Friday, May 7, 2010

Oops! I missed April....

Um, has anyone seen April.... I seem to have mislaid it??? How can it be May... how, how, how??? But here she is, in all her Taurean beauty. Two of my favourites have birthdays this month.... David Beckham's was on 2 May and then the ever gorgeous and bashful Rob Pattison's is on 13 May. Wish I was jumping out of their birthday cakes in just my birthday suit!

The time might have flown by but that doesn't mean I haven't been reading - and watching DVD's - like crazy....

My favourite book in a while would have to be Snap happy by Fiona Walker.... I just loved it! It was great... I could so see it being a movie... it would be PERFECT for that! I may even attempt to write that screenplay myself one day. I loved her writing so much that when I stumbled on another one of her's at the library called Four Play I was super excited but it was just ok.... and really, really long winded. Regardless, Juno and Jay kept me enthralled with their antics in Snap Happy.

I tried to read Lisa Jewell's 'The truth about Melody Brown' but I got bored and stopped reading!!!! Yeah, there was some really positive feedback on this book of hers but it just never grabbed me. I sort of put it down and thought I'd try again later but I haven't been inspired to pick it up again.

Instead, I got enthralled with Colleen McCullough's 'The Thorn Birds'. I stumbled over it at the library and grabbed it more out of nostalgia than anything else because I could still remember the mini series from when I was about 11 or 12 years old and have often thought of Richard Chamberlain in the lead part over the years. But, apart from having said some crazy shit (note to Colleen - it's ok to think some stuff, but don't say it out loud - hasn't helped Germaine Greer one bit either!) that lady can sure write. Some of the more descriptive scene set-ups I flipped through, but it was still a damned good book. Superb!

I'd hardly finished that when one of the girls I work with (lovely Elba... her favourite book is One Hundred Years of Solitude.... in spanish - I didn't even make it through Love in the time of Cholera in english! Although I loved the movie!) suggested I read Michelle Holman's 'Bonkers'. I was dead keen (hey, that's a pun!) because there aren't may writers like that in NZ. I really enjoyed. Quite a clever concept actually... it's about 2 women who have a car accident and one gets sent back down... only to land up in the wrong body! There were some parts that made me roll my eyes but on the whole it was good, and I even laughed out loud in some spots...especially the opening scenes.

And then I finished the second book of Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games Series - Catching Fire. It was still clever but I didn't love it as much as the first one. Will be interesting to see how it finishes up in the last one (I think it will be...) that is out August.

I'm currently on 'How to lose friends and alienate people' by Toby Young. I'm riveted... especially since he claims that it is totally based in real expereinces. As someone who would have loved to work on a glossy magazine in New York (next life time!), its so so so interesting... But, just like 'The Devil wears Prada', it's confirmed my suspicions that I'm too much of a lazy bitch, and much to chubby, to actually have made it in that world. I mean, I put make-up on ONCE - in the morning - and not again until the next day! And my hair dry's NATURALLY!!!! Without product.... they would have chewed me up and spat me out! But a great read!

Don't think that I mentioned that I caved at last and joined Fatso ... since my dearest beloved study's ALL the time, I thought I might as well amuse myself in other ways. And boy oh boy... I am LOVING it. At last, I got to see Entourage and I so badly want to roll with the boys all the time! Love, love, love it.... even the man was having extended breaks as he got sucked in! But then some bastard got the first DVD of the 4th season and sat on it FOREVER!!!! So I moved onto Gossip Girl... so torn.... am I secretly in love with Chuck - there is something REALLY sexy about his appalling attitude and bad taste that really works - or with Nate... those eyes, prrrrrrrrr! Adore Serena.... she's living my life! Her lip gloss ALWAYS looks good and you never, ever see her bobby pins! After I finished 'The Thorn Birds', I, of course, had to get the miniseries and now making my way through that. There is something so romantic about the homestead lifestyle. My queue at the moment is sitting on over 100 DVD's.... so that should keep me going for AGESSSSSSSSSS....

Also went and saw Remember me.... man oh man.... that was sad as! Brace yourself if you haven't seen it. I was so upset about his wee sister (kids are SO cruel!) and of course the end... sob, sob! Great photography though.... loved how the last scene worked. Also saw Alice in Wonderland... was alright... loved the special effects... just awesome!

Ah, and then... my own writing??? Slow... that's how I'd describe it.... very, very slow! It's much easier to write about shagging a hot soccer player like in my first book rather than about death which is a major part in my second book. I had to change tact a wee bit.... get some interest and then maybe I can get my beloved first book printed too. The annoying part is that it's really good (if I do say so myself)! My darling friend Lucie in London, who reads like crazy too, has just finished reading it and had this to say....

I have just finished your book, I absolutely love it!!! It is perfect, it isn't like a 'run of the mill' rom com, it has a real twist (And a lot of steamy scenes!). I can actually see it being a film, on the big screen. It is wonderful.

It's those sort of comments that are keeping me focused on my dream of getting published. Thx Luce... miss u, luff u!

I am actually writing with Danielle Chiotti in mind at the moment...she sent me a wonderful 'rejection' letter and I'm so hoping that 'Book no 2' might tickle her fancy.

Right... starting to see double so best go to bed!

Kiss kiss love love.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Sookie Stackhouse and those pesky vampires

Obsessed! That's what I think... although even obsession needs a wee break and after consuming 3 books of the Sookie Stackhouse series in 3 days, I need a break from poor Sookie getting beaten up around every corner! I was thoroughly enthralled... so much so that my own writing was getting ignored!

Just watched 'The Notebook' again after ages, and had to drag that out to re-read. Nicholas Spark's just blows my mind.... truely! Imagine having 2 books on the bestseller list: Last Song is #1 on the USA Today best-seller list, and Dear John is #2. Must feel incredible!

And The Poisonwood Bible is on my side table, silent and untouched.... only for the minute though, will get back that soon.

Oh, yes.... and the good news.... NOT, another rejection. Up to 15 now I think. Hmmmmmm.......

Friday, February 26, 2010

Gorgeous, lovely, wonderful, pretend trash....

Awwww..... you just have to love pure escapism TRASH! I do, although I have to mix it up so that it's not too predictable because the story lines don't really deviate from the base plan all that much - girl meets boy, boy or girl stuffs up, all good and love prevails. Awwwwwww..... and what could be wrong with that ideal?? So, what have I been busy with...

How to sleep with a Movie Star by Kristin Harmel
I read this book years ago and loved it (all my old fav's are coming out again) and I loved it this time again. It's just such a well loved cliche that 'ordinary girl' has some fancy pants super star fall in love with her. I think it's because at a base, we all think we're just ordinary gal's waiting for that prince charming to sweep us off our feet! But, as I'm sure we all know, there are a lot more of Tom's type out there than Cole's... but books like this make you keep hoping that maybe, just maybe.... fairytales do come true. Loved it.

Size 12 is not fat by Meg Cabot
Yay! My first Meg Cabot book.... and I quite enjoyed. It took me a few chapters to realise that Meg has a different writing style (good on ya!) to others and stays present tense a lot. You don't see much of that... but with her it definitely works. I like Heather, she's believable and one can relate... even though she was meant to be this huge pop star! It kind of makes the rest of us feel that we could have done it too if we'd been in the right place at the right time... and could sing! And I love how it's a detective story... that's a cool concept. It's that little bit different to the bog standard chick book, but easy to flow with. I may even read another at some point.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Again, just for the record, blogs are meant to be used REGULARLY!

Jaysus! I just am NOT getting this whole blog thing.... both my blogs languish, unused for months on end. Um, and you say you want to be a writer???? Hmmmmmm....

Well, quick update..... sort of

Sent out a barrage of query letters at the beginning of Jan. I focused mainly on email ones, so most went to the US. 17 to be precise.... and have heard back from 10. Two, although rejections have been favourites...

The first favourite (that was then demoted when 9 arrived) was rejection no 6. It said, "Although intrigued by your query, I didn't feel sufficient enough enthusiasm to ask for me at this stage." To be honest, I couldn't get past the 'intrigued' part because that meant I was on the right track! When I do get published, I'll send her a copy so that she finds out the end. I liked her response.... it was nice. And it was from a real person.

My favourite, favourite so far was Rejection no 9 (great number too... that was the one that got Stephenie Meyer a book deal!)... she said "Your passion for writing shines through, both in your query letter and your writing sample. Your prose is smart, snappy, and fun to read. However... " and that's when the rejection part came about it being too similar to a chicklit novel! There's that dirty, dirty word that still seems to sell and people still love to read.... but is dead, dead, dead! For rejection 9, I will always hold a special place in my heart! She even went to say that if I write something that is more firmly entrenched in the 'women's fiction' genre, she'd be happy to have a look. The problem with that is I love to write about lives I'll probably never lead... sparkly, dramatic, OTT and crazy.... do I hear CHICKLIT in that!

Two weeks ago, I posted another 5 (1 to US, 4 to UK) and emailed 5 more agents in UK. I've already had 2 rejections (one from a killer agent hoo) but I haven't heard from the one agent I'd really, really want... I'm waiting for your call - you know who you are!

So, that's where I am at.... still on the 2nd edit.... I think that I'm the only writer that gets a thrill from seeing the count go DOWN.... sitting on 127,000.... would really, really like it to be around 120,000... getting good at culling too!

So, that's where we are at with that.... really trying to keep the faith!

And what have I read???

It's really strange how my reading 'lusts' have changed. I blame that pesky 'panic attack' stage I went through (cue shudder at lack of life control) a few years back. I just don't get much joy out of reading, or watching, gut wrenching stuff anymore. I was never really a fan of dramas anyhow, even though I can list some of my favourite movies as being firmly in that genre, but I get so wrapped up in it and it becomes so real to me that I can't treat it as 'just' a story! Weird....especially since that's what I loved most about reading... becoming embroiled in other's journeys. It may also be that subconsciously, I took it on wholeheartedly when my osteopath said that I shouldn't be doing that anymore.... only happy, happy, happy stuff. (That subconscious habit of mine scares me shitless and happens a lot more than I like to admit.)

But... all that means I've discovered a new genre that I love - fantasy! That's probably due to the Twilight Saga (jealous, jealous, so very jealous at that little gem) and some of Meyer's other book suggestions but I'm so enjoying! I suppose in hindsight it's weird that I moved away from that since I loved the pretend so much when I was growing up (ah, Enid Blyton - I love you) but I just wanted to be grown up so badly I suppose. And chicklit, well, that gave me a taste of a world I would never be part of - the jet set! Oooohhhh, Jilly Cooper too! Drama, scandal, lust and love.... BRING IT ON!

Ok, I'm waffling... lets begin with what I've read:

The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards
Wow! Kim sure knows how to write.... but I only got as far as pg 149.... I just wasn't coping with how David's decision - doing what he thought was the right thing to do - would damage so many people's lives and that there was just no way that he could take it back. It made me sad... so I stopped reading. For those of you without these 'silly' issues, do read it! Everyone that I've borrowed it to has LOVED it and I'm sure you will too. I might even finish it at some stage.

The Host by Stephenie Meyer
Loved, loved, loved this book! I don't care what ANYONE says, Meyer can weave a story like nobody's business. I was wary of it at first, having read that it's a slow starter, blah, blah, blah... wasn't sure about the concept... blah, blah, blah.... but eventually I couldn't resist and got myself a copy. Thank goodness I did.... it was fab and I inhaled it! I was genuinely sad to leave their world - albeit a strange and restricted one - but so happy with the way it panned out. Especially since, for most of the book, I had no idea which way she was going to go.

The Dreamhunter by Elizabeth Knox
Hmmmm, not sure about this one. It was one that Meyer suggested (and loved) but I was more excited that Knox was a kiwi (The Vitner's Luck has just been made into a movie.... looks GREAT) and so couldn't resist. The premise is extraordinary, and the writing good, but it didn't enthrall me the way other books have. Not that I didn't finish it.... I had to find out where she was going with it all, and have already started The Dream Quake (the 2nd book) which has been the same..... just ok.... but I'm still reading.... so I suppose that's a good thing. If only to find out where it all ends up.

How to Famous by Alison Bond
Its the 2nd time I've read this book and really loved it. I like her writing, its good. And just to the sort of thing I love to read about - a life I'll never live or be part of. I'm waiting for her Ruby Valentine book to arrive....will keep you posted on my thoughts on that.

one fifth avenue by Candace Bushnell
Hmmmm.... its another one of those. I absolutely adore Sex and the City but when I tried to read the books, not so much. (In Bushnell's defense, I tried back in the 90's - the same time I tried to read Bridget Jones' Diary and hated. I returned to that later and loved... so maybe it would be the same with SATC). But, it was the same with this one, I didn't 'inhale', I just read it and tried to pick up some good tips for my own writing. It was ok but that was about it.

Home Truths by Freya North
I've been dying to get my hands on one of her books because she struggled to get published and has a pretty gutsy story on just how she did. But alas, as much as I love the person, the book - not so much. I couldn't even finish it! Sorry, Freya! Maybe it was just this one???

Deception Point by Dan Brown
Loved it! Like all his stuff, it grabs you by the balls and locks you in for the ride. But, I must say that he got slippery hands in the end and was sort of only holding onto one ball. But still a bloody good story, Mr Brown... looking forward to reading the next one that is currently out.

And what I'm currently reading:

The Dream Quake by Elizabeth Knox
Refer above.

The Partisan's Daughter by Louis de Bernieres
Confession first - I had to look up what partisan meant (blush)... so simple once you know. I adored Captain Corelli's Mandolin, like LOVED, LOVED. So I'm hoping this one is the same and a bit of a slow starter. I'm on pg 59 and I'm limping along with this one. de Bernieres's writing is great.... but I think it's the story I'm just not getting in to. But, I HATE not finishing a book and often force myself to go the distance even when I don't want to.... so we will see. I have been wanting to read it... jury is still out.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling
I'm just resting.... had too much HP in one go I think. Will get back to it eventually.

And on the non-fiction front...

Creative Journal Writing by Stephanie Dowrick
Really enjoying... only on pg 70 so I think that we are still laying down foundations and getting to the meaty stuff, but I like what she's trying to do. I'm a occasional journal writer and have been writing in the same book since 2004 (I did say occasional!) but this book is inspiring me to write more. And I also found out a few home truths when I paged back... and that I was harping on about the same shit! So that was an eye opener.... she recommends reading it from cover to cover and then going back again... which is what I'm doing. But, I can see the value I'm going to get from this. And since I love the whole pen, paper, writing thing... I'm just going to love it anyway.

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Creative Visualization by Shari L Just and Carolyn Flynn
I took this one out from the library... and am finding it super interesting. I'm a MASSIVE believer in the whole 'law of attraction' and 'thoughts become things' camp but still feel like I'm missing some vital piece of information that's holding me back from truely getting to grips with the concept. So, I'll just carry on reading, practising and giving it a damned good shot, and maybe I'll just 'create' that missing piece. Other books that I read over and over again are Louise Hay's 'You can heal your life' and 'The Power is within you'. Cool stuff in those too... but it's that whole 'what am I not getting here' that I haven't overcome. But I believe I will and that's enough as far as these babies are concerned.

Oh, and movies...
Avatar... ROCKED! Truely amazing!
Percy and the Lightening thief... save it for DVD night
Sherlock Holmes ... a must see, loved it!
It's Complicated.... very cute, especially if you're divorced (I'm not) & over 50 (I'm not) but still good. DVD might be the way to go though.
Have yet to see The Lovely Bones... and missed TT Wife! Bugger....

Ok, enough... I need to get back to my writing and my dreams!