Important Stuff

Nothing going on here... as you were...

August Reading Round-off

 Sunday, 31 August 2014

Good morning chaps! I know it has been a while since I posted on this blog but I have to own up to be being busy with a new blog that I've been setting up to talk about my writing and studying for the next year. So you won't see any more Writing Ray posts on this blog, instead they will be over on my new wordpress blog Ray May Write where I will also be posting about my experience studying two Open University modules at the same time.
While I know it won't appeal to everyone, I hope that some folk who may be interested in some of the things that crop up from studying a Creative Writing or French course might consider heading over there and following the blog. I am going to try and make my posts both interesting and informative :P

Right now that bit's over let's turn to this month's reading. It was a decent month compared to previous this year. 12 Books were read although there were 5 re-reads. BUT I will defend myself by pointing out that two *had* to be read before Isla came out! And another needed to be re-read before I read the second book since it had been a few years.

Books read in August
77. The Masterful Mr Montague by Stephanie Laurens (1/8/2014 AM)
78. A Rake's Vow by Stephanie Laurens (1/8/2014 AM) *RE-READ*
79. The Library of Unrequited Love by Sophie Divry (7/8/2014 PM)
80. Anna & the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (7/8/2014 PM) *RE-READ*
81. Lola & the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins (8/8/2014 AM) *RE-READ*
82. Blood Red Road by Moira Young (8/8/2014 PM) *RE-READ*
83. Rebel Heart by Moira Young (13/8/2014 PM)
84. Isla & the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins (14/8/2014 PM)
85. Roomies by Sara Zarr & Tara Altebrando (16/8/2014 AM)
86. Tribute by Ellen Renner (24/8/2014 AM)
87. Ruin & Rising by Leigh Bardugo (26/8/2014 AM)
88. Ultraviolet by R.J. Anderson (28/8/2014 PM) *RE-READ*

Book of the Month
This is going to be an easy decision because it's the book everyone has been waiting for since they read the first page of Anna & the French Kiss. After a wait that was a bit longer than we expected we finally got our mitts on Isla and the Happily Ever After on August 14th. Except it didn't go quite to plan since the UK pre-orders didn't get dispatched from Amazon so I had a very angry rant on Twitter before buying the e-book and devouring that instead. 
Stephanie is a sorceress I'm telling you - her words are pure magic and her characters make you laugh, cry, lust and generally FEEL ALL THE THINGS! Isla and Josh pulled me through a wringer of emotions, the ups had me grinning like a fool in love while the downs had me almost clutching my heart in the shared agony. It was a sublime ending to this trilogy of connected awesomeness and I am desperately awaiting whatever Stephanie writes next (Although I know she's got a short story coming out as part of the My True Love Gave to Me book which looks to be AMAZEBALLS).

Honourable Mention for Leigh Bardugo's Ruin & Rising (Grisha #3) the final book in her epic YA fantasy trilogy. It also had me running the gamut of feels and finished in a way that I hadn't really expected but really loved all the same. 
I had the really amazing opportunity to meet Leigh along with Moira Young (Author of Blood Red Road) when they did a Writing Q&A event at Birmingham Waterstones earlier this month. It was a fantastic day and I heard some excellent writing advice, even plucked up the courage to ask my own question and also got to chat books and writing with awesome folk. Jess did a great write-up of the event over here.

The week before that event Jess and I were in Birmingham for the David Levithan event. He did some readings from his new(ish) book Two Boys Kissing as well as answering questions from Steve Camden (Author of Tape) and the audience. It was at this signing that David told us that if we coming to see Leigh next week that we should ask her about her High school mascot. Me and Lily  of Whispering of the Pages actually asked Leigh about it as she was signing our books - her reaction went something like the pic below, followed by a vow to punch David in the face next time she saw time :P I also think that David had told fans at his Liverpool event to ask Leigh about it as well since she was tweeting after her event there about needing dirt on him stat. *hehehehe*

So it was a pretty awesome month since as well as going to these two events with Jess, I also went to see Brandon Sanderson (Author of the Mistborn trilogy and more recently the Stormlight Archives) in Nottingham with Le Boyf. He did some readings from a new book that is coming out soon as well as one from the third Stormlight book. I don't know what happened in that one since I had to go stand outside with the other naughty kids who hadn't read Words of Radiance yet since it would be spoilerific *hangs head*. Afterwards he signed books and I schlepped up with eight of the nine books that I own (fucking forgot the first half of the Way of Kings like an idiot) and got them signed, some personalised to me and some to Le Boyf since we've both read almost all of his books.

September is going to be a quieter month I think in terms of bookish things, I'll be gearing up towards starting my OU modules and there are no more author events for the time being so I gotta get to work.

Hope everyone had a good August, summer is nearly over!
Ray x


Writing Ray - Plot, plot, plot

 Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Now that I've completely destroyed the meaning of the word "plot" for myself I should say that this post is going to have nothing useful to other writers on the subject of plotting a book or anything else like that - for actual advice and helpfulness y'all need to check out Susan Dennard's website and her page of links to awesome blog posts For Writers because seriously she rocks and I've got the page bookmarked to my main toolbar.

This is more just a way for me to journal my writing process over the year so that maybe in another year or two I can look back and rofl myself into a stupor over my naive writer self and her daft assumptions about writing a book for the first time. For funsies and all.

Anywhoooo today I wanted to talk about the fact that I *think* I have the remaining scenes of my first draft plotted out - vaguely. Over the weekend while I was at my parents (and reliving my childhood by visiting Sudbury for like the 7th time) I busted out a crappy A3 pad I bought ages ago and grabbed some marker pens and mapped out about 8 scenes apiece for my two MCs for the middle section between when they meet for the first time and for the second.

It was a bit daft of me to leave the middle until last as by now it's been nearly 9 months since I wrote the First meeting scene and at least 3 since I wrote the second meeting so my thoughts about certain things and characters may have shifted slightly in that time - not counting the fact that I can be a fucking idiot and just forget I wrote some things - so getting everything to match up is going to be a challenge. One that will probably have to be sorted in the second draft.

So I now have two A3 sheets with my middle section planned out; some of the scenes on there have already been drafted so I really only have 12 scenes to write rather than 16/17 which is a bonus I guess. How long all those are going to end up being, I have no clue as yet. My original estimate of the book being 85,000 words is starting to fall short, it's looking like 95-100K will be more like a realistic endpoint for this book.

Setting up all the scene cards in my Scrivener project is delightfully fun and it will be even more enjoyable when I get to change the status of all those cards from "To Do" to first draft or something similar once I've written the actual scenes. Then once I've got all that done I might be able to say I've finished the first draft of my novel! *le gasp*

Now that will be exciting. For now I gotta keep chugging away at it and today's wordcount of 1113 words  has been rather lovely and helpful for getting me to a current overall wordcount of around 71.5K *holy shitballs that's a lotta words* So while the end may be in sight it won't do to give into complacency now.

But that's all for now folks. Carry on!
Ray x


Some things to check out

 Friday, 8 August 2014

Evenin' all this is just going to be a quick post with some links to stuff that has appeared in places not on the blog this past week.

Firstly today I was a guest poster over on my bestie's blog Jess Hearts Books as part of her Armchair Travelling feature. There was a post that went up yesterday as well as today's edition in which I talk about San Francisco! So please go have a look at those posts and all the fabulous places that the bloggers talk about.

And secondly earlier this week I made a rather large leap and posted up both the Prologue and Chapter 1 of my current WIP (the one I'm always tweeting about posting here about) up onto my Wattpad. It was very nerve-wracking after I posted them as Jess very awesomely tweeted about it and quite a lot of people went and read the Prologue... but not so much the first chapter. I resisted the urge to chew my hands off in anxiety. If you've not seen them and are interested, please click the links :D

Pretty please?

So that's all I wanted to say right now. I'll be going. 
Ray x


From Mah Youtube - Book Haul #29

 Thursday, 7 August 2014

Since I don't really keep up with the whole In My Mailbox/Letterbox Love memes anymore I just tend to do book hauls as and when I get a reasonable amount of books over my Youtube Channel RayReads. I did a vlog the other day so I thought I'd cross post it over here for you guys :) If anyone is interested in the preceding 28 book hauls there's a playlist of them on my channel page.

Books shown in haul
Eye of Minds by James Dashner
Rebel Heart by Moira Young
Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead
The Masterful Mr Montague by Stephanie Laurens
Three Weeks with Lady X by Eloisa James
Have a Little Faith by Candy Harper
Dictionary of First Names by Patrick Hanks & Flavia Hodges
The Breaking Point by Daphne du Maurier
Seeking Crystal by Joss Stirling

A mixed haul of various goodies, as you might tell from the vlog it's the Joss Stirling book that got me super excited because ever since I kind of ruined my copy of Seeking Crystal right after I bought it, I have been wanting to get a new copy. Now I have one and it's so beautiful I could cry.

So that's it for now, there may be something else I'll post about tomorrow... but you'll have to keep an eye on twitter for that... :P

Night folks
Ray x


Writing Ray - The Difference a Year Makes

 Sunday, 3 August 2014

So yesterday I happened to be pottering about on my Youtube channel and I saw a video I did last July entitled Why is Writing so dang hard? It was about 8 minutes of me grumbling about my difficulties with writing and how although I had several story ideas and many notebooks half-full with scribblings that none of it ever materialised into actual novel-sized pieces of writing.

In that video I showed two notebooks that had both got some notes on the first five pages or so - those are the notebooks for my current WIP that I have been working on this year. The yellow legal pad is now nearly full with plotting notes and scene snippets that I did in pencil (exclusively in that notepad I don't know why I just preferred it that way). The other notebook is not quite as full but it still has quite a lot of pages that are crammed with snippets, thoughts on characters and story timelines.

So if you think that a year ago, all I had an idea that was bouncing round my head, some scribbled thoughts and little else. Fast forward to now when I have nearly filled a notebook and have written **Monday Edit** nearly 67,000 words on this idea... that is some pretty awesome progress. Just since the start of 2014 I have written more than twice as much as my longest previous piece of writing.

According to Scrivener my book is currently equivalent to 215 pages in a paperback so when I get to my intended word goal it will be around 285 pages. If I overshoot a bit maybe it will end up as a round 300pgs. It will be a very strange thing indeed to have to print over half a ream of paper that will have my words all over them.

That's not to say that this year has been a cakewalk getting all this writing done. I've had to juggle my full-time job, my Open University studies and my home life while trying to write. My boyfriend has been amazingly supportive of me, even when he's nagging me to actually get my OU work done when I've been neglecting it for too long. But I think without the push from him last year to try and write this idea I might not have got started and I'd still be that grumbling non-writer lamenting the inability to get her thoughts out onto paper/pixels.

No gushy post about my writing progress will be complete without me mentioning, once again, the Amazing Alpha Reader/Slave-driver that is my best twinnie Jess. She has been my touchstone throughout this project. Every time I've sent her a scene to read I've been sat anxiously wondering "will she like it? What bits will she not like?" and when she sends me her feedback it all gets filed in the "Do not forget" part of my brain and when it comes round to editing this book those emails are getting printed out as the starting point.

So again, THANK YOU WITH SPRINKLES ON TOP Jess for keeping me locked in my Writerly Cage and rewarding me with cashews when I done good :P I'm pretty sure you're first in line for a dedication if/when this book gets itself into an actual printed format. You're the best first reader a girl could wish for.
Twinnie Jess on the left :)
  A year can change a whole lot, while I'm not 100% confident in my abilities as a writer (heck I don't like to think what the real percentage might be), I have irrefutable proof that I *can* get my ideas out in a reasonably coherent manner and create a story that at least one person wants to read. Which is a pretty damn good feeling. Who knows where I'll be next year? Charging ahead with edits on Book 1? Maybe have a first draft of Book 2? Be Plotting Book 3?? All of the above?!

I'm looking forward to finding out. I hope you guys don't mind me dragging you with me on the adventure.
Ray x


July Reading Round-off

 Friday, 1 August 2014

Well I honestly don't know where July vanished to. Rather oddly it feels like I'm already in the third week of the holidays when technically I only finished work last Friday O_O I'm guessing it's because I'm doing my voluntary work at the library that my brain is so mixed up.

But anyway this is going to be a fairly succinct round-off for the last month of reading. I know I've said I will do reviews for at least the YALC books I read this summer and I will honestly try but best laid plans and all.... Dude I frustrate myself with my apparent lack of will to do the things I say. Maybe I will get them done and then I can link them from here, who knows what'll happen?

July's Reading
65. Dead Romantic by C.J. Skuse (2/7/2014 PM)
66. Take back the Skies by Lucy Saxon (3/7/2014 AM)
67. Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas (4/7/2014 AM) *RE-READ*
68. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (4/7/2014 PM)
69. Scorpia Rising by Anthony Horowitz (6/7/2014 PM)
70. Lobsters by Tom Ellen & Lucy Ivison (7/7/2014 AM)
71. A Kiss in the Dark by Cat Clarke (10/7/2014 PM)
72. Heart-shaped Bruise by Tanya Byrne (17/7/2014 PM)
73. Glimpse by Kendra Leighton (19/7/2014 AM)
74. The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski (19/7/2014 PM)
75. Persuasion by Jane Austen (23/7/2014 PM) *RE-READ*
76. Fearsome Dreamer by Laure Eve (25/7/2014 PM)

It was a pretty good month, only two re-reads would you believe it? *le gasp* and both excellent ones because seriously guys Persuasion is just one of the most feels-provoking Austen books and well Crown of Midnight is just plain fucking awesome.

Book of the Month
Out of the clutch of really fantastic books I read last month the stand-out book for me has got to be The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski. I had heard such amazing things about it that I had high hopes going into reading. It was such a vibrant fantasy world with two very distinct cultures and people, one that had been brutally suppressed by the conquering force and the other blithely lording it over them. The main character Kestrel is the daughter of one of the conquering Generals and living in the city that her father helped capture. When she ends up buying a slave for an outrageously large sum - something very unusual for her - she finds herself in an odd situation. What will she do with the sombre Arin? It was a vastly exciting and fast-paced story and the interactions between Kestrel and Arin are simmering with chemistry. Marie has created a fascinating world that I am really hoping we'll get to explore more of in the second book. I am already wracked with impatience for March 2015. *grabby hands*

Honourable Mentions
Really though so many of this month's reads were awesome - A Monster Calls had me crying at work in the library. Lobsters was full giggles and adorkable summer shenanigans. A Kiss in the Dark was heart-wrenching and tense. Heart-Shaped Bruise was inticingly aloof and surprisingly emotional for me at the end.

Blog Stuff
This has been quite a busy month for the blog, I did three MA-HOOSIVE posts following the awesome weekend at YALC which you can find here - Saturday, Inbetween Stuff, and Sunday
I did a rather odd Writing Ray post after I had a slight freak-out about my book and had to be talked down of the proverbial ledge of negativity. That post is here.
I also posted over here the video I did of my YALC book & swag haul - if you want to see that
I even did a Top Ten Tuesday post this past week because the topic was kinda awesome so have a nosy at that post if you like.
Yesterday's Writing Ray post was about the awkward questions you get from family/friends if you're a writer.

So that's everything I wanted to include. I may do another Writing Ray post in the next week and I want to really try and get a review done because otherwise I'll get months down the line and I'll have bloody forgotten what the books were even about let alone what I thought of them.

Have a great Friday folks, I'm gonna have a How to Train your Dragon rewatch tonight because I'm suffering from feels thanks to listening to the soundtrack for the last three days.

Ray x


Blog template by

Back to TOP