Double Dare TBR Challenge

It may seem a bit early to be planning ahead for 2015…

Thank you to Annabel for making me aware of this ‘dare’ and to James for initiating this eminently sensible initiative. It’s very simple: you read only from your TBR pile from January 1st through to April 1st 2015. You can make exceptions for book clubs, review copies you have been sent and other such things.

Small selection of TBR...
Small selection of TBR…

There are circumstances which force me into this early decision…

Because I have 8 unread books on my husband’s Kindle (back from the days when I thought I could do without e-books – in 2012).

Because I have 125 books on my tablet – not counting poetry collections and single short stories/ odd bits and pieces that remain undefinable.

Because I have 52 books on my shelves that I have not touched yet. Or rather,I’ve opened them to inhale their aroma, stroke their smooth pages and lovingly stare at the title page, but not started reading anything more than the first couple of sentences.

Plus a few book orders that are winging their way to me as we speak.

So, that means a total of at least 185 books – more than I read in all of 2014 – before I even take into account the review copies I am likely to get as I continue contributing to the Crime Fiction Lover website, the impulse loans from the library and succumbing to any buying temptations. The library impulse, by the way, is not quite as haphazard as it seems, as I tend to walk in with a list of authors based on the long, long wishlist I have on Goodreads – which has become my notepad so that I don’t go in asking for a ‘book about a family somewhere in the south of France in an old crumbling house…’. If I don’t find the authors I am looking for that day, I usually leave with a lucky dip loan anyway.

As for that notorious wishlist, do you want to know how many books are currently on it? 506! No sniggering at the back, thank you very much. After all, it’s your fault, you lovely people on blogs and Twitter, that I add daily to that list.

So, come on, I dare you to join in the sanity! Your TBR piles will thank you for it!


Weekend Fun: How Our Mothers See Us…

A few weeks ago on Twitter two wonderful writer friends and I were debating the prevalence of selfies, whether we like to have our pictures taken or not… Then either Anna Fonte @girlinthehats or Courtney Bluebird @bluebirdblvd had the idea ‘What would a picture of ourselves taken by our mother look like?’ In my case: frightening.

Answer below.


Half-sober, half-crazy. Half-angel, half-devil. Angry, tarty, difficult. Too much make up, too much hair colour. Too fat and not eating all the healthy foods. But well-read and professional on a good day, thanks to the education they have given me.

Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Now over to you, ladies!

Forty Cups of Coffee

I must be crazy… and yet, it’s working! (The sceptic in me feels obliged to add: ‘so far’)

I joined Jeff Goins’ 15 Day Writing Challenge.  Yes, me, who never joins anything that requires commitment, promises, hard work, interacting with community, disclosing stuff about myself…   Yesterday was Day 2 of the Callenge and it required us to get up this morning two hours earlier than usual and just write, without logging onto the Internet, without blogging, without distractions.  You get the picture.

Except that I usually get up at 5 a.m., to have a bit of quiet time to write (and because I am a bit of an insomniac) before all hell of breakfasts, family demands, emails, business and admin breaks loose.  So this meant that today I got up at 3 a.m.  I did so through my natural biological alarm clock of ‘worryhead’.  I stumbled to the guestroom and snuggled under the duvet with my brand new, gorgeous A4 Rhodia notebook… and actually wrote, for the first time in a month, on my novel.

Sure, I started writing one chapter and then suddenly discovered I wanted to write the final one instead.  But I got two hours of uninterrupted thought and considerable amount of writing done.  Then I went back to bed for another two hours.

Will I keep this up?  Not the 3 a.m. start, but I think the 5 a.m. slot from now on will be dedicated to my novel in longhand, rather than to poetry or writing in my diary.  Nice and necessary though those things are, completing my novel is now top priority. And the satisfaction of having done your word count, come what may today, is priceless!

I am now on my third cup of coffee, and have a business call lined up in two minutes.  I suspect I will fall short of 40 cups of coffee (only just, though), but I can’t help thinking of the Bill Haley song.