Tag Archive: reading

Rise and Fall

Do you ever have the feeling…no, let me start again. Have you ever been in a place where despite having good things happen to you and around you, you can’t seem to feel it?

It’s not a feeling, it’s a lack of feeling.

Of course I then recognise the lack of feeling and get mildly annoyed, but since Sunday I have been in this weird state of being.

I can’t say I like it, because quite a few positive things have been happening to me this week, and I feel completely unable to enjoy them.

Last week, I was telling you about my mishap with technology. I have managed to not only re-edit the 3,000 words that I lost to that delete key, but I have managed to reach 17,000 words overall for this month. So that’s 15 days worth of effort, over 1,000 words a day, and I certainly haven’t finished with writing for today either. I’ve even come up with some new scenes and plot that help with a big part of my book. The stuff I have in there at the moment isn’t terrible (well, it may or may not be, but I haven’t got near to the stage for beta readers yet, so it’s fine) but the stuff I come up with is much better, streamlines the plot out, and makes more sense.

botBut I don’t feel accomplished. I love writing (normally) and currently I’ve been doing lots and lots of it. This is the most I’ve written in months, and yet I can’t seem to feel anything resembling positive about it.

Being a librarian means I have ready access to books, lots of them. And I spotted a new Quick Read that had come in, a slightly autobiographical book about an author’s publishing journal. It was really positive and encouraging, with lots of examples of different people working towards their goals with her experiences of working towards her goal – getting a book published.

But this book really annoyed me, and seemed to press all the wrong button. It was too cheerful, and seemed patronising to me, and the worst bit was I could tell that I normally wouldn’t get this annoyed. It’s great to hear about other experiences, especially about a subject area I’m interested in, and a person who had the same goal as me and achieved it, or rather it should be, but I just got annoyed reading it. The bit I found most annoying was the this person started to look for agents and publishers after only writing three chapters. I’m not even going to start that part until I have finished and edited my novel about seven times over, found beta readers, then polished it some more, and I’m pretty sure more people are on my side of this fence on this one (although I would like to hear from people who go down the traditional publishing route – how much of a book (especially your first ever book) do you write before finding an agent?).

I came into a little windfall recently, and last weekend me and the partner went and ended the debate between PS$ and XBoxOne by simply buying both consoles, with a bunch of games. These are games that I have heard really good things about, and been interested in playing for a while.

But AGAIN, no joy seems to be had. I mean, sure there was that awesome bit in Halo last night where I got a gravity hammer and snuck up on a brute and murdered him with a witty one liner causing my partner to go into a fit of laughter, but unless I am right in the moment, I can’t seem to find enthusiasm. For instance, right now, I can think back to that moment but I get none of the reflected amusement, glory or happiness that I normally do when thinking back to a good moment.

I have to conclude, that it is not a good state to be in.

I can’t even put a finger on what it might be. The weather is dismal, grey and muggy, which whilst not helping, I doubt is the cause. There has been no incident that could have cause me to be upset, so it’s certainly not that. All I can think of is that for happiness to be enjoyed the most, you have to have something to compare it to, and this would certainly be that. Not so much sadness, as the lack of feeling, which in turns causes thing to annoy me.

I can only hope that it passes.

In the meantime, if you have something happy you want to share, please feel free. I find that seeing good things happen to other people can be a real mood lifter in itself.

Oh, I did forget one thing:


I have reached 200 followers. It’s been coming for a while. I can’t enjoy it at the moment as much as I want to, but I can say Thank You. Thank you to everyone who has decided that what I write on this blog is worth some of their time to read. That is a special feeling, and when I am out of this falling phase, I shall relish it again.

Woot, I got tagged in another blog! Things Matter tagged me in their 20 questions post! I love these types of things, so of course I’m going to take the questions and fill them in.

The Questions

IMG_20150511_2304511. What is your favourite book?

Have I told you that I hate picking favourites? I really do. Books that I re-read often – Belgariad. Current favourite dragon book – Natural History of Dragons series. Plenty of books I’m waiting for the next one in the series for (game of thrones, how to train your dragon, throne of glass). Just don’t ask me to pick favourite!

2. What are your goals? For the year? For your life?

I can’t do long term planning. Like my writing, I live very much in the moment and go with the flow most of the time. I know roughly the plan for the next couple of years, mainly because my goal is to complete a Masters in Librarianship (so I can become a full librarian rather than an assistant!). I’ve applied, and should hear back from them at the end of this month, so I’ll see if that happens. If it does, then for the next two years (because distance learning/part time) I’ll be working towards that. I also hope to finish editing my book by the end of the year and tentatively want to be sending it out to publishers/agents. So there’s a couple of mid term goal in there.

3. Are you a writer? If so, tell me about your work.

I am indeed a writer. Mainly I do novels, although I am writing shorts and other such bits for competitions, and I’ve got the theme challenges going on here at the blog. I have several novels in my head, and few of them in various stages of drafting/editing. See a list on the creative writing section for a tiny bit more information about them. The theme challenge currently going on is on theme 67, which is going nicely. Not got any active competitions at the moment, since IdeasTap isn’t giving out any new ones because they are closing *single tear* so no short stories in progress really.

4. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Place I want to visit include Yellowstone National Park, Iceland (again), Egypt (again) and Australia. This year, however, for the occasion of my 25th birthday, I am planning a trip to Costa Rica where I shall be volunteering with a turtle sanctuary out there, and collecting eggs and helping baby turtles and getting to see them hatch possibly! Eee! I am very excited for that which will be taking place in August. So at the moment, that is where I would like to be most. Although at home, cuddled up on the sofa with the partner is never far away from the top spot.

5. What was the last movie you saw in the theatre and was it worthwhile?

Avengers 2: Age of Ultron. OH MY DRAGONS YES! I LOVED this movie so much, it was simply amazing and everyone should go and watch it. I think I need to go see it for a second time.

6. I’m curious, are there any books that you’ve tried to read and simply couldn’t finish? This is a no judgement zone.

Mainly books that I got set in English GCSE. Stuff like Rebecca, Great Expectations. More classical stuff. It just found it too heavy at the time, and I’ve never gone back to because there are many other books I want to read. Also a clockwork orange. I picked it up, read the first two pages, and then was put off by the slang so much I put it straight back on the library shelf.

7. Are you currently working on a new book/project right now? If it’s secret, you don’t have to tell me about it. If so, however, I hope it’s going well.

My current WIP is a novel called Mechanica Awakening, a steampunk fantasy, and it’s in the first editing stage. I have my first draft, I am trying to edit it into a second draft, and it is going very slowly. I struggle to find the themes of the book, but at the core the main character is lonely, and just wants her family to be all together in one place, at least for a little while, mainly because she misses them. There’s political drama providing conflict, both subtle talking stuff and overt power plays. And of course there are supernatural powers involved. I write fantasy, and I like my magic.

8. If you could live in any of your favourite books, which one would you choose?

Oooh, tough one. Probably…Dragonriders of Pern. In this multi-book series the dragonriders are paired at birth with a dragon, which then go on to fight the menace that falls from space, known as Thread. But you get the telepathic link with dragons, and I do like the mix of technology and old school the setting has. They’re very good reads.

toothless-and-hipcup-in-how-to-train-your-dragon-29. Are there any book-to-movie adaptations that you think are just incredible? That you absolutely hated?

As a rule I don’t like book to movie adaptations.

The exception to this rule is How To Train Your Dragon. Mainly because the film does not try to follow the plot of the books in any way shape or form. The books are great, the films are amazing, and they are different enough from each other that this works. In the books toothless is as long as your arm, and really does have no teeth. In the films, hiccup rides him, he’s a night fury, and is the best animation of a dragon I have ever seen.


10. What do you look for in a book that you want to read? What’s the first thing to capture your attention?

I’ll admit, I most often go to the fantasy section first. I’m trying to branch out genre wise, but more often than not, first thing I check is fantasy. After that, it really is visual. The cover can often attract me or push me away. I like modernist, clean cut covers. I also like sets. Look at the library edition of the discworld or the Throne of Glass series for covers that I quite like. A recommendation from a friend or the bookshop staff will override a lot of my preferences, because I know whose advice to take a when. For instance I doubt I would have picked up “The Lies of Locke Lamora” on my own volition, but a friend and the bookshop assistant in the fantasy section recommended it, and now it sits in my too read pile on my desk. It’s a large too read pile, but I’ll get there.

11. If you’re an author, what do you do when you first get an idea for a book?

Plug in the iPod and listen to music for a good long while, letting more ideas flow. I seems to brainstorm ideas better when listening to music, and also do it when I’m planning out a tricky scene with options. Due to this, I often attach certain songs to my stories. Sometimes they can be relevant, other times not so much, they were just the song that happened to be playing a lot when I was thinking on the story!

12. How do you feel about different genres? Romance? YA? Sci-Fi? Poetry? Do you have any favorites? Any least-favourites?

Fantasy. Big fantasy lover. I don’t mind whether this is teen, YA, or older, but fantasy is my go to genre of choice. That’s not to say I dislike other genres, I am trying to read outside my comfort box this year (I might even attempt a classic). I like books that cross genres, and there often is romance, adventure and other hints of genres in fantasy books. Least favourite? Horror, definately. Maybe it’s because of my overactive imagination, but whenever I read or watch something of the horror genre, it gets in my dreams, I get really jumpy, and I freaking hate it. Doesn’t help when your younger brother somehow sneaks into the room and jumps out from behind the sofa at a really tense moment. Stupid sibling.

13. If you could meet any writer in the world, dead or alive, who would it be?

Up until recently, he would have counted in the alive category, but unfortunately, he was recently taken by the hand into that never ending desert. Yes, I would love to meet Terry Pratchett. Unfortunately, I now have to wait until I can pass into that desert myself, which I hope is a long, long time away. But I would have loved to have asked him about his writing process, and how he came up with the discworld, and with such an expensive playground to write in, how does he ever decide which story to write next? Now all I can do is collect the library collectors editions of his books and treasure them.

fiction_vs_nonfiction_tagxedo_2 (1)14. Do you prefer Fiction or Non-Fiction?

Bit of both? If I have to pick, fiction, because I love discovering new worlds, points of views, stories and ideas. But non-fiction is great for learning new things, and I am a huge nerd.

15. Are there any characters that everyone loves that you can’t stand? Or vice versa?

Are we talking archetypes or specifics? Because I’m pretty sure that there are specific characters I dislike that other people dislike. You can always find someone out there with your opinion, that’s one of the beautiful things about the internet. As for archetypes, I hate it when they’re done badly. One dimensional. Stereotypes exist, and can be well written, but when they aren;t that just boring. Like most writers, I dislike the blank Mary Sue’s that you can just project yourself onto. Yes, there are some highly prolific examples of this type of writing selling (and selling very well) but I could never write an undeveloped character like that.

16. What do you like to do besides reading/writing?

Gaming. Tabletop, live action, computer, board/card and otherwise. At the moment me and a bunch of friends are trying out the Heroes of the Storm beta, and I have to say, it’s quite good. The second Empire festival of the year is happening not this weekend but next, hopefully I will have a new tent by then. Otherwise I have a dungeons and dragons tabletop game progressing along rather nicely, and I get together for board/card games with friends on an irregular informal basis. I have a new game called Dragon Whisperer I need to break out and play with people.

17. If you could be remembered for one thing, what would it be?

My personality. Yes, I want to be a published author and I would love to have a book in physical print, but after I die? I really want people to remember me for my crazy and fun personality. I hope anyway.

18. What is your favourite guilty pleasure book?

I don’t believe in feeling guilty 😛

19. Do you have a reading goal set for this year?

One book a week. I’m…a little behind at the moment, although I have like 20 books sitting on my desk in my “to-read” pile, so I should be doing something about that soon. Mainly because they’re library books with due dates, and there’s nothing like a due date to get you motivated 😉

let_sleeping_dragons_lie_by_jennysaur-d5e6r9q20. Tell me anything about yourself that I haven’t asked. Random fact. Weird human trick. Whatever.

I can easily sleep in until 3pm if I have no reason to wake up, and frequently do most weekends. I have yet to discover whether this is inherent laziness, or actually due to my low iron levels. Could be either, but I just really don’t care enough to stop doing it. My bed is super comfy ^.^

I’m not going to tag anyone at the end of this post, but I will encourage you to pick it up. If anyone of you want to steal these questions for your blog, feel free! If you come back here and say you’ve done so in the comments, then I’ll add a shiny link to your blog here. Because shiny.

World Book Day

Happy World Book Day!

I cannot tell you how fond my memories are of being back in school, receiving my voucher for my book, taking it down to the book shop and getting one of those tiny little books for free.

In fact, even though I might not have a voucher (because apparently they are meant for under eighteen’s) I might just go to my local bookshop and pick one up anyway. Because why on earth not?

There are ten specially made books, each with an age range attached to them, and a couple of them look rather good I have to say.

Even though it’s aimed at children/young adults, there is a surprising amount on there that is good for older readers as well, such as the interviews and videos done by the authors so I’ll definately be going through and watching quite a few of those at some point. There’s even a whole section on story crafting! And an adorable interactive part of the website to write your own story and turn it into a pdf, to encourage the young writers out there.

I’m certainly going to be picking up a book and reading a little tonight. So go on, pick up a book and enjoy a good read!

Dragon Book

The Reading Continues

So I have been doing some reading lately. It’s not reading I like to admit to, but since I have been bad mouthing it so much I figured I should at least read it, and the film just came out so it is literally everywhere I go in town, on buses, in shop fronts. Yeah. Everywhere. And I did. I read the whole trilogy. It reads exactly like the fanfiction that it is, and that is all I have to say.

The Library BookI also read The Library Book, and I would really encourage anyone who likes libraries and books and reading in general find a copy and read it. I got mine from the local library and was so impressed that I ordered my own copy. I’ve only been that impressed by a book a handful of times, so it really is a good read. And when you buy it from the Reading Agency, all the royalties go towards their work getting more and more into reading and using libraries. So it’s win-win.

It’s been half term this week, but I haven’t done as much as I wanted to. Mainly because I keep over sleeping, which is delightful, but not very productive. I have a lot of books, divided into three sections: fiction, books about information and libraries, and writing.

I’m trying to edit my novel, and then I also have a short story I’m trying to get written for another competition. I don’t know whether I finish off my next dragon short story, or write a new one. Probably going for the dragon one.

In the meantime, I have also found this lovely list of reading challenges:

Reading List

This seems like a lovely set of books, and I probably already have read a couple of them on the list, but I would have to print off the list and tick them off. Feel free to steal this list, I stole it from another blog, it’s making the rounds!

Six Books End

Reading_Diary_2015_largeSo. A week after my first post, here we are. I was aiming to do the six book challenge, which is a challenge to read six books aimed at people who don’t read very often. Except that since I’m a voracious reader, I gave myself the time frame of a week in which to do it. So, did I accomplish it?


I went a day over. At the end of the week when I went to sleep on Sunday, I was partway through book six. So I polished it off yesterday, meaning it took me 8 days to finish six books. Which isn’t bad at all.

I probably could have done it in seven days, but I spent the weekend doing other things. Saturday I didn’t even pick up a book. I cleaned the flat, had company all afternoon, and then in the evening was the first session of Dark Metropolis (which was AMAZING). So I was focusing on other things. On Sunday I read book five, and started book six, but I didn’t get up until midday, and then my boyfriend persuaded me to go out for dinner and cinema (we saw Big Hero 6, which was also amazing).

So it can be done, but you have to not be doing a lot else. Or pick smaller books, but I never make things easy for myself.

The books I ended up reading were:

  1. Crown of Midnight, by Sarah J. Maas
  2. Heir of Fire, by Sarah J. Maas
  3. Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen
  4. The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern
  5. The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman
  6. A Spot of Bother, by Mark Haddon

And I quite liked all of them. The graveyard book was aimed at people a little younger than me, but I have wanted to read more Gaiman, and that was the one I could find. Crown of Midnight and it’s follow up Heir of Fire had been sitting on my ‘to-read’ pile for a while. Water for Elephants and The Night Circus were books I wanted to read because they both start out life as NaNoWriMo novels. And I loved The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightime, so when I spotted another book by Mark Haddon in the library I picked it up and gave it a go. And I loved it, actually.

And I expanded my usual genre as well. Water for Elephants is a historical fiction, and A Spot of Bother counts as contemporary. Much different from my usual fantasy. So I’m also doing well on expanding that out. Didn’t do any non-fiction books, but it does take a while longer to read non-fiction in my opinion.

But there we go. Success. Not quite complete success, but reading six books in only one day over my intended target is pretty darn good.

Anyone else read anything interesting lately?


Six Book Challenge

Working in a library means that I get to hear about all these fascinating little events. And not so little events as well, as we try and promote learning and reading and a bunch of other stuff to the staff and students in college.

In that vein, this week is the start of the Six Book Challenge.half front bookmark

Ta da!

This challenge is all about getting people who don’t normally read for whatever reason, too busy, not confident, English as a second language, learning difficulty, don’t enjoy it, whatever the reason. This is all about getting them to read.

The challenge is to read six books. Or newspapers, magazines, jokes, poems, whatever takes your fancy really. Read six different things, jot them down in the little diary you get for signing up physically, or online on their website, and then if you manage to read six things by the end of June, you get a big shiny certificate and can be entered in for some prizes.

The theme of this year is ‘Read Anything. Read anywhere.’ hence why they are encouraging you to read not just books, but anything. Recent studies have shown that reading for just six minutes a day can help improve you general mental health. The website: http://www.time-to-read.co.uk/read/collection/just6minutes : also has a list of books specifically chosen as feel good reads, to help further improve this. (I meant it when I said that in a library we’re hear a lot about reading in all it’s forms)

Now the only problem with this challenge is that it is aimed at people who aren’t good readers. As I call myself a voracious reader, it doesn’t really cover me. Although that is hardly going to stop me. If someone who is a good reader comes up to us, asking to sign up, we’ll absolutely let them, but we also give them the task to find a friend of theirs who isn’t such a good reader and try to get them to sign up as well. But I think those of us who do love reading also love sticking our teeth into a good challenge.

So with all my friends being as good a reader as me, what have I done? I’ve shortened the time frame. I’m going to try and read six books in a week. Mainly because that actually feels like a challenge. Six books until June? Far too easy. A month? Again, rather easy. A week? Now with everything else I do, that might be a challenge. And I’m not picking short books either. REA-809 A4Posterv1Oh no, these are books I would normally read, plucked straight off my too-read bookshelf. And borrowed from the library of course. We are trying to advertise that we have a very good, if small, selection of fiction books for pupils to borrow.

It’s going pretty well so far. I started yesterday, making Monday Day 1, and I read an entire book, start to finish. I was even able to start book two, so now, Tuesday morning aka Morning of Day 2, I’m halfway through book two. Just in case anyone is interested book one was Crown of Midnight and book two is Heir of Fire, which are books 2 & 3 in the Throne of Glass series. Excellent series, I would recommend a read.

So if anyone else feels like joining in, avid reader, voracious reader, non-reader, slow reader, sign up to the website http://sixbookchallenge.org.uk/ and start jotting down what you read. They give you shiny badges for milestones, and I know I get motivated by a badge 🙂

Reading in 2015

1So a new year means resolutions. Normally anyway. I haven’t made any this year. I mean I have goals, but I never really counted them as resolutions. Mainly because I haven’t started most of them yet. One is editing, which I am currently doing, one (the inevitable health kick one) starts next week and others are sort of backbenchers.

But then an email came around work. For those of you that don’t know I work in a library, so books are a fairly big part of our job. And this email was saying that in the spirit of the new year we were going to do a piece on resolutions, but specifically reading resolutions. And since then we’ve had emails with some nifty links to campaigns and other bits and pieces.

Did you know that reading for six minutes a day lowers your stress levels significantly? http://t.co/0M9yOgcxcO #JustSixMins. 26th January is meant to be the day of the year that people are at their bluest, so spread the word that reading helps with stress. Take a shelfie and post it up, telling the world what you plan to read.

If you think that all libraries are boring, stuffy places to be check out these: http://www.theguardian.com/teacher-network/gallery/2015/jan/08/school-libraries-world-books-gallery The kids get all the best stuff.

We’ve already put in our applications to be book givers on World Book Night in April. Encourage people you know who don’t read by signing up to give out books. You can either choose one from the selection, or give out your own. And check out their reading resolutions: https://ccnlibraryblog.wordpress.com/2013/02/26/reading-resolutions/ Give you any ideas?

So with all this stuff being thrown at me, and now you, I thought, well why not. Let’s make some reading resolutions. And to make sure I try to stick to them, I’m going to share them with you as well.

  1. I’m going to read one book a week. Or 52 books in the year. However it manages to work out.
  2. I will read a mixture of fiction and non-fiction. Fiction is great, but so is learning new things.
  3. I will read outside of my comfort range. Normally this extends to fantasy and science. So I’m going book-genreto try and read at least one book in each of the following genre’s:
    • Romance
    • Mystery
    • Science Fiction (you would think I would read this one more, but no)
    • Literary
    • Comedy
    • And a Biography

Having discovered more and more recently that GoodReads is an amazing site, I have an account over there and shall be keeping track of the books that I read over the coming year. https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/30833009-princess-of-dragons if you’re interested in following me. They also have a goal tracker for 2015, so I set that to 52, and I am two books into the challenge already. So far this year I have read The Ice Dragon and How to Self Edit for Fiction Writers. Well the last one is technically a re-read, but I read it during 2015, so it counts. I shall keep the re-reads I track to a minimum. This year is all about new reads!

What about you, my lovely reader? Do you have any resolutions for 2015? Are they reading resolutions?


We’re back round to Thursday again, and that means more dragons! On Tuesday I popped by the book store to pick up some new reads, one of which was Seraphina, which has been recommended to me more times that I care to (or can) remember. So I made sure to go and find it and bought it, and got around to reading it yesterday.

seraphinaI can definitely see why people have been recommending it, it was a fantastic read.

I loved the setting of the world, and the author clearly put a lot of thought into everything in that world, but you never hear about it, you only get to know about the bits that are relevant to the story, but I can just hear this little voice at the back trying to talk about the fantastic world.

It does jump right in with all of the terminology, and it took me a while to work out what meant what, but it did give me an immediate sense of immersion in the book, which I applaud the author for achieving apparently so effortlessly.

The two main character of the book were great, and the dragons really felt very different from the human in the book. A couple of the side character felt a little one dimensional to me, but there’s only so much you can do with side character, and the main characters and secondary cast more than make up for it.

The plot, looking back at it, was particularly good. At the time of reading it didn’t feel overly political, but now that I’ve read the whole thing, I can look back and see how intricate the politics of the situation in the book are, and it’s rather amazing that it felt so natural to read. And the backdrop the politics are set against tie back into all of that setting that I am sure the author thought about but didn’t get a chance to mention.

The pacing of the book is extremely good, and the rate at which things are revealed felt darn near perfect as I wasn’t left straining for too long between each piece of information, but I was asking questions at the book, trying to guess what the end results would be.

All in all, it was a very good read, and I am sure that I will pick it up again in a month or so for a second read-through. I did also look up, using the power of the internet, and it is going to get a sequel, but the sequel isn’t scheduled until March 2015, so there’s a little while to go yet.

I can see why my friend, my blogging companions, and even the lady who sold me the book, recommended it. And I in turn, now recommend it to you.


C'est La Vee

Wish You Were Here


Geek culture: comics, videogames, board games, TTRPGs and more


“I don't believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book.” ― J.K. Rowling


A blog full of humorous and poignant observations.

Writing, Reading, and the Pursuit of Dreams

My self-publishing journey and other literary moments


Writing Advice and Inspirational Places

Deidra Alexander's Blog

I have people to kill, lives to ruin, plagues to bring, and worlds to destroy. I am not the Angel of Death. I'm a fiction writer.

Jemima Pett

Writing and reviews with an environmental, science fiction, and fantasy touch