Thank you so much for having me here on your blog today. I thought I’d chat about something that has become very important for me: the fortnightly Monday column that I write for my blog, This Funny Irish Life.
First, and most importantly, it is my link as a writer, to my readers. Once my debut was published, I buried myself once again in writing. But while that’s happening, it’s so easy to become invisible again. And to forget that when you are writing, you do so with one perfect reader in mind.
That’s how my blog began. And it’s why I committed myself at the beginning of this year to a regular column. Because, just like writing a book, it’s ridiculous to believe that everyone will want to read it. Likewise, when I write my column, I imagine one person, one ideal reader.
My posts are short; no more than five or six hundred words. And since I wouldn’t dare to offer advice on anything, they’re usually a little irreverent, a little tongue-in-cheek and hopefully, entertaining.
But quite apart from simply popping my head above the parapet once a fortnight to say hi, blogging regularly is a great discipline for me. And that’s the second reason I blog. No matter how busy I am, or what else I have to do, I’ve committed to this. So it gets written.
Because of my background as a journalist, it suits me to work to regular deadlines.
I also find that even if I’m writing well, I’ll always write better because of my blog. It keeps me sharp. And because of the genre to which I was drawn, when I began to write fiction in earnest, it’s important that the columns I write, reflect what I like.
I like to leave people feeling upbeat. I like to make them smile or laugh. Humour is a tonic. It makes us feel better about ourselves and the world.
Though I have no doubt there are plenty of other writers, far more skilled than I, at writing humorously, my columns are also quite personal. They contain more than a modicum of truth.
Writers, at some level, must leave themselves open. This is my contribution.
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EXCERPT: Charlotte is sent to cover Ladies’ Day at The Galway Races. It’s here that she meets Derry for the first time.
‘So, did you get lucky?’ a deep voice drawled.
Charlotte spun to find Mr Panama Hat grinning down at her. Bloody hell, she thought, smiling back despite herself. Any other man she knew would look utterly ridiculous in what seemed to be a tailor made, striped linen jacket and trousers, combined with that damned hat. But he carried it off with a self-confidence that bordered on swagger.
‘Yes actually, I did,’ she admitted, still smiling. ‘What about you?’
He grimaced. ‘I lost. My own fault. I took a flier on somebody else’s tip.’
Charlotte grinned sympathetically. ‘Oh?’
Mr Panama Hat shook his head, scowling briefly. ‘I read some bloody sports columnist from Ireland Today. Had a few winners earlier this week. As I said, it’s my own fault. I never normally bother with racing tips. Whoever it is, he obviously doesn’t know a horse from a three-legged stool.’
Charlotte swallowed hard. ‘So how much did you lose?’ she managed, trying to sound casual.
‘A thousand.’ He caught Charlotte’s horrified expression and laughed. ‘Hey, don’t look so worried! I’m a big boy.’
Charlotte stared at him in amazement. Who did that? Maybe he was a rich eccentric, the kind of guy who hung around the race courses, betting big. Not caring whether or not he won – or lost everything on the day. That said, she was damned if she’d come clean!
‘So do you normally gamble this recklessly Mr…?’ Charlotte trailed away meaningfully, biro poised over her notebook. He stuck out his hand, a warm smile forming.
‘Sorry I should have introduced myself. I’m…’
‘Derry! Where have you been? They’re just about to start the judging. Come on darling, I have to go line up. I want you to be able to see!’
A tall blonde, wearing a rose pink knee-length dress with tiny matching jacket, pink stiletto sling-back shoes and a dizzy spiral of cream and pink headwear, teetered over and clung to Derry’s arm. She looked, Charlotte thought, vaguely familiar. The blonde smiled tightly at Charlotte and then noticed her press badge.
‘Oooh, you’re from the papers! Maybe I could talk to you when the judging’s over. Do you have a photographer with you?’ She didn’t wait for Charlotte to answer, but rushed on. ‘You’ll have to excuse us right now, okay?’
‘Of course, don’t let me delay you,’ Charlotte said, stepping back.
‘Wait,’ Derry began, shooting her a sudden intrigued look. ‘You’re not with Ireland Today, are you?’
Shit. Charlotte managed a surprised laugh. ‘Um, yes,’ she squeaked. ‘I’m er, writing a piece on Ladies Day.’
‘Oh right.’ He frowned. ‘What about their Side Swipe columnist? Do you know him?’
Lie Charlotte. And do it well.
‘No. It’s being written anonymously. I think the writer works from home…’ She smiled brightly at him. Behind Derry, the blonde shot Charlotte a steely glare. Charlotte glanced one last time at Derry.
‘You should go. And I have to work. Nice to meet you.’ She turned and walked away.
Some would say Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Regan has it all. Beautiful, smart, athletic and a great job working as a journalist – in the almost exclusively male sports department. But Charlotte is not quite as sure as she seems. Recently split from her overbearing boyfriend, she escapes for weekends, surfing in the Atlantic, and spends her free nights watching sports, roaring at the TV.
Derry Cullinane is a fashion writer, gossip columnist and sophisticated man-about-town. The go-to guy for any woman seeking expert advice on what fabulous outfit to wear for any given occasion. He’s also tall, dark, good looking – and straight! So what’s the snag? He has a track record of dating glamorous, vain and shallow women.
Charlie gets an opportunity to write a new column under the pen name Side Swipe, but is soon drawn into a war of words and wit with a rival paper’s columnist The Squire – and their verbal fireworks get readers and editors talking. Yet neither Charlie nor Derry knows just whom the opponent is…
When Charlotte and Derry meet at the Races, the attraction is instant. As their relationship develops, so much more proves at stake, than protecting their alter egos. But a blunder puts Charlotte’s job in jeopardy just as Derry’s past makes front page, and Charlotte begins to doubt her feelings.
When Side Swipe and The Squire are finally forced to reveal themselves, will they revert to type – or confound everyone’s expectations?
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Amazon USA: http://amzn.to/1pKAZtF
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1zjr0fT
All buy links: tirpub.com/gatype
SHARON BLACK Biography.
IRISH author Sharon Black is a diehard screwball comedy enthusiast. Her first novel, Going Against Type, a contemporary romantic comedy set in Dublin, was e-published by Tirgearr Publishing in September, 2014 to great reviews.
She has had short stories published, and won the 2010 Dromineer Literary Festival short story competition. She worked for a number of national newspapers.
She writes a regular blog, This Funny Irish Life, featuring light, fun, personal columns, and tweets at Authorsharonb.
When she’s not writing, she reads, walks, sees friends, and drinks far too much coffee. She co-founded a local book club 15 years ago. She loves theatre, old Hollywood films, every romantic comedy ever made, and edgy stand-up. She hates shopping.
She lives in a Dublin coastal village, with her husband and their three children.
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Sharon-Black/e/B00RPI1I10
Make sure to follow the whole tour—the more posts you visit throughout, the more chances you’ll get to enter the giveaway. The tour dates are here: http://www.writermarketing.co.uk/prpromotion/blog-tours/currently-on-tour/sharon-black/