- Fiction focus at the wonderful RetreatsForYou in Devon
- ‘Snowy’ pre-xmas Center Parcs break
- Elemis unveiled! A full peek – not a sneaky one! – at TSV on Sat 16th’s pre-launch 10pm show
- And another fabulous author to follow – plus comp to win J F Penn’s new novella!
WRITING RETREAT IN DEVON
Well it was lots of fun… Deborah Dooley at @retreatsforyou runs a lovely more-than-a-B&B in Sheepwash, Devon. I stayed there during the weekend for a tutored two-day-stay run by one of my regular writing mentors @julie_cohen. It’s a wonderful place, and I will definitely be back – the evening sessions around the open fire were looovely!
Julie has been instrumental in helping me get ahead over the last few years, and did so again this weekend. We all basically wrote, chatted, ate, slept and wrote some more.
We had sessions on characters – (you can find a list of the questions you can ask yourself about your characters, to help if your writing is stuck, in this week’s extended book segment RiWiSi-go-large on my own website) – and had some lovely dinners, all included in the retreat's price. Go here to find out more if you need a simple getaway – for any reason – that’s more than just a solitary B&B.
Our group of girls featured some signed writers, with upcoming releases (@janeoreilly and @alisonmay), a fab witty talented published-author-to-be (one to watch) @henriettabird, and a lovely lady novelist who’s also already published her story of surviving breast cancer called ‘The Big C in my Bra’: @lj_autumn, a.k.a Lisa Donaldson.
Julie Cohen’s top writing tips included a real gem – striking harmony in the minds of any authors who regularly have a ‘wine-o’clock’ – ‘WRITE DRUNK, EDIT SOBER’. Haha!
Now she’s joking of course, except that the message means ‘don’t edit drunk’ – some of the awful offerings you see online, maybe with bad mistakes on page one, were a result of disobeying that rule!
That’s the great thing about the ‘Look inside’ option on Amazon, and that’s why the first 10% of your book has to be perfect. Julie also helped me with some structure issues I was having with my novel – yes, the new one about to be published on 28th! Suddenly it all made sense and the rest of the book will be plain sailing for sure! It better be – I’ve only got a couple of weeks left!
For more info about Julie’s fabulous books (she’s one of my favourite authors of all time) and about her courses for writers, visit her website – www.julie-cohen.com
And I also had a ‘first’ at the retreat, excellent cook and all round nice-guy, owner Deborah Dooley, gets everyone to sign her dining room table! That’s definitely a TiFFT (Try It For The First Time club) for me!
Then it was off home to get ready for Center Parcs break with the family!
CENTER PARCS PRE-XMAS GETAWAY
Well, as you can see from the pic at the top of this post, of me and my lovely daughter Lauren, my favourite Norfolk mini-break venue is gearing up for yuletide with some snowy scenes – but thank goodness there was no sign of real snow during this week’s midweek break!
It was the final celebration for mummy’s 70th birthday, and we booked one of the hot tub/spa villas for 8, and filled it with female family. Such fun!
As soon as we arrived we all jumped in the hot tub – wasted no time! Then the next morning the rain had gone and this was the view out of the window – I just love to be ‘in’ nature, no cars, just bikes and a load to do! We had close encounters of the ‘muntjack’ kind (that weird sort of deer I mentioned last time I blogged about coming here) – there was a particularly tame one outside our villa!
Plus, of course, I spent a lot of time writing – and debating – with my lovely family. Here’s one of my favourite places – I sit and write all afternoon long, and this visit was no exception! Even through the afternoon toddlers’ storytime! Lol.
Then we had a lovely spa afternoon in the aqua sana, played lots of board games and a good time was had by all. For instance, here’s one snippet of conversation during one of the games, a bit like ‘articulate’ – summed up in my niece Becky’s Facebook update:
“VERY funny night ! Wine, Flint women and South African board games do not mix!….
Nan "that mountain,..highest mountain in Wales"
Flint-in-law " …Everest?"
Obscene amounts of laughter, ‘No nan, it's not in Wales!!’
Nan" well it's not in India!"
Haha nope not there either!!”
There was even a big fireworks display midweek! We had some great movie nights too – see below for some of the selections we chose to fill the evenings with our extended ‘girls’ nights
in’! Highly recommended, is CenterParcs.
If you’ve been, what do you like best about it?
Here’s another one that made me smile, it's two bloopers for the price of one, first Dale isn't a fan of Andi's chips, and then the duo have recipe issues! Say no more! Lol.
Still to come… How northern are you? Take the test!… Bet you have to smile at cute pet pics… And biggest weekend of the year on QVC…
For those who don’t know, it’s a prequel to Hawaiian Affair, my steamy (or PG!) romance novel published in the summer. In this new novel we find out –
- how Sadie’s sister arrives heartbroken and just in time for a crisis in Sadie’s life
- how Sadie’s transformation into a businesswoman began
- whether she’ll ever get the better of her ex-husband
- plus who is the Adonis in Tuscany with a question only one sister can answer…?
- NEXT WEEK – the big COVER REVEAL!
Book of the Week – J F Penn’s ‘One Day in Budapest’
Joanna Penn is a very talented writer and publicist (see last week’s blog for her tips on self-publishing and marketing your book).
Her novels, under pen name J F Penn, will be right up your street if you liked 'The Da Vinci Code' or 'Bourne Legacy'. Well this week, her latest title, the novella ‘One Day in Budapest’, is my book of the week and you can enter a competition to win a signed copy by just leaving a comment below, saying you’d like to be entered.
Her fast-paced ARKANE thrillers weave together historical artefacts, secret societies, global locations, violence, a kick-butt protagonist and a hint of the supernatural.
"This is a great novella which really makes you feel that you are actually visiting Budapest. For a short read, this has a real depth of research and intricacy with believable characters and a fast-paced storyline.
It's great to find Morgan Sierra off on another adventure, and this novella will not disappoint! The plot is full of history, religion and story expertly blended together.
Amazon reviewer, Aug 2013
We’ve had so many girlie type books I thought I’d include something a bit more gritty, and these certainly seem to fit the bill! As well as new authors, I like recommending writers with a good backlist, so you can launch into their collection once you’ve decided you like it.
Joanna Penn is a fab writer and really knows her craft – you can tell from the first few pages that you’re in safe hands, so you can just sit back and relax and enjoy the journey.
From a secret headquarters underneath Trafalgar Square to returning ancient relics to their resting places in exotic locations around the world, the heroine Dr Morgan Sierra never disappoints.
Plus, you get the added bonus of revisiting Jo’s research and even watching video clips from the links at the end of the novella, to see where she gets her inspiration. Highly recommended – if you’re a J F Penn fan, do leave me a comment below! Don’t forget it’s a novella – about 76 pages, so an easy read if you’re in a rush!
Plus on my website extended interview with Joanna, how to get an ARKANE ebook FREEBIE! And find out more about her latest thriller too.
For more of this interview, go to my RiWiSi-Go-Large segment on my own website, link below.
WIN A COPY – to go in my random draw to win a signed copy of ‘One Day in Budapest’, just leave a comment below, saying you’d like to be entered. Full T&C’s here. Closes midday Thursday 21st, winner revealed on next week’s blog! PLUS – more from J F Penn on my website, on the extended RiWiSi-Go-Large!
Self-Publishers – How a Twitter Pitch Won a Two Book Deal!
Well Rosie Claverton has won just that. Her ‘Twitter pitch’, during a special competition, got the attention of Carina Press.
It was an opportunity to pitch this digital-first imprint of 'Harlequin' via Twitter, with editors favouriting your Tweet as a request to read the manuscript.
Go here to read her blog with more info on how it all happened! And well done Rosie! The power of Twitter, eh?!
This week’s RiWiSi-Go-Large –
- Focus on screenwriting
- Tips for helping your plot – character insights
- Another self-pub success story to inspire you
- And more from J F Penn, book of the week
Next week on this book segment, MY NEW COVER IS REVEALED… and get your invite to my online book ‘launch party’ on Facebook, on Nov 28th.
But do read this list – some are just serious enough to maybe make you think about having a woofah of your own! Lol. Click here to find out more.
- More from Shane’s appearance – As promised here’s the rest of the Shane Filan interview from his appearance last Saturday night on QVC with his solo album, 504623, ‘You and Me Deluxe Edition’.
And well done to Di who won last week’s signed CD comp! We’ll be in touch for your address!
[Having trouble viewing this video? See YouTube's Help page]
- North-o-meter A little funny that made me giggle this week – how Northern are you? Well since the kids’ dad is from Cheshire, I’ve always felt like an honorary northerner! I actually came out at 55% , ie somewhere around Nottingham – funny! Click here to take the ‘test’ and tell me what result you had!
- Pirate’s pal loses his fight Some sad news this week – remember mini Mikro, the little kitty who was small for his age who helped Pirate learn how to be a kitten? Well sadly little Mikro lost his fight for life after a long period of illness, ‘cos he was just too poorly in his early months and never really recovered, bless him.
Makes you realise how lucky little Pirate was to be found and looked after so well. He may only have three paws but he’s got a character of cats twice his size. Fundraising continues so he may have his op. Meanwhile our thoughts are with little Mikro and other kitties like him.
- Facebook cuties So to lift your spirits, just had to include these cutest pics ever! When canine and feline motherhood goes right. Everyone go aaaaaawwwwwhhhh! They're doing the rounds and making people smile online this week!
WATCH – Girls’ Movie Night In at Center Parcs – this week, three top titles watched in our villa Ash 50, accompanied by much wine, popcorn and snark from the youngsters.
'I Could Never Be Your Woman' – Michelle Pfeiffer and Paul Rudd play out an older woman/younger man rom-com – with some of Rudd’s best comedy turns. Highly recommended by me (even tho some of the others didn’t ‘get’ it! Lol) it gets 8.75 out of 10. Click here to see the trailer – rent it online if you like what I like!
'The Holiday' – one of my ‘must watch’ xmas films list – and one of the others’ faves too – I just loooove Jack Black in this harmless, sugary, festive favourite, also featuring Cameron Diaz (the weakest link, but she’s ok), Kate Winslett and Jude Law (in one of his top roles, IMO). 8.75 out of 10. Partly shot nearby me in Shere, Surrey, (apart from Rosehill Cottage, which doesn’t actually exist), don’t we all wish we could be there at xmas!? What’s your favourite xmas movie? Any recommendations for me? (leave me a comment below – especially if you don’t usually do so!)
And finally – Bridget Jones Diary 1 – what can I say? The all-time singleton's bible, looking a tad dated, 13 years on, but hey with Colin Firth as leading man, we don’t mind! And watch out for the third book, reviewed a few weeks back on my blog, heralding the new movie starring a (skinny this time) Renee Zellweger – if they manage to make it, apparently they have script problems delaying it ATM.
Also there’s a rival storyline based on the inclusion of Colin Firth – ‘Bridget Jones’s Baby’ which might get made instead of book 3, ‘Mad About You’. If I hear any other news about it I shall keep you informed!
Meanwhile, here’s the original trailer – and if you haven’t seen it, please do! It’s one of my top ten films of all time and originally got a 9.5 from me ‘cos it had everything I needed to enjoy a film at that time! Here’s the trailer – Enjoy.
P.S. – here’s a little one for you to WATCH now tho’ – an entertaining look at music through the decades in a clever acapella style – here’s the Pentatonix, with the Evolution of Music!
QVC – SNEAKY PEEK –
And now for the QVC bit! If you’ve ever heard me discussing my favourite products on QVC, you’ll know why I’m so happy about the new Today’s Special Value coming on 25th November! And if you haven’t, or you don’t, here’s a reminder!
QVC – Shhh!
Just a little heads-up – you know what I’m like for giving you a warning! Monday nights in January – put them in your diary – as we get closer to Christmas I’ll be able to tell you more, but there's a fab new weekly show I’ll be presenting to herald in the new year!
QVC – THIS WEEK
Oh what an exciting weekend this will be!
Click here to pop over to QGossip and have a look at when Will Gowing chatted to Lee Hohbein about the techy TSV!
Just before the 11pm Big Brand Electronics, I’ll be bringing you a rare extra in-depth look at the midnight Elemis products too! And just in case you can’t wait, here’s Keeley’s Facebook page, where you’ll find tons more info about it too!
- Red Carpet Manicure TSV on 21st – gosh what a week! Join me and sis, Linda Bignell, midnight on Wed (20th) when we launch our xmas gift pack incl a portable LED light and two new colours! It’s what I’ll be wearing on air all next week! Great price too so don’t miss it.
Next week – it’s here! The cover reveal for my new novel 'Hawaiian Escape' – which I’ve been frantically penning over the last year or so! And the week after, it’s published on Amazon! Whoop! Have a great week and see you Friday night when I’m back on air!
P.P.S. – Keep in touch! Do follow me on Twitter for behind the scenes updates about upcoming bargains etc!
Twitter – @debbieflint
My QVC Facebook page – click ‘like’- https://www.facebook.com/debbieflintqvc
Via my new website – sign up for regular email newsletters – www.debbieflint.co.uk
Or leave a straightforward comment below – just write your comment, leave your name and your email (kept private), post and there you go! Easy! Looking forward to hearing from you!
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