*COVER REVEAL* – ‘The One With The Wedding Dress.’

Take a look at the special message recorded just for you:

Special message for special readers! Click here!

It is with great pleasure an honour that I am able to reveal an authors stunning book cover for her new release! Some of you may know this author by her previous releases such as ‘The best thing I never had’ and ‘Somewhere only we know’. Ring any bells? GOOD! Erin Lawless will be bringing us another book full of humour, sass and in this case, wedding dresses!

I shan’t keep you much longer. Drumroll please……

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How gorgeous does that look?! This latest novel from Erin is the second part of her ‘Bridesmaid series’ and is available to pre-order on Amazon right now, ready for its release in the summer. The first part in the series is also available to pre-order as well, I am impatiently awaiting my copy! Cannot wait for this one either! Can you?

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After the lie by Kerry Fisher.

After the lie by Kerry Fisher.
Published: 29th April 2016 by Bookouture.
ISBN: 1910751812
Available to buy on Amazon UK and Amazon US.
Big thank you to Netgalley and Bookouture for the ARC.

#TalkoftheTown Talk of the town

‘Your past will devastate your family. But your lies could destroy them. What would YOU do?
Sometimes a lie can split your life in two. There is “before”, and there is “after”. Try as you might – you can never go back.
When Lydia was a teenager, she made a decision that ruined her family’s life. They’ve spent the last thirty years living with the consequences and doing their best to pretend it never happened.

Lydia’s husband, the gorgeous and reliable Mark, and her two teenage children know nothing about that summer back in 1982. And that’s the way Lydia wants it to stay. The opportunity to come clean is long gone and now it’s not the lie that matters, it’s the betrayal of hiding the truth for so long.
When someone from the past turns up as a parent at the school gates, Lydia feels the life she has worked so hard to build slipping through her fingers. The more desperate she becomes to safeguard her family, the more erratic her behaviour becomes. But when the happiness of her own teenage son, Jamie, hangs in the balance, Lydia is forced to make some impossible decisions. Can she protect him and still keep her own secret – and if she doesn’t, will her marriage and family survive?’

Have you ever told a lie? No, I don’t mean a ‘no I didn’t eat the last biscuit’ type of lie or a ‘no I didn’t just trip my little sister up’ lie. I mean a lie that could have the power to change everything. Have you? Interesting. Before I read this book, I asked myself exactly the same question as I have just asked you, to get into the zone of the book purely based on the title.  After the lie is a story about betrayal. A story about family and the strength that is within. Lydia has made mistakes in her life, after all, she is only human. However, does she have to ‘pay’ for the mistakes she made as a teenager, for the rest of her life? Will the betrayal be brushed off as ‘teenage years’?
Lydia has tried to get on with her life with her husband and two children but when opportunities arise for several members of the family, it could threaten the black cloud that has loomed over Lydia’s head for many years. Is there about to be a storm? Or will they be dancing in the rain?
As soon as you begin reading the book, you’re swept into Lydia’s life and her emotions, her world becomes yours for the duration of the story. If you’re anything like me you will start wondering for the word go. Well, if you’re a total book nut then you’ll be pretty nosy and curious when it comes to any book. Correct? Thought so. Every page had me thinking to myself ‘what happened?!’. Then, once that question got answered within the story, my thoughts switched to ‘are you for real?!’ in response to many of the characters! Obviously I’m not going to say which ones, but I did sit with my hand over my mouth in shock. To be fair though, I sat like that throughout the book! The only character I will mention is Mabel. Ahhhh, Mabel, such a minx and as you will find out, could not give a flying furball about anything.
Kerry Fisher has written a book full of emotion which captures the true essence of the topics involved, without glossing over the true message.  She has written an incredibly powerful book with an extremely powerful message, and when you finish reading the book, the power will still be in your mind. The message will still be there, reminding you of the family and what they have had to deal with. Some readers might say that it is a relatable book. Only you will know that for yourselves once you have read it. I cannot recommend this book enough. It was a book that grabbed my attention from beginning to end. High praise for Kerry Fisher and her wonderful writing!!

The thoughts of a toddler…and a mumma

One morning (yesterday to be precise), I was sitting on the sofa (getting soft toys put on me and around me) and I had a light-bulb moment. Don’t get used to it, it doesn’t happen very often. Pretty much the same amount of time as a leap year! Ah I jest, I jest….nowhere near that frequent. ANYWAY, my light-bulb moment was that the little person in front of me that morning, is extremely witty and would make incredible reading material. Slightly biased perhaps, but oh well! ;).

How many of you have either had children, or been able to be around young children? Probably a lot of you actually. I hadn’t really had the opportunity to be around a baby a lot until I was 16, when my little brother was born. So when I became a mummy at 23, I had a rough idea of what to expect in terms of the basic keeping them alive sort of thing. But one thing that I never prepared for, was the scenario of having a two year old coming out with comments and thinking to myself ‘darn it, I wish I had said that!’. Believe me, it happens a lot! For example, my eldest brother was wearing a university gown in a picture, and my little one said he was wearing a dress. Well, that and she called him a Princess. To say I was slightly disappointed that I never thought of that would be a rather large understatement! Hilarious.

No offence to little people and their intelligence, but I never realised a two year old would be able to give you reasons why they cannot do something, or won’t do something. ACTUAL reasons.

Me: Eva, can you bring your fork out please?
Eva: Not today mumma, I’m busy.
Me: Busy doing what?
Eva: Busy dancing to songs and kicking Minnie mouse ball in the living room.

Do you think I was annoyed with that? Honestly? No, I was laughing so hard that I had to sit down. Did she break anything? No. Does it matter? No. Was she happy? Yes. Or when I ask her to use her fork for her dinner, she uses it once and goes ‘I’m going to use my fingers now’. That was what she said at din dins tonight. She did what I asked, I never stated for how long haha. Called me a superstar for using my fork though. Ooooooh yeah! Gold star for mumma!!!
One thing I will advise though, do not tell a young child that you need the toilet in a supermarket, ever. Because they will never, ever forget. Even after weeks have passed from you saying it, in a busy supermarket on a Friday afternoon whilst walking past a huge group of people, and as loud as they can go ‘MUMMA, YOU NEED TOILET IN ASDA? YOU GOT UNDERWEAR MUMMA?!’. Yes, I am speaking that from experience. To be fair, I did stop and check that I had underwear on, just to be sure! More hilarity!

Another example is that when you ask them what something is, in one instance I was pointing at a tree, they are incredibly precise with their answer. Did she say a tree? NO. Her answer was ‘tree trunk’ because I was pointing at that. I was like ‘you’re two! smarty pants’. Not that I am insulting her intelligence, because she is a smart cookie, but I never expected her to come out with that! I’m not exactly a genius myself. Close, but not completely! I jest….kind of. I can actually have a chat with her, and not just about peppa pig or how Ra Ra goes ‘raaaahhhhh’. Big people conversations about diggers, tractors, The Hulk, Bon Jovi, Helidoctors or prescriptions…to name a few. I kid you not, all of that list is genuine. Our chats are brilliant! Oh to be two years old again! Instead of getting excited to go to a toy shop, she gets excited because she gets to go to Boots, and Asda!

Just like a lot of people, I do doubt myself sometimes as a mummy, especially the more ill that I get. It also doesn’t help seeing comments saying that ‘chronically ill mummies are selfish’ and their children ‘won’t want an ill parent and would want a normal one’. Now those days I doubt myself, or when it’s really visible that I’m in excruciating pain, Eva knows. Bearing in mind, she is two. She stops whatever she is doing and asks me if I’m okay and ‘what’s hurting mumma?’ then proceeds to say that she will fix it and how cream will make it all better. Two years old. She has more empathy than some adults I know! I don’t ever worry that she won’t love her ill mumma, because I’m her mumma. The person that allows her to be herself when others find fault.

That little girl amazes me every single day. Although I wish she would stop thinking everything costs £100 pounds, makes me feel like I’m going to pass out by spending all of that money….on £100 rice cakes…

I remember parts of my childhood, but two things I remember the most is receiving an easel for my 3rd birthday and having a ‘Jungle Book’ book in my bedroom. I also know that it was my mum that always did things like that. As a child you don’t know how to look at presents in a sentimental way, and why should you? It’s not until you’re older that you start realising the memories connected to your childhood, and funnily enough, some of those memories you put forward into your own children’s childhood without even realising that. I had a teddy bear when I little, what child doesn’t I guess. She had a wonderful name, Susie Bringnals. She went everywhere with me, my own little comfort bear, wouldn’t sleep without her. (Don’t worry, I am going somewhere with this). But unfortunately I grew up and the teddy was no longer in my bed as a comfort bear, obviously. Then one day, Eva picked her up. I froze as the emotion connected to that teddy came flooding back. The years of sitting crying cuddling it whilst my mum hugged me too. Cor I’m crying now! Or when Susie had a plaster put on her head as she ‘had a poorly’ just like me. That was my mum again. Anyway, I told Eva that the teddy’s name is Susie. You know what she did? Gave Susie a massive hug and pulled me in for a cuddle too, just like my mum did with me. You want to know another thing? Susie is currently sitting in my daughter’s bed right now, while she is asleep.

It’s thanks to my mum that I have manners, that I’m not materialistic and that I am very sentimental whilst knowing how to look after anything and everything that I am given. It’s also thanks to my mum that I’m a fiery mare and know how to cut someone down if they’re nasty! Why? Because my mum is a very strong woman who is extremely underestimated in terms of her capabilities. People need to give her way more credit. Now, people might say that toddlers have ‘terrible twos’, ahem, I disagree. They are learning different emotions and unlike us, can’t say it or argue. They try, don’t get me wrong. Because I am fiery, this also means my little girl is fiery, very strong willed and independent. Just like her mumma, and just like her nanny. Would I want to change that in myself? No. Why? Because if people don’t like the three generations of fiery, independence and power, don’t annoy us!

Becoming a mum, despite the fact I had a very low chance of being able to be a mummy, is the most rewarding thing that I have ever done. My daughter is the best thing I have ever made. I appreciate my daughter to the moon and back, and being a mum myself, I also appreciate what my mum did for me as a child. You would do anything to protect your children, regardless.

I’ll end with this, memories need to be made because sometimes they are the only things that you can hold onto when you feel like everything is falling around you. Or as Eva likes to say: ‘Today will be best day ever’.

25 Must-Haves for every book lover!

Interested in literary merchandise and JK Rowling? Look no further, tonight on The Writing Garnet we have a truly wonderful guest post from the people at Readers Legacy and Next Century Publishing. Take a look and support the good cause!

Literary Must-Haves for Book Lovers
Do you read past your bed time? 
Find yourself begging, “Just one more chapter!”? 
Have an emotional break down when your favourite character dies?

Then say it loud and say it proud: I LIKE BIG BOOKS AND I CANNOT LIE!

Here is a list of must-have pieces for every literature lover.

1.    Harry Potter

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Represent your Potter pride with this tank.

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Cosy up with your favourite Quidditch player. Pillows here.

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Just in case Hogwarts starts delivering their acceptance letters via text. Here

***Attention Harry Potter Lovers: In honor of J.K. Rowling being named the Top Followed Author on Reader’s Legacy in 2015 we’re holding a 1 week sale on ALL of her books. From April 25th-30th, 2016 any Rowling book is 20% off AND double the LitCoins will be loaded into your account just for purchasing. Click the link to check out this limited time offer! ReadersLegacy.com/JKRowling***

 

2. The Hunger Games

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If you get a set of these bracelets you’ll know it’s real. See what I did there? Click here.

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Let’s be honest, Seneca Crane’s beard is the real winner of the Hunger Games. Mug here.

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But what do we do about the tracker jackers? Tank here.

 

3. Lord of the Rings

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The one fire pit to rule them all here.

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You’ll love these leggings like a hobbit loves second breakfast.

 

4. Alice in Wonderland

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Now you can go to Wonderland every night. Bedspread here.

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“I’m not crazy. My reality is just different from yours.” -Cheshire Cat Here

 

5. To Kill a Mockingbird

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…and stick it in my awesome tote, thanks.

 

6. Sherlock Holmes

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Nothing says ‘high-functioning sociopath’ like these Baker St. cuff links

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*ring ring* Detective Holmes, is that you? Phone case here.

 

7. The Great Gatsby

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Why Daisy Buchanan, you are simply radiant tonight! Headband here.

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Ain’t no party like a Gatsby party because a Gatsby party don’t stop until two people are dead and everyone is disillusioned with the jazz age as a whole. Gatsby envelopes here.

 

8. The Chronicles of Narnia

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So how does it work if you keep your map of Narnia in your wardrobe? Do you fall into Narnia when you go to put it on? Narnia-ception. Scarf here.

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Three cheers for The Great Lion! Necklace here.

 

9. Pride and Prejudice

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Is it just us, or did Mr. Darcy give you unrealistic expectations of love too? Printable here.

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Never leave home without your Jane Austen! Bag here.

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This wisdom from the 18th century still holds. Pillow here.

 

10. Where the Wild Things Are

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I think they’re hiding in your hair! Bow here.

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Capture the wild side of parenting with this matching set.

And for all of the book lovers that can’t choose just one novel to rep!
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How’s THAT for a full-fandom? Shirt here.

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You other readers can’t deny; when a book walks in with a good plot base and a big spine in your face you get sprung! Tote here.

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Deep breathe in. Ahhhhh books! Candle here.

As an added perk of Reader’s Legacy’s Rowling celebration, we will be holding a special 20% off sale for each of her novels from April 25th to April 30th – ReadersLegacy.com/JKRowling.

The sale not only celebrates J.K. Rowling, but was also brings attention for a special grant program we have created in order to give away 1 million physical books in support of literacy programs! Spreading a love of books, and ending illiteracy around the world is 100% possible, and with the help of readers on the site, we believe will be one step closer to achieving that goal! Get in on this sale HERE

 

A book review of The Insignificance of You by Tammy Robinson.

The Insignificance of You by Tammy Robinson.
Published on the 10th December 2015.
Available to buy for your Kindle from Amazon UK.

‘After the death of her father when she was twelve years old, Skye Levene finds it easier to stick to her daily routine and keep her heart firmly closed against love. Without love, there is no possibility for hurt. At least so she thinks.

However, when she falls off the edge of a cliff and is saved by the mysterious Tai, routine goes out the window and suddenly she’s feeling things she never even knew were possible. Tai, fascinating, funny and sexy as hell, has his own burdens to bear, the reason why he’s camping out in the old abandoned lighthouse on the top of the cliff.

As snow falls and winter deepens, he introduces her to new experiences; card games, hot chocolate and the magic of stargazing. Most of all, he introduces her to love.

But when his past catches up with them, Skye is left wondering whether love is worth risking your heart for after all. 

First of all I would like to say a big thank you to THE Book Club and Tammy Robinson for the chance to read this book!

Skye hasn’t had the easiest of childhoods due to learning to cope with the death of her father. She tries to carry on with her life as best as she can, but, as the anniversary of her father’s death arrives, Skye’s life gets turned upside down. Again. But will Skye ever get her happily ever after? Or will she be faced with more heartbreak?

‘The Insignificance of You’ was the very first book that I have read (and come across) of Tammy’s, and now the bar is now raised incredibly high! Within the first few lines of the story, you’re transported to New Zealand (which is handy if you have never been!). The way Tammy has written about the surroundings is unbelievable. She has described them in such a way that I felt like I was standing on the edge of the cliff, looking out at the ocean. Tammy has stayed with the descriptive writing all the way through the story meaning that everything comes to life, and it’s like you’re in the story yourself.  I certainly felt that way because of the emotion and raw feelings that presented themselves within the story. Skye lives with her mum, and despite being in her late teens, her mother still worries about where she is and whether she can cope on her own. Rightly so if you think of their history!

I found every chapter to have a gripping moment which most certainly kept me even more interested as I carried on reading. I couldn’t wait to see what else happened and ended up reading faster than I do usually! More often than not, I was gasping in shock at the events unfolding before my very eyes. Although I will admit that I cried at the end…for two reasons. One: the ending of the story, and two: because the book was finished!! I didn’t want it to end and I was extremely disappointed that I had finished it. It was an unbelievable book to read from start to finish. I cannot find one thing that I didn’t like about it. There were no dull or slow moments and there was always something to keep you guessing. Personally, I found that the story spoke to me and contained very special messages. A message of following your heart no matter what the circumstances may be. A message of taking chances before it is too late and doing what YOU feel is right. I am in awe at what I read and I am (for once) struggling with my words. The Insignificance of You is such a brilliant and special read and I most certainly recommend this to anyone and everyone. You will not be disappointed. Even if you aren’t a big reader..you will love this!

A chat with the #LifeSwap lady herself – Carol Wyer!

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Edit: included in #TalkOfTheTown Talk of the town with help from Carol!

First of all I would like to say a MASSIVE congratulations to the truly wonderful Carol Wyer, as today (22nd April 2016) is the publication date for her newest novel – Life Swap! A few weeks ago, if you remember, I posted a review of the novel as I was lucky enough to read it before the release date! Thank you again to Carol and Bookouture for allowing me to do so. If you can’t remember the review (I’ll be insulted if you can’t!!!), then please click the following link to have a nose: Life Swap by Carol Wyer.

Ever since that review was posted, I have had the honour and privilege to be included in Carol’s circle, an honour I do not take lightly. It does mean the world to me. However, I do have ONE small moan….I mean….I know newsletters are the thing with authors and so on, but honestly…where the fried eggs are my marshmallows?!? Marshmallows do seem to be the topic of conversation lately, and I am sure you’re wondering why.

Well, if you hop along to Amazon UK/Amazon US/Amazon Worldwide to buy your copy! Go on! You will regret it if you don’t. But, before you do, I managed to nab the busy lady herself for a natter. Sit back and relax. It is with great pleasure that I welcome Carol to The Writing Garnet. Here’s what we had a chat about:

Kaisha: Where did you get the inspiration from for the ‘Life Swap’?

Carol: As is the case with most of my books it started when I was eavesdropping a conversation. To be fair I was included in the conversation but was only half-paying attention at the time. A friend was leafing through a magazine while simultaneously complaining about her lot in life. My ears pricked up when she announced she would like to swap lives with Kim Kardashian. When pressed on the matter, she was adamant that she would give up everything and everyone she knew if someone could magically get her to exchange lives. It lead to a discussion about who we would swap with and why and would we really give up it all to swap lives.

Kaisha: Several of the events were hilariously farfetched; did you find those parts hard to write?

Carol: No. I have a truly bizarre sense of humour. Sorry folks but I do. I rarely sleep so maybe its a product of a hyper-active, completely over-tired brain. I lie awake most nights just thinking about stuff and plotting for my books. My mind often relays events of the day to me as if they were in a cartoon and people are little cartoon figures. Don’t ask me why that happens but a recent conversation with my mother revealed she does the same. I think it’s some sort of coping mechanism so when things are tough my brain makes them easier to digest. When I write some of the more far-fetched scenes in my books, I imagine them first like they’re employing out in a comedy film acted by someone like Ben Stiller or Rowan Atkinson. My mind rolls my books as films throughout the night and I stop the scene, replay, change sequences or characters, re-roll the scene in my head and when I am happy with it, convert it to writing.

Kaisha: Every chapter in the book had a turn of events or a cliff-hanger, how did you decide to do that?

Carol: It’s deliberate. I’m afraid I am a manipulator of emotions. I learned the technique of leaving cliffhangers when i studied Literature years ago. I always encourage the reader to be urged on. i want them to be reluctant to put the book down. It’s pretty much how I read too. I am a speed reader and I gallop through books at a rate of knots.

Kaisha: Do you think it warrants a sequel, ‘The life after the demonised life swap’?

Carol: Tempting as it is to pick up these characters again, I think it’s run its course. The surprise element would be difficult to replicate in a sequel.

Kaisha: I must ask this, do you have an obsession with marshmallows? You manage to describe them on an impressive level!

Carol: I have an obsession with sweets in general and I adore marshmallows. I get through bags and bags of sweets when I am typing. I have had to cut down dramatically as the last three times I have broken teeth on chewy jelly sweets and had to get new crowns. This next book I am going to abstain…really…well, maybe only a few marshmallows.

Kaisha: If you were able to life swap with anyone, who would it be and why? Doesn’t have to be someone you’ve met!

Carol: I’d swap with the businesswoman Celia Sawyer. She’s one of the most influential businesswomen in the UK, runs a hugely successful interior design company and property company, is a dealer on Channel Four’s Four Rooms, flies about in a beautiful jet, has homes in London and Barbados, hangs out with celebrities, is very intelligent, stunning, looks incredibly glamorous and owns the most amazing collection of footwear including some Christian Louboutin boots I covert. Sadly, I’m pretty certain she wouldn’t want to swap lives with me and drive on a windy hill with Mr Grumpy.

Kaisha: You have a wild sense of humour, have you always been like that?

Carol: It’s a very long story but the shortened version is I developed a sense of humour really early on in my life as a way to combat bullies. I was one of those kids that got picked on thanks to looking weird, wearing specs and then smashing out my front teeth and having false teeth that kept falling out!

At one point when I was pretty low, my mum took me to see Ken Dodd who I loved and that changed my life. He made everyone laugh so much and didn’t care about his sticky out hair or sticky out teeth. He sang a song at the end of the show called, happiness and in my 11-year-old mind I fused happiness and laughter. From that day, I started to laugh at myself and made others laugh. They laughed with me rather than at me and I discovered the power of humour.

Kaisha: What has been your proudest writing achievement to date?

Carol: There have been a few but when I got interviewed on BBC Breakfast about my book Grumpy Old Menopause I was elated and when I won the People’s Book Prize Award for the same book last year and accepted my prize at a glitzy award ceremony that was televised by Sky News, I felt over the moon.

Kaisha: Are there any authors you have found to be a type of role model?

Carol: When I first started writing I wrote to Janet Evanovich who I admire hugely. She answered my email and encouraged me to “go for it”. I loved her for taking time to email me even though she was so busy. I would love to be as successful as her and write such hugely entertaining books.

Kaisha: What did you aspire to when you were a child? Has it always been to write?

Carol: Actually, I wanted to be a vet but I failed Biology at school and ended up doing languages instead. I was always good at English and one teacher in particular pointed out to the class that I was extremely good at writing comedy (even way back then). I have been writing since I was twenty. I started when I was bed bound in hospital for many weeks, then wrote stories for children when I lived in Morocco. I didn’t try and get them published because I didn’t believe I was good enough.

It took me until my thirties to send some children’s stories away to a publisher. They were illustrated stories about animals in France and taught basic French to children. We were in talks to sign to a big publishing house when my best friend and illustrator died suddenly and I pulled the books. I didn’t try to get published again until I started writing full-time in 2009.

Kaisha: If you could have written any book that has already been published, which one would you choose and why?

Carol: I wish I’d written Fifty Shades of Grey. Ha! Seriously, I can’t write sex scenes for love nor money. During a conversation with my 82-year-old mother while I was writing Just Add Spice, I made some comment about writing a sex scene and she laughed. The next day I got a letter from her containing a photo of a handsome naked man and the note, “To jog your memory.”. It’s not so much the content of the book that I wish I’d written but I would love to see my books being hauled off the shelves in supermarkets as if there was going to be a shortage f them. Oh to have that success!


Kaisha: What writing habits do you despise?

Carol: Shoddy editing. I cannot read a book that is full of typos and poor grammar. I’ll accept a few mistakes but some authors (especially self-published ones) are too keen to publish their books as soon as they complete them and ignore how important it is to edit.


Thank you Carol for such a wonderful chat. It has to be the most funniest interview I have ever had. So, you have heard it here first, she wishes she had written ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’. You never know, Carol’s next novel might be an erotic one, possibly involving melted marshmallows….or not!

Life swap is available to buy RIGHT NOW from Amazon UK, Amazon US and Amazon Worldwide. Also, if you want to keep up to date with Carol’s humour and updates of new novels, then you can follow her blog right here: Carol Wyer’s Blog. If you are in need of a pick me up and feel you need to lose yourself for a little while, then I suggest you go and buy this. You will not be disappointed, I certainly wasn’t. Bizarrely hilarious from the onset. Carol Wyer, it has been a pleasure having you on the blog today, and congratulations on your latest release!

 

Is it EVER okay to body shame?

Do you think it’s ever okay to body shame somebody?

That is the question I would like you to keep in the back of your mind whilst you’re reading this post. But, starting from the beginning, what actually is body shaming? I asked four people (2 male/2 female), all different ages, to give me their opinion on what they would consider body shaming to be. Here is what they said:

Fraser: ‘I’d say anything that makes you feel uncomfortable with your own body. So comments about the way you look – shape, size, colour, even clothing. But also adverts that make you upset/anxious about how you look.’

Natasha: ‘I would class it as making anyone feel bad for the way they look, that could be for being fat, thin, tattoos or piercings, just anything that makes someone feel bad about their body.’

Nathan: ‘I feel body shaming means the judging of someone else’s body in a negative light.’

Gabriella: ‘I consider body shaming to be INTENTIONALLY hurting someone’s feelings in regards to their weight/appearance. Therefore shouting at someone in the street about their height/weight/ethnicity with the intention of being unkind is body shaming.’

Four different people with four different interpretations of the term. In contrast, according to yourdictionary.com, the definition of body shaming is; ‘The definition of body shaming is the practice of making critical, potentially humiliating comments about a person’s body size or weight.’ Keep in mind what I have just written, and I shall tell you a little story. Once upon a time, there was a little girl. She hadn’t long started school (aged five) before another child decided to call the little girl ‘fat’. Unfortunately the little girl wasn’t just getting called fat. She was also getting called stupid, a loner, thick, how everybody hated her and that nobody wanted to be her friend. That three-letter word became stuck to the girl like glue, affecting her in more ways than one. Food even stopped being her friend and became an enemy. That little girl decided that after many fat comments, she was actually fat and food no longer passed her lips unless absolutely necessary. Anorexia. Inability to know the feeling of hunger. Loss of confidence. Negative thoughts about her body image. The absolute fear of going out to eat in a restaurant. Those are just some of the things she had to contend with, alongside being bullied for a further eight years, making her 13 years old. By the time the not so little girl became 18, that gremlin had been with her for 13 years, and it continued to stay with her for many more years after.

You are probably wondering about the story, yes? It’s not a story as such. It’s actually a real life experience of a real person. That person….is me. I’m the little girl.

When the term ‘body shaming’ crops up, people automatically say that it’s directed at ‘fat’ people or the word ‘fat’ in general. However, this is where it gets interesting. Body shaming is not just that. I’ll tell you another story….

Once upon a time there was a girl who had become very poorly for various different reasons and she starting having unexplained weight loss. No matter what she did, she couldn’t put weight on. Many people started coming out with ‘omg you’re so skinny!’, ‘you’re so lucky you can lose weight’, ‘my word, you look like a beanpole’, ‘have you always been so thin?’, ‘you’re just skin and bone, eat a pie woman!’; and so on. Many times that girl sat crying her eyes out because of those comments, or because people were pointing out the fact that they could see her bones.

If you hadn’t guessed already, that story is another real life experience from a real person. Who? Well, it’s me, again. How many of you are sitting there thinking that calling someone ‘fat’ is just body shaming? No, no and no. Calling someone skinny is JUST as bad as calling someone fat. Telling someone they need to put on weight or lose weight are the same. Pointing out someone’s ‘larger’ features and pointing out someone’s ‘bones’, is exactly the same. Telling someone they need to eat fatty foods, or just more food in general and telling someone that they need to eat less and move their backsides, is the SAME.

How would you feel if people pointed out your weight or other issues when they DID know your history and recent story? Angry? Sad? Yeah, I felt both. I am actually crying whilst writing this! My word. No-one should EVER body shame another person, including celebrities. Yes, celebrities post their bodies all over social media and some say that they should expect the criticism, however, no, they shouldn’t. Regardless of how many photographs you put up of yourself on social media, it should NOT give anyone the right to comment on you or your looks in a negative manner. It has been in the media recently about a celebrity who has put on weight and because she is fine with it, everyone is celebrating that fact. Now there are also other celebrities in the media that post pictures of working out, or modelling pictures, yet they get slated for being ‘too skinny’. Fair? No. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, of course they are, but not when it can humiliate or hurt another human being with sheer force. I am fully aware that there is a ‘healthy’ weight and an ‘unhealthy’ weight, and whilst there are a lot of people in the media that may fall under that category, who are we to comment? Unless you’re THEIR doctor, what gives you the right to comment on their weight? It’s the same for anything regarding another person. Their race, hair style, hair colour, clothes and so on.

Not everyone you meet will have the same style, or like someone else’s style. If they did, the world will be a boring place. However, just because you don’t like it or like how they look, doesn’t give you the right to criticise them negatively. Those sorts of comments can ruin someone’s life. It can make them hate themselves. Yes, okay, maybe there are people who take things to heart, I would be lying if I said that I didn’t, but even as a joke those sorts of comments aren’t acceptable. ‘Omg you’re sooooo skinny HA HA’. Just because it has a ‘ha ha’ at the end, doesn’t mean the other person is going to laugh. My history of the above, still hurts me. Want to know why? Because it NEVER goes away. It’s always there in the back of your mind. 21 years ago, I was body shamed, 21 years later, I still get body shamed. When will people realise IT IS NEVER OKAY TO BODY SHAME, EVER! There are even articles in the media at the moment about the new craze of ‘bum contouring’. I’m sure many of you are aware of contouring the face to make it appear slimmer, yes? Well, people are now contouring their backsides to make them appear slimmer too. Why? Is this really the society we live in where everything is governed by how much someone weighs or whether they’re wearing high street clothes or label?

Despite my past, I vowed that if I ever became pregnant and had a little girl, I would ensure my eating history was never brought to life around her. I have kept that promise because I know what it is like to have that looming over you for many, many years. I would be damned if I let that happen to my daughter, ever.

No, it is never, ever okay to body shame anyone.

 

An Autumn Affair by Alice Ross. Book Review.

An Autumn Affair by Alice Ross. (Book one of Countryside Dreams series).
Published: 21st April 2015 by Carina UK.
Available on Amazon in Kindle format.

‘Autumn is coming. Anything could happen…
Julia is contemplating an affair with ex-boyfriend Max after a chance meeting in the cereal aisle of the supermarket…and finding that he’s just as gorgeous as ever.
Miranda has got it all: expensive clothes, a huge house and her enormously wealthy husband, Doug. So why does she feel as if something is missing?
Faye is fed up of being treated like a child – she’s a teenager, and knows what she wants! She’s determined to escape her sleepy life at Primrose Cottage…
Three women, each with two options, needing to make one choice. When it comes to affairs of the heart, nothing is ever simple.’

An Autumn Affair follows the lives of two grown women and a teenager on the verge of becoming an adult. All three ladies have their own story to tell, and as it is known, everyone’s story is different. These ladies are no exception. At first you’re introduced to Julia; a woman who has spent over twenty years trying to get over her first love…by getting married to a man called Paul and having twins. Sounds pretty straight forward doesn’t it? But, during her typical Friday food shopping, Julia found herself re-evaluating her life by a box of Frosties. Thanks to her daughter Faye getting herself into a ‘minor’ pickle, Julia’s eyes become fully open to what has been the obvious decision all along. But is it an easy one?
Now Faye. The teenager. Julia’s daughter. The teenager that wants to be treated like an adult and act like an adult, but doesn’t seem to want to think about consequences. Which results in her wanting her mum…but at what cost?
The third lady you come across in the story is Miranda. She is married to a very wealthy man and has one daughter. She has the lifestyle most women would dream of. But can money really buy happiness? Is everything in Miranda’s life as rosy as people think?
What can I say about ‘An Autumn Affair’? Quite a lot actually! This was another book that I picked to read purely based on the cover, and the title, so everything I read was going to be a surprise. I felt the switching between the three ladies was ever so slightly confusing to begin with, but once I got into the story it flowed so well and I became grateful it was split because my attention could be on each lady and their individual stories. I was hooked after the second chapter and it get me gripped throughout. Every time I read what one lady got up to, I was itching to find out what happened to the next one! Each lady had their own problems to deal with and it did keep me guessing because just when I thought I could predict the next situation, I was totally wrong. I love books that do that! For me personally, the whole point of reading a book is to be surprised and to feel like you’re on an emotional rollercoaster. Did this book live to that? 100% yes. I was shocked at some of the characters stupidity, humbled by how one person can forgive a betrayal, and yes, I welled up. Shock!
Most importantly though I felt that the story carried a very strong message about identity, life and choosing the path that is right for you. Whilst all three ladies seem to be good at putting on a front and making themselves think that they’re happy, deep down they aren’t. But in the end, who gets hurt the most? Whilst the book had humour and light-hearted moments, it also had some very real moments which were written with a great deal of compassion. Reading ‘An Autumn Affair’ has been an eye-opener, and a  wonderful thought-provoking read. I loved it. If I could sum up this book in one sentence I would say that it is a hug in a book and definitely my go to book of the year so far. I cannot wait to read the second one.

How to get hitched in ten days by Samantha Tonge. A Book Review.

How to get hitched in ten days by Samantha Tonge. (Novella)
Published: 11th February 2016 by Carina.
Available on Amazon in Kindle format.

‘How not to get the girl…

Meet Mikey, every girl’s best friend – he bakes the creamiest cheesecake, loves movie nights and is a great dance partner.

For Jasmine, Mikey is the perfect flatmate – he owns a 50s diner that turns out the best food around, gives the best bear hugs and amazing romance advice – after all they’re scoping out the same hot guys! So when her boyfriend proposes in the worst possible way, Jazz knows her best friend will be there to pick up the pieces with gourmet popcorn, Pinot sleepovers and a shoulder to lean on.

But Mikey isn’t about to let Jasmine give up on love, and he’s ready to do whatever it takes to mend her broken heart – even if it means helping the one person who sees him as the enemy…

Because at the end of the day, all’s fair in the pursuit of true love… right?’

How far would you go to fix things for your best friend? To the end of the Earth I’m sure. But how far would you go to fix your best friend when there is someone involved that seems to have lost their tongue and gained rudeness? Tough one isn’t it.

Well, Mikey loves to retro, nice clothes, his diner, but most importantly, he loves his best friend Jasmine. Mikey is the shoulder to cry on and the person to turn to when you need a dose of chick flick movies and wine. But, it seems as though Mikey is disliked by someone who is a ‘permanent’ fixture in his life. Who could that be I wonder? Why would a fun-loving, hug giving best friend be disliked?

Jasmine has a boyfriend, good job with good prospects, but a past that keeps haunting her. Thanks to her boyfriends disastrous mistake, her past is too close for comfort. Can she move past her past to settle down with someone who she loves? Or will the decision already be made for her due to other people’s stupidity?

I hadn’t read a novella before (short story), so I wasn’t sure how much information and description would go into one. I was pleasantly surprised because despite the length of the book, it didn’t feel as though you were missing out on anything. Mikey and Jasmine were written with very likeable personalities, as well as having the ‘cover face with hands because you weren’t thinking’ characters. Of course I don’t mean in terms of Samantha’s writing!! I mean the fact that one or two made stupid mistakes and you end up sitting there thinking ‘why the roly poly did you do that?!’. So yes, that’s why I covered my face with my hands. I never realised someone could be that….idiotic! It did make me laugh, and as I have just said…cringe, several times. I also felt sorry for some of the characters! For a light read, it definitely packed a lot of punch into the storyline and even covered some issues that are quite prominent in today’s society. I found that to be an extremely clever turn in the story. Such a lovely, light-hearted book to  relax and get cosy with, definitely one I will be reading again! Thank you Samantha!

An interview with…..Portia Macintosh!

Good evening! It is double whammy night here at The Writing Garnet to celebrate Portia Macintosh’s publication day of ‘Truth or date?’. It is available to buy right now over on Amazon —> Truth or date?. Portia has written several other novels such as ‘Drive me crazy’ and ‘Bad Bridesmaid’. All of her books can be found right….HERE!

If you’re just joining us tonight, this is the second blog of our double whammy, so if you haven’t already taken a look at the book review of this novel, go looksee before reading this interview! It’ll make more sense that way. Our book review can be found here: Book Review – Truth or Date?

You know the saying ‘if you don’t ask, you don’t get’, yes? Well, that applies right here. I was convinced that Portia wouldn’t be able to spare any time today for a chat, so I was very pleased she said yes! It is with great pleasure I welcome to The Writing Garnet….Portia Macintosh!

Kaisha – Hi Portia, thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk to me! I want to start off by saying congratulations to you today as it is the publication day for your new book ‘Truth or Date?’! How nervous are you for this book to be released compared to your other releases?

Thank you so much! It’s my pleasure to talk to you – all about myself haha. I feel daft admitting it, but I’m kind of nervous this time. This is my fifth book, you’d think I’d be used to it, but there’s something about this one… It’s possibly the most influenced by my real life, so there’s a degree of: ‘if people think this is dumb, do people think I’m dumb? Am I dumb? I’m probably dumb…’ I have to admit, when I got my first few reviews and they were all good, I breathed the ultimate sigh of relief. Like: ‘as you were, Portia.’ 

Kaisha – For those that aren’t aware of your work (yet), could you tell us about yourself and how you came to be a writer?

In some ways my journey was pretty typical – another journalist turned author – but I started out writing books as a way to anonymously tell my stories from my time touring with bands. I fast realised that I loved writing fiction, even more than I loved writing about music. Since I signed with Carina UK, I’ve never looked back. 

Kaisha – You have had several books published before ‘Truth or Date?’ what makes this novel different from your previous ones?

Well, like I said before, I think this one is the most influenced by my real life. I spent last year playing the dating game, being set up by friends, using every app I could feasibly download considering I eternally have the ‘storage almost full’ message on my iPhone – and I gathered enough information to fill fifty books. From the good, to the bad, to the just plain ugly, it’s nice to take real stuff and put it to good use. 

Kaisha – The main character in your book, Ruby, seems the type of person that a lot of readers may relate to in terms of unlucky in love, and her attitude towards dating. Is Ruby based on anyone that you know? If not, how did you come about creating such a ‘totally me’ personality in her?

I’m Ruby. My friends are Ruby. Everyone who has ever been messed around by a man is Ruby. The poor girl has been through a lot – an absolute barrage of rubbish men – but I wanted to show people what we girls go through in our quest to find true love. I want my readers to follow Ruby’s story and think: ‘thank God, it’s not just me!’ – because at some point we’re all in the same sinking boat, waiting for a sexy lifeguard to save us from a sea of dating misery haha. 

Kaisha – Millsy, Ruby’s best friend, is such an immature player which you have written brilliantly. However, he seems the ‘annoying best friend’, did you find yourself wanting to tell him to grow up when you were writing him?

Millsy is a blatant swipe at all of my immature male friends who think they are LADs. Not a bad person, but with his priorities all wrong. I have lots of friends like Millsy, I’ve been on dates with guys like Millsy – and they’re charming, funny, and an absolute blast to be around, but at the end of the day, you can’t change them. So as much as I’d love the Millsys of the world to grow up, I know better than to try and change a guy like that – in and out of fiction. 

Kaisha – You have written such a hilarious book, definitely not for a prude! Were those one-liners easy for you to write? Or did they come to you naturally?

Aww, thank you. Much to my family’s annoyance, I have quiet a vulgar sense of humour, and I’m very sarcastic, so one-liners make up a good 80% of my day-to-day dialogue. It was nice to have an outlet for them that didn’t see an elderly relative roll their eyes at me haha. 

Kaisha – ‘Truth or Date?’ is very cleverly written, did you know straight away you were going to create characters that weren’t so clever? Naming no names!

Yes, definitely. One thing I wanted to make very clear is that, when it comes to love, we’re all idiots. We all make wrong choices, we all do stuff we’re not proud of. I think everyone has had a crush on someone they couldn’t have, or they’ve done something stupid to try and win someone over – sometimes absolutely crazy things we wouldn’t do if we were thinking straight. People are silly when it comes to love, so I knew my characters needed to be just as clueless. 

Kaisha – Are there any characters in your book that you dislike? Be honest!

Yes – Heather. She’s so annoying, isn’t she? Now, don’t get me wrong, I have so much respect for people who chose to live a vegan lifestyle. I absolutely love animals, and I hate to think of anyone harming them in any way, but to commit to vegan life is a big deal and that needs commending. That said, I cannot stand anyone who preaches about anything, and I have this one vegan friend who saw me eating meat in a café, and proceeded to tell me exactly how animals are slaughtered – literally while the food is in my mouth. We all have our beliefs and that’s awesome, but we should all be allowed to ‘do us’ without criticism or being made to feel guilty, right? 

Kaisha – If you could choose a book that has been written by another author to be one of the books written by you, which one would it be and why?

Ooh, that’s a good question. I absolutely love Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. It made me wish I wrote thrillers. 

Kaisha – Do you find that the more novels you write, the more pressure there is for each one to be more successful than the last?

I do, actually. Because the second you write a book that people don’t love, you’re going to think you’ve lost your touch, get the fear and never write again. OK, maybe that’s extreme, but it’s in the back of your mind, for sure. 

Kaisha – Lastly, what are your plans for the future in terms of writing? What else can we look forward to seeing from you?

I have started book six already, which should be out at the end of year. I can’t say much at this stage – not because I’m being a tease, because I’m still trying to figure a lot of it out haha. What I will say…it might be a Christmas book. Maybe. I’m still trying to work out if that’s a brilliant idea, or just my way of justifying eating too much and listening to carols while I write it…

Such an honest interview! Thank you Portia for giving such a wonderful interview. You are right, people shouldn’t feel guilty for being themselves or doing what they feel is right, especially if someone else does something different.

Hope you all enjoyed reading the interview and the book review tonight, thank you for stopping by!