Motivation To Write?

Well, my resolution to write and blog more this year didn’t exactly come to fruition. We’re nearly at the end of February, and I haven’t done anything. It’s disappointing, but the same old excuse is there – I’m working too much to have any energy to do any writing when I get home. I have no excuse at weekends, except after a busy week, I just like to chill.

Last Saturday I went to Romantic Novelists’ Association London chapter lunch. The lovely Giselle Green did a great talk on putting magic in your story.I went thinking of ‘magic’ being that thing that makes the novel brilliant, and individual, and that, well magic, I hadn’t thought of magic, magic. Everyone there had a different idea of what magic was. It’s great being in a room with so many other writers, with great ideas. It made me think what the magic is in my novel. It made me think about MY NOVEL – The Man of My Dreams. I’m thinking about it again! I want to write! I WANT TO WRITE.

I’m determined to. I need to try not to work so late every evening. I’d really like to have one evening, not even a whole evening, just an hour or so with one evening, where I write. Maybe I should set aside one day a week. Hmmm. Food for thought.

I want to blog more too – I should just say blog, it’s  not like I could blog any less! I was talking to my new New Writers’ Scheme friend on Saturday about how I used to love blogging. It reminded me of how much I really loved it. I guess while I’ve not been writing, there’s not really much to blog about. Hopefully one will lead to the other. Both.

Here’s to a better time writing and blogging – and book reviewing, I love doing that!

First Blog For A While

Well this is embarrassing. My last blog post was 2014. That’s not so bad in itself – the end of the year was only 9 days ago.

If only my last post was at the end of the year.

It wasn’t.

It could be worse. My last post could have been a year ago. That would have been terrible. Shocking. Awful. So it’s not as bad as it could be. It’s not great though.

1st March 2014. *runs and hides under a cushion*

Yeah, it’s really not good.

I don’t really have any good excuses either. I’ve been busy is a good one, but busy with my day job, not anything fun – or writing (ha).

That’s a bit of a lie, there was some time in 2014 where I took positive steps towards my writing career (career?). In June I did the first edit of about 80% of The Man of My Dreams. I sent it to Romantic Novelists’ Association – I’m on the New Writer’s Scheme, where you can send a novel in and a published author will read and give their comments. Last year was my second year as a RNA – NWS member, the previous year I hadn’t sent anything in, so I was determined to in 2014. And I did. 60,000 words I think I sent, and I got some very positive comments. Positive both in that she liked it, and positive in good critique of things I should change. Some of them I knew myself, so gave me a bit of extra confidence.

I also took part in NaNoWriMo for the 5th year. I’d won the other 4 years, but took a year off in 2013, because I didn’t have the time. In 2014 I didn’t have the time, but I really wanted to do it. I MISSED doing it in 2013 (I know, I’m nuts right?). I thought up a story idea, that I really like, created a ‘holding’ title (it was horrific), and on 1st November I started.

Actually, I was on holiday on 1st Nov in Brussels, so I started on 2nd Nov – already a day behind. And it carried on like this. There were a couple of days where I hit (exceeded) the goal of 1,667 words, but they were few and far between. Work was busy, my social life was busy – holidays, weddings, birthdays. It was too much. On about 26th I decided I wasn’t going to finish it. I’d done 26,000 words.

I’m very disappointed, but I’m fine with it. I COULD have done it, but it would have meant writing about 7k a day, which I’ve done in the past, but I NEEDED down time. I needed some ‘Helen time,’ where I just relaxed in front of the TV, or with a book and, just well, relaxed.

And… um… yeah… That’s all I really did last year.

Except for reading. Don’t they say to be a writer you have to read. Well I read quite a bit. I have no idea how much because I didn’t keep my normal record of the novels, but I’ll try to catch that up.

This year, I’m going to do better.

I want to set some goals, but I don’t know what they are, so they’ll come in another blog. Soon. Not in 10 months! I promise!

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor Review

In general, Karou has managed to keep her two lives in balance. On the one hand, she’s a seventeen-year-old art student in Prague; on the other, errand-girl to a monstrous creature who is the closest thing she has to family.

Raised half in our world, half in ‘Elsewhere’, she has never understood Brimstone’s dark work – buying teeth from hunters and murderers – nor how she came into his keeping. She is a secret even to herself, plagued by the sensation that she isn’t whole.

Now the doors to Elsewhere are closing, and Karou must choose between the safety of her human life and the dangers of a war-ravaged world that may hold the answers she has always sought. 


Daughter of Smoke and Bone was January’s book club book. It was my second choice, but when I really looked at it, I was quite gutted we’d chosen it. I didn’t really have an interest in reading it. It seemed very sci-fi/fantasy-y, and Young Adult, which I’d always say I’m not really into (yes, I know the last book I reviewed, and loved with The Hunger Games: Mockingjay). One Saturday I forced myself to start it.

And didn’t stop. I read all day. I stopped to make dinner. In the evening I started watching TV, but it didn’t hold my attention, as DOSAB was on my mind. I had to carry on until I fell asleep, then when I woke up, I couldn’t stop myself from reading until I finished it.

As you can tell, I loved it.

From the beginning the story really drew me in.

Kauou wants to be able to live a normal, human, life, without interruption from Brimstone. But he, along with his other ‘Chimaeras’ are the only family she’s ever known, so how can she give them up. She’s Brimstone’s courier, travelling the world (through the door from his shop which opens to many different countries and cities across the world), to collect his ‘gems’, but he asks too much of her, and she often has to leave Prague for hours, days, sometimes even weeks and isn’t able to tell her friends why.

However things start happening that may lead her to having to make a decision. How can she choice Brimstone and ‘her family’ though, when all she’s seen of ‘elsewhere’ is his shop – she’s only been allowed through the door to earth, not the other side.

On top of all this, she wants to know who she is, who her parents are, and how she came to live in Brimstone’s world.

The best thing about this book, is it’s the first of a trilogy. Two more books. How brilliant is that! I’m really looking forward to reading them. 

It seems I love YA Fantasy/Sci-fi series’ – which I should have realised  before, when I consider books from the Hunger Games’ and Delirum series’ were among some of my favourite books of the 2013 (and 2012 – I read one of each in each year!).

The book is mainly set in Prague, but travels other countries and continents, and of course to ‘elsewhere’ and beyond, so it fits perfectly into the Antartica/Other Setting category for the ‘Global Reading Challenge’ I’m doing this year. 1 down, 6 to go.

The First Big Step

Have a look at this:

Novel Postiting

Do you know what this is? This is me trying to make sense of my novel in post-it form. I’ve read through it all (most, I’ve still got a couple of pages to go), and now the post-its are summarising what is in each section. The plan is to make that into a plan of what I’m missing – there’s a few chunks I haven’t written, and you know, an ending.

There’s a few scenes I’m sure I’ve written, but I can’t find. I have a bad, bad feeling they may be on one of my old work computers. From an old company. That I left a few years ago. Bad feeling. I wrote the majority of this during NaNo – 2011 (ouch!), so there’s a big possibility, although I thought I’d taken it all. Oh dear. Of course it could also be that I’ve ‘written’ it in my head, but not on paper. Who knows.

I had some goals last week, lets see how I did with them:

2x runs, 2x 20 minute + walks, 2x 10 minute walks (getting off the tube a stop earlier). I did the 2 runs (yay), but only one of the 20 minute walks. I really need to start doing the walks, the running is good, but I need to be exercising more than three times a week.

Find the missing pages of The Man of My Dreams (on the hard drive??). Print them. I didn’t find anything extra, but I looked for it. I think this means I’ve lost some. Damn.

Read 10 pages I currently have, and ones I will hopefully find. Done.

Start with sticky notes of plot points etc. As above, started.

Fast twice – at least. Once. And a half. Still, once is better than not at all.

My goals for this week are the same, except I’ll add

Visit 2 other blogs. I used to visit lots of blogs and really enjoy seeing what other people were doing, and I found it inspiring. I feel like if I’m going to get back into writing/editing properly, I should get back into this too. (Next week I’ll add some Twitter time I think!).

2 book reviews, one for here, one for Novelkicks

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Review


Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she’s made it out of the bloody arena alive, she’s still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge. Who do they think should pay for the unrest? Katniss. And what’s worse, President Snow has made it clear that no one else is safe either. Not Katniss’s family, not her friends, not the people of District 12.


You know you’ve read a good book, when 24 hours after finishing it, you’re still thinking about it (a lot), and debating with yourself if it was the right ending.

Katniss has to become the face of the revolution, something she’s not keen on, but does it with her own conditions agreed to. She’s stuck with the few survivors of District 12, in District 13, which up until the end of Catching Fire she (and we) didn’t know existed. District 13 are heading up the rebellion against the Capitol. She finds the adjustment to living there hard, even with best friend Gale by her side. Especially since her ‘’boyfriend,’’ fellow Hunger Games competitor Peeta has been kidnapped by the Capitol and through broadcasts, it’s obvious he’s being tortured.

The book follows the rebels on their journey to convince other Districts to join with them to over throw the Capitol, the wars and what is a very dramatic finale.

I was hooked on this from the minute I started it. Any spare moment I could find, I was reading it, and even took a lunch break this week, for 30 minutes reading, because I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I know the ending was the right one, I know it, but I was sad about it, and wanted it to end another way (this is the romance side of me!).

I read The Hunger Games in 2012, and Catching Fire in 2013. As soon as I read the first, I wanted to read the second, and third, but I made myself spread them out, so it wasn’t over so quickly. Now I’ve finished Mockingjay, I’m really sad. Three years of a series, and it’s over.

Now I have the debate of whether to watch the films, it would keep them going, but, films are never as good as books, and do I want to tar the great place they are in my heart with less than brilliant films – but what if they’re good? The casting certainly is good – each character I’ve seen looks perfect for the part! I’ll keep thinking about that one, and for the time being, keep the series of books in a very special place in my heart!

5 Year Blogiversary

When I posted my blog yesterday, I noticed a notification telling me that 5 days ago, my blog was 5 years old. WOW! 5 years. 5. Five. FIVE.

I can’t believe it. It feels like a lifetime ago, but at the same time, it doesn’t feel like 5 years ago.

I remember starting it. I’d been made redundant from my job, and could only get a job with much lower pay, and responsibility. I’d do my hours at work and leave (on time) and not worry about anything until I got there the next day.

I decided I’d do something productive with my time, and start a correspondence writing course with The Writer’s Bureau. My boyfriend suggested I start a blog to track my progress. This was back before I knew much about blogging, twitter, or anything much online. I thought it was a geeky thing to do, not something someone like me would do. Besides, who would read it, who would be interested in what I write? More to the point, what would I write?

I decided to go for it, because, you know, it was a good idea to track my progress.

And I loved it. Almost immediately I loved it. It was like writing a diary again – something I did when I was at school, but hadn’t really since leaving university (I’m not even sure I did at uni, I do remember writing one when I had my year out in America though).

I loved just writing about what was going on. I loved that people read my blog. I loved that people commented on my blog. I loved finding other blogs,  by other people, who were like me – writers. Other than my mum, I’d never met anyone else that shares that passion. I loved getting involved in the writing community on blogs and Twitter. I loved everything about it. I made friends, discovered NaNo, and wrote – I wrote novels and short stories and random bits here and there. I even published writing on my blog (mostly unedited as part of Fiction Friday, which I was addicted to).

5 years later, I don’t have that passion for blogging, and for writing anymore, life (my job!) has got in the way, but I want them back. I love blogging, and writing, and hopefully I’m going to love editing. I remember what they’re like and I want to be that person again. My job is stressful, and takes up way more than the 35 hours a week that it should – it tires me out and I get back from work and just want to crash in front of the TV, but, I also want to be the blogger/writer that I was – no that I can be. I can be more than I was. I can do this editing thing and send my novel to agents etc. I can blog regularly. I can, and I will.