Monday, 27 May 2013

Monday Update

I haven't blogged for a week because I've left the interview with Maria up. She's obviously a popular lady going by all the comments we've received :)

Well, some more news about my forthcoming novel Chapters of Life. I now have a release date - 30th August - and I'm having a launch party on Facebook from 8am until 11pm.

There will be virtual booze and cake, quizzes and games, and as it's a public event, I hope lots of people will come and join in the fun.

Here's the link for anyone who'd like to attend - https://www.facebook.com/events/127298320807214/

All you have to do is click on the event to say you are going, then on the day turn up, join in the quizzes and games. I'd appreciate a quick post to let me know you've arrived so I can welcome you. You can even buy a copy of the book if you want, which will be available as an e-book or paperback, but it's not obligatory :)

There's still a little way to go before it's ready. I have some edits to do, and Crooked Cat are doing the cover. I can't wait to see what they come up with. All their covers are fab, so I know it'll be something great. Ooh, it's all very exciting!

Some craft news now. Two days ago I finished a quilled canvas I've been working on. It's the biggest quilling project I've undertaken so far, and for a first attempt, I'm quite pleased with how it's turned out.














Not bad eh! I just need to find some way to protect it now. I don't know if you can get deep frames so I'll take it to our local framing shop and see what they can suggest.

Have a great week everyone xx

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Maria Perry Mohan Interview

My very first blog guest is Maria Perry Mohan. I won’t say much about her, I’ll let Maria tell you herself.

Welcome Maria, thanks for being my first guest. You’re an Irish woman living in India, can you tell us a little about that.


I'm living in India as I married an Indian citizen and his professional life was very much rooted in India. He studied in Ireland for a while at post doctoral level but was committed to return home. When we fell in love, so to speak, I realised that if this relationship was to have a chance, I’d have to uproot and go there instead of expecting him to do it. I didn't see why I shouldn't I realise that the world is getting smaller, and if Indian people can go west to live - as many do - western people can surely go east.

How did you deal with the cultural differences, and does it influence your writing?

I'd worked in the Indian Embassy in Dublin for almost nine years when I came out here. I'd also read extensively and travelled here several times. I thought there was nothing I didn't know about Indian culture. How very wrong I was! I was initially charmed by many things about India, such as the grace and charisma of the people, and their adherence to an ancient culture. Yet there is nothing like seeing a foreign culture from the inside. People always put on their best face for visitors but drop their guard in front of insiders. What visitors see is only the shiny surface. I have learnt to adjust myself to fit lots of circumstances, like sharing my home with relatives, for example. But I have also learnt that I can't compromise on everything, like my need for privacy in certain respects, and I'm not at all apologetic about that. Yes, my writing is very much affected by my experiences. My one and only unpublished novel, Festival of Lights, is about two women, one Irish and one Indian, who both love the same man. Some of my darker short stories are about westerners coming to grips with east/west cultural differences. I even write family type Indian short stories - as an Indian writer - for a family magazine here. So my writing has been very much affected by my experiences. My initial blog 'gaelikaa', which I wrote anonymously for about three years, is full of stories about my personal life. However, when I shed the cloak of anonymity, I had to close the blog as I didn't want to spill the beans on private matters in front of the whole world. My subsequent blog 'gaelikaa's diary' contains a lot of stuff about my life, as well as some of my book reviews.

When did you start writing, and what was your first piece?

I've always written. I started with letters and diaries, then articles and short stories, followed by a novel and a couple of novellas. I've had about ten or so articles published either in Irish or Indian magazines and four short stories. I'm always scribbling something. My first published piece was a light-hearted womag article called 'The Girlfriend from Hell', published by U Magazine in Ireland. I wrote it when I'd gone out to spend an evening with a good friend and her recently acquired significant other. I couldn't believe it when I discovered that my lovely, intelligent friend had suddenly metamorphosed into this giggling airhead just because her man was present. When I tried to inject a bit of fun into the conversation by telling her boyfriend about the time we'd gone camping and there was a thunderstorm and the tent was flattened while we were in it, my friend gave me a dirty look, said to her fella, 'I told you she was mad, didn't I?' then giggled some more. I was so furious that I wrote about it and sent it off to the magazine. It was just a rant really. I couldn't believe they actually published it. I only found out they had when I was reading a copy of the magazine. That was my best surprise ever.


I know you also write reviews on your blog; which do you prefer, reviewing or writing short stories? 

I love any kind of writing Tina. I like to produce book reviews which I hope are enjoyable, and make people want to read what I've reviewed without giving away too much of the plot. I love to write a balance of stuff, both fiction and non-fiction. Initially, it was all articles, all non-fiction. I used to say - up until I was forty - that I couldn't write fiction. If anyone had told me I'd be a published short story writer, and would have completed a couple of novels by the age of fifty, I’d have been really surprised.

If you could review one book by someone famous and interview the author, who would you choose and why? 

I'd love to have reviewed The Da Vinci Code, and interviewed Dan Brown. First of all, in my opinion he made too many mistakes. I was a mythology wizard as a child and spotted lots of mistakes in the book. And yes, I thought the book was a great thriller, but a total flop where the controversy was concerned. Everyone said it was this great expose of the hidden life of Jesus Christ when it was nothing of the sort, in my view. Apparently, the idea wasn't even original, it was supposedly lifted from a non-fiction book called The Holy Blood and The Holy Grail, which was published back in the eighties and which I'd already read when it was first published. In fact, I got the impression that the author was actually pushing another agenda entirely. But I won’t get into that right now J

I know you enjoy reading - as most writers do - do you write what you like to read, or are your reading tastes more diverse?

I'll read more or less anything. I like contemporary fiction best and I read a lot of romance because that's the genre I'm generally asked to review. Asked to choose between a romance and a thriller, I'd probably go for the thriller. I also love historical fiction. I love that feeling of being swept back to another time.

Any plans to return to Ireland Maria, or is India your permanent home now?

I hope to spend more time in Ireland in the future. My kids are almost grown up now and as my mum is getting older, I'd like to be there for her, although she's far from weak and helpless! Ideally, I'd like to divide my time between Ireland and India. And I love the UK as well so would love to visit there more often.

And finally, what are your plans for the future?

There's a university degree in humanities that I'd like to finish. I've completed two years but got overwhelmed with my four kids. I'd like to pick up where I've left off and get it finished. Otherwise, I hope to read more, write more and travel between my two countries. And visit other countries too.

It’s been great finding out more about you Maria, thanks for taking the time to answer my questions.

Tina, it's been a pleasure answering them. Thank you for deeming me worthy to be interviewed. I feel so honoured. Thanks so much.

Maria’s book blog where she interviews writers can be found at http://ishmarind.blogspot.in/
And her blog with book reviews and other interesting posts is at http://gaelikaasdiary.blogspot.co.uk/

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Handbags and Author Tags

I'm still on cloud nine - well I may have dropped down to seven now, but I'm still quite high - over my recent signing with Crooked Cat, especially now my author page is done :) I've probably annoyed everyone by sharing it on Facebook and Twitter!

Just in case you haven't see it, it's here -http://crookedcatpublishing.com/our-authors/authors-a-e/tina-k-burton/

I have some edits to do next, then the exciting part of choosing the cover.

We had a trip into Exeter yesterday as hubby was buying a new car, and whilst it was being prepared, they dropped us into the town centre. I'd seen a fab Lulu Guinness handbag I liked on-line, which was apparently available from House of Fraser, so I wanted to find it.

I've never had an expensive handbag. I'm not really a handbag girl and only have one - bought for a tenner from the local market - but I'm not buying cheap bags anymore. They are shoddily made and don't last. So I wanted a decent one.

We must have gone in every possible shop in Exeter and I couldn't find anyone that sold Lulu Guinness. I tried John lewis, Debenhams, some of the exclusive boutiques, and House of Fraser, but nobody stocked it. I wouldn't have paid the price tag Lulu Guinness were asking anyway - £350 - but I wanted to see it.

So, unable to find any LG bags, I had to find another. We went back to all the shops again, but none of the bags yelled "BUY  ME."  The didn't even whisper coyly at me, but I eventually settled on a black and gold one from Debenhams.

Outside, we walked down the street, and stopped for a coffee and slice of cake in a cafe that does healthy, organic, vegetarian food. The cake was beetroot and raspberry, and tasted pretty awful. If you're going to eat cake, it should be full-fat with jam and cream, not a 'healthy' one that tastes like cardboard.

Whilst sitting there, I transferred all my bits & bobs from the cheap handbag to the new - still cheap but not as cheap as the current - bag. I then attached the strap and discovered it wasn't adjustable enough so was too long. I stood up and put the bag on across my body where it swung down by my thighs rather than just on my hip where I like it to be. I'm only 5 ft and the bag was obviously made for giants!

So, much to my husband's annoyance, I transferred everything back to the old bag again, and we had to go back to Debenhams to refund the new one.

Once that was done, I still wanted a new bag. Fed up with trudging backwards and forwards though, I decided to have one last look in House of Fraser before giving up completely. Luckily I found a nice Biba bag that is the perfect fit. It wasn't cheap - which is why I probably ignored it first time round - but it wasn't as expensive as the Lulu Guinness one.

So, my hubby is happy with the new car, and I'm happy with the new handbag. The only thing is, my purse - another cheap buy from the market - has just ripped, so I need a new one. Oh, I've just realised, we have to go back to Exeter next week to collect something for the new car, maybe I can have a look in all the shops again for a purse. I think my husband has just muttered an obscenity, I can't imagine why!

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Woohoo! Miaow :)

I am delighted, chuffed, ecstatic, pleased, overjoyed, elated, euphoric and every other adjective to announce that this morning I signed a contract with Crooked Cat Publishing.

It took a while, with me getting very stressed and checking my emails every half an hour, but I got there.

It makes all those hours of sitting at the computer, days of backache and writer's bum, worthwhile :)

I'll be having a launch party on Facebook - everyone's welcome as it's a public event - and the book should be published as an e-book and on-demand paperback later in the summer.

I can now get on and finish the sequel.

Today is a very happy day :)

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Manners Maketh Man - and Woman!

I've just been having a chat with a friend on Facebook about manners, and we've come to the conclusion that a lot of people just don't seem to care any more.

It appears that the elder generation - the ones who were brought up to use manners and who are advocates of the phrase, 'manners cost nothing,' are still courteous, but sadly many of today's youngsters - and some older people - aren't.

I hate people who can't be bothered to turn up on time, or forget they'd arranged to meet you, and the number of times a company has said they'd phone us back and then don't - grr.

A few weeks ago, we had an arranged appointment at a car dealers for two thirty - but the person who was supposed to meet us had gone to see another customer - how rude!

If I arrange to meet somebody at a certain time, I make sure I get there ten minutes early so that they aren't left waiting. If I promise to return a phone call, I do so. Even if I didn't have much to tell them, I'd make contact.

I appreciate that people are busy, but it only takes a few minutes to send an email or make a quick phone call, and surely it's just being considerate to get in touch when you said you would, and stick to the things you promise; or am I being old fashioned?

It's the same when we're out and about, the lack of manners is appalling. No smiles, please or thank you's - people just seem to expect service as if it's their right.
The number of times I've held a door open for someone and they've sauntered through with no acknowledgement as if I was their personal doorman - or should that be doorwoman? People are so bloody rude. I won't accept it any more and say out loud, 'Thank you very much!'

I always try to say thanks for the little courtesies people extend to me, after all, it is true, manners don't cost anything, and a smile and a word of thanks can brighten up someone's day :)