Wednesday, 27 February 2013

I can SKI... You can learn something new every day!

Since I was raised in Gibraltar my experience of snow and skiing was limited... i.e. non-existent. I remember the first time I saw snow when I moved to England.  It was pretty, and well COLD! And you got all this slush on the ground after the snow fell... Not good! I was not impressed!

Over the years, we have contemplated a skiing family holiday and I have come up with excuses... the kids are too young, its too expensive, etc etc... but I was (if I'm honest) scared...

I did try skiing on a dry ski slope a few years back and enjoyed it but my legs died - agony!

Since then I have improved! :)

By walking a lot over the past year and the fact I have lost a lot of weight (as I have mentioned before) it was great to NOT die for a change when we went skiing in Switzerland. Saying that, the experience was made easy for us. We stayed with my lovely in-laws and had a fantastic time! They picked us up from the airport, made us welcome in their fantastic apartment, booked the skiing lessons, drove us to the slopes... Like WOW!

Anyway, I have some pictures to share... the ski gear is not flattering! How to put back on a stone via clothing! Ha ha

Firstly, my children & me before we ventured out into the world of skiing...

We started badly! None of us could get hold of the pully thing and did spectacular falls! Oh well... but I got the hang of it and progressed to do a great pizza!

I was so confident that I asked to go to the bigger slope... oh YES - bring it ON! 

I did manage it, but did have a massive crash on the second day - but I survived - the white stuff does not hurt (lucky that...) 

Unfortunately, I did manage to fall a few times - watch out for the huge BUTT! Ha ha ha

My daughter also managed to tackle to larger slope (my son got a red card and got sent back (he was not for crashing into his sister.

And my youngest let us steer her along... she prefered my husband to help!  Although she really, really enjoyed pulling the sledge!

So all in all a great experience.

I leave you a picture of the view... breathtaking, isn't it! I know, I know... I am a lucky, lucky thing...

Let me know what you think,
Vanessa :) xx

Tuesday, 19 February 2013


I now know what a Blog Tour is and it appears I have inadvertantly taken part already via The Booker Award & Leibster Awards I have been nominated for in the past ...
The VERY BRITISH BLOG TOUR was founded by Author Paul Anthony (@paulanthonyspen ) who mooted the idea to Clive Eaton ( @cliveeaton

The idea is to use the same introduction and then answer the same questions on your blog/website as the author who nominated you, many of which have a specific British slant.  Then you invite 10 other authors to do the same.
Once you have filled ten spots, you feed further interested parties to those ten people, and so on. The more people involved the more exposure the tour will get, and so it then builds. Use the hash-tag #VBBT2013 as a means of identifying tweets, to then retweet.
Your page should also have links back to your sponsor, in my case Clive Eaton , and my nominee, Susan Buchanan 

Anything you can do to make the page look 'more British' the better... By the way, we British have certain conventions, traditions and procedures that are expected. There is a dress code in the reading of this British blog and you are expected to comply with it.

For example…

Gentlemen will wear suits, white shirts and dark ties. (Military ties are expected wherever possible). Ladies will wear dresses (one inch above the knee, no higher, no lower) and floral summer hats. A break for tea and cucumber sandwiches is expected at some stage, and is permissible. The list at the bottom the page is not a queue. We British hate queues, and will accept them no longer. It is an invitation, and you are expected to accept that invitation and support the home-grown product. Now then, let us proceed in an orderly fashion. As you know, we are all very boring and staid in Britain, aren’t we?

Well, there’s a myth about the British and your starter for ten is - stuffy, class conscious, boring, staid! But is this still relevant in today’s world? Let’s find out from our wonderful writers what they feel about it...

On with the show...

Where were you born and where do you live at the moment?
 I am a Gibraltarian (from Gibraltar – a British colonial), who now lives on the Isle of Wight

Have you always lived and worked in Britain or are you based elsewhere at the moment?
 I grew up in Gibraltar, before I came to study in the University of Southampton when I was 18. I then worked in Reading as a VAT Consultant, before I changed career and moved to Twickenham to retrain as a Teacher of Mathematics.  I then lived in Kingston Upon Thames, Watford, Hatfield and Rotterdam (The Netherlands) before finally moving to the Island.

Which is your favourite part of Britain?
 I do love the Isle of Wight, but I have to admit that being by the River Thames was fantastic.  I also think the Peak District is beautiful.  I have also visited Wales & Scotland and have been impressed by the people, traditions and areas of beauty.  If I had to choose, I would say the Isle of Wight, purely because I love the sight of the sea, and you can’t escape it here.

Have you ‘highlighted’ or ‘showcased’ any particular part of Britain in your books? For example, a town or city; a county, a monument or some well-known place or event?
 HYBRID starts in the University of Southampton, and is based in Hampshire for the first half of the book.  In COMPLICATIONS my main characters take a journey from Southampton to Ilfracombe.

There is an illusion – or myth if you wish - about British people that I would like you to discuss. Many see the ‘Brits’ as ‘stiff upper lip’. Is that correct?
 Seeing as I am colonial British I can answer this from the point of view of a foreigner.  When I first arrived in England I could not believe how “cold” people appeared.  I remember crying due to home sickness and no-one coming to check on me.  When I asked why no-one had later on I was told it was best to leave me to it.  I could not believe it! In Gibraltar, my friends would have been there for me like a rash.
I have now adapted and have found that when you make friends they tend to be true ones.  The English (I can’t speak for others) tend to be slightly wary of strangers, they are not open books.  I now think this is a good thing.  I give away far too much of myself, it exposes me…

Do any of the characters in your books carry the ‘stiff upper lip’? Or are they all ‘British Bulldog’ and unique in their own way?
 My main character, Steven, comes from a privileged background.  But, he is level headed.  I met many “stiff upper lip” types in my first job and the accent meant nothing.  Most of the time they were the nicest, most chilled out and outgoing people I have ever met.  There advantage in life did not seem a disadvantage (if you know what I mean).

Tell us about one of your recent books
 COMPLICATIONS came out in November.  It is the second book in The Evolution Trilogy.
The Evolution Trilogy charts the journey taken by Steven Thorn when he discovers he is a member of the next evolutionary stage of mankind. The difference being that he is a Hybrid - half new breed, half human.
Throughout the Trilogy we meet and find out about this new community of individuals.  These special people have vampiric tendencies and are exceptional in many ways.  They are a family, they look out for each other, they keep to themselves, and they care for one another.  Generally, they stay away from humanity, but this is all set to change.
The next stage of evolution is complete, and the new members of humanity will come face to face with their ancestors.
 In HYBRID, Caitlin Chance and Steven Thorn's meet at University and fall in love at first sight. However, when Steven is discovered they are forced to separate. Steve is taken to the community and his fate is sealed. He is not normal and his choices are restricted. An accident will change this, his life is about to get complicated...
In COMPLICATIONS, Steven gets to know his grandparents and comes face to face with the reality of his mother's internal struggle. His mum, Emily, has a dark side that once exposed reveals her true nature. It turn out she is the main reason they can not live amongst humanity. However, when Steven manages to convince his grandparents to return to England, he is reunited with Caitlin, and then events take a further twist. It makes the return to the community imminent...
In RETURN (to be published in 2013) the future for the community, Caitlin and Steven is revealed...

What are you currently working on?
 RETURN, the final book in the Trilogy.

How do you spend your leisure time?
 If you mean REAL leisure time then it’s walking, reading, swimming and watching a movie.

Do you write for a local audience or a global audience?
 A global audience.

Can you provide links to your work?
 The Evolution Series

Seasonal Short Stories

Main Blog
The Evolution Trilogy Blog
A Reader’s Perspective
Diary of the Festival of Writing, York, UK, 2012
Short Stories Group
The Writer’s Workshop

I have now asked a few lovely people via Twitter and they have agreed to do their own VERY BRITISH blog posts soon, and attach their posts to mine as soon as they have done them!

Scarlett Flame on Twitter
Edward Cowling on Twitter
Dave P Perlmutter on Twitter
James Smith on Twitter
Steve Venables on Twitter

Who else is brave enough?
If you are interested please let me know... only 5 spaces left!

Speak soon,
Vanessa :) xx hugs

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Decorating, Interview, Short Stories Collection, Leibster Award & THAT Movie...

It's been a while since I blogged on here... mainly because I have been busy... very busy!

For starters, I decided it was time to decorate the kids rooms and change things around. It sounds like such a simple thing... that it is NOT.  Everything had to come out of their rooms, especially in one that needed a new carpet, so we moved the kids around (my eldest daughter slept in different beds), until eventually three weeks later they have their own bedrooms - and they look great. The charity shops are thankful - I got rid of a LOT of stuff... phew!

Anyway, whilst I have been living in mayhem (with my bedroom resembling a dump site) I had to finalise the latest collection of short stories, LOVE IS IN THE AIR. Somehow, (best not to ask) I managed to get the formatting done, I also included links for everything this time and included a "Back to Table of Contents" link - it looks rather cool! I fixed a few formatting errors, and another author spotted a few grammatical issues within some stories... and finally, the eBook and the paperback were finalised!

I decided to interview James Smith (first time I interviewed anyone...), who actually published the eBook since he is raising money for Diabetes UK.

Please check out the interview by clicking here - James Smith Interview

Please support our fundraising efforts and read some cracking stories... Click here for the blurb & links to LOVE IS IN THE AIR

The best news is that I have finally got back into my Evolution Trilogy and am about a third of the way into the last book now, I have to say it is taking twists and turns I can not foresee - I LOVE IT! And so, I will try to stay focused and finish it in the next few months... when the real work will begin - EDITING...

I also managed to get nominated for the Leibster Award again (first time in 2013 though...) by Susan Buchanan - read the results here... WORDPRESS BLOG

I did manage to go to see the movie LES MISERABLES - follow the link for my full review and break down... I loved the musical - I have the soundtrack - and I loved the film. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Anyway, I hope you all enjoy Valentine's Day - whether you think it is commercial or not tell your someone special that you love them... and you know why? Because you can...

Speak soon,
Vanessa :) xx