Sunday, 29 August 2010

Mail on Sunday: Sophie Kinsella's New Book

AKA In My Mailbox is a look at all the Lit related items...books or otherwise, we've acquired during the always is hosted by Kristi, The Story Siren. 

This week I've only been able to add one book to my collection. Sophie Kinsella's new book Mini Shoppaholic, to be released in September. When Transworld publishers got in touch with me and asked if I'd read and review it; I almost freaked out...well I did but in a totally sophisticated manner ;) Cheers muchly Sarah.

The only trouble is my camera. I lent it to my sister who's out all weekend so I don't have any pictures of my own to show you. I will show you the cover image of the version I've got courtesy of Goodreads.

I must admit I'm a little excited to see what Becky's kid would be like!
Well got to go now, trying to finish up my story for the Once Upon a Time Project.

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Saturday, 28 August 2010

Dusk till Dawn: My own Personal Challenge

The ever busy and ever impressive Jenn @ Book Crazy is having a night time read-a-thon Called From Dusk till Dawn. I've been pretty bad at it, since it started on he 25th because I wake up t 6:30 every morning for work. Last night I was read Phillippa Gregory's books The White Queen and The Red Queen, the latter being released a couple of weeks ago. I haven't made much headway though, as I fell asleep while reading...resulting in a bit of a sore neck today.

Nina Jones and the Temple of Gloom (Little Black Dress)Tonight I thought I should try a new book and attempt to finish it or read 3/4 of it tonight! That's the challenge I've set myself and I hope I can really get it together!
The book I'm talking about is Nina Jones and the Temple of Gloom by Julie Cohen.

I also hope to take part in the challenges and keep in touch with the other night reader on Twitter tonight. Right now it's all about Formula 1 and Arsenal at the moment. Yep I'm off to watch some Sports.
Till then...
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Friday, 27 August 2010

Follow Friday, Book Blogger Hops and Giveaway Reminder!

Exciting times today- I have a day off because it's my mom's birthday HAPPY BIRTHDAY Mom!! 
So I have some more time to get into Follow Friday and the Book Blogger Hop that I wouldn't have normally because of work.
Firstly is the Book Blogger Hop which has become somewhat of a phenom (it get over 300 hoppers a week)and a meme I truly enjoy.The Book Blogger Hop is hosted over at Crazy for Books and this week's question is

Do you use a rating system for your reviews and if so, what is it and why?

I do use a rating system which I quite enjoy. It's different words that I use in everyday life to describe different things. From Meh to Giggity (courtesy of Quagmire a la Family Guy). You can see my full system here. I want to get my blog design changed...a change which I've been going on and on for some time now. When that happens I hope to change my rating system as well. Not that I don't like it, I just feel it's time for a change. I really enjoy them and lurve seeing how different bloggers come up with or have their own rating's all about getting creative!

I haven't participated in Follow Friday for some time now and well with this being a rare day off...WHY NOT! It's hosted by the ever awesome Parajunkee and to take part in and learn more about Follow Friday click here.

Lastly a reminder about the I HEART Jeremy Giveaway. It's been extended till 28th Sept. Yep that's practically an month's extension. I've had a few requests for the extension to allow everyone the opportunity to fully take part in the giveaway task. So for those of you who didn't know about it before or have know but time hasn't been on your side; you can get well into it now!

Happy Hopping and Following Everyone!
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Saturday, 21 August 2010

Blog Hop also The I HEART The Jeremy Giveaway extended!

Work often means I tend to join this party a little on the late side. I say a little but really I am quite late here. Nonetheless clichés  permitting better late than...
I do enjoy a good Book Blogger Hop though the timing doesn't always suit me. The Book Blogger Hop is hosted over at Crazy for Books and this weeks question is
How many blogs do you follow?
Well I follow a fair few. Since you might be looking for a precise amount, I'm afraid I can't give you one as it's about to change considering I'm ff hopping s soon as I post this. It's around 150 I think.
Trouble is I don't get to as many as I want to daily cause I get home pretty late and well life often gets in the way and dictates the pace at which I blog let alone follow.
I do have a few that I'm addicted to and check out almost daily. Generally with all the blogs I follow even though I may not leave comments...I'm reading. I'm still working on my time management skills to get it all together. Ha!

Also I'm hosting a giveaway. The I HEART Jeremy Giveaway. I've had a few emails for extensions so I thought why not a few more weeks...considering there's a task involved. So feel free to get in there!

As always Happy Hopping....

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Sunday, 8 August 2010

Giveaway: I ♥ The Jeremy

Well I did say the best way to spread the love of this book, was to host a giveaway so I teamed up with Jo, the author and here we are. I'm officially hosting one- my very first and hopefully not the last.

We decided to make it more than just a simple entry...we thought it would fun if there was more involved. So the brilliance of Jo shone threw when he suggested a sort of Q & A. We ask a question and you provide the correct answer. Exciting right?!

So here's the question:
Which famous housewife does Mrs Bulging Bosoms resemble?
You can find the answer here: The Jeremy on fReado

  • One winner will receive a paperback copy of the book.
  • Two other winners will receive one digital version of the book each.
Deadline: Saturday 28th August and the winners will be announced on Monday 30th August.
This giveaway is International heard me open to EVERYONE! For extra entries and to submit your answer, simply fill in the form below. Good Luck!!

The Weekend-Snaps of the Jeremy Quick Links:
ReviewGuest Post Interview ♥ Jo on Twitter ♥ Jo's WP Blog ♥

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When Sa Toya Met Jo: Author's Interview

Here's what happened when I 'met' Jo. Well it's not a play by play of our actual first getting to know you sesh but an interview which came a while after...

1. How important are Book titles to you and did your title come to you or you go searching for it?

A good book title can trigger enough interest in a potential reader's mind that it prompts them to read the book, so yes, book titles are important to me. Whatever I'm writing, whether it's a blog post or a book, its title is a question that is always lurking in my mind. Sometimes the title comes early in the process and influences the content, but in the case of The Jeremy, it was the content that gave birth to the title.
2. You have a really good sense of humour and that shows in the book. Do you think humour is indicative to a good story/book?

"Thank you," he said, desperately trying to think of some witty remark to show off said sense of humour. Anticipating failure, he decided to redeem himself by embarking on a scholarly discourse on the merits of humour in literary works, until it became clear that he had no idea what he was talking about, at which point he promptly abandoned the idea and massaged his dented ego with the knowledge that he was able to construct a really long sentence in answer to the question, while musing that any author who could make him laugh out loud (that's "LOL" for those who don't understand the previous three words) scored extra brownie points in his opinion, which probably meant that the short answer was, 'yes'.
3. How did you come up with the names for inner workings of The Jeremy's mind? Which is your favourite? I am torn between Mrs Bulging Bosoms and Melchior Da Maven .

The various aspects of the inner workings of his mind, the influences which affect his thinking process, are presented as caricatures of certain ways of thinking. I wanted names which accentuated the nature of the caricatures, so I did some brainstorming, based on how I visualised their appearance and demeanour.

My favourite is probably Mrs Bulging Bosoms because I came up with her first, but Sid and Melchior are a close equal second because they both 'tell it like it is', in their own way.
4. What inspired you to write a book like The Jeremy which focuses on almost every aspect of life?

The Clever Trevor in me wanted to write 'Life' and leave it at that, but I smacked him upside the head and took control of my keyboard. There is a song entitled Fifty-Fifty, sung by Ricky Lancelotti on Over-Nite Sensation, a 1973 album by Frank Zappa (considered a genius by some and a subversive pile of pooh by others*), in which the line I figure the odds be fifty-fifty, I just might have some thing to say features as part of the chorus (you can listen to it here but I should mention that it probably falls into the category of 'an acquired taste'!). Over thirty years later, with a bunch of accumulated observations and ideas in my head, I figured it was about time I tested those odds.

* I got the impression that in Mr Zappa's view, he was just holding up a mirror for those 'others' to look in.
5. Considering the book begins at conception/infancy were you ever worried about the 'page turnability' of you book?
If I'd begun writing the book with the object of it becoming a best seller (which would make me rich and famous) at the top of my agenda, then I suspect it would have worried me much more than it did, and I'd probably have written it using some off-the-shelf formula. But the truth is I didn't have a plan or a blue-print in my head. I just wrote what I wanted to write, the way it came out of my head. I know it's a bit of a cliché but I let the book write itself. That's not to say I didn't edit, re-write and shuffle it all around. I did. A lot! (And I still managed to miss a couple of typos - grrrr!)
 6. I particularly enjoyed the baby Jeremy section of the book; I can't remember what life was like as a baby I can only assume but what you wrote sounded exactly as it is, I guess what I'm asking is how did you come up with the details there? Very good I might add.
While we don't consciously remember what it was like to be a baby, or anything much of our early life, I tried to put myself in a baby's/toddler's 'shoes' and imagined how he would feel in the circumstances I was describing. But I also did a fair amount of research regarding the age at which the various milestone events usually occur, and what normally happens at those times, to make sure that what I was writing was at least plausible. I've since read, just the other day, that it's likely that a new-born's sensitivity to temperature does not develop until at least a few days after birth, so maybe I need to re-write the birth scene!
7. I lurve the cover of the book. Back and front. I saw it as someone wearing a mask at the front and then at the back you saw the back of their head and other funny stuff. Did I interpret it right or was I just reading too much into it? How did you come up with it? (I realise this is a 2 in 1)
You are officially my hero. You got it spot on! In question one, you asked about the importance of book titles. I think that the title and cover are things that should work together to say as much about the book as possible, to show off its 'flavour', without giving too much away. But most of all, the cover has to attract the eye of a potential reader.

I know that when I'm browsing for a book, the title, and how it's presented on the cover, is the bait which hooks me, or not. If the front cover has 'it', then I'll check the back cover, and if that adds something of interest then I might invest some time on the inside.

That was my goal, of course: to get people to invest some time on the inside!

I also find the blurb on the back of some books a bit distasteful. You know, the ones which have excerpts from 'rave reviews' and suchlike. It's just a personal pet hate which accounts for some of the 'other funny stuff' on the back cover of The Jeremy ;)
8. Are you an avid reader? What are you reading now?
Yep. I read a lot. But these days it's usually via my PC or smartphone, and quite a lot of it is blog articles and info I get through RSS feeds. I've just finished reading A Child's Wound by Dwayne Kavanagh and I've started on It's Like This, Cat by Emily Neville, both on my smartphone.
9. Any litty recommends?
Small Gods by Terry Pratchett. But only because it made me laugh AND presented a perspective that made me think.

But as a general thing, I'd recommend reading something you wouldn't normally read. Try a different genre from those you usually go for. It's easy to do now and it costs nothing but your time. The world wide web is your oyster.
10. Do you listen to music while writing/reading or are you the silence type?
I rarely listen while reading books because I find it distracting, but if I'm reading blog posts or articles then I don't turn off music if I'm already listening. It varies when I'm writing, but I sometimes use music to help me focus. Although music itself can be a distraction at times, in the right circumstances it absorbs all the other distractions which could snag my attention, so I can concentrate on writing. I have a playlist which contains strictly instrumental tracks which usually works well. There are times though, when only silence will do, but that's usually when the 'writing' is happening in my head rather than on my PC.
11. Random Question: if you were a desert what would you be?
Looking for a rain cloud. Ooooh, what a card I am! The thing is, I had to check the dictionary before I wrote that because I always get desert and dessert mixed up. But if I was a dessert, then I'd be a bit of a Gypsy Tart ;)
12. What are you working on now?
Secret! Well, not exactly, but I tend not to announce what I'm working on until the very late stages, or at least not until the point where I feel sure that I know what it is going to be and that it IS 'going to be'. Some people thrive on the pressure of deadlines and status updates, but I'm not one of them. I'll just say that I've got four live writing projects, three of which may come to nought and the other is my blog, which I post to if I feel I've got something to post about. It's called Irregularly Verbal for a reason!
13. Describe your book in 10 words or less.
Ten words or less? Nah...can't do it! Best I can do, with apologies to Bob Dylan, is nineteen (or twenty if you insist on counting "it's" as two words):

Get born, forlorn, nothing but an acorn. Grow up, wazzup? It's a struggle, need some luck. Unfurled, hello world..
14. Random Question 2: So the World Cup's on [well it's over now] are you a patriotic fan or do you support several teams or do you not even care for some football? I have a few teams I've always enjoyed cheering for.
Ah... the sport of kings.

Yeah, I know, wrong sport. But I didn't want to start off on the wrong foot by calling it the sport of prima donnas. Don't get me wrong, I like to watch a good game of football. The problem is that good games of football are a rarity, it seems. It's the cheating which spoils it for me, and I'm not talking about the diving or the blind-side-of-the-ref fouls. It's the take-the-throw-in-ten-yards-nearer-the-opponents'-end-than-where-the-ball-went-out-of-play sort of cheating. 

"It's just part of the game," the fans tell me, while giving each other "we've got a right one 'ere" looks. Strange that in a game of snooker against an ardent football fan, he didn't take kindly to my assertion that "it's just part of the game" when I moved the cue ball to get a better angle. And I only moved it a couple of inches, absolute tops!

World cup? I've heard about the vuvuzelas but I haven't heard them :D
15. Do you have any advice for the unpublished writers, wannabe authors and so on?
Yes: Stop what you're doing right now. Give it up. I've got enough competition out there already without you adding to it!

But seriously, although I don't have any credentials which I can offer in support of my advice, there are some things which I'd suggest are worth giving some thought to. For example, should you worry about ending sentences with prepositions? And assuming you've been paying attention, you'll have figured my answer is no.

But rather than answer the question in full here, where it might not be of interest to everyone, I've put up a page on my blog which goes into it in a bit of depth.
16. Lastly any questions for moi?
Well, I think Lewd Rude Dude must have escaped from the pages of The Jeremy because he keeps suggesting I ask you if you fancy a bit of Gypsy Tart. But it seems Mrs Bulging Bosoms and the Colonel have escaped too because I can hear her tutting loudly and the Colonel's muttering something about Lewd Rude Dude marking his words.

On a serious note, you've taken what for me would be the unthinkable step of displaying Booky's Progress in the sidebar of your blog. How does that affect your attitude towards writing How To Survive A Bitch? Does it spur you on? Assuming you sometimes have to deal with that thing called writer's block, just as I sometimes do, is having it there on your blog a help or a hindrance?

I think of writer's block as being like a block of concrete which sometimes falls on my head, leaving me completely stunned, temporarily unsure of who I am or what I'm trying to do. How do you deal with it when (if) it happens to you? Got any tips?

Lastly, not a question but a thank you. I've enjoyed answering your questions and I'm grateful that you chose me to be your first interviewee. Thank you, Sa.
Well it's both! Sometimes it really pisses me off when I come online, see it and I have't written anything for weeks. Other times it spurs me on. I get a buzz and get scribbling or typing depending on my mood. Admittedly Booky's Progress does need updating- I just forget to from time to time. As for writer's block...we've become good friends since I've started this manuscript. Sometimes I hate it when it crops up on me- it's timing can be really off at times and there are even times I welcome it. Times where my brain and fingers need the rest and I can focus on other things I enjoy like music, reading, catching up on my fave shows even spending time with the fam. Though I don't need writer's block for that. I can easily stop writing and live. I just thought why not risk putting a bit of me out there.

Also you're very welcomed. I enjoyed it too...though I really wanted to know what kind of desert you'd be officially...I mean I know, I know now but well, you know what I mean.

Anyways guys, thanks for reading, want to find out more about Jo well Here are some quick links:

Twitter - @joswun

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Saturday, 7 August 2010

Guest Post: Jo S. Wun author of The Jeremy

I am very excited to keep The Snaps of the Jeremy Weekend rolling with my first author guest post a la Jo. I honestly haven't read it myself yet, and won't until I've hit the post button. So I better get with it!

I can honestly say Mr Wun is incredibly funny and very encouraging. He's always there reminding and assuring me to 'pull my finger out' :) and keep it moving. I am very pleased he agreed to a guest post and even though the pic to the right is all that I've seen of him; his work speaks for him and I hope the following will help you want to get to know him and his work better.

So here's Jo:

First off, I'd like to thank Sa Toya for hosting the giveaway of The Jeremy and also for inviting me to write this guest post.

She kindly left it open for me to decide what to write about. Hmmm...I wonder what you'd like to know. Would you like to hear that I'm tall, dark(ish) and handsome, not overly muscular but well-built with a rakish air about me? Well, sorry, if that's what you were hoping, but it doesn't describe me at all. Probably.

That's the marvelous thing about books. You can conjure up pictures in your head based on what you read, and because you are the conjurer, the pictures are, of course, absolutely perfect. I think that's why seeing the 'film of the book' is so often disappointing, because regardless of how true to the plot the film is, what you see on the silver screen is at odds with what's in your head.

So, how do you write a book? Blood, sweat and tears is the phrase that comes to mind. Well okay, maybe not blood, unless you count the occasional nose-bleed brought on by too much rubbing of the bridge of your nose while deep in thought about the characters and the plot. But, at least as far as I'm concerned, it is hard work. Ultimately rewarding, and with highs along the path for sure, but definitely hard work.

It's great when the words are flowing (and you are able to type fast enough to keep up with the flow). Not so great when the words huddle together, hiding in a dark corner of your brain, resolutely refusing to come out in an act of solidarity which is hard to break.

Yeah, you're right. I could have just written "writer's block", but fortunately I'm not suffering from it at the moment so the words are flowing! Which was probably the most stupid thing I could write because now I can't think of what to write next.

Actually, that was a lie. It's one of the things you probably have to do if you write a book of fiction. Lying, through your teeth, that is. You can call it plot or character development if you like, but basically it's making stuff up. But you have to do it well or your readers won't believe what they are reading.

A beautiful lie can sometimes reveal a gem of a truth.

Happy reading.

Friday, 6 August 2010

The Weekend-Snaps of the Dragon Begins plus Smashwords Discount Code

Here we go everyone....this is the start of this weekend's mini event showing some lurve for The Jeremy-Snaps of the Dragon by Jo S. Wun.

So what's in store for you guys this weekend? Well here's a mini itinerary:
  • Welcome post...which is what your'e reading and Smashword's discount.
  • Full review of The Jeremy.i.e. the long version, that I was too chicken to post.
  • A Jo S. Wun guest post- very excited about that I haven't even read it myself yet.I won't until it's posted.
  • Interview with the author :)
  • Kick off of The Jeremy Giveaway.
To get you in the mood for the rest of the event and giveaway, I thought it best to let you know about the discount for the ebook version of The Jeremy over at Smashwords. Just in case you have an ereader at hand and you don't win the giveaway, or you just want to start reading it now you can grab yourself  a digital copy and at a discounted price too! Who doesn't lurve a discount!

Promotional price: $1.49Coupon Code: KF86TExpires: September 1, 2010

The eBooks are available in these formats:
Mobi (Kindle)
Epub (open industry format, good for Stanza reader, others)
PDF (Adobe Reader, Foxit Reader, etc.)
LRF (Sony Reader)

The prices are in US dollars.

Also do take part in the Book Blogger Hop, it's a great way to channel the book blogosphere...a la Crazy for Books.

Music & Reading: Well I simply cannot get them to mix. One's just as distracting as the other. I lurve music so I tend to forget I'm reading and sing along or dance around to my tunes.

Natural/normal background noise like family, TV etc. doesn't really impede my is another story.

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Sunday, 1 August 2010

Mail on Sunday: The Nanny Returns

AKA In My Mailbox is a look at all the Lit related items...books or otherwise, we've acquired during the always is hosted by Kristi, The Story Siren

This week it's just the one again. I'm taking part in the International Book Tour's Nanny Returns Tour. There's been so much drama involved: it took ages to get the ARC from the post man himself-glad to say I've finally gotten it and am already reading it. So far so good!

Nanny Returns
Authors: Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus
Well F1's on today so gonna go read before it starts.
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