Archive | January 2010

Fiction Friday – 29th Jan

For the second time, I thought I’d have a go at Fiction Friday (nearly everyone in the office is out at a meeting so I’ve had the time.)

Fiction Friday comes from the Write Anything blog here.   The rules are:

  • Spend at least 5 minutes composing something original based on the theme or challenge.
  • But, remember, no editing. This is to inspire creativity not stifle it.
  • On Friday, simply post what you wrote to your own blog.
  • Today’s prompt is

    For the last nine years a wife has forgotten her husband’s birthday. The tenth time, he snaps…

    Here’s my (totally unedited – so ignore the spelling and punctuation) effort:

    After breakfast and not a word from Suze about the day, Tim stormed upstairs.  He couldn’t believe it, every year.  She could remember their anniversary, his mum’s birthday and it seemed every other important date on the calendar, but not his birthday. 

    For the last few years it had started to get to him, did she not care enough to remember?  Even his best friend remembered.  Tim suspected he did that on purpose, just to make Suze look bad – they’d never got on that well.  If his best friend could remember, surely his wife should be able to.  Especially after 10 years. 

    He sat on the bed, putting his head in his hands.  Was he blowing this out of all proportion?  The boys down the pub laughed at the situtation, it was always them that forgot their wife’s birthdays, and the wives that remembered.  Maybe he should be married to one of them instead.

    For the last couple of days he’d been saying to himself that he’d leave if she didn’t remember.  He loved her with all his heart, but if she couldn’t remember something so important.  It was just thoughts, he knew he’d never leave her, but it wasn’t good having these thoughts. 

    Actually, no.  He was going to leave her.  Just for the night. Or the weekend.  He’d go to Bob’s for a couple of days.  The kids were with Jayne that weekend, so they could have a proper boys weekend.  Yeah, that would teach Suze a lesson. 

    Tim jumped up quiclky, grabbed a bag and started packing a few essentials.  He knew he had to do it quickly before he changed his mind.  He pulled the bedroom door open with excessive force, and watched as it slammed against the wall.  That would be a job for him for next weekend. 

    He leapt towards the bathroom, knowing he had to hurry, this thought was already waning away from this leaving thing.  When he got to the bathroom he stopped.  Something was wrong.  He racked his brains trying to work out what.  The bathroom looked exactly like it had when he’d been in there every morning and evening this week. 

    The front door.  It was open.  Although it was July and the house was quite hot, even at this early hour, they never left the front door.  He walked back to the top of the stairs and looked down.  It was closed.

    ‘Suze?’  He shouted.  Nothing.  Strange.  Wairely Tim started walking down.  He thought he heard voices coming from the living room.  TV?  Suze didn’t usually put it on in the morning.  When he got to the bottom he pressed his ear against the closed door.  There were murmered voices coming from behind it.  Puzzeled he slowly opened the door to see all his friends and family standing around talking.  Oh no… They didn’t….

    At the end of the room Suze saw him, her face lit up and she shouted


    I’d love to hear what you think of it.  Positive and negative comments welcomed 🙂

    New things

    I’ve added a new page to my blog.  I think of it more as a ‘tab’ but according to those who know (or the boyfriend) it’s a page.  And I didn’t add it.  He did, but still.  It’s a page especially for the Thriller & Suspense Reading Challenge.  I’ve got pictures of the books as I read them and when I finish them you can click on the image and it takes you to get the review of it.  Clever hey?!

    I don’t really like this reviewing book thing, I just don’t know what to say – I don’t think ‘I really liked it’ would really cut it.  Book Chick City, the blog hosting the T&SR challenge, is offering monthly prizes; to enter you have to be signed up for the challenge and review at least one book in that month.  So I have to do them.  It’s good practice anyway.  Not sure what for, but good practice. 

    I did start editing II yesterday.  Or crossing things out should I say.  As I’ve decided I need to focus more on the MMC and FMC’s relationship than anything else (as Mills & Boon request) I’ve got a whole load to cut out.  The first 4 1/2 A4 pages are pretty much going.  It’s really upsetting because I really like what happens in those pages, but I know I have to do it.  If there’s a reason I won’t make it as a writer, I imagine it will be that I’m bad at cutting things out.  If I like something I’m going to find it really hard to cut out.  I guess it means it’s just something I can add to another novel in the future.  In fact, as I’ve written this I’ve had a thought that I can take this bit and use it quite nicely in ‘Holiday’.  If I ever get back into writing that. 

    As I was washing up last night, I thought of the (new) opening to II.  It’s going to be something I’ve got already, just padded out into a scene instead of a passing comment. I think it will work.  It means the hero will be introduced on page 2 or 3 instead of page 7 or 8.  I didn’t write it down last night, I should have done, but I’ve started it today.  Now if I could stop blogging and surfing I could get on with it. 

    I think I’m quite enjoying Twilight.  My boss described it as Easy reading, and that’s exactly what it is. Until a couple of month’s ago I’d not read a ‘teen’ novel since I was a teen.  I just never thought of it before.  I now follow a few blogs of author’s who write Young Adult which made me think I’m missing out on something.  I’ve got a few books on my to read list now.

    The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson

    Disgraced journalist Mikael Blomqvist is hired by Henrik Vanger to investigate the disappearance of Vanger’s great-niece Harriet. Henrik suspects that someone in his family, the powerful Vanger clan, murdered Harriet over forty years ago.

    Starting his investigation, Mikael realizes that Harriet’s disappearance is not a single event, but rather linked to series of gruesome murders in the past. He now crosses paths with Lisbeth Salander, a young computer hacker, an asocial punk and most importantly, a young woman driven by her vindictiveness.

    Together they form an unlikely couple as they dive deeper into the violent past of the secretive Vanger family.

    Saying I wasn’t interested in the Millenium trilogy when it came out would be a bit unfair.  I didn’t know anything about it.  Somehow it went over my head.  Suddenly people were reading it everywhere I looked – well everywhere on the tube.  Still I didn’t look into it.  Then someone told me I HAD to read them, they were brilliant.  Well, with a recommendation like that I had to get them.  I am so glad I did.

    It took me a while to get into the novel, but I think that may have been because I was very tired when I stared reading it, but once I got into it I was hooked.  There are three stories that interlink through the novel and keep you interested.  I think there’s still a couple of questions that would make sure I read the next one, even if I wasn’t hooked on Salander and Blomqvisk anyway.

    I did find it a little hard to keep up with all the names, so did spend some time flicking back and forward to double-check who someone was.  I’d say that was because they are Swedish names so not easily recognisable to me.  Or pronounceable.

    The thing that amazes me the most is how clever Larsson was.  The tiniest little clue led to something else which led to something else.  I would love to see the prep for the Harriet murder case.  I wish I could write like him.

    I highly recommend this novel, if I was giving star ratings this would be about 9.  It’s just so good.  One warning though, it’s graphic.  And not in a nice way.  There were moments when I wanted to stop reading because it was too much – I think that shows what a great author Larsson was.


    You know how sometimes you say something, then realise you shouldn’t have because it was tempting fate?  Like when we had spent a week driving round North France and were 2 miles from the ferry port, I said it was great my car hadn’t broken down or anything.  A MILE later the light turned on that meant ‘Pull over now.  There’s a problem with my engine.’  Or like yesterday, when I said how I wish they’d ban Facebook lite at work.  Evil words I should never have uttered.  They did.  Overnight.  I will never speak again (I think I can maybe make that last 10 minutes!). 

    That means I’ll have more time to write, right?  Wrong.  I’ve done nothing this morning.  But then I did have an early lunch.  I’ve got a LONG afternoon ahead…  But I have the first 10 pages of II printed out and with me.  I’m going to start editing.  I’m sure when people walk past reception, that it will look like some kind of work?  Tough if it doesn’t!

    I finished The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo last night – about 1am!  I read pretty much all evening except when I was cooking and eating.  150 pages in 1 day.  That’s pretty good for me.  I loved it.  I’ll do a review post about it (for the Thriller & Suspense Reading Challenge), although I was a tiny bit disappointed with the last paragraph.  But that’s men for you (the one in the novel – not writing it).  I can’t wait to start the 2nd in the series.

    That’s not next though; Next is… Wait for it… Twilight apparently.  The appeal of the whole Twilight saga has been lost on me – I pretty much have no interest in it.  I don’t know why when it’s a love story, which is what I read.  I decided I’d have to read it just to see what all the fuss was about, but I’m not looking forward to it.  I think there’s something inside me that doesn’t want to like it – that wants to rebel against the crowd and do something else.  Like with Titanic.  Everyone said it was great, I’ve still not seen it.  But, I’m at work, without a book for the journey home, and my boss said I’ll get through it in a couple of days.  So here we go…

     I’m gonna do it, I really really am.  I’m starting to edit II, when I’ve replied to a couple of emails…

    Facebook Flaws

    There’s actually only one (one I’m talking about anyway), and that’s more to do with the person typing this than Facebook itself.  I think the reason I’m doing less writing at the moment, is because I’ve been spending lots of time on Facebook.  I was so happy when I discovered Facebook Lite, that isn’t banned at work, but now I almost wish that was too. 

    Today has been so crazily quiet.  I’ve been sat here for about 2 hours and done pretty much nothing.  Except look at Facebook and surfed some blogs.  Not good enough NTWG!!

    Last Friday I entered a competition by Harlequin author Donna Alward to win her help as a mentor for a year.  To enter you had to send in a pitch of your novel.  Wow.  Unfortunately (as expected) I didn’t get into the top 5, but it was a great thing to try.  In doing it I’ve realised there’s some pretty major changes that have to happen in draft two (if it ever gets started! No, I don’t mean that – I will start – soon! ).  I kind of knew that already, but was holing onto a little hope that there would be a way around it (changing it to a full length novel where I could set the guidelines more myself, rather than a 50k Mills & Boon where there are strict guidelines).  My dream as an author is to have my first novel (at least) sold as a Mills & Boon novel.  I’ve had that dream for years, so am going to try to keep that.  If I finish it and if submit it (big IFs here) and it gets rejected, maybe I can rewrite for another publisher. 

    I did make some big advances in the research area yesterday, so lots of blanks can now be filled in.  I’m really happy about that.  It just means that I need to get describing things, which isn’t my favourite thing.  Not sure how I’m going to describe the rolling hills of Tuscany, when I’ve only seen photos; or a villa that I’ve seen photos of, but is slightly different in my head.  I guess that’s something I need to start on.  I might set myself some exercises of describing countryside and buildings.  After lunch, he he.

    I’ve got to the point in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo where I now can’t put it down.  I’m reading it in my 15 minute breaks, lunch and at night – yep, it’s keeping me up.  I’ve been pretty good though and forced myself to stop reading at a semi decent time, so not too tired because of it.  I’ve only 150 pages left, so I’m determined to finish it by the end of the month – I think I’ll be well done by then.  Might even be able to fit in another short one by Sunday? 

    I made a mistake last night and read the back of the next book in the series – The Girl who Played with Fire.  I wanted to know if it was about the same people or not. When I found out I realised I shouldn’t have, I’m not going to say why or anything, but if you’re tempted to do what I did – DON’T.  Wait until you get to the end of the first! 

    I’m getting quite excited at the prospect of choosing my next book to read.  I said I was going to read Gone with the Wind, but I’m hesitating because it’s so big, and long and it will be so heavy to carry round.  Also I’ve got this new Lisa Jewell one that the boyfriend bought from the charity shop a couple of weeks ago.  But now I’m thinking maybe Flash Forward.  Another part of me thinks I shouldn’t read another book, but spend the time I would be reading editing Italian Infatuation.  Maybe I’ll read one more in January, then limit it in February, but concentrate on the editing process.  Maybe…

    Monday Monday

    I’ve really been slacking this year.  Ok, it’s only 25 days, but still it’s 25 days.  I’ve got this plan in my head, that I am determined to stick to, to have the second draft of Italian Infatuation finished by the end of March.  And now I’ve nearly wasted a month.  All I’ve done is read it and print out the first 10 odd pages. 

    I made a bit of a breakthrough today though, and started on some research I needed to do.  All good, except now I want a holiday in Italy.  Maybe I’ll treat myself to a visit when I finish it?!

    Jill Mansell commented on my blog on Friday.  Woo hoo.  How awesome is that – someone whose books I’ve been reading for years commented on my blog.  I was saying to the man at the weekend, that having a second actual, successful author (first being Adele Parks a couple of weeks ago) comment makes my dream of being a published author seem a little more possible.  It makes them seem more real – it makes what they do seem more reachable.  They are real people – they’ve taken time out from writing to read and comment on my little blog.  He he. 

    Not really much else to say.  I added a post earlier with a book review of The Crush by Sandra Brown for the Thriller and Suspense Reading Challenge.  I’m not all that impressed with my review – I think it’s a bit basic.  But then to be able to write something well, you need to read lots of them.  I need to read book reviews to be able to write them.  Another thing to add to the never ending ‘to do’ list!

    I’m trying to think, but don’t see anyway I could add any more links in this blog.  🙂

    The Crush by Sandra Brown

    When Dr Rennie Newton is summoned to jury duty, she brings to the courtroom the same degree of dedication and composure that she displays in the operating room. And it is this commitment to duty and precision that compels her to return a not guilty verdict in the trial of notorious killer, Ricky Lozada. But it might prove the most regrettable decision of her life …

    When a rival colleague is brutally slain, Rennie is cast as prime suspect even though Lozada’s menacing shadow looms over the murder. Not only does Lozada seem to be insinuating himself into every aspect of her life, but the police also seem intent on invading her privacy – particularly Wick Threadgill, an embittered detective with vengeance on his mind and a point to prove. As the stakes continue to rise, Rennie and Wick decide to forge an uneasy alliance – but what they both have yet to realise is that when the killer strikes, they won’t see it coming …

    I’d never heard of Sandra Brown until I started researching authors and novels for the Thriller & Suspense Reading Challenge I’ve signed up for this year.  It was one of those books I read about and thought, yeah, I’d like to read that.  Randomly a few days later I found it cheap (about a £ or so) in a supermarket – now that has to be fate.  I’m very glad I did.

    Virtually from page 1 I was hooked.  Brown really gets into the minds of the characters, at one point I even found myself sympathising with the psychopathic murderer!  And you’re kept guessing what’s going to happen until the very end.  I can’t recommend this book highly enough. 

    I’m off to find more Sandra Brown books…

    Pictures and Pitches and Piles and Piles

    I’m going to start today with a little rant, because this is really annoying me.  I’m maybe 1/3 of the way through The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and really enjoying it.  It’s not keeping me up at night, but I think that’s a good thing.  Maybe I’ve learnt to control my reading urges (doubtful). 

    BUT.  Every time I pick it up, I get a little annoyed.  The cover shows the girl with the dragon tattoo.  Or so you would think.  In actual fact it shows a girl, who does have a dragon tattoo, but that has long hair scruffly held up – with long bits falling down.  Salander (the girl in the novel) has (direct quote) ‘…hair as short as a fuse..’  It annoys me so much that the picture doesn’t match the novel.  So much.  It’s even worse though, because I bet if Larsson was alive when the novel was published he wouldn’t have let it happen. 

    Sorry, had to get that out.  Moving on. 

    Actually I don’t have anywhere to move on to.  Nothing to say.  That can’t be right.  I’ll save the draft for an hour or so and have a think. 


    That was silly, now I’ve lots to say (well a little more).

    I started something yesterday that I thought might be interesting – if a little impossible.  I’m creating a list of all the novels I’ve read since been an adult.  Originally I thought it would be impossible to do because I’m never going to remember all the books I’ve read, but I’ve found something even harder.  I can’t remember if I’ve actually read LOADS of books.  I’ve got Amazon open and am going through the authors I can think of whose books I’ve read.  I’m on Jill Mansell.  I’m about 10 books down and already I can’t remember if I’ve read 4 or not.  I recognise the story line, but don’t know if I’ve only read the back, or the whole thing. 

    I’ve should have known I’d have this problem, it’s the kind of thing I’ve done before.  I once bought a book, cause I thought it sounded really good.  I got to maybe page 3 before I realised I had read it before.  *sigh*.  Still it’s an interesting project, and again, a great way to procrastinate!!

    The other thing I’ve been working on today (not my job obviously) is this pitch for the competition I was talking about yesterday.  I’m going through Winnie Griggs’ workshop on them.  It’s really really hard.  I think I’ve found a pretty big problem with my novel – there’s not enough background story to it.  Or, when looking at a pitch there isn’t.  I thought and still think there is, but I can’t find enough to fill the pitch.  Maybe I need to look at it without the distraction of phones ringing, people coming to reception and staff saying goodnight as they leave! 

    That really is it this time!

    By the way, it’s ‘piles and piles’ of books – on my read list 😉

    A Little Ahead of Myself

    I’m doing something I am nowhere near ready to do.  But it could work out to be the best thing I do.  If that makes sense? 

    I found a competition today on eHarlequin’s website: ‘Donna Alward’s Perfect Pitch Contest’.  The competition, would you believe, is to write a pitch for your novel.  The prize?  (if you get through the first round and send your first chapters in then win that round) is Donna being your mentor for a year.  Definitely something I could do with.  So today, I’m writing a pitch.  Or learning how to anyway. 

    Luckily, another Harliquin author (Winnie Griggs) held a workshop about this last week.  Although I missed the workshop, so being able to ask her questions about mine, the workshop is still available to read here, so I’ve been going through that today.  It’s hard.  The competition ends on Friday, so that doesn’t give me much time to perfect it!  I’ll give it a go though.  It’s all good procrastination from draft 2 of the novel! 

    I feel like I’ve not done much writing this week.  I feel like all I’ve done during work hours are work (duh!) and surf the net.  It’s not the worst thing ever, I have found that competition and lots of useful and interesting blogs, but it’s not productive.  Must try harder!

    Reading and writing

    I was really busy again at work so am writing this blog at home.  I think I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve done that in the last year.  Might have to look at getting another job if it carrys on requiring me to spend time doing what they pay me for rather than my writing, ha ha.  Although I didn’t have time to write a blog, I still found time to check Facebook pretty reguarly and read other people’s blogs.  Funny that!

    A year!  It’s only a couple of weeks away from my one year anniversery of blogging.  I guess in the next few weeks I’ll talk about that a lot, so will leave it for now.

    I’m being a reading demon this month.  We’re only 2/3 of the way through, and I’ve already read 2 1/2 novels and am 1/5 of the way through my next (plus I’ve read one online).  I hope I can keep this up all year, but I don’t think I’ll be able to.  When I’m reading a lot I have to sacrefice other things, you know, sleep, writing course, tv shows, etc etc.  Sometimes it’s worth it, well usually – I wouldn’t be doing it if it wasn’t – but sometimes there has to be more to life.  Apparently. 

    I’m a little torn on what to do about my writing course.  It’s seperated into Non-fiction and Fiction.  They recommend you do the non-fiction part first – in fact you have to unless you get ‘permission’ to do fiction first.  Although I really only want to write fiction, I was fine with this to start with.  But that was a year ago; Before I’d written a novel;  Before I spent 9 months stuck on one assignment.  Part of me thinks as I’ve written this novel and now I’m about to start editing it, the fiction part would be better for me now.  The other thinks I should do it how they suggest.  But I think they only suggest that because they want you to earn money from writing (articles etc).  I guess I do want to do that.  But that’s not why I want to do the course.  But it would be good.  See, I’m torn. 

    I’m also a little torn about what to with ‘Italian Infatuation’.  At the moment it’s about 50k words long, perfect for a Mills & Boon book.  But I think there’s not enough focus on the hero/heroine relationship for a Mills & Boon book – there’s a lot more to the story as well as that.  I could change it to focus more on this relationship.  OR, I could keep the other bits and aim it to be another romance novel.  I don’t know.  I’ve got four people reading it at the moment, so when they’ve finished I’ll see what they think.

    Night everyone.