Wednesday, 2 September 2009
Saturday, 1 August 2009
Friday, 17 July 2009
- the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Anne Schaffer
- Stephanie Meyer's Twilight saga books - I do chick lit, I do pop fantasy, but never ever do I combine the two as vampire chick lit is wrong.
Monday, 13 July 2009
Check out bubble cow's fab-uuuu-llll-ousss how to blog tips
My job is mainly office based and sometimes it feels as though I'm glued to the computer 24/7. I know I'm supposed to get away from the screen for breaks, I just don't do it. I would have to set an alarm on my phone to tell me to get up and away, and sometimes I do and it's successful, but most of the time it's just Another Thing I Have To Do.
Emails pop onto my screen like a monsoon between the hours of 9.30 and 18.30. There I am, sat there as if compulsively watching a train crash over and over. Perhaps the next email might explode in my face if I don't answer it in the next twenty seconds? hmm
I have a test-dummy style headache by the time I get home. The last thing I want to do when I get home is to pull open the laptop. But I do. And I blog, I twitter, I facebook. Addictive and entertaining, but neither of which are going to help me write my novel.
So, I pull open a beautiful notepad with a pretty and uplifting cover. Bargain or value note pads are the stuff of the devil as far as I am concerned. I'm a note pad conossieur and only Paperchase, Smith's or Waterstone's finest arty pads will do.
My technique is probably also a bit weird to some of you. I write the plot at a fast pace, getting the main points down first - like an extended synopsis. I'm addicted to the drama and I feel closer to the characters when I'm concentrating on the juicy bits first of all.
I number the parts of my 'extended synopsis'. I read and re-read, then read some more.
I add 'flesh' to the novel by matching each sub-scene to the part of my extended synopsis, kind of like writing by numbers.
This system allows me to revisit earlier parts and cut/add as I wish. It works for me because I need to be able to see the beginning, middle and end to decide which bits are just filler, and are likely to bore the reader to death.
I came up with this system through trial and error and it suits my needs. I don't think my book would get written if I had to use a laptop everynight. And day.
Obviously, I will have to type it up at some stage. I know writers like to be noticed by publishers/agents, but a handwritten novel isn't going to make the cut!
Wednesday, 8 July 2009
Find a last minute spa or boutique hotel for peanuts on my favourite website. I also use this website for booking spur of the moment weekend breaks
A well-known website, but do check out the 'Top Secret' hotels and get a 5 star hotel room for next to nothing. The name of the hotel isn't revealed until your booking is confirmed, but you can check out the hotel facilities, user reviews and location beforehand. So fun!
Hit the peak district and visit Buxton Lit Fest at the same time. Gorgeous location and a great line up of authors.
Can only do a staycation?
Try these imagination-boosting retreats: -
- Lock the bathroom and soak in a tub filled with Sainsbury's coconut bath foam
- A Yoga class. Try the Yoga DVD for dummies, if you're scared but curious.
- Only have an hour? A spa pedicure. Check the internet for offers as nearly all beauty salons are promoting summer offers
Tuesday, 30 June 2009
Monday, 29 June 2009
Friday, 26 June 2009
I've had success with an idea I came up with for editing, so I thought I'd pass it on.
Audio record yourself reading aloud your first draft and listen to it repeatedly in the car, on the way to work, or dashing around town (works better if it's just you in the car).
Seriously, this works! Hearing the story spoken aloud helps you assess plot consistency, whether the characters are likeable or realistic and also allows you to judge how your story may sound to a reader. I stumbled across this idea, through listening to the Radio 4 plays and book of the week items. Commuting is dead time to me, but it's also valuable alone time and a great opportunity to rehash ideas in my head.
Now for some techie options you might like to try: -
- If your computer has the function, voice record yourself and burn it onto a CD that can be listened to in the car. Or put it onto MP3
- Beg, steal or borrow (or buy from argos, circa £20-30) a dictation machine and turn it up loud!
- Use the voice record function on your mobile and press play before setting off on your journey, or transfer it to your PC via USB and burn it onto disk.
If, like me, you have a long daily commute to a full time job and can only write in your precious spare time, it's worth a go.
Thursday, 18 June 2009
Wednesday, 17 June 2009
It's a masterclass in short story writing by one editor that's so good, I just had to pass it on!
Funny how, what started as a piece of writing taken on just for enjoyment has now ended up giving me the jitters.
It's crunch time with the PhD, I've taken on more research staff and things are less than perfect at home. But enough with the excuses. I've been told repeatedly that getting a PhD is less to do with academic brilliance, and more to do with the ability to overcome fear and boredom and get the piece done. Similar to novel writing - numerous false starts, nails in the confidence coffin...
Karen's blog title nailed it in one - GET ON WITH IT!!!
Tuesday, 16 June 2009
My list of people I'm following on twitter includes:
- Wordy blog's very own Tamsin
- Bonkbuster goddess turned MP Louise Bagshawe
- Barack Obama
- The cast of The Hills, inc. Spencer Pratt
- Paula Abdul
- Paris Hilton
Oh the lives of the oh-so-glamorous!
Saturday, 13 June 2009
Friday, 12 June 2009
Lauren is beautiful. She has an enviable fashion career and shows real promise having released her own fashion range. She makes great Reality tv fodder. I really wish she'd write a blog, as I'm sure her exploits at red carpet events and fashionista job would keep millions hooked. Of course I know the reason she doesn't blog (and 500 words or so on her website every 3 months does not count); where would the money come from?
But are you just slightly curious to see how she's got on with the novel writing? Check out an excerpt here http://www.thehollywoodgossip.com/2009/05/lauren-conrad-la-candy-book-excerpt/ It will make your eyes pop! I'll stop now before I say anything libellous.
Monday, 8 June 2009
Find out about the New Writers Festival here, it's free. You might even want to consider joining the group.
Throw a few stumbling blocks into the mix (finding a spanish donor to compliment her irish looks, a holiday romance) and you get a brilliantly juicy novel that's a treat to read.
Author Claire Dowling has published a whole range of chicklit commedies. She's had a colourful past, after training as an actress, she turned to scriptwriting and most recently, novel writing. She has a sense of humour that had me laughing out loud at some points.
If you see any of her novels on the shelf, be sure to give them a flick!
Tuesday, 2 June 2009
Friday, 29 May 2009
Erm, I've been informed by Random House that you can read the first chapter of Platinum by Jo Rees here If you like your fiction racy and fancy, or want to dip into the lives of the gliteratti, then this is probably for you. Be warned, it's not for the faint hearted or prudish. Both of which I now think applies to me!
Tuesday, 26 May 2009
- come up with an intriguing plot line around car insurance claims
- spun a fictional story from her academic area
Sunday, 24 May 2009
Friday, 22 May 2009
Thursday, 21 May 2009
The other half and I watched the film version of Khaled Husseni's Kite Runner on Tuesday. I was pleased to see that he enjoyed it so much he marched upstairs straight after to read a Thousand Splendid Suns, which according to our local book seller (who's in no way sexist), is a girly version of Kite Runner.
Tuesday, 19 May 2009
After a month of patiently waiting since placing my order on Amazon, my copy of See Jane Write was gently pressed through my letter box at the unearthly time of 6.50am by UPS. I sent a curt enquiry email to the Amazon seller just the previous night. Where the hell was it, I'd been dying to read this guide to writing chick lit for ages. Perhaps UPS sensed my PMT through the email, hence the very low key arrival? And the scorch marks on the drive where the delivery man had beat a hasty retreat?
Sunday, 17 May 2009
I'm practically in mourning - I'm nearing the last 50 pages of Rosy Thornton's Crossed Wires. Whilst it's fabulous enjoying a book so much that you're living and breathing the plot lines, feeling the duck and dives of their emotions, it can be devastating when you know the end is in sight! With such good reads, I have to stand back and give the book a prominent place on my dresser. I might start reading another book to distract me from my potential loss. Crossed wires is winking at me every time I go into my bedroom and I'm not ready to finish it yet. I guess the sign of a good book is the pseudo-mourning process that it evokes.
Friday, 15 May 2009
Eight things I like:
- Reading in bed with a butter-saturated croissant
- Post-work out glow
- Next door's cat
- Self help and pop psychology
- Diary writing
- Hot baths with scented oils, candles and fluffy robes waiting patiently on the heater
- Got ready for work in my quickest time ever - 30 mins
- Went to a diabetes conference, complete with fancy lunch
- Saw Angels & Demons, washed down with diet coke, salted pop corn and peanut M&M's
- Made spag bol
- Finished reading Tell Me Something by Adele Parks
- Ran 3km, cycled 3 km
- Enjoyed a Radio 4 program on 'Perfectionism' and thought of all the people I knew who fitted the bill!
- Washed the duvet covers
Eight things I wish I could do:
- Stop worrying
- Give up work and write fiction full time
- keep everyone happy!
- Have infinite energy
- Stop shopping as a way of controlling my emotions
- Speak spanish
- Stop trying to read the future
- Eat whatever I like and feel fine
Eight things I don't like:
- Cowardice (not in the WW sense!)
- Ex Boyfriends
- Karen (get on with it)
- Emerging Writer
- Fiction is Stranger than fact's Helen
Tuesday, 12 May 2009
Another juicy piece of gossip - Marian has just delivered the manuscript of her brand new book! It's called The Brightest Star In The Sky, we're all tearing at the pages trying to get chance to read it, and we've also just seen the very beautiful, very sparkly book jacket. It's not published until October, but watch this space for an exclusive advance peek, or keep up with Marian here.
- Fiona Neill, Secret Life of Slummy Mummy. First prize read of the holiday! Based on a newspaper column of the same name, this book had me in stitches on my sun lounger. It's a sweet tale of slummy mummy and her allies as she struggles to gain domestic order, something she's found more challenging than even her previous career as a producer on Newsnight. SM dodges one disaster after the next until it all comes crashing down on her in a fast paced finale. Perfect reading for laughter therapy after a hard day.
- Pushed to the Limit by Katie Price. An even more curious read in the wake of her recent split with Mr Andre. They've split before! Juicy gossip enclosed - as well as hard hitting stories about Harvey's accidents, Peter's meningitis and the death of her nan. After reading this, it's hard not to have a soft spot for the working mum with ambitions higher than her heels. It appears that being a bestseller, TV presenter, merchandise range, reality star (even in the US), platinum album seller (just!) and of course, the original glamour girl, aren't enough. She's got her eyes on films, businesses, the lot!
- How to lose a husband and gain a life - Bernadette Strachan If you've not heard of this super talented lady, go out and get a copy of Diamonds and Daisies or Handbags and Halos, now! She's funny, in the same vein as Marian Keyes is (perhaps it's the Irish in Bernadette). I hope this is the break out novel for Bernadette, she deserves it. Now go and have a muster around her website and see what you're missing.
- Copper Beech by Maeve Binchy - ahhh a comforting slice of Ireland, served by the Queen of Irish Chick Lit. Gorgeous characters grow up before our eyes in this small town novel.
- Adele Parks's new 9th novel out in July 09! I'm in her little black book and will post details of the new novel as soon as I get the email
- Sophie Kinsella - Twenties girl (July 09)
- jane Green - Girl Friday (11 Jun)
- Fiona Neill - Friends, lovers and other Indiscretions
- Lisa Jewell - the Truth about Melody Brown
- Jenny Colgan - Diamonds are a girl's best friend
- Holly Mc Queen - the fabulously fashionable life of Isabel Bookbinder
- Freya North- Secrets
- Lucy Diamond - Hens Reunited (Aug 09. Takes the prize for best title!)
Friday, 8 May 2009
I'm thrilled I've got the flu, because it means I can lie in bed finishing off 'Tell Me Something' By Adele Parks (if you've ever fancied a bit of italian here's your chance to do it vicariously) and Niamh Green's Confessions of a Demented House Wife (Domestic Tragi-comedy, the best vintage in my opinion). I don't believe for one second that I'm the only one who gets a secret thrill when they're too ill to get out of bed....
Now open wide and say 'lazy bones'...
Wednesday, 6 May 2009
Tuesday, 5 May 2009
Friday, 1 May 2009
Enjoy the picture of the laguna and water caves, one of Lanzarote's many delights
Noteworthy things to report: -
- I've completed the 'Evening class Creative Writing' audio CDs and work books
- I've used the fabulous material to deepen my characters and have been experimenting with creating intrigue
- I've ordered See Jane Write - a chick lit guide
- I've read: -
- Pushed to the limit by Katie Price,
- Secret life of a Slummy Mummy by Fiona Neil
- the Beautiful game- A Wags tale by Clare Chervin
- How to lose a husband and gain a life - Bernadette Strachan
- The Copper Binch by Maeve Binchy
Those were the good reads and I'll post a review on the must-reads later. I was let down by: -
- Angel uncovered by Katie Price (character depth somewhat lacking, plus too many similarities with her autobiogs - which were fab)
- Sadomasichism for accountants by Rosie Barnes
Friday, 17 April 2009
..because I'm off to Lanzarote on Sunday! A much needed break, I'm getting so exhausted under the strain of researcher duties, PhD and chicklitting.
Wednesday, 15 April 2009
Sunday, 12 April 2009
- Not suiting the names I've "christened" them with (choosing names I like is probably not the best strategy)
- Choosing unsuitable careers (as above)
- Poor taste in men (again, as above)
- Having 'off days' (read: boring!)
- Having personality traits that render them transparent and predictable
Friday, 10 April 2009
Thank you so much for taking the time to write to me and being so complimentary about my work. Even with eight published books under m y b elt, I can never get over the thrill of people reading m y b ooks, let alone bothering to write to compliment me on them! After months, locked away in my office, it’s easy to forget at some point the novel will actually see the light of day and be enjoyed. Hurrah. I’m very grateful to you.
You’ll be pleased to know that I’ll be a brand new book in July too. It’s called Love Lies So a reall y b usy year for me; I can’t wait!! Love Lies is going to be a paperback too (so it fit’s easily into suitcases when you are going on hols!) Look out for more information about the new book on my website, I’ll post something very soon.
I’ve added your name to my Little Black Book so now you’ll be among the first to hear about every thing new I have hitting the shelves!
I'm so glad you find my work entertaining and I hope you always do find it worthwhile.
Ver y b est wishes,
Tell Me Something
Young Wives' Tales
Still Thinking Of You
The Other Woman's Shoes
Larger Than Life
Thursday, 9 April 2009
Tuesday, 7 April 2009
- A thousand splendid suns by Khalid Hosseni
- The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid
- On Chesil Beach by Ian Mc Ewin
- The Handmaidens Tale by Margaret Atwood (eek! Crazy tale set in the future - women (if they're lucky) are selected to 'breed', or become un-women)
- Death of the Heart by Elizabeth Bowen (Crazy tale of Portia who falls in love with cad and holidays in Dorset, The End)
Sunday, 5 April 2009
Ok how long have I been blogging with 'male" on my profile for?! To clear things up, I'm female, although I appreciate my profile photo is a wee bit tiny! However, cannot help thinking now that a male chicklit addict would be much more interesting...but never mind
Friday, 3 April 2009
Wednesday, 1 April 2009
Isabel is everything a debut novellist shouldn't be...
1) She has a pristine Smythsons notebook in which she's hesistant to write in for fear of spoiling it
2) Her main reason for writing a book is so her dad will stop giving her a hard time about wasting her life
3) She's confused being an author as being a celeb, complete with champagne lifestyle and red carpet affairs.
4)...she doesn't have a title, or even an idea for a novel.
and yet the book is so much fun - and not in a smug way! Holly McQueen has penned some of my inner most fears of being an author ( such as, am I dreaming too much, or worse, is life as an author going to be the stark opposite of Isabel's fantasies i.e. a career of rejections, writer's cramp and caffeine overload, with only the postman as a colleague).
read all about real author Holly and Isabel B at this gorgeous website http://www.isabelbookbinder.co.uk/ have fun with the outifit designer - perfect if you have a quiet moment or are in need of some procrastination!
Tuesday, 31 March 2009
Monday, 30 March 2009
This is the first time I've read a Jennifer Weiner book. She's the queen of US Chick lit thanks to Good in Bed and In Her Shoes, which was made into a film, staring cameron Diaz, no less.
Certain Girls is the tale of a mother from a conservative Jewish family who writes a racy bonkbuster. She makes the fatal mistake of semi-basing the novel on her own life, naming and shaming her drug taking sister and cad of an ex. Even more cringe-worthy, she writes about her utter shock at getting pregnant, how it's the end of her life as she knows it and had never planned for it....and then her 12 year old daughter reads the novel 12 years later (and so have the rest of her class at school!). Cue fireworks between mother and daughter. The soul searching and impact on the relationship is touching, realistic and gripping.
As ever, I won't give away too much as this is a fab book! Now, I'm off to blockbusters to rent a copy of In her shoes! Long reign the US Queen of Chick Lit.
Tuesday, 24 March 2009
So that's my target - to write something for myself everyday (excluding emails, writing that I do for work etc).
I'm also bringing my 3 chapters by May target forwards. I want to finish the chapters by mid April, lock them away, enjoy my holiday and then come back afresh to put in some last minute touches!
Sunday, 22 March 2009
Saturday, 21 March 2009
Friday, 20 March 2009
Tuesday, 17 March 2009
Monday, 16 March 2009
On another note...
My novel is gathering pace! I'm pleased with the vision I have of my three characters - at least one of them I wouldn't chose to be friends with, but I'm enjoying creating her all the same. It's the perfect way to get my wicked side out, without actually inflicting it on anyone. She's creating so much emotional carnage, but is able to escape the blame so far. One of those perfectly likeable people on the surface, but rotten to the core as soon as a desirable, but unavailable, man comes on the scene. Anyone else out there have a passion for a fictional bitch?
Saturday, 14 March 2009
Friday, 13 March 2009
Wednesday, 11 March 2009
Tuesday, 10 March 2009
I've begun a new literary love affair with Katy Regan, columnist of Marie Clare, who's just brough out One thing led to Another, a tale about 28 year old Tess who ends up knocked up by her best friend and struggles to cope not only with the demands of pregnancy, but the demands of her friends that have decided this is the perfect opportunity for her to officially get together with her best mate, Jim, after years of bed hopping. If only things were that simple...
Absolutely loved this read and will be passing it around my friends for its humour (falling on a soft toy with the voice of Prince Charles whilst in flagrante with a French hottie) and emotional intelligence.
The book is a fictionalised version of events that have actually happened to Katy, who happened to pregnant thanks to her male best friend (still just friends). She keeps a blog about how life is panning out for her with her son. I'll be adding her blog to my "follow" list asap!