Thursday, 27 July 2017

The Culmination of a Dream

My publisher CHBB Publishing has a motto 'Where Dreams Take Flight' and today my dream not only took flight but soared.

Thirty years ago I found a Mills & Boon Temptation novel titled Hero in Disguise by Gina Wilkins whilst being rather nosey in my grandmothers spare bedroom.  It ended up being the first romantic trilogy I ever read.

 I have always dreamed of being an author, as a child I loved 'My Naughty Little Sister' by Shirley Hughes because I was that naughty little sister.  Malory Towers and St Claires' by Enid Blyton, I wanted to be Darrell. LM Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables became the books I read over and over again. Anne Shirley had a heart of gold, an imagination capable of anything, her mishaps were hysterical but with her staunch loyalty and capability to love, she was and still is my 'heroine'
These were the days when manuscripts were written by hand or bashed out on a typewriter using copious amounts of 'Tippex' and the manuscript had to be mailed by post.

Fast forward thirty years, seven children and the technology evolution. Today marks the release of the final novel in my Pann Haggerty Trilogy: BACK IN BLIGHTY from Hot Ink Press and its the culmination of three years work.

I would like to take this opportunity in this post to say thank you to CHBB Publishing/Hot Ink Press, Sarah Davis Brandon, Rue Volley, Christine Hughes and the rest of the team for their support in making my dream a reality.  It's there...on Amazon under Amanda Ward, me

I have other works available featured on my website here Amandajward

So, if you would like to join me in raising a mug of tea and dunk a biccies to my rather quirky yet incredibly kooky over 40s heroine....PANN HAGGERTY!




#seasonedromance #romanceinherprime #pannhaggerty #chbbpublishing #hotinkpress

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

The First and Last

Strange title for a blog post right? Well the reason is simple.  This is the first blog post I've written of 2017 and will be the last one until the 16th April, and here I'm not going to be posting as 'Kooks' I'm posting as Manda...waves hi!

The picture I've posted above pretty much says it all really, and I'd like to thank the actor Brian Krause for sparking the idea in the Charmed panel at Wizard World waaay back in 2014.  The cast were talking about the 1990s and it is Brian's comment at 25:19 that hit home with me, so really listen as its a tad noisy. Charmed Panel Wizard world 2017

Last year I gave up sugar in tea which I managed to achieve, and continue still not to do.  This years one is going to be more of a personal challenge in several ways. 

I have been open about my anxiety and depression and part of the condition is for my wacky grey matter to find somewhere to hide away. So my escape from 'reality' was online, social media and general faffing around on the internet.  Believe me I was spending the majority of my time online.

So this year I am closing the lid on my laptop, putting away my tablet and removing all apps from my mobile phone using it only to text/receive calls/take the odd photo. In other words I'm going to face my fear and live in my reality and hopefully through the period of time I'm away learn to accept things for what they are and to appreciate the life I do have.  Finding things to do and keep myself occupied is a challenge in itself.

Thanks to a trip I went on recently to Florence, a prospective story is forming, so its back to old-school with notebook and pens at the ready. I hope I can remember how to write instead of type!

I will use the home PC twice a week for banking/grocery shopping and to check any emails from overseas friends who wish to stay in touch.  My email address is for those who want to say a hi or 'keep going'.

I'd like to take this opportunity to apologise to Mr Krause and the other cast members of Charmed if they felt as if this fruitcake of a Brit (with the odd nut thrown in) aka @Augustmum on Twitter had been stalking them.  I honestly haven't.  I discovered the show in November last year and its been an escape for me.  As a romance author certain storylines were just my mug of tea. I guess I was a bit over-zealous with my tweets!

Anyhoo, on that note.   I shall, like myself keep this blog post short and sweet(ish) and bid my readers adieu, ciao and a big TTFN.

I'll be back on the 16th April, until then Keep it Kooky!

Love, Manda xxxxxxxxxxxxx

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Grease 2.2

Well, it's been a long time since I last blogged, or blooged for that matter.  So I thought because its now September and to use a quote from my favourite film Grease 2, its "back to school again".  Wooohooo.

So while the house was quiet, I immersed myself in what was at the time 'pure cheese'.  However, when it was released in June 1982 I was 10 and went to see it as an early birthday present with my sister.  It was in the ABC cinema in Bexleyheath that I experienced my first crush...Maxwell Caulfield.  I drove my parents and sister nuts with the posters I put up on the wall.  What makes the film for me extra special was that the tickets ended up being the last birthday present my father bought me.  On his 39th birthday the following April, he was killed in a lorry accident and I was 11 at the time.  

So is the film itself a poor imitation of its predecessor?  Well, after rifling through my book collection and finding the copy of Grease 2 I'd bought yonks ago, I read it with an authors critical eye.  I discovered that actually the storyline itself is pretty good.  If the writers had taken a little more time tweaking the script and some of the characters, re-writing a few of the songs, perhaps it would be a film on par with some of the Disney 'original' movies.

It is really good premise.  Sandy Olsson's English cousin comes to America on an exchange programme and while attending Rydell falls for the leader of the Pink Ladies. Unfortunately Stephanie won't settle for less than her idea of the 'perfect guy'. 

Perhaps focussing more on the developing romance between Michael and Stephanie and less on teenagers obsessed with losing their virginity would be a start.  In the film AND the book there is no defining moment where Stephanie fell for Michael, unlike at the beginning of Grease where the romance was clear from the very start.

Michael is English and compared to America, life over here in the 1960s was still rather austere.  To suddenly be plunged into a world of what could be defined as technicolour would have been  overwhelming.  My guess is he'd be completely out of his depth, and perhaps with his innate good manners, forming friendships would be incredibly difficult.

This is where I feel Frenchy's role could have played a bigger part.  As a member of the original Pink Ladies and Sandy's friend, perhaps certain scenes could be replaced with her interacting with Michael and Stephanie, acting as a matchmaker.  Even mentioning Sandy and Danny may have given the storyline that extra depth.

Yes there are a lot of cock-ups in the film...The athlete's bollocks falling out of his shorts after hurdling, the bowling scene with nuns!!!!, Lou's attempt to seduce Sharon in the nuclear shelter, an odd conclusion to the talent show scene and the ending.

What stands out for me is as an author of romance, and I did read the First Love series from Silhouette, is when Steph realised she loved Michael as himself and not his Cool Rider persona.  I feel that part has been sadly overlooked.  All the cast were incredibly good looking, but where were the smiles, and the enjoyment? 

It seems therefore quite poignant that although I learnt about sex from reading Forever by Judy Blume, it was from Steph and Michael's end smooch I learnt how to kiss.  Thanks chaps.

Anyway, should someone decide that the film is worth re-making.  Remember that it is first and foremost a teen romance, between a couple who are complete opposites.  Anyone up for a Grease 2.2?

Although the film was slated royally, it still remains my favourite film and I loved it.  Of course a dream of mine would be to meet any of the cast and just say thank you to them. So if anyone reading this knows any of the cast...please, please, please ask them if they would get in touch.

I'll finish this little soapbox post about the film with a recent photo of the cast, well the T Birds anyway.  I don't think they've aged too badly, and await the arrival of the men in little white coats.

TTFN guys and just to let you know, both Pann books are now in print!!!!!

Keep it kooky guys

Manda xxxxxxxxxxxx

Thursday, 28 April 2016



Im live on Amazon to celebrate this the competition is now open!.
The prize is a packet of Pann's favourite tea, a packet of her favourite biscuits and a copy of the book. I can gift an e-copy or if the winner would prefer to wait a signed paperback copy.
So what do you need to do?
It's simple. Follow me on Twitter @Augustmum and/or Facebook
Use the hashtag ‪#‎Pannisback‬ and simply post a photograph of you or a member of your family wearing red socks. The reason for this is in the book.
Share and spread the word and on May 1st my husband will choose a winner.…/…/B01EW28QGQ……/…/ref=sr_1_1…


Friday, 8 April 2016

Competition announcement

Hi everyone,

I'm not sure if any of my Facebook and Twitter followers are aware but on April 30th PANN IS BACK.  She has an awesome new cover, fresh edits and best of all a supportive and enthusiastic publisher in Hot Ink Press.

This is the first of a three book series, and the final book Back In Blighty WILL be published and available toward the end of 2016.

To mark the occasion, on April 30th I am holding a competition through Facebook and Twitter asking for photographs of you wearing red socks. The explanation why is in the book.
The prize on offer is a packet of Pann's favourite tea and a packet of biscuits. Also a SIGNED print copy of the book when it becomes available.
To enter, all you have to do is friend me on Facebook, like my author page and follow me on twitter @Augustmum with this meme...#PannIsBack. 
I will ask a member of the family (it may be one of my children, one of my cats or even my husband) to pick a winning entry and I'll announce the winner on 2nd May.
Here is the gorgeous poster J.I.Joyal made for Pann.
Please spread the word and hopefully she will gain some more 'Pann Fanns'
Kooks xxxxxxxxx

Thursday, 31 March 2016

Pann's Back

Walks into the nook pushing a trolley laden with tea, biscuits and cake.  Guess who's back?

Yep tis me and apart from tea and goodies I come bearing exciting news...Early on in the year I signed a three book contract with Hot Ink Press, part of CHBB Publishing for the entire Adventures of Pann Haggerty series.

They have been re-edited to a high standard and the covers have a exciting and fresh new look.  Same quirky Pann with her off-beat attitude to life. 

The first in the series, The MisAdventures will be released on April 30th 2016.

And now for the cover, designed by the very talented Rue Volley.

Isn't it wonderful?
I would like to say a HUGE thank you to Sarah Davis Brandon and her staff for their support and enthusiasm for my quirky older heroine.  To be able to make Pann available for a new readership is a privilege and without Sarah's faith in me, my dream wouldn't happen.
With love to you all and above all, keep it kooky!

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Star Wars or Star Warped...Contains spoilers

It may not come as a surprise to my followers/readers of the blog that I (Kooks) am a nerd/geek.  I think I can safely say that as such, 2015 has been film and television wise the year of Science Fiction and super heroes.  From Avengers Age of Ultron, through to Ant Man, culminating in the release last week of the mega hyped Star Wars The Force Awakens.  On television there have been such shows as Supergirl, Marvels Agents of Shield and for 2016 a new series of Star Trek, I would say that lovers of this genre are going to be well and truly satiated and the next generation of geeks/nerds come into fruition.

In 1977 my dad took myself and my older sister to see the original Star Wars.  I was six years old at the time.  Fast forward nearly forty years, several marriages, seven children, almost two grandchildren later and the hype that has been generated for this film is phenomenal. Star Wars fever really has struck it seems, but does the film live up to the hype?  Here is my honest opinion and it is my review and my opinion.  This does contain SPOILERS so if you haven't seen it, you'd better close the page.

I went to see it in 3D.  It's a good film.  In 3D its great.  The dialogue is so much better than the previous films, it flows and there is banter and more than a few comic moments.  The writer JJ Abrams has kept it seems to a mantra "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." What does this mean?  Simply that he's kept to a tried and trusted formula of the first one in the series pretty much running along the same lines as The Phantom Menace and A New Hope.  For example a desert planet, and the hero, in this case the heroine on a speeder wearing light airy clothing.

Han, Leia and Chewie's return was more than welcome.  However, when Leia spoke, I felt she was unable to move her lips and her lines sounded mumbled rather than spoken.

There are more than a few irritating moments during the film and it had a lot of ghosts from the previous films intertwined.  For example Anakin's petulance and frustration was apparent in his grandson (Kylo Ren) behaviour.  Seriously, using his lightsaber to destroy things in a clear paddy?  The boy needs taken over a knee and given a severe spanking.  When Kylo took his helmet off, all I could think was put it back on. Even his locks were Anakin-ish.

The storyline was what I would have expected from a Star Wars film.  This has clearly been aimed at drawing in a younger audience as well as keeping the die hard addicts satisfied.

However, JJ has my respect for one thing.  The ending. A classic keep the audience wanting more.  He left us on a cliffhanger, and not metaphorically.  For the thirty or so seconds that Luke Skywalker was in it, he was on a cliff.  Surprisingly enough for a Jedi who was so distraught that he went into hiding for so many years, he was amazingly coiffured and his hair and beard styled so that I thought he'd be perfect for a hair care commercial.

Leave the audience wanting more...JJ really has got that spot on.  He left the audience asking questions such as...Is Han really gone?  Who is Rey?  Is she Luke's daughter or is she Kylo Ren's twin sister?  Who is Finn and is he as most people suspect Lando Calrissian's son?  Poe Dameron...could he be strong in the force?  Will Yoda return?

Good it was, and go I will to see Episode VIII.  However, there is one thing left to say.  If I was asked the question Star Wars or Doctor Who, my answer is simple.

From Kooks (Manda) I would like to wish each and every one of you a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
Keep it Kooky xxxxxxxxxxxxx