Archive | September, 2014

News Roundup: Ali Smith, Stella Duffy & Val McDermid hit the airwaves, New Anthologies from R.J. Samuel, Rebecca S. Buck, & Maureen Duffy. Interviews, Reviews, and More!

26 Sep


UK Lesbian Fiction

So, in the week that Scotland decided to vote nay to independence, what have our authors in this most United of Kingdoms been getting up to?

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alismithFirstly, congratulations to Ali Smith, whose novel How To Be Both has been short listed for the Man Booker Prize. You can hear her talking about the novel on this episode of Radio 4’s Open Book, an episode that also features Stella Duffy looking back at twenty years or writing, and discussing her new anthology of short stories, Everything is Moving, Everything is Joined (the blurb is available on our New Releases page.)

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330x235valmcdermidVal McDermid might be a little unhappy with the way the referendum went, but she has also been busy chatting on the airwaves. In this recent interview on Radio 4’s Saturday Live show, she talks about “her passion for football, her musical aspirations and…

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Our dog has turned into a Diva and it’s entirely my fault.

24 Sep

Our dog has turned into a Diva and it’s entirely my fault..

Our dog has turned into a Diva and it’s entirely my fault.

24 Sep

Two years ago, my wife and I decided to add an additional furbaby to our small family. As soon as we met Kimmy, our unconditional love poured from us. In a heartbeat, she had us hopelessly smitten, fully devoted, and successfully wrapped around her little grey paw. How did she bewitch us so easily? With her secret weapon…cuteness. Seriously, have a look for yourselves. Could you resist this little grey ball of fluff?


baby kim

We even got her a little Halloween costume.

baby kim 2

As time passed by, Kimmy grew and so did her mischievous nature. One day, I came downstairs to discover she had escaped from her escape-proof doggy crate. To this day, we still don’t know how. How had she entertained herself? Well, she could have played with the umpteen toys we’d purchased just for her. She could have passed away the time by playing with Alice (our middle furbaby). She could have snoozed innocently beneath the table. Alas, she didn’t do any of the latter, instead, she chose to rip apart a beanbag dinner tray. (It’s basically a dinner tray with a beanbag underneath it, that we used when my cousins or friend’s little boy came over to visit.) I came downstairs to a carpet of white. The whole thing was covered in evil tiny white balls. After whispering a few expletives beneath my breath I took action. I hoovered every single tiny white ball of doom up. I opened the hoover to pour the evil balls into the bin (trash), only for Kimmy to perfectly time her assault and rip open the bin bag. The white balls from hell once again flooded the carpet and I think I cried a little. Half way through re-hoovering them up, the hoover broke and I had to finish the job with a dustpan and brush.

This is a photo of the living room, after she dragged the last remains of the beanbag tray in there. The real destruction took place in the dinning room, but alas, I didn’t have the foresight to take a photo of it.

Destroyed bean bag 4

There was also the time we had Kimmy spayed at the vets. She came back and looked a very sorry state. We cuddled her, took care of her, and both felt very guilty for putting our little furbaby through such an ordeal. She was so helpless, that we decided to move her dog crate and bed up into our bedroom, so we could keep an eye on her and make sure she was okay. The first night was fine. We all slept well. The second night, Kimmy was feeling a lot better. At 2AM, 3Am, 4AM, and finally 5AM she proceeded to repeatedly drag her plastic cone along the metal bars making a horrendous noise. When we ignored that, she started barking the most irritating bark I’ve ever heard. It was a single bark that was low in tone, long, and loud. It really did sound like the stereotypical “Woof!” She did this over and over until we got up. Needless to say, her crate was moved back downstairs pretty sharpish.

poorly Kim

Then we had Christmas. My wife and I love Christmas… a lot. From the end of September we’re like (our childhood selves) children who are jacked up on E-numbers and caffeine. (The 80’s have a lot to answer for). We can’t help it. We’re as bad as each other and we actively encourage the other person to get even more excited. We eagerly count down to December 1st with bated breath. As soon as that date arrives, an explosion of everything festive and Christmassy takes over our house.

Last year, we naively believed that Kimmy, Harley, and Alice were now all too old to be bothered with the Christmas tree. In previous years, we’d had a metal fence around it and watched it with the unwavering determination of Big Brother. “No paws shall pass!” was kind of our motto. But last year, we were fooled once again by their cuteness and supposed lack of interest. None of them gave the slightest inclination that they were interested in the tree or decorations. They didn’t even look at it, let alone go up and have a curious sniff.

I even put this photo up on Facebook last year with the caption: Amazingly, Kimmy isn’t interested in the tree this year.

Xmas 1a

Oh, how wrong we were! The cats showed some interest the first night. We woke up to glittery gifts of decorative stars, baubles, and tinsel. It took Kimmy until the next day to find her ideal window of opportunity. In just twenty minutes of unsupervised time, she managed to get over the barricade (we still have no idea how) and get into the living room. We’re starting to think she might be the doggy version of Houdini. Anyway, here’s the wake of destruction that yours truly came downstairs to discover.

Xmas 1

It turns out, Kimmy has expensive taste when it comes to festive decorations. She totally ignored the cheap ones that we deliberately placed near the bottom of the tree just on the off chance she got near. Oh no, she had to go for the expensive ones. What can I say, she takes after her mothers tastes. Only, we like to buy them and show them off. Kimmy takes a more literal approach to the term expensive tastes.

So, after redecorating the tree and putting the metal fence back into position, I came up with an idea to write a festive romcom. Only, I wanted to include Kimmy in the story too. After all, she’s naughty and can be a huge pain in my arse, but she is also one of our babies and we couldn’t love her more if we tried. And that’s how Season’s Meetings came to be.

I love this story. It’s festive, sweet, and funny. It’s so very different from my debut novel Secret Lies and that’s why I’m a little bit nervous. I hope readers enjoy it as much as I have enjoyed writing it. It also stars Kimmy on the cover and in the story, which leads to the purpose of this blog. Kimmy is now a diva. She knows she’s soon to be famous and she’s letting the fame go to her little grey head. And there’s nothing I can do to prevent it.


Her demands are getting more frequent:

* 4+ walks a day and whenever her short stumpy legs get tired, she must be carried.
* Treats must be surrendered whenever she desires.
* Playtime will be initiated whenever she wishes.
* Tummy rubs must be given at the click of her paws.
* We must bow before feeding her and picking up her business (which comes from the other end).
* She must be referred to as, “Kimmy, the most beautiful dog in the whole wild world. ”

We’re not entirely sure how much more demanding she’s going to get. We’ve just got to wait and see. I ordered some promotional flyers and she’s refused to let the one I showed her out of her sight.


“It’s exhausting being so gorgeous!”

Flyer 1

This is the response when I told her she was acting like a diva.


We’re in for a whole world of trouble. Wish us luck…we need it!