Tag Archive | Library

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!

Another Bad Weekend

I was quite tempted not to write this blog, and to skip yesterday’s check-in for ROW80. But, that would be cheating in my book, so here goes.

Thinking about it more, my weekend wasn’t THAT bad. Just bad on the important things. My goals are:

Eat less than 1400 cals

Exercise more than 30 minutes

Write 500-1000 words

Read (still not decided on a measurement for this).

This is how I did (I know it would be a lot easier if I had the chart, but I forgot to copy or send it to myself at work this morning).

Eating – Pie & Mash Friday lunch, Chinese Friday night and a bucket full of vodka (all with DIET coke though…) so not even going to go there. Saturday I had a crepe at the market, then Indian for dinner (most calorific one I could – Korma!), again lets not go there. For breakfast on Sunday I had a poppdum¬†and popcorn. I made lasagna for dinner with lots of veg, but also had a ton of bonbons. Lets just forget this goal this weekend!

Exercise – this isn’t AS bad. In fact probably pretty good. On Friday, after work and before the pub I walked to the gym, then spend half an hour there (yep, I made the effort before the pub – showering and getting ready there!). Total cals:¬†370 cals¬†, 52 minutes. Plus, on the way home we got off the tube at the further¬†away stop – so an extra 12 minutes walking – woop! On Saturday we spent a few hours walking round Camden Market. That’s totally going down as at least¬†30 minutes¬†exercise in my book. Yesterday I walked to Tesco¬†and back. I think it’s about 22 minutes. Still, it’s walking so happy with that.

Writing – next (nothing to say ’cause I did NOTHING!)

Reading РI rented Snapshot by Craig Robertson from the library on Thursday night. I started reading it on Friday morning. I finished it yesterday afternoon. That says SUCCESS to me Рwoop! Also Рbrilliant book!

In my¬†head eating and writing are the most important. I guess exercise is up there too, but reading is less so (only because I spend so much time reading anyway). This week, I’m going to concentrate on these three. I was supposed to be going out tonight, but I’m really tired so am not going to bother. I’ve had my main meal today too, so when I get home I’ll hit the laptop and write!

It’s nearly the end of January – my second goal for finishing The Man of My Dreams was the end of January (having not made the first goal of the end of December). I don’t really know how much more I’ve got to write because I’ve kind of changed the direction it’s going in. Still, I COULD get it done in a week. Would be a struggle, but I’m going to try…

I was actually thinking a lot last week¬†about editing the novel. Unlike my usual self, I’m actually really looking forward to it. I think that’s because at the moment I’m a little lost on when the days are – I think they might all be week days with hardly any weekends in between – so want to read it to get it straight in my head. I guess I wasnt to read it then more than edit it. I think I want to edit it too.

If I’m honest, I just want to finish writing¬†it now. I’m not bored of it, but I just want to skip to the next part of this process. Why oh why do I have to work? I bet it would be finished now if I was at home all day! ūüėČ

January Books Clubs

Last month, having gone from none, I got myself involved in two book clubs, and it seems I’ve done the same again this month.

A friend of mine, her sister and work colleague decided in November to start a book club, so December was month one. We read Amrita by Banana Yoshimoto, which unfortunately none of us enjoyed. I chose that book (I needed a Y for the A to Z Challenge), this time it was B’s turn to choose. Like me she gave the rest of us a choice, and we decided on The Tigers Wife by Tea Obreht. It sounds slightly depressing, but hey, I’ll give anything a go. I’ll read that after the next one, our next meeting isn’t until 25th, so loads of time!

The second book club is at NovelKicks, a website that my ROW80 buddy Laura runs. A year, or maybe 18 months ago, I tried to get involved in the NK book club, but at the time they were reading The Little Stranger by Sarah Walters. I got the book, I tried, but it just bored me. I promised myself I’d get involved the following month, but you know me, life got in the way.

Last month I saw Laura had chosen The Gift by Cecelia Ahern for the book. As it happened that was on my TBR pile, and I wanted to read it around Christmas. I joined in. Well, I commented that I’d started it, and I read the book. No more comments. How rubbish am I?!

I promised myself if I got involved again, I‚Äôd do better. This month the chosen book is When God Was A Rabbit by Sarah Winman ‚Äď a book that I‚Äôve wanted to read since it came out last year (I‚Äôm not sure if it‚Äôs because it‚Äôs got a wicked title, or the actual story). Of course I‚Äôm joining in again. This time, I promise I‚Äôm going to join in with NK and comment! That‚Äôs the next book on my list. If you‚Äôre interested in joining, please do, everyone is welcome, Laura would love to see you HERE.

I‚Äôve nearly finished Petit Anglaise. Yesterday I arranged to meet my other half in the library before we went shopping (gym clothes, not all that exciting). There were no computers free, so I sat in one of the chairs (that isn‚Äôt as comfy as it looks) and read for half an hour. It was great. I can‚Äôt wait until summer, so there‚Äôs a nice view of the water from the library (Canada Water water ‚Äď the water the whole area was named after ‚Äď small, but cute with swans and ducks and stuff!).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Little Bit of Monday Rambling

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Book Groups Galore

Because November was NaNo month, for the whole month I think I pretty much missed out on writing about anything other than NaNo (quite frankly I’m surprised that I DID anything other than write for the month, but I did)! Now we’re into December I should probably start blogging about other things going on in my life.

Like my new book club.

Well, two book clubs really.

My dear ROW80 buddy Laura runs a site called NovelKicks which every month hosts a book club. I’ve joined in a couple of times when they were readings novels I really wanted to read, and December is another of those books! This month they’ve chosen The Gift by Cecelia Ahern.

Somehow this book coming out completely passed me by. I heard about it by accident one day (maybe on her website, I can’t remember) and knew I had to read it (seeing as it was Cecelia Ahern – I love her novels!). The problem was it looked like a Christmas book, which is fine, unless it’s summer. Which it was.

So I added it to my ‘wish list,’ which I promptly forgot, until the following summer, which was this summer. I was at a friend’s house when I found her book shelf. Hmmmm. Book shelf + me = more books on MY bookshelf. She told me to help myself to anything. I was SO good,¬†I only took 3. One of which was… you guessed it The Gift. Like a good girl, I put it on my shelf, to read in December.

Of course I forgot. Until Laura asked on Facebook the other day what people’s favourite Christmas book is. I don’t have one, but I mentioned this and that I wanted to read it. She was thinking the same (great minds think alike eh!). So now it’s their book club December book. And when I’ve finished my current book, I’m going to jump in. I cannot wait. If you’d like to join in, anyone’s welcome,¬†go here.

What’s the book I’m reading at the moment you ask? Well, it’s the one for my other book club.

Mid way through November, I went for a cheeky drink or two with a friend and her work colleagues and sister. Four of us were talking about how cool it would be to be part of a book club (I think it came from them all wanting to read my novel when I finish it), but in a really relaxed atmosphere (yeah, pub). We decided to start our own mini book club.

1 book per month. One pub meet up per month. No looking for hidden meanings – just if we enjoyed it or not.

We then had to decide on a book. I’m still finishing my A¬†to Z Challenge so I suggested a novel who’s author’s surname begins with Y – the letter I had left to find. Everyone agreed, but decided I had to find the novel.

Hmmmm. Author whose surname begins with Y. Not that many. The library wasn’t that helpful, but Waterstones¬†was. Especially when I found an author called Banana Yoshimoto. Now, I’m not saying I chose it for the name Banana, but it helped. Amrita the book we chose sounded good too.

So, currently reading Amrita¬†by Banana Yoshimoto. Then The Gift by Cecelia Ahern. Then I have to read an X for the A – Z¬†Challenge, then I think we’ll get to 2012, and the reading starts again, with new challenges too ūüėČ

NaNoWriMo – The Last Three Days

Possibly more exciting than NaNo (only possibly though), I’m currently sat in the new Canada Water (suburb of London) Library.¬†It’s so nice. Well, so far, I’ve only really registered and then sat at a computer. I’ve heard there are 40,000 books here. 40,000. That’s awesome. It’s obviously new and clean and just exciting. Except for the constant noise of childern crying and stuff. Ha.

As we still don’t have the internet at home (I know, we will sort it sometime soon – I’m told anyway), I’ve been set a challenge by the boyfriend of coming here after work a few days a week and blogging. He tells me I don’t blog enough (like writing 1,667 words a day gives me that much free time to blog), which I kind of know. It’s an idea. I used to sometimes stay behind at work and blog, but work’s been so terrible recently that at 5.30 I’m outta there. So maybe his idea is a good one.

Boyfriend may not be getting anything he wants in the near future – he’s just pointed out a¬†book on the nearest shelf to us (implying I could get it) ‘Creative Writing for Dummies.’ Hmmmm. Yes, a little insulted! Although if there’s other writing books on the same shelf… Funny how without looking I found a computer right¬†next to the writing books ūüėČ

Ok, back to the task in hand – NaNo.

Remember last week, I had all these great plans for writing in the last week? The plan was 3k on Thursday, 5k on Friday then 2k today (having the weekend off for boyfriend’s birthday). That would take me to a win TODAY.

Yeah, um. That didn’t happen. On Thursday instead of going home after work, I went for work drinks. And got, well lets just say drunk. Not sure if it describes it well enough, but it’s what we’ll go with. I went home and tried to write… but the red squiggle under at least half of the 100 words changed my mind. Friday I was really hungover and didn’t even turn the laptop on. Damn.

I’d always planned to have the weekend off, but woke up on Sunday just feeling tired. At 2pm I put on Twitter that it would be good to get a 5k day in, and enough people told me I could do it that I decided to give it a go. Until the hangover kicked in an hour or so later. I got 1k in like 2 1/2 hours. Not great. But I persisted on and off, then at about 11pm I got a proper ‘second wind’ which took my total for the day to 3057. I am so ridiculously proud of that.

My plan for today is another 5k, then 2 tomorrow. That means I will win tomorrow. The problem with that is that it’s now 5.30pm an I’ve done nothing. Oops. Still, all I need is a good¬† run and I can do that in no time… Uh… At the end of the day though, I only really NEED to do 2.5k for the next 3 days and I win. I can’t believe I’m saying this but 2.5k is pretty easy to get in (as long as I don’t do anything after work other than cook and write).

Do you remember the beginning of October, when ROW80 Round 4 began? I planned for 500 words a day and was worried about getting it. 2 months later I’m saying another 2,000 on top of that is doable. How things change.

I’ve also decided on my plan for the next few months.

Usually after NaNo, I stop writing in December. I think I need the break after the 50,000 the month before. It then takes me another 6 odd¬†months to properly get back into it – not great for getting novels finished! This year is going to be different. In December I’m going finish ‘The Man of My Dreams.’ I’m then going to give it a month’s break in January, but not stop writing then. I’m going to write short stories and stuff. I think I’ll probably go back and use a load of old Fiction Friday prompts or random word generators to give me ideas (prompts work pretty well for me).

In February I’m going to pick ‘The Man of My Dreams’ back up and edit the first three chapters in 6 ish weeks. Then… At the end of March… I’m going to try to find an agent. Yep, I’m going to start submitting it to agents. Eek. Agh! MAAAHHHH!

I’m scared. But, if I’m going to do it… I need to make a start. I think 2012 is the right year.

It shows how much I like ‘The Man of My Dreams,’ doesn’t it. I’m confident about it, and do think (having not read any back though) it’s the best thing I’ve written. I guess if you constantly improve, something I’m writing now is bound to be better than something I wrote 2 years ago.

Anyway, if I’m going to get 5,000 words in tonight, I need to crack on with it. Plus, we all know I NEED to go and look at books. I’m surprised I’ve survived half an hour in a library and NOT looked at them already.

How’s everyone else’s NaNo/ROW80/other project going?