A Passionate Love Affair with a Total Stranger by Lucy Robinson

book picDisclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Summary:

Charley Lambert has worked hard at creating a perfect life. She has an aspirational flat, a job of international significance and a very good pair of legs, thanks to a rigorous health and fitness regime. Best of all, her boss has asked her out after seven years’ hard flirting and a covert fumble in a cleaning cupboard.

Then she breaks her leg in three places, watches her boss propose to someone else and – horror – is forced to hand over her job to her nasty deputy.

Charley, a certified workaholic, fears that she will go mad. 
Dangerously bored, she starts helping people who are talentless at internet dating. Then William arrives in her inbox and rocks her world. Helpless, she watches herself fall in love with him and discovers she’s not who she thought she was.

But can she turn her back on her old life – all for a total stranger?

My Thoughts:

This book is hysterical! The main character, Charley Lambert, leads on crazy, hectic life. At times, it almost seems like every minute of her life is accounted for and she barely has time to think, let alone anything else. But, that all changes when she breaks her leg and is forced to take some time away from work. During this time, she decides to start her own business, and she has the perfect niche idea in mind. Author Lucy Robinson does a really great job at creating a story that is realistic and enjoyable, and not too predictable, like Chick Lit often times is. The characters were genuine and honest and the story flows flawlessly, which is hard for a book that features so many comedic twists and turns. Be on the lookout for  John MacAllister. He is probably one of my favorite characters in the book and I really enjoyed watching him blossom. Overall, this book is quite enjoyable and I am so pleased with Lucy as an author. She is quite talented and I can’t wait to read more from her.

I highly recommend this book.

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Can You Visualize Your Life As a Writer and Make It Happen? by Holly Robinson

A confession: I have never done meditation, yoga, hypnosis, walking on hot coals or any other practices aimed at unleashing mental powers. I get my best ideas for writing while walking the dog. One of my Buddhist friends refers to this as my “walking meditation,” but it’s really more of a “stop, sniff, and pee” thing.

Yesterday, however, I stumbled onto something that made me realize I’ve been using creative visualization techniques all along.

What was that special “something?” Not a book of Buddhist philosophy or a Hindu guide to enlightenment. Nope, it was a New York Times magazine profile of Candace Bushnell, author of Sex and the City and six other novels that focus on beautiful women making gobs of money and having a lot of sex. (Truthfully, I’ve never read any of these novels, but I did indulge in watching the show with my daughters, if only to chortle over phrases like “I was emotionally slutty.”)

In her profile, Energizer Bunny Bushnell says:

…I always wanted to write novels. I think when I was 12, I started reading Evelyn Waugh, and I loved Evelyn Waugh so much, and I thought: This is how the world really is. If I could be Evelyn Waugh, then I would be happy.

Since then, Bushnell has been writing, usually six hours a day. And there’s the key: Every successfully published writer I know started out as an inspired reader and visualized the rest.

At some point in our lives, writers realize that books are written by real people, and we began putting our pens to paper or our fingers on the keyboard. To keep ourselves going, we visualize our books on shelves, our bylines in magazines, and yes, movie adaptations of our books. I even had one friend who cut out a photograph of herself and pasted it onto a rave book review in a newspaper, then pinned that review above her desk to help herself imagine writing a book that would end up being published and widely applauded.

My true visualizations of the writing life began when I was house sitting for a professor in graduate school. It was a boring summer, so I spent a lot of time sitting on the deck and pretending to read. Really what I was doing — and yes, I admit this is creepy — was spying on the neighbor across the street. She was a fairly well-known writer and I admired her books. Every morning, her husband would go to work, her children went off to camps or wherever, and that woman brought her laptop out to the deck with a mug of coffee. She sat there for hours, frowning and chewing on pens and typing.

And I do mean hours. Sometimes, that woman sat there all day long, until her husband came home again, kissed her, went into the house to change his clothes, and came back out with a couple of glasses of wine. Then they’d sit on the porch and talk, drinks in hand, and I could tell the woman was happy because she’d spent the day thinking and writing, and now her family was home.

I wanted that life. I just didn’t know how badly at the time.

Fast forward to the present. I had various jobs, traveled, got married, had children and got divorced. I got married again, had one more child, and here I am now, writing for a living. And, every day, as soon as my husband leaves for work and the house is empty of children, I’m at my laptop, writing stories, essays, articles and, now, finally, novels. At the end of the day, my husband and I have wine and talk with each other and the children.

I have reached my goal. I am that woman on the deck with books of my own on the shelves and a loving family. But did I do this deliberately, using visualization techniques? Is it really possible to imagine what you want and get it?

I have come to believe that it is. People use creative visualization techniques to accomplish everything from small goals, like losing weight, to larger life aims, like advancing their careers. Those who do so successfully seem to agree on these three key points, which I think are germane for those of us who aspire to be published writers:

1. Creative visualizations are like mental rehearsals. You must visualize things consistently and often to perfect the visualization. People who want to succeed in landing a job, for instance, might imagine the details of walking into the office, offering a confident handshake, and summing up the highlights of their prior work experience over and over again before they perfect those actions and actually do those things on job interviews. Likewise, my mental rehearsals as a writer have often included imagining that I reach the end of an essay or a novel, writing query letters to agents, and, eventually, am called for radio interviews and book signings.

2. The best visualizations include lots of details. For instance, if you want to use this technique to lose weight, you have to picture what number you want to see on the scale tomorrow, the day after that, and next week. You also must imagine what you’ll eat at each meal, right down to how many carrots will be on your plate. As a writer, my visualization techniques have also been specific: I picture myself sitting down at the computer with a thermos of tea, wearing my comfy slippers, and that helps me do it every single day. During a busy period of freelance ghost writing with tense deadlines, for instance, I imagine that one hour after dinner where I’ll work on my novel by visualizing myself in pajamas and deep into Chapter Three, a cup of mint tea at my elbow, with maybe a square of dark chocolate as a treat. I can smell the mint when I imagine this.

3. Your visualization must include positive thinking. By this, I mean that you must believe in yourself. This is tough to do as a writer, because our lives are rich with rejections. But it really will work. Again, let’s look at the example of dieting, since that’s the one so many of us are familiar with: On the days we tell ourselves we’ll always be fat, we feel bad about ourselves and are more likely to break our diets or skip the gym. We have to convince ourselves that we are worthy of the time and energy it takes to care for our bodies if we’re going to maintain those resolutions to be fit and eat better. Similarly, if we believe we’ll never finish a novel, guess what? We never will. To be a published writer, you must tell yourself each day, over and over again, that novels are written one page at a time, or even one sentence at a time. If you’re writing even a few sentences a day, you are a writer, and you will reach your goal.

What about you? Any visualization techniques you’d like to share?

Follow Holly Robinson on Twitter: www.twitter.com/hollyrob1

LIFE AS A WRITER: the real story! By Lucy Robinson

Here is what people think it’s like to be a writer:
You wake up in your bohemian bedroom at midday, well-rested after a wild night dancing at a launch party thrown by one of your writer friends. You were plied with champagne and free books and you looked outlandishly amazing in a designer gown sent to you by a famous couturier. 
 
You breakfast on fresh fruit and mint tea and then spend an hour doing yoga and meditation. Perhaps you’ll pop into your local bookshop to sign some copies of your bestselling novel, and the sales assistant will be so excited to meet you that she will cry or simply pass out on the floor. (If this happens you will probably drive her to hospital in your sleek sports car, because that’s the sort of girl you are.)
 
In the afternoon you will sit on your spacious balcony, overlooking the sea, and you will write thousands of words. The inspiration will come to you like the waves crashing on to the shore below you – regular, powerful; immense. You will feel the creative juices flowing like golden nectar, and you will be so immersed in your work that you will forget to eat. That’s fine anyway, you need to be able to fit into your gown for tonight’s launch party. 
 
At the party you are photographed for the local media and people come up and tell you that your novels have changed their life. You will glow with fulfilment and joy, and will dance until three a.m. when your chauffeur comes to whisk you home. 
 
Here is what it is actually like to be a writer:
I wake up at 7am in a cold sweat because my novel is a complete mess and I seem to have completely forgotten what to do when this happens. I feel like a mouldy old banana skin after days holed up in front of my computer. I wonder what normal people have been up to and decide they’ve all probably been dancing at glamorous parties.
I eat a lot of carbs so that I can face the day ahead. I go to my local bookshop and note that they still aren’t stocking my book. I pretend that’s fine. The sales assistant thinks I am a tool and wishes I’d leave her alone.
In the afternoon I’ll put on twenty sweaters, and my dressing gown, and maybe a hat, and I’ll plug in the electric fan heater. I’ll shut the door and hope that I will be a bit warmer shortly. (An hour later: I am not warm.) I wait for the creative juices to start flowing but nothing happens. I go and eat some more carbs; that normally helps. I write a thousand words of absolute tosh and get on to twitter where all my writer friends seem to be writing about twelve thousand words per minute. I log off twitter and eat some more carbs.
I go to a launch party. It is my first in months and I am worried because I have forgotten how to have conversations with other human beings. I get there and realise that my dress has a hole in it and whenever people talk to me I get so excited that I start jabbering like an alien. People walk away in fear. I watch other authors do the same. Everyone is avoiding the authors. I don’t blame them. We all look mad.
I try to catch a nightbus home but realise I have no coins in my wallet. I text my boyfriend who is asleep. I get a cab and feel a bit guilty about the money. I eat some carbs and pass out.
It’s a glamorous job! But in spite of all the above – all of which most writers will recognise, I’d imagine – I wouldn’t swap it for anything in the world. The feeling of holding my own lovely book in my hand is indescribable and the privilege of being able to entertain people, to make them laugh out loud, or stay up until 2am reading my books, is like nothing on earth.

I’d better go and plug in the heater. It’s time to shut myself in my room to write. Wish me luck! And I hope you enjoy my book . .

Stay tuned because I will be posting my review of Lucy’s latest book, A PASSIONATE LOVE AFFAIR WITH A TOTAL STRANGER on Wednesday.

Book Review: A Questionable Friendship by Samantha March

indexDisclaimer: I received a copy of A Questionable Friendship by Samantha March in exchange for an honest review.

Summary: Brynne Ropert and Portland Dolish have been best friends since being paired as roommates in college. Seven years later they are now twenty-five, married, and living in Maine–– but the two women couldn’t be more different. Brynne finds fulfillment in her life as a wife, mother and owner of a small café and bookshop, but is struggling to expand her family. Portland is still coping with her mother’s death during her childhood, and her marriage is unraveling before her eyes. Portland envies her friend’s seemingly stable and easy life while Brynne doesn’t understand the growing distance between them and cannot begin to guess what secret Portland is hiding about her husband and crumbling marriage. While one woman feels shut out, the other enters into a web of lies to protect herself.

A Questionable Friendship explores what really makes someone a true friend, a support system, a sister. How much trust goes into a friendship and when is being a friend not enough? Brynne and Portland’s story will attempt to answer those questions, and show that happily ever after isn’t in the cards for everyone.

My Thoughts: When I first heard Samantha was writing a new book, I was so excited to read it. I’ve been a fan of her and her writing for quite sometime and was thrilled to be a part of her tour and finally get a chance to read her latest. The first thing I noticed was that this book is very different than anything she has written before, but it is still an excellent, engrossing read that was difficult to put down. Playing to her strengths as an author, this book has excellent, honest dialogue that I really enjoyed, as well as a very clever plot…one that will keep you on your toes, eager for more. I enjoyed both of the main characters and thought they were both developed very well. Overall, this story is really well written and I know it will be one that I come back to time and time again when I think about my own friendships and relationships. Definitely a must read!

And, an added bonus? There is a giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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