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?

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?

Flaws aren’t always bad…

Lately I’ve been going through an older piece of writing and editing it and rewriting it. It’s not writing anyone will ever see, it’s simply a piece I come back to often for my own pleasure of writing.

Anyways, it’s been quite some time (over a year) since I’ve worked on it and as I progressed I realised my main character is incredibly selfish.

Often, when other characters experience emotional pain, she will become upset herself, but not for the same reason most of us would when watching a friend be sad. Instead, she worries about being upset herself at having to watch them go through the emotional trauma!

Well, I was a little more than put off by her, I have to say! 😀

I was determined to take out this flaw I had written into this character, and was about to do so throughout the entire manuscript, but stopped myself.

It might not be a flaw I like, but it’s obviously how I’ve written this character throughout the whole story. And if I take out her flaws, she’s not exactly going to be very interesting, is she?

So, even though I don’t like the trait, I’ve left it. Characters need to feel real and, I have to admit, it does round her out as a character when it’s left in. Throughout the rest of the story I have written other characters noting it about her, so it’s obviously something I’ve noticed before.

It might be nice to have her grow out of that trait, and change as a person.

That’s all part of the fun of writing, isn’t it? Letting our characters grow out of some their faults and become stronger for it 🙂

Have you ever given a character a trait you didn’t like? Do you enjoy writing their flaws as well as their strengths?

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?

Surprising Discoveries…

As I’ve been writing whatever I want lately, I’ve realised something about what I choose to write.

Apparently it’s either romantic, fluffy scenes or… full on fight scenes 😀

It was a bit of a surprise to discover just how much I enjoy writing battle scenes and fight scenes, yet also to find the other thing I adore writing was the sweet romantic moments.

The two couldn’t be more different and require very different skill sets when writing, but there you go, it was the thing I have noticed about my writing lately.

I write romance all the time in my books, and some do involve fight scenes as well, but I make sure to keep them at a minimum. But when left to my own devices to just write what I like, the small fight scenes I start can turn into epic battles!

Still, it’s all writing practice, right? And that’s the main thing I’m going for over the next couple of months 🙂

Have you discovered anything unusual about what you like to write? Are there particular scenes you enjoy writing more than others?

Yay for Friday!

Hey everyone, this week has felt like it has dragged really badly, so I’m thankful we finally reached Friday! 😀

Just a quick post today.

I had an awesome interview over Lit World Interviews, by RonovanWrites, why not go check it out? 🙂

http://litworldinterviews.wordpress.com/2014/11/14/mishka-jenkins-interview-prophecy-of-stones/

Hope everyone has a great weekend and I will try to be around more next week! 😀

Romance Weekly Blog Hop #lovewritechat

RW Banner

It’s Tuesday, which means it’s Romance Weekly Blog Hop time!

If you’ve joined me from Veronica Forand, then welcome! 🙂

This week the questions focus on characters.

1. How much free reign do you give your characters during a story?

I give them pretty much completely free reign. Although I love to have a plan, some of the best things can come from the unexpected moments when your character’s take the story out of your hands!

2. Have your characters ever done something so out of the blue that not only changed your story, but changed the tone and maybe even the genre you were originally going for? (Like your contemporary romance turned into a spicy paranormal)

I’ve had some characters do some things that were completely out of the blue, but I don’t think it’s ever changed the tone or genre. Though, it could still happen 😀

3. Do you have one character in your head that is sort of boss over all the rest? Or do you decide who to work on and when?

On my current WIP, I have a group of characters and I do have to say I’m pretty good at managing to spend time on each. Out of the group, there are three who are the strongest and the main focus, so obviously they get more time, but I do have a character with a smaller role who just loves to push his way into focus every time there’s a scene! 😀

Now why not go check out what Victoria Barbour has to say in response to these!

How would you answer these questions? Do you give your characters free reign to do as they wish when you write, or do you like to stick to a plan?

The Devil Told Me His Name… – Prompted Piece

This is a short piece prompted by this- http://www.pinterest.com/pin/407646203744511844/

It’s part of my 500 words a day target, though it comes in around 250. (It’s, once again, a mostly unedited piece, so forgive any mistakes! Been just trying to write lately without worrying about anything else).

Hope you enjoy it 😀

‘The Devil Told Me His Name…’

Thirty-six days it had taken to catch this guy. Thirty-six days of seemingly unending terror and blood. Now they had him in the interview room, he looked less monster-of-nightmare and more gangly-rebellious-teenager.

But his youthful appearance couldn’t make them all forget what he’d done. The memories of those murders would live on in history for far longer than anyone would like.

Sergeant Kilyer stepped into the pool of false light hanging from the ceiling, bright white hitting his eyes and making him squint, but he didn’t dare close his eyes. A draft of cold seemed to waft from the hunched figure handcuffed to the chair behind the table and Kilyer barely suppressed a shudder.

There was only one question that blurted from Kilyer’s lips before he could stop himself, his face contorted into horrified confusion. “Why?”

There was a heavy moment of silence, as though sound and air had been snatched from the room by the shadows that clawed at them from the corners.

“The Devil told me his name,” the boy whispered, his head bent and his arms crooked behind the back of the chair where the handcuffs held him in place.

The sergeant frowned at him, his lips thinning into a tight line.

The boy raised his head, his long, dark hair falling in straggles over his eyes and a smile cracking on his face like that of a mask. “The Devil told me his name,” he repeated, “and it was the same as my own.”

How is everyone doing on their writing? 🙂

Blind Desire

This is a random piece I wrote based on this prompt- http://www.pinterest.com/pin/385268943097186761/.

It was only going to be a scene description and it turned into something more 😀 My writing exercises tend to have a habit of doing that! Anyway, this is an unedited piece of writing done for fun! Hope you enjoy.

Blind Desire.

A dirt trodden aisle ran between the centre of the stalls, the owners peddling their wares of bright woollen sweaters. Other smaller goods cascaded down on ropes from the cloth roofs covering the stalls, swaying in the breeze that the grey clouds above brought with them.

But there was only one thing Cassie was searching for in the mess of tables and crowds, her gaze flicking from side to side in the hope of catching a glimpse of what she’d come to collect. It was close.

She could feel it.

Her heart hammered in her chest as she took a step forwards and she froze. Whipping around to her left, she elbowed a browser out of the way, the woman sneering but eventually shuffled away muttering curses under her breath.

How long had she been searching for it, Cassie couldn’t remember. And now it was right before her it felt like a dream, her body shivered and she clenched her hands into fists to stop the shaking. A light drizzle of rain laced across her skin and dampened her hair, but she didn’t feel it; staring at the object before her had already made her numb.

“You interested?” the stall owner asked, obviously sensing a potential sale, and he shifted his bulk closer, his moustache twitching above his thin lips.

Cassie didn’t glance up. “Very.”

“Well, I’m sure we can work out a reasonable price…” He spread his hands out before him.

Now she flicked her eyes up to meet his, a long smile breaking her stern expression. “No, you don’t understand,” she said, the smile making the man fidget, “I’m not interested in purchasing it.”

The man stuttered to respond, but his lips snapped shut before he got the chance. Cassie waved her hand in an arc before his face and his eyes, once a dull hazel, turned white. Whilst the stall owner rubbed blindly at his eyes, Cassie slid the item off the corner of the wooden table, it dropping silently into her jacket pocket. She patted at the weight of it now concealed in her coat and turned to walk away, the man’s panic now bursting forth in a wail of fear.

As the crowd rushed towards the table, Cassie weaved between them and out into the open, disappearing into the fingers of fog that began to grip at the market.

Bit random I know, but still, every bit of writing is practice, right? 😀

How’s everyone doing on their writing? How are those in NaNo progressing?

Have a great weekend everyone! 🙂