All about Books, Writing journey

The Pigeonhole: A New Reading Experience

I recently signed up to The Pigeonhole, described on the website as a book club in your pocket. It offers a selection of new releases from top publishers and classics. The new Sophie Kinsella book is an option which I am looking forward to if I get chosen to read it.  The books  are released in sections and you read along with other readers. More on how it works can be found here

The Pigeonhole a new reading experience
First stave of The Flower Girls

I saw an advert for it on social media and not only did the blurb of The Flower Girls by Alice Clark-Platts look good, the promise of a free book drew me in.  I am on a strict book budget this year. The more I read about the idea of the business the more I realised it could also help with my aim of reading more classic books. The big tomes, even on Kindle, are daunting but this way the book is broken down into staves or instalments. It reminded me of the Dickensian scenes in The man who invented Christmas where readers eagerly wait for the next part of the story out side the book shop. If it was good enough then, maybe the updated version will be good now.

I started reading The Flower Girls this week and so far I am enjoying the experience. As an insomniac it is exciting to receive the next part at midnight. It adds to the suspense of the thriller because you are left dangling mid story everyday and you are eager to know more. On the flip side, this could be frustrating depending on your outlook but the whole book is available to binge read a month once all the staves have been sent out or those on the read at leisure bookshelf can be read quickly. With crime or suspense novels, I also have a bad habit of reading the last page to discover who did it or who is alive, this curbs that temptation.

Alongside the story, there are options to interact with readers – share opinions of characters or scenes and writing style. I think this will come into its own with the classic books but I am enjoying the Q and A with the author which is also available.

One bonus I was not expecting was that as a procrastinator with words to write, this way of reading increases my productivity because I can not fall into the trap of reading just one more page or chapter. I am reluctant to start new book to read concurrently so it is a win-win situation.

Have you tried it? Let me know your thoughts below.

Love

Writing journey

Romance and writing is in the air

This year has begun with exciting news; I have been given a funded place on the New Writers Scheme with the Romantic Novelists’ Association. I can’t believe it and keep having to read the confirmation email to remind myself it is real. A big goofy grin appeared when I read the membership pack signed by Katie Fforde – yes, the Katie Fforde whose books line my mum-in-laws bookcase after I have read them – the Queen of Romance novels. I do not know who sponsored me, but I am very grateful. This chance feels like a big step in making my writing more than words on my screen and into a reality where others may read them. Last years’ luck of winning NaNoWriMo coaching gave me a confidence kick and a chunk of a WIP which has a romantic thread suitable for the RNA which enabled me to apply. I think the Gratitude Jar I started last week will be full of good memories by the end of 2019.

A jar full of memories

Nerves have kicked in. I doubt finances or health will allow me to join many events they offer but one event I would love to attend is the writing conference with workshops and talks. Fancy me being in a room of authors, editors and publishers. It is mind-blowing. I have highlighted it on my wish list. I just need the rail companies to sort themselves out, become co-ordinated with their times and change the rules to allow a small scooter on board so I can get there.

Thank you to Fiction Cafe Writers and Viola Bleu for telling me about the scheme.

Time to get writing as I have a novel to finish – gulp and a new adventure to begin.

Love

Kate Kenzie's Blog

Bye bye 2018 and hello 2019
Just life, Writing journey

Bye Bye 2018, Hello to a new writing year

After a very quiet Christmas, 2019 is insight and it is time to say goodbye to 2018. This year has been emotionally difficult but I have survived thanks to my writing. I am looking forward to starting a fresh page in the chapter of my life.

Farewell to my 2018 goals

Looking at the plans I made in January’s post there are some which will roll over into 2019.

  • I am still disorganised, with notes in different places but they are more contained and with a new planner  I am hopeful I can change.
  •  the first draft  for The Elfaenian Journals has not been finished because I got sidelined by Willow’s story. On the plus side,  it does not hide in a dusty file on my PC forgotten but always in my thoughts. By writing Willow’s world, it is evolving too.
  • a visit to Whitby for a research and chips is still needed

But I did achieve some.

 

  • I met up with the delightful Jennifer Gilmour for a hot chocolate after speaking to her online.
  • I have written more book reviews on From Under The Duvet – Books, Cards and a Wobbly Life, the new name for Duvet Dweller Books and made sure I added them on Goodreads and Amazon.
  • I have read books on writing and learnt lots from talking to the writing community on Twitter and Facebook

Other things I did this year which surprised me were:

  •  winning books for my book shelf and TBR in Twitter competitions
  • starting a new project with my favourite character so far Willow Anderson
  • completing NaNoWriMo thanks to winning coaching with the lovely Megg Geri

NaNo-2018-Writer-Twitter-Header.png

The aim for 2019 is simple –  write, read and enjoy.

Happy New Year.

Love

Kate Kenzie's Blog

 

P.S Percy is still alive

Discovering Charles Dickens
All about Books, Just life, Writing journey

Discovering Charles Dickens at Christmas

I love A Christmas Carol and part of the joy of the run up to Christmas is reading taking my copy off my forever shelf for its annual read as well as binge watching the movies from Disney’s cartoon starring Jim Carey, the Alastair Sims to the best version The Muppet’s Christmas Carol. This year I had the luck of reading Miss Marley by Vanessa Lafaye which is a beautiful read and complements the original perfectly. It is a warm, heartbreaking tale but has thread of hope throughout. It will be added to collection to read every year as will the film The Man Who invented Christmas.

Have you seen it?

I love it for the festive and book theme, the era and acting but mainly because it gives a glimpse into the creative mind of Charles Dickens. It tells the tale of how under pressure to produce a book readers will love he produced A Christmas Carol in only six weeks. I am sure it skims over the negative aspects of his personality to produce a high energy fantasy with an insight into the writer’s mind when they suffer writer’s block, find inspiration and how they act when characters appear.

It also shows how he decided to self publish and his battle with plagiarism which are relevant topics for today’s writer.  I wonder what his tweets would say if he was in the situation today.

As many of you know I am lot a great fan of classic books but this and Miss Marley have encouraged me to find out more on this enigmatic man beyond snippets I have picked up along the way – I doubt Dr Who Christmas special from a few years ago is the most reliable source of information. The book the film is based on by Les Standiford is on my TBR for next December and I am also going to  attempt to read at least one Charles Dickens novel next year. Maybe then, I will not feel as much of a dunce at writing group when they discuss literature. Any recommendations would be great.

I hope you had a lovely Christmas

Love

Kate Kenzie's Blog

 

 

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Book Review: Miss Marley by Vanessa Lafaye

From Under the Duvet

Christmas is not Christmas without reading or watching A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. The Muppets version starring Michael Caine is traditionally watched on Christmas Eve by the whole family but other versions are watched too throughout the month. On 1st December, I take my illustrated version of the tale off my forever shelf for its annual read. This well-known story is perfect for Christmas with its cruel villain, lessons on love and redemption as well as its powerful festive imagery. So I jumped with glee when I was offered the chance to read the prequel Miss Marley: A Christmas Ghost Story – a prequel to A Christmas Carol.

Miss Marley Miss Marley: A Christmas Ghost Story – a prequel to A Christmas Carol

Title: Miss Marley: A Christmas Ghost Story – a prequel to A Christmas Carol

Author: Vanessa Lafaye

Genre: Festive, general fiction

Publisher: HQ

Release date: 1st Nov…

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Book review

Book Review: The Magic of Christmas Tree Farm by Erin Green

While scribbling away towards my word count last month, I was lucky to win a signed copy of Erin Green’s book The Magic of Christmas Tree Farm. When it arrived I promised myself I would read it as my reward for surviving NaNoWriMo. December is here and the book has been read so scroll down for my review.

Book review The Magic of Christmas Tree Farm
Time to read some Christmas magic

Author: Erin Green

Title: The Magic Magic of Christmas Tree Farm

Genre: Romance

Publisher: Aria

Release date: 4th September 2018

Blurb:

The scent of pine fills the crisp air as local villagers select their perfect tree. Picking the tree is the easy bit, creating a perfect Christmas is a bit trickier…

Nina has the most magical job in the world, matching customers with their perfect Christmas tree. Working at Christmas Tree Farm is always fun and full of laughter but the weight of past tragedy bears down on her. Her admirer is a great distraction, but is he the right man for her?

Holly is just trying to be a normal teenager, having to deal with the mean girls in her class. But then the most handsome boy at school takes an interest in her. Have all her Christmases come at once?

Angie is trying to bring her family together and save her broken marriage. It’s not something she can force, but it’s the only gift she craves. Will her Christmas wish come true?

It’s the season of goodwill, and at Christmas Tree Farm anything could happen…

Perfect for fans of Trisha Ashley, Katie Fforde, Carole Matthews and Milly Johnson.

My thoughts

Last year I read Erin Green’s book The Christmas Wish, so I had high expectations for this novel. The joy of her last novel was the main reason I entered the competition, the other is signed books have a magic of their own which I love. I was not disappointed and in truth loved this story more. Told in three points of view, it covers three women’s Christmas and each are at different stages of their lives. Nina is in her twenties waiting for the moment she feels true love, Holly in her teens experiencing love for the first time and Angie, a divorcee realising maybe she has lost hers. They are all connected by the goings on at the Christmas Tree farm.

As a character, I felt an instant connection to Nina and Holly. I grew to love them more as the book progressed. Holly for being a rounded considerate teenager with a mature head on her shoulders who would have been a friend when I was her age and Nina for being herself. Unlike some books where the heroine is giddy with love Nina is dealing with grief and the emotions of the upcoming Christmas; she wants love, but it is not her main focus. This makes the whole novel more real, special and the bittersweet nature that runs through it makes it stand apart from many on the shelves this time of year. There are funny moments, sad moments and toe curling ones too. It has it all similar to life. As someone who was disappointed not to get a job as a Christmas elf, the farm is a magical wonderland I would have loved to work at and this setting adds the sprinkle of Christmas into the story.

The only thing I struggled with was Angie. She is well written and as real as the others but I struggled to connect with her selfish views. I could relate to her in many ways but there were moments I wanted to give her a shake or push her into the snow. If she was real, I would want to have a coffee with her to discover more about her psyche so I could decide whether or not I liked her.

Would I recommend?

Yes. This book is more than a festive read it is an exploration of love, family relationships and women. It deals with grief, divorce and first love. Grab yourself a hot chocolate, snuggly socks and curl up in front of the fire and enjoy.

Happy reading!

Love

Just life

The Joy of being Grateful

This morning for no particular reason I feel grateful. I did not plan to think about the good things in my life when I sat down with my cup of tea with only the Christmas tree for company but with its lights shining and the house silent I felt a glimmer of calm. For that moment, the worries about bills, health, relationships and how to stretch a shoestring budget over Christmas fell away. I could see the good I have and achievements made this year.

My grateful list:

  • The morning hug I will get from my daughter
  • Waking early to see the stunning night sky
  • The welcome from my dog as I have left him for five minutes
  • The taste of the first cup of tea and this time of year
  • The parts of Christmas which matter the tree, music, friends and family.
  • My home
  • Old friends and new ones
  • The arrival of Christmas cards
  • Opening the advent calendar – you are never to old for one
  • Winning nano – that feeling will keep me going for a while
  • Winning NaNo coaching from Megg
  • An unexpected lottery win of £25
  • The book I won from Erin Green The Magic of Christmas Tree Farm

The moment of calm has grown with my list, life is good and I am ready to fight another day. When life’s problems have snowballed and triggered an avalanche of emotions, it is easy to forget the good, the tiny things or incidents throughout the day which if given care are seeds of strength to get you through the crap.

What are you grateful for?