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All posts for the month May, 2013

B is for Books

Published 26/05/2013 by julierkendrick

Continuing the A-Z theme, B is unsurprisingly for Books.

Being as passionate as I am about writing, it obviously follows that I am just as passionate about books, A is for Author has already laid testament to that fact.

Working in a book shop is the most amazing job for me and I am extremely lucky that I work in one of the best. Being surrounded by brand spanking new, pristine books with their crisp pages and intoxicating smell is a joy I get to experience for about 20 hours every single week. I have had many jobs from being a driving instructor to a police officer but I have to say that this is by far my most favourite. I love it when our daily delivery arrives and I get to rummage through the big totes full of books to see if any new releases have been sent, and of course keeping one or two (or three) aside for myself.

The Best Book Shop

The Best Book Shop

There is, of course, a down side to working with books….. oh yes there really is.

Firstly, most of my wages end up going in the till. ūüė¶

There is also the very minor matter of having no more room for books in my house. Of course I bought a Kindle, and I love it, but there is no substitute for the real thing.

I have persuaded my long suffering book widower to fill our spare room with shelves because I have made a radical decision. I will only keep books that I haven’t read. (Excuse me while I have a few palpitations here). Now that may not seem radical to you but when you have been reading for nearly 40 years and have still got most of the books you started reading at 6, you have a slight storage problem. When I told Trevor my plan I could see he was genuinely pleased that books would be leaving our house but, as he knows me so well he knows they have also continued to arrive in their droves. My ‘to read’ list is huge and this isn’t a metaphorical list. Oh no. I actually buy the books I want to read even though I haven’t read the last 200 I bought.

A small sample of my 'to read' books

A small sample of my ‘to read’ books

Anyway, my latest project was to get my books organised. A very exciting job. ¬†I piled all of the unread ones on my bed and got one of my many many notepads (another addiction, but we’ll leave that one for now) and labelled the pages A-Z. I then entered each book, alphabetically by author until every single one was recorded.

OK, so what is the point? Aha! that is the ingeniousness of this plan. When you have as many books on your ‘to read’ list as I do, you can imagine that I invariably forget what I have already got. How then can I add books unless I have an organised record of each one? See… genius.

Just don’t tell Trevor.

My book bible

My book bible

 

Catch ya later – Julie ūüôā

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A is for Author

Published 03/05/2013 by julierkendrick

Well it is the start of my new blogging journey. Blogging from A – Z. Unsurprisingly I will be starting with A and I think it would be silly if I didn’t write about being an author.

Most authors have someone who inspired them to start writing. ¬†It may have been a teacher or parent but I would guess that for most it is someone who wrote the books they loved to read as a child. I, like most little girls growing up in the 70’s and 80’s loved Enid Blyton. I devoured everything I could get my hands on that had been penned by her from The Wishing Chair to Malory Towers. ¬†So quintessentially English but nothing like the childhood I knew. ¬† Growing up in the heart of East London couldn’t be further removed from the beautiful countryside and lashings of ginger beer the Famous Five were used to. But for me that was the appeal. Stories of boarding school, children detectives, a wonderland at the top of a tree and a chair that could fly constantly stimulated my imagination and the stories I wrote in my wallpaper covered exercise books were full of amazing fairies and rainbows and don’t forget lashing of ginger beer.

Enid Blyton

Enid Blyton

As I grew older my love for reading grew with me. I moved on to books by Judy Blume which helped me through my teenage years with stories such as “Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret?” and Deenie. I still had a good stock of Enid Blyton’s to read and re-read though.

It was when I reached the age of about 15 that I discovered horror, in the form of none other than Stephen King. I still remember the first book of his I read; Cujo, the story of a dog who catches rabies told from the dog’s point of view. Amazing! This was a whole new world of reading for me and probably the first book that made me cry (I could never watch the film). This book was quickly followed by Pet Semetary, Thinner, Salem’s Lot and It (which was the inspiration for my story Chuckles). How could one author, scare me, amuse me and make me cry all in one book? I just wanted to be able to do that too. ¬†Richard Laymon, James Herbert, Dean Koontz, Sean Hutson are amazing horror writers all of whom have inspired me and continue to do so.

The Original Cover I Had

The Original Cover I Had

Stephen King

Stephen King

Now, though there is an new genre it’s called YA or young adult. Wow, this didn’t exist when I was a young adult. So there was nothing to ease us in to the world of adult fiction. ¬† That’s not necessarily a bad thing but I am envious of the teenagers of today, so many authors writing just for them. ¬†The world of writing has expanded like never before and as subject matter pretty much anything goes. Young adults are not stupid or gullible and they don’t like to be patronised or humoured with watered down adult fiction. Oh no, YA tackles gritty subjects like ¬†death, puberty, sex, divorce and an endless list of issues that affect the youth of today. But they are also still very young at heart and have the joy of books like Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging and Diary of a Wimpy Kid. In fact the YA genre has exploded on to the scene so comprehensively that more adults than ever are buying books from this section. ¬†Some of my new favourite authors write for the YA market, Amanda Hocking, Cassandra Clare and Lauren Kate to name but 3 and there are more being published every day.

So with all of this inspiration, all of these wonderful stories written by extremely talented authors how the hell will I ever measure up? You know what? It doesn’t matter, but I wont know until I try.

With 14 published short stories under my belt I am now in the process of writing two books, both aimed at the YA market. One is a paranormal romance and the other a genre fusion of paranormal and crime. I’ll keep you updated with how they progress.

Oh and by the way I still have a copy of The Wishing Chair on my shelf.

Wishing Chair

Wishing Chair

See you all soon.

Julie ūüôā

Caribbean Chronicles – Part Eight

Published 01/05/2013 by julierkendrick

It was our last day at sea and as we woke we took stock of our view out of our window and tried to commit the beautiful blue sea and sky to memory. It really was going to be a bittersweet day. The last one on the boat, the last day spent with the Perrymans and the last day of relaxation in paradise.

After breakfast I wandered round the boat with my camera taking pictures of everything I could so that I would never forget it all. The theatre where we watched so many wonderful shows, the different bars and staff members. The ornate decor and of course our room number. This is a little ritual I have whenever I stay anywhere I always take a photo of my room door so I can remember the number. Weird I know but hey we all have our foibles.

Suite 1278

Suite 1278

Beautiful Lift lobby

Beautiful Lift lobby

We had arranged to meet the Perrymans on the deck for a last sunbathing/rum guzzling session, however when I walked out on deck it was so so windy the sun loungers were flying all over the place. People were fighting against the wind and books and magazines were spinning around like little mini tornadoes.  It was still sunny though and the die hard sun worshipers were steadfastly hanging on to their beds, their faces turned to the rays. I struggled along the

deck to the back end (no idea what this is called) and found a little area where they was no mad wind and waited for the others to turn up and find me. After an hour of reading alone I got bored and decided to brave the elements and try to find everyone. ¬†By the time I found them, down the other end of the ship clinging to their beds, I was tired from battling the wind and gratefully sat down. ¬†I had been sitting for no more than 2 minutes when I heard someone exclaim “Bloody hell look at that”. We all turned towards the sound of the voice to see an¬†enormous¬†black cloud coming our way pretty quickly. Before we could get inside the cloud passed over the ship, dumping its watery contents everywhere and carried on its merry way. Soaked but laughing we went back inside to change and had our rum guzzling session in the sports bar instead.

Dinner that night was a really sad affair, the waiters all came and said goodbye and sang their last song. We had some photos taken to mark the occasion and then Diane told me she had bought me a little gift to remind me of her. I was touched until I opened it and saw she had bought me a monkey toothpick holder. Laughing I promised that I would keep it on my dining table always. I have done just that and I am looking at it as I type.

The Monkey Toothpick Holder

The Monkey Toothpick Holder

The next day dawned as beautifully as ever and we were in Puerto Rico again. We sadly went down to breakfast and ate our final meal. At 10am we left the ship for the last time and started our long long journey home. Puerto Rico to JFK, New York and from there to Heathrow. ¬†No problems flight wise other than the fact that on the journey to Heathrow we were flying at night and the plane was only about 1/3 full. This was great until I decided to lie down on a row of 5 seats to sleep. I had just dozed off when I was rudely woken by a girl in her 20’s telling me to move. She said that as she had sat at the end seat first she should be able to lie down. I pointed out that when I had chosen her row she was fast sleep in her chair sitting upright. Anyway the upshot of it was that I refused to move and she spent the next hour kicking me until I told her to bugger off. After that she left me alone but I never did go back to sleep.

Arriving back in London we retrieved our luggage and went outside to catch the bus to the car park. Stupidly I was wearing only a thin dress and nearly had a heart attack when we left the airport to a temperature of approx 2 degrees.

3 hours later we were home. Sad but full of amazing memories. The welcome we received from our two dogs was enough to put the smiles back on our faces.

So that is the end of Caribbean Chronicles. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed reliving it.

I have no other holidays planned just yet but do have a new plan for my blogs. April was A-Z month and although I don’t want to write a blog every day each time I do the subject will begin with the next letter of the alphabet. I think that will definitely prove to be a challenge with some letters.

Until then, toodles.

Julie ūüôā