Saturday, 27 February 2016

Leap Year Short [short] Story by Rosa Temple

Look Before You Leap 

 


There was only one person who could embarrass me more then my mother, and that was her sister, my aunt Madeleine. I was named after aunt Madeleine but since I was a young girl my friends all called me Maddie - as in Mad, because of all the crazy antics I got up to. But I had to do something to alleviate the boredom of our prissy, all girl boarding school in Sussex, didn’t I?
When I left school I ran all the way to London to escape the boredom of my little village in Sussex and continued a similarly mad and crazy existence. Even after all the late nights, weird dates, crappy jobs and having lived in some of the worst areas in London, I managed to survive.
So here I was, this twenty-seven year old fashion buyer in a fabulous studio flat in Victoria with great friends, a boss to die for and I was still reduced to a blubbering idiot when I was asked the age old question by my relatives: So when are you getting married?
This time it was Aunt Madeleine who asked it. I was at Sunday lunch at mum’s and aunt M had just announced that her beloved, Katia, was engaged. Every one of my sisters and female cousins were married, engaged or living with someone, except me. Katia was the last of the youngest of them to ‘get her man,’ as Mum called it.
‘Yes, Maddie, darling?’ Mum chimed in as she went to put a slice of roast beef onto my plate. ‘I thought James would have gotten down on one knee on Valentine’s Day.’ She scrutinised my ring finger as if I could have forgotten to tell her the one thing I’d hoped would happen since I first realised I was on love with James.
‘I guess we were all wrong about James,’ I said pouring too much gravy, especially when I knew how much Mum’s gravy sucked.
My mind drifted back to the day I met James; I threw a whole cocktail over him. I was aiming at the lunatic at the bar in Mayfair who had just asked me to perform obscene acts on him back at his place. What a cheek – I’d never even laid eyes on him before. So of course he needed a Cosmo dowsing down. He was fast, stepped out of the splash of sticky cocktail while James managed to step right into it – luckily for me as it turned out.
James was the most romantic man I knew. He’d already said he loved me, so when on Valentine’s night he produced absolutely nothing in a little velvet box, you can understand why I lost it completely. I didn’t mean to push him into that puddle outside the restaurant but when he waved a taxi down for me to get into without even a good night’s kiss, I lost it big time and just pushed him.
It wasn’t only the push into a puddle (which almost meant him falling in front of the taxi) but I told him we needed a break. He was crest fallen, he didn’t know what hit him. But I leapt into the taxi and told the driver to put his foot down. I couldn’t bear to see James’ face. For over a week I didn’t take his calls and I made the girl on reception lie and say I was in Paris when he came to my office at the department store in Regent Street.
I left mum’s and drove back to London with the radio on full, doing my worst rendition of All By Myself, a la Bridget Jones Diary. You know the deal?
But as I got closer to my Victoria flat, all I could do was look at my naked ring finger and think about how badly I treated James. So he didn’t want to marry me but no one deserves to be shoved into a puddle and ignored. We’d been dating for two years for goodness’ sake.
There was nothing for it – I had to drive straight over and say I was sorry. He’d probably slam the door in my face, especially at this time of night.
At eleven pm I pulled up in front of James’ building. It was pouring with rain but I saw a light on in his living room window.
‘Thank goodness,’ I whispered and went ahead and rang his intercom. I pressed and pressed that buzzer for fifteen minutes. Nothing. Had he put his head out the window, seen me and decided to ignore me? What if he had another woman up there? Whatever the reason he had for not answering the door, I was standing out on the pavement, dripping wet and James didn’t want to know, and it was all my fault.
I drove home dejected, hurt, angry at myself for being such an idiot and really, really sad I couldn’t see James.
I pulled up into my cul de sac. It was quiet, the rain was streaking down my windscreen and tears ran down my face. I parked and walked with my head down to the door.
‘Maddie?’ I knew that voice. It was James. I looked up. He’d been outside my place, equally soaked and with a crooked, expectant grin on his face.
‘I called your mum’s. I knew you’d be there today and I knew you weren’t picking up my calls,’ he said. The rain got suddenly heavier. I put my fingers on James’ lips.
‘Before you say anything,’ I said, ‘please let me apologise for the way I treated you, James. That’s all I wanted to say.’
He took both of my rain soaked hands in his.
‘And I wanted to apologise, too,’ he said. ‘That night … at the restaurant …’
‘I know I was like a crazy-’
‘Shh. Shut up and listen. You always fly off the handle. I know you thought I was going to propose, and I was. I bought a ring and had it engraved. I was picking it up on the Saturday for our meal the next day but I got held up in the tube. Remember I told you? Three hours in the tunnel?’ I nodded. ‘Well they were closed. I was so disappointed but I wanted to pick it up the next day, meet you for lunch and try again. I messed up.’
‘James, it wasn’t your fault.’ I reached up and hugged him to me. I didn’t want to let go.
In the distance the clock in the little church on the river began to chime. It was strange. It usually only chimed during the day. Neighbours had complained it disturbed their sleep.
With my arms wrapped around James’ neck I took a peak at my watch. Midnight. It was Monday 29th February and I was due in to work in nine hours.
Then it hit me. It was a leap year! I pulled away from our embrace and looked at James.
‘James, will you marry me?’
He grinned. ‘Didn’t I just tell you I was going to propose? Why do you have to be so full on?’
‘Because it’s leap year James and I couldn’t resist.’ I got onto my toes and stared deep into his eyes. They were smiling, he was smiling too.
‘Yes, you mad, crazy girl. God help me but yes, I’ll marry you.’
I couldn’t wait to see my ring but right then, all that mattered was James in my arms, the rain pouring down our faces and that he’d said ‘yes’ to me. I was drenched and happy - really happy and I had James’ proposal to me to look forward to as well.

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Book Review - Strictly Between Us

Strictly Between Us by Jane Fallon was a fun and entertaining read!
First off, I really liked the cover design. So simple, yet effective. Lipstick on the coffee cup to foreshadow revelations and secrets.

The Blurb:

Rumours, secrets and lies. It's all in a day's work.
Tamsin and her best friend Michelle have been inseparable since they were teenagers. Even now they spend all their time together, along with Patrick, Michelle's handsome husband.
So when Tamsin hears a rumour that Patrick is having an affair, she is furious. Unwilling to ignore it, Tamsin plots a scheme to catch Patrick in the act, using her assistant Bea as live-bait. It should be fool proof.
After all, Tamsin can trust Bea with anything. From her daily coffee order to fetching her dry-cleaning, writing reports and doing all the filing - Bea does everything with a smile on her face.
Except Tamsin never considered Bea might have her own agenda.
And if she does, then Tamsin really needs to watch her back . . .

My Review:

Jane Fallon has produced a colourful group of dysfunctional and controversial characters in Strictly Between Us. It has a dynamic opening, to the point and instantly engaging. The dialogue is sharp and witty, although a few times the writer allowed them to speak in Americanisms I wouldn't have expected for these people.
It was a real page turner for me and I found myself rooting for the truth to come out, rather than for any one particular character. I took an instant dislike to Tamsin and really wanted her to have her comeuppance, which I suppose Fallon achieves in the best way possible.
It was an intriguing plot with a comfortable amount of twists and turns. Fallon keeps us guessing until the last drop - I liked that.
If this book was read by a reading group there would be lots of points for discussion, especially given the themes covered in this book. All of them relevant to today's woman and all of them dealt with in an entertaining way.
I liked this book. It may not be one I'll rave about to friends and I'm not likely to read it again but it was a lively, well paced book and glad to have read it.
Not sure what my next chick-lit fix is going to be. Any suggestions?

Thursday, 18 February 2016

What I #amreading #amwriting!

It seems that every time I move away from my laptop I'm reaching for a book and grabbing a cuppa. All I do is read or write these days and I haven't come up for air. I feel like there's a world going on around me that I'm missing and vow not to become a recluse!

So, before I break out of here and go and catch up with the rest of humanity I thought I'd share what it is I'm reading and writing at the moment.

#amreading

My current Chick-Lit book fix:
Strictly Between Us by Jane Fallon has been described as "Chick-Lit with an edge." I'd go along with that. The general premise is that Tamsin, who is best friends with Michelle, suspects Michelle's husband, Patrick, of cheating. Tamsin sets a honey trap with the aid of her personal assistant, Bea, with disastous effect.

I'm half way through and finding it intriguing. Book review to follow next week. Promise. Still deciding if this is 3 or 4 stars.

#amwriting

My current Chick-Lit writing challenge(s)
You know how I love a challenge, right? Well I've decided I'd write my Christmas, Chick-Lit novel as well as my next novel - at the same time! Yes, I know it's a massive challenge but I got the ideas simultaneously and I just had to get on and write them. Oh and did I mention my job is a ghostwriter? So I'm writing up to three stories at a time.

It's no wonder I'm glued to my laptop!

Both books are still in the early stages and I have to wrap my mind around just one at a time when I sit down to write, which is hard. So, before I go totally cray-cray and lose the plot, I'm ditching the pen, notebook, laptop, chick-lit novel and I'm off to get some fresh air.

See you soon!



Sunday, 14 February 2016

In Love with Love Winners!

Thank you for liking my Facebook page, you all get a copy of Natalie's Getting Married!

  • K'Tee Bee
  • Lexi Brew
  • Rachel Broughton
  • Kaela Kueppers
  • Karen Kaiser Baker
  • Alexandra Penner
  • Allison Whitmore
  • Jen Zingaro
  • JulieMcDonagh
  • Emma McCoy
  • Michele Gray
Email me on rosatemple@btinternet.com to let me know which format you'd like.

Hope you had a wonderful StValentine's Day!

love Rosa
x

Friday, 12 February 2016

Character Interviews: Natalie's Getting Married [Pt 6]

Meet Liam 

The lovely Liam is the guy who walked into Natalie's life completely by chance and their meeting had a massive impact on both their lives. Liam is kind and thoughtful. Like Natalie, he's an entrepreneur and all round good guy.

Tell me a bit about your background
My parents moved us to London from Suffolk when my sister and I were young. I've always been close with my sister who's married now with a baby girl. I was always into music - all kinds. As a fan, that is, not a musician. I play guitar badly and I thought I could start a band when I was younger. That lasted a whole week until I realised you needed to have talent to get anywhere. I suppose my love for music brought me to where I am today.

What was your most embarrassing moment?
Apart from the obvious one you mean? Okay, well that had to be meeting Natalie's mate, Bella, for the first time. That was also the day I met Natalie. They were both expecting someone else to turn up at The Picture House - a male model, I believe, for a photo shoot. Then I walk in off the street and I'll never forget the look of shock and horror on Bella's face when she looked me up and down and told me I was nothing like a male model. 

What is your biggest weakness?
Again - you don't mean the obvious one do you? That one goes without saying. But I guess my biggest weakness is not knowing how to pick the right girl. I really need to stop being such a big softy. Especially as girls always go for the bad boy, right?

What do people most like about you or admire you for?
Probably my shop. People love the shop and how quirky it is - all the old vintage vinyl records I sell. It's a place where lots of people come and just hang out. Maybe I should start serving coffee there, too.

Thank you Liam!

For my imaginary Natalie's Getting Married film I relied on my on-screen boyfriend to fill this role. (My husband has no idea I have an on-screen boyfriend so, sshh). The gorgeous Hugh Jackman from ... well pick any film, he's gorgeous in all of them: Kate & Leopold, The Prestige, Les Miserables 

Liam is as smouldering as Hugh but probably not so muscular. And Liam has intense blue eyes, whereas Hugh's are brown. But, let's face it, if I can get Hugh Jackman on the casting couch, I can overlook the muscles and the eye colour.

That's it for the character interviews, for all the other characters you'll have to meet them for yourself!

Coming soon is the sound track to Natalie's life. See you back here soon for that :)

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Character Interviews: Natalie's Getting Married [Pt 5]

Meet Alissa

When we first meet Alissa, she's seventeen going on forty five. She's wise beyond her years and she teaches Natalie a thing or two even though Natalie is in her mid to late twenties when she employs Alissa to assist in her photography shop in West London.

Tell me a bit about your background
I'm a West London girl, whose parents come from Jamaica. I'm the oldest child in the family. Below me are my twin brothers. They're quite a few years younger than me, cheeky and sneaky and I have to help mum keep them in line. I was never sure what I wanted to be when I was older but I think I've stumbled onto a really interesting path working in the photography studio. I think I'll be learning a lot at The Picture House.

What was your most embarrassing moment?
I'm pretty much hard as nails and I don't embarrass easily. If anything I feel embarrassed for other people. But if I had to search for something it would be the day Natalie did a runner and I had her mobile phone with me. I had to do a lot of fast talking and at the same time not make Natalie look bad when a certain someone kept ringing her phone to find out what happened to her.

What is your biggest weakness?
Apart from eating too much junk food, I suppose a lot of people might find me blunt. Don't get me wrong, I'm very polite to people, especially customers, but I never beat around the bush and I don't suffer fools gladly. Those are two ways my mum always describes me and she's right.

What do people most like about you or admire you for?
I'm practical and down to earth and people like my straight talking. But while some people might think I'm too big for my boots, others would say that I've got a mature head on my shoulders. When Natalie planned her great escape from London, I was the one she chose to take along - mostly because she'd need someone around to stop her doing anything crazy. And God knows I tried to stop her!

Thank you Alissa!

In the book, I describe Alissa as having hair extensions. She's a pretty girl with large, expressive brown eyes. She's got a lot of savvy and I needed someone who could pull that off in the imaginary Natalie's Getting Married film. Enter R&B star, Brandy.
Perfect in my opinion!

The final character interview is with love interest, Liam! Watch this space :)




 

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Character Interviews: Natalie's Getting Married [Pt 4]

Meet Jackson Humphries

Sporty, handsome, charming Jackson sweeps Natalie off her feet. He's her first love and has a major impact on her life. But in the end, do we, as readers, love or hate him?

Tell me a bit about your background
Well, it's no secret that I come from money. I stand to have a massive inheritance one day. I'm an only child and a lot of people would be envious of the advantages I had. I should really have gone to Oxford or Cambridge but that was my little bit of a rebellion against my family. Besides, if I'd gone to a top university, I would never have met Natalie.

What was your most embarrassing moment?
That was definitely the time my mother drops a bombshell into a conversation with Natalie. She boldly announces to the girl I love, that if she wants to marry me she needs to sign a prenuptial contract that says she gets nothing if we end up divorcing! I mean how tactless was that? She never even gave me the opportunity to warn Natalie first!

What is your biggest weakness?
To be honest, I didn't think I had one until I met Natalie. My weakness was definitely her. Once I'd gotten to really know her, I was hers; nothing else mattered. I made some big mistakes, I'm not proud of them, but I did learn from them and I owe that all to Natalie 

What would people most like about you or admire you for?
If you talk to people who know me, you'll realise I'm quite talented in many ways. Some might say it's my photography they like or how good I am at sports. It could even be the amazing car I drive or even my looks - I do have a reputation with the ladies. But when it comes to women, I'm a one woman guy. I think that's something that can be said for me. I know a lot of people would have a lot to say about my love life, but I never set out to deliberately hurt anyone. I swear.

Thanks Jackson!

It was a tough decision trying to cast Jackson for the imaginary Natalie's Getting Married  film. Physically, he's athletic, dark hair and chocolate brown eyes. He's extremely good looking and very sure of himself. In the end, I came up with a young Colin Farrell. But I might ask for a screen test before I give him the job.
Yeah, this is probably a good casting - a definite cheeky look about him. What do you think?

My next interview is with the old before her time, Alissa - Natalie's assistant at The Picture House. Watch this space :) 
 

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Character Interviews - Natalie's Getting Married [Pt 3]

Meet Bella

Bella and Natalie met at university when the two of them moved into a shared house in the second year. Bella stands out for her act first, think later personality and some of the more outrageous things she gets up to.

The Great Cyndi LauperTell me a bit about your background
I come from a middle class family but I was what you might call a wild child. I dyed my blonde hair bright red when I was about 11 after seeing Cyndi Lauper in the "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" video. I went to boarding school and got chucked out - thank goodness - otherwise I would have been as snooty as my stuck up sister and super posh mum. 

What was your most embarrassing moment?
I can only pick one? Okay, how about the time I tried to surprise my boyfriend by letting myself into his house? I was only wearing a coat and a pair of boots. I also had another naughty surprise waiting for him but he didn't get to see it because he didn't show up - someone else did! I can't tell you what happened next. It's censored I'm afraid.

What is your biggest weakness?
Easy - that would have to be men and sex, but not necessarily in that order. I'm afraid I can't help myself when it comes to the opposite sex. Sadly I have this 'grass is always greener' attitude when it comes to picking men and I don't have any objections to ditching my boyfriend for his brother if I think he's more sexy. Maybe I need therapy. Who knows?  

What would people most like about you or admire you for?
Well, I've been told that there's never a dull moment when I'm around. But I think people like me most for my honesty. I don't lie, I tell it like it is. If you take me out shopping and ask "does my bum looks big in this?" - be prepared to hear the truth the whole truth and nothing but. 

Thank you Bella!

Casting Bella for my imaginary film of Natalie's Getting Married was another easy one. I needed a blonde who knows her mind. I don't give much in the way of physical description in the book but I see Bella as a young Cameron Diaz

The next interview is with Jackson *big intake of breath* Natalie's first love!

 You might also like: http://bit.ly/1KrPjAD
 

Monday, 8 February 2016

Character Interviews: Natalie's Getting Married [Pt 2]

Meet Gabriel Miller

He's our male lead, he's a second year at university when Natalie is a Fresher. Gabriel saves Natalie from that awkward situation of being the new girl and quickly gets her integrated into university life. He's there through thick and thin, the ups and downs and readers adore him!

Tell me about your background
I'm the middle child from a working class family from Manchester. I'm the arty type. You know I read books, learned to play the flute and went to art galleries when my friends were playing football. I'm not a wimp, though. I look after my physique but I love to feed my brain. I always wanted to be a writer.

What was your most embarrassing moment?
I talk, joke and mess around but I'm the shy type really. So I guess the most embarrassing thing for me was being part of a prank that Bella wanted to play on Natalie. It meant my having to wear tight jeans (as requested) and to dance in public, in front of Natalie. She never saw it coming. But my embarrassment quickly turned to happiness when I saw the look on Natalie's face. Although it took me out of my comfort zone, it made Natalie's day and that made me happy.

What would you say is your biggest weakness?
I guess that would be my shyness and wanting to make sure everyone else is happy, especially the people I love, even if it means I'm unhappy as a result.  I guess people would call that a strength but it has led to some pretty dark moments for me. Maybe people might think I'm a bit distant at times but I just call it being intense. Which I am. That might be another weakness, guess it depends on who's judging.

What would people most like about you or admire you for?
Well, not to be a bighead or anything but a lot people like my writing - my poems, short stories and novels. I do make a living as a writer and things worked out well for me in terms of my career. I was lucky. I had someone in my corner, championing my writing and it was because of her my work got seen by a publisher.

Is the person you're talking about Natalie by any chance?
Well, Natalie learned a lot by reading my book, London and Me, so I guess you'll have to read Natalie's Getting Married to find out who did help me get that first break. *does one of his killer smiles*

Thank you Gabriel!

When it came to casting an actor to play a part in my imaginary film of Natalie's Getting Married I needed a handsome guy with fair hair, hazel eyes and messy clothes. Gabriel is gorgeous and doesn't know it, which for me is the best kind of gorgeous there is.

The actor, Alex O'Loughlin, who starred in rom com classic, Back-up Plan with Jennifer Lopez was my first and only choice. I loved that movie and I loved him in it.
I've chosen this moody shot as I think it captures the depth of character in Gabriel and his sometimes messy, but casual look.

The next interview is with Bella: Natalie's over the top BFF. Watch this space :)


Thursday, 4 February 2016

Character Interviews: Natalie's Getting Married [Pt 1]

Meet Natalie Spencer

Natalie Spencer is our leading lady. We first meet her when she is a Fresher at university, looking forward to a career in media and nothing can stop her - apart from falling in love! Let's delve a little deeper ...

Tell me about your background.
Well, I'm a Londoner. I grew up in East London with my mum and dad, who were a bit on the older side when they had me and I was an only child. I wasn't spoiled or anything like that. My mum is a devout Catholic and I went to church like a good girl every Sunday. I stopped going when I was a teenager but it's a tradition of ours to go to midnight mass with my parents every Xmas Eve. It's magical.

What was you most embarrassing moment?
I've had quite a few of those! I suppose one had to be the time the guy I thought was the love of my life first spoke to me and I started speaking in an accent that wasn't my own. I just couldn't stop myself. I'm surprised he didn't just walk off. Or there was the time I slept with a guy on the first date and he caught be looking under the covers, checking out his package when I thought he was asleep! The list goes on I'm afraid.

Do you have a best friend?
I never had anyone special until I started university. Apart from falling in love with a hot guy on my first week, I also met the lovely Gabriel Miller. He is the most understanding and kind person you could ever hope to meet. He'll be my best friend forever. Of course, there was also the crazy Bella from university. I shouldn't call her that but without her my life would have been pretty ordinary. Always expect the unexpected when she's around. Mind you, I've had to rescue her from quite a few close calls, sometimes she was drunk but it doesn't take booze to bring out her wild side. I don't know what I'd do without her, though.

What would you say is your biggest weakness? Hmm. I guess that would be living in a cloud. I get a bit carried away when it comes to love and picking the right men. It got me into a lot of trouble. Sometimes Gabriel was there to help me out but usually I ended up in a heap on the floor, in tears and wondering what I did wrong.

If you could change anything in your life, what would it be?
Well, I'd try to invent a time machine and go back a few years. Then I'd open my eyes, stop being such an overly keen romantic and see life for what it really is. I let too many opportunities pass me by and I can never get the time back.

What would people like most about you or would admire you for?
Well, I'm ambitious and started my own business which actual grew to be quite successful - well for me anyway. I became a good photographer and that's how I make my living now. I plan to travel the world and take photographs. I might be a clumsy airhead at times but I'm a faithful friend and a good listener. It's just listening to myself I have a problem with!


Thanks Natalie!

I liked the idea of trying to cast real life actors for my characters. So here goes: Natalie has long, dark, curly hair, she's slim and has big blue eyes. In my head she always seemed a bit like Jess out of New Girl:
But then she's also a bit like Zelda from The A to Z of Love because there is a zany look about her that I think Natalie would have:
So I guess my Natalie Spencer would be a combination of both of the above.

Tell me if you agree after you've grabbed your copy of Natalie's Getting Married!

The next interview is with main male lead: Gabriel Miller. Watch this space :)



Tuesday, 2 February 2016

January Jump Start

As soon as February starts I always ask myself: What happened to January?
The new year comes round so quickly and while we're trying to become bigger and better people, February begins and you never really got going on anything.


Well this January I wasn't in a daze trying to kickstart my life, it's been all systems go at Temple Towers. And it's all down to the fact that I publish my first full length novel on 14th March. So, before January caught me napping, I tried to become a marketing guru.

Haha. I have to laugh when I say that. Because like anyone just starting a new adventure - in my case, it's becoming a self published author - I am not really sure if I'm doing the right things.

I've read a few guidelines for going it alone when promoting a book and I've tried my best to follow the tried and tested methods.

First of all, the experts assume you are social media wizards. Well I can blog and Tweet so do I tick the box? Well I have anyway.
Secondly the experts tell me to get lots of book reviews. Can you believe I approached over 100 book bloggers and reviewers? Well I did. Most of them didn't reply but a fair number did and asked me to send a copy of Natalie's Getting Married for review. If you read the last post, you'll see the reviews are looking good so far. But will I have enough reviews to make anyone sit up and notice? Time will tell I suppose.

I'm told I shouldn't stop asking for reviews because the book's life continues past publication date. Okay - I can do that.

Next, I'll be trying a Giveaway. So watch this space! It will be a generous one and you might just be able to snag a free copy of my e-book if you enter. All I need to do now is work out how to do a Giveaway. How hard could it be, right?

Anyway January is out and February is in and it's just six weeks to publication day! Woohoo. Yes, I'm very excited - let's hope my excitement makes up for the lack of marketing skills :)

Wish me luck!