Sunday, 25 November 2012

Black Friday Blog Hop Competition Winners

Morning
Hope you are all enjoying the weekend.
Just a quick post to announce the competition winners.
The winner of the dual ebook set of Sign of the Times and The Dating Game is Elizabeth K. I will be sending a Kindle copy of each book to you very shortly, Elizabeth. Congratulations and hope you enjoy them.

The winners of the 3 grand prizes, who have now been contacted directly by the blog hop organiser are:-
Kindle Fire winner - Angela Heart
Amazon $75 gift card winner - Emma D
Swag Pack - Kim Brooks

and I, myself, since I entered lots (but not all) of the 200 blog competitions, managed to win a $5 Starbucks voucher - tall, skinny, decaff latte coming up for me methinks!

So basically, it pays to enter competitions, but you know what they say, you've got to be in it to win it!
Enjoy your Sunday
Sooz


Friday, 23 November 2012

Black Friday Blog Hop - Grand Prizes & Giveaways

Well, it's Friday, but it's not only Friday, it's Black Friday and that means


I'll explain Black Friday in a minute, but first of all, just to let you know that there are over 200 authors and blogs participating (link at the end of this post).


We have THREE grand prizes. You as a reader can go to EACH blog and comment with your email address and be entered to win. Yep, you can enter over 200 times!

Now what are those prizes?

1st Grand Prize: A Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet
2nd Grand Prize: A $75 Amazon or B&N Gift Card
3rd Grand Prize: A Swag Pack that contains paperbacks, ebooks, 50+ bookmarks, cover flats, magnets, pens, coffee cozies, and more!
(please note the Swag Pack is only open to US entrants)

For my part, I will be giving away, for the first time, a copy of The Dating Game and a copy of Sign of the Times to one lucky winner. So if you like competitions or just winning stuff, this is definitely the place for you today! BUT, you only have today, it's only on Nov 23rd, so get entering!


Now I'm going to explain Black Friday for the benefit of those not in the US. My understanding of Black Friday is it’s the Friday after Thanksgiving when all the sales start in the shops. So , if you will, a bit like our January Sales or even Boxing Day sales  here in the UK.

Today’s topic is shopping. I am rubbish at shopping, don’t particularly enjoy it and try to order as many of my Christmas presents as possible online.  It didn’t help two years ago, though, when we had all that snow, when three weeks after ordering all my gifts, and only five days before Christmas, I had no presents! The only kind of shopping I actively enjoy is for books. I have to be dragged out of bookshops, charity shops or anywhere where a book is to be sold.


 

So I thought we’d ask Lisa and Debbie from The Dating Game to talk you through their shopping experiences instead. Enjoy!

Lisa: Well, as you know,  I’m a bit of a shopaholic. It’s just as well I’m single, as I couldn’t take any man telling me to cut back on my retail spending.’

Debbie: Can’t imagine anyone doing that with you, Lise. Why don’t we tell them about Barcelona, first?  That was amazing.

Lisa: Yeah, the shops there are to die for, even the ones in the airport. It was a lovely airport, wasn’t it?

Debbie (laughs): Yes, I specifically remember Gill steering you away from the shops, once that glazed look appeared in your eyes. You’re worse than me - it’s like tunnel vision when you see shops.

Lisa: Anyway, Barcelona, I LOVE Zara.

Debbie: Yes, but there’s a Zara at The Fort in Glasgow. Why don’t we tell them about the stores which were a bit different?

Lisa: OK, but first of all, we found this shopping centre on the Sunday and I was seriously annoyed as the shops didn’t open again until Tue and I had seen the most fabulous pair of cowgirl boots. What a total pain.

Debbie: Yes, that was a pity, but we’d spent a fortune by then already.

Lisa: Yes, we’d been on Passeig de Gracia, at Dolce and Gabbana Versace and Prada,  and to be honest, we’d been pretty good. I’d only bought a top in Dolce and Gabbana, although it was a fortune. It’s actually cheaper to buy designer in Glasgow. Who would have thought.

Debbie: Yes, but then we went to Custo, just off the Ramblas. We’d never heard of Custo before, but Lisa was reading a bit of Angela’s guidebook and it’s Catalonia’s answer to Versace -two brothers started it apparently.  So Barcelona’s homegrown designer label. 

Lisa: Well, actually, you spent more than me in Custo. You got those black trousers that looked like they had been painted on you and then when the girl told you that you just had to have the backless white top which matched them, with the frills around the sleeves, you lapped it up.

Debbie: Yes, but it does look good! And quite frankly if it’s good enough for Natalie Portman to wear,  it’s good enough for me.

Lisa: Bet you’re really glad I spotted that in the gossip columns.

Debbie: Well, I did google it when I got home to check. So which shop would you say was your favourite?

Lisa: Too tough a call, although we did even pick up some bargains in El Corte Ingles, the department store.

Debbie: Don’t tell Angela that, she will laugh her head off.

Lisa: Well, (Lisa’s body language becomes more defensive)it’s her loss she’s  not into fashion.

Debbie: (changes subject) The shops down at Porta del’Angel were pretty cool, too. A bit cheaper, and more affordable.

Lisa: Yes, some of the boutiques were nice.

Debbie: How much do you think we spent?

Lisa: I worked it out when I got home. Almost £1000.

Debbie: Geez , Lisa, I thought I was bad at £600. I told Gerry £400. Oh, I forgot about that bag I bought in Massimo Dutti, that was another hundred quid.

Lisa: See, you’re not so far behind me then. Anyway, I say role on Boxing Day. I’ve been keeping an eye on some boots in Cruise, black, over the knee numbers. They’re too expensive at the minute, but come the sale, they have my name written all over them!

Debbie: I might be able to get away on Boxing Day for a few hours or the 27th at a push. Gerry usually gives me money at Christmas to buy myself something. 

Lisa: Well, we’re sorted then. Great, only six weeks to go. Don’t you wish we could just hop on a plane to New York and go to these Black Friday sales?

Debbie: Maybe next year. Still recovering after the expense of Barcelona...

Lisa: Tell you what, let me buy you a coffee and we can plan it out. Gill and Angela will come just to see NYC, if not for the shopping itself. 

And that’s it from two of the four friends from The Dating Game

 
 
Here's the blurb for The Dating Game, where you can meet up with Lisa and Debbie again and get to know the protagonist, Gill.
Workaholic recruitment consultant, Gill McFadden, is sick of her friends trying to match-make for her. Up until now her love life has been a disaster and she’s going through a drier spell than the Sahara desert.
She realises she has to act, as work keeps piling up and at this rate she will have retired before she has time for a relationship.
Seeing an ad on a bus one day, she decides to visit Happy Ever After dating agency. She quickly discovers men are like buses. They all come along at once. Unsure what her type is, Gill decides to keep her options open. Soon she has problems juggling her social life as well as her work diary. Will she ever strike the right balance?
Before long she is experiencing laughs, lust and… could it be love? But like everything in Gill’s life, nothing is straightforward and she ends up wondering exactly who she can trust.
You can buy a copy of The Dating Game via Amazon - http://amzn.to/RuSl7Y (UK) http://amzn.to/WZQtZK (US)
 and my first novel, Sign of the Times http://amzn.to/GKqZGd (UK) http://amzn.to/IYN0Fc (US)
To be in with a a chance to win the dual set of Kindle copies of The Dating Game and Sign of the Times and also to enter the Grand Prize Draw, simply leave a comment on the blog, with your email address (ultra-important, or we won't know how to contact you)  and register your entry using the Rafflecopter form - a Rafflecopter giveaway

To hop across to the other blogs and have a chance to win some of their 200+ amazing prizes, simply click here (I know I will be entering as many as I can!) - http://carrieannbloghops.blogspot.com/
Enjoy!
Sooz


Thursday, 22 November 2012

Interview with Joanna Rees

Today, I have the great pleasure of talking with novelist Joanna Rees, author of A Twist of Fate. She's here to brighten up the otherwise bleak Thursday I'm having (have you looked outside yet - yeah, it's pouring - again!) Might need a boat to leave the house...
So without further ado, let's grill her!

 I came across A Twist of Fate by chance(and I am so glad I did) but I hadn’t
 realized initially that you were the same Josie Lloyd who wrote with your
 husband Emlyn Rees. Why the departure from writing together and should we
 expect you to write together again at any point?

Emlyn and I loved writing together, but after seven books, we were
ready for a change. He wanted to go back to writing thrillers and I
wanted to write a bigger kind of book, with lots of characters and
international locations, so we decided to go our separate ways. It
sounds dramatic, but we both work at home and still edit each other's
work, so lots of the skills we learnt writing together, we still use.
We still collaborate on some projects and we have plans to screen
write together.


 In A Twist of Fate, you write in great detail about the countries involved.
 Have you been to all of the countries/places in the books and could vividly
 imagine them as you wrote, or did you have to also rely on internet
 research, Google Earth, etc?
For me, the important thing is the character curve, so it's important
to get that right first. I do do a bit of research about the
locations, but I find if I do too much research, it hampers the story.
I have been to a lot of places, but mostly I use a healthy dose of
artistic license and add in lots of sensual description to create a
scene.


The scenes in the orphanage are quite harrowing, but seem very realistic and
I could completely imagine Eastern Europe being like that at that time. How much and what kind of background work did you have to do to ensure the time
 periods and occurrences were plausible?

Again, the drama is character based, so that is all fiction made to
sound plausible. The old saying is true: life is stranger than
fiction. I think one of my writing rules is not to get too hung up on
whether it would actually happen like that in real life and to just go
for it. I tend to drop in period details - music, political events,
clothing etc in the final edit.


 As I said in my review, there was one character I hated, Thea’s brother
 (actually two - I couldn’t stand the stepmother either) . They were both
 very easy to detest. Do you consciously apply any techniques to make your
 readers feel strong emotions like this, do you subtly lay clues, or do you
 prefer to let shocking actions make the reader experience emotion?
I wanted the baddies to be really bad. I didn't want them to have any
redeeming features, or to spend too long justifying their psychology.
If you create a truly evil villain who gets away with it, like Brett
does, then you build up a sense of indignation in the reader, by
denying justice for the character. It's fun dynamic to play with and
helps build tension and makes the dramatic denouement all the more
satisfying. A book like 'A Twist Of Fate' set over 40 years with a
large cast of characters relies on using very broad brush-strokes to
paint the story, so you have to be bold with your colours.




 

 How did you go about interweaving the different time periods, linking past
 and present and how much of a challenge was this? (for the record, I loved
 this feature)
The challenge was giving both girls an equal amount of plot and
interweaving their stories. I moved the story on a couple of years at
a time, so they were both at the same stage. The hard bit was making
sure that by the end, they were both at the end of their character
curves at the same point.


 There were a lot of sub-plots in A Twist of Fate and plenty of twists and
 turns. Do you have a favourite you can allude to, without providing a
 spoiler?
My subplots revolved around minor characters which are always so much
fun to bring to life. I was particularly fond of the photographer,
Nico who gives Romy her first break.


 Do you prefer to write male or female characters and why? Or does it depend
 on who the character is? Who has been your favourite character to date that
 you have written?
That's a hard one. I like writing both men and women and have enjoyed
all the characters in my books. I'll always have a soft spot for Amy
Crosbie in 'Come Together' the first book I wrote with Emlyn, as she
was partly autobiographical and the actual period of writing that book
together was so special as it was how we got together in real life. I
really liked writing Peaches Gold, my L.A madam in 'Platinum'. I
based her loosely on Heidi Fleiss. She was so sassy. Generally,
though, I'm always into the characters I'm writing at the moment as
they feel so exciting and new.


 I absolutely loved A Twist of Fate, so much so I stopped writing my own
 novel for two days. This, if I am not mistaken is the first novel as Joanna
 Rees, although you had 2 others as Jo Rees. Why did you change your name
 here, was it to separate subject matters? Will we possibly see future books
 by Jo Rees, too?
I changed publisher and wanted to divert away from the slightly brash
bonkbuster image my Jo Rees books had into a broader appeal, so
Macmillan, my brilliant new publisher decided to rebrand me using
Joanna Rees (which is actually my real name).


You have written lots of books (and I have read almost, but not quite, all
 of them!) Which book means the most to you and why?
They are all my babies, so it's hard to say. 'It Could Be You' was my
first, and I will never forget the feeling of holding my first proof.
'Come Together' because it was how I got together with Emlyn. Each
book we wrote together is special because of what was going on whilst
we were writing them - like moving house and having babies. I am
very proud of 'A Twist of Fate', I have to say, because it is such a
big story and I absolutely loved writing it.

 I believe you are working on something new at the moment. What can you tell
 us about it and what should we expect?
I'm writing a book called 'The Key To It All' and I'm about half way
through. I'm not going to give too much away, but it's another great
big international story with a big intrigue at its heart. It'll be
out in Feb 2014.


 



 Fun stuff

 Almost everyone knows I am absolutely mad about Rupert-Penry Jones. Who,
 apart from Emlyn, gets your heart all aflutter?
Between you and me, I do have a bit of a secret crush on Damian Lewis.
 Comedy or music? Who are your favourites?
Comedy, probably, although I love both. I live in Brighton so there’s
lots of comedy on here and I particularly like seeing comedy in small
venues. I think these enormous stadium gigs lose something of the
edge and I like reactive comedy, when the comedian responds to the
audience, rather than doing their slick, practised stuff. I have
several friends who’ve done the stand-up comedy course down here and
I’m full of admiration. It’s a lot more difficult than it looks.
Music-wise, I’m a sucker for the eighties. I don’t think I ever got
past Duran Duran and I know every word of Queen’s greatest hits. When
we had a street party for the Jubilee, I had all the neighbours
singing Bohemian Rhapsody in my living room! Emlyn is a huge music
fan and we have thousands of CD’s. Recently Spotify has
revolutionized my music listening and I’ve discovered a lot more bands
I like.


If you hadn’t become a writer, what career do you think you would have been
happy with?

I’d have loved to have been a radio presenter and to be able to have
my own chat show. Over the course of my career, I’ve done loads of
radio interviews here and abroad and I’ve always met nice people at
radio stations and love the whole world of it.


Favourite country in whole world and why (except for UK!)
India, definitely. I’ve travelled there quite a few times and we have
another trip planned in January to Kerala. I love the people, the
colours and sounds, the sheer difference of it. It’s so beautiful in
such an earthy way and very romantic, too. I’ve been writing about
Rio recently in my new book an I’d love to go to Brazil. I find it
fascinating. Before I had kids in my twenties, I travelled quite a
bit and I’m looking forward to doing some more.


Favourite genre to read and childhood book which meant the most to you
Too difficult to call. I love all sorts. I love a good thriller.
One of my favourite books in the last few years was Justin Cronin’s
‘The Passage’. SO scary and brilliantly written. I can’t wait to
read the sequel, ‘The Twelve’. I don’t tend to read commercial
women’s fiction so much, as it feels too close to my working day. I
like anything with an unusual setting.

Favourite childhood books? I’ve recently tried to give the books I
remember from my childhood, like ‘The Magic Faraway Tree’ to my own
kids to read and they’re not interested, as kids books have moved on
so much. Enid Blyton just seems very dated. That said, I still read
them ‘My Naughty Little Sister’ stories and they love them just as
much as I did.



TV series or films?

Both. As we both work at home, Emlyn and I have to get out a couple of evenings a week, otherwise we go stir crazy, so we go to the cinema alot. (Although I didn't think much of the new James Bond last week.) We are total box-set junkies, and often watch episodes back-to-back until our eyes hurt. We're half way through season 4 of 'Breaking Bad' which is just masterful. Next up is season 3 of 'Friday Night Lights'. I have a bit of a soft spot for Coach Eric Taylor, so I'm looking forward to that.

Have you ever had a wardrobe disaster and if so, what? (hopefully not as bad as Janet Jackson)
Hmm. Tricky. My wardrobe disasters tend to be more to do with wearing
the wrong thing to the wrong occasion, rather than exposing myself.

 Favourite time period in history?

  I'd love to time travel. It's a recurring fantasy. I'd love a day in a Tudor court, or to be at a posh party at the height of the Raj. The Victorians were pretty snazzy.

 Do you have any gifts, apart from writing?

  I can play any tune on a recorder. Does that count?

 Reality TV shows or quiz shows?

  Neither. I'm too busy watching box sets to bother. I can't bear reality TV. It's like going to a zoo. Quiz shows are generally quite banal, apart from University Challenge, which makes me feel a bit dim.

Well, that's it for today. Thanks very much Joanna for joining us.
You can catch up with Joanna here:-

Blog www.mumwritesbooks.com
Twitter @joannareesbooks
You can also buy A Twist of Fate on Amazon -

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Twist-Fate-glamorous-spans-decades/dp/0230758274/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1353067651&sr=8-1
Tune in tomorrow for The Black Friday Blog Hop (yes, I had to google Black Friday, too...)
Sooz

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

The Liebster Award

Morning!
I've been nominated for the Liebster Award by Isabella-Louise Anderson. Thankyou!



Here are the rules:
  • When one receives the award, one posts 11 random facts about oneself and answers the 11 questions asked by the person who nominated you.
  • Pass the award onto 11 other blogs (while making sure one notifies the blogger that one nominated them!)
  • One writes up 11 NEW questions directed towards YOUR nominees.
  • One is not allowed to nominate the blog who nominated one’s own blog!
  • One pastes the award picture into ones blog. (You can Google the image, there are plenty of them!)
11 random facts about Susan Buchanan:
I am very competitive
I have 3 amazing young nephews, all mad
I used to run for Scotland (800m/1500m/cross-country - it was a long time ago!)
I am seriously clumsy
I speak 5 languages and have dabbled with 4 others
I have loads of food allergies (annoying when you really like your grub, like me!) but kiwi fruit and walnuts make me particularly ill.
I love quiz shows - although I always feel really thick when I watch University Challenge. Prefer Pointless.
I don't really listen to contemporary music, apart from Snow Patrol. I love to listen to classical music, particularly when I am writing
I love travelling and have visited 45 or 46 countries, including almost all of the Southern US
I (try to) grow my own vegetables (but the Scottish weather has other ideas)
I can't sleep if I don't have a book in my hand. Even 2 lines is enough to make me drop off, but no book, no sleep!
I would do pretty much anything (legal) for my friends and family.

 
 
Questions from Isabella Louise Anderson:-


If you could stay at the same age for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Probably about 30-35 - those were great years, when I started living the life I should have had in my 20s!

Did you have a high school sweetheart?
Not really. I was too into athletics back then, although I did date a couple of guys, but no-one earth-shattering!

What’s your favorite smell?
cut grass or freshly brewed coffee

What is your favorite drink?
Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc

Which would you rather be, the First Lady or the Queen of England?
The Queen, as she gets to have her head on lots of banknotes and all the swans here belong to her!

What are you favorite pizza toppings?
Vegetarian Hot Oone is the pizza I usually go for. So veggies, but with lots of jalapenos (can't figure out how to do the tilde over the  'n' here!)

How old were you when you you knew what you wanted to be?
Well, that's kind of tricky, as I am no longer doing what I used to be. I  knew from about the age of 13 that I wanted to use my languages in whatever job I did. I did that up until this year, when I decided to write full-time.  Although you could argue it's still languages, just my own native tongue!

Coffee or tea? - strangely, for a Brit, coffee

Date night in, or date night out? - Probably out, as it's more of an occasion and we have to talk to each other, as there's no TV and no Twitter!

If you could be any actress, who would it be? - Sandra Bullock - I like her movies and she's funny.

What movie can you watch over and over? - Dirty Dancing - 'nobody puts Baby in a corner' and all that.

Here are my nominees: Vanessa Wester, Electa Graham, R J Heald, Seumas Gallacher, Kate Verrier (MeMyBooksandI), Sonya Kemp (Destinylover09), Carol (Dizzy C), Gerri Bowen, Sibel Hodge, Maria Savva, Rosie (Rosiereview)
 
Questions for my nominees:
If you could turn back time, what, if anything would you change?
What 3 things did/do you definitely want to do before you turned 30/turn 30?
Favourite takeway food
If you could date a famous actor/actress for one night only (don't read anything into this!) who would it be?
Wildlife programmes or home makeover shows?
Favourite city in the whole world
City, countryside or by the sea?
Do you have any particular talents (keep it at a PG level pls!)
Which sport do you wish (if any) that you were really good at (or are you already really good at?)
If today was the last day of Mankind (cheery thought...) what would you like to be doing?

That's it - tune in tomorrow when I'll be interviewing the wonderful, Joanna Rees, author of last week's reviewed book, A Twist of Fate.


 
 

Friday, 16 November 2012

Book Review - A Twist of Fate by Joanna Rees

I would say 'Yay, it's Friday,' but as an author it makes no difference if it's Friday or not, at least for me, as I am always writing or doing some marketing-related activity. I will need to wait for my holiday before I get a real break!
But, what a treat I have in store for you today. This is my joint-favourite book of the year (the other being Carlos Ruiz Zafon's The Prisoner of Heaven)

So, let's find out a little more about the book, then feast your eyes on my review. Oh, did I say I gave it 5 stars?!

A Twist of Fate by Joanna Rees

Romy and Thea, two beautiful baby girls, their future’s sealed with the flip of a coin. One will enter a life of privilege, surrounded by only the best money can buy. The other will fight for survival in an orphanage, against an evil regime who seek only to exploit her. Throughout the years their paths will cross, neither knowing who the other one is, their lives overflowing with secrets, blackmail and murder. From the snow covered forests of Eastern Europe to the glistening white beaches of the Caribbean. From the gutters of London’s Soho to the towering skyscrapers of New York, A twist of fate tore them apart, only their strength and determination can reunite them…



I received an Advance Review Copy from the author, as I have read and enjoyed all of her other books in a different genre and was intrigued by this new departure. It's not the usual kind of book I would read, but reading the back cover, it reminded me of Kane & Abel by Jeffrey Archer, which I read about 15 years ago, but it was much better, more emotional. The separation of siblings at birth and what would happen to them, I knew would be a story that I would like. I just wasn't prepared for how much. I was gripped by the story right from the start. I stopped writing my own novel for 2 days, so I could read it, I was so hooked. I honestly didn't want it to end. The bravery of both sisters in the face of adversity was the key aspect I enjoyed. The way Joanna Rees painted such amazing characters, particularly one which I hated (I will leave it to you to read to find out who and I am sure you will agree with me) was fascinating. The story is set in several countries and I loved this. I am a great fan of Italy and the part set in Italy, I could vividly imagine and the family dynamic was very well depicted. Likewise, having visited New York, I could envisage Maddox Towers and I had no problem in seeing the places in my head. The contrast between the rich, luxurious lifestyle which one child was brought up in and the extreme poverty and horrors through which the other child lived was crafted exceedingly well. There are also power struggles, twists and turns and some rather disturbing scenes. All in all an amazing book, which I can't applaud enough.

You can buy A Twist of Fate via the following links:-
  http://amzn.to/WdmmOx (UK) & http://amzn.to/PY6sop (US & other .com)
If you wish a paperback copy, this can also be ordered via Amazon or any good bookshop.

More next week - have a great weekend everyone
Sooz

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Interview with Talli Roland

Morning everyone. Well it's dry here. That's about all that can be said, BUT if you didn't see my little message on FB yesterday, today is the day! I will start writing my third novel today - never one to let the grass grow under my feet. So very exciting!

But, before I get onto that, the wonderful Talli Roland has kindly agreed to be put through the mill by me about her writing...


Build  A Man was the first of your books which I have read. Should I move straight on to Construct a Couple and if not, which one should read next?  Why?
Thank you so much for reading! I’d go straight on to Construct A Couple, because it follows Serenity and Jeremy’s story and the development of their relationship.
How many years have you been writing and published for and do you write in any other genre/intend to at any point?
I’ve been writing seriously for about five years now, but like many authors, I can’t remember a time when I didn’t write. I was first published in non-fiction, writing travel guides on London and Paris, but my real love was fiction. After writing four ‘practice’ novels, I was fortunate enough to have The Hating Game published two years ago. 

Tell us a little about your other books - you have quite a few now!
I do! It’s been a busy couple of years. Watching Willow Watts was my second novel, followed by Build A Man, Construct A Couple, and The Pollyanna Plan (to be released this month). I’ve also published two Christmas novellas, Miracle at the Museum of Broken Hearts and Mistletoe in Manhattan.
I really enjoyed Build A Man, but wanted to bang Serenity’s head against a wall for many unethical things she did, the least of her sins being writing journalistic articles whilst she was being paid to be a receptionist, and the worst...well I won’t spoil it for other readers... How did you manage to make us still like Serenity?
I think we all have a little bit of Serenity inside, albeit not to the same degree! When we want something, it’s very easy to bury our heads in the sand and justify our actions. Serenity isn’t inherently evil, but her ambition blinds her to the reality of what she’s doing. It’s always important to me that characters learn and grow over the course of the novel, and I think she does just that. 
 
 
 

I liked the uber-bitch at the newspaper, with whom Serenity would have to vie for a job. Do you like to always have this type of female conflict and do you enjoy writing it more than writing the goodies?!
All conflict is good, as far as I’m concerned! I love throwing obstacles in my characters’ paths and watching as they try to overcome them. I don’t aim for a certain type of conflict, besides internal versus external. The conflicts the characters face come from the situations in which they find themselves and how I want them to develop. 

Serenity’s boyfriend  is a truly despicable character, self-absorbed and condescending.  How much do you think was down to the age gap and how much down to the different level in status?
Although there is a definite gap in age, social status and culture between Serenity and Peter, even if they had been on equal footing, they wouldn’t have lasted long. Their personalities are fundamentally different and by the end of the novel they’ve grown so far apart, it’s obvious they wouldn’t work together.

Jeremy is a sweetheart. You understand that from the get-go, but he was short in brains (in some ways)  and self-esteem.  How did you decide on his characteristics?
Funny, I never thought of Jeremy as short on brains! He’s intelligent in a different way from Peter, Serenity’s boyfriend, who is book-smart but low in emotional IQ. I wanted Jeremy to be beat up by past relationships, but also willing to do something about it, despite his fear. He goes on a journey as much as Serenity, gaining in confidence and self-awareness.

If Build A Man were ever made into a movie, who would you think should play Jeremy? Who could pull off that hang-dog expression?
Hmm, good question! It would have to be someone handsome yet slightly downtrodden . . . maybe a chubby Ben Affleck?

Which was your favourite character to write and why?
Despite her flaws, I love Serenity – perhaps because, like me, she’s a transplant to London and sees everything through an outsider’s goggles. She was great fun to write!

I haven’t read Construct A Couple yet. Are you able to tell us if Serenity will feature in a third book?
She will! I’m planning to write the third in the series, Marriage to Measure, next year.
 
 


Fun stuff

(almost) everyone knows I am a big Rupert Penry Jones fan. Who is your Rupert Penry Jones?

Yikes, I can’t say I’m a huge fan of anyone in particular. I like to spread the love!  

Fave place in the whole world (can’t be home!)

I love the island of Lopud in Croatia. It’s just off the coast of Dubrovnik and it’s idyllic. 

You aren’t originally from the UK. If you could choose another part of the UK to live in, where would it be and why?
The Lake District (without the tourists!). Such gorgeous scenery.

Pets or people?
Pets! Much easier to deal with.

Music or movies?
Music. I’m a sucker for Chopin.

Reading or writing?
Writing – as I get to be in control!

Which genre of books do you like to read and who are your favourite authors?
I read all genres, and I love Peter Mayle, Rose Tremain, and Sophie Kinsella.  

Who is your favourite actress?

Judi Dench. She’s incredible.

Favourite cocktail?

Total cliché, but I do a love a good Cosmopolitan. 

3 things we couldn’t possibly guess about you

I collect dirty coffee mugs on my desk (what can I say, I’m lazy!)

I love the bagpipes.

I’m a big believer in the power of the nap.
 
Well, thanks, Talli, for joining me today and best of luck with your upcoming releases.
Talli Roland writes fun, romantic fiction. Born and raised in Canada, Talli now lives in London, where she savours the great cultural life (coffee and wine). Despite training as a journalist, Talli soon found she preferred making up her own stories--complete with happy endings. Talli's debut novel The Hating Game was short-listed for Best Romantic Read at the UK's Festival of Romance, while her second, Watching Willow Watts, was selected as an Amazon Customer Favourite. Her novels have also been chosen as top books of the year by industry review websites and have been bestsellers in Britain and the United States. Construct A Couple is her latest release, with The Pollyanna Plan due out this month. To learn more about Talli, go to www.talliroland.com or follow Talli on Twitter: @talliroland. Talli blogs at talliroland.blogspot.com.
You can find all of Talli's books on her Amazon author page - http://amzn.to/SO9Q23 (UK) & http://amzn.to/QfgZwH (US)
Here are some of her great covers - hasn't she been busy?!
 
 
 
Well, I am not keeping you waiting too long. We have another feature tomorrow - a book review. You won't want to miss this discovery, so tune in or regret it!
Have a great day
Sooz
 
 

 

 

 

Monday, 12 November 2012

Review of Build A Man by Talli Roland

Thanks everyone for all the great comments about The Dating Game launch party. Makes me want to do it all over again...we'll see, come Spring!

Today, I have a great chick lit book review for you, a book I read 2-3 months ago.

Here's the blurb, then my review.

'Slave to the rich and the rude, cosmetic surgery receptionist Serenity Holland longs for the day she's a high-flying tabloid reporter. When she meets Jeremy Ritchie -- the hang-dog man determined to be Britain's Most Eligible Bachelor by making himself over from head to toe and everything in between -- Serenity knows she's got a story no editor could resist.

With London's biggest tabloid on board and her very own column tracking Jeremy's progress from dud to dude, Serenity is determined to be a success. But when Jeremy's surgery goes drastically wrong and she's ordered to cover all the car-crash goriness, Serenity must decide how far she really will go for her dream job.'





I was drawn to this book by the cover initially and the title. When I read the product description, I thought I have to read this, sounds fun. Well, I was right. I have to confess, initially I didn't like the main character, Serenity. I thought her irresponsible and selfish. However, you can't not like her moving forward. She learns her lessons the hard way. I really didn't like her boyfriend, who was the most patronising git ever. I liked the fact that eventually Serenity re-evaluated what was important to her. I also wanted to slap both reporters, who were obviously complete bitches. Jeremy was lovely and it was so obvious he didn't need plastic surgery. There was some sadness and also a couple of moral messages sewn into the novel and it was all the better for it. Serenity's determination to get what she really wanted, once she understood what that actually was, was heartening to see. The portrayal of the botox bitches made me laugh, as well as the mother with her daughter towards the end. Although this is a humourous novel, I think inadvertently or cleverly or both, it highlights the darker side of cosmetic surgery. All in all a very fun read. I already have 2 more of Talli Roland's books on my reading list.


The next book in the series, Construct A Couple, is now available.

 
I'm looking forward to reading this one!
 
You can buy Build A Man here:- http://amzn.to/SPpgng (UK) & http://amzn.to/TDPSYZ (US & other .com)
And Construct A Couple here:- http://amzn.to/SPppac (UK) & http://amzn.to/Q7xUS0 (US & other .com)
 
Tune in on Thursday for Talli's interview!
Have a great week
Sooz

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Winners of The Dating Game launch party raffle & Amazon vouchers

Hi everyone
Sorry for the late post. Life has been catching up with me in the aftermath of the launch week. If you click the link below and scroll to the bottom of the list of books,  you will see the winners' names for the ebook raffle. All winners have now been notified.

 http://susancbuchanan.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/the-dating-game-launch-party_1.html

The winner of the £10 Amazon voucher is Jackie M - congrats Jackie

Thanks to everyone who participated in The Dating Game launch. I hope you had as much fun as I did.

I will be back tomorrow with a review of a fabulous chick lit book I read a few months ago, so don't miss it!  Tune in to find out which book!
Enjoy the rest of your Sunday
Sooz

Friday, 9 November 2012

The Dating Game Launch finale

Afternoon everyone
Short post, as just wanted to say KizzyLee is the winner of yesterday's Name Your Favourite Place in Scotland competition. There were some very good entries, but in the end, given that it's for The Dating Game launch, I couldn't resist KizzyLee's tale of how she married her husband at Gretna Green and all these years later, they are still together, with their little brood. Congrats, Kizzy Lee, you have been entered into the draw for £10 ($15) Amazon vouchers.
The winner will be announced, together with the raffle winners by Sunday latest on the blog.
I hope everyone enjoyed The Dating Game launch party activities and blog posts and of course the fabulous raffle where 46 authors kindly donated 54 ebooks for your reading pleasure!

Remember, if you have purchased The Dating Game since its release, you automatically qualify for entry to the Amazon voucher prize draw. BUT, I need you to email me the details. Not everyone who has bought a copy has done so. If you have bought a copy, please email me by midnight tonight (GMT - British time) soozbuch@gmail.com to be included. And, of course, if you haven't got your copy yet, you can get it here and still have time to enter the draw.
Good luck!

http://amzn.to/RuSl7Y (UK) http://amzn.to/WZQtZK (US & other .com)

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Thursday Competition - Your favourite place in Scotland

Morning and although it's been fun, this is the final day of The Dating Game launch. The party officially ends at 9am tomorrow morning, but this will be the last competition.

Firstly, the winner of Tuesday's competition -Your Most Interesting Date -  Katie Peal - congrats on still being with your other half and for getting to have a drink with Jimmy Carr (rather you than me quite frankly - the man's laugh gets on my nerves!)  You have earned an entry into the Amazon vouchers draw.

Wednesday's competition - Barcelona quiz - basically everyone who entered is now in the draw. I hope you didn't all copy Natasha Allie's answers! Natasha earns 2 entries into the draw, as she gave the answers first - well done!

Today's competition - very simple. I am Scottish and very proud of my heritage. My novels are always partly set in Scotland.
So, to enter today's comp simply tell me your favourite place in Scotland and why. Or, if you're not lucky enough to have visited Scotland before, tell me what appeals to you about Scotland the most, the place you would most like to visit here and why.
The entry I like best will go in the draw for £10 Amazon vouchers. Winners to be posted on the blog by Sunday latest.

And remember, anyone who buys The Dating Game by Fri 9th Nov, automatically earns an entry into the draw. Simply email me the details to soozbuch@gmail.com

If you haven't got your copy yet, you don't know what you're missing!!
Pick up your copy here:- http://amzn.to/RuSl7Y (UK) http://amzn.to/WZQtZK (US & other .com)


And don't forget, you still have a chance to enter the raffle for the 54 ebooks, if you haven't already or if you already have, but have left a blog post comment for today's competition, you qualify for another entry!
Simply click the link below and scroll down to the Rafflecopter form.

http://www.susancbuchanan.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/the-dating-game-launch-party_1.html

Good luck everyone and enjoy The Dating Game!
Sooz

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Wednesday's competition - Barcelona quiz

Yep, it's competition time again! Apologies to everyone for the screw up with yesterday's comp - I only found out around 3.30pm GMT that there was a problem with the link. As a result I am leaving the  'What was your most interesting date ever?' comp open for the rest of the day.  If you haven't entered it yet - click below
http://www.susancbuchanan.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/tuesdays-competition-whats-most.html

Monday's competition to name a character was won jointly by Specsandginger (again) and Kathleen Hooper, who both said Fergus. Congrats to them - they are now in the draw for £10 ($15 Amazon vouchers).

Now, turning to today's comp, if you've been following the last few week's posts you will know that Gill and her friends from The Dating Game go to Barcelona for a long weekend.

To be in with a chance of winning the Amazon vouchers, all you have to do is answer the following 3 questions correctly

1) What's the name of the famous church in Barcelona designed by architect Antoni Gaudi?

2) What is the main language spoken in Barcelona (clue: it's not Spanish!)

3) When did Barcelona host the Olympic Games?

That's it! All you have to do is leave your answers with your email address (don't forget, as otherwise I don't know how to contact you!) as a comment on the blog.

 
And if you buy a copy of The Dating Game by 9th Nov,  you automatically qualify for an entry into the draw for Amazon vouchers, too. Simply email me the details at soozbuch@gmail.com
If you haven't picked up your copy yet, what you waiting for?!
Here are the links! http://amzn.to/RuSl7Y (UK) http://amzn.to/WZQtZK (US)


And remember if you leave a blog comment on the competition, you qualify for another entry into the raffle for 54 ebooks - woo hoo! 54 lucky winners will be announced at the weekend.
To enter the raffle simply click the link and scroll down to the Rafflecopter form.
http://susancbuchanan.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/the-dating-game-launch-party_1.html

Good luck. The draws will be made at some point on Sat and either published on the blog Sat or Sun.


Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Tuesday's Competition - What's the most interesting date you've ever been on?

It's Tuesday and that means another competition to celebrate the week long launch of my second novel, The Dating Game. Some great suggestions for yesterday's name the character comp, but since they are still coming in, what with the different time zones, I will leave it open for a wee bit longer.
In the meantime, let's talk about today's competition.
Very simple, all I want to know is What's the most interesting date you've ever been on? It can be somewhere great, or something great. Was it bungee jumping off the Bloukrans Bridge in South Africa, or scuba diving in Cayman, a slap up meal at a restaurant where it's difficult to get a reservation, or something more intimate, a rooftop meal prepared by your other half. (again, nothing explicit please!)
Simply leave a comment on the blog, with your email address, so I can contact you if you win, to be entered into the draw for £10 ($15) Amazon vouchers. (draw takes place Sat)

If you don't already have your copy of The Dating Game, why not?! Kidding! But if you'd like to find out more about unlucky in love, Scottish recruitment consultant, Gill, you can buy your copy here.

http://amzn.to/RuSl7Y (UK) http://amzn.to/WZQtZK (US)

 
 
And remember anyone who buys a copy of The Dating Game by Fri 9th Nov, automatically earns an entry into the Amazon draw.
Finally, don't forget to register your entry to today's competition via Rafflecopter, too, so that you get even more entries into the raffle for the 54 amazing ebooks on offer from over 45 authors.
Simply click the link and scroll down to the raffle form. Good luck
 
That's it for today - back tomorrow with another great competition for you
Sooz
 

Monday, 5 November 2012

Monday Competiton - Help Me Name A Character

Morning!
Hope you all had a good weekend. Some very good entries into Sunday's competition for where your perfect date would be, if you could choose anywhere in the world.   But I couldn't decide between these two:-
' Iceland and spend time together under the pretty Northern Lights' entry from SpecsandGinger AND
'My ideal date would be in Felix Baumgartner's hot air balloon at 100,000 feet. Stunning view' from Paul (evanescence7041)
I've always wanted to see the Northern Lights, after reading Bill Bryon's book. And I've always fancied going for a hot air balloon ride.
So both of those will go into the draw for Amazon vouchers (this will be drawn on Saturday)



But now let's turn to Monday's The Dating Game Launch Party Competition.

If you have been paying attention the last few weeks, you will have heard me say that I will be starting to write my next book in a few weeks. It features a male protagonist, which will be interesting for me to write. Again the novel will partially be set in Scotland, and this time partly in Hong Kong. What I would like from you today is to help me find a name for my protagonist's brother, who will be the person he turns to for advice.
I haven't decided yet how old the brother will be, but somewhere between 40-50.  I am looking for a name which is plausible in Scotland in the 1960s/early 70s. But I don't want something typically Scottish like Callum, Hamish etc.

So, will you pick up the challenge and help me name him? Simply leave a blog comment with the name for my character and your email address so I can contact you if you win.
The entry I like best will be entered into the draw for £10 ($15) of Amazon vouchers.

If you haven't picked up your copy of The Dating Game yet, you can do so here:-
http://amzn.to/RuSl7Y (UK) http://amzn.to/WZQtZK (US)


Everyone who buys a copy of The Dating Game by Fri 9th automatically qualifies for an entry into the Amazon draw, too.

Remember to register your entry on the Rafflecopter form if you also wish to enter the amazing 54 ebook giveaway. Simply click the link and scroll down.
http://www.susancbuchanan.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/the-dating-game-launch-party_1.html

The more entries you have, the more chances you have of winning. Good luck! Sooz



Sunday, 4 November 2012

Sunday competition - Where would be the ideal date?

Morning!!

Saturday's competition has been answered correctly this morning by xcardiffgirlx. The answer was I will set part of my next book in Hong Kong. Congratulations on being entered into the draw!

Now, turning to today's competition. It's very simple.  Last week on the blog, we talked about the worst blind dates. All I want to know (keeping it clean!) is where would your ideal date be, if you could choose anywhere the world and why? Just leave a comment on the blog to that effect with your email address  The date I like the sound of best, will be entered into the Amazon £10 ($15) draw. See, that was easy!

Don't forget to use Rafflecopter to say you have entered the competition, as you will earn more entries into the Great Kindle Ebook Giveaway Raffle - 54 ebooks!

Click here to go to the launch post, featuring more info on The Dating Game and the Rafflecopter draw.

http://susancbuchanan.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/the-dating-game-launch-party_1.html

And, of course, if you don''t have your copy of my new novel, The Dating Game yet, you can get it here:-  http://amzn.to/RuSl7Y (UK) http://amzn.to/WZQtZK (US & other .com)  Everyone purchasing a copy before Fri 9th November, automatically earns an entry into the Amazon voucher draw.

Good luck and I will be back tomorrow with another exciting competition, in Day 4 of the Dating Game launch party!