Monday, 30 September 2013

Breaking Bad, a brand new book, and a whole new attitude...

OK, before I start, I just want to make it clear that I haven't, as yet, watched the final episode of Breaking Bad. At the time of writing this I'm halfway through season 4, and that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach gets that little bit stronger every day as I get closer to the end of this truly incredible piece of TV. Because I don't want it to end. Clever, clever writing, brilliant acting, and a storyline that hooks you and then reels you in... but, strangely enough, it's also provided a tiny touch of inspiration for the new book I'm working on.

With Extra Time, Book #2 in the Striker Trilogy, now out there, I've decided to take a little break from the world of football to try my hand at something new - writing erotica. Well, my own style of erotica, anyway. It's something I've wanted to do for a while now, and although the timing isn't perfect, with the final book of a trilogy still to finish, when a story hits you, sometimes you've just got to write it. So that's what I'm doing. I'm writing it. I've taken the decision to step back from heavy promoting, I've stopped stressing about book sales, and I've certainly given up submitting to publishers for the foreseeable future. It just isn't worth the hassle and the time anymore. Because I just want to write. And since I made the decision to do that, I can honestly say I've  never been happier.

Anyway, I mentioned before that this new book of mine was inspired by Breaking Bad, or, to be completely accurate, something I saw on Breaking Bad. And that was the relationship between the character of Jesse Pinkman and his neighbour Jane. 

Jesse and Jane...
It was, in my eyes, a relationship that should never really have happened. Neither of them were in the right place to handle it, and in my eyes it was somewhat destructive and ultimately devastating. But I do believe they really loved each other, in some strange kind of way. There was something there. And that's what inspired me to write Beautiful Dangerous. It's the story of a relationship between two very damaged and fragile people, but they need each other. It certainly isn't the story of Jesse and Jane, not by a long shot. But it was heavily inspired by that relationship. Sometimes two people are drawn to each other when they really shouldn't be; for all the wrong reasons. And sometimes the consequences of that can be dangerous. So, thank you Breaking Bad for inspiring my new novel, for helping me get my head straight and finally letting me see what makes me happy - and thank you for giving me the stunningly good Aaron Paul. His acting is currently blowing me away, and for me he's really brought the character of Jesse Pinkman to life. But I'll write more about my obsession with this show once I've finished watching it, which, if we carry on at the rate we're getting through episodes, should be in a little under a fortnight. So no spoilers, please, if you already know the outcome. I may not be held responsible for my actions should somebody blab...

Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman in Breaking Bad

Anyway, in the meantime, want to find out more about Beautiful Dangerous? Then check out this synopsis of my current work in progress...

Lola White is a long way from home, and Albuquerque, New Mexico, is about as far away from Newcastle, England as you can get. But she needs an escape. And that's just what her uncle has offered her - a chance to begin again. And that's exactly what Lola wants to do  - she wants to keep her head down and forget.

But when Jesse Carpenter walks into her life she's instantly addicted to a man who offers her a way to forget she really shouldn't take, but she does. And as he draws her deeper into a dark world of drugs and hot, seedy sex, Lola feels like she can finally put her old life to rest. She just doesn't see how dangerous her new one is becoming.

Her relationship with Jesse turns obsessive, their lives becoming one, long, drink and drug-fuelled whirl of sex and sleeping, until her uncle intervenes... with devastating consequences. And all of sudden Lola's world takes a shocking turn as secrets are exposed, and the stakes become higher than anybody could have expected...

So there we go. A brief outline of what this new book of mine is going to be about, and it's a book I can't write fast enough. But it's also a book that is strictly for adults only. Striker and Extra Time were hot, I mean, they had some pretty explicit sex scenes in there, but this has gone one step further, because I do believe that there's a difference between erotic romance and erotica. So I'm warning you now. Just so you know. This ain't no Christmas Without Icing, believe me...

Aaron Paul... I think I might be just a little bit in love...

Anyway, I feel like a whole new chapter in my writing life has begun over the past few weeks. Gone is the worry that I'm not good enough to do this, that others are better than me; that I'm not doing enough to promote, not putting myself out there enough. But I don't care. I don't want to be like everyone else. I'm tired of spending way too much time trying to conform, to do what I think I should be doing instead of just doing what I want to do. I don't have to conform, I don't have to do what everybody else is doing. I just have to be me. And this is me. Doing what I want to do. Writing what I want to write, when I want to write it. And I'm excited about the future all over again, after months of being down on myself and wondering if it was all worth it. I've got a hell of a lot of stories left to tell, and I'll be writing them all just the way I want to write them... yeah, I'm excited. The passion is back. 

He doesn't have to tell me twice...

So, I guess all that's left to say now is - in true Jesse Pinkman style - Yo! Bring it on, Bitch!  

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Extra Time - Official Launch Day is here for Book 2 in the Striker Trilogy!

Yes, we finally got there. Almost seven months after I released Striker - Book #1 in this trilogy of books - the second installment is finally there on those virtual bookshelves, because today is the official launch day for Extra Time, Book #2 in the sexy Striker Trilogy. And once more we rejoin the lives of Amber, Ryan, Jim and Ronnie as the game continues...


Extra Time begins just a few months after Striker, Book #1 in the trilogy, left off, and the lives of Amber, Jim, Ryan and Ronnie have all moved on…

*If you haven’t yet read Striker, then please be aware of slight spoilers contained in this synopsis*

Professional footballer Ryan Fisher is out of rehab, back on his feet, and determined to show the world he’s a changed man. With a new girlfriend, and the captaincy of Newcastle Red Star now his, he has it all to play for. But Ryan isn’t finding it all that easy to leave his old life behind. Especially when so much of it is still so close to home; when a life he didn’t realise he wanted until it was far too late is still right there in front of him. Does he reach out and try to grab it a second time? Or does he make a decision to leave it all behind in the only way he knows how, before temptation becomes too hard to resist…

Amber’s life is moving along at breakneck speed. She’s newly married to the man of her dreams, and she has a new career as a presenter with a major TV satellite sports channel, alongside her best friend, ex-footballer-turned-TV pundit Ronnie White. But is everything as happy and settled as she’d like it to be? Has she finally found her happy-ever-after? Or is the past just waiting to creep up on her…

At the age of forty-nine, Jim Allen feels as though his life is just beginning. He has the woman he’s loved for over twenty years by his side, and his career as one of the country’s most successful football managers is on the ascendant. But Jim knows all is not as it seems. He knows there are more secrets just waiting to come out, secrets that could potentially damage his new life. And this time, they’re secrets he isn’t sure he can control. Is a past he’s spent so long trying to hide finally starting to catch up with him?

As those secrets slowly start to reveal themselves, everyone’s lives once more become entangled as faces from the past and dreams of the future collide, and sex, lies and betrayal all play a part in turning all their worlds upside down. All over again. And when a secret of her own adds to Amber’s heartache, is running back to her old life the best way to escape the pain? Or just the easy option. Is she really strong enough to let go of a man whose hold over her is something she just can’t break, even if everything inside of her is screaming at her to do so.

But when that old life starts to take hold in a way no one could have envisaged, the game changes once again…
 

Extra Time - The game continues… but just who is winning…?

*Please note - Extra Time contains some fairly graphic sex scenes, strong language, and adult content*


 *

So, there we have it. Book two is now out there, the story's moved on, but the game isn't over. Final Score, the third and final installment in the trilogy, is due for release in early 2014.

Extra Time is available to download now from Amazon.

Striker, Book #1 in the Trilogy, is also available to download from both Amazon and the Kobo Store.









Sunday, 15 September 2013

Nicky Wells releases Sophie's Encore, book 3 in her Rock Star Trilogy.

Today I am extremely happy to welcome author and fellow rock music fan Nicky Wells to my blog. She's just released the third book in her hugely successful Rock Star Trilogy - the first two being Sophie's Turn and Sophie's Run - but now she's brought us Sophie's Encore. And for fans of Dan and Sophie, they can now finally find out where the story ends...

But I'll hand you over to Nicky now, and let her explain what it's like to write that final book in a trilogy, and how the covers of her books also tell a story...


Over to you, Nicky...



Happy, exhilarated, bereft. Or: how it feels to finish a Trilogy.

It’s done. My third book, Sophie’s Encore, has hit the virtual shelves. The long-awaited conclusionto the epic romance between my girl-next-door, Sophie, and rock star extraordinaire, Dan, is written and published for the world to see. I’m not saying how it’s gonna end but… You wanted to know how it feels to get to The End. Well, let me see….



The beginning of the end: the writing of Sophie’s Encore

Monday, 8 October 2012. 9:30 am.

Cup of tea—check.
Laptop at the ready—check.
Plotline tacked to the wall—check.

I start typing. “So how is Dan?”

To my great surprise, I find that my hands are shaking. This is it. I’m going to bring the story to an end. I’m starting on the last leg of the journey, and I’m frightened. I know where I’m going, of course, but what will I do when I get there?

Sophie, Dan and me: Long-time friends

For eight years now, Sophie and Dan have lived in my head. For the past two years, they’ve been my and my family’s constant companion. Between us, we have talked about them as though they were real persons. But when I’m done, I’ll have to say goodbye. I hate goodbyes.

Still, there’s nothing for it but to forge ahead, so I start writing fast and furiously. As I’m working my way through my meticulous plan, I make some astounding discoveries.

The devil and the detail and all that…

First of all, chronology matters. Doh, right? Evidently I’ve planned the Trilogy in great detail, and still things trip me up. Ages, mostly. Sophie was 28 when the Trilogy started, and Dan was 38. They had birthdays ‘in between’ books and also quite prominently in Sophie’s Run, when Sophie celebrates her 30th birthday with astounding consequences, and Dan his 40th with ditto.

But time’s moved on. More birthdays have been had and other life-changing events have transpired. I find myself referring back to Sophie and Dan’s early romance as having been seven years ago. Oh, hang on, wasn’t it eight?Or maybe nine? *Cue nail-biting* Turns out that counting back in years yields a slightly different answer than counting back in ages.

My solution? More planning. I make a large table with twelve columns for months and several rows for years passed. I mark birthdays. I make the start and end of each book. I mark key events. I figure it out.

Next up, I’ve grown. My outlook has changed, and my perspective on Sophie and Dan’s fate has changed. Moreover, narrated time between books has passed, so Sophie herself has grown. I decide to tackle that issue head-on by having Sophie, Dan and Rachel reflect on how things are different for them, now.

I get so involved in fine-tuning these last details that I completely forget about the pain of goodbye as I feverishly approach the finishing line.

Done, done, done!

It’s end of January 2013 by the time I finish Sophie’s Encore.While I don’t exactly write the words, “The End”, I definitely know that this is the end, and do you know what? I shed a little tear or three. Happy tears, I hasten to add. And proud tears. I feel bereft and exhilarated at the same time.

Onwards and upwards

To stem the floods, I move on immediately. I start planning book 4; a new book, a new story, new characters, a fresh start. I mock up a cover for Sophie’s Encore. I launch Sophie’s Run. I conceive of a completely unscheduled mini-project that gets planned, written and completed in the space of four or five weeks. I edit Sophie’s Encore. I start writing book 4. See? There’s no standing still here, the only way is forward. I’ve dried those tears and launched myself headlong into new adventures.

So watch out, here I come! I have a surprise for you later this year, and my fourth full-length book, Fallen For Rock, is scheduled for release in the summer of 2014. Meanwhile, happy reading of Sophie’s Encore! I’d love to hear what you think!!

ROCK ON!



The Three-Fold Cover Story

Never judge a book by its cover, or so they say. I think that’s a highly debatable position! Book covers matter. Here’s my cover story!

Authors and publishers alike expend considerable effort on creating eye-catchy covers that zzzzing! Evidently, I’m no exception. Each cover for the three books in my Rock Star Romance Trilogy was carefully designed. Individually, they’re awesome! But in their togetherness… WOW! 


I have to confess, I’m a little in love with how they work side by side. (Okay, a lot in love then. I admit it.) They show Sophie’s story in a nutshell. There’s a progression there, an evolution, that is quite deliberate.

Consider this. In the first book, Sophie’s Turn, Sophie still very much finds herself drawn to the glitz and glamor surrounding that rock star of hers, the dangerous and delectable Dan Hunter. But throughout the book, Sophie gets to know him—and herself!—much better than she’d ever dared dream, and this produces the ‘turn’ at the end.

In book two, Sophie’s Run, Dan becomes Sophie’s friend while she’s in pursuit of someone else. Quite unexpectedly, Dan finds himself in a position of unrequited love. He has to think up ways to keep their friendship alive. Their joint recording of his duet right there in his home studio is one of the key moments in the novel and eventually builds a bridge right into book three. So the sound recording equipment on the cover says,hey, look, there are rock starry things being done here! Yet it hints at the ‘detour’ Sophie’s life is taking and lays the foundations for the final book.

Enter the cover for Sophie’s Encore. There he is, Dan, right on the cover, toned bare arms and all, singing his heart out in all his delicious rock-star glory. The title promises us another go, an encore—but what will it mean, and how will it work? Will Dan and Sophie get a second chance? And what will Dan have to do to make that happen? Between you and me, Sophie’s Encore might equally have been titled, Dan’s Encore, for this book is about the both of them and whether they can bring their romance to a happy ending.

And there you have it! See what I mean about the Cover Story? What do you think?

Rock on!

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Wednesday, 11 September 2013

New perspectives, and those new-book nerves...

It's that time again - I'm sitting here staring a new book launch in the face, only, this time, I'm feeling strangely calm about it all. Well, okay, maybe calm isn't quite the right word, but, because I've taken the pressure off myself, I'm not letting the stress take over.

This has been a year of getting things into perspective, really. You see, I let myself get sucked into the old submission stress again at the beginning of the year, and subsequently lost a good few months of my life worrying about that, wondering if this year would be the year I struck lucky. It wasn't. Once again I'm experiencing that feeling of deja vu as months roll by with no word from publishers. So, submitting manuscripts of any kind has now been put on the back burner. I'm not writing what publishers want, okay. Fair enough. I'm writing what I want to write, and that's all that matters to me, and the upshot of rejection, and the positive side of still being an indie author, is that I can continue to try different things, something I intend to do a lot of next year. And it also means I'm not wasting precious writing time sorting out submissions, covering letters, etc. I can just write. And finally allowing myself to do that, to know that that's okay; to just get up, sit at my desk and write, that's a nice feeling.

Coming soon...

So, after accepting that being traditionally published is a dream I'll put away for another life, I got on with that writing, and I've finally managed to finish Extra Time - which would have been finished a lot sooner if I hadn't allowed myself to be distracted by all of the above! But, it's finished, and it's almost ready to put out there. Why aren't I panicking, then? Why aren't I worrying that people won't like it, that it won't sell, all the usual things writers (most of us, anyway) worry about as we prepare to launch a new book? Well, I am worried about all of those things, of course I am. I'd be pretty conceited not to be. But, the thing is, I've got it all into perspective now. I'm not Jackie Collins. I'm not a major bestselling author (although I can actually call  myself a bestselling author, having had all of my books in the Top 100 of various categories over the years), and I'm not expecting to sell hundreds of thousands of copies. I know I'll sell a few, because I know there are people out there waiting for this book, and that is a lovely feeling, believe me. Makes writing these books totally worthwhile, just knowing there are a handful of people who want to read them. But I'm not expecting sales to go through the roof. Once again, I'd be conceited to even think they had a chance of doing that. It'll sell what it sells, and I'll try my best to get the word out there, because I'm extremely proud of how this trilogy is progressing. But the marketing side of things is something I really dread. I'm not good at it, I'm not a natural salesperson, and I'm incredibly uncomfortable with blowing my own trumpet. I know people say that if you, the author, isn't excited about the book you've just written then how can you expect anyone else to be? I am excited. I just find it very hard to jump up and down and shout about it, which is odd, considering I'm a Leo and someone who is supposed to love the limelight. But I actually hate it. Mind you, I was born two weeks early and technically should have been a Virgo, whose traits are much more me. Anyway, I'll leave all of that major marketing to those who enjoy it and can do it well - I don't really enjoy it, and I'm not very good at it, so I'm going to concentrate much more on the writing side of things from now on. I'd like to get Final Score, the third and final installment of the Striker Trilogy, out early next year, and then crack on with a few other projects I've got planned. I haven't really got time to market. Not when I'd rather be writing. I guess this has been a year when I've realised where my priorities lie. And in doing that, I'm a lot calmer about things than I was this time last year - or even a few months ago!


Anyway, enough of the rambling. Extra Time is due for release VERY SOON (official launch day will be during the week beginning September 23rd, but I'm hoping to have the book live on Amazon sometime within the next few days... watch this space...), and yes, of course I'm slightly nervous about how people are going to take to it. I've never really written a series of books before - No Matter What and Illusions of Love are, technically, connected, but those books could, in reality, be read as stand alone books. You can't really do that with the Striker Trilogy. So, yes, those new-book nerves are there, especially when I get to this stage, when I become obsessed with finding typos and mistakes, and wondering whether I did the right thing in changing the ending slightly, but that's all normal, isn't it? I'm very critical of my own work, and I'll never be 100% happy, but that's just me. I want to send those books out the best they can possibly be, because I want people to enjoy them. I loved writing them, so it stands to reason that I want people to love reading them, too. But I'm also nervous of alienating certain readers. Some who've read my other books weren't too keen on the amount of sex contained in Striker, book one in the trilogy. Some said it didn't need it, others thought it all a bit too much, and that's fine. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. And because Striker really is the book that marked my entrance into the more erotic side of romance, well, I suppose some readers will fall by the wayside, if that kind of thing isn't what they're a fan of. That's the risk I've taken in writing these new books. And I certainly haven't toned it down in Extra Time. If anything the sex is hotter! Oh, we're not talking full-on erotica here, but it's just a few steps away from that. Some of the sex in the book is pretty graphic, although not half as graphic as some of the books I've been reading lately! But, if full-on sex scenes aren't your thing, you might want to leave the Striker Trilogy alone. 


Book one in the trilogy.
Okay, I'm rambling again, but that's just a sign of the nerves kicking in as release date for Extra Time draws closer. Will people like it? Will they think it a worthy continuation of the first book? Will they read it and want to complete the journey with these characters? Will people find the sex too much? These are all questions I can't answer just yet, not until the book is out there. And speaking of which, I'd better get back to it. The sooner I get Book Two out there, the sooner I can get on with Amber, Jim, Ryan and Ronnie's journey in Final Score... I know how it's all going to end - will you want to find out, too...? 


Striker - Book One in the Striker Trilogy - is available now from Amazon and Kobo.

Details on when - and where - you can get your hands on Extra Time will follow very, very soon!

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Kathryn Brown releases Bedknobs and Bachelors.

Today I am so, so happy to be featuring my wonderful friend Kathryn Brown as she launches her latest novel, Bedknobs and Bachelors. I've read it, I loved it, and you can check out my review at the end of this post. 

But first, find out more about Kathryn's latest release, and check out the cover for this book - it's fabulous!

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Gary Stringer is on a mission; he wants to accumulate as many notches on his bedpost as he possibly can before he turns 30. You could say he’s a jack-the-lad and you could accuse him of being a ladies’ man, but Gary also has a sensitive nature, especially when it comes to his mum. He likes to think of himself as someone with a truck-load of street-cred, someone with a reputation to ‘please’, particularly between the sheets. But when two very different women walk into his life and he realises his desire to become a ‘changed man’, he faces the dilemma of holding onto his fly-by-night reputation or settling down once and for all. And the decision he needs to make if he is to settle down leaves Gary in somewhat of a quandary.



It was a lot of fun writing this book and I loved adding the humour which comes with Gary’s character, not to mention that of his best friends, Alfie and Jez. My love for novels written from a male point of view inspired me to start writing Bedknobs and Bachelors, having previously published two novels written in first person from a female’s point of view. It is a lighthearted and fun read, sex scenes aplenty and a sense of bachelordom as one man looks at his life from a different angle.




Blurb

Gary Stringer seems to have it all: a great job, fantastic friends, a love for the night-life and a penchant for sex. However, upholding his reputation as a ladies’ man isn’t quite that easy when, at twenty-seven, he still hasn’t cut the apron strings.

What Gary wants more than anything is his own bachelor pad – a place where the ever-increasing notches on his bedpost can be noisily etched, far away from the watchful eyes of his mother. But can he afford it? More to the point, is he actually ready to take that leap and, for once in his life, wash his own socks?

As Gary ponders his dilemma, he’s faced with yet another when two beautiful women enter his life within a matter of days. Will his reputation precede him? Will he make the decision to string along two women? Or will he finally admit that the feeling in his heart is a little more than just indigestion? Will it be Janice or Lisa? And will Alfie and Jez – his lifelong bachelor friends – be a help or a hindrance?

*

My Review of Bedknobs and Bachelors 

What can I say about Kathryn Brown’s latest novel, Bedknobs and Bachelors? Apart from the fact I loved it! Bedknobs and Bachelors tells the story of Gary Stringer, a typical jack-the-lad, still living at home and enjoying every perk being a young bachelor can bring. But Gary is starting to question his future. Does he carry on collecting those notches on his bedpost? After all, he isn’t short of women offering to help him on that score. Or does he seriously start thinking about moving away, getting a place of his own, and maybe even settling down? If he can find the right woman. But what Gary didn’t bank on was two women walking into his life – two very different women. And all of a sudden he finds himself having to make that decision about his future; does he continue to be the lad-about-town with the street cred and the reputation as a ladies’ man? Or does he opt for the quieter life and become a changed man?

Bedknobs and Bachelors is a humorous yet heart-felt look at Gary’s dilemma as he ponders his future, and I think Kathryn has created a character that, yes, he is a typical jack-the-lad, but he also has a sensitive side to him that made me warm to him almost immediately. He isn’t a complete idiot, he’s just a typical young bloke with all the worries and dilemmas that men of his age have to contend with. He’s struggling with that crossroads in his life, and at times I really felt for him, almost willing him on to make the right choice.

Kathryn has done a fantastic job of writing this book from Gary’s point of view, and she’s created a story that is both extremely funny yet also heartwarming and sensitive; a story about love and friendship. And in Gary she’s given us a character who is both cocky yet endearing, and I really liked him. He’s trying to make his way in the world the best he can, but that doesn’t come without its struggles, of which Gary has many, most of which he’s never had to handle before. And with his two best mates not always helping matters, his life isn’t always an easy one. But I was rooting for him constantly, because he was so likeable!

This author also has a real talent for writing humour – this book made me not only smile, but also laugh out loud, and that’s what I loved about it. It was a roller-coaster ride of emotions at times, and yes, there is the usual bad language and quite a few sex scenes in there, but that in itself is just being true to the characters in the book. That’s how they talk and that’s what they do.

It’s another beautifully written book from Kathryn Brown, an author who can turn her hand to anything from romance to humour, an author who can draw you into a story and keep you wanting to read more. I loved Bedknobs and Bachelors – and if you’re looking for a book that will make you smile and keep you hooked until the very last page, then I think you’ll love it, too. Thank you, Kathryn, for a wonderful read. And for introducing me to Gary Stringer!

 
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Bedknobs and Bachelors is available in paperback from Amazon and in eBook on Kindle.

 

Monday, 2 September 2013

The Sopranos - My thoughts on a show that will live with me forever...

*Please be aware that this post contains pretty major spoilers, so, if you haven't yet watched this incredible piece of TV drama, you might want to leave it alone.*

 
Now, as far as The Sopranos goes, I'm a little late to the party. In fact, I'm so late that the sausage rolls have long been packed away, the DJ's already taken those final requests, and the room has since been hired out countless times for numerous weddings, office parties, and a dozen singles nights for Match.com.

But, for a number of reasons - not having satellite TV at the time, my lack of interest in anything Mafia-related (I haven't even seen The Godfather), moving to Tenerife and having even less TV channels... you get my drift - we just never got hooked first time around. I heard people talking about it, I wondered what all the fuss was about, but none of it really made me want to watch it. But then James Gandolfini died - far too young, and knowing what I know now, we've lost an extremely talented actor. And because of his untimely death, interest in The Sopranos suddenly piqued in this house. Well, to be honest, my hubby watched the first episode, loved it, and made me sit down and watch it myself because he thought I'd love it, too. But I was sceptical. I didn't really think it was my thing. How wrong was I?

Last night we watched the final ever episode, and I can't stop thinking about it. I can't get it out of my head, I can't concentrate on anything else except how sad I am that we no longer have these people in our lives. To some, that may sound weird. It was a TV programme, those people weren't real, and even if they had been they weren't always the nicest people to have around. But we have just spent every single night for a good few weeks with those characters in our lives. We got the whole six seasons watched in a very short space of time, and that's why I think it's affected me so much - and it's been a long, long time since a TV programme has affected me the way The Sopranos has. Even now, six years after the show ended, people are still talking about that final episode, that final scene - a scene I just cannot get out of my head. Everything from the directing to the music playing in the background, to the way a strange kind of tension built up because you just knew something was going to happen. You just didn't know what, exactly. Except that, when it did happen, for a few brief seconds you'd be forgiven for thinking something was up with your TV. But when you replay it back, when you read the explanations, it all makes sense. And in a strange kind of way, if you take the general consensus about the ending - that Tony Soprano was murdered, and that those seconds of blackness at the very end of the episode represent that fact - I can't help feeling sad. In the back of my mind, I suppose, I wanted a happy ending for the Soprano family. Things were just starting to come together for them, or were they? Could Tony ever really be free? Wasn't he always destined to be living his life constantly looking over his shoulder? And, in reality, wasn't death the only fitting end for a man who, quite frankly, did some pretty horrific things in his time? Surely crime couldn't be seen to pay? Not ultimately.


Tony and his crew...
The Sopranos wasn't easy viewing. The violence was sometimes quite difficult to watch, and the language was pretty strong. Actually, it was very strong. But, in context, that's the way it had to be. It was the world those people lived in. But what made it so good, so clever, was the utterly brilliant acting from an ensemble cast that deserved every award they won. Any actor who can play someone so thoroughly nasty and dangerous, yet still give off a vulnerable side to themselves that actually makes you feel sympathy towards them, that's a talent. And that's what a lot of the characters in The Sopranos did for me. One minute you're hating them because what they're doing is just stomach-turning, and the next you can't help but feel sorry for them as real-life and real problems that we all face affect them just as they affect everyone else. That's clever. That's good TV.


Tony and Christopher - a messed-up relationship that, ultimately, ended sadly.
There were episodes when I detested Tony Soprano for his actions, and episodes where I just wanted to hug him, and although one of my favourite characters was Christopher Moltisanti I went right off him after what he did to Adriana's little dog! Seriously, though, Christopher was probably one of the most frustrating, mixed-up, complex characters there was, but when he died I actually felt quite shocked. I hadn't wanted him to go that way, to be "finished off", as it were, after that car accident, by Tony. I hadn't wanted to see that. Maybe, out of all of the characters in that show, I wanted him to come good more than anyone. By the end he had a family - a wife, a baby girl, a career in movies... But, in reality, could any of Tony's crew ever really come good? Could anyone ever really leave all that behind? I think the answer to that one was no, as was confirmed when a member of the crew asked to leave to move to Florida, to start a new life. He was denied that request, and in the end hung himself. So, thinking back on the last few episodes as, one by one, Tony's crew were taken out, that was the only way it was ever going to end. And that final scene in the diner, where Tony meets up with his family, and then, if we're to believe the popular theory, is shot right there in front of them, that has to be one of the most memorable scenes I've ever watched. It's a scene that will stay with me for a long time. And now I can totally understand why, all these years on, people are still talking about it.


A still from that infamous final scene... just before it happens...
I'm sad that my evenings watching this truly brilliant piece of TV drama are now over; I'm sad that we've lost someone as talented as James Gandolfini so young; and I'm sad that there isn't more TV like this on our screens - TV that draws you in, makes you care, gets inside your head and stays with you, because The Sopranos will stay with me for a long, long time. And now, whenever I hear Journey's 'Don't Stop Believing', - the song that was playing throughout that final scene - it's a song that won't just forever send shivers up my spine. It's a song that will always make me think of the time I spent with The Soprano "family"... always...




Cover reveal - Forever Fredless by Suzy Turner

Today I am so happy to be handing my blog over to the fabulous Suzy Turner as she gets ready to release her first chick lit novel, Forever Fredless. But first, she's revealing the cover to this new book of hers, and I have to say, I LOVE it!! 

Read on to find out a little bit more about Forever Fredless, and check out that fabulous cover on the way...




Kate Robinson has spent the past two decades yearning to find her soul mate, the boy she found and then lost during a family holiday. Shortly after her twenty-eighth birthday, however, she inherits a fortune from an old family friend and becomes something of an overnight celebrity. Can her new-found fame lead her to him after all this time?

Forever Fredless will be available from online bookstores from October 2013

For more details about Suzy and her books, visit: