comment below to enter.  Don't forget your email address!  

I will pick the winner next week!

Very pleased to also let you know that this book is A 2011 Award-winning finalist for the
National Indie Excellence Book Awards
(Chick-Lit) and
International Book Awards
(Women's Fiction & Young Adult Fiction)

Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of the book from the author for an honest review and I was not compensated for this review.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

A Chat with Author Laurel Osterkamp

I know I've been quiet again for the past week or so.  Been busy again. I hope all of my blogger friends in the USA had a happy fourth of July! And to my friends in Canada, hope you all had an exciting celebration of Canada Day!!!

As promised, I am back with another blog interview with the lovely author, Laurel Osterkamp.  Check it out how she attempted to get published by a mainstream publisher and how she grew impatient but ended up happy to be independently publishing her own books.  I've enjoyed this interview and learned a lot from Laurel.  I hope you enjoy it, too, and pick a thing or two!

Hello, Laurel, welcome to my blog! I am very pleased to have you with me today! 
Len: What was your job before you became a writer?
Laurel Osterkamp (LO) - Actually, my primary job right now is as a high school teacher. But my dream is to one day make enough money from writing that I can focus only on that.
Do you remember the first writing piece you’ve written?
LO - When I was little I wanted to be an actress, so I wrote a lot of plays. I remember writing something about three girls at boarding school. I’m sure it was God-awful!
What was your first published work? (Was it a short story, an essay, a poem?)
LO - Well, maybe this doesn’t count, but my writing obsession began when the comedy sketches I wrote were performed. I used to do comedy-improvisation, and I began to enjoy writing for the groups I performed with more than actually performing with them. Then I did an adaptation of GlenGarryGlenRoss, called GwenHairyGwenGloss, and it was set in a beauty parlor with an all female cast. It got a lot of attention, and it was loads of fun!
What was your first published novel?
LO - Following My Toes
(Find out more about Laurel's books on her Blog -
Did you struggle to get published? Can you tell us your experience on getting published?
LO - I made an attempt to get published by a mainstream publisher, but when it didn’t work out right away I grew impatient. I also had an agent agree to take me on, only to never hear from her again! Now I’m happy to be independently published, because the industry is changing so quickly with the emergence of e-readers. So much more is possible now, and it’s nice be in control of certain decisions, like pricing. 
Do you want it quiet when you write or do you prefer some kind of music in the background to help you concentrate?
LO - I love to listen to music. I often make itune playlists to coincide with the theme or story of whatever I’m working on.
(Thank you, Laurel, for sharing with us a photo of your work space!)

Let’s talk about your latest novel, Starring in the Movie of my Life – how long ago was it when you began to write this novel?
LO - Gosh – I guess it’s been about five years!
Can you tell us about Starring in the Movie of my Life?  What is it about?
LO - To put it simply, it’s about two very different women who want to be saved by the same man. Ultimately, they have to learn how to save themselves.
Did you have to research to write the story?
LO - I read some articles by men about how women propelled them to cheat on their significant other. That’s how I crafted Melody’s “five step plan” to lure Nate away from Samantha.
How did you create your characters?  Are they real people?
LO - I usually start by giving them a heroic quality, like being extremely compassionate or a survivor. Sometimes I’ll think of friends or family to help inspire these characters, but ultimately they’re always fictional.
Do you see yourself in any of your characters in this particular novel you’ve written?
LO - Not so much. I realized when I was done writing Starring in the Movie of My Life that Melody and Samantha are total opposites… the ying to each other’s yang. I share qualities with both of them, but I’m also very different from each of them too.
Do you have a favourite character in Starring in the Movie of my Life?
LO - I love Samantha and Melody equally. Even though a lot of readers think Melody is a bad person, I respect her strength and intelligence. So choosing which one I like better would be like choosing between my children. Ha ha. That’s silly, isn’t it?
(Len: I agree, Laurel.  It is.)
Are you working on any other projects right now?  If so, can you tell us about them?
LO - I’m working on a novella that will hopefully be available soon. It’s about a girl/woman who loves political campaigns. Four different occasions in her life are visited: the prom, a wedding, a funeral, and a baby shower. It’s called Campaign Promises.
(Len:  Sounds another interesting story, Laurel!)
Do you have any tips to share with aspiring writers out there on how to get published?
LO - Only this: Remember that the industry is changing more and more every day. There is no easy route, and there are pros and cons to whichever path you decide to take. Figure out which path is right for you, and don’t give up when you’re confronted with obstacles, because you will be!
Thank you very much, Laurel.  It’s been a pleasure to have you on my blog. Do you have anything else to add?
LO - Len, thanks so much for having me!
It has been a pleasure, Laurel.  Thank you for your time.  To all my writer/blogger friends, I invite you all to visit Laurel's Blog - please click HERE.

She also has a blog tour!  You can check all participating bloggers on Chicklit Plus Blog Tours promoting her latest novel, Starring in the Movie of my Life, don't miss it, please click HERE.