Friday, 4 October 2013

Coffee Break: Is There an Echo in Here?

So it's been a while. Oh alright, it's been a very long while. Won't lie. I fell out of love with reading and reviewing for the longest time. It was depressing and ugly. I'd never gone so long without picking up a book. I'd look at my shelves of unread books with such longing. I'd even pick one up and think, 'Now is the time. I'm ready to read again.' Then I'd read the first sentence and slam that book shut. Even my favourite authors, that always have me racing through their books, couldn't help.

I did the only thing I could think of. I stopped fighting it. I knew what set off this reading funk, and I thought I would get over it fairly quickly. I didn't. So my inner bookworm drifted aimlessly whilst I got on with other stuff.

Then I got back into reading towards the end of last year. For two weeks. I was so happy.

It was a false start.

I started writing reviews of the 12 books I'd read in those two weeks, thinking it would perk me up to continue reading and discussing these fabulous books. Not so. I'd do what I did with the book. Write one sentence and slam my laptop shut.

Then an amazing thing happened earlier this year, which is going on my personal blog, and I won a competition to have my writing mentored by a published author for the year. I know! It really spurred me into action to finishing all my novels that I've started. Naturally, the need to read came with it. I like to read my favourite authors as I write, see how they handle scenes, what I can learn from it, how much showing and telling I should be doing, and the like. Maybe some of their amazingness would rub off. I live in hope.

First it was a chapter or two of a couple of books. I'd resist the urge to close the book and give the book another chapter. Slowly but surely, I wanted to read the rest. Then I was racing through the novels.

Don't get me wrong, there were still fits and starts, only the gaps between books were getting smaller, so I didn't race to start writing my thoughts on them yet. I stuck with discussing them with my mum. Finally I wanted to broaden who I discussed the books with. I wanted peoples thoughts on scenes and to shout out to the world what I thought about them. Finally, I started to write reviews again.

However, I couldn't bring myself to start up this blog again. I left the cobwebs where they were and wanted to see how it played out first. It could have been another false start. Instead, I started up the previously mentioned personal blog to get myself posting regularly. Naturally, that was in fits and starts too. Still is a bit. But I'm ready.

I've missed you all and I can't wait to catch up with everything again.

Here's to many book related discussions and crafty posts!

To the reviews...

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Enshadowed

'Waiting On' Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.
Enshadowed by Kelly Creagh

Publisher: Atheneum (Simon & Schuster imprint)
Release Date: 28th August 2012

Summary (Goodreads):

While Varen remains a prisoner in the dream-world, Isobel is haunted by his memory. He appears to her in her dreams and soon, even in her waking life. But is she just imagining it? Isobel knows she must find a way back to Varen. She makes plans to go to Baltimore. There, she confronts the figure known throughout the world as the Poe Toaster—the same dark man who once appeared to Isobel in her dreams, calling himself "Reynolds."

Isobel succeeds in interrupting the Toaster's ritual and, in doing so, discovers a way to return to the dream-world. Soon, she finds herself swept up in a realm which not only holds remnants of Poe's presence, but has also now taken on the characteristics of Varen's innermost self. It is a dark world comprised of fear, terror, and anger.

When Isobel once more encounters Varen, she finds him changed. With his mind poisoned by the dream world, he becomes a malevolent force, bent on destroying all—even himself. Now Isobel must face a new adversary, one who also happens to be her greatest love.

I hate leaving a series unfinished, and it doesn't hurt that Nevermore was an excellent start to a series!

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Project 365: Days 3, 4 & 5

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Coffee Break: My Lack of Posting

So...long time no post, eh? Please ignore the tumbleweeds going past, the blog is not completely shutdown.

I just wanted to acknowledge that I have a book review backlog of books and I haven't forgotten you. I have them looking at me with The Eye every time I venture into my office.

I had a few things going on in my life starting in March, family crisis, leaving job, things like that. So everything, I mean everything, reading, writing, blog, general life, went on the back burner whilst I tried to wrap my head around it all.

Then things finally started to calm down and I could focus again. I even had blog posts scheduled but Blogger, in it's infinite wisdom, didn't post them and then I couldn't find the bleeders on here, so I shut down a little bit again because I couldn't face re-doing the posts, which is naughty of me. Really naughty. And lazy. But those posts will be up this week. They will!

Anyhoo, just as I was about to focus on all things blog-like again after that blip, this marvellously shiny idea for a novel strolled in my head and was all, 'Emma, I need writing. Forget living! This is where you're at.' So for the past three weeks I've been in novel mode and can't stop! I'm whizzing out about 6k a day. I haven't done that in forever! Alright, I exaggerate, I haven't done any real writing since December 2010. That may as well be forever to me.

I'm nearly done with the novel. Once it's out of my head, I'm going to break from it before I begin editing, and I will have some great romance with my review books and publicise the living daylights out of them all. I will be my blog's bitch.

So please bear with me whilst I get over this blog drought.

Friday, 30 March 2012

Fifteen Friday: Tom Clempson

Today we have the fabulous funny, and slightly spider-obsessed with a penchant for freaky feet, Tom Clempson with us to answer the Fifteen Friday! Tom is the author of the ridiculously hilarious novel, One Seriously Messed up Week in the Otherwise Mundane and Uneventful Life of Jack Samsonite. Go check it out! But first, read his responses to the questions!

1. Last movie watched?
X Men First Class. It absolutely wee-weed all over X Men Last Stand (not very difficult). I quite liked it. But James Mcavoy has got quite an annoying face and a really small mouth. Michael Fassbender has got a REALLY big mouth (check out his mental grin when he moves the satellite dish)! Bigmouth smallmouth. That concludes my review.

2. Favourite meal?
Savoury Yorkshire. I’m not sure if this exists anywhere outside of my Mum’s kitchen, but it is frickin amazing! It’s a bunch of veg (onion, potato, carrot, peas) all baked into a massive Yorkshire Pudding. (Em's note: My mum made this too!)

3. Mac or PC?
Hmmmm. I’ve spent my entire life as a devout PCian, hating the restrictions, price and downright arrogance of Macs, but my wife, my iPhone and my snail-slow PC are slowly turning me to the Mac side. If only they didn’t cost SO DAMN MUCH!

4. On average, how many books do you read a year?
I’m very irregular. Sometimes I will read loads, sometimes I will read barely anything. Last year I read two whole books (not including the ones I was writing), and one of them was Diary of a Wimpy Kid (mostly pictures). But I was very busy! If I read three books this year I will be very pleased with myself.

5. Left or right handed?
Right. I’m not sure I can really elaborate much more on that. Left hands are good too though. I use it for less important stuff, like typing the letters q,w,e,r,t,a,s,d,f,g,z,x,c,v and accidentally hitting the Caps Lock key and not realising until two paragraphs later.

6. What would your superpower be?
Bullshit. Not literally. I wouldn’t hurl bovine poo or anything. But I am quite good at talking crap. It’s what I do when I feel vulnerable or uncomfortable. It’s my first line of defence.

7. Tea or coffee?
Coffee. Nearly always, coffee. I generally only drink tea if I don’t feel well.

8. What’s your worst habit?
Bullshit. Not literally, I don’t fling bovine poo in an absent minded fashion. But sometimes I don’t know when to stop talking crap, and sometimes I talk the wrong type of crap to the wrong people and either annoy the hell out of them or highly offend them (generally only people who are offended by bovine poo though).

9. Earliest memory?
My earliest memory is of a dream I had as a baby. In my dream I was in my play pen in the hallway of our old house. A blackbird flew in through the back door, perched on my shoulder, then clamped its beak to my earlobe. I cried out for help but no one came. I was only two when we moved out of that house so I don’t have any real life memories of it other than throwing my big brother’s Peter Rabbit mirror down the stairs and making him cry. That is my first memory of remorse and generally feeling like a shit. He assures me he holds no grudges about it.

10. What noise do you love/hate?
If I take that question literally then the answer is chewing food. I love/hate that noise. I love purposely chewing really loudly to gross out my wife, but I hate other people doing it for real. I also used to have a real thing about brushing teeth.

11. Favourite season?
Winter. It is the home of Christmas, New Year, my birthday, walks in the snow, cosy evenings by the fire, those amazing eternal sunsets that give everything a purple haze. But it does drag on a bit too long. By February I’m kind of fed up with it, so when Spring finally comes along I trick myself into believing that that one’s my favourite because of all the colour and life and wotnot. But then I just want proper sunshine and blah, blah, blah… I like them all, and I’m constantly impressed that, even after 32 years of them, they still manage to surprise me – “It’s 11pm and it’s still light!” or “It’s only 3pm and it’s going dark!” or “Summer’s almost over and we still haven’t had any sun!”

12. Optimist or pessimist?
I’m ALWAYS optimistic! But it won’t last.

13. Last song you listened to?
Something from the latest Winnie The Pooh movie soundtrack, we had it on in the car for my daughter. Oh! No! It was ‘When Love is Gone’ from the Muppets Christmas Carol. My daughter insisted on listening to the entire album when I put her to bed. She’s obsessed with that film.

14. What 3 items would you take with you on a desert island?
Avoiding any ‘clever’ answers like “a boat!” I would take a knife, a guitar, and my notebook (my notebook always has a pen attached to it, so those two things count as one). I’m figuring I’ll eventually get good enough at starting fires that taking matches and a torch would be a waste of items. I’m thinking more of entertainment. Instead of having to choose what music, books, films to take, I would make sure I had what I needed to write my own. The knife would be for general survival stuff.

15. If you could interview anyone from any point in time, who would it be and why?
I really do not have a clue! That’s quite sad isn’t it? It would be someone amazing. Probably someone dead (but they would have to be alive for the duration of the interview. Obviously). They would also have to have a high tolerance for bullshit.

You can stalk follow Tom on Twitter or checkout his blog...he sometimes updates it ;)! Probably more than me HA! :D. Anyway, thanks for stopping by Tom! 

Friday, 16 March 2012

Fifteen Friday: Laura Clempson

Fifteen Friday is a weekly event of the same 15 questions put to different guests on the blog!

Today we have the fabulous Laura Clempson, creator of Cupcakes for Clara! She's a nifty, talented, creative type and I'm so excited that she's here answering the questions!

1. Last movie watched?
 Bridesmaids. I wasn’t too fussed about watching it, but it was on our online rental list and actually surprised me. It was definitely better than I expected.

2. Favourite meal?
Roast dinner – nut cutlets, roast potatoes, veg, gravy… mmm!

3. Mac or PC?
Mac – always!

4. On average, how many books do you read a year?
Do picture books count? If they do it must be thousands. If not, then not nearly as many as I would like.

5. Left or right handed?

6. What would your superpower be?
The ability to add extra hours into the day. I just can’t seem to ever fit everything in, so having a few extra hours here and there would be really helpful.

7. Tea or coffee?
Tea. I don’t drink coffee at all – I always want to, but I don’t really like it. Sorry! I could drink tea all day.

8. What’s your worst habit?
 Getting stroppy when I’m tired. I can’t help it!!

9. Earliest memory?
Being woken up by my mum in the middle of the night & thrown into the bath because my little brother had been sick in my hair. Nice huh?!

10. What noise do you love/hate?
 I love the sound of my two little ones giggling, especially if they’re making each other laugh. I really hate people whispering in my ear. I don’t know why, and not any particular things, just whispering really close gives me the shudders.

11. Favourite season?
Winter. I just adore Christmas & the whole build up to it. Winter is so cosy – chilly walks, hot chocolates, open fires, cuddling up watching films, candle lit baths, roast dinners, Christmas decorations. Oh yes, winter is perfect.  

12. Optimist or pessimist?
 A mixture of the two but probably slightly more pessimist. That’s sad isn’t it? Luckily I have an eternally optimistic husband to balance things out.

13. Last song you listened to?
 Guess I’m a Fool by Hugh Laurie. I’m so excited - we’re going to see Hugh Laurie’s tour in July. Cannot wait!

14. What 3 items would you take with you on a desert island?
 Ooh, that’s a toughie. If it could it include a new-fangled charger that runs on coconuts then my iphone, a notebook, & sun cream.

15. If you could interview anyone from any point in time, who would it be and why?
 Katherine Hepburn. I absolutely adore her. Or maybe James Stewart – but I might faint from excitement! For no particular reason other than it would be amazing to meet them.

Thank you so much for having me!

You can follow Laura on Twitter and be sure to visit her Etsy shop and indulge in some of her amazing Clara products! Do it now!