Friday, April 18, 2014

When you finish a book and are like "huh?"

I'm not good at giving up on books I'm reading (when I'm writing them it seems to be all too easy *sad laugh*). But when I've started a new book, it takes ALOT for me to not finish it. I have got to HATE what I'm reading to put it aside.

I'm driven by rampant curiosity, always desperate to know what happens in the end. And before you suggest it, it's not something I can resolve by flipping to the last few pages...I need to experience the whole damn thing!  It's the same with movies, and television shows - although I've gotten better at abandoning TV shows as there are simply too many to keep up with. But with books - let's just say there are very few tomes I've willingly left unfinished.

Which is why I recently spent hours upon hours of my life trudging through A Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin. I was inspired to read it by the recently made movie starring Colin Farrell. Since the days of American Outlaws (the most cheesy but awesome modernly made western ever) I've held a special place in my heart for Colin. Annoyingly I still haven't seen the movie, as it appears to have only been released in London, despite the fact that Tesco was carrying the book branded with the movie's poster, which to me suggests a wider release.

I want to tell you what this book is about, but that's the crux of my issue. 700+ pages later and I'm not entirely sure what happened. I can tell you it takes place over 100 years, I can tell you it takes place in New York City. And I can tell you that there's this guy called Peter Lake (Colin Farrell in the movie) and a giant magical horse...who might be an angel? I can tell you lots of things...but I can't tell you what actually happened. Because I have no idea. I think it's about love - the book starts with Peter Lake falling in love with a girl named Beverley who dies...and then years pass and we meet a whole bunch of new characters, and then suddenly Peter Lake shows up 100 years in the future having not aged a bit. I still don't know how he got there...

I'm baffled people. The writing was beautiful and at times I thought I knew what was going on, and I enjoyed it. But then the book just ended (I never see the ending coming with my Kindle, as I can't visualize how many pages are left) and I was left with a giant "what now?" of disbelief.

I tried really hard to find something online that would explain what I'd just read, but there's not a lot out there to help me. Just some reviews that don't really focus on the ending. The book is 30 odd years's Wikipedia page is woefully brief. I have a feeling the movie is probably loosely based on the book, as I'm not entirely sure what I just read is screen that's probably a dead end in figuring out what happened properly.

I think it might have had to do with God and Heaven...


Have you ever finished a book and just been left completely flabbergasted? I'm not talking 'Breaking Dawn, wtf was Stephanie Meyer thinking?' kind of flabbergasted...but you know, a book where you genuinely didn't get it?

Do share below.

I hope everyone is having a great Easter Weekend. I'm going to spend some of it reading a joyful YA novel that I'm sure I will understand from start to finish.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

A love letter to Veronica Mars

It's been far too long, again, since I last updated this blog. Apparently being a grown up is far more time consuming that I'd ever imagined. Between working, commuting, cleaning, cooking...well guys, it's a bitch. I have had some time to squeeze in some writing, but it's been a slow process. Alas.

Today what I want to talk about is Veronica Mars. If you know much about me, then you may know that I am a die-hard Veronica Mars fan. I discovered it the summer after the first season aired. I was 17 and absolutely floored by Kristen Bell as Veronica. She was smart, witty, tough. Everything I, a quiet wallflower, wished I could be.

I binge-watched the first season over the course of two days on a trip to my Nana's house. Then I rewatched it over the next several weeks. By the time season 2 premiered I was telling anyone and everyone how awesome Veronica was.

When the show got cancelled in 2007 I was devastated. I did everything I could to try and get it back – sent Mars Bars and postcards to the WB, wrote lengthy emails. But it was gone.

I was especially perturbed as Rob Thomas, the series creator, left so much of the show unresolved in that last episode. I couldn't even bring myself to rewatch the third season. I bought it the day it came out on DVD, and then left it shrink-wrapped on my shelf for nearly seven years.

For years the question of a movie rattled around the web. It seemed Kristen Bell and Rob Thomas couldn't get through an interview without it being mentioned. I would chase th
ese crumbs like a hungry mouse. But nothing came of it...until last year when they announced the Kickstarter Campaign.

Let me tell you people, it was a dark week for me. I was in Canada waiting for my Fiancé visa so I could return to the UK, and I was terrified it was going to be rejected. I was in a tailspin of bad what ifs. I also hadn't seen my (now) husband in weeks, which was difficult. But when I found out about that campaign I was walking on air. I pledged immediately, and then pledged more when they opened up reward shipping options to Canada and the UK. I would have given every penny I had, if I had that many pennies, but I didn't. I still wish I could have afforded a ticket to one of the premieres. At least I got a cool T-shirt (which I've never seen as it got shipped to Canada and I'm in the UK now, but I'll get it soon!).

And now, after a year of eagerly waiting, the Veronica Mars movie is out! I drove 65 miles from my work to Bristol last night to catch it on the big screen and it was amazing. The theatre was close to full and it was so great to get to experience it alongside other fans. It was hard at first to get use to how much all the characters had aged/changed, but it was also exciting. Jason Dohring as

I'm so happy this film got made. And I so hope that they make enough money to spur a sequel, and another sequel, and maybe a series on Netflix. But even if that doesn't happen, I can finally say that Veronica Mars has ended on a high note. I can go back and watch the whole series, and then the movie, and feel satisfied and happy. This is what I've wanted most for the past seven years. But as a bonus, they're releasing a novel in the next few weeks, so the story of Veronica and her pals in Neptune will continue.

As someone who loves good stories, Veronic Mars ticked every box. Imaginative plots, unparalleled wit, and an epic love story make it one of the best TV shows of my lifetime. Now it's one of my favourite movies, and this afternoon, I'm going to watch it again! And maybe again tomorrow. Then I might go back and rewatch the whole series (even though I just finished doing that a couple weeks ago). In between all this I promise to do some writing, after all – what's more inspiring to a writer than a really great story?

If you haven't seen Veronica Mars, I wholly suggest watching it now – whether you start from the beginning of the series (which I recommend) or even just check out the movie (which stands alone from the series enough for newbies). 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

My Greatest Weakness as a Writer

I probably have a million weaknesses when it comes to writing. I'm sure all writers do, and those who say they don't are probably lying to you, or themselves. It's not an easy task, writing. It's a gruelling yet exhilarating process. Even if you're writing a silly romance novel, it's part of you. Those are your words, no one else's. And they matter to you. So much that you obsesses over them, bite your nails over them. And the very idea of someone else reading them - terrifying.

But I'm getting off track here. What I'm trying to say is that writing makes you aware, painfully aware, of just how crap you are. Of course, it also makes you aware of just how brilliant you are. And when I'm writing, my weaknesses show like a flashing red light, reminding me that witty and charming dialogue is nice enough, but plots need thickening and characters need kicking in the ass.

I'm too good to my characters. I don't like to make them suffer. This isn't my greatest weakness though, albeit it is one of them.

No my greatest weakness is that I believe in love. I mean like I BELIEVE IN IT. Maybe it's because I married the first man I ever fell in love with, or maybe it's because I'm a victim of a happy childhood. My parents were loving and happy and their relationship was amazing. Had my mom not passed away, I have no doubt that they would have been together until they were withered and old - but blissfully happy.

Either way, in my head falling in love once means falling in love forever. True love never ends and happy endings are oh so real. Maybe I'm deluded. Maybe I'm living on another planet. But love is powerful and I, well I love it.

Why does this make me weak? Because when I'm writing a love story, and let's face it, I'm always writing a love story, I can never really bring myself to break my characters' hearts. I can't break apart people who are in love. It seems so so wrong.

Case in point, the novel I'm working on right now. My protagonist is falling in love with the completely wrong guy. These two are NOT supposed to end up together. If they do it will be all sorts of weird and scandalous. But I can't seem to pull her out of it. It'd be better for her, better for him, better for their families, and better for a whole bloody country if they are not together.

But my word, she loves him. And love is supposed to be forever damn it!

It's a nightmare.

The good news is that the book isn't done, no where near it, and maybe just maybe I'll find away to make them part ways. Maybe there's another, better guy waiting for her. Someone who won't complicate her life so heinously. Maybe the story will evolve and it will right itself and end perfectly. I mean, just look at Starkissed. When I started that one (SPOILER ALERT) Sydney was meant for Colin...destined for him...and look how that turned out.

But until then I'm spinning around in circles trying to write myself out of this love story, and I have no idea how.

So there it is people, my greatest weakness as a writer. I believe in never ending, life shattering, heart stopping love. Of course, this could be my greatest strength as well. I mean what's better than a book with a proper 'they lived happily ever after' ending?

Now I've confessed mine, it's time to confess yours. Writers out there, what is your greatest weakness?

Sunday, January 12, 2014


Hello lovely people,

Today I just wanted to drop a quick line to tell you that I've started a newsletter to make it even easier for you to keep up to date with whats going on in Brynnaland. I promise no spam, just a one in a while check-in that will include news, freebies, previews, and contests! If you'd like to register you can use the tab above, or this link:

I hope everyone is having a great weekend! Stay tuned for new posts in the week!


Thursday, January 9, 2014

Procrastination and Writing Rituals

I used to be the worst of procrastinators. When it came to doing homework in High School I would pretty much do anything but what I was supposed to be doing. On Friday afternoons, Monday just seemed so far away. Why would I do my homework then and get it out of the way when I could miserably spend my Sunday night scrambling to do it instead? And during the week, well I can't tell you how many mornings I spent frantically trying to finish my homework sat on the hallway floor in front of my locker, minutes before class was set to begin. It was ridiculous. People would be standing over me, trying to get in their lockers and I'd be trying to find quotes from Animal Farm to put on my English worksheet.

If ever did manage to force myself to sit down and get something done, something else would always seem far more important. Like cleaning my room. How on earth could I possibly write an essay when my room was in shambles? Not that my room ever seemed to be in anything but shambles. Nonetheless, I would get up out of my chair and start putting the place back together. I'd see my floor for the first time in weeks, unearth old plates from meals far gone by, and things I'd deemed lost forever would suddenly reappear. It wasn't until my room was spick and span that I'd return to my chair, slump forward and finally start what I'd set out to do an hour earlier.

I've long since abandoned the majority of my procrastinator ways. Somewhere between High School and University I realized something astounding. Life is much more fun when you don't have stuff like homework hanging over your head. Honestly, it's amazing how good it feels to know you can sit down to watch a movie and not have to worry about a pile of dishes, or having to go pay some bills. When I'm at work I do all the bits I hate first. It makes the day go by so much smoother.

As good as I am now at getting stuff dealt with, one niggling thing has remained from my high school days. Remember how I said I used to clean my room instead of doing my work? Well now I can't do anything productive writing wise unless my office is clean. A silly habit born of procrastination has morphed into a writing ritual that I simply can't shake off. Whenever I decide to sit down and start typing out a new chapter or maybe edit something, my creativity is stifled by the clutter on my desk. So I have to get up and tidy the thing, and then work my way through the rest of the room until it's all nice and pretty.

So tell me. Are you a big procrastinator? Have you managed to kick the habit like me? And you writers out there, are there any rituals you just have to complete before you can get anything done?