NaNoWriMo, rambling, writing

Finishing my first draft. #NaNoWriMo #firstdraft #writing #amwriting #authorslife

So something pretty amazing happened yesterday. Not only did I write over ten thousand words in a day, but I also wrote two of the best words ever.

This is my third attempt at writing a book, the first was pretty rubbish but it taught me an awful lot. The second was better, I still think that the story is a good one and with a lot of work it might go somewhere but I’m not sure that I love it enough to do it.

The difference with this book is that it is a book that I know that I would love to read and I think that is why I also loved writing it.

I have never planned my books, I see photos that other authors post showing their boards or notebooks fully of planning, with each chapter outlined and every character thought through. I have no idea what it is like writing a book that is planned in such detail, but for whatever reason planning is just not for me. I have tried but I just can’t do it, my brain simply doesn’t work that way.

But I like it the way that I do it, I started this book with a vague idea of a plot and two characters in my head. I thought that I had a fair idea where the book would go but I was wrong, the book turned out totally differently to how I imagined. Well, not totally but very different. Another character appeared and demanded a bigger part in the story and that changed the book significantly. But I am very happy with the direction the book took and I love not knowing what is going to happen, it feels like the characters write the book and I am just the puppet that types.

I also had my first author lightbulb moment when the ending suddenly came to me, I’m not quite sure where it came from as I had had a different ending in mind, but the moment it came into my head I knew that it was the perfect ending.

Some of you may know that I had a busy November, not only did I do NaNoWriMo but my twins also celebrated their eighth birthday and anyone who knows anything about kids birthdays knows how time consuming and exhausting they are. I also squeezed in a bit of major surgery. It was a busy month.

So quite how I have managed to write seventy four thousands words in thirty seven days I do not know. But I did. And boy it feels good. I have no doubt that a lot of the book will be pretty rubbish, writing in a post general anaesthetic haze is unlikely to equal an amazingly written book and I know that I have made a load of continuity errors when my brain was too befuzzled (that so needs to be a word) to remember what I had written only a paragraph or two before.

But my enforced house arrest as I recover from the surgery has meant that I have had far more time to write, and it has been nice to think of something else too.

So my first draft is done, blooming amazing that I’ve got this far I think. But now the hard work starts…editing. This is foreign territory for me, I’ve never made it this far and so I’m more than a little scared because I have no idea what I’m doing, but I’m going to give whatever it is my best shot! Any advice appreciated. Really, really appreciated!

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But for now, I’m am so happy that I got to write the words ‘The End’ and I’m proud of every single word that I wrote, all 74,311 of them!

blog tours, book review, Guest Reviewer, non-fiction

#BlogTour #BookReview The Story of Now That’s What I Call Music in 100 Artists by Michael Mulligan. @MotorCityMick @TrapezeBooks @Simon_Burnton @NOWMusic #Now100 #music #Christmas

Trapeze Xmas 2

Now this really is rather exciting. Trapeze who publishes a wide range of books it showcases just how wide that range is by having a 12 days of Christmas blog tour with each day featuring a different book that they have published this year.

I don’t know about you but I love the idea and think that it is a little bit different and really rather exciting. I quickly looked at the books that would feature on the tour and picked a few that I wanted to read and review. Firstly there was Noel the Supervet, as an avid watcher of his show I wanted to read his book, then there was The Craftman by the Brilliant Sharon Bolton, or perhaps Hangman by Daniel Cole, whose first book, Ragdoll, was blooming brilliant.

So many good books to choose from and so I rushed to get my choice in, keen to get a book that I really wanted. So when the email came back saying that I had a spot on the tour I wasn’t quite expecting it to be the book that it was. Somewhat confused I checked the email that I had sent and sure enough, in my haste, I had put a wrong number down. What was the book I hear you ask? It was Now That’s What I Call Music in 100 Artists.

I do like music, just not that much. But here I was and I’d made a commitment so I was not quite sure what to do, a book like this deserved someone with a passion for music to review it, someone who used to wait eagerly for the release of that years’ Now That’s What I Call Music CD (or cassette!). Luckily, I knew just the person. Step in my brother, a music lover since he was a young boy and the perfect person to read and review the book.

nowmusic

Review:

Anyone who has had any kind of interest in pop music at any stage of their lives is likely to have owned and cherished a Now That’s What You Call Music album. They have chronicled the charts for 35 years, since their first brazen attempt to fleece the Christmas gift market in late 1983, and are still doing it in 2018, with Now 101 currently top of the compilation album charts (the top 20 also includes Now 100, Now That’s What I Call Christmas, Now That’s What I Call Love Songs, Now That’s What I Call Rock ‘n Roll, Now That’s What I Call Easy, Now That’s What I Call Disney, Now That’s What I Call Now (100 Hits from 100 Nows!), and the unrelated but engagingly titled 100 Percent Clubland EDM Bangers), plus board games, card games, interactive DVD games and the occasional book, of which The Story of NOW That’s What I Call Music in 100 Artists is the latest.

There’s an OK book in here somewhere. Some effort and talent was put into the research and writing of it, whereupon the copy was placed into the hands of the kid on work experience in the layout department, and it went downhill from there.

It’s a shame to be superficial, but it just doesn’t look very good. Each of the 100 artists has a two-page spread, one containing a photo and a brief biography focusing predominately on their compilation appearances and the other containing trivia related to some of the Now albums they featured on. Sometimes the biography is on the left page of the spread and the albums on the right, which makes a great deal of sense, and sometimes it’s the other way round, which is confusing. It is like the designer of a novel putting the words CHAPTER TWO in large letters on the top of the second page of chapter two, and leaving the reader to work out where the first page fits in. This is the most significant quibble, but nothing about the design impresses – not the fonts, not the panels, not the page numbers, literally none of it (though the front cover is quite good).

The trek through the 100 artists is occasionally broken up by random other stuff. There are, for example, two pages which list the titles of songs from Now compilations that have place names in them. It looks like it was written in 10 minutes and laid out in two, which makes it considerably more impressive than the pages dedicated to songs from Now compilations with the word kiss in the title. There is no way that any sentient human could find any of this interesting, and it looks worse than it reads. The book would be big enough without this random padding, and better to boot.

The publicity blurb boasts that it is “jam packed with amazing facts and ‘Well I never!’ moments”, which is not entirely hyperbolic. There are lots of interesting details that will raise the eyebrow of pop-nerds, mainly about unnoticed producers, uncredited celebrity backing vocalists and unexpected links with other Now-featured artists. If you think it is interesting that Johan Renck, a member of one-hit wonders Stakka Bo (Here We Go was on Now 26), directed the video for Pet Shop Boys’ She’s Madonna (Now 66), or that the same harmonica player appeared on Will Young’s Switch It On (Now 62) and All Around the World by Oasis (Now 63), and you don’t mind a bit of amateurish layout, then this book is for you.
Now albums have always featured top-notch design and their website is phenomenal, but it’s a shame that the people responsible for that sterling work were on their tea break in the five minutes that this book was put together.

Blurb:

Everyone remembers their first NOW album. Since NOW That’s What I Call Music Volume 1 was released in 1983 on double vinyl and double cassette, NOW has become synonymous with pop music and has featured some of the most iconic artists of the last three decades.

To celebrate the release of the 100th NOW album, The Story of NOW That’s What I Call Music in 100 Artists looks back at some of the most memorable – and occasionally regrettable – hits of the last 35 years!

Jam packed with amazing facts and ‘Well I never!’ moments about the 4,000+ artists to have graced the NOW track listings – from Phil Collins to Pharrell, Bananarama to Lady Gaga and Peter Andre to Pet Shop Boys – The Story of NOWis a celebration of pop music through the decades. So plug in your earphones and pump up the volume, because this party is just getting started!

About The Author:

michaelmulligan
Michael Mulligan taken from Twitter.

Michael Mulligan was born on the outskirts of Southend-on-Sea, in Essex, which is where he purchased his first single, ‘School’s Out’ by Alice Cooper. As a teenager he’d buy as many as five music newspapers each week (when there were such things) and would gauge the growth of his music knowledge by his ability to finish the crossword puzzle.

Shortly before NOW That’s What I Call Music Volume 17 was released he got a job in his local record shop. For the next twenty-five years he worked in all manner of music retailers, and more recently he has been a consultant for record labels, mining their archives for overlooked gems.

Michael once made Kylie Minogue laugh, and has the photographic evidence to prove it. Though it is entirely possible she was just being polite. He lives in north London with two cats, a patient and indulgent wife and a ‘no way too large’ record collection.

The Story of Now That’s What I Call Music in 100 Artists by Michael Mulligan is out now and is available from Amazon UK.

cover reveal

#CoverReveal Dead Memories by Angela Marsons. #DeadMemories #KimStone @bookouture @WriteAngie

Well, this is exciting!!! A new Angela Marsons Kim Stone book is coming soon!! I’m delighted to be part of the cover reveal for Dead Memories. You can read the blurb and see the amazing cover below but if you are like me then you won’t really care about either because you know that you are going to read the book regardless. So here is the link to pre-order Dead Memories so that it drops magically onto your Kindle at midnight on publication day.

Blurb:

She ruined their lives.  Now they’re going to destroy hers.  

‘Someone is recreating every traumatic point in your life.  They are doing this to make you suffer, to make you hurt and the only possible end game can be death.  Your death.’

On the fourth floor of Chaucer House, two teenagers are found chained to a radiator.  The boy is dead but the girl is alive. For Detective Kim Stone every detail of the scene mirrors her own terrifying experience with her brother Mikey, when they lived in the same tower block thirty years ago.

When the bodies of a middle-aged couple are discovered in a burnt-out car, Kim can’t ignore the chilling similarity to the death of Erica and Keith – the only loving parents Kim had ever known. 

Faced with a killer who is recreating traumatic events from her past, Kim must face the brutal truth that someone wants to hurt her in the worst way possible.  Desperate to stay on the case, she is forced to work with profiler Alison Lowe who has been called in to observe and monitor Kim’s behaviour.

Kim has spent years catching dangerous criminals and protecting the innocent.  But with a killer firmly fixed on destroying Kim, can she solve this complex case and save her own life or will she become the final victim?

The heart-stopping and totally addictive new crime thriller from multi-million copy number one bestseller Angela Marsons will have you completely hooked.

 

deadmemories

Read what everyone is saying about the Detective Kim Stone series:

Marsons for me is the QUEEN of this genre. She knows how to add the human touch to each story and I just adore her. Bloody FABULOUS.’ Postcard Reviews

I absolutely loved it!… one of the best crime thrillers I’ve read in a long time, and that includes mainstream authors such as James Patterson! Fiona’s Book Reviews

‘WOW! Did I just read what I thought I read?… I felt totally gut-punched when I finished. Came back to it a day later and re-read the entire book again just to make sure I had read it correctly the first time. Had the stuffing knocked out of me all over again… Totally in awe.’ Goodreads Reviewer, 5 stars

It’s Angela Marsons, so five stars, ’nuff said… Gripping, intriguing, thrilling, addictive, fantastic… emotional and heart-breaking… I finished this late, sobbing my heart out… Read this book. Just do it… One of the very best detective series around.’ Deja Read, 5 stars

‘I truly don’t know what to say… Somehow Angela Marsons manages smash the brilliantness of the last book and better it tenfold… A first-class read that I feel will be difficult to top… This has certainly gone onto my 2018 MUST READ list’ILoveReadinguk, 5 stars

NaNoWriMo, rambling

NaNoWriMo 2018. How did it go? @NaNoWriMo #NaNoWriMo #NaNoWriMo18 #HarryPotter #cake #twins #birthday #amwriting

Woohoo!! So yes, I managed to do NaNoWriMo this year and in fifteen days (one day more than last year but I’m genuinely not bothered about that).

In some ways NaNo was quite difficult this year, but that was because of everything other than NaNo that was going on in my life. The actual writing was actually pretty easy.

This was partly because I really enjoyed writing this book, it is different to anything that I’ve tried to write before and it is definitely a book that I would want to read. I enjoyed so much about it and seeing how my characters developed. The words most days flew out of me and I loved it. 

I had less doubt and worry that it was a load of rubbish than before too which was nice. But now comes the hard part. It seems that it is easy for me to finish NaNo, but it is very hard for me to finish the book. And the frustrating thing is that when I finished the 50,000 words for NaNo I really wanted to carry on, I was at an exciting part of the story and I wanted to know what was going to happen (I’m a total panster and the book goes where it wants to go). 

But for those that read my previous NaNo post, you’ll know that I wasn’t going to be able to carry on writing. First I had to make a cake for my twins birthday party, and turning eight is very important. And I also needed to prepare for an operation that I’m having tomorrow. I’m not going to be able to drive, lift, bend, reach, do normal things for weeks or maybe even months. 

As much as I love my children, at the age of eight they aren’t really going to be that much help. I’ve been trying to teach them to load the dishwasher, which it seems is a skill that is beyond an eight year old. Life is sure going to be interesting!

But I don’t know how much writing I will be able to do as I recover, I’m really hoping that I’ll get lots done but I’m trying to be realistic. 

And for those of you that would like to see it, here is a photo of the cake. The iced figures were made by myself and my children, I think that they did a pretty great job and I’m very proud of my golden snitch! 

4*, blog tours, book review

#BlogTour #BookReview Last Light by Helen Phifer.

Last Light - Blog Tour

I’m so excited about being part of this blog blitz for Last Light by Helen Phifer. It has been about a year since the last book in the Lucy Harwin series and it has been too long a wait!

My Review:

I really like Helen Phifer and her Lucy Harwin series and so when I saw that there was a new one coming out I knew that I had to read it.

I was happily reading Last Light but I have to admit that I was getting a bit confused, some of what Lucy was saying just wasn’t making sense and I was worrying that my memory was failing me. After a few more times of this happening I decided to read the blurb, something that I rarely do before I read a book. It was then that I realised that this was, in fact, a prequel. Once I knew that I got right back into the book and it all made sense.

So if you have read the previous books in the Lucy Harwin series then you will love this book. If you haven’t read any then you will also love this book but perhaps you should read it before you read the other books in the series.

I really like Lucy Harwin, she isn’t perfect, far from it, but she’s real and she isn’t a hugely amazingly talented detective that manages to solve crimes that would stump any other detective, as can often be the case in detective books. She’s real, she struggles, she has self doubt and she really, really cares.

The author also has a great way of coming up with crimes that are really rather unpleasant, which adds to the story and the tension and the urgency. With this one, I worked out who the killer was very early on but that didn’t impact the read for me at all as I often doubted what I’d thought. I really liked how we got the back story of the killer so we understood why he was killing those that he was, and a kind of understanding of how he became a killer.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Last Light by Helen Phifer, if you like your female detective series then this is a great series for you to try!

Thank you to Bookouture for a copy of Last Light by Helen Phifer. I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

 

Blurb:

Last-Light-KindleLucy watches the pathologist leave, then turns to the nameless victim on the table. ‘I promise I will catch whoever did this to you,’ she whispers.

In charge of a new team, Detective Lucy Harwin is called out to attend the discovery of a woman’s body in an abandoned, crumbling church, and is quickly plunged into a case that will test her leadership skills to the limit.

With no leads except the crudely-fashioned crucifix the victim was displayed on, Lucy is at a complete loss. That is, until another body turns up: an elderly woman who devoted her life to the church.

Faced with a killer stalking the streets of her small coastal town, while also throwing herself into work to forget the love of her life, Lucy’s first case is turning into a nightmare.

Linking the killer to the church where her own teenage daughter volunteers, it seems the threat is quickly drawing closer to Lucy and those she loves. Can she catch this monster and prevent a tragedy that will tear her world apart?

An addictive and unputdownable crime thriller that will hook fans of Patricia Gibney, LJ Ross and Angela Marsons from the very first page.

About The Author:

Helen Phifer author pictureHelen Phifer lives in a small town called Barrow-in-Furness with her husband and five children.

Helen has always loved writing and reading. Her love of horror films and novels is legendary. Helen adores reading books which make the hair on the back of her neck stand on end. Unable to find enough scary stories to read she decided to write her own.

 

Author Social Media Links:

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Helenphifer1

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/helenphifer

Twitter:      https://twitter.com/helenphifer1

Website:     https://www.helenphifer.com

Last Light by Helen Phifer is out on 16th November 2018 and is available from AmazoniBooksKobo and Google Books.

4*, blog tours, book review

#BlogTour #BookReview The Night Visitor by Patrick Redmond. @PRedmondAuthor @BooksManatee #TheNightVisitor

The-Night-Visitor-(NEW)

I’m very excited to be on the blog tour for The Night Visitor by Patrick Redmond today.

My Review:

Well, where do I start with this review? I really wasn’t sure what to expect when I started to read The Night Visitor by Patrick Redmond, I’m not really a fan of supernatural books but this one sounded interesting and I was keen to read it.

The book starts with Meg as a young girl, she loves her sister and her mum, she loves her dad too but she knows a bit more about what he’s going to do in the future than most people and so isn’t quite so keen on him.

I absolutely loved this part of the book, Meg was a brilliant character and the love that she had for her sister and Mother shone through every page and I have to admit that I was sad when the book moved forward to when Meg was an adult.

I’d had no doubt that Meg would do well for herself, and sure enough, she had. Well on paper anyway but in reality, she was incredibly sad and lonely and kept trying to run from her troubles.

She moves from bustling London to a small village in Cornwall and soon starts to feel at home. She befriends her neighbour, Dan, and they unexpectedly become friends. But soon enough creepy things start happening to Meg as her past starts to catch up with her. Unable to ignore it Meg decides to go with it and see where it takes her, not knowing that her life was going to change dramatically as a result.

I have to admit that I wasn’t always sure about Dan and Meg’s relationship, their friendship happened so quickly and sometimes it felt a little bit convenient for the story. But that is my only gripe as I really enjoyed reading The Night Visitor, I desperately wanted Meg to solve the puzzle and most of all, I wanted her to be happy. Clever writing makes you care like that about a character, and I really did care.

If you like your thrillers to have some added creepiness then this book is for you, even if you’re not so sure about the creepy element then go with it, it works in this story and it fits and it makes for a different read but one that makes you think and that was really fun to read.

Thank you to Manatee Books for a copy of The Night Visitor by Patrick Redmond. I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

Blurb:

The Night Visitor CoverWhen does a gift become a curse?

Meg has a gift. She can change lives. But when tragedy strikes in childhood she vows never to use it again.
Now an adult, she is living in Cornwall; a place where the elements themselves have a life of their own. When they call she refuses to listen, fearful of the dark places where her gift can lead.

But the dead will not be silenced. They are stronger than her. And now they have chosen she is powerless to escape…

 

The Night Visitor by Patrick Redmond is out now and is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

NaNoWriMo, rambling

#ramblings #NaNoWriMo2018 To NaNo or not to NaNo? #amwriting #writerslife #NaNo #kidsbirthdays #HarryPotter #cake

So it’s the 31st October which only means one thing, tomorrow is November. Now that’s a good thing in a few ways, I can (finally) put the heating on, my twins celebrate their birthday which is very important when you’re going to be eight, it’s Black Friday when I can waste an enormous amount of time looking at ‘deals’ online that I can’t afford, I have to decorate a cake for said birthday which is never simple and it is the start of NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month.

The aim of NaNo, for those who don’t know, is to write 50,000 words in the month of November. If that sounds easy then I will assume that you are not a writer, as it is not all that easy. Although saying that, I have attempted it twice and have completed it both times, the second time in a slightly insane 14 days.

Doing NaNo has taught me a few things about myself. Perhaps the most interesting for me was that I do not like losing, I was going to finish NaNo and there was no other option. I was not going to fail. Now if you told me that you’d tried NaNo and had managed any words at all but had not reached 50K then I would never think that you had failed, but for me, I think of it as a failure. But that puts a lot of pressure on me and that is something that I really don’t need.

For this year’s NaNo, I have planned to start a new book that is completely different to anything that I have tried to write before. I’m quite excited about it although I am continuing my panster streak and haven’t done any planning. I’ve done a bit of research and my two main characters have names but that’s it. How I wish that I could be a planner but it is not something that I seem to be able to do.

So you might be wondering why I’m writing a blog post entitled To NaNo or not to NaNo. And that is because I am really worried that this year I won’t finish it. As well as normal life I am also going to be having major surgery towards the end of the month. Now maybe after that, I will be spending a lot of time resting and so I might be able to write, but it is quite possible that my brain won’t quite be in the right frame of mind to write anything that makes sense. Last time that I had a general anaesthetic it took me a good week to feel like I’d got over it, the minor procedure that I had was irrelevant.

But before I have the operation I need to get my life sorted for me being out of action for possibly a good few months. As a single parent, this is a scary prospect. I am determinedly independent and do not like asking for help. I have been trying to teach my children to do some simple household tasks, like using the washing machine or loading the dishwasher. The later of these is not going well, it seems that almost eight year olds are just not committed to stacking a dishwasher in the best way possible and cannot understand why plates need to be facing the same direction, for example.

Our dog, Dotty, and last years cake.

 

But the question is whether in nineteen days I can write 50,000 words, get the house clean and sorted, arrange for the animals to be looked for while I’m out of action, organise a birthday party, get birthday presents wrapped and sorted (for the actual day which is five days after the operation) and, perhaps most importantly of all, decorate a cake in a Harry Potter theme.

Time will tell but please wish me luck!!!