Friday, 30 March 2012

In March...


... I read:
  • The Ugly Sister by Jane Fallon
  • Idol Hands by Cynthia Hill
  • Millie's Fling by Jill Mansell
  • No Strings Attached by Clare Dowling
  • Heaven Can Wait by Cally Taylor



... Finished the first draft of Book 2 (yay)

... But received rejection number 3 for Book 1 (boo)





The Most Popular Posts at the end of the month are:

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Book 2 - Nothing



It's been almost a week since I finished the first draft of Book 2. I had plans to finish the short story I was working on and start planning Book 3. But I have done neither. I haven't done anything but read and watch tv.

But I worked hard to get that first draft done so I think having a week 'off' from writing is ok. As long as it doesn't turn into another week. Then another and before you know it, I haven't wrote a word for weeks. I always find it harder to get back into writing after a break so I will get back into it this week and if I don't, I will be forced to kick myself up the arse.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Saved by Cake Challenge - March


I have decided to challenge myself to bake a different cake/biscuit from Marian Keyes' book, Saved By Cake, each month, between March and December. I am a beginner at baking and use the same recipes over and over again so it'll be nice to try something new. I will take photos and post them on here each month - the good, the bad and the ugly.


Rock Cakes


First up for my challenge was rock cakes. I chose these because I have never made them before. I've never even tasted a rock cake before because they contain sultanas, which I don't like. Generally, I'm not a fan of dried fruit. Unless they're raisins, covered in chocolate and then they can pop themselves into my mouth until I'm sick.

Bearing this in mind, I was a bit cheeky and replaced the sultanas with glace cherries, which I love. I was wondering how many cherries it would take to make me feel sick. I'm not anymore. It was two. Two.

Waiting to go into the
oven

Apart from the cherries, I followed the recipe exactly. The recipe was very easy to follow, even for a beginner like me and they turned out really well. I don't know what they're supposed to taste like, having never eaten one before, but I enjoyed them and nobody else complained. The batch didn't last very long so I think the result was a thumbs up.

The rock cakes were very easy to make so I think I will be making some again very soon.

Out of the oven and yummy

For more Saved by Cake Challenges click here

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Book 2 - The End



I have done it. 93,788 words. A whole first draft. Beginning, middle and end. Forty two chapters. Lots and lots of pages and lots and lots of evenings spent tapping away at the keyboard. It is complete and backed up and everything.

Please excuse me while I collapse on the sofa.

Ok, I'm already on the sofa but still. Phew.

The End

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Book 2 - So Close To The End of First Draft



98%. I can almost touch The End if I streeeeeetch. But not quite. There are still two chapters to write but then that will be it for the first draft. Then there's only the second draft to go. And that'll be a doddle, right? RIGHT?

Monday, 19 March 2012

Genres



I used to think that 'my' genre was chick lit  and I rarely read anything else. I could have counted on the fingers of one hand the number of books I'd read as an adult that didn't fit into that genre but perhaps I have been restricting myself too much.

My favourite book of last year was The Woman He Loved Before by Dorothy Koomson and two books I struggled to put down already this year were Afterwards by Rosamund Lupton and The Ice-Cream Girls by Dorothy Koomson, none of which I would class as chick lit.

This makes me wonder how many great books I've missed out on over the years because they 'weren't my kind of book' or didn't have a cartoon cover. My mind is definitely more open to other kinds of books now.

But that doesn't mean I am turning my back on chick lit. Far from it. Long reign Chick Lit!


What about you? Do you have a particular genre you stick to or do you like a variety of reads?


Friday, 16 March 2012

Idol Hands by Cynthia Hill



Tara is a 32 year old woman who is stuck in a marriage with a man who would rather fritter away their money than save for their future. As a teenager, Tara fell in love with Aidan, a member of boy band Idol Hands and conducted a secret relationship with him away from the public eye. Tara was left heartbroken when the relationship ended and never truly got over over him. And now it seems neither did Aidan when he admits on a tv show that he still loves Tara.

Tara leaves her husband and embarks on a journey across America to find Aidan so that they begin the life they should have had all those years ago. The journey isn't easy and Tara will have to make some tough decisions along the way.

Idol Hands is told through Tara's perspective in the form of diary entries, which made it very easy to fly through the book. Tara and Aidan's relationship is drip fed to the reader throughout the book and you discover why she was so devastated after the break up and why she is so unhappy with her life.

I thought it was quite childish of Tara to simply run away from her husband but I have to say I loved the ending. I'm now wondering if I should read it all again...

*  *  *  *

Thank you to Cynthia Hill for my review copy


Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Book 2 - 100%... but not really



It looks like I've been typing away like a demon this evening but I haven't. It seems I forgot to update my progress bar last time so it's jumped up a bit more than usual.

But never mind that because I have reached 80,000 words - woo! Victory dance!

(Another) But, although 80,000 words was my original target, I still haven't reached the end of the first draft. I still have another 10,000ish words to go so I will have to change my bar.

It is good to see 100% on my bar though. Although I am a bit disappointed by that white bit at the end. What's that about? It should be all green. Green!



There we go, progress bar has been amended (boo). 89% is still good. Not as good as 100% obviously but still...

Book 2 - 95%... but not really


The first draft of Book 2 is going well. It says 95% on the progress bar but I'm not actually that close to finishing it. As I thought a few weeks ago, this first draft is going to be closer to 90,000 words. I'm not going to change the bar yet though because it looks so good at 95% - cheating, I know but it's my progress bar so I can do what I like :-P

As well as writing Book 2, I'm also still musing about Book 3 and planning (only in my head at the moment) a short story for Hope for Willow Burn. I'm hoping to write some actual words later in the next few days.

So I think that is all there is to report this week. No major problems, no name changes. I'm getting there and The End is definitely in sight.

Monday, 12 March 2012

New TV for March 2012

There are a few new tv shows that have either started this month or about to:

Cougar Town




Cougar Town is back for its third season - yay! I loved the first two so I am very happy it's back.


Love Life


I'll admit the fact this show has Alexander Armstrong in it has lured me in already and it hasn't even started yet. I have high hopes and if Mr Armstrong let's me down... well, there's nothing I can do about it so let's hope he doesn't.

Scott & Bailey




Scott & Bailey is back tonight for its second series. I enjoyed the first series a lot more than I thought I would as I don't watch a great deal of crime/detective shows. I hope they haven't changed the opening credits because part of it was filmed around the corner from my house (on the street I walk on during every school run) so I got extremely exited for the 1/3 of a second it was shown last time round.


Syndicates


Kay Mellor has a new series coming soon on BBC1. I usually enjoy Kay Mellor's shows so I'm hoping Syndicates is as good as the others.

Titanic


I don't know much about this to be honest. It was written by Julian Fellowes and is about the Titanic (unless I have been well and truly deceived. Or I'm plain thick). I will give a go.

How about you? Are you looking forward to any of these shows? Or is there anything else I should be watching?

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Book 2 - Changing Names



At almost 90% in, I'm thinking about changing a couple of names in my book. When planning the book and conjuring the characters, I didn't realise I named the main character's love interest with the same initial as hers. It was only as I started writing about them that it occurred to me because it's so 'clunky'. I went with it anyway but it's been bugging me more and more, especially as I don't think her love interest's name 'suits' him now I've got to know him.

So I've pretty much decided they are going to have a name change but I'm going to wait until the second draft to change them as I think it will be too weird doing it now when I'm so close to the end. I am a bit worried it will be too strange when the names have changed and it won't feel like them anymore but I've thought about it over the past few days and I think it's the right thing to do. Only time will tell, I guess.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Insecure Writer's Support Group



Today I am taking part in my first Insecure Writer's Support Group blog post. The idea is writers blog on the first Wednesday of the month about their fears, struggles and triumphs they have experienced with their writing.

I thought I would start off with my main fear as a writer and the one I have to constantly push away at the moment to prevent me from giving up. I've had two rejections so far for Book 1 (but am waiting on more from other agents) and my fear is what if that's all I can expect - rejection after rejection? What if I spend hour after hour at the computer, tapping away and I never make it? What if I'm never taken on by an agent? What if I never get published? And the worst bit, what if I never see my book in physical form with a beautiful cover?

I do know that I can't give up. If I do, I'll never achieve anything but sometimes I feel like those crappy, tone-deaf contestants on the X Factor - 'But I want it soooo much'.


Monday, 5 March 2012

Hello Kitty Bookmark


I saw these heart bookmarks a few weeks ago and thought it would be a great Valentines craft for us to do. But then I forgot and Valentine's Day passed. One afternoon when The Partner had taken the girls out, I was twiddling my thumbs (not doing all the stuff I always wish I could do if only I had an afternoon to myself...) and spotted the paint sample thingies (technical term there) and decided to give it a go.

Except I had a problem. I couldn't find my heart-shaped punch. I had a choice between a Christmas tree, a square or Hello Kitty.

Unlike in the original bookmarks, I added background colour to my Hello Kitties by trimming another paint sample thingy and sticking it to the back. It only took me a few minutes and I had a (free) bookmark.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Happy World Book Day 2012


I hope you are all having a great day and the children are having fun with books today.

The Jellyfish hasn't gone to school in costume this year as each class was given a particular author or book as a theme and The Jellyfish's class could go as either a gorilla or a banana. I didn't have either of those costumes lying around at home and with two days notice, I wasn't going to make one (as if I could). So she took a toy gorilla with her instead. Except I realised this morning it wasn't a gorilla at all but a chimp. Oh well. She took it anyway.

What are your little ones doing today?

And what are you reading at the moment?

I'm reading The Ugly Sister by Jane Fallon and have almost finished.