Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Jabbering with Jackie

I’m being interviewed this week by a regular here at the Misfit blog.  She can always be relied on for a series of weird and wacky questions and can be followed on Twitter @jackie495.  We’ve met for lunch a couple of times and, as you may be able to tell from this blog, she’s not entirely normal!  Perfect for the Misfit!

Here are her questions:

You're a bit of a party animal, so what is your favourite party trick?
I don’t really have a ‘trick’ as such but I do pride myself on throwing a good dinner party with lovely food and fun entertainment.  I have a friend who tells me I ‘give good table’!  I LOVE to make the dining area look special as I feel it tells my guest that I’ve made an effort for them.

A murder mystery table I put together.

What's the craziest thing you've ever done?
Oh boy, that’s even more tricky.  I don’t really do crazy things because I’m too much of a coward!  It would probably have to be making the decision to send our son to private school.  Fifteen years of school fees is a heck of a lot of money - money we often haven’t had - and times have been scary.  When you start on the private route, you don’t want to let your child down.  We’ve been incredibly fortunate to receive help from various avenues and we’ve limped through to his final year.  Every day, I am so grateful for that.

My son's school

Are you scared of big hairy spiders?
Absolutely terrified but I would never kill one.  I get my paper and my glass and transport them to the garden - I always imagine that they stick two little fingers up at me for chucking them out in the cold.

Would you stay in a haunted castle overnight all on your own? 
Never, never, never. No, no, no!  Why?  Why would I want to do that?  I wouldn’t even do it for a million.  Just, NO!

What characteristics are important to you in a friend?
Loyalty, honesty and a sense of fun.

You acquired a goat called Billy last September.  How is he doing now?  Are he and his wifey, Fanny still going strong? Any more kids on the way?
For new readers, Billy was a toy goat bought for me by Jackie as she knows I have a love of them.  When Billy came to live in London he was lonely, so he went on a Goat Dating website and met Fanny.  Soon after, little Dick was born but, sadly Billy and Fanny were not very responsible parents and they asked if Dick could go and live with Jackie while they went on a cruise.  They have not yet returned!

Do you have a tattoo? If so, can you reveal where?  If not, would you consider having one done and what would it be?
No, I don’t have a tattoo and I would never consider one.  I hate them with a passion.  Australian hubbie wants to get the Southern Cross on his arm so that he feels close to Oz.  I have threatened him with divorce.

I used to do a spot of 'Wing Walking' and I'm thinking of taking it up again - would you join me in a tandem walk?
Oh, don’t make me laugh!  No!  Never!  I need a nappy change just thinking about it.  Take my hubbie, he’ll do anything.

What's your favourite sandwich?
Hmm … would probably have to be avocado, mozarella, tomato and basil.  Or just Marmite.

Do you ever get stuck for something to say in a crowd?
Oh yes, all of the time.  I’m very shy and find it difficult to make small talk with strangers.  I have a friend (‘Fenella’) who always seems to know the right thing to say - it’s a real talent and I wish I had it.

Since our last interview, have you cut down on your smoking?
No.  Next.

What is the best day of the week for you, and why?
I love Fridays.  Who doesn’t?  It’s the thrill of the weekend ahead and knowing that you’ve put in a good week of work.  Having said that, the actual day for me is a bit of a nightmare as I spend it chauffeuring my son and my mother - I’m in the car from 11.45 until 2.15.  I won’t bore you with the journeys but suffice it to say, I spend a lot of time hanging around so I take the laptop and the Kindle.

If you could change just one thing about you, what would it be?
I’d like to worry less.  I’d like to be like my husband and always see the positive, never think ‘what if’.

What's your favourite meal?
I’d start with a lovely retro prawn cocktail - you just can’t beat it!  Then I’d have boeuf bourguignon, dauphinoise potatoes, green beans and asparagus.  Pud would be something decadently chocolatey and some very gooey, stinky cheese.

Do you flirt with waiters to get 10% off your food bill?
Nah!  50% and we could be talking.

What words upset you?
Abuse, cruelty, bullying, racism, mortgage, bills, debt, death, cancer, grief, loss, loneliness.

What's your favourite word and can you put it in a sentence for us readers?
I can never hear the word ‘sink-hole’ without laughing.  I know it’s awful because people lose houses and their lives where there are ‘sink-holes’ but it just does something to me. Sorry.

Would you like a song written about you and who would you like to sing it to you?
Yes, I’d like my hubbie to write a song for me.  He has a lovely voice (he sings from the MINUTE he gets up!) so I think he should!

Would you giggle when that person is serenading you?
Probably!  And then I might cry - I’m a bit soppy.

If you could be one person for a day, who would it be and why?
I’d like to be me - except very, very wealthy ("money is no object" type wealthy) I’d like to drive about in my Bentley Continental, shopping, lunching and book signing.  I’d end with cocktails, dinner and a bit of dancing in a club.  That would be really depressing though because then I’d have to go back to being ‘poor me’ - yuck!

What's your biggest turn off?
Socks and sandals with bum-eating shorts.  Uggh!  Feel a bit sick now.

What was the last movie you watched at the cinema (silent movies aside!)?
Cheeky madam!  We don’t have a lot of time for the cinema at the moment as we are mid-edit (read: screaming, arguing, sulking, hissy-fits) but the last film we saw (as a couple - not teen related) was ‘Sweeney Todd’ - LOVED it and have since got the DVD and watched it many times.

Thank you for those questions, Jackie.  It's always a joy to have you on the blog. to lunch with or to chat with.

If this blog has given you a little more insight into what makes a Mummy Misfit, head on over and check my books out.  UK, here or .com here - all under £2.  Also in paperback at Lulu.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Introducing Ian Wilfred

An extra blog post this week as I would like to introduce you to a gentleman friend of mine, Mr Ian Wilfred.

Ian has just released his first chicklit novel ‘Putting Right the Past’.  It can be found on Amazon for Kindle and will also be released in paperback on April 1st.

Here's the blurb:

Carole Harding is in her 50s. She divorced her husband after he cheated on her with a prostitute. She hated her life – working in a Bristol supermarket – and the only exciting thing she’d done was to go on holiday (to Scotland in a caravan).

Then she inherited 2 million pounds.

Now she lives in an apartment in a plush complex in Tenerife, but it seems all her neighbours have problems and Carole finds herself helping to change their lives...

Nadean is the actress who hit the headlines and had to go into hiding; Victoria, a model, why did her family turn against her? Hamilton spent his life traveling the world, earning so much money, but was so lonely; Riley gave up everything for love... Then there are Peter and Paul, who only seem to be happy when having a crisis and Jeremy – who has secrets from his wife and from the law.

As Carole gets involved with the lives of her neighbours, she blossoms into the woman she’d always longed to be... when she meets Robson, can Carole make the biggest transformation of her life? 

Ian and I met on Twitter last year (you can follow him @ian_wilfred) and I was interested to learn that he was about to publish his debut novel. I feel that us Indies need all the support we can get when we begin on our writing journey so I invited Ian to feature on my blog and tell people a little bit about himself.

As a male chick-lit writer do you find it difficult to find a ‘woman's voice’?
I don't really have to try very hard - I just release my inner woman, if you know what I mean?!

Name three books you wish you had written.
Oh Amanda let's think. Three books I wish I had written but not necessarily my all time favourite reads:
'The Bridges of Madison County' by Robert James Waller. This was the one that started me reading woman's fiction.
'Delia's Complete Cookery Course'. So easy to read and follow the recipes and it's helped save my life for twenty odd years.
'Olive Trilogy' by Carole Drinkwater because I would have loved to have experienced everything she has in her books.

Over the past few weeks you’ve blogged about how and why you wrote ‘Putting Right the Past’. Have you enjoyed doing that? (Ian's blog can be found here.)
Yes.  I was nervous because you are opening yourself up so much but I think it has helped people to see who I am and has also hopefully helped sell some Kindle copies.

If money was no object and you could have any launch party you wanted, where would you have it and what would you do?
My dream would be at Claridge's with fab and glam people (including yourself of course), lots of bubbly and Lizzie Kramer (agent) introducing me and my book to everyone.

If you didn't write chick-lit what other genre would you choose?
It would have to be travel books as I could then spend months of the year travelling the world away from the wet British weather.

Were you nervous about your book coming out?
Nervous and excited.  The thing that I don't want to happen is that friends and family feel they have to read it just because they know me - I just want people to read it because they want to .

If you were giving a dream dinner party who would you invite (dead or alive) and what would you serve?
It would have to be all the Bs. Betty Davis, Barbra Streisand, Bette Midler and the fabulous Beverley Knight. The food would be lobster thermidor followed by a crème brûlée.

I know you're a huge fan of 'Loose Women'. If they asked you to feature on the show, would you?
Oh yes, like a shot!  I’d love to be on the show on the same day as Sherrie Hewson and Janet Street Porter.  That would be a dream come true and after the show it would be fantastic to have lunch with them.  (I wish!)

Name one song that sums up your book.
It would have to be 'No One Ever Loves In Vain' by Beverley Knight - the reason for this is because this song is mentioned in Putting Right The Past’.

How will you celebrate your book launch?
I have no plans myself but I’m secretly hoping for a surprise.  Although the paperback is released on April Fool’s day!   Lets hope I'm not an April Fool.

Has your partner read Putting Right The Past’?
Yes, when he first read it he couldn't work out where it had come from or how I managed to write it.  After reading it what seems a hundred times or more, as we worked on it together, he still can't quite believe I've done it.


Jeans or suit?
Prefer jeans but look slimmer in a suit.

Pudding or cheese?
Cheese every time but must be with Cornish Wafers.

Night in or night out?
Night out if food was involved.

Bath or shower?

Dancer or watcher?
Depends if red wine has been consumed.

Comedy or drama?
A mixture of both.

Dogs or cats?

Lover or fighter?
Lover. I avoid a fight at all costs as I don't like confrontation.

Thank you for joining me today, Ian.  I wish you every success with your book and any writing ventures in the future.

Ian’s book can be found at Amazon UK here or .com here.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Introducing 'Lottie's Luck'

Regular readers will remember that I'd given myself the deadline date of March 16th to complete the first draft of my new novel 'Lottie's Luck'.  Well I actually finished a week early, which gave me the opportunity to spend a week on my first round of rewrites and an edit.

The book is now in the hands of my hubbie for his usual cruel treatment and once this is complete we will begin the process of joint editing - a horrible, exhausting time that takes weeks of arguing, screaming and debating.  But ... the book will be better for it and our marriage (usually) survives.

So 'Lottie's Luck' will hit the shelves of Amazon and Lulu on Wednesday 19th June and I'd like to tell you a little bit more about it - so that you can decide if it's going to be the book for you.

The novel is told in a chatty, conversational style - almost as if the reader is one of Lottie's closest friends, gossiping and having a catch-up over a coffee.  Lottie begins her story on the day she feels her previous good luck starts to change.  But is this true or is fate simply guiding her in a new direction?

What can I tell you about our main character?  Well, first and foremost she's a dog lover and, as she also works with them, she has little time for 'girlie' things - make up and heels are not her bag, she's happier in her trademark wellies (she has many!).  'Dressing up' means a decent pair of boots over clean jeans and a cursory comb through her hair.

 Keira Knightley would be a perfect Lottie.

A lot of what happens to Lottie is predicted and hinted at by her dotty clairvoyant neighbour, Venetia.  Lottie has known Ven all her life and she's like a second mum.  When she first met her, she was convinced she was already a hundred years old but now she doesn't see an age - just an old friend who she loves dearly, even when she's hinting at difficult journeys through her crystal ball, tea-leaves or 'visions'.

The wonderful Alison Steadman as Madame Arcati
would be my ideal Venetia.

Now, Lottie has a rather tasty boyfriend.  He's an accountant, he's groomed, he's loaded and he can be just a tad irritating at times.  Lottie and Nat are chalk and cheese.

Presenting Mr Brad Pitt

Adding just a touch more eye candy, may I introduce Dan.  He's a landscape gardener and a client of Lottie's and she gets it into her head that he would be ideal for her best friend Amy.

Yes, it's the Coke Ad man - we don't need a name, do we?!

Dan has a rather special dog - he's quite crucial to the storyline so I have to include him in the images. He's no pedigree and would never be seen at Crufts.  May I bring you ...


So that's roughly the cast for 'Lottie's Luck'.  Have I left you wanting to know more?  Do you want to know what this lot will get up to?  It's not a smooth ride for them and I hope you'll often be screaming in frustration at the pages.  Poor Lottie gets put through the ringer but everything happens for a purpose.

I'll leave you with the song I feel best sums up this novel.  In particular the following lines:

'Life has a funny way of sneaking up on you
when you think everything's OK
and everything's going right.
And life has a funny way of helping you out
when you think everything's gone wrong
and everything blows up in your face'.

Alanis Morisette

'Lottie's Luck'   - because sometimes your luck hasn't run out, you're simply ignoring the signs.
June 19th 2013

IMPORTANT MESSAGE: If you haven't read any of my work yet and would like to know more, my novella 'Christmas Deliverance' is free from today (20th March) for five days only.  It's a shorter read (approx 25k words) but also contains the first chapter of my full length novel 'Stiletto's & Stubble' Download UK here or .com here. Thank you.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

My blog ... my space.

What's a blog for?

Well, that's a bit like asking how long's a piece of string, isn't it?

It's whatever you want it to be - you are, of course, master of your own blog.

BLOG: 'web log'
A personal website or web page on which an individual records opinions, links to other sites, etc. on a regular basis.

If you choose to post about goat mating, women in stockings, recipes with chocolate or homosexual pirates that's totally up to you - your blog, do what you like.  And then I can choose whether or not I want to read it or to pass the information on to others.

Blogging for me means covering a whole manner of subjects.  I'm a writer so I might run with one thought one week and another the next.  My blog, my choice. Equally, your choice to decide whether or not you want to read it.

In the past I've covered the topics of  periods, breast-feeding, my dad, books and an imaginary interview with Graham Norton - a vast array of subjects which won't appeal to all.

But it's my blog and I won't be told what I can and can't write about.

I would never write with the intention to offend or upset - although varying opinions can't always guarantee that I won't.  Not everyone's going to agree with my thoughts on smoking in public places, dummies (pacifiers for my US readers!), immigrants or the English education system - but they are my thoughts for you to do with as you will - consider, agree, dismiss, think I'm the best thing since sliced bread, throw your toys out of the pram or vow never to read another word that I write again.

Up to you.  Up to me.

The purpose of my blog is not solely to sell books.  It's there for a whole magnitude of things.  My readers will know if someone pees me off in Sainsbury's or if Mr Marks & Spencer seemed to have stopped making suitable clothes for my mum - it will end up written about here.

Some weeks I may rant and other weeks I may be in a jokey mood.  Regular visitors will know that you can never be 100% sure what you might read on the Misfit's blog.  And that's what I love about it - I'm not pigeon-holed.  It's my space.

But saying that, I am always careful to consider my choice of words and subjects.  I have a filthy mind and hubbie and I can be 'foul of mouth' but my blog is not the place for that.  I've never posted a piece that I wouldn't have been happy to show to my 85 year old mother and that's the way I'll keep it.

In fact, I showed her last week's post today.  I had my reasons and she got a bit teary - but she got my point.  My blog, my opinion, my release.

People abuse Facebook on a daily basis with digs and jibes that go out worldwide to friends and relatives, and they get off scott free.  Bloggers come under fire because ... well, why?  Because they sat and considered their words and didn't shoot from the hip?  No, it's because it's a permanent record of their thoughts or feelings at the time and Facebook is so 'in the moment' and virtually impossible to trace back.

Whatever you post on social media sites is out there for people to see,  you should own it - stand up and take responsibility for it.  You may just have posted an off-the-cuff one liner but those words can still do damage.

I don't ask anyone to read my blog - and yet I have thousands of hits a week.  Why?  Well I would hope it's because I'm open, honest, tell it as it is and that people feel that they have got to know me through my words.

My blog will continue to do what it says on the tin - it will be posts from the author Amanda Egan - on whichever subject she chooses and that's the way it will remain.

If you decide to come back next week - that's up to you.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Take a letter, Miss Misfit ...

I’ve seen the new craze going around where bloggers write snippets of letters that they know they will never send - just to get stuff off their chests.

I like this idea so I’m jumping on the bandwagon and churning out a few of my own.

Remember, these are my personal thoughts - if you can’t relate or don’t agree, piddle off and write your own.

Dear Employers
You are totally passing my husband by because of his age.  This means that you have lost out on one of the most decent and hardest workers I have ever known.
But that’s fine.  It means I’ve had him around me for longer and SOON, when everything goes OUR way, he won’t be looking for your poxy jobs anyway.

Dear Husband
You are the best (and more) than I could ever have wished for.  Every day with you brings a smile and I feel totally cherished as you promised all those years ago.  Times have been tough but together we can face anything.  I owe you an Aston Martin with bows and nipple tassels!  One day …

Dear Doubters
School phobia is very real.  This is the last time I hope I ever have to say this but it is not naughtiness, petulance, mollycoddling, ‘trying it on’, hating school - NONE of those things.  Live through it with a child or see someone experience a full-blown panic attack and then get back to me.  A slap doesn’t solve everything and this condition has not just been brought to the public’s attention because of sodding ‘Emmerdale’.  Get a grip!

Dear Son
How proud I am of you that you would come through such a difficult time and turn it into a positive - to be happy to chat to newspapers/radio and appear on TV in the hope of helping another child who is going through the same thing.  I think that says an awful lot about you.  Weird, whacky, a mind of your own and someone who will go far.

Dear Readers
Thank you so much for taking a chance on me and (mainly) loving what I do.  Every great review makes me smile so broadly, I wish you could see me when it happens.  Your words mean the world to me and spur me on to write more.  The support that you give me via blogs, email Facebook and Twitter is one of the greatest feelings ever.  Thank you.

Dear People who harm children, animals, the old or vulnerable.
No punishment is enough for you.  You will rot in hell.  Enough said.

Dear Putney Mums
You’ve been talking, I know you have.  That’s fine.  It was always going to happen.  There is no ONE individual represented in my books.  You are not Character A or Character B - but if you recognise a sprinkling of your traits in any of the people within the books’ pages, are you nice or nasty?  YOU decide!

Dear Daddy
Not your fault I know, but no girl should lose such a lovely dad at eighteen.  You are in trouble when I reach the Pearly Gates - listen out for the shouting!  Thank you for being the best and making your presence felt every day in some small way.

Dear PPI
STOP ringing me!  I don’t have any money due to me!  Do you not think I would have taken it if I had?

Dear Friend in Scotland
You are a mess and I am ashamed of you.  Thirty years of friendship is about to go down the pan as I stand by your husband and your son.  The alcohol needs to take a back seat and you have to remember that, first and foremost, you are a mother.  You have gone from ‘one classy lady’ to a candidate for the Jeremy Kyle show.  Stop and think what your parents would be saying.

Dear British Summer
We haven’t seen you for a while.  About three years?!  Get your bum into gear and hit us with a humdinger this year.  I have books to write and a garden to write them in.  What I don’t have is a passport, money to go overseas or the time to travel - I need you to deliver to my front door and this time, if you don’t, I will be writing a strong letter to The Times - enough’s enough.

Dear Family
Your mother/grandmother is not getting any younger.  Things can be left until they are too late and nobody wants that.  Do they?  We are ALL guilty in our own ways for being where we are, every one of us, and I think she deserves more.  Every single member of my family who reads this should take stock and ask themselves some questions.  Every single one.

Dear Blog Readers
Phew!  Bit of a marathon this week, wasn’t it?  If you made it this far, go and grab a cuppa or a glass of something lovely (depending on the time of day - I’d hate to encourage early boozing) and while you’re at it check out my books on Amazon!  Gotta keep that leaky old roof over our heads!