Sunday, 1 July 2012

Fifty Shades of Boredom

     Currently topping the charts is this ridiculous novel called Fifty Shades of Grey.  I'm sure you're all familiar with this and I don't need to explain what it's about.  I haven't read it all so perhaps it's unfair of me to criticise it so harshly but, to be quite honest, the first few pages of Chapter one (as previewed on the Waterstones website), were, quite frankly quite enough for me.

Criticism No 1:  The sentence 'he cocks his head to one side' was used several times in the one scene.  If I'd been editing this I'd have made the author rephrase this sentence or think of another way to show his body language.  How about ‘an inquisitive look’ or ‘his eyes filled with sympathy’?  Or something along those lines?  I actually laughed out loud when 'he tilted his head to one side' was used!  What on earth?  I want to tear this book to pieces so probably just as well I read it online!

Criticism No 2:  Without the hype surrounding this book, it wouldn’t have taken long to know where the story was headed.  The first scene is our hopeless heroine trying to 'tame' her hair.  Instantly we are presented with a hopeless young woman and the physical object being described tells us this book will have physical content.   Oooh my hands tremble with excitement.  NOT.

Criticism No 3:  This book is written in a basic style.  Of course everyone is going to read it.  It is suitable for the lazy readers and even those who don't read at all.  People have told me they’ve read this book in a day because it’s so good.  Erm, no love, you read it in a day because it’s written for people with the reading ability of a child.

Criticism No 4:  The man in question works in a place that is clean and 'clinical'.  He makes the heroine nervous etc.  Yes, if the rest of what I've mentioned hadn't been that obvious already, now we really know what is going to happen.  PREDICTABLE!

I have questions:

Is the fact it's so easy to read for those who don't read, are reading it a good thing?  (Hope this sentence makes sense). 

Do the publishers know exactly what they're doing?  I.e. keep saying the word 'cock' and readers will get so excited they'll just want to read more and more? 

Is it necessary to mention 'grey' and 'gray' over and over again in the narrative?

I didn't proceed to chapter two, I couldn't waste any more of my time.  I'm writing my own novel which I hope will embrace an intelligent readership who desires something more from a book than smut.  Perhaps I'm being too harsh and setting myself up for a fall being a writer myself, or maybe, like every other human being, this book just comes down to personal preference and not reading ability.  Alas, most people I know who are reading this watch TOWIE and love Katie Price.  Trying not to judge, honest!

Saturday, 31 December 2011

Moving Blog Sites

As of tomorrow I'll be posting my stories on Wordpress as well as acting as Guest Editor for  So please continue to follow me  if you can but I will continue to provide personal updates via this page. 

Much love and all the best for 2012

Claire xx

Thursday, 15 December 2011

The Kindle Klub!

My previous blog about suprises (or lack of them) has reminded me of a little bundle of joy I received last week which I must share with you.

Last week I met up with my friend and another lady we know for our annual Pre-Christmas get together.  We drink, eat takeaway and exchange gifts.  Usually we buy token gifts - something to make each other smile.  This year I was gobsmacked when the paper fell away to reveal a Kindle!  Both Kerry and Louise bought my gift this year, as a thank you for my help with Kerry's books.  I would never have expected anything in return but this was quite a suprise.  With the iPod in the foot rest (see previous blog if you haven't already) and now this, I am Miss 21st Century!  All I need now is a Smart Phone!

I've always had mixed feelings about the Kindle, being a book lover and a sucker for pretty covers I wasn't sure I could agree with the concept, but it is a cracking idea.  They're really smart, and make books interactive.  Plus I can spend less on them (especially the monthly books for my book group).  I am now open to the idea and now I actually have the Kindle in my hands, I'm really impressed.  It's state of the art technology and means I'll be spending even more money on Amazon (they should give me free shares).  I can still buy the books that make my shelves look pretty (and clever) but this handy portable little device will be accompanying me to work (along with the iPod).  I must treat myself to a bigger handbag.......

They say I can be read like a book...

All through life, my closest family members have accused me of being a crap liar - particularly when it comes to the naughty little white lies.  "I can read you like a book" my dad always says and now, after living with my boyfriend for 6 months - he says the same.  It isn't just lies but when I'm feeling on edge or worrying about something, I repress it and replace it with yet another problem - a silly one.  On Monday I was stressing about a potential expensive problem with my car but instead I told James Asda had run out of the Christmas Trees we wanted and that we weren't having a tree now.  It was an irrational, childish statement but it was simply hiding the real cause of my anxiety.  Eventually when I explained, he told me to just tell him about the real problem instead of creating new ones.

It isn't just lies I have trouble with, keeping a suprise for someone is a difficult task for me.  For the first time since leaving the family nest, I can safely say my house feels like home.  Although I share it with James and his friend - it's mine.  Well, ours.  I can put things where I want them, clean up when I'm ready to clean up and have friends round whenever I feel like it.  So this Christmas will not only be our first Christmas together (we've always found it easier to go to our own families before now) but our first Christmas in a place we can both truely call home.

We won't be hosting a family meal - we're visiting both families on Christmas Day for all that but we'll have the rest of our time off in our home and I want it to be perfect.  We can have friends round and we've got all kinds of wines, spirits and snacks to offer our guests.  I guess this is one of the reasons why I got in a state about the Christmas Tree.

Moving on from the tree saga, I have just realised how living together makes it darn hard work to hide presents from one another!  Most of mine have come from Amazon this year.  I have taken advantage of the free postage option and have spent every other day ordering stuff.  I'd have done it in one go but I do my shopping gradually instead of using up a whole month's salary in December.  James wanted a particular kind of light for the tree (which Asda  had also run out of).  In the end, the tree came from Argos and lights from Amazon.  Then I remembered the book I wanted to get him (best not mention what it is just yet) so ordered that too.

So safe in the knowledge that tree and lights are on their way, I started wrapping all the presents.  I feel like there is no element of suprise for James because he knows what I've got for him, so I've bought a few other bits of pieces.  In return, I know what I'm getting because I went to the shop and picked it out for him.  He told me he has sent it to Santa, so, while he's at work I must not look for it.  Like I would..........yes, I would.  I've had to spend many Christmas mornings pretending to be suprised because I had spent weeks rooting around mum's bedroom.  I'm still like this now - in fact, I'm at mum's house this evening and I've just been rooting through parcels. 

Anyhow, while James was at work, I decided to chill out and watch tv.  I pulled the foot rest towards me - it's one of those that you can keep things in but we never bother.  As I pulled it, the lid came up and I saw a carrier bag.  "Don't tell me he's been using this as a rubbish bin!" I say to myself and peer inside (when you live with two blokes, nothing should suprise you).  No, not rubbish, just the bag containing my iPod.  Oops.

Obviously I've taken great delight in fidgeting with the foot rest every time we sit down to watch tele together.  "Stop fidgeting!" He will say.  A wicked person has suggested I hide it!  Can you imagine the horror he would feel?  No, I can't do that to him.  I just can't believe he hid it in such a rubbish place.  What is he thinking?!  I hope he isn't reading this.

Just as James got home this afternoon, my latest Amazon order arrived.  Hooray!  It was tightly wrapped, I couldn't find the scissors (probably under the pile of baubles in the middle of the living room floor) so James gave me his keys.  I'm still not getting in this box so pass it to him.  He opens it and pulls out the lights and then horror suddenly spreads across my face.  I leap up from the sofa, snatch the box off him and look at his shocked, offended face, "what else did you see in this box?" I demand, hugging it tight, "nothing" he says.  Phew!  I'd forgotten about the book.  He rolled his eyes skywards and sighed at me.  As if!  Mr Hide It In the Foot Rest Man!  He still doesn't know I know.

I proceed to order yet another item from Amazon and a gift for a friend in London.  I've chosen her address for the delivery to save paying more postage than necessary.  Tonight, I've realised she'll get the receipt and then she'll know how much I've spent!  I've had to text her and insist she throws it away without looking at it.  I'm so stupid! I just wasn't put on this earth to keep secrets about presents or myself.  I really am a book.  A book in a library for all the public to read...

Since writing this she's text me back - she ordered her boyfriend's present from Amazon, using his laptop.  He logged on today, and had an email confirming his order!  At least I'm not the only one who can ruin the element of suprise.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Barely a Blogger

I have to say, I'm rubbish at this blogging lark.  I have been so busy over the last year that I now face my 31st birthday thinking, "how did that happen?"

I've finally moved to Manchester but I'm still working in Garstang.  The daily commute is a grind and I can't tell you how much I spend on petrol because it makes me want to cry.  It's also preventing me from saving any money towards the proof-reading course I'm desperate to do.

I seem to have developed a knack for editing stories and various texts for people.  A skill I developed while at university.  Recently I have been able to put my skills into practice once more for my good friend Kerry Wilkinson and his debut novel Locked In (available online via iTunes and Amazon).  He's had some good press about this and now I find myself writing reviews for it (again see Amazon and iTunes and of course,  The second book has been released in digital format this week, Vigilante (, so another review is to be composed by yours truely.  It's an absolute honour to review and proof-read a friend's book although like anyone else in my situation, you do fill with dread at the prospect of the book being awful.  How on earth do you tell a friend it's rubbish?  Thankfully, it's bloody good!  Both are.

I think my current job as an Admin Assistant is fine for paying the bills but proof-reading is where my heart is.  I need to qualify so I can start freelance proof-reading.  If the work is plentiful, I'd be able to quit the 9-5.  But alas, I have no spare cash to save up for the course I want to do while spending a fortune getting to Garstang everyday.  A circle I need to break out of but it's easier said than done.  Proof-reading career is on hold.  I'll crack on with my novel instead...

Monday, 7 February 2011

So the resolution lasted all of a week!

But I have my reasons why. 

It started with my dad being ill.  Thankfully he's better now but one scare put a lot of things into perspective. Not just for me but for my whole family.  Before he was ill there was some resentment and things being taken for granted.  Now we're back to how things used to be :)

My new job is going really well, it's a doddle really and everyone is so lovely.  Got the contract to sign now so probation period is officially over.  Hooray!

I have been reading loads, so much I'm well behind on the book reviews aren't I?  In fact I'm still to sit down and concentrate on one properly but the paperbacks keeping beckoning to me.

And finally I've been working on the same short story for ages now.  Can't seem to get it right, finally seeked advice off friends but I'm still not happy with it.  I certainly don't think it's competition material or even worth submitting to a magazine or anything.  I'm quite cross with myself for producing drivel.  Think I'll start another - it involves tea. 

Thursday, 6 January 2011

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner - Book Review

Again, this was another novella so you're getting the short version.  You're probably sick of Twilight stuff, I know I am.  I was never a big fan to begin with but I was curious about the fascination with it all so I read it.  I must say, she's clever, she has taken lots of cliches that grasp the affections of teenage girls all over the world and put them all into a story.  The good old fashioned love triangle darkened with fantasy creatures mixed with traditional values with some violence thrown in.  War, peace and love.  Yawn. 

Having finally read the Twilight saga it only seemed fair to read, what I hope is the final installment. All sagas must come to an end afterall. I can't help but feel that Stephanie Meyer only wrote this to cash in. I would have been much more gripped by Victoria's tale of woe. Imagine the pain she felt when the Cullens killed James? Imagine her dispair and then rage. It would have been fantastic to get into her mind instead of a newborn who was in the story for all of 5 minutes. I hope we see the end of this vampire phase soon.  Bring back Dracula and his blood sucking ways.  I want old fashioned monsters not contemporary creatures with ethics!!!!