Friday, 26 July 2013

Things To Do With Chilli Jam by Jane Jones

Moonlit Door Publications' first book - Things To Do With Chilli Jam by Jane Jones - is almost ready to hit the shops!

This innovative new cook book will show you how to spice up the meals you know and love - mac and cheese with a bit of a kick? Warming cottage pie with extra heat? Chocolate cake with hidden spice? They're all in the book, and many more dishes besides.

Why not pre-order a copy by contacting Not long now and you can be making food with bite!

Sunday, 21 July 2013

The Joy of Book Buying (And Browsing)

It took a morning for me to spend my book vouchers. Over three hours. I didn't think it would take that long (and it certainly didn't feel as though that much time had passed), and although I was armed with a list of a few titles I definitely wanted, once there, in the shop itself, I was far too excited to stick to the plan!

I did buy blueeyedboy by Joanne Harris, and Red Dragon by Thomas Harris, but my list was soon abandoned when I began to really browse the shelves - something I haven't had the chance (and pleasure) of doing in quite some time. 

So much choice, so many colourful covers and brilliant blurbs. I bought 10 books in the end, although four of them were for Alice - even at two years old she loves to lie in bed in the mornings leafing through her picture books (which affords me an extra few moments of writing time first thing!).

The experience reminded me just how wonderful brick and mortar bookshops really are - online shopping is great, convenient, it brings instant gratification, and all of that is marvellous, but nothing beats being able to pick a book from a shelf, feel the pages, read the covers, smell that smell...

Bookshops also give you the opportunity to speak with knowledgeable, interesting people who can guide you when you are a little bit lost amongst the rows and rows of delicious pages... 

Online you're on your own, despite the websites of reviews. They may point you in the right direction, but they'll never match having a proper conversation. Not for me, anyway. 

In the end I bought:
Red Dragon - Thomas Harris
blueeyedboy - Joanne Harris
The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
Ash - James Herbert
Sharp Objects - Gillian Flynn
Fragile Things - Neil Gaiman
The Singing Mermaid - Julia Donaldson
The Princess and the Wizard - Julia Donaldson
The Highway Rat - Julia Donaldson
Shhh... Don't Wake The Royal Baby - Martha Mumford

Many happy hours of reading ahead do Alice and me!

Friday, 12 July 2013

The Joy of Vouchers

It was my birthday last week - my parents took my daughter and I to London Zoo, and we had a lovely lunch out. It was a great couple of days (it was rainy on my actual birthday, so the zoo trip was postponed for a week), and everyone made it very special for me.

I got presents too - I am a very lucky Lamb. Beautiful dresses, chocolate, DVDs, and of course books, were bestowed upon me until I felt really rather overwhelmed by the whole thing. Happy, though. Very, very happy.

I also received a number of book vouchers. This is because I asked for them. In fact, whenever anyone isn't sure what to buy me, and they ask me what I want, after the initial, "Nothing, really, you don't have to," to which they always say they want to, I say vouchers. For anything. Clothes, books, food, a day out... the list is endless. Many tend to look at me in a puzzled way.

"Are you sure?" they ask. "Really? Nothing else?"

As though vouchers are a lesser thing than a physical present that they can hand over and watch me open.

But the thing is, I love vouchers. Book tokens are my special favourite, and I am looking forward to taking myself off to the local bookshop on its late night opening to browse and spend, a treat that I anticipate twice a year (birthday and Christmas), but whatever the voucher is for, I love receiving it.

There's definitely nothing wrong with giving gift vouchers.

What can be more thrilling than entering a shop you love, armed with money that isn't really real but that is able to buy you something you want? When it's real money, I'm careful, cautious, I think and think and think again. But when it's vouchers, I dive in. I am reckless. I try things I would never normally try, and find new authors to love that way.

It's fun.

It's exciting.

It's liberating.

And it feels damn good.

Friday, 5 July 2013

Flash Fiction: Did You See That Coming?

“I sense anger, resentment, a desire to do more, to be more, than you are.”
I had been sitting there, in that tiny room draped with black material that was all covered in silver stars and crescent moons, for ten minutes by the time Madame Sage said that, five minutes after I’d crossed her palm with some paper bills. I was a little surprised she had left it so long. Surely she could feel the waves of rage pulsing out of me and hurtling towards her, ramming into her, drowning her. It was so obvious, and it wasn’t as though I was hiding it.
Why would I bother to do that?
She’s psychic. There’s no point in hiding anything.
She wasn’t as good as some I’d seen. Which gave me a little hope.
“Is that right?” she asked when I didn’t respond. Her forehead creased a little and she leaned forward, gazing again at the cards spread out in front of her. Maybe I was a little psychic for a moment because I knew she was worried she had said the wrong thing.
I laughed. I couldn’t help it. If she thought I was going to help her out with this, when I was paying her, when it was her job, then she could think again. I tried to communicate my thoughts to her but she really wasn’t a mind reader. More’s the pity. And she didn’t look impressed with my outburst.
“Look, if you’re not willing to take this seriously…”
“What?” I let the word spill from my mouth because it was clear I was supposed to say something. It was the only word I could think of. 
She sat back, her own mouth straight and tight and seeping red and greasy lipstick into the creases around the edges. Bleeding. It made me think bad things and I changed my mind about wanting Madame Sage to read my thoughts.  She wouldn’t like them. No one would. Even I didn’t at times.
“There’s that anger. I told you, didn’t I?” Smug now, as though that proved something. I hadn’t even said it angrily. I hadn’t said it in any particular way at all. I didn’t really care whether she threw me out of her tent or not and it probably wouldn’t make much difference to the future anyway. It was already written. It had to be. Otherwise people like her wouldn’t be able to show off by spilling the beans.
I sighed, gave in, decided that if she didn’t say something about why I was there in the next five minutes I was leaving anyway. “Yes. Yes, you did tell me, you got it spot on. I’m full of fury, I just want to hit out, to hurt.” I was giving too much away, I knew I was, but she wasn’t biting. Not in the way they usually did.
Madame Sage was starting to get a funny look on her face. Fear, confusion, uncertainty, disdain, as though she was listening to some rather unpleasant gossip. It was not entirely unknown to me. My victims must have arrived. They didn’t always, but when they could… they did. The psychic paused, opened her mouth, changed her mind, shook her head. For my benefit or someone – something – else’s?
“Well now, Miss Mossing, I don’t think the spirits are willing to talk to me today. They’ve gone very quiet. Perhaps we can make another appointment? Another time…” She sounded desperate for me to leave. Sometimes they had a minder outside their carnival tents, but not this one. She’d clearly never seen the need. I bet she wished she had foreseen this now.
“Try the crystal ball.” I knew she had one. They all had one. And I knew she was lying about the spirits. They were there all right, you didn’t have to be psychic to know that. There should have been enough of them to make even the toughest sceptic suddenly call out for their mother and huddle under the covers.
She swallowed. She could see I was serious now, even if she had doubted before. “I’m not sure that’s a good idea.” She wiped a shaking hand across her forehead. “With angry spirits-”
“I thought you said there were no spirits today.” My voice was emotionless and flat. It was my turn to be smug, my turn to prove something. I held out my palm. “What about reading this then?”
She looked without meaning to, drawn in despite herself. Fascinated and repulsed. She gasped and I knew that my future was still the same as it always was. She didn’t even have to speak, and I don’t believe she could so it was fine. Twenty-seven psychics visited, and twenty-seven predictions, twenty-seven identical predictions; I was destined to keep on killing. I wanted to stop, I needed to stop, but they all told me that I would keep going.
I made it quick. “I’m sorry,” I said as I watched the life drain from her, washing away with the blood, as I slit her throat; “But I think you saw that coming."

©Lisamarie Lamb 2013