Tag Archive | On Writing

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!

Old Book, New Book and Still No Writing

I finished Stephen King’s On Writing last week, and have now started reading another book.

On Writing: what can I say? I loved it, I learnt loads, and it really really made me want to write more. When I say more, I couldn’t really be writing any less at the moment so maybe that should say ‘it really made me want to write.’ Honestly when he was talking about writing, I was getting really excited about it myself.

I just don’t know what my problem is. I really want to, but there’s just something stopping me. To be honest over the last few days it has honestly been time. Tonight is my first night at home since last Thursday (after being ‘stranded’ in hotels earlier in the week because of a power cable problem causing no electricity in the flat, and a very busy social life) so when I got in tonight (an hour early thanks to a site visit finishing early) I had domestic stuff to do. Sigh.

My plan to try to do some writing during my lunch hour is being wrecked at the moment by being so busy at work. Yesterday I stopped just to get a sandwich from the canteen and to write a really quick blog. Maybe 15 mins max. Hopefully I’ve cleared enough stuff to enable me to have a lunch break again, and get into the habit of writing then.

I’m going to try really hard to do some tomorrow night. I’m not going out, so should be able to do some. It’s Fiction Friday the day after, so I can do that piece. Maybe something else.

That went a bit off topic of On Writing didn’t it. I’d love to be able to share half of what he said in it, but I’d much rather suggest you go read it if you haven’t. My step mum loved it and she’s not a writer, so even if you’re not a writer I’d suggest you go read it. If you do want to read about anything in it, I couldn’t help but blogging about a few things a week or so ago, so take a look at this.

As I said earlier, I’m now reading another book. This is really exciting as it’s the first book for my A to Z challenge and for my Mystery and Suspense Challenge. Jeff Abbott’s A Kiss Gone Bad (as you can see from my side bar). A for Abbott because I’m going to read the books in the order of the alphabet. So far (about page 20) I’m enjoying it. Which is good considering I’d never heard of it, and only really picked it up because it was cheap and fitted the model of Thriller & Suspense novels for my 2010¬† challenge. I’d heard of Fear and Panic (two of his other books), but from the names I thought they were horror so stayed well away. Obviously I can’t say how much I’ll like the rest of the book, but from the bit I’ve read, I’m glad I picked up this book!

I’m looking forward to this 26 book challenge for the A-Z challenge. But, I have a little problem. I’m reading A. Jeff Abbott. But, on my bedside table, I have another book. A book whose author’s surname also begins with A. Damn. It’s Cecelia Ahern’s The Book of Tomorrow. It’s been on my TBR¬†list for ages and I finally¬†got it for Christmas. I don’t want to wait until I’ve read 26 other books before I read it. So, I’ve decided, not all the books I read this year will be for the challenge. I’m hoping to read more than 26 anyway, so it doesn’t matter too much. I do like the fact I’m going to go A-A-B… and so on. I’m almost tempted to do a double A-Z challenge (2 As, 2 Bs, 2¬†Cs etc), but I’d like to do something other than read this year, and I don’t know if I’d be able to if I was trying to read 52 books. Not when we’re pretty much done with 1/12 of the year!

Right I’m off to watch a film. I know what you’re thinking, you’re thinking I should be writing not watching a film. But I’m not going to. After all the housework I’ve done, and how busy I’ve been at work the last 2 weeks, I think I deserve a bit of R&R! Tomorrow. I promise.

Currently Reading: Stephen King’s On Writing

I warn you, pretty much all this post is going to be about is this wonderful book… and I’m only just over halfway through.

On Writing was the first, and by far the most frequently recommended book on writing I’ve heard about. I was therefore quite surprised to hear my Step Mum had read it – she isn’t and never has been a writer. BUT, she’s a Stephen King fan – a massive one.

I¬†on the other hand, am not. Those books of his I’ve read, or movies I’ve seen I have enjoyed, but I’m not too big on horror. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I don’t like him, I know he’s massively talented, he just doesn’t write what I read. It would be a very boring world if EVERYONE read his novels though!

Anyway. Discovering the Step Mum loved the book made me want to read it even more – there must be more to it than just writing advice, or a non writer wouldn’t have read and enjoyed it. Fast forward two years and I got it for¬†Christmas. Woo!¬†Fast forward three weeks and I too am loving it.

There are so many things I want to say about it, but if I do that then¬†I’d feel like I’d taken away some of the magic for anyone¬†that hasn’t read it but plans to¬†– there’s no way I could tell a story like Stephen King. But¬†I will share a couple (three actually)¬†of bits that have really stuck with me.

The first is that earlier on he gave a lot of story about him and his wife. He then went on to say – and this is the important bit – that you need to have someone in your life that believes in you, you and your writing. He said that if his wife had at any point (before he sold anything BIG)¬†have stopped encouraging him and maybe suggested giving up, he would have done. But she supported him, and look where he is now. I have that. I’m so lucky that my boyfriend fully backed me, encouraged me and yeah, supported me from when I first said I wanted to do a writing course and write all the way through to now. Even when we split up for a few months last year, he still supported and encouraged me. Sometimes I take it for granted, but I shouldn’t – it’s a wonderful thing I have. I am SO lucky.

Anyway, away from the gushiness!

The second thing that’s stuck with me has made me feel pretty good about my lack of writing right now. Mr King says to write, you need somewhere TO write. Somewhere you can close the door to the outside world and get taken away to the world that’s being created on the pages. Hmm. Just after NaNo finished I moved in with my boyfriend and his housemate. Three of us live in a two bedroom flat. There’s always someone around¬†so I don’t have any of my own space. About this time, I stopped writing. OK, I know you’re thinking I’m making excuses (it did after all take me about six months to start writing again after NaNo¬†2009 finished) but it’s an interesting thought.

I’ve never really had anywhere that’s My Writing place. I do wonder if I did have somewhere if I’d get more done – especially in these very dry after NaNo months. In a couple of months I’m moving again (joys) this time in with just the boyfriend (genuine joys this time!!). We’re going to get two bedrooms. Only we’ll¬†use one bedroom as an office. Excited? Me? The word doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel about that.

Me not writing leads me on to the third and final thing from the book. Since I was maybe¬†a quarter into the book, I’ve had a strong desire to pick up a pen or open a word document¬†and do some writing. It’s just SO inspiring. However, he’s just taken it up a level. He’s put forward an interesting situation and suggested the readers write¬†it. A challenge is that? My my, that’s something NTWG likes isn’t it. So, as I was cleaning the bathroom (honestly, my life is¬†so exciting¬†isn’t it!) I started thinking about what I was going to write.

I don’t have much of it planned (the kind of idea of it is to prove you don’t need to plan so that’s probably for the best) but I have bits and pieces. And such a strong desire to write it that I can’t wait to finish this blog and get on with it. Isn’t that great!

So there we go, I end this to go write. Ahh, such sweet sweet words. And tomorrow’s Fiction Friday. And I’ve already started writing my piece. Oh today is a good day ūüôā

Weekend Round Up

It’s quite a nice feeling, having something to write about. Granted I’m only encouraged to write because the other half is watching some rubbish kick-em all film so I’m having to find something else to do (I did try, but when someone was shot in the first five minutes and he literally exploded I decided it wasn’t my cup of tea!), but still, I’m blogging, and I’ve got something to say – YAY!

First of all, after about two years of people saying I should read Stephen King’s On Writing, I finally picked it up at the end of last week (it was a Christmas present – you have to love Christmas!). To start with I thought it was a bit strange – it literally was just¬†chapter after chapter of little memories from his childhood. Strange, but not bad, because each memory shaped where he is now. It’s now starting to get really good, him selling his first story, novel etc. I got tingles on the tube when I was reading about his first HUGE payment for Carrie.

One of the most interesting things I’ve read so far, is that he didn’t and still doesn’t like the character Carrie. So far, I’ve made every one of my MCs likeable. When I’ve posted stories on here from Holiday and people have said they don’t like Dan (because, lets face it, he is a male slut), I’ve been quite upset because I love him. He comes from my imagination therefore to me, almost feels like my baby (yeah, I don’t have kids!). I can’t imagine writing about someone I don’t like. Yet. Maybe in time that will come…?

Another thing I’m getting from it, is a really big want to write. I guess it started last week when I thought about doing, and then wrote something for Fiction Friday. Then I spent quite a bit of time reading On Writing over the weekend, and since then I’ve got a craving to get my laptop and write. I don’t know why I’ve not done that. I guess I wouldn’t know what to work on, whether to carry on with my NaNo book, The Dating Project, or go back to Holiday. I guess there’s always Italian Infatuation that I could edit. Sigh.

I think I’m a little scared of The Dating Project, because I KNOW it needs editing a whole lot, and I don’t really want to. Not that I need to, what I really need to do is finish it. But then I really need to finish Holiday too. And think of a better name for it.

Because starting to write one of them again feels like such a big leap, I think I might do a few smaller things first. I might work on a piece for Fiction Friday, and maybe use a few daily prompts to get me back into writing.

Over the Christmas holiday I bought a couple of Jeff Abbott books. I didn’t WANT to buy two, but my boyfriend was sick of waiting for me to decide which one I wanted that he said he’d buy them both (result!). I was undecided because they were in the same series, but I couldn’t work out which came first (they said they were published in the same year – they lied). Anyway, point of this (other than I have a wonderful boyfriend) is that I’ve got my first book to read for this year’s Mystery & Suspense Challenge. A Kiss Gone Bad. I’m looking forward to it.

Right, I’m going to go and look at Fiction Friday now… Wow, I don’t think I’ve ever done it before Thursday!

Christmas – Done!

It’s all over for another year ūüė¶¬† I’m now back at home and back at work – but at least only for two days before I get another four off.¬† Gotta love New Year being before a weekend!

Christmas went well.¬† I went up north with a few books to give to my step mum, she’s an avid reader like me, but came back with an even bigger stack of books.¬† Love it.¬† For presents¬†I got given the first two novels in Stieg¬†Larsson’s¬†Millenium trilogy.¬† I’ve also had promises that I’m going to get (they had to be ordered specially and didn’t arrive in time) Stephen King’s On Writing and Cathy Yardley’s Will Write For Shoes. Yay!

I also got a stack of books in return for mine from my step mum.¬† I told her about my Thriller & Suspense¬†challenge and she suggested¬†I read Michael Connelly – the guy I was saying last week I’d like to read.¬† She gave me a few of his books and some other thrillers.¬†

During a couple of shopping trips I found:¬†two very cheap Mills & Boon books (yes cheaper than normal), I couldn’t help getting them for more ‘research’; Then in a couple of cheap books in a supermarket – The Crush by Sandra Brown¬†and a chick lit one.¬† My stack of books is getting bigger and bigger.¬† I could do with¬†another bookshelf soon (my room’s too small so I can’t and because¬†I rent¬†I can’t spread out of my room- damn).

I didn’t do much reading over the festive period.¬† The book I’m reading is good, so I would have liked to, but there just wasn’t the time.¬† As we’re so quiet at work today, we’re taking really long breaks, so I’ve already got some reading time in today – will have loads more by the end of the day.¬† As it’s pouring with rain I doubt I’ll be going out so it’s reading all the way for me!¬†

I gave three copies of the first draft of Italian Infatuation away for Christmas.¬† One to my mum, one to my step mum and one to my boyfriend’s mum (see a pattern there?).¬† My boyfriend offered to print them at work, but also got them properly binded.¬†¬†They looked pretty cool.¬† I was really impressed.¬† Hopefully so will they be.¬† I’m just waiting for their comments now…¬† Ony 3 days until I let myself touch it, yay.¬†

When I start editing, I think I’m going to read through it all not touching it to start with.¬† Then once I’m happy with the story as¬†a whole, I’ll go through it with a fine tooth comb.¬† I’m not sure¬†if that’s the best way to do it.¬† I’m open to suggestions if anyone else thinks another way is better!¬† I think I’ll set the end of March as a deadline to revise it.¬† Having never done this before I have no idea if this is a realistic target or not, but it’s a target and that’s what I need.¬†

I also haven’t done any writing since last week.¬† It was Christmas –¬†I’m letting myself off.¬† I’m getting back on it today.¬† Not sure what I’ll write, but I’m sure something will come to me!

The other thing I gave away for Christmas¬†was the first draft of a children’s story (well three very short stories).¬† It/they were inspired by my boyfriend, so he got a copy of that.¬† I don’t know much about children’s stories, so not sure where that will go.¬† He’s not read it, so I’m waiting for his reaction, but my mum has –¬†it made her cry.¬† Not sure if that’s the reaction I was looking for, but it is quite sad to start with so guess I should expect it.¬† I didn’t think it was that sad though.¬† Think I need to look into children’s stories.¬† I’ve got a friend who has illustrated a children’s book which is about to be published – she said she’d love to do a few pictures for mine, yay!