Posts tagged ‘Amazon Kindle’

Going to the Dogs: V Day in Blackpool

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What better or more fitting way is there to spend Valentine’s Day than with a bottle of Lambrusco, copious packets of Walker’s crisps, a slew of horror flicks, two pervy cats, and four psychotic bison frise dogs breathing down your neck? Yup, that’s exactly how I spent what’s supposed to be the most romantic day of the year.

Rather than endure Valentine’s Day on my own (last year I’d given a talk on erotic writing to creative writing MA students at Roehampton University, which was followed by a “date” consisting of my being allocated one token drink, my evening culminating in a delayed train home due to a “fatality” on the line at Romford – not sure if the suicide was a result of a broken heart or a result of living in Romford), I decided to head to that exotic gem of northern England known as Blackpool. Bear in mind that this English seaside resort town has as one of its claims to fame a “space invasion” (where’s Ziggy Stardust when you need him?) featuring several hovering spaceships on Gynn Island (in reality a roundabout), not to mention copious doses of the clap from all those hen nights (a more sedate version of which can be found in my short story “Hen Night” on Amazon Kindle) and stag dos and assorted dubious establishments catering to – dare I use the word – gentlemen.

Now I’m not going to diss Blackpool. I’m sure it’s a damned sight better than Skeggie (aka Skegness, home to the proverbial “dirty weekend” – a place where I’ve yet to go and may well manage to live without having gone). Blackpool does have some good things going for it (other than the Tower, Blackpool rock, and zillions of cheap trinkets on offer) – one being that my good mate Ashley Lister and his lovely wife Tracy and their lovely son Ashley Jr. all live there, the other being that it’s known as “the gay capital of the North”. Although I always seem to miss the Gay Pride Parade, I did go to a drag club called Funny Girls there a couple of years back. It wasn’t too bad as far as drag revues go, save for the fact there was no place to sit and I ended up with a hell of a backache by the time the show ended. Plus the place was packed with raucous females out on a hen night which – in my humble view – is enough to turn even the most masculine hetero male into a raging queen. What made it even worse was the fact that these creatures all wore these cute little furry bunny tails clipped to their rather uncute and unlittle posteriors. The sight was enough to make any man’s mars and venus shrivel up and die.

Meanwhile back at the ranch. At Chez Lister, we partook of a romantic orgy of blood, zombies, cannibals, vampires, and crazed killers all weekend long, the lineup of which included: Sweeney Todd; Dracula, Prince of Darkness; 30 Days of Night; 1408; Hannibal Rising; and Vacancy. Now I must confess that I did feel a bit of the old amorous Valentine’s Day tingle while watching Hannibal Rising. That Gaspard Ulliel isn’t too shabby. In fact, I can conjure up some very romantic scenarios featuring him in the lead role (no pun intended). Oh, and Andrew Garfield too. Okay, let’s throw in Jamie Draven while we’re at it; I do want to be fair here. And if anyone out there knows one or more of these nice lads, kindly pass on the word that I’m single and an absolutely lovely lass – they’d be hard-pressed to find better! (Hey, if I can’t use my blog for my own sinister purposes then what’s the bloody point?)

Did I mention that I played Upwords with the two Ashleys? For those of you unfamiliar with this board game, think of it like council estate Scrabble, with the words forming those grim tower blocks you see all over Britain which were built in an effort to provide public housing and which in London you can now pay full market rent to live in – no extra fees for the graffiti, broken lifts and muggings. During our tourney, I somehow managed to end up with too many tiles of the letter U; I suspect it was part of some father-son plot to cause me to lose the game. Things really began to disintegrate when I was forced to repeatedly place words such as “oh” and “uh” on the board. I mean,  how lame is that? Three games and I’d had enough. I next embarked on a jigsaw puzzle, but got annoyed after about an hour, retiring to the living room for a PlayStation game featuring Darth Vader and a host of other butch animated male characters, along with a handful of pneumatic animated female bimbos emitting noises like their flesh-and-blood pneumatic counterparts in porn. I must admit that while playing I became increasingly aggressive, experiencing a killer instinct the likes of which I hadn’t experienced since I lived in Los Angeles – an instinct that usually kicked into gear whenever I drove on the freeways, which was pretty much all the time.

Now don’t go thinking that my Valentine’s weekend was all bloodshed, mayhem and crisps. There was some romance (other than that provided by Monsieur Ulliel). I got to lie back on the sofa in peel me a grape fashion listening to Ashley Jr. play the piano. Then there was my toast thief Spike, who courted me all weekend long by performing The Spike Dance. I tell you, it’s a real talent to be able to get your head and your arse at the same angle. Imagine a U-shaped dog and you get the picture. And hey, if you think it’s easy, YOU try doing it!

Hmmm. I wonder what’s in store for me next Valentine’s Day…

View the rest of my holiday snaps on Flickr.

Watch videos from my “dirty weekend”!

February 25, 2009 at 3:19 pm Leave a comment

Camden Crawl

Ever have one of those days where you know that if you stay home you might very likely chuck yourself out from an upstairs window? Well, that about sums up last Sunday. Therefore I decided to go to Camden Town for the afternoon to distract myself and scout out some bargains, despite the fact I hate to shop (though necessity prevails). As a starving writer and a woman who refuses to give in to the moneyed gentlemen she’s met over the years who’ve offered to keep her in high style (though as we all know, there’s no such thing as a free lunch), I’m not in the leagues of Bond Street or Harrods; there are no Prada handbags or expensive designer dresses in my closet. So it’s Camden Town for me, though many of the shops there are still out of my reach! (Let’s get my Amazon Kindle books and short stories selling, alreet?)

The day began in a manner that made me wish I’d stayed home, despite the dire temptation of the upstairs window. My train journey into the city consisted of having to listen to the Essex geezah behind me making and receiving endless calls on his mobile phone, most of which were of him threatening his mate with dire consequences if he didn’t cough up the 450 quid owed him when he got to his house. Okay, fine, it didn’t affect MY life, save for the fact that his language was highly inappropriate at half past eleven in the morning (just as it would have been at half past midnight). Mind you, it seems the majority of men in Essex cannot speak without every other word being an obscenity, most of which are particularly offensive to women. If you’ve ever encountered any Essex males (usually visible in a crowd by their West Ham shirts), I’m sure I need not elaborate.

Things really heated up when the fellow seated across from me (whom it was later revealed was an American tourist to our fair isle) decided to take a photograph of the landscape outside the train window, which apparently was directly in the range of Mr. Geezah’s personage. Well, Mr. Geezah took none too kindly to what he construed as a photo being taken of his fine Essex self, and things began to turn nasty. In caveman-speak, he laid into the fellow, demanding to know if he’d been photographed and why, which escalated into a threat to take the camera and smash it (and, I gather, smash its owner’s face as well). The exchange went on for a good fifteen minutes, in between more phone calls as to the whereabouts of his money. Finally we were left in peace when he exited the train – no doubt to pursue the poor bastard who owed him the 450 quid, as somehow I doubt he was heading off to a late Sunday service.

I eventually made it to Camden Town, which was bustling with people out for a day of posing, shopping, and eating. Is there a recession on? If so, I saw no evidence of it in Londontown. Mind you, I was hard-pressed to actually see any actual English people buying anything – the only ones who seemed to be taking out their wallets were Spaniards, Italians, and Russians. Oh, and me, who by a stroke of luck did manage to snag some bargains, which included haggling a market trader down by 25 quid on a purchase. I’d managed to recruit a friend along to play mule by carrying my bags and preventing me from going psycho in the crowd (I don’t “do” crowds). Happening upon a pub that served Fruli (my favourite strawberry beer) on tap didn’t hurt either. I suppose I got in my friend’s good graces when I naysayed his potential purchase of a rather pricey belt made up of bullets that looked like something from out of a spaghetti western. The thing looked fabulous dangling from a wire, but it quickly lost its appeal when worn. Although his intention was to wear it to heavy metal gigs, I was certain he’d end up being arrested as a suicide bomber before he’d even made it through the door.

I’m now wondering if maybe I should’ve bought the bullet belt myself, and possibly a gun to go along with it. It might come in handy next time I’m on the train…

October 14, 2008 at 3:42 pm 10 comments

This Time Next Year We’ll Be Millionaires!

No, I haven’t suddenly gone into the business of flogging dodgy goods off a pitch at the market, nor will I be claiming that said goods have fallen off the back of a lorry either. But I did take a little peek at my Amazon Kindle books royalties for my M. S. Valentine novels and wah-hey – I’m now up to thirty bucks! (And yes, that’s in U.S. greenbacks.) Okay, I realise this might only get me a couple of foot-long sandwiches at Subway with a bit left over for a trip to Starbucks, but this could be a nice little earner, as Del Boy would say.

For those of you who haven’t read my previous blog post on the subject (Is the Print Book Destined For Death), my very first Amazon Kindle book The Captivity of Celia was published a few weeks ago, and since then the entire catalogue of my out-of-print M. S. Valentine erotic novels have been re-issued on this platform. I’m so impressed with the Kindle’s ease of use and potential for growth that I’m now looking into putting together a special collection of my short stories and having it sold via Kindle. This electronic reader is growing in popularity, and I’ve no doubt Amazon will develop a version compatible in other markets, such as the U.K. and Europe.

It’s inevitable that as mainstream publishing continues to cut back on the numbers of books they publish, not to mention continues to offer ridiculous advances to fly-by-night celebrities whose books fail dismally in the sales department, legitimate writers will be forced to seek out more and more alternative and innovative ways to get their product into the marketplace. Companies such as Amazon are well aware of the pitfalls we writers face – and they are providing us with the means to take some control over our literary destinies into our own hands. So while a major publisher robs Peter to pay Paul (you being Peter, Paul being the big celebrity “author”), and while hot-shot literary agents linger over a three-hour lunch at Tavern on the Green yet can’t even spare a minute to reply to your emails, at least you can be pro-active as opposed to just banging your head against your computer keyboard.

Maybe thirty dollars is no great shakes, but I’m not complaining. Wah-hey, it’s a start!

August 27, 2008 at 4:09 pm 10 comments

Is the Print Book Destined For Death?

Within the past week I’ve had two people say to me – “but I like REAL books!” They were, of course, unhappily referring to the increasing popularity of electronic readers such as Amazon’s Kindle, and therefore the increasing popularity of books you can download and read on said reader. Unfortunately, I own no shares in (I wish I’d gone with my gut instinct on this years ago rather than listening to the dotcom doomsdayers, one of which was the investment guy who advised me to buy mutual funds whose managers are now all in jail), but that’s beside the point. Granted, in a way I agree – there is nothing like holding a book in your hands; it’s tangible, tactile, it looks nifty on a bookshelf, and hell, it can even make a damned good door-stopper, to say nothing of performing other important household functions. Why, just the other day while Facebooking I found myself being harassed by a wasp. Needless to say, he meet his fate quickly (and no doubt painlessly) at the hands of a novel I’d grown bored of reading.

So why am I jabbering on about Amazon Kindle? Well, for very good reason! My bestselling and now out-of-print erotic novel The Captivity of Celia (written as M. S. Valentine) has just been published as a Kindle book. Indeed, thanks to Amazon Kindle it has been brought back to life, and several of my other Valentine titles will be following suit via this platform. Is that such a bad thing? Not if it puts a few bob in my pocket! And I’m suddenly hearing from other authors who are feeling quite encouraged about this new opportunity to gain readers and thus earn a bit to put toward the rent.

Speaking from the rather prejudiced perspective of a writer, the really great thing about the Kindle is that the author can publish directly with Amazon, thereby cutting out those annoying little middlemen such as literary agents and book editors and publishers who, as many of us in this business have already learned, know as much about publishing good books as your senile old Aunt Gertrude in Hoboken, New Jersey. Hang on a minute – isn’t Gertrude the name of that editor who rejected my last book?

So before we go starting up a Kindle fatwah, we need to gain some perspective. People who like print books will always buy print books. The marketplace cannot ignore such a large percentage of readers. However, those who prefer the transportability, the varied features, and the ability to store a multitude of titles, not to mention being able to bookmark them, will add the Kindle to their reading repetoire. There’s room for all of us. Let’s just all try to get along, shall we?

August 8, 2008 at 10:55 am 14 comments

What I Get Up To

I write, I blog, I Mitzi TV, I network, I breathe, I get my name in the press... I'm a true Renaissance lass! My books include IN SLEEPING BEAUTY'S BED: EROTIC FAIRY TALES; GETTING EVEN: REVENGE STORIES (crime); THE NEW BLACK LACE BOOK OF WOMEN'S SEXUAL FANTASIES (non-fiction/survey); DYING FOR IT: TALES OF SEX AND DEATH (multi-genre); THE WORLD’S BEST SEX WRITING 2005 (non-fiction/criticism); WICKED: SEXY TALES OF LEGENDARY LOVERS; the EROTIC TRAVEL TALES anthology series; the M. S. Valentine erotic novels; and a slew of titles available on Amazon Kindle. Find me on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Flickr, LinkedIn, Plaxo, Tumblr, Plurk, Social Median, and wherever else I might decide to turn up!

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Authors Mitzi Szereto & Royce Buckingham taking a break from books

Sunset at Semiahmoo

Teddy Tedaloo at the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

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