Weekly check-in

Sunday, May 10, 2015 Permalink

It’s been a good week for many reasons—some great books and some writing opportunities, so I’ll get straight into it!

What I read

I had a few nights away from books (and my bathtub—as the two are inextricably linked in my head!) so didn’t read quite as much this past week. I inadvertently went for quality over quantity it seems!

I started the week continuing my battle with Hillary Clinton’s Hard Choices. And… I’m afraid I made the far-easier choice to put it aside. It’s not that it’s bad as such, it’s just that I’m not sufficiently interested in foreign affairs and foreign policy (despite my former career in international aid and time as a diplomat!) to enjoy it. Sorry Hill!

And then I had the opportunity to read a chick lit novel by a virtual blogging friend. And—I LOVED it. Baby, It’s You is Joanne Tracey’s first novel and although she had some initial nibbles, she ended up self-publishing. Jo’s shared a blurb about it on her site and later, an interview with the lead character—Emily Porter—who’s a bit like a higher-functioning Bridget Jones. I’ll be reviewing the book on my blog Monday / Tuesday before its official launch date on Wednesday.

joanne-tracey_baby-its-you-comp

I then devoured Richard Montanari’s The Doll Maker. I’m not entirely sure when/where this novel was released as there were several dates for o/s and Oz releases so I gave up trying to work it out… but I really enjoyed this book and will be finding more in this series.

the doll maker

What I wrote

I finally posted my review of What You Can, When You Can—a book by US bloggers Carla Birnberg and Roni Noone. It’s a guide to health, fitness (and wellness) which sensibly promotes moderation in all things.

I shared a not-too-navel-gazing post about happiness and pondered the concept of being happy when one’s life is far from perfect.

I also published a tongue-in-cheek post about my Mother’s Day gift for my mother. #Spoileralert – it was me! (Or at least my time and company!)

And finally I reviewed The Doll Maker.

Other stuff

I decided to pitch my first piece to the local paper. I drafted the whole thing and sent it to the editor who’d said she’d be open to receiving something… only to discover she was away. However someone else got back to me saying they could certainly use it. It was too long (500 words) so they had to do some culling, but I’m excited to have been in print for the first time. It wasn’t a paid piece of work, but it’s certainly a start.

I did some other paid work though, for local companies (including my old one). It’s more of a monthly gig, but it means I’m starting to build my writing portfolio. Better still, I’m starting to get more confident with the idea of approaching potential clients and pitching.

What I’m reading this week

I received five new books last week, including the e-copy of The Doll Maker.

I’m about to start reading one of my other new arrivals—Saul Black’s The Killing Lessons, which I’m looking forward to. Killers inadvertently stumbling across an isolated farmhouse isn’t new to the thriller genre but, rather than a cat and mouse game with some unfortunate woman / family they have trapped, it sounds as if this book will focus on a  young witness the killers have (unknowingly) left behind.

the killing lessons

I’m writing this at my mother’s where I’m about to cook a Mother’s Day dinner. I’m not sure if I can top my scrambled eggs, bacon and hash brown concoction (mostly out of packets!) from brekkie, though am fairly sure the crackers and cheese we had at lunch won’t offer any competition! Anyhoo… I’m away so don’t have my books with me. But another new arrival from last week will be next on the list.

And that’s it for my weekly reading check in.

How was your week? What’s on your agenda for next week?

I’m linking up with Sheila from Book Journey for It’s Monday; and Kimberley at the Caffeinated Book Reviewer for the Sunday Post.

60 Comments
  • Red Iza
    May 10, 2015

    I think the Montanari was released last year ? It’s an author I’ve been tempted to read since he published The rosary girls. Your reflexions about life and health are meaningful to me, I’m in the middle of some life changes too – well, I’ve been for years, with ups and downs ! “What you can, when you can” seems like a good approach, I hate it when people tell us that if we’re not fit/thin, it’s because we have no will ; I think it’s because we’re looking at things from the wrong perspective. Enjoy your sunday 😉

    • Debbish
      May 10, 2015

      Glad you can relate to my ramblings….and thanks for the good wishes.

  • Jo
    May 10, 2015

    Thanks so much for the call out! And a huge congrats re your piece in the paper.

  • Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews
    May 10, 2015

    You’ve had a busy week, Deborah! Even if you read a little less, it seems that you ended up enjoying at least some of the books you picked up 🙂
    I want to try Baby It’s You, it sounds really good.
    I hope your piece in the paper will lead to more, and that they will pay you in the future.
    Have a wonderful week ahead, happy reading.

    • Debbish
      May 11, 2015

      Thanks Lexxie. I certainly feel more capable of pitching elsewhere etc.

  • fangswandsfairy
    May 10, 2015

    That’s great stuff! The lead female character in Nalini Singh’s newest audiobook ROCK ADDICTION works out a small business editing and doing research using her librarian skills. Your story reminded me….
    Also, a writer in the NYT last week – Krentz, recommended that new writers should self publish after a few queries.
    my post: http://fangswandsandfairydust.com/2015/05/back-to-the-garden.html

    • Debbish
      May 11, 2015

      I wonder if that was Jayne Krentz, as she’s such a prolific writer under her several guises!?

  • Laura Thomas
    May 11, 2015

    Wonderful news about your piece in the paper. I hope it leads to exciting things for you. Dying to start reading The Doll Maker. Such a wicked cover too!
    My Sunday Post – http://fuonlyknew.com/2015/05/10/whats-new-on-my-bookshelf-108-and-the-sunday-post/

    • Debbish
      May 11, 2015

      Yes The Doll Maker’s great and that version of the cover says it all….

  • Book Splurge
    May 11, 2015

    I think I will read Baby It’s You. this looks like the type of book that I read.Congrats on your piece in the paper. I hope you have a great week.

    • Debbish
      May 11, 2015

      Thanks and I hope you enjoy Baby, It’s You!

  • Rita @ View From My Home
    May 11, 2015

    Eclectic titles mentioned from last week and this one. I might be interested in The Doll Maker and the Killing Lessons, maybe even the chick-lit written by your friend. I am a mood reader and like to mix things up! Congrats on going after your writing career and I enjoyed your post on being happy. I see a therapist to deal with some issues and basically one of my problems is lack of self-worth that causes anxiety and depression. Well, I’m working on it 🙂 Enjoy your week and your bathtub reading and your writing!

    • Debbish
      May 11, 2015

      Thanks Rita and I can certainly relate to the self-worth issues as you would have noted from that ‘being happy’ post!

  • laurelrainsnow
    May 11, 2015

    Congrats! It is an honor to be in print…ENJOY!

    The Doll Maker looks intriguing…enjoy your week! Here are https://bluemondaysnomore.wordpress.com/2015/05/09/weekly-updates-happy-mothers-day/

    • Debbish
      May 11, 2015

      Yes, The Doll Maker was great Laurel so I’m keen to read more of Montanari’s novels!

  • Melissa's Eclectic Bookshelf
    May 11, 2015

    What a great week! And how exciting to be published in the paper!

    • Debbish
      May 11, 2015

      Yes indeed Melissa. I’ve been talking about pitching to (online or print) magazines for about a decade and done a few related courses but struggled with the confidence or bravado required…. so I’m relieved I finally did it!

  • Elizabeth
    May 11, 2015

    I reviewed The Doll Maker last month and loved it so much I went and got the first one in the series, The Rosary Girls, which was equally as thrilling. Baby It’s You sounds like a great summer read and the cover art is perfecto!
    Here’s My Week

    • Debbish
      May 11, 2015

      Hi Elizabeth and when I read about some of Montanari’s other novels I noted very good things were said about The Rosary Girls so I’d probably start there also!

  • Nise' (Under the Boardwalk)
    May 11, 2015

    The Doll Maker sounds like a great creepy read! Congrats on the newspaper article, continued success in that endeavor!

  • bluekaren
    May 11, 2015

    The Doll Maker looks really good. I have to go check out your review. Also, The Killing Lessons looks really cool. How the hell did I miss that book? I hope you enjoy it, I will be looking forward to your review. Happy reading!

    • Debbish
      May 11, 2015

      I actually read The Killing Lessons (in its entirety) last night (Sunday night here in Australia). From memory it’s a debut novel and I really quite enjoyed it (obviously!).

  • Stormi D Johnson
    May 11, 2015

    That book your reading sounds really interesting so I am going to go look it up. 🙂 Have a great day!

    Stormi
    Week in Review

    • Debbish
      May 11, 2015

      Thanks Stormi! Hope you also have a great day and week!

  • Greg
    May 11, 2015

    Glad it was a great week, and congrats on getting in print. I liked your post on being happy- got me thinking. You have a great point- at some point we have to be okay with being happy (or not unhappy) even if thing aren’t perfect.

    Have a great week.

    • Debbish
      May 11, 2015

      Oh yes Greg. It was a bit confronting when I realised I had certain perceptions about being ‘allowed’ to be happy if things weren’t as I thought they should be!

  • amyh90
    May 11, 2015

    Hi Deborah!
    Congratulations on being published! You should be so proud!! 😀 the first time is always the hardest so it’ll hopefully be smooth sailing from now on 🙂 well done.
    Have a great week,
    Amy x

    • Debbish
      May 11, 2015

      Thanks Amy, I certainly feel less nervous about it now…

  • Michelle Weaver (@pinkypoinker)
    May 11, 2015

    Good on Joanne for self publishing. I don’t suppose you’d interview her so we can hear about the process? I’ve just discovered Lianne Moriarty so when I’ve finished all her books I’ll read Baby It’s You. Congrats on the newspaper piece.

    • Debbish
      May 11, 2015

      I’d certainly be interested in interviewing Jo re her self-publishing journey. She’s shared a bit of it in her blog and I’ve found the process interesting (designing the cover art, selecting an editor etc).

  • Terri M., the Director
    May 11, 2015

    My week was a short work week, but it means the end of my business trips for now. Not sure how I’m going to survive in the office for a full week this week. I haven’t been in the office for a full week in over a month.

    Book-wise…I’m hoping to finish Night Watch and start Crimson Bound.

    Terri M., the Director
    Second Run Reviews

    • Debbish
      May 11, 2015

      Terri, I’m only in my mid-late 40s but haven’t worked full time since making my seachange 2.5 years ago. I REALLY cannot imagine having to be office-bound again… although I did it for 20-odd years!

      Deb

  • Kathryn
    May 11, 2015

    Little bits of work can snowball – all the best with that. And even the unpaid one gets you out there, so you never know. Baby It’s You looks interesting so will look forward to your thoughts soon. Hmm a higher functioning Brigid Jones – can only be good!

    • Debbish
      May 11, 2015

      Absolutely! I don’t usually read chick lit and have tried popular authors (Anita Heiss, for example) recently and really struggled. But I loved Bridget Jones (particularly the first book) and this reminds me of that.

  • Daniela
    May 11, 2015

    Hi Deb,
    Keeping my fingers crossed for your article to the local paper. Glad you are getting paid writing jobs. from writer ( aspiring author) to another… good luck! 🙂

    • Debbish
      May 11, 2015

      Thanks Daniela. I’m not sure our local paper has the budget to pay freelancers, so may need to look further afield… but that’s okay. Now I’ve dipped my toe in the water it doesn’t feel as overwhelming!!!

  • yvonne473
    May 11, 2015

    Baby It’s You sounds like a good one. Have a great week!

  • Char
    May 11, 2015

    I’m so excited for you for getting that piece published. That’s a step in the write direction (bad pun intended). And so what if it’s not paid – you’ve started your portfolio.

  • Jess
    May 11, 2015

    Oh congrats on your freelancing gigs paid and unpaid. Good to be working your way onto your right path. Love your cooking style, cheese and crackers is a totally acceptable lunch.

    • Debbish
      May 11, 2015

      Thanks Jess. A long way before it can pay the bills, but it’s a start!

      Deb

  • CARLA
    May 11, 2015

    ahhhh BABY, IT’S YOU sounds like just what I NEED.
    <3

  • Teddyree
    May 11, 2015

    Yay to boosts in confidence and paid writing … good on you Deb! I could do with a Baby, It’s You kind of read right now. Have a great week and enjoy your new reads. I’m off to check out a couple of your posts and get my weekly giggle/snerk 😀

  • Grace @ Rebel Mommy Book Blog
    May 12, 2015

    The Doll Maker looks really good. Will have to check out. Congrats with the paper!

  • Lola
    May 12, 2015

    It’s always sad when you have to put a book aside, but sometimes it’s better to do that than to continue a book you aren’t enjoying that much.
    And wow that must be exicting to got a piece published in a paper! I hope you find more opportunities like that.

    I read your post about being happy now and I think it’s good to focus on the now and then and be hapy even if life isn’t perfect. Being unemployed is hard, I went through that a while ago and while I have a job now i still have money issues and strugglea lot, but weirdly enough mostly I feel happy. The worries can get me down somedays, but most days I am happy I followed my dreams and have my dream job now and am hopefull that it all will work out eventually. Sometimes going on and taking it one day at a time is the best you can do. Great post!

    I hope you’ll enjoy your new books and have a great week!

    • Debbish
      May 12, 2015

      Thanks Lola – it was very exciting to be published and has motivated me to continue to put myself out there. (I just need to do so before that feeling wears off!!!)

  • brandileigh2003
    May 12, 2015

    Doll Maker looks like a good one. Hope you enjoy and have a great week.

    • Debbish
      May 12, 2015

      The Doll Maker was great, and thanks!

      Deb

  • Michelle @ In Libris Veritas
    May 12, 2015

    Congrats on having your piece accepted for the paper! The Doll Maker looks like a good one, I’ll have to check it out! I hope you have a good week.

  • Lisa@RandomActsOfZen
    May 14, 2015

    Yay for putting your work out there, Deb! I love hearing of how others push themselves and achieve. Very inspiring x

    • Debbish
      May 14, 2015

      Thanks Lisa. Just a small thing, but my first, so….

  • Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard
    May 18, 2015

    Congratulations on getting your piece published in the paper! It’s always scary putting your work out there – good for you for going for it anyway!

    • Debbish
      May 18, 2015

      Thanks so much! I need to follow up on that now….

I'd love to hear your thoughts