Tuesday, 31 January 2012

What's ... Not Been On My Kindle...

Hi guys
So, what's been on your kindle this week? Because frankly, mine's been gathering dust in the corner whilst I beaver away at something to (hopefully) grace your kindles with later this month. And boy, it's an interesting experience. I'm happy with the stories... (it's a collection of 10), and now I'm having fun with the front cover... quite excited really!

What have you been up to?

Monday, 30 January 2012

'The Doomed Dates Diary' by Anna Holt

Well, tonight I have the very dubious pleasure of going to my first ever Ann Summers party... all in the name of research, you understand! So I'll leave you in Anna's capable hands for the evening... Lx

5. Neville

         First things first. He had great eyes. Fabulous eyes in fact. I would happily have drowned myself in them right there and then- no holding my breath- just a running jump and straight in at the deep end. They were that good.
         They were an uncommon blue with flecks of grey and the kind of long, dense eyelashes that I've always dreamt of having myself. (I've got the sparse, weedy types that mean I can make a mascara last for the best part of a decade.) The whole package under dark, quizzical brows. I've always been a sucker for a great pair of eyes. Yup- big tick on the eyes. The eyes were definitely not far south of spectacular.
         That wasn't to overlook the smile. That was pretty good too. It sent a jolt of electricity down my spine every time I saw it. He made me laugh in that easy, unforced way that made me want to have his children- all of them. Well maybe not so much the having part- but a great deal of the making bit.
         He was everything I was looking for- tall, refined, attentive and gainfully employed. Such a shame then that he was sitting on the next table with his wife and I was fending off Neville.
         'What do you think of handcuffs?' Neville asked, sounding for all the world as if he was talking about pipe lagging.
         At that precise moment I felt overwhelmingly relieved to be sitting in a busy bar with staff who knew me well enough not to pour me anything that hadn't been awarded at least an 'Editor's Choice' in a Sunday newspaper wine review.
         I'd already said a firm but courteous 'no' to leather, fairy wings, stirrups and low fat fromage frais. I'd also chosen to ignore the fact that Neville liked to preface everything he said by playing a few notes on an imaginary glockenspiel on the table in front of him.
         'Actually I prefer a box of chocolates and a bad movie', I said.
         As the perfect man left the bar I felt my heart sink in a series of lurching, downwardly spiralling somersaults.
         'I've got a trapeze in my bedroom,' Neville said with a 'ping pong ping!'
         'Neville, you should be locked up,' I said, gathering my stuff together for a hasty getaway.
         Unfortunately, Neville looked like he just might enjoy it.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

A Dodo Welcome For Yvonne Lewis...

From Amazon
One of my very first blogging friends that I made during last year's A-Z is the super-talented Yvonne of Welcome To My World Of Poetry. If you don't know her, you really must pop over and say hello. She's a wonderful friend, always there with a kind word. I'm in awe of Yvonne for being able to blog entirely through poetry... and now there is a treat in store for us...

Yvonne has a new book out! As soon as I heard, I asked her if she'd like to come here and post about it, and here is her rather fantastic answer...


This is my second book,
Which took me three years to write.
Poems about my family and travels,
Also things that give me delight.

Such as the wildlife and walks
Along the beach which I do enjoy.
The concerts I've attended
Of a certain "Danny Boy".
(Daniel O Donnell)

The music I enjoyed in my teenage years,
In the sixties era,
When Elvis was all the rage.
And of course Beatlemania.

There is a serious side to me,
How to respect and love each other,
Things I was taught
By my wonderful mother

I also reflect about being a widow.
Losing the love of my life.
How well I remember the day
I became his loving wife.

The fun I have had with my grandchildren
Are also featured in this book.
If I have whetted your appetite,
Why not take a look?

Yvonne Lewis    
How amazing does that sound?!
It's at Amazon.co.uk here
And at Amazon.com here
And you can find Yvonne and show her some love here!
Cheers guys
Laura x

PS - As you may know, I was nominated for a Top writing blog award... should you fancy reading my entry and maybe even vote for me, I would be very humbled... and that's what the funky looking button at the top left is all about!

Monday, 23 January 2012

'The Doomed Dates Diary' by Anna Holt

Hi guys,
Before I hand over to Anna for the fourth instalment of 'The Doomed Dates Diary, I just want to say a big thank you to everyone who's sent me birthday wishes and emails today - you guys are amazing - I've had a lovely day so far, and it's just about to continue in the same vein... thanks everyone... Anna, take it away!

28. Crispin
         When Crispin started humming tunelessly to himself my patience finally snapped like a cracked black pepper and sea salt crisp. He'd arrived fifteen minutes earlier, three quarters of an hour late- apparently he didn't believe in the conspiracy of earthly clocks- wearing a hand knitted cardigan and open-toed sandals with no socks. It was January. He ordered a glass of tap water, sat down across from me- and, after a few deep and no doubt hugely meaningful breaths, closed his eyes.
         'What are you doing?' I asked testily.
         'I'm examining your aura,' he replied absently, seemingly lost somewhere in the sacred emulsion of the Great Cosmic Aura Colour Chart- or something.
         'Okay,' I said, feeling the familiar nosedive of dating disappointment. I really do pick them don't I? 'So how is it looking?'
         'Mainly purple,' he said dismissively, opening his eyes and sipping his water. He winced, rather like I do whenever I drink Argentinian Melbac.
         'Purple? Is that good?' Personally, I find it an impossible colour to successfully accessorize- and if I wear it too close to may face I look like I've got jaundice or I've overdone the foundation.
         Crispin smiled apologetically. 'I'm really looking for someone orange with brilliant flecks of yellow,' he said.
         'Uh huh,' I said. It looked like we were both going to go home disappointed then.
         Strangely though, as soon as it was clear that we were incompatible on a chromatic level we had a surprisingly entertaining night together. I would point out couples in the bar and Crispin would tell me the destiny of their relationships based entirely on the intensity of their auras.
         'What about them?' I said, nodding towards a pair in the corner who's faces had been fused together at the lips since the third round of double vodkas arrived.
         'Pink and crimson,' Crispin said after a brief and inscrutable glare. 'A one night stand. She'll be embarrassed about it in the morning.'
         Crispin stopped, perhaps aware how close this was to the truth of the two of us.

         'You need to look for someone greeny blue,' he said later as we went our separate ways.
         'Thanks,' I called back, as I shrugged into my coat and headed off in the opposite direction.
         Now where was I going to find someone 'greeny blue' in London in deepest, darkest January? I was having enough trouble finding someone normal.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

On Writing...

Hi everyone. Just a quick heads up that I'm switching posts with tomorrow, so this is the writing one and tomorrow there'll be a review...

So – the lovely people at eCollegeFinder are considering Daily Dodo as a nominee for a Top Writing Blogs Award. I am very honoured. They have asked for a post with a bit of advice for students “aiming to improve their writing acumen.”
I have three pointers which have helped me…
1.    1. Whilst talking and reading about writing has its place – it is not writing. I can practically hear you muttering “yeah – duh!” under your breath and rolling your eyes, but seriously, if you want to be a writer then you need to sit down and write every single day. I spent years talking about being a writer. Last year, I finally got on with it. This has resulted in two first draft novels, a short story anthology due to be released on kindle on Valentines day, 223 blog posts to date and several non-fiction articles and essays – some of which have published. That is a lot of words… just imagine if I’d put bum on seat and pen to paper sooner…
2.    2. Closely linked to number 1... get on and actually finish pieces! Then send them out into the world for others to judge. I’m a terrible hoarder, and used to be very scared of getting any kind of feedback. Trust me though, until you do this you're holding yourself back. This blog means that I have to have something finished every day, which will be read almost instantly. I've also joined a bi-weekly online writing / critique group, which means I have regular deadlines and commitments for my fiction work.
3.    3. You are never, ever beyond using a dictionary… it’s a great starting place… especially when lovely people ask you questions using words like ‘acumen’…
So, that’s it from me. Short and sweet. Want to know why? Because your time is better spent getting bum on seat and pen to paper (or fingers on keybord). Have fun!
Laura x

Monday, 16 January 2012

'The Doomed Dates Diary' by Anna Holt

Hi guys - here to kick off your week is Anna with another episode of The Doomed Dates Diary

14. John

         Just for the record, I don't usually let my date spend the entire evening talking about their ex. It's one of my rules, but in John's case I made an exception. We'd be doing each other a favour. He seemed to have a lot to get off his chest and my glass of Chilean Organic Shiraz was so blindingly awful that I needed something to take my mind off the fact that my tonsils were probably melting. He wanted to talk and I could barely breath, so I let him. Call it an executive decision.
         The first indication John had that his wedding was going sideways was when his best man didn't show up in the morning. As he was staying in the adjacent room that seemed a little odd. An hour later and John's future wife failed to show too, followed by the plane tickets and the reservations for the fabulously expensive honeymoon in the Maldives. They took all his holiday clothes- and the bumper pack of condoms- and scoured his heart out in the process.
         John just spent the day sitting in his hotel room, half in and out of his morning suit. He could hear his dad standing outside the door, fending off well-meaning guests.
         'Let's give the poor lad a few minutes, he's having a bit of day.'
         Skip forward two months and just when John had finished returning the last of the wedding presents, there's a knock at the door. His ex fiancĂ© is standing on the doorstep, still brown from her trip to the Indian Ocean.
         'I'm pregnant,' she said.
         'What do you want me to do about it? he said.
         'It's yours,' she said.
         'No it isn't,' he said
         'Okay, you're right. It isn't,' she said. 'It was a mistake.'
         John tried hard to work out which part she meant, after all, they had taken all the condoms. Then he noticed her bags.
         'I've got nowhere to live. I thought maybe we could try again?'

I wasn't there- obviously- but I imagine it was the sound of the door slamming that had broken John into so many desperate pieces. He stopped talking and looked at me with a knowing smile.        
         'You probably won't want to come out on another date, will you?' He said.
         I shook my head. 'Sorry,' I said.
         Maybe the Chilean Organic Shiraz wasn't that bad after all.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Oh, The Irony

Okay - so Wednesday night is writing talk night here... the thing is, I've been too busy writing to write a post. Maybe that's the thought for the week... stop thinking about it, stop talking about it and go do it!

Have fun
Laura xxx

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Calling All Chick Lit Fans

Image from Amazon
This week I have made a brilliant discovery... a new chick lit author. See - I'm a bit of an avid muncher of all things chick-lit, which leaves me a little short now and again. On a whim and due to a bit of a clever Amazon 'kindle sale' type thing, I downloaded Molly's Millions by Victoria Connelly at the bargain price of 99p. (note - the price is now at £4.30 for the kindle edition - frankly, you may as well buy the paperback!!!)

Here's the blurb:

Hard-up florist Molly Bailey has just won a fortune in the National Lottery. And she wants to get rid of it -- fast!
Tom Mackenzie is on the verge of losing his job. He needs one hell of a story if he hopes to secure his future in journalism. And his luck may have just come in...
With a strong belief that sharing her good fortune is the only way forward, Molly unwittingly becomes the most sought-after person in the country as she distributes her wealth to the masses. With only her terrier pup, Fizz, and her trusty Beetle for company, Molly embarks on the journey of her life. But with Tom hot on her heels, will she succeed before her family and the media catch up with her? And, with Tom leading the pack, would that really be such a bad thing...?

This is a light, fresh read, with some deeply loveable as well as some deeply annoying characters. Victoria has a great voice, and you are instantly drawn in, and will quite happily follow her characters anywhere. 

I have only two negatives - Victoria is so great at drawing characters, that when you meet a secondary character - you instantly want to stay in their company and get to know their story - even if their role in the actual plot is very minor. As this plot had several brief visits from some fab characters, I found myself mourning the loss of a new friend more than once! The second negative point... and this is VERY subjective... I wanted to luxuriate in the warmth of the ending of this novel for at least another couple of pages... I found it a little abrupt.

I'm very much looking forward to getting hold of some of her Austen-related novels for a good read... might just hop in and snap them up before their prices skyrocket too!

Amazon.co.uk current price £4.30
Amazon.com current price $6.63

This week's new read is Just Henry by Michelle Magorian (the genius behind Goodnight Mr Tom)

See you tomorrow
Laura xxx

Monday, 9 January 2012

'The Doomed Dates Diary' by Anna Holt

Hi guys - here's the much anticipated second instalment from Anna... enjoy!

32. Henry

Turns out that Henry wasn’t after a girlfriend at all. He was more interested in selling me home contents insurance. I promised faithfully that I’d look through the brochures while he was at the bar. I lied. I watched him having an argument instead. They’d obviously just informed him how much a large glass of decent red wine was.
It reminded me of the day that I broke up with David- the five short minutes that made me single again- the reason I was now sitting in a pub in West London waiting to have a drink with an insurance salesman who was offering a 10% discount and accidental damage cover for a bicycle that I don’t even have.
I was doing the washing up when David made a rare trip into the kitchen that didn’t entail getting a beer from the fridge. I’m sure he though they grew in there.
‘I think we should see other people,’ he said.
‘Okay,’ I said flatly. ‘Are you breaking up with me?’
‘No,’ he said, as if I was a complete idiot and he’d been willfully misunderstood.
‘You are really, aren’t you?’ I said.
‘No,’ he repeated, trying to hug me but getting a soapy rubber glove in the face. ‘I like living with you, I just think we need to expand our horizons a bit that’s all.’
‘I could buy some new DVD’s,’ I offered helpfully.
‘I mean meet new people.’
I could feel my eyebrow arching with suspicion. ‘Are you talking in general or about someone in particular?’
‘Generally,’ he said rather unconvincingly.
My suspicious eyebrow didn’t believe him for a minute.
‘So, you still want to live with me in my flat, rent-free, but you want to see other people too. Is that about the strength of it?’ I asked.
‘Yes, he said.
‘So what happens if you meet someone you like more than me?’ I said. That threw him.
‘That won’t happen will it? I love you and you love me.’
‘But what if you did and wanted to bring them back to the flat?’
David shrugged. ‘You wouldn’t mind going out would you?’
And that was that. ‘Why don’t you move out right now,’ I said. ‘In fact I’ll help you pack.’
Two years down the drain. Henry came back from the bar with a tiny glass of house red. Somehow I felt equally cheated.

Thanks for reading and see you all tomorrow
Laura x

Sunday, 8 January 2012

A Blogger in Need...

Hi everyone.
If you haven't already seen Candace's post here, I urge you to pop over to Misadventures In Candyland, take a read and see if you can help at all. Candace is a really good spirit going through a really tough time. I'm not going to give further details here as I think it is better coming from her.

Hoping you're all having a great weekend and are ready for another busy, exciting and fun filled week!
Don't forget to pop by for the second instalment of Anna Holt's The Doomed Dates Diary tomorrow
Laura x

Saturday, 7 January 2012

A Quick Hello, and Good Night!

Well, what a week! I've written 10 short stories, shelved novel 1 in favour of a new plot and decided that my very first Kindle release will be a collection of short stories in the beginning of February, just in time for Valentines Day!

What have you all been up to?
See you tomorrow
Laura x

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Awards... woohoo :)

Hi guys -
Wow, wasn't yesterday's Insecure Writers and interesting one? I've hopped around so many great posts, and fully intend to carry on reading and meeting new people over the weekend. Also - thanks to so many of you for stopping by, and a warm wave to my new followers.

Now, according to my shiny new schedule, today is 'bloghops, competitions and random stuff' day.
There are three things on the agenda.

1. Don't forget to sign up for Cassie Mae's 'Is It Getting HOT in Here' Valentines day bloghop. Click on the pic to find out more - but here's a tip - it involves a lot of kissing... can't wait!

2. I was honoured to win 'Featured Writer' for Friday's 'Romantic Friday Writers' short story. Click here to have a read if you fancy. A huge thank you for this, and to the other RFW's for their support.

3. The lovely Coral at 'One Little Spark - A Writer's World' has awarded me with the 'Great Comments Award'. - thanks so much Coral - this means a lot to me! The rules of engagement seem to be to award it to the last 20 commenters to your blog, but in true Dodo fashion, I'm going to cherry pick a handful of people who've graced me with their presence here on an almost daily basis recently, giving me loads of support, and I want to use this to say a special 'thank you' to them - but to be honest, a special thank you to you all for stopping by, reading and commenting!


...thanks guys - you ROCK :)

See you tomorrow
Laura x

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Insecure Writers Post - January

Sometimes you get a really bad day, where you doubt absolutely everything. You pretty much decide to put a full-stop at the end of your so-called writing career. You know that you are no good, and are more than happy to tell that to everyone around you.

Then you get a good day, and all the black feelings from the day before melt away in the sunshine of enjoying your work, and the warmth of creative inspiration.

Just remember that everyone around you has to live these ups and downs with you – and they can’t necessarily see all of the inner workings -and they have seen the changes in you over and over again. The stopping, the starting. The doubts and the elation.  

Remember to say thank you to them for their unwavering belief in you. They never get stuck in one of your downward slopes - you owe it to them not to do so yourself.

Laura x

PS - Don't forget to click on the pic to head over to out lovely host, Alex's place and hop around some of the other posts this month!

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

What's On My Kindle

Hello! So, here's the first of my new schedule's Tuesdays - a kindle round up of what I've read and what's lined up for next.

This week has been a little bit light on the old reading front what with planning for the year ahead and the social thing going on... but this week, I read...

'Le Cirque De Magie' by Marsha A. Moore
The Blurb...
The circus is a blur of commotion with last minute preparations for the spring tour. Ravi, the high-wire heart throb, becomes jittery when he meets the company's newly-hired female dwarf. Hours before departure, his magical perceptions are on fire as he witnesses her involvement in a gory bump off.

The circus manager can't be found. Ravi is desperate to protect his sweetheart and performing partner, Alice. The train creaks away, beginning the long journey with danger stowed on board. Nicknamed the Great Birdman, Ravi steps forward and exposes his true identity--a real risk during edgy, vigilante times of prohibition. A brave move--but will his Suparna abilities be enough to snuff out this fierce demon?

This was an exciting and unusual read. I was looking for something a little different but still within the romance arena, and I certainly got it. The plot is fairly simple, but the rich tapestry that it is set in - this depression- era circus is such a beautifully woven backdrop, that I quickly became hooked. I hope that there are more stories to come using this same world. The ease in which demons and demi-gods are dropped into this heightened but every-day setting has me hooked.

Amazon.co.uk link currently £0.77
Amazon.com link currently $1.20

And to-read this week (okay, so I have gone a little nuts with my new years Amazon gift token!)
Molly's Millions by Victoria Connelly
Breakthrough:The Adventures of Chase Manhattan by Stephen Tremp
A Bear With Two Shadows by Roland Yeomans

Should keep me out of trouble for a while!
Anybody read any of these four? What did you think?
See you tomorrow
Laura x

Monday, 2 January 2012

Introducing Anna Holt

Morning! I'm very excited today to be introducing Anna to all of you. She will be here every Monday with a new short story from 'The Doomed Dates Diary'. Without further ado...

23. Nigel

Nigel had a spreadsheet open on his laptop. He showed it to me. He had it all worked out.
         'We're going to have such a great life together- can't you see?'
         I couldn't. To tell you the truth I've always been hopeless with graphs, especially on a first date. I'd only met him fifteen minutes earlier. What with all the wedding plans and sorting out what the kids would be called I'd barely had a chance to touch my glass of Bulgarian Merlot. I took a sip and instantly wished I hadn't. It tasted like the stuff dentists give you to gargle with after lengthy and expensive root canal work. For the prices they charge I think they should let you drink champagne.
         Nigel was trying to explain what 'Figure D' meant again but I wasn't really listening. I was trying to place a guy like Nigel somewhere on the x y axis of my love life. I was struggling. I can't help it. Nigel just isn't a name I immediately associate with moments of passion and wild abandon. He was alright looking, but I think his face could have done with a bit more chin.
         I guess Nigel realized he was losing his audience so he played a short animated presentation that he'd labeled 'How Happy Nigel and Jenny Will Be.' Call me cynical, but I wondered how many times he'd changed the names already. Apparently I was the pink line and he was blue. It all looked very uphill.
         'That's a positive trend,' Nigel said enthusiastically.
         'Oh,' I said.
         From what I could make out we seemed to drift apart a bit in our late thirties but Nigel said that was merely a 'blip of uncertainty' in case we had a 'little accident'- his words not mine- and had a third child. He made it sound so tempting.
         When Nigel went off to buy some more drinks I got a piece of paper out of my bag and drew my own chart. I called it 'How Jenny Thought The Date With Nigel Went.' It started off on the left with high expectations, but quickly tumbled in a curve that was less like a graceful swan's neck and more like an opera singer being pushed from a ninth floor window. I left it on the table and made a dash for the door before he came back.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Happy New Year!

Did everyone have a good night? I got to 11.52pm and decided that that was it, I was off to bed. And I sat there and thought about some resolutions... hmmmm.... none really came to me. Okay - so maybe they did but, see, the thing is... I never, ever keep my resolutions. To say that they are a resolution kind of lays a curse on them. And this year, I have some serious stuff I want to get done.

So, nope, no years resolutions, just lots and lots of stuff to do.
How about you guys - any resolutions?

And coming up this week here at Daily Dodo - Tomorrow, the fabulous Anna Holt makes her blogging debut in her regular short story slot - And don't forget to post your writerly insecurities for Alex's brainchild on Wednesday, yup - the first Insecure Writer's post of 2012.

See you here tomorrow
Laura xxx