7 Questions

This week’s 7 Questions are with Rose Montague.  You may remember we reviewed her book in an earlier post, and it’s always fun when we get to geek out and interview someone we really admire, especially when they’re as super nice as Rose. If you haven’t read her books you really are missing out.

1. Where did the idea for Jade come from?

Jade was my first book and is the result of wanting to write what I would like to read. It had to be my most loved genre, urban fantasy. It also had to have a strong element of mystery to it and I wanted to drop clues throughout the book to give readers a chance to figure things out in advance. I think some readers will do better than others anticipating the plot twists and reveals but there are so many mysteries going on at the same time I felt it would be the rare reader that would solve everything.

Jade also had to kick butt, both physically and supernaturally. I love female heroines and the superhero theme. Having supernaturals mixed with everyday humans was a must. I love the concept of co-existence of these two different worlds. I also wanted a romance that was not the central focus of the book and was different from the norm.

I wrote Jade in serial style so each chapter brings something that keeps the reader going, either an action scene or a few surprises. I wanted a book that would appeal both to older teens and adults and I think I was able to do that. I like a little humor in my books and you will find a lot of fun stuff in Jade.

2. Did you know from the start what was going to happen with the character relationships, or did they take on a life of their own?

I had the ending in mind when I wrote the first few chapters and by that time, I had pretty much plotted everything out. Then I got to the original ending and decided to extend it a few more chapters into what was originally planned as the next book. I think that worked out pretty well. The main story is wrapped up but there is some enticement to continue on to the next book.

3. Your cover art is fantastic, do you work closely with your cover artist to come up with something that so perfectly reflects the book?

My cover artist is the amazing Mirella Santana. I saw her mentioned by several of my author friends as being an exceptional cover artist. We worked closely on all my covers. For Jade we looked at several models that would work and once we made the decision, Mirella started adding the elements I wanted. The cover reflects the various natures of Jade, the pointy ears for the fae, the bats for the vampire, the pentagram for her witch side, and another clue (don’t want to spoil the surprise) for her shifter beast. Jade is the mutt of the supe world and I wanted the cover to reflect that.

4. How do you feel about pet couture?

About the same as us wearing real fur, meaning not at all. My cats are beautiful, just the way they are. Badgers may be my only exception to the rule.

5. Describe your ideal sandwich?

Bacon and more bacon, possibly three levels of nice crispy bacon. With mayo and a few pickles. Nothing else, please.

6. Do you have a favourite vampire?

Betsy the Vampire Queen, from the series by Mary Janice Davidson. She’s all into clothes, which is something you will see a lot of with Jade. Not to mention the shoes, it has to have lots of great shoes. Melabeth from the Melabeth the Vampire series by E.B. Hood is my current love. I will be doing a blog post on this series in the next few weeks.

7. If, unlike Jade, you had to choose a type of “Supe” to be, which would you pick?

One of the big cats. A lion, tiger, or maybe a panther. They are beautiful but deadly.

And you can find Rose on Amazon and Pronoun.

 

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Monday Mystery Mime

It’s that time of the week again where our friends Feathers and Toast perform a mystery mime for your guessing pleasure. Think you know what it is? Put your guess in the comments below.  The winner gets the mime of their choice performed.  Guesses close on Friday and the winner will be announced with next week’s mime.

And congratulations to last week’s winners, Melissa Spors Hubbard and Paul Uhler who correctly guessed graduation cap being tossed in the air.

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UK Election 2017 – The Story So Far…

We have been steering clear of the news of late, because it is just too depressing, but we know that for some of you, Newsnibbles is the only thing you read, so we thought we’d give you the basics.

So, after saying she would not call a snap election, on April 18th, Theresa May announced a snap election for June 8th.  The aim of this was to increase the Tory majority, and and make a hard Brexit easier to achieve.

What Mrs May apparently had not considered, was the fact the 48% of the country voted to remain in Europe, the increasing popularity of Jeremy Corbyn, and the swing to the left to many of the young, who are tired of the ideological austerity imposed by the current government, which to many seems designed to make the rich richer and the poor poorer, perhaps a way to “decrease the surplus population”?  With the wealth divide at a high level, the NHS being systematically sold of to Richard Branson’s Virgin Care and NHS staff forced to use food banks, many of the country were saying enough is enough.

In the five week run up to the general election Labour closed the polling gap making it a very tight race.  Whilst pundits predicted the May would lose her majority, no-one predicted the 12 seat loss, and resulting hung parliament.  The nation had spoken, it wanted a change.

In what many see as a desperate attempt to cling to power, May has joined forces with the DUP, an Irish Unionist party, whose policies include criminalising abortion, decriminalising of LGBTQ discrimination, a return to the death penalty and the teaching of creationism in schools. That’s right, they believe the Earth is only 6000 years old.  Just let that sink in for a minute.  It is worth noting here that a number of these policies are in direct contravention of the Good Friday Agreement.   There is already a petition on Change.Org opposing the union, which to date has over 100,000 signatures.

The 10 seats they won in Northern Ireland will allow the Tories a slim majority and mean they can form a government, however, the combined numbers of The Labour Party, The SNP, The Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru and The Green Party form 48.3% of parliament, so if they agree to vote together it is likely that they will be able to block any reforms that a Conservative/DUP pairing attempts to pass.  UKIP has no seats, so there are no other Right Wing parties left to support this.

What Mrs May also seems to have failed to consider is the forming of this coalition was the 19 openly LGBTQ MPs within her own party, who could be her downfall if she tries to pass any DUP agenda which will negatively impact the LGBTQ community.  If fact, this election saw a record number of LGBTQ MPs elected, as well as a record number of female MPs, which seems to demonstrate that the majority of Britons are opposed to what could be called the backward facing policies of the DUP.

In an election that seems to have been fought on Social Media as much as anywhere else, it is not surprising that people have taken to Twitter to voice their opposition to this union.

It is difficult to say how things will play out. With so much public opposition it would be reasonable to hope that the coalition would be reconsidered, but then, 84% of the population oppose fox hunting, and she still wants to bring that back.

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Monday Mystery Mime

That’s right, it’s actually Monday! Don’t act so surprised, we manage it sometimes.  So, you know the drill by now: in conjunction with our friends at Feathers and Toast we run the weekly Mystery Mime competition. Guess the Mime, post your answers in the comments.  If you get it right then you have a chance of winning the mime of your choice being performed.

And congratulations to the Mime Reader himself, Richard Goldman, who correctly guessed that last week’s mime, which was Ketchup being shaken and poured onto a burger, obviously.  The man clearly has a gift for mime reading.

So, this week’s clue is an achievement which is often celebrated at this time of year. Go on, have a guess, see if you can dethrone Richard!

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7 Questions

Today’s 7 Questions is with chief tester, Huxley at Huxley Hound’s “Better than Raw” dog treats.  He is a very busy daschund, but has taken some time out from his tasting schedule to chat to Newsnibbles about Better than Raw.

1.Tell us a bit about your product and what inspired you to create it.

Well Rolo and I are raw fed boys and Mum is a bit careful about our food and our treats – so she started making her own.  She played around with lots of different ingredients, made a bit of a (huge) mess in the kitchen and we got to try everything she made.  Rolo will eat anything but I am a bit more selective – so it became clear what worked – and what didn’t.  Mum wanted to make sure the treats were low fat and healthy – nothing hidden or added. The preference was also to be organic and British.  As lowriding sausage dogs we really need to keep our waist lines in check so with this in mind, along with the industry figures that show that over 3.5 million dogs out of the 8 million or so dogs in the UK are now considered overweight – it seemed that there would be a place for our veggie treats.  Mum took to the kitchen with little shop-bought dehydrator and it wasn’t long before “our” treats were being handed out to friends left right and centre and it seemed that was the start of our story.

2.If, hypothetically speaking. you were to open a “Better Than Raw Dog Restaurant”, what would be the dress code?

Well we wouldn’t really want to be too exclusive but we do love a tastefully dressed dog.  Nice bow tie for the lads, nice colour and lead for the girls??  However we would like our restaurant to be organic, ethical etc so we would probably aim for the au naturel for the four-legs!  We have been known to dress up – sorry – I mean be dressed up!!  Mum doesn’t have the same taste as us so we usually sit and wait patiently for our treats while she humiliates us!  We do have a nice line in lumberjack shirts and red tees from our friends @animalattire who cater for the longer bodied hound – which are much better than the various Halloween (Halloweiner!) and Christmas outfits!!

3.How do you feel about pet couture, and has this influenced your answer to question 2?

I guess we are slightly governed by the family and their need to dress us up occasionally.  However – we feel each to their own and if the cap fits – literally!

4.What has been the general response to vegetable based dog treats?

It is has been a learning curve – for us and our growing customer base. Overall – it has been very positive.  You will always have some who think that dogs do not need vegetables through to those that take time out to write to us to thank us for making our new range of organic veggie treats – either as an alternative to meat or grain treats or indeed some for medical reasons such as low protein diets.  It seems like the growing trend to incorporate vegetables into dog food is growing as a whole which is great.  So, the response has been great and at our launch to trade in March we were overrun both days and our stockist list is growing every week.

5.Does Rolo feel a bit left out that Huxley got to be brand name?

We don’t think so.  Our little Rolo is slightly afraid of the world so I think he is happy to take back step from the limelight – happy in his home environment being a funny little thing – entertaining the family and friends.  Occasionally he will venture out for the organised Dachshund Walks.  Rolo obviously gets to share the Chief Tasting Responsibilities with me but whereas I am always happy to take centre stage – we don’t think the world is ready for level of noise from such a little fella!

6.Describe your ideal sandwich.

Well call me an old softy with tones of cheesy pick-up lines … if Rolo and I pin Mum down on either side – where we get fuss and treats – that seems like the best kind of sandwich a small sausage loves!

7.What’s next on the agenda?

Well … there is some rather exciting stuff in the pipeline all going on behind the scenes at the moment.  All a bit secret squirrel.  So perhaps we can talk later in the summer when all will be revealed…

And you can find out more about “Better than Raw” on Huxley’s Website.

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Monday Mystery Mime

You know the drill, guess the mime, if you get it right you get the mime of your choice performed.  You have until Friday. Answers revealed with next week’s mime.

And congratulations to Judith, who correctly guessed that last week’s mime was a meerkat.  When her mime is complete we will post it here.  So, guesses in the comments, either here, on Facebook or on the Youtube Channel.

Good luck Nibblers, this week’s clue is BBQ.

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Monday Mystery Mime

We’re not late, maybe you’re late, did you think of that?

So, you know the drill, guess the mime, post your guess in the comments.  It’s fun.  The last mime was a snake being charmed out of a basket.  Winners have been notified, if you haven’t been notified you didn’t win. Never mind, try this one instead, you never know.

As always entries close midnight Friday. Good luck.

 

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Book Reviews, Ala Badger

Well, I’ve made it through four more books, and as I’m posting on Amazon and Goodreads, I figured I may as well share it with you lot too. I reckon some of you can read at any rate.  So, for those of you who missed the first book review post I did, I grade up to ten stars, because I don’t think five is enough.  However, we know that ‘reads and the ‘zon only have the option for five, so I will post my rating, then explain how that transfers across.  Enjoy.

Fandri’s Adventures: Hunters of Reloria series prequel, by Kasper Beaumont

The book started promisingly, as a fantasy tale, somewhat reminiscent of The Hobbit.  However, the characters lacked motivation, just meeting and deciding to go on a journey, for example, or later breaking away from the group, all for no apparent reason.  I was also made to feel rather uncomfortable by the amount of kissing and naked women who felt the need to kiss our protagonists, who were only supposed to be 13/14 years old.

I liked the pictures, however felt that they implied I was reading a children’s story, which the amount of semi naked ladies and deep kissing seemed unsuitable for.  Equally, I felt that the female characters on the whole were just there for this purpose.  I would have liked more motivation with all of the characters, even the minor ones.

I felt the story concept of an adventure was good, and the book was very well edited and formatted, but it really needs to work on character development, and decide who the desired audience is and focus the content to them.

As you can tell, the book wasn’t really for me, and so, on my scale I would give it four out of ten.  This translates as two on Amazon.  Unfortunately five being the limit makes it difficult, and I have given books I felt were better and enjoyed more three stars, so this is only fair.  Of course reviews are just opinion, so why not check out the sample below and see what you think for yourselves?

Jane, by Rose Montague

I really enjoyed Jade by Rose Montague, and as this was the sequel it simply had to be done.  It was just as exciting and fun as the first, as we followed Jade and Jane in pursuit of the devil himself.  The issue for me was that I didn’t like Jane as a narrator.  I didn’t feel she cared about much of anything, so when she was telling us what was happening, it felt that she was distant and not involved.  It is for that reason that I couldn’t understand why she was doing things, it was as though she was going through the motions, there was none of the intensity of emotion that there was in Jade.  This perhaps comes from being a vampire, once you’ve been alive for a certain number of years maybe you’re able to emotionally distance yourself from even events that are closest to you, and remain objective in even the most difficult circumstances.  But her objectivity and lack of passion made it difficult for me to be on her team the way I was with Jade.  Let’s be clear, this is my only criticism, and perhaps that’s why I felt the need to focus on it, because it’s dropped stars for me because of it.  However, in the most part it was funny, exciting and I read it over a few days.  Of course I will be buying Jill to find out how the series ends, and will let you know what I think.

So, this one was seven out of ten for me, or four out of five.

Small Gods, by Terry Pratchett

I had this one in audio, narrated by Tony Robbins and I felt that he did beautiful justice to the humour that was the awesome Sir Terry.  It’s funny how through satire, truths can be told, and I felt a lot of the things that happened were a bit to close to the mark.  In these days of fake news and demonising minorities, a lot of the humour was too close for comfort.  I listened to it whilst doing some decorating, and found myself snorting alone with my roller on occasion.  I would say it was worth getting, just to hear the funny voices given to the characters.  As a general rule I don’t like my favourite books being turned into audio or film because once you’ve imagined the characters a certain way, this can be ruined by someone else’s imagining of them, but on this occasion I rather enjoyed it.  I had read the book years ago, and whilst bits of it started to come back to me, I found myself able to enjoy it for what it was, and it made a boring task a little more enjoyable.

I won’t bother star rating this one, it’s Pratchett, you know it’s good.

The Night Watch, by Sarah Waters

I read Affinity by Sarah Waters and found it so compelling that I couldn’t put it down.  Obviously I wanted to see what else she had in her collection, and went with The Night Watch.  This is a non-linear tale that spans through and just past World War Two.  What I liked most about it, as with all of her books (I am now on The Paying Guests) is that your are firmly given a sense of period, and you are fully immersed in whatever period in which the book is set.  I had a real sense of the oppressive nature of the blitz, the feeling of living for the day, the excitement and tension between the characters.  What is brilliant is that nothing is glamourised, we see all of the characters in real settings including toilets!  Whilst I didn’t find any of the characters in this terribly likeable (perhaps they were too real), I did find them all empathetic, and found myself forced to read on to find out what happened with them.  The story goes backwards, so you know how it ends at the start (although of course it’s not really an ending) and you find yourself reading to learn how they arrived at this point, rather than what was going to happen next.  I loved being immersed in the lives of these people.  Sarah Waters writes characters that history has forgotten, and creates them with such realism and clarity as to compel you to want to know more.

Earlier this month I wrote about the importance of diversity in literature, and she achieves this so elegantly that it is hard to find fault anywhere within her writing.  It is for this reason that The Night Watch gets ten out of ten, or five out of five.

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Monday Mystery Mime

What do you mean, we’re late? Maybe you’re late? Ever think of that?  So, you know the drill.  Every week the amazing folks at Feathers and Toast perform a mystery mime.  All you have to do is guess what it is for a chance to have the mime of your choosing performed by Tallulah herself.  We won’t make it complicated, just post your answer in the comments. Go on, have a go.  A Nibbler won the other week, and we have posted their mime below.

Last week’s mime was a lollypop melting. No-one guessed it, so have a go this time, you never know.

Now, without further ado, the mystery…

And just to prove it really does happen, Judith requested an elephant being washed, and below is said mime. It is incredibly realistic, you can almost see the trunk.

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The Grumpy Badger Guide to Getting Online Attention

You voted, this is what you want to know about, so here it is!

 

Today’s Grumpy Badger Guide focuses on how to get attention on social media. Clearly there are lots of you out there struggling with getting adequate online attention, feeling unloved, dejected, in need of a virtual stroke.  Fear not, the Grumpy Badger Guide to getting attention on online is here to help.

For the purposes of this guide, I will be using the fictional account of one Vince McCool. He will be modelled by prolific fantasy author and friend of Newsnibbles, Samuel Z Jones.  Vince is one cool dude, and has the whole getting online attention thing down, so hopefully you can learn something from him. Newsnibbles would also like to thank “The Master”, for donating a photograph of a plate of chips for the purposes of this illustrated guide.

As with the Grumpy Badger Guide to Writing Erotica, all characters in this guide are completely fictional. Any resemblance blah blah blah.

So, without further ado, let’s begin.

Be Ambiguous

There’s no point revealing everything.  If you give out all of the information straight away no-one will have a need to comment.  You might get the odd like or share, but that’s not what we’re after here, we want proper interactions, so the more vague the better.  Below is an example from Vince’s page.  On this particular day, the local corner shop was out of full fat milk, and Vince had to buy semi skimmed.

OMG, I have no idea how I’m going to last the week! LOL

Here, you can see that Vince has reacted badly to the need to purchase semi-skimmed milk, but he hasn’t actually given us anything to go on, forcing us to ask.  He has finished the post with a LOL to show it’s nothing serious and not to worry.  You may want to leave the LOL off depending on how much attention you want.  This particular post lead to a comment from Sharon Peebody, one of Vince’s many friends.  She asked.

OMG, babe, what’s up? U ok hunni? lol xxx

Here you see that Sharon is so concerned, she hasn’t even taken the time to write full words.  Her lol is lower case, and more of a nervous titter than the uppercase guffaw that Vince used in his original status.  Girls are more likely to comment with kisses than boys, but using three here has she has, Sharon is most likely also flirting with Vince.  We will observe flirting in a later section.

Put yourself down so that everyone else can build you back up.

Vince takes a long time taking mirror selfies, arm length phone selfies and laptop selfies.  He knows his fans want to see him, but he doesn’t want to appear vain, so he posted the following caption with this one:

Just testing the camera on my laptop, LOL! Reckon it’s got an ugly filter, hehehe.

Obviously Vince knows he’s not ugly.  No-one with self esteem issues would post as many selfies as he does, but a post like this received 39 hearts and 27 comments telling him how good he looks.  Sharon was one of the first to comment with:

No, babe. It’s got the well sexy filter on. lol. Love your tshirt hehehe.

So, you see, by posting with a self deprecating comment, Vince ensured compliments whilst not appearing vain. Also, he is maintaining the interest of the lovely Sharon. 

Everyone is fascinated with your life, don’t be afraid to share.

Vince already has an extensive fan base, which is why we’re using him as an example, but you have to think big.  Be like Vince. Your friends are not just your friends, they are your fans.  Any little tidbit you give them is like virtual gold.  Nothing is boring, pointless or annoying to share.  See below for an example of Vince trivia gold.

OMG, I just put my dinner in the microwave, and accidentally set it to defrost instead of high!  It was still cold! LOL

Vince also included photographic evidence to prove he really did have dinner, and was not making this up. You may want to evidence your posts too.

 

Here you see that Vince wants to share the hilarity that has just ensued at home in his kitchen with his fans, so that they can feel like they were there too, and somehow, in some small way a part of his life.  This latest status resulted in a total of 220 “likes” and 144 comments, but we will focus on Sharon again for consistency.

PMSL babe! Ur soooo funny. xxxxx Did u eat cold chips? LOL

Here you can see that he has amused Sharon so much he earned 5 kisses in the middle of a comment. This definitely says flirting, Vince will play it cool for a bit longer, but the defrost comment has definitely earned him points. She has also included a question, so he has to respond.  You have to give to get, it’s no good getting a reputation for not responding.  See below.

No, babe! LOL! I put em back in on the right setting. PMSL.

Here you see Vince has answered her question and acknowledged that she was making a joke. Both important in developing the relationship.

Be vulnerable. Have no secrets.

In the world of online attention, there’s no point having secrets.  What’s the point in having a feeling or an emotion if you can’t tell everyone about it?  After the chip conversation, Vince privately messaged Sharon, asking her out for chipshop chips, and promising they would be hot lol xx. Of course, this happened in private, so his fans didn’t know.  This can be rectified with a single status, see below:

Got a date with the prettiest girl online! So excited and nervous! Can’t wait to see you babe xxxxx. – Sharon Peebody

Here you can see Vince has declared his love to all of his fans, making it official, and also tagged Sharon to ensure she doesn’t miss his moment of vulnerability.  Fortunately she has found a way to set up an alert, and receives an email every time someone tags her, so was able to respond virtually immediately, to reassure Vince that his feelings are reciprocated.

OMG! Me 2 babe! cant wait 2 c u! So excited about chips. Hope they’re hot like you! xxxx

So, Sharon has reassured and complimented him, and all his fans can see just what a ladies man he is.

Things happen fast, don’t be afraid to tell everyone.

In a world of superfast broadband, microwave meals and instant messages, one date does a relationship make, and you immediately need everyone to know how happy you are.  Change your relationship status immediately, and tell the world.

Vince McCool is in a relationship with Sharon Peebody.

This particular status resulted in 798 likes.  There were also 294 comments of “congrats” and “u guys r so cute”.  Sharon also commented:

OMG babe! I luv u sooo much! Can’t wait to c u tonight. I’ll bring the chips, lol xxxxxx

Even when you’re with the person, the world still needs to know.

Vince and Sharon now live together, but as they met online they still find it easier to communicate on statuses, and that way the fans still get to observe, partly envious, partly glad to be, in some small way involved in the fascinating lives of Vince and Sharon.

OMG, LOL! Vince just farted so loudly I thought it was an earthquake! I knew we shouldn’t have had beans with our chips! It’s a good job I love him! – Vince McCool.

Wot can I say? Better out than in! LOL! Love you too baby.xxxxx

Here Sharon’s status and Vince’s response collectively received 1982 likes and comments.  Not only does it show they’re real people, but it proves that they have someone in their lives that loves them. All it needs is one person to love you for everyone else to love you too.

That’s it from this Grumpy Badger Guide.  We hope you found it useful.  If you have a topic you would like covered in a Grumpy Badger Guide, please comment below and let us know.

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