Monday, 18 August 2008

Five stars!

Just discovered that Harriet Klausner, described by Time magazine as "one of the world's most prolific and influential book reviewers", has given Café au Lait five stars on the Barnes & Noble page! As far as I'm aware, this is the first review to go up on a bookstore site.

Thank you, Ms. Klausner! So glad you enjoyed it!

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Hunk of the Month: Ralph Fiennes

Spiral Skies mentioned - actually, insulted - a British celebrity on her blog, and he dropped by to exchange some good-natured banter with her, causing quite a stir in that comment thread. I wrote there that I'd be mentioning Ralph Fiennes twice daily on my blog in the daft hope that he'd drop by here and cause some havoc. I was joking, of course (I'd be so lucky), but it reminded me that I've been again neglecting one of the raisons d’etre of this blog, which is to showcase hunks!

I've had a thing for 'Rafe' for ages. He starred in one of my favourite movies of all time, The English Patient. He was fascinating and terrifying in Red Dragon. Heartbreaking in The Constant Gardener. I didn't care for Maid in Manhattan but hell, I'd watch him in anything - he's that brilliant, that intense. No other actor, imho, quite manages his strange but potent combination of aloofness, sensuality, mystery, menace and almost-but-not-quite-boyish vulnerability. He has an aura of suppressed passion, or is it violence? He makes me a little - afraid.
  • Born in Suffolk, England in 1962, he was the son Mark and Jennifer, the former a photographer/artisan, the latter a novelist.
  • He's an 8th cousin of Prince Charles.
  • He joined Britain's Royal National Theatre in 1987 and the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1988.
  • He had an 11 year relationship with Francesca Annis, 19 years his senior, after being cast as Hamlet to her Gertrude (Hamlet's mother) in 1995. Being partial to younger men myself (aye, I married one), I totally approved!

Snippet, courtesy Phyllis

Another Dorchester author, the lovely Phyllis Bourne Williams, author of A Moment on the Lips and By New Year's Day from the anthology The Holiday Inn, dropped by and, reading that I didn't have access to the Romantic Times review of Café au Lait, e-mailed it to me. Here's what she wrote:

"RT said: 'Even if the reader has never set foot in the Caribbean, the sights and sounds, perfectly described in this book, will make you feel like you're there. The story is one you've probably read before - girl meets boy, boy resists attraction, girl and boy give in to their feelings - but throw in some unexpected drama, and you've got yourself an entertaining novel.'

The rest is just a summary of your plot."

Thank you, Phyllis. As a writer yourself, you must know how much I appreciate this.

Sunday, 10 August 2008

And another! One I can read, too...

I'm just back from my three day hiatus in a beach house in Toco (a remote seaside community on the north-eastern tip of the island) with two former colleagues and a handful of their students.

It was just what the doctor ordered - a complete break from routine, different spaces and faces, and a hike through the forest to a hidden waterfall and rock pool in Rampanalgas! It was goooooood to throw on the old backpack and plod through the rain, sodden leaves, mud and roots, thinking of nothing but the next foothold. It was liberating to plunge into the ice cold pool and swim around while the boys leapt screaming from a ledge high above the deep end. To watch the fish skulking in the dark shadows. To breathe clean, moist air smelling of mist and green things. To wade through the stream, to scramble over boulders and fallen trees.

The only casualty was my cell phone. I don't think Nokia designed it for hiking through pouring rain. I'm not burying it yet, though. My son had one that was famous for its miraculous recoveries after being repeatedly shattered and drowned.

I got back at sunset today, fired up the computer and what did I find? Another Google alert, and another review - one that I can read, too... This one is by Harriet Klausner, and a bit of research revealed a fascinating article about her from Time magazine.

Thank you, Ms. Klausner. You're my first, and hell, I'm happy.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

First Review

Another Google alert just in. Romantic Times Book Review magazine has reviewed Café au Lait in its current edition. I think my blood pressure spiked when I saw this because... hell, it's a review. Reviewers have the power to diminish, depress and demoralize even seasoned, successful, acclaimed writers.

I clicked on the link, dread and hope combusting in my head, and to my relief found that they've given the novel three stars out of their maximum of 4 and a half - not stratospheric, but pretty decent. The review itself won't be up on their website for two months, and I've never seen that magazine here, so I can't read what they've said about the story. Don't know if I even want to. But I will - in two months, I suppose.