Laura

I’m Laura. I started Novel Kicks in 2009. I wanted a place to post my writing as well as give other writers like me the opportunity to do the same. There is also a monthly book club, a writing room which features writing prompts, book reviews, competitions, author interviews and guest posts. I grew up by the sea (my favourite place in the world) and I currently live in Hampshire. I am married to Chris, have a cat named Buddy and I would love to be a writer. I’m trying to write the novel I’ve talked so much about writing if only I could stop pressing delete. I’ve loved writing since creative writing classes in primary school. I have always wanted to see my teacher Miss Sayers again and thank her for the encouragement. When not trying to write the novel or writing snippets of stories on anything I can get my hands on, I love reading, dancing like a loon and singing to myself very badly. My current obsession is Once Upon a Time and I would be happy to live with magic in the enchanted forest surrounded by all those wonderful stories provided that world also included Harry Potter. I love reading chick lit. contemporary fiction and novels with mystery.

Novel Kicks Writing Room: A Character Bucket List

rp_writeanything-300x19911-300x1991-300x1991-300x199-300x1991-300x199-300x199-1-1-1-1-1-300x199-1-1-1-1-300x199-1-1-300x199-300x199-1-1-1-1-300x199-1-300x199-1-1-300x199-1-300x199-300x199-1-1-1.jpgIf your character was told they only had a small amount of time left, what would they do with the time? 

The concept of the bucket list is well-known. There will be things you’ve thought about doing whilst you still have time. I have a list.

What would your character have on their bucket list? Travel to the Great Wall of China? Be the star in the circus? Want to travel to the moon?

With no financial or practical restrictions, create a bucket list for the protagonist and antagonist in a work in progress. Are they similar? Do they differ greatly? Write two short stories where each of your character picks something off their list.

 

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My Life In Books Tag

Something borrowedI follow many book related people on You Tube. One of my favourite types of video to watch are the tags. In my perusal, I came across the ‘My Life in Books’ tag.

It looked fun so I thought I would answer the questions myself. If you fancy having a go too then I’d love to read your choices in the comments. Tags like these fascinate me as everyone will have various answers and rarely will two be the same. OK, so here we go.

Find a book on your shelf for each of your initials.

I wasn’t sure whether this meant titles of books or the author so as it is for fun, I have done both. My initials are LEP (Laura Elizabeth.) Looking at my shelf, I have Lisa Jewell (the L) with 31 Dream Street. I loved this book when I read it. It’s very romantic and whimsical and the cover is beautiful.

For the ‘E’ initial, I have Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin. I adored this book when I first read it. The behaviour of the characters (Rachel, Dex and Darcy,) are bad and yet I had sympathy for all of them. If you’ve not read this book (and the sequel, something Blue,) then I totally recommend them.

Boleyn GirlFor P, I have The Other Boleyn Girl by Phillipa Gregory. I have seen the movie but am yet to read the book. I love this era of history and I know that it may not be completely accurate but I still love it.

For the book titles with my initials, I have Landline by Rainbow Rowell (which I still need to read. So many books, so little time.)

E. A novel by Matt Beaumont. It’s written in the format of e-mails. If you’ve ever worked in an office, then this book will have you recognising many of the characters. I love it. It’s hilarious.

Finally, I have P.S, I Love You by Cecelia Ahern. I love this book (the film was OK but the book had more charm.)

 

Count your age along your book shelf.

Which book is it? I had to count, cough, thirty-five steps. The book is Battle Royale by Koushun Takami. This was a book that I borrowed from my friend Michelle. I’ve not read it or returned it yet (sorry Michelle) but it’s been on my TBR list for a while. I’ve heard it’s similar to Event Horizon.

 

Battle RoyaleBook set in your city, state and county?

I am originally from Bournemouth and this was the question I am struggling most with as I couldn’t recall any books set in my county or town. Then I spotted A Single Breath by Lucy Clarke on my book shelf. A fantastic book that is partly set in Christchurch which is close enough to where I grew up. Another book I totally recommend.

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A Moment With… Beth Underdown

Beth Underdown credit Justine Stoddart The Witchfinder's Sister jacketBeth Underdown’s debut novel, The Witchfinder’s Sister was released by Viking in March 2017.

Beth is with me today to talk about her approach to the research process and how important it is to find your own system. Over to you, Beth….

When I started my first novel, I didn’t have a clue what I was up to. I floundered about, making a start on this scene or that subplot, interspersing writing with what began as a fairly scatter-gun approach to research – one week a book of sermons, the next an illustrated herbal, the next a broad political survey of the whole century in which my story was set. As the book progressed, my approach to research changed, and became about looking for answers to specific questions the story had raised. But to start with, my research strategy might best have been described as random.

I like to think that now, starting my second novel, some of what I learned with the first one will save me a bit of time and heartache. I’m hoping, for instance, that I’ve sharpened my instinct for which scenes and which subplots will be needed in this next book – which should be developed, and which should be allowed to die quietly before they embarrass me any further.

But what hasn’t changed, I’m realising, is that scatter-gun approach to the first weeks of research. As it turns out, scatter-gun is what I need.

Last year, after finishing my first novel, I breathed a sigh of relief. Having made it through months of active writing, during which I’d been afraid to read other people’s fiction in case I lost a grip on the voice of my own narrator, suddenly I was free. I started to read some of the great fiction that was coming out at the time: The Essex Serpent. The North Water. His Bloody Project. I also got a teaching job, so I started to read and reread a bunch of classics, to help prepare my seminars: Madame Bovary. The Hound of the Baskervilles. The Talented Mr Ripley. But despite these literary riches, I felt a bit bereft, and I didn’t know why. I was reading everything (or as much of everything as I had hours in the day to accommodate). So why did it feel like something was missing?

What I wasn’t reading, I see now, were my scatter-gun books. My weird books. Books published in the sixties and since forgotten. Books consigned to the dustiest end of the library or the forsaken corner of a second-hand bookshop.

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Novel Kicks Fiction Friday: Look, You’re a Superhero

rp_friday-300x16411111111111111-300x164-300x1641-300x164-300x1641-300x16411-300x164-300x164-300x1641-300x1641-300x164-300x164-300x1641-300x164-300x164-1-1-1-1-1-300x164-1-1-300x164-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.pngFiction Friday is our weekly writing prompt.

The aim is to write for a minimum of five minutes and then keep going for as long as you can. Once you’ve finished, don’t edit, just post in the comments box below.

Today’s prompt is We Could Be Superheroes.

When given some medication after giving blood, you develop a superpower. This superpower is not an ordinary super power. It is very easy for it to get misunderstood.

When you first discover you have this power, you’re in a public place. Write a story about what happens from a first person point of view.

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Book Review: I Heart Forever by Lindsey Kelk

I Heart ForeverHappy publication day Lindsey!

I am so happy and excited to be a part of the blog tour for her new novel, I Heart Forever which has been released today by HarperCollins. 

The day her husband Alex picks up a backpack and goes travelling, Angela Clark promises to stay out of trouble and keep both Louboutins on the ground.

So when her best friend’s boyfriend confides in her, it can’t hurt to help him pick out a ring at Tiffany’s surely?

And when her fashion magazine announces major changes, being terminally late and arguing with your boss isn’t that bad, is it?

Then suddenly there’s another big secret Angela’s got to keep – and the man she loves is still thousands of miles away. As the wedding of the year looms, and Manhattan switches on its Christmas lights, Angela is going to need her friends by her side as her old life looks set to change forever.

First, I want to take a moment to bask in the glory of this beautiful cover. It’s giving me the festive feels. One of my favourite covers of the year for sure.

I have long been a fan of the I Heart series so the idea that this could be the last one (a rumour I am hoping isn’t true,) makes me very sad. If this is the last we are seeing of Angela though, I personally was quite satisfied with the ending. That’s all you’re getting from me though in relation to the end of the novel. I don’t want to give too much away.

It’s been so great to catch up with Angela Clark. She’s like that old friend you don’t see for a while but when you do you’re immediately picking up the conversation where it left off. It was also excellent to see the supporting cast too- Jenny, Alex and Erin.

Angela is a flawed, funny, wonderful heroine to which many people will identify with. A character I’ve loved and will miss.

I Heart Forever sees Angela in New York (one of my favourite cities FYI,) working at Gloss Magazine and seeing Alex, her husband go off travelling for a while. Add to this a whole load of changes at work and Angela has a lot on her plate. She then has to keep a secret that is going to change her life. Angela certainly faces many challenges in this novel.

Lindsey’s writing seems so effortless and has such great humour that it was so easy for me to lose a day to this book, which I pretty much did. I couldn’t put it down. It’s the seventh book in the series so it is advantageous to have read the previous novels. However, you can read it prior to the others if you can’t wait as enough background information is given.

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NK Chats To… e. lockhart

E Lockhart copy 2A huge massive hello to e. lockhart (Emily) who is joining me today. Her new novel, Genuine Fraud was released by Hot Key Books on 5th September.

About Genuine Fraud:

Imogen is a runaway heiress, an orphan, a cook, and a cheat.

Jule is a fighter, a social chameleon, and an athlete.

An intense friendship. A disappearance. A murder, or maybe two.

A bad romance, or maybe three.

Blunt objects, disguises, blood, and chocolate. The American dream,

superheroes, spies, and villains.

A girl who refuses to give people what they want from her.

A girl who refuses to be the person she once was.

 

Welcome to Novel Kicks. I am so excited to have you as our guest today. What is your typical writing day like?

Thanks for having me! I sit down to work around 8:30 in my home office. The cat sits with me. Then I fret and bleed and feel sick and feel impressed with myself and despair and have flashes of inspiration.

 

Your new book is called Genuine Fraud. What is the premise and what inspired it?

It’s about two young women who look enough alike to share a passport. It was inspired by various superhero origin stories, the Patricia Highsmith novel The Talented Mr. Ripley, Victorian orphan stories including Vanity Fair and Great Expectations, action hero movies and my desire to write a feminist antiheroine story. Its a story that’s in conversation with all of those. And it’s a tale told backwards.

 

GENUINE FRAUD CoverWhat are the challenges of writing a young adult novel?

YA readers love their books passionately, and tolerate neither bulls—t nor boredom. That’s an exacting and super-responsive audience to have.

 

What elements do you feel are important?

I try to get the inside of my head onto the page in the shape of a story that will be entertaining and emotional to read. I try to offer my brain up to the reader.

 

How do you approach the editing process?

The editor pushes me to be my best self. She pushes really hard and I can’t say I enjoy it. I revise my books about twenty times. Maybe more.

 

What is your process like when starting a novel (from idea to final draft,) and has it changed since writing your first book?

With Genuine Fraud, because it is told backwards, I had to lay the plot out ahead of time. Then I wrote the book from the last chapter to the first — in reverse order to how people will experience it. But after that came the twenty revisions.

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Competitions: Win a Copy of The Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook 2018

Bloomsbury, July 2017

Bloomsbury, July 2017

SORRY, THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED. 

The Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook is the indispensable book for writers and we have a copy of the 2018 edition to give away to one lucky winner.

The latest edition was published by Bloomsbury on 27th July and includes a foreword by David Lodge.

The yearbook has been helping writers get onto the publishing ladder for over 110 years.

The 2018 edition also includes some fantastic new content and has over 4,000 listings of contacts across media and the publishing world.

Eighty-two articles from fifty authors means that it is packed with advice, inspiration and practical guidance to navigate the publishing industry. Poets, screen and stage writers, novelists and journalists have contributed.

This year, the book includes articles from Tom Holland, Anita Bean, Diana Athill, Kimberley Chambers, Alison Branagan and Harry Bingham.

To enter to win a 2018 edition of The Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook…

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Novel Kicks Writing Room: Changing Point of View

Novel Kicks Writing RoomFor today’s prompt, we are looking at Point of View in novels. 

This is an aspect of novel-writing I am struggling with as I attempt to write my first book. When talking to other authors, some find it easier to write in the first person, saying that it allows them to become more immersed in their character’s lives.

Others say they prefer to write in the third person and the general advice is that this is the recommended POV for first time writers.

For today’s exercise, take a book from your book shelf and open it to any page.

Whatever the current point of view of the page, re-write it from the other point of view (if it’s in first person, make it third. If it’s in third, make it first.)

How did you find this exercise?

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NK Chats To… Jon Rance

Jon RanceI am very happy to be welcoming Jon Rance to Novel Kicks today and the blog tour for his new novel, About Us.

Rosie Willis isn’t happy. Her once perfect marriage to husband, Pete, is falling apart, her mother is dying, and her three children are starting to feel like strangers.

At forty she feels like she’s stuck, but then she meets handsome widower, Mark Hornby, at the school gates and he makes her feel alive again. As she drifts further from Pete, she gets closer to Mark, but approaching Christmas she realises she needs to try to save her marriage and keep her family together.

Despite her feelings, she can’t have an affair. Unfortunately, Pete has news of his own that throws everything into doubt. Rosie must choose a new life.

There’s Pete, Mark, or going it alone. It isn’t easy when you’re forty, when you have three kids, when you feel past it, when your mother is dying, but life isn’t meant to be easy.

 

Hi Jon, thank you very much for joining me today. Congratulations on your new book, About Us. Can you tell me a little about it and how the idea originated?

Hello! It’s a pleasure to be here and yes, of course, I’d love to tell you all about my new novel, About Us. About Us, is the story of Rosie Willis and her husband, Pete. It’s the story of they meet, fall in love, get married, have children, and then how it all falls apart. It’s set over twenty years from university until their early forties. It’s a dramatic romantic comedy.

The idea evolved over time – as they tend to do. After my last novel, Dan And Nat Got Married, I knew I wanted to write something a big different and I had this idea for a novel. Originally it was going to be a story of a marriage from both sides, but then I decided to write the whole thing from Rosie’s perspective and that’s when it really took off.

 

About UsWhat’s your writing routine like (where do you like to write, do you need silence etc.) How has your routine changed since writing your first book?

Well now I have both children in school full-time I actually have a routine! When I wrote, This Thirtysomething Life, I was a stay at home dad so writing was done around that. I squeezed it in when I could. Now I sit at my desk at around 8:30-9am and work in silence until about 1-2pm and just write. Sometimes I listen to music and sometimes I don’t. I drink tea, coffee, try and eat healthy snacks and always have a break for lunch!

 

How do you approach writing a novel? Planner or a Panster?

I was thinking about this the other day. I always thought of myself as a bad planner, but I realised that I do plan, but generally over long periods of time. I usually start the ideas process maybe a year before I start writing a novel. I jot down ideas, characters, plotlines etc. so usually by the time I start writing, I have a decent idea what I’m doing. I don’t write extensive notes, but I do have whole pages on characters, storylines etc.

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September’s Novel Kicks Book Club: Ralph’s Party by Lisa Jewell

Penguin, 1999

Penguin, 1999

We are in September. How are we already in September? As we are moving closer to Autumn, this month I wanted to pick a book that I think is perfect to snuggle up with when it’s raining outside (or not.)

I love books and I love chatting about them even more. For September, the book I have chosen for us is one of my favourites, Ralph’s Party by Lisa Jewell. Who wants to join me?

I have posted a question to kick things off in the comments box below. A good thing about this book club is that everyone is welcome to take part. It’s open to all. You can read the book at any point in the month or if you’ve already read it, tell us what you think.

The best part… it’s all from the comfort of your armchair/sofa/bed/comfy place.

About Ralph’s Party: 

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A Moment With…Charlie Laidlaw

The things we learn COVER FINALA big welcome to Charlie Laidlaw. His book, The Things We Learn When We’re Dead was released by Accent Press on 30th June 2017. 

About The Things We Learn When We’re Dead… 

The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy meets The Lovely Bones in this surrealist, sci-fi comedy.

When Lorna is run over, she wakes in a hospital in which her nurse looks like a young Sean Connery, she is served wine for supper, and everyone avoids her questions.

It soon transpires that she is in Heaven, or on HVN. Because HVN is a lost, dysfunctional spaceship, and God the aging hippy captain.

She seems to be there by accident …Or does God have a higher purpose after all?

 

He joins me today to talk about the inspiration behind his new novel. Over to you, Charlie… 

All books start with a beginning.

For the reader, that beginning is page one.

For the author, the beginning comes much earlier.

For me, that came on a train from Edinburgh to London. For no reason whatsoever, the idea for the book came into my head.

It was an apt place to have that beginning because, being a civilised place, Edinburgh is the only city in the world to have named its main railway station after a book.

Part of the inspiration was a quote from the Roman emperor and philosopher Marcus Aurelius Antoninus who wrote that “our life is what our thoughts make it.”

I’d always thought that life is what happens to you – all things good or bad: the people you meet, the things you do.

But, from a different perspective, everything about life is also about memory. We can’t do our jobs if we can’t remember how to do them; we can’t love people if we’ve forgotten who they are. It is our thoughts that shape us.

It’s the only train journey I’ve ever been on where I hoped for signal failure, or for spontaneous industrial action. I could have sat on that train for another five hours.

When I got home, I wrote the first chapter and the last chapter. The first chapter has changed out of all recognition, but the last chapter is still pretty much the same.

The story I’d come up was the story of Lorna Love, and the book follows her as she grows up. She’s feisty and funny, but also damaged and conflicted. More than anything, she’s someone fairly ordinary who you could meet on any street.

The story is about the small decisions that she makes, and of their unintended consequences. It’s also how, apparently killed in a road accident on her way back from a dinner party, she comes to look back at her life and rearrange her memories in a different pattern.

By the end of the book, when her memorises have come back to her, she can see herself in a new light. Her old memories, rearranged in a new way, make her a different person. (She’s not dead, by the way…and hence the book’s title).

It’s about being given a second chance and that is, perhaps, one of the most universal and recurring theme in literature.

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Novel Kicks Fiction Friday: An Icy Reunion

rp_friday-300x16411111111111111-300x164-300x1641-300x164-300x1641-300x16411-300x164-300x164-300x1641-300x1641-300x164-300x164-300x1641-300x164-300x164-1-1-1-1-1-300x164-1-1-300x164-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.pngFiction Friday is our weekly writing prompt.

The aim is to write for a minimum of five minutes and then keep going for as long as you can. Once you’ve finished, don’t edit, just post in the comments box below.

Today’s prompt is about an icy reunion.

Four people arrive at an isolated beach house. They all seem surprised that the others are there as each couple thought they would be alone.

They have all met before. There are two women and two men. However, they have not always seen eye to eye.

They’ve not seen one another in a long time. Write about the day/evening they have. What kept them apart and why for so long?

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Book Review: The Choir on Hope Street by Annie Lyons

choironhopestreet

HQ, April 2017

Nat’s husband has just said the six words no one wants to hear – ‘I don’t love you any more’.

Caroline’s estranged mother has to move into her house turning her perfectly ordered world upside down.

Living on the same street these two women couldn’t be more different. Until the beloved local community centre is threatened with closure. And when the only way to save it is to form a community choir – none of the Hope Street residents, least of all Nat and Caroline, expect the results…
Nat’s husband has just told her that he doesn’t love her anymore. She is left alone in the family home with their son. Her life is an organised chaos and she is not sure what she is going to do next.

Caroline’s life is well-ordered until her estranged mother comes to visit and turns Caroline’s life upside down.

Nat and Caroline couldn’t be more different and under normal circumstances, their paths wouldn’t cross. These women are not the most compatible of friends. They are thrown together when the local community centre is threatened with closure.

The question is, can they put their differences aside for the greater good?

Nat and Caroline both have their own struggles and both are very quick to judge the other – something I’ve certainly been guilty of in the past.

This story is told from both the point of view of Nat and Caroline so you get a real insight into thoughts and emotions of these characters and the world in which they inhabit. I quickly became attached to them.

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#Blogival: Addicted To Death by Matthew Redford – Extract

Addicted to DeathIt’s my last stop as part of Clink Street Publishing’s #blogival event and I am pleased to be welcoming back Matthew Redford to Novel Kicks. 

About Addicted To Death… 

Following the murder of Benedict and Darcy Blacktail, two eggs savagely beaten to death outside their home by an unknown, fedora wearing assailant brandishing a large metal spoon, Detective Inspector Willie Wortel, carrot and the leading food detective in the police force, is called in to investigate.

When the only food sapiens minister in the Government, Professor Perry Partridge, is murdered at the Strawberry Strip Club, run by the young damson Victoria Plum, DI Wortel suspects that the two cases may somehow be linked.

As the Head of the Food Related Crime Division, DI Wortel is ably assisted by his human colleague Sergeant Dorothy Knox. But as their investigation begins, four celebrity chefs are sent death threats. It’s a recipe for disaster as the incarcerated evil genius MadCow McBeef is seeking parole; someone appears to have crumbled Mr Bramley’s apples; and there is an anti-GM food protestor on the prowl.

And why do Oranges and Lemons think they owe someone five farthings? DI Wortel and his team must find out who is seemingly addicted to death. It will take all efforts – human, fruit and vegetable – to figure this one out.

 

Thanks to Matthew and Clink Street Publishing, I’ve got an extract from his novel, Addicted to Death. Enjoy! 

 

Sour grapes

Wortel eventually prised Dorothy out the KGB offices after hearing more gossip about a tax evasion scam that included many famous celebrities including Gary Barley and Jimmy Carp. Wortel navigated the evening traffic, dropped Dorothy home, wished her a good evening and set off for home himself comforted by the thought of slumping onto his sofa and watching something completely pointless on the television.

The all too familiar sight of a rickshaw parked outside the house caused Wortel to sigh outwardly. Warren. Bang goes a quiet night. He braced himself and opened the front door. And was hit by an overwhelming smell of paint.

“Stella, I’m home. Why can I smell paint?”

“Hello Mr Wortel,” called out Warren. “Mind how you go, the walls in the living room might be a little sticky. I wouldn’t want you to get paint on your suit.”

Stella poked her head out from the kitchen. “I’ll pop the kettle on. I hope you picked up some more that breakfast cereal.”

“What for?” replied Wortel feeling a little confused. “We’ve got four boxes in the cupboard.”

“Down to one box. It’s hard to stop once you’ve had a bowl and Warren certainly worked up an appetite today. He’s worked really hard.”

“Well I’ll have to get some tomorrow now. So, why can I smell paint?”

“Oh bless Warren. I mentioned how I wanted to get some decorating done but you’re always so busy. So he ran me to the superstore, helped me pick up some paint and he set to and painted the room for us.”

With Wortel feeling his shoulders begin to tense he walked into the living room to find the walls decorated a delightful shade of lettuce green.

“Warren thought it was a lovely colour,” said Stella following Wortel into the living room.

Wortel naturally hated the colour out of spite for Warren, and yet as much as he begrudged admitting it, he’d made a bloody good job with the decoration.

As night time approached and Stella insisted that Warren must be far too tired to cycle home, Wortel found himself in the loft recovering the inflatable bed. After blowing up the bed, and putting it into Jack’s room for their new guest, Wortel fled to the bathroom before he heard once again how wonderful Warren had been during the day. God, he hated that rabbit.

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Book Extract: Dating Daisy by DaisyMae_224

eBook Daisy Mae - 9.6.17 - v6Today, I’m so pleased to be a part of the blog tour for Dating Daisy by DaisyMae_224 which was released by Clink Street Publishing on 27th July 2017. 

Here’s a little about Dating Daisy…

What do you do when you’re a newly divorced 52-year-old mother, keen for a second chance of romance? Why internet dating of course! Daisy Mae_224 embarks on the internet dating process with trepidation.

Having not been on the dating scene for nearly 30 years, and with fairly rudimentary computer skills, she finds herself embroiled in a series of haphazard and hilarious situations.

Daisy keeps a diary of her internet dating life and reveals detail by detail, the ups and downs of her midlife dating extravaganza. Soon after starting out, Daisy realises her true mission. With no past experience and no-one/nothing to guide her, she needs to produce – Internet Dating lessons.

Read on to find out about PLONKERS, muppets and MAWDs, and a whole host of amusing anecdotes, tips and ideas. Working by day as a Sexual Health doctor, the story as it unfolds contains accounts of Daisy’s clinical experiences with patients in the Sexual Health clinic.

She also reflects on her past life with Voldemort (the dreadful ex-husband). With advice and encouragement from Imogen, her 17 year old daughter, her surrogate parents known as the Amigos, with a big house and swanky swimming pool, her friend Pinkie and from Jeannie, her nonagenarian friend from the Nursing Home, Daisy resiliently persists in her quest to find a long term partner.

This is a heartfelt story that will ring bells with anyone who has ended a long-term relationship and now wants to find somebody new. It is humorously written, full of emails, poems, limericks, and even a recipe!

Daisy can’t resist her pages of advice on topics like “Kissing” and “Anti-Snoring.” It is a unique and highly amusing book, which will make you laugh out loud! So read on and see. Will Dating Daisy find her “prairie vole?” Or will the whole process end in disaster?

 

Thanks to DaisyMae_224 and Clink Street Publishing, I have extracts from Dating Daisy to share. These also include notes from the author. Enjoy!

Dating Daisy is a humorous novel about Daisy, who aged 52, and newly divorced, plucks up the courage to start internet dating. It is a fiction book but based on the authors’ experiences. In between the dating, she works as a doctor in the Sexual Health Clinic. The book follows the up’s and down’s of this period in her life, and reveals some unpredictable, escapades, that may just make you laugh out loud!

In this first extract, Daisy has bravely done all that was required. With trepidation, as she has not had to think about any sort of dating for three decades, let alone advertise herself on the internet, she has actually completed the profile, uploaded the photo., and then went to bed to sleep on it. The next morning, full of anticipation she logs on, expecting to find a row of possible suitors.

*
Not one wink, smile, email or anything else. I am deflated.
Oh, wait a minute, 37 men have viewed me and one has listed me as a favourite.
One! Out of 37! How can I be so unattractive!

Didn’t I say rhinoceros earlier? Time to think of ugly mammals. Hopefully not because I’m one of them!, but because I have to behave like one. The thicker the skin the better. Didn’t the elephant get his saggy baggy skin by scratching it in the Limpopo River? I need to scratch mine somewhere. It’s getting very itchy.
“What’s wrong with me,” my brain asks Daisy. “Am I so ugly no one wants to speak to me?”
“Now come on,” says the brain, “there are lots of reasons nothing has happened – yet. And it is early.

“You only loaded your profile less than 24 hours ago. It has to be checked by Trust HQ!
“And anyway, remember men are like ostriches, they see a beautiful woman, they stick their head in the sand. You, Daisy, need to lead the way.

“Think about the men on BritainonSunday.com. The Britain on Sunday readers of the UK have just risen early, downed a cooked breakfast and boarded the 6.48 to Clapham Junction. They are probably only now unfurling the daily newspaper, and may not even yet have reached the dating section.

“And how many will be actually online-now? In the rush hour? Don’t be ridiculous!

“And those who do like you, may be shy, they may be poleaxed, frozen with desire, helplessly in love with the tantalising image in the red dress, but uncertain how to make the first move.

“Daisy, you will just have to make the first move yourself. Now what did I say?
“Dazzling, beautiful, smart and alluring.
“Be brave! The world CAN be your oyster.”
*
I chose this extract because disappointments when internet dating are all too common. This is fairly early on this story, and Daisy is quite dismayed to see that the man who gets off the train, is a different person to the one she saw in his photograph on the internet.)

*

Anyhow, I was now driving to meet Henry, this talkative, charming, perfect soulmate who wanted to be my teddy bear, and today Dating Daisy had a date. Nothing was going to get in the way. Jeremy took my love and threw it away. Jeremy is history.

I arrived at the station. The train was due in 20 minutes but it seemed the longest 20 minutes in history. He had texted that he was in the front of the train. I waited in the waiting room as it was very cold that day. I popped in to the ladies to brush my hair and apply a bit more lipstick. What would he think of me, this 53-year-old, Dating Daisy? I was aware that I had my love poem, Finding True Love, folded in a an envelope in my hand bag.

Would I, oh would I, in my wildest dreams, be able to give this to Henry?
The train slowed, a whistle blew, the doors opened. A lot of people were moving about, getting on and off the train. I scanned the front of the train for a tall, balding man with a smiley face.

But what was this. A carriage door opened and a man was smiling and walking towards me. But it wasn’t, it couldn’t be, Henry? I guessed it must be as he was hugging me and grasping my hand. I looked over his left shoulder as he enveloped me on that station platform. I am 5ft8½, and he is shorter than me.

First lie.

Second lie. He didn’t look anything like his photo. The picture I had seen must have been a picture of someone else.

This man had had seriously bad acne, and had a very scarred face. Deep craters peppered his rough complexion. In addition, his cheeks had caved in, rather like an old person who has taken out their false teeth. I knew he didn’t have any hair, so that was not a surprise, but he was very, very bald. And you know what else? He was wearing a purple and green striped shirt over a pair of tatty jeans, and what had I said? No Morris dancers!

*
Daisy continues to work at her day job in the Sexual Health Clinic. The book is interspersed with anecdotes and stories from the clinic.

*
A patient made me laugh today.
She said, “Can I ask you something doctor?”
“Of course,” I said.
“The thing is, I keep getting this pain in my vagina.”
“Ok. Pain in the vagina?”
“Yes, I get it whenever I use two vibrators at once. Have you heard of that before?”
I considered this.
“Well, have you tried only using one vibrator at a time?” I said.
“Now there’s an idea,” she replied.
People can be very strange!

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Novel Kicks is a blog for story tellers and book lovers.

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