Bella’s Scribblings: Holiday Planning

rp_Bella-185x3001111.jpgI ragged my holiday – well not exactly.

Any of you lovely people who have read my column before may have picked up the fact that sometimes I quite like to plan things. Okay, maybe it’s a bit more than sometimes and perhaps I really like it… Okay! I admit it I have to plan things and I love it – there are you happy now?

So it should be no surprise that when it comes to holidays these too are planned. I am very proud to say that all of 2015’s holidays were booked by October 2014 and 2016’s main holiday is in the bag. (Smug grin). Now usually that would be sufficient but this year things are a little different, this year we are going to Walt Disney World in Florida and it is a return visit so we have the benefit of our ‘Lessons Learned’ from our trip three years ago (dusts off file).

My husband was not surprised when I counted out the days on the calendar and placed reminders at 180 days before our holiday (that’s when you can make Disney Dining reservations), 60 days before (that’s when you can book your Fastpass Plus times for specific rides you want to go on), up to 30 days before you can customize your Magicband (a very clever bracelet that is your room key, your park entry ticket, your Fastpass Plus selections and a contactless wallet so you can tap and pay and it charges to your credit card!)

Husband and child were not surprised when a spreadsheet was produced that detailed all the information that had been booked and noted down reference numbers and the outcomes of the family discussions we had held e.g. what was our top priority at Universal? Character breakfast with Winnie the Pooh or Lilo and Stitch? Fireworks at Epcot or Magic Kingdom? (Answers were Minions, Lilo and Stitch and Epcot – I voted for Harry Potter but was outvoted – glum face).

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Novel Kicks Fiction Friday: Reversing

rp_friday-300x164111111111111.pngFriday 27th March 2015: Reversing

Fiction Friday is our weekly writing prompt. The aim is to write for a minimum of five minutes and then keep going for as long as you can. Once you’ve finished, don’t edit, just post in the comments box below.

Today’s prompt: What would happen if you woke up one day to find that you were ageing in reverse? You weren’t getting older, you were getting younger. What would you do first? What would happen? How would it end? Can you stop it and would you want to?

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Review: The Day We Disappeared by Lucy Robinson

The DayAnnie has a secret. But if she’s not going to tell, we won’t either. It’s a heart-breaking secret she wishes she didn’t have – yet Annie isn’t broken, not quite yet. Especially now there’s someone out there who seems determined to fix her.

Kate has run away. But she’s not going to tell us why – that would defeat the point of running, wouldn’t it? It’s proving difficult to reinvent herself, however, with one person always on her mind.

Scratch beneath the surface and nobody is really who they seem. Even Annie and Kate, two old friends, aren’t entirely sure who they are any more. Perhaps you can work it out, before their pasts catch up with them for good . . .

A gripping and unpredictable story of two young women running from their pasts. We defy you to guess the twist . . .

 

Lucy Robinson’s books have always been on my TBR list, but they’ve never made it to the top. I loved the blurb on this book, so couldn’t help myself.

I loved this. I couldn’t put it down once I got into it. I was reading in lunch breaks, which I never usually take, when I wasn’t reading it, I was thinking about it. When I finished it, I couldn’t get the characters out my mind.

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Author Interview: Miranda Richmond Mouillot

Work SpaceA Fifty-Year Silence is the new book from author, Miranda Richmond Mouillot and was released today. Miranda has joined us to chat about her new book. Firstly, she tells us a little about A Fifty-Year Silence and what inspired her to write it? 

In 1953, my grandmother, Anna Munster, packed her bags and walked out on my grandfather Armand Jacoubovitch, taking the typewriter, a grapefruit knife, and their two children.

Five years before that day, in 1948, Armand and Anna bought a ruined stone house in the south of France a month before moving to America to start a new life.

Eight years before that day, in 1945, Anna gave birth to their first child while Armand prepared to begin his job at the Nuremberg Trials as one of just two or three court interpreters who were also victims of the accused.

Eleven years before that day, in 1942, Armand and Anna climbed over the Alps in a snowstorm, reached the border an hour after the guards had gone off duty, and escaped Nazi-occupied France to neutral Switzerland.

Thirteen years before that day, in 1940, when France fell to the Nazis, Armand walked three hundred kilometers to hide out with Anna in a village in the French Pyrenees.

And seventeen years before that day, in 1936, Armand and Anna met in a café in Strasbourg and fell passionately in love.

Or did they?

Here’s the thing: I never knew.

The story of what happened between my grandparents both before and after their divorce was total enigma to me throughout my childhood and young adult life. No one could tell me when or how they had met, or when or why they had gotten married. No one could explain just what had made their separation so acrimonious. No one knew, because half a century later, they still wouldn’t speak to one another. If they referred each other at all, it was in cryptic half-sentences. My grandfather couldn’t even bear to utter my grandmother’s name. All that remained of their life together were a few snapshots in a faded photo album. Those snapshots, those tiny, beautiful remnants of a life the war had completely destroyed – they were the beginning of writing this book: from a young age, I desperately, desperately wanted to know what had happened between them.

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A Moment With: Holly Martin

author-shot-2 Holly Martin is the author or The Guestbook, The Sentinel and One Hundred Proposals (as well as One Hundred Christmas Proposals. All published by Carina.) She lives in Bedfordshire in a house with round windows.

She shares her five writing tips:

Read everything, the good, the bad, the ugly, the amazing. See how things work and how things don’t.

Watch people, listen to what they talk about, how they talk, walk and dress so you can create real life characters

Get people you trust to read it and give you feedback.

Don’t take any criticism or feedback personally

Never, ever give up

Learn more about Holly and her books at her blog: https://hollymartinwriter.wordpress.com

 

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News: Barbara Taylor Bradford Launches Writing Competition

barbara-taylor-bradfordBarbara Taylor Bradford OBE has joined forces with The Sunday Times to help discover the next generation of young female writers.

Barbara is an ambassador for the National Literacy Trust, an independent UK charity that transforms lives through literacy.

The Write Stuff short story competition is aimed at girls aged 11-18 and who live in the UK. It was launched nationwide on Sunday (22nd March.)

The competition has been initiated following research by National Literacy Trust of more than 14,000 girls revealing that only one in four girls aged 14 to 16 (23%) see writing as cool, and almost half prefer watching TV to reading (49%).

“I feel it’s critical to reach out to girls and young women who want to share a story they have created and inspire a new generation of female writers and readers. It’s really important that female authors like myself take the lead as role models for girls and young women and encourage them to reach their full potential,” says author, Barbara Taylor Bradford who is due to release her 30th novel, The Cavendon Women on 26th March 2015.

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Novel Kicks Fiction Friday: Switching

rp_friday-300x16411111111111.pngFriday 20th March 2015: Switching

Fiction Friday is our weekly writing prompt. The aim is to write for a minimum of five minutes and then keep going for as long as you can. Once you’ve finished, don’t edit, just post in the comments box below.

Today’s prompt: Think about something that has happened to you. It could be something strange, unusual or funny that happened to you as a child, or a teenager or something that happened last week. Once you have something, write about it from the perspective of someone else. You could also think of a situation someone you know has been in and put yourself in their shoes.

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Book News: Upcoming Releases

Spring will soon be on its way. It is only two weeks until the clocks go forward and there is a promise of longer evenings and lighter mornings. It also means new books. I wanted to share with you five of the books that I am most looking forward to reading so far this year…

 

Lisa JewellThe Girls by Lisa Jewell.

I love Lisa’s books and so I can’t wait for this one to be released. This one sounds very intriguing. The cover is so pretty too. This is due to be released by Century on 2nd July 2015.

Dark secrets, a devastating mystery and the games people play. You live on a picturesque communal garden square, an oasis in urban London where your children run free, in and out of other people’s houses. You’ve known your neighbours for years and you trust them. Implicitly. You think your children are safe. But are they really?Midsummer night: a thirteen-year-old girl is found unconscious in a dark corner of the garden square. What really happened to her? And who is responsible?

View on Amazon UK.

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Bella’s Scribblings: Exceedingly Good Expectations

rp_Bella-185x300111.jpgMy new claim to fame is that I have had a conversation with Mr Kipling about cakes. Not a dream, but a real life exchange with the real Mr Kipling. (Well, possibly not the real Mr Kipling because I don’t think there ever actually was a Mr Kipling who made the cakes – sorry if I’ve just shattered a fantasy).

Anyway, I love Twitter. Where else can you have a conversation with Mr Kipling? You see you really don’t know do you? ‘Mr Kipling’ (see I’ve put it in inverted commas just to prove that I know it’s not an actual person) asked me what type of Mr Kipling cake my book would be! Well, I was obviously thrilled but also a bit scared by the question.

Have you any idea how many different types of cake, slice and tart ‘Mr Kipling’ produces? Well it’s about twenty-six, which is more than enough to look through when you are put on the spot to decide which one your book is! This is the one only time I wished there was one of those silly questionnaires – ‘What type of Mr Kipling cake are you?’ but no, there’s never one when you need one is there?

Now, it is true, that there is a smidgeon of a chance that I over thought this one and that a complete review of all the Mr Kipling cake types alongside my story synopses was not essential but I had been asked a question and I wanted to give a thought through answer. The first Mr Kipling cake that popped into my head was French Fancy – yours too? How strange? Anyway, my book does have a couple of scenes in Paris but it is definitely not a French Fancy. Now don’t get me wrong, when the mood takes me I enjoy a French Fancy as much as the next person but it’s not my first choice and it’s not right for my book. My book simply isn’t that sweet.

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