The Dirty Dozen – Geoff Le Pard!

Welcome to the final interview in this week’s blog-straganza of Dirty Dozen interviews for #ComedyBookWeek!

On the principle of saving the best (purple beard) till last, today is the turn of Geoff Le Pard!

1 – Hi Geoff, do you remember how you came across my blog?

I think it would be the 99 word flash if you do Charli Mills prompts, or maybe it was poetry? In truth I have no real clue. Maybe it’s some sort of punishment. Or do you owe me some money? I follow my debtors. After dark mostly.

(AL – I remember bonding over a sonnet I wrote… I don’t believe I owe you any money, so you can have your evenings back, you’ll be pleased to know! I read a lot of blogs, and a lot of stories, but this one from Geoff a few weeks ago couldn’t be more up my street if it had been called Alistair Lane… it’s dark and hilarious – bookmark this for a read if you haven’t already had the pleasure: https://geofflepard.com/2016/06/28/when-theres-no-stairway-to-heaven-writephoto-shortstory-flashfiction/)

2 – You, in three words?

The second person

3 – The last book/ film/ or album that made you cry

Joni Mitchell – Both Sides Now

4 – Where are you now on your writer’s journey ?

Well, three books published – two novels and one anthology. Maybe a third novel by the time this is hitting the press – it’s due in July. I have four other books that I need to edit into shape and two three-quarter books I need to finish.

I’m found on www.geofflepard.com and @geofflepard, not that I get twitter.
My books are on Amazon here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Geoff-Le-Pard/e/B00OSI7XA0/

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5 – One quote about writing that you are sick of hearing, or that really doesn’t do it for you?

“I am an aspiring writer” – if you write you are writer. Same way as there is a fixation with being published traditionally as if that means you are a better writer than someone who isn’t. Snobbery, people, is as unwelcome as a fart in a crowded lift.

Snobbery, people, is as unwelcome as a fart in a crowded lift.

6 – Two true facts about you, and one lie….

I am five foot ten tall; I am five foot eleven tall; I am six foot tall. If this seems absurd then (a) it is and (b) officially two have been recorded as true

(AL – Are you slightly telescopic??)

7 – The zombies rise and take over the world. You have five minutes to pack a bag and hit the road… You’ve got the essentials – water, tent, sleeping bag, vitamins, toothpaste, copy of Al’s zombie haiku book (coming soon to all good Amazon websites)… What else do you grab?

Nail clippers. I can’t stand a hangnail or a flaky piece of skin round my fingers. Just saying

8 – Who would play you in the movie of your life? 

Robin Williams, maybe in Mrs Doubtfire mode. I think Kubrick might direct or Gilliam. The screenplay would be Alan Bennett. The music a mash up between The Bonzo Dog Doodah Band with Karen Carpenter on vocals and Mark Knopfler on guitar. The romantic lead needs clearance from senior a management; such things are above my pay grade. It would aim to be a comedy in the style of the Carry On Monty Python

(AL – I’d always wondered what Kubrick’s take on a Carry On film would have been like… glad I wasn’t alone in this)

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9 – Doc Emmett Brown pulls up outside your house in the DeLorean from Back to the Future… He’s got a few hours to spare, and fuel for one return trip… Where and when in time are you heading?

Sometime in 2000 so I can tell my dad to get his sodding prostate checked; had he done so he would probably still be alive

10 – Your beloved partner is out for the evening, and your celebrity “pass” is popping round for tea. (You know, the one celebrity who your partner would allow you to spend a night with, without it being considered cheating… that’s a thing, right?) Who knocks on your door?

Again I need management’s sanction for this. But assuming the Board is feeling generous, Kathleen Turner, around the time of the War of the Roses film. I make a rather cracking lemon drizzle cake with peanut butter and choc chip ice cream. We would listen to Je Ne Regrette Rien on a loop and it would all rather fall apart when, as is customary I doze off in front of whatever is on the TV

(AL – I contacted management about this one, and they were extremely keen. They then muttered something about “fair’s fair”, and started reeling off a long list of their own… I’ll leave that one with you!)

11 – The producers of the Marvel Avengers films are worried they don’t have quite enough superheroes already crammed into the series… They call you up to play an original character. What would your character’s name be? What’s your superpower?

The Geoffle, as I seem to have been christened by a blogger or ten. My power would be to turn off all mobile devices, especially on public transport and make people talk to each other.

(AL – a hero who would be greeted with wild jubilation on every journey!)

12 – You are hosting a small dinner party for the deceased… You can invite three dead people to your shindig, but you only have enough spectral energy for one mega-star “A-lister”, and any two others. Who do you summon, and why?

As a youngster I remember laughing pretty much constantly at David Niven’s anecdotes. Is he A list enough? My Uncle Ted was always good value to have to dinner and Nat King Cole just to hear his voice – him or Richard Burton for the same reason…

13 – Any regrets?

Apart from doing this? I don’t suppose that is original. Nope nothing that matters. I regret not opening the batting for England but given my age I’d have probably faced Malcolm Marshall and been decapitated so maybe that was a bullet dodged.

A huge thank you to Geoff for being such a great sport (even if not in the cricketing sense). I’m going to go and buy his books now, and hope you will too!

 

Thank you also to everyone for reading and following these interviews. I enjoy them hugely, and hope you do too! I’m taking a little break with these until September, but if you are interested in taking on the Dirty Dozen then please drop me an email, or let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear what you’d say!

 

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The Dirty Dozen – Abby Vegas!

Welcome!

As part of #ComedyBookWeek, I’ve lined up some of the freshest, funniest writers around, and subjected them each to the Dirty Dozen treatment.

Today, it’s the turn of the wonderfully-named Abby Vegas to take the hotseat!

1 – Hi Abby, so tell me, how did you come across my blog?

I found it via #ComedyBookWeek – my Anglophile instincts picked up the scent right away. The name “Alistair” plus British-isms like “fortnight” and “spiffing” are all dead giveaways. I was instantly hooked!

(AL – How splendid!)

 

2 – You, in three words?

 Novelist. Cartoonist. Grump.

 

3 – The last film that made you cry?

Seeing Hodor’s backstory revealed on Game of Thrones brought the waterworks. Spoiler alert: That show will rip your heart out of your chest and stomp upon the pulpy remnants.

(AL – I’ve only just stopped crying about this. Hodor!)

 

4 – Where are you now on your writer’s journey?

I recently published my first novel, a romantic suspense called Clean Break. One Goodreads reviewer called it “witty, gritty, sexy and at times heart-pounding with intrigue.” (I solemnly swear it was not my mom.) The first ten chapters are free on AbbyVegasAuthor.com, where you can also find everything else I’ve written.

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5 – One piece of writing advice that you are sick of hearing.

“Don’t talk about your work-in-progress until it’s finished.” That’s like telling Kanye not to tweet about himself. What the hell else am I supposed to talk about?

 

6 – Two true facts about you, and one lie….

I grew up in Greenwich Village, in New York.

I got kicked out of a Vegas strip club at my own bachelorette party.

I saw Hamilton four times. FOUR TIMES. 

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7 – Who would play you in the movie of your life? Who would play the romantic lead opposite you?

I get stopped on the street all the time by visually-impaired people asking if I’m Tina Fey, so she’d definitely play me. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister on Game of Thrones) would be my husband because he actually IS my husband in my imagination. (In real life, Nikolaj and my husband are virtually indistinguishable if you squint really hard.)

(AL – Mrs Lane has suddenly started paying attention at this point…)

 

8 – Doc Emmett Brown pulls up outside your house in the DeLorean from Back to the Future… He’s got a few hours to spare, and fuel for one return trip… Where and when in time are you heading?

World War II-era England. I’ve been obsessed with it ever since reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

 

9 – Your beloved partner is out for the evening, and your celebrity “pass” is popping round for tea. (You know, the one celebrity who your partner would allow you to spend a night with, without it being considered cheating… that’s a thing, right?) Who knocks on your door? What signature dish do you make him or her? What music’s playing over dinner? What line signals the end of dinner?

I could happily write a 90,000-word novel in response to this question, so I think I should probably steer clear of it. My autobiographical adventures in the Richard Armitage fandom might begin to explain why.

(AL – Mrs Lane now scowling at the laptop…)

 

10 – The producers of the Marvel Avengers films are worried they don’t have quite enough superheroes already crammed into the series… They call you up to play an original character. What would your character’s name be? What’s your superpower (yes, you can only have one)?

That’s way too easy because I already have a superpower! I am Carb-O, the world’s greatest gobbler of snacky treats. Also: I’m actually a super-villain because my allegiance is with Loki – in the Avengers universe and all others.

 

11 – You are hosting a (very small) dinner party for the deceased… You can invite three dead people to your shindig, but you only have enough spectral energy for one mega-star “A-lister”, and any two others. Who do you summon, and why?

What a strange question. I don’t have B-listers over for dinner. My A-lister would definitely be Abraham Lincoln because he was awesome.

(AL – Is this why you’ve never invited me over? Mrs Lane’s dying to meet you. Well, she’s dying to meet your husband and fangirl contacts, but it’s all good, right?)

 

12 – Any regrets?

Inviting the re-animated corpse of Abraham Lincoln to dinner. Is it too late to take that back?

 

A huge thank you to Abby Vegas for a fabulous interview! You can start reading Clean Break for free here. Alternately, read the truth about what really happened at her Las Vegas bachelorette party. 🙂

 

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The Dirty Dozen – Freya!

Welcome!

As part of #ComedyBookWeek, I’ve lined up some of the freshest, funniest writers around, and subjected them each to the Dirty Dozen treatment.

Today, it’s the turn of Freya of freyawrites.com to take the hotseat!

1 – Welcome, Freya. In all the gin joints in all the world, how did you happen across this blog?

I came across your blog courtesy of the wonderful WordPress Reader function – someone I follow had liked and commented on something you had written, so I investigated and here I am!

2 – You, in three words?

Curious
Creative
Curly-haired
(Sort of three words, I hope you’ll let me get away with that one!).

3 – The last book/ film/ or album that made you cry?

Hmmm. Much as I am an emotional creature, I don’t tend to cry at films, books or music. It’s more that they get me ‘just there’, right in the heart, take my breath away and give me gooseflesh. So, there have been two films that have done that to me recently – I watched them one weekend after the other: ‘Room’ and ‘Gran Torino’.

4 – Where are you now on your writer’s / blogger’s journey ?

I’ve had my current blog (www.freyawrites.com) for about 3 and a half years now, although I did write under a different persona prior to that, where my blog was dedicated to my Jewish journey. I was pretty naïve at the outset and had no idea of the breadth of writing communities out there, didn’t really know anything about the plethora of prompts you could take part in, it was just my way of getting my writing onto the interwebs!

I’ve really developed my love of writing poetry as a result and made some lovely online friends through my blog. I’ve contributed to a collaborative novel (Jessica) thanks to Helena Hann-Basquiat and am hopefully going to be part of another one soon.

It’s no secret that my writing has been a huge catharsis for me, helping me through my dad’s death in 2013, and other life events that have come my way since. It might not always be obvious that I’m exorcising demons (although I do love to write on the dark and sinister side!), because the act of creating fiction or poetry is catharsis enough, a lot of the time. It takes me away from the world and into the other-world space that I love.

5 – One piece of writing advice that you are sick of hearing, or that really doesn’t do it for you

Write what you know’. Really? I’ve never been a soldier fighting at the Somme, but I wrote a poem about it. I’ve never lived in a dieselpunk or steampunk world, but I’ve written about both. I’ve never lived in a dystopian future, but I’m writing about it. If I wrote about what I knew, and only that, I’d be writing about an office job, sitting at the dining table writing poetry and prose and also creating art (my other creative passion), cooking and shopping. And falling asleep in the middle of a really gripping film. Which I do frequently.

6 – Two true facts about you, and one lie….

I can eat a whole tube of Pringles on my own.
I am 19 years older than my brother.
I’ve never been able to do a cartwheel.

7 – The zombies rise and take over the world. You have five minutes to pack a bag and hit the road… You’ve got the essentials – water, tent, sleeping bag, vitamins, toothpaste, copy of Al’s zombie haiku book (coming soon to all good Amazon websites)… What else do you grab?

Pens (biros and my beloved fountain pens), ink, water soluble coloured drawing pencils, watercolour paper, writing paper, a photo of my loved ones (if they couldn’t be with me) and Nicholas, my sock monkey. I’m assuming all electronic items would be worse than useless, so no point in grabbing them.

8 – Who would play you in the movie of your life? Would it be a tragedy or comedy?

Helena Bonham-Carter – she’s more upper class than I am, but she could certainly play down the ranks a bit – I think she’s a brilliant actor. I’d want Martin McDonagh to write and direct it (he of ‘In Bruges’ fame) and Radiohead would provide the soundtrack. It would be gritty, neither tragic nor comic per se, but with flashes of both, hopefully. As for romance – goodness me, there’s too much choice out there!

9 – Doc Emmett Brown pulls up outside your house in the DeLorean from Back to the Future… He’s got a few hours to spare, and fuel for one return trip… Where and when in time are you heading?

Berlin, just before the Nazis took control of Germany. I want to see it in its heyday, just before ‘Cabaret’ was set.

10 – Your beloved partner is out for the evening, and your celebrity “pass” is popping round for tea. (You know, the one celebrity who your partner would allow you to spend a night with, without it being considered cheating… that’s a thing, right?) Who knocks on your door?

Gillian Anderson. Oh yes. I think she’d appreciate a hearty, spicy, aromatic home-made beef curry with Sukah Aloo, raita, rice, chapatis and samosas with a real kick (hence the raita!). I’d pop some mango chutney on the side too, to sweeten it all up. We’d have some cool jazz in the background, just loud enough to relax to, but not drown out our conversation. Hmmm… the end of dinner? You mean she has to go? Nooooo! Oh, OK then, how about ‘Do I have to go?’ 

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Gillian Anderson… (sighs)

11 – The producers of the Marvel Avengers films are worried they don’t have quite enough superheroes already crammed into the series… They call you up to play an original character. What would your character’s name be? What’s your superpower (yes, you can only have one) ?

You know how we often misunderstand what people are saying to us, because we hear their words through our own lens, our own perspective? I would love to be able to act as a translator, so that what someone is trying to say, and what the recipient hears and understand doesn’t get lost in the noise. I don’t need a fancy name – The Transliterator would work for me.

12 – You are hosting a small dinner party for the deceased… You can invite three dead people to your shindig, but you only have enough spectral energy for one mega-star “A-lister”, and any two others. Who do you summon, and why?

Another ‘hmmm’ type answer. I don’t ‘do’ mega-star A-lister types. So, I’ll just be true to myself. You’ll notice the writerly theme…
Wilfred Owen – I fell in love with his poetry thanks to a wonderful English teacher I had when I was thirteen.
Elie Wiesel – I have read and re-read his books so many times and they had a huge effect on me. I admire what I know of him through his work so much.
Mary Shelley – because I adored (and still adore) ‘Frankenstein’, and she was so young when she wrote it. I said above, I don’t tend to cry over books, films, music. Frankenstein almost got me to that place.

13 – Any regrets?
Of course. More than a few. But they make me who I am, and that’s not such a bad thing.

A huge thank you to Freya for joining us – another great interview! I’m not sure how my answer for the celebrity pass slipped in there on question 10… and I really need one of those Transliterator people!

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Coming Soon – Comedy Book Week!

Need a laugh? Stick around…

#ComedyBookWeek is an annual, online celebration of humor in writing. It is a free event, and all writers, readers, and book bloggers interested in funny books are welcome. There are a bunch of events lined up, including a whole week of Dirty Dozen interviews right here!

#ComedyBookWeek runs from 16th to 23rd July. The full events calendar is here: https://comedybookweek.com/calendar-of-events/

On my site, you can look forward to the following Dirty Dozens:

Sat 16th July – Steve Vernon

Mon 18th July – Freya of Freyawrites

Weds 20th July – Abby Vegas

Fri 22nd July – Jenny Green

Sat 23rd July – Geoff Le Pard

Hope you check back in and join us. Laughs guaranteed!*

(*Disclaimer – laughs not guaranteed :-P)

 

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The Dirty Dozen… with Ritu Bhathal!

Welcome to the final edition in this first “series” of The Dirty Dozen!

This is my spin on the author/blogger interview… Not all of these questions are easy, but hopefully they will give you an insight into the person on the other side of the screen. Ultimately, blogging is all about making connections. So show your humanity, show your love, and support each other. Because really, what else is there?

This week, I’m delighted to be hosting Ritu Bhathal in the Dirty Dozen “hotseat”.

Ritu is a prolific (and bubbly!) blogger, writer, and poet, who is so committed to her blogily that she wouldn’t even let a little thing like a surprise family holiday to Finland get between her and her blog this week!

You can find more here – https://butismileanyway.wordpress.com/

1 – How did you come across my blog?

RB – I do believe that I started following you as it became apparent that we were doing the Haiku Challenge with Ron regularly, and I could see that you were another slightly bonkers blogger/writer who got involved in silly conversations on the comments… Just like me!

Oh, and I like to read your posts, obviously!!!!

AL – another “win” for https://ronovanwrites.wordpress.com/ and that wonderful haiku challenge!

2 – You, in three words?

RB – Positive, Smiley and Loopy!

3 – The last book/ film/ or album that made you cry

RB – Honestly, I cannot remember!!!!!!! It also depends on my emotional state at the time of watching. Sometimes Eastenders can set me off, other times when I am feeling rather tough, nothing will make me cry!

AL – I know that feeling. I cried because I couldn’t get the lid off a jar once…

4 – Where are you now on your writer’s / blogger’s journey ?

RB – Well, right this minute, I am in the final processes of getting my first poetry book out! I am waiting for the final cover, then I can do a cover reveal, along with the name too! I am rather excited, I have to say!

I’m working on some fiction pieces too, either a book of short stories or a longer novel… we’ll see what comes of it!

AL – An exclusive reveal – you heard it here first! Can’t wait to hear more news on the cover soon!

5 – One piece of life / writing advice, or quote about life / writing, that you are sick of hearing, or that really doesn’t do it for you

RB – Can I be really cheesy here and say I love all these kinds of quotes. And advice. It’s all priceless, and if you don’t want to take heed, then just ignore them!

6 – Two true facts about you, and one lie….
RB – I can wiggle one eyebrow and make it dance around!
– There is a trophy named after me at my old school
– I can do napkin origami, and create a very lifelike erm, male appendage!

AL – Anyone attending the Bloggers Bash next week has to report back which of these is not true… have those napkins at the ready! There’s still time to vote for your favourite blogs for the Bloggers Bash… jus’ sayin’… 🙂

7 – The zombies rise and take over the world. You have five minutes to pack a bag and hit the road… You’ve got the essentials – water, tent, sleeping bag, vitamins, toothpaste, copy of Al’s zombie haiku book (coming soon to all good Amazon websites)… What else do you grab?

RB – My family and Cat, Chocolate, Phone and Charger (hoping we still have access to electricity!), Pens and Paper!

AL – The classic family-loving writer’s response!

8 – Who would play you in the movie of your life?

RB – Bollywood actress Juhi Chawla, at a younger age…

She does remind me of me, as in her personality. She is bubbly, full of mischief and the joys of life!

The other aspects, I am afraid I am not so much of a film buff to know of directors and script writers, but it would have to be a Rom Com with an Indian twist!

AL – This sounds amazing!

9 – Doc Emmett Brown pulls up outside your house in the DeLorean from Back to the Future… He’s got a few hours to spare, and fuel for one return trip… Where and when in time are you heading?

RB – To Ancient Egypt and the time of Cleopatra. I reckon I would rock the eyeliner, and I can ‘Walk Like An Egyptian’ no problem!

AL – Another one to test at the Bloggers Bash next week! Have the DJ on standby…

10 – The producers of the Marvel Avengers films are worried they don’t have quite enough superheroes already crammed into the series… They call you up to play an original character. What would your character’s name be? What’s your superpower (yes, you can only have one) ?

RB – It would have to be The Phantom Giggler, like my Twitter name! My superpower, to make anyone laugh!

AL – love it!

11 – You are hosting a (very small) dinner party for the deceased… You can invite three dead people to your shindig, but you only have enough spectral energy for one mega-star “A-lister”, and any two others. Who do you summon, and why?

RB – My Nanaji, maternal Grandfather, as I feel there was so much to learn from him, and I never got the chance, as I was only 6 when he died…

My Baba, paternal Grandfather, as he died before even my Pops really knew him. I would love to know who he was properly.

Michael Jackson, not for the talking, but so he could sing in between courses!

AL – I love how close you are to your family… and even want to provide entertainment between courses for them!

12 – Any regrets?

RB – I try my hardest to live a No Regrets lifestyle, but I wish we had travelled more before starting our family. I wish I had embarked on my teaching career earlier, and not left a 17 year gap between qualifying, and actually finishing. And not continuing with my book, when I initially started it!

AL – I would definitely echo that first one… hindsight changes our perspective, but lives are there to be lived in the moment 🙂

So, a huge thank you to the loveably loopy Ritu for sharing herself with us. I am really sad I won’t be able to meet her in person at the Bloggers Bash next week – if only to check out those dance moves and wiggling eyebrows! (I wonder if both work at the same time…)

You can connect with her at:
Blog Website: https://butismileanyway.wordpress.com/
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/butismileanyway/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel
Twitter: @Phantomgiggler

I wish her the best of luck with her (first!) book, and can’t wait for the cover reveal! Now, go and check out those links and share the love 🙂

 

The Dirty Dozen is taking a rest for a few weeks now, but will be coming back for one week only in July for Comedy Book Week, with some special guests!

Do you fancy a turn in the hotseat when this returns properly later in the year? (This is aimed at bloggers as well as writers, so don’t be shy!) Leave your email in the comments and I’ll be in touch 🙂

 

The Dirty Dozen

The Dirty Dozen… with Nick Rowe!

Welcome to another edition of The Dirty Dozen!

This is my spin on the author/blogger interview… Not all of these questions are easy, but hopefully they will give you an insight into the person on the other side of the screen, and more of a connection. Ultimately, blogging is all about making connections. Show your humanity, show your love, and support each other. Because really, what else is there?

This week, I’m delighted to be hosting Babbitman, aka Nick Rowe, in the Dirty Dozen “hotseat”.

Now this is an unusual, and particularly enjoyable, one for me as I have the pleasure to know Nick “offline”. I’ll let Nick explain it in his own words below.

Nick is a talented blogger, writer, actor and now voice artist…. as shown here: https://babbitman.wordpress.com/2016/05/27/als-pretty-words-my-villainous-voice/

You can find out more here – https://babbitman.wordpress.com/about/

1 – How in all the gin joints in all the world did you come across my blog?

NR – Because I’ve known you since about 2005 and then one day a few years ago you said “hey, I’m writing stuff and I’ve got a blog”. And I said “wow, that reminds me, I’ve got a kids’ story I wrote a while back” and we bonded over writing (rather than Excel, Star Wars and the hilarity of public sector employment, which were the usual topics). And then you wrote an early blog entry on entering the brief and bewildering world of twitter. And I tried to comment on it. Which meant I had to set up a WordPress identity of my own in order to do so. And so I now had a bloody blog that I hadn’t actually intended to create. You did it, Al, it’s your fault that I now have 100 totally innocent people following my blog. You sowed the seed, Al. Yes, you can actually look at my blog and say “I am your father”. 😀

AL – I am the butterfly that flapped its wings and changed history… I may add “Blogfather” to my bio too. 🙂

2 – You, in three words?

NR – Analytical, arty, alternative

AL – and alliterative!

3 – The last book/ film/ or album that you wish you’d made?

NR – Apart from the one that’s been in my head for about a decade? Probably “Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens”, just to knock off the annoying edges (although mine aren’t the same as yours, or other people’s).

AL – I have ranted about Star Wars a little before… https://altheauthor.wordpress.com/2015/12/30/the-force-awakens/

NR – Maybe just avoid the Starkiller Base idea which, as well as being stupid, was just one step too close to “A New Hope”. That’s not to say I could make anything as great as that myself; I tend to be in awe of works of art that work well but find those that fall just short to be so annoying! If only they’d fixed x y z!! I would have! (Yeah, right, and cocked up something else instead).

The book I wish had my name on is Sunwielder by Diana Wallace Peach. For me, it’s the perfect story and I love it and her loads. Funnily enough, I doubt I would have come across that book if I hadn’t found her blog. And I only found her blog by having one of my own. And how come I ended up with a blog in the first place…? (Thanks again, Al!)

AL – I know Diana will read this (possibly in her flannel pyjamas), and be flattered by that, but she deserves it. <3

4 – Where are you now on your writer’s / blogger’s journey ?

NR – Well, after pootling about with my blog for a year or two, throwing all kinds of random gubbins up on to it (short stories, poetry, art, theatre props), I decided to join a local writer’s group to force me to get stuck in and actually practice writing, which also has the benefit of creating more content for the blog. My ever-distant novel still needs a pile of specific research and structuring and I need to hack down my original Babbit story somehow to a more commercial length (which you pointed out to me bloody ages ago!).

One of the hardest things is cracking on with the big projects rather than focusing purely on the little blog items which are fun but not ultimately what I feel I want to do. They should be the five minute shorts to the big feature, but at the moment I’m stuck in a perpetual cycle of Looney Tunes, Danger Mouse and Tom & Jerry.

AL – You and me both on that count!

5 – A lot of writers and bloggers enjoy taking part in quote challenges, and sharing inspiring nuggets to help their fellow bloggers along. Can you tell us though one piece of life / writing advice, or quote about life / writing, that you are absolutely sick of hearing, that really doesn’t do it for you?

NR – “It was meant to be”. I’m not a believer in fate. I believe in cause and effect. A lot of success is about being in the right place at the right time with the right people. But unless you’ve got the right material, it ain’t gonna happen. And if you get knocked back, well, it’s just that you’ve not aligned the right place, time and people with what you have to offer. So keep plugging away! This, of course, is much easier to say than actually do. Particularly when you’re a compulsive lazy-arse like myself…

AL – Lazy arse, or distractible creative type? That’s always the excuse I use…

6 – Two true facts about you, and one lie…. Don’t tell us which is which.

NR – I am a wearer of winklepickers;
I haven’t built a full size piano out of cardboard;
I once spent 20 minutes chatting to four-time Oscar winner Nick Park at a wedding

AL – I think I can see what he’s done here… although I don’t remember seeing the winklepickers in the office… they may just have been hidden under the desk!

7 – The zombies rise and take over the world. You have five minutes to pack a bag and hit the road… You’ve got the essentials – water, tent, sleeping bag, vitamins, toothpaste, Al’s zombie haiku guide… What else do you grab?

NR – My MP3 player and some way of recharging it using solar power (ensuring that “Second Coming” by The Stone Roses is prominent because “I like it” [spot the quote]). Ideally, also a terrific hand-and-a-half sword for zombie decapitation. Failing that, a hefty frying pan as wielded by Tiffany Aching, which is one of the few weapons capable of caving in skulls AND frying bacon.

AL – I just shuddered at the thought of surviving the zombie apocalypse, but having no way to fry bacon because of over-use of frying pans for caving in skulls… the horror

8 – I’m often mistaken for John Cusack (not by Nick, admittedly!). But who would play you in the movie of your life?

NR – Me. I do a bit of Am-Dram, so why not?

(AL – Nick recently appeared in a production of “One Man, Two Guv’nors” as the fantastically-named Alan Dangle, to rave reviews: https://babbitman.wordpress.com/2016/05/24/a-hoot/ )

NR – But if it’s a star you want, perhaps James McAvoy, although I think he might be a bit short. How about Michael Fassbender? I really have no idea. The soundtrack would be full of The Jam (& other Weller incarnations), Ska, 60s soul, The Charlatans and The Stone Roses. And my mate’s old band, Adorable.

AL – I could see Fassbender doing a creditable job of playing you. I’d definitely buy that soundtrack, too.

9 – Doc Brown pulls up outside your house in the DeLorean… He’s got a few hours to spare, and fuel for one return trip… Where/when are you heading?

NR – I am a history buff and it forms part of the desire to write my novel, so I’m really, really tempted to go back to… but no. Deep down, I’m still a small boy who wants to see dinosaurs. So sometime in the Jurassic, about 150 million years ago, around Colorado / Wyoming to see Stegosaurs and Allosaurs roaming the land.

AL – You might have to check the back seat before you go – my boys would want to tag along!

10 – Your beloved partner (real or imagined) is out for the evening, and your celebrity “pass” is popping round. (You know, the one celebrity who your partner would allow you to spend a night with, without it being considered cheating… that’s a thing, right?) Who knocks on your door?

NR – Is this a thing? I don’t know. Is it weird that I’ve never fantasized about a celebrity? I can’t name a single woman who I would be that bothered about ‘dating’. I think it’s because they’re not ‘real’ people. They might turn out to be utterly dreadful.

AL – In the eternal battle of fantasy vs reality, Nick has chosen… reality.

11 – You manage, fortuitously but entirely accidentally in a bizarre toaster incident to rid the world of its most dangerous inhabitant… Who do you call to help destroy the evidence, and burn that hairpiece?

NR – That would be you, Al. You’re relatively local and between us we should know enough to be able to get away with it (provided that we’re not discovered by some pesky kids).

AL – I know an abandoned fairground locally, and have an array of white sheets….

12 – Another apocalyptic scenario, only now the pet food is running out… You have a dog, a cat, and a rabbit, but only food supplies for two of them… Which one misses out?

NR – The bunny bites the bullet, helping to feed the other two. Might have to train them to find more rascally rabbits!

AL – As Elmer Fudd would say, “Kill the wa-bit!”

13 – In a line, any regrets??

NR – I used to really regret damaging my knee playing football, which means I can’t really run much these days and footie is now a distant memory. It also contributed to me being made redundant. But that was the catalyst to move sideways into a different department where I picked up additional skills enabling me to join another company paying more money and who flew me across to their offices in Florida, which allowed me to finally visit Kennedy Space Center on a day off, which was proper awesome.
So no, I don’t think I regret things any more. Carpe diem and all that.

So, a huge thank you to Nick (who is apparently my “blog son”) for coming to play and share himself. I hope his long-planned novel gains traction. I can’t wait to read it! Nick has been trying to get me to join him in testing out some performance poetry, so any folks in the Nottingham area may well be seeing us together on a stage sometime soon. We’re still undecided on a name… Feel free to make any suggestions in the comments!

Now, go and check out https://babbitman.wordpress.com/ . Share the love 🙂

Join us same time next week for another Dirty Dozen, where the lovely Ritu of https://butismileanyway.wordpress.com/ will be joining us for the last edition before a break for summer. She’s got some news she’s dying to share…

 

Do you fancy a turn in the hotseat when we return in September? (This is aimed at bloggers as well as writers, so don’t be shy!) Leave your email in the comments and I’ll be in touch 🙂

The Dirty Dozen

The Dirty Dozen… with Liesbet Collaert

Welcome to another edition of The Dirty Dozen!

This is my spin on the author/blogger interview. This will hopefully create something entertaining and informative for you, the reader, while sharing what platform I have with some amazing and talented people. Not all of these questions are easy, but hopefully they will give you an insight into the person on the other side of the screen. Ultimately, blogging is all about making connections. Show your humanity, show your love, and support each other. Because really, what else is there?

This week, I’m delighted to be hosting Liesbet Collaert in the Dirty Dozen “hotseat”.

Liesbet is a blogger and world citizen, currently (quite literally) flying back to the USA after a short visit to Belgium in between global adventures! You can find more about her travels here – http://www.roamingabout.com/about-us/

Liesbet Tahiti
Liesbet looking radiant in Tahiti

1 – How in all the gin joints in all the world did you come across my blog?

LC – I found you, because you found me! You liked my blog and left a comment to one of my posts about my (lack of) book writing progress in March. So, I returned the favor, enjoyed what I read, loved the creativity and humor of your new site and became a fan.

AL – Thank you… the cheque’s in the international post 🙂

2 – You, in three words?

LC – Impulsive, straightforward, adventurous

3 – The last book/ film/ or album that you wish you’d made

LC – A well-written book in my genre: “The Motion of the Ocean” by Janna Cawrse Esarey. I wish I could tell my story in as fluent and entertaining voice. There are a few great books and movies I really like but I am not looking for the status and fame of the artists who created them.

4 – Where are you now on your writer’s / blogger’s journey?

LC – I finally started writing a book about the eight year cruising journey my husband and I took on our 35’ sailing catamaran Irie. It will focus more on relationships and battles in life than on the actual sailing. The story is set on our floating home and the tropical isles of the Caribbean and the South Pacific. My American husband and I have had many adventures together prior to this one, but, because we never “rested” (stopped traveling), writing a book about them was impossible. This year, we are taking a break from being on the road/the water to focus on our “careers” and trying to make more money than the pittance when we travel.

AL – (There is even a section on Liesbet’s website on “living frugally” – worth checking out if you think that travel needs to be expensive!)

LC – During our cruising years, I maintained the blog It’s Irie (www.itsirie.com), but being off the boat now and enjoying a lifestyle of house and pet sitting throughout the US, I started a new blog called Roaming About – A Life Less Ordinary (www.roamingabout.com). It is a collection of experiences, thoughts and photos about our unique life and my writing “progress”.

Over the years, I have also written heaps of articles for well-known sailing magazines in the US, Europe and the Caribbean: http://www.roamingabout.com/published-articles/ Right now, my priority is my non-fiction book, having got through the A-Z Blogging Challenge!

5 – A lot of writers and bloggers enjoy taking part in quote challenges, and sharing inspiring nuggets to help their fellow bloggers along. Can you tell us through one piece of life / writing advice, or quote about life / writing, that you are absolutely sick of hearing, that really doesn’t do it for you?

LC – “Sailing means freedom” and the thought that long term travel is only for the rich. We’ve proven both adages wrong! Plus, the conception that traveling as a lifestyle is always glorious (“just like a vacation”) is totally untrue.

AL – Well, if anyone would know about the truth, rather than the romantic ideal, of sailing, then it’s you!

6 – Two true facts about you, and one lie…. Don’t tell us which is which.

1. US Homeland Security kicked me out of the country once
2. US Homeland Security made me return my Greencard
3. US Homeland Security made me get married

AL – I’m reading a subtext of issues with Homeland Security…

7 – The zombies rise and take over the world. You have five minutes to pack a bag and hit the road… You’ve got the essentials – water, tent, sleeping bag, vitamins, toothpaste, copy of Al’s zombie haiku survival guide (coming soon to all good e-retailers)… What else do you grab?

LC – My husband, my computer, my camera, my diary (and in the olden days pen and paper)

AL – Note to anyone else who replies – if you are going to include your life partner in the list, make sure they’re first, as here!

8 – I’m often mistaken for a young, tall Tom Cruise (that’s a total lie, by the way!) … But who would play you in the movie of your life?

LC – I’d like to play the role myself, in my desire to have as many experiences as possible in life, acting is something I haven’t done yet. But, since I have no acting talent (well, it wouldn’t be acting in the first place, if I played myself, right?) and since you probably don’t like that answer, Julia Roberts can be the actress, the Coen brothers are allowed to direct the movie and Eddie Vedder will come up with the perfect soundtrack.

AL – I could see Julia Roberts working… Great pairing there in the Coens and Vedder!

9 – Doc Brown pulls up outside your house in the DeLorean… He’s got a few hours to spare, and fuel for one return trip… Where/when are you heading?

LC – Who is Doc Brown? What is a DeLorean? I’m not good with popular culture, never having lived a settled life long enough to become engorged and I have a really bad memory, but apparently, we are talking about “Back in the Future”. Not someone to dwell on the past and being one who loves adventure, I have to admit that I do like the unknown quality of the future, and don’t want to know yet what’s next. So, I would take a trip back to 2001 to Sulawesi in Indonesia to join a British man I had fallen in love with – instead of giving that plan up after trying and failing to get a plane ticket from Sumatra – and see how that decision of being more persistent would have changed my whole future and life…

AL – That’s a big roll of the dice there… by the way, next time you travel the world, let me know and I’ll lend you my copy of Back to the Future for those quiet nights on the sea!

10 – Your beloved partner (real or imagined) is out for the evening, and your celebrity “pass” is popping round. (You know, the one celebrity who your partner would allow you to spend a night with, without it being considered cheating… that’s a thing, right?) Who knocks on your door?

LC – I feel like an idiot not having a quick answer for this question. I don’t really live in a fantasy world, my real life is exciting enough. Let me think… How about the Belgian actor Matthias Schoenaerts, since I recently saw a movie with him and had no idea about his popularity, living on a boat in the middle of nowhere for many years? It would be awesome, to meet on American soil, talk Dutch to each other and exchange life stories. I would like to prepare Pad Thai and serve plum wine with it. That is after a mojito and shrimp cocktail and before signature wines to continue the evening. I’d offer him Baileys and Belgian chocolate for dessert. Or American chocolate chip cookies with Belgian morsels in it. The album “Into the Wild” is playing, followed by a mix of other favorites of mine. Until, I ask “Are you hungry… for something else?”

AL – If Matthias isn’t available, that would totally work on me… For those who don’t recognise the name, this is a picture of the not-entirely-unattractive Matthias Schoenaerts. I know I’m in danger of losing half the audience at this point!

matthias schonaerts
Matthias Schoenaerts looking radiant in my basement

11 – You manage, fortuitously but entirely accidentally in a bizarre toaster incident to rid the world of its most dangerous inhabitant… Who do you call to help destroy the evidence, and burn that hairpiece?

LC – My husband or my dad (I know, that is the most cliché answer).

12 – Another apocalyptic scenario, only now the pet food is running out… You have a dog, a cat, and a rabbit, but only food supplies for two of them… Which one misses out?

LC – The rabbit, because it makes good stew. Just kidding. Nobody misses out, since I will share my own food with the rabbit, or any animal that needs it.

AL – Top marks for finding a way around the problem, without sacrificing Thumper.

13 – In a line, any regrets??

LC – The idea is not to have any. Many quotes exist to confirm that sentiment. I’m doing my best with that one. So far, at 40, I don’t have any, except, maybe not making it to Sulawesi in 2001. But, that is more a curiosity matter than a regret. I did visit the island months later, with another man, an American this time… I only want to regret things that I did do, not things that I didn’t do.

AL – A perfect quote to end on!

So, a huge thank you to the Liesbet for sharing her fascinating story with us… and thanks no doubt for introducing some of us to Matthias Schoenaerts!

I look forward to following more of Liesbet’s adventures on her blog, and hope to see the book version in the near future 🙂 . Now, go and check out http://www.roamingabout.com/ and share the love!

 

Join us same time next week for another Dirty Dozen!

Do you fancy a turn in the hotseat? (This is aimed at bloggers as well as writers, so don’t be shy!) Leave your email in the comments and I’ll be in touch 🙂

 

The Dirty Dozen

The Dirty Dozen… with Denis Young!

Welcome to another edition of The Dirty Dozen!

This is my own spin on the author/blogger interview. It will hopefully create something entertaining and informative for you, the reader, while sharing what platform I have with the amazing and talented people who have so bravely (foolishly?) volunteered to take part. Not all of these questions are easy, but hopefully they will give you an insight into the person on the other side of the screen. Ultimately, blogging is all about making connections. Show your humanity, show your love, and support each other. Because really, what else is there?

This week, I’m delighted to be hosting Denis Young in the Dirty Dozen “hotseat”.

Denis is a fellow haiku-obsessive from Melbourne, Australia, who is passionate about the environment, about photography, about Afghan hounds, and about Rupert Murdoch… as you’ll see below! Please go and check out his wonderful blog at https://haikuhound.wordpress.com/

1 – How in all the gin joints in all the world did you come across my blog?
In two words, Ronovan Writes. In a few more- when I decided to share my love of images I capture on camera and their accompanying haiku the idea of creating a blog came to mind. Months later and very few visitors to my site I was wondering what to do. My main supporter and visitor was Sue Vincent of Daily Echo and the small dog ANI, who writes amazing haiku with incredible images (Sue does as well). I kept seeing her reference to Ronovan Writes challenge so I dropped in and the world of haiku sharing through blogs exploded upon me. Many visits and visitors later one of the true exponents of haiku has become a regular I must read and learn from each week. That of course is you Al.

Thanks Denis. I wonder how many blogs have been connected through Ronovan’s haiku challenge? I know most of mine began there, connecting with fellow haiku-ers, and expanding outwards from there

2 – You, in three words?
Environmentalist, egalitarian, humanist- optimist (and lover of Afghan Hounds)

3 – The last film that you wish you’d made?
This is a tough one. Any film with Meryl Streep in it just to learn life from her, an amazing woman who could have been the first female President of the USA if she had wanted to.

4 – Where are you now on your writer’s / blogger’s journey?
Well, I am a late developer in terms of fiction. I started writing for money in the late 1990’s and this was brainstorming teaching ideas and text segments for History/Geography/Social Science text books for junior secondary school students and teachers. I did this kind of writing until 2014 on and off as a hobby, spare cash earner. In all my name is on about 20 books as a co-author. And I was smart enough to use some of my own photos sometimes and still get regular copyright requests for reprints.

I have started planning /drafting /researching my first novel. It is a family based story linked by the Japanese army sword brought back to my grandmother in 1945 by a soldier who had been with her son, (my uncle) when he was killed in battle. This story drifts across the life of my uncle and his family up to now, it interconnects with a fictional family of the Japanese officer who died holding the sword. Currently the sword sits in my clothes cupboard and is an item of intense family bitterness. There is a lot of emotional demons / family dysfunctionality / dreams unfulfilled / lessons to learn / and pure imagination in this story. Wish me luck everyone!

My other writing love is haiku. On the haiku hound blog you and your readers can read some of my haiku and share images of my life and the places I visit. I belong to Writer’s Victoria here in Melbourne and meet monthly with a bi-lingual Japanese Australian haiku writers group. We also read our haiku to other poets a couple of times a year.

Last year I attended a writer’s workshop to help organise thoughts for my novel. After one creative session I had a planned draft for a children’s book. The subject is a sheep who escapes into the Aussie bush for a few years and hangs out with kangaroos and gets up to other adventures. Many kilos of accumulated wool later she returns to the outside world to fame and acclaim. The group on that day were excited by the potential of my story, so if there is an illustrator reading Al’s interview and we agree on a contract there is a book on the way.

Having been a self-described late developer, there’s no shortage of ideas fizzing around in Denis’s head. I particularly look forward to the novel based around the sword, if those emotional demons can be channelled into the story. Good luck!

5 – A lot of writers and bloggers enjoy taking part in quote challenges, and sharing inspiring nuggets to help their fellow bloggers along. Can you tell us though one piece of life / writing advice, or quote about life / writing, that you are absolutely sick of hearing, that really doesn’t do it for you?
32 years of secondary school teaching led me to believe that advice is a dangerous word. Guidance through practical positive example works for me. I ignore quote challenges and inspiring nuggets. Does this make sense? Basically I don’t look for such stimulation and don’t participate.

Denis is clearly an advocate in life as well as on the page in “show, not tell”.

6 – Two true facts about you, and one lie…. Don’t tell us which is which.
How can I lie Al? Even in jest?
I remained a secondary school teacher for 32 years straight and believe I made the right career choice
I have been a University Lecturer
I am utterly absorbed in Japanese culture and language.

7 – The zombies rise and take over the world. You have five minutes to pack a bag and hit the road… You’ve got the essentials – water, tent, sleeping bag, vitamins, toothpaste, boomerang… What else do you grab?
A large poster of Rupert Murdoch… rumours hint that it does to zombies what a crucifix and garlic does to vampires!

So, Denis, you’re not fan of Mr Murdoch then!

8 – I’m often mistaken for John Cusack (quiet at the back). But who would play you in the movie of your life?
George Clooney would be me, with a little make up work (sorry George). Sofia Coppola would direct. Denis Young would write the screenplay of course. Lisa Gerrard would score the soundtrack.

9 – Emmett Brown pulls up outside your house in the DeLorean… He’s got a few hours to spare, and fuel for one return trip… Where/when are you heading?
I would be heading for my current location in Melbourne in the year 2116. When I get back I would have the hard evidence for climate change deniers in Australia and worldwide, (but especially in Political Australia now) to shove up their….mouths… and bring on immediate rapid response to reduce CO2 emissions and speed up renewable energy use , assuming we don’t get a rapid response in the next 5 years.

A passionate response there. Denis literally wants to save the world. I feel guilty now about wanting to use it to go and just have a few glasses of mead with Shakespeare….

10 – Your beloved partner (real or imagined) is out for the evening, and your celebrity “pass” is popping round. (You know, the one celebrity who your partner would allow you to spend a night with, without it being considered cheating… that’s a thing, right?) Who knocks on your door?
Meryl Streep knocks on the door. I make a wicked gluten free chicken pie with steamed organic veggies. Dessert would be green tea ice cream and organic raspberries. We drink Temple Bruer organic preservative free Pinot Noir. I play the soundtrack to August Osage County and keep repeating Lay Down Sally by Clapton very loud, and it sounds great on my B & O system.
The night ends with the line, “well Meryl it’s been a lovely evening but we’re both busy people and both need an early night, I’ll call a taxi”…

A fantastically detailed response there. It’s amazing how often I ask people this question and they claim never to have thought about it… and then provide an answer like this 😉

11 – You manage, fortuitously but entirely accidentally in a bizarre toaster incident to rid the world of its most dangerous inhabitant… Who do you call to help destroy the evidence, and burn that hairpiece?
I guess it was dumb of me to leave the hairpiece attached to the back of his scalp when I suggested an industrial toaster as the quickest means to freshen it up a bit.
I would call in an experimental Chinese Bio Tech team who could actually maintain a near perfect walking, talking, grinning, slightly zombie-like reconstruction including hairpiece. No-one would know he had unfortunately accidentally expired except perhaps the wife who would be known to exclaim at times that she no longer felt old age creeping up on her.

This made me laugh out loud… I think Denis has rumbled my “code” about the hairpiece!

12 – Another apocalyptic scenario, only now the pet food is running out… You have a dog, a cat, and a rabbit, but only food supplies for two of them… Which one misses out?
I am truly an animal lover and even carefully catch spiders and wasps when they are inside and release them at the local kindergarten. So this really causes anguish. Charlie as any of my blog readers would know was a wonderful dog, so the dog stays. Whilst cats don’t have the loyalty of dogs I guess the cat stays. Charlie came from a rural background and her family of dogs dispatched many rabbits away when they trespassed into the run paddock. Therefore, rationally I guess, the dog and cat could extend their food supply with fresh rabbit. I am very sorry to all rabbit lovers but Al insists.

My job application for the Rabbit Protection League seems to have been rejected. Can’t think why…

13 – In a line, any regrets??
I am a firm believer that our life unfurls as we have it predestined. Karma is karma. So Al, I have no regrets because I live the life I am programmed for. Also readers you must remember once you wish you changed one action or incident in your life everything after that would have been different. That means none of you would be reading Al’s interview now. However, in my parallel universe………..

Thanks for this opportunity Al.
Any commercial or other offers can be handled through Al for a 5% commission.

I thought we agreed 15%?…

 

So, a huge thank you to the passionate, plain-speaking Denis Young for sharing himself with us, a retired school teacher George Clooney-look-a-like who wants to save the world from climate change and Rupert Murdoch… while working on his menu for entertaining Meryl Streep.

I wish him the best of luck with completing his first book, and look forward to more of his wonderful haiku and photography in the meantime. Now, go and check out his blog, and share the love 🙂

Join us same time next week for another Dirty Dozen!

Do you fancy a turn in the hotseat, with a new batch of questions? (This is aimed at bloggers as well as writers, so don’t be shy!) Leave your email in the comments and I’ll be in touch 🙂

The Dirty Dozen

The Dirty Dozen, with Judy Martin

Welcome to another edition of The Dirty Dozen!

I read, and enjoy, a lot of blog posts with blogger/author interviews, so this is my own spin on that. This will hopefully create something entertaining and informative for you, the reader, while sharing what platform I have with the amazing and talented people who have bravely volunteered to take part. Not all of these questions are easy, but hopefully they will give you an insight into the person on the other side of the screen. Ultimately, blogging is all about making connections.

Show your humanity, show your love, and support each other. Because really, what else is there?

This week, I’m delighted to be hosting Judy Martin in the Dirty Dozen “hotseat”.

Judy is a prolific and engaging blogger-poet, who has just completed NaPoWriMo, and has recently released her first self-published collection of poetry – Rhymes of the Times. One Amazon reviewer described this as “Whimsy and fun with a side of ‘sauce’ “, and I completely agree! You can find it here – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rhymes-Times-lighthearted-through-rhyme/dp/1530270634 and her blog is at:  http://edwinasepisodes.com/

1 – How in all the gin joints in all the world did you come across my blog?

I think I came across your blog on either Ronovan’s or TJ’s haiku challenges. I loved your sense of humour, and you write a bloody good limerick, that is why I stay around. Well, that and the fact that you are a brilliant interactor with others and also very supportive.  Right, that’s your lot for compliments!

(Can’t blame a guy for trying!)

 

2 – You, in three words?

Clumsy, eccentric and silly

 

3 – The last book/ film/ or album that you wish you’d made

Oh, this is tricky.  I wish that I had made Michael Jackson’s Thriller! What an innovative album that was in so many ways.

(Note to self – did I just write a whole month of zombie stuff without mentioning Thriller? Bad Al…)

 

4 – Where are you now on your writer’s / blogger’s journey ?

Well, I have self-published my book of rhymes ‘Rhymes of the Times’ and am editing ‘To Have and to Harm’ a book about a turbulent marriage.  As for my blog, I do not intend to give that up, I love it, and the other bloggers too!

 

5 – A lot of writers and bloggers enjoy taking part in quote challenges, and sharing inspiring nuggets to help their fellow bloggers along. Can you tell us though one piece of life / writing advice, or quote about life / writing, that you are absolutely sick of hearing, that really doesn’t do it for you?

I love taking part in the challenges and finding inspirational quotes.  I can’t think of anything that I get sick of hearing, specifically but ‘buzz words’ get on my nerves a bit. For example when people always say ‘going forward….’  What is that all about? I hope that we are all going forward, we would be bloody silly to keep going backwards (Hopefully, I am not guilty of using this one)!

(I completely agree with Judy on this one. I caught myself saying “going forward” in a meeting once, and wanted to throw myself over the balcony!)

 

6 – Two true facts about you, and one lie…. Don’t tell us which is which.

I have a small tattoo of a dolphin on my lower back

I have my belly button pierced

I have 2 gold teeth

 

7 – The zombies rise and take over the world. You have five minutes to pack a bag and hit the road… You’ve got the essentials – water, tent, sleeping bag, vitamins, toothpaste, signed Dolph Lundgren photos from Rocky IV… What else do you grab?

My laptop! My family of course, my phone!  I can still be connected to those I haven’t managed to bring with me.

(Let’s hope we deal with the zombies quickly, before the battery on the phone and laptop run out! Also note that laptop came before family… 🙂 )

 

8 – I’m often mistaken for John Cusack (…). But who would play you in the movie of your life?

I have been told not once but TWICE that I looked like (British TV personality) Vanessa Feltz (when she was large)!  I would like someone funny to play me, perhaps Jennifer Aniston or Cameron Diaz. I don’t know anything much about directors or screenplay writers but the ones who were involved with ‘Shrek’ would be wonderful! As for the soundtrack, Elton John maybe.

(I’d definitely watch this movie… I’ve also been told I look like the “large” Irish comedian Dara O’Briain… such comparisons are not great for the ego!)

 

9 – Doc Emmett Brown pulls up outside your house in the DeLorean… He’s got a few hours to spare, and fuel for one return trip… Where/when are you heading?

Hmmmm. Part of me would love to go back to the 1950s so that I could enjoy the fashions and the music, but I rather fancy myself as a Victorian lady daintily doing my needlepoint!

Sense AND Sensibility there from Judy!)

 

10 – Your beloved partner (real or imagined) is out for the evening, and your celebrity “pass” is popping round. (You know, the one celebrity who your partner would allow you to spend a night with, without it being considered cheating… that’s a thing, right?) Who knocks on your door?

Oh no, which one should I choose? I think I will go with Dolph Lundgren.  I have never been any good at all the romantic evening stuff, with my awkwardness and clumsy manner I am surprised I ever got any more than one date!  Well I would cook up a good old roast chicken dinner, not too complicated and a big guy like that needs a hearty meal. I thinks something chocolately for pud  to ‘get us in the mood’  although we would probably be to stuffed to move!

 Now music choices over dinner, well Barry White is a bit too obvious, and I should show a bit of class I suppose, so what about a bit of Human League, or a compilation of 80s hits that we could sing along to! As for the line that signals the end of dinner, I am CRAP at come-on lines, and they would either be too cheesy or too obscure.  It would probably be something mundane like “shall we sit somewhere more comfy?” Oh God, that sounds really naff but then, that is me!

(I love the fact that this section starts with “which one should I choose?”  Other interviewees have been more coy, but Judy obviously has a shortlist!)

 

11 – You manage, fortuitously but entirely accidentally in a bizarre toaster incident to rid the world of its most dangerous inhabitant… Who do you call to help destroy the evidence, and burn that hairpiece?

Well my two sisters would not only help but would cover for me as well!

 

12 – Another apocalyptic scenario, only now the pet food is running out… You have a dog, a cat, and a rabbit, but only food supplies for two of them… Which one misses out?

Oooh Al, what a cruel question to ask, I am sorry but the bunny gets missed out L Poor little ball of fluff. 

(The bunnies are not faring well in this apocalypse situation…)

 

13 – In a line, any regrets??

Only that I used my brain a lot more when I was younger!

 

So, a huge thank you to the clumsy but adorable Judy Martin for sharing herself with us, including those very detailed plans for her night with Dolph, dreams of Victorian needlepoint, and how her first thought in case of disaster is to grab her laptop… and then her family! Going forward…

I wish her the best of luck with editing her next book, and look forward to that being released in due course. Now, go and check out her blog, buy Rhymes of the Times, share the love 🙂

Join us same time next week for another Dirty Dozen!

Do you fancy a turn in the hotseat, with a new batch of questions? (This is aimed at bloggers as well as writers, so don’t be shy!) Leave your email in the comments and I’ll be in touch 🙂

The Dirty Dozen

The Dirty Dozen, featuring Dr Meg Sorick

Welcome to the third edition of The Dirty Dozen!

I love reading blogger/author interviews on others’ blogs, and want to put my own spin on that. Not all of these questions are easy, but hopefully they will give you an insight into the person on the other side of the screen. Ultimately, blogging is all about making connections. Show your humanity, show your love, and support each other. Because really, what else is there?

This week, I’m incredibly privileged to be hosting Dr Meg Sorick in the Dirty Dozen “hotseat”.

Meg is the author of the Bucks County series of novels, and is a committed, engaged, and engaging blogger who can turn her hand to a range of writing styles (I particularly love her limericks, but check out her short stories too).

You can find her books here http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015L7763A and her blog is at: https://drmegsorick.com/about/

1 – How in all the gin joints in all the world did you come across my blog?

I think I found your blog through Elizabeth? But I’m not entirely sure! I stuck around because I like your writing and everyone needs a zombie apocalypse haiku! Besides that, you are friendly, you respond to comments and you visit and comment on my nonsense, too.

(Your type of nonsense is right up my street… what that says about both of us is for others to decide!)

2 – You, in three words?

Funny. Distracted. Inquisitive.

3 – The last book/ film/ or album that you wish you’d made.

I would have loved to write The Hunger Games series, because I’d be laughing all the way to the bank. Plus the books are good.

4 – Where are you now on your writer’s / blogger’s journey ?

I’ve written and published three books in a series set in the area where I live. The Bucks County Novels are romantic suspense novels/chick lit stories that center around a group of friends and their adventures. The fourth book in the series diverges from the original central characters but stays close. It is at the editing stage, but hopefully will be ready for publication by summertime. My blog has been a great way to explore other types of writing – poetry, short stories, non-fiction and I’m happy to have met a bunch of really great people through that medium.

5 – A lot of writers and bloggers enjoy taking part in quote challenges, and sharing inspiring nuggets to help their fellow bloggers along. Can you tell us though one piece of life / writing advice, or quote about life / writing, that you are absolutely sick of hearing, that really doesn’t do it for you?

I hate ALL the positive thinking platitudes that people throw around. And believe me, I’m usually very upbeat and positive. But sometimes, sometimes, you just need to wallow in misery even if it’s only for a day. And I’ll be damned if those negative emotions don’t turn into some of the best writing we do.

So let me be angry or sad or frustrated or in pain. I need that stuff sometimes. The storm will pass and the happy Meg will return, probably with some great new ideas to pen!

6 – Two true facts about you, and one lie…. Don’t tell us which is which.

– I believe in Bigfoot.
– I have been in 17 car accidents, 4 of them total losses.
– I have a near genius level IQ.

7 – The zombies rise and take over the world. You have five minutes to pack a bag and hit the road… You’ve got the essentials – water, tent, sleeping bag, vitamins, toothpaste, signed One Direction photos… What else do you grab?

Passport (just in case civilization doesn’t completely crumble), notebook, pens, iPhone (for my music collection), solar charger to keep the iPhone working, copy of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, towel.

(So Meg will spend her apocalypse planning her next holiday in the sun… or thumbing a lift on a passing Vogon spaceship. Whatever happens, don’t let them read their poetry to you. It’s even worse than my zombie stuff, but in a language you don’t understand, blasted straight through your eyeballs and into the pain centre of your brain. For some, this may actually be pretty similar to their enjoyment of my zombie haiku… only a week to go 😉 )

8 – I’m often mistaken for John Cusack… But who would play you in the movie of your life?

Tina Fey because she’s my hero and my life has been pretty humorous (at least that’s the way I choose to see it). Directed by Ron Howard, because why not? I would write my own screen play because I’m a writer, damn it! The soundtrack of my life sounds like a compilation of Social Distortion songs.

9 – Doc Brown pulls up outside your house in the DeLorean… He’s got a few hours to spare, and fuel for one return trip… Where/when are you heading?

The future! There is no time in the past where women have fared well in the equality department. Hopefully the future for women and women’s rights continues to improve in time. Besides I want to see the development of warp drive! Beam me up!

(Let’s hope the future is more Star Trek than Hunger Games…)

10 – Your beloved partner (real or imagined) is out for the evening, and your celebrity “pass” is popping round. (You know, the one celebrity who your partner would allow you to spend a night with, without it being considered cheating… that’s a thing, right?) Who knocks on your door?

AIDAN TURNER!!!! Really? I have to feed him? We can’t just… you know? Sigh. Well, I make I pretty amazing lasagne. And so I guess we’d have red wine. Bryan Ferry on the stereo. Dude, I’m totally not going to make it through dinner. But supposing I did, I would end with something like, “I hope you saved room for dessert.” While I dove across the table at him. Oh god, that’s cheesy.

(Aidan Turner’s people have been notified…)

11 – You manage, fortuitously but entirely accidentally in a bizarre toaster incident to rid the world of its most dangerous inhabitant… Who do you call to help destroy the evidence, and burn that hairpiece?

Easy, peasy. My friend Fictional Kevin. He’s probably got the plan in place to hide a body already. Granted it’s probably my body that he plans on hiding/destroying. But yeah, him.

(Part of me hopes that Fictional Kevin will one day turn evil, and persuade you to participate in his deeds… when police question you about why you cut the heads off all the parking meters in town, you can say “Fictional Kevin told me to do it”…)

12 – Another apocalyptic scenario, only now the pet food is running out… You have a dog, a cat, and a rabbit, but only food supplies for two of them… Which one misses out?

Rabbit and now I have extended my food supply for the other two. Boom.

(I don’t think the rabbits will fare well in the apocalypse. Poor bunnykins.)

13 – In a line, any regrets??

A plethora!

So, a huge thank you to Dr Meg Sorick for sharing herself with us, and wearing her nerdiness as a badge of pride (I say this with love as a fellow nerd!). Don’t offer her any platitudes if she’s having a bad day, don’t accept a ride home from her on a good day, and NEVER get between her and Aidan Turner…

Now, go and check out her blog, buy her books, share the love 🙂

Join us same time next week for another Dirty Dozen, featuring the wonderful Judy from Edwina’s Episodes!

Do you fancy a turn in the hotseat, with a new batch of questions? Leave your email in the comments and I’ll be in touch 🙂

The Dirty Dozen