I Want You

Today is a day for you guys to help me. I need your thoughts, your advice and yes, even your criticism.

My book is now completing yet another edit. I have had a few beta-readers and close friends read it and they have given me generally positive feedback. They loved my quirky leading lady (are leading ladies always quirky?), adored my Turkish hottie, and were left wanting more (always a good sign). I intend to upload to Amazon shortly (but think of shortly as a fluid term as it’s taken me forever to get here).

So, first things first.

Book cover

Ta-daaa!

Here is the proposed cover of my very first (still not quite ready) novel, Salep and Ginger. Does my cover grab your attention? Would you buy my book based on the cover? What changes would you make? I personally don’t love the font and wonder if perhaps the cover is a little dark. Would love to hear your thoughts.

Book synopsis

This has been fudged together and will clearly need an overhaul but again to any of you who love a sexy, romance give me your feedback. Would you download this novel based on this synopsis or would you need a little more? What would you change?

“Ginger Knox thought she was living her best rom-com life. She had the job, the apartment in Notting Hill (adjacent), and an honest to God Hemsworth clone for a fiancé, but when she arrived home one surprisingly sunny February day to catch her fiancé with his pristine white boxers around his ankles and his personal assistant in their bed, the tenuous facade of her life dissolved in a split second.

Suddenly single, Ginger resolved to finally become the leading lady in her own love life. And that’s just what she planned to do, until her plans were once again thrown into disarray when her flight home for Christmas was grounded in Istanbul and she finds herself stranded with the man of her dreams. Of course, it’s the same man she had recently had a near one-night stand with – and who knew he was one of the most famous men in Turkey!

Between Sydney, London and Istanbul, Ginger was resigned to the fact that she may never get her Happily Ever After, but what about her Happily Right Now?”

Getting Jiggy With It

It’s time for the big question:

How much sex is too much sex? I mean is there are point that it just becomes x-rated and unreadable? I myself still remember the first time I read a book that was borderline pornographic and I was completely gob-smacked… but I kept right on reading it (and lurved it). Would you prefer the idea of romance or do you want to see Ginger and Aydin get down and dirty? And before you guys ask no I haven’t ever read the Grey books so I don’t really have a comparable in my head.

My beta-readers were of widely differing age groups and so my romps in the bedroom proved a little shocking to some. One beta-reader refused to finish it and although I can’t find her actual feed-back she did tell me that I would find myself in purgatory very, very soon. Thankfully most of the others have been a little more positive:

“Feeling a little heart palpitation myself.  Good writing!”

“Gotta say, my lady bits are a bit ready just like Ginny’s!  Time to stop editing and go find my hubby for a little snogging of our own!  This is the BEST reaction a reader can have – wanting more – and the characters aren’t even having intercourse yet!”

Here is a little snippet. I’ve chosen this one as its as close to PG-13 as I could find. Believe me when I say it does get much, much racier.

Was this really going to happen? In an alleyway? Like horny teenagers?

A moment later we were kissing again, exploring each other’s mouths with our tongues, the desire for more, overpowering my senses. I slid my hand across the front of Aydin’s jeans and felt his hardness react to my touch as he growled in frustration. My jacket was on the ground in seconds. He turned me around, and I felt him unzip my dress and slip it down my shoulders to my hips. I turned back to face him, and he caught his breath as he gazed at me standing there in my safe, pink, boring Primark bra. I swore at that moment I would never leave the house again unless I was attired in perfectly sexy underwear.

He plunged his hand down my bra to release my breasts. I moaned as he brushed his fingers against my taut nipple and I watched in awe as he bent his head and slowly took it into his mouth. My muscles tightened, and desire rushed through me, as his tongue flicked over my rosy bud, biting and tugging it gently. I squirmed against the dampness between my legs as Aydin alternated between my breasts, sucking and tonguing, biting each nipple softly or rolling them between his perfect fingers.

Yep, it appeared that we were really going to do this.

Hit me with your feedback. Hit me with your criticism. Hit me with any positive points.

Just hit me!

Oh and if there are any publisher’s out there who want to take a chance on little ol’ me also feel free to hit me up – BIG TIME!

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Copyright © 2019 Jane Gundogan

Fantasy v Reality

Well it is that time of year again when I hear from those who have fallen head over heels, met their one true love and are looking at moving (or perhaps have already moved) to Türkiye to live the fantasy with their beloved.

Holiday romance

This is the epic love story isn’t it?  This is the love story that The Bard wrote about centuries before, a love more powerful than Napoleon and Josephine and a love that will last through eternity like Jack and Rose.  But just before you go packing your bags and dreaming of a new life in Türkiye with your true love let’s go over what you are getting yourself into – a little bit of a reality check shall we say.

For the sake of this post I am going to assume that you have met your true love in Marmaris or Fethiye or Bodrum (like me).  A holiday romance (like me).  And for the sake of this post I am going to assume that you are female (although no discrimination intended guys).  Finally for the sake of this post I am guessing that your man does not live permanently in Marmaris, Fethiye or Bodrum and instead comes from a small village some 18 hours away (or 12 hours or even 4 hours) where he will return to his family home for the winter months (again like me).

Right – let’s get started.

Can you imagine a life living in a quaint Turkish village?  Would you be happy living with your in-laws, his family, literally surrounded by hundreds of people and yet somehow being incredibly lonely?  Are you ready to immerse yourself entirely into a culture that is incredibly foreign and can be relentlessly unforgiving at times?

Take off the rose coloured glasses people.

Look again at that quaint village?  In daylight what it might really be is a bit of a dump.  If this place was back in your homeland you wouldn’t be caught dead living here.  Right?  Am I right?  I’m right.  Electricity comes and goes.  So does the water.  And speaking of water, is it safe to drink? Maybe.  And those people around you?  Are you merely a slave to wait on them or perhaps you are seen as nothing more than a yabancı and generally get ignored from morning to night.  I am not saying that they are going to treat you like that so don’t start losing your mind and writing me horrid messages, I am saying they might be.  It happens.  You, as the gelin, may be expected to do a lot of running around for the fam bam.  Be prepared for that possibility.

What about that lifestyle you were after?  Do you picture yourself spending your days on the farm, perhaps walking through the quaint village, arm and arm with your love, waving to your neighbours and having time to smell the roses?

That’s not roses you are smelling people – its horse shit, or cow shit, or goat shit, or … well you get the picture … and it is everywhere!

Are you designed to live on a farm or did you grow up in a wing at Buckingham Palace (or in my case Manly Beach).  Trust me when I say the sounds of chickens clucking and cock-a-doodle-dooing is like a jackhammer to my ears and I believe that meat should be purchased from a supermarket and not retrieved from your driveway after Baa Baa was slaughtered before your very eyes.

But you will make allowances after all you will be together with your love.  It will be wonderful.  A happy life.

*Cough, cough*

As long as you realise that he has been working away from home for over six months and, now that he has returned home, he will no doubt need to get another job to continue to support his family (and you) for the next six months until the summer season re-starts.  Work can be scarce for many here in Türkiye.  He will no doubt work extremely long hours leaving you at home with his family or maybe all by yourself.  Perhaps he will disappear for hours to the local cay ev for cards leaving you to stare at the four walls making you feel like your home is your prison cell.  Of course he will need to visit all of his extended family and you will be dragged from home to home like a show pony.  Are you ready for that?

Don’t get me wrong people, I love Türkiye but I arrived here in The Village with my eyes wide open.  I had travelled here every year for a decade before we made the decision to pack up our lives.  I knew what I was getting myself into and I still find it difficult.  Every single day.  Difficult.  If you think that this is going to be your very own Shirley Valentine or Eat, Pray, Love then do yourself a favour and unpack your bag right now, get on the telephone or on Skype or Whatsap and nut out some ground rules for you and your love.

He will need to support you 110%  I don’t mean financially, I mean emotionally.  You have moved here from your comfortable home, from a country that is your mother tongue and you have left your family and your friends behind.  He cannot get angry at you.  He must not get frustrated or ignore you.  You will have questions.  Hundreds of them.  I still do.

You will be lonely.  Thank God for Facebook (don’t diss me I mean it).  Find expats groups.  Find likeminded people.  I know this might be difficult in the small village (I’m the only one in our village) but look in the neighbouring towns.  Some from our expats group here in Mersin come from small villages in the mountains or even from neighbouring cities to spend the day with friends.  Offer to help at the local school.  Your English is a gift to the teachers here.

Really, really do your research.  Find out where you will be living and what it means to live in that area.  If it is a teeny, tiny village you need to throw yourself into that lifestyle wholeheartedly.  Find out what allowances you will need to make – culturally that is.  Will you be living in a conservative area?  Can you do that or do you want to wear your cut-off shorts and to hell with them all?!  Perhaps you will be living with his family.  You will have no privacy.  They will come and re-arrange your drawers or walk into your room unannounced at all hours.  Boundaries.  Draw that line in the sand and make sure he (and his family) abides by it.

Finally a little bit of advice for your partner from me –

This lady is your true love.  She has moved here to be with you.  Don’t make her regret that decision.  Do the right thing.  Treat her with the respect that she deserves.  Treat her like a fecking princess!  She IS a fecking princess!! Spend time with her.  Don’t disappear for hours on end leaving her to your family to entertain.  Help her settle in to her new environment.  Please don’t get agitated at her when she is unsure of herself or of what is going on around her.  Understand the difficulties that she is having with the language barrier or the culture.  Most importantly don’t be a complete douche or you will lose her forever!

Now breathe … and go pack those bags!

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Too Different

I’ve talked before about holiday romances, Turkish men and the heartache that they can cause.  In fact my Love Rat post was, and still is, the post with the most views since I began this little blog.  I want to declare right here, right now, men are just men.  They are not from Mars.  They are not made up any differently to us they just have an extra chromosome (and an extra rib).  To put it simply: there are some good ones and there are some bad ones.  They can be your best friend but they can just as easily break your heart.

love rat 2

With summer now at an end the Turkish forums are full of love rats and stories of woe.  Yes there are love rats here in Turkey but they are also located in France, Italy, the US, Australia – hell they are everywhere!  But this story is about my friend Evie who knows I am writing this.  She wants people to read it, to not make the same mistakes.  She has/had a love rat and and that love rat that just so happened to be … Turkish.

I met Evelyn (Evie) at a shopping centre here in Mersin about 6 months ago.  She had moved here from northern England to be with her handsome and *cough, cough* somewhat slightly younger man that she met whilst holidaying in Antalya in June last year.  After many emails, Skype dates and telephone calls Evie packed up her life and moved to Mersin.

It has not been easy for Evie.  She did not speak Turkish at all (I feel her pain).  She could not work as she did not have the right visa and she found it incredibly difficult to make friends here.  I totally related with her after all Mersin is definitely no tourist destination and expats are as scares as hen’s teeth.  As we were both in the same boat Evie and I quickly developed a close friendship and she became a frequent visitor to our home here in the Village and I at her home in Pozcu.  Her fiancé, Mehmet (name has been changed to protect the not so innocent), seemed nice enough I guess.  Definitely younger and it was clear to me that perhaps the infatuation did not run as deep as it did for Evie.  It certainly made for a difficult visit when she brought him over one night before The Turk left for Australia as The Turk is quite intuitive and could see right away that Mehmet was not deeply in love.  In fact when they went outside to smoke on our terrace their conversation that began in low voices quickly escalated loudly enough for me to go out and investigate.  Needless to say The Turk was not impressed with Mehmet.

Two nights ago Evi arrived on my doorstep unannounced.  It was pretty crazy at our house with The Turk having taken ill back in Sydney but Evi needed my help NOW!  Mehmet had gone.  Where?  She did not know.  All of his personal effects were gone, most of the furniture was gone and the rent had not been paid on their apartment for the past two months.  She had left that morning to go to the shops at Mehmet’s suggestion.  She had been gone no more than 3 hours.  How is this possible?  She was bereft.  Her heart was broken.

Right now I am steaming mad.  I am mad at myself for not saying something to Evie when I first had doubts.  I am devastated that my friend has had to find out that the man that she loved was not who he seemed and that the love that she thought they had meant little or perhaps nothing at all to him.  Evie was planning her wedding and Mehmet was planning his escape.

Over breakfast this morning she asked, “How could I not see him for who he was?”

It’s simple.  L.O.V.E.  We’ve all been there.  You meet someone.  He sweeps you off his feet with the romance that has been missing in your life.  Walks along the beach.  Whispering sweet nothings in your ear.  The best sex you have ever had!  Oh yeah!  Seni cok seviyorum.  I used to laugh at The Turk when he threw “I love you” at me every 5 minutes when we first got together.  But he still managed to cast his spell and I was smitten.

Two different cultures, two different countries.  Just too different.

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