Friday, 20 December 2013

Old Films

I was talking about this with someone here and thought I'd share it with everyone.

I've always loved older films. I'm the youngest child of an older mum who grew up after the war going from cinema to cinema for her entertainment. The films she loved were on TV when I was young, so I watched them all again, with her, and fell in love with them. I have a special place in my heart for old black and white films.

The Ghost and Mrs Muir.

War films like 'The Cruel Sea' or, my particular favourite 'The Way To The Stars.'

I call this a 'Daphne and Roger film.'

You have to say this is a very tight, very clipped, very British upper class accent....

"Oh Daphne, darling, be brave. Be terribly brave."

"Oh Roger, come back to me, my darling.

Perhaps only my mum and I would find that funny!

I'm also very fond of 'Black Narcissus.' Not black and white but wonderful.

I always wanted to grow up to be Deborah Kerr or Jean Simmons. Now I look more like David Niven!

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Mandela and me

I usually make light weight posts but today I have to talk about something that’s really important to me.

When I was younger I was very into politics, music and boys – but not necessarily in that order. Now I’m a grumpy woman of a certain age I’ve lost a lot of the passion of my youth. Perhaps that’s why I get obsessed with things that even I know are silly and unimportant. Perhaps it’s because I now feel so powerless to make a difference. Whatever the whys and wherefores, I don’t get passionate about things that matter anymore, but this man mattered to me, and still does.

It’s taken me a few days to work out how I feel about his death but I was profoundly saddened when I heard. There are so few heroes anymore, so few truly great people. Obviously I never knew Mr Mandela but that’s how he seemed to me, a good man, a decent one. So many that met him remarked on his lack of bitterness when he came out of prison, how he was focused on unification, not revenge.

My kids view him as an important man from history, along with people like Martin Luther King or Ghandi. To me he’s much more. Perhaps that’s because I have such memories of the time he was in prison and his release.

I first got to know about him when The Specials AKA brought out this…

I went to the library – no google back them! – and researched him. I was fascinated and inspired. He was part of my political education and growing up.

The day of his release I sat in front of the TV and watched for hours.

Like so many millions around the world, Nelson Mandela meant something important to me. He will continue to be a symbol of how to hold true to your ideals and stay a decent person, in a world that is increasingly fast paced and harsh.

Rest in peace, Mr Mandela.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Back to the … past.

On Saturday we had a power cut, the first one we’ve had for ages. It started late afternoon, about 4 o’clock, when it was already getting dark. The power company told us that it would be back on about 6:30 but it wasn’t actually restored until about 9:30. 

We’ve had lots of power cuts in the past and it was no big deal, although it was rather interesting as we had guests who’d come for dinner. No problem; we went to a restaurant. Plus, it was rather nice sitting, chatting by candlelight. They couldn’t see where I hadn’t cleaned!

I don’t like cleaning.

The interesting thing was my kids. They spend all day, every day on their computers. Well, all day, everyday that I don’t pull them off. Which I do a lot. Much to their chagrin.

They had no idea what to do with themselves.

No computers, no PS3, no Wii, no TV. They sat and stared at the blank screen for a bit but then it got too dark. They flopped out on the floor, moaning loudly about the unfairness they had to suffer in their lives, until we laughed at them.

Eventually they got so bored they decided to play a board game with each other. I can’t remember the last time they did this. Not only did they have play a game but they TALKED to each other. Really actually talked. Normally they do most of their communication through the computer, especially if they are playing an online game with each other. 

They were playing a game where they had to ping little balls at each other’s soldiers. The balls kept rolling off into the darkness. So they decided to play in the hall, where there was less space for the balls to disappear into. Result was no one could get by but, hey, they talked to each other. I call that a result.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

What are you afraid of?

A friend recently posed this question and I thought about it as I sat in yet another traffic jam on the way to work – why do they have to start roadworks on a Monday morning?

I’m scared of the obvious things like dying painfully or my family being hurt but there was one thing that popped into my mind immediately. Worms.

Yes, I know they’re harmless and they do good things to the soil but they are nasty and EVIL. There’s no argument to it. They are the creatures of the devil. They wriggle and slime and…. I hate them with a passion that’s quite out of proportion.

I was going to put a picture of a worm here but I couldn’t bring myself because…

How about this for out of proportion?

When I was about 8 I dreamt that there were worms at the end of my bed. I screamed. I cried. I refused point black to get back in the bed. My mum made me up a bed on the floor with some cushions and a sleeping bag.

I slept there for about the next 9 months. Yes, nine months. In the end I couldn’t remember why I was sleeping there, I just knew I didn’t want to get back in the bed. Mum had to buy me a new Barbie cover before I would go back. On a side note: isn’t my mum amazing? I wouldn’t put up with a kid like me.

Now I’m older I avoided gardening because of the evil that lurks under the soil. But I like flowers, they’re pretty, and no one else would plant them except me. 

I am getting better. First time I tried to plant a lovely pink….thing (no, I’m not that good with plant names) in the front garden, and saw one of the devil’s children I might have screamed at the top of my voice and ran down the road.

Now I just make a meep sound, go white and lock myself in the house until it’s gone.

That’s progress, isn’t it? 

Sunday, 17 November 2013

A great 4 heart review

My Intended by Faith Ashlin

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4Hearts

Reviewer:   GiGi

Review: A mature examination of relationships. We all enjoy the heat of a relationship, those moments where all we care about is the day-to-day passion, our next fun event, our next road trip together…but how many times do we really sit down and examine what we need, what we expect, and what our future is going to look like?

This sweet short story makes Noah stop in his tracks and panic about his future. Flying on the high of his relationship with Greg, new decisions about Noah’s family trust and his inheritance of his grandmother’s house make him question everything. Suddenly faced with the fact that his future with Greg does not add up to the future he envisioned for himself growing up, Noah is scared. Thankfully, his flight from Greg back home to his parents and most importantly to his Grandmother, makes Noah see things clearly, and the choices he needs to make. 

Don’t worry readers, we know what the right choice is, and you need to trust Noah to know what it is too! A sweet, sometimes painful short story!

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Running around trying to catch my tail

I haven’t done a blog post this week, I’m sorry. I tried, I really did but… you know those times when real life is kicking your bum? The last few months have been just like that. I don’t seem to be able to catch my breath, what with work and home. I think it’s going to be like this at least until Christmas but I will try to do better, honest I will.

In the mean time I give you this…

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

People Vs places

Ever since I can remember I’ve been endlessly fascinated but people. Sitting almost anywhere, people-watching is one of my favourite actives. I love seeing the dynamics of families on the beach – the mum trying to get the kids to eat sandwiches instead of sweets, dads desperately trying to beat their sons at Frisbee, grandparents there for the children when their parents tell them off.

Also, young couples holding hands at a cafĂ© or long married men waiting patiently outside the changing room for their wives and ‘loving’ just the thing she wants to buy. Over painted girls checking themselves out in every window they go by and, one of my real favourites, beautiful young men that turn heads but don’t know it.

I can spend hours just watching, I think there’s nothing more interesting.

Or at least I used to.

Recently I’ve sort of lost interest and… I don’t like it. It feels like I’ve lost part of myself. But I have a new preoccupation that’s growing. One that I’ve always been there but is now coming to the fore. Places.

I’m falling in love with places. Not the supermarket or a rainy night in town but those magical, mystical places. Places like this. 

This is Mout St Michel in Normandy, France.  I first went there as a kid, aged about 13, and, oh it captured my heart! Tiny, winding streets that lead up to an imposing abbey. It feels medieval or like something from a film set. It's even better when it's surrounded by the sea.

Or how about here, Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, Germany. 

I've never been but how could you not want to? Just look at it, high up on in the mountains overlooking a valley. I think it looks imposing, fairy-tale and… There's definitely a theme to the places I like, although I find it hard to put into words. I keep coming up with magical but there's more to it than that. 

I don't just like grand, imposing places, I'm also fascinated by smaller places. How about here? This is Broom Parc, a house high on the cliff top in Cornwall, England. It was used for the TV series The Camomile Lawn a few years ago and I love it. It's remote, with amazing views out over the sea.

I’ve always thought I was quite good with words but I can’t quite explain what I love about these places so much. Some are otherworldly, magical, like something out of fairytales. They tend to be remote, sometimes bleak, with great views.

I wonder what that says about me?

Do you have any places that you love?

Monday, 28 October 2013

The worst Halloween costume ever?

Here in England we didn't really celebrate Halloween when I was a kid. There's more now, costumes for sale in the shops, tacky bits of plastic that are meant to be bats or cauldrons or… some of them are so cheaply made I'm not quite sure what they are meant to be. Now there are parties, children dressing up and 'spooky' recipes in magazines but back then there was nothing.

Late one October we children were off school for the half term holidays and the weather was glorious. Crisp, bright days perfect for walking – kicking – your way through piles of leaves in the woods or playing on the beach with your coat on. So, my mum decided to take us away to a cheap and cheerful holiday camp.

Of course, by the time we arrived the weather had changed and it was raining hard. The sort of rain that soaks you right down to your undies. What made it worse was the camp didn't allow cars on the site so we had to carry the entire luggage across a big muddy field from the car park. We were wet, . Very wet. The only thing that cheered us up was the poster my brother had spotted. There was going to be a Halloween fancy dress competition that very night in the club house.

We had to go. We insisted.

Poor mum.

She had nothing with her and nowhere to buy anything. But my mum is an amazing lady and very resourceful. She would find something.

To this day, when I think back, I'm not sure exactly what I was meant to be but I felt amazing in my costume. I had a pair of my mum's black tights on, with my dad's black briefs over the top and a black t-shirt back-to-front to hide the Barbie picture on the front. Then came the really creative bits. A black bin bag scrunched up round my neck as a … Cape? Scarf? Ruffle? Chopped up bin bags stuck round my waist with sticky-tape Hawaiian-hula girl style and yet more bags on my feet for… I have no idea why.

 Next she turned her attention to my face. Mum didn't have much make up with her so she put flour all over my face, butter - yes, butter – in my hair to make it stand up, the black ash tip of a used match round my eyes and lashings of her bright red lipstick. Oh and she drew on 'scars' all over my face with an eyebrow pencil.

I really wish I had a photo.
Needless to say I didn't win; a boy in a shop bought costume got that honour, which I think is a bit unfair. There's no effort in that. But I did get a toffee apple for being plucky. I didn't know what plucky meant back then, I just enjoyed the apple, but I think it might have something to do with the big nappy pins my mum had used to hold up dad's over-sized underpants!

 Win a copy of my new book Knights and Butterscotch in either epub of pdf format. I'll draw a winner from the folks who commented on my blog on Saturday 11/2/13. Good luck everyone!

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Cover Reveal for me good buddy Iyana Jenna

I'm off to France for a few days. We're driving to Mont Saint Michel - which is a lot further than we realised. When do we get the boat over? Oh yes, of course, during the super storm that's due to hit the south coast tomorrow morning! I get sea sick in the bath.

So, as I won't be here to post on Tuesday as I normally do, I'm posting now.  


Coming on November 17, 2013, from JMS Books LLC.


Actor Sean O'Reilly received a bouquet of roses that at first he thought was sent by his boyfriend, Nate Matthews. Alarm bells rang when Nate said that he hadn't sent them. Sean panicked when he kept receiving flowers over the next days, and what worried him more was that there was always a single black rose in the middle of other colored ones.
Together they tried to find out the meaning of all this. They found no answers. Sean and Nate didn’t realize that a wicked plot against Sean had been set up by an obsessed fan who was helped by a brother who had promised to always take care of him.

Author Links


Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Is this a mission statement I see before me?

Yes, kind of, it is. If not a mission statement then it’s a general reflection of how I feel about things.

A fact that is undoubtedly true.
There are shitty people in the world that will do shitty things to you because they either want something for themselves or they just don’t see you as important.

I can’t argue with this because there are too many example that prove it to be true.

I told you so.
My significant other keeps telling me to remember this fact and act with it in mind. His case has been proved (again) recently. A new colleague was employed where I work to ‘help’ me. Right from the start the significant other kept saying she was only out for herself. But I insist on seeing the best in people (unless I’m in a bad mood – but that’s for another post) and stayed friendly and positive.

Slowly she has…manoeuvred me to the sidelines and taken over.

Significant other said ‘I told you so.’ I stayed calm and smiled.

Recently she was made my boss. It was like a kick in the teeth.

Significant other was right and I was wrong. I could have slapped him just for *always* being right.

Here comes my predicament/argument/stance.
Yes, there are shitty people out there but should I let it affect how I think/act/live my life?

The significant other says I should or I’ll get hurt. I know it’s good advice but I think it does something to me, something that isn’t worth the cost.

Decision, decision, decisions.
It’s partly that I think what goes around, comes around. If you’re shitty it’ll only come back to bite you on the bum. Although, when I look at some of the villains (and bankers) in the world, I have to admit this doesn’t always work. But it’s also I want to be nice.

Nice is a very maligned word but I do try to be it, even if I don’t always succeed. It’s very unfashionable to try and be ‘nice’ but I was never one of the in crowd – Boy, doesn’t that phrase show my age!

Perhaps I’m childishly optimistic but what’s the alternative? Look for the bad in people? Even worse, except them to be horrible, anticipate it? No, that would only harm me and make me miserable. Plus it would mean the shitty people would have won and brought me down to their level, and I can’t let that happen.

Welcome to my fairytale world.
So I’m going to deliberately go on living in my fantasy world and assume everyone is decent and kind. Even if they aren’t. But, I think, there’s too much misery in the world to be any other way.

Does it count as being ‘nice’ if I think nasty things about people? I don’t act on them or ever say anything but if people could hear what I was thinking they’d probably think I was Queen of the evil bitches.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Welcome, welcome, welcome to the adorable Iyana Jenna!

Please welcome my good buddy, Iyana, who was come to tell us about her new story, A Midnight Caller.

Thank you so much for having me on your blog again, Faith! I’m so delighted about my new release, an m/m short story published by Bitten Press. It’s just a little story but I like it.

Let’s play those 10 Things, shall we?

10 Things You Shouldn’t Do Before You Get Attracted to Someone

1.      Don’t be an actor.
2.      Don’t star in a popular series.
3.      Don’t have an eye on another actor.
4.      Don’t ask for their telephone number.
5.      Don’t call them at the number.
6.      Don’t call them up every night.
7.      Don’t ask to meet them.
8.      Don’t pretend to be someone else.
9.      Don’t go jump on the actor.
10.  Don’t kiss them.

Curious yet? Check out the blurb and excerpt below.

Actor Ashley Ferguson had received several mysterious calls for the past couple of nights. The caller said he was also an actor. Ashley tried to find out who he was and guessed it was Colt Harper, a young actor whose show was also playing on TV. Ashley thought of reporting the calls to the cops several times but he kept delaying doing it.

One night after Ashley was finished shooting someone grabbed him in the parking lot. The man said he was the midnight caller. Ashley was afraid that his earlier guess was wrong and his decision not to report to the police would end up really bad for him.

“Hey, I’m sorry, man…”
“And you said you’d call the next day but you didn’t.”
“Oh, were you expecting that? Sorry to disappoint you.”
“Shut up. I’m just so stupid. Get out of my life, okay?”
“Hey, wait. Please, I didn’t mean that. I’m so grateful you want to talk to me.”
“I don’t want to talk to you.”
“Yeah, I know. I mean, thanks for giving me the chance to talk to you. By the way, Ashley…”
“Listen. You sound like a good kid. Why don’t you tell me your name and end all this weirdness?”
“And then we can meet?”
“We’ll see about that.”
“Don’t you want to see me?”

About the Author:

Iyana lives in Jakarta, a city famous for its traffic jams, a lot of cars and motorcycles, and people selling stuff on the roads. You can spend two hours on the road going to a place you can reach in half an hour in a normal situation. Thanks to the traffic jams, though, Iyana can come up with a lot of stories, mostly shorties, as she prefers to spend the time during her trips writing into her cell phone rather than sleeping.

Another thing Iyana loves is kitties. Right now she has five of them. Their names are Larva, Nyil, Cil, Mermood, and Horus. When she doesn’t write, she plays with them, or they would play with her when she writes.

One thing you SHOULD do, check out these links:

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