A girl with a mouth almost as big as her TBR list

Monthly Archives: November 2015

To celebrate the publication of her book Faking Delinquency, Ashley wrote an exclusive letter to her fans and supporters, nicknamed Rainclouds. Ashley first posted Faking Delinquency on Wattpad and has a ton of fans who have eagerly been awaiting this day, when her book is finally published. So this is for you, Rainclouds, whether you’ve been a fan for years or you’re a new addition to the fandom, this is what Ashley has to say to you.

Dear Rainclouds,

So, we made it! Faking Delinquency has been published, and Falice’s story is actually a paperback novel—with actual paper and everything. Holy crap, that is so crazy amazing!

I remember when I first posted Faking Delinquency. I had absolutely no idea what the heck I was doing or how well it was going to turn out. I had an idea for a first chapter, and that was about it. But I posted anyway, because back then I posted literally every undeveloped story idea I had (which is not to say I develop ideas before posting them now; because there are times when I definitely don’t). I have to say: impulsively posting this story was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Of course I ended up deleting it four chapters in because I realized I had no idea what Falice was supposed to do now that she was at camp, but, hey, I reposted eventually.

Anyway.

I just wanted to say thank you—thank you, thank you, thank you! For reading, for commenting, for messaging me and giving me encouragement, for making me pretty banners and covers, and for being there for me when I need you. I never expected so many of you to enjoy Faking Delinquency, but I am honestly so happy that you decided that my story was worth reading.

There were some stressful moments along the way, but I barely remember those. What I remember is how pumped I felt while writing the chapters, how much I laughed when you all freaked out during certain plot twists, and the joy I felt when reading the comments I received after posting. Even now, I occasionally read through comments and laugh my butt off. Picture me in bed at two in the morning with a hand over my mouth to keep from laughing too hard—because this was literally me over this past summer. You guys are hilarious. Seriously.

I love you all so much. This journey has been a long one, but I’m so glad I took it and that you guys decided it was worth taking, too. Because now, as a result, there is a published novel and a whole lot of great memories. We also have an inside joke about not having sex in the cell, which I never thought would be a thing before Gilbert actually said it. I guess we can thank him for that—thanks, Gilbert!

Thank you so much for everything. Whether you have supported me from the sidelines, have been incredibly vocal, or somewhere in between—I appreciate everything you all have done for me. I probably sound like a broken record player by this point, but I don’t think I can say it enough—thank you so much!

I love you guys! And please feel free to message me (on any platform) at any time. I love hearing from you guys and fangirling about amazing books and movies and stuff.

Love you, lovelies!

Ashley

Isn’t that lovely? As a big fan of Ashley and Faking Delinquency, this letter makes me smile so much. I’d love to hear what you think and how you’d reply to this letter.


I was tagged by Janet @ The Storyteller to do this tag, so thank you so much to her and here we go!

1- Water: A Book You Can’t Live Without

I’m only allowing myself to say Harry Potter once, despite the fact I could probably fit it under all these categories I’m going to have to say Fangirl. I love this book so much because I completely and absolutely relate to Cath. I also find the subtle references to Harry Potter and the Harry Potter fandom really clever and super amusing.

2- Food: A Book That is a Close Second on Your Favourites List

Hmmm, this one’s tough. I’ve already been made to pick just one book I can’t live without, now I have to pick one that is equivalent to food? That’s just plain cruel. I’m going to have to say the Hunger Games. I’ve recently remembered how much I love this series as I watched the final movie, Mockingjay Part 2. The plot is so clever, the message is deep and the characters are 3D and wonderful.

3- Shelter: A Book That Makes You Feel at Home and Safe

This has to be Harry Potter. I read Harry Potter as a child and it has continued to stay with me through my teenage years and I know it will remain with me for my entire life. This is a series I can always return to and it always makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. Words can’t describe how much I love Harry Potter and how much it means to me.

4- Flare Gun: A Book You Would Recommend to Someone Who Doesn’t Read

To me, the answer to this one is obvious. The Mortal Instruments By Cassandra Clare. I have a friend who isn’t really that into reading, but she adores this series and we’ve even been to see Cassandra Clare. The reason I think these books appeal to people who wouldn’t call themselves readers is because they’re such good fun and so easy to read. There is something in them for everyone, magic, romance and action.

5- Fire Matches: A Book That Warms Your Heart

Since I already had Harry Potter and it would be cheating to have it again. I’m going to say Percy Jackson because the whole camp feel is just so cute and makes me wish I went to summer camp where I could learn to fight monsters and make new friends. I just love the whole dynamic of the book.

6- Compass: A Book That Directed You to Your Love of Reading

Milly Molly Mandy. This was one of the books I read as a child and I remember falling in love with this book and reading. This book made me hungry for even more to read and made me the bookworm I am today.

I tag my some of my latest bookish followers:

Misha @ Musings of a Disorganised Mind

Poulami @Daydreaming Books

El @ The Bookish Damselle

Hayley Sprout

Pigeon Reads

Meena @ Tattooed Pages

Kristen @ Blissful Bookworm

Arianna @ The Daydreaming Bookworm

 

 

 


I have to start with an apology. Technically this a two week wrap since I didn’t post one last week so I’m sorry about that.

Posts:

Wattpad Wonders #6 – My most popular post to date, featuring Wattpad author Blair Holden who shares about her experience with writing online and gives advice to aspiring authors

Mental Health Education – The most important post I’ve ever written, which explores different people’s experiences of education on mental health and explains the importance of educating people.

Masculine and Feminine Characteristics – why the labels? – I also posted on the other blog I contribute to, The Feministas, where I looked at gender characteristics and how unrealistic they are.

NaNoWriMo:

In regards to NaNoWriMo I’m not doing too great. At the end of the first week I was up to 12,469 words and now, two weeks later I’m up to 15,944. I started off very well, but then I always knew it was going to get harder as I have been away at the weekend as well as having many exams. I’m doubtful I’ll get much more written, but I’m still pleased that I managed to write 16,000 words.

Book Haul:

I have received an amazingly huge amount of books in the past fortnight and I feel so lucky.

I received:

  • All of the Above By James Dawson (From a You Review by Maximum Pop Books)
  • The Rot and Ruin series by Jonathan Maberry (From a giveaway from Maximum Pop Books)
  • An ARC of Beautiful Broken Things By Sara Barnard
  • An ARC of The Square Root of Summer By Harriet Reuter Hapgood (Both from My Kinda Book in preparation for their book club launch on the 5th December)

That’s all from me for now, so have a nice day!

 

 

 


Mental health education survey

Recently I created a survey and posted it on Twitter, asking people to respond. This survey was all about people’s experience of education on mental health, particularly as a teenager. I had 31 responses from people and I’m so grateful to everyone who took the time to answer it. This infographic was created by the information I collected from the survey.

The information I managed to collect sadly didn’t surprise me but reaffirmed what I had feared about the state of education on mental health.  Ever since I was 11, I have had 2 hours a year in PSHE looking at mental health. That’s totalling about 10 hours of education on mental health in my entire life. That’s shocking and I’m certainly not alone, in fact I’m one of the lucky ones because I have taught about it at school at all.

Before I get on to exploring what the survey responses showed me, I want to talk a little bit about what inspired me to write this post. About a month ago, I read the book Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne and absolutely adored it. This book tackles the tough issue of mental health and I think everyone should read it. Instead of writing a review where I just fangirled solidly for 10 minutes, I decided to write this post instead. I wanted to explore how educated people felt they were on mental health and what their education on the topic was like when they were a teenager at school.

The main character Evie worries about telling her friends about her OCD and her struggles with mental health because she thinks they won’t understand and will judge her. I wanted to see how real that fear is. How many people have learn about mental health and would be able to begin to understand.

Much to my dismay 61% of people were never taught about mental health at school at any age, meaning they would only be able to learn from either personal experience or forms of media like TV, film and literature.So few people have actually learnt about mental health, how can we expect people to understand what their friends, their family or even they are going through? And those that were taught about mental health? 81% said they were either very unhappy, quite unhappy or indifferent about their education on mental health. Education is meant to equip and empower people, and education especially as important as this should be something people feel positive about.

I feel this post might be the most important one I’ve ever written. We need to realise how few people have been taught about mental health. How can we expect people to understand when they don’t even know what’s happening?

We need to educate children and teenagers all over the world. It couldn’t be more vital. We need to educate so people understand what is happening to them and how they can help their family and friends. We need to educate so we can remove stigma. We need to educate so we can be a better world full of better people.


Today I am interviewing the lovely Blair Holden, author of the Bad Boy’s Girl and other successful Wattpad stories. I’m really excited to hear what she has to say so I’m just going dive straight in with a blurb from The Bad Boy’s Girl and her author bio, before getting on to the questions.

“Some people bring out the worst in you, others bring out the best, and then there are those remarkably rare, addictive ones who just bring out the most. Of everything. They make you feel so alive that you’d follow them straight into hell, just to keep getting your fix.”
— Karen Marie Moning, Shadowfever

Tessa O’Connell is a girl as ordinary as they come-or so she thinks. Her aim for senior year is to keep her head down yet somehow manage to convince her childhood love Jay Stone to love her back. What she isn’t prepared for is for Jay’s brother, Cole to return to town and change the life she’s always been seemingly content to live. Tall, gorgeous as all hell and a bad boy with ocean blue eyes and the perfect edge of adorability, he was her greatest tormentor, her number one enemy.But the guy that’s come back is like no one Tessa’s ever come across. He challenges her, he tests her limits, he forces her to bring out the girl she’s long ago buried under a veil of mediocrity and most of all he compels her to consider that perhaps the boy that infuriates her to the point of no return might just her guardian angel.

the bad boy's girl

Hi I’m Blair, a 22 year old Law student who’d rather spend her day locked up in a room with her laptop, typing away. I’m a romance addict who lives and breathes novels with swoon worthy heroes and headstrong, opinionated heroines. I’ve been writing on Wattpad for over four years now, gathering over 260,000 followers along the way. My ‘The Bad Boy’s Girl’ series has over 150 Million reads online and has recently been published by Penguin Random House Spain. Writing and Wattpad have changed my world and I’m so thankful for everyone who’s been part of that journey.

What are some of your favourite books on Wattpad?

I joined Wattpad back in 2011 so a lot of the books that I love are the older ones. I have a reading list on my profile called the Brilliant Ones with all my favourites if you’d like some recommendations. The top ones are ‘The Girl Behind the Throne’ by roiskate and ‘All I Never Wanted’ by ACRL37. My favourite writer on Wattpad is DarknessAndLight.

How long have you been writing/ on Wattpad?

I started out as a silent reader and stayed that way for about a year. At first I wasn’t even brave enough to comment on stories and connect with my favourite writers. But the more I read the more I wanted to join the community because I loved the relationship readers and writers had. So I posted my first story in 2012 and haven’t stopped writing since.

Why do you like Wattpad?

I think Wattpad is such an incredible platform for both writers and readers. As a reader you have thousands of stories at your fingertips for free and written by people all over the world. It’s baffling to even think about the kind of access Wattpad gives you. As a writer, it’s the best kind of way to grow and improve your skills and be as creative as possible with your work. I love Wattpad because minutes after I post a chapter I have tons of comments and that feedback is the best thing a writer could ask for.

How do you get ideas for your stories?

I’m a bit of a daydreamer and I tend to have a lot of moments throughout the day where I get lost in my own head. This is when I get a rough idea for most of my stories. I’ll start jotting down points immediately if a particular storyline or character really excites me. Other than that music and good books have always helped me feel inspired when I feel like I’m stuck.

Which scene from your books did you enjoy writing the most?

I think it has to be a scene from my book, ‘The Bad Boy’s Girl’ because the book itself was incredibly fun to write. But the ball scenes were great because I had my readers pick dresses for the characters as well as music. It was all really interactive, a two part chapter and I had a lot of fun during the entire process.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

I think recently what’s become a trend on Wattpad is that writers like to chase numbers rather than focusing on their work. Everyone wants a certain number of reads, votes and followers and when they don’t reach these goals they get really demotivated. While all of those things are great, I don’t think that that’s what they should be focusing on. If you write what you love and constantly use any feedback you receive to improve your writing, you’ll be making the most of what Wattpad has to offer.

What is your favourite thing about writing?

I love it’s ability to transport you to a completely different world. When I write I lose myself in the story and in the world of my characters. It’s a great stress reliever if nothing else.

How has your writing developed/ how do you think Wattpad has helped you improve as a writer?

Of course! If you look at the story I posted four years ago (please don’t) and the chapters I currently post there’s a world of difference in them. I like to think that I’ve gotten considerably better and that’s always the case when you write continuously for over four years. Practice, practice and even more practice is the only way your writing will ever progress. I feel like over the years I’ve developed a voice and style of my own which my readers now recognise and I owe it all to Wattpad.

Have you had any criticism/unkindness and if so how did you deal with that?

I’ve been been very lucky in that aspect. Wattpad is different from other online platforms in the sense that you don’t find a lot of negativity on it. My comments have usually been positive or constructive criticism, which I appreciate. Of course when your book is as widely read as TBBG you’re bound to come across some feedback that makes you question yourself. If someone says that they don’t like my work for so and so reason, I try and look at it from their perspective and keep their comments in mind when writing my next chapter. If it’s constructive criticism then it helps me but if people are being rude for no reason necessary then I just shrug it off and keep doing what I love.

Would you recommend Wattpad?

Absolutely. I started my Wattpad journey when I was in a not-so-great place in my life. High school isn’t always a pleasant experience and at that point in my life I needed something I could count on to cheer me up. Wattpad was the perfect escape. There’s literally something on there for everyone, whether you’re a reader or a writer. It’s such a supportive and lovely community and you’ll find the best people to have an online family of your own.

Anything else you would like to add?

Thanks so much for interviewing for your blog and to everyone reading this, thank you for supporting me and my work. I’d just like to say that no matter what your dream is, if you work hard enough for it it’s possible to make it come true. I could’ve never imagined that my books would be in stores and that my readers would be able to purchase them but it’s happening! So if I can do, so can you. The important thing is to remember to never give up no matter how demotivated you may feel at times, just keep pushing.


Since I polled on Twitter and you guys said you’d like a weekly wrap up, here is the first one:

Posts:

Giveaway Discussion – I discussed the different reasons people have for hosting giveaways and my take on that.

Update from Me – I let you guys know in a very unorganised fashion some of the things that have been going on in my life recently.

Story Sprites Sign Up – I signed up for a fun new challenge which will hopefully help me to read all the books!

Twitter:

Jim @ Yayeahyeah said some lovely things about some of my reviews as he added me to the spreadsheet.

ww1 twitterI participated in #FeminismInYA for the second time this Tuesday and had a great time chatting with a likeminded group of people about male and female characteristics.

I also joined in with the #ukyachat about social media and books, where to my great shame I realised I spend more time on social media than reading per day. Another thing I enjoyed was hearing a wide range of views about writing about social media in YA books.

NaNoWriMo Week 1:

So far I’m up to 12,469 words, not including today which I’m pretty proud of. Here are the stats for each day:

1st: 2,175 words

2nd: 1,390 words

3rd: 1,150 words

4th: 1,748 words

5th: 1,668 words

6th: 1,245 words

7th: 3093 words

On the 7th, which was Saturday, I joined in with @FriNightWrites who did 30 minute sprints all throughout the day until one in the morning. They really helped to motivated me and helped me to almost double my average. Also, an added bonus was that I won two prizes, How We Fall By Kate Brauning and a character drawing by @KaraDraws, which is super exciting. So thank you very much to them.

I’m very pleased with how NaNoWriMo is going so far for me, as I’m managing to keep on target and how yet to fall behind, so wish me luck for next week!


Now, those of you who have been following this blog for a while may be thinking this a bit of an odd topic for me to discuss as I have never done a giveaway before but recently I have been debating to do one to celebrate Christmas with my followers. This got me wondering about the different reasons for hosting a giveaway. The ones I could come up with are:#

  1. As a thank you. Often bloggers hold giveaways when they reach a significant number of followers, whether that be 100, 200 or 500. Since everyone loves free books, it seems like a great gift to give to your followers, the opportunity to win a book. This is perhaps the most common reason among the bookish community.
  2. To promote yourself and your blog by getting more views and followers. In my mind this seems like a foolish reason to hold a giveaway as your followers don’t care about you or your blog, simply about winning prizes. However nevertheless this is the reason why some people host giveaways.
  3. Another reason people hold giveaways is because they have received an item from a company or publishers to give away to their followers. This is usually for companies to promote their books or products and bloggers traditionally only give away things they themselves have liked so they know their readers will enjoy it as well.
  4. Bloggers may also host giveaways of new releases or books they’ve absolutely adored, in order to share their excitement with their followers. This is a really nice idea because it shows how enthusiastic bloggers are about books and really spreads the love.

These are the reasons I can think of for hosting a giveaway, but can you think of any more?

Have you ever hosted a giveaway? Why did you choose to host it? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

After all, a discussion isn’t a discussion if there is only on person talking.