Friday, 17 July 2009


To get myself into the holiday mood, I read Jane Green's, The Beach House, set in the beautiful US island of Nantucket. The story follows three love stories (one gay, oh how modern!) and an older bohemian-esque lady who owns the house. The three love stories entwine. A bit conveniently, I thought, but it's a nice enough read if you are looking for a nice enough read. Not that many people are. The drama is short lived.

I absolutely loved one of Jane's earliest novels, Jemima J, a hillarious tale of an overweight girl who photoshops a picture of herself to send to a hottie she's met on the internet. All goes well until he suggests she visits him in California. She sheds weight to become that girl, the answer to all her problems, or so she thinks. The ending is shocking, and I'm not one to blanche at drama easily! Beach House and Jemima J are poles apart. I know it's inevitable that ones writing style changes over the years, it's just a shame because I love the raw, breezy and comical style that propelled her to the top of chick lit.

Assuming this flu shifts in the next 24 hours, I'll be holidaying in Cornwall. on my reading list: -

  • 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.

So I'll be away for the week - enjoy yourselves!

Monday, 13 July 2009

How to...

...write a better blog. I've noticed a few apology posts around the Blog World for blog neglect as of late.

Check out bubble cow's fab-uuuu-llll-ousss how to blog tips

Am I a weird writer?

I mean, weird in terms of writing style, not content??

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

Credit Crunch Writer's retreats

Looking for a fix for flagging motivation, or semi-writer's block? It's time to step away from the computer...just for now.
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!

Lit Fests
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


You know those days where you don't feel like blogging, but want to post a gratuitous picture of your feline best friend just to let everyone know you're still alive?