Six Book Challenge

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This year, best-selling crime writer Martina Cole leads the six book challenge in to its seventh year. Whether for a nice bit of escapism, or for education or just for pure pleasure, reading is an excellent way of kicking back and forgetting the World. The six book challenge is quite self explanatory; you pick six books- can be paper or digital- and then you record each of the books you read in order to receive the six book challenge certificate. To me, this is a nice structured way of encouraging yourself to read more- if any of my readers are anything like me then it can often be hard for us to find time to read. If you would like to participate in the 2014 six book challenge, click here for more information and let me know how it goes! Once I’m all sorted to participate myself I’ll post a list of the six books I’ll be reading and shall review each after reading- hopefully some of you will join me!! 

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Cursed Village

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Todays blog is the opening paragraph of a short story I did around three years ago. I have never done anything with it as I think it is a bit too ‘risque’ for my liking, but after much coercion, I’ve decided to share the first paragraph with you to see what you all think of it, so here it is: 

 

Our small, old farming village is an odd one. For a start, no one farms any more. We import. Call it laziness, or a sign of the times, call it what you will; but that is only one strange thing about this place. We have a population of around 250 people. We are modern in such ways as we use the internet and mobile phones, but our village is highly conservative. Father picks his daughters husband, certain families don’t intermarry because their ancestors may have had a drunken bar fight five hundred years ago and blah blah blah. No one dares ignore these rules. Although, our village is so off the map, the rules are near enough the law. We have our own police force, which is not answerable to any sort of federal agents or higher judicial persons. This is a very good reason to stay on the good side of one of our officers. If not, they can make the law work in their favour and most definitely not yours. Honestly, you’d be shocked at some of the things that happen in our village. It was founded hundreds of years ago by the French. We aren’t in fact anywhere near France, but the French decided to set sail one day, and Bob’s your uncle, Fanny’s your aunt- Sucred village was found. It was named after the sugar that was farmed here, originally one of the greatest places to grow sugar canes. It was first named Sucre village, after the French for sugar. Over the years it gained a letter and became Sucred. Maybe they decided ‘Sugar Village’ was just a tad cheesy. But as I was not actually there, I don’t know. We stopped growing sugar a long time ago. It’s a funny story really, rather ironic. 

Review of ‘The Woman who went to bed for a year’ by Sue Townsend

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I actually came across this book in my amazon recommendations. I tried to remember it in my ‘mental reading list’ as it were. It was a few weeks later whilst at my sisters school fair, when I saw it on a book stall, I told my mum I was thinking of buying it as I’d planned to read it, but as luck would have it, she already had a copy!! So, I borrowed it from her and had been reading it in dribs and drabs before finally finishing it a couple of weeks ago.

It tells the story of Eva Beaver who, after her prodigious seventeen year old twins leave home for university, elects to stay in bed, for as long as she sees fit, as she needs to ‘think’. You find out relatively early on that she is very unhappy with herself, and that her husband has been having an affair for years. The way Townsend has written the beginning made it feel like the book would drag on and be repetitive, but in fact it was quite on the contrary. We meet a selection of characters, from Evas husbands lover to the twins eccentric ‘friend’, and many more!! It definitely makes you laugh at times- in my case mostly at the two mother in laws remarks, as well as really make you feel for the characters; in my opinion this is a key element in writing a good book. The characters all had their own back stories, and their own issues and problems to share, and many of them do share with Eva, when one day she becomes an internet sensation and called an angel.
Eva did seem to take it a bit far, but you are able to sympathise with her up until the very end and you do find yourself wanting to fight for her cause.
The only problems I can honestly say I found were that it was fairly slow paced throughout the book, yet at the end it was suddenly all over. The ending definitely left too many unanswered questions for my liking, and made me sit just holding the book a bit like ‘is that it’. It did pull me in during the last ten or so chapters and really filled the empty holiday hours quite nicely, but definitely not too strong of an ending in my eyes.
All in all, not a brilliant book (probably as it’s not the sort of genre I usually read), but definitely well worth the read- especially if you choose it for a holiday read. 

Armistice Day

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In respect to all those who lost their lives in the wars and the families who have lost someone, I have got excerpts from my ‘Confessions’ books to share with you. Enjoy!

 

Remember

Today is the day

The day we remember

All those brave souls

Who gave their lives away

 

Have your minutes’ silence

Say your little prayers

Why don’t we just stop

All the worldwide violence?

 

Today has gone away

But we won’t forget

We will always remember

This eleventh day

 

 

Soldier of our time

Mighty warriors

From here to there

Because for us, they do care

Defending men beneath deaths stare

They fought for us.

 

Injured soldiers

Battle on

Making sure to right the wrongs

Helping others, fixing things

They fought for us.

 

Miles from home

Saving innocent people

Kneeling before the mighty steeple

We must be sure to thank,

They fight for us.

 

Update

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Just a very quick update for everyone as I have been very busy!! As well as the writing I am currently working on, I am also co- writing with someone for the first time ever!! Not a lot is down on paper yet, mostly we’ve been bouncing ideas off each other, but there is a little already written, and it is very different to other books I have written!
Have a good week x

Just a quick note about something that really bugs me!

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For the past few days I’ve been thinking ‘Oh no, what can I write for my blog on Tuesday?!’ and after much consideration I decided to write about something that really bothers me. I’ve been to quite a few beautiful places recently, from Shere village, to Guildford castle, to the hidden past of Reigate. All brilliant places in their own right, but as you walk amongst the stunning flowers and the old stone walls you see all the overgrowth in the less seen parts, and the graffiti on the walls and you start wondering: what makes people go and try to destroy such wonderful places?! If someone were to go to their homes and gardens and start climbing all over their fences and spraying obscenities and unreadable ‘tags’ on their back doors and tramping all over their flower beds, would that be okay? What if their garden was involved in a flower show, that hundreds of people would view, would that be okay? Because that is essentially what people are doing to our beautiful, historic scenes and it makes me so angry! It’s something that marks our past, that we visit with such anticipation and imagery of beauty yet what we are greeted by is vandalism. So stop please, because it makes me sad.

 

Just a quick footnote, my blogs may not be as regular as usual for a while as I will also be studying, however I am still writing and will keep you all updated. Have a nice week!!

Exclusive character preview

As many of you may know, I am currently working on quite a few different stories. One of which- hopefully to be an upcoming book- I had the ideas for whilst I was on holiday. Below is a sneaky peek at one of the main characters. The extract below may or may not be in the completed book, but there will be something about this characters past in it (in theory) and not all characters will be from his background. I hope you enjoy!

Character Preview

The man stood up and looked around, rubbing his head. He must’ve knocked it fairly hard, he thought, as the sights around him were so unreal- so absurd- it had to be an illusion. Pulling out his pocket watch, he attempted to read the time but it had broken- the glass face must’ve got cracked during his fall. He wondered if the visions could hear him, or if they could even think. Why, wouldn’t that be queer; walking, talking, thinking delusions! He walked to one extremely peculiarly dressed man, he must be poor. “You sir, where am I?” The poor man looked at him incredulously: “You’re in London o’course.” London? This was not London! London was a lovely place; full of pretty girls in long dresses and men in top hats. He took a step forward and was immediately pulled back by the poor man. “Whatcha doin’?! Are you tryin’ to get yourself run over?!”

A strange object whizzed past him, much like a big noisy tin on wheels. He couldn’t believe it, there were people travelling inside these machines!! Where were the horses? What had become of the carts? What a strange dream he was having. More timidly this time, he spoke to the poor man: “Please Sir, what year is this?” The man scoffed at him “What, have you been sleepin’ for the past few years? It’s 2012!!”

The poor man wandered off, mumbling something about tourists. Our man, however, was in a daze. His head was spinning, and his legs were rubber beneath him. How could it possibly 2012?! Why, he’d been standing at the Diamond Jubilee not five minutes ago! He looked up to the skies and brandished his fist. “Why God, why must you do such things to me? What kind of trickery is this?!”

People had begun to stare at him now; a few threw coins at his feet. He was getting increasingly agitated: they thought HE was the poor one! He leant down to procure a coin. He studied it scrupulously; the strange shape of it, the strange head of the monarch on it, the strange words around the edges, but the strangest of all was the year. He let the coin fall back to the floor as the year he had read began to sink in. It had said 2010. He began to sway, and once again, he passed out.

Critics

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First of all, thank you to everyone who downloaded a free copy of my book during last week, it is much appreciated! Second, apologies for my blog being a day late!

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about how our brains work. For example, writers block- what exactly causes it? If the talent is there, and maybe even the ideas, what exactly in our brains makes these ideas nigh impossible to transfer on to paper? I’ve had a slight case of writers block myself recently, so I cast my mind back to what might have caused it.

A few weeks ago, I had the tiniest criticism on my work. Ever since then, I have been unable to transfer any idea into actual words. However, I have had worse criticism that has just gone over my head. So what makes this different? Well, for authors, writing is obviously something we care about, and we like constructive criticism, but sometimes don’t get the amount of praise we should. My criticism was not constructive, and came from someone close to me; someone I care about criticising something I care about.

But how have you turned the situation around, I hear you ask. Well, I thought to myself, why can’t I make all criticism constructive? I convinced myself to take all criticism in a positive way, and as motivation to strive to be better so as not to receive such criticism! Thus, the negativity I had felt towards my work evaporated, and I am now able to construct my thoughts once again!

As a result, next weeks blog will be an insight in to one of the characters I am developing for a new book!!

Happy Summer!!

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As a sort of celebration of the Summer, and also as a celebration of how close I am to finishing the sequel to ‘Ruins’ and how many new ideas I have to write, my book ‘Ruins‘ will be free again until approximately midnight on August 23rd 2012. In case you’re not sure about it, the opening prologue and first chapter is below, enjoy!!

Prologue

 

“Mr Ravenscroft, you are in a court of law. Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?”

Ravenscroft leans towards the microphone stand.

“Yes. I swear.”

The judge is satisfied.

“Good. Then we may commence.”

 

 

 

Chapter I

 

The small, messy house is filled with shouting and screaming. The dog is sitting amongst dirty washing the mother should be doing, along with the two youngest girls; Nadine and Victoria. In the lounge the eldest daughter Kylie is found feeding and looking after the two youngest siblings- Andrew and Charlie. The mother, Claudine, can be seen chasing the second daughter, Joanne, up the stairs; hitting the backs of her legs with a wooden ruler.

The voice of Kylie from the living room confirms that their Daddy will be home from work soon, so they must tidy and make sure “Uncle” Simon is out before he gets back, or else he’ll be cross with Mother. Andrew is jumping on the furniture despite his sisters’ chastising. Charlie, in his highchair, finds the entire situation highly amusing- a view he expresses by chuckling wildly.

Nadine has gone into the garden. As a highly intelligent individual, if a few four years younger than Kylie, she is also aware that Daddy will be home soon, and that things must be done before he returns. But she’d rather sit behind the old damp garden shed than bother herself with such homely chores.

Joanne sits in the corner of her bedroom, tears flowing down her young face.