• Sunshine choices

    Well, we've got a window of glorious sunshine. So it's decision time for how I spend the afternoon... Exercise or alcohol and relaxation...?

  • Riffed off

    Led Zeppelin's 'Ca$hmir' on Britain's Got Talent - did Jimmy Page really need any more money?

  • Magazine interview

    In Ye Olde Starre Inn, York, Tyke Life magazine caught up with erotic novelist Julie O’Neill.


    (Q) As a Yorkshire lass how important was the use of local settings in your novel Insatiable?


    (A) Insatiable is my first full length novel and as such it was good to write about places that I knew well and felt comfortable in. As you say, I am a Yorkshire lass, and though I have travelled a fair old bit, Yorkshire is and will always be home. I love the county.


    (Q) A lot of the reviews on Amazon have praised Insatiable for its humour, how conscious were you that you were writing something that people would find funny?


    (A) In many ways I think of Insatiable more as a comic novel than an erotic one. Humour and the down to earth way that Claire (the heroine) expresses herself through the narrative, was the driving force behind my writing. I never wanted to turn out what might be described of as straightforward erotica. Insatiable doesn't take itself too seriously and hopefully there's a lot of fun in the narrative.


    (Q) What do you think a certain scene will have on crème eggs?


    (A) [Laughing] Erm... It's a bit like Marmite, that particular episode in Claire's Odyssey divides opinion. Again, I put it in to be humorous and a little bit naughty. I love a crème egg myself.


    (Q) Apparently there's an American edition in the pipeline, what can you tell us about that?


    (A) Yeah, an American author I know called Brandy Sheridan who's from Boston, loved the humour of Insatiable but thought that American readers might be put off or not get some of the colloquial elements and so asked if she could edit it into a form geared towards an American audience. I've read the first couple of chapters and it works very well. I enjoyed it because I had a sense of detachment from the text due to the changes.


    (Q) How is your autobiography The Swords of a Thousand Men coming along?


    (A) Slowly!


    (Q) Your author biog paints a very colourful picture of your life. How much of what you write in Insatiable is based on your own experiences?


    (A) Well, you know what they say - write what you know! The places in the novel are all pretty much based on locations I'm familiar with. As were some of the situations! In some ways the writing was a chance for me to revisit some old friends. That's one of the things about being an author that I love – that relationship that you establish with the past and the way writing allows you to dive back into different parts of your life.


    (Q) What next for Julie O'Neill?


    (A) I'm working on my second novel which I'm hoping will be out before the end of the year. I don’t want to say too much yet, but I’m enjoying the writing process.


    (Q) Will Claire Stevenson feature in the new novel?


    (A) I like Claire, she's someone who's taken a few knocks but finds a way forward for herself and grabs every moment. While Claire isn't one of the main characters but I wouldn't be surprised if she makes an appearance at some point.


    (Q) As a Yorkshire lass where would you say was your favourite place in the county?


    (A) Hmmm… That’s a hard one, there are so many great places and so many memories from my own life associated with the county. I love Cannon Hall near Barnsley – it takes me back to when I was little and going for trips there. The bar at the Kings Head in Masham is also another favourite! Not to mention here in the Starre. Yorkshire’s a beautiful place.


  • Homeland - TV Review

    This kicked off well but soon stalled. The first couple of episodes had some decent titillation to bait the viewer when nothing was actually happening with the story line. These mostly topless shots and some simulated bonking that got me nicely worked up but fell away once the plot had established itself. Cynical, very cynical. We’re still a couple or three episodes from the conclusion, but I’ll guarantee this – they’ll be no nudity in the last episode. Not unless the big twist is that Carrie is the turncoat and she has some Semtex hidden in her bangers.

  • Nissan 350Z v Audi TT

    As I pulled into the car park of the Yorkshire Sculpture Park between Wakefield and Barnsley (just off junction 38 of the M1. Follow the signs for West Bretton) on a rainy night in March, I must admit, looking at my options, my heart sank. The two cars parked up side by side in a dark corner of the car park were a Nissan 350Z and an Audi TT. Both sports coupes. On the face of it, neither providing the kind of elbow room you needed for some serious adult fun.


    Almost simultaneously I got a telltale double flash from the xenon lights of the Audi and the more traditional headlights of the Nissan.


    First to try the Nissan. The Nissan is a boy’s toy. A modern day muscle car for the Top Gear generation.

    I have to say, I see it as an uglier, less designed version of the TT. The lights fit too narrowly on the edges of the bonnet and the panels don’t have the overall balanced appearance of the TT. Inside it was something of a revelation. I recall my uncle’s Nissan Sunny from twenty years ago with the gaudy upholstery and the cheap, brittle plastic everywhere. The 350Z couldn’t be further removed. ‘Wayne’s’ Nissan had the tan leather option. For this kind of fun leather is a must. Cloth upholstery just won’t take the damage a proper nights fun will throw at it. You don’t want to drive home like a bunch of school kids have been having a food fight with mayonnaise and salad cream, do you? You want something that feels smooth against your skin and is easy to wipe down. Obviously, you can cover the seats, but I wouldn’t recommend it. I remember being in a Vauxhall Astra that had nylon seat covers. I had no complaints about the hammering I took, but I must admit, the feel of the rough nylon under my palms on against my knees, left me feeling let down by the experience.


    When it comes to movement inside the car, it is a little cramped. I eased myself over the handbrake with a bit of difficulty, almost impaling myself on ‘Wayne’s’ gearstick in the process.


    The Audi TT was the most handsome of the two options on offer this drizzly March evening. It is available in the soft top roadster but the car on offer this evening was the more flowing coupe. The coupe has a 2+2 seating arrangement. But those rear seats are only any good if you’re bringing a couple of midgets to the party. And anyone above four and a half foot who’s sat in the back when the boot comes down is going to end up with a head like Marvin’s in Pulp Fiction. So it was down to business in the front seats.


    ‘Scott’, the owner of the TT asked me to take off my heels before we got started. And I could understand why. The cockpit of the TT is a luxurious place. The dashboard trim feels like quality and there is leather everywhere. The TT is a theme boutique hotel with designer fittings compared with the Nissan’s Premier Inn feel. That said, I’ve had some seriously enjoyable playtimes in Premier Inns.


    The central console on any car is a litmus test for this kind of fun. The handbrake and gear stick arrangement on the TT is a bloody nightmare. The passenger and driver sit in little pods, separated by a very raised central console. And even with the flat bottomed sports steering wheel, you can forget a cheeky blow job. It just isn’t possible in the TT. I ended up giving ‘Scott’ an awkward hand shandy as we struggled to get some snogging going. The console is a serious hurdle to any kind of intimacy. Neither is it possible for the driver or passenger to slide easily across to get plugged in. ‘Scott’ had to get out of the car and climb on board via the passenger door.


    The recline is limited by those useless back seats. I twisted the mechanism back as much as possible, but was still far from horizontal when ‘Scott’ climbed on board. And that central console was still causing issues. I had to prop my right foot high up on the dashboard to free up my knee and make room for ‘Scott’ to go to work.


    Once we got down to it, ‘Scott’ took us from nought to sixty in an accomplished couple of gear changes. I have to say that the ride of the Audi is very hard. ‘Scott’ put me and the bushes supporting the 19 inch alloys through their paces with a focused lap, and I felt very little give as we went down the track at full tilt. Whether you enjoy this kind of ride or not is subjective. I like a bit of comfort under me and prefer a bit more bounce under my bum, but each to their own.


    So my final thoughts? While neither car is ideal, I’d probably opt for the Nissan over the Audi. The ride is slightly softer and there’s less to damage when it all goes mental. The TT does look sexier, though.

  • Plug!

    A quick plug for my friend Edgar while I get the design of my blog together. SPOOKY!!!

    Otherworld is a supernatural thriller of 70,000 words.

    An archaeological dig on Salisbury Plain in the present day mirrors a previous excavation carried out at the close of the 19th Century that ended in suspicious circumstances.

    Rob Wallis and Frances Innes lead the dig in the present day. Wallis is a romantic who feels a close bond with the past which he believes is largely benevolent. Innes is cynical and sees archaeology more simply and feels no real affinity for the past or the lives she is struggling to understand, and certainly has no belief in spiritualism or an afterlife.

    Three other characters make up the archaeological team – Dunstane, a Scot with a secret interest in the occult, Sharon who becomes his acolyte, and Andy who is a thief.

    Events are then precipitated when the team hold a séance at Dunstane’s suggestion. It is then that the past and the present cross over and Frances must confront the reality of a situation where the Otherworld does actually exist and Wallis learns that the past is not always benevolent.

    Otherworld Monty

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