Friday, December 23, 2011

'Perry Bear Goes For A Walk', by Jack Mason

Perry Bear Goes For A WalkPerry Bear Goes For A Walk by Jack Mason

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

'Perry Bear Goes For A Walk' is a charming read, complete with beautiful illustralions that are a delight to look at. The story subtly encourages the importance of friendship and interacting with others (and he has impeccable manners!). This story is perfect to read to small children. My 2 year old niece absolutlely loved the story and we are both hanging out for more adventures of Perry Bear!

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Setting Writing Goals

There is no quick-fix way to become a writer, despite what many 'buy-my-book-and-you'll-become-a-world-famous-author' people may tell you. The truth is, in order to become a writer, you need to spend time writing. It seems like such a no-brainer to me, but it's actually something I often have difficulty doing. I will sometimes go for weeks on end without putting pen to paper. At other times, I can scarcely concentrate on anything else because I am writing, thinking and dreaming stories 24/7.

Back in the days when I was a teacher, I used to instruct my students to set S.M.A.R.T. learning goals. I told them to do this because the big bosses upstairs told me to tell them to do this. I never really thought about why S.M.A.R.T. goals are, well, smart. Your goals need to be:

Specific - If you set your goal in vague terms you will find it difficult to meet. So, rather than saying, "I will write more," you should say, "I will write 100 words a day". It may seem like it's just a matter of semantics, but you will find that it will make all the difference.

Measurable - an airy-fairy goal is so hard to measure. How do you know you have completed it? To say 'I will write more often,' is kinda silly, really. How often is more often? How do you know when you can tick that box to say that you have done it. My students used to be guilty of this all the time. They would set goals like, "I will try harder," or "I will be better". But how, at the end of the month, will they know that they have done this? You should rather set goals that you can quantify. For example, "I will write 100 words a day". At the end of the day, you can see that you have indeed written 100 words.

Achievable - You need to believe you can achieve the goal. Don't set yourself the goal of writing a chapter a day if you don't believe you would be able to do it. If you don't think you can do something, you will most often find that you can't do it.

Realistic - Don't aim to write 2000 words a day if the idea of it terrifies you. By the same token, don't take someone elses' goals as your own. What is realistic for them may prove impossible for you, and your schedule may not allow it.

Timed - your goal needs a beginning and an end. For example, 'I will finish this story by the end of 2012', or 'I will write a chapter a month'. One thing I learned with my students is, if you don't give them a finishing time, the will never finish. The same goes with writers.

Many of my 'goals' do not actually fit into any of these categories. It's time I took a long, hard look at myself in the mirror, pulled my socks up, and practise what I preach.

For example, I tried to set myself a goal recently of writing every night before I go to sleep. I bought a brand new, crispy clean notebook, placed it beside my bed, and applauded myself for my great idea. The problem is, the moments before I go to sleep are often the only precious minutes of a day that I get to talk with my boyfriend without any other distractions. Setting myself a goal to write in this time is probably one of the stupidest ideas I have ever come up with! I managed to write in my notebook two times. Silly, silly me.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Scruffy the Christmas Bear

I am pretty proud of my latest venture into the literary world. I have decided to share one of my short children's stories (book one in a series) on Smashwords so that I can get to grips with the ePublishing world. Check it out here:

Coverart Copyright 2011 by S.De Niese

Join the wonderful world of life as a teddy bear. Scruffy was given to his family as a Christmas gift, and all he wants is lots of hugs and love. Journey with him as he goes on exciting adventures and learns lots of wonderful new games.

Scruffy the Bear is a quick bedtime read about interactions with the young and old that is perfect for three to seven year olds. These stories engage the imagination and gently encourages children to think about others. Perfect for spending some quality time with your children, these stories and easily accessible and convenient for parents. I hope you enjoy them and much as I enjoy writing them.

Book 1: 'Christmas'. Let me introduce you to Scruffy. He is a teddy bear who loves hugs and adventures. Find out how Scruffy met his new family, how he almost spied on Santa, and join in the fun as he plays games with his new friends.

Contact me for your free copy and I will send you a coupon!

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Gift, by Cecelia Ahern

The GiftThe Gift by Cecelia Ahern

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Any book that can make me cry this much has to be good. When I finished it I hugged my boyfriend close and wouldn't let him go. I think we all need to read a story like this once in a while to remind us to cherish each moment we have to spend with those we love. A great, quick read, perfect for capturing the spirit of Christmas!

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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Cornerstone, by Misty Provencher

Cornerstone (The Cornerstone Series)Cornerstone by Misty Provencher

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When I first stumbled across this book, I was a bit hesitant about reading it. I thought it might be like Twilight (I don't mind Twilight, but I wouldn't read it again either). I gave the story a go anyway, and instantly found that I couldn't look away from the screen. I was hooked and had to go and buy the ebook. I was definitely not disappointed with my purchase.

This story is a beautiful read. The characters are strong, identifiable and intriguing,the story is fast-paced and fascinating, and the language used is a delight to read. I am so hooked to the story of Nalena, and I cannot wait for Misty Provencher to complete the next installment of this story.

I really like the fact that the concept for this story is unique, without being confusing. I felt as if I was being tipped off the edge of the planet and into a whole new, parallel universe.

The main character, Nalena seems lovely and strong, without being annoyingly perfect. Her mum seems just like my mum, which is very endearing. And, ah, Garrett? He can invade my dreams any time!

I am so, very, very hooked to this story and will try to be patient for the release of Keystone!

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