Books and Reading Thursday: Two birds, one stone…

So, as you might have read, I have currently been reading and completing the first practical writing craft book on my TBR list.

And I have to say it’s brilliant! The confidence it has boosted in me as a writer is amazing, and it’s really helping me to see what I’m capable of.

In fact, it has been so awesome I have made the decision to always have a writing craft book on the go.

Now, I have said before that I’m not very good at reading two books at a time, but seeing as I will be reading a fiction and non-fiction, I think I can probably manage that. It will also mean I will be able to get through my TBR list a little faster!

I will also be doing it this way partly so as I can get back to reading fiction, which I am really missing! I will be reading the next book on my list, which is The Woodcutter by Kate Danley, which I will do a post about another week.

To any writers reading this, I highly recommend trying out some practical writing exercises either by finding them online or by getting a book. My word, I cannot begin to say the amount of confidence in my abilities it has given me!


Progress Report:

Status of sixth manuscript: Writing first draft again, finally!
Word count: 2523

Books read towards challenge: 1/50
Currently reading: The Creative Writing Workbook by Matthew Branton.

Romance Weekly Blog Hop #lovewritechat

It’s Romance Weekly time!

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Welcome to all those joining me from the awesome Dani Jace’s blog, author of White Doe.

This week’s question came from Sarah Hegger and was about opening lines:

A great opening line draws the reader in, makes them want to know more and compels them to read further. Share a great opening line, can be a classic or a more recent novel, tell us why you like it and then share the opening line to your newest WIP.

I was going to go the classic Pride and Prejudice route, because, well, it’s a classic and it’s one that pretty much everyone will have heard.

But, when I thought about it, there was another one that struck me.

It’s actually from a book I haven’t finished reading, and started years ago.

‘Burn this book.’

A striking line, right? 😀 It’s an opening that really caught me because of it’s sharpness, and has made me remember it for years, even if I never finished the book (which I will at some point!).

It’s from Mister B. Gone by Clive Barker.

As for the opening line of my newest WIP, well, as I stated last week, I have restarted it. So, this is very, very much a work in progress!

“Tut tut, Dr Murphy, nobody likes a coward.”

This won’t be the final version, but it’s something written so as the first page isn’t a stark blank page! 😀

So, there you have it!

Now hop along to Fiona Riplee’s blog and see what opening line catches her attention!

Is there an opening line you remember? What’s your WIP’s current opening line?

Progress Report:

Status of sixth manuscript: Planning.
Word count: Eh heh…

Books read towards goal: 1/50
Currently reading: The Creative Writing Workbook by Matthew Branton.

Books and Reading Thursday: Books on my Bookshelf

(Books on my Bookshelf is not a review, just my personal thoughts, feelings, and memories on the books I own).

Another book for this series 😀

This week I have chosen, Magic Kingdom for Sale- Sold! By Terry Brooks.

magickingdom

Nice chapter headings!

Nice chapter headings!

I actually didn’t realise this was the first book in a series until recently, so I might have to g check out the rest.

I got this book for free because someone I knew quite a few years ago was having a big turn out, and I saw this in his pile of ‘rubbish’ and it caught my interest.

Not only because the title looked great fun, but because of how well read it looked! I figured any book that looked like it had been opened over and over again had to be a good read.

So he let me have it, and it sat on my bookshelf for a couple of years longer until I finally got around to it.

One of my main memories of this book is that it was a major slog to get through the first few chapters. I mean, seriously a slog. It probably wasn’t like that for a lot of people, but I’m not very good with books that don’t start the story or action within a couple of chapters. I lose interest with all the scene setting and background setting.

I get that it has to be done sometimes, especially in series, but it didn’t help that the main character’s background that was being set up was really rather depressing!

But, I managed to churn my way through the chapters and I’m glad I stuck with it! It was a great read, and was packed with a great deal of fun as the cover and title hinted at.

I also have to say it’s one of those books that really inspired me to want to write my own books. I love those stories where someone goes from a hum-drum life and is thrown into a new world of adventure and excitement (that also might have something to do with all the fairytales my mum read me as a kid, it really spurred my imagination!).

Those books where an ordinary person is thrown into another world just is such a great parllel to readers.

You pick up a book and, as the reader, you’re like the character being thrown into this whole new world and story to enjoy. And sometimes it can be just as confusing, but also incredible!

But that’s what books do and why we read them, right? To let ourselves be taken somewhere else for a few hours, away from the hum-drum of everyday life.

So, yeah, it was a book that I definitely remember for the slow start, but also the incredible adventure that lay beyond it.

Random quote: “Ben grimaced. Wonderful. Just tap the red shoes together three times and repeat, ‘There’s no place like home.’ Off he would go, back to Kansas. Just wonderful.”

Favourite thing about the book: The story of the ordinary being thrown into the extraordinary. It was definitely one that got my imagination and creativeness pumping!

Least favourite thing: The incredibly slow start. My word. Ugh.

Something I took away from the book: That I shouldn’t be afraid to write the story I want to, even if it seems outlandish. You just got to write it!

Have you read any books with a slow start but a great story? Do you enjoy these kind of fish out of water tales?

Progress Report:

Status of sixth manuscript: A bit up in the air!
Word count: … Don’t ask.

Books read towards goal: 1/50
Currently reading: The Creative Writing Workbook by Matthew Branton.

Books and Reading Thursday: Books on my Bookshelf

(Books on my Bookshelf is not a review, just my personal thoughts, feelings, and memories on the books I own).

This week I thought I’d share a book I got for Christmas/Birthday!

Dragon Age: Library Edition (Includes The Silent Grove, Those Who Speak, and Until We Sleep).

da1

As you may have guessed by now (for anyone who’s followed my blog for a while), I have a thing for the Dragon Age series of games by Bioware. I won’t call it an obsession, mainly because it’s so far past that point by now…

Anyways, my best friend bought me this for Christmas/Birthday, and it was seriously a very happy surprise, especially as it arrived on the day I was getting my new PS4 and the game, so it was very well timed!

I remember I was really upset when the book was released earlier in 2014 as I couldn’t afford to buy it, so receiving it was more than a little exciting as you can imagine!

I read through this in an afternoon. I couldn’t put it down. Not only were the stories amazing, but the artwork was stunning, and I loved the artist and editors notes down the sides of the pages. Reading about their insights into how they set up the stories, or why they chose certain panels or dialogue really got me thinking about my own writing and how I set it out. I know it’s different formats, but it’s all about storytelling, right?

It’s going on my TBR list again, so as I can re-read it this year 😀

Stunning artwork!

Stunning artwork!

Artist and editor notes down the side were great insight!

Artist and editor notes down the side were great insight!

Random quote: ‘Long live the King! Long may he reign! And so forth. Pray to the Maker he doesn’t do something stupid…’

Favourite thing about the book: Apart from the fact it has returning characters from the games? 😀 It was laid out in a great, easy to read format, which kept me turning the pages.

Least favourite thing: Um, there is a moment that I thought was a bit out of character for one of the characters. But that’s pretty much it, I loved it all!

Something I took away from the book: The way the pages were laid out really got me thinking about the way I end chapters in my own books, and how to keep the reader turning the pages!

Have you read many graphic novels? Do you enjoy reading different types of storytelling?

Progress Report (I know, I forgot on Tuesday!)

Status of sixth manuscript: Writing first draft.
Daily word count: 913.

Books read towards goal: 1/50
Currently reading: The Creative Writing Workbook by Matthew Branton.

Romance Weekly Blog Hop #lovechatwrite

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I’m back to Romance Weekly as regular this week! Nice to get back into it, I missed these weekly posts 😀

If you’ve joined me from the lovely Jami Denise, then welcome!

So, this week, Elizabeth Janette has asked us what is on our TBR list.

As I said last week in my Books and Reading post, I’m trying to get a lot more organised with my TBR list, so as I actually get to read the books I want instead of forgetting them under the ever-growing pile! 😀

But I am not that organised yet, and only have a few planned, though I did just finish the first book that was on the list (a beta-read for someone, which was great fun).

So here are the next 4 books that I actually have planned on my TBR list:

The Creative Writing Workbook by Mathew Branton
Thyme in a Flask by Glenn Quarry (Book for Review)
The Woodcutter by Kate Danley (Reading Challenge- A book written by a female author)
Random Library Book (Shelf number 4, book number 7)

So there you have it! The next books on my list.

Now hop on over to Elizabeth Janette and see what’s on her list, you never know if you mind find a book that interests you!

What books are on your reading list? Have you managed to read any yet this year?

Books and Reading… Thursday?

Thursdays are my new day for my books and reading related posts, part of my new and improved blogging schedule 😀

But seeing as I am still trying to catch up and get myself back on track, I haven’t got a post from my Books on my Bookshelf series or even a review.

In the spirit of getting myself more organised, I am trying a different approach to reading this year.

Last year I forgot or missed so many books I wanted to read! This year, I am determined not to let that happen.

So, I have decided to make myself a reading list. It’s not just going to be a to-be-read (TBR) list, where I note down all the books I want to read, but I am actually going to list the books in the order I am going to read them.

It will also mean I can get more organised with reviewing books as well, but also not forget to enjoy books I want to re-read and new releases from author friends.

The books will be listed in a particular order too, to ensure I really don’t forget anything.

For example, every third book on my list will likely be a book for review.

And one of my goals for 2015 is to improve my writing, and part of this will be through writing craft books, especially ones with practical exercises. My best friend bought me a book like this for Christmas, which I am very excited about starting. So every fourth book in my list will be a writing craft book.

I am also planning on going back to choosing a random book from the local library. Before I go I will pick two numbers- One will be the shelf number, the other will be the book number (so if I pick 12 and 7, I will choose the 7th book along the 12th shelf). I’m hoping this will really help to broaden my reading, and also let me find new authors.

This year I will also be participating (or attempting) the 2015 Reading Challenge List. It looks like great fun, and again, will open me up to trying some really different types of reading. I’m not going to freak out too much if I can’t get all the goals done, but will be using it more as a guide.

I’m not giving myself too steep a goal, so my goal for this year is to read at least 50 books. A lot less than some people, but I’m not as fast a reader as some!

So, there you go, my plans for reading in 2015! 😀 It should be an exciting year for it. Also, if you haven’t already, why not follow my book and reading related Tumblr- turningthosepages?

What are your reading goals for this year? Are you participating in any reading challenges?

On to 2015!

So, here we are- The beginning of a fresh New Year.

I hope everyone had a brilliant Christmas and a great start to 2015 🙂

I thought about doing a round up post for 2014, but when I look back on it I was pretty overwhelmed. Not only did I achieve so much that I’m proud of, but I met so many incredible new friends and authors!

In December I did sit down and think about where I was heading in 2015, and how I was going to get there. 2014 was great, but I will admit I was all over the place. It was my first year at writing, blogging, publishing, reviewing, etc!

This time around I feel a little calmer and organised about it all 😀 I have a good plan going forwards.

Last year I got caught up in trying everything and, though it was great to learn so much, I need a more streamlined approach going forwards.

I have a new blogging schedule planned, a better timetable for publishing my books, ideas for improving my writing, but the main thing that caught me last year and gave me unbelievable amounts of stress…

Marketing.

Ah, yes. Marketing.

It really was a hate/hate relationship. I didn’t like doing it, you guys don’t like reading or seeing it 😀

So, this year, I have decided to take a different strategy for it. I realise it has to be done, but why should it give me such intense grief as it did last year? So, I have a much better plan in store for that, which involves focusing much more on reviews and visual marketing, trying to make it more fun rather than a chore.

Before this turns into an essay, I will just say that I am back and raring to go for 2015! I think it’s going to be an excellent year for us all!

I am gradually catching up with everyone’s blogs, which I have missed reading 🙂

So, whilst I catch up and try to get back into the routine, I hope you all have a fantastic start to the New Year and have already made great progress!

How was Christmas? Did you have a good start to the New Year?

Books and Reading Wednesday: Books on my Bookshelf

Another post for my Books on my Bookshelf series!

(Books on my Bookshelf is not a review, just my personal memories and feelings on the books I own).

This week it’s Three Kingdoms, attributed to Luo Guanzhong and translated by Moss Roberts.

3kingdoms

Despite the picture, it’s not a series, it’s one massive book chunked up into four volumes.

I got them a few years ago, I remember I added them to my wishlist for one Christmas, and when Christmas came my uncle and aunt gave my Sun Tzu’s, Art of War to hold me over until Three Kingdoms arrived, as it was quite hard to get hold of 😀

My main memories of these books were devouring them as soon as I got them, and to be honest, I read them so fast I didn’t remember much about them! So, I took them on vacation with me one year, to a beautiful cottage in the middle of nowhere.

It rained quite hard at times, so I had the most relaxing and snuggly time cosied up by a fire, listening to the rain outside, Harli led beside me, whilst I re-read these books in a more relaxed fashion. Which meant I could enjoy them to the full.

But I don’t regret that fist read through where I sped through them, I was so excited to read them!
And sometimes, that’s the best way to read a book, to go through it, have a great time, and then go back through again and pick out the details you missed first time!

Three Kingdoms is a romanticised version of the historical period in ancient China when the Han dynasty fell and chaos ruled. A thrilling read with loads of figures from history. Though be warned, it’s not an easy read. But the books themselves are awesome; the stunning portraits at the beginning always capture my interest.

Some of the portraits.

Some of the portraits.

Example of the beautiful illustrations that are dotted throughout all the books.

Example of the beautiful illustrations that are dotted throughout all the books.

Random quote: ‘In the shadowlight of the fires no one detected the deception.’

Favourite thing about the book: The style. There is no worry or concern about how you should write a book, it’s just written for enjoyment, and that makes it such an great read.
Also, the illustrations are great throughout.

Least favourite thing: The fact that characters often have two names, their true name and then like a nickname, and there are A LOT of characters, so you have to make sure to remember it all to keep up, as they interchange the two names often.

Something I took away from the book: That a great story doesn’t’t have to be written in the same way everyone else writes. Also, the realisation I really enjoy battle scenes 😀

Has there ever been a book you were so excited to read you just read it so fast? Have you enjoyed re-reading books?

The Magic Spark- A light, enjoyable read, full of fun and romance.

The Magic Spark

TheMagicSparkCover The Magic Spark
Contemporary romance with a dash of magic.

What people have said:

‘This is a sweet, fantastical, quirky, CLEAN romantic comedy where the author’s British humor shines. What happens when a charmingly, irritating fairy godmother decides to play matchmaker with a castle owning Scotsman and a reluctantly regimented woman who has given up on love? Well, what you get is The Magic Spark. *Suitable for all ages.’ – Jennifer

‘I would thoroughly recommend this book to anyone who would enjoy a sweet, fun romance with a bit of a magic spark in it.’ – Elaine Jeremiah

To Buy:

Amazon.com
Amazon.co.uk
Createspace (Paperback)
Barnes and Noble

((Sorry for the marketing post, but I haven’t had much time to write proper posts lately. Will probably do these on a weekend, just to have some activity on the blog 🙂 ))

Books and Reading Wednesday: Tales of the Disappearing Bookmark

So, this is related to reading, but not any specific book.

I have come to the conclusion that I have a bookmark goblin. A little creature that comes along and gobbles up not only my proper bookmarks, but also the stuff I use as temporary bookmarks as well!

I swear, I take whatever I’m using as a bookmark out of my book, place it down carefully, go to get it back after reading and POOF! It’s gone.

This has led to me using a good variety of things to mark my place in my books:

– Scraps of paper
– Tissues
– Greeting cards
– Money
– Gift vouchers
– Pens (I don’t recommend this one!)
– Sweet wrappers
– Food bags

The list could go on and on!

My current bookmark is a thank you note card, a pretty one :)

My current bookmark is a thank you note card, a pretty one 🙂

This is one of the things I do love about the Kindle and eBook readers, that I don’t have to worry about scrabbling round for a bookmark in the middle night when I’m done reading.

Still, I do read quite a few paperbacks, so it’s probably about time I try to find and reprimand my bookmark goblin, or invest in some GIANT-sized bookmarks that I will never be able to lose 😀

Do you have trouble finding bookmarks? Have you ever used anything unusual as a bookmark?