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Thursday, 24 December 2009

A very Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year!!

Hurrah! No more work for me and as I settle down with a drink in hand I would just like to wish you all a very lovely Christmas and New Year.  I am very much looking forward to 2010 and posting my very first Coffee Break on the Novel Racers Blog.  Hopefully I shall see you there if I don't see you here or indeed at yours first!

Monday, 14 December 2009

Ahhh a day off!

I am trying to be productive today as it is my last day off before the xmas holidays (if you exclude the weekend of course).  My room is a mess and the floor is full of empty boxes that need filling and bags of shopping that need emptying (from yesterday) and truth be told I can't be arsed to do a thing about it.  Thanks to those wishing me a speedy recovery on my last post.  Annoyingly, my back is still hurting - I'm not in agony but I am yet to find a comfortable sitting position which is a nightmare as I sit at a computer all day.  I have a solution to the problem but as it involves copious amounts of white wine I shall probably have to forget that one.  I had a lovely evening yesterday, hence the day off.  I went with my Mum for a wine, dinner and wine, and then more wine.  We chatted about the novel and what she liked and disliked and I was feeling pretty good about it so we had more wine to celebrate.  I woke at 6am still dressed, makeup smeared across my face, and the room fully lit.  Luckily the morning after headache that usually comes complimentary with the wine was not included and my day hasn't been ruined at all.  I am perfectly capable of ignoring all my tasks without the help of a little bunny banging symbols inside my head.  No, I am procrastinating just fine without you thanks!  So anyways, I must go and get on with my story for Womag2Weekly.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Busy Bee



I apologise for my lack of bloggage of late.  It's been a mad week.  After the drool fest that was Friday night with Gerard Butler, I had a fabulistic time at Cally Taylor's book launch.  I met the most wonderful people: Cally herself - who I was pleased to say recognised me straightaway and introduced to me to lots more lovely people such as Leigh Forbes and Spiral Jen.  Then Karen Clarke arrived and I was so pleased to meet her and be able to thank her for all her help with my first womag sub in person.  Everyone I met that night was so interesting and friendly and I was sorry to have to drag myself away from the speeches and the singing... yes singing (not from Cally though which was a shame - there seems to be no end to her talents!).

Sunday brought me quite literally to a screeching halt when someone drove their car into the back of mine.  As a result I now have a sprained back and I am due to be moving house soon.  Oh the joy!  Luckily my car came away unscathed (well from the look of it - I am yet to have her looked at by the car doctors) and noone was seriously injured.

Monday saw an early start with me having to go to Amsterdam for the day with work.  Sadly I had to head straight to Brussels once the day was out so I saw nothing of the City except for some window ladies, and A LOT of bikes.

Work has been hectic due to my boss going on sabbatical for 6 months to Central America while I attempt to fill her shoes.  I am bricking it!  So while I try not to let the work thing get to me I have the womag group to concentrate on, along with all things christmassy and my house move.  So I may be a bit quiet until the new year.  I will be floating around your blogs leaving comments and what not.  I just wanted to let you all know I am still here!

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Film Review: Law Abiding Citizen

Stars: Gerard Butler, Jamie Fox

Synopsis:
At the start of the film we are in introduced to Butler’s character Clyde Shelton, a family man who is attacked at his own front door by two burglars who brutally murder his wife and child before his very own eyes. Shelton is devastated after Fox’s character Assistant DA Nick Rice makes a plea bargain with the murderer to keep his conviction rate high. Cut to ten years later, the man who murdered Shelton's entire family is free to walk the streets. Shelton, however, has spent the last ten years studying the legal system in order to bring revenge on all involved in the case.

This film was great. I thought it would just be blood, guts, explosions and more blood and while it was that it didn’t just rely on that to reel people in. It told the story of one mans revenge and Butler does it in a way that keeps you on his side. You understand why he does what he does and he’s funny with it too.

Despite the fact that I am easily scared, I loved this film. It keeps you on the edge of your seat, in suspense and wanting more. The settings were great, plenty of scenes that have you jumping out of your skin and one in particular that makes you not want to answer your mobile ever again!

Don’t let Butler’s dodgy American accent put you off though (Lolly thought he was being Irish). He is a great actor aside from this, delivers some hilarious lines, and looks great in the buff too. Not quite sure why he needed to get naked in one particular scene as there was no shower or love making involved but hey who am I to complain!

I think the ending could have been better, as a few questions for me were left unanswered.  That said this is a great revenge film, very clever and in parts laugh out loud funny.

A great revenge film and a good laugh.  Definitely recommended from me!
8 OUT OF 10

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Happy Birthday Lolly

It's lil sister's b'day today.  She is 24.  She is the baby of the family and the older she gets the older we feel.  We had a lovely day out in the rain but soon swapped the giant puddles for giant bowls of chicken caesar salad.  Happy Birthday Lolly!!


Saturday, 28 November 2009

A new group that is right up my street...

It's been over a week since my last post.  This is not good!  To be fair I've had a crap week and just haven't felt like boring you all with my whinging.  There are people worse off than me and I know that so there's no way I'm going to moan about being a bit fed up - sorry think that was kinda me doing just that. Anyways yesterday was a lot better - me and the boyf went to see Lily Allen at Brixton Academy which was brilliant.  She put on a great show with a great mixture of new and old material, a few covers such as The Kooks 'Naive' and Britney's 'Womaniser' anyone?? Not sure what that was all about but I think it was all a bit tongue in cheek.  There were wig and outfit changes a plenty and she chats to the audience like they're all her mates.  I really enjoyed myself and I think the 2 pints of cider helped also.
Then today after a very unsucessful day of house hunting I opened my email to see a message from Amanda over at Writing Allsorts telling me all about her new Womag writing group Womag Two Weekly.  If you're interested I think there still may be room so head over there and send Amanda an email.  I think it's a great idea and am really impressed at how well Cally Taylor's Story a Fortnight group has done since it was set up.  So here's to getting a lot more than one story 'out there'.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

I have finally subbed!!!!!!!

So much for blogging daily huh!  Anyway I am back now after a busy old week and a bit and I am pleased to say I have FINALLY subbed a story to My Weekly.  It took a few hours here and there, over the course of a fortnight, to write the story after which the very lovely and talented Karen Clarke kindly offered to read it. So on Sunday evening I sent it over to her. I was shaking with nerves each time I opened an email from her: the first to say she had received it and the second to say the attachment wouldn't open.  By the time I received a third email with her critique I was quaking in my boots.  What if she didn't like it? What if she told me to give it up?  I needn't have worried though.  She didn't tell me I was completely useless nor was she too nice to say where I was going wrong.  Thank you again Karen!! It was an invaluable learning experience and with any luck I might make a sale (I can but dream).  So there it is, a promise to myself kept - I am no longer a womag subbing virgin.  Now its back to the Heaven short story for Cally Taylor's competition.  Its just non stop!

Monday, 9 November 2009

Book finished but story not so much

Had the day off from blogging yesterday (am trying to make this a daily recurrence).  Was too into my book to write anything.  Have just finished This Charming Man by Marian Keyes which (and I am glad Karen told me to stick with it) I LOVED!!  I thought it was funny, sensitive issues were dealt with such care and attention, well put together, great characters, great syles of writing for each character POV.  I loved loved loved it.  Was sad to finish in a way but am looking forward to the next book on my '5 to read in November' list:


I did some writing yesterday, as I read throught Della's 'How To' book (see previous posts) chapter by chapter I'm revising and trying to make my womag story better and subable.  I like the story but its just not there yet.  I'm not trying not to give myself a hard time but the standard is high in these womags and I want to give myself a story that, even if it isn't quite right, I'd be proud to put my name to.

The state of my bed at present is like this:




Right better get back to it!

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Google eyed!

I've not written a thing since Thursday night as last night I indulged myself in a bad but badly funny film (Superhero movie - will so not be reviewing it but had some cider in me and convinced thats why is made me laugh).  Today I managed to stay away from my poorly neglected telly, which is probably wondering what it did wrong that I would ignore it so.  I had a much needed lie in and got stuck into my book (not my book no Marian Keyes' one on the right 'This Charming Man).  I've nearly finished and the closer to the end I get the more I have to read.  I finally forced myself to put it down in order to do a bit of research for my womag short story.  (Oh the wonder of Google...).  Some conflicting info to start with so took me a fair bit longer to get answers to my questions than anticipated.  I then shut my computer down to make hot dogs and then back to reading Della's 'How to' book and then on to writing this.  So no writing done today either (unless you count this) but the first draft is almost complete.  It has a beginning, middle and end.  3 characters (one that isn't present but relevant to the story), and a problem for the main character.  Not sure if there will be a twist yet but as I've already written the ending I doubt there will be.  I don't think it would suit the story anyway.  It's definately a love story and has a positive message to it.  I really like it anyway and I havent even finished it yet so thats got to be a good thing right?  Anyway best get on with it if I've any chance of subbing it before this year is out.

Friday, 6 November 2009

More mags + a womag related question

Just realised yesterday in the Take a Break Fiction Feast I bought the other day that the December issue was out today so rooted around the womags in WH Smiths in my lunch hour and grabed TABFF and My Weekly.  I'm leaning more toward subbing to TABFF because I seem to prefer the stories in there.  I feel more comfortable reading it - not sure if thats because I love the stories, the layouts or because I recognise some of the names of the writers.  I would eventually like to sub to a variety of womags but thought it best to stick to 1 or 2 for now just while I'm starting out.  So as I was flicking through TABFF I saw 3 more of Karen's stories and 1 from Cally Taylor.  I'm a huge fan of their writing and their blogs.  There were also 2 from Della Galton who's book I am currently reading and LOVING 'How to Write and Sell Short Stories'.  I'm learning a lot and the more I read the more confident I feel to write something worth sending out there.  Rejection I can handle (she says now) - its happened to the best of writers, but sending out crappy work I cannot and so I won't no matter how much I want to do something I promised myself I would.  I'm fairly happy with my work so far.  Last night I wrote 609 words of my short story (didn't watch a morsel of telly which is like cold turkey for me - just goes to show how much I love writing once I get going).  Not sure if I'm aiming for 700 words but its not really a twist in the tale so not sure if its needs to be longer or I need to get a twist in there if I'm to keep it to one page.

Question: Is there a limit to how many stories I can send to TABFF at one time?  I only plan to send one but for future reference would be handy to know in case I'm on a roll and want to save on stamps!

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Review: Michael Jackson's This Is It


Cert (UK): PG
Running time: 111 mins
Director: Kenny Ortega



I have to admit that although I call myself a huge MJ fan I hadn’t bought a ticket to his concert. Having already seen him perform at Wembley Stadium back in 1996 I figured that I had seen as good at I was going to see live. I was wrong. This film gives us front row seats to the rehearsal stage of the shows and lets us in to see him as a director and performer.

We don’t see the show to its full potential which is a great shame because the dancers, the singers, the sets, the band, the films inserts are all are worthy of applause and standing ovations - something you don’t get in a cinema (someone did try and get a clap going at the end but it didn’t quite catch on). Jackson’s dancing is amazing as ever – not quite as energetic as the younger dancers on stage with him, but then what do you expect – the man was in his 50’s, and he can show them a thing or two as they look on in awe as he dances to Billie Jean.

Jackson is hands on and isn’t afraid to say just how he wants something done and its ‘all with love’. He settles for no less than perfection and it’s important it be perfect for his fans and indeed for the performers who he strives to get the best out of.

All my favourites were there including: The way you make me feel, I just can’t stop loving you, Human Nature and even some of the old Jackson 5 hits that made him famous such as The Love you Save and I want you back.

He’s not shown in conversation a lot but when he is we can see his professionalism and passion but we also see his humour in what he does with some very bizarre dance moves and in how he would choose to sing a certain line of a song.

What I disliked:
The cringey comments from the singers and dancers at the start
Kenny Ortega butt kissing Michael throughout.

What I loved:
The Thriller and Smooth Criminal film inserts.
Michael's Billie Jean performance

If you’d bought concert tickets or even if you hadn’t, this is a must see. By no means anywhere near as good as what the live show would have been but it’s a fitting tribute and a testament to the hard work that was put into the show and a nice memory to be going on with.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

I will sub, I will!

Managed to get everything done on my list yesterday and even mnaged to export my blog and import to another.  Sounds pretty simple doesn't, well it was, but it took me ages. Still I got there in the end and I was quite pleased with the result.  No more Lily Sheehan, well not until I get published at least (fingers and toes crossed).
I had another night last night of short story ideas whirring around in my head yelling
'write me down, write me down'
until I could ignore them no more and wrote them all down in my notebook.  I had one story in my head about snails.  Sounds a bit weird/rubbish I know but it was there in my head and it had to go down before I could get to sleep.  Even worse I HATE snails.  Maybe writing about them will help them get over my fear.
So today I thought about something I had written on my blog this time last year:

'I will at the very least submit a story for sale to a magazine'.

I'm dissapointed to say that what with finishing the novel, holidays, nagging doubts and other tools of procrastination, I have not done this.  So I went out to WH Smiths and grabbed 3 magazines:
 
Also noticed on the first page of TAB a story by Karen Clarke which I really enjoyed.  A really good Tale with a Twist.  So I aim to read through and get a feel of the stories and see what I can come up with.  I will sub a story this year I WILL!!

**Tonight will be writing free however as I'm off to the cinema to see 'This is it'**

Have Good Evenings All

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

What will I do today...

Yesterday I decided to to take today off. Boss said:

'Doing anything nice?'

'Yes', I replied 'sleeping!'

So here I am not sleeping and writing a blog post instead at 09.46 (well was when I started this post). Such is life! Still I am not grumbling. I have already had breakfast, put the washing on, checked my facebook (I am still winning at scrabble yay), searched for flats to rent on the tinternet and checked all my (junk) emails. So as the day progresses what do I hope to get done:

  • clear out my emails - last night I was looking through my old short stories and noticed a few missing. These ones were from last year that I'd submitted to Eurofiction and I hadn't bothered saving them! Luckily they were still in my sent items. So time to sort that out.
  • Write a short story - just as I was drifting off last night I was thinking about something I had read on one of Calistro's old blog posts about how she couldn't start a short story without getting the voice and the first line right in her head. I don't normally approach my stories like this and I think this is where I am going wrong because it got me thinking and just as my body started to shut down for the night my brain had other ideas. A shortie that refused to go away until I had written it down (I have a crap memory so no point thinking it will be there in the morning.
  • read some more - I am currently reading This Charmless Man by Marian Keyes and in non-fiction I am reading How to Write and Sell Short Stories by Della Galtan. Both great books and definately worth buying/reading/adding to book collection.
  • Work on my competition entries - there are a few competitions I am working on short stories for. While I am letting the novel rest I need to keep writing and shorties are a great way of doing that. Plus they are much more fun than novel editing - that can wait until the new year. I have read the novel too many times now and too recently to be objective. I do know that my opening chapter isn't going to be there when I'm finished with it but I don't want to think about that right now.

I 'm sure there are other things I need to be doing but they are clearly too boring to add so I won't. I shall let you know what I actually did get done in my next post...

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Novel ideas and shorties

I've had lots of ideas floating around my head this week - mostly when I'm half asleep on the bus in the morning - I really need to carry a notepad as my short term memory is is.... what's that word again?? Sorry lame joke! One idea I had was for a novel. An idea I like even more than the one I developed into a novel. It's just an idea for now with 3 characters in my head. I won't plan anymore unless anything else pops up from out of nowhere and with any luck I will have a notepad on me. I don't really want to start a new novel until I can commit to it properly and I've got one to rewrite already - but not until I start my writing course next month.

I've also been working on two short stories for the Heaven Can Wait short story competition. I won't say much as its all anonymous but they are both completely different styles and I like them equally. Problem is I can only submit one entry. So I'm going to work on both ideas and go with the favourite. I will definitely have to go with a 2nd opinion here. The original idea I was working on had was discarded after I was told the idea was a bit too familiar and Cally Taylor's advice here is not to go with the first idea you have, to write all your ideas and go for one of the final ones as they are less likely to be used by others.

Also, still enjoying the reading. I am really enjoying This Charmless Man. Some of it is quite hard to take - very intense and emotional, something I've not found from Marian Keyes before. I'm enjoying the read though and cannot put it down.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Getting my read on!















This is the current view of my beside table. 5 lovely books to be read over the next 5 weeks.

Yes, I was feeling a little taskless so I decided to set myself a challenge. I've hardly read any books this year so I've picked 5 books some old, some new, to read between now and December. I have:

1. This Charming Man by Marian Keyes I had started this once before putting it to one side to read Heaven Can wait and it was easy to get back into

2. The five people you meet in heaven by Mitch Albom Not my usual sort of read but the author was recommended so I'm looking forward to reading this

3. The starter marriage by Kate Harrison Also a recommended author

4. The Accidental Family by Rowan Coleman I LOVED The Accidental Wife and the prequel to this The Accidental Mother

5. Dear Fatty by Dawn French Other than reading Chick Lit I love to read autobiographies and I think Dawn French is just lovely and hilarious.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Book Review: Heaven Can Wait by Cally Taylor

I held his face in my hands and kissed him back. I felt that life just couldn’t get any more perfect. I was right, it wouldn’t…..


'Lucy Brown is the happiest she’s ever been. She’s about to marry the man of her dreams – kind, handsome, witty Dan – and everything she’s always wanted is finally within her reach. But the night before her wedding Lucy has a fatal accident.
She is offered a choice: accept a lifetime’s separation from her soul mate to go to heaven or stay with Dan forever… and become a ghost. For Lucy, there is only one option – she will not leave Dan. But it turns out things aren’t quite as easy as that. If Lucy wants to become a ghost she has to find true love for a complete stranger…
And when she discovers that her so-called friend Anna is determined to make a move on the heartbroken, vulnerable Dan, the pressure really is on….'

I’ve been waiting for so long to read this book and I was so pleased once it arrived on my desk at work. I was actually excited to get into work in the morning, I must get more books delivered there!! I love Chick Lit be it writing or reading but this was different to those I had read before. It had a Supernatural spin to it. I love the idea of the unknown and ‘the other world’ so combined with my love of reading Chick Lit I already knew I would enjoy reading it. I have followed Cally’s blog since 2007 and have read her published short stories so I knew she was a great writer. My expectations were high and I was not disappointed!

I’ve never died (obviously) but I still really related to Lucy, which is why I couldn’t stop welling up and getting a lump in my throat when she described how much she misses Dan and laughing (and snorting like a pig – on the bus of all places) when she did and said silly things. Lucy is kind hearted, loyal and funny and that’s why she is a loveable character and you can’t help but care what happens to her. The emotions of the characters are conveyed well which helps us to sympathise with Lucy as well as other characters such as Dan and Archie and her 2 ‘undead’ housemates Claire and Brian.

The story is by no means predictable having me hooked at every turn of the page. The story develops well and has it all – humour, sadness, suspense and even a mean old biddie! I really enjoyed this book, reading it in just 3 days – that’s a record for me. I can’t wait for the next one!!

Cally Taylor’s debut novel ‘Heaven Can Wait’ is available here and at all other good book retailers.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Read, read and read some more

Look what kept me company at the hairdressers.....


No not Peter Andre, it was Cally Taylor's new novel 'Heaven Can Wait'. As I was getting my new 'red do' I had my head stuck in the book for the entire time. I got the book on Tuesday and I have nearly finished. I have about 30 pages left (which I'm saving for bedtime reading) and I am loving it. I don't think I have EVER read a book so quickly, I just CANNOT put it down. I have no idea how this will end and I can't wait to find out! A real page turner. This is not my review by the way, will post a proper one at the weekend.

So anyway while I haven't been spotted all over town with my nose in a book I have been doing a bit of course searching. Today I rang The Writers Bureau, after I got some encouraging advice after my last post. They were sooo friendly and helpful and have helped me make my mind up. I have decided to enrol myself on The Novel and Short Story Writing Course. I am so excited to do this but will have to wait until December to enrol.

In the meantime I have set myself a little challenge for the month. I am going to read at least 5 books between now and December. Not sure which ones yet but will post them next time. I know it doesn't sound a lot (or does it?) but a friend told me she has read at least 100 books this year!! I haven't even read 10!! I watch way too much TV, most of which is repeats and predictable shite. There are some amazing stories out there from what I hear about at work (I'm constantly left out of the reading club - my own fault though!) and I'm missing out on them. So, I'm looking forward to selecting the books and letting you know!

ps - yes my head is hanging in shame as I have Peter Andre The Next Chapter on in the backgroung :S

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Back home, Heaven Can Wait and a little advice needed

I 'm back! I had a lovely week of lunching, sunbathing, shopping and spending time with my mum and sister in Cyprus. My batteries are recharged and I am raring to go. Well almost. I am not looking forward to dragging myself out of my toasty bed in the morning. I am however looking forward to getting back to the writing. I made a bit of a start on the rewrite for CIM, couldn't resist but then I started to relax and leave it well alone, just so I could enjoy my week off and let my brain switch rest for a bit. I have made a start (only in my head) on a shortie for this short story competition which celebrates the release of Cally Taylor's debut novel Heaven Can Wait.


















I've heard great things about this novel so far and cannot wait to get reading my copy once it arrives and of course posting a review.

With regards to the writing course I'm a little annoyed as I haven't received a single reply from either of the two creative writing tutors I emailed before my holiday. I'm seeing this as a sign of things to come and am leaning a lot further to The Writers Bureau Course. I know some of you have done this but I'd be interested what courses you took as there are quite a few. I'm thinking either this one or this one? I could really use some advice/recommendations.

Anyway, I am off to watch The Last King of Scotland again. 2 great male leads - great great film!


Monday, 12 October 2009

Yassou!

Hello everybody peeps.

Sorry I've not blogged sooner, I spent a couple of hours yesterday catching up on all your great blogs and well there was drinking to be done, sun bathing etc etc.

Well I am baking hot here in Cyprus, and it was only a couple of days ago that I was moaning that is was too cold as I sat shivering under my duvet. Me and my mum have been to the beach today and we are wiped out. It's strangely tiring doing nothing, I had a doze on the beach and I'm convinced I'm a sleep jogger because I was still knackered when I woke up. We arrived quite late Friday night, picked up by my sister at the airport and came back to a fridge full of cider and a halloumi pie, yummy it was too. Saturday we went to Paralimni town for a walk around the shops which were shut due to half day closing but still a nice walk. We went to Sensos Café for Frappés which gave me the shakes as I usually only have half of a half teaspoon of coffee. Tasted lovely but clearly too strong as the heart palpatations indicated. Saturday evening we stayed in with a bottle of Aphrodite and watched Blowdry (blowj*b as my mum thought it was called!!) - a film starring Josh Hartnett doing the worst northern accent I have EVER heard and considering he played a barber the worst haircut too. I have seen this before but it was for research purposes as one of my characters in the novel is a hairdresser. This means watching Cutting It over and over again and going for my 2nd visit to the hairdressers in a month! It's a hard life (I knew I would enjoy the research side of things).
Yesterday we had a walk around Protaras and had lunch in the Friends Bar (where they play random episodes of Friends - I thought I'd died and gone to heaven) where we met with my sister. Then it was back out in the evening to watch the x-factor. I know I couldn't resist. I had missed the saturday night show after all but there's always You Tube. Also, very sad to hear about Stephen Gately, 33 is no age and he was always my favourite of the group, so was very shocked to hear the news).

Also, as I was a bit zoned out when writing my last post but I just wanted to say a massive THANK YOU to everyone who gave me loads of encourage this last few months. It really spurred me on to know I had support from so many people, so well done to you all for being so great as well!!

Right well I shall get back to the big Chill, just reading This Charming Man by Marian Keyes. I'm not 'hooked' yet but I'm not that far into in yet so I'm having faith, I really like her books after all.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Finished!!!

2 years 6 months later and the first draft is complete. My final word count is 78,760, not quite the 80,000 I was going for but the final scenes are written and I am more than happy with it. I'm letting it hibernate until the new year, just enough time for the elves to break into my computer and raise it to book shelf standards! There is research to be done, courses to be taken (if the tutors ever bother to email me back!) so its not finished by a long way but I am ready to let someone else read it and that's a big thing for me.

S0 that's it for me and the novel for a while, we are officially on Sabbatical and will reunite in the new year. I'm looking forward to reading, writing shorties, commenting and blogging more over the next few months. But for this next week I am looking forward to sleeping, eating, drinking and just generally chilling out.

See you in Cyprus! (where I hope I can connect and blog lots!!)

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Still not finished yet!

Well, unfortunately I am not yet gracing the end stages of my novel just yet but I am getting there steadily. My current word count stands at 77823 and as I have a fair few scenes to put in I reckon I'll be exceeding the 80,000 word target. I've got until Thursday to finish and then I shall be leaving it to rest while the new year.



Enough of banging that same ol' drum, I'm sure your just thinking hurry up and finish already (I know I am) so I'm preparing for when I do finish. I emailed a couple of tutors at my local college in Richmond Upon Thames (RACC) about some courses I have found. One is The Hero's Journey and the other is Developing your Novel. Not quite sure which one would be best so I'll hopefully get a response on that soon (I'm rooting for the cheaper option!).



In non writing relating news I went to Wimbledon dogs on Friday night and had a great night. My first EVER bet and I won £74!! How jammy am I. I didn't win a thing after that but I still managed to have a free night out.

Last night I went with boyf and my parents to see Michael McIntyre at Wembley Arena. We had great seats (not too close to get picked on) and he was hilarious. There were a few crude jokes in there that I didn't think were his style but they had me crying with laughter.

Right, I'm off now as its back to work tomorrow :( and after that hectic weekend I am pooped!

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

I almost forgot my Birthday!!



In all my writing madness I very nearly forgot that today is my blog's 2nd birthday. Happy Birthday Blog!! It's been 2 whole years and I'm loving blogging more than ever. Thank you to everyone who visits, comments and supports my blog. It means a lot to me (and my blog!).




Sunday, 27 September 2009

Writing, cleaning and almost being washed away

It's been another week of mad writing, and I'm happy to report that things are nicely on schedule for me to be finished before I go to Cyprus in just under 2 weeks. My current work count is around 68000 words which I think is just under 10000 words since last Sunday. This week I have struggled though: words just not flowing, tiredness taking over, a generally busier than normal work week. It all starts to gang up on me after a while but I'm not feeling deterred and I don't dare take more than a day off from it. For one reason I really miss it when I do take a day off and can't resist doing at least 100 words to keep JJ company over on the 100 words a day blog and for another it's harder to get back into once I've spent time away from it. It's definately become a habit now and I'm sure it will feel weird when I finish the first draft and have that break until the new year but I'm sure I'll keep myself occupied with a few short stories here and there.

In other news I finished Hens Reunited! Firstly I just want to say I finished it a week ago but didn't have time to blog (hence the Sunday only blogging) and it's taken me almost 2 months to finish purely because I have been writing so much and the only time I get to indulge in a good book is before bed and by that time it's late and I have to force myself to stop reading. There just wanted to explain that before you all wondered. You probably didn't and now you think me weird so I'll shut up now (nervous laugh).

So, yes... Hens Reunited which the lovely Lucy Diamond signed and awarded to me when I won her anagram comp. I LOVED it. I loved the three different characters, who although I didn't relate to one in particular, did have different traits I could relate to in some way. Katie and her meticulousness, Alice and her timidness and Georgia with her attitude to certain things. Thank you to Lucy for a great read and I look forward to reading about Laura (I read the interview too!)

It's not all been writing, writing, writing. Yesterday boyf, boyfs bro and g/friend and myself went to Beachy Head in Eastbourne to soak up the sun and enjoy the beautiful scenery. Whilst me and boyfs bros g/friend (thats hard to say) sunbathed the 2 boys went off to catch crabs (not what some of the dirtier minded of you are thinking). I had a little doze under this months edition of cosmo before I was woken by the tide coming in! Boyf and his bro did a bit of frisbying and luckily I only got hit by it once! I also did a spot cleaning today as my mum is back from Cyprus for a week on Wednesday. Mum if you are reading this we clean every Sunday not just cuz you are visiting, honest).

Thats all for now as I need to get back to the writing. Hopefully I'l squeeze a midweek post in but if not I'll see you Sunday.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

How I seem to be writing so much right now

Thanks to all the kind words over my ever increasing word count. I am still aiming to be finished by 8th October, ready to take to Cyprus with me for my mum to go through it. My word count currently stands at 57,775 words which is still a way off but I'm going for a daily word count target of just over 1000 words which I've been exceeding. I've managed about 2,000 words today so this is just a quick blog post before I get back to it. While I have a daily word count to stick to I realise that it is still important to have a life so I have to make up for days I've missed at the weekend. Today I have to make up for Thursday where I went to see Ray Lamontagne at the Royal Albert Hall. It was the first time I had been there and I was amazed. It's a beautiful building. Ray was amazing, I cannot get over his voice.

Some of you wonder how I've managed to fit the writing in and keep it going. Well firstly there's:

Speed - I type pretty fast. I make shed loads of spelling mistakes which future me can deal with but for now I think dealing with spelling mistakes will only disturb my flow.

Wine – this tends to help when I've been at work and need to relax. I don’t have a problem, it's just the one glass of wine, not bottle. It is amazing where my imagination goes when I've had a drink or two. I still have to do the read through so I wouldn't take this as a tip or anything.

My family - I get plenty of encouragement from them. My mum tells me off for farting around on face book. She is in Cyprus but still she knows these things. My sister constantly sends me well done messages on my word count which along with all yours is a real boost. And my dad, constantly helping out with my research aids and as it's just us living in the gaff while my other 2 supporters cheer me on in sunny Cyprus, he never moans when I come in from work and park myself on my bed, lap top on lap and I don’t resurface until the word count is complete.

Treats - after every 1000 words (500 on weeknights) I allow myself a treat, be it a glass of wine, a quick peak at facebook or a look at someones blog. I remain strict with it though and it seems to be working.

Novel Racers - Ever since I became an official racer I've not stopped with the writing. Also Helen's 100 words a day blog helps as well!

I haven’t become a total hermit. I have a boyf, who is totally understanding when I say I have to write. He doesn’t mind having to go to the pub with the lads instead. Also my friends have all ventured into the world of motherhood so are a little preoccupied lately. but hey, this is my baby so I can't complain.

Also this writing increase has only been a recent thing, so I've not been that good. I starting writing my novel 2 years ago. I've faffed, procrastinated, taken lengthy breaks, concentrated on short stories. Only now am I finally getting my arse into gear. I hope to finish soon, and move to phase 2 in the new year. So while I'm not working my fingers to the bone (quite literally) I can concentrate on blogging more.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Writing, catching up with friends and looking miserable behind Derren Brown

I managed to stop just shy of 50000 words complete today. I think that makes it roughly 9,000 words this week which isn't bad as I've had a bit of a busy week socially speaking. As you'll have seen from my last post I went to see Inglourious Basterds with boyf on wednesday (which can I just reiterate is bloody brilliant!), thursday I had the day off to go and see Derren Brown tell us how he predicted the lottery which aired on Friday. You may have seen me looking a bit miserable behind him. This was because it took about 4 hours to film and my feet were killing me. Still, he was very nice chatting to people between takes. I wish I could remember the name of the warm up guy on the Derren Brown show because he was so so funny and kept us in belly laughs between takes.

Then on Friday I went with a friend to see Dorian Gray. I didn't do a review for this as I have not had time. Hopefully I will get time tomorrow but I will say I didn't really enjoy it so much but I am so glad Colin Firth was in it because I might just had walked out halfway through. Still I like to keep an open mind and I have seen worse (Dance Flick anyone??)

Saturday was meant to be a catch up day writing wise but a good friend of mine was in town so we met for coffee and I spent the rest of the day in the pub soaking up what was left of the sun. I don't feel at all guilty because I do think I earnt it. I have been typing away so much this week I might be starting to wear down my fingerprints.


I also did a teeny bit of procrastinating where I came across this great site. If you click on the pic above you can see some other great pics and I especially love the 'will write for chocolate' merchandise. It's almost as if it were made especially for me as the half eaten giant bag of M&M's at my side will prove.

Anyway I shall leave it there as I am hoping to have this novel finished in.... dare I say it.... 3 weeks. Just in time for my trip back to Cyprus to see my Mum who has so kindly agreed to read over the first draft with me. Ahhhhh proof reading friend!!!

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Film Review: Inglourious Basterds

Stars: Brad Pitt, Mike Myers, Diane Kruger, Christoph Waltz, Mélanie Laurent, Samuel L. Jackson (narrator)

Directed by: Quentin Tarantino

Plot: The movie set in Nazi-occupied France begins with SS officer Colonel Hans Landa (Waltz), nicknamed 'the Jew Hunter' discovering a Jewish family hiding under the floorboards of a farmhouse and killing them with only the daughter making an escape.
Aldo Raine (Pitt) puts together the Basterds, a team of 8 Jewish-American soldiers who specialise in killing Nazis. They leave their mark by gruesomely scalping the dead and marking those left alive. Despite the title the film isn’t all about them and as a consequence they aren’t on film all that much.
We are then moved on a few years later where in Paris we see Shosanna Dreyfus (Mélanie Laurent) the daughter of the family killed by Lander, has created a new life for herself under the new identity of Emmanuelle Mimieux and is now the owner of a cinema which is to host the unveiling of Joseph Goebbels' new film ‘Nations Pride’ starring a German Soldier besotted with Shosanna/Emmanuelle. This night brings the film to its climax with each of the characters intertwining.

Funny scenes: There are plenty of funny moments but one in particular was the German officer(s) playing the game 'who am I' where they have a card with a famous persons name stuck to their head. Pitt and Waltz’s characters are very funny. Waltz is brilliant at portraying evil and hilarious all at the same time.

Look out for: Mike Myers, I didn’t realise it was him until about 5 minutes into this scene. See if you can spot him!!

Unfortunately: you might find some of the scenes a bit lengthy but thankfully, for me, Waltz was a joy to watch. His cool, calm and collected voice just reels you in and you just love him. You know you shouldn’t but you do. The film moves from French to English to German (even a little Italian) so can get a bit confusing and what I find with subtitled films is that you miss a lot when you are staring at the bottom of the screen for half the film. It was also a bit too gruesome in some parts for me but hey you might like that sort of thing.

The film manages to poke fun out of history but also stirs up emotions. Fictional characters are mixed with real life historical figures including Adolf Hitler and Joseph Goebbels. The film contains plenty of blood and gore and one scene in particular that looked like something out of Scarface.

Verdict: Excellent. I love Tarrantino films and I was not dissapointed here. This has to be his best one yet. It's not at all historically accurate but its not a documentary after all!! Waltz was the shining star of the film for me.


9 out of 10!!!!

Sunday, 6 September 2009

I told a porky but I liked it!

I've had a productive week this week. Since Monday I have managed to write 10918 words which has meant that I have finally reached the half way mark. It took me just over 2 years (how bad is that!) to get this far but I am so focused right now I will not let it take me another 2 years to write the other 50%. If I can keep up the momentum I might even finish before the 23rd December. I aim to start the rewrite after mine and boyf's mini break in the new year so I would like at least a month off from the novel before it all kicks off again.

It wasn't all work and no play for me. My brother and sister in law had their 2nd wedding reception last night. It was a great night but the highlight for me was when my sister in law's 8 year old neice asked me what I did for a living. This, I thought, was an odd question for an 8 year old but I obliged nonetheless. Now, in my defence I thought that explaining to an 8 year old that my job involved drawing up contracts for IT contractors was more than just a tad boring and perhaps hard to explain so, I lied.

"I write books" was my reply. (Write books, writing a book, well almost the same thing.)

DO YOU??? she said as though I had just told her I sing in a really famous girl band or something equally as popular to an 8 year old. She looked at me in awe. Unfortunately it didn't last long as she proceeded to ask me if I was an illustrator (there was no bending the truth there) and then she asked why I was wearing green tights (I couldn't really explain that one away). Bright girl but asks way too many questions. That moment made me feel so proud to be doing this and I cannot wait to say I have written a book. I guess that, as well as being an official NR now is what is keeping me going.

Monday, 31 August 2009

Sophie Kinsella and some writing progress

I got a reply back from Sophie Kinsella late thursday night which I found really helpful. I asked her whether she'd had any writing training (as I am still undecided on the whole course thing). Here was my reply:

Hi Cheryl (my doppelganger)

I have never studied novel-writing (can you tell?!) However many years ago I went on the Robert McKee screen-writing seminar Story which has lots of useful ideas for structure. They can be applied to novels too. So I would recommend that.

Sophie


How cool is that!! So anyway I looked this up and it looked really good. He is running seminars in November but as I am saving for a house right now I decided on the cheaper alternative in the meantime:




I picked this up at my local Waterstones (where I got double points!!) and so far it's been quite insightful. I'm only a few pages in so far as I've been busy writing but I'll keep you updated on my thoughts.
My writing progress today is quite newsworthy. I did no writing on Saturday as I was nursing a hangover and was out later that day with a friend. Sunday I somehow managed to spend a whopping 5 hours (no idea how that happened) playing scrabble on facebook - luckily for the novel I am rubbish at it so the addiction didn't last much longer than that. Today I made up for it though. I (somehow) in the space of 7 hours managed to write 4545 words taking me to around 34,000 words so I'm nearly half way there. I've a few evenings to myself this week so I aim to take advantage of that and get myself to that light at the end of the tunnel just that little bit sooner.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Facebook - not a total waste of time

Wow, it would seem that skiving off on facebook can be beneficial. Yesterday while scrolling through some updates I noticed the Chicklitisnotdead.com status update say that Sophie Kinsella, author of the Shopaholic books is giving some great insight on starting and finishing your first novel. I headed straight over to the Barnes and Noble website and posted a question off to her. I haven't had a reply yet but shes only on till tomorrow so I should (hopefully) get one soon. I've had a look through the Q and A’s and got a few nice tips from her so far. It's definately worth a look.

Other than my total devotion to Facebook I have managed to squeeze in a bit of writing here and there. Work has been crazy busy all week which meant I lost my lunchtime writing slots and my brain was sozzled the moment my arse hit the couch. Luckily it's a Bank holiday weekend and also boyf is away all weekend so I intend to make as much use of my free time to write write write.

Monday, 17 August 2009

THANK YOU!!

Just wanted to say a huge........

























THANKYOU to all those fellow writers and novel racers (yes I really get to say that now) for all your lovely comments and for welcoming me into the fold. I managed a whopping 1,189 words yesterday in amongst trying to avoid b2b episodes of my favourite tv show which were showing on Comedy Central. I aim to keep up the momentum so I shall leave it there for now and thank you once again.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Some News....

My Holiday is over... Boooooo
I go back to Cyprus in 8 weeks... Hurrah
I have gone a week and have done no writing... Booooo
I am officially a Novel Racer... Hurrah

OK enough of that. Yes following a depressing wait at baggage reclaim at Heathrow I returned home to 91 emails. After deleting most of what had escaped the junk mail filter I found some great news. I have received my invite to be a fully fledged novel racer. I am sooo pleased and feel spurred on to get my novel finished.

My holiday was great! The wedding was beautiful and all went without a hitch. Here is a pic of me and the family. I am the one on the end...in the dress that is.



I had some great pics of the sunset at Cave Greco which seems to have dissapeared off my phone so once I get the other pics off my camera I'll post them. Anyways despite being back from a too short holiday I am glad to get stuck into the writing again. I may have some more time off from work to concentrate on my writing but more on that in my next post. I'm now off to post on the Novel Racers blog for the very first time! Hurrah!!!

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Look what I got....





Yes, its my very own signed copy of Lucy Diamond's book Hens Reunited which I won. I was so exited when I got this I showed it off to everyone at work when it arrived. They were quite impressed with the message from Lucy as well!
I also bought myself:

I haven't started any of them yet as I am saving Hens Reunited for my holiday and I can't decide which of the three to take away as well. Also I am still reading The Matchbreaker by Chris Manby. I have been slow at reading this week as I have come down with a stinking cold. First my boss had it and then thought she'd share it with her staff. Luckily, as we had first thought, it wasn't the dreaded swine it was just a cold which she has slowly recovered from so hopefully the coughing, runny nose, and sniffing coming from me will be over with by the time my holiday starts on on Wednesday and more importantly by Friday when my brother will be getting married. Not only do I not want to be sneezing at any crucial moments but I don''t really want to look like crap on the day. I just had a bit of pampering at the Green Room where I had a facial and my eyelashes tinted. To me they look no different but boy did it sting so I'm telling myself it was worth it. It's hard to tell when there are faint remnants of blue/black dye around my eyes. She did warn me that would go in the next few days. She had better be right!

So as I approach the day in which I was supposed to have finished draft one I am feeling slightly guilty that I have yet again done no writing this past week (either that or the fact that i have just scoffed an entire pack of fruit pastilles which you apparently can't count as one of your 5 a day). New deadline as I previously had said is now christmas so I'm getting back to it right after this post. I may not post again between now and when I get back from Cyprus so I will see you all then!

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Testing 123....


Just topped up with orange Pay as you go canary tarrif which should now let me blog on the go. Hope this works! Oh thats just a random pic of my computer for no reason

Monday, 27 July 2009

I won!!!

I had the best news today. After, as mentioned in my last post, anagramming my butt off and only coming up with one, I only went and won the competition over on Lucy's blog!! As the winner I am lucky enough to receive a signed copy of Lucy's new book Hens Reunited. I was in great company with the very funny Karen Clarke who never fails to make me laugh and last years winner Pat Posner (I am not worthy). As you can imagine I had the biggest smile on my face all afternoon, even in the face of this laughable summer which has slowly been impacting on my mood. I am off to Cyprus next Wednesday where my brother is getting married next Friday. Will I be able to resist reading Hens Reunited before I jet off? I am thinking not but as luck would have it I still have Waterstones vouchers reserved especially for the occasion. Thanks to everyone for their recommendations. I am now struggling to decide which books to buy (all) and which to take (I have to be realistic here and know that I don't read as fast or as much as I talk!) I am back off to Waterstones tomorrow, as today I got all the way there and realised my vouchers were still in my bag under my desk. I shall post then with my purchases!

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Anagrams and book request

After a couple days off the writing I am back to... well the writing. Ok not really quite yet but all in good time. There are 2 hours until I'm staring at the backs of my eyelids. I have just spent the last hour (not included half an hour last night and my lunch break today), trying to anagram my butt off. If you like them and more to the point like Lucy Diamond's books and want to win the new one Hens Reunited then head over to Being Lucy Diamond where you too could be anagramming your butt off.

Also on a separate note can anyone recommend a good book or two? I have some Waterstones vouchers and am stocking up for my holiday in 2 weeks! I will of course being buying this one if I don't win it but it's not on the shelves until after I leave for pastures sunny.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Film Review: Brüno

I have been so looking forward to seeing this because I think Sacha Baron Cohen is hilarious. I was in a bit of a panic when me and boyf settled in to watch the film and Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince came on. Turns out they had sent us to the wrong screen. After that initial panic we got seated in the correct screen and 2 seconds into the film I was laughing my head off. I mean proper belly laughs, which were so loud boyf got a bit embarrassed and told me to stop laughing so loudly. It wasn't just me, one girl laughed so hard she snorted.


This film stars none other than the ballsy Sacha Baron Cohen himself and tells the story of Brüno, presenter of Funkyzeit who after he is banished from the fashion world following an incident with his new velcro jumpsuit, heads to LA to be the "most famous Austrian since Hitler". What ensues in his attempt to become world famous is a series of hilarious stunts such as swapping his i-pod for an african baby, trying to bring peace in the middle east but getting Hamas confused with housmous and in an attempt to get himself kidnapped tells a terrorist leader in Lebanon that he thinks Osama Bin Laden looks like a “dirty wizard”. Luckily for Cohen he is just asked to leave at this point and it seems throughout the entire film gets away with not being killed. The simulated gay sex scene at an anti-gay fighting ring gets quite violent as the crowd start throwing metal chairs at him.

The film is full of stunts and the odd celeb wind up, trying to make a sex tape with Ron Paul -the 2008 presidential candidate and interviewing Paula Abdul about her humanitarian work while they use his mexican gardeners as chairs.

There are a mix of actors and reality stars in the film, some so unbelievable its almost hard to believe they are not acting. One mother had no problems with her baby 'losing 10 pounds' for a photo shoot!

The film is more shocking than Borat ever was. Just think the naked fight scene times about 10. How most of this footage got passed the cut I don't know because it was for me without doubt one of the most shocking films I have ever seen but possibly one of the funniest. Baron is a truely dedicated comedian who will see a joke right through to the very end.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

My day off...

As yet I have still not done any writing and my day off is now officially over. Time doesn't seem to go this quickly when I am at work! I didn't sleep the day away though as I was tempted to do. I managed a 4 mile walk (broken up by half an hours shopping in between), bought some swimming goggles for my holiday so that I can wear contacts whilst swimming (I really hope I didnt buy cheap and crappy ones. I also managed a spot of house work and cleared some space on my desk to do no said writing. I just don't think I'll manage a lot tonight as am seeing boyf/making spag bol/slobbing about in front of Hollyoaks, Big Bro and Ugly Betty. Yes that is my evening mapped out. It is a cop out I know but just because I enjoy writing doesn't mean it is easy and my brain has also taken the day off.

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Nintendo DS Health Coach

After just the most horrid week of work and leaky bathroom ceilings I have decided I can't wait until my holiday for a break. I need the day off. My holiday is 3 and a half weeks away and I've had enough of work. So I have decided to have Wednesday off to get some writing done. I plan to get some done this weekend but I've already planned a day of shopping so it would seem tomorrow is my only day. Once the weekend disappears a lot quicker than it arrived I shall pick up where I left off on Wednesday. I am praying for sunshine so I can write in the garden. A change of writing atmosphere might do me some good.

In other non-writing related news I have just weighed myself and I have lost half a stone in 5 weeks! I can't believe it. I put it all down to this:

It came with a free pedometer which is a bit huge=mongous but it really works. The programme sets you an amount of steps to do per day based on all your stats which really encourages you to get up and walk around more. I no longer wheel over to the filing cabinets on my chair at work, I actually get up and walk those 3 or 4 steps. I go walking at lunchtime instead of surfing the net. If you have a nintendo ds I really recommend this if your trying to lose weight or if you just want to get fit. It comes with loads of hints and tips for eating well and exercising and even sets you challenges for the day which you feel a little guilty if you don't complete.

Right I'm off shopping!!

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Big Brother - Big Bother!!

Why do I do it to myself every year. I say I will not watch but I always get sucked in by the addictiveness that is Big Brother. In fact as I write this I am listening to the housemates bitching and arguing right now.

Sorry for the mundane post but this is what it does to me.

I have no news or writing progress reports as I hardly did anything this week. Truth be told I have been knackered all week and this weekend has barely shown itself to me. Today I finally sorted my tip of a bedroom out so I have now space to walk across the floor without amputating a foot in the process. Yesterday pops and I went to a lovely Cornish Market at our local where we bought lashing of clotted cream and scones. One complaint though was the fact they had no scrumpy - whats all that about. I still have to recommend it though - www.cornwallinyourkitchen.com The Cornish Yarg is particularly yummy but not strong if you like that sort of thing. Here's to next weekend!!

Sunday, 28 June 2009

I completed the 5k now back to the writing....

Race for Life is now over and I aim to put my energy into other things. I completed the course in just under 3o mins which (considering I walked some of it) is a personal best for me. I will keep up with the running but once winter sets in I shall start swimming again which is a preferred sport for me. So now this is all done until next year I aim to put everything into the writing. I managed to post on the 100 words a day 3 times last week (surpassing each amount by the entry so I'm happy with that). Next week I'll try harder. I've even sent my details to the Writer's Bureau for a some more details. I figure with some proper training I'm bound to gain in confidence and writing skill.

Friday, 26 June 2009

Michael Jackson

I was so sad to hear the news last night that Michael Jackon had passed away at the age of 50. I was a huge fan of his and was massively affected by his music when I was growing up.

Rest in peace
x

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Bookcrossing


A while ago I linked to and posted about my love of Geocaching. Bookcrossing is just like this but with yep you guessed it... books. The concept is simple, once you finish a book and want to pass it on you can register the book on the site and leave the book in the wild. You can also search in your area to see what books have been left recently in charity shops, pubs, airports, tubes, buses and even your local parks.


If your interested and you have a spare 5 mins you can:

Register...
It takes a couple of minutes to register your details, name, address, you know the usual

Go hunting...
There are currently 6,036 out there in the wild in Britain. It also includes Thailand, the USA and Ireland to name but a few.

I am yet to register a book (as I'm being a lazy reader and writer) but once I do I'll be leaving it somewhere for someone to find. Hopefully I'll find a novel racers work (not that I don't buy them already but it would still be cool to find one!)

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Writing Again and Confessions

So most of yesterday was spent delving back into my novel world (and also having a facial, shopping and preparing food for a picnic today). I spent a good half hour trying to figure out why I had more words in YWriter than my word document. I couldn't figure it out when I compared each chapters word counts. YWriter is now empty of all chapters and with a new deadline of 24/12/09 I now have a new daily word count of 302 words. I have so far managed 129 words today and once I get back from said picnic later I shall make up the rest of the daily word count and maybe some more. Also with my 100 words met I was able to post on the 100 words a day blog again which was a good boost.



In other news....


I'm not writing a review for this one but I watched Confessions of a Shopaholic and all I will say is I really really.....

.

.

.

.

LOVED IT. I eat my previous words because I think Isla Fisher was brilliant as Rebecca and although I would of course read the books any day over watching the film(s) I thought what was managed to be condensed into under 2 hours was really funny and enjoyable to watch.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Review: The Hangover


Stars: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Heather Graham, Ken Jeong, Justin Bartha, Jeffrey Tambor, Mike Tyson

Slightly concerning time for me to go and see this film as my brother was in Hungary on his stag do at the time but this didn't stop me rolling in the aisles.

Set in Vegas this tells the story of Doug (Bartha) embarking on his stag night with his 2 best friends - cool teacher Phil (Cooper) and geeky Doctor/Dentist Stu (Helms) and his soon to be 'weird' brother in law Alan (Galifianakis ). They head out for a night they will never forget and it turns out they do just that.

They wake up the next morning with a tiger in the bathroom, a baby in the cupboard and a missing Groom. The hilarity ensues as they retrace the previous night's steps in a bid to get Doug back in time for his wedding. Cue shot gun weddings, camp Asian gangsters, plenty of gambling and of course Mike Tyson.

Where the film lacks in recognisable faces it certainly makes up for in humour and suspense. The story is uncomplicated but keeps you on the edge of your seat as the plot thickens. With all that it has to offer it's little wonder they didn't feel the need to use an all star cast. For me Zach Galifianakis is the star of the show with his character's lack of social grace and weird dress sense.

This gets a 4 out of 5 from me. I fully recommend seeing this film with a crowd.

The next 2 films I fully intend to see are Bruno and Year One so if you see them before me and they turn out to be rubbish (which I very much doubt) please tell me!

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

An actual writing related post

Following yet another writing break I am working out the best way to get back into it. I’m thinking I need to read what I have written so far, which as it's been a while since I started writing it (remember Miss Write anyone??) and read it last it will feel like I’m reading someone else’s work. Does anyone else read their work and feel convinced someone (the elves maybe) wrote all that for you? It takes time and I have now set a new goal to finish by the end of this year. If ever I start looking for an agent (meaning I finish this novel of course!) I will have to delete this blog and change my name (again) because there is no way I’d get a book deal if they knew how long it has taken to not finish this one! If my future agent is reading this in my defence I haven’t just procrastinated using frequently mentioned TV (I am training to be a TV critic in my ever dwindling spare time) I have also been writing short stories and researching all future novels that may involve telly watching and going out on the lash (I don’t really do that!!) Any helpful tips on getting back to it and sticking to it would help me out loads!!

Saturday, 13 June 2009

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

The first time I saw the trailer for this I was reeled in. In fact this is so totally the kind of story I love I am surprised I waited until it came out on DVD.

Starring Cate Blanchett and Brad Pitt, the film starts with Daisy (Blanchett) on her death bed while her daughter (Julia Ormond) reads from Benjamin's diary. In this we learn of Benjamin's life, loves and travels while Daisy desperately holds on to the end.

Amidst the Armitice Days celebrations Benjamin’s mother dies while giving birth to him. Thinking his son is a monster his father a wealthy Button factory owner abandons him on the doorstep where Queenie, a kind woman who is unable to have children of her own takes him in and loves him as her own. Despite being born in the body of a dying old man Benjamin defies the odds and grows younger while all of his loved ones grow older around him.

We learn of how Daisy and Benjamin came to meet for the first time at the retirment home where Benjamin lived. Daisy as a child visiting her Grandmother sees Benjamin as an old man and instantly they take to each other. While the idea is that he is a child in an old mans body it is still a little creepy that they fall in love on their first meeting. She is still a child and he is essentially an old man.

Based on the short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald the film has a touch of other films such Forest Gump, Jack and Forever Young, 3 films that really work for me and I loved. The only thing that let the film down was it's length. At nearly 3 hours I found myself getting distracted from the story a little and looking at the time. Despite this I watched the entire film, gladly at home and not in the cinema! The make up and special effects were excellent (hence the Oscar for Best Visual Effects).

Nice film to watch if you have a spare few hours but probably not a good idea if you value your time!

I give it a 6 out of 10 because I liked the story, the acting and the make up!

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

I'm baaaack!!!

I am sooooo sorry for going awol this past month. It was by no means intentional but I think I really needed the break and sadly something had to give. I am only sorry that it was this and just about everything else I love doing. The good news is I have finally moved house and I am settled at last so I can finally concentrate on things again. I'm just easing back into things so I'll keep this one short and I'l be back with another post tomorrow. Hopefully with some writing progress. I also have a quiet weekend ahead in which I plan to see some films to review for you.

See you all at your blogs where I'll be catching up and inundating you with comments!


Thursday, 30 April 2009

Win tailored advice on how to get published

Waterstones are running another great competition for writers giving you the chance to have lunch with Caroline Taggart, editor of Writer's Market UK & Ireland

The very lucky winner will get to meet Caroline in a London restaurant and get invaluable advice on approaching publishers. If you're interested follow this link to their website

All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is simply tell them in 150 words or less your name, waterstones card number and what you would like to achieve from a lunch with an editor. All entries must be received on or before the closing date of 18th May 2009 at 11:59 PM


Good Luck!

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Review: The Boat that Rocked

I wasn't sure about this film because Richard Curtis has received a bit of a grilling for this one. Something about too many characters chucked in together. I couldn't see the problem with that myself. As far as I was concerned I was getting more great actors for the price of one film and I’ve loved all of his other films so far.
The film is set in 1966 on board a ship where a great line up of male characters broadcast 24/7 rock and pop from pirate radio station Radio Rock. Katherine Parkinson (Jen from the IT crowd) is the only woman allowed to live on the boat on the account that her character is a lesbian and can cook...badly. Rhys Ifans isn’t in it as much as I thought but in this case it was definately quality not quantity; Ryhs Darby (Murray from FOTC) was hilarious with his character celebrating the back catalogue of The Seekers. Bill Nighy was the main reason I wanted to watch this but although he was great the shining character for me surprisingly was The Count played by Philip Seymour Hoffman. Nick Frost showed just a little too much flesh for my liking but if you have a thing for him you'll love this. The funniest character for me had to be Thick Kevin (Tom Brooke). He was hilarious especially in the who am I game scene. I am only naming but a few here.
Quite a lot happens in this film; evil government ministers trying to overthrow the radio station; marriage; betrayal; boy realises who his real father is; boy finds girl; girl finds girl; some titanicesque boat sinking; sex; drugs and you guessed it: plenty of rocknroll. This film has it all and what it lacks in plot and character development it most certainly make up for in cast, comedy and music. The sound track is bloody excellent. I listen to the radio all day during my working week and you just don’t get songs like that. My only critique was that it had a tendency to be a bit cheesy in parts but it had me laughing my head off despite this. Stellar cast and even better sound track. A must see!

Monday, 20 April 2009

Who says I can't do two things at once!

In my bid to get fit for race4life I decided to combine my training with a little hobby of mine. About 5 years ago my dad, who is 49 today (or so he says!!) HAPPY BIRTHDAY by the way, introduced me to something called Geo caching. Heard of it? Whenever I have been on any job interviews and the interviewer sees this rare commodity hiding in amongst my love of reading, writing and ...ahem watching tv I always get asked ‘What is geo caching’? I’m sure they could google it but I indulge them by explaining it the best way I know how. It’s a cross between treasure hunting and orienteering with a GPS. My dad could explain it better I’m sure but it could get technical, for me anyway. There are hundreds, thousands, hundreds of thousands even, of hidden caches all over this country and many others that are waiting to be found.

If you love discovering new sights and learning new things while getting some exercise then I have to recommend this to you. My dad and I have seen so many beautiful sights through this activity and its great having a shared interest in something which I see as quite cult.
So on Saturday I successfully managed to locate a local cache which was 1.29 miles from my house. Nice and easy one and I was impressed with its location. I didn’t realise that this particular railway station where it was located was so close to my house. It took me about 20 minutes to combine running with walking and staring at the geocache application on my phone. Unfortunately however it now feels as though someone has repeatedly kicked me in the shins. I shall however soldier on.

If your still thinking 'what the hell is she going on about' follow this link and click on hide and seek a cache to see whats in your area: http://www.geocaching.com/

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

I made it - just about

I started my training for Race for Life after work yesterday and I was quite shocked at my level of fitness. I must admit I got a bit cocky telling the girls at work that 5k would be a piece of p*ss. I only managed to run for about 4 minutes which was actually broken up by stopping at the local supermarket (which I didn't realise was so close), putting my laces back in my trainer twice and picking half a dead fly out of my eye. That was the last straw for me so I decided to call it a day and walk back home. After that measley bit of running I am now in agony (forgot to stretch when I got home). After that feeble attempt I would just like to salute Sarah G and anyone else taking part in the Flora London Marathon this year and say I am sooo not worthy.

Monday, 6 April 2009

A Grand Day Out

First of all many apologies once again for my lack of posts, visits, comments of late. It's been very hectic and as this may continue for the next week or so I shall just say one big SORRY in advance rather than me boring you with my profuse apologies here, there and everywhere. I'm still reading/writing wherever I can but life is getting in the way of my art right now and if I weren't so taken over by 'stuff' I would feel down about it.



I did have a fabulous weekend in my pretty froral dress as boyf took me to Liverpool to watch the Grand National. I won £7 (and lost £10) and got to drink and eat all day for zilch. Needless to say I was a very happy bunny all day. We spent the rest of the weekend in Chester, did a bit of shopping and generally just chilled.



This weekend may not be so chilled as we are moving house. Not sure If I am actually moving out of the house yet myself as we haven't been given our moving date yet. It's all very boring and headachy so I'll let you get the general idea of how fun my weekend will be if you want to.



On a final note I am running Race4Life this year. I've put a little widget on the top right hand corner of my blog if you wish to sponsor me to run further than I have ever run in my life. I'll keep you updated on how my training is going (as I am yet to do any!) and hopefully get some writing relating topics in there too. I'll be doing the blog rounds later I promise. I've missed my fave blogs sooo much.

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Paul Blart: Mall Cop

Funny Funny Funny!! Yes it was that funny. I am slightly biased because I just think Kevin James is hilarious. I was gutted when King of Queens came to an end. This film is short and sweet, which is good for me because I do tend to have the attention span of a nat (I'm assuming they have little or no attention span but I'm sure you get my point). Towards the end I found myself repeatedly turning to my friend in surprise (to her surprise) and saying 'I was not expecting that!!'. If your looking for laughs a plenty (albeit a little silly) and you like Adam Sandler humour (this film is made by his or the production company HappyMadison which makes a lot of Adam Sandler films) you must go see this. Its not one of those films that you must watch in the cinema for its full effect but it makes for a funny evening out. I went with my friend and as she is 5 months preggers and could only fit into tracksuit bottoms it was either a trip to the gym (HAHAHAHAHA) or the cinema and you can guess which one I would never have chosen.