Monday, 17 January 2022

What inventive ways do you have to keep warm?

 This one is particularly appropriate at the moment. Here in the UK there is panic about energy bills rising by up to 50% and it's also extremely cold, meaning that if we don't want to turn the heating up full blast all the time, we have to come up with ways to keep warm.

And by that I mean realistic ways to keep warm. Two energy companies have already been attacked in the press after they sent their customers socks in the post and suggested they eat porridge and leave the oven door open. A little tone deaf, I think.

One of the suggestions they made, however, was something I've incorporated by accident. I have a fluffy blanket on my couch which I wrap myself up in of an evening - nicely warming to start with - but I discovered that when I have this blanket across my knees, the cats can't resist it. They're not lap cats most of the time, but they will sit on it and pretend I'm not underneath it.

And cats are warm.

Couple that with an oversize fleece I've picked up for emergencies, and that should keep me going through the winter.

So what inventive ways do you have to keep warm?

Monday, 10 January 2022

Books I want to read in 2022

 One of my longstanding new year's resolutions is to read one new book every month (along with watching one new film and trying one new food). Last year I managed 40 books and have set a Goodreads challenge at 35 for this year. However, I discover new books I want to try all the time, so I don't have a full list yet.

I'm in the middle of "Bright Lights, Prairie Dust" by Karen Grassle (Ma Ingalls in Little House on the Prairie) and "Murder Isn't Easy" by Carla Valentine (about the science behind Agatha Christie's crime novels). I'm also working my way through Kate Andersen Brower's nonfiction books about the US presidency - a little niche I admit, but I'm enjoying them so far.

As for future plans, I have Richard Osman's as-yet-untitled new novel on pre-order for this year and am planning to read some shifter and menage stories, as I'm thinking about trying my hand at writing some and need some inspiration. I've also downloaded a sample of Xio Axelrod's "The Girl With Stars In Her Eyes" after it was recommended to me as a worthy successor to "Daisy Jones and the Six", which I read last year and loved (and as I'm currently working on a series about rock stars, it's quite appropriate).

So what do you have on your reading list for this year?

Tuesday, 4 January 2022

My goals for 2022

 I think a lot of us made plans for 2021 in the hope that things would be different and were slightly disappointed. I certainly was, and with Omicron I'm not sure how different 2022 is going to be yet. I'm still not convinced I'll get to go on holiday. However...

My writing goals? I've just signed a three-book contract for a new series called Rock My World, and the first in the series, Hyperventilating, is due out in June. So I'll be working on edits for that in January and also on finishing the second in the series this year.

I'm also working on a standalone piece called When I Look In The Mirror, and we'll see how that goes.

For personal goals, I want to finally go abroad again (in February with any luck) and finish seeing all of Shakespeare's plays in theatres. I have several tickets, so fingers crossed things don't shut down again.

So what are your goals for 2022?

Monday, 13 December 2021

Funniest book I've ever read

 I had to think about this topic from Long and Short Reviews, because I've been reading a lot of nonfiction lately, and autobiographies don't always lend themselves to humour. I have been reading Michael McIntyre's two autobiographies which are quite funny, since he apparently uses episodes from his life in his comedy, but I wasn't convinced that counted.

Then I remembered these two.

This Is Going To Hurt and Twas The Nightshift Before Christmas by Adam Kay. Two compilations of stories about his time as a hospital doctor, these are occasionally wince-inducing but mostly hysterically funny. Quite educational, too - I had no idea, for instance, that steroid cream can make the skin thinner, which is not ideal if you're using it as a genital enhancer.

If you haven't read them I definitely recommend getting them this Christmas. You'll collapse laughing.

So what's the funniest book you've ever read?

Monday, 6 December 2021

What I thought of Santa as a kid

 This topic from Long and Short Reviews was an interesting one.

Like most kids, I believed in Santa for a long time and would hide out in my room all night to avoid seeing him, since I thought if I saw him he would vanish with all my presents. But then something happened which removed all the mystery.

I left him a note.

I had forgotten to ask for a particular present, so I left a note under the tree asking if he had one spare. 

The following morning there was a second note left saying he had run out and to ask him again next year. I wasn't that disappointed (and I ended up getting it for my birthday anyway) but I couldn't help noticing the note was in my dad's handwriting. Funny that.

I'm pretty sure I didn't tell him I'd worked it out for a while, though.

So what did you think of Santa as a kid?

Tuesday, 30 November 2021

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Monday, 29 November 2021

What sparks my creativity

 As a writer, this topic from Long and Short Reviews was very appropriate, particularly since I'm in discussions for a three-book series at the moment, so needed to be creative at a moment's notice. What does actually spark my creativity?

I've posted previously about how dreams are one thing that I get ideas from all the time. I tend to dream very vividly, and can often come up with full scenes which end up incorporated into stories. My novel Photograph was heavily based on a dream I had about two sisters and their shared dream of escaping into the local theme park, so I will always use dreams as a resource.

Another source is songs. I've often wanted to include a downloadable file with my stories so the reader can play relevant songs for each scene - almost everything I write has its own soundtrack, and often songs will influence the title as well. It's only a shame that I can't actually quote from song lyrics without running up against laws, because I've often wanted to do that as part of a scene.

And finally - films. If I find myself interested in an underused character or plot thread in a film, I may borrow them or it and develop it further in a story, although I'll change character names to avoid getting sued. Films can be a great source of ideas.

So what sparks your creativity?