People Watching At A Grand Prix With Carol Ann Kauffman

Interview time again folks and this is an interview first published back in 2013 with a writer I’ve featured previously on RockPaperSpirit. I’ve invited author Carol Ann Kauffman along to have a glass of something fizzy and some canapes at the VIP area of a Grand Prix as we chat about her books, past career as a teacher and, as always, biscuits!  Her novel, The Baslicato is actually set partly in southern Italy and features a racing driver.  A novel featuring one of my favourite parts of the world and motorsport?  That sounds right up my street!
carol ann kauffman baslicato interview
Hi Carol, thanks for agreeing to this interview.  Firstly, can you tell us in your own words what The Baslicato is about?
It’s a pleasure to be with you again, Lacey. THE BASLICATO is a full-length novel in the Time After Time series and follows a pair of quintessential lovers, Richard and Nicole, through their lives together, in different places, in different times, with different names, and sometimes on different planets. This follows the alternative theory that the relationships we forge in this lifetime, both the good and the bad, are continued into the future, and are rooted in our past.  What we do, whom we love, and the good and evil deeds we do today follow us into the future.  Unsettled issues will present themselves again and again, until they are ultimately resolved. Those people who have had a profound effect on us in this lifetime will find us again in the future. This particular story, THE BASLICATO, is set in the 1960s in Utah, Ohio, and the southern Italian town of Tursi in Basilicata province.   It’s about a doctor who agrees to help an Italian racecar driver with a head injury and an identity problem, oh, and crazy exes.
It sounds fabulous!  What inspired you to write a book with a racing driver as one of the main characters?
This book is dedicated to my father, who was born in the Basilicata province in southern Italy.  He was the best man I ever knew.  He was fearless, had a “lead foot”, and loved to race.  He taught me how to drive.  I got many speeding tickets, but he never got upset about it.
I love the cover for the book. Who designed the cover?
I did!  Thank you for very much.   I took the cover photo on a trip to southern Italy in 2006.
carol ann kauffman interview
As you mentioned, the book is part of the Time After Time series, isn’t it?  Can you tell us a bit about Time After Time and the other books in the series?
Although every one of the Time After Time books follows the same couple, they are all very different and some are in completely different genres.  BELTERRA (my bestseller and #1 on the kindle action romantic adventure list) and LORD OF BLAKELEY are more sci-fi/fantasy, but all of them are slice of life/comedic love stories.  They are not sexually explicit or graphically violent, though my heroes tend to get roughed up a bit, but never the heroine.
BLUE LAKE is the story of an older woman and her love of a younger, British actor.  It follows them across two continents and an island or two and spans thirteen years of their lives.
BENTLEY SQUARE finds our lovers stalked by an international death squad because our hero is not quite who he seems to be.
Madison’s Christmas is short story about mistaken identity.
Waiting for Richard is about finding love late in life.  It involved a children’s author and a reclusive elephant veterinarian in Australia.
Echo of Heartbreak, A Recipe for Life, is cookbook written in the form of a letter from a seriously ill mother to her unborn daughter, describing the circumstances of her birth.
carol ann kauffman interview
Waiting For Richard sounds interesting!  Brook Wilson from the book travels to southern Italy, doesn’t she?  Tell us about your trip to Italy.  Did it inspire you to write this story?
Yes, I have travelled extensively in Italy.  I LOVE it.  Everybody needs to go to Italy at least once.  Rome is a trip of a lifetime.  Venice is absolutely fantastic.  Tuscany is gorgeous.  And I’m partial to the beautiful southern countryside.  I did not attend any racing events during my trips in Italy, but have in the US.  I remember seeing Paul Newman race here in northeast Ohio.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am working on MACKALVEY HOUSE, which is the story of an older man’s fascination with a young woman trying to find herself. (This girl is the baby from Echo of Heartbreak.)  Also, I have been working on the sequel to BELTERRA, called DARK RETURN, where the indigenous race appears to take their planet back, causing much grief for our hero, who is heading the planetary defense and his peacemaker wife.   And then there’s SEA WITCH, where the head of the extraterrestrial institute is missing, and her handsome infatuated assistant works relentlessly to find her.
carol ann kauffman baslicato
What would you say is the most rewarding part of being a writer?
It is FUN!  I find character development, plot twists, and storylines such fun.  I also like to edit.  Formatting for the Kindle can be a hair-pulling experience, because your manuscript can be perfect, but once you push that PUBLISH button, it’s a crap-shoot! Kindle does not recognize space bar or tab, for instance. Luckily, they don’t care how many times you go back and fix it, and there’s a little button on the Kindle that allows my readers to update the latest version of a book they purchased.  I can’t tell you why I love it, but it is the most satisfying thing I’ve ever done in my life.  It also gives me an opportunity to impart some of the things I’ve learned along the way to younger women, so they don’t have to make ALL the same mistakes.  They can make some NEW ones!  Much of my fiction is based on situations and experiences I have had.  Well, not the alien stuff, of course!
Before you were a writer, you were a teacher.  Is that right?  What aspects of teaching, if any, would you say have been useful in your career as a writer?
Yes, I taught in the same public school system for thirty-five years. I loved it. I had wonderful students (many of whom I still keep in touch), great parents to work with, and the years flew by.  I thought I would be chasing the school bus down the street when I retired, sobbing and clutching onto mailboxes as I ran down the street.  But it didn’t happen.
Teachers have to be able to plan and then see that plan through to fruition on their own.  They are given very little help and even less material.  The ability to organize and work on my own were helpful.  Teaching is a create career.
carol ann kauffman baslicato
And now, I like to lighten the mood a little with a few random and silly questions!
If you were a flavour of pizza, what one would you be and why?
HA! I ‘ve never thought of it before, hmm. I think I would be plain thin crust pizza with green peppers and extra mozzarella cheese, served piping hot, tugging my cheese with your teeth and twirling it around your tongue. Yep.
If you were offered a million dollars every year for life on the condition that you could never write again, what would you do?
Wow, I don’t know if that’s a possiblity.  I would have to decline.  I like to do things my way and don’t like restrictions.  I have learned a simple life is a happier life.  I don’t want more stuff.  If you have less stuff, you an find it.  Travelling is my only expensive habit!
And now the question I ask everyone, that has nothing to do with anything… what’s your favourite biscuit?
Walkers shortbread cookies, the little scottie dog ones. Did you know they come in chocolate now? I hide them in the cupboard behind the couscous and quinoa and I rarely share them.
Thanks again for joining me Carol.  I am loving The Baslicato!  Italy and a racing driver in one book?  Heaven!
If you would like to read more about Carol Ann Kauffman, you can find her on Facebook, Twitter and Amazon.

A to Z of Lingerie – F is for Fishnets

Thanks for sticking with my A to Z of Lingerie posts so far. I’ve cheated slightly and taken some material I wrote a few years ago about lingerie items as inspiration for some posts (and sometimes lifted a few paragraphs) but this is still all my own work. And for the first time today, there are some pictures of me! Although, just my legs, no face. Eeek!
So, yesterday was E for Eyelet Embroidery, which is more pretty than sexy. Let’s take the heat up a few notches today. F is for fishnets.  Oh, they are definitely my favourite thing ever.  I could write about them all day!  In fact, this may actually become my longest of the A to Z posts.

a to z of lingerie f is for fishnet

Here is a little bit of literature and history for you.  In The Peasant’s Wise Daughter, by Jacob Grimm, a girl is told to be “not clothed, not naked” so she wraps herself in fishnet.  True.  Was it on her legs?  Well, it doesn’t say but I like to think this is where the idea for fishnet stockings came from.
Fishnets have been worn since the 19th century in Europe but mostly by dancers and prostitutes.  Up until the 1960s they were only worn by “loose women” and pin-up girls.  They became more mainstream in the 1960s and punks began to wear them in the 1970s.  
a to z of lingerie fishnet
I loved the 1990s trend for wearing fishnets under torn jeans and I was delighted when it came back into fashion recently.  The one thing I would never do is wear them with a short skirt.  For me, it has to be knee-length, although, if others can pull it off with a shorter length, more power to them. But it’s not for me.
What I love about fishnets is how they make me feel.  Plain tights just don’t cut it.  I need to have a pattern and if I can’t wear fishnets I have to wear something a little funky – polkadots, patterned, whatever.  Just something eye-catching and decorative.  Who wants plain legs?  
In my teens I would have shrunk away from the idea that people would look at my legs but now, and since my late twenties, I have actually enjoyed standing out.  Fishnets help me do that.  And the best part of this style is that anyone can pull it off.  Alternative teens, young women, or stylish mature women.  It’s a look that can be adapted, depending on how you wear them.
Also, there are other advantages to wearing fishnets that most people don’t even consider.  They hide your hairy legs between waxes and if you have a… ahem… feminine infection, they allow your girly parts to breathe.  And now I’ll bet all the men reading this are feeling totally disillusioned.  Think about that next time you watch a blue movie with a fishnet clad pair of legs in it!
a to z of lingerie fishnet
If there’s one item of hosiery that every woman should own, it’s a good quality pair of fishnet tights or stockings.  Thank you for reading.  It was worth doing an entire month of A to Z posts just to write this short piece about fishnets. Tomorrow is G although I haven’t yet decided what G will be for. I’ll probably decide when I sit down to write.

A to Z of Lingerie – E is for Eyelet Embroidery

Still behind a little bit, but plodding on. Earlier today I typed up the blog for the 4th of April which was D is for Dessous and now I’m onto the letter E. I had to struggle really hard to think of anything other than embroidery for E. So that’s what I went for, but let’s not stop there. Let’s go for alliteration and discuss eyelet embroidery! Eyelet embroidery is just a style where there are holes that are finished with along the edges by sewing and used for decoration. You can see an example of it, when used in lingerie, in the picture below.
eyelet embroidery
I love eyelet embroidery and I don’t care that it’s out of fashion. A lot of people opt for lace, satin or something a little more glamorous but eyelet embroidery brings back memories of the first nice bra I ever owned. I was around nineteen when I bought it and up until that point I had always purchased functional, cheap lingerie. I had no job and no money and I could only dream of the pretty items I would buy a few years later in my twenties. I managed to find a cream cotton bra with peach coloured eyelet embroidery and matching panties from a budget range. You would think I had bought a Lambourghini because that’s how I felt.
What are your memories of your first really special lingerie items? Tomorrow is F for my favourite thing ever – fishnets!

A to Z of Lingerie – D is for Dessous

Once again, apologies for being a little slow in getting these A to Z of Lingerie posts ready. I’m now onto D which is for Dessous, which is my contribution for the 4th of April. Yesterday, I talked about corsets, which is a very specific topic, whereas Dessous is more general.
a to z of lingerie dessous
Dessous is a word that comes up a lot when discussing lingerie. It comes up a lot when I’m researching the topic on blogs and it’s been used in literature, for example in 1000 Dessous: A History of Lingerie by Gilles Neret. It’s also used in brand names like Dessous Chics. So, if you don’t speak French you might be wondering what it means. It literally means “worn underneath” which is essentially what underwear is. So, it’s a perfect word for this post, although traditionally it refers to petticoats or whatever is under petticoats.
Most people won’t use this word in their everyday vocabulary, although among the fashionistas, especially those whose niche is lingerie, it’s become quite a trendy word to use when discussing upmarket, expensive items, although in France it came be used as a slang term the same way that we would say “undies.” I don’t think it is used much today though.
willow layne lingerie bralette review
It’s unlikely that this word will become commonly used outside the fashion industry. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it used in English outside of lingerie blogs and trade journals. It does sound fancier than saying undies though, so I live in hope that one day it might catch on!
What slang terms do you use for underwear? I’d love to know in the comments section. Tomorrow’s topic is E for Eyelet Embroidery.

A to Z of Lingerie – C is for Corset

I’m in the process of trying to catch up with this challenge. I’m not as well organised as I had hoped to be. Yesterday, I covered the bralette for B. Today I’m tackling C for Corset. Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures of corsets of my own to post. It’s not an item that I’ve had in my wardrobe for a few years.

a to z of lingerie c is for corset

I think corsets are still popular because of the idea of them, rather than the functionality or the comfort. Let’s be honest, anyone who has ever tried on a corset knows that they are the most uncomfortable garment you will ever wear. And usually, you need someone else to tie it for you.

a to z of lingerie c is for corset

Back in my twenties, I had a few corsets in my wardrobe. They were deep colours, crafted from satin, boned to give me a more flattering shape than nature had decided to give me and trimmed with lace. I never once wore them as underwear. They were my “going out” clothes, worn as a top. Nobody batted an eyelid. Back when the whole boho thing was on trend, and everyone was dressed in floaty, florals and hiding their shape, I was opting for corsets instead.

a to z of lingerie c is for corset

That’s not to say that a corset can’t be feminine. It really depends on how it is constructed and what materials are used. But it’s not for those who like soft fabrics and freedom to breathe.

Have you ever worn a corset? What did you think of it? Tomorrow D will be for Dessous.

A to Z of Lingerie – B is for Bralette

Welcome back to my A to Z of Lingerie. Yesterday I kicked off by writing about A for Applique. Today I’m moving on to a garment rather than a decoration. Back in 2014 when I attempted a challenge like this, the A to Z of lingerie, I chose to make B for Balconette. This time round, since the autumn/winter trend for 2017/18 was bralettes, I am choosing that instead.

willow layne lingerie the simone bralette review

Bralettes are an item that I have only just started wearing, mostly because they weren’t widely available until recently. For those not familiar, they are essentially just a crop top with some light support, but the difference is that a bralette is usually crafted from the usual fabrics that are used for lingerie, like lace. The one pictured here is by Willow Layne Lingerie, who are NOT paying me to mention their name. I just like the bralette and thought it would be a cool picture to use.

I find them best for lazy days when I’m not exercising or doing anything too strenuous that would require some bust support. However, I don’t find them as comfortable as I think I’m supposed to, so I wouldn’t say they’re a leisure item.

The other thing about bralettes is that there isn’t a lot of support. I’m quite petite and even I don’t feel like I have an adequate amount of support.

Tomorrow, is C for Corset.

A to Z of Lingerie – A is for Applique

I really wanted to be more organised than I am for this years A to Z Blogging Challenge, but here we are on 1st April. It’s the end of the day and I’m breaking my “No technology after 8pm” rule in order to get this post written.

a to z blogging challenge 2018

So, this year’s A to Z is the A to Z of Lingerie. A is for applique, which is basically a piece of fabric stuck onto another piece of fabric. That is essentially what applique is. The older I’ve become, the less likely I am to purchase items with applique because it’s fun, quirky and has a young feel to it, especially the item pictured. (That item is by Cherry Lingerie London, who are NOT paying me to show their picture or mention their name)

cherry lingerie london

Applique can give an otherwise plain garment a bit of personality. Some people love it, some people hate it. I think for me personally, it depends on what applique is used. At 37, I’m probably too old for the styles pictured but I did recently see a black lingerie set in Primark which caught my eye. The bra, panties and body suit were made from a transparent black material but there were applique red roses strategically placed to cover the nipples and pubic area.

cherry lingerie london

What are your thoughts on applique? Would you, or wouldn’t you? Tomorrow I’ll be discussing bralettes.

Beauty Papier Green Tea Blotting Paper Review

Time for something a little different here on RockPaperSpirit. I love trying new and interesting beauty products, especially those from brands who have an altruistic approach to beauty and today I’m reviewing Beauty Papier’s Green Tea Blotting Paper.

The idea is that when you get excess oil on your skin, you can blot it away with these handy little sheets of blotting paper before re-powdering so that the powder doesn’t clump on your skin, which looks unsightly and embarrassing. The sheets are made from wooden hemp and natural pulp with green tea leaf extract which is so nourishing for the skin. This product doesn’t contain any parabens, mineral oil, sodium lauryl sulphates or gluten. It also says on the pack that it doesn’t contain any phthalates but to be honest, I didn’t know what that is or why it’s important. So, having looked it up, I can tell you it’s a type of salt that is a plasticizer which improves durability. It doesn’t sound good, so probably best that there’s none of that in there! They are vegan friendly too, which means they’re cruelty free.

They’re packaged in a cute little credit card sized pack, decorated with green tea leaves patterns and opens at the front to allow easy access to the sheets. There’s 30 in a pack and they’re a little tricky to remove one at a time. The irony is, you probably need damp or oily hands to remove one at a time!

The sheets themselves work a treat! It’s actually incredible the amount of oil they soak up from your skin and don’t really move too much make-up. There’s something gross but satisfying about seeing the greasy residue on the sheet afterwards. Best of all, your skin doesn’t get coated with any powders from the sheets since they don’t contain any, unlike other blotting sheets which leave a residue on your skin.

Overall, I would recommend these if you can afford them. They’re handy to keep in your bag and although many of us probably wouldn’t be too bothered about getting a little oily later in the day, they just make you feel so much fresher. They’re priced at £7.99 for a pack of 30 sheets, so they are a luxury item. Due to their size, I’d say they would make an excellent stocking filler for the beauty conscious female in your life come Christmas time! You can read more about these sheets or buy them on the Beauty Papier website.

Simple Age Resist Night Cream Review

Night cream was never on my radar in my younger years. I used to just slap on another layer of whatever I had used during the day and feel happy with that. As the years have passed, and I’m now approaching forty, I’ve sought out a more intense, hard-working moisture treatment to use before bed. That was until Clinique changed the formula on my favourite cream and I’ve found it increasingly difficult to find something to replace it. One of the creams I tried was Simple Regeneration Age Resisting Night Cream.

This cream is formulated with green tea to combat premature ageing. It was pretty cheap at £9 which is considerably less than the £50 I used to pay Clinique for a cream whose benefits were dubious.

I have to point out here and now that I have not been paid for this post at all. It’s based on my own experience with a cream I purchased from my local Boots branch with my own money, so my opinions are my own. I am glad about that because it means I don’t have to feel bad about being so honest.

simple age resisting night cream review

My first impression of the cream was that the packaging was plain and functional. It comes in a short, thick white tube. The lid is clear and there’s a plastic plug in the spout which can be re-used time and again to stop the air getting into the cream. I think it’s a really good idea but it is fiddly. It’s not the most attractive product you’ll have in your bathroom but it has a fresh, modern design that’s pleasant to look at.

simple age resisting night cream review

The cream is unperfumed. It is supposed to have no scent at all, but it has that smell that unperfumed cosmetics have. It’s a little bit like plastic. The most important thing is that there’s no artificial perfumes in it, so if you have fragrance allergies, this is good news. However, there is a massive list of ingredients which is overwhelming, so the potential for allergies is still there. None of the ingredients used are organic either, which is disappointing. Also, parabens feature in the ingredient list.

simple age resisting night cream review

There’s also no mention of animal testing or being vegan friendly, although it does say there are no animal derived ingredients. It clearly hasn’t been certified vegan friendly though as it doesn’t contain those words. The USP of this brand is the fact their products are fragrance free. Other than that, there’s nothing particularly natural or ethical about them, as far as I can see.

simple age resisting night cream review

I used this product for a week before I gave up on it. It has a nice texture and it applied quite well. However, it didn’t make my skin any softer or more youthful in the time I was using it. In fact, my skin didn’t seem to have been moisturised at all. What’s even more disappointing is that I have a nasty patch of eczema on my neck now since I used this cream. I’m not saying this cream is to blame, but I haven’t had eczema on my neck or face in my life. It was only ever on my hands and usually down to dietary issues, which have been resolved. If this cream had been moisturising well enough, the eczema would not have been an issue. I’ve had to use half a tube of Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream on my neck to get the problem under control.

Overall, I didn’t like this cream at all. It might be suitable for some consumers, especially those who are looking for a fragrance-free, light-duty night cream, but it’s not for me.

What’s your night cream of choice?

My First Radio Interview at Irvine Beat FM!

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been compiling a list of all my promo links and one of my favourites is the radio interview I did with local DJ Ronnie McGhie at Irvine Beat FM back in September 2014. My first book signing was planned for the following day.  Things didn’t quite work out as planned.
On the Sunday before the radio interview, my son fell ill.  Nothing serious – just a tummy bug – but it lasted until the Thursday.  Caring for him while he was unwell left me tired with very little time to prepare.  That, coupled with the referendum happening in Scotland, meant I was totally unprepared and extremely nervous as the interview approached.  My husband was heavily involved in campaigning in our area and my mother has been unwell for the last couple of months so I was on my own during that week, doing what I could to rehearse and organise in between mopping up projectile vomit.  Oh, the glamour of being an author!
irvine beat fm radio interview

Had to wear my lucky white boots!

The day of the interview came and the mood was sombre in my house.  You can tell my family didn’t get the result we had hoped for in the referendum but like I always say, the show must go on.  So, having been up all night and feeling a bit sick myself by that point, I made my way to the studio for the interview, via the beach.  I had to go somewhere to chill out for a while first and get in the right head-space.  I’m so glad I did.
radio interview irvine beat fm

Irvine Beach – My chill out place

When I was at secondary school, they often made us stand up in front of class to give speeches or engage in debates of some sort.  It’s funny, I can’t even remember what they were about.  However, I digress.  I was so painfully shy back then that I used to cry off sick and go to the rest room so I didn’t have to do it.  Yes, it affected my grades but I was willing to lose my straight 1 status just to get out of speaking in public.  So it’s funny that I’ve chosen a career that put me right in the spotlight in such a way.  Being an author means you are constantly putting yourself in a vulnerable position.  You’re open to criticism as well as praise and the rise of social media has contributed to the opportunities readers have to tell you exactly what their opinion is of you and your work.  The only thing more public than writing books and promoting on radio and at signings is possibly being in the performing arts.  That’s why even agreeing to the interview in the first place felt like a huge step forward for me.
The Irvine Beat studios are top notch.  From the outside it just looks like any other building in an industrial estate but inside it’s everything I expected a radio station to be and so much more.  The staff I met were lovely and Ronnie McGhie who interviewed me was just fantastic.  He really put me at ease and he asked some questions that  made me stop and think!  He’s a real charmer and you couldn’t meet a friendlier or more professional person.  Ronnie is a former colleague of my Dad’s from his Glaxo Smith Kline days and while my Dad chose a low-key winding down to retirement job after leaving the plant, Ronnie, being a few years younger with longer to go until he retires, wanted to build on the career he had built up in his youth in the media.  If you want to read more about Ronnie you can check out the guest blog he wrote on my old website back in April 2013, republished in March 2018.
ronnie mcghie irvine beat fm
If you want to hear the interview here’s the link to it. I haven’t listened to it myself at all in the four years since it was recorded.  That would just be weird! I was listening to the first thirty seconds and as soon as I heard my own voice I shut down the browser.  It’s interesting to hear what people you chat to online think about your voice because they’ve obviously never heard it before.  The word “sweet” was used a couple of times and someone actually said I sound innocent, which tickled me.  I had friends listening from all over the world: Greece, USA, Canada, Finland, Turkey, France… it was really a lovely surprise to have all that support.
ronnie mcghie irvine beat fm radio interview lacey dearie

The funny thing is, although I was so nervous beforehand I turned those nerves into adrenaline and let them fuel me.  It helped that I had texts from a few friends coming through as I was waiting to be interviewed.  I knew I had support and if I was going to trip on my words or go mute, all those friends who were listening would be cringing and turning red along with me.  Luckily I think it went just fine. Next up was the signing.