Tag Archive | Lauren Oliver

It’s been a really long month, but I’m nearly, nearly at the end of my course. I just need to the assignment, which they recommend spending 2 hours on, then I’m done. Phew. My exams we Friday, I think they went OK. All I can do is wait until June (yes I have to wait until JUNE) to get my results.

And now I’m done (or as good as), I can get back to writing, and editing, and you know, having a life. A life, wow, how exciting.

To celebrate being done, we went out for drinks on Friday. They were very heavy, I did nothing yesterday. Today I’ve cleaned the house, having done limited housework while I was studying, and had some friends over for dinner. Now they’ve left, and I can do whatever I want. Like anything. I don’t need to study, I’m not going to do any work work, and I’m leaving the assignment until I’ve done a little more at work.

So anything. I was going to read. I need to read Hitchikers Guide To The Galaxy, which is Novelkick‘s book club book of the month – which I should really read, since I suggested it! I also need to read Safe House by Chris Ewan. What I really want to read though is Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver. I don’t have it, and can’t afford it before payday (Thursday, please come quickly!!), but the library have it, so I’m going to borrow it. Which means not getting into anything.

So what to do? I know… WRITING.

Yep, I’ve done some writing. When I say some, I mean 1,000 words. That’s pretty awesome isn’t it. The problem is it might be too little too late. I want to enter Belinda Jones’ Sunlounger Short Story Competition. With this course thing, I haven’t been able to justify writing, so if I want to enter it, I need to write and edit a short story competition by Sunday. Saturday really because my brother and his girlfriend will be here on Sunday. That’s quite a lot to do in a week.

But you know me, I always like a challenge.

Also, Friday is bank holiday so there’s an extra day. Only I’m going out for dinner on Thursday and my mate wants a heavy one. I guess it depends how I do until then.

I’ve been having a problem with thinking up a story. Granted I’ve not really given it that much thought, but on and off I have. Now I’ve a week I need to get something. And I have. Kind of. One of my novels is set in Majorca (most of it anyway), so I’m going to try to adapt that to a short story. Gulp. I know. I must be made. I’ve chosen a few key scenes and am rewriting, in the hope it will make sense and be ok for a short story. Wish me luck, I may need it.

Oh no, I’ve just realised, I need to think up a title for the story, I hate thinking up titles, and I’ve been trying to think up one for this novel for about 4 years! How am I going to think up one for a short story in a week?

Last Tuesday, I went to see Lauren Oliver at Waterstones on Piccadilly. I was looking forward to it so much. She was awesome, and signed my copy of Before I Fall. I’ll write a blog about it this week.

Right a few more words… then bed.

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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.

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

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

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 🙂

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 🙂

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!

Last Week

It’s the end of January this week. The beginning of Feb. I can’t believe it. We’re now 28 days into the year. 28. How has that happened? Time is going so fast.

Which is a brilliant excuse for not doing much this week. So little.

No editing. No writing course. No completed book reviews (although I started 2 which is good, not as good as completing, but still good). I managed to get in 2 check-ins for ROW80 (this counts as yesterday’s check in!), 2 fasting days for my 5:2 Diet AND burn 600 calories. Not everything is bad then.

What I did do, is read a book. I actually read it yesterday, as in that’s pretty much all I did yesterday. Oops. It was Lauren Oliver’s Delirium, it was brilliant, totally gripping.

It means that things really can only get better. To get better than this week, I’m keeping my goals the same:

7 hours editing my novel (granted I’m not as far as editing, I’m at reading draft 1 stage)

2 hours on my writing course

2 book reviews

2 ROW80 Check-ins

Burn 1500Kcal in addition to normal walking to work etc.

2 fasting days for my diet

That’s it. And this week, this week, I’m going to do better. I’ve got a really busy week, but I’m going to make time to the things I need to be diong. With January pretty much down, I’ve got a month less before I have to get my novel to the RNA for review. I can’t do what I usually do and leave things till the last minute with this, this is too important to me. So this week, will be my week.

2013 Reading Challenge – TBR Pile Challenge

Here’s my second reading challenge for 2013.

TBR Pile Challenge.

I failed this last year, and you know how I hate to fail. This year, I’m determined to complete it.

For this challenge you have to read 12 novels in 2013 from your TBR Pile (physical pile, or just on your list). The great thing is that they have to have been on your list for more than a year (so have a published date of 2011 or before).

You also have to list the books NOW that you’re going to read (plus you can have 2 alternatives, if you really can’t get through any). Last year I went through my shelf and chose books that I physically had. This year, I want to add books that I’ve been meaning to read, I just haven’t bought yet (or borrowed from the library of course).

I didn’t read 4 of the 14 last year (including the alternatives). I’m not going to add all of them back on – 1 I realised was a sequel, and I’ve not read the first, and the other I’m not really interested in any more. I’ll add the other two though.

Here’s my list then. As I read and review, I’ll come back to this page and link to the review. In December I’ll (hopefully) do a review blog where I link them all again, and successfully complete the challenge for the year. My 14 books for this year are:

Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell (was on the 2012 list, but I never got to it)

A French Affair by Susan Lewis (ditto)

Catch 22 by Joseph Heller

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

One Moment, One Morning by Sarah Rayner

Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Build A Man by Talli Roland

Animal Farm by George Orwell

The Liar’s Lullaby by Meg Gardiner

and the 2 alternatives

Flash Forward by Robert J Sawyer

Catching Fire (The Hunger Games trilogy, book 2) by Suzanne Collins.

To be honest, I really want to read all of them, so you never know. I’m also doing the Mystery/Crime Reading Challenge, so a couple of these will work for both, which will be good.

Now, I really want to start on the list. My problem is… which first. Good luck to everyone else doing this challenge this year. I can’t wait to see what you’re reading.

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!