• Gladiator Doom’s six pack live on QVC!
• Richard Jackson’s video tips on how to pot your tree fern
• Another first – watching a gothic ballet in Wimbledon
• Latest update on my first novel – publication date approaches!
• And DVD review – box set of 'Homeland' – never knew it was so good!
Plus: book of the week 'Biology of Belief' – can perception make you well ? And sneaky peeks of new Elemis products!
Ok so I’m using past tense, as next week’s forecast (when I’m supposed to be away in Brighton for a few days!) is a bit rubbish! BOO!
Nevertheless, this week the sun returned! It definitely felt like spring had sprung – the sun shone, the grass got mowed and the first dandelions were banished from my garden with the amazing Grampa’s Weeder! (See top pic, no I’m not auditioning for 'The Hunger Games', I’m just showing you the tool in action! Lol). It’s item 560043 with 90 five star reviews!
Now thanks to my penchant for our gardening shows, my greenhouse is currently full of fab little plug plants awaiting Richard’s 70 litre compost duo, so I can pot them all up. I’ve decided this year I’m going to give flowers a proper go, considering last year’s veg efforts were so dismal.
And I’m now the proud owner of one of those expensive tree ferns (pictured left) – the idea being that it’ll possibly be a big pressie for someone’s big birthday later in the year, once I’ve nurtured it. And nurtured it well. I bought it as a One Time Only a week or so ago, and it arrived midweek.
So who better to ask than Richard Jackson, in on Thursday night for his garden lounger Today's Special Value (if you’re reading this on Friday 26th they may still be available!), and here he is with a specially recorded video just for me and you!
Ever been to a ballet? No? Well, considering my first opera was only in February, I welcomed the chance to go to see my first-ever ballet this week! One of my (eleven) nieces is a make-up artist and works on tour with a ballet – Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty. It’s a very unusual masterpiece of classic ballet and bang-up-to-date contemporary twists.
The plan was that afterwards we’d meet Becky (daughter of my sis, Linda Bignell, our Red Carpet Manicure guest). Everyone’s very proud of Bek and she’s done some cool jobs, including lots of theatre. Her actual role this time is to help look after the many wigs used in the production. Now, I’d have said it’s one of the most unusual ballets I’ve ever seen. But, in truth, it’s the only ballet I’ve ever seen! That’s why it’s my TiFFT* for this month! And what an unusual production it is!
Without giving too much away, all I can say is that there’s a vampire involved…yes, in Sleeping Beauty! And a hoodie-wearing, gothic fairy. Very radical! But it’s had some rave reviews, so if you’d like to go see it, there’s more info here.
I did enjoy it and would probably give it a 7.5 out of 10, if I had a ballet scale! It marked down ‘cos apparently there should have been a projector showing the explanation as to what was going on – kind of crucial if you have an unusual twist on a classic theme like with this one. (But it was broken. I think it must be me – if you read my blog from mid February you’ll know exactly the same thing happened when I went to the Opera House!) Anyway talking of opera, next week I’m off to see Nabucco – but playing it safe – and cheap!- at the Odeon!
After the performance, we briefly popped backstage to say hi to Becky. The last time I was up there, I was performing with the Merton Youth Theatre in ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ many moons ago! Ahh, memories! Here’s the gang with Bek, a motley crew, but all pleased to have had a new experience. And yes, I would definitely go to another ballet. Hopefully one where the projector works!
So there I was thinking it would be lovely and sunny when I visited my lovely writing pal, Alix in Okehampton, and lo and behold, Debbie’s weather-luck (or lack of it!) held out and it drizzled for much of the weekend down on Dartmoor! Sunshine back home, too! But at least it meant that I got to spend much time indoors with Alix.
She’s also writing novels and short stories, and we managed between us to set her up on Facebook, and twitter (@MaryjHallowell is her pen name), as well as creating an author page on Amazon.
We also watched a fab series that was new to me, called Homeland (see below), and I wrote what must be the hundredth version of chapter one of my novel! Lol. But it’s a beautiful place and it was nice to have a break.
Not a difficult one this week! Whilst I’m still searching for the funny on a Jilly show last week, as recommended on my blog comments last week, here’s an extract from the fun hour with ex-Gladiators Doom and Enigma, alias Jenny Pacey and Wayne Gordon. The GB athletes and personal fitness guru’s were on with their DVD. It wasn’t me who made him do it, honest, guv’nor!…
Still to come – a sneaky peek at a brand new Elemis product! And Russell Grant’s pants make The Sun!
READ IT, WRITE IT, SELL IT! – my weekly look at all things book!
If you didn’t know already, I’m a bit of a science geek and this utterly ground-breaking book deals with the power of social conditioning and how our resulting perceptions create our reality, like how one child may associate a harmless grass snake with fear ‘cos the mother runs away screaming, whereas another’s mum might be a snake expert and the same snake might be a subject of fascination. And also about how when we’re older, our powerful sub-conscious dictates almost all of our reactions to the life we live, based on the associations we learned growing up. Yet most of those reactions don’t serve us. That’s why we still eat rubbish when we know it’s not good for us. So how do we change it?
There are also some amazing insights into childhood learning, which may alter how you communicate with under sevens, and some inspirational ways of changing your own perceptions and changing your life. Fab. Click here for more info.
Focus on Lynne Connolly – successful eBook author
I met Lynne at the recent Oxford Author Course (see last week’s blog). She is a highly successful author of ‘sexy, sophisticated romance,’ mainly with Ellora’s Cave, one of the top eBook publishers. She also writes paranormal and historical romances too.
Lynne told us it is amazing how huge the ‘romantica’ (romantic erotica) eBook industry is at the moment, on the back of E L James’ success and the growth of Kindle, and her tips for would-be authors include;
• Be prolific – with eBooks, more than ever, happy readers will come back looking for more of your work, so always have some on offer
• She writes 60-80,000 words per book, about 4-6 books per year (yes really) and a couple of novella’s
• Social media is essential – pick two (eg facebook and Twitter) and build your brand by being as pro-active as possible, including having a website
• She answers every comment on her blog or newsletter, the latter having 600 subscribers, issued once per month
• Do your research – her current research includes vintage corsets for a character in her new book! I’ve put Lynne on my list for the next time I buy another new book to read!
Debbie’s First Novel – Update
For those that don’t know, it’s called 'Hawaiian Affair' and the plan to have it up for sale marches on apace. If you’ve been following my timeline, I’m currently looking at the other peripheral things you have to do before you get published, like applying for an ITIN (forms are on the amazon.com website) so you don’t get stopped 30% tax on US royalties.
An author I was interviewing recently for my new website (‘read it write it sell it.com’ – coming soon) has only four books out but has already made £3,250 in April alone. I’ve also encountered the power of free promotions – remember that short story I published recently? 'Valentine’s Surprise'? Well I decided, on a whim, to do a free promotion, just clicked a few boxes on Amazon and then promptly forgot about it.
Well purely due to Amazon’s own internal promotions machine for free books, in just three days another 85 free copies were downloaded in the UK, (and I didn’t even tell anyone!) plus – wait for it – 295 in the US and India.
And I had another lovely critique on a US review on amazon.com from a lady in Florida. She said;
"Adorable short story – I must say I thoroughly enjoyed this sweet story. Gracie has several misconceptions concerning her next door neighbor. On Valentine's Day she babysits her young grandson so his parents can go out. The three year old gives her the slip when her back is turned. When her neighbor pitches in to help find him she begins to see the man he truly is versus who she thought he was. Dear author please write more like stories like this. It was truly refreshing and brought a smile to my face."
How lovely of her! (You can find more info on Valentine’s Surprise here).
So, I think I will definitely have to sit down and write some more short stories, eh?! What do you think? And if you’re one of my beta readers, either on Facebook or Yahoo, what short story could I write, maybe related to 'Hawaiian Surprise'? Leave me a comment below!
I’m playing around with a bank manager character, who is a bit pompous but caring, particularly about Sadie, the heroine of my novel. What should his name be? Mr Rosebery, or Mr Worthington?
Countdown to publication on Amazon in eBook and paperback – one month and falling! It will be second bank holiday weekend in May.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to go on the mailing list for updates.
• Ask the Expert – from Richard Jackson to Fiona from Decleor – I cornered her this week and asked her for info after a Facebook question about how best to treat Rosacea. Thanks @fionaQVC!
• Thanks to Jean Murray from Leicester for kindly sending in our first ‘happy 20th birthday QVC’ card – handmade and all! The birthday treats continue till the anniversary of going live on air, on 1st October.
• Chloe makes the sun – Chloe Everton and Russell Grants’ pants make The Sun! Ally Ross the TV critic, we now know you watch QVC! Lol (find out more about Russell and Flavia’s DVD on last week’s blog)
In Devon with my lovely writing pal Alix this week , she got me into 'Homeland' – she has a box set. It was very well-made, extremely dramatic if not a tad clichéd in parts, but the suspense elements keep you guessing so well that even after only the first four episodes (on the trot!) I feel inclined to spend even more of my precious TV viewing time watching the rest! (And that’s from someone with less than 4% regularly free on Skyplus! So much to watch.)
Whilst I write romances, I very much enjoy intrigue and drama and thrillers. Do you? Anyway, it gets a TV mark of 8.25 out of 10 from me – that’s good. If you have seen 'Homeland' too, what did you think? Leave me a comment below. Here’s a little flavour of what it’s all about…
Ps – Coming soon – I’m thrilled to have been allocated tickets to go see ‘The Apprentice, You’re Fired’, being recorded on Bank Holiday Monday! Yay! Lord Sugar’s outing is one of my all-time favourite shows. More info in two blogs’ time! Nb See www.LostinTv.com for details of how to go on waitlist.
QVC coming up
Yes, I’m off until Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th (including Antthony designs!), but here are some upcoming highlights;
• John Barrowman’s new haircare range HER, sneaky peeked last week, hits QVC screens on 2nd.
• Plus, craft lovers, don’t miss a mind-blowing marathon on Monday 29th. Julian and Catherine present an unprecedented five-hour craft outlet from 7pm
Next week – find out, did I make it to Brighton in the Campervan or did weather stop play? Plus, how serials are building a brand in self-publishing, and Nabucco – opera at the Odeon!
Best wishes and have a great week!
P.S. *TiFFT = Try it For The First Time!
P.P.S. Keep in touch! Do follow me for behind the scenes updates about upcoming bargains etc!
Twitter – @debbieflint
My QVC Facebook page – click ‘Like’
Or leave a straightforward comment below – just post and there you go! Easy! Looking forward to hearing from you!