Twitter is such a polite form of communication that seems to promote that good old fashioned courtesy. It is wonderful that good people can ‘like’ your comments and always thank you for a re-tweet; perfect strangers wish me ‘Happy Monday’, or tell me to have a good weekend.
Recently the lovely Diane Need wished me ’Happy Friday’ on Thursday and this prompted a string of humorous comments from others – all very courteous. My phone beep, beeped for two days with various comments until it was indeed Friday and Diane’s birthday. Here are some snatches of the conversation:
It’s your birthday – it can be whatever day you want it to be. x
Such interactions punctuate your day with positivity and make you laugh out loud in public places. How, I wish that we could apply the same etiquette to everyday situations and people would walk past and share a positive greeting, rather than looking at their feet. Wouldn’t it be great if we could hand out cards with emojis on them, just to confirm our feelings? They wouldn’t have to say anything just hold up a smiley face. The only down side could be that one wouldn’t stop saying thank you. In Twitterland, everyone keeps on acknowledging your comments and it is difficult to know when to stop: I haven’t yet learnt this etiquette as I like to have the last word.
I had a great dilemma when Angela Petch sent me a picture of an orchid from Italy and presented ‘an orchid in Tuscany for favourite Blogger.’ What could I do? I couldn’t go on pressing the ‘like’ button forever and working my way through all of the emojis? I had to be courteous and creative so I sent her a picture of a cup with an appropriate message on it. Does anyone know if that was sufficient or if I have missed something?
I adore the way in which Twitterland guides you down the path of courteousness, reinstates good old fashioned values and inspires creativity. I want to share this love and hand out emojis as I walk the streets. Of course, it would be even better if more strangers would just smile occasionally and pass the time of day – just as the lovely people do on Twitter.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone on Twitter for future re-tweets and any ‘likes’ that they want to share. I like you all, with big hearts, and thank you! I am happy, excited and winking simultaneously.
I have invited Diane Need to present an extract from ‘Press Three for Goodbye’. Her debut novel is a humorous exploration of second chances. Beth, the central character, has been compared to Shirley Valentine, but she doesn’t travel to Greece in search of answers.
Without further ado, I will hand over to Diane who has a message for her readers.
Beth is a gentle and caring heroine, but a lot of fun, too, with the scrapes she gets into. The story deals with some serious issues, but there’s also plenty of humour.
I’ve chosen the extract as I believe it gives an insight into Beth’s character and one of the scrapes Beth finds herself in.
It’s an easy, feel good and uplifting read, ideal for the airport, on holiday or sitting by the fire with a cuppa (or a glass of wine!)
Presenting the Extract
Paul scrutinised the paw prints and cleared his throat before continuing. ‘I’m –’ he blustered, looking to Emily as if for support. ‘Well, the thing is – we’re here about Rodney; we think he should come and live with us. I paid for him, after all – and it’s obvious you can’t cope with him.’
‘I don’t care who paid for him; Rodney stays here!’ Beth cried. ‘He loves being with me –’
‘Well, I think –’ Emily interrupted.
Beth’s head spun round like the girl possessed by the devil in the film The Exorcist. ‘What the hell’s it got to do with you? God knows why you’re even here!’
Right on cue, Rodney pawed at the door. Expecting him to demonstrate his love for her by jumping up, Beth pulled it open. He darted past her, something bright pink dangling from his mouth, and headed once more for the sheepskin rug.
Beth clapped a hand over her mouth. OMG – it was a pair of her old knickers – her “Bridget Jones’s”! To her total horror, Rodney held the material between his front paws and gleefully began tearing the gusset apart.
Paul and Emily stood aghast as she dived to retrieve her tatty pants.
Panting like a madwoman, she finally managed to wrestle them free from the dog’s jaws.
Paul shook his head and Emily gave a loud snort.
‘Why don’t the pair of you just piss off?’ Beth yelled. ‘And you’re not having the bloody dog – he stays with me. RIGHT?’
When Beth, fast approaching forty and a stay-at-home wife, decides to put some romance back into her flagging marriage, her plans are thwarted when her husband announces he’s leaving her for his intellectual equal. All he leaves Beth with is an order to vacate the family home and the wrath of her acid-tongued mother-in-law. Beth has no career, no money and no self-esteem.
Beth’s best friend Jackie manages to find her a job at a care home. The work is challenging, and, with a string of obstacles being dropped on her, one after another, her life descends into chaos.
There is a flicker of light on the horizon when handsome Ryan Morgan enters her life and offers to dog-sit her beloved dog, Rodney. But are Beth and Ryan meant to be together? And will they be able to pursue a relationship when she discovers more secrets about those she thought she knew so well?
What do the reviews say?
“Great read which grabs your attention straight away and moves on at good pace.”
“This has everything: love and heartache, humour and friendship, courage and compassion.”
“Diane’s debut novel is a reminder that we have the power to rebuild ourselves even when we feel as though we’ve hit rock bottom.”
More about Diane
I’m a trained Counsellor with a background in education and social care, and I believe my work and personal life has given me insight and understanding into how life issues can impact upon people.
It felt a bit surreal when I’d written “The End.” I couldn’t quite believe it! I missed all of the characters, especially Beth, Jackie and Paul – and Rodney the dog, of course!
The novel explores the adage: what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I wanted Beth to work through the chaos and obstacles. I adored the lolloping dog, and enjoyed booing at the annoying characters. Grab a large glass of wine, and read this book during a weekend, to find out it Beth survives.
Please see my blog at jessiecahalin.com to read my reviews and subscribe to receive the weekly updates.
Thank you to everyone who regularly visits my website and a massive thank you to my wonderful subscribers. I have been overwhelmed with the praise for my website and book reviews. Angela Petch captured my motivation perfectly when she wrote that ‘your blog shows me that you are a true book lover.’
I am dedicated to reviewing authors’ books as it is simple act of kindness that lets them know that they are valued. For instance, Sue Moorcroft responded to a review with ‘There are few things that give me greater pleasure than people enjoying my book.’ Carol Drinkwater wrote that my review was a ‘wonderful surprise’. Authors are the wordsmiths, the dream weavers and storytellers and it is an honour to read their work. It has made me so happy to discover that Angela Petch was ‘moved to tears’ by my review, and Jan Ellis said that my review made her ‘well up’. It was a delight to receive Diane Need’s comment that she was ‘so thrilled with the review of her debut novel’.
In addition, to writing the weekly review, I have also enjoyed interacting with the authors about their characters. Angela Petch has updated me on Giuseppe, Marisa, Francesco, Anna, Ines, Danilo and the little horses of San Francesco from Now and Then in Tuscany. Diane Need has sent messages from Beth in Press Three for Goodbye. Jan Ellis has kept me posted with regard Eleanor’s social life in A Summer of Surprises. I have exchanged postcards with Leah in Just for the Holidays and as Sue Moorcroft said, ‘it was so much fun’. I will catch up with Leah again soon when I read the book.
It was a joy to welcome Diane to my new Chat Room. It was a beautiful summer’s day but too hot to venture outside. Ruby, the dog, was looking a little hot and bothered so we decided to seek sanctuary in the shade of the Chat Room. We opened the patio doors and enjoyed the welcome breeze that made its way into the room. Ruby stirred, a little when she heard the barking of the neighbour’s dog but settled to listen to the chat.
I prepared some Rum Swizzle cocktails and we settle down to chat about Diane’s debut novel, ‘Press Three for Goodbye’. Diane had brought crusty bread, green and black olives and smoked salmon with cream cheese and horseradish. She was wearing a flowing, bright summery dress and carried a pink leather handbag with a gold clasp.
It was great to be in Diane’s company she was so cheerful and relaxed during the interview.
Jessie: I enjoyed the book and referred to it as a ‘rapid read’ for my handbag as it was an easy comforting read. Although funny the book is heart-breaking as Beth has been with ‘one person for half a lifetime’ and has to re-build’. Do you agree with this?
Diane: Yes. My novel is an easy yet poignant read written with compassion and humour. A reminder we have the power to rebuild ourselves, even when we’ve hit rock bottom.
Jessie: The book is positive and inspiring. I know that the book would cheer people up if they were feeling a bit low. The novel is a great escape and easy to read. What made you start to write the book?
Diane: I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 1999 and writing rescued me from depression because it gave me a focus, so I was actually thinking what I could do rather than what I couldn’t. I’ve always wanted to be a writer and dreamed of writing a book. I’ve written poetry and short stories, but I knew that writing a book was a big task and a long journey and worried that I would be unable to tackle writing a novel, especially as I get fatigue and memory lapses as a result of the MS. The MS Society funded a short writing course for me, which I loved, and I found that my imagination hadn’t deserted me, after all! I tried to pace myself throughout the novel, although I confess at one point I never thought I’d actually type “The End!” I am donating a proportion of the sales from my book to the MS Society.
Jessie: People have been very positive about your book. You must be so proud of your first novel and the way that the story just breezes along. I enjoyed writing your review but what did other people say?
Diane smiled, took a sip of her cocktail and then searched for her phone. Ruby was sitting beside Diane and sitting on the phone. Diane took the phone and placed her book in front of the dog. Ruby settled down again as if she intended to read the book again. Diane looked at her phone and read some of the Amazon reviews.
Diane: I am really chuffed with the reviews and the support that I have had from everyone.
“This has everything: love and heartache, humour and friendship, courage and compassion”.
“The heroine, Beth, is that rare thing in contemporary fiction – empathetic, likeable and thoroughly believable”.
“The witty yet sympathetic narrative delivers frequent laugh-out-loud moments and numerous poignant ones.”
Jessie: Read an extract from my book to tempt a reader
Diane: “Beth stared at Paul, her mind racing. She knew things hadn’t been all hearts and flowers between them, but surely most marriages were like that after twenty-three years, weren’t they?”
Jessie: Beth is such a likeable, humorous and fun character. I missed her when I had finished the book. How did you feel when you’d finished writing the book, and did you miss any of the characters?
Diane: I felt a tummy churning moment as the reality of writing “The End” kicked in and I realised I would no longer be immersed in Beth’s world. I missed all of the characters, especially Beth, Jackie and Paul. It was fun to write from Paul’s point of view.
Jessie: Are you anything like the character of Beth?
Diane: I am impulsive, a worrier and have a great sense of humour, so I guess I related particularly well with Beth’s character. A lot of people who’ve read the book say they can think of people in their everyday lives with the characteristics of some of my book characters!
Jessie: What’s the last sentence written in my writer’s notebook?
“OMG! I’ve actually done it!”
Jessie: How do your family feel about your novel? Have they read it?
Diane: They are all so encouraging and really proud that I finished it.; they know it’s something I’d put on the back-burner for years. My two daughters have read it and so have my brothers and sisters-in-law, but I’ve yet to force oh, sorry, convince my son to read it!
Jessie: Do you think that you will write another book?
Diane: Yes, I’d like to write something different before eventually writing a sequel to Press Three.
Jessie: What’s the biggest challenge of an indie author?
Diane: In my case, it’s promoting my book. I find it very hard to “sell myself”, and I’m definitely not a natural sales person, so I find it difficult to keep up with book promotion.
Jessie: Why should you keep my book in your handbag?
It’s an easy read that you can dip into and a reminder that if life’s not good, that we have the power to rebuild our lives. It’s ideal for when you have a chance to kick off your shoes and relax somewhere with a nice glass of wine, or a cuppa if you prefer!
Jessie: Well, I think that you have sold the book perfectly. You have a lovely succinct, engaging style of writing. I hope that you will write another book. Congratulations on your first novel. I think that people should buy the novel for a great holiday read. As I said in my review, it’s ‘a rapid read’. It’s a great book for the airport as long as people are happy to laugh out loud.
Diane laughed at this comment and made reference to one of the early scenes involving the dog. Ruby seemed to understand the conversation and jumped up to indicate that it was time to leave.