Wednesday, 15 July 2015

NEW REVIEW!



Lovely author Lj McEvoy posted this on Goodreads today. Sharing here:

A Fun Read Desperately Needed!
I bought this book because with a house move and surgery looming within 7 days of each other – I needed a fun, stress-free read.
Thankfully, I made the right choice with Going Against Type by Sharon Black. ...
This I must say is an entertaining contemporary romance with two very likable and believable characters. Both Charlie and Derry are successful but with their success comes the hidden uncertainties of their private lives and careers. Each character (major and minor) in the book is admittedly recognisable with enough qualities and flaws to make them feel that way. The book wasn’t full of sex scenes and the storyline was great, one I can see actually happening in this world of social media, gossip columns and blogs.
I’m delighted to say I would definitely recommend this book for anyone looking for a little adult summer chick lit with true character development and storyline. Honestly I look forward to reading this author’s future work; she has a natural flare for writing. Going Against Type offered that little bit of “me time” in what was a chaotic week – happy and relaxed now. Thank you Sharon Black!


All buy links here: tirpub.com/gatype

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

*Chicken Tonight?*




'WE'RE having chicken for dinner AGAIN?' The husband staggers in, after another day in the big bad world. 

I, on the other hand, have been doing nothing. Just housework. Worrying about offspring. Slaving over a hot laptop. Slaving over an even hotter stove.
I give him The Look.
The one that says, Don't push me. I'm not in the mood.
     'So what are we having for dinner, then?' he asks a minute later. He obviously hasn't picked up on The Look.
     'Rabbit,' I say. I turn to the stove, to check on the roast. There it is, roasting away. I add some vegetables.
     'Rabbit? Really?' He looks astonished. 'Long time since we had that.'
I have cooked it, on occasion.
     'Just don't tell The Boy,' I add. 'He won't eat rabbit. Tell him it's chicken.'
     'Oh sure, yeah.'
Chicken was the first meal I mastered. As a single girl, I had no interest in cooking. By the time I married, I'd had enough experience of my future husband's 'experimental' dinners to know that I should learn.
Not a problem, I thought. A good friend confidently reminded me that if I could read, I could cook. I think she meant recipes.
I started with jars.
Chicken Tonight became a firm favourite in our house. Far as I was concerned, it had a lot going for it. Chopping and frying chicken breasts was easy. Throw in some green beans, and empty the jar of Chicken Tonight sauce over the whole thing. A few minutes later, the big gloopy mess would be served on a bed of rice.
So successful did I become at making this meal, that I actually invited said friend and her husband to dinner one evening. Both are wonderful cooks.
Halfway through the meal, her husband complimented me on the food. How did I make the sauce? he asked.
Delighted at the compliment, I triumphantly produced the jar of Chicken Tonight. The fork froze halfway to his mouth. Then, ever the gentleman, he made some polite comment and swiftly changed the subject.
I set the table and lift the roast out of the oven.
     'Dinner,' I call. It's one of those rare evenings that we all sit down at the same time.
The husband cuts into the meat, pops a forkful into his mouth and chews.
     'Crikey, definitely doesn't taste like rabbit.'
The Boy glares at him.
     'That's because it's chicken!'
I raise an eyebrow.
     'Well, of course it's chicken,' he says, hastily. He gives me a puzzled glance.
I smile and start to eat.
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Follow THIS FUNNY IRISH LIFE via Email (See Follow by Email to the right of this pg). You will get my fortnightly personal column, plus updates/guest author posts straight to your email. Your email address will NEVER be given to anyone, nor used for ANY OTHER PURPOSE.

Have a wonderful week,
Thanks for reading,
Hugs & xx,
Sharon.

Friday, 10 July 2015

GUESTING TODAY on Author Jenny Kane's Blog.



A BRIGHT and breezy morning here in Dublin.
Am honoured to have a Guest Post today on author Jenny Kane's blog.

And I'm also reposting the interview here:
Today, I’d like to welcome debut novelist, Sharon Black, to my site, to tell us all about writing her first work of fiction, and what inspired its creation.
Over to you Sharon…

HI JENNY, thank you so much for having me here on your blog today. I’d like to tell you and your readers a little about myself and my inspiration for my debut novel.
My background is in journalism. After I left college, I worked as a features writer for a national newspaper here in Dublin. I married and took a substantial break from paid work, when my children were small, before returning to write for another national paper for a while.
By the time I was ready to write a novel, it seemed natural for me to write about what I knew.
Going Against Type by Sharon Black - 200
Going Against Type is a romantic comedy, it’s set in the world of Dublin-based national newspapers. Because the setting was familiar, I wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone in other ways.
Going Against Type tells the story of rival newspaper columnists, who write under pen names, and unknowingly fall in love with their arch enemy: each other! They each have good reason to protect their alter egos. So their relationship develops, each blissfully unaware of whom the other is. Until they are forced to reveal themselves….
My inspiration for the book was the 1940s Hollywood film, Woman of the Year, starring Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracey. I loved all their films! Hepburn plays a high brow pundit, who rubbishes sport in one of her columns. Tracey is a sports columnist who leaps to defend his beloved sport and in turn, attacks Hepburn’s views, and the fun begins. In the film, however, they meet quite quickly and despite knowing who the other person is, they fall in love.
In Going Against Type, I turned the stereotypes around. So Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Regan is the sports buff. At the beginning of the story, she is given a chance to write the new, anonymous sports column, Side Swipe.
My hero, Derry Cullinane is a fashion writer and gossip columnist, The Squire for the rival paper. He’s sophisticated, man-about-town and a bit of a playboy. They fall in love, and that’s where the fun begins.
While that whole build up was really fun to do, it was also extremely challenging. The main reason was that I to ensure that Charlotte and Derry’s columns were quite acerbic. That way, you could see a huge contrast between their views in the papers – their weekly banter – and how they were with each other. It also meant there was more at stake.
The hardest columns to get right were Charlotte’s. Paradoxically, she turned out to be a wonderful character to write. I know very little about sport, having never been sporty myself. But I admire people who are, and I wanted Charlotte to be very different from me. Because Charlotte’s a journalist, I didn’t want anyone to think I was writing bits of me into my heroine.
So I did a lot of research. I read a lot of sports columnists, I checked all my facts, and then I tried to put myself into the head of a feisty, twenty-something woman, working in an area that’s largely dominated by men.
Her columns took a lot of writing and re-writing. I wanted them to be sharp, funny and very controversial. And as her columns got better, the character of Charlotte became more defined and easier to write. In the end, she felt like a real person; somebody I had known a long time.
A lot of people are surprised when they see that my hero is a gossip columnist and fashion writer. Yes, there are exceptions to the rule, but mainly these are areas in journalism that tend to be dominated by women.
Quite apart from wanting to just shake things up, I wanted to write a strong male character, who is completely comfortable in his own skin, and his fabulous tailor made suits! He is manly, yet completely relaxed with having a female boss and working in a features department, surrounded by women. Actually, he likes that a lot!
It sounds like a terrible cliché, but writing this book was a huge learning experience. I had written short stories down the years, and had some of them published. And I’d started so many books – but had never finished them.
This time, I armed myself with the tools: the nuts and bolts of novel structuring. And I knew I had a good story. I was determined to see it through. I’m so glad I did. I became an author and I’m so grateful for that. And I’m very proud of my debut.
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Thanks for reading,
Have a lovely weekend,
Hugs & xx,
Sharon.

 

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

*Travelling in IRELAND....1970s-style*




THE ANNUAL Summer holiday in the sun, is hurtling towards us with comet-like speed. We'll be organising soon, in the way that we must, when five people travel abroad. Online check-ins, baggage allowance, liquids carried in zip-lock bags. All to make the journey through the airport slightly less awful. The mere thought of it is exhausting.

In a fit of nostalgia, I recall travelling to my favourite holiday destination as a child. For many years, my family and my uncle's family would rent half of a wonderful old farmhouse in West Cork for two weeks during the Summer. Two families sharing kept the price down and there was ample room in the grand Georgian pile. A story for another day.
The journey was always an adventure. And one which took us the whole day.
The thought of anyone spending a full day now travelling from Dublin to Cork, (we would leave Dublin around seven in the morning and arrive at 'teatime' in Cork) is laughable. But in the mid 1970s, there were no motorways in Ireland. There was one 'dual carriageway' between Dublin and Cork, but it's unlikely that our ancient Hillman Avenger would ever have managed the upper speed limit.
The two cars would travel one behind the other, chugging through every little town in every county along the route. With six young children between the families, ice-cream breaks and toilet stops were essential. Little treats made the day special: we'd stop to buy comics and puzzle books. I still remember the name of the new Enid Blyton book my aunt bought me one year. I had read it by the time we reached Cork. 
We would refuel midday at an old-fashioned hotel, where each year we were sure we were remembered. In a formal dining room, the ten of us would sit at a long table. Bacon and cabbage with new boiled potatoes. Jelly and ice-cream for dessert. The excitement building steadily. We were half-way there.
We'd scramble back into our old cars, we children kneeling on the back seats, watching as the hotel disappeared from view. Not only were baby or child seats unheard of, there were no rear seatbelts. And very often none in the front. Babies travelled in carry cots, whilst older siblings squashed up to make room, or sat on a parent's lap.
Nor did we worry about travelling lightly. My mother would spend hours packing the car boot (trunk) with clothes, washable nappies, bedding, home baked goodies and everything needed for long days on an Irish beach, including a gigantic plastic canopy that could be held over everyone during those summer showers. Anything that would not fit in the boot, was stowed at our feet.
Despite the squash, we frequently pulled over to help hitchhikers part of their way. Bearded youths and girls in cheesecloth skirts, smelling of weed and henna, would squeeze gratefully in, rucksacks and guitars laid across laps. We would listen, wide-eyed, to stories of music festivals and hostels and hiking around 'the Continent'. More exotic than any fairytale.
The smell of slurry hailed the journey's end. Dublin-born, suburban-bred children squealing and holding our noses, but laughing with the sheer joy of being at the farm once more. Impatient now, as the two cars wound their way slowly up the dirt track towards the farmyard at the back of the house.
I have made beautiful, wonderful journeys during my childhood, as a teenager, a college student and with my own husband and children.
But those journeys to Cork will always be my favourite.
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Follow THIS FUNNY IRISH LIFE via Email (See Follow by Email to the right of this page). You will get my fortnightly personal column, plus updates/guest author posts straight to your email. Your email address will NEVER be given to anyone, nor used for ANY OTHER PURPOSE.

Have a wonderful week,
Thanks for reading,
Hugs & xx,
Sharon.