Tag Archives: reading

Month 1

My new notebook for my new novel – let’s hope the wording is prophetic

Like a lot of times when you reach a milestone, it’s time to celebrate and take stock.  I sat down this evening and felt like I haven’t done anything.

But that’s not true.

Over January, I completed an editing commission, I finished editing my own latest novel, and I completed dry January, though in all honesty, I’m also looking forward to having a drink next week.

But I also managed to read seven books.  I don’t think I’ve every read that many books in a month before. 

I’ve also achieved a fair bit this weekend. I read one whole book in the last two days.  Ata 225 pages, okay, not the longest, but still a whole book. I also managed to read the first “Book” of the Iliad.  That is one dense read! There are 24 books within the Iliad, doubt I’ll get through that whole tome in a month let alone a weekend. 

I also did two things this weekend that have really helped my mental health.  Firstly, I dressed properly, not just dressed – I do that every day.  But it was that I dressed in smart(ish) clothes. Including an actual skirt.  I can’t remember the last time I wore an actual skirt.

The second thing I did, yesterday, was that I started writing a new book.  I had got out a new notebook, and I started writing.  I got the notebook because I was in pain in my left hand and I couldn’t face typing then (clearly better today).  So I wrote, and I wrote 21 pages long hand, more than that – I am LOVING this story.

Today, I also spent a far amount of time tidying up my website and my blogs, yes, blogs, not just this one, by my crime writing blog, too.  I put out a call to other crime writers, and many of them have agreed to do blogs for me, which is fabulous, and I can’t wait to learn more of my follow wordsmiths.

So yeah, a good month, I’m pleased with what I’ve accomplished and I’m hoping that it’s a sign of how the rest of the year will go.

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Good Reading

Writers need to be readers, and I do enjoy a good read.

Last year I got through 48 books.  These included the very long (584 pages), the very short (67 pages), graphic novels and audible books.  I know some people get sniffy that listening to books doesn’t count, but that doesn’t mean I know any less about the book because I listened instead of read, I still count them. Equally some people get sniffy about graphic novels being included, well those people can count what they want, I’ll count what I want.  And I know I’m getting the better part of the bargain because graphic novels are a real artform in themselves.

When setting my goal for this year because I don’t have the commute and I’m a slow physical reader, I decided that I’d cut my Goodreads goal down to 24. That’s two books a month, which for years has been a real trial while working full time and writing.

So far this year, and January isn’t even over yet, I’ve read six books. And I started on number seven this morning. This has been achieved because I have those two hours a day back. And because I’ve been deliberately selecting books I really, really wanted to read. Even the one I struggled with a bit, I did want to read.  The graphic novel is in there because I wanted to read it before the vaguely related show came out on TV.

I don’t think that this will set a precedent and I’ll read quite so much every month over the coming year, but I have enjoyed what I’ve read. Also I intend to read the Iliad this year, so I’m expecting that to slow me down considerably.

If you want to know what I’m up to reading wise, you’ll find me as Goodreads – Gail B Williams

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Bloggers

Been reading an ARC, advance reader copy, in case anyone wonders.  This is only the second time I’ve every done this, and I oddly feel the pressure because I have to get it read and reviewed by a specific date.

I shouldn’t be pressured, because that date is more than two weeks away, and I’m loving this book so much I’m already a third of the way through on day 2. I don’t want to put it down.

But it made me think about all the hard work that book bloggers must go through to keep their reading and reviewing up to date. It has to be remembered that book bloggers don’t get paid, they don’t always get the books for free (though often), so to read that many books and write often in-depth reviews, is really quite impressive. 

I couldn’t get through reading one book a week to review, I’ve got too much else going on. I’ve doing the Goodreads reading challenge this year, and so far I’m 22 books in, and most of that because I listen to Audible books too.  I’ve only set a challenge of 48 books this year, which I don’t feel any pressure to fulfil. If I miss my own expectations, so what?  Reading is about relaxing and enjoying. I’m not comparing my reading to someone else, that’s pointless, this is not a competitive sport.

And if it was, the bloggers I know would have me beat hands down. And good on them, they do a fabulous job for all authors, and largely go unsung.  So, thank you bloggers. I am in awe.

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January Review

So what happened in January – it started well, but finished on something of a low.

Locked Down is out for review, and the ebook is up for pre-order, the paperback will be up shortly, but Amazon doesn’t allow books to be pre-ordered if they are print on demand, seems odd, but it’s their game, their rules.  So that will be joining the ebook shortly.  I have one review on Goodreads already, so that’s good, and I’ll have to start the promotional stuff soon.

I have been working on Speed of Aether, but to steal a friends comment, Spead of Aether isn’t warp speed.  I’m behind where I wanted to be with this novel at this point.   I’ve reached 46k words, but I should have finished the book by now.

This isn’t because of the book, it is all the distractions, self-publishing especially.

I also took a week out of writing Speed to do a 5,000-word short story for an open competition I heard about. Now the bones of that were down quickly, but it took a fair amount of polish.  The problem was, I didn’t submit it because the feedback I got included the fact that I’d misrepresented a certain fetish.  And after looking into that fetish a bit more, I got the point.  I had.  And though the story was still a good read if you knew nothing about the fetish, I didn’t think it was the right thing to do to put it out there.  So more research needed.  Then I’ll re-write it, ignore the 5k limit and I suspect at some point it will be coming out as a novella.

I’m also down on wordcount, because I have barely been able to work on anything this last week.  I’m picked up a lung infection from somewhere and it’s laid me very low.  I can’t take a deep breath without it making me cough, movement or any form or exertion leaves me breathless – now I admit I’ve not been fit for a while, but I could walk up a flight of stairs without it making me call for oxygen, can’t do that right now. It’s seriously affected my ability to concentrate too.  You wouldn’t believe how long it’s taken to write this blog. Still, it’s an infection, I have been prescribed antibiotics and it will pass.  I just wish it would pass faster.

This year I promised myself that I would read and listen to more.  At least one audiobook and one paperback a month.  It doesn’t sound like much, but both are things that have suffered due to my full schedule.

This month I listened to “The Invisible Library” by Genevieve Cogman. I thoroughly enjoyed the story, Irene and Kai are such fun and the story had plenty of interest points to keep me listening.  The only downside was the narrator, her breathy voice worked well in some places and in others (which was, unfortunately, most places) it annoyed me.  It was like listening to a vicious argument spoken like an M&S Foood advert – This isn’t, an, argument, this, is, an M&S argument.  Really there are times when you want the action to feel active and that narrator lost that impact for me a few times.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s great book, I’d recommend reading it, I wouldn’t want to put you off listening to the audio either, but it was only a 4* for me.

This month I’ve mostly read an unpublished manuscript – which was brilliant!  It needs polish but if the author does what they need to do to get it published, I’m sure it will go down a storm. I’ve also read about half of “A Time for Silence” by Thorne Moore, very good Welsh-centric book. and part of “Dawn’s Early Light” by Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris, one of the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences novels.  These are very different genres and very different storytellers.  But that’s been a good thing because I’ve been able to match what to read to how I was feeling.  Both have their good points, have to admit I’m enjoying the steampunk more as it a joyous adventure story, but there’s a more of an emotional connection with Thorne’s characters.  To be honest, there’s a character in there that I really don’t like, mostly because he reminds me of people I know. But isn’t that what the writers set out to do, entertain and evoke an emotional response?

Anyway, that’s me done for now. I’m going to listen to some “Mortal Engines” now, as that’s about all I have the energy for. I’ll catch up with you as soon as I can.

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Books to Remember

Earlier this week, I went to a writers club dinner and some strange topics of conversation came up, though, not surprisingly, books we had read was one of those topics.  During this I was rather surprised by two of the shared memories.

The first was the kind of guilty pleasure moment.  One of the ladies said she remembered the first Mills and Boon book she had ever read, but to my shame and everyone else’s amusement, I said not only do I remember the first Mills and Boon book I ever read, but I still have it!

At the dinner I didn’t immediately remember the title, but it did come to me within a couple of minutes.  “Impossible Bargain”, sadly I was able to tell the story of it much more easily, even though I read it when I was about 16/17.

Well just to prove that I do still have the book, here’s a picture.  “Impossible Bargain” by Patricia Wilson. The code on the back is 8802.  For those who don’t recognise the coding system, that means it was part of the Mills and Boon offering from February 1988, which means I was actually 18 years old when I read it.

Impossible Bargain

Is that old to start reading romances?  If feels like I was younger and given what else I’d lived with by that age, I’m surprised I was that old before I started on the M&B.  To be honest, I was a bit of swotting teenager and most of what I read back then was text books.  Boring, but there you go.

This wasn’t the only memory we shared.  I actually said there were two books which I remember from my childhood, that virtually no one I’ve ever meet remembers and until very recently I was beginning to think I’d imagined the pair of them, but surprisingly someone at the table actually remembered reading them too.  “Fattypuffs and Thinifers” and “Bottersnikes and Gumbles”.

Recently I found a copy of Bottersnikes on Amazon.com, but it was $75 before international posting.  But as I was searching the internet to get the pictures below, I was somewhat surprised to suddenly find both books available on Amazon.co.uk.

Bottersnikes and Fattypuffs

Guess what?  I’ve put my order in for copies of both.  Have a horrible suspicion that I’m going to be disappointed when I re-read them, I’m not seven anymore after all, but it’s a piece of my childhood coming back in a way.

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