Thursday, 24 January 2013

The Christian Grey of football managers? Come and meet Jim Allen...

Now, I haven't actually read 'Fifty Shades of Grey' but, I've heard a lot about the book's seemingly quite sexy male protagonist, Christian Grey. Handsome, sexy, powerful... all traits shared by Jim Allen, the rather attractive, charismatic manager of Newcastle Red Star, the fictional team that football's newest bad-boy, Ryan Fisher, plays for in my new, soon-to-be-released sexy football-themed romance, Striker.

Jim Allen is an American who's played football (soccer) in the UK for most of his life. He's a very well-known, extremely popular ex-player, so when he turns up back in the north east of England to manage his old club, it's a choice the fans and the players are ecstatic about. But that's not a feeling shared by everyone...

This is how I imagine the character of Jim Allen to look...

Jim has ulterior motives for moving back to a part of the country that carries a lot of memories. Leaving a successful career with a top London club behind, what's the real reason behind his return to Newcastle?

Now, when you think of football managers, names such as Alex Ferguson or Harry Redknapp usually spring to mind, but, with the greatest of respect to two of the country's most lauded managers, they're not exactly eye-candy. Although, to be fair, Jose Mourinho was always worth a second look... Anyway, what I'm trying to say is the words "football managers" and "sexy" aren't words you'd usually put together in the same sentence. Until I created the character of Jim Allen.


A younger Jim Caviezel - a younger Jim Allen? Yeah!
With his trademark suits and aviator shades, he exudes a sexiness never before seen in the world of professional football management. He's a popular man, a talented player, somebody who's had an incredible career on the pitch and is now making his mark in management. But, despite his good looks and charm, he's never been married. Because he's thrown himself completely into his work? You'll have to read Striker when it's finally released to find out more about this enigmatic man, but, in the meantime, just who was the inspiration for this character? Well, nobody from the world of football. I wanted someone who was handsome but also with a slightly moody undertone, a look that carried some hint of something underneath the surface that nobody can quite work out. And he had to be someone who looked good in a suit. In fact, he had to rock a suit! And then, one day, as I sat watching the brilliant Person of Interest on TV, there he was. My perfect muse - Jim Caviezel as John Reese, a character he plays wonderfully! And a character whose nickname just happens to be "The Man in a Suit"! Reese is handsome, professional, strong and sexy, with this darkly secret undertone to him and a voice that could, I swear, melt chocolate. I could listen to that character talk for hours.  So, there he was - my ideal muse. A man who looked good in a suit, who was handsome, strong and sexy, and who I could stare at for hours while claiming it was all "research". Perfect! I love being a writer...



More Jim Caviezel, just for the hell of it...
In fact, Jim Caviezel fits the character of Jim Allen so well that, should Striker ever get made into a movie (ooh, look, I've drifted off into fantasy land again...), then I shall hunt this man down and make him play that role! Get that restraining order ready to sign now... ;) 


My inspiration also needed to be attractive, charismatic and sexy because Jim Allen is involved in some of the book's steamier scenes. And I'm talking really steamy! Really, really steamy! And I couldn't write those if all I had to go on was a picture of Harry Redknapp now, could I

Jim Caviezel as "The Man in a Suit" John Reese in CBS show 'Person of Interest' - Look... he even LOOKS like a football manager!

Striker is due for release in the Spring. So get ready for a sexy story of secrets, lies, sex - and soccer! But remember, the beautiful game isn't always so pretty...



Friday, 18 January 2013

Meet the Author - Serena Fairfax

Today, in another of my regular 'Meet the Author' slots, it's time to meet one of my fellow Famous Five Plus authors, Serena Fairfax. 
 
Want to know more about Serena and her books?  I'll let the lady herself take it from here...


About Me


I spent my childhood in India, qualified as a Lawyer in England and joined a large London law firm.
My first romantic novel STRANGE INHERITANCE (published by Robert Hale Ltd in 1990) went into UK and USA large print editions in 2004 (published by BBC Audio Books Ltd and Thorndike Press) and is a Kindle  and Smashwords e-book 2011. The next romantic novel was PAINT ME A DREAM (published by Robert Hale Ltd in 1991) which went into UK and USA large print editions  (published by BBC Audio Books Ltd and Thorndike Press) and is also a Kindle and Smashwords e-book.
Fast forward to a sabbatical from the day job when  I traded in books and mortar for a houseboat and  embarked on WHERE THE BULBUL SINGS a time-zone saga set in India spanning the last heady days of the Raj to the present day. This emerged in 2011 as a Kindle e-book, Smashwords e-book and a printed book and has earned several 4* and 5* star reviews on Amazon, many favourable reviews on http://www.openbookreview.com/ and a very encouraging review by Sand Vixen on http://sandvixen.blogspot.co.uk/   

IN THE PINK (Kindle and Smashwords e-book  is a departure in style. GOLDEN GROVE and WILFUL FATE are both romantic novels and are Smashwords and Kindle e-books.
Recently I began trying my hand at short stories.
I'm a member of the Romantic Novelists Association. It’s a wonderfully supportive organisation. I stumbled across Famous Five Plus last year and am very glad I joined it as Pauline Barclay who runs it is an indefatigable promoter of members' works.
 
I live in London and rural Kent (Charles Dickens said: Kent, sir. Everybody knows Kent. Apples, cherries, hops and women) with my golden retriever, Inspector Morse, who can’t wait to unleash his own Facebook page.


BOOK TITLES

STRANGE INHERITANCE (ASIN:B005KMVF34)
PAINT ME A DREAM (ASIN:B005LKMQZG)
GOLDEN GROVE (ASIN:B005JZ0RAO)
WHERE THE BULBUL SINGS  (ASIN: B0093MHTNM)
IN THE PINK (ASIN:B0051YFOTK)
WILFUL FATE (ASIN: B00802VMP2

ABOUT MY BOOKS

STRANGE INHERITANCE: 
Little does Gemma know that the identity of the attractive mystery man who saved her and her motorbike from near disaster in a raging storm will only be revealed in very different circumstances after her desperate dash to her critically ill uncle's bedside. The glorious Northumbrian countryside is the background to this novel.(ASIN:B005KMVF34)

PAINT ME A DREAM: 
Francesca Marsham is in a dilemma. As an art dealer in a smart London gallery she   cannot avoid having to meet Rafe Rostov, a celebrated painter who has arrived in London to exhibit his work and whom she had known in Italy nine years previously. Florence, Sicily and the smart West End of London feature as backdrops.(ASIN:B005LKMQZG)
 
GOLDEN GROVE: 
Char Pembroke sees no alternative but to accept wealthy merchant banker Guy Urquhart's job offer to become his PA when her court case against him ends in financial disaster, and she and her ailing father face ruin and homelessness. The setting is the English countryside, Chelsea, London and the Algarve.(ASIN:B005JZ0RAO) 
WHERE THE BULBUL SINGS:  A sprawling saga, with a romance theme,  set in India  spanning  the last days of the Raj to the present day.  Three feisty women- Anglo-Indian (mixed heritage), German and English - whose lives entwine.  An American Baptist missionary couple whose unknowing links to one of the women resonate to the present day. The  cutting edge of the modern city of Delhi and the pine scented hill station of the Himalayas; the glamour of the Maharajahs;  the perils of personal re-invention;  the poignant quest for roots.(ASIN: B0093MHTNM)
 
IN THE PINK: 
In this wry, comic entertainment set in the early 1980s it's just three years since art historian Anthony Blunt was publicly unmasked in 1979 as the fourth man in a ring of British spies that had worked for the Soviet Union as KGB operatives. And what are their ties to this strait laced organisation based in London established to help rural women worldwide? Diversions to a fictitious African country.(ASIN:B0051YFOTK)

WILFUL FATE: 
Jacintha runs a clothes shop in the country from a converted barn. Up in London for the day, she stumbles across an epitaph immortalising a notorious seventeenth century highwayman and womaniser, Claude Du Vall. Pre-occupied with thoughts of him, her  van skids in an unfamiliar residential area of London. Dazed and shaken she is rescued from the wreckage by its owner, Ed, a charismatic and vibrant  business tycoon and race horse owner who she blames as responsible for hounding her former fiance out of office. The excitement of riding and race horses in an idyllic English location of bluebell woods, hawthorn hedges and may blossom is the setting for the clashes between Ed and Jacintha and the ups and downs of their relationship.(ASIN: B00802VMP2)



ABOUT MY SHORT STORIES

These are posted on my blog and are entitiled:
THE BOARDROOM - never underestimate a quiet unassuming foreigner
LIVING DOLL- things aren't what they seem






And three folk tales for kids:

THE SIX JUDGES
THE FEARLESS CHATTEE-MAKER
SURYA BAI

LINKS:


You can find Serena's books over on both Smashwords and Amazon. 

Serena, thank you so much for popping by and telling us a bit about yourself, and your books. It was a real pleasure to have you here, and I wish you all the very best with all your books, and all your future projects!  And I, for one, cannot wait to see Inspector Morse's Facebook page! 
 

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Racy Reads Competition on 'Lorraine' - Shoudl I? Or shouldn't I...?

I've realised a couple of things this week:

1)  I'm actually enjoying 'Celebrity Big Brother' and I'm not ashamed to admit that, although Heidi and Spencer Pratt are starting to grate on me a bit now,

2)  I need to lose a few pounds but I'm far too lazy to start exercising again just yet,

 and

3)  I'm in the middle of a bit of a dilemma.  And it's this particular one I want to talk about today, if only to get things off my chest, really.

Now, those of you living in the UK may or may not have seen the competition that was launched on 'Lorraine' this week - Racy Reads.  With the help of Jackie Collins they're trying to find the "next big thing in writing", so, when I heard about this I tuned in out of pure curiosity, just to see what was required.  With the winner obtaining a contract to have their novel published with Mills & Boon, and being flown out to LA to have lunch with the wonderful Ms. Collins herself, I'd have been stupid not to see what all the fuss was about. And, after all, my writing does somewhat lean towards the racier side of romance. 


Would I love to have lunch in Hollywood with this lady? Of course I would!
However, after watching the show over the past few days, and taking a look through all the terms and conditions, rules, etc., I'm beginning to think that this maybe isn't for me.  Why?  Well, quite a few reasons, really.

First and foremost, one of the terms and conditions is that you have to be able to have a completed novel (50,000 words minimum) ready by 3rd June 2013 at the latest.  Okay.  That means that, should I be inclined to enter, I have no time whatsoever in which to create a brand-new body of work so that would leave me with no other option but to submit 'Striker'.  And I'm unsure whether this would be accepted as, although the whole book hasn't yet been published (it's not even bloody finished, never mind published!), any work which has previously been published in any shape or form is not eligible for submission.  Mind you, I'm not sure that posting the first chapter on my humble little blog could actually count as published. 

Anyway, before I start waffling on again, 'Striker' is the only thing I could possibly submit - first and foremost they want the first 1,000 words.  Which isn't a lot.  So those first 1,000 words have to really sell the story in order for anyone to be picked to go through to the next stage.  And I'm not sure I'd even stand a chance.

But, let's say the impossible happened and I did somehow get through to the next stage - that could mean TV appearances on 'Lorraine', and I think this stage also involves having to "sell" your story to the panel of judges.  This is where I'd fall flat on me arse, you see.  Oh, it's not that I'm not confident about my story - I love my story, and I'm very proud of 'Striker'.  I'm just not confident - full stop.  I'm painfully shy, and I'm just not sure if I could actually do what's required without falling to pieces.  Me?  On TV?  Nah.  Mind you, the huge positive in all of this is that, should all of these pipe dreams happen then it could mean a little extra exposure for my name, as an author, which in turn could mean a boost in sales for my other books, which is never a bad thing when you're a struggling indie author like me.  But, as none of this is going to happen...  You see what I mean?  How could I possibly enter a competition like this when I'm not only bereft of any kind of self-confidence, but I'm also extremely cynical about these kind of things.  I can't help myself.

Which brings me onto the next worry I have.  This competition does not exclude previously published authors or those with agents, etc. from entering.  In fact, in reality, unless you already have a practically completed novel ready to go I doubt it's even worth thinking about going for this.  No way can that ordinary person sitting at home, desperate to knock out their very own 'Fifty Shades of Grey' have a completed novel ready to be published in just over 4 months!  Surely that just isn't realistic? Of course, the finished book will go through a professional editing process and all that that entails, but still.  I'm sure that the panel of judges are looking for something more than just a rough-around-the-edges first draft by June.

I just think that this competition will be entered by a lot of professional authors - their agents could have put them forward, or they already have that perfect book all written and ready to go.  I don't know.  I do think it will attract a lot of indie authors too, though.  And why not?  We need all the help we can get with publicity and promotion, so why not have a crack at this?  I just don't know whether I should bother or not. 

Oh, and and another thing, they want a novel of 50,000 words, minimum - 'Striker' is knocking on for 160,000 and it's still not finished yet!  It's going to be too long.  Could it be edited down?  Yeah, I'm sure it could.  Do I want it to be edited down?  Not really.  Not all of it, anyway.  I haven't actually completed a first edit yet, so I don't know what I'm taking out/leaving in myself right now.  I'm also unsure as to how "racy" they want this novel to be as, judging by some of the authors they've had on the sofa with Lorraine so far this week, their books have been anything but racy!  And I should know - I've read most of them!  And if that's what they're looking for then 'Striker' is going to leave them blushing like they've never blushed before.  'Striker' is racy with a capital 'R'!  Believe me...

Anyway, this has been one long and rambling post but I've tried to use it as a way of talking myself into either giving this a go, or forgetting all about it and getting on with my writing.  I still don't think I stand a cat's chance in hell of even getting past the first round, and I'm still not entirely sure I want Mills & Boon getting their hands on 'Striker' anyway.  But, then again, shouldn't I just send off the first 1,000 words and see what happens?  I've not got anything to lose, really, have I?

I really, really cannot decide what to do about this, and I've only got until 28th January to decide.  If it was a longer time-frame I would certainly create a whole new novel, but there just isn't the time.  Not if I want to do it properly.  So, what should I do?  I mean, lunch with Jackie Collins?  That's a dream come true for me that is - after the one where Bradley Cooper turns up on my doorstep with a tin of chocolate body paint and... Well, maybe that's something that's just got to go in another one of my very own racy reads... ;)

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

It's time to meet Team 'Striker'! First up, bad-boy footballer Ryan Fisher...

"Kick-off" is now imminent!  Yes, it's almost time for my new novel to hit those virtual bookshelves; the edgy, extremely sexy football-themed romance 'Striker' - the story of Geordie bad-boy footballer Ryan Fisher, feisty sports reporter Amber Sullivan, and handsome, charismatic, American-born ex-player-turned-football manager Jim Allen. 

However, if you're looking for a gentle, sweet romance then I'd walk away now, because this certainly isn't going to be one of those.  But, if you want a book that's more 'Fifty Shades of Football' then stick around.  You might just like this.  Gonna make you blush a bit in parts, though. I guarantee it! ;) 

Anyway, in the months leading up to the book's release I'll be doing a few posts introducing the main characters, talking about the book and just what it is you can expect from this story, and just what made me want to write it in the first place.  

But, today it's all about Ryan Fisher... So, just who is this bad-boy footballer of mine...?


My ideal Ryan Fisher - the gorgeous Emun Elliot!
Ryan Fisher is twenty-six-years-old, 6ft tall, full of attitude, and more than a little rough-around-the-edges with his messed-up dark hair, beard and brooding dark eyes.  A bit of a George Best of his generation, if you like.
He's extremely handsome, very, very sexy, (as if he'd be anything else!), a touch arrogant, and definitely a little on the egotistical side, but he's also an incredibly talented footballer. Born in the north east of England he's spent most of his professional career, so far, in London, playing for some of the biggest top-flight clubs in the country but, as 'Striker' begins, he's about to make a return back to his Geordie roots in a multi-million-pound transfer deal that will see him join one of the region's most historic and famous clubs - Newcastle Red Star.  But are his reasons for returning home something more than just a bigger pay-packet?  And whatever it is Ryan's left behind, can he leave it alone long enough to make the new start he badly needs?  

He's very much your stereotypical footballer - or, rather, what we perceive many of today's footballers to be like - when the book begins.  He's perfect, yet at the same time extremely flawed; he thinks he knows what he really wants yet he invariably finds himself lost.  He's lived in a bubble, almost, for so long that the real world isn't something he's particularly familiar with so when it begins to penetrate everything he thought he knew, he suddenly finds the goalposts shifting... Ryan is on a journey.  And it isn't going to be an easy one...

This song by Taylor Swift - I Knew You Were Trouble - pretty much sums up Ryan Fisher.


Emun Elliot - my perfect Ryan Fisher!
So, who have I chosen as my "muse" for this bad-boy of football?  Well, look no further than the gorgeous Emun Elliot - if you watched the recent BBC1 drama The Paradise last year then you might remember him as department store owner John Moray, or for those of you with access to the Comedy Central channel you might also have seen him as Richie Valentine in the home-grown British comedy Threesome, which is hilarious, so if you can get your hands on it I recommend you give it a go.  As long as you've got a very open-minded sense of humour!

Emun Elliot as the dashing Mr Moray in BBC1's 'The Paradise'...

Anyway, when I look at Emun I see the character of Ryan - simple as that.  That sexy, rough-around-the-edges look, a brooding stare... Ryan Fisher is one of the sexiest footballers there is, but he knows it.  He knows he has the world at his feet, women whenever he wants them, and a dream job that means he can - quite literally - have absolutely anything he wants, whenever he wants it.  But is everything really all it seems when the beautiful game turns out to be anything but pretty...?

... and as Richie Valentine in Comedy Central's 'Threesome'
 


'Striker' is due for release in the Spring.  

You can read the (as-yet still unedited) first chapter from 'Striker' HERE, and if you want to find out more about the inspiration behind my sexy new football-themed romance then check out the 'Striker' inspiration board HERE at Pinterest!  And get ready for kick-off!




Friday, 4 January 2013

Meet the Author - Melanie Robertson-King



Well, it's a brand new year, and I hope it's going to be a happy one for everyone, including the author you'll be meeting today in another of my 'Meet the Author' posts.  And once again she's a fellow Famous Five Plus author, Melanie Robertson-King.

So, welcome to my blog, Melanie, and I'll let you take it from here...

Hi Michelle! Thanks for inviting me to be a guest on Meet the Author. After reading the posts that your previous authors have written, I’ve got some really big shoes to fill. Gulp.

I’ve always been an avid (voracious, even) reader and loved the written word.  So what better introduction to writing than reading?

My first attempt at writing came in the summer I graduated from primary school (here in Canada grade 8). I’m not sure what sparked it but leftover notebooks from school and being creative (I loved to draw and was pretty good) stoked the fire. Having a not-so-secret crush on a few of the guys on our local Junior A ice hockey team (18 -20 years old), I had a veritable cast of buffed heroes to choose from. As far as my lead female character? Well, she looked nothing like me, but in my mind she was me just a few years older.

Fast forward to 1997 and my second trip (hubby’s first) to Scotland (my father’s birthplace). As on my first trip in 1993, we stayed in the B&B in the village in Aberdeenshire near the small croft where my father was born. On this trip, whilst visiting family I was given a photograph of my grandfather and his first wife (see below)– presumably on their wedding day. It was as if I was looking at a photo of my father, the likeness was so uncanny. 

That photo was part of the original inspiration for my novel and many drafts later and eventual publication, it still has pride of place as a portrait of the old Laird and his wife as newlyweds in the great hall of the mansion I modeled Weetshill on.

My novel began as an overgrown short story, called Sarah’s Gift, after I got home from Scotland with that photo. Not necessarily well written (looking back on it now, it sucked) but I had written something for the first time in a number of years!


Another item that played and continues to play an important role in my novel is the antique banded agate brooch my husband bought me at a silent auction. In the aforementioned portrait, the young Mrs Robertson wears it pinned at the neck of her dress. 

Over the years, taking a creative writing course, and being a member in two writers’ groups, Sarah’s Gift grew into a novel with a high-concept title (A Shadow in the Past), and eventually written well enough that I finally landed a contract with my publisher – 4RV Publishing – a small press in the US.




A Shadow in the Past


Nineteen-year-old Sarah Shand finds herself thrust back into the past. There she struggles to keep her real identity from a society that finds her comments and ideas strange and her speech and actions forward, unlike Victorian women. When Sarah verbally confronts confining social practices, including arranged marriages, powerful enemies commit her to a lunatic asylum. After falling in love with the handsome Laird of Weetshill, Robert Robertson, she must decide whether to find her way back to her own time or to remain in the past with him.


Where to buy:














Melanie’s links:


Author Blog: Celtic Connexions http://www.melanierobertson-king.com/wp02/
 
Twitter Account: @RobertsoKing https://twitter.com/RobertsoKing


Melanie, thank you so much for a fantastic post! So interesting, and a great insight into how your novel 'A Shadow in the Past' came about.  I wish you every success with the book, and for all your future projects.  Thank you so much for being a featured author here on my blog, and I hope 2013 is a fantastic year for you!


 

Thursday, 3 January 2013

My 2012 Awards...

I've been tagged by my fabulous blogging and twitter friend Jamie T Dougan to give my awards for 2012 on various things from my most memorable song of the year, to my hero.  So, as we're all still getting used to ushering in this brand new year, I've stuck my thinking cap on, and here are my very own awards for the year just passed...




ONE WORD TO SUM UP 2012
 

Busy.  Enough said...


SONG OF THE YEAR



Tough one this, as I'm a really big music fan and therefore have too many favourite songs to mention, unfortunately not many of those songs are actually current!
But, as far as songs of the year for 2012 go,  my choice is probably a strange one to the people who know me and my music tastes - Rita Ora feat. Tinie Tempah and 'R.I.P.'  Why?  It just reminds me of the summer, and writing my book 'Illusions of Love'.  And I just really love the song, strangely enough.  Because it is actually so far away from the kind of thing I usually listen to...


ALBUM OF THE YEAR

Has to be Driving Towards the Daylight by the fabulous Joe Bonamassa.  Another amazing album from a truly amazing performer.



HIGHLIGHT OF THE YEAR

Seeing the incredible Joe Bonamassa live for the second time.  His shows are just mesmerising, and completely unforgettable.
 

The fantastic Joe Bonamassa.

PERSONAL HIGHLIGHT OF THE YEAR

I think this has to be seeing my comedy romance 'Bon Voyage' appear in the Top 100 Kindle books chart back in May of last year.  That was a real highlight.



This was a bestseller in 2012.

HERO OF THE YEAR
 

My husband, Ian.  For putting up with me! I love him to bits, and I just hope he knows that...


SPORTS STAR OF THE YEAR
 

This one has to go to the whole of Team GB, and I'm sure most people would agree with me here.  They gave us a spectacular summer of sport last year, and I think London 2012 is something we'll all remember for a long time yet.


MOVIE OF THE YEAR
 

Ted.  Without a doubt.  I have a slightly warped sense of humour...

Mark Wahlberg and Ted, from the movie 'Ted'.


TV SHOW OF THE YEAR
 

Going to give this award to American Horror Story: Asylum.  It's actually still running, so it's crept into 2013 too, but this show is just so different to anything I've seen before, with some incredible performances from the likes of Jessica Lange and Zachary Quinto.  I'm so glad the UK saw sense and decided to air this programme too.  Just brilliant.

Oh, but, hang on, can I choose two shows?  Because the return of Dallas was a definite highlight of 2012 for me.  I was so happy they brought that back, but so sad at the loss of Larry HagmanHe made JR Ewing a legend...


Long may the memory of JR Ewing live on...


The gorgeous Jim Caviezel
CRUSH OF THE YEAR

Again, I'm gonna be indecisive here and make it a tie between American actor and star of another great TV show, Person of Interest, Jim Caviezel, and the rather gorgeous star of The Paradise and Comedy Central's Threesome, Emun Elliot.  I wouldn't kick either of them out of bed for eating toast, and both have proved to be more than adequate inspiration for my soon-to-be-released new novel 'Striker'!


The rather lovely Emun Elliot




So, there you have it.  My rather random awards for 2012 - the year I had a bestselling book, watched a lot of sport, and found beards on men sexy.  And, on that note, I've got an extremely handsome footballer I need to get back to if this new book of mine is to be ready for its Spring release... Bring on 2013! :) 

 

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Hello, 2013!

So, another year has gone, and a new one is just beginning! But I had a really lovely Christmas - quiet, but nice.  Just the way I like it.  Highlights?  Well, my Christmas dinner was pretty damn good, even if I do say so myself! ;)


My Christmas dinner, cooked by me!
I'm no Delia, but I can't half knock out a decent festive dinner.  And it tasted fab! All washed down with a lovely glass or two of dry white wine followed by an afternoon of slobbing about on the sofa watching Christmas films and trying not to think about food! 

And, of course, another highlight of the festive season here in our house is the PDC darts World Championships from the Alexandra Palace in London.  Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas without the darts, and although I didn't watch it as religiously as I have done in the past, what I did watch I enjoyed.  And last night's final between Dutchman Michael van Gerwan and Phil Taylor was a good one.  Even though I didn't actually want Taylor to win it... Congratulations to him though.  Both of them played extremely well.


Christmas darts in our house...
Other highlights included getting a brand new Kindle Fire as a present from my fabulous husband - who obviously listens to hints - and rearranging the back room to finally get that spare bedroom we've been meaning to sort out for years now.  It meant me getting new desks to fit into the new layout of the room, but my writing space is now sorted once and for all, and I'm just about getting used to that! 


My new writing space.
We also watched a few movies over the holidays, and I've got to share my two favourites - the first was Ted, the story of a man and his relationship with his Teddy Bear.  Click the link and check it out for yourself, because it probably is as ridiculous as it sounds, but I loved it!  You have to have a certain sense of humour to enjoy this kind of film though, and if you're easily offended by... well, anything, really, then avoid it.  Like the plague!  It's crude, rude, and just a little bit silly, but I laughed.  A lot.  Well done to Seth MacFarlane for creating a very cute, but very grown-up teddy bear!  I've heard a rumour there's going to be a Ted 2, and I hope it's true.  I'd certainly like to see what else that bear can get up to...


And the second film that I thoroughly enjoyed over Christmas - on New Year's Eve to be exact - was Men in Black 3.  I've always loved Will Smith, and he certainly didn't disappoint in this third installment of the Men in Black franchise.  Actually, all of the cast were good, and personally, I thought Josh Brolin was an inspired choice to play the younger version of Tommy Lee Jones' character Agent K.  The movie was fast, funny, and full of what fans of the films like.  And I for one was happy to see these characters return to the big screen after a long absence.  


OK.  So, there are a few of my festive highlights, but were there any low points?  Yeah.  One or two.  And, apart from weighing about a stone more than I did before Christmas started, The Royle Family Christmas Special was a huge disappointment.  Now, I have loved this programme over the years, but the last few haven't been the best, and this one was no exception.  I just think that what used to be a comedy most of us could relate to has become slightly silly, and I didn't really laugh at all during this hour-long Christmas special.  Not the best they've done.  Mind you, if we're talking Christmas TV in general, it was poor.  There wasn't really anything on that made me sit up and take notice, so it was just as well I had my new Kindle Fire to faff about with.  However, if we're talking comedy, I have to return to the subject of highlights and mention the hilarious Mrs Brown's Boys.  Again, I think you have to have a certain sense of humour to find it funny, but for me personally I think it's one of the funniest things on TV right now, apart from The Hotel, but I'm not sure that's meant to be quite as funny as it is!  As far as the Christmas episodes of Mrs Brown's Boys was concerned, I was crying laughing during the nativity play episode... just brilliant! 

Anyway, I think I've rambled on enough about Christmas now.  I had a good one, I enjoyed myself, but now it's back to reality, back to work, and back to the writing.  I've got a book to finish, a new one in the planning stages, and another Christmas novella already planned out and ready to write for this coming Christmas.  I've given myself a lot to do this year, so, I'd better get back to it.  

I hope everyone else had a great Christmas, and here's hoping that the coming year is good for all of you, whatever you're doing.  So, come on 2013 - let's see what you've got in store...