Category Archives: Living the Dream

The Patreon Dilemma

patreon_navigation_logo_mini_orange The Patreon DilemmaThere has been some controversy recently about authors signing up for Patreon. For those who don’t know, Patreon is a site where people can sign up to support creators (not just authors, but photographers and artists, musicians, models… you name it) by pledging them a fixed amount of money every month. Most Patreons start at $1 or $3, and can go all the way up to hundreds of dollars per month.

I’ll be honest, I’ve been considering it for a long time, but I hadn’t taken the plunge because getting a Patreon involves two things: 1. Talking about money, and 2. Swallowing my pride. Let me explain. Continue reading →

Dirty Talk — Money, and How to Earn it From Home

Workathomead-300x291 Dirty Talk -- Money, and How to Earn it From HomeWe’ve all seen those signs at the side of the road, cheap paper flyers promising “Earn $$$ Working from Home!” Every other website seems to promise you can be rolling in cash if you just monetise your Pinterest account or learn Java or join some remote phone sales hotline.I don’t know anyone who’s ever seriously considered calling a number from one of those flyers, or taken those websites seriously when they suggested that ordinary people just like you are earning $10,000 a month working a couple of hours a week in their free time!

They’re scammy, right? Except for the past three years, I have been working at home (sometimes even in my pyjamas!), and I don’t intend to quit.

Continue reading →

Happy New Year!

BlowingIt_400x600-204x300 Happy New Year!Yes, I was a bad blogger in December. I’m working furiously on the Blowing It prequel which is coming out this month (Jan 2016). Title and cover coming soon!

2015 was an incredible year. Not only did I emigrate from the UK to the US and get married, I completed my Puddledown Mysteries trilogy with The Poison Pen in April, and started a new series with Blowing It and its sequel, Balls Up. I have big plans for that world in the forthcoming year. The first prequel, told from Ryan’s POV, will be released in January, with a second and third book to follow. The third book from Owen’s POV is also in the works, and after that I have something in mind for Shane and Kieran, and maybe another character you haven’t been introduced to yet. Each new POV will be based on a different couple, and will read as a stand-alone series in the Blowing It universe. Continue reading →

On a Mission, and a New Preshus

256px-Sheep2C_Stodmarsh_6 On a Mission, and a New Preshus

Wikimedia Commons

I love lamb. Have I ever mentioned that? Delicious, juicy lamb with mint sauce and all the trimmings. Sadly, Americans don’t seem to have got the message that there is more than wool to this wonderful animal, and can I buggery find a decent (and decently-priced) leg of lamb anywhere?

My first plan was to go the full-on smallholder route and raise my own goddamn delicious sheep if I had to (not as insane as it first seems, some of my family rear sheep and I’ve been around ovine husbandry since before I can remember). Sadly, however, AJ seems a bit… reluctant to rear plump, pretty little lambs and then send them off to slaughter just so I can have a decent Sunday roast. *sigh* So, on to Plan B. Continue reading →

Christmas Is Coming

15a-300x156 Christmas Is ComingAJ has a rule: no Christmas anything before Thanksgiving. I’ve never had Thanksgiving before, so it struck me as a rather late embargo. My rule is it’s Christmas when I smell Christmas, be that the beginning of October or 24th December (and yes, smelling Christmas in the air is totally a thing).

Anyhoo, Brown Thursday is now over (I honest-to-god heard it called that on the news last night) so I can finally — finally — watch The Grinch. I’ve been having a hankering for it for weeks (he is my spirit animal, after all). Tomorrow we’ll have to start thinking about presents. Christmas dinner is already planned, and I’m going to be introducing the in-laws to mince pies and piccalilli. In return, they’re making pecan pie and sweet potatoes with marshmallow. I can’t wait!

Top tip: Amazon users, if you don’t already have Prime, start a free 30-day trial. You can set it so it won’t renew immediately and you’ll get free 2-day shipping in the meantime. Win! And if you’re struggling for gift ideas, the new Fire tablet is on sale for only $35 until Sunday.

ETA: All my books are 25% off at AllRomanceEbooks today (Black Friday) only. Check out the hashtag #AReBlast for hundreds more!

writing-with-pride-banner Christmas Is Coming

Happy Thanksgiving

This is my first Thanksgiving, and I’m going for total immersion, visiting the in-laws and eating them out of house and home. I’ve got my sights set on a whole series of pies AJ’s mom has already made. Heaven.

pies-300x133 Happy Thanksgiving

Wherever you are tomorrow, eat lots, be happy, and take a minute to add up all the things you’re thankful for. It strikes me as a good way of living life.

writing-with-pride-banner Happy Thanksgiving

On Living the Crockpot Life #recipes

IMG_03401-225x300 On Living the Crockpot Life #recipes

Chicken Korma, in progress

I’d never used a crockpot before last month. *gasp* When I moved Stateside, one of the first things I set my sights on was AJ’s. I have issues with the food in America: if it isn’t restaurant quality (and I mean the sort of restaurant where they make stuff from scratch with actual ingredients rather than the sort of restaurant where they serve you plastic food-ish through your car window) then I become a very sick puppy. As I’m mostly pathetic when I’m feeling sick, it’s for the good of everyone (and my bank account) I make my own food.

Enter the crockpot. It promises so many things. Delicious, healthful, simple (cheap!) meals, thrown in early and forgotten about until my stomach’s ready to digest itself. Om-nom-nom. Continue reading →

Big Brother Is Here

ziosk-225x300 Big Brother Is Here

Introducing the Ziosk

Run, the machines are coming. Creepy, insidious little boxes are turning up on dining tables in restaurants across America, and I for one hate them.

In case you’ve been fortunate enough not to bump into one yet (they have 150,000 tablets in 2,500+ locations across the US, including Chili’s, Red Robin, and Olive Garden restaurants), they’re tablets that sit on every table and act as a virtual waiter. They take drinks, appetiser, kids’ meals, and dessert orders; you settle your bill on them; and for an extra $1.99 you (or your kids) can access a selection of games to play while you dine.

Now they might seem a great idea: they free up wait staff when restaurants are busy, and they keep the kids quiet, but that so-called convenience comes at a cost. If you’re a waiter earning pennies an hour and relying on tips, you want face time with your diners. If you’re a diner, you’d probably prefer to know who your waiter actually is (although I think we can all agree we could live without the awkward “Is everything okay here?” exchange which always happens just when you’ve stuffed your mouth as full as it can get). Continue reading →

On Paperwork

256px-Driving_an_obstacle_course_on_asphalt On Paperwork

Wikimedia Commons

I was going to take my driving test today. AJ’s been grilling me on all the rules of the road, I’ve been zooming around the streets like a local (or better: I actually use my blinker), and I was all psyched up and ready to go. I’d got my social security number, my UK licence, my passport, one piece of mail with my current address on it, and AJ to sign her life away by swearing I lived with her. Continue reading →