Tag Archive | Jenny Colgan

Incredibly Busy, If Only It Was With Writing

I can’t remember the last time I wrote a blog, and I’m too ashamed to look. I know I’ve done a few book reviews in the last few weeks, but nothing really writing about me.

I’ve been busy though, so busy.

I’m in the middle of a course called NEBOSH, if you’ve not heard of it, it’s a workplace health and safety course. It’s thrilling. And long. We did a whole 9-5 week there a couple of weeks ago, then a week back in the office, and now we’re back for another week. I am shattered. Today was our last learning, tomorrow is a revision day, then next Friday we have 2, 2 hour exams. And then there’s a practical report section too.

Sigh.

If this wasn’t enough, I started working for another company last Monday. I’m still managing the same buildings, but now have a different company I’m reporting to. Not what I need in the week between NEBOSH weeks.

On top of this, I applied for a job with my old company, which I really wanted, and didn’t get it.

All in all, I’m pretty exhausted. Mentally and physically (because I’ve been to the gym tonight). I’ve got a glass of wine in front of me, and totally see myself going to bed in an hour or so (is 9.30pm too early to go to bed? I probably won’t sleep will I?).

So, because of all this, I haven’t done any writing or editing. It’s fine though, because I decided before it all started that I was going to give myself these 4 weeks off. As soon as we get to 23rd, I’m back on it. Well, probably 24th, I’m totally going to go out and celebrate it’s all over on 22nd, so probably won’t do anything on 23rd!

You know what I’ve done though? I’ve only gone and forgotten about Belinda Jones’ Sunlounger Short Story Competition. Closing date is 31st March. Eek. I need to think about that. I haven’t even got an idea yet, or characters. AGH!

Also, I found another competition I want to enter. National Express (yes, coaches) have a short story competition, with the subject travel. It closes 28th April. The winner gets their story published in Jenny Colgan’s new book The Good, The Bad and The Dumped in August. Exciting.

When I’ve posted this blog, I’m going to have a QUICK play on Twitter and Facebook, print off some stuff for tomorrow, and then think more about these stories.

I’ve got a couple of plans for April. I can’t decide which to do, or if I should do both. I’d really like to take part in the A-Z Blogging Challenge. Post a blog a day for 26 out of the 30 days in April, with each day’s blog being based on a letter of the alphabet. That would get me back into blogging for sure. So far 1058 people have signed up, I really wouldn’t be alone on this one. Also, if I do it, I’d want to add a category, but would I chose Writing or Books. Of course it would be writing, but I like the idea of writing about books too. You can’t have two categories. Damn.

My other idea is Camp NaNoWriMo. They’ve changed the rules this year, only for camp, it doesn’t have to be 50,000 words. That would suit me, because if I did it, I wouldn’t want to write 50,000 words. I wouldn’t want to write any actually. I’d want to edit. I was originally thinking of editing for 50 hours. But now the blogging challenge is a maybe, I might go for 25 hours. Or maybe 12.5 hours. Half an hour a day. 12.5 isn’t much though. I’ll have to think about it. Maybe once I’ve done the Sunlounger story!

Ooh, my second review of You Had Me At Hello by Mhairi McFarlane (first being the one I posted on this blog), is live on Novelkicks today, check it out here.

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Quite A Lot of Thoughts for A Thursday Night

I worked an early shift today. On the way home I decided NOT to go to the gym (I was meant to be going out so wasn’t supposed to be going anyway – that’s my excuse). My housemate wasn’t going to be in for an hour or so, so I thought I’d get my Fiction Friday story done. And a blog. And did I? Bet you can guess!

First I got sucked into making dinner. Then my new novel (Until it’s Over by Nicci French – I literally haven’t been able to put it down today. How come no one told me about her before?). Then when I was going to start writing I remembered I wanted to make Brownies for work tomorrow (it’s one of the team’s last day so thought it would be nice – plus I’ve been promising I’ll make something for well over a year now!). So now at gone 10, I’m starting a blog. Dunno if I’ll get as far as doing the Fiction Friday thing, I might just add a little more to the ‘Holiday’ scene I wrote yesterday.

Oh wow, yesterday. Yesterday was of course the Chick Lit Evening at Brixton Library. Now for those of you that aren’t familiar with London – Brixton is pretty far South. I live near-ish Tottenham which is pretty far North, and I work somewhere in the middle. So yes, it was well out of my way. But was it worth it? Hell yeah. Lisa Jewell, Jenny Colgan, Matt Dunn, Jojo Moyes, Kate Harrison and Rebecca Chance were all there. First they each did a reading, then answered questions from one of the library staff then the audience. There wasn’t as big turn out as I imagined there would’ve been, but that was almost a good thing, there weren’t 100s of people asking questions, and I had a really good view from the 3rd row.

Every extract from the novels that were read were great, I’m telling you there’s some new novels on my TBR list now! All the authors seemed honest and funny and like they genuinely wanted to be there. It was great. Just sitting listening to them talk about how they started writing, or how they got agents, or where they get their ideas from really inspired me to write more. I don’t want to be famous – I’m not all that good being in the lime light (hence I hide behind this NTWG front) but how awesome would it be to sit on a stage with 5 other people and talk about doing the job you love. Seriously – I want to do it!

Brixon library got a cake and on top of it were pictures of each one of each of their books. It was amazing. I’ve got a picture I’ll post of it when I download it from my phone.

At the end they had a boo signing. I really wanted to go up for a chat, but didn’t have any of their books to get them to sign, and we’re well past the time of the month that I can splash out on books. I’m actually really annoyed at myself cause I’d just finished a Kate Harrison book (Brown Owl’s Guide to LIfe – great book!) which I should’ve taken to get signed. Oh well. Next time.

The highlight of my evening was when Lisa Jewell caught my eye and must’ve recognised me from last time I met her (in April I think at another one of these author things I won a ticket to – just her that time) cause she smiled and lipped hello. At least I think it was at me anyway, ha ha.

So that’s 1 of my fun book/author things for the next two weeks. On Monday I’m going to a ‘How to Get Your Book Published’ night put on my a London Magazine Stylist. I had to pay for this one which I was pretty outraged at (not really, just all the other things I’ve been to have been free – but this will probably be the most useful). When I saw it advertised I ummd and ahhed about it, but, Lisa Jewell’s going to be there (I hope she doesn’t think I’m her new stalker) and so is Sophie Kinsella. I had to go didn’t I? Plus, champagne and canapes. HAD to!

Then on Wednesday I’m going to Rowan Coleman’s book launch party for The Happy Home for Broken Hearts. Saying that, I’ve not been confirmed on the list, but she said first 40 people to review one of her novels and I was the 2nd or 3rd, so pretty confident about that one.

The winners of the Rowan Coleman Short Story Competition were released today. I didn’t come top 8, but with over 300 entries I didn’t really expect to. She’s going to post the winning stories on her site over the next few days, so I’m going to read and learn from them. I’m so glad I entered, it made me realise that’s entering isn’t all that scary, even I can do it. Next step is magazine submissions I guess. Gulp!

When I was at work today I decided I’d write my Fiction Friday piece. I read the prompt and knew exactly how to start it. I was going to use Kate from Holiday again, cause I really like getting in her head and I’m there a lot of the time at the moment anyway (all my daily writing is her), and I knew where it would fit into the story (even if it’s not used in the novel itself). But then I started thinking more about it. Bad move. I then came up with a couple of ideas of where to take it. Then I couldn’t decide which one to use. The result was I didn’t write it. Damn it.

Then of course I decided to set a challenge for my Twitter friends. Well, not so much a challenge, more I asked for some help. Last night I replied to a couple of comments on here. That took my comments up to 666, which kinna freaked me out a little. By lunchtime today, it was still on 666. I’m not really superstitious or anything, but just didn’t like being stuck on there. I didn’t want to comment on anything myself for the sake of it, so I asked for help. And put an incentive out there too. I said I’d name a character in my Fiction Friday piece after the next person to comment on my blog. Bless Walt from WaltinPA – he commented (Thank you so so much Walt). I’ve got a couple of ideas of who ‘Walt’ is going to be. I wonder which one I’ll go with… Oh I’ve just thought, if I go with one I might be able to get my favourite word ever in it – ‘cantankerous’. Excellent.

I feel like there’s something important I was going to blog about and can’t remember what it was. Maybe one day I’ll plan a blog so this doesn’t happen.

Oh I know. My job! From sat around doing nothing today, I’ve managed to get a couple of people suggesting jobs to me, that I think I’d be in a pretty good position of getting.

The first one is for the company I work for now. My boss suggested it last week and I said no way – for about a week every 2 or 3 weeks I’d have to be in work at 7.30am. I’d have to leave my house at 6.30am. I’d therefore have to get up around 5.30am *shudder* I am NOT a morning person. My boss obviously wants to keep me cause she said she’d have a word with the manager over at that site to see if they’d like someone on the late shift (9.00 – 6.00pm) predominantly. Today she came back and said yes. Now because it’s a different site and the way my company works, I’d have to apply for it, but I think I’d be in a pretty good position to get it! Result. Except I hate the company I work for. But a job’s a job right.

Until. I was chatting to someone at the site I work at (a different company) and he mentioned he’s looking for an administrator. I said no straight away, but thought about it and thought it probably wouldn’t be a bad idea. The money’s a little less than I’m on now, but it’s 2 1/2 hours LESS work a week do now, and 5 hours less than this other job I’m looking at. And finishes at a nicer time.

Either way, I’m not going to be able to spend as much time at work writing, blogging, tweeting etc which is a shame, but I’ve had a good run of 18 months doing it. I think if I get an iphone or something similar I’ll be able to still tweet and keep up to date with blogs and stuff. And if I get either of these jobs I’ll be finishing earlier so hopefully I’ll be able to get more done in the evening. Especially as the next few months will probably see quite a significant change in my living arrangements, meaning I’ll be more able to work in the evenings. But that’s a story for another time.

I’ve just realised how long this blog is, sorry to keep you so long. If you’ve even made it this far!!

About the Wirting Course, My Novels and A Chick Lit Event

As I’m trying to get back in the habit of blogging at least five times I week, I’m writing this blog. At the moment I can’t really think of anything to write about, but knowing me I’ll find something.

I can write about my writing course. I’ve read another module today. It’s the module about Plotting your novel. Having read it, I cannot put into words how much I want to get going on plotting ‘Holiday’. It may sound a little weird that I want to plot it when I’ve already written 20k words, but I think that’s maybe why I’ve not got any further.

I always thought I’d be a pantster – me, plan something? Nah. Not really my style. But when I originally started writing ‘Holiday’ I planned some scenes then wrote them. When it came to NaNo, I realised to be able to write 50,000 words in 30 days, I needed to know what I was going to write. So I made a plan of what was going to happen. Not in great detail – a lot of what happened surprised me. But I knew it would start where it would start, and the main things that happened on each of the four or five days the novel panned.

I think that’s where I’m going wrong with ‘Holiday’. I know what happens in the beginning and nearish the end.  But not the middle, I don’t know how I’m going to link the two – when the link needs to be about 10 days long. Hmmm. This is where planning is going to come in.

I’ve got these little cards that I’m going to use for the planning. Each one is going to have something that happens in the novel. Then I guess it will grow from there. I may actually start it tonight I’m that excited!

What I also really need to do is some book reviews for the Thriller & Suspense Reading Challenge. I’ve reviewed and posted only four novels to the site (Book Chick City), when I’ve actually read eight for the challenge. So yeah, that’s four reviews I need to do. Soon.

I’m pretty pleased I’m at eight novels for the challenge. You have to read 12 this year, so I’m exactly on target for the year. Plus I picked up the next book I’m going to read for it last night. That will make it 9 in 8 months. Excellent.

It was a mistake picking up the book last night. I started reading it, and couldn’t put it down. I got through the first chapter, then had an internal battle with myself over whether to carry on or not. ‘Not’ won, which is good because A. I was really tired and had to get up early and it was already late, and B. I’m still reading a book.

A book which I need to finish tonight (want to), because I’m going to see the author tomorrow. Woop! There’s a Chick Lit Event tomorrow at Brixton Library where Kate Harrison (current novel author – the book is Brown Owl’s Guide to Life and it’s great), Lisa Jewell and Jenny Colgan (and others) are going to be. The night’s going to be ‘Laughter, discussion, questions and books.’ Seriously there is one excited woman typing this!

See, I knew I could find enough rambling to make a blog!

Most Exciting Blog Ever!!!

Well, I’m more excited that I’ve ever been for so many reasons. 

Firstly, yesterday I had more visitors to my blog than I’ve ever had before. 20 more to be precise! 20!!! That’s about 40 more than my daily average. Wow. I have no idea why yesterday was a popular day, but it totally made today great when I looked at that this morning. And that’s without mentioning P. o. r. n. – which someone very helpfully asked if I’d mentioned to get so many hints. Hmmm. I imagine it’s an anomaly, but if not HELLO new readers (again!) *waves* 

What else am I excited about? Well. You know that old writing course I’m always on about because I never do? Well, I only went and did some this morning. I’d already written this assignment so it just needed editing, but although I say it myself, it’s pretty good.

One of the parts was to write a descriptive piece about a maternity ward. Pretty hard when I’ve never actually been to a maternity ward but still. When I read it, I actually got goosebumps it was so cute. I think it was that and not the air conditioning in the room anyway 😉 

So, I’ll give it another read this afternoon then send it off tonight. Woop! That will be 4 assignments done. Only 16 left to go! I wish I hadn’t written that, that’s a little depressing! 

I was reading Stylist Magazine this morning (a free mag given out in London) and there’s an advert/article for a How to… night they’re running in August. It’s How To Get Yourself Published. And, Sophie Kinsella and Lisa Jewell will be there. And read from their new books. As if that wasn’t enough there’s champagne AND canapes. This all coincides with me getting paid today so I could buy a ticket. It’s like fate or something. So, I’ve got a ticket. How awesome is that.

Also last night I found out about a chick lit event (also in August) in Brixton. Lisa Jewell (again), Jenny Colgan, Jojo Moyes and more are going to be there. I think this one is free! I’d know if I booked a place – I need to do that. 

Also good, not as good, but adding to the niceness of today, is that I’ve nearly finished the book I’m reading (well 50 pages left)! Woop! The story is amazing, I just don’t care about  the characters. As the story’s been going on I started hoping that a certain something would happen. It did. It was probably pretty predictable, but I think it’s great I thought of it too. It means my ideas could be the same as a published author. Of course it could just mean that it was predictable, but I’m not going to take it that way! 

I KNOW which book I’m going to read next, but I’m pretty torn up on the decision. I know it’s the right one and I cannot wait to read it, but there’s so many I’m desperate to read NOW. They are:

  

  • The Happy Home for Broken Hearts by Rowan Coleman
  • The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson
  • After the Party by Lisa Jewell
  • Temptation Street by Shari Low

I’m going to read the Rowan Coleman one as I got it free, to review (got to love the author’s fan page on Facebook) and I want to read it before it is released (19th August). It’s just so cool having a book that is not on sale for another few weeks.  

Actually this weekend I’m having a family relaxing weekend. My aunt and uncle live an hour outside London – and have a swimming pool in their garden! Me + Books + Pool = my happy LONG weekend. Oh yes. I reckon I’ll start THHFBH tomorrow, so read that and at least one more by Tuesday when I come back to work.

I seriously must be one of the happiest people ever today. Not even my job managed to put me in a bad mood when I found out I HAVE to work extra tomorrow (”please can you… no one else can…”) so have to cancel my plans. Grrr. But really, don’t care cause I’m really happy and excited about the next month of my life. 🙂