Friday, 27 February 2015

How to write like Roald Dahl

Sorry. It's a little bit of a misleading title, this. I don't mean that I can teach you how to write like Roald Dahl. I don't have  the  knowledge to impart on how to write the perfect story or anything! It's just that  I went to the Roald Dahl museum in Buckinghamshire  and I wanted to tell you how you can kind of write like he did. I found out loads about his writing methods. And it's kind of fascinating! This is how he wrote.

First of all, you need to sit in a crazy ass chair, with some rolled up corrugated cardboard on it and then some wood covered in green baze on top of it. 


Apparently Roald Dahl liked  sitting like this as it reminded him of sitting in the cockpit when he was a pilot in WWII. On his desk he kept all sorts of things- his own hip bone, shavings of his spine lump  in a jar, you know, that sort of thing. 
His seat had a whole cut out in the back of the chair, so the lump on his spine would fit in. 
He didn't let anyone in his writing shed at all, with the exception of Quentin Blake who visited once.

He worked from 10am to noon, then stopped for a four  hour lunch when he ate Norwegian prawns on lettuce. He also ate four chocolate bars a day. His favourites were Dairy Milk and  Kit Kats and apparently he gave his dog a few Smarties, which you totally shouldn't do. 
Then he wrote again from 4pm until 6pm. 

He changed his books all the time. James and The Giant Peach was first called James and the Giant Apple, then James and Giant Pear. He had one  last go with James and the Giant Cherry before he settled on James and the Giant Peach. 

So that's basically it! Four KitKats, spine lump shavings in a jar, weird chair and you're off! 





Thursday, 26 February 2015

On Safari

Well,  I wasn't exactly "On Safari" but I was at the West Midlands Safari Park which really is an astonishing place. Sadly, a few of the animals we saw don't even exist in the wild anymore so it's  a very odd experience seeing these animals in captivity.







Zebra crossing. ( see what I did there?) 







I touched a goat. Never done that before! 



Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Sign up to my newsletter


Hi everyone,
Just a quick post to say you can now sign up to my newsletter if you want to stay in touch!
I'll only send quarterly at the very most ( because I am quite lazy apart from anything else)  and promise to only put interesting things in it and not spam you. I'll also put "exclusive content" in it, so that will probably be a photo of a dog on it's  holiday or maybe a short story now and again.

Just click on the image below- or use the sign up box over on the right.

Thank you!

Here's a photo of a dog on holiday.



Friday, 6 February 2015

County Dublin- Part 2

We went to Skerries the following day. We'd heard there had been porpoises spotted swimming near to the shore so thought we would take a look. We spotted a seal or two bobbing along near the shoreline. But no porpoises.

Then we spotted this chap.


His friends had already been in for a swim. We asked them for directions to St.Patrick's foot print ( you're meant to put your finger in it and make a wish :)  ) They said it was under the water as the tide was in, but invited us to take a photograph of their star swimmer instead!


They were the laughiest people I have ever met in my life. I couldn't work out if the sea swimming had released feel good endorphins or of they were just crazy. You have to be at least bordering on the eccentric to get in the Irish sea in January.

Tea shop in Skerries
We made our way back towards Dublin and headed out to take a look at Bull Island, only when we got there, someone had turned it into a film set.





Here's the  famous film director Jim Sheridan with actress Rooney Mara- ( she played the lead in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo)  Thanks for ruining our walk, famous people! 

This guy wasn't impressed either. 





Thursday, 5 February 2015

Fab Feb Fiction

 See what I did there? Fab Feb Fiction. The blog post title is  all matchy-matchy!

 I am massively, massively  lucky to have read these three fabulous books, all  released in February.

The first one I fell in love with was The Fire Sermon by Francesca Haig. 

"Born as twins. Raised as enemies.
One strong Alpha twin and one mutated Omega; the only thing they share is the moment of their death.
The Omegas live in segregation, cast out by their families as soon as their mutation becomes clear. Forced to live apart, they are ruthlessly oppressed by their Alpha counterparts.
The Alphas are the elite. Once their weaker twin has been cast aside, they’re free to live in privilege and safety, their Omega twin far from their thoughts.
Cass and Zach are both perfect on the outside: no missing limbs, no visible Omega mutation. But Cass has a secret: one that Zach will stop at nothing to expose.

The potential to change the world lies in both their hands. One will have to defeat the other to see their vision of the future come to pass, but if they’re not careful both will die in the struggle for power."




The Fire Sermon is seriously an awesome book. It's been inevitably compared to The Hunger Games - and I LOVE The Hunger Games, but I enjoyed The Fire Sermon so much more. There's a humour and a warmth to it that just isn't there in The Hunger Games. Kip, in particular is incredibly funny and it made the book so enjoyable to read. I mean, it's not all laughs by any means- no way! There are plenty of feels in here. Plenty! I had a good few tears during this book. 

It's out in hardback on 26th Feb but you can order and read a good long free sample- that will get you good and properly hooked. Seriously, it is truly awesome, loads of characters to fall in love in, great epic landscapes, gripping story, loads of feels, some laughs, love interests to lose your head over and one of my favourite heroines ever. EVER. 

The next February book I read was A Robot in The Garden by Deborah Install and  I loved this book too! It made me feel all warm and fuzzy. 

Ben Chambers wakes up to find something rusty and lost underneath the willow tree in his garden. Refusing to throw it on the skip as his wife Amy advises, he takes it home.

And as you may have guessed, because the clue's in the title, the rusty and lost thing is a robot! He's called Tang and I want one of my own because I LOVED him. Ben finds out and his awful wife doesn't want him to keep it, because basically she's vile. But Ben, decides he needs to help fix Tang and they go off an adventure to sort him out.

Tang is just the best. It's Deborah Install clever writing which makes him  come alive and it is impossible not to fall in love with him. I'm desperately hoping Deborah has another book out soon. 

And THEN, I read another brilliant book!  I will make no secret of the fact I am a Romy Sommer superfan. I've read all of Romy's Westerwald books and loved them, but I think Not a Fairy Tale  is my favourite Romy book so far. 

The story's heroine is Nina Alexander, a rom-com actress who wants to snag the role in the years hottest YA screen adaptation. She's just turned down a very  public proposal from a successful Hollywood actor  and has been whisked away from the party by stunt man Dominic and then stays at his apartment to escape from the Paps and learn a thing or two from Dominic about how to be badass and try to land the role. 

I loved reading this just a week or so after reading The Fire Sermon, so that I could pretend Nina was trying out for the lead role in it! 

It's SUCH a feel good book! If you like romance, you'll love it! 
And it's only 99p! Read it here 

What have you been reading? Any recommendations? 



Friday, 30 January 2015

I got a book deal!

I am ridiculously excited to tell you I have a book deal with Carina, an imprint of Harlequin.
The deal is for my novel "Five Go Glamping"- oh and get this, it's a two book deal- that means they want another novel too! One they haven't even read yet. I know!

So  basically, I've being do this all day.



My agent,  Juliet Mushens announced the news this morning  and when I saw it I was like...

WHUUUUT? 

It's going to be published  this summer! This summer! As in 2015! That's a bit scary but lots of lovely authors have told me that the fear and the  hyperventilating is quite normal and should only last a few months/ years. 



 . 
I'm finding the life of an author very glamorous so far. I didn't get dressed until around 3pm and then I spilled Scotch Broth down my top.


So that's my news! If you are interested in agents and publishing and the kind of things that go on, I actually filmed the meeting I had with my agent where she agreed to represent me along with  my response. That's Juliet on the right there and I'm the one with the beard.


Saturday, 24 January 2015

County Dublin

Hi! I just had the best time in County Dublin. I didn't go anywhere near the city centre this time. I was too busy doing stuff like watching this lot in Howth.




I love this last photo below! He's the most sarcastic seal I ever did see! 


I have a load more pictures form the holiday. I'll post them soon and tell you about this lot!  





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