Author Interview with Sacha Black: 13 Steps to Evil

Sacha Black

The lovely Sacha Black

Those of you who have been in the blogging world for some time will know the name Sacha Black. Creator of www.sachablack.co.uk and, of course, The Annual Bloggers Bash, Sacha has now written and published her first book: 13 Steps to Evil (and from all accounts this is the first of many that will be out within the next twelve months) and she’s kindly agreed to let me interview her about her new creation, her process and a little of what makes her… Sacha.

Tell us about your new book – 13 Steps to Evil.

13 Steps To Evil – How To Craft Superbad Villains is every writer’s comprehensive guide to creating kick-ass villains. It’s based on a commonly held misnomer by writers: that their hero is the most important character. Without the villain or antagonist within a story, there is no conflict. Your hero is not the most important character in your book. Your villain is. Continue reading

Thoughts for Manchester

I was awake at 3.00am and was horrified at the events in Manchester, my home city, last night. At present, 22 people have died and 59 have been injured after what is thought to be a suicide bomber detonated an explosive in the foyer at the Manchester Evening News (MEN) arena after an Ariana Grande concert had ended. The arena has a capacity of 18,000 people, and most of the audience in attendance were children, teenagers, young adults and their families. It’s the biggest loss of life in a terrorist attack since 7/7, and there are already children confirmed among those who have been killed. Children.  Continue reading

Notice of Marriage Shenanigans

So, can you tell me if you are related to your fiancé?”

Yesterday The Bloke and I went to the neighbouring town to declare our Notice of Marriage.

The process is essentially there to legally declare our intention to marry within the next twelve months. However, as simple as this initially sounded, I soon discovered that it would be a little more complicated than telling someone and getting a certificate.

We live in a small town on the outskirts of Birmingham. We’re getting married at a venue in Birmingham and because neither of us have a religious faith we have opted for a registrar from Birmingham Register Office to officiate the ceremony instead of a vicar. Continue reading

How to Clean Your Make-Up Brushes

How to naturally clean make-up brushes.

Hi. My name is Suzie and I have a Make-Up Addiction.

A few years ago, my make-up collection consisted of a few eyeshadows, a cheap mascara and a couple of nail varnishes that were so old they had separated and gone solid. Nice. However, one afternoon I was intrigued by a YouTube tutorial about creating an effective smokey eye look, and I was instantly hooked. I watched new videos several every evening, buying products and trying out new ideas. And with it came the brushes – blending, foundation, powder, fan, contour, flat liner… It’s been an exciting new education and I’m enjoying the journey, but they are beginning to take over my desk.

One thing I’ve become particularly aware of is the importance of keeping them clean – there’s all sorts of nasty bacteria that can develop on frequently used brushes that can cause all sorts of infections, and dirty brushes aren’t as effective. Generally, brushes should be washed once a week, but avid users should aim to do them twice a week. Continue reading

Eurovision 2017 – Go Lucie!

Normally I begin my Eurovision preparations several weeks before the contest. Aside from Christmas Day and the final day of the academic year before the summer starts, Eurovision is one of my annual highlights, but this year it has almost sneaked up on me. I was away during the first semi-final so was unable to watch it live, so The Bloke and I watched the two semi-finals on Thursday and Friday night. I must admit, I was a little disappointed – there isn’t one song from the other countries that really stands out for me and there are lots of similarities in staging and outfits (half of the women seem to be white wedding dress style clothing). Continue reading

How to Use Facebook Groups to Increase Your Blog Traffic

How to use Facebook groups to increase your blog traffic

Facebook groups are a brilliant source of information, community and traffic. They differ in purpose and each have different rules, but essentially they can all be used for the same things: to meet new bloggers, ask questions to the community and to promote your posts.

As with many things in the blogging world – it took me a long time to discover the power of blogging focused Facebook groups. I joined one, run by a close blog friend when it had just a few hundred members last year and a very small targeted sharing group, but didn’t actively participate in either. My Facebook traffic was low at the time – I’d had a post go viral with 100,000 views in my first year of blogging, but since that point I averaged between 5-20 views a day, depending on whether I published to my blog Facebook page. Continue reading

Why Children are Not Invited to Our Wedding

 

Why children aren't allowed at our wedding

It’s six months until my wedding day and while I have a few things still on my list to tackle, the large things are now booked and organised. Most of it (despite some of the horror stories I have heard over the years from friends and articles I have read online) has been an exciting experience. However, one thing that I found difficult was the guest list.

Why?

Because children are not invited to our wedding, including my own niece.

The Bloke and I don’t have children of our own. I have a very small family – mum, two sisters, one sister’s long-term boyfriend, a brother-in-law and a niece, who will be 10 months old on the day of the wedding. The Bloke’s family is considerably larger, but don’t have young children – the youngest are older teenagers, so it wasn’t a family issue to consider. However, my friends have lots of them. Continue reading

A Hen Party in Bristol

I found myself on a train up North to visit the family on Monday evening after just returning home from a two-day hen party (Bachelorette) extravaganza. I had blisters on my feet, a burn on my thumb, I’d had about six hours sleep thanks to a very hangry cat this morning who woke me up at 6am for his breakfast (and I had six hours the night before) and the hangover that I could once shake off in 24 hours in my 20’s was still going strong.

I’m not a huge fan of hen parties, but this one went really well. Four of us, including the hen, trekked to Bristol, where we were joined by nine others throughout the morning. We had been given strict instructions that there was to be no cliche items in tow – penis-shaped objects, L plates, cheap netted veils etc – but as she said nothing about other silly items I took the opportunity to put together a ‘Hen Party Survival Kit,’ complete with Disney plasters, water, chocolate, safety pins etc. We managed to start drinking (and spilling) the wine by 11am, so by the time we arrived I was already feeling a little on the squiffy side.

The afternoon was spent watching Joseph and His Technicolour Dreamcoat – something that I know well through playing the songs in various musical activities but hadn’t actually seen. It was…ok. It wasn’t for the lack of talent – the actress playing the narrator was incredible, Joe McElderry did a good job in the lead role (despite reminding me of a younger Michael Ball) and the supporting cast were all talented in their own right, but it just wasn’t my thing. I had more fun joining in the children’s vocal parts in the songs at the end – something that I don’t think the child sitting in front of me appreciated as she kept turning round and glaring at me. We went for a drink, where I discovered a cocktail that tasted like cola cube sweets, then went back to the hotel and got changed. I decided to risk it and curl my hair (previous attempts to do this have left me looking like some sort of drunken Shirley Temple), and was feeling all smug when it actually worked… until I burned the crap out of my thumb.

Plonker.

Our meal had been booked and the food pre-ordered several months ago, but when we arrived we were told by our poor waiter, James, that there had been changes to the menu and the whole order ended up being taken again. The Maid of Honour had thoughtfully decorated the room and the banter started pretty much as soon as we walked in:

Hen: What do you do, James?
James: I’m a student.
Hen: Studying what?
James: Physics and Astro-Physics
Hen: So, Science then…

That pretty much set the tone for the meal. The guy deserved a medal and credit to him, he gave as good as he got. Considering he was only 19 years old, he dealt with the group of rowdy women brilliantly and ended up making what turned out to be a three-hour event a cracking experience, throughly deserving the monster tip we gave him at the end…

And then… onto the club. I’d made the stupid decision to wear heels but thankfully the Hen had organised a private room complete with wine, spirits and mixers, and I found a spot on a large comfortable couch. It was like my dream scenario – Disoranno and lemonade on tap, my favourite cheesy songs from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, a bride-to-be who danced so much that we had to actually take it in turns to dance with her (depending on our music preferences) because none of us could keep up, and brilliant company. I sang, I danced, I talked utter nonsense and had a fantastic time.

Unfortunately, my feet didn’t, so the hobble back to the hotel was so painful that I looked like I’d had some sort of toilet-based accident, but it was totally worth it.

Her wedding is at the beginning of June, so it’s not long to go now. It feels like five minutes ago that she got engaged (Feb 2016) and if I know her as well as I think I do then it will be a wedding to remember!

Let’s hope that my feet recover before then…

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