Monday, 21 July 2014

Miss Cole's Tea Time - Kent and Sussex Pluckley Tea

Today I'm sharing a fantastic and extremely budget friendly tea. Kent and Sussex's Pluckley Tea isn't only amazing value for money, it's also delicious!

As great as it is to treat myself to the more expensive teas I've covered in these reviews, every now and then I have to rein myself in. It's not always easy finding budget-friendly tea that also tastes nice, but Pluckley is wonderful.  It's a nice, soothing cup to have as you take a seat, pick up a notebook and get to work.  I'm not working on anything in particular right now, so it's nice to sit at my desk, listen to some music and just see where my imagination goes.  This tea is a perfect accompaniment to the brainstorming!

I brew for three minutes, add milk, take it to my desk and sip while I daydream.  Aaaah, lovely!

What's your favourite budget-friendly tea?

Friday, 18 July 2014

The Writing Lifestyle: Cole's Writer's Lookbook Summer 2014

Oh yes, we writers sure are a stylish bunch.

We've got t-shirts, hoodies, pyjama bottoms and, best of all, lots of sweatpants.  I mean, why waste time getting dressed up when you have the perfect excuse to spend a day in your pyjamas or most comfortable clothes?

I mean, we've got the "just got out of bed and need to write" look...

There's the "bought these sweatpants just so I could sit around and write in them" look...

Don't forget hoodies. These are essential! Sometimes you need to stay warm... even in summer! Plus everyone knows wearing a hood produces even more words!


Ah, but maybe you have got to go out... so how about the "just showered, gotta go to work, but there's still time to write!" look?

And, best of all, the "just showered, not going anywhere... FRESH PYJAMAS!!!!" look :D

What's your favourite writer fashion style? ;)

Thursday, 17 July 2014

No, I Won't Write Every Day!

I used to think writing daily was essential. Like, if I stopped for even a single day, the idea would run away forever.

But then one day life got in the way and I stopped writing daily.

She's... she's lost it...

And guess what? The story didn't run away from me.

When you're really connecting with an idea, the need to write can completely take over and you'll find yourself writing daily no matter what. But not every idea is like that, and you shouldn't feel awful if you aren't writing every day.  Sometimes it's just not possible. Life has a habit of getting in the way and wearing you down, making the thought of sitting down and writing too exhausting to contemplate.

There are times when, despite all your good intentions, writing daily just isn't going to work.  And, like everything in writing, it just might not work for you at all.  Remember, my way, or another writer's way, doesn't and shouldn't be your way.  We're all unique.  Do what works for you.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

What's Up Wednesday - YALC Mini-Recap

Oh, hello, Wednesday! It's time for Jaime and Erin's What's Up Wednesday!

What I'm Reading

I finished Thirteen and quite liked it. It was exactly the kind of easy going thriller I needed.  Then I finally got back to the Jack Ryan series and wooooow, The Sum of All Fears totally made up for the disappointment that was Clear and Present Danger.  I LOVED THIS BOOK!!!!!! All 914 pages of it :D It was a real slow build, but when it got going WOW WOW WOW. It was like 24 meets Top Gun. I loved it! Annoyingly, these books are still out of print in the UK, so I'm waiting the next in the series to arrive from The Book Depository.

Then I really changed gears and read E. Lockhart's We Were Liars. I picked it up at YALC on Saturday. The lady at the Hot Key Books table was so enthusiastic, I couldn't say no to her. I don't want to say anything about this book other than read it and see what you think. I liked it. Read it in one go if possible.

Yesterday I read Seven Second Delay. It's been a while since I read a good dystopia, and I can safely say this one is very intriguing, with a good concept.  Fast paced and full of action, too. Highly recommended for anyone who loves dystopians but has been a little burnt out by them lately.

Now I'm heading back to the world of Jack Reacher with Persuader.

What I'm Writing

Blog posts, mostly.  I decided to take the summer off from any new projects... but my brain is chewing over several things, including a total rewrite of Resistance.  I want to hold off for now, though. Work's a bit too intense to try anything new. Instead, I'm going to let my imagination run wild and see what I can come up with ;)

What Else I'm Up To

YALC in London at the weekend was AMAZING :D Malorie Blackman, the Children's Laureate, arranged it and it was a spectacular event.  You can find my detailed report here, but suffice to say it was a brilliant day meeting fellow bloggers Emma, Laura and Sophie, and indulging all my bookish desires.  I got to meet Malorie herself *and* Charlie Higson, author of the amazing Young Bond series.  I sincerely hope YALC returns next year, and if you ever have a chance to attend it, or a book con local to you, go, go, go! It is so much fun!

What Inspires Me

YALC! Being around so many writers, published and unpublished, and listening to the panels was so inspiring. That is my world and one day, I will be a published part of it.

And my book will go on the wall! :D

Monday, 14 July 2014

Miss Cole's Tea Time - Twinings Ceylon

Ceylon tea is delightful. Every cup is like a hug. You take a sip and can't help but go "aaaaaaaaaah." It's so refreshing. It's a very relaxing tea, which means it's perfect to drink when you've had a long day at work but need to settle down to do some writing.

There are lots of types of Ceylon, but Twinings is my favourite.  If you're a bit apprehensive of trying tea, Ceylon would make a great first cup.  It's full of taste, but I find it wonderfully mild. It's also a nice alternative to Twinings' Every Day tea.

I brew mine for a minimum of three minutes and drink before I sit down at my desk. Like I said, this is such a relaxing blend, it's nice to use as a break to transition my headspace from day job to writing.

What's your favourite break time tea?

Sunday, 13 July 2014

YALC 2014

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending YALC - the UK's first (but hopefully not only!) Young Adult Lit Con.  It was *amazing*! I spent the day with the delightful Emma Adams, and also met Laura Crampton and Sophie Reid. Meeting other writers and bloggers was a real inspiration. Talk about being with your people!

The whole event was so exciting and really well put together.  The atmosphere was buzzing with excitement and enthusiasm. 


 I had a lot of fun at the freebie table. Alas, I didn't get in early enough for the ARCs, but I am *loving* all the preview booklets.

Oooh, pretty!

:D Stuff! Lots of BOOK STUFF!


Much books. Such words. Wow.

I came home with a lot of books :D

I only made it to two panels, but they were well worth the time, with loads of really interesting points for both readers and writers.  I feel so inspired now, I am considering editing Violin!Story into something worth sharing...

Bring Me My Dragons Panel

Heroes of Horror Panel

I had the honour of speaking with Malorie Blackman, who did indeed sign my nineteen-year-old book. She was so warm and friendly, and I am so grateful to her for being the driving force behind YALC.  I also met Charlie Higson and gushed about my love of Double or Die, my favourite Young Bond novel. 

Emma and I did venture around the whole convention, as YALC was part of the London Film and Comic Con. Being a geek, I didn't leave without a few other fangirly favourites...


The Overlook doubles as a bookish t-shirt :D

All in all, it was an amazing event and I so hope they repeat it, because I will definitely get my act together and plan for a whole weekend trip next time.

Anybody else spend a great day/weekend at YALC?

Friday, 11 July 2014

The Writing Lifestyle: Just How Big Is That TBR Pile?

Being a writer means being a voracious reader, too.  Walking out of a bookshop without a new book is nigh on impossible, and no amount of bookshelves will ever be enough.  Buying books makes me really happy, and it's a great way to combat rejection or maintaining patience during querying.  Reading also keeps you up to date with publishing trends and, best of all, constantly encourages you to write the best book you're capable of.

I've always had a TBR pile, but I used to only buy a book at a time, figuring I'd always go back to the shop when I needed another one... Then I figured, why leave them in the shop when they can just wait for me at home?

My TBR pile is pretty varied, with YA, Adult and Non-Fiction titles.  Generally speaking, I rage from science-fiction and fantasy to thrillers and crime novels.  That's most of my TBR pile in my library cart in my office, but I have my next reads lined up by my bed... Although I've kind been putting them off in favour of others.  See, I can't even plan my reading.

And, thanks to my Kindle, my TBR pile is also digital! Honestly, it's just too easy to buy loads of books. I tend to use my Kindle for series that are huge (hello, Jack Reacher!), or books I can't find easily in the UK.

I doubt I will ever conquer my TBR pile.  Too many books, too little time.  But it sure looks pretty!