Tag Archive | Kate Harrison

Week Round Up

I can’t believe it’s Sunday already. This week has gone so quickly. Too Quickly, I didn’t get as much done as I wanted. On Monday I had a migraine, it lasted all evening, so cut off any chance of doing anything that night. On Tuesday I had a headache all day, I always do the day after a migraine. Wednesday I stayed at work till about 7pm. Then today, I’ve had a headache all day again. So really, I haven’t had that much time to write, edit etc. Also, I’ve had to do some work, so again, that took away time from doing stuff for me.

Here’s my goals and what I achieved:

Week 1

Editing: My goal was 7 hours. I did 4 hours. I did an additional hour prepping for a short story (more later), so 5 altogether. Considering I’ve never done any novel editing before, and I’ve been putting this off for about a year, I’m really happy with it.

Writing course: Ah. Well. Um… So I totally have an excuse for not doing this. My next assignment (I vaguely remember) is to write the plot to a novel. I’m going to use The Man of My Dreams, cause I think it would be good to have a tutor give comments on it. But, seeing as I wrote most of it well over a year ago, I can’t really remember it, so I need to go through and write up what happens. Oh, and work out an ending. That’s what I’m doing at the moment in editing, so need to finish that before I can do the assignment. He he.

Book Reviews: I planned to do one for my blog, and one (my first) for Novel Kicks. I did the one for here – The Headhunters by Jo Nesbo. I’ve drafted the one for Novel Kicks, but I’m taking my time, because it’s someone else’s website, so I want it to be perfect. I’ve written up the bio I’ll send over with it. Massively excited about it.

ROW80 Check Ins: 2. Wednesday and Sunday. Done.

Reading challenge Blogs: 2, done. The TBR Pile Challenge blog and the Mystery/Crime Challenge blog.

Burn 1500Kcal on top of normal excercise: 800 done. It’s the fault of the migraines and headaches, I couldn’t exercise with them. Next week!

Fasting Days: 1 of 2. I planned to have my second one today, but because I’ve got this headache, I thought I should feed my body properly. I’ll do 3 next week to make up for it – starting tomorrow.

During the week, I found out about the Belinda Jones Travel Club’s Sunlounger Short Story Competition. You can enter a rom-com short story on the subject of holidays, with the prize being having the story printed in the Sunlounger anthology, along side Belinda Jones, Kate Harrison, Talli Roland, Chrissie Manby, and many, many more. I don’t have an exact idea for a story, but I’ve got a character idea and a situation idea. Closing date is the end of March, so I’ve got time to think about it.

Goals for this week:

7 hours editing

2 hours on my writing course

2 book reviews (one for here, and the completed one for Novel Kicks)

Burn 1,500 Kcal in addition to normal daily walking to work etc.

3 fasting days.

As long as I can shake this headache that’s been plaguing me all week, I should be OK.

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Hello 2013, and A New Me?

Happy New Year everyone. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas (or otherwise) break and new year. I know I certainly did.

I don’t really want a new me, I’m happy with the old me, but there are definitely some improvements I can make to make this year better than 2012. Not that it was a bad year, it was a great year, there were just a few negatives though.

Writing/editing – that really went down the drain. January – October and December I hardly wrote anything. I say that. When I say hardly anything, I probably mean about 30,000 words. Not a small amount, but not what I was hoping for. Not when you consider I wrote 50,000 in the 30 days of November alone. Writing in those 11 months was a struggle. I want to get back into it this year, and also do some editing. I know, that scary word that I haven’t had the guts to try on anything other than short stories in the past.

I’m going to be joining ROW80 again this month. I’ve been doing it for a few years, and really enjoying it. It means I HAVE to blog at least twice a week for the check-ins. I also love the community feel, and the help and encouragement I get from others. This year I’ll get better at giving it, as well as receiving it. I’m also going to think about becoming a sponsor for one of the later rounds this year.

I currently have a few projects on the go:

Italian Infatuation – my 2009 NaNo novel. Finished but needs editing. A lot. This was a Mills and Boon style novel which I’ve kind of moved away from, so not top of my list.

‘Holiday’ – my (untitled) novel I’ve been on/off/on/off since early 2009. It’s maybe 2/3 done. I’d like to finish it. I think it’s got legs, but it’s my second priority.

The Dating Project – my 2010 NaNo novel. 1/3 written. Good idea, but what’s written I think is terrible. At the bottom of my list, because it needs rewriting. Not so interested in it any more.

The Man of My Dreams – My 2011 NaNo novel. Almost finished the first draft. Top of my list to be worked on. I think I’m going to jump in to starting the read/edit then finish the last few bits as I go along with it this year. Now I’ve got into the RNA – NWS this year (more later) this will be the novel I submit.

Love Authority – My 2012 NaNo novel. I like the idea, but I didn’t do enough prep. I’d like to go back to it one day, but not right now, and probably not this year.

Last night, I tried to join the Romantic Novelists’ Association – New Writer’s Scheme. Each year they take the first 250 new writers to apply. I’ve tried the last 2 years but not got in. This year I made it. I’m massively excited!!!  I now get to go to events, and also send a manuscript in for comment by a real live author. Woop!

Writing/Blogging – I also want to get back into blogging. I feel like I’ve been a bad blogger this year (although I still wrote 103 blogs, it doesn’t feel like it). I really enjoy writing blogs, and visiting other blogs, so am going to pick this back up.

Writing/Blogging/Book Reviews – I’ve always planned to review some of the books I read as I finish them, but in 2012 totally fell behind with this. In 2013, I want to get back into doing it again. I’m not massively confident doing it, so need to push myself on this. Also my friend Laura who runs Novelkicks.co.uk has asked me to do reviews on her site. Woop! How exciting. I’m don’t know how often Laura would like me to review books, but I’d like to do them regularly, at least once a month.

Health/weight – I’m reasonably healthy, but over the last few years I’ve put on quite a lot of weight. I need to lose it to feel better about myself, happier when I look in the mirror and to reduce my chances of getting nasty diseases in later life. I’m also going to think about having the C word in a couple of years (children), and know it’s easier to get pregnant when you’re not overweight.

I’ve been thinking a lot the last few days about how I’m going to do it. My usual diet method is calorie counting, but I’ve been trying that and at the moment I just don’t have the will power to stick to 1,000 calories a day. A couple of years ago I joined Slimming World and lost a bit, but then Christmas hit and I put it back on, and never got back on it. I thought that was going to be the answer.

Then I started reading I Can Make You Thin by Paul McKenna. It was amazing, with just 4 rules for changing the way you eat forever, not even a diet. But again, it takes a lot of will power, which I’m not sure I have. For example, eat only when hungry and stop when you feel full. Great plan, but in reality… I think if I carry on reading it, there will be more exercises to help. And I will, but I’m going to use it in conjunction with the diet I’ve decided on – the 5:2 Diet.

If you read my blog, you may have read when I talked about this last year. I heard about it, where for 1 or 2 days of the week you ‘fast’ (eat 500 calories) then eat whatever you want on the other 5/6 days. I tried it on one day, and it was ok. I failed a little and got 600 calories, but still it inspired me. Then Christmas and all the parties hit, and I just didn’t have the days to try it.

Yesterday I found a book (by women’s lit author Kate Harrison), and this morning I’ve watched a BBC ‘Horizons’ documentary on it, and I’m totally sold. Not only does it help you lose weight, the health benefits are amazing. It’s not been officially tested on humans too much, so they kind of recommend not doing it, but the presenter was going to carry on with it, and so many other people do it, I’m going to give it a go.

You may wonder why, when I’m saying I have no will power to stick to a 1,000 calorie diet, I’m able to be sure I can do a 500 calorie one? 2 reasons. First is it’s only 2 days a week. If I want something on a fast day, I can tell myself I’ll have it the next day instead (the ‘feast’ day). If I want something bad on a 1,000 calorie a day diet, I can tell myself I can have it… when? When I lose all the weight I want to? When I break the diet for a day? The second reason is that on a 1,000 calorie day, I tend to just make things I know will be low calorie and tot up when I’m done. It can mean over eating, and quite often if I go over 1,000 calories, I think sod it, I’ll just eat more and start again tomorrow. Then ditto the next day. When I know I only have 500 calories to play with, I plan ahead.

I’m excited about starting it. In fact,yesterday was my first day fast day, and I ate just below 500 calories. In that I had a really nice homemade curry. Woop.

Health/Exercise – Last year I was really bad with exercise. I hardly went to the gym, I walked home occasionally from work, but not often, and I didn’t do much running – and certainly no challenges.

This year that’s going to change. I’ve rejoined the gym this year, through work again. I’m basically paying just under £60 a month. I need to make that worth it, because I could do so much more with £60 a month than throw it away on a membership I don’t use.

I’m also going to do at least one running challenge. There are a couple of 10km runs in May/June, so I’m going to sign up for one of those. If I have a goal, I work much better than doing it just for me. I’ve also done a 10km run before, so I know it’s not THAT hard, well, I know I can do it.

House – I must admit, I don’t clean and tidy as much as I should. We’ve decided to stay where we’re living until the summer, and I want to make it a nice few months. We live in a tiny flat so the housework really isn’t a massive job.

So that’s it. While it feels like a lot, it also doesn’t feel like all this is unachievable. I guess we’ll see in 12 months.

What are your plans for this year?

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!

Quick Sunday Blog

I really don’t have time for a blog cause I need to do some ironing, then go to bed early (I’m working early), but I wanted to do a very quick random Sunday blog seeing as I’ve actually done proactive stuff this weekend.

Yep. You guessed it, I’ve done some writing. In fact I’ve done some writing today, and did some yesterday. Roughly 400 words over the weekend. I used the prompts from NovelKicks both days because I couldn’t think of anything myself. I’m still writing everything it seems in Kate’s voice (except Fiction Friday). It’s interesting seeing how she reacts to different situations.

My mum got on my case on Friday about joining a writing group. I’ve already looked around London and found a few that would be good to join, but at the time I had too much going on in my private life to be able to even consider doing it. Then I just forgot. Glad she reminded me actually. I’m going to look into it again tomorrow. It’s not like I’m doing much at work at the moment.

Yeah, in fact for until I leave there (when I get a new job, or get made redundant at the end of Sep/beginning of Oct) I’m pretty much going to be doing nothing. My job is 2/3 switchboard/1/3 reception. But they’ve just moved the switchboard to another office. But they want to stay fully staffed until the end. Personally I’m pretty happy about it. I think maybe, I’m not sure but maybe, I’ll edit Italian Infatuation.

I guess if you believe in fait and that things happening for a reason (my motto in life is ‘Everything happens for a reason’), the fact I found the copy I printed off today should mean that I should edit it. What else am I going to do? Oh, I know – write Holiday. One or the other anyway.

I wonder if I could edit II while also writing Holiday? They’re in different tenses, different POV and for different markets, so I’m not sure it’s even a good idea to consider it.

Ooh, talking of tenses. Most of the books I read are past tense. Occasionally I find one in the present. As I blogged the other day, I sometimes find it hard to get my mind round the change when I’m reading two different ones back to back. Well, I started a new one today that was present – like the last one I read – and it took me three chapters to realise it was in that tense. That was great cause when I went from past to present on the last two, I found it pretty hard going.

If I have this problem, why am I writing Holiday in present tense? Hmmmm. Possibly something I need to think about.

The new book I’ve started is Brown Owls Guide to Life by Kate Harrison. I’ve had the book for ages and just not got round to reading it, but as I’m going to an author thing in a few weeks that she’s going to be at, I really want to have read something of hers. I think I’m going to enjoy it.

I had a plan today to finish my writing course assignment. Reading this morning and a serious spring clean of my room this afternoon/evening changed that plan. Which to be honest I’m a little annoyed about. But, if my room’s clean and tidy it might encourage me to go back there to write after work. Actually my housemate’s away this week, which means when I get in I won’t go and sit in front of the TV (that she always has on) I’ll turn on my laptop and probably play on Facebook all night instead. Ha ha. Well, maybe if I didn’t have plans almost every night I’d get some writing done!

Ok. Early start, so have to hit the sack. I’m going to have  a good writing week this week. I am, I am. In fact, I have a feeling this week is actually going to be a great week! I’ll keep you posted 🙂