Saturday, 27 December 2008

Adieu

This blog is one half of a story blogged over November and December 2008 by writers Jenn Ashworth and Tolu Ogunlesi. You can see the other half of the story, written by Adorna's arch nemesis, Desiderus here.

The blogs were commissioned by Sarah Hymas, Publishing Development Manager at Litfest, a festival, publisher and literature development agency.

You can read and participate in a Q and A with both authors discussing the project here.


Many thanks are owed to the friends, online and off, who participated in this project. In particular, Martin Chester who assisted with the look and sound of the blog as well as other technical aspects, Sara Crowley, Nik Perring and Jane Gallagher who reviewed, interviewed and commented, and Socrates Adams-Florou, who got into the spirit of audience participation in ways we could not have imagined.

If you'd like to read the story again, start from the bottom.

Friday, 28 November 2008

(IF) I did It

If the news hasn't made it around the webosphere yet, readers, I'm sure it soon will. Adorna is dejected, but she isn't so crestfallen she's lost her wits, and she knows most of you will be reading this rapscallion's blog along with hers.

I ask you - what would you have done? Carlos had double crossed me and the villains had Sherlock and were threatening her! The canapes ruined the carpet and my dress will ever be the same again.

Socrates, perhaps it would have been different if you had been there. I scanned the crowd for you, but I could not see you. I don't hold that against you, my dear - you were never privy to the full story.

While the reprobates were congratulating themselves on a job well done, basking in the glow of the crowd (my fans - or ex fans...) I managed to slip away in the melee with my original manuscript and Sherlock.

I came here to tell my story. You need not fear about me. This isn't over. Adorna is tired of hiding in the half-light and wants to step out onto the podium and tell her own story in her own words.

Q: Why the Change of Heart?

A: I've had a lot of thinking to do over the past few days - reflecting on ownership of words. There is, as Broomington was fond of saying, nothing new in the world. We all recycle each other's stories. But as I turned the pages of the Pink as Perfume manuscript, I noticed (as if, my friends, I was reading the thing for the first time...) that there were more than a few parallels between the sad story in the novel of Bloominster - aging and down on his luck lothario, murdered by call girl and her pimp who then fall into each other's arms for a happy ever after - and the truth about Broomington's sad demise that only Carlos and I knew.

How would Desiderus have managed to compose such a thing? The detail in some of the passages - down to the make of Broomington's typewriter and the colour of my shoes is so accurate as to be startling. Carlos and I were the only people who knew these things. Did Carlos' deception start much earlier than I realised? Was the novel a kind of coded confession of his?

Q: Who else knew what we did?

A: Broomington.

Reader, go back to my rival's blog. I have confessed all. I have nothing to hide from him. Take special note of the way he describes the writing of his first, stolen novel. Almost as if a muse were holding his hand. A muse, or someone else.

Perhaps the words he has been scrabbling to hold onto aren't his after all.

I must depart. Fear not, reader - Adorna has had many careers, and has reinvented herself before. I will rise like a phoenix from the -

WAIT. I can hear a strange noise at the window. Desiderus' muse seems to have deserted him, but I sense a new guest at the door. I can't sleep. I can't eat. Sherlock clatters along the floor, wagging her tail and snapping at thin air.

This is not over yet. Perhaps I'll get a book out of this.

Until then, Adorna lives on, alone and in secret and is forever

Lady Writer x x x x x x

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

I Will Survive

Days To Launch: 1

Dear, Dear Readers. I know I can count on your continued support.

I composed a phrase today that I think describes my situation perfectly: it is always darkest before dawn. Tomorrow will be the shining dawn of the launch. The mini quiches are ready, the rose wine is chilling and the first copies of Pink As Perfume, my romance-thriller, will be unpacked as the day breaks.

I should be excited, but I'm not. This is the dark night of my soul. I'm at a secret location with the bare minium of hair and makeup products, and I am alone. I will not post again on this blog until after the launch. I've had to leave the safe-house to come to a public internet cafe in disguise (such is my fear for my safety) and I will not take that risk again until the book has made it into the public eye.

Carlos, where are you? Sherlock, where are you? Are my worst fears true? Never mind. Adorna will continue.


Socrates. You have been quiet of late. If you still require a declaration, this is it. I am alone now. There is no-one else. It's you that I want. Will I see you at the launch? Will you be my hero?

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Calamity



Days to Launch: 4


What is happening to my life? Where is Carlos? Where is Sherlock?


Someone has broken into my house. My desk has been ransacked. My darling baby Sherlock is gone.


What is happening?


I found this tucked into the wine cooler.The villians must have known it was the first place I'd go to on returning home.


I smell a rat. I have been betrayed.
I don't want to say too much because I'm still gathering my thoughts, but rest assured, I will have Sherlock returned to me safely and I WILL LAUNCH MY BOOK ON THE 27th.
This is the man responsible. Friends and supporters, visit him with your ire. What kind of man harms an innocent puppy? Ask yourself. What kind of man?

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

An open letter.

Carlos. If you are reading this, this is something that I wrote about you this morning. I am posting it here for you and the whole world to see how well I can write when I am thinking about you. Please come back and let me feel your muscles again.

Adorna xxxx

The man does not talk. He is a man of action not words. He strides in and out as he pleases. Sometimes she imagines he is a young tiger, leisurely strolling around its territory after a kill. It is impossible to talk to him. Impossible to say all the things she wants to say. How do you tell such a man that you love him? For the rest of her life, he would be lost in his world and she in hers.

Jealousy on All Sides

Days to Launch (of MY book): 8

Not long after starting to compose here, I quickly realised, my friends, fans, and readers-to-be, I had fallen foul of a web-stalker.

No, I hadn’t heard the term before either, although I’m learning quickly - you should see the state his friends have made of my Facebook page.

I decided to be the better person, rise above it and let Carlos deal with the matter. He’s had to deal with bitter rivals, ex loves and disgruntled former associates before. Last night, he went out into the night with a sheer pink scarf wrapped around his bicep – a favour from me to him, and a reminder of who he’s fighting for. He always thought of himself as a knight in Armani. I remember him waiting at the bus-stop, his hands in his pockets, whistling the Disney Megamix, our favourite mood music…

...he came back late last night a changed man. Hair askew, sans favour, and with a single heart-shaped drop of blood on the collar of his crisp white shirt.

‘Carlos!’ I cried breathily, and sauntered towards him in a pair of feather trimmed indoor mules. The mules matched my dressing down, and my gown matched my hairband, eye-shadow and fingernails. I advised him to run himself a bowl of warm salty water to soak his knuckles and he merely bowed his head and did not reply. The shoes were brand new. Not a word about them.

I wiggled my toe. ‘Carlos?’

‘Leave me alone,’ he said, gruffly. I noticed his accent had slipped a little. The man sounded positively Geordie!

Since then, he’s been morose, withdrawn. He’s performed his duties without style or panache. He won’t let me feel his muscles or look me in the eye.

Dear Reader:

Q: What links my web stalker and Carlos’ sudden cooling of affection towards me?

A: The Disease of Jealousy.

Let me explain.

When I met Carlos I was nothing more than a (very popular) entertainment professional. A waitress in a cocktail bar, as that merry little ditty goes. Although it wasn’t quite a cocktail bar. Bunny Heaven was its name - charming entertainment centre where Carlos worked to ensure that us lady professionals received pay.

Shortly afterwards, I began a working relationship with Broomington and Bunny Heaven was inexplicably raided and closed down by the county gendarme.

Luckily for me and Sherlock, my writing career was taking off by then, and I needed an assistant.

Enter Carlos.

Oh, those early days. I can still see the pair of us, moving into this apartment. Me, reclining on the new chaise lounge and Carlos carrying the last few boxes of my hair care products up the stairs. Happy, happy days.

Since then my success has grown and grown. Carlos has grown pale and jealous in the shadow of my blinding lime-light. He's nursed envy. And now, as I teeter on the cusp of greatness, he abandons me – no better, in my eyes, then the envious rabble that have been trailing me around the webosphere lately.

It’s veritable sabotage, that’s what it is. I needed to work on my eyebrows today, and all I can think of is what Carlos is doing.

Where is he now? That's what I'd like to know.

How can I write looking like this?

Chin up, Adorna.

I will march onwards. With a pen in one hand, a glass in the other and Sherlock by my side, I will fight on and overcome. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words are cheap and meaningless, and will never hurt me.

There's nothing you can do to me. Do you hear? I will launch my book, it will be a success, and the world will read it and Adore Adorna!

Monday, 17 November 2008

Angry Adorna!!

Days to launch: 10!

Indeed, readers, this is a small town and the true writers who reside in it are few and far between. I’ve had to travel out of my apartment in this gated community in order to meet them, and my experience has been disappointing to say the least.

Why? You might well ask.

You MIGHT WELL ASK!

Forgive the profligate use of upper case, but Adorna is Annoyed. She is Aggrieved. In a small town, rumours travel fast. Nasty, vicious, envious rumours from spiteful little hacks, scribblers of no calibre (feel free to quote me) who should know better.

Lets clear up a few misapprehensions. Yes, I’ve been quoted as saying I owe no debt to my literary ancestors. Misquoted, in actual fact. And I will be having a work with the Journalists' Union or whatever it is very soon. Carlos is at this very moment hunting through the card file for the contact details of my legal representatives... I'm sure I filed the address between 'gun shop' and 'locksmith' but organisation isn't my strong point.

Be Warned! All of you!

A true writer is a prophet, a visionary and a seer. We write dreams that are yet to be dreamed, and we see into the future with eyes of Quink and Basildon Bond.

Q: And how do we see so far? What is the secret of our superhuman perspective?

A: By standing (As Broomington was fond of saying) on the shoulders of giants.

GIANTS.

And, as my readers and critics would tell you, Adorna’s work is particularly far seeing because she stands on the shoulders of non-giants, and even then manages to see further than your average … (Carlos – clean up this bit later, will you?)

It has been said that that bad writers borrow but the very best writers steal. Look at this little lot.

Q: Is Adorna’s name among them? Does she rank among thieves?

A: No.

Adorna is a new breed of writer. She combines genres, she produces wordage, she sips and thinks and sips some more.

Q: And what does she come up with?

A: My readers – you will have to wait until the 27th to find out, but I assure you, it will be a triumph, the literary event of the century, and a cocktail party worth buying a new outfit for.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

The Fine Art of Self Promotion

My friend, the author Mr Broomington, taught me all I know about presentation. Not of the page, but of the self.

He was more of a mentor than a teacher, and more of a friend than a mentor, and much, much more to me than a friend. Our relationship encompassed mind, soul, and (if the price was right) body. He liked his ladies scrubbed, smiling, and silent, and it was in the spirit of the first two, if not the last (sorry, my dear, and RIP!) that I did a minor bit of gate-crashing at the Blog Labs on Saturday and took the opportunity to read an extract from Pink as Perfume.

Here it is, fans.




She fired six shots.

She does not know how many bullets actually left
her gun.

She does not know how many hit Target 1.

She has never
been good at Math, at percentages, proportions or probabilities.

All she
knows is that Target 1 slumped. Became Victim 1.

And that the person who
did the shooting has now become the most wanted person in the whole of the City.

And that Victim 1 is now stranded on the thin line between Life and
Death.

*

Better luck next time.

*


Much darker than my usual work, I know. A total departure, they said. I think it's all down to Carlos - he's helped me dig deep and bring forth words into the light that I never knew existed - sometimes literally!

Good old Broomington - I'd have never have had the courage to stand up there and orate the way I did if it wasn't for his tuition in my early days. He'd have been disgusted at some of the outfits on show, he really would. One man in particular... but that's another story, and one you will hear from me later in the week.

Adieu... Adore Adorna until she returns!

Friday, 7 November 2008

Meet Adorna...

I'd have included this in the last post, but Carlos is cleaning out the downstairs cupboards and I can hardly think. The racket is astonishing, and it's just as well we're having company tonight and he isn't actually going to expect me to produce any wordage.

He is such a magpie: would you believe, a month or so ago, he came home from walking my baby Sherlock with two brass door locks and a door chain hanging out of his back pockets? It isn't as if his salary is so low he's forced to collect scrap as a supplement, and he's certainly too young to have experienced a depression. The man just can't help himself. And he chooses tonight, of all nights, to root them out and dispose of them!

The entire contents of the cupboards, including said locks, is piled up on the blonde laminate in the hallway, and I can only hope and pray he has that cleaned up and the mini quiches warmed and served before my agent comes around.

Door locks! I ask you!

Anyway - I logged back on to let you know a little bit about my itinerary. If you'd like to meet Adorna in person - and I for one can't think of one reason why you wouldn't, please come to a little writing related promotional event tomorrow - it's called a Blog Lab and you'll see me, and many more of my fans there. Dress is business casual, and refreshments are not provided - although I don't suppose there's anything wrong with you bringing a little something of your own.

Ciao for now!

Out and about...

Days to launch: 20
I've never been one of these miserable writers who prefer to stay at home hunched over her keyboard. In actual fact, Carlos has had to drag me away from some event or other, in order to come back to my laptop and type out the requisite number of words for the day on more than one ocassion. Sitting in the house with the shades drawn, seeing no-one, squinting at a screen - it isn't healthy.
Knowing this about me, it will come as no surprise to you to hear that I've been off out again - this time at the invitation of journalist Jame Gallagher demanded an interview with me. Over fizzy drinks and chocolate fondue we chatted about inspiration, the writing life and my forthcoming novel: Pink as Chocolate. Here's a tiny bit to whet your appetite:

My publisher told me I was a maverick, insisting that my own brand of chick-lit
thriller ('Bridget Jones meets Hannibal Lecter for a bare knuckle fight -
handbags at dawn!' - TLS) stayed in the pink category, but as I told him, I
couldn't carry a blue or black book in with me to a reading, could I?

You'll have to go here to read the rest - but hurry back!


Award-winning freelance journalist Jane Gallagher has written for numerous newspapers, magazines and websites during a 20-year career. In addition to editing an online Book Club Jane works two days a week as a writer in residence at a men's prison - when she's not updating her daily blog .


And you can see Jane below - the epitome of Lady Writer style.


Sunday, 2 November 2008

And the Countdown Begins

I suggested a tailor-made advent calendar, filled with foil wrapped Belgian chocolates (Strawberry Cremes... mmmm) in the shape of books, but Carlos - dear, business minded, careful Carlos was the one who insisted it be a blog. He's got the practical head on him - the creative aspect is down to me. We're a partnership. He's the use, and I'm the ornament. What that makes my puppy Sherlock I don't know, except a darling baby, and the three of us a kind of family, I suppose.

I digress. It's a fault of mine, I admit it. Modesty is another of my faults - Carlos has just reminded me to point you in this direction.

First thing this morning Carlos hauled me out of the bath, practically prised the glass out of my hand and before I'd had chance to dress or apply unguent, forced me to my computer to compose this little missive to you, my faithful and devoted reader. Or readers, because if my sales so far have been anything to go by, there are a veritable multitude of you out there.

'Do you know what day it is?' he said, deeply (you've to imagine him here, with a vaguely European accent, but nothing unintelligible - his picture is here).

'Yes, I do know what bloody day it is, Carlos. It's a bloody Monday, and I was about to begin the depilatory process, thank you very much.'

'Tomorrow you pluck,' he said, offering me a fresh towel, 'but today, my darling, you blog.'

So here it is - the little blog. As if I don't ruin enough nail polish typing my more literary offerings. I'll be writing here throughout this month as a kind of online, virtual countdown to the publication of my third semi-autobiographical novel: Pink as Chocolate. Review copies have been sent out, rather last minute this time, I think, and we're awaiting the response. Rumour has it that one or two readers in the upper echelons of the publishing world were most impressed with my surprising departure in tone.

I remember one phone call in particular.

'Adorna,' the man said, and from the sound of his voice I was almost certain he was on his home treadmill. Terrible for making you sweat, those things are.

'Adorna, sweetheart, is that you?' he said.

'Yes, Bob,' I said, 'spit it out. I've got book four to write, and Richard and Judy aren't going to interview themselves.'

'But Adorna,' he said, still breathless - and I realise then, so suddenly I have to put my glass very gently down on the coffee table, being careful neither to chip the glass nor scratch the chrome, that he isn't on his treadmill at all, but overtaken with a sort of emotion I could only describe as ecstasy itself.

'Adorna,' he goes on, 'this is a masterpiece! The way you've melded together high and low art, love and crime, profundity, erotica and the thrill of the chase! there isn't a reader in the world this isn't going to appeal to, and if we can get Judi Dench in we'll have it down as an audio book before Christmas and get all the non-readers too.'

I was, as you can assume, slightly taken aback my all of this, and motioned to Carlos to fetch me my ice pack and cigarette holder.

'Lovely of you to say so, Bob,' I reply, once I've regained my composure. I can hear him on the other end, still panting like a sex maniac, 'but the most important thing is,' I interrupt him, before he can get going again (honestly, I thought he was going to weep, he was so overtaken) 'is it going to sell?'

'Sell? Sell?' He says, spluttering, and I click my fingers for Carlos, worrying about the old man's heart. He takes a deep breath though, and settles down, 'sell? It's a classic. A masterpiece. Of course it's going to sell! That's what I meant!'

With that, I do a little whoop to myself, and hop off back into the bath, where the water has cooled sufficiently for me to use my new rose-petal bath bomb, a present from the kind folks over at Foyles.

Friday, 31 October 2008

Sara Crowley Reviews Stalkers Always Wear Pink

Well, look what Carlos brought in for me this morning - another review of Stalkers Always Wear Pink, my frothy thriller follow-up to my d├ębut best-seller, Pink as Perfume. It's always a pleasure to read fan mail and glowing reviews while I'm taking my morning bath. Keep them coming, fans!

Sara Crowley is a writer and bookseller who reviews for Pulp, The Short Review and Waterstone's Books Quarterly. That means she knows her onions, and anyone who disagrees with her opinion on fine literature is sadly deluded!

Stalkers Always Wear Pink is Adorna Shine's follow up to the hugely successful Pink As Perfume. Fans of PAP will not be disappointed! Shine's prose dazzles diamond bright, as she tells her thrilling, chilling tale. My advice to you is to pour bubbles in a bath, bubbles in a glass, relax, and read this fizzy novel for pure, pinktastic bliss.

Isn't she a sweetheart! And every word is true! Here she is, looking full of hidden depths and sparkle. Check out her darling weblog here.

Write-Style Problems Solved!

Just look what Carlos dragged in from the post-box today. A letter, rather crumpled and stained, from midlist wannabe novelist Jenn Ashworth, who has her own attempt at a weblog here.

'Aunty Adorna', Jenn whines, 'I've got a reading event coming up and I want to look my best. The thing is, I hate shopping, painting my nails, curling my hair, that sort of thing. What's a fledgling lady writer to do?'

Writer and blogger Jenn Ashworth, forgetting that a real lady doesn't drink from the bottle, and hoping for the dizzy heights of mid list lady writer sucess.

Carlos and I had a long hard look at your letter, Jenn - and from the photo you supplied, I'd say you have serious problems.

How long have you got until your reading? I feel we're in for a serious overhaul here, and not something a quick shopping trip is going to sort out. Didn't your mother never tell you there was nothing wrong with looking nice? Tell me, is this an attitude problem, rather than a wardrobe problem?

Let me speak bluntly to you, as I do to all my favourite fans. There is nothing 'cool' about vintage, second hand clothes, tatty shoes and a coat you've had for four years. Cutting your hair yourself with the kitchen scissors isn't boho and doesn't show the world how 'above it all' you are. No. Just because you've taken pains to look like a man, doesn't mean that you're going to be able to write like one.

Let me be straight with you sweetie - your friends clearly aren't, that's for sure. Beauty does not come from within. It comes from the outside, and soaks through the skin into all the nooks and crannies in the middle. You just look a state, and people are never going to take you seriously as a writer or as a human being unless you wax your top lip and invest in some proper shoes.

If the write-style tips on the left hand side of my blog don't help you, take a look at this cute weblog here, and say that Aunty Adorna sent you.

And remember Jenn - nothing says thank you like a reciprocal link!

Nik Perring Reviews Pink as Perfume

Yet another rave review for my first novel! This one's from UK writer and workshop leader Nik Perring, who has his own little weblog here.


Wow. That's what I think of Pink as Perfume, Adorna Shine's debut novel. I first heard of her after reading a review of one of her later novels (the title's as forgettable as this is) and curiosity got the better of me. Pink as Perfume has everything I'd expected: a ridiculous plot, paper thin characters, hilariously unlikely sex scenes (a nod to the title) but - it is brilliant. A real page turner. Twelve pages in I couldn't wait to finish it - and for all the right reasons. It's scary and exciting, moving and, in places, utterly beautiful. I don't know how she does it but it works perfectly even though it shouldn't.

I'll never look at department stores, or the people who work in them, in the same way again. But I will be reading more of Shine's work. Highly recommended.


Isn't he just a complete sweetheart??!! And here he is below, looking all literary and good enough to eat! (Sh! Better not let Carlos hear me say that...)

My Writing Career So Far


My first novel: Pink as Perfume was based on my experiences as a scent technician on the perfume counter at Horn's department store. I wrote it very quickly - in fact, you could say that the manuscript 'came to me over night' - although I won't go into any more detail than that. A girl's got to have some secrets!

Unless you've been living in a hole in the ground for the past four years, you'll know that this book was a runaway success. The novel (and I!) received praise from such varied quarters as Cosmopolitan, who's fiction editor said it was 'a corker!' to the London Review of Books, who called it 'enthralling'.

I followed this up with a second novel, loosely based on the people I met while touring to promote Pink as Perfume. I called it Stalkers Always Wear Pink and the reviews for that one have been even better - just check out the links on the left hand side of this page!

The success of my first two novels enabled me to give up work at the perfume counter entirely and concentrate on my literary endeavours full time. There's been so much fan mail and requests for readings, however, that I've had to employ an assistant, otherwise I'd never get anything done! That's him on the left. If you write to me, he'll be the one who reminds me to reply to your letter! I think he's carrying in the fan mail in that picture!

Carlos is in charge of the typing, the errands, answering non important mail, keeping the fridge full of white wine and cheese triangles, and sometimes I even let him walk Sherlock. He's an accomplished salsa dancer, chef, manicurist and cat-burglar to boot. What more could a girl ask for, and what would I do without him? I love you, Carlos! xxx

It is thanks to Carlos and his talents, of which I have only just scraped the surface (you know what I'm talking about, Sweet Trousers! xxx) that my third novel, Pink as Chocolate will be launched on the 27th November, 2008. Hope to see you there!

All About Adorna


I'm sure you all already know who I am! But for those of you who don't... here goes!

I'm Adorna, novelist, social commentator and all round glamour puss. I've finally broken out of the dark ages and started my own blog!

I'm going to use this blog to describe the writing life - especially the highs and lows in the lead-up to the launch and publication of my third autobiographical novel: Pink as Chocolate. That's me in the picture , trying on a dress for the launch party!

The novel is a thrilling mystery set in a glamorous location not too far away from here. I also like to put real people into my books, so if you know me in real life - watch out!

The one person in my life who always features in all of my books is my puppy, Sherlock. She's my baby, and my fiercest literary critic! Here she is, trying on her own new dress for the launch party. She's about as excited as I am!

Isn't she beautiful?