Friday, 25 October 2013

The Blog Affair is now available!

I'm celebrating the launch today of my fourth novel, The Blog Affair. The road to its publication has been such an exciting journey and I'd like to thank my editor, Zee Monodee for all her help and input.

The Blog Affair is a contemporary romance with a chick lit flavour, and has been released by Decadent Publishing’s Ubuntu line – a new line that focuses entirely on African romance and stories set in Africa. Here's a little bit more about the book...


Twenty-something South African Emma Bradshaw has a pattern of falling for unsuitable men and starts a blog about these so-called “serial datists”. Her search for new beginnings takes her to Cape Town, where she gets a job working for sexy author, Nick Reynolds. Romance with her boss is a no-no, but slowly, Nick works his way around her defenses. Trust him, or not, especially with her awful track record with men? When an anonymous male reader of the blog challenges her on her ideas about the male species, Emma realises she must confront her past and find her true self before she can move forward...and love can blossom again in her future.


“For the past few weeks, she had been thinking a lot about changing her life, and had been toying with the idea of creating her own blog so that she could clarify her thought processes. She’d always kept a diary, and a blog, in a lot of ways, was an online diary—with the added benefit that she could interact with people online. The idea of venting her emotions in cyberspace was appealing, and in some way, symbolic of letting go…. And she certainly needed to let go. She went through the blog registration process, and then frowned at the blank screen as she contemplated what she should write for her first post. After a few moments, she started typing.

Serial Datism
The first time I ever met a serial datist, I was nineteen years old. At that age, I wasn’t capable of recognising the warning signs of this particular species of the human male. Needless to say, I got burned. Badly.
Serial datism is a concept I’ve been pondering recently. And it’s something I hope to examine in this blog. Any comments from readers are welcome, therefore, as I attempt to shed light on a variety of the dating male that has me completely bemused.
The best way to do this, I’ve decided, is to debate in an open forum—where I, and any other participants in the discussion, can flick on the switch, in a manner of speaking, and illuminate the matter.
I attract serial datists, and so it is perfectly fitting that I should introduce this topic into cyber space. But this doesn’t mean I’m an expert at identifying them. You see, the tricky thing about serial datists is that they aren’t easily defined.
They come in many shapes and sizes and forms, and they may even mutate! They can start off in one form and end up in quite another shape and size within a small space of time. And therein lies their danger.
Okay—to introduce myself. I’m Penelope (well, that’s one of my names) and this blog is called Penelope’s Pantry, because like Penelope from ancient Greek mythology, I’ve had loads of suitors in my life.
And the pantry part? Well, a pantry is a dark storeroom, and this is where I hope to stockpile my thoughts and feelings and emotions. On neatly stacked shelves, of course. I’m a fanatically neat person, and like things to be tidy.
So let’s start at the very beginning (my ordered mind demands this) with a definition of a serial datist: He is a male who, like a bee, goes from one woman to the next, landing on each female blossom for a short period of time. When he leaves, he stings them.
But unfortunately, unlike a bee, a serial datist doesn’t die after he stings. He goes on to sting again and again, and the only way to kill him is to swat him, or stomp on him with your heel. Or leave out a bowl of sugared water in which he can drown. But, on second thoughts, I think the latter technique is for ants....
Be that as it may, before anyone starts wondering whether I’m a convicted killer, I hasten to assure you I am not. I’ve certainly felt a strong desire to stomp on the various bees that have entered my life, but fortunately for these creatures, the thought of killing causes me to break out in hives. Therefore, it is only a fantasy I have indulged in from time to time.
Now that we’ve cleared up the fact that I’m not a murderer, I would like to point out that the bee who delivers his nasty stings is the real killer in the scenario. Why? Well, it’s obvious. He kills your feelings, and leaves your emotions bleeding to death. Some more pedantic readers out there might point out that bee stings don’t cause you to bleed. So what—I’m using it in a figurative sense.
But, and here I’m not being figurative at all, bees can make you swell up. Besides the fact that their stings can cause you to comfort-eat, it is possible to develop a life-threatening allergy to them. And I’m afraid that’s what’s happened to me. I am allergic to serial datists AKA bees AKA Emotionally Unavailable Men.
But I’m jumping ahead of myself. That is simply one of the categories of serial datists. According to my calculations, there are at least four others.
Allow me to list them:
1) The afore-mentioned Emotionally Unavailable Male
2) The Wannabe Player
3) The Commitment-Phobe
4) The Bad Boy
5) The Misogynist (before he finds a woman to control) I will be examining each category in more detail later. But in the meantime—any comments from readers on what I’ve already expounded are most welcome.
Posted by Penelope on Tuesday, July 8 at 08:32 p.m."

The Blog Affair is now available on Amazon.

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Sunday, 20 October 2013

"It’s Just A Little Crush" by Caroline Fardig

Today I welcome Caroline Fardig to my blog. Her novel, It's Just A Little Crush, is a #1Bestseller on Barnes & Noble’s Humor and Women Detectives lists. It's Just A Little Crush will be on sale for $0.99 through October 24th.Get your copy today!

 Is there a proper writing process? Caroline tells us how she sets about writing a book:
What is the proper writing process?
All writers are different.  (Brilliant hypothesis, Mrs. Fardig.  Where DO you come up with your ideas?)  And, because of that, each one of us has a unique creative process.  Bottom line?  There is no wrong way to construct a novel.  That being said, I’m going to explain the way I do it, and why it’s the best way.  ;)

Before anything remotely close to “writing” happens, we must come up with an idea.  Ideas come to me in various ways—sometimes they just pop into my head, sometimes I dream them, sometimes I think “I need to come up with a new story” and consciously try to come up with something, sometimes I hear a song which sparks a feeling or emotion that I can build on, and sometimes a location that I visit brings a story to mind.  After I have the general idea, I use a technique similar to the way music therapists use guided imagery, but by myself.  I turn on some music that would fit the tone of my story and let my mind drift, but keep my thoughts centered on my story idea.  This part of the process might go on over the course of several days or weeks, depending on how well my ideas are flowing.

Once I have the plot and the feel of the story, I start with a timeline of events.  This is one of the steps in my process that keeps getting tweaked, because once I start writing, sometimes events in the plotline would be better if they occurred at a different time than I originally planned.  I decide how long my story arc is going to need to be complete and work from there.  I write down all of the days of the week (I don’t bother with calendar days) and start filling in events that are to occur each day.  I find that it’s sometimes difficult to fill weekdays because weekends are generally when a lot of the action happens if your characters are “real” people with full-time jobs.  Anyway, this timeline is invaluable to me as I write, because I can use it instead of having to wade through hundreds of pages of manuscript to refer back to when something occurred.

After I have a roadmap of sorts, I begin my first draft.  Notice that I didn’t refer to it as a “rough draft”, because I’m an edit-as-I-go type of girl.  Just writing this short blog post, I find myself stopping after every paragraph and making sure that I like what I have written before I go on.  OCD much?  Probably, but it works for me.  Writing that first sentence is SO frightening, isn’t it?  That blank screen staring you down, just daring you to mess up the first line so badly that no one will ever want to read past it.  The good news is that it gets easier each time you sit down to write a novel.  Once I have that first sentence, I’m off and running.  If writer’s block strikes, I just start typing words—anything is better than nothing.  I know it sounds weird, but a lot of times, words that you didn’t know you had can pour forth and be better than those you’ve spent time mulling over for hours.  After I get a page or so written, I go back and read through it and make minor corrections.  The reading serves two purposes:  on-the-spot proofreading, and making sure that your scene stays on track.  Sometimes (most times) the way that my head thinks a scene is going to turn out is much different from the written version, so going over what has just been written is a must for me for continuity.

So, once the first draft is done, I read over the whole manuscript, mainly for flow, and of course my perfectionist self can’t keep from making some corrections, but I’m not doing an in-depth proofreading sweep this time.  I make note of passages that don’t make sense, which are to be corrected the next time through.  Then, the real fun begins—having to be overly critical of the baby you’ve just pushed out of yourself, the labor of love that has consumed your life for the past couple of months.  First, I let the spelling/grammar checker do most of the grunt work, like finding typos, misspellings, weird sentence structures, and the like.  After that, I do my human spelling/grammar checker thing, shredding my manuscript apart sentence by sentence.  Once my English mechanics are in place, I go back once again, this time intent on making the text interesting and entertaining.  I crack out my thesaurus and exchange “she said” for “she gasped” or “she blurted” or “she sneered” and maybe sprinkle in a few more swear words, just for fun. 

After that, I take one last read—this time for pleasure.  I read it like a novel, questioning if it is interesting enough to hold my readers’ attention.  Once I’m confident that my errors aren’t too glaring anymore, I pass the manuscript off to my four proofreaders, who all have a different approach to proofreading.  One goes more for the storyline and the dialogue, one goes straight for the grammar, one goes for believability and “would a guy really say that?” (my husband, of course), and finally my last proofreader goes over it with a fine-toothed comb as a final polish (it pays to have a Doctor of English on your team!).

Once I make all of their corrections, I always take yet another read through to see if my baby is indeed ready to be released out into the cold, harsh world.  Once I’m finally ready, I psyche myself up to face the many formatting headaches I’ll have to suffer through to get my novel from my computer to the distribution channels, but that’s another post.

Book blurb:

The sleepy town of Liberty hasn’t seen murder in…well…ever. Residents are stunned when the body of a young woman is found strangled, and reporters at the Liberty Chronicle are thrilled, rather disturbingly, over the biggest news story to hit town this century. 

Lizzie Hart has even bigger problems. Lately, she can’t seem to concentrate on her job as copy editor at the Chronicle with the new hunky investigative reporter, Blake Morgan, swaggering around the office. How can a girl work when she’s using all of her energy combating Blake-induced hot flashes and struggling to repress the giggly inner schoolgirl that’s constantly rearing her dorky head? It’s a good thing that Blake barely knows Lizzie exists. 

After an odd string of events, however, Lizzie begins to wonder if Blake is really as fabulous as she has fantasized. When Lizzie and Blake find a co-worker dead, Blake’s personality changes completely—and not in a good way. Even though the police rule the death as an accident, Lizzie immediately suspects foul play and senses a connection to the recent murder. She is determined to bring the killer to justice, but is having some trouble getting her Nancy Drew on thanks to the pesky stalker she’s picked up—Blake Morgan. Wait, didn’t she want him to follow her around and pay attention to her? Not like this. Blake has turned from cool and smooth to cold and downright scary, making Lizzie wonder if he should be next on her suspect list.

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About the Author:

CAROLINE FARDIG was born and raised in a small town in Indiana. Her working career has been rather eclectic thus far, with occupations including schoolteacher, church organist, insurance agent, funeral parlor associate, and stay-at-home mom. Finally realizing that she wants to be a writer when she grows up, Caroline has released her debut novel, It's Just A Little Crush , now a #1 Bestseller. She is currently hard at work churning out a second novel in the LIZZIE HART MYSTERIES series. She still lives in that same small town with an understanding husband, two sweet kids, two energetic dogs, and one malevolent cat.
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