Autumn, organisation and reading …


I love Autumn! I know I keep saying this, and do the same in winter, but it’s such a lovely season. Bright colours everywhere it always seems to me to be the season of impending change. I love it, watch the roads along my regular routes for the changes in the trees and bushes, watch people as they start to wrap up warmer and dig out the scarves and gloves from last year, and love that week when you decide suddenly to change from the summer duvet back to the winter one. The above photo is one I took when I was in Scotland – it just to say shows the first snow on the Cairngorm mountains, a sure sign winter is on it’s way.

I’ve been ultra organised this weekend, now I’m normally organised but this weekend I had a writing spurt as I want novel 2 finished so I can start on novel 3 which is already invading my thoughts and interrupting with me with characters and potential plots. I could of course put some time aside and start working on the research now, but to be honest I’m one of those people who can’t start the next one until the previous one is finished. I’m so close to the end now I can almost taste it! It’s worked out slightly longer than the first one too, possibly by up to 10k words, it’d be interesting to see if that’s always the case with other writers too. I will have some time this morning to get writing and hoping I’ll get a good chunk written, just as soon as the ironing is done. Don’t you hate those mundane every day tasks that get in the way of the things you enjoy doing?

As most of you who follow me on facebook will be aware, I’ve had an awful virus over the last week which knocked all the energy from me. I was so exhausted I couldn’t even write. Getting over it now but still tired. Despite this though I went back to the gym on Saturday and was there yesterday. Yes, you read right, I’m still going to the gym! 7 weeks now, am proud of myself. Normally after the first month it’s a pointless bill that gets paid lol, that’s why it’s taken so many years for me to rejoin. But I’m actually enjoying it, I may grumble before I go as it does take precious time that I can use elsewhere, but it’s nice not to get out of breath walking around the town any more so is doing some good. It’s 5 weeks until the end of my 12 week challenge so will keep you updated on that when the time comes.

I started reading a book last night, I’ve put a brief review on my review page, and I realised that it’s been a while since I read. Usually when I’m writing the last third of my own novel I find it quite hard to detach and read something else, so I usually avoid reading for that period then go back to it with vengeance once I’m done. But I was looking for something to occupy my mind and wasn’t in a position to write so I opened up my trusty kindle app. Now I’m a lover of real books, always have been always will be. I used to spend hours upon hours in my local library as a child, and even now love popping in even if just to inhale that wonderful aroma that only books have. But the kindle app is portable and easier to take to coffee shops and work etc as it stores all my novels. I’ve started getting the paperback and the kindle version so I have both which may be a little like overkill but still. Anyway I digress, the book I chose for last night was one that’s been on my reading list for a while. Tiffinie Helmer writes what I’d class as romantic suspense. I love her writing style, it’s so easy to read and lose yourself in. She does an excellent job of bringing Alaska to life, as well as providing likable characters and an engaging plot. I finished the novel in one evening which is always a good sign.

I try to read a variation of authors and will often give a book a go even if I’m not keen, life’s too short to spend reading things you don’t enjoy though. If it’s too much like hard work or you’re not enjoying it after a chapter or two then move on. There are so many books out there, we could never have time to read them all. So why waste time on one you’re not enjoying. I love leaving reviews also, but I only ever review if I finish a novel. Just because I may not like something about the writing style that stops me reading, doesn’t mean other people won’t love it. If I finish the book I leave a positive review, sometimes constructive if needed, but I don’t believe in negative reviews – what’s the point of forcing yourself to read a bad book only to leave a bad review? Just stop reading and move on to a good book 🙂 simples – well it is to me anyway. We all know there are bad books out there, those with horrible grammar errors, those with poor plots or unlikable characters, but it’s worth remembering it takes a lot of effort to write a book in the first place. Whether it’s good or bad only the readers can say, but the author still put the effort in, it was a big thing to that author to get it a) finished and b) available for others to read. Most authors are open to constructive criticism – it’s one method for improvement. But no author I know likes a review where the person just says ‘this book is crap’ and marks it as 1 star.

My aims for the week are to get book 2 finished, and hopefully crack on with submitting book 1 to some more agents. Everyone keeps telling me they want to read my novel, and the few readers I have are all encouraging. I think part of the reason I haven’t gone down the self publishing route yet (it is still an option) is because when I have a plan I like to stick to it. The plan has always been to try and get an agent and publisher and get my novels out there that way, if this doesn’t pan out by mid-2014 I will look at self-publishing. So be patient 🙂 my novels are coming!

That’s it for this week, hope you’re all well. Enjoy the coming Halloween and be safe, and keep smiling 🙂

Ruggedness, family and wolves …

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Well it’s been a fantastic couple of weeks relaxation wise. I’m guessing I needed the break since I’ve done a lot of sleeping which isn’t like me. I’m one of those people who exists on little sleep as a rule, usually maybe 5 hours solid per night. So when I’m off work for a length of time my body goes into hibernation mode and I sleep for maybe 8-9 hours per night instead. Shame I can’t be off more often 😉

As you can see from the photos, my trusty digital camera has been out of the cupboard for play time. Me and Pete have been up to the beautiful Scotland to visit relatives and have a short stay in a hotel. The first night was spent at his granddad’s house in Nairn on a lovely working farm. He has ten head of cattle that he breeds and sells from. He’s getting on now so only a small herd. He is a fantastic baker however! Best scones ever. And his wife’s mac and cheese was amazing. We then headed further up north to the very top – my aunt and uncle live in a very remote location, 24 miles into a 40 mile single track road then up a dirt track, across a small river bridge, and up more track until we hit their genuine house on a hill. The nearest neighbour is probably about 4 miles away. It’s truly beautiful. Whilst there we enjoyed some down time, visited John O’Groats and partook in the kind of relaxation only such solitude can bring.

I’d like to say I got a lot of writing done, but to be entirely honest when I wasn’t out or looking at the view, I was chatting or sleeping! I’m still aiming to get finished before I return to work next week though.

After visiting with the relatives, me and Pete headed to a lovely hotel in Grantown-on-Spey – a small village in the middle of the Cairngorms. The hotel itself looked slightly like a fairy tale castle and was lovely for a short break. Making the decision to visit the Highland Wildlife Park while we were there was easy – I love animals of all kinds and the park houses wolves, You may or may not know that I adore wolves. So we headed over nice and early after booking our tickets online. The staff were very knowledgeable and helpful throughout the whole day. We gave a donation of a pound and did the land-rover tour – perhaps I should clarify here. The park has several enclosures but also a large expanse of land used as a drive around safari. You can take your own car and get up close and personal and can also pay for a guided tour where the guide teaches you about all the animals. It was well worth the pound! Thoroughly enjoyed looking round and snapping pics of all the animals roaming free. Got plenty of beautiful pics – the animals may actually have been posing for me – look at the beautiful snowy owl above for example! Or the mama wolf staring at us through the cage (hence the blurry lines in the foreground). I seriously could take my laptop to one of the seating areas and sit there all day. The park is so peaceful.

That’s pretty much been my two weeks – I’ve had a third rejection email through but still remaining positive – just because those agents don’t like my work doesn’t mean another won’t pick me up. It’s still early days yet! And the feedback I’m getting from the additional readers I’ve had read book 1 is very encouraging. I write because I love to write, and because I hope one day you will all enjoy my writing too. I actually had one crime reader tell me that my book was better than than Karen Rose – not sure how accurate that is as Karen is a fantastic author, but it made me smile 🙂

The aims for this week are to get book 2 finished so I can put it away in the drawer and forget about it until it comes to editing, and to settle back into being at home after my wonderful break. The good news is I get to go up again and visit the relatives in 3 weeks with mum this time! Two hols in a month – truly blessed 🙂 and the plan for next year is to visit much more often. Family is so important – sometimes we forget to appreciate the people close to us. Visiting gives us the chance to spend time together and create wonderful memories. I’m blessed to have family who live in the country of my heart – I love England, but Scotland is just so rugged and wild. Me and Pete will probably end up living there one day when the time is right.

For now though, I shall bid you all a good weekend – take care and keep smiling. Often. x