Wednesday 30 November 2011

Book 1 - I've Done It!!!

I have finished the second draft - yay!

I didn't think I was ever going to get there. I think it still needs another draft (with not so much work this time) in the new year but I'm one step closer and it feels good

I do feel a bit of a fool though as I assumed 'editing' it would mean a spellcheck and some tweaking. Ok, quite a bit of tweaking but not nearly as much tweaking as I ended up with.

The first draft was 78, 989 words.

I've cut 50, 879 words (I really can write pap)

And ended up with a 90, 426 word second draft.

So a lot of work has gone into this draft! I'm suddenly feeling exhausted...

30 Day Book Talk - Day 30

It's the last day of the 30 Day Book Talk :-( but at least I have a question I can answer easily today!

Your favorite book of all time

This has to be The Animals of Farthing Wood. It was the first book I ever bought and it means a lot to me. I enjoyed it as a child and I've enjoyed reading it to my oldest daughter. In a few years I'll be able to read it my youngest and who knows, in the future I could even read it my grandchildren (scary, scary thought).

Book 1 - Taking a Step Back & Short Stories

For most of last week, I was riddled with more germs and I was in no mood for writing. Keeping my eyes open was enough of a struggle. So I took a few days off writing and it helped me to see where I was going wrong (again). The last chapter wasn't working but after taking a step back, I realised the problem went back further and so I have gone back to rectify the problem (hopefully). Once that's done, I think the last chapter, after some more tweaking, will be a lot better.

At the weekend, I finished the first draft of my Christmas short story, which I am writing for fun and to share on here. I originally had a different short story to share but while writing it, it felt like it was a pilot for a full novel. I enjoyed bringing the characters to life and I think they have a lot more than 2,000 words to offer so I am keeping hold of it to work on at another point and I have completed a new one.

Tuesday 29 November 2011

30 Day Book Talk - Day 29

Eek! Where has the month gone since I started the 30 Day Book Talk?

A book everyone hated but you liked

Another difficult-to-answer one. I've only recently discovered blogs and I very rarely buy books online so I never really knew anybody else's opinions on books so I don't know what 'everyone' hated. It doesn't really matter to me anyway - if I like a book, I like it, no matter what anyone else thinks.

Inspiration - Where Do You Get Yours From?

I love writing and always have done since I was a little girl but there are times when doubt sets in and I think I am never going to be published or I have run out of motivation but there are some things that have me reaching for my pen and paper (or laptop).

Acknowledgements have always been a great source of inspiration for me and I love reading them when I open a new a book. They make me determined to write my book so that I can one day write my own acknowledgements in my own book.

Six months ago, I discovered blogs. I didn't start up my own to begin with but trawled through Lola Jaye's old blog, starting right at the beginning and following her quest to become a published writer.

I then started my own blog because somehow, I couldn't find a blog for an unpublished writer (I'm sure I was searching for the right thing but nothing was coming up). So I set up my own in July and it's been brilliant. Through Blogger and Twitter I have found those aspiring writers who all want the same thing I do.

I have also found published authors who started blogs as aspiring writers and have gone back to read through their journeys. Cally Taylor, Miranda Dickinson and Ali McNamara have inspired me without knowing, just by blogging.

What inspires you and keeps you motivated to write?

Monday 28 November 2011

30 Day Book Talk - Day 28

We're nearing the end of the 30 Day Book Talk already!

Favorite title(s)

From Notting Hill With Love Actually

It is the perfect title for the book, mashing together the titles of some of the films that are important to the whole concept of the book.

Miracle on Regent Street by Ali Harris

First on my Christmas (Reading) List was Miracle on Regent Street by Ali Harris.

Evie Taylor feels invisible; she's been working at Hardy's for two years yet nobody knows her real name. Instead, they call her Sarah, who was the previous stockroom girl she replaced. But when Evie overhears a conversation between the store's management, revealing the threat of closure of the hundred year old store, Evie knows she must do something to save all their jobs.

First of all the cover (because they are important, despite what we are told about not judging). I loved the cover of this book. The turquoise and black with hints of pink were gorgeous, especially with the teeny sequins. It was perfect and definitely drew me in before I'd even read the blurb.

After the gorgeous cover, the story didn't disappoint. It was warm and light with great characters and I was willing Evie to stand up and tell everyone who was behind the makeovers at Hardy's. The store itself is like another character who just needs a bit of love to make her sparkle again.

I loved how the chapters were grouped into the days counting down to Christmas. There was a deadline for Hardy's to be saved and you feel it drawing closer with each day that passes.

I really enjoyed reading Miracle on Regent Street and found it to be a perfect Christmas read.

Sunday 27 November 2011

30 Day Book Talk - Day 27

Day 27 of the 30 Day Book Talk:

The most surprising plot twist or ending

Another Rachel's Holiday for me for today. It's the part I love most about the book - you are hearing the story from Rachel's perspective, thinking her family are overreacting but through therapy, she (and the reader) learn what is really happening.

Saturday 26 November 2011

30 Day Book Talk - Day 26

There are only a few days left of the 30 Day Book Talk. It's gone by really fast!

A book that changed your opinion about something

Hmm, this is a tough one. I read mainly 'light' books so I can't say they change my opinion on anything - they're there to provide fun and a bit of an escape. Sorry, that's not a very good answer, is it?

Friday 25 November 2011

30 Day Book Talk - Day 25

Day 25 of the 30 Day Book Talk:

A character who you can relate to the most

This would probably be Evie Taylor from Miracle on Regent Street as she often feels invisible and I've always been a quiet person who likes to blend into the background.

Christmas Crafts - Foam Snowmen & Christmas Trees

We began our Christmas crafts at the weekend, armed with a pack of foam sheets, glittery pipe cleaners, metallic markers and a yogurt pot of glue. I cut out snowmen, hats, trees and circles from the foam sheets and we stuck them together to make the cute snowmen and trees. It cost very little and it was easy enough for the youngest to join in too.

We're going to stick them up around the house when we decorate for Christmas but you could also add some ribbon to the back to make tree decorations.

Thursday 24 November 2011

30 Day Book Talk - Day 24

It's day 24 of the 30 Day Book Talk and I'm going to have to bang on about The Animals of Farthing Wood again.

A book that you wish more people would’ve read

Animals of Farthing Wood - I don't actually know how many people have (or haven't) read the book but I never see it mentioned in the children's lists of top books. It's ace and should be those lists!

Wednesday 23 November 2011

Book 1 & Boo's Birthday

The end is in sight with the second draft but I seem to have stalled. The last chapter is crap. Really crap. It's THE scene, the one where they finally see sense and get together and live happily ever after so I can't leave it in the state it is in. The only problem is, I can't see a way to make it uncrap. It feels like I'm back at the beginning with a whole load of work ahead of me. I know I'll have to just get on with it but I've got another cold and can't face it.

Moving on from all the gloom, today is my youngest's third birthday. I can't believe three years have passed already but hopefully she'll realise she's no longer in the terrible twos age bracket (yeah, right).

I have baked her a birthday cake today and attempted to make it an Iggle Piggle one. It doesn't look too bad if you squint at it.

It's a chocolate cake (as requested by Boo) with vanilla buttercream in the middle and vanilla frosting and chocolate beans on top. All it needs now is a candle!

30 Day Book Talk - Day 23

It's day 23 of the 30 Day Book Talk

A book you wanted to read for a long time but still haven’t

Any of Jill Mansell's books. I was recommended them by another blogger and bought three of her books back in August but I haven't got round to reading any of them yet. But I will in the new year.

Tuesday 22 November 2011

30 Day Book Talk - Day 22

It's Day 22 of the 30 Day Book Talk and I think I'm going to have to repeat myself on this one so apologies in advance.

Favorite book you own

Rachel's Holiday by Marian Keyes. I first read this book from the library but loved it and bought a copy of my own. I love how you see the story from Rachel's perspective, thinking her family are overreacting until the truth starts to unravel.

Monday 21 November 2011

30 Day Book Talk - Day 21

It's day 21 of the 30 Day Book Talk!

Favorite book from your childhood

Oh, this one is easy peasy! It has to be The Animals of Farthing Wood. I adored it when I was a child and I adore it now. It's a very special book to me, especially as it was the first book I ever bought myself. My teacher at the time read it to the class and I loved it so much I used a month's worth of pocket money to buy it.

I love The Animals of Farthing and have a little collection of magazines, stickers and figures, which I started collecting a couple of years ago.

Sunday 20 November 2011

30 Day Book Talk - Days 19 & 20

Time to catch up with 30 Book Talk as I missed yesterday's.

Favorite book turned into a movie
The books I read aren't turned into movies very often (let's not talk about Marian Keyes' Watermelon - I try to forget I ever watched it).

Off the top of my head, I can only think of one, which wasn't from my usual genre. I read it as part of an online book club and it was Interview With A Vampire

There have been films made that I've watched (and enjoyed) but never actually read the book.

Favorite romance book

I don't tend to read 'Romance' books. I read a lot of chick lit and romantic comedies and I did try a Mills & Boon a few months ago but I wasn't a fan.

Friday 18 November 2011

30 Day Book Talk - Day 18

I have an answer for the 30 Day Book Talk today!

A book that disappointed you

This would have be Spellbound by Jane Green. I'd always loved her books and couldn't wait for her new one to be released. When the hardback copy came out, I bought it but I couldn't help feeling disappointed at the end. It didn't seem like Jane's other books and it became a Desperate Housewives type book with huge houses and designer handbags.

Reindeer Parade

On Saturday, not only did I see the Coke advert, making it officially Christmastime, it was the reindeer parade in town. Me and the kids went (the partner had stay behind as the roof was being fixed after a leak in the bedroom). It definitely put me in the Christmas spirit (but then, it doesn't take much).

Thursday 17 November 2011

30 Day Book Talk - Day 17

It's Day 17 of the 30 Day Book Talk and I'm stumped with this one, I'm afraid.

Favorite quote(s) from your favorite book(s)

I have two favourite books to find answers for but I have never noted down my favourite bit from each book. And I don't have time to read through two extra books right now.

Naughty Mama J. I will try to do better tomorrow (and actually answer the question).

My Christmas (Reading) List 2011

Last week, I popped into my local Asda for some cheese after the school drop-off and ended up leaving with four new books. I couldn't help it. They were twinkling at me with all their Christmassy goodness, begging me to add them to my basket.

I already had a couple of Christmas books at home to read so my Christmas Reading List consists of:

  • Miracle on Regent Street by Ali Harris
  • The Xmas Factor by Annie Sanders
  • Comfort & Joy by India Knight
  • Christmas at Tiffany's by Karen Swan
  • Home for Christmas by Cally Taylor
  • It Started With A Kiss by Miranda Dickinson (not technically a Crimbo book but it starts at Christmas and it sparkles)

I'm going to save Home for Christmas and It Started With A Kiss for my holiday. You never know, the kids might let me have a read during the flight (hmmm, very wishful thinking).

What is on your Christmas Reading List?

Wednesday 16 November 2011

30 Day Book Talk - Day 16

On yesterday's 30 Day Book Talk I talked about my favourite male character and today it's time for the ladies.

My favourite female character is Maeve from Jane Green's Babyville. I'm not sure why but every time I read it, I'm always drawn to her out of the three main characters and enjoy her part of the book more than the others.

Blog Awards

A huge thank you to Liz Crump who nominated me for The Liebster Blog award.

Liz said my blog has a happy lay out and chatty, vibrant and honest blog posts
I often think I am waffling away to myself so I really appreciate the award and anybody who pays any attention to my little blog.

In accepting the Liebster Blog Award, the recipient agrees to:
- Thank the person who gave them the award and link back to that person's blog
- Copy and paste the award to their blog
- Reveal the 5 blogs they have chosen to award, commenting on their blog to break the news!
- Hope those people in turn pay it forward by accepting and awarding "The Liebster Blog Award" to bloggers they would like to honour

This award is for anyone with fewer than 200 followers. :)

The five blogs I have chosen are:

  • Bang Out The Prose for great posts that I often find myself nodding along with. Writing can be tough so it's great to know there are other people in the same boat as you. Also love Suz's little drawings too
  • Coffee with Marcie for sharing her journey into self publication.
  • Diary of a Mummy Misfit Blog for her fun posts giving an insight into her life as a writer
  • Emma Silver: Unpublished Author for sharing her quest for publication, which is something I can relate to. Her posts are honest and show how difficult and frustrating it can be for wannabe writers
  • 120 Socks for great posts on writing, book reviews and the latest competitions
Thank you all for sharing and, as Brucie would say, keeeeeep blogging!

Book 1 - Back on Track and Christmas Short Story

With the latest scrunched up post-it note, I caught up with my self-imposed target and am back on schedule.

This week has been a mix of editing scenes already there and writing completely new ones. This draft should be finished within the next two weeks if I keep on track and then I can have a few weeks away from it while it's Christmas and we go on holiday.

I've also been thinking about writing a Christmas short story just for fun, which I did at Halloween and posted on here.

Tuesday 15 November 2011

30 Day Book Talk - Day 15

We're half way through the 30 Day Book Talk already!

Favorite male character
I thought this was one was going to be a difficult one to answer but after the briefest of glances at the bookcase, the answer jumped out at me. It has to be Rossa Considine from Marian Keyes's This Charming Man. I loved that he was manly, despite his fondness of becoming Chloe, which went against the stereotype. I also loved Lola's ditziness at not knowing who Chloe was, especially when she started to fancy her.

Monday 14 November 2011

30 Book Talk - Day 14

Day 14 of the 30 Day Book Talk...

Favorite book of your favorite writer

Yesterday, I confessed to have two favourite authors, Marian Keyes and Lisa Jewell so I will have to have two answers today.

Marian Keyes - Rachel's Holiday

Lisa Jewell - Thirtynothing

Sunday 13 November 2011

30 Day Book Talk - Days 10, 11,12 & 13

Apologies for being a slacker. I've been busy and haven't done my bit for the last few days on the 30 Day Book Talk and didn't even get the chance to schedule them to post automatically so I will have to do a chunk all at once. I'll try to do better from now on.

Day 10

Favorite classic book

I have to admit that I don't read classic books and haven't done since my GCSEs at school where we read Tess of the D'Urbervilles and The Go-Between. They did earn me an A in English Literature so I will have to say they are my 'favourite' (and only) classic books.

Day 11

A book you hated

I don't think I've ever hated a book. I've not enjoyed them and not finished a few in my time (which I hate doing). The most recent book I've disliked (but NOT hated) was Monday to Friday Man but everyone else seems to have enjoyed it.

Day 12

A book you used to love but don’t anymore

I don't think I've ever read a book and thought it was rubbish after loving it first time round so I'm going to cheat and talk about an author I used to love but haven't read any of her new releases for a while, which is Jane Green. I used to buy her new books as soon as they came out but I haven't for quite a while.

Day 13

Your favorite writer

I have two (I'm greedy like that).

Marian Keyes & Lisa Jewell.

Thursday 10 November 2011

All I Want For Christmas...

... is a Mr Frosty. At least I did for the duration of the mid 80s to early 90s. Every Christmas I asked for one but a Mr Frosty never made it's way down my chimney. My mum said it was rubbish but I wanted one soooo much I could have wept for my own loss.

I would wait, I decided. I would be patient, bide my time and purchase one for myself once I was a grown up and enjoy the cold, fruity goodness Mr Frosty provided as much as I wanted.

Of course it never happened. I grew up and realised my mum was right (but shhh, don't tell her that) and Mr Frosty is a bit, well, crap.

I wish I could go back to that sulking kid and tell her not to waste her energy sticking out her bottom lip. She will one day think of Mr Frosty as a rubbish lump of plastic, doing the job any rolling pin (or sturdy object) can do to a bag of ice.

What did you ask Santa for but never receive?

This blog post is in celebration of Cally Taylor's new book, Home for Christmas, which is on sale today.

Beth Prince has always loved fairytales and now, aged twenty-four, she feels like she's finally on the verge of her own happily ever after. She lives by the seaside, works in the Picturebox - a charming but rundown independent cinema - and has a boyfriend who's so debonair and charming she can't believe her luck! There's just one problem - none of her boyfriends have ever told her they love her and it doesn't look like Aiden's going to say it any time soon. Desperate to hear 'I love you' for the first time Beth takes matters into her own hands - and instantly wishes she hadn't. Just when it seems like her luck can't get any worse, bad news arrives in the devilishly handsome shape of Matt Jones. Matt is the regional director of a multiplex cinema and he's determined to get his hands on the Picturebox by Christmas. Can Beth keep her job, her man and her home or is her romantic-comedy life about to turn into a disaster movie?

You can buy Home For Christmas from Amazon here