Monday, 31 December 2012

And just before Big Ben chimes...

And just before Big Ben chimes...
Another positive review for The Drought to end the year on a high. This time it comes from blog site Between The Pages. Here is the review in full:

Dan Hilles has a problem. Since splitting up with his girlfriend Stacey, he just can’t seem to get any….you know what. Yes, as the days turn into weeks, he realises he is experiencing a sexual drought. Fortunately, he has his three best friends, Rob, Ollie and Jack, to help him find the girl who will finally end the dry spell. But try as they might, Dan just can’t seem to seal the deal, and he finds himself in all manner of embarrassing, dangerous, and (for the reader anyway) hilarious situations. So will he find the girl he’s looking for – I mean, just how long can a drought last?!

This book is described as lad-lit, but that shouldn’t put off female readers. I chuckled my way through it from beginning to end, and it did make me laugh out loud on occasion, which is something that doesn’t happen very often!

The writing flowed well, as Dan lurched from one unfortunate situation to another. I also liked the main characters. The book is narrated by Dan – a regular guy who likes hanging out with his mates – and through his eyes, we really get to know his friends and colleagues. The only character I wasn’t keen on was Jack, but he still provided some comical moments.

Admittedly, I guessed fairly early on where the story was heading (although the ending still had a nice subtle twist to it), but that didn’t really matter, because the journey to get there was so much fun. An enjoyable read, that I would definitely recommend.

Friday, 28 December 2012

A book review from across the pond!

A book review from across the pond!
Check out this book review for The Drought from US book review site Unshelved. You can read the review here or below...



The Drought book review on Unshelved
Dan, a British twenty-something, has just broken up with his girlfriend of several years. (The incident involved a bat-wielding friend smashing out a window while aiming for his head.)  His mates are sure this is a positive step because it frees him up to play the field. But Dan finds himself (and his penis, Little Dan) in a nine-month period during which he cannot get laid no matter how hard he tries. His friends think he’s like a soccer striker. He needs to score a goal to get his confidence back. But hilaroius disasters ensue and he can’t break his streak.

Work is not going any better. Dan’s appearance on TV holding a gay pride sign leads his clueless boss to try to pick him up with a Pythonesque wink, wink, nudge, nudge. His co-worker, Kelly, usually a great sounding board for what women want, gives her notice so that she can go travel the world for a year just as Dan realizes that she’s the girl he really wants to be with.

Why I picked it up: It was described to me as “lad lit” which I took to mean a British, male approximation of chick lit. I decided it was worth a try just because of the new genre. I was also hoping to pick up some new British slang to casually work into conversations with friends, making them think I was more erudite than I actually am. 

Why I finished it: The funny scenes. When Dan is clipping his pubic hair with an electric razor because one of his mates said that “shaving his bits would make his penis look bigger,” his cell phone rings, startling him into shaving a bald patch. As a young man, before Dan knows what a tampon is, one of his cousins lets him use one to imitate Hannibal from the A-team, a man known for putting a cigar in his mouth. Dan and his friends mock another man who had an asthma attack during sex, necessitating an inhaler, by calling him Weezy Lover. (They also make up and sing a song to him to the tune of Phil Collins’ “Easy Lover” with altered lyrics.) Dan refers to a masturbation session as meeting “Palmala Handerson.” The laughs kept coming.

I'd give it to: My twin sons, who are in college (but not my high-school-aged son) because they loved the similarly themed (and more innocent) read-alikes when they were younger -- Don Calame’s Swim the Fly and Brent Crawford’s Carter Finally Gets It. They’ll learn new terminology and euphemisms, too.

Monday, 24 December 2012

Happy Xmas!

I just wanted to wish everyone a very Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year! I hope 2013 brings you joy, luck, laughter, and most importantly, Good Times!

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Lad Lit Book Reviews: The Accidental Billionaires by Ben Mezrich

Books For Men Book Reviews! The Accidental Billionnaires by Ben Mezrich
It is hard to imagine a time before Google, before YouTube, before Twitter. They have become so ingrained in our psyche. But the one social platform that has become entwined into a normal everyday life more than any is Facebook.

A staggering 71% of the British public log in to Facebook every day, over 1 billion users worldwide have signed up, and it is worth an estimated $15m. That's a lot of people looking at a lot of ex's! Quite impressive for a company that launched in 2005.

But the most impressive fact of all has nothing to do with the size of the audience or the staggering value of a company barely out of nappies. The most impressive fact is that Facebook was created so guys could rate girls based om their level of hotness! That's it! No fancy business plan or 5-year strategy to make that first million. The fact is Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook in his dorm room at Harvard University so we could perv over the girl next door!

In this book from Ben Mezrich - which inspired the Oscar-nominated The Social Network - Zuckerberg is potrayed somewhat as the bad guy; which is probably due to the fact he refused to take part in the project. The story is fused together from a number of interviews and sources; most notably Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin and the Winklevoss Twins, who would all end up in bitter legal and court wranglings with Zuckerberg over the ownership of Facebook in the years that proceeded the social networks launch.

Mezrich freely admits that he uses a certain amount of creative freedom when writing his books for entertainment purposes and to 'fill in the gaps'. I've read enough of his books to know that he also likes to follow a certain pattern: super intelligent college kid gets involved with something dangerous or cool, he has a love interest who he inevitably will win over in the end, and there is always a dark or siniister undertone hanging around in background ready to rear its ugly little head.

Mezrich is adept at working with a specific type of main character and creating a world around them that is exciting, sexy, and cool. That environment works when you have a bunch of MIT students taking on the Las Vegas casinos, but it feels a little unbelievable at times in the surroundings this story is set in. After all, this is a story about an internet geek who sat in his dorm room looking at images of girls on his computer screen. Again, nothing wrong with that - we've all been there! But Zuckerberg is a man described in the book blurb as an 'awkward maths prodigy and a painfully shy computer genius' and therefore it's hard to see how this story has been billed as tale of sex, money, and betrayal. Money, yes. Betrayal, ish. Sex, zero.

I think this is a book that probably needed to be written because of the historical importance it plays in modern culture, but I don't think the test subject allows Mezrich to be at his best. It's also the only time (as far as I'm aware) in a Mezrich non-fiction book where the story is not told from the main protagonist so you never feel like you are getting the whole story of what really happened with the invention of a modern masterpiece.

It's a good read, and if you have never read a Mezrich book before then no doubt you will find it enjoyable. But my advice would be after you have read this book, make sure you pick up a copy of Bringing Down the House or Busting Vegas to read Mezrich at his very best.

http://stevenscaffardi.blogspot.co.uk/p/the-lad-lit-book-review.html

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Interview with top chick lit website Novelicious!

Interview with top chick lit website Novelicious! The Drought, Steven Scaffardi, Lad Lit, Chick Lit
I am delighted to announce that I was interviewed by top chick lit site Novelicious today! You can check out the full interview here. A huge thanks to Kirsty Greenwood, the Founding Editor of Novelicious, for taking the time out and posting my interview. And good luck to Kirsty with her fantastic debut novel Yours Truly which you can check out and buy on Amazon for just 77p! That's what I call a bargain!

Monday, 10 December 2012

Lad Lit Book Reviews: Different Seasons by Stephen King

Books For Men Book Reviews! Different Seasons by Stephen King
First things first, let's get this out in the open now. This is a Stephen King book, but it is not a horror story. It's not even one non-horror story, it's actually a collection of four novellas. Two of these novellas spawned two of the greatest films ever made; and on this occasion the films are actually better than the book, even though I really enjoyed the book, or novellas, or whatever they're called!

Confused yet? Okay, let me start again.

I'd never read a Stephen King book before; horror novels have never really appealed to me. But a good few years ago Channel 4 were showing one of my favourite films Stand By Me. I sat down to watch and as the credits rolled this appeared on screen: Based on the book The Body by Stephen King.

'But this isn't a horror film!' I thought to myself. Perhaps I hadn't read the words on the screen correctly, and back then I didn't have the luxury of Sky+ to rewind and check, but I did have this little thing called Google! A quick internet search later and I found out that not only had my eyes not deceived me, but this novel was also responsible for the making of The Shawshank Redemption as well. 'This must be the God of all books' I decided and rushed out the next day to buy myself a copy of this marvelous hybrid of magical words that had somehow managed to inspire not one, but two brilliant films!

And it was as I flicked through the pages in Waterstones that I realised this was a collection of four novellas, rather than one super-story about four boys who go in search of a dead body, do battle against an older gang, find said body, and then all grow-up before presumably one of those boys (probably Gordy) is found guilty of murdering his wife and her lover in his adult life, is wrongly sent to prison, and plots one of the most fantastically jaw-dropping moments in movie history!

Well it could have happened that way!

Instead King has delivered four wonderfully written stories - The Body (Stand By Me), Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption (The Shawshank Redemption), Apt Pupil (which was also made into a film in 1998 of the same name), and The Breathing Method.

The two former stories have become well-known in their own right thanks to their film adaptations, and there will be those who are familiar with Apt Pupil, although I have not seen the film myself so I am not entirely sure how closely it sticks to King's tale of the entwined lives of a 16-year-old boy and his elderly Nazi war criminal neighbor, who both set about their own grisly murders of the homeless before a final twist brings them back together.

The fourth novella, The Breathing Method, is about a middle-aged Manhattan lawyer who joins an exclusive men's club where, amongst other things, like to share unusual stories about their lives. It is here that David the lawyer meets  Dr. Emlyn McCarron who tells him of a rather gruesome story that becomes the subtext to the novella.

I won't go into too much more detail as I don't want to give everything away, but what I will say is that the biggest compliment I can pay to Stephen King and Different Seasons is that through reading this book I now want to pick up another Stephen King novel, despite the fact I'm not a fan of horror, such was his ability to paint stories with words. Even though I still prefer the two movie versions of his film, I don't think that is a sleight on King's work here because this collection of novellas still remain hugely enjoyable and you have to remember it was King's imagination that inspired those brilliant stories to be brought to life on the big screen. That deserves your reading attention.

http://stevenscaffardi.blogspot.co.uk/p/the-lad-lit-book-review.html

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Philippines bookworm gives The Drought four stars!

Philippines bookworm gives The Drought four stars!
Check out this interview and book review from blogger and bookworm Monica, who happens to live just a stones throw away in Singapore! Yes, that's right - The Drought has made it in Asia!

Well, sort of!

Monica was kind enough to interview me as well as give my lad lit novel a four out of five star rating. Check out the full review and interview by clicking here and you can read the review below:


Book Review from Impressions of a Princess
Prior to this novel, I haven’t heard about the existence of lad-lit. I have read stories which were written by men, but not the counterpart of chic lit. It made me curious as to how something can be classified as such, so after I finished the book I was reading, I didn’t waste time and start checking what the fuss was about.

The story started at the end – well, that’s what the chapter said anyway. This was refreshing as most of the novels I have read recently didn’t use this technique. Right away, the story unfolded and one can easily guess why the novel was titled like that. The title and theme were introduced in the first chapter, and I actually like it. I have had experiences reading other books which until now I couldn’t decipher why they were titled like that.

It was narrated in first person, and it made the connection between the character and the reader (me) stronger. In this kind of story, first person point-of-view is recommended and I am glad the author chose to use that.

The main character, Daniel Hilles, was portrayed as a typical English man – or just a man. I felt a bit awkward at first when I have read Dan’s thoughts and actions, but I realized that this is how real men are. Well, mostly. Football and video games, drinking and planning to get laid. There were languages I never imagined I could muster and bold acts I would never wish to see. Still, it’s just my sensitivities. The author wrote the novel in such a way to introduce man’s true thoughts, feelings, and actions that I was appalled to note that if this is how real men are, then I hardly know them at all.

Then there were Dan’s friends. The author wasn’t satisfied to tell a story of a single man, but he included his boisterous and crazy friends as well. I wasn’t surprised though. In any chic lit, the star always have her side kicks with her, so why not in a lad-lit? The characters of Dan’s friends were shown as what real men friends are – supportive in almost everything and never lacking of suggestions no matter how absurd they are.

The characters were realistic. They weren’t depicted as perfect and flawless personalities and I like that. There were instances were they were characterized negatively, and it made them more believable, like they are just normal people.

But what I liked best in the novel was the way Dan was complaining and expressing his heart out about us, women, and our tendencies. It was an eye-opener for me to read this novel. I found myself nodding in almost all of his complaints about our womanly actions. I don’t know how to help him with his problems with women because I also don’t know how we are like that, but I feel for him. I have realized that it is difficult to be a man.

I don’t want to give you spoilers, but I would like to share you some of Dan’s thoughts and questions about women:

On shopping with a girlfriend:
  • Whose bright idea was it to put the changing rooms bang in the middle of the lingerie department? Groups of men are forced to awkwardly stand around, trying their best not to look like pervs. The problem is, the more you try to look like you are not hanging around sniffing women’s underwear, the more paranoid you become that everyone thinks that is exactly what you are doing.
  • “Which one do you prefer?” Hmm, let me think. I don’t care! Just pick that one, pick any of them! Whichever one you choose will be met by the same response: “Really? I prefer this one.” If you have already made up your mind, don’t ask us.
On general:
  • “Why do they always expect you to know what’s wrong with them? If you ask them and they say nothing, and then don’t expect us to press any further on the matter.”
  • “Why do girls insist on chatting continuously when you’re watching the footy, but as soon as the adverts come on they shut up?”
  • “Men are not mind readers. If something is wrong then you should just come out and tell us. It is not fair to presume we don’t care because of out lack of mind-reading abilities… Come out and ask what you want. Subtle hints don’t work. Strong hints don’t work. Obvious hints don’t work. Just say it!”
Men, do you agree? Another thing I liked most about this book is the funny way the author narrated Dan’s life. It was utterly hilarious. I was trying hard not to laugh while I read this in a coffee shop while waiting for my friend, and I ended up coughing instead.

All in all, the novel was pretty find and I like it. I would have given it five stars if the situations Dan got into were more believable. If I could retitle this, it would be Lemony Snickket’s “A Series of Unfortunate Events”. Dan got into a lot of trouble in ending his drought, and in some points I stopped and asked myself if it was really possible to happen in a single person.

That’s the only problem I had with this book and it didn’t affect the way I like it. I would definitely recommend this to everyone, especially to those women who wanted to understand men.

Rating: 4/5 stars

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

A special message for a very special girl...

Hi guys, just a quick update as I wanted to send out an early Christmas wish to a very special and extraordinary girl called Kerry Thorpe. I met Kerry on Goodreads and I have been very touched by her story as she just keeps smiling despite having end stage cystic fibrosis and is awaiting a double-lung transplant.

Please, please show her your support by following her amazing blog Come Walk In My Shoes. Kerry is surrounded by her wonderful family and boyfriend Josh (who looks like he should be in a boy band so I am very jealous!), but she is always touched by all the support and kind words left on her blog by those who follow her.

This year all my Christmas wishes go out to Kerry and the best present would be that she gets that transplant and starts to get better real soon.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Lad Lit Book Reviews: The Eye of the Moon by Anonymous (The Bourbon Kid 2)

Books For Men Book Review! The Eye of the Moon by Anonymous
Well, Mr Anonymous has done it again! This fantastic follow-up to the The Book With No Name sees The Bourbon Kid make a triumphant return to form in this bloody, violent, brutal, and hilarious dark comedy. I was hoping for more of the same and this book duly delivered!

The Eye of the Moon picks up immediately where The Book With No Name left off in the wonderfully supernatural city of Santa Mondega; where the humans are the ones considered ethnic minorities living amongst all the vampires and werewolves.And if that wasn't terrifyingly frightening already for the residents of Santa Mondega to contend with, a bloody Mummy has been awoken and has now escaped from the museum.

With the Bourbon Kid gone AWOL, everyone else seems to be hell-bent of finding the mysterious Eye of the Moon to take control of the power that it wields.

We see also the return of young lovers Dante and Kacy, Peto the kung-fu monk, and of course the legend that is Sanchez the bartender, who is back to his self-deprecating self! Throw into the mix the US Secret Service, a corrupt police force, and a little fella who calls himself the Dark Lord, and you have the recipe for another rip-roaring thrill ride!

The pace of the story is as frantic as it was the first time round, and the author once again displays a truly fantastic skill for setting up cliffhangers chapter after chapter. Yes it's gory, yes it's full of foul language, and yes there are more killings that a 1980s Arnie action film, but who cares! If you don't like that sort of thing, don't buy the bloody book and moan about it later! I saw one review that complained it was too much like a Quentin Tarantino film and then went on to say how much they loathed Tarantino films. To that person I say - jog on you muppet! I don't particularly like costume dramas so I simply switch off the TV when Downton Abbey comes on!

I've said it once and I'll say it again - Twilight nearly ruined the vampire genre by turning it into a mushy love saga! I say we need more Bourbon Kids, more gruesome blood-sucking murderers, and more sequels to the The Book With No Name!

http://stevenscaffardi.blogspot.co.uk/p/the-lad-lit-book-review.html

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Collection of recent book reviews for The Drought by Steven Scaffardi

Collection of recent book reviews for The Drought by Steven Scaffardi
Book Review: The Drought by Steven Scaffardi
This page is continuously updated with quotes from book reviews for The Drought by Steven Scaffardi. These reviews come from readers and bloggers, and of course book reviews from websites and printed publications.

If you click on the source of each review it will take you through to a page where you can read the whole review, or you can click this link to view all of the reviews together. 

Praise for The Drought by Steven Scaffardi 
"A pleasantly darker alternative to the offerings of Mike Gayle. All hail the arrival of Steven Scaffardi."
Ortis Deley | Television & Radio Presenter 

"The Drought is witty, well-written, and pulls no punches!"
Angellica Bell | Television & Radio Presenter

"The Drought is like an adult Inbetweeners that will have you laughing all the way through!"
Luke Dolan | Television Producer 

“The Drought is a good, entertaining read. It hits what could be a gap in the market."
David Harrison | Award Winning Journalist

"The Drought is a superior version of chick lit for men - immediately engaging, written in a really modern vernacular and he's already mastered comic timing.”
Matt Whipp | Printweek.com Editor

"This is one of the funniest books I've read in ages... this could well become a film in a couple of years!"
Amazon Reader Review | September 2011

"This is a fantastic read which doesn't just cater for the 'lads' (my wife loved it!) and I would strongly recommend this book to anyone!"
Amazon Reader Review | October 2011

"Refreshing to have a more accurate perspective on life for the modern man. The Drought is a real page turner - Highly recommend this for your next holiday read."
Amazon Reader Review | November 2011

"If you like crude, rude, and true - you will love this! I was reading this book on the train on my journey home and actually managed to spit my tea out where I was laughing so hard!"

Best Books To Read | Book Review Website

"This book is a laugh from start to finish and an excellent debut novel by Steven Scaffardi. With overtones of Men Behaving Badly, this story is full of satirical comments and observations of life in general which will amuse and entertain the reader - much recommended."
Amazon Reader Review | December 2011

"Laugh out loud' funny and a real page turner, I enjoyed this book immensely, can't wait for the next book from Steven Scaffardi." 
Amazon Reader Review | January 2012

"Well written and cleverly constructed, this is a compulsive page turner that will have you cackling with laughter the more you read. Mr. Scaffardi, I applaud you!"
Amazon Reader Review | January 2012

"I can't remember the last time I laughed so much while reading a book!"
Amazon Reader Review | January 2012

"The overall result (of The Drought) is an incredibly readable, feel good, highly amusing adventure which will have you smiling for days."
Amazon Reader Review | February 2012

"There are very few books that I've read recently that have had me laughing out loud, frequently in public places to the amusement of those around me! For a debut novel, this is a massively accomplished book, and I for one can't wait for the next one."
Amazon Reader Review | February 2012

"Warning - this book will have you crying... with laughter! This has a broad appeal and would be the perfect gift for the lad in your life!"
BCF Book Reviews | Book Review Website

"Scaffardi is an author who is going to be a household name, and he deserves to be!"
Amazon Reader Review | April 2012

"Being a female, I sometimes have difficulty relating to the main characters, but not with this one. Steven Scaffardi’s first novel is absolutely hilarious and will leave every reader, male or female, laughing out loud"
Chick Lit Plus | Book Review Website

"The Drought is a hilarious, highly entertaining and completely unfiltered look into the inner workings of the typical male mind!"
Sarah Taylor | Editor of Self-Publishing Magazine

"This book is as funny as hell, It is very rare that a book makes me laugh the way this one did which is the highest complement I can give this book."
Goodreads Reader Review | November 2012

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Advice for Indie Authors: Indie authors beware! Do not feed the reviewers!

Advice for Indie Authors: Indie authors beware! Do not feed the reviewers!
This indie author and publishing malarkey isn't always plain sailing, as I've learnt the hard way in the last 24 hours! There are more highs and lows than a 90s TV game show hosted by Bruce Forsyth! Good game? Not quite.

It was just yesterday I pranced on to Blogger with a skip and jump in my step, waxing lyrical about all the fantastic new reviews The Drought had received. Fast forward one day and my mood has dropped quicker than Luis Suarez in the penalty box!

You see, like many indie authors, it's up to me to be my publicist and marketer, with just one small problem - I don't have a Scooby Doo what I'm doing! And unfortunately this week I had a 'brainwave' and boy did I run with it!

My great plan was pretty simple: people on book reading social platform Goodreads like reading. Top reviewers on Goodreads love reading. So why not contact all 100 (yes, 100!) of those reviewers to offer them a free copy of The Drought to review? They'll be falling over themselves to read it, right? Nice to see you, to see you, nice!

Well, not quite. I hadn't quite thought through the whole 'spamming' issue. You see, and I'm sure other indie authors can relate, when you have a 'great' idea you don't really sit back and think if the consequences, you just go for it! Previously I had searched for readers who had read books by authors I would consider my book to be similar to (Mike Gayle, etc.) but on this occasion I just thought: "This reviewer loves supernatural thrillers - that must mean she'd love to read a comedy about a guy on a sex drought!"

I know, I know! But I just saw the positives, and never gave a thought to the potential gut-wrenching negatives!

The first reply came through last night from a female reviewer in the US who kindly pointed me towards her reviewing policy. I won't go into all the details, but the gist of it was do your homework before asking for a review and don't just spam! Reviewers are busy people too, but I will freely admit my nativity at thinking I must be the first indie author to have hatched this great plan to contact reviewers on Goodreads! My feeble attempt at a reply probably - and rightfully so - fell on deaf ears.

Next up I did a wee Google search to see if anyone out there in blog land had reviewed my book, and what do you know - I found one!

Now if my stint doing stand-up comedy has taught me anything, it's that you take the rough with the smooth. I've stood in packed rooms with people laughing at me (not literally, but at my jokes of course!). I've had audiences tell me I was the funniest comedian of the night (granted that was a private family gig in front of my parents and I was the only comedian, but that's not the point...!).

But the gigs that stick in the mind are the ones when you stink out the place and die on stage. I guess it's just human nature; praise is easy to take but criticisms stick in the back of your throat like a cracker on a hot summers day, because you take it as a personal attack.

So back to the review I found...

Two out of 10 lousy stars! Two! And the worst part about it was that it was only based on one chapter! One! (Don't worry, I'm not counting backwards towards anything...). But there is nothing I can do now. It's out there, floating around in cyber space for all to see. I then did the one thing I always tell others not to and I left a comment on the review. Nothing malicious, just that I didn't feel a whole review based on one chapter wasn't very fair, but hey-ho...

They say things come in threes, and right on queue this morning, I got a reply on Goodreads from another reviewer I had contacted. This message was perfectly nice, saying that she would be happy to review The Drought, but...

She did warn me that it was considered gauche to be promoting my own book to readers, and that spamming (that bloody word again!) will rub some people up the wrong way. In fact, she went as far as saying that there was an "evil underbelly" of people on Goodreads who like nothing more than bad-mouthing new authors. She even called them 'dangerous'! Gulp - what have I let myself in for?!

Now every time I get a message on Goodreads or an email notifying me of a purchase on Smashwords, I take a deep breath and pray! If anything, this has taught me a valuable lesson - Do not feed the reviewers!

Only kidding! What I have learned is that I've never confessed to being the best writer in the world. I'm not stupid enough to think that my book will set the literary world on fire or be heralded as the new Dickens!

But...

I would like to think that I'm not bad at comedic writing. I have to take heart from the majority of reviews who genuinely seemed to have enjoyed The Drought. But most importantly, I do need to know my audience! It sounds utterly ridiculous to say that, but sometimes you get caught up like a rabbit in the headlights.

So my final plea to reviewers everywhere - I'm sorry I spammed you! Please take pity on me and if you see my little bunny ears in front of you as you are driving around in your busy book-reading lives, try to politely swerve rather mowing me down and leaving me for road kill! I promise never to spam again.

To steal a line from Rocky Balboa - if I can change, you can change, we all can change!

Monday, 19 November 2012

Fantastic book reviews from around the world for The Drought!

Fantastic book reviews from around the world for The Drought!
In the last couple of weeks I have been getting in contact with some of the top reviewers on Goodreads - the social media book reading and sharing website - to ask them to review The Drought for me. And in the last week I am pleased to announce that I have had three postive reviews posted!

The first came from Kumara in Ireland who gave The Drought a four-star (out of five) book review and called it "funny as hell" as he admitted to laughing all the way through.

Next up came JM Hace who is currently ranked the number one reviewer from Mexico on Goodreads, and gave The Drought three stars and said it was a "male version of Helen Fielding's novels" who of course wrote the Bridget Jones Diary series.

And last but not least, this weekend I was delighted to get yet another positive book for The Drought, and this time it came from 3,500 miles away from a reader in Toronto! Teena in Toronto - who is currently ranked number six reviewer in Canada gave The Drought a glowing five-star review! Teena said she found it 'hilarious' and posted the review up to her blog site.

All three reviews can be found on Goodreads, or you can read them below...

Reader Review for The Drought by Teena from Toronto (Goodreads)
When the book starts, it's September 13 and Dan has just gotten tossed out of a bar, where he was drowning his sorrows, by a female bartender. Then Dan takes us back nine months earlier, to January 1, to fill us in on how he ended up in this predicament. He and his girlfriend of three years, Stacey, had just broken up. They had grown apart since they graduated from university last year ... she'd gotten nasty and clingy. It's been a while since he's been single and his friends, Rob (the funny one), Jack (the cheating one) and Ollie (the big slow one), are more than happy to give him advice and get him back out there. As the months go by, Dan isn't looking for a girlfriend, he just wants some action and this becomes their mission. We go on many dates with Dan, all ending in various kinds of disasters. Poor Dan! Dan has a sales job and he suspects his boss ("please call me Dick") has a crush on him. What gets Dan through the day plus giving him a woman's perspective is the platonic friendship he has with his colleague, Kelly. I really enjoyed this book and liked the humorous writing style. It is hilarious! This is lad-lit (chick-lit for men) so it was interesting reading about a break-up from a male perspective. The story is based in the London area and the author is English. As such, there are phrases and expressions that are specific to being English and some I wasn't familiar with (but it wasn't hard to figure it out). The language and actions are for a mature reader. I hope Steven writes many more books like this because I'll be reading them!

Reader Review for The Drought by Kumara (Goodreads)
This book is as funny as hell, laugh out loud funny at times. The story follows the misadventures of Daniel Hiiles following his break up with his long term girlfriend and his attempts to end his drought with members of the opposite sex. This book is a lads book but never sinks as low as lads magazines like nuts tend to, only Dans friend Jack comes close to this which might be why he was the only character in the book I did not like. The one liners in the book are spot on and needed to be with a main character who tends to speak before he thinks. Dan himself is a very likeable main character although has got to be one of the unluckiest people I have come across in a novel in a long time. There are some difference between men and women cliches like women not understanding the offside rule and men hating shopping but it does not take away from what is such a funny novel. It is very rare that a book makes me laugh the way this one did which is the highest complement I can give this book.

Reader Review: for The Drought by JM Hace (Goodreads)
Lad-Lit, that male counterpart to Chick-Lit, seems not to be as well-known, but this book is a perfect example of it. It's funny, entertaining, and a quite easy read. Not so much Nick Hornby as a male version of Helen Fielding's novels or something like that. And I mean that in a good way. The male lead is funny and sympathetic, but doesn't hide from his faults. A nice suprirse is seeing on the last page that the author is working on the sequel. Count me in.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Download The Drought for FREE for one month only!


Steven Scaffardi, The Drought, Smashwords, eBook, Lad Lit, Chick Lit, Funny Book,
Today I am feeling particularity generous so I am pleased to announce that for the next month you can download The Drought for FREE!

I am currently working on my second novel which I am aiming to get out early next year, so to entice a few more people to check out my work, The Drought is available to download on Smashwords until December 13.

The Drought is a comedy about a guy unsuccessfully trying to get back into the dating game! The humour is quite similar to television series The Inbetweeners (if you like that sort of thing!) and often gets called lad lit or ‘chick lit for men’.

If you have an e-reader you can download the book for free at Smashwords. Go to this link https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/253635 and type in the promotional code 'KW38E' prior to completing the check-out. Feel free to pass the promotional code on anyone you might know! And remember the offer ends on December 13.

All I ask for in return is that you give me your feedback in the shape of a review on somewhere like Amazon or Goodreads. And please feel free to leave you comments here on this blog on this my Reviews & Comments page.

I hope you enjoy reading The Drought and look forward to your feedback!

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Advice for Indie Authors: Nick Spalding - what a jolly good fellow!

Nick Spalding, Love... From Both Sides, Steven Scaffardi, lad lit, chick lit, chick lit for men, funny books
Nick Spalding: Great bloke!

Being an indie author is not always easy. In fact, it is bloody hard! You spend hours and hours of your life typing away at the laptop, spending money getting your book published, and then even more hours in front of the screen trying to get people to read it!

It is a quite a lonely experience (queue the violins please...), and half the time you have no idea whether you are doing things the right way or not! In the past I emailed authors such as Mike Gayle and Danny Wallace, asking for a wee bit of advice. They invite you to contact them on their websites, but I've never had a reply. I understand they're busy people, so never really thought much about it.

But the other day I decided to drop Nick Spalding - indie author of the Amazon kindle best-seller Love... From Both Sides - a quick note to ask for some friendly advice from an indie author who has achieved incredible success.

I wasn't really expecting a reply, especially seeing as Nick has just signed a three-book deal with publishing house Hodder and Stoughton. He would clearly be far too busy to reply to me now...

But what do you know, a mere few hours later, Nick was kind enough to reply to me with some words of wisdom, and helpful hints and tips!

Hi Steve,

Here's Spalding's quick advice guide (ignore all, some or none of it as desired):

Write the best book you can and make sure you've clearly targeted your audience. The bigger the potential readership the bigger the potential sales.

Create a bold simple professional looking cover and blurb. Make sure they echo other books in your genre (just don't actually rip anyone off).

Price low to start with. 99p is a good way to go initially.

Spend only a small amount of time talking to other authors and a lot more time talking to readers.

Get drunk as often as possible. This won't help with sales, but by golly you'll have a good time and that's the main thing.

For more advice check out Kindleboards.com, mobileread.com, Absolute Writer Water Cooler forum.

Good luck with it :)

Nick

What a bloody good bloke. Make sure you check out his books at his website Spalding's Racket.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

The Drought is finally on Smashwords!

The Drought is finally on Smashwords! Steven Scaffardi
At long last I have finally got The Drought published on Smashwords! This means that my books will now be available to download as a eBook right across the web and not on the Kindle.You can check out my profile here: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/SteveScaffardi

Smashwords also allows me to offer special promotions on my book, which gives me more control on pricing and discounts. Hopefully this will help increase sales, which is nice!

The reason why men hate shopping!

Here is a snippet from The Drought by Steven Scaffardi. We pick up the story in Chapter 20 (Shop Horror) where our unlucky-in-love hero Dan has agreed to go shopping with good friend Kelly to help her pick out a present for her boyfriend Paul.

The Drought, Steven Scaffardi, Lad Lit, Chick lit for men, reviews, praise, book reviews, hilarious book, very funny book, book for men, christmas gift for men, stocking filler for men,By Sunday morning, I was already starting to regret agreeing to meet Kelly. The previous day I had played 14 hours straight on a new football management game I had bought the previous week. It had taken me two hours just to get through pre-season as I had taken time to carefully organise my scouting strategy and had shrewdly delved into the transfer market. As a result, I had picked up a couple of real gems in Brazil and Argentina and was sitting second in the league after 22 games. At one point, I pretended to hold a news conference in my living room to discuss my upcoming top of the table clash against Manchester United.

The thought had occurred to me to text Kelly and tell her that I was not feeling very well, but I didn’t want to let her down. Manchester United and the Premier League crown would have to wait for a few hours.

I made my way to Oxford Circus via the Northern and Victoria Lines. The tubes were packed with tourists and couples heading into the hub of London’s shopping capital. I got off the Tube and the crowd dragged me up the escalators to street level. My phone beeped the second I stepped outside the tube entrance with a text from Kelly: Meet me in Top Shop xx. I groaned inside. Top Shop on Oxford Street has to be as close to hell on earth for men as you can possibly get.

There should be warning signs for men at the entrance to let them know what they are about to let themselves in for. I took a deep breath and entered, scanning the place for the impossible task of finding Kelly. I made the plunge and started weaving in and out of the hundreds of women who had dragged their boyfriends or husbands out to go shopping.

All the men have that same pathetic look of defeat on their faces as they trail behind their women around like shadows, carrying their bags, and holding up items of clothes so the women can inspect them more closely. We all share a common bond, a common misery. We could be in the pub with our mates watching the football, which is what Sundays were created for. Shopping is not a sport, and we are never going to think of it that way.

Even the layouts of these shops are designed to trip us up, like some sort of assault course which has been put together specifically for women. While the gaps in between the rails of clothes are big enough for the female physique to glide in and out of, we are left to clumsily follow, knocking clothes off rails with great frequency. Then we have the questions.

What do I look like in this?

“You look nice” is the wrong answer. “You look good” is the wrong answer. “You look okay” is definitely the wrong answer. You might as well get Roy Walker to follow you around and every time you answer this question he can jump in with “It’s good, but it’s not right.” If she wanted us to respond with “amazing” or “fantastic” then she should hold up a Brazilian football shirt signed by PelĂ© and his 1970 World Cup winning team-mates. This is the only item of clothing we will ever get excited about.

Which one do you prefer?

Hmm, let me think. I don’t care! Just pick that one, pick any of them! This question is designed to catch you out. On the outside it might look like a simple 50/50 question, but despite the flip-of-a-coin odds, you will never get this question right. Whichever one you choose will be met by the same response: “Really? I prefer this one.” If you have already made up your mind, don’t ask us.

Do you think these shoes will go with this dress?

Let’s get one thing straight here. Most guys will own a maximum of three pairs of shoes at any one time. So how does that make us even remotely qualified to choose which pair of shoes – out of the dozens upon dozens of pairs you have made us look at already – will look good with your dress?

Even when she eventually decides she likes something, the torture doesn’t end. Now they have to try everything on. Whose bright idea was it to put the changing rooms bang in the middle of the lingerie department? Groups of men are forced to awkwardly stand around, trying their best not to look like pervs. The problem is, the more you try to look like you are not hanging around sniffing women’s underwear, the more paranoid you become that everyone thinks that is exactly what you are doing. It doesn’t help that the queue for the ladies changing rooms is normally a mile long. Don’t be surprised either if after hanging around in the underwear section for 15 minutes trying not to look like a nonce, your girlfriend suddenly returns having not even tried the clothes on.

I like it but I don’t really need it.

Why the hell did you queue up if you were never going to buy it? Of course, you can’t say that. So you put up with the other pointless questions, which you neither have the answers to, nor really care about. Questions like “Do you think I can pull this off? or “does this match my skin tone?

With Stacey I used to just smile and nod, safe in the knowledge shops have to close at some point and I might make it home before dark if I’m lucky.

Some guys try to come up with a different strategy, but I can tell you for a fact that nothing you try will make the experience of shopping with your girlfriend any less painful. For example, the worst thing you can do is say that you are going off to the men’s section. You may think this will kill a bit of time, but after you have scanned everything you wanted to see in five minutes flat, you will return to the women’s section only to find that your girlfriend is nowhere in sight. Now the hunt begins, and if history tells us anything, we know that it will be a good 20 minutes at least before you manage to locate her. There is an old campfire horror tale about a guy who has been wandering around Top Shop for the last five months after letting his girlfriend out of his sight.

I really didn’t want to start hunting for Kelly so I pulled my mobile out to call her. “Dan, over here!” I heard her call out and turned round to see her standing about 10 yards away, a big grin on her face. “I have been following you around for ages.”

“Please, get me out of here,” I begged her.

“Come on,” and she took me by the arm and led me out of my misery.

We strolled along Oxford Street, her arm linked under mine. “Your face was a picture when I found you,” Kelly giggled. “It looked as though you might spontaneously combust if you had stayed there any longer.”

“You are not far wrong,” I said. “These places should come with a warning sign, or at least a designated area for all boyfriends and husbands, like a bar in the basement or something.”

“What are you talking about?” she asked with a smile.

“They should have special men-only members clubs in all female retail outlets. They would make a killing. Men would be queuing round the block to sign up. We’d gladly pay a yearly membership fee.”

“So what would be in this members club?”

“They could stock it out with table football, big screen TV’s, pool tables, Space Invader arcade machines. Free counselling sessions should be offered to all the men who have suffered identical shopping scenarios, so we could sit together and commiserate as we relive our horror stories while the women shopped until their hearts content.”

Kelly burst out laughing. “I can’t believe how much you hate shopping.”

“It’s not that I hate shopping, I just don’t understand the way a girl shops. It takes you guys about seven hours to finally decide to buy the first thing you saw at the start of the day.”

“Oh really?” Kelly said, raising her eyebrows at me. “Seeing as you think you can find the perfect present in record time, let’s put it to the test today.”

“Challenge accepted,” I said. “I just need one or two details. What is Paul into?”

“Let me see,” she pondered. “He loves his sport, and is really into boxing. Rocky is his favourite film of all time.”

“This is going to be too easy,” I said. “Come on, follow me.” I directed us away from Oxford Street down Argyll Street. A quick left on to Great Marlborough Street, and then we took a right to cut through on to Carnaby Street.

“Where are we going?” Kelly asked.

“Patience, we are nearly there,” and we arrived at a small shop on the corner of Carnaby Street and Beak Street called King of the Jungle. This place prided itself on having Original Gifts for the Lion in Your Life.

“What is this place?” Kelly asked as we walked in.

“Are you kidding me? This is probably the best shop in the whole of London,” I told her. It was the type of shop you wouldn’t find on any high street, yet it was full of little hidden gems. One side was full of football memorabilia, with framed photographs signed by some of the best players in the world, past and present. Next to that was a selection of gadgets and boys’ toys, like icy beer mugs, remote controlled cars, and an alarm clock with a small pole dancer figurine that would wake you up every morning with your very own lap dance. The back wall featured a selection of T-shirts with witty slogans.

But what I was looking for was in the film memorabilia section. Here you could find talking Tony Montana toys, a Goodfellas poster signed by the complete cast, and framed film cells from The Godfather. I resisted the temptation to start playing with the Al Pacino Scarface doll, and picked up a black luxury bathrobe with gold trim.

“A dressing gown?” Kelly asked with a bewildered look on her face as if I had gone crazy. “You brought me to this place to buy a dressing gown?”

“Yes, but not just any dressing gown,” I said and turned the robe around to reveal the Italian Stallion motif and logo on the back. “This is Rocky Balboa’s dressing gown.”

She looked it up and down. “Are you sure he will like it?”

“Trust me, he will love it” I reassured her. “If he doesn’t then I promise I will go shopping with you every weekend for the next six months. If Stacey had bought me this when we were together, we probably would have never broken up.”

I handed her the robe and she took one more look, before she turned to me smiling, and said, “I’ll get it! But it will be on your head if he dumps me for buying him a dressing gown for his birthday.”

Kelly paid for the robe and had to practically drag me away from the gadgets in the corner. We made our way back up to Oxford Circus to get the Tube home.

“Why don’t you come to Paul’s birthday party next week?” Kelly asked as we got back on the Victoria Line and sat down. “You can bring your friends with you.”

“Yeah, why not? I could do with a good night out.”

“Thanks for helping me with this, Dan,” Kelly said and kissed me on the cheek. “You’ve gone all red,” she teased.