Monday, 29 February 2016

BAD BREAKUPS - & SOCIAL MEDIA.


                                             
                                     



'HE BROKE it off with her on FACEBOOK!' The middle child bites viciously into her peanut butter on toast, indignant for her best friend.

        'That's terrible,' I say. 'But they're only 17 and they were only dating a few weeks.'
        'What's that got to do with anything? She'd changed her Facebook status to In a Relationship, with a picture of the two of them. Now she has to change it back. It's mortifying.' 
I fight to keep a straight face.
        'Ah yeah, no, that's terrible,' I say again.

        'He could have at least picked up the phone to ring her. Who breaks it off in a Facebook message?'
Your generation, I think, then stop myself. Social media may have transformed the way we meet and date - but it's not just teenagers who are guilty of its misuse.
A good friend of mine is coming through an awful breakup. She came home from work early, nose and eyes streaming, shivering with the onset of flu. Half an hour later, her boyfriend texted. 

       Hey, how r u feeling?
       Lousy. Got the flu, she texted back.
       Oh, this prob not gr8 time then, but I'm breaking up. Have a nice life.
After a few minutes, he added, Feel better soon.
She didn't ask whether this last bit referred to her illness or the breakup. When she went on Facebook later that night, she saw he'd already changed his status to single - hours before he sent her the text!

Of course, before Facebook, Instagram, or mobile phones, breakups were just as bad. Only then, you had to confront the person. Worse, you had to remain in one piece, if you were the one being confronted.
        'Er, I don't think we're compatible,' I remember stuttering at 17, to a bewildered boy of the same age.
        'How would you know?' said he. 'Ever since I asked you out, I've hardly seen you.' This was technically true. I'd been avoiding the poor guy, as I'd tried to scrape together the courage to break it off.
But at least breaking up face to face, requires a bit of thought. And backbone. And usually empathy.
Which, dare I say, might be a tad in short supply when life, good, bad and sometimes hurtful, is a Facebook Post.
Meanwhile, the middle child is still amazed that any boy wouldn't want to date her best friend FOREVER.
       'He seemed so sweet,' she says. 'They were such a cute couple.'
When you're a teenager, everyone is sweet, all couples are cute - and a long relationship is six weeks.
I take comfort in the fact that however little she learns about love right now, she is undoubtedly learning about loyalty.
Her friend is lucky to have her.
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Last Day #Amazon #Sale for Going Against Type, as part of #Tirgearr Anniversary Celebrations.
Amazon USA    99c
Amazon UK      99p
To find out more about my contemporary Irish romantic comedy, visit my Going Against Type page in the top right panel on this blog.
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Have a wonderful week,
Thanks for reading,
Hugs & xx,
Sharon.


  

Monday, 15 February 2016

#VALENTINE'S Gift that's aHEAD of the rest.



                    
                   



VALENTINE'S DAY in our house is not exactly a red-roses, pink-love-hearts, chocolates-affair. It used to be, of course. About a hundred years ago. In those pre-children days. Well, pre-teen days, at least. 

     Indeed, when the husband and I were just stepping out together, as they used to say in this part of the world (again, about a hundred years ago), Valentine's Day was like Christmas. Only with a lot more mistletoe.
    And I clearly remember being completely spoiled with flowers and oversized cards and tiny, sparkle-filled boxes.    

    But for a long time now, we've let the day slide. Let's face it, most of the stuff that's sold for February 14th is aimed at women. I know, because there is a tiny local gift shop, that stocks scented candles and fairy lights, throw cushions and pink cooking utensils. I could browse for hours. The husband thinks it's the most useless shop in our village.
   I partly blame myself for the emergence of his intensely practical side. There's only so many times a man can hear, "Ah it's gorgeous, but you shouldn't have," before he'll do exactly as you suggest - and get nothing.
   Worse than nothing, he'll get something he thinks you need. And whatever about your birthday, or Christmas, Valentine's Day should be about romance. But there's nothing bloody romantic about a shoe rack.
And all because the lady loves...well, no, she doesn't, does she? She just happened to mention - I happened to mention - that I needed it.
   That was the second-last Valentine's gift to come into our house. Worse, it came flat-packed.
   A muttered-curses, sweat-filled hour later, I'd managed to assemble it, much to the husband's astonishment.
   'I would have put that together for you,' he said. I said nothing. I remember his DIY shelves.
    So this year, I expect nothing. In fact, I hope for nothing. We exchange cards, much to the amusement of our older two, and the vague embarrassment of The Boy.
    Then, as I am turning away, he gives me a gift. It is wrapped in pink tissue paper, and tied with white ribbon. It feels light. I wonder if I can open it now, in front of The Curious Gang.
    'Open it,' says the husband. I tear open the paper to reveal a hat. Broad-rimmed, wonderfully shaped, beautifully black. I stare.
    'I used to wear something like this years ago,' I say. He nods.
    'When I met you. You reminded me of Diane Keaton in Annie Hall, in that hat.'
I try it on. Unbelievably, it fits perfectly.
    'You still look like Diane Keaton,' says he. I roll my eyes.
    'Like she looks now?'
    'Don't be daft.' He looks surprised. 'You still look like she did in Annie Hall. You always will.'
And I thought romance was dead in our house. Someone pass me the damned tissues.

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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.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

#AmazonUSA: New 4**** Review for #Irish #Romantic #Comedy.


Spencer Tracey & Katharine Hepburn in Woman of the Year: the inspiration for Going Against Type.

JUST in time for ‪#‎ValentinesDay‬, a lovely reviewer has put up a new 4**** review of Going Against Type.

Huge thanks to Olga, who has put up the full review on
Amazon USA

"If you want a very light romantic read, set in gorgeous Dublin, with a background in the world of journalism, quick-witted and fun, with no erotica or daring sex scenes, I recommend you this novel. It’s perfect to pick up anybody’s spirit."
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See you Monday, when I'll be posting my usual fortnightly column. Will it be #Valentine themed? I'll just have to wait and see what happens in my house....

Hugs & xx,
Sharon.

Monday, 8 February 2016

Guest Author Ellie Gray


Morning all,
As my regular, fortnightly column will go live next Monday, I'm delighted instead to welcome another writer to my blog this week, to mark my first guest post of the year.
Ellie Gray is a debut author with Tirgearr Publishing and will be published this month.
Over to you, Ellie.

So. I’m new to this writing thing. Well, when I say new, I don’t really mean new because I’ve been writing off and on for nearly twenty years. I guess what I mean to say is that I’m new to this ‘having a publishing contract and now it’s all very real and I need to work hard to try and get people interested enough to buy my book’ thing. 
         I love writing. Most of all, I love writing contemporary romance stories where I can really explore the emotional aspect of falling in love, with all the wonderful, scary, painful and joyful feelings that go with it. I try and write characters that my readers can identify with and put them in realistic situations that perhaps the readers have experienced themselves. 
         But, back to the newness of having a publishing contract. Oh, it’s wonderful and exciting and scary and worrying all at once. The last year has seen me taking a much more business-like approach to my writing, having previously been concentrating on bringing up a family, working full-time and generally dealing with what life had to throw at me (as many writers do, I know). Over Christmas last year, I decided that I needed to stop faffing around and concentrate on giving this year a good shot at achieving my dream. And it worked!
        So, here I am with my debut novel due for release. I’ve worked hard to make it as good as it can be and it’s now out there; out in the real world, waiting for readers to fall in love with it (hopefully). But this is where all the panic and worry really sets in. As the author, I need to promote and market my book as well as I can to try and reach as many readers as I can. But how do I do this? Where’s the instruction manual? I’ve read articles and blogs about how to market and promote your book and they are all fabulously useful but really quite vague too. Lots of advice about not posting link after link shouting ‘buy my book’ on Facebook and Twitter. I need to engage with my readers. But how? How do I get the readers to engage with me? Post about things you know, they say. But like what? I’m scouring other romantic novelist’s tweets and Facebook posts for clues as to what it is I could possibly say that is new and interesting.
       So, here I am on Sharon’s lovely blog as a guest post (thank you so much for the invite, Sharon) - getting myself out there and looking to engage with readers and other authors. I also have various interviews, book readings and virtual book tours planned so, if you see me along the way, give me a cheery wave and a friendly smile.  Here I go – wish me luck.

Beauty and the Recluse will be published February 12, 2016 and is now available for pre-order.

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT ELLIE:
Website:  https://elliegrayauthor.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/elliegrayauthor
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/elliegray58

Buy Links:
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1TNIqM7
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/20QCx2C
All Buy Links: http://www.tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Gray_Ellie/beauty-and-the-recluse.htm

Thank you, Ellie and I wish you lots of success with your debut.
My regular column is back next Monday.
Until then, have a lovely week,
Hugs & xx,
Sharon.

Monday, 1 February 2016

#Declutter your #wardrobe: the sliding scale of embarrassment.


       De-cluttering: No mess and certainly no sentimentality!



THE latest de-cluttering craze has been sparked by a little book written by Japanese tidier-upper Marie Kondo. The thrust of her message is that you keep only what brings you joy.
Now, I'm not sure exactly how literally we're all supposed to take that. I have tons of stuff in my house that don't bring me any joy at all, but I can't get rid of them. Clothes horses. Wellington boots. The desperately unflattering glasses I must now wear at my laptop. 
Like lots of things in my life, they're just useful. But I can't honestly say that they bring me joy.
However, in an attempt to organise some of the mess that seems to surround me, I decided I'd give her ideas a lash. She suggests de-cluttering by category, rather than location. And you start with clothes.
So I did. I took every item of clothing I possess out of my wardrobe and chest of drawers and dumped it on my bed. I took one look at it all and decided I'd go out for a coffee.
Duly caffeinated, I returned, and began the job. Apparently you have to hold an item close to you and ask if it brings you joy. If it does, you fold it a particular way (or hang it, although I didn't really get into that) and you keep it. If it doesn't, you thank it and say goodbye.
Seriously.
After the 20th item, I realised I was on a hiding to nothing. If I were going to follow her instructions, I'd be waking up the following morning with nothing to wear except my pyjamas. And only a single pair of those, while we're at it.
I decided I'd try another method. The would-I-be-embarrassed-if-I-met-an-old-boyfriend-while-wearing-this? method.
It was fecking marvellous. Out went all the ball-y sweaters, the shapeless jeans, the black cardigans...how does a woman accumulate so many black cardigans? That no self-respecting nun would wear?
Just under an hour later, I put the final piece of clothing in the charity bag. Then I hung the few items back in my wardrobe, and wondered what I'd do with the three empty drawers. I now have Wardrobe-At-A-Glance. That's a new term, by the way. I've just made it up. WAAG.
I haven't figured yet how I'm going to tackle every other area of my cluttered life. I mean, obviously the method I deployed for my clothes, is hardly going to work for the various folders, baskets, boxes and random shelves that hold endless paperwork. But then, neither will the Does-this-bring-me-joy method. Because who the hell finds papers joyful?
At this stage, I read Ms Kondo's instructions again. Apparently we also keep entirely necessary stuff. Fair enough. If only I had a more organised brain to figure that out, though.

And I have to tackle things like Miscellaneous (I shudder at the thought) and Sentimental Stuff. Absolutely nothing from this last category will be dumped, much to my kids' mortification.
In the meantime, the ridiculous amounts of toiletries and makeup the average woman seems to end up with, is no longer a problem in my house. The master bedroom is now a shining example of Feng Shui. Truly a joy to behold.
Because I've been able to shove everything into those three empty drawers.
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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.