Warning - Some posts may cause choking, spitting of beverage and /or a severe giggle fit. This advice brought to you by regular reader Louisa.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Pimping my Pal & Begonia Bribing

The Pimping...

I talk to a LOT of people in the online community. A LOT. I've been active online for around nine years now, give or take, and I'm far more outgoing online than I am in real life. Online, I can let loose the crazy person inside and have virtually no fear of being given the raised Eyebrows of Doom. Well, I probably still get the Eyebrows of Doom, but because I don't see it, it doesn't matter.

My first online home was HPANA (The Harry Potter Automatic News Aggregator), which sadly shut down a while back so I can't provide a link. I was deeply engrossed in the Potter fandom and picked HPANA as my online outlet - and it literally changed my life. I started writing shortly after joining the site, and I can honestly say that without HPANA, I wouldn't currently be biting my nails about whether my debut novel is selling or not.

But I digress (something I do an awful lot, but embrace because one of my earliest online friends advocates digression as a religion).

Anyway, what got me actually writing was plucking up the courage to join the fanfic community on HPANA. I stumbled into the Fan Fun forum one day, and I was happy to find lots of lovely Harry Potter stories that I could lose myself in while I waited for book six to arrive. I started my own writing with a pretty mediocre fanfic called 'The Wedding', which was a novella length story about Ron and Hermione's big day. I'll be honest, it was crap. And I do mean crap. But people seemed to like it, and when I started the sequel (Harry, Ginevra, and the Rocky Road of Romance - yeah, that really was the title *snort*) I had a pretty strong fan base. In fact, I would say that 'Rocky Road' is a good comparison to my current novel, as the wacky and crazy tone is a pretty close match.

The Watery Tart
Anyway, as well as the crazies, I also attempted a couple of more serious stories. One of them, 'Lily's Choice', was the first, and it was a fanfic based on my theory of Harry's mother, the deceased Lily Potter. This was the story that brought me more interest, and one of my biggest supporters was Tami. From day one, she was just fabulous, and when she started posting her first fanfic, 'The Other Prince'(the sublime story of Snape's mother, Eileen Prince), well I of course had to read right away and offer my support in return.

Let me tell you, 'The Other Prince' was more than sublime, it was brilliant. And it was very obvious that Tami was a gifted writer, who would one day end up being published. And not only did we support each other's stories, we also became friends. Real friends. Tami just has zany humour, and we really clicked because I am the same way.

When Tami started posting her second fanfic, 'The Best Laid Plans (Sometimes Go Awry)', I was on board right way, and it was just as fantastic as her first story, though the tone was very similar in many ways to my 'Rocky Road' story. We both told a serious story, but we both infused our work with crazy scenes.

By now, we were big mutual fans, and it was the start of a real friendship. When HPANA shut down, we were sad, but we still contacted each other. We had Facebook. We had our writer's group (made up entirely of HPANA members, by the way). And we actually met in real life a few years ago, too, which is pretty amazing seeing as Tami is from Ann Arbor, Michigan, and I am from little old Cardiff, in Wales (our writer's group met up in Cardiff several years ago when the opportunity arose to showcase some of our drabbles [100 word pieces of fiction] at a Cardiff art gallery).

Anyway, ANYWAY... basically, we mind melded virtually from the start. We just share the same humour, and sometimes even share the same thought, wacky though that sounds. There are only a handful of people I can say that about, and these are the people that I call my best friends. I have a few of these people in the real world, which is awesome, but for me to have that in the online world, too... well it's nuts. I don't know where I'd be without my HPANA buddies. The website may have gone, but the friendships have remained.

The Bribing...

Well it's not really a bribe, but the fabulous Tami (aka Alyse Carlson) has a book baby birthday today!! Her second cozy, 'The Begonia Bribe', has just hit the shelves!! *throws confetti* I'm so thrilled that Tami took her writing to the next level, and so proud of my mind melding friend. Her first cozy was a BEST SELLER!! And I'm pretty sure that the follow up will rocket too. *nods* Here's the deets, and HUGE CONGRATS to my friend, the awesomest Watery Tart in the world! *glomps Tami*

The Blurb:

Roanoke, Virginia, is home to some of the country’s most exquisite gardens, and it’s Camellia Harris’s job to promote them. But when a pint-sized beauty contest comes to town, someone decides to deliver a final judgment …

A beauty pageant for little girls—the Little Miss Begonia Pageant—has decided to hold their event in a Roanoke park. Camellia is called in to help deal with the botanical details, the cute contestants, and their catty mothers. She soon realizes that the drama onstage is nothing compared to the judges row. There’s jealousy, betrayal, and a love triangle involving local newsman—and known lothario—Telly Stevens. And a mysterious saboteur is trying to stop the pageant from happening at all.

But the drama turns deadly when Stevens is found dead, poisoned by some sort of plant. With a full flowerbed of potential suspects, Cam needs to dig through the evidence to uproot a killer with a deadly green thumb.

by Alyse Carlson

Available at Amazon, and pretty much anywhere that sells books. So, you know, go buy it. *smiles winsomely*


  1. Oh, Tara, I love it! A little early shared history, eh? You're fabulous, chica! And we will have a bahamas writing retreat one of these days when somebody makes a fortune...

    1. Oh, a Bahamas writing retreat sounds PERFECT! And yes, I figured a little share of our history might be a nice way to introduce your book. I 'blurbed' so much last month that I wanted to add a little extra this time around. Congrats again, oh Tarty One!! *glomps*

  2. *dries eyes* I miss HPANA too. I've managed to keep up with some close friends from the site as well. Congrat to you both on your books. I remember reading the fics you mentioned and am very glad that you were able to get published. Oh I admin a website http://www.projectphoenixfire.org/ were several of the members from HPANA congregate daily. There is even a spot for fan fics if you'd like to share them again.

    1. I really miss HPANA, too. *sniffs* And much as I'd love to post the fanfics again, I can't. When HPANA went, so did my most of my stories. Between all of the laptops I've had over the years, I didn't have them backed up. Still gutted over that... all that work, gone. *cries*

  3. Might know someone who has the archived will get back to you.

    1. Hot damn!!! REALLY??? Oooh, I really hope so!! Thanks, Weesa! *megaglomps*