Tag Archive | Novelkicks

ROW80 – The First Week 2014

It’s the end of my first week back doing ROW80 for, I think a year. Wow. It’s gone really well. Quite well? Let’s look:

-Spend some time at least three times a week, editing. I’m at the reading the novel stage of editing. I’ve read I think 3 or 4 days this week, and read about 30 pages I think. That’s a great start. 

– Exercise three times a week. If it’s walking, no less than for 20 minutes. OK, so I’ve not done this. I did one lot of over 20 minute walking. 

– Fast 2 days a week (500 calories a day). I managed one fast day (today) and one day with lower than usual calories (1,000). It’s first week back, so not too bad. 

– Check in for ROW80 once a week, one book review blog once a week. This is my check in. I wrote a review of How To Look Like You by Rose McClelland for Novelkicks, AND one for Here’s Looking At You by Mhairi McFarlene for this blog. That’s a huge pass. In addition, I also wrote two 2014 read challenge blogs – one for the Global Reading Challenge, and one for the TBR Pile Challenge (my 3rd year!).

Next week, I’m going to keep my goals the same.The ones I completed, I know I can again, and the ones I didn’t, I know I can do. They’re basic, but do-able. 

How was your week?

 

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2014 – Here’s Beginning A Good Year

Happy New Year everyone!

It’s a new year! I don’t want to begin it with all that, ‘New year means new me’ rubbish, because if I do, anything I say will go down the drain in a week or two, a month at most. So I’m not. 

But, I’m going to take this opportunity to make some changes, just little ones, so small, they won’t impact my life, and I won’t even realise I’m doing them. Then, when they become habit, I’ll increase them, then they will become habit, and before you know it, I’ll be writing or editing every day. But forget the big stuff, I’m starting with baby steps.

My plan is still my novel, The Man of My Dreams. I still think it’s got legs. If, 2 years after I started it, I still believe in it, there must be something there, right? I hope so. It’s almost all written, I’ve got a few holes in it that need filling, then it needs to be edited. And edited. And edited. Probably edited, then edited, and maybe again, edited. 

Editing is my nemesis. Well I think it is. I don’t want to have to do it. I’m scared of doing it. Scared on two fronts. 

One – this is my novel, my baby. I don’t want to have to chop stuff out. Not if it’s good. To be honest, probably not if it’s bad. What if I make a mistake and take out the wrong thing? No one will know but me, but I’ll know. How will I know what to take out? How will I decide if I have two contradicting ideas? How…? What if…? Where…? Agh! 

Two – once I edit it, and it’s done, I have to do the next step. Submit it. Try to find an agent. AGH! That terrifies me. I think I can write, but what if I can’t? What if it’s just an illusion I’ve given myself. What if I get rejected again and again – I know I will a certain number of times, but what if the YES never comes? I don’t know if I’ve got hard enough skin, and I can take that rejection. 

Two I have to just get over. If I want this, I need to get thick skin. Each rejection will take me closer to a YES. (Hopefully!). Two, I get over.

One – that’s a bit harder. Well, it’s not. I just have to do that too! I’ve been told by several successful, printed, bestselling authors that they love editing, and I should just do it (two of my favorite authors – Lisa Jewell and Jojo Moyes). I’ve edited short stories, which are so different to a novel, how do I know I won’t love it myself? I don’t! Exactly. 

2014 is going to be the year I edit this novel. I can’t wait. 

My plan initially is to do a bit of editing once a week. No set amount of time, just some editing on either one evening after work, or one weekend day. This week, it’s going to be Saturday. I haven’t worked out yet what my plan is, I’ll work it out either tonight, tomorrow, or on Saturday. I’m doing it. 

In addition to the editing, I’m going to get back into blogging and book reviewing (reviews both on here and Novelkicks ). I love doing both so much, I know once I get into them, it won’t be a chore, but a pleasure. It’s getting back into it though. Baby steps will get me there though. I’ll do one blog a week, and one review a week – alternating the reviews on here and NK weekly. It’s going to be fun, and 2 blogs a week is nothing. 

The other morning, I woke up having had a dream I’d got an agent and a publishing deal – it was fantastic. The only way to make that happen in real life is for ME to take the steps to make it happen. It may not happen if I try, but it DEFINITELY won’t happen if I don’t! 

So, here’s to a good year. 2014 – I’m coming for you! 

Stuff I Love

Hey there. I bet you weren’t expecting a blog from me today. Neither was I, it has been a while.

I’m going to admit, I’m probably only blogging because I’ve sat down to write, so many may call it procrastination. I actually wouldn’t argue with them. Still, I’m writing a blog, and you know what they say, it’s the first step that’s the hardest, so after this they should come flowing to me and I’ll be blogging all the time!

To break me in gently to this whole blogging thing, I thought instead of a conventional blog about writing (as the title of the blog goes), or a book review (as I’m getting better at doing, but still WAY behind where I should be this year), I’d do a blog on things I’m loving at the moment. Bit random, but isn’t variety the spice of life (I’m trying for as many cliches as possible today!).

This weekend, I was loving:

Left Overs by Stella Newman.

I read it as a ‘favour’ to Laura from Novelkicks as she has so much to read, and she wanted a review on the site for when the novel is released at the beginning of May. It’s a tough job, but someone had to do it. I LOVED Newman’s first novel Pear Shaped, and this ticked all the boxes I was looking for in a follow up novel. Yay.

Left Overs

It may be because of Left Overs I didn’t do any writing this weekend. It’s possible, just possible, I stayed in bed for most of the weekend reading it 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today, I’m loving:

The Last Time I Saw You by Eleanor Moran.

TLTISYIt was my turn to choose the book club book this month (well, send out a list of 3-4 books that the group as a whole chooses). This was top of my list, and luckily the group choose it too, woop! I started it last night and am already gripped, and have so many questions. I’m currently FORCING myself NOT to read it. Must get on with other things.

Today, I’m loving:

http://www.somethingliterary.co.uk

Oh. My. God. A website dedicated to gifts for readers and writers. Top of my Want, want, want list are a ‘Go Away I’m Writing’ cotton tote bag, and the tons and tons of post it notes, and the Utility Task Clips. Oh, oh, and the Smart Women Read Between The Lines Book Lover’s Journal. I’m glad it’s my birthday soon! I may cry if I don’t get something from on here. Also, I now need an office at home to house all the things I want to buy!

Today, I’m loving:

The 5:2 Diet/Fasting Diet.

Eat 50 calories a day, twice a week, eat what you want the rest of the week. I did this in January and lost about 5lb, then put them back on when I went on the pig out that was the course I did in Feb (cakes and biscuits at EVERY break, almost 2 main meals a day!) when I stopped doing it. I’ve been back on it 2 weeks and have lost 3lb. Very happy with that. Today is a ‘fast day’, and I’ve only eaten 450 cals, so have another 50 (weight watchers yogurt) to eat when boyfriend has his tea.

I bought my Mum Kate Atkinson’s book about the diet, so hopefully it will convince her to do it too, I hope so, will be fun to do it with someone I know (and can swap food ideas with).

Today, I’m not loving: That I have nothing else I love. Now I need to get on with this writing, reviewing and editing. Sigh.

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.

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.

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.

Pearshaped by @stellanewman Review

A novel about love, heartbreak and dessert.

Girl meets boy.
Girl loses boy.
Girl loses mind.

Sophie Klein walks into a bar one Friday night and her life changes. She meets James Stephens: charismatic, elusive, and with a hosiery model ex who casts a long, thin shadow over their burgeoning relationship. He’s clever, funny and shares her greatest pleasure in life – to eat and drink slightly too much and then have a little lie down. Sophie’s instinct tells her James is too good to be true – and he is.

An exploration of love, heartbreak, self-image, self-deception and lots of food. Pear-Shaped is in turns smart, laugh-out-loud funny and above all, recognizable to women everywhere.

 Pearshaped

I had this book recommended to me by author Fiona Gibson (look at me name dropping!). We’d been talking about previous novels we liked, and as she loved You Had Me at Hello as much as I did, I thought I could trust her judgement. Then, when Laura decided to have it as Novelkicks’ book club book of the month in February I knew I had to read it.

It really was good, really good. Sophie is written so well, she’s a character I couldn’t help liking. James is an idiot, you can’t help disliking him. I find such vastly different views on two of the main characters brilliant, my emotions being mixed during the novel!

When I was younger I went through a relationship very similar to James and Sophie’s, so I totally ‘got’ it, and I know Sophie grew as a character because of it, just as I did as a person.

Enough of the characters, enough of the story – food! Mmmmm. Sophie is a dessert creator for a supermarket chain, and food lover (and I think Ms Newman must be too). I am too (the lover bit not the creator bit) and some of the pages were so alive with desserts and other foods. They were described so well, and sounded so good, I’m sure I dribbled a few times. I almost feel like put on weight reading it!

My only criticism, is one very similar to one I’ve had before, I think the cover blurb gives too much away, I think it would be so much better as a do they/don’t they novel, but I can’t take that away from Newman at all.

Heat magazine summed this book up brilliantly, ‘If you are a girl with a passion for food, (which I totally am), this modern city heartbreak is the book for you.’ Read it, you won’t regret it. I’m already massively looking forward to her next novel – Leftovers which comes out in the next few weeks.