Thursday, 29 April 2010

Tough Cookie

I've got Jack Johnson on the iPod, and I'm ignoring the rain because I'm baking.
OK, so why is me baking worth blogging about? Well, because it's the first time in about two and half years I've been motivated to do it.
Right, so it was just oat and honey cookies and mash (which I will turn into Veggie Cottage Pie and Sausage and Mash for the boys' tea tonight, plus dessert!), but believe me, that's good.
I haven't always been this bad in the kitchen. After my first boy P was born, I spent most of my maternity leave baking and creating. After the birth of my 2nd boy J, I couldn't even get off the sofa I was that damned tired.

They look like this now; two surfie dudes who couldn't give a skateboard for my cooking - or so I thought, because yesterday I made tomato pesto and cheese straws, and even my eldest asked for more.
This out of character attraction to the kitchen has got me thinking and doing all sorts of things. It all started on our holiday to the beautiful Gower village of Port Eynon, where I began craving a little of the Good Life.
"I want to get a bit organic", I said to C,
"What like cider?" and he grinned.
So, now we're home, I've started doing this,
looking after my herb garden again, and this,
growing lettuce, and,
strawberries, and,
tomatoes.
I'm sure those of you with uber green fingers will be flipping out at my pots, planting, arrangement etc, but it's a start right?
But there's something else firing my good life aspirations,
I received their awe inspiring brochure today as we are actually planning to give the experience a go. If you haven't heard of it, give it a look, it's pretty amazing stuff if the outdoor life is for you - clearly a nightmare if not.
So what happened to the writing?
Well, I decided to give it a little rest as I couldn't actually see the page anymore, but do you know what's happened during this "break", another damned story has invaded my brain and it won't go away, so, after a quick coffee and an oat and honey cookie, I will be continuing with my new storyboard.
Typical me.
Thanks for reading,
Have a great day despite the rain,
Karen
X

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Reading is cool...

I love my new writer's "business" cards.
They're really rather cute.
Since my previous business cards are now well out of date, it was all the excuse I needed to go to the lovely people at Moo and have some new ones designed and printed.

Excuse the bad picture (!) and this is what it says on the back.
Simple and to the point I guess.
I also ordered new stickers.  These rather divine illustrations are used to package copies of my book and lovingly send out to new readers.
of which I am so very grateful...
and for helping my dream become a reality.
Thank you.
Karen
X

Monday, 26 April 2010

BOOK REVIEW: 'Dear John' by Nicholas Sparks

From the age of 11, I have been searching for an author who can create my perfect hero.
Last week on my holidays I found him.
His name is Nicholas Sparks.
I'd seen the trailer for the movie and it looked promising, and since my holiday was approaching, and I was looking for a book to take, I thought why not?
I read the blurb on the back cover, slightly put off by the mention of the Iraq war, but the love story element won me over and I downloaded it to my eReader.
I am so happy I was not deterred.

Written in the first person (John Tyree), it tells the story of John, a soldier on leave, who meets Savannah, a student studying Special Educational Needs.
After just a few days they have fallen in love.
I'm wasn't scepticle of this because the way Sparks' describes and details the build up of this passionate and desperate relationship, it is totally believable.
After 2 weeks together, John's leave is up and he must return to Germany. They vow to write to each other everyday, and when his service is due to finish the following year, he will leave the Army and they will marry.

Then the Twin Towers are bombed and John enlists for a further 2 years.
It is this decision that changes everything, and after a few months he receives the "Dear John" letter he never wanted to read.

What I loved so much about this book was it's simple and honest plot, even the scenes where John describes his feelings about the Irag war and how they were expected to carry out duties they weren't trained to do were written with passion and intrigue, and certainly showed me a side to the war I never knew about. Saying this, thankfully the scenes didn't drag on long enough for me to get lost or bored - they were there for a reason and it worked; it helped me understand his character and why he made the decisions he did. 
I also enjoyed the sub plot of his relationship with his father, who bought him up alone after his mother left when John was a baby. These scenes were sad, yet deeply touching and helped shape the ending.
I found some of the story a little predictable, but the predictable I wanted. OK, it wasn't the ending I wanted, but when I'd finished reading, it still left me warm and content. You knew it was the only way it could end and I didn't feel cheated in any way, only uplifted.

The way Nicholas Sparks writes is just brilliant. He isn't afraid to allow his male characters to fall unashamedly fall in love and tell the girl (and the reader) about it.  He also captures the female psyche pretty well too. I found these author traits refreshing and exciting, and knew I couldn't wait to get home to explore his other novels, and if I gulp at them as keenly as I did "Dear John", then I'll have read the remaining 14 novels by the end of summer!
I will also make date with the "Dear John" DVD later in the year, if only to see John Tyree in the flesh, courtesy of the rather beautiful and brilliantly cast Channing Tatum.
Unsurprisingly, I'm giving this book 5/5 for it's style, story, characters, and beacuse it left me with an ache for more.
Brilliant.
Thanks for reading, have a great day,
Karen
X

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

GONE FISHING

I'm going to be away from my laptop for a while.
We're having a break!
But I will miss reading and commenting on all your lovely blogs that inspire me to carry on writing (as well as decorate my home!)
OH...
and don't forget the special offer of a signed and dedicated copy of my debut novel and the free postcards and stickers runs until 24th April 2010 (see post below).
Have a lovely week and hope the sun keeps shining.
Love
Karen
X

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Special Edition SIGNED copies of Book 1 to buy (with extras)!

Last night I decided I wanted to do a special offer on my first book 'A Love That Makes Life Drunk'.
So what could I offer?
Well, pictured above and below are limited edition stickers that were custom made for the release of the book, along with custom made limited edition postcards. Once the stickers and postcards have gone, that's it, and no more will be printed. Ever. So, with each purchased copy of my book I will include a set of 6 stickers and a postcard...



(front of one of the postcards)
(back of postcard)
AND...I will sign each copy with a dedication of your choice, wrap it up and post it out to you with love and thanks for just £7.99 and only £1.50 for p&p. (£8.99 at Amazon plus £2.50 p&p)
Closing date is Saturday 24th April 2010 - PayPal preferable but I can also accept a personal cheque.
*All you have to do is either e-mail me at pinkcupcakes@live.co.uk or leave a message in the comments below and I will come back to you asap.*
Thanks for reading.
Have a lovely day.
Karen
X
ps. stickers in very short supply!
***Book contains strong adult content***

Monday, 12 April 2010

Fierce Behind the Wheel...

I almost didn't publish this post.
Knowing I risked: (a) not being taken seriously (b) alienating potential readers.
C reckons there's no such thing as bad press. I'm just not sure.
Although my skin is thicker than it used to be, sometimes I still feel a little, well, vulnerable.
Anyway, see what you think.

Any creator knows a bad review hurts.

When I carry out a book review I try to be constructive. Personal "assumptions" are not helpful to a potential reader or the author.

Don't get me wrong, I've read books (and recently too) that have frustrated the hell out of me, so much so, I've laid in bed ranting to C about how could this have been published! Then I remember - it takes alot of damned hard work, time and sacrifices to write a book. Dedication is everything - so is self belief. Words are subjective, and so are readers.

So now to 'A Love That Makes Life Drunk'. I've had good reviews and I've had bad reviews. Most have been positive but I have to say the first time I read a bad one it cut deep; I have grown to be objective since then as I know my work is not everyone's cup of tea. I write a risque genre that makes many people feel uncomfortable - my fantasies or just freedom of expression, it's my work, from my head.
But I have to say this - my work is not 'erotic fiction', and it's not 'erotic romance'. I don't feel the need to have a sex scene every 100 words, and I will not adjust my plot to do this. My work is about LOVE, those heady first months of falling in love and discovering your senses and how to use them. It's about exploration and sexuality, and about developing relationships and moving them onto that next level. Plain and simple - I write love stories with the sex included.

If you want pure Erotica, I doubt my work will be for you.


'A Love That Makes Life Drunk' is an intense love story about two people who fall in love and the sexual exploration they embroil themselves in. It's not about infidelity, but if you want to explore the depths of the emotions and baggage infidelity carries, then buy a psychology reference book because you won't find it in mine.

Also, isn't most 'romance' fiction fanatasy in some form? Isn't escapsim a fantasy? A dream? Isn't that why we read the books we do?

Anyway, all this said, you must be thinking, 'she said she had thicker skin', and I have, but sometimes I find Amazon book reviews a bit like road rage - you're fierce behind the wheel...

Thanks for reading (if you still are!)
Karen
X

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Take a Peek at my New Book!

It's called "HOPE & JUMP" -
and as it's getting very close to my new book going to the printers, and as I am so excited about it, I wanted to share it - a kind of sneak preview.
Above is the book sleeve artwork commissioned especially for the novel by St Ives based illustrator Julie Eaton. This lovely picture is actually taken from a scene in the book, and over the next few weeks it will be turned into the real thing.
I just can't wait.
So, here goes...
In a sleepy Cornish town Evelyn Willoughby is distracted. In her artist’s studio she stares wistfully across the Ocean towards the Bay as her handsome new tenant Ellery Faye paints in the room above hers.
She knows little about him, an ex-London banker who made his fortune in the city only to impulsively retire to the coast to fulfil a dream of creativity and colour. She doesn’t know why and she doesn’t ask. She likes this ‘thing’ they have and chooses to ignore his previous life for fear of tainting such beauty, but also because she feels he doesn’t want her to know.
But one kiss can change everything. One kiss can complicate things. One kiss can make you want to ask questions.
A chance encounter reveals Evelyn as Ellery Faye’s artistic muse, his ‘lovely Evie’, and her intrigue in the man with secrets provokes a frenzied reciprocal desire with destructive consequences, and as their obsessive sexual fusion rages, so continue the unanswered questions, the late night phone calls and the volatile mood changes in a man with whom she is perilously falling in love.

(Copyright Karen Roderick 2010).

There.
Now I'm even more excited.
I also wanted to say a really big THANK YOU for all the lovely comments on the last couple of posts. It's really encouraging and inspiring and keeps me sitting at my desk (rightly or wrongly!) - so thanks again.
Hope you enjoyed the Preview - I'll keep you posted.
Have a great day.
Karen
X

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Lily's Shoes

When I created the character "Lily" in 'A Love That Makes Life Drunk' I was in a very different place to where I am now.
Then I was carrying alot of baby weight after having my first boy and feeling pretty wrecked.
Then came a glimmer of hope.
Shoes.
The pink beauties above (me modelling!) I bought whilst envisaging a glamourous life away from nappies and night feeds. They became my alter ego - Lily was my alter ego.
Her complimentary beau, the gorgeous and sophisticated "Jefferson", also appreciated Lily's taste in shoes, when in the chapter 'Red Dress' he guiltily admits,
"I drool over slender calves wrapped elegantly with pink satin ribbons, her feet sat prettily in pink heeled sandals..."
and again as they sit drinking in a late bar in London talking about books and sex, and how Jefferson watches as Lily elegantly crosses her legs and he muses,
"...she's wearing silver shoes with the sexiest point I've ever seen."
Wonderful stuff.
I use this kind of inspiration alot in my writing, after all, I do believe alot of fiction is in parts autobiographical - a beautiful fantasy the writer wishes to live out - but just in the mind of course, as I'm not quite sure I could keep up with the passionate antics and complex lives of my characters!
But for me escapism works both ways and it's a real blessing.
Have a good day,
Karen
X


Tuesday, 6 April 2010

My Shameful Day Job(s)

I had a job interview today.
I kept it very quiet as I've become quite used to keeping my "day" job a secret.
Even now I don't want to say.
I've been doing this job for over 10 years now. Trained at University for almost 5 years, and post qualified even when I'd qualified (confused?), but still it appears I'm just a little bit, well, awkward about admitting it.
So, this is how it works - 6 months of the year I write novels; the other 6 months I go out to the office and work. I'm employed by an agency so these days (and because of my boys) I dip in and out of the profession as I need to. If I stay too long I quickly burn out; it's that kind of a job.
So, one of the questions in the interview was, "what have you been doing for the past 6 months?" - right, so now was my chance to say "I've been writing my 2nd novel," instead I said this, "helping my husband set up his business and look after the family".
Why?
Well, for many reasons really - I didn't want them to ask what I write about (!) but also I didn't want them to look at me in that 'vacant/I don't believe her' way that so many people do.
So, after a rather disappointing interview I drove home reflecting on the fact not only do I have one day job I don't like to talk about, now I have two!
When in fact I think I should be rather proud of both.
Have a good evening,
Karen
X

Fizz Time

It's been a slightly testing evening, so now the kids are calming down (and me!) I think I'll settle down to a little glass of fi...