Tag Archive | The Memory Collector

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!

Really Good Books

I was thinking earlier it would be really good to do a blog today. Then I started wondering what I could write – it’s not like I’m actually writing is it. So that would leave… reading. I’m really enjoying the book I’m reading now Jeff Abbott’s A Kiss Gone Bad, and the thought of that led me to… I’m reading a lot of really good books at the moment.

In 2009 I only read 17 or something books, and only a handful of them really stood out. I think I tried to do a top ten books I read that year, but didn’t have a top ten. There just weren’t enough good ones there.

Last year was the opposite. I read 45 books, and enjoyed a huge number of them. So, what better way to spend a blog, than with my top books of last year. I was thinking top ten, but going through my list, I’ve actually made a top twenty. Hope it’s not too boring:

YA:

  • Twilight by Stephanie Meyer (I only read this to prove to people I wouldn’t like it. I loved it. I think it’s my favourite book of the year)
  • Avalon High by Meg Cabot (When I was researching YA novels before writing mine, I knew I had to read one of Ms Cabot’s books – the queen of teen and all that)
  • Summer Dreams Winter Love by Mary Francis Shura (this was my favourite book growing up, and I wanted to read it again. It still had that magic)
  • Della Says… OMG by Keris Stainton (I loved the sound of this when I started following Keris’ blog, and was lucky enough to get invited to her launch party where she signed the book. After all that I was so glad I loved it)

Chick Lit:

  • Love Lies by Adele Parks (I got given a small booklet on the street. It was the first two chapters. I couldn’t read just that, I had to get the whole book and read it.  But then I love Adele Parks so would have had to get it at some point anyway)
  • Foursome by Jane Fallon (This is the best book I read in this category. I loved everything about it, and will definitely be on the lookout for more books by her)
  • Husbands by Adele Parks (what can I say? I love the lady, I had to read more than one)
  • The Happy Home for Broken Hearts by Rowan Coleman (I got a copy of this from the publisher to review. I was pretty scared I wouldn’t like it then there would be loads of pressure on me to say something nice about it. Luckily it was great – it was Rowan Coleman, of course it was great)
  • The Baby Group by Rowan Coleman (ditto the great comment above)
  • What My Best Friend Did by Lucy Dawson (another that is in my top three of the year I imagine. Great. Not sure if it’s really chick lit, but I think it belongs here)
  • Ralph’s Party by Lisa Jewell (I read this when it came out ten years ago,  but after winning a ticket to an evening with Lisa, I thought I should re-read it before I went. So glad I did, I’d forgotten how good it was. And Lisa Jewell – she’s awesome and funny, and has a great story of how she got published. I like the idea that mine could go the same way…)

Thrillers:

  • Until It’s Over by Nicci French (my step mum gave me this, saying she loved it. Well, so did her step daughter)
  • The Memory Collector by Meg Gardiner (Although this is only the second book of hers I’ve read, I am a huge Meg Gardiner fan, and this is my favourite book. Can’t wait to start on her other series of books)
  • Too Close to Home by Linwood Barclay (Again second book of his I’ve read. Again this is my favourite)
  • Random by Craig Robertson (I got this free from the publisher because of doing the Thriller & Suspense Reading Challenge. It’s his debut book, and it’s brilliant)
  • The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo & The Girl Who Played with Fire both by Stieg Larsson (I only picked the first up because of the Thriller & Suspense Reading Challenge. I was so glad I did. I watched the movie too – it sucked)

 Sci-Fi:

  • The Caves of Steel by Asimov (I read this on recommendation from the other half. He thought I should read something DIFFERENT, so I did. I didn’t want to enjoy it, but I did. I want to read the rest in the Robot series)
  • 1984 by George Orwell (It’s a classic – I had to read it at some time. This was the year. It totally deserves the hype it gets)

I really hope 2011 is as good for books as last year was. I’m on book three, and so far it’s certainly shaping up that way!

What were your favourite books from last year?

Thriller & Suspense Reading Challenge 2010 Round-Up

Around Christmas I wrote a blog and in it had a big long moan about how badly I thought I’d done in this challenge. After that I sat down and worked out what thriller or suspense books I’d read throughout the year and was shocked to realise I’d actually read 11. Wow! I then thought about all the other books I’d read over the year, and went over to the host of the challenge Book Chick City to see what other people had read. shockingly someone had reviewed Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger. I wasn’t too sure if it was a thriller or suspense, but as someone else had used it, guess what? I’m really happy to use it.

So that means… I completed the challenge. WOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOO! The thing I haven’t done is review all the books yet, but I will get there. Here’s the list of them – the highlighted ones are linked to the review. The unhighlighted ones will have a review as soon as I can add it.

There you have it, my 12 books. I’m really happy I did it. I think the challenge pushed me to read more thrillers than I would have normally done, because I tend to favour chick lit and romance. I don’t know why I do that, I really love thrillers.

One of my aims of doing this challenge was to introduce myself to new authors. I certainly did that. The first book I read, a Sandra Brown book, I only picked up because of the challenge. I was so glad I did – I totally love both of her books I read during the challenge. I can’t wait to read more of hers.

Nicci French was introduced to me by my Step Mum. Again because I told her about the challenge so she gave me that book. I totally loved it, and will be looking out for more Nicci French books this year, and in the future.

Simon & Schuster sent all the people in this challenge an ARC of one of two novels. I was so happy I got Random by Craig Robertson. I hated the goreiness of it, but loved that at the same time. Last time I saw his update on Twitter, he was writing a new book. When it gets published I’ll be first in line to read it.

I honestly wouldn’t have read Asimov if it wasn’t for this challenge and my boyfriend convincing me it would work really well for the challenge. Sci-fi? Me? Nah! But, yeah. I actually enjoyed it. So much so, I’m going to read the other books in the Robot series. I don’t think I’ll read any others of his though, Sci-fi does still… I was going to say scare me, but I think it just doesn’t interest me that much. Hopefully he’ll (the boyfriend) will bully (!!) me into reading more of Asimov, or maybe another sci-fi writer – and he’ll find something easy-reading that I’ll ‘get’.

I’ve had the Judith Cutler book (and another) for years and didn’t pick it up in all that time. This challenge made me pick it up. I’ll definitely be reading the other one I’ve got of her’s (Dying to Fall) and probably the rest of that series.

That’s it. All the others I think I would have read anyway. But that’s pretty impressive – five authors that now I’ll be looking out for, that would have pasted right by me without the challenge.

I’m really impressed with how much I enjoyed the books I chose for this challenge. Looking at this list, I can genuinely say I loved each and every one of them. How good is that?!

I only have one small regret to come from this challenge. At the beginning of 2010 I looked around the internet and got recommendations of authors from people/places (including other people taking the challenge) and got a list of authors I wanted to read. But, I didn’t read any of them. That upsets me. But I’ll get over it. Just because the challenge is over… doesn’t mean I have to stop reading thrillers & suspense novels.

Plus… You never know what other challenges will be round the corner in 2011…

July Review

So, as I made goals for July, I guess I should review them. If I have to. Which I do because there’s no point making them if I’m going to stick them in a cupboard and ignore them. So. I think I’ll tackle one at a time.

Write 250 words a day, 5 times a week. Well. I did some writing. No where near 5 days a week. I also totally forgot to keep track of when and what I wrote but I know it wasn’t that often.

5 blogs per week. I did 5 blogs a week for 2 weeks, and 4 the other 2 weeks. A pretty good effort I think.

Finish American Gods by Neil Gaiman and read two other novels. Oh I totally rocked this goal. AG finished. Four other books read. Yes FOUR! The Happy Home for Broken Hearts by Rowan Coleman, Love in the Air by James Collins, The Baby Group by Rowan Coleman and The Memory Collector by Meg Gardiner. Woop, that’s great. Maybe this month I should think more about WRITING than READING. Still, both the Rowan Coleman ones and the Meg Gardiner were BRILLIANT. In fact I stayed up way too late the last two nights to finish The Happy Home…!

Spend two hours per week on my writing course. Well, last week I probably spent more than two hours on it. But hadn’t touched it the rest of the month. Damn again.

So what have I learnt from this? I should maybe read a little less this month and write more. And definitely work more on my writing course.

I’ll set some goals for this month in the next couple of days, but it’s going to be hard when I know I’ll need to be job hunting. 250 words a day is not much though. I could do it in the morning or before bed if I can’t find time anywhere else (which I doubt I won’t be able to do!).

In other news, I had the most productive evening ever last night. After work I went to the recording of a TV show (‘Pointless’, pretty funny) so got in late. I planned to do the Bathroom, a Blog and Book (I was loving Bs). I managed to do the bathroom, post a blog, finish a book AND do some ironing. I need to take last night’s motivation for getting things done in the evening and carry it on to every other night of my life. Ooh, except tonight, I’m going out for dinner then to watch Inception. Can’t wait!

Flying Pigs

Oh. My. God. Rowan Coleman’s Short Story Competition CLOSES on FRIDAY. And where am I with my story? Well, I can’t tell you that cause my memory stick isn’t working on my computer here at work. And typically that’s where it’s stored!  That’s so annoying.

So, yeah. I really need to get a move on with this story. 4 days. Eek. Agh. Ahhhhhh!

Should be writing, not blogging…

Really should be…

But I can only access the story from home, so may as well carry on with this blog (don’t say I never try though!).

I’ve read so much this weekend. I had to work Saturday and Sunday on job numero 2, which was horrible, but it mean that I spent more than an hour on the tube a day – reading time! Plus the weather was so nice when I got home on Saturday, I went and sat in the park with my book. That means I’ve nearly finished The Memory Collector by Meg Gardiner.

*

Ok, I’ve just had a break and finished it. I’m pretty sure a thriller like that isn’t supposed to make you cry – especially not when you’re sat in the work canteen. I always see it as a good thing though – it means I’ve connected with the characters and I care. I did. Her next book in the series, Liar’s Lullaby, is available to buy now too. Can’t wait to read it!

Damn, I’ve just realised I need to do a review for The Memory Collector for my Thriller & Suspense reading challenge. Not until I’ve done my short story for Rowan Coleman.

I’m pretty sure that’s all I can waste my time writing about. I’ve been doing an early shift today, which means I will actually have an evening to myself tonight. I’ve been planning on going to the gym, but my back’s hurting so I’m not sure if it’s a good idea. Maybe I’ll go home, have dinner and write. Maybe pigs will fly… (and you were wondering where the title came from.)

Writing, Reading and Editing (or not?)

Ok, so I’ve done my writing for today. I’m trying for 250 a day, so 445 is good right? Does it matter that I’m going to delete 223 of them? I think I still wrote them so they should count – right? It’s not like this is NaNo where I need a certain number by the end of the month – it’s just to encourage ME to write. Right?

I’ve started this week’s Fiction Friday piece already. One of my FF buddies Walt always does his at the beginning of the week so when I was chatting to him yesterday I though I’d give it a crack starting then – rather than what I usually do which is read it for the 1st time and write it on Friday (god knows what I’ll do on Friday).

I’m not too sure where I’m going with it. I started it yesterday with a bit of an idea, but halfway through the idea changed. When I read it back today (all 150 odd words of it) it didn’t make that much sense as the idea changed in the piece, but I carried on with it anyway. Then I decided I couldn’t carry on anymore, so cut more than half of it, and started over. I think this idea’s working better.

I’ve never done that before. For Fiction Friday’s stories I always write and write until I feel I’ve done enough, or I have a finished story. I’ve never gone back and changed it. I feel sad for the words I’ve cut out. Sad that the idea’s gone.

I think maybe that’s why I’m struggling to start editing Italian Infatuation (yeah, you might remember that name – I’ve not written ANYTHING about it for ages and ages!). Ok, I started editing, but got to what, maybe page five? And pages one to four all need to be scrapped. I think I don’t want to delete so much. It’s sad they got written but will just get thrown away. Although the first few hundred will probably creep up somewhere in the future.

I started reading The Memory Collector by Meg Gardiner last night. When I was on the 3rd page I realised I’d read that bit before. My heart sank – had I read the book before? I racked my brain and couldn’t think of anything else about it except this scene. Then I remembered I must have read the first chapter on Meg’s website. Or Amazon. Or somewhere. I nearly wept with relief. I’ve done that before – bought a book then realised I’d already read it.

I’ve also done the opposite and not read a book cause I think I have – but am not sure. I’ve probably done that loads actually, but I’m specifically thinking of Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married by Marian Keyes. I think I’ve read it, but may be getting mistaken with watching the TV program it was made into. But I don’t remember any of it. I bought it from the library when they had a sale months ago, but haven’t picked it up, cause you know, I may have read it.

It’s only 10 days until the closing date for Rowan Coleman’s Short Story Competition. I have my ideas and bits and pieces written so far, but I can’t seem to make myself actually write anything properly. I think it’s cause although I love the idea of my story, I don’t know if there’s enough meat to it. I need dialogue, but I’m not sure how I’m going to get it in there. I guess I’ll never know if I don’t try!

I’ll go have a break, then start it when I get back.

A Quick Little Ramble

This is why I like goals. Without a July goal to post 5 blogs a week, I’d turn my computer off now and go to bed. But I have this goal, so instead I’ll sit and do a quick blog (aren’t they the ones that usually go on forever?!)

I finished American Gods by Neil Gaiman today. I enjoyed it, but I have no idea why. It’s not my kind of thing, and for half of it I was questioning what the hell was going on. Still, glad I read it. I was really amused by a bit I read today *spoiler alert* – it was a bit where the MC discovers there’s a god living in a town, and keeping it safe and stuff, but the price is the death of a child of the town each year. Amused me cause I wrote a story for Fiction Friday months ago where the devil came and took the town’s children as part of a condition of a deal made years ago. Get me,one of my ideas is similar to NEIL GAIMAN’s. He he!

I got The Memory Collector by Meg Gardiner for my birthday yesterday (my birthday’s my excuse for not blogging yesterday). I’ll be starting that tonight or tomorrow. I can’t wait, I’ve wanted to read it for AGES!

I missed a week of Fiction Friday a few weeks ago as I was away, but last week I started a story for it regardless. I read it today, I love the premise of it, but don’t know where to take it, it’s obviously only a short story, and the couple obvioulsy get together, but I don’t know if that’s enough. I like my short stories to have twists. I seem to be quite good at twists.

Ok that really is it. Bed for me now!