Wednesday, 19 November 2014

What's Up Wednesday

Hi everyone :D It's Wednesday again, woo hoo! Join in the bloghop, hosted by the delightful Jaime and Erin ^_^

What I'm Reading

I have read The Raven Boys. I understand now, everyone. I truly do. I sure do love it when a book lives up to all the hype ^_^ I'm just reading James Smythe's The Testament before diving into The Dream Thieves. I'm really looking forward to it :D

What I'm Writing

Editing is finally back on track. Something cracked and fell into place last week. Aaaaah! Feels good to be moving forward again. I even renamed my MC. She didn't feel much like her original incarnation from Resistance, so I had to give her a new identity. Now all I need is a title for the actual book ;)

What Works For Me

Perseverance. If you want to get somewhere in life, you better learn how to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and keep going.


What Else I'm Up To

Kingdom Hearts. Hahahahahahaaaa, I never seem to fully remember what I'm getting myself back into with this fangirl love ^^; I just finished 1.5 the other day and damn, the end of 358/2 Days gets me every time. The music from all the games is so perfect to edit with, especially when my MC needs to be especially angsty.

Why oh why did I agree to wait until Christmas for 2.5?! The fangirl cannot be contained... I can't wait to play the Final Mix versions of Kingdom Hearts II and Birth By Sleep. Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!! But AAAARGH SO MUCH TIME!

(You know I'm grateful, Jaffa ;) I CAN HAS HEARTLESS PLUSHIE?! :D)

Hope you all have a great week! I'm off to distract the rabid fangirl I have unleashed...

Monday, 17 November 2014

Miss Cole's Tea Time - Whittard Original Blend

Oh, how I wish we still had a Whittard shop in Brighton. I went all the way to *Edinburgh* for these teabags...

(Just to note, I don't actually have to go to Scotland for Whittard tea. I can just swing by London. But still! Please come back to Brighton, Whittard. I miss you ;_;)

Anyway! Today, I thought I'd share some of their lovely Original Blend bagged tea. It's got a smooth taste and it's so relaxing, just what you need after a busy day at work and need to transition your headspace from working to writing. This a good thinking tea, too. Thinking when I'm editing, thinking when I'm reading, thinking when I'm playing the violin. I also like to take some bags to work. Nannying can be pretty hectic, and this is such a perfect tea to have when I have a spare five minutes. It's one for the "aaaaah!" list ;)

This is another perfect replacement for Twining's Everyday tea, which I know can be tricky to find in some parts of the world. And Whittard's will deliver internationally, woo hoo!

Have you got a favourite thinking tea? ^_^

Friday, 14 November 2014

Meet My TBR Pile

I am desperately attempting to bring my TBR pile under control... Here's a photo:

On the left we have all my YA, and on the right all my adult novels. I should mention that everything from The Miniaturist up on the adult pile are books I'm borrowing from family members. As you can see, my adult pile does outweigh my YA. Just because I write YA doesn't mean I have to limit myself to only reading it. The more you read, the broader your horizons will be ^_^

So, here are some TBR pile stats!

Book Stuck In Here The Longest: I'm not entirely sure, but I think it's Everlost.

Newest Book: Not including what I'm currently reading, A Spy in the House and 172 Hours on the Moon.

Book I'll Be Reading Next: Oooooh... Probably one of the two James Smythe books... I really like his writing style.

Genres: Hmm, predominantly sci-fi and thrillers, although there's at least one alternate history in there...

How's your TBR pile shaping up? Share yours on your blog :D

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

What's Up Wednesday

Hello again everyone. It's time to join in Jaime and Erin's What's Up Wednesday :D

What I'm Reading

Finished the newest addition to the Young Bond series, Shoot to Kill. The series has been passed over to author Steve Cole, and he's doing a great job. I loved the old Hollywood setting for the new book. I hope the next book is a bit longer though. Blasted through this one so fast, I just had to re-read my favourite in the series, Double or Die. And now I'm going back to Silverfin because I love it too... Although I shall have to be gentle as the book is falling apart...

Gosh, is that a good reason to buy the whole set with the new covers or what?!

What I'm Writing

Editing has turned back into writing as my main character was crying out for some major development. Progress continues to be slow. My working life is quite busy at the moment.

What Works For Me

Music, as always. After going to a Distant Worlds concert the other week, I've been very inspired, both as a writer and as a violinist.

What Else I'm Up To

Went to London on Sunday to hang out with Emma and Sophie. It was great, and it's always so good to hang out with fellow writers, readers and bloggers ^_^ Can't wait for our next meet up in 2015, and Laura, you'll be there too :D

Monday, 10 November 2014

Miss Cole's Tea Time - Willow Tea Rooms' Ceylon

Ceylon tea is a firm favourite, and when I was in Scotland last month, I was so happy to finally find Ceylon in loose leaf caddies rather than in bags. In fact, I found lots of Ceylon, so there will be more reviews in the future ;)

When I stopped at the Willow Tea Rooms for breakfast the second time, I had myself a pot of their delicious Ceylon tea. Now I'm home, I like to use it as my plot pondering tea. Editing has been a bit of a struggle lately, and so, with a cup of strong Ceylon (this definitely has a stronger taste than the Twinings Ceylon I've reviewed previously), I can sit down and mull over what it is that's not working in this book.

The issue is the main character. She's currently undergoing some major development, which will hopefully get the editing back on track.

How about you? Do you have a favourite tea to make when you need to sit down and think things through?

Friday, 7 November 2014

That One Time I Bought A Notebook...

Despite the fact I have a novel I'm currently editing, my brain seems to have shiny new ideas on an hourly basis. Walking around London last Saturday morning, I found myself musing on a whole bunch of things that don't really go together, and the next thing I knew I'd bought a new notebook to commit a SNI to paper, and plonked myself down in a cafe with a cuppa...
Then I came to my senses, realised said SNI was a tad blah, and went back to editing.

That shiny new notebook is now my "homework" book for my violin lessons. (Note to self - work on those scales to improve intonation!)

Sometimes I get so caught up in the rush of wanting to start something new, I get carried away. Was that idea milling around my head last Saturday any good? Maybe. Am I ready to write it? Nope!

Still, it's good to know my brain is hard at work cooking up new ideas, whether I'm ready for them or not. And I can still write down something, even if the idea isn't ready to be fully developed.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Distant Worlds: Music From Final Fantasy

On Saturday, I went to Distant Worlds, a concert of music from the Final Fantasy series of games, most of which was composed by Nobou Uematsu.

It was magical.

They opened with the Hymn of the Fayth from Final Fantasy X, which was absolutely beautiful, and went into the greatest boss battle music of all time, One Winged Angel from Final Fantasy VII. That piece of music needs to be heard live. Wow!

Each piece of music was introduced by Arnie Roth, the conductor and a wonderful violinist. He performed alongside Nobou Uematsu during Dark World from Final Fantasy VI (check the link out for the particularly excited fan in our audience). The Battle Medley of music from V, VII and X was brilliant, especially when the choir struck victory poses during the fanfare. "Answers", from Final Fantasy XIV was so moving, as was "Zanarkand", from Final Fantasy X. The arrangements of Final Fantasy VI's character themes went together so nicely, too. And they made use of the Royal Albert Hall's epic pipe organ for Kefka's theme, Dancing Mad. I was seated very close to it, so I really felt the full force of such a magnificent instrument. We were even treated to newly arranged pieces from Final Fantasy IX. And, after some encore treats, they ended on the "Chocobo Theme", complete with video montage. It was brilliant! Nostalgia win.

Pictured: LOADS of Final Fantasy fans
Attending this concert, after years of hearing about it, was a dream come true. Hearing a live orchestra perform the Main Theme from Final Fantasy VII, with graphics from the original game on the screen, reduced me to tears. It took me back to the wonder I experienced when I first played it, because Final Fantasy VII is very special to me.

In December 1997, my eldest brother came home from university with his PlayStation and a copy of Final Fantasy VII which, at the time, had the best graphics EVER.

No, really! Best graphics of ALL TIME..., it was a simpler time...

Anyway, after my brother let me play a bit of his save (he was just about to go to Wall Market), I knew I needed to give this game a go myself.

On December 14th 1997, a love (*cough*obsession*cough*) was born. I completed the first disk two weeks later (although I didn't complete the entire game until Easter, due to lack of PlayStation). Beating Demon Gate on my birthday is a particularly fond memory. Man, defeating that thing took all of Christmas! And, of course, THAT moment of the game happened and it was the first time I cried at a videogame.

Reading a diary I kept between the ages of 11 and 16 is, um, interesting?? ^^;

The stories we love the most resonate with our lives. When I played Final Fantasy VII that first time, I was going through some big changes. I was new to senior school, and a bit lost in how huge it all was. I had a hard time making friends, and I didn't really want to let go of the one friend I had, even though she was moving on, being far more socially skilled than I was. But then Final Fantasy VII came along with a main character who was every bit as socially inept and lost in things as I was. And suddenly, I had my inspiration to keep going. Thanks to Cloud learning to accept who he really was, and being surrounded by people who accepted him, I realised that I could be myself, too, and I'd find new friends who'd accept me for the person I am.

I will always love this game, and the hope and inspiration it brought me as a child, and still brings me as an adult. It helped me through tough times, taught me to never give up (handy, when you're querying ;)) and it led me to a room the size of the Royal Albert Hall, full of people who would definitely accept me for the fangirl I am.

So, yes, Distant Worlds was one of the best musical experiences of my life, and if you're a Final Fantasy fan, check out their website and find a concert near you! I can't wait to go again and experience different pieces from this series (and more from VII, of course ;))