Thursday, April 29, 2010

WAG: The Results

Just want to say thanks to everyone for all the lovely comments here and on my Talli blog! The blogs will stay separate, so feel free to check back at both to see what I'm up to.

A lot of people have asked me about the pen-name. It's mainly because I'm with the same publisher for my fiction and non-fiction work, so a pen-name is an easy way to draw a clear line between the two. I'd love to say it's because of smutty content in my fiction... but while there are a lot of crazy happenings and characters, there's not a whole lot of smut!

Without further ado, here are the results of last week's WAG!

WAG #19 Results and WAG #20 instructions below. All are welcome to join next week’s adventure!

The theme for the Writing Adventure Group 19 was “Pick a Pocket”: Pick someone out of a crowd and describe what (you imagine) is in their pockets (Unless you want to be brave and ask them!) Give us both meaning and physical details, and don’t forget to let yourself be surprised.

How to Join the Writing Adventure Group
Isaac Liljedahl (New to WAG!)
Caroline Dickey (New to WAG!)
Melanie Trevelyan
Peter Spalton
Miss G (Follow Miss G on Twitter!)
Marsha Moore (Follow Marsha on Twitter!)
Sue O’Shields
Gunnar Helliesen (Follow Gunnar on Twitter!)
India Drummond (Follow India on Twitter!)
JM Strother

The Writing Adventure Group is on Facebook. Join us there too, and get weekly reminders so you never miss an adventure.

Next Week: The First Time
Everything we’ve ever done had a ‘first time’. Think of an activity (either of your own or something you observe of someone else) and write about the first time of that experience, and perhaps even compare it to subsequent experiences. Maybe even pick a moment that might have looked mundane from the outside, but made a significant change to the person experiencing it. Not a lot of rules, as usual… just let your imagination flow!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I'm Going to be a Published Fiction Writer!

Yesterday, I hinted at some news that has been in the works for awhile. It's just been announced in the Prospera Publishing newsletter (sign up for some great publishing tips!), so now I can let out my breath and share!

I'm going to be a published fiction writer, under the pen-name Talli Roland! While I feel incredibly lucky to have my non-fiction published, of course, anyone who's been reading this blog for the past little bit knows that fiction is my real passion. I love travel writing and will continue to work on the 24 Hours series but I've always wanted to have my fiction out there in the world! This is the sixth novel I've written and while it still needs a lot of work before it sees the light of day (my editor is peppering me with great suggestions!), words really cannot explain how excited I am!

So what's it all about? Called The Hating Game, here's a brief blurb:

When man-eater Mattie Johns agrees to star on a dating game show to save her ailing recruitment business, she's confident she'll sail through to the end without letting down the perma-guard she's perfected from years of her love 'em and leave 'em dating strategy.

After all, what can go wrong with dating a few losers and hanging out long enough to pick up a juicy £50,000 prize?

Plenty, Mattie discovers, when it's revealed that the contestants are four of her very unhappy exes. Can Mattie confront her past to get the prize money she so desperately needs, or will her exes finally wreak their long-awaited revenge? And what about the ambitious TV producer whose career depends on stopping her from making it to the end?

Who will win The Hating Game? Find out in early 2011.

Thank you all for helping me along this jouney so far!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

New Look, New Book!

In honour of the upcoming 24 Hours Paris launch (well, not really -- I just got tired of the blue background), I have decided to go with a cleaner look for my blog. Hope you find it easier to read.

In other news, I recently wrote an article for about my Parisian explorations beyond the Eiffel Tower. You can read more here.

And in even more news, my alter-ego Talli Roland (my pen-name for fiction) might have some good news to share soon about a fiction project! Stay tuned or watch out for Prospera Publishing's bi-monthly newsletter for more details coming soon. I'd love it if you'd join me over at my fiction blog where I promise I am much better at returning comments and follows (I've been very lame here, I know!). If you tweet, you can also follow me as Talli there, too!

Why the pen name? There's no element of secrecy; it's just to draw a line between my work as a travel writer and a fiction writer. I'll still be updating this blog regularly with London and travel news, as well as tidbits from my daily life (exciting, I know), but my fiction blog is more focused on all the delightful things writers struggle with, including writer's arse. It's lighter and fluffier and loads of fun to write and I'm really enjoying all the interaction with other bloggers from around the world.

Thanks to everyone for continuing to follow me along on this roller-coaster journey (especially those who know me -- or follow me -- as both Marsha and Talli)! Fingers crossed for future developments!

WAG: Pick a Pocket

This week's WAG is "Pick a Pocket": Pick someone out of a crowd and describe what (you imagine) is in their pockets.

Every day at 7:30 am, there's a woman who waits at the bus-stop across the street. She's been there each week-day morning since I can remember -- for at least five years now. Stout with a serious mask on her fleshy face, I imagine her sensible denim pockets are stuffed full of practical bits and bobs for the day ahead as a cleaner of Kensington's posh mansions. A band to tie pack her shoulder-length no-nonsense bob; enough change for a packet of crisps for her morning snack. Her mobile makes the pocket bulge, so she transfers it to her jacket, its grey chunky casing so unlike the sleek phones of the City bankers waiting with her. She shoves it away quickly before they can see -- not that she cares what those poncy blokes think of her, anyway. She sighs and pulls out her bus-pass as the red monster lunges up the street towards her. Another day begins.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

London Marathon

It's a muggy rainy day here in London, yet the city is buzzing. The London Marathon is on! Most of the top runners have crossed the line now, and the crowds are about half-way through. Although I love to marvel at how anyone can run so quickly for so long, what really gets me is watching the 'regular' athletes struggle through.

The Marathon is a huge fundraising event for British charities and many people run on behalf of charities, donning a variety of costumes to do so. I've seen The Angel of the North (how anyone could run with such a sculpture on them is beyond me), a UK Mail parcel, and a rhino. You have to applaud the sheer bravery of someone willing to draw a rhino costume along London streets!

I'd love to run the Marathon. I even applied a few years ago, but it's super hard to get in. One day!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

WAG: The Results!

The theme for the Writing Adventure Group 18 was “Invisible Object” Look around your workspace, favourite chair, back yard, etc. and notice the objects around you. Choose one that is so familiar that you no longer notice it, even though it’s right next to you. Describe it as though you’re seeing it for the first time and particularly any feelings you have about it, past or present. Would you miss it if it was gone?

And the participants:

How to Join the Writing Adventure Group
Peter Spalding
Melanie Trevelyan
Mickey Hoffman
Kate McIntire
JM Strother
Marsha Moore
Miss G
India Drummond

Next Week:
“WAG #19: Pick a Pocket”

Let’s do some stalking people-watching for this one! Pick someone out of a crowd and describe what (you imagine) is in their pockets (Unless you want to be brave and ask them!) Give us both meaning and physical details, and don’t forget to let yourself be surprised. (This week’s topic inspired by my son Bear.)

How to be added to the “results” post next week:
*Write whatever you like based on the theme suggested
*Post the results on your blog
*Email THE DIRECT LINK TO YOUR WAG POST (not just your blog) to India AT IndiaDrummond DOT com (or use the handy-dandy web form). This way I can link back to you in the next post! Please include the word WAG in your subject heading. Please include the title of the post (if any) and your name as you want it to appear on the listing. If you do not do this, I will use the name as it appears on your email.

To get more people involved, please use Twitter, FB status, myspace, your blog, etc to tell your writer friends about the group and talk about your own writing adventure!

All are welcome to join, so spread the word!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

WAG! Invisible Object

The lovely India Drummond has resurrected the Writing Adventure Group! Anyone is welcome to get involved; just email India to participate (her email is below. Here are this week's instructions:

“WAG #18: Invisible Object” Look around your workspace, favourite chair, back yard, etc, and notice the objects around you. Choose one that is so familiar that you no longer notice it, even though it’s right next to you. Describe it as though you’re seeing it for the first time and particularly any feelings you have about it, past or present. Would you miss it if it was gone? No rules! Just write! Post the results on your blog.

After you post your results, email THE LINK TO YOUR POST (not just your blog) to This way I can link back to you in the next post! Please include the word WAG#18 in your subject heading so I don't miss it! (I get a lot of email) Please include the title of the blog/post (if any) and your name as you want it to appear on the listing. If you do not do this, I will use the name as it appears on your email.

And my 'Invisible Object':

Dusty and slumped, it sits under my desk like an abandoned dog. I can almost imagine it casting reproachful looks my way. How could you do this to me? You used to like me!

It's true. There was a time I loved the rough feel of the leather, the large stitches holding its patch-work together, the way the strap sat just so on my shoulder. I'd even brought it with me half-way around the world, from Europe to Canada and back again. But now... I gave it a kick as I stretched out my legs. Now, it was just one more annoying object stuffed underfoot.

Monday, April 19, 2010

To Quote a Few...

Time flies -- and so does volcanic ash, apparently! In the past few days, I've been finishing up a draft of a fiction project and running around like a chicken with its head cut off trying to get some last-minute quotes for 24 Hours Paris before our press deadline. I might have mentioned once (or several!) times how hard it is to ask people (experts!) to review your book. Well, throw a deadline into the mix and I've found it's much easier to bite the bullet and go for it!

This time around, I did find it easier to get over the cringe factor. Not only did I have 24 Hours London behind me, but I'd done it before and had some sucess (thanks Toni and Mike and everyone else who reviewed my last book!).

A big thank you everyone who looked at the ARC and got back to me with such brilliant quotes -- I appreciate it so much and I can't wait to hold a hard copy of the book in my hands!

Here's what the Paris experts said about 24 Hours Paris! (I realise I'm blowing my own horn here, but I'm proud of the book!)

"Marsha Moore steers us away from tired postcard imaginings of Paris and provides good ideas for encountering the city in its authentic, contemporary and un-shiny complexity."
Courtney Traub, Guide to Paris Travel

“From pissoirs to parrots – Marsha Moore’s new guidebook 24 Hours Paris by Prospera UK is an absolutely original guide to Paris, chock full of unusual ideas for touring hidden areas and attractions in the City of Light. Bravo to Marsha for coming up with a totally new and creative way to see my favorite town.”
Doni Belau, Founder,

“This incredible guidebook offers an hour-by-hour roadmap for exploring the hidden wonders of this remarkable city, making it a must-have ... even for people who think they know Paris.” Linda Donahue, Editor-in-chief,

“Moore’s guide to Paris is a real encyclopaedia of the hip and the quirky, full of insider facts and trivia, that will banish all thoughts of ennui for much longer than the stated 24 hours.”
Duncan Rhodes, Editor,

“In spite of the fact I’ve lived in Paris for 22 years, this book is a real eye-opener and I’m keeping it next to my bed in case I awaken at 3 a.m. and want to go out. I’ve read so many guidebooks but this one has different take on the City of Light. It’s fun in addition to being illuminating. Marsha, thank you for making Paris even more exciting."
Karen Fawcett, President, Paris New Media, LLC,

"24 Hours Paris takes up where the conventional guide books leave off, with fresh and sassy bite-sized tips on Paris."
Pamela Poole, The Francophilia Gazette

"It's like having a Parisian in your pocket 24/7."
Craig McGinty, This French Life

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I Need an Obama!

It's that time of year here in the UK: Election Time! Coming up in a few weeks' time, the country will vote on who they want to be their leader. Do we want hang-dog Gordo, who looks as if he's been hit in the face with a pot, or do we want Cameron whose 'Power to the People' included such gems as 'Hug a Hoodie'? Or do we want... um, the other guy, whose name no-one can ever remember?

Is there even any difference between them? The Conservatives have become Liberal, the Liberals Conservative, and the Liberal Democrats -- well, who really knows what the heck the stand for. And the UKIP and BNP aren't exactly viable options. I joked the other day that I may vote BNP and, as an immigrant, offer to kick myself out to help them achieve their party platform of getting rid of non-natives (I'm putting it crudely, yes, but they put it rather crudely, too).

What we need in this country is a British-style Obama. Someone to inspire us, to draw us out of our apathy and get us out to vote. But sadly, that's not going to happen this time around.

Someone give me a coin to toss...!

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Thank you to the very supportive Deniz Bevan at the Girdle of Melian, who was so kind as to pass on the Soulmates award to me!

The rules for this award are:

1. Choose five followers/commenters that 'get' you
2. Write something fake (preferably not too mean) about them
3. Link to them, and link back to this post to comment your receipt of the award

In the spirit of generosity (and, let's be honest, laziness), I'm going to offer this up to every single person who reads my blog! I really appreciate it and a big thanks goes out to all of you!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Can it Finally Be Spring?

This winter has been long and hard (by UK standards, anyway). Snow, snow, ice, cold... it's almost like Canada all over again! And if there's one thing I'm not so fond of, it's snow and cold. I don't know what it is, but I just can't stand piling on all that winter gear and hoping - praying - you'll be able to stop shivering at some point.

But those days are behind me now, because spring has finally sprung in London. The birds are singing, the flowers are blooming, the trees are coming out... people are even BBQing!

This summer is supposed to be the hottest summer on record (again - they say that every year!). But maybe, just maybe, it might be true!

Fingers crossed!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

I Love Paris in the Springtime...

Phew! I have just finished three exhausting days of proofing 24 Hours Paris in preparation for its coming launch on 12th May! It's amazing how many finicky errors can slip through, and I'm sure there are many lingering. Still, it gives me a great feeling when I look back through all the research, all the writing and, yes, all the wonderful eating!

Starting on Monday, I'll be updating the 24 Hours Paris blog with hour by hour tips, right up until launch day. There are already a few bits and bobs on there; feel free to have nose around!

And here's a little blurb about the book:

In a city like Paris, it’s tempting to stick to the beautiful but beaten paths leading straight to the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame and the Champs Elysée. But Paris is so much more than a collection of clichés; it’s bursting with life, from early morning markets to midnight movies. But how can you know where – and when – to get the best of what’s beneath the city’s gilded surface? The only thing for it is to break down the day, hour by hour, and make your choice from Paris’ top picks. That’s exactly what 24 Hours Paris does. From weaving tapestries to jazz in an underground torture chamber, you’ll see the best of what’s on offer city-wide at any moment in time.

Now, with the rare sun streaming in my London window and my work done for the day, I actually do feel in a spring-like mood!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Hyde Park Easter Sunday

With gusting winds and a little bit of sun peeping through, The Man and I took a stroll yesterday through Hyde Park, stopping for a cheeky glass of wine by the Serpentine Lake. The wind was a bit fresh (i.e., cold) but the flowers were gorgeous.

Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Easter in London

Happy Easter everyone! I'm spending a quiet weekend with The Man, working away on last-minute Paris stuff and generally trying to corral my life into some kind of order! But for those of you who are out and about -- or just want to know what to do over the Easter weekend -- here are a few suggestions (with modified text from 24 Hours London: because I'm just that lazy!).

For the few seconds it's not actually raining, the parks are always a hit on Easter weekend. Stroll around, see some birds or even take a dip if you're brave enough.

Hampstead Heath

In North London, the ancient parkland that is Hampstead Heath provides a great spot to work off the Easter chocolate. London’s largest park covers 790 acres of grassy fields and woodlands and is one the highest points in London. If you work up a sweat, take a dip in one of the three outdoor ponds. They are open all year, and were originally used to provide refreshment for the River Fleet.
Tube: Hampstead.

Kensington Gardens

You’re spoiled for choice with Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park. These interconnected parks offer a wide variety of jogging routes. Or, you can take a plunge in the Serpentine Lake. Enter the park from High Street Kensington. You’ll see Kensington Palace straight ahead. Saunter by the former home of Princess Diana and past the black railings where mountains of flowers were heaped when she died in 1997.

Run by the man-made Round Pound, taking in the ornate Albert Memorial through the trees to your right, and go down to the Serpentine Lake. So-named for its snake-like shape, the lake is actually a river that was dammed by order of Queen Caroline as part of the redevelopment of Hyde Park. As you jog by the long arm of the lake, take in the oval-shaped Diana Memorial to your right, then cool off by braving the water at the roped-off swimming area at the Lido.
Tube: High Street Kensington or Bayswater. For opening hours go to

Holland Park

One of the most romantic – and smallest – parks in London, Holland Park is a mix of secluded trails, open fields and romantic courtyards filled with blossoming flowers. Situated on the grounds of former Jacobean mansion Holland House, the park has everything from squirrels to peacocks, plus an up-to-the-minute playpark for kids up to 14. Relax in the Kyoto Japanese Garden built for the 1991 London Festival of Japan, grab coffee or a sandwich at the café, or have a spot of tea at The Belvedere, located in the Summer Ballroom of Holland House. Or perhaps become an opera buff – in the summer, the park is the site of the open-air Opera Holland Park.
Tube: Holland Park

St James's Park

If you’re full but want to watch others enjoy their food, go to St James’s Park. The first royal park to be opened to the public, it’s home to five greedy pelicans – one from Louisiana
and four from Eastern Europe. The park’s pelican tradition was first introduced in 1664 when the Russian ambassador presented Charles II with the birds. They’re fed 12 pounds of fish – along with a vitamin supplement – every day at around 2:30 pm.
Tube: St James's Park.

Something for Sunday - Take a walk through town or check out a market.

London Walks offers a selection of walks on Easter Sunday. Check out for more information.

Spitalfields Market and the cacophony that is Brick Lane buzzes as usual on Easter Sunday. Head down around lunchtime to really take advantage of the atmosphere. Tube: Liverpool Street.

Have a great long weekend!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Getting Published

Just a quick one today to say that my publisher Prospera Publishing has launched a new blog which will host the content for its ongoing newsletter, Getting Published. You can read there or sign up to receive the instalments via email!

Happy Thursday!