Steven Scaffardi Blog Tour – Author Guest Post – What Is Lad Lit?


Thank you to Steven Scaffardi for inviting Kincavel Korner to be part of the blog tour for his latest book, The Flood!

What is lad lit?

I nostalgically refer to the 90s as the decade of my youth. Both my high school and college years happened during that 10 year period, which in turn means that all seven of those wonderful, weird and awkward teenage years also came during that era too.

I danced to music by The Prodigy, fell in love with Kelly Kapowski, and to this very day I still quote lines from Pulp Fiction and Dazed and Confused.

It was the decade where the ‘lad’ phenomenon took off. Lads mags such as FHM and Esquire filled their pages with content that young men wanted to read about, from football to music to beer to (of course) women.

But it wasn’t just the shelves on the newsstand that finally started speaking to men. The arrival of great novels such as Man and Boy by Tony Parsons and High Fidelity by Nick Hornby meant that bookstores had a new section, and lad lit was born. In that very moment, men finally had had a form of literature that talked to them. But what happened? While chick lit has gone from strength to strength, lad lit has somewhat disappeared into obscurity.

Writing in The Telegraph a couple of years ago, novelist Jamie Fewery asked the question Why don’t men read novels anymore? and in doing so he attempted to delve deeper into the debate rather than stopping at the ‘women read more than men’ answer.

He wrote: ‘By its nature, women’s fiction is a broad genre. But it’s also an important one that acknowledges inherently that the reading of fiction has a great impact on emotional intelligence. A male equivalent of the genre simply doesn’t exist, or at least in decent numbers.’

‘I should make it clear at this point that I’m not talking about literary fiction. Highbrow, intellectual novels have always existed, and appeal equally to women and men. I’m talking about commercial fiction; novels aimed at a chap who just wants something decent yet distracting to read on the train. Something well-written, readable and funny about modern life from a male perspective.’

Jamie goes on to argue that while great writers of that era like Hornby and Parsons were pioneers, no one else really picked up the torch and kept running with it, so the flame slowly started to burn out.

That is until now, because I believe that two decades later lad lit is making a comeback and reigniting that flame. Just take a look around at the talent writing novels that lad lit Godfathers Hornby and Parsons would be proud of. Mike Gayle, Danny Wallace, Matt Dunn, Jon Rance, and Nick Spalding are to name but a few.

They all write stories about relationships, emotions and day-to-day life experiences from the perspective of a male protagonist; told with humour, charm and wit, which leave many readers laughing out loud at the scenarios men get into.

That is why I embarked on the Lad Lit Blog Tour, as I was just as passionate about promoting this genre as much as I am about promoting my Sex, Love and Dating Disasters series. It’s just as important to make sure that men have a genre they can call their own, as it is to balance out all of the chick lit the girls are reading.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not having a go at chick lit. I just think it causes men unnecessary headaches. Chick lit often paints a picture of the perfect happy ever after ending that we simply can’t compete with. It’s not like we don’t try, but we’re men, you know? If we get things right two times out of 10 with our wives and girlfriends we’ve had a pretty good week.

And that, my friends, is the beauty of lad lit. It pushes the boundaries of what it’s like to be your average every day Joe. It doesn’t pull any punches or pretend to be something it’s not. It’s not a perfect specimen of a man with a stupid surname first name like Parker or Carter, who drives an Audi R8 Coupé and plays squash at practically a professional level. It’s a guy called Dave or John who drives a Vauxhall Corsa and is quite happy playing a bit of five-a-side football on a Wednesday night.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that lad lit isn’t the stranger everyone thinks it is and if we all gave it a second chance to come out from its 90s wilderness, then the world of book reading would be a much funnier place.

Steven Scaffardi is the author of the Sex, Love and Dating Disaster series. His first novel, The Drought, is the laugh-out-loud tale of one man’s quest to overcome the throes of a sexual drought. After the stormy break-up with his girlfriend of three years, Dan Hilles is faced with the daunting task of throwing himself back into the life of a single man. With the help of his three best pals, Dan is desperate and determined to get his leg-over with hilarious consequences!

The Drought is available to download for FREE at Amazon between April 28 – May 2 or you can buy it now for 99p (eBook) or £8.99 (paperback). His second novel The Flood will be released on the Kindle on April 30 but you can pre-order a copy now for just 99p. The paperback version will be available on May 19.

Follow all of the fun on his blog tour by following him on Twitter @SteveScaffardi using the hashtag #LadLitBlogTour. More information about Steven and his books can be found on his blog.

 

Lad Lit Blog Tour – Book Review – The Flood by Steven Scaffardi


IMG_6511Title: The Flood (Sex, Love and Dating Disasters #2)
Author: Steven Scaffardi
ASIN: B01D1U7Z0I
Publisher: Lad Lit Press
First Published: 30 April 2016 (Kindle)
No .of pages: 359

Rating: 4/5

Synopsis (from Amazon):
One bet, four girls, eight weeks, multiple dates. What could possibly go wrong?

Following his traumatic eight month dry spell, Dan Hilles is back in the driving seat and ready to put his dating disasters behind him.

But if only it were that simple.

After a drunken afternoon in the pub, fueled by the confidence of alcohol, Dan makes a bet with his three best pals that will complicate his love-life more than ever when he brazenly declares that he could juggle multiple women all at the same time.

With just eight weeks to prove his point, Dan is about to find out how hard it is to date a flood of women without them all finding out about each other, especially when they come in the shape of an ex-girlfriend, a stalker, the office ice queen and the one that got away.

The Flood is the hilarious follow-up to The Drought by lad lit author Steven Scaffardi, chronicling the adventures of unlucky-in-love Dan Hilles.

Review:
I was fortunate enough to review the first book in this series, (The Drought) a few years back (you can see my review HERE) and found it pants-wettingly hilarious, so when I was offered the chance of reviewing the sequel, I grabbed it with both hands, expecting to once again bust a gut laughing.

I was not disappointed!

The Flood picks up where we left Dan and his pals. A spanner has been thrown in the works of Dan’s love life, and his friends, Rob, Jack and Ollie, are there to lend him a shoulder to cry on. Oh, wait, hang on, this is LAD LIT, not chick lit – the guys would laugh Dan out of the pub if he cried like a big girl! Instead they’re there to poke fun at his total lack of prowess with the ladies, and get him into situations he’d do far better staying well out of. But if Dan didn’t get into trouble, we wouldn’t have this gem of a comedy to amuse us, and that would be a crying shame!

The lads are fleshed out more roundly, and we see a little more of what makes them all tick. Jack was still incredibly annoying (I don’t know – maybe it’s a girl thing, but I wouldn’t touch him with a barge pole!), but I found Rob strangely attractive – is he showing a slightly more sensitive side? I’ll leave you to be the judge of that. And Ollie, well, even the thickest of mates can occasionally be the wisest and most astute, and his seemingly naive words, more often than not, provide the advice that helps Dan the most.

Then there’s the introduction of a new Welsh workmate who isn’t black enough, and an absolutely insane flatmate with a dog obsession that had me almost falling out of my chair. More than once, I snorted coffee out of my nose whilst reading this book, and on one occasion I almost dropped my Kindle in the bathtub while reading in there, because I was laughing so hard – I couldn’t put it down!

Seriously, whether or not you are a fan of lad lit, if you like a good laugh, this is the book for you. Just make sure you read The Drought first to really get the most out of this sequel, (you can get it FREE from Amazon until the end of Monday 2nd May – just click HERE) then continue Dan’s hapless adventures in dating with The Flood. Never has a reversal of fortunes been so funny!

Free Book and Blog Tour Alert!


eBook Giveaway

Calling all fans of humorous fiction – grab a free copy of The Drought by Steven Scaffardi, which I reviewed when it first came out (you can read my review HERE). It’s well worth a giggle, trust me!

Incidentally, I’ll be taking part in the blog tour for the sequel, The Flood, on 2nd May, with a review and author guest post, so check back to see those!

In the meantime, enjoy The Drought, which will surely keep you amused till then.

Get your free Kindle copy of
The Drought
direct from Amazon
HERE.

World Book Night 2016


wbn 2016It’s official – I’ve received my email notification that I will be a giver on World Book Night again this year, and I’m totally stoked, because the book I’ll be giving out is my first choice – Band Of Brothers by Stephen E Ambrose. It’s a non-fiction book about the E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne, about whom the TV show of the same name was made. This one’s particularly special to me, because I know someone who was in the show (and it’s one of my favourite shows ever!).- Robin Laing who plays Babe Heffron was in my class when I studied drama at college. I also have a fascination for all things WWII, and I often sing wartime classics at local WWII re-enactments.

This will be the fifth year in a row that I have given books on World Book Night. Books I’ve given in previous years are:

  • 2012: The Damned United by David Peace
  • 2013: The Dark Judges by John Wagner and others (graphic novel)
  • 2014: Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith
  • 2015: Skellig by David Almond

BOBEach year, I’ve been fortunate enough to get my first choice book. I think in the main it’s because I’ve had a slightly unusual audience for distribution. I think most givers tend to be female and give the books to other women, whereas I worked in a bookies for several years, and so chose books that would be more likely to appeal to my customers, the majority of whom were men. Then last year, I gave them to parents in my kids’ school yard, so I chose a book that they could share with their children.

This year, though, it’s purely down to personal choice. I don’t often read non-fiction books, but the heroics of Easy Company were so epic that I felt compelled to read the book on which the show was based, and this was my chance. I’m glad it paid off!

I shall look forward to reading it myself and passing on all sixteen of my copies to others for their enjoyment.

I love World Book Night!

Book review: Drawn by Chris Ledbetter


drawn by chris ledbetterTitle: Drawn
Author: Chris Ledbetter
ASIN: B00UGRG8SK
ISBN: 978-1772333763
Publisher: Evernight Teen
First Published: 5 June 2015 (Kindle) / 3 June 2015 (paperback)
No .of pages: 282

Rating: 4/5

Synopsis (from Amazon):
Caught between the sweltering fall landscape of Wilmington, NC beaches and southern illusions and expectations, all sixteen year-old Cameron Shade thinks about is art. That, and for Farrah Spangled to view him as more than just a friend. Cameron hopes he can win her heart through art. After several warm interactions with Farrah, including painting together at the beach, Cameron discovers just how complex Farrah’s life is. Following a tense run-in with Farrah’s father, she forbids Cameron to speak to her again, but Cameron’s convinced there’s more behind the request. To impress Farrah, Cameron sketches her portrait into a mysterious sketchbook. He nearly jumps from his skin when the sketch moves and communicates with him. Farrah is now in grave danger because the sketch he drew of her sucked her real-life’s soul into the sketchbook. Cameron now has twenty days to extract Farrah. To save her, he must draw himself into the book. If he fails… they both die.

Review:
I don’t read an awful lot of teen fiction, but when I do, I only enjoy it if the premise is original and daring and grabs me from the get-go.

Let’s just say, I enjoyed this book!

Chris Ledbetter has done something few have done, and that is to write a teenaged boy with whom I, as a woman (and once, a teenaged girl) can relate. I felt for Cameron, I felt for him deeply, and was able to sink into his emotions and passion for art quite effortlessly. Farrah wasn’t quite so well, ahem, drawn as Cameron, but as she was not the main character, only the focus for Cameron’s growing affections, this was understandable – she was attractive, but as a reader I knew little about her, which was pitched very well, as Cameron didn’t really know all that much about her beyond the basics and his attraction for her.

The premise for the story was cleverly thought out and written with a light touch that lifted it above the ordinary – a heavier hand would have thrown everything out of balance and crushed the plot entirely. Its an unusual take on a Pygmalian-type of fantasy, where an artist brings his work of art to life, and falls in love with her, only Cameron is already falling for Farrah before he creates her Echo.

There was a tinge of sadness about the tale too – Ledbetter doesn’t shy away from the darker and more upsetting trials of teen and family life, and the complications inherent in relationships, whether familial, platonic, or romantic – and that’s refreshing. Yet, it never becomes maudlin – that lightness of touch and tone keeps things buoyant and ensures the reader doesn’t sink into depression while turning the pages. It’s a fine line, but Ledbetter walks it well.

Even if you don’t read young adult/teen fiction, don’t discount this book – it’s worth the effort and may just change your mind!

Blog Tour: An Interview with Chris Ledbetter


chris ledbetterI am happy to share this little interview with Chris Ledbetter, author of the book, Drawn. Thank you, Chris, for sharing your time and thoughts with us!

What advice would you give budding writers?
Read in the genre in which you wish to write. Read to discover the accepted norms and the rule breakers. Read to find out what you like and what you don’t. Read to discover what you can offer that will be distinct from the current voices. The worst thing is thinking you have this uber original story only to find out it’s been run through and no editors will ever buy it again. But then, also read craft books and articles. I hate to say it, but you could get an MFA’s worth of craft information on Pinterest. You really can’t read enough craft posts. And join supportive organizations like SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) or an appropriate group to your genre. And go to conferences. I’m constantly learning about worldbuilding, dialogue, structure, etc. And find a good group of critique partners who don’t hold punches. It may hurt to get your work torn apart by your critiquers, but as long as it’s leveled constructively, you’ll learn and grow… and be closer to the brass ring.

 Do you ever get writer’s block? What helps you overcome it?
I typically don’t have writer’s block per se because I know pretty much where the story is going. The only time the process slows for me is when I’m really trying to dig the deeper level emotions out of a character.

 Do you have another profession besides writing?
I am the assistant manager at a Vitamin World. Health is a passion of mine.

 What is your next project?
I have a few projects on the horizon. The one I’m am most excited about involves research about the history of Stradivarius violins. That’s all I can say about that project at the moment.

 Name a quirky thing you like to do.
I like to worship and make wishes upon the full moon. I mean, who doesn’t?

 

Continuing the tradition…


25.05.15 - Xan with THe Chronicles of NarniaI don’t remember a time when I didn’t love reading. Seriously, I cannot remember a period of my life wen I didn’t have a book in my hands, right from my earliest childhood memories. In my early years, I quickly developed a reading level far in advance of my age, and by the time I was in my last year of first school (aged 8 years old), they were already having to bring in books from the local middle school to keep up with my appetite. Of course, this meant that when I started middle school (aged 9 years old), they had to start sending books from the high school.

One series in particular became firm favourites of mine -The Chronicles of Narnia by C S Lewis. Of course, I had watched the superb animated version of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, but I was delighted to discover that, not only were there more books about Narnia, there was one that came before that!

I must have been about nine years old when I first read the series, as I’m pretty certain I remember borrowing the books from the school library there, and I definitely remember a school trip to the theatre to see a production of the sixth book in the series, The Silver Chair, which, incidentally, became my favourite of the books.

Now, it is time to pass on my love of these wonderful adventures to my own children. Tadpole is six years old, and loves having stories read to him, so we have started with this series in chronological order, starting with the birth of Narnia in The Magician’s Nephew (my second favourite). We’re just four chapters in, and each chapter is ending on a small cliffhanger, that is leaving Tadpole very excited to continue the next evening before bed!

Incidentally, I did have a copy of each of the books individually, but I read them to death and lost them to loose pages or friends that borrowed and never returned them. Years later, Hubby bought me the omnibus edition Tadpole is holding in the picture as a Xmas gift, and I was over the moon.

This is the first time I’ve re-read these old favourites since before Tadpole was born, but I’m happy to rediscover them with my eldest son, and fall in love with them all over again as he experiences them for the first time, and watch his eyes sparkle as he grows to love them too.