Tag Archive | Before I Fall

Avon Books, New Books, Giving Books, Reviewing Books and BOOKS!

Books, books, books! Oh, how I love books ūüôā

I missed the ROW80 Check-in yesterday, but I’m going to skate over that and go on to do this blog about books in all the forms in my life at the moment.

The reason I missed the check in yesterday, other than because I didn’t get a free minute at work, was because I was out in the evening at a meet the authors event at Avon Books. As a reviewer for Novelkicks¬†(more about that later), I got invited along with Laura (I think Laura had more to do with it actually, thanks Laura). Check out some photos posted on Novelkicks today¬†here¬†– including a rare one of me (and there’s one below – what’s come over me today?)!

There were lots¬†of Avon¬†authors there – Laura Ziepe, Sophie Hart, Gill Paul, Julia Williams, Fiona Gibson, Claudia Carroll, Paul Finch,¬†and Erin Kaye, and loads of other bloggers.¬†Along with a few glasses of wine, and a cupcake, we had a really nice long¬†talk with Fiona Gibson about books and writing, and chatted to Gill Paul and Julia Williams. Unfortunately the night¬†flew, so we didn’t get a chance to talk to any of the others. It’s so nice talking to authors, and thinking that one day… maybe… I could be¬†one of¬†them…

Massive thanks to everyone at Avon for a great night.

We walked to the underground with Julia, and got talking about the Romantic Novelists’ Association, of which she’s a member. Talking about it with her and Laura’s made me so excited about going to events in the next few months, and of course the Summer Party.

During my long conversation with Fiona, she recommended Pear Shaped by Stella Newman. I started reading it on the loooooooong¬†journey home last night (it always seems longer when you get on, and stay on 1 tube, rather than changing, Hammersmith to Whitechapel seemed so long on just one tube, 35 minutes isn’t really,¬† but it’s all the way¬†from west to east London, it FEELS it!). I then read it on the way to work today, and home, and then sat and read it during dinner, and after. I’m on about p130.¬†Needless to say, it’s really good. I’m looking forward to her new one (Leftovers)¬†already, although I’ve got a little wait, it’s not out until April.

 

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Avon Cupcakes…. Mmmmmmm¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Fiona and Me

During another conversation yesterday, I got talking about Stephen King’s On Writing. Fiona agreed with me, and countless other people I’ve spoken to in the past, it’s the best writing book out there. Talking about it, made me want to read it again. After this one, I’m going to. I really can’t wait. I know it will inspire me to work more on my novel.

My second book¬†review for NovelKicks¬†has been posted today – The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes. I read it months ago, way before Christmas and loved it. It was really nice reviewing it now¬†because it reminded me how good it was. Lots of people have recommended Last Letter From Your Lover by her, so I’m really looking forward to reading that soon.

And finally, something I’m really excited about. When I’ve read¬†books, unless I really, really love them, I have to get rid of them. Not have to as in I can’t stand having them in the house, but have to as in the flat isn’t big enough to hold all the books I’ve read in my life. I usually give them to charity shops, but at the moment, we don’t live anywhere near a charity shop, and I’ve got too many to be able to carry if I went to find one.

Last week I read something about donating books to libraries. I’d never even thought of doing that. What a fabulous idea. So earlier in the week I emailed my local library to see if they accepted donated books. They do. The library is about 5 minutes walk from my house, so in the next few days I’ll take them over.

I’m so excited that other people will get to enjoy some really good books I’ve read. I do feel a little guilty that a charity is losing out on a little money there, but I’m supporting my local library. There’s something about that which makes me feel warm and fluffy ūüôā

Ok, so that wasn’t finally. I’ve got more to say. In our kitchen, we have a shelf above the sink. It’s mostly filled with saucepans, frying pans, and a wok, but right at the end I’ve had a stack recipes. Unfortunately not in a book, but lots of loose papers. Each time I see a recipe online I like, I print it out. Or in a magazine, I cut it out. Or at a friend’s house I copy¬†it down. Or sometimes I make¬†one up, and if¬†it goes well, I write¬†it down. There’s a¬†BIG pile of loose recipe sheets.

Or should I say there WAS. Tonight I put them in a folder. I separated¬†them to Sweet and Savoury, and then alphabeticalised¬†(possibly my made up word, I thought I had a better one, but can’t remember it!) them. So proud of myself.

That’s probably enough book talk for one night. Have I procrastinated enough tonight so it’s now too late to do any editing? I don’t think so. That’s both good and bad.

No, just time for one more thing! You know, just to make sure it IS too late for editing!

I went to Waterstones in Piccadilly today to buy tickets to a couple of author events. Maggie O’Farrell at the end of this month, and Lauren Oliver next. Very excited about both, but LAUREN OLIVER!!! Author of Before I Fall, one of my favourite books of 2012,¬†and top 5 ever; and Delirium, which I read the other weekend, and stopped me doing anything else. Words cannot explain how excited I am about that!

Feeling Good

I had one of those really horrible Mondays at work. Loads of people had complaints, I didn’t really know how to deal with some, and didn’t want to deal with the others. People kept interrupting me, and then I had to go to another site and wait for a telephone engineer. Thought that would have been ok, but my internet wasn’t working well, so it¬†took me about 20 minutes to write a 3 line email. RAR!

In the end I decided to give up at 4.30pm. I left the engineer on site, and went home, with the plan to do half an hour more work when I got home to make up for leaving early.

I got home and started the long process of dying some clothes. I’ve never done it before, so was pretty scared (still am). I had to wash the clothes, dye them, then wash them again. After the dye they looked awesome (just re-dying some faded black clothes, but they looked awesome and BLACK again – woop!). I now need to take them out the machine and wash¬†the machine¬†again. Without clothes, to get rid of any residual dye. I’m scared the black on the rubber is going to stain – worrying as 1) we live in a rented flat, and 2)¬†the machine is¬†almost brand new. Ah well. My black cardigan is black again ūüôā

So, then tonight got good. I found a link to an author event (only Lauren Oliver, whose novel Before I Fall was one of my favourites of last year, and Delirium, her second, I read in 1 day last weekend), which I knew I had to go to, so I emailed off to get a space on it. Then I remembered I hadn’t emailed about the Maggie O’Farrell one at the end of the month, so I did that. Then, seeing as I was booking my diary up, I went through the RNA events listing page to work out which events¬†I could go to.

I dropped an email to my friend Laura, who’s also a member of the RNA (New Writers’ Scheme like me) to encourage her to come too (not as easy as she’s not in London). I’m really pleased that I’ve now got a whole load of writing events in my calendar for the next few months. That, along with the work course I’m doing at the¬†end February and most of March, I’m going to be mega busy! Can’t wait!

I then spent a lot of time on LinkedIn looking through people I know, and inviting them to be, well, LinkedIn. Then I did some work emails, thus catching up on when I left early.

I felt like tonight was going really well, and it was only 9pm.

Then, I planned to do some editing. OK, I admit it, I’m not editing yet, I’m reading and noting how the story goes – plotting in reverse.¬†This will show me what I’ve done and where I’ve gone so I know what¬†what works, what doesn’t, so what needs to stay in, what needs to be removed and what needs to be added. Yesterday I was on (double line spaced,¬†printed A4) page 94. I’ve got 150 pages altogether.

Instead of this,¬†I got dragged (by myself) into cleaning the bathroom. It’s now spotless. And it was still only 9.30pm (it’s a tiny bathroom, I just faff!).

Then I started the ‘editing’ process. And now I’m another 12 pages down, and you know what? I’m feeling pretty good about the story. On the whole, it’s working. There’s a lot that needs to be added, some that needs to be taken away, but for a first draft (and for one that was mainly¬†written in NaNo), it’s ok.

It’s when I get a little further and I have a decision of which way to take it, I’m going to get stuck. I went one way, but I think maybe it was the wrong one. I’m not sure. I guess I’ll have to just see. I think if I plot from when it could go either way, to the end, I should be able to see which works better.

I hope.

I’ll tell you what is terrible though. My spelling, grammar and punctuation. But, I wrote it as I was going along, I didn’t let myself go back and read it, or even look at it, so things like that will be bad. They’ll get better in the edits, once I’ve sorted the big problems. Plus, my mum did a proof reading course last year, she’ll sort it out for me.

This editing process has made me realise how much I must have written in December 2011. I wrote just over 50k for NaNo, and yesterday I read the bit where I finished NaNo. I know it was that bit, because I had a small amount of time left in the NaNo writing event, and I really wanted to get it done that night (28th I think). I stopped punctuating, I stopped speach marks, I changed names to letters… and it worked because I finished with just 1 minute to go that night. Phew! Editing it is going to be a pain though.

That was yesterday though, I’ve still got another 50 pages to write. Out of 150 pages, 2/3 were written in NaNo. December must have been a good month! Maybe I did some early last year, I can’t remember. Still, I’ve written loads more than I thought, after NaNo. Yay!

So there we are. I’ve done all this tonight, and written a blog, and it’s still only 10.40pm. I feel like I should treat myself to something to celebrate? I’m thinking maybe starting to read a new novel? I can’t let myself do that though. I need to concentrate my reading on my novel, not someone else’s. What else could I treat myself to? Not food (I haven’t mentioned I’ve been ‘fasting’ today. I didn’t manage 500 cals, but 715. Not great, butnot terrible). Maybe I’ll go wash up.

Rock and roll kids!

Nearly forgot. Laura from Novelkicks said tonight that she loved my review of The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes and will be posting it on the website soon. My second review. Yes!

It’s been a great evening!

Well… I’m Enjoying Reading

I am enjoying reading. That’s important to be a good writer you have to be a reader. Of course to be a good writer, you have to be writing too…

This happens every year since I started doing NaNo (3 years ago). I’ll write ferociously for the 30 days, I’ll get the 50,000 words done, and then a couple of weeks later I’ll stop writing. I’ll try to motivate myself and I will, but only in dribs and drabs. Eventually, in the summer I’ll start writing properly, then in October I’ll realise NaNo is just a month away and I’ll increase what I’m writing.

Every year that happens. It was slightly different after this NaNo, in that I carried on writing in December, and January. At least I’m getting better. We’re now halfway through March (if anyone knows how that’s possible, please let me know), and less than 2 weeks away from the end of this ROW80 round, and I’ve pretty much done nothing for 6 weeks.

I have my excuses, but they are just that – excuses. Yes, I’ve started a new job that’s taking up a lot more time, and brain power than the old one, so I am exhausted, but the same happened last year. And the one before.

It seems I can’t write without a deadline – and a self-imposed¬†one isn’t good enough. Even having a ROW80¬†goal doesn’t seem to push me, maybe because I’m not losing if I I¬†fail, I’m just a failer!

I said this before and a couple of people questioned why MY goals weren’t important enough to push me. I don’t know.¬†I just don’t.

my boyfriend’s being really good at the moment – he keeps trying to make me write (well, keeps mentioning I should be), but I always seem to come up with some reason not to.

Just after my last post, I decided I was going to take some time off my novel, and just do random writing. That worked – on that day. I read something in my writing course that said it’s good to write short stories while you’re writing your novel – it helps you feel like you’re achieving something (by writing THE END – something you’re not going to do on the novel for a while). It’s a good idea, but I didn’t stick to it.

I’ve just remembered that Novelicious are running a novel competition. The deadline is 3rd April, so that’s something for me to aim for – an actual goal. I need to edit the first 3000 words of the novel. Fine. Maybe everything else will come back after I do that!

Like I said in the title, I’m really enjoying reading at the moment. I’m reading Before I Fall Asleep by SJ Watson for my Book Club. I’m totally loving it. I seem to really love novels that have ‘before’ in the title¬† – Before I Fall (Lauren Oliver) and Me Before You (Jojo Moyes) were both really really¬†good books. I also seem to be really interested in memory in novels – The Memory Collector (Meg Gardiner) was brilliant, and also in films – Memento (I guess 50 First Dates too, but I’m talking more serious stuff). I’ve really enjoyed everything listed above. No idea why, seems to be something I’m in to!

My other goals are eating well, and exercising.

Exercising isn’t going TOO badly. I’m walking to and from the tube to work – that’s 40 minutes walking a day! Today I’ve got my gym kit, so hopefully I’ll go there after work!

This week I’ve started Slimming World again. So far days 1 and 2 have been a joke, but day 3 seems to be going well. I’d like to make it the first of going brilliantly!

I hope everyone else is doing better with their goals than me!

A Little Bit of Writing, And A Little Bit About Books

I was planning on getting 1k words done over the weekend. I wasn’t really sure how I was going to fit it all in, but I knew I had to – if I didn’t, I thought I was never going to get back into the habit of writing regularly.

By Monday afternoon, I’d not written anything. Poo. But I decided to write while I was cooking dinner and uploading photos to Facebook (have you noticed how long it’s now taking? Over an hour yesterday!!!). Not an ideal situation, but I have to take what I can get! I sent the boyfriend upstairs to watch TV and set about writing the scene I’ve been doing the last few weeks.

By the time dinner was ready, I was 615 words better off. Not¬† the 1,000 I wanted, but not a bad effort. We then had to travel back down to London, so I couldn’t do anything else.

Today, I decided I didn’t need to go out for lunch, that I’d get some from the canteen upstairs, and then do some writing. 358 words later I’m done.

It means I’ve still not reached the 1k total I wanted over the weekend, but it does mean I’m 973 words closer to writing those magic little words ‘The End.’ I need to be positive about it, not negative, so I’m giving myself a pat on the back!

I’d like to try to get some more done tonight, but I’m going out for dinner, then when I get in there’s loads of washing and stuff to do from the weekend. I’m not making excuses, I’m just being realistic! I’m also out for dinner tomorrow night, so I’ll try to get some writing done at lunch again.¬†I may have to pop out though to do some dry cleaning and stuff, but I’m sure I can get in 10 minutes or so.

If I can do that tomorrow and Thursday, I’ll be somewhere near a regual pattern and that’s nothing but good!

And on to books.

I’ve just read something that reminded me Lauren Oliver’s Delirium was out in paperback at the beginning of the month. I read Before I Fall last year in prep for writing a YA novel for NaNo, and loved it. I know I say that about a lot of books, but I loved it enough to keep it rather than passing on to a friend, or giving to charity or something. I don’t do that with many books.

I knew then that I’d read anything else that Lauren Oliver wrote. Hence my now excitement that Delirium is out in paperback (incase you don’t know, I hate hardbacks, I find them way too hard to read, and way too heavy to carry around everywhere, which is what I do)

The only problem with this is that I’m still on the A to Z Challenge. I’m now on letter R. That means I have 8 1/2 books to read before the end of the year to complete it, and only really 3 months to do it (I generally don’t let myself read anything in November – I don’t really think I have time to NaNo and to read). That really means that I don’t really have anytime to read anything else. Damn. Maybe I’ll ask for it for Delirium for Christmas and it will be one of my first books next year to read.

But honestly, I don’t want to have to wait unit next year to read it. I hate this challenge ūüė¶

More importantly than the A-Z challenge goal, is my ‘Holiday ‘ goal. It’s pretty much 2 months until NaNo, which means I have pretty much two months to finish the novel. Writing 615 words a week¬† (only 808 last week!) really isn’t going to get me there is it!

Will try harder this week. Honestly!

Trying to Get Better

I love it when I check out my stats and stuff for the day and I see that people found my blog by searching for ‘Newtowritinggirl’. He he. Someone’s searched for ME. I don’t think it’s ever happened three times in one day before today. Awesome.

Whenever I go home (as in home to the parents), I always moan at my Mum for not going to bed early enough to get the sleep she needs. I realised today that I’m guilty of the same. I planned to go to the gym after work today, but once I’d been to the library to take¬†a book back (at the other end of London) I couldn’t be bothered cause I was so tired. Of course it’s probably also adjusting¬†from ‘working’ on reception to actually working. I’m not complaining – it’s nice.

Since I decided to do¬†a YA novel for NaNo (12 days and counting), I’ve been reading YA books. I totally loved Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver, but since then I’ve read one and a half that I didn’t love so much. The difference is amazing, when you consider the MC in all three are 16/17. BIF¬†is what I’d consider an adult book, but with younger MCs¬†– the writing was grown up etc. The other two, I presume are for younger teens – the writing is more basic, and ‘cooler’ (with loads of slang etc). I actually can’t stand the book I’m reading now – I think I’m going to give up with it (something I very rarely do). It’s quite hard to read cause every second word is some ‘cool’ word that teens would use (it’s not the pic on my ‘currently reading’ image, that particular one was pretty ok).

I’ve got a couple of cousins who are 17 and 19 and have been thinking of asking them what they and/or their friends are reading/have read recently. I don’t think the library helped me with it, cause there was just a ‘teenage’ section, it didn’t split young teens from older teens. I guess from the covers of the books I should have worked it out. I know they say don’t judge a book by its cover, but I always do. Most of the time I’m right to pick up the¬†books I like, but then I guess I don’t know if the ones I haven’t read cause I didn’t like the cover were any good or not.

I don’t want to be too negative, but I really don’t think I’m going to get the plan of my NaNo novel ready to send off as my next writing course assignment in the next couple of days. They say all assignments will be returned within 10 days, so I know I’ve got to send it tomorrow or Thursday to guarantee it back by 31st. Maybe I’ll do that instead of writing for NovelPI for the next few days. Would that count I wonder? Maybe I’ll sit at my desk for lunch the next couple of days instead of going out! That would work pretty well! If I can force myself to do that.

I’ve just had a little search for Lauren Oliver. I thought I’d see if she’s got any other books out (she doesn’t – but has a new one out next year, that’s so going on my I WANT IT NOW list). I actually don’t have a I WANT IT NOW LIST (I think it deserves capitals), but I think I’m going to start one. Item 1: Lauren Oliver – Delirium. Funny, from just one book, I’m¬†desperate to read her next one. I love it when I find an author like that.

Anyway, I’m digressing. I also found Lauren¬†Oliver’s blog. I’ve really not got too much time to look at it too much,¬†but from what I’ve read I think it’s going to be a very useful resource for me as a writer. Go have¬†a look! ¬†

Ok, now I’m really off to write. After I clean the bathroom. NO, write. But it needs cleaning. Agh! This is why I never get anything done – I spend too much time debating what I should be doing (or stress I’m not doing something else!).

Catch Up from the Weekend

I’m being a pretty rubbish blogger at the moment aren’t I? And it doesn’t look to get any better this week – eek! I’ve got good excuses though!

On Saturday I had no plans. None, nothing, nada. I decided I’d stay in bed in the morning reading, then go shopping (clothes shopping, my favourite!) in the afternoon. I’d started Lauren Oliver’s Before I Fall on Friday (I think, maybe Thursday) and was really enjoying it so it sounded like¬† a great plan.

So I started reading when I woke up, I¬†got so into the book I forgot about breakfast. About 1pm I decided I really should get up and go shopping. I forced myself to put the book down (FORCED – I was loving it) and had a shower. When I got back, I picked up the book, and said I’d read one chapter before getting ready and going. Uh, yeah. That didn’t happen. About 5/6pm I finished the book. I literally spent the whole day reading. Loved it though. I don’t know if I loved the fact I could cause I didn’t have anything else on, or the book more. Either way, I totally recommend Before I Fall, I’d been wanting to read it for ages, and it totally didn’t disappoint me. Was great to be reading a YA novel when I think I’m going to do one for NaNo.

Sunday was race day. I did the Run 10k race down in Crystal Palace. I’d never done anything like that before, but came in at 63 minutes. I could not be happier about that. Sunday I had to take a reprieve¬†day for NovelPI. Luckily every 5 days solid writing you do, you get a reprieve day (I think you start with one too). I literally had no time to write, I got up, went for the run and then… um… went to the pub. For the rest of the day. Hey, I deserved it!

Monday was rubbish. I had the day off, and did nothing. Literally nothing (the hangover wouldn’t allow anything). UNTIL about 10.30pm when I decided I wasn’t going to let a measly hangover (it wasn’t measly in any shape or form) get in the way of my writing, so although I had another reprieve¬†day I could’ve¬†used for NovelPI, I forced myself to write. And I got about 270 words. Which isn’t too bad.

Which then leads to today. Today I started my new job (YAY). New job that I’m actually going to have to work at, so probably not have time for blogging during the day. BOOOO! Or writing DOUBLE BOO! I think when I get into a routine, I should be able to fit in some time at least at lunch, but at the mo I can’t – there’s too much going out for lunch with new colleagues/old colleagues etc. I’ve now got lunch and after work plans for the rest of the week. Normally I wouldn’t complain about having such a hectic social life, but seriously, when am I going to write? OR blog?

I went to the library to get some books today (funny, I’m sure that’s what people do at libraries!). I NEED some more YA books to read before I start mine in November. So, I got: Love Letters: Message in¬†a Bottle by Jahnna¬†N. Malcolme, Are Those My Basoomas¬†I See Before Me? by Louise Rennison¬†and Avalon High by Meg Cabot. The library is great and all, but it doesn’t have many NEW books. These three were the newist¬†I could find that seemed romancey for the age group I’m aiming for. I’m planning on finishing all three before the end of the month. Hopefully that’s an achievable goal!

I think that’s all I have to say for myself right now. Hope you guys are having a good week. Just think a lunch time tomorrow, we’re halfway to the weekend – woop!!!

Late Thursday Blog – Writing, Reading and Running

Ok firstly – really excitingly, it’s my last day at work tomorrow. Woopie! That means today I did¬†absolutely NOTHING. In fact I spent a whole hour reading my book this afternoon. Result. Tomorrow looks like it will be filled with the same – especially as all our computer systems go down at 16.00 (ready for a¬†data centre to move over the weekend) and I work until 18.00. I’m well looking forward to those two hours!

Almost as exciting as that is that I got Before I Fall in the post today (thank you Amazon for offering a¬†FREE next day delivery trial). And,¬†due to all the reading today, I’ve finished my current novel¬†so can start it straight away!¬†* dances round the room in excitement *

I went through a load of emails last night to try to put together all my ‘Holiday’ documents. I think I’ve lost some of them. Possibly two bits. This is what you get for not writing a novel in order, but jumping around doing which ever bit you fancy on that day!

I discovered¬†the loss¬†when I was writing yesterday and¬†what¬†I¬†was typing¬†seemed familiar. I thought I’d written exactly the same thing before. In that scene. But, I couldn’t find it anywhere. Thinking more about it, I realised there was another scene I remember writing, which I can’t find. Oh dear. I’ll have another look tonight. Maybe they’re just not titled Holiday, so a search doesn’t bring them up. I¬†need to get more organised!

I’m still doing well with NovelPI. Really well. So well, I’m thinking of unofficially upping my daily goal. I’m hitting over 300 nearly everyday without too much trouble(409 today), so think I might increase it to 500 – to myself anyway. 300 isn’t stretching me, it’s getting me into the habit of writing, but 500 would stretch me. Although do I really want to be stretched when I’ve got NaNo round the corner? I’ll think a little more about that.

I’m getting more and more ideas for my NaNo novel. It’s def going to be the YA novel I’m calling DD at the mo. One of the possible titles I’ve thought of is the same as a movie that came out maybe a year ago. Does that mean I shouldn’t use it? It’s a saying, so it’s not like it’s unusual¬†or anything (I’m not thinking of stealing a title that’s original – this title is totally not original. Maybe that says it all.)

Off the topic of writing, I had my last practice run today before my charity 10km run on Sunday. I did 4km, in a time I’m really happy with. Considering I’ve been injured¬†recently, if I even complete it all running I’ll be happy, if I can do it in¬†a decent time I’ll be ecstatic. I’m running for cancer research, a really worthy cause I think. If anyone fancies sponsoring¬†myself and my two friends (collectively known as The Three Helens) this is our fundraising page: http://www.run10ksponsorme.org/helenwilkinsonandhelenjackson

Ooh, I’ve done my Fiction Friday piece for tomorrow already. Very proud of myself. I hadn’t planned to do anything this week cause the prompt didn’t fit in at all with Holiday, but an idea came to me and I couldn’t shake it. I HAD to write it. I wonder if I’ll like it as much tomorrow!