I wonder if anyone, anywhere is celebrating with a popcorn party? I’m worried they’re not; that popcorn lovers are unaware of this celebration of the simple maize kernal. It’s a little bit of magic the way this hard brown seed like thing heats and bursts into either a snowflake or a mushroom shape. When I think of popcorn I remember the ban I put on microwave popcorn because it left the kitchen smelling like a tanning shop. Every sleepover that weird smell would linger whilst girls drifted around looking for phone chargers whilst their eyelashes remained stuck to my pillows.
I’ve grown up with popcorn. It was part of the attraction of going to the cinema; Butterkist toffee popcorn. Definitely the best in my opinion.
Last Monday my daughter returned to uni after being home for a few days. It was a Netflix…I mean a reading week. She’d taken a short break in Germany with her boyfriend and mates. Landing at the airport she got a coach home and just appeared…with her dirty laundry and an empty purse. Although we phone, text and face time we hadn’t seen each other since Christmas. I’d been feeling pretty lousy for a while; very slow and unsteady with constant head and neck pain. For some unfathomable reason I can’t settle down to Netflix alone; I’m wired only to watch TV when I’ve company so her visit was a real pick-me-up.
What I like about my daughters is they’re givers…other than when they empty the fridge and leave with shower gel and makeup remover. Kitty made dinners, numerous cups of tea, painted my toe nails, gave me a manicure and lifted my spirits.
In pjs all day, eating an abundance of sweet popcorn, we binged romances: I Feel Pretty, To All The Boys I Loved Before and Kissing Booth. It was our love of this genre together with thrillers that led me to writing. There just isn’t enough romance. Right now our screens are dominated by fantasy, superhero and reality TV. I need a dark, mind games, noir romance. As a fully trained popcorn eater I can transfer popcorn from hand to mouth without my eyes straying from the tv screen; even under intense movie pressure. I want to feel unsettled, desperate, filled with longing as a man who can’t be trusted moves in on a girl who can’t trust. So I write what isn’t available on Netflix and I genuinely think Netflix would benefit from a movie version of Random Attachment.
My boys love reality TV; there’s not a hint of romance unless girlfriends are on the scene. They are brill in that they are self-reliant; they cook, clean, launder. Paddy makes me a coffee when he has one but they are lads and it’s mainly gym, football and Netflix boy stuff in our house now.
Anyone who follows me knows I have bad days; physically, mentally and emotionally. I swing from confident to self-doubt, buoyant to sunk, thoughtful to selfish, mobile to housebound. Myelopathy with fibromyalgia is a very limiting, unpredictable condition. Reading and writing brings the world to me. I’m living through my books and that’s why they are emotional. Social media remains a friend and foe. Everyone has been lovely, not a negative word has come my way but it’s harder than I imagined to get followers to like your comment or retweet. It’s a bit demoralising when you put heart and sole into a blog and it gets seven views and one like. Daily I check out others’ blogs; they are aesthetically brilliant, relevant, witty; I can see how hard it is to stand out. But it’s a challenge. I’m on a journey to become an established author and blogger and on the way I hope to make genuine connections with YA readers and popcorn enthusiasts.
This is a hard one for me. I’ve no interest in wealth, status or looks. Due to health issues I rarely travel beyond my High Street. This makes instagramming and twittering a challenge. Would I love to win the lottery? Oh my god YES! But I’ve never had spare cash…ever…in my lifetime so I don’t chase it. However I do want to sell my book…because when I give it away I feel more like a mum than a writer. Selling it cements my identity as an author and that I do need, that I am chasing. I want Random Attachment to pop up all over Twitter and WordPress and maybe I’ll have to travel the world (1st class because of my condition) making tv appearances. For someone with no money I dream big.
Perhaps no one will read this blog…I get that I’m not cutting edge but I still have opinions and ideas. It’s nice to while away the time with such a diverse community. I love talking about books…especially mine…sorry I can’t help it; I’m a version of The Picture of Dorian Gray!
So here’s my round up of last week. Grab a bag of popcorn and settle down.
DEAD TO YOU by Lisa McMann
YA. A missing child is reunited with his family nine years later when he is sixteen. Great concept; not original but reinvented nicely. SPOILER ALERT!!!! I swallowed the fact that a DNA test would have been conducted early on, before Ethan was reunited with his parents. Sometimes for a great story to unfold there might need to be a little neglect of procedure; acceptable in YA but not Adult. SPOILER OVER I loved Ethan; he was authentic, vulnerable and angry. Lisa’s male POV was convincing. I loved Cami and how natural she was with Ethan. Their relationship was tender, honest and believable. I enjoyed Lisa’s quality, pacy writing style.
Unfortunately the timing was flawed. First the extended family reunion? This boy barely knows his immediate family; it would be totally overwhelming! Then school? I can’t imagine in any missing child case a child being rushed back to school after such a short reintroduction to family life. “Mama says you’re going to school on Monday.” WTF? He’d been missing nine years! He’s 16, having panic attacks, doesn’t want to go to school but dad says he’s got to go? If my son was missing a week and said he wasn’t ready for school I’d say fine, I’ll sort it. But I’m enjoying the book so I let the writer off the hook. This ‘Mama’ business is odd. In most books it would be the precursor to a haunting. Why couldn’t she just be mum or mom? My last point. Although it’s YA and from Ethan’s pov, for the ending to hit hard I needed more invested in the relationships between Ethan and his parents. I was very disappointed in the abrupt ending. Almost as if it’s tripping over itself to set up for a second novel; without giving care and attention to the first. It should have been the most moving chapter where we feel bitterly disappointed for Ethan and his mum. It was too casual and rushed. So its a 3.5/5 for me
Right. This is a fairly disturbing movie. It’s not your slasher or paranormal jump out of your seat horror. I don’t want to define it; part of why I liked it was it didn’t immediately fall into a horror category. It’s an uneasy watch and a film I would rather have missed out on. Reason being I know one night I’ll wake up at 1.11 or 3.33 and feel a little uneasy and this film is going to creep under my skin and give me the heebee jeebies. As usual Toni Collette is excellent but the film is stolen by Milly Shapiro and Alex Wolff. My only criticism would be length; it’s about half an hour too long. 4/5.
STATE TROOPER by Bruce Springsteen
In my teens I was a big Springsteen fan. I saw him at Wembley Stadium on 4 July in the 80’s. Not that it’s relevant but my dad died five years later on 4 July. I’d not thought about Bruce in years because there is just so much amazing new music that I roll forward more than backward. One of my top films is Rust and Bone which features this song. It’s just so melancholic and a reminder that the choices we make during our lives can leave us surrounded by loved ones or lonely as a cloud.
WHILE YOU SLEEP by Stephanie Merritt
Adult. A woman with family issues crosses the sea to a remote Scottish Island where she rents a house with a dark history. Being a writer has not softened my reviewing of fellow writers. I hope that I’m fair but I do worry I have a touch of the Simon Cowell’s; that perhaps I’m a little mean. It’s difficult when I’ve been raised on literary giants like Val McDermid. Yes, it’s increasingly difficult to be original because it feels like everything’s been done…and done brilliantly. I’ve read some good thrillers recently and While You Sleep did not come up to scratch. ‘Edgy and terrifying’ this was not. Stephanie Merritt can write; I think she’s capable of weaving a good tale, I liked her writing style very much. Unfortunately the sexual, Rosemary’s Baby, hocus pocus was thrown at us too soon and too obviously. Either something bold strikes quickly or tension should build. Also there are only so many times I can read: hairs stood on end, goosebumps; it was very stereotypical fear, sex, occult. It didn’t grab me. It had potential but if you’ve ever experienced living in a spooky place by the sea, you’ll have heard every Gothic tale a hundred times so it takes something original to creep you out. Sorry this was very tame and I didn’t feel about the characters one way or another.
So that’s it but I want to say be kind to yourself, be forgiving, read a little and love a lot.
PS If you like YA here’s the link to my novel x https://www.amazon.co.uk/RANDOM-ATTACHMENT-Gertrude-T-Kitty/dp/1790375347/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=random+attachment&qid=1552570680&s=gateway&sr=8-2