A blogging slump

I have to admit I never thought this would happen. I’ve had reading slumps before and my life is choc full of writer’s block, but to not be able to blog? Generally in the past any reasons I didn’t blog was lack of time, lack of internet, or I was struggling with reading or writing but this was totally new to me. In a time where I thought I was actually nicely cruising along on the blogging front, blogging quite regularly, and reading away (I won’t say I was keeping on top of all I WANTED to read, but I was enjoying books I’d meant to read some time ago) I sat down to blog with a few books on my mind that I wanted to gush about, and I simply sighed. I sat there, looking at the screen, and it just seemed like too much. I can’t explain it, which is probably why I shouldn’t be blogging about it(!)

The thing is, I have a number of blogging commitments coming up so I HAVE to blog now and yet the thought of adding images, copying and pasting blurbs, adding links … it seems hard. Incidentally it coincides with a time I’m flying through books I’m enjoying and loving writing (working on edits for book 2 and writing book 3 with ease at the moment) and I’m wondering if that’s it. Can you really not have it all? Is it too much to ask for all to be chugging along nicely? Is this the pleasure/ pain thing? Because we’ve all been sick in this house and yet I’ve kept my head up (down) and kept working, so it’s not as if it’s been total sailing! All answers on a postcard to … no, I’m joking (although any answers in the comment section would be definitely appreciated!)

Berni

Sorry, sorry, sorry!! (Reading, writing and reviewing update)

I had intended on getting this blog up to scratch, whacking it out of the court with Nanowrimo (or as I call it ‘be a lunatic and try to get close to one draft of your novel in one month), and to read the books that I know I should have read. I had hoped to get my picks of the year at a stage where I’ve read all the books I’ve seen reviews for and CRAVED over the year and so can definitely say that there’s a chance I’m being representative. Instead I’ve found myself restless, unable to commit, and, in the last week with an earache that had me up most mornings leaning my head against anything I’d heated up on the cover, against radiators, that sort of thing (turned out it wasn’t an earache but a toothache and I had a root canal that was bliss because I knew the pain was ending-the dentist thought I was weird!)

Anyhoo, I now have a ‘tbr’ list. No, not to be read, but actually ‘to be reviewed.’ I’m way behind on my reviews (9 and rising) and my reading (11 books on Netgalley, four outside of that and then all my ‘I need to read by the end of December ones.’ (Let’s just forget that theer’s a KIndle full of ‘others,’ shall we?;)

On the writing front. So you might know I have one book out: It Started With a Snub. I have a second book written, the first of the Abbeyglen series called Pushing Her luck, about a lottery winner who tries to ‘fix’ her village, not really  taking into account the people actually living in it!  Now as I said it’s finished, but there is a lottttt to be done with it, I feel I need to get it sparklier, more lively and nobody in the outside world will see it until I know it’s something I’d covet myself.

I am 30,000 words into new book (book 2 of The Abbeyglen series) where one of the characters that was MIA in the first of this series, is taking over and making life hell for all around her, including a very spritely Bex from book 1 (my favourite character, if I’m honest). Here I’m writing as if I am reading, being surprised as I go along by some of the characters going in different directions to those I’d planned for them to go in and am much happier with it than the first book (so will be going  back to the drawing board). In this book I’ve only 10K from Nano, but I’ll get back to that tonight!)

So, just to let you know where I am book wise- First off I’m reading this

trustme

I have to admit this is totally different to what I expected. I’m not far in, only about 8%, but already it seems to be a mixture of very light and that I expected it to be, somewhere on the dark spectrum. It started out with a good old fashioned thunderstorm as the protagonist drives home, and pretty much had me from there, although the arrival of a very chick kitty character has thrown me, but in a  good way, methinks!

and this

noone

This is sooo good. As you can see, it says ‘the most hilarious comedy you’ll read this Christmas’ and actually, I think they might be right! It’s the side characters that are making it for me, inappropriate without being crude with mix ups and muddling that remind you of something along the lines of ‘This Years Love’ meets ‘Love Actually.’ Brilliant!

and have just finished this:

reachforthestars

(Now out as I’m Still Standing!) I’m afraid I saw Bookouture, and Irish comedy and the cover and jumped a bit too fast for this one. I love that it’s set in Dublin, with excellent settings, but with a cover like that I think I thought it might be a bit sharper and braver than it is, it’s more of a really nice descriptive romantic comedy. It’s somewhat telling for me that with only ten percent to go I switched over to something else, but did go back after a while, and I do enjoy the author’s writing and I think most will love it.

and then after that I’ll get to this

herlast

Next up pretty much has to be Her Last Secret by Barbara Copperthwaite , basically I’ve been holding onto it for so long, as I’d read amazing reviews, but ones that had told me it would make me cry again (review for The darkest lies is here), and I’ve been tired lately and wasn’t ready for it. But now I am! (I hope!)

 

Sorry that this is so rough and ready but is just I read so many epic blogs and hate that I’m letting people down trying to be blogger AND writer (and of course Mammy, which is my day, night and 24 hour job (and I do adore it!)). Hope you’re all doing well, if you’d like you can talk about anything, anything at all in the comments! x

 

Queen of Blogging by Therese Loreskar

 

thequeenofbloggingLength: 145 pages

Note as always the cover image leads to a buy link for the book

What they say: The Queen of blogging is a fast paced, entertaining story about making ends meet when you have toddlers, a husband that works too much and showing off your life on a blog for the outside world to see.

Kajsa runs Sweden’s largest Health and Fitness blog. There’s only one small problem; it’s all a big lie. Between her blog entries on healthy nutritious porridge and flashy running shoes, she lies on the sofa watching TV and eating sweets. Her only exercise is using the remote control.

Her life seems perfect: A beautiful house in an attractive suburb of Stockholm, three children, a loving husband and loads of money.

However, things start to crumble when she accidently writes on her blog that she is best friends with a famous Hollywood personal trainer. The problem is he’s never met, let alone heard of her.

An ambitious journalist, who doesn’t believe Kajsa has been honest about her blog or her friendship with the personal trainer, sets out to destroy her. 

Besides having to handle the annoying journalist, she must also deal with Peter, “the blog following hunk”, and a bizarre and outrageous priest who keeps spreading Kajsa’s secrets all over town! 

Bestselling Swedish author Therese Loreskar writes with a never-ending sense of humour and energy.

The Queen of Blogging is for anyone who enjoys a comic read that also explores the downside of our generation’s constant use of social media.

The Review:  I bought this on sight on a bus going to Dublin sure that it was going to be a quick, easy, ‘ have to tell everyone you know about’ read, and started into it straight away.  I was rewarded for this with a prologue that made me nod along as I read:

‘Blogging. For some people, it’s a hobby. For me, Kajsa, it’s a way of life. I live in Sweden, with my husband, three children, and a dog, in a very nice suburban neighbourhood.’

The prologue goes on to tell us about a lie that leads to ‘the biggest mistake of my life’ and boom! I’m sitting back and ready to go. You’ll guess by now that I’m either going to gush or rant, and while I’ll try not to go on too much, I’m afraid it will not be the former. The story is told in first person, which can be good in chick lit, and which I like. The only thing was, when we meet Kajsa, I didn’t like HER almost straight away. The constant ‘it’s so hard having three children and a dog’ was the first thing to get to me, followed by the ‘it’s so tough keeping my blog going, people expect a lot when you’re getting paid for it,’ which wasn’t done in such a way that you knew deep down she didn’t mean it, and while I laughed out loud and really enjoyed some parts, I cringed or furrowed my brow disapprovingly at more (the husband has a secret that made my head hurt). I’m afraid there were some editing issues, and an ending that was just beyond surreal. So in general I liked the concept, but there was a bit too much suspending reality for me.
Rating: 2.5/5

It’s good to be back!

So by now you may or may not know that we live in the country in Ireland, in a place that is beautiful and a dream by day (our kids get home from school and just scatter!) and a thriller writer’s dream by night, being cold and drafty with odd sounds coming from a neighbouring farm, plenty of big trees hiding who knows what, animals prowling about (it’s my first time coming anywhere near a mink!) and a darkness that attacks both your eyes and your senses when the stars aren’t visible (we do have the most stellar display of stars by night, and are lucky to get to stand and appreciate them with the kids!) As an aside, all four of my children have not slept through a whole night since we moved it here, this could be anything, but we blame the house!

Now with all of this comes the big problem in Ireland that is debated regularly- that of rural internet.The Irish government are investing in broadband and aim to have every house equipped with fibre high speed broadband in the next four years. We live so far into the sticks that I do appreciate it must be difficult having to lay lines to places where there may only be one or two houses, and the cost must be shocking too!

When we moved in here there weren’t even phone lines about and the internet we received straight after they were set up was of a hit and miss variety, some days on, some days not. Obviously I blog and my husband is in computers and the absence of internet, while amusing at first, started to get to us. We contacted our provider and was told there was fifty per cent chance we could receive ANY internet at any time of the day. We got a dongle and soon it stopped working and we were told there was no internet in our vicinity at all. My kids love looking at minecraft videos on YouTube and soon we began to fight (not in a savage, ‘Lord of The Flies’ way), just bickering, over my husband’s phone, which has unlimited internet which wasn’t always so fast anyhoo. My Kindle stopped downloading books (I’d sometimes go to family houses or into shops and wait around just so I could get their internet). I gave up on looking up blogs and my own blog was left by the wayside.

Now I don’t want to tempt fate, but yesterday we moved to Three. When I was setting up they were dubious about our speed, and to be fair it’s not the same as it would be in Dublin, something I always took for granted, but I just watched while my Kindle began to download three books I haven’t been able to get to for some time and practically started screaming down the phone at the poor guy.

I’m writing this post to let you know  that hopefully I’m back. This morning I began to read blogs, I spent last night on writing.ie for writing tips (my writing, well editing, has gone south too lately due to kiddies being sick or just waking up) and now my blog is open again and I’m heading straight over to my my writing group on Facebook and the chick lit group I’m on too. I’m so happy. I can’t wait to share all the books I’ve read over the past month with you, and to see what you’ve all been up to as well. It’s good to be back (now hopefully I haven’t set anything bad in motion!) Happy 2017 everyone, and hope your reading, blogging, writing or studying is going just great-remember January isn’t over yet and it’s never ever ever too late to get going on those goals!:)

Big hug,

Bernadette (or Berni) xxxxx

The writer’s trinity of books/Getting back to (writerly) work

onwritingselfprintedwriters and artists2016

Note: The images above link to the Amazon.co.uk, if you wish to check for these on Amazon.com, the links are within the post. Sorry for any inconvenience caused by this, I had a few technical issues with my universal links.

So lately I’ve been realising that I haven’t been putting enough into anything/ everything in the world of books. I’ve been posting twice or three times a week, writing sporadically, not promoting at all and committing to reading certain books and reading others instead … I’ve been all over the place! So I’ve decided to start again. This means more blog posts, proper time slots dedicated to writing my current wip (book 2, yay!) and a short story that will follow It Started With A Snub . As well as this I’m going to make sure to launch myself into book promotion and studying up on becoming a better blogger, writer and promoter.

This starts as always with the following books that I’ll be dipping in and out of this week, which I call ‘The writer’s trinity.’

Book 1: Stephen King: On Writing

Links:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

What they say: Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer’s craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade every writer must have. King’s advice is grounded in the vivid memories from childhood through his emergence as a writer, from his struggling early career to his widely reported, near-fatal accident in 1999 – and how the inextricable link between writing and living spurred his recovery.

There is a reason why Stephen King is one of the bestselling writers in the world, ever. Described in the Guardian as ‘the most remarkable storyteller in modern American literature’, Stephen King writes books that draw you in and are impossible to put down.

My humble opinion: This book is beyond inspirational, I will never ever be able to gush enough about how it made me sit back down and get ‘crafting.’Although it is fully geared towards writers, there are enough stories and analogies and autobiographical info in here  to  make a non writer would still gush as much as I did after I read it (and re-read, and re-read;)).

 

Book 2: Self Printed by Catherine Ryan Howard

Links:

Catherine Ryan Howard’s website (a necessary blog to follow and trawl for everything you need to be a writer)

Amazon US

Amazon UK

What they say: The fully-revised and updated third edition of Catherine Ryan Howard’s pragmatic ‘how to’ self-publishing guide Do you think that no one has the right to stand between you and your published writer dreams? That the publishing industry is going down in flames and self-publishers are going to rise like a 99c phoenix from the ashes? That all literary agents are interested in doing is blogging sarcastically about the rhetorical question at the start of your query letter, that editors will just use your submitted manuscript for kindling and that you’ll be senile before you hear back from either of them? That once you’ve uploaded the book you finished yesterday afternoon to Amazon, it’ll be mere minutes before the money starts rolling in and you can quit your day job? Are you self-publishing to “show them all”? If you’ve answered yes to one or more of these questions then I do apologise, but this isn’t the book for you. This book is for writers who consider self-publishing to be a good Plan B, or even a sideline to traditional publication. Who want to do it the cheapest and easiest way possible while still producing a quality product. Who understand that much like Starbucks outlets and Nespresso coffee machines, traditional and self-publishing can peacefully co-exist. Writers who know that they don’t have to sell a million copies of their book to start earning a living from their writing, but that they do have to work hard and treat it like a business. Who are blessed with common sense and live in the real world at least most of the time. Who find my jokes funny… If this sounds like you, then SELF-PRINTED: THE SANE PERSON’S GUIDE TO SELF-PUBLISHING may be just the “How To…” guide you were looking for. It will tell you everything you need to know in order to publish a Print On Demand paperback and e-book, and (crucially) sell them, without sounding like anti-Big Publishing propaganda produced by the Ministry of Truth. Be warned: you are now entering a No Saying “Gatekeepers” Zone…

My humble opinion: This book is the ‘how to’ guide of the process of self publishing. It tells you everything you need to know as if you had a professional sitting beside you at the computer, ready to pre-empt any issues you might come up with. I self published ‘It Started With A Snub‘ with this beside me and it strolled me through it. It goes through what you need to know about promotion, starting up a blog, the actual self publishing process, cover design, editing, putting your book into print, with pros, cons, tales of caution and so much more. It is a must even if you are not self publishing. Disclaimer: Any issues with It Started With A Snub are totally on me and not on this book!!!

 

Book 3: The Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook 2016

Links: 

Amazon US

Amazon UK

What they say: Foreword by Rachel Joyce

The annual edition of the best-selling guide to all aspects of the media and how to write and get published, the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook is now in its 109th edition. Acknowledged by the publishing industry, authors and would-be writers as the indispensable companion to navigating the world of publishing.

The 80+ articles provide inspirational and how-to guidance on writing for newspapers, magazines, scripts for film, radio and TV; advice on writing and submitting plays, poetry, non-fiction and fiction of all genres – from fantasy to thrillers to romance; how to contact publishers and agents; managing finances as a writer; negotiating legal issues, such as copyright; understanding the editing process; self-publishing and conventional routes; digital and print.

NEW articles in the 2016 edition include:
Alison Weir Historical fiction
Ben Schott On writing
Rose Prince Writing about food
Sara Wheeler Travel Writing
Danny Hahn Literary translation
Nick Spalding Being a hybrid author
Mel Sherratt Successful self-publishing
Mike Poulton Adapting works for the stage
Julia Copus Being a published poet

and pieces on: Writing theatre reviews, Graphic novels, Getting poetry published, Literary festivals, Greetings cards

Every one of over 4,500 listings of who to contact, where and for which disciplines across the media, are reviewed and most updated, with new listings added every year.

The combination of up-to-date listings information and expert advice, make the Yearbook a topical and reliable resource; the perfect gift for every writer every year.

My humble opinion: Okay. So I have to admit I have the 2014 version of this but I will be getting the 2016 one soon. I have read different parts over and over, highlighted, post-ited and scribbled notes next to the pages and pages of details on agents and publishers in Ireland, the UK and the US. I have notes written next to the many articles on writing and promoting and publishing. I adore this book and I’d have to say I’ve named this my ‘desert island’ book ( a great question asked by a reader on Goodreads to see if she would approve people to be her ‘friend’ on Goodreads, after I saw said question I have to say I was desperate for her approval!!!), because I honestly don’t see how you’d get tired of it!

Oh and finally, I’ll be searching writing.ie , the top website (again, just my opinion)  for everything writing related.

What about you? What books get you writing or blogging? Have you any bookish plans this week?

 

 

 

 

Jenny in Neverland: Blogger Interview

jennyinneverland

Firstly I am so excited to have one of my blogging idols, Jenny from the bookish lifestyle blog, Jenny In Neverland here to talk to about her reading habits (just look at the pretty banner above: gorgeous!). Jenny’s is a blog that, from the start of my own blogging journey, I’ve consistently followed, actively seeking her out (I especially love sitting down to devour it on a Sunday morning). She is in my Top 5 bloggers as well as being one of the most popular bloggers in the circle I follow (note to self: must let you all know about the  bloggers I never ever miss posts from) and also helped me when I began blogging so you can imagine how happy I am to have her here today! Anyhoo, lets get going!

Hi Jenny, great to have you here! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Hi Bernadette! Thank you so much for having me on your blog today! I’m Jenny (obviously), book and lifestyle blogger from just outside of London. I love reading, writing, cooking, Formula 1, Disney and animals. I also own my own online book touring business for authors. Ummm, I hate this question, it always makes me sound really boring haha! I love cleaning…

Can I ask, how did you start blogging?

I was actually searching for reviews of the book I’d just finished reading at the time (I still remember which book it was too, The Ice Cream Girls by Dorothy Koomson) and I came across a book blog (Bookboodle). I didn’t know much about blogging at the time – any type of blogging – but I was in a pretty shitty place; mental health wise and I’d just quit my college course and my placement because it wasn’t going the way I’d planned. So I contacted her and asked her for some information and advice and she helped me set my blog up and you know what they say, the rest is history. I really do owe everything to Lindsay from Bookboodle because I’m 100% certain I wouldn’t be blogging if it wasn’t for her.

Do you remember your first blog post?

I do indeed! It was a book review of The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, one of my all-time favorite books. Looking back now, in all honesty, it wasn’t too bad for a very first post. It’s a lot less embarrassing than some of my others haha!

You made the move from book blogger to lifestyle blogger (albeit with so many glorious bookish elements to your blog that I still call it a book blog!), can you tell us how it came about?

You know what, I don’t really know. It’s not that my love of books was disappearing (that will never happen) I think it was because of review copies. I was getting so stressed out with all these books being sent to me and having to review them by a certain date that I was falling out of love with book blogging a bit. I very nearly almost quit blogging about books altogether but I’m so glad I didn’t. I still accept review copies now but only ones I’ve specifically requested. I no longer have a review requests form on my blog either because there were just so many coming through that it was overwhelming. From the beginning, I always wrote “other” posts as well – mostly about book related topics but not specifically book reviews and really enjoyed the freedom in writing about whatever I wanted and these “other” posts just became more and more over time that one day I looked at my blog and realized, “Actually, I’m a lifestyle blogger now”. But I’m really glad you still see me as a book blogger – books will always be the reason I started blogging and I’m hoping to blog about them more in 2016! Go back to basics.

Some questions to answer without thinking about it at all … and go! (Ooooh, I love these kind of questions!)

* Genre of choice? Young Adult

* If you walked into a library would you know where you were heading to or would you have to think about it? I’d probably have to think about it

* First choice: e-book or paperback? Paperback

* Do you head for well-known books/authors or look at for example covers to guide you? Erm, bit of both. I’m a sucker for a good cover though.

* Do you prefer sequels or standalones? Oh no. Erm, both. Depends. Some books don’t need sequels – they’re perfect just as they are with no further explanation of the characters or events. It just is what it is. Standalones.

* Weepies or comedies? Weepies. I love a book that makes me cry!

* If you didn’t like a book would you cut it short or soldier on? If I was reviewing it then soldier on but if not, cut it short. Life’s too short to read books you don’t enjoy.

* If I was to ask you to name one book that jumps into your head what would it be? The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

And to finish, if you had to choose a book that jumped out at you in 2015 (not necessarily your favourite) what would it be?

Every Day by David Levithan. Very rarely do I read a book in less than 2 days but this one took me about 24 hours. It was one of the most beautifully told and unique books I’ve ever read.

Well, thanks so much for being here today, Jenny, it’s been amazing having you over:)

Jenny can be found at (and I defy you not to stay over there for some time;)):