Friday, 17 April 2009

TGIF, Thank God It's Friday

..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. 
My beach outfits and grooming/hair were sorted ages ago. What I'm having trouble with is selecting beach reads from my to-read list.
To date, I've selected Katie Price's Pushed to the Limit (her 3rd autobiography!!) and novel Angel Uncovered as holiday reads.
Say what you like about this lady, she sure knows how to sell books. I could read these books under the excuse of research on how to write a chick lit best seller, but I'm reading them because Angel, Crystal, Whole New World and Being Jordan were catchy reads. I've become a fan of her brutal honesty and passion for drama. I like her naughty side and I like the fact that she wears her heart (and bitchy streak) on her sleeve.
I feel much lighter, spiritually, now that my Jordan-loving confession has been aired. Now I'm free to choose the rest of my holiday reads. Oh, and I hear the UK will have temperatures of 17 and 18 degrees next week - so you'll all have sunshine too!

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

One chapter to go!

I wish! That's one chapter to go until I have three solid sample chapters to proffer to agents. The synopsis and book blurb is sleek and polished. It would get my literary cravings going, but then, I'll read anything.

Having been working intensively on this project in the last few weeks, I'm feeling confident enough to bite the bullet and begin approaching agents. Once I have a draft I'm happy with, I'll be sending it off before I can talk myself out of it. As per normal for me with poetry. I have an entire folder on my computer of un-submitted poems. Come on girl,  is it too hard to post them off to even just the local paper?!

I'll also be turning in a book review to trashionista soon. It's done and dusted, I just need to find the inner courage to press send.

Discovered Cathy Kelly just last week. My partner is Irish and he has some very unsubtle cravings for home, leaving me with a craving for Irish Chick lit. I'm currently tearing though Always and Forever. It's set in a health spa - just reading about the heavenly treatments and luscious grounds puts me in a deep sense of relaxation. And whoever put  the Galaxy chocolate stickers on Cathy's books needs a stern word - I'm going to have bed sores and chocolate coating of my own by the time I reach the final page. Coincidentally, I had an email from Ragdale Hall spa, advertising 33% off spa breaks this morning. That's a sign!

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Ways in which your fictional characters can let you down...

Have been thinking about the contrary beasts that are the 3 main characters in my draft novel. Technically, they are my flesh and blood. I'm fond of them, but the ways in which they've let me down (so far) include: - 

  • 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
Hmm, sounds a lot like myself!

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter to you all!
I know Easter isn't all about chocolate, but I feel slightly put out that I've not eaten any yet. I remember having Easter egg for breakfast as a child - what's happened to my stamina?!

Church bells are ringing out - wonderful!

Friday, 10 April 2009

An email from Adele Parks!

OMG! Almost fainted when I saw Adele's name in my inbox. And there's a new book on the way...I 'm so excited!

What a fantastic note to receive!

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,




Adele Parks

Author of:

Tell Me Something


Young Wives' Tales


Still Thinking Of You

The Other Woman's Shoes

Larger Than Life

Game Over

Playing Away

Happy Families

Excuse for procrastinating

A blood donor service parked up next to my gym yesterday. I was mightily disappointed to find out that I couldn't donate due to low iron levels! No wonder I've been so tired. The lovely nurses have given me some excellent advice on boosting my iron levels, so that I will be able to donate in 3 months.
Today's top tip is a practical one - Tea reduces iron absorption. Try avoid it just before, with, or after meals. This is exactly where I've been going wrong. I've even be known to yawn on the rowing machine, despite hitting the hay early.
I'm officially out of excuses for laziness now.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

God, I feel inspired.

You might recognise the "God I feel inspired" line from Holly McQueen's Isabel Bookbinder series.
I'm having THE ideal day off....a small lie in, buttered hot cross buns in bed, internet shopping for holiday clothes and experimenting with make up artist tips from the MAC website to update my look. 

Peace, perfect peace and the house all to myself. Settling down for an afternoon of writing now.

 Pleased to report that the Audio Creative Writing course is providing me with plenty of food for thought. I feel more confident about some of the science behind writing and it's a relief to know that I haven't been going far wrong til now. Local colleges are advertising their summer evening classes in the papers this week- usually this fills me with guilt, thinking I must attend a self-improving course such as CW, or I will grow brain flab, or worse, struck with lazyitis. Instead I can spend what would be Evening Class Night sharing some red wine, chocs and a DVD - hurrah!

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Book Groups

In a half-hearted attempt to grow up, in the literary sense, I joined the book group at work a year ago. A year ago, the only non-chicklit I'd read included Narnia and the Borrowers series.

The wisened souls of my book group have introduced me to some great titles: - 
  • A thousand splendid suns by Khalid Hosseni
  • The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid
  • On Chesil Beach by Ian Mc Ewin
As well as the downright weird: - 

  • 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)
The latest selection is 'When will there be good news' by Kate Atkinson. I've heard positive things about this one and I'm about to curl up in bed with it whilst the other half watches the Damned United in action.

I'm slightly scared of my fellow book group members (think old school secretary), so I won't be thrusting the shopaholic series on them in revenge if I don't enjoy Kate's novel! 

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Miss Chicklit Sanctuary

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

Above: Myself with Ireland's finest
Below: Myself after cocktails in Cyprus.

Tried and Tested writing tip!

I've been buried in my copy of Novel in a week this weekend (see a few posts down) and have picked up a fab tip! I'm so pleased with this nugget of information that I'm sharing it here. Well, it's perfect for those of you who're just passed the ideas  stage of your novel, but will also work if you've got the curse of writer's block.

Begin with writing the scenes that you've got a vision of. 

Writing the most salient images that you have is an easy way of getting started, or adding to the bulk of your story. Novel in a Week reminded me that you don't have to write in any particular order - you're free to write whichever bits you feel like! 

Brilliant! I've found that by writing the scenes that are most potent in my head, my writing has picked up face quite dramatically.

But then as you probably know, writing anything is a good way of getting on with it!

Friday, 3 April 2009

My double life

Dunno who's noticed, but when I'm not devouring chick-lit, I'm pretending to be a research psychologist. Being an academic suits my binge-reading streak; I read everything and when my colleagues aren't looking, I delve into the world of pop-psychology.

The academic world is (harshly) snobby about pop-psych and self help - probably because they wouldn't be caught dead reading it and therefore know zilch about it. This is a shame, as there are plenty of great ideas to latch onto in this genre and the minds influence on the body is well documented in academic research (e.g. there are strong links between depression and heart disease, stress and colds and we all know an emotionally stressed chronic over-eater)

Like anything, there's good and bad in this genre but the pick of the bunch is 'Heal Your Body' by Louise L Hay The book is a handy compact handbag size and offers advice on how you can improve your health through changing certain thoughts. I referred to my copy today; I can barely speak thanks to these painful mouth ulcers and metaphysicist Louise suggests this is due to an inability to deal with fear. So true - the research project I'm working on has run into problems and I'm finding so fearful of how the team will get through and have become a stress junkie. Louise names the emotional cause of most common ailments, such as fever (anger), and chronic illness such as cancer (resentment). There's an A-z guide to the causes of nearly every illness, as well as advice on the kind of thoughts you should adopt to overcome the illness.
From my psychology training, I know that the brain will believe anything you tell it - whether it's true or not.
Anywhoo, just thought this book tip was worth sharing (:

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

The glamorous (Double) life of Isabel Bookbinder By Holly McQueen

Picked up this little gem at lunchtime and it too much inner strength to put it down and calmly return to work.
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 have fun with the outifit designer - perfect if you have a quiet moment or are in need of some procrastination!