One of the joys of being a writer is meeting other writers – partly because it introduces me to new books and partly because many of them are just lovely.
Today I would like to introduce you to one of the lovely ones, who also happens to write great, fun romances. Her name is Lily Malone, she has a new book out, called Fairway to Heaven and to celebrate, she is having a blog hop, with piles of giveaways. There’s more about the giveaways (and the book) at the bottom of this post, but for now, here’s a picture of the main prize, just to keep you going:
But before we get to the giveaways, I have to live up to my part of the blog hop. I have to write a post about golf.
You see, as the title would suggest, the book has a fair bit (see what I did there?) of golf in it. So there’s a bit of a golfy theme to this here hop.
The problem is that, while I can just about tell one end of a golf club from the other, that’s about as close an acquaintance as I have with the game. I am very willing to believe that it makes a wonderful backdrop for romance (surely those bunkers must be good for SOMETHING other than testing the swearing ability of hapless golfers?) but beyond that, sadly, I have nothing.
However, never one to back down from a challenge, I decided that, in the grand tradition of high-school history students, I would tell you about something tangentially related to the subject at hand and hope you will be so blinded by my prose that you won’t notice. Especially since my tangentially related subject is alcohol.
You see, one of the few things I do know about golf is that it was invented by the Scots. And in recent years, I have been developing quite the fondness for their other famous invention: to wit, single malt scotch.
Now, I could wax lyrical about how single malt is a completely different creature from those throat-burning bar varieties that I used to mix with coke back in my uni days. (WHAT was I thinking?) I could tell you that it comes in a truly magnificent and honestly surprising variety of styles and flavours; so many that it could well take me the rest of my life to work my way through them. But I’m sure what you really want is some recommendations. So without further ado, here are just a few of those you might like to knock back at the nineteenth hole – at the more superior clubhouses, anyway.
I’ll start with the first single malt to win me over: Glenmorangie. I had never seen the point of single malt before I tried this one. I quite wrongly thought that, since I didn’t like regular scotch, there was no point trying single malts, as it would just be a waste of the quite a lot of money it takes to buy them. But Glenmorangie proved me wrong and now I like it so much I even have favourites among the varieties. The one pictured is Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban, which is matured in port casks and which, should the nectar of heaven run out, could probably stand in without any complaints from the angels.
Next up in your tour of the produce of the peaty islands is Balvenie. I am only just getting started with Balvenie, but I already like it and in the process of writing this blog, I have discovered that there are more flavours of this one too, so I’ll have to give them a go. In case you are wondering how there can be more than one flavour of the same whisky, it’s all to do with how long and in what the spirit is matured. The base flavour comes from the particular area, it’s water, peat and the process that they use. But like wine, it is finessed and refined according to what they do with it after it’s made. I’ve only tried the basic Balvenie, so it will be interesting to try the others and see how they are different.
I could go on all night – or at least I could, if I hadn’t been sampling the wares as I went. I’m having to correct roughly one word in every three I type at the moment, so I’ll finish up with an Islay whisky – Ardbeg. Now Islay whiskeys can be something of an acquired taste. By which I mean, as people always do, when they say that, that the first time you try them you will probably think they taste like nothing on earth. Nothing good, anyway. The only whisky I had tried from Islay before Ardbeg was Laphroaig – and I didn’t like it. Laphroaig is smoky and very much imbued with peaty flavours and I thought when I first tasted it, and still do, that it tasted like bandaids. No, I can’t tell you how I know what bandaids taste like – it’s not as though I’ve ever eaten them – but that’s what it tasted like to me. So I was reluctant to try Ardbeg. But I did, and I was pleasantly surprised. Yes, it is still very smoky and very peaty but somehow it manages to make those things into a sort of alcoholic essence of barbecue, rather than something that tastes like it should be used for swabbing. I wouldn’t recommend starting with this as your first experience of single malt, but if you’re up for a challenge, you might find a new favourite.
But that’s enough about my lack of golfing knowledge*. What, I hear you ask, about the giveaways? Well, I made you wait, but I think you’ll agree it was worth it…
Now, here’s how the giveaway part works. I have one print copy and one e-copy of Rules are for Breaking and one e-copy of Playing by the Rules up for grabs. All you need to do is leave a comment to be in the draw. If you give me permission to sign you up for my newsletter, you’ll get an extra entry in the draw. If I get lots of entries, I might throw in a few more goodies, just to make it fun. So comment away! If you’re new to the comments, introduce yourself. I’d love to meet you. The competition is open until the 21st of January 2014.
But don’t go away yet – there’s more!
All the other blogs taking part in the ‘hop’ have giveaways too! You can find links to all of them at the bottom of this blog post, at the web home of the very lovely Rhyll Biest. Visit them all and maximise your chances!
And, finally, the one you’ve all been waiting for… if you would like to enter the rafflecopter draw for Lily’s main prize (pictured above) just click on this – a Rafflecopter giveaway link – and fill in your details.
Thanks for dropping by for drinks in the bunker and best of luck!
*Please note that this post was not sponsored by Balvenie, Glenmorangie or Ardbeg. I would, however, be very open to BEING sponsored by them in future. Feel free to put in a good word for me, should the occasion arise…