Sunday 23 April 2017

Book recommendations for World Book Day


For anyone who doesn't know, World Book Day is a global celebration of reading, authors, and books, recognized in over 100 countries worldwide.

I thought I'd mark the occasion by listing a few books I've particularly enjoyed in the last few months.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. (YA contemporary) I've been very slow in getting around to reading this, but I really enjoyed it. What I particularly liked was that it was a story about a normal girl, but within that there were sections of her fanfic and the story she based her fanfic on. I liked that it was a normal everyday story and that it was a fantasy story all in one.
My Naughty Little Sister series by Dorothy Edwards, illustrated by Shirley Hughes. (Childrens contemporary-ish!) I've loved this series since I was a little girl. The stories are about a little girl and the mischief she gets up to with her friend Bad Harry. They're short and very sweet, lovely for bedtime stories or for a bit of nostalgia if, like me, you read them when you were younger.

Murder for Christmas by Francis Duncan. (Adult crime) Amateur detective Mordecai Tremaine is a relatively new discovery for me. He's a bit like a male Miss Marple - a little bit fluffy, gentile, old fashioned and romantic, and set in the same time period. There are only a handful of books in the series, but they're all wonderfully engaging. The stories are all different but the clues are all there if the reader wants to try to track down the killer before Tremaine.

If you're interested in finding more posts about World Book Day, look for the #LovetoRead hashtag on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Saturday 22 April 2017

Finally the writing resumes!

Since having a baby just over a month ago my writing has very much taken a back seat, but this week - finally! - I've managed to get a short story completed. It may get submitted or it may just sit on my computer as a reminder that I can write and be a mother!

Thursday 20 April 2017

Trying Scrivener

For the longest time I've written my stories in Word. It suits me, just bashing out words in a word processor, but it can be awkward when I go back to edit and I need to find a certain part, or want to move chapters and so on. I got a trial of Scrivener a few years ago and quite enjoyed it, so I decided to take the plunge and buy the full version. I'm hoping it will help me be more organised and make my editing easier.
I'll post a review in a few weeks once I've had a chance to use all the features!

Wednesday 15 March 2017

Making diversity realistic

A lot has been said in the last few months about diversity in books. I'm all for it - but only if it's realistic.

Let me explain. In the area I live, 99% of people are white. The majority of those are English or Welsh, with a healthy number of Poles as well. Of the non-whites, there are a couple of Vietnamese families, a few Indian families, one or two Chinese families, and one or two black people. If I was to write a story set in my home town with several non-white characters then to people who knew the area, it wouldn't ring true, and it would detract from the story. Similarly, if I was to set my story in London and only had one or two non-white characters, then it would also not feel right.

The key is to be realistic with your demographics. If you do a quick search for demographics you can find all sorts of stats for the place you're writing about, but mostly it's just a case of common sense.

It's a similar case for including LGBTQ characters - if your story is set in a gay nightclub, chances are most of your characters will be LGBTQ, but if it's not then you don't want to include so many that it's unbelievable.

Of course, there are occasions when you may need to go against the demographics, for example, using current affairs, your story may be about Syrian refugees coming to a small English town and trying to settle in. In that story your main characters will be Syrian, and the people they may ask for help may also be non-white.

Saturday 5 November 2016

Nanowrimo 2016 is here!

It's NaNoWriMo time again and I'm trying to get back into a writing habit. I've hardly written anything in the last year, having become a mum in March, but I've had ideas building up and now I want to commit them to paper.

For a long time I've wanted to write a Christian novel but not had any ideas, but then I had a nightmare about a car crash that inspired an idea for a story that I think actually has legs. The nightmare is actually written out in full with very little added as one of the chapters of the story. 

Have you ever thought about angels? Holly has, from the Christmas angels to her gran’s army of angels that watch over her. Then, after miraculously surviving a car crash, she becomes one – and she discovers that everything she thought she knew was wrong.
And when Azrael (the Angel of Death) and Lucifer, the Angel of Light (aka the Devil), start dropping in to ask for help, she knows she's in big trouble.

Tagline: Sometimes, the Devil can be truly angelic...

Sunday 21 August 2016

Review: The Little Bookshop of Lonely Hearts

Take a crumbling London bookshop; add in an eclectic staff including painfully shy Verity, tattooed and blue-haired Nina, and newly-appointed romance book-loving owner Posy; then throw the self-styled “rudest man in London” into the mix and you get this charming rom-com of a book.

There are definite nods to Pride and Prejudice, one scene that seems to have been borrowed straight from Bridget Jones’ Diary, and a smattering of intentionally terrible Regency bodice ripping scenes conjured from Posy’s imagination.

Posy inherits Bookends bookshop from eccentric owner Lavinia and decides to rebrand as romantic fiction specialist shop Happy Ever After, having to fend off the unwanted interference from high-handed Sebastian, who owns the rest of the mews. The results are predictable but no less enjoyable for it.

A delightfully fun and easy read.
  • ISBN 9780008173111
  • Published by Harper
  • Paperback
  • RRP £7.99
  • On sale 25th August 2016

Saturday 11 June 2016

S is for Show, don't tell

When I was writing my first draft of Witness I introduced the character Wade by describing his physical appearance compared to his friend Ethan and went on to tell the reader how he became friends with Lois - because they shared a similar taste in music. It was a really dull page of prose.

In the rewrite I decided I wanted to make Wade a bigger character in the story and went back to specifically look for places where he was included. I'm ashamed to admit that I left in the boring introduction to start with, but then I came to my senses and realised that it wasn't really adding to the story. I took out the description and added a scene where Lois was revising listening to her iPod and Wade came over to join her because he heard the music. It said the same as the orginal but it was much more interesting because it included dialogue and interaction between the characters.

Lesson learned - show, don't tell!