Tag Archive | Adele Parks

Happy World Book Day

To celebrate world Book Day today I’m going to:

– My monthly Book Group meeting to discuss our latest book – For One More Day by Mitch Albom.

– Finish reading said book

– Decide which book to read next. Top of my pile are:

= Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (Novelkicks book club book for March, and on my TBR Pile challenge, some might say I gave Laura the idea for having this book this month),

= Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver (The final book in the Delirium trilogy came out on Tuesday I think, so should read the second before I get the 3rd, plus, I’m going to see her at Waterstones on 25th so would be good to have them all read by then).

= Men I’ve Loved Before by Adele Parks (because, oh my god, I’ve not read it yet. AP is one of my favourite authors and I’ve not read this. It came out in 2011! What have I been doing?!?!)

= Yours Truly by Kirsty Greenwood (because I bought it on my kindle a while ago and still not read it)

= The Liar’s Lullaby by Meg Gardiner (on my list as well for TBR Pile Challenge, and I really want to read it!).

I guess that’s all I’ll be doing. Happy World Book Day all.

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A to Z Reading Challenge 2011

Ok, so I’m a little late doing this, sorry, but better late than never eh!

In late 2010, I heard some people talking about reading novels from A to Z. I thought, what a brilliant idea, and decided to set myself a challenge of doing exactly that in 2011. As I was writing a blog about it, it occurred to me that other people may have the same idea. I googled A to Z Challenge and found this site – A to Z Challenge I didn’t have to start one all by myself!

I started with no plan at all, except to read the A to Z (author surname) in order, and stick pretty much to just those 26 books. In 2010 I’d read about 24 books, so knew I wasn’t going to be able to read many more than the 26.

Of course as time went by and I made my way through the challenge, I found there were other books I really wanted to read that either were a letter way further down the line, or that had a letter I’d already read, or already planned what I was going to read for it. I let myself read a couple of other novels – but only if I REALLY wanted to needed to.

I did cheat a little. Kinna. I didn’t actually finish 26 novels. There were 3 letters that for different reasons I didn’t finish the novel.

Letter L was Girl with a One Track Mind by Abby Lee, I started it and was enjoying it, but it was all about sex, when this girl had it, where she had it and how much she thought about it. Nothing really wrong with that, but I do most of my reading on the tube, I felt embarrassed reading it on the tube, so picked up M, and told myself I’d read L at home. I never got round to it.

Letter O was a really good book – The Hand That First Held Mine by Maggie O’Farrell. I got it from the library (a god send, I couldn’t have afforded 26 books in 1 year on top of the ‘really want ones’), and took it to Sweden when I went. I’m not sure if it was on the flight, at the hotel, or our friends’ house, but somewhere I lost it. Typical. I ended up having to pay it in the end anyway. I’d gone on to P while I was away, and just never got the opportunity to go back to it. At some point, I would like to buy it, or borrow it and finish reading it.

Letter Z was a hard one, which I started before a few other letters. I unexpectedly finished the novel I was reading on a Sunday and didn’t have a chance to go and get the next letter. Boyfriend came to the rescue and gave me a Z – Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny. It was sci-fi which isn’t my choice, but I’d borrowed a couple off him in the years previously which I quite enjoyed. Lord of Light was not another one though. I just couldn’t get into, or really understand it. I gave it 50 or so pages, but couldn’t go on. When I gave it back to boyfriend, he said he’d had a hard job getting into it. Sigh.

So, I didn’t make 26 novels, but I started them all. In my book I finished it – yay!

Also, I didn’t review all, or add any of my review to the site, but to be honest, I didn’t find the website too easy to navigate, and lets face it, all I need is a little excuse and I won’t do something. I guess technically if I didn’t check-in, I didn’t really do it. In my mind I did though!

I’m really glad I did the challenge, I read a lot of authors that I’d never had done otherwise, and you know me, I love a challenge. But, I’d never do it again. I found it WAY too constrictive, and because I knew I couldn’t really read many other books, I felt guilty when reading one that wouldn’t go towards the challenge. There were times when I just HAD to read other books – like The Ugly Sister by Jane Fallon and Faking It by Lotte Daley – and there were many, many more times when I wanted to read another book, but just couldn’t. There were also quite a few letters where I was so torn over which novel to read. M was a good example, I had about 3 books with the letter M on my TBR shelf at home. So what did I do? I went out and bought another. Typical! It was New Moon (Twilight) by Stephanie Meyer.

I discovered some brilliant authors because of the challenge though – Jeff Abbott, Allison Brennan, Ilana Fox Rob Ryan, Nancy Taylor Rosenburg and Minette Walters. Weird – most of the new good authors write thrillers… what does that tell me? I say I prefer women’s lit (chick-lit), but it’s a close call. I did discover new chick-lit authors, but when I discovered them, I read them out of sequence and out of the challenge because I just HAD to read them there and then (Ali McNamara and Lotte Daley)

I know all the books are listed on my ‘Books’ page, but here’s a list of them – from A to Z. Just for fun, I’m putting a comment and rating out of 5 after each one – not something I usually do. The ones which I have reviewed have the links to the actual review.

A Kiss Gone Bad by Jeff Abbott – brilliant. Can’t wait to read the other ones in the series – 4.5/5

The Book of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern – Prefered her earlier stuff, but still pretty good – 4/5 (I couldn’t choose between the As, so read them both)

Fear the Worst by Linwood Barclay – Loved it, love his work – 5/5

Fear No Evil by Allison Brennan – So happy I discovered her. Can’t wait to read the rest of the series 4.5/5 (ditto the comment re A for B)

The Famous Writer’s School by Stephen Carter – Not what I imagined. 2.5/5

Ex-Girlfiends United by Matt Dunn – Little slow 2.5/5

Past Mortem by Ben Elton – Good, he’s done better, but still good – 4/5

Spotlight by Ilana Fox – Didn’t expect to, but loved it 4.5/5

The Love Verb by Jane Green – As usual loved it – 4.5/5

This Book Will Save Your Life by A.M. Homes – Slow 2/5

A Pale View of Hills by Kazuo Ishiguro – Couldn’t get over the cultural difference – 2/5

The Truth About Melody Browne by Lisa Jewell – Once got into it, really enjoyed – 4/5

The Ice Cream Girls by Dorothy Koomson – Loved every second – 4.5/5

Girl with a One Track Mind by Abby Lee – what I read was good. I will finish it at some point 3/5

Twilight: New Moon by Stephanie Meyer – Not as great as Twilight, but still good. 4/5

One Day by David Nicholls – Took a long time to get into it. Had me crying like a baby at the end though. 3.5/5

The Hand That First Held Mine by Maggie O’Farrell* – I need to finish this – 3/5

Still Thinking of You by Adele Parks – as always a brilliant read from Ms Parks  4.5/5

Every Last One by Anna Quindlen – took ages to get into the story – 2.5/5

Trans Am by Rob Ryan – fast paced, gripping – 4.5/5

Jessie Hearts NYC by Keris Stainton – loved. Better than her first (and, you know –New York) – 4.5/5

Mitigating Circumstances by Nancy Taylor Rosenburg – Brilliant 4.5/5

Die for You by Lisa Unger – Not what I expected in a really good way. 4/5

The Birthday Present by Barbara Vine – slow, slightly boring. 2.5/5

The Sculptress by Minette Walters – Excellent – 4.5/5

The Lost and Forgotten Languages of Shanghai by Ruiyan Xu – Really enjoyed it 4/5

Amrita by Banana Yoshimoto* – again, couldn’t get over the cultural differences 2/5

Lord of light by Roger Zelazny – just couldn’t get into it – sci-fi really isn’t my thing – 1/5

All in all, it was a good year, but I’m glad it’s over and I can read what I want to read, not what’s next on the list!

Girls’ Night In with Adele Parks, Carmen Reid, Katie Fforde and Lesley Pearse

Meet the ‘Girls’ Night In’ panel – bestselling authors Adele Parks, Lesley Pearse, Carmen Reid and Katie Fforde.

Adele, Lesley, Carmen and Katie will start by discussing the joys of a night in with a good book and throughout the evening the audience can ask the panel about their lives and works.

Discover who inspired them to become writers, what projects they are currently working on, which current authors they love, which books they have never quite got round to reading and much, much more!

There will be an opportunity for book signings at the end of the night. The event is free but booking is essential.

Last night Canada Water library held its first (I hope first) Girls’ Night In. I randomly heard about it on a newsletter or something, then again on the day the library opened when they were handing out fliers. Adele Parks – enough said, I booked a place.

As you may have heard by now (I keep going on and on about it) I love the new library. I hadn’t been in the theatre until last night though. It’s really nice. It holds 150 people, but manages to do it while still feeling intimate. There were only about 40 of us last night, but it didn’t feel that empty. The room is a deep red colour which is really nice (it matched my bag!) with really nice comfy seats – with lots of leg room, not something I usually worry about being 5’2” but something I know other people care about.

Adele, Lesley, Katie and Carmen came along and answered questions mainly about what influenced them to write and what they love reading. No one asked any questions about how they got published, or they journey to publication – very different to the other Girls’ Night In evenings that I’ve been to.

They opened by introducing themselves and a bit about their writing. A couple of answers were really interesting. Katie said that she’d like to be classed as chick-lit, but feels she’s too old. Carmen says she loves to hate the title ‘chick-lit’ so instead called her new book ‘Romantic Crimedy.’ With all the hype about ‘chick lit’ it’s interesting to see what authors classify themselves as. Adele used the ‘Romantic Novels’ title. Lesley writes harder and grittier novels.

The ladies talked about novels they think they should read, and ones they didn’t enjoy, so I thought I’d ask what their favourite novel of all time is. Glad I did, because Lesley said Gone with the Wind. By amazing coincidence I’ve just put that on my ‘TBR Novel Challenge for 2012,’ I can’t wait to read it now! It’s also given me ideas of other novels to read – The World According to Garp by John Irving (Carmen) and a book that I didn’t write down properly (Katie), I thought it was Diary of a Bored Housewife, but I can’t find that on amazon. I’ll ask her that.

I took away a couple of things from the night – other than a really enjoyable evening obviously.

The first I think I’m going to find hard to explain – or I did last night anyway (but then I’d had half a bottle of champagne, so maybe it was the alcohol that made it hard!). The authors were asked if they write for the love of it, or money, or both. Adele said that if she won the lottery she’d carry on writing. I totally feel the same – only more.

At the moment I write after work, at weekends, during holidays etc. If I won the lottery I wouldn’t have to work, so I just know I’d spend more time writing! I WISH I could win the lottery so I could spend more time writing, that would be awesome.

Why did that stick with me so much? I guess it proves that I love writing, and I’m not doing it in the hope of making money from him. Of course I’m going to submit my book next year (it’s going to be a goal for the new year) so it’s not like I don’t want to make money from it, but I’m realistic. I know that even if I get published I’m probably not going to make much money from it, and will have to carry on working. I would love to be able to give everything else up though, and just write! That would be a dream come true. I think it’s good to remember sometimes that I do actually love it. Especially after NaNo and during December when I have this other writing challenge, I do writing challenges BECAUSE I love it, not just for a challenge. I don’t think I’d thought about that for a while!

Kind of totally different to that, the other thing I thought was REALLY interesting is that Katie puts her husband’s bad traits into characters in her novels. I love that idea – ranting about a trait of a character, not directly at your partner… Ingenious! Not that my boyfriend has any annoying habits, of course… 😉

At the end of the evening, the ladies signed books. I went and introduced myself to Adele (who’s commented on here a couple of times, and replied to tweets of mine!) and got her to sign Men I’ve Loved Before. She was so so nice. I spent ages chatting to her and Katie (who’s also lovely) and also had a brief chat to Carmen and Lesley. Again I was reminded that the people who do this novel publishing thing, are real people, just like you and me!

I had such a good night. How nice it must be to be an author at an event like that – spending an hour with like-minded people chatting about your favourite subject (well mine anyway) books and writing.

Maybe I should go write more of my book – I’ll never know if I don’t finish (and edit) one!!

A Little Bit of Monday Rambling

Way back, earlier this year, in the days before NaNoWriMo and ROW80, I used to just have random blogs where I just rambled on about this and that. ROW80 may still be going strong, but seeing as 1 of my goals for the month is to blog everyday, I guess I’m going back to the rambling blogs!

I guess my old blogs were the same as my ROW80 and NaNo check in blogs are/were – a general catch up on what’s going on, and chat about anything else going on. I can’t really remember. They must have been.

Well. 1,000 words a day is still so manageable. I can’t believe I keep saying that after I sulked my way through 250 words a day back in the summer. It’s amazing how a couple of 3,000/4,000 word days put things into perspective.

What the problem with this writing thing, is that I keep leaving it until last thing at night. Not so much of a problem, as I think I write better, and am more alert at night (I believe that thing about if you were born at night you’re a night person vs being a morning person if born during the day – I was born 11.35 at night), but it means I’m going to bed late, which in turn is making me tired – all the time.

Today hasn’t been too bad, but last week was HARD! I’m going to try to write as soon as I get home tonight, or, if not straight away after dinner. I’m not going to let myself get sucked into the normal watching a movie then chatting, then suddenly remembering I need to write when I should be going to bed trap again. Nope. Not tonight.

On the subject of movies, I watched Up last night. Boyfriend told me I was going to cry in the first 10 minutes, so I was so on edge. Then the sad thing happened, and oh my god, did I cry. Like so much. uncontrollable sobs! Other than that (or maybe because of that?) I thought it was an amazing film. If you’ve not seen it, go see it.

There’s just 16 days of the month left. That means 26 days (thanks Em for noticing my terrible mathematics attempt) to finish my 2 reading challenges for this year. I have no idea how far away from that goal I am for the Mystery & Suspense Challenge, but know I need to read the one I’m on and another for the A-Z Challenge. I also want to read The Gift for the Novelkicks reading group this month. I had wanted to read my new Adele Parks one before Wed, but that’s totally not happening.

Why Wednesday? Have you not heard? Adele Parks, Carmen Reid and others are talking at the Canada Water library. How excited am I!? Adele said on Twitter I should go and introduce myself to her – MEGA EXCITED! And I’ve got my new book for her to sign.

What’s that? You think I should also talk to Carmen Reid? And get her to sign my book? Oh, but I don’t have any of her books! Oh, maybe I should buy one there? What a great idea! Oh, and while I’m there maybe I should buy Adele’s new one – About Last Night (I really really, really want to read it, so that’s not going to be a chore) too? He he! 

Fingers crossed boyfriend’s work sort their wages mistake by Wednesday then eh!

A Friday Blog – Actually About Writing

I did some writing last night. Woo! I was going to start this saying ‘I did some writing last night, not a lot but some,’ but then I realised what I was thinking.

I wrote 504 words. For some reason my brain calculates 504 words as not a lot. My daily goal is 250 words (5 days a week), so I’ve more than doubled my daily goal. In one day. That is nothing to be sniffed at. When I think about it that way, I’m a lot happier about it!

I also achieved something. I finished the scene I’ve been working on for the last… um… quite a while actually. I started it thinking it was just going to be a little filler scene that it wasn’t going to serve much purpose other than showing the MC is starting to get over her ex. It’s turned into another serious plot line. Not a massive one, but another sub plot. That’s a good thing. Will be interesting to see what happens next.

I’m now back to the problem of – what do I write next? Obviously I need to stick to ‘Holiday,’ but which scene do I move on to? I’ve got the problem that there’s a five or six week gap between the scene I’m on now, and the bit before they go on holiday. Nothing much happens there, so I don’t think I need to do any more than one scene, but it’s going to be a decision of when that scene is.

Will it be the next morning? That would be quite good, but maybe I could tie it in with something else a few weeks later. Maybe I could change the end of the scene I’ve just written and then have the next one two weeks later, then pick up where I’ve written before. Wow, this is tough!

There was me thinking it was taking me so long because I’m lazy – not because it’s tough (does that show how out of the writing loop I’ve been, if I’ve forgotten how hard this writing thing is??).

Anyway, there’s something I’ve been meaning to blog about for ages, but keep forgetting.

In this novel, there is a lot of drinking. My MC is a late twenties single girl living (I’d like to say the dream, but seeing as it’s chick lit, she really isn’t) in London. She works hard and plays hard – including a lot of drinking. She then goes on holiday, which obviously includes a LOT of drinking.

A while ago I started worrying about this. Is heavy drinking really acceptable in chick lit? Can I remember any other books where they did a lot of drinking? No, I can’t. Does that mean it’s not acceptable? If it isn’t, do I care? This is my novel… but then I don’t want to alienate readers thinking Kate is a piss head. Which is isn’t really, she just enjoys life. This went on and on.

And then… while stressing about this quite a lot… I read Still Thinking of You by Adele Parks. Ahh, good old Adele – they drank all the way through the book. Yay! I think I just needed someone else to say – look doing this is ok, and I found it by accident.

For all I know, there could be tons and tons of chick lit with drinking. I could have read it, but you know sometimes you just can’t think of any? That was me, for weeks! I’m so glad I read STOY.

What I have changed about the novel is the number of people I had the MC sleeping with. There’s her ex (the obligatory going back because she thinks it means she’s getting back with him), there’s the ex ex – her best friend, because, well you know, they have to for the story to work. Then I also had a scene where she had a one night stand.

It was supposed to show that she was getting over her ex. Actually, that’s a lie. I wrote this scene once about being hungover and the character not really remembering who it was she was waking up next to, and it worked really well in this story so I added it, and found a reason to.

But, sleeping with 3 men in one novel? A bit too much isn’t it? I think so. Kate – I think she still wants to have this other guy (especially because he’s someone semi famous – and pretty hot), and I still want him, but only because I think it’s a great scene.

What is ‘Holiday’s’ loss, will at some point be some other novel/stories gain I’m sure – I’m sure it will get used somewhere at some point. Maybe I could base my NaNo novel on that scene? The MC’s housemate had such a good reaction to someone she had no idea about. It was brilliant. Even if I do say so myself!

Right, should go do some work.

Have a great weekend all – get loads of lovely lovely words written!

Sunday 14th ROW80 Check-In

Another check in day, and another check in (again writing up on Sunday, and I’ll post when I get internet tomorrow). Awesome. Just a shame about the writing.

I’ve done nothing. Nowt, nada, nothing.

I don’t know why, but I just can’t seem to get into it since I’ve been back. I was ill last week, so not feeling that up to it, but it was more than that – I didn’t even think about writing. Yesterday I should’ve done some, but again, I didn’t really think about it until it was too late and I headed out to a wedding. Today I’ve been hungover, then since I started feeling better I’ve done a full roast dinner, and baked a cake.

I was also going to go on a diet this week. My boyfriend said I had to have no excuses on eating bad things – I always make excuses to be able to let myself have a chocolate bar here, muffin or something there etc etc. I’m just the same with writing. I find a reason and go with it. I need to have NO EXCUSES this week with writing and the diet. NO EXCUSES.

I think I’ll start tonight by typing up what I wrote in Sweden last week, that should work by reigniting my interest in the story. I hope.

Although I’m not writing, I’m reading! I’m still going with the A-Z Challenge, and have just finished P. Of course, I’ve not finished L or O and have had to miss Q. L is a book that I’m a little embarrassed to read on the tube – Girl with a One Track Mind by Abby Lee. It’s chockablock full of sex, and I don’t want people reading that over my shoulder, I’d be so embarrassed. I’m reading it at home, but it’s taking a while.

O is the book I left on the airplane. I need to go to the library to get it replaced, then re-borrow it, but until I get paid, I can’t afford it (rubbish eh!). That’s on my list for next week, then I’ll get back to O sometime.

I’ve missed Q completely cause I finished P last night and really want to start another one on the way to work tomorrow. I’m a little torn on my R though.

I’ve got a choice of Trans AM by Rob Ryan, or Surf, Sea and a Sexy Stranger by Heidi Rice. I’ve had Trans AM for years and not read it, it sounds really good, and I’ve not read a thriller for ages and really fancy it. But then I went to a Mills & Boon workshop with Heidi Rice a few months ago, so kind of really want to read that too.

Writing this I’ve just realised which one.

It has to be Trans AM. SSSS is a book I should read just before I edit Italian Infatuation, to get my mind into the Mills & Boon place. Trans AM then. Can’t wait.

P was brilliant. It was Still Thinking of You by Adele Parks. Of course it was going to be great, I’ve enjoyed every single thing I’ve read of hers. I want to read another of hers – now! In some ways I’d love this A-Z challenge thing to be over!

Sweden and ROW80 Update

I’m actually writing this on Tuesday, and I’ll post tomorrow when I’m at work, you know, with the internet.

Yep, it’s nearly a month later, and we still haven’t sorted out the internet at home. We suck. And now I don’t think we’re going to be able to sort it until we get paid – 10 days away. Oh well.

So I went on holiday to Sweden. I wasn’t sure how much writing, if any, I’d be able to get done, because we were staying with friends, so I wasn’t sure if I’d get any time to myself. As it is I did. Not loads, but some is better than none.

On Friday, the weather was lovely. Just before we had a Crayfish Party (traditionally Swedish where they eat Crayfish and drink lots and lots of Schnapps) I got some time in the garden, in the sun, to myself. I managed 100 words. It wasn’t many, but it was some. I’m happier with some than none.

On Saturday, we went to Stockholm and stayed in a hotel, so I was more confident for some time to write. It came at the price of missing out on going to the gym, but I got 200 words in.

On Sunday I wrote another 250 words.

550 isn’t all that much, but, I was half expecting to get none done, so I’m really happy. I also wrote a scene that I knew was coming up, but I wasn’t  looking forward to. I wasn’t really sure how one of the secondary characters would react to some news, but it turned out to be a brilliant reaction, that makes the scene, and the one before, totally worth having. I was getting a little unsure of the reason of having it. I’m really happy.

I just need to type the words up now and add them to one of the many many documents that currently are ‘Holiday.’ When I say many, I think at the moment it consists of 11 documents each compromising of between one and eight thousand (does that add to 35 ish thousand?). I can’t wait until I have bits to fill them in and it becomes just one long document.

I also need to back everything up. About a month ago, I emailed the whole thing to myself, but I’ve done a few thousand words since then so should really do it again.

Or even better, copy it to my boyfriend’s harddisk. One or the other.

It will have to be the harddrive actually, seeing as I don’t have internet – doh!

Finally, I’m doing well on the A-Z challenge. I was on O (Maggie O’Farrell – The Hand that First Held Mine) when I left London, and took P (Adele Parks – Still Thinking of You) with me. I planned to at least finish O to get to P. I got to P ok, but only by being an idiot and leaving O somewhere (strongly though to be the plane!). Uh, oops! It’s a library book as well. Damn. Will have a big fine then (replacing it), and then have to re-borrow. I don’t know how I do these things!

Right, now I’m back, I really need to get back into a regular writing pattern. After all I’ve got less than three months to write roughly 36 thousand words. I can’t do that by writing 550 words a week! 

PS – I keep forgetting to apologise for not visiting many blogs at the moment. I know there are lots and lots of people who deserve some visits and I’m not giving. I promise as soon as I get the internet back, or I get less busy at work, I’ll start visiting again. Until then, keep up the good work – you can do it. OR, don’t worry you’ve not done well till now, there’s still time to catch up!!!