Friday, 30 December 2011

A Look Back At The Books

I am sneakily pinching this idea of Becky Black. (She posted this on her Livejournal actually). But it's such a good idea to look back at all the books I've read.

I try to read 40 books a year, and this target does help to motivate me to keep reading, otherwise I would quite easily keep writing sometimes. The only thing I am finding is I'm still not making time to read magazines, and I really must! Especially Writing Magazine, because I subscribe to it and another comes through the door before I've finished the month before.

Here they are, in alphabetical order, not in order read.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Book Review: The Secret Of Helena's Bay by Sally Quilford

The Secret of Helena's BayThe Secret of Helena's Bay by Sally Quilford

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this pocket novel. A little bit of suspense, danger and mystery, with romance wrapped around it, and a touch of humour thrown in.

Great size story for a quick read on the Kindle too.

View all my reviews

I've included it in my book total, too. So 41 read this year! I don't think I'll get another book in before the New Year, it's very busy here in the Morgan household. Not getting much writing done either, which stresses me slightly, because I worry that I should be writing. How else am I going to make it?

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Advent Calendar: Day 24

It's here! Christmas Eve is finally upon us. Today the kids go crazy, and won't sleep and will wake up the crack of dawn the next day!

I want to wish all my readers a very Merry Christmas, and a happy New Year! Thank you for reading, following and even commenting at times. Hope 2012 brings us all good things, especially in the published writing department!

So here's some candy... 

24th December

Oh, sorry, you want proper eye candy... Let's remind ourselves...

Oh and can you guess the odd one out?

Friday, 23 December 2011

Advent Calendar: Day 23

Gosh, only two more sleeps. I can't believe another year has spun around so quickly, and Christmas day is rapidly approaching.

Yesterday, I baked over forty biscuits, and glittered them in edible glitter. And I made 36 mince pies. The proof is on Tumblr. Yes, I was rather knackered by the end of it, but the boys were really good and didn't bother me. (Naughty Mummy let them play Wii all morning).

So who I am going to put behind this door?

I think another Christmas song, to get us in the spirit. I wanted to post Band Aid Do They Know It's Christmas but however much I love that song, and think it's a very powerful message, I don't want to depress you all. So instead, I'll post something cheery behind door number 23.

23rd December

Sorry, you have to skip the ads! That brings back some memories...

And okay, if that didn't work for you, here's a picture of David Tennant. 

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Advent Calendar: Day 22

Yesterday we had a Christmas party for the kids at school. A group of mums (including me) organised it. Approximately 40 kids, and a visit from Santa, plus an excellent disco keeping the kids entertained with party games, but I still came home pooped.

I'm going to post my favourite now as I can't wait until the 24th - and my brain can't think too hard (remember I'm scheduling this, and I'm really tired lol!). He is part of the inspiration for my second novel that I'm in the middle of writing, and hope I'll get back to it very soon in the new year, once The Wedding Favour is out of my hair and in the submission stage.

Bradley Cooper - voted Sexiest Man... and I agree! 

For me he was the perfect choice to play Face in the A-Team movie, and I've been a fan of his ever since! (Some of the pictures below are screen caps from the film).

22nd December 

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Advent Calendar: Day 21

Not long now!

Yesterday I was driving the kids to Puxton Park when my seven year old commented on how the Santa that came into the school looked different to the one we saw on the steam train ride. I had to tell him that Santa can't actually do all the visits, so he sends in helpers, so unfortunately they are not always the real Santa. He then said, "I want to see the real Santa." And I replied that he probably had, mummy didn't even know the real one from the helpers. Gosh, you gotta be a smart thinker as a mum.

Then, stupidly, I mentioned that the Santa on Saturday (on our Santa Special steam train ride) had a real beard, so he was probably the real one. Now is he going to be looking more closely at the beards?

This is the problem with all these Santa visits. Seven-year-olds get suspicious. I fear this will be the last year when Santa is 'real' for him. I think when he's in a primary school, where the kids stay there till they are eleven, they lose the belief quicker. I was nearly nine, because I went to a first school until I was eight, then onto a middle school. I still remember the arguments with my friend about Santa being real.

And, sadly, someone at school has already said to Ben Santa isn't real. This upsets me!

But a real bugbear of mine is Santa's in naff costumes. I really wish if you're going to put on a Santa visit, he looks the part. And make sure the toys aren't so bloomin' cheap they fall apart in five seconds. This doesn't look good on Santa too!

So look what you get when you google Sexy Santa. Now I'd sit on these guys' knees :D

21st December

Only 4 more sleeps....

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Advent Calendar: Day 20

With these last few shopping days left running up until Christmas, have you got everything done?

I think all my shopping is finished. Yesterday I was making chestnut chocolate pots (from Nigella Christmas), which have been frozen, ready for next week. I still need to ice Christmas cake, ice a Yule log for the boys, plus make copious amounts of mince pies by the sounds of things.

Googling pictures for my next hero behind door number 20 I was reminded why I like him so much. He really does look a little like Rob Lowe actually, but it's not. It's the lovely Brad Pitt!

There were soooo many to choose from. 

20th December

Joe Black for Becky Black! (At least I think that's Joe Black)

Troy! Though he plays Achilles.

Oh, and he has blond hair and blue eyes.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Advent Calendar: Day 19

I have a busy week ahead of me. I need to ice the Christmas cake, make some desserts and freeze them (chocolate chestnut pots), plus bake another batch of mince pies. All with the boys now off school.

You can see why I'm not really finding time for writing, though my back isn't helping. I'm trying to maintain it, because I don't want it getting as bad as last time, but it does feel like it's getting progressively worse, especially when coming home from work yesterday. It felt like I'd over done it. I get tired in my back. It's really hard to explain, but it sort of exhausts you, and you need to sit down, because the muscles around your back are sort of screaming, well currently just whining, to rest.

I've got lots of things going on in my brain at the moment, too, but I hate making excuses as you've just gotta sit down and write at the end of the day. I don't think it helps that I'm actually editing, and that just feels such a slow process. When you're writing, you just want to get it down as quick as possible, so you don't care about the housework, feeding the kids, or anything, you just write.

Editing, is like... blah! Well, it is for me anyway. I've said the story, and I know it needs cleaning up, but there's just not the same motivation. Someone tell me how do I motivate myself to edit? I mean, even when I send it out (eventually!) I have rejections to look forward to. Yeah, really motivating! lol!

Gosh, wittered enough... but it is a writing blog, believe it or not. Well, it's a place I get to empty my head and get me writing in some shape or form. I get to practise typing at least!

So onto the next door, and only 6 sleeps until Christmas!

 19th December

Owen Wilson! I know, again, he might not be everyone's cup of tea, but I really like this guy. The first film I saw him in was Shanghai Noon with Jackie Chan (as I'm a huge fan of his too). Owen is great a comedy. He's hilarious in The Wedding Crashers paired up with Vince Vaughn. He comes across as a nice guy. And us girlies like them sorts of guys, too.

Oh look, and he's blond!  

Oh and I have to post this one! Love cowboy hats. Okay, love cowboys full stop. :D

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Advent Calendar: Day 18

Yesterday we visited Santa. We do it every year, taking a steam train from Bishops Lydeard. It stops at the first station and we get off and see Santa. Adults get mince pie and a glass of sherry, while the kids get a juice and some chocolate, plus a toy from Santa.

Today I have work (so this is scheduled and it is really weird talking in past tense as if I'm writing this tomorrow, I mean today).

You may not like my next choice, but I'm feeling Christmassy now with the tree up, visiting Santa, etc. I had a crush on this man when I was only seven-ish (I think). My first ever record bought for me -  on 7" vinyl! - was by this man, and it was called Green Door.

Yep, Shakin' Stevens! Here's his Christmas song (which I quite like. You have to skip the adds, and watch a bit, then it starts up!) I always think this is just a fabulous Christmas song, with the bells and everything.  

18th December 

Is it me or does the Santa is this video look a bit scary? 

Okay - I better post something else to please you, incase Shaky doesn't rock your boat! Will Casanova (aka David Tennant) woo you?

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Advent Calendar: Day 17

Kids have broken up from school, so it is now the Christmas holidays! Last night I was even baking mince pies!

I saw this on Facebook and loved it. I think it's the actor who plays Alcide in Trueblood (who will appear in Season 2 and I haven't watched that one yet!).

So, I think it's only fair that I post some hot pictures of this guy... because he has one fantastic body!

I do hope I get Trueblood Season 2 from Santa! Pretty please...

17th December 

OMG! There were just too many pictures to choose from for Joe Manganiello aka Alcide Herveaux (Trueblood).

I better post one with his clothes on to cool you girls down! 

Nope that didn't work, did it? How about this one? Seriously, I could post loads. 

I'm not a huge lover of facial hair, (I just think from a kissing perspective, it doesn't look good for the heroine to have stubble rash!) but on this guy it suits him.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Book Review: Watching Willow Watts by Talli Roland

Watching Willow WattsWatching Willow Watts by Talli Roland

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Like Talli's other book, this was a refreshing, original read. I'll try to review this without giving away spoilers.

It's a story about Willow regaining her dreams, and taking her life back. The plot maybe a little far fetched - would thousands of people really believe Marilyn had chosen Willow? - but it works in fiction and make believe if you allow yourself to be carried away into Willow's world.

Compared to some romance that I've read, the hero is not featured heavily in the book (but this is what maybe makes it chicklit/women's fiction?). Personally, I do like more presence from the hero because for me romance is about the conflict, and the two of them working it out together. We see the hero more through flashbacks in Willow's thoughts. However, the concept of this story was just fun, making me want to carry on reading and find out what happens.

How will Willow get out of her contract with Jay?

Talli has a wonderful way of telling a story. It's sharp, witty, and different with a fast pace and style that makes you want to keep on reading. Oh and there is no sex (on the page), only behind closed doors - just so you know.

View all my reviews

And that was my 40th book! Will I find time before New Year to squeeze in another?

What with the icing of the Christmas cake, mince pie baking and other bits and pieces I need to do, I'm not sure. Watch this space.

Advent Calendar: Day 16

Having spent the evening (last night when you read this post) putting up the Chrimbo decorations, I am feeling rather pooped. Off to bed, but not until I've scheduled this! Tomorrow the tree will be coming in! Whooo hooo. Then we do start feeling Christmassy.

This next guy, you have Becky Black to thank for.

I don't care what people say, I do like the Beckhams. I prefer David, obviously. After letting himself down in the World Cup when his career was just taking off, (we all remember when he got sent off!) he was soon to be forgiven, and has learnt from his mistakes. He knows he's a football icon, a hero and role model to young footballers and therefore acts appropriately in the public eye.

He's also another man who can wear a tattoo well, and has great hair! Lovely body too - in the fact he doesn't look superhuman body building type, but more athletic, like Adam Levine.

He's sexy, and he knows it!

16th December

Is this another blond to the tally?

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Advent Calendar: Day 15

Wouldn't men be perfect if they did things like this?

One of my favourite scenes from Love Actually, with Keira Knightly looking lovely and pretty. Found it while googling for Christmassy inspiration. 

Okay - but he's not the guy for door number 15! Or a pocket... if you have one like I do that you can stuff with your own chocolates.

Today my eldest son was off sick from school. He was a tiny bit upset because he wanted to get 100% attendance record for these first two terms. Bless. But he has something viral, though it looks like Hand Foot and Mouth, I don't think it quite is. He's got the mouth ulcers, but no rash on his hands, face or feet. It just hurts to swallow, so he's had a diet of yogurt and icecream today :D

Hopefully he'll be back in school Friday, but this does mean the youngest might be ill over Christmas with it :-(

With him home, I still managed to get my brandy butter made and frozen. Plus I bought some dinky glass dessert glasses which I'm going to put my Nigella Chestnut Chocolate pots into! We're getting there.

15th December

Honestly, I do tend to prefer blonds... (as she posts another dark handsome hero). Admittedly, for me, it's about the eyes. They all have lovely eyes, notice?

Orlando Bloom still has boyish looks in some of the photos I was googling, but I really do think he's going to age really well (if he looks after himself obviously). 

This one above I think is very seductive! Yes? Nice hands too... I got a thing about hands...

I've liked Orlando ever since Lord Of The Rings, (he was blond then!) and he was on The Graham Norton Show and was terribly down to earth and nice. Actually amazed that he was a big star. I like to believe he's a nice guy.

Shirtless! There were others. But in some I wasn't sure I liked his hair, or he looked too young.

Only 10 more sleeps till Santa fills those stockings...

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Advent Calendar: Day 14

Another late night for me then. Gosh, I've been beavering away working on my Choc Lit short story competition, and realised I need another blog post! But I've sent the story, plus another, to my tutor at the Writers Bureau as my assignment - 6th fiction one. Or is it the 5th? I get confused.

Okay - you're in for a real treat. This guy is everyone's favourite. And if he's not, then you're just not normal. (Sorry). He is also a fantastic actor.

Johnny Depp - oppss back to the dark heroes again!

14th December

He was so funny and gorgeous in The Tourist. It got mixed reviews, but I enjoyed this film. Maybe it's better on DVD than in the cinema. Some films are like that.

Gotta get a shirtless one in there...  

He even looks lush as a pirate!