books, ness talks books

Writing Slumps, Reading Highs

I haven’t been writing. There – I admitted it. What I have been doing is widely known as ‘Raiding the Library’ and ‘Reading A Lot’. Below are a section of the books I have devoured.

It’s funny how you can make memories with books. What I mean is, I read one of these books on a warm summer day, curled on a comfortable black chair, eating cheese and sipping tea. And now when I think of that book, I remember the cheese.

… aannnndd that doesn’t sound nearly as poetic as it was in my head.

Dandy Gilver & The Reek of Red Herrings

In Which the Book is Cold, Wet and Gruesome

I picked up this book because its title was extremely excellent. While I enjoyed the characters (Dandy! Alec!) I did not so much enjoy the setting. I live in England. It is summer. Reading about wind and sleet and cold is not my favourite thing to do right now.

The murder mystery itself is rather, well, gory. When I approached the main ‘Reveal’ I felt rather sick in my stomach, but the apprehension was worse than the actual scene.

A book to read when it is cold, when you have a blanket tucked about you and a warm drink at your side.

Three Stars.

Of Mice and Men

In Which I Have No Idea What To Think

Let’s be honest: I had no clue as to what this book was about. And then I read it. Yeah. Lennie – poor Lennie – was frightening in his innocence.

Mice, puppies and velvet. That’s all I’m going to say. Nothing more

Not a cosy read. Probably best not read during your lunch break.

No Clue How To Rate

The Eagle Has Landed

In Which I DNF

I gave up. I’d slogged to the half-way mark, watched Devlin land in Norfolk and fall in love and then just … gave up. Alas, the book didn’t hold my interest, though the idea of writing it from the German POV was quite intriguing.

Perhaps I missed the most exciting part of the book – when they actually arrive on English Soil and commence their Devious Plot, but I’d had enough of multiple characters getting introduced and nothing much happening.

Read if you have patience and enjoy a slow building up of plot.


Catherine, Called Birdy

In Which The Heroine is Magnificent

Set in medieval Britain, Catherine, Called Birdy is mostly about Catherine attempting to avoid the suitors that her father has for her.

She. Is. Hilarious.

My only quibble is that I wanted more of an ending. I wanted to see after she had come to her conclusion. But no, it was not to be.

Read curled up in bed.

Four Stars

To Kill a Mockingbird

In Which I Love It

Yeah. I finished this one late last night. (Ah-hem, and when I say ‘late last night’ I actually mean ‘the early hours of this morning’).

I’ve never read To Kill A Mockingbird before, and I’m glad that I haven’t. Because I’ve now had the chance to savour it – to enjoy Scout and love Atticus and every little subtle detail that Harper Lee inserts into her book.

I’m not sure the tears in my eyes were from tiredness or the emotion of the ending.


Five Stars


An Accidental Publishing

fog at Mystic Seaport

A year ago, I travelled to America and wrote a book, amongst many other things (sort-of-fainting, firefly spottings, book bingeing, wearing a polka dot dress with blue tights and red shoes – you know, the usual).

Inspired by Mystic Seaport, several friends and I sat around a table and concocted a plot. It was going to have action, adventure, a spice of mystery and a great dollop of humour. (Humour spelt without that English ‘u’, by the way).

And then, plot developed,  I settled down to the task of bringing our plot bubbles, character sheets and knock, knock jokes to life.

And so I did. My friend proof-read it, just to make sure that I had the American lingo down to pat. These things are important, you know. I’d never consciously written ‘sneakers’ before. Or ‘potato chips’. It was all very novel.

Once this was done – the night before I departed from Uncle Sam’s shores, I finished the Blurb book of ‘Accidental Adventure’ and ordered two copies: one for my friends, and one for me.

And that was that, the books arrived at their destinations and my version sat on my shelf. I dabbled in a little editing, but it was largely untouched. Until … until now.

Because I am a contrary creature, who apparently detests doing the things I am actually supposed to be doing (*cough* Our Intrepid Heroine the Second *cough*), in honour of the anniversary of my trip to the U S of A, I decided to publish ‘Accidental Adventure’ – the story that was written before Our Intrepid Heroine was completed.

Much editing, overhauling, adding and subtracting later, it is done. Drum-roll please …

ouraccidentaladventureaquaOne moment they are sailing across a sheltered bay for a camping trip, the next they are surrounded by fog and end up in the Caribbean.

Or are they?

A highly improbable adventure, in which fishermen wear suits, English gentlemen aren’t quite what they seem and three siblings can’t tell friend from foe.

It’s contemporary, Christian, sprinkled with knock, knock jokes and dosed with wildly improbable happenings. But you know what? Suspend your disbelief for just a little while, and sail along with a tale born around a circular table, across the proverbial pond.

Kindle // Goodreads

books, ness talks about life, ness writes about writing

A Chat with C.B. Cook

Grab the beverage of your choice and settle down for a visit with C.B. Cook, debut author of Paralyzed Dreams, in which I cross-examine her on her favourite authors and on the always Very Important question of: tea or coffee?

This question will never not be important.

Are you a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of writer, or do you prefer to plan everything out?
I’m kind of both, actually. I have to have an outline of some sort, but I have trouble writing if it gets too detailed. I like to know where I’m going, but be able to dive in and just play around with the story as I go.
Tea or coffee?
Neither, really. But I’d have to say I think coffee would be better, as long as there’s lots of cream or sugar in it.
Do you have any favourite authors, if so – who?
The only question harder than this is the favorite book question. 😉 C.S. Lewis is definitely one of my favorites, along with H.G. Wells and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. My favorite modern authors include Ashlee Willis, Lisa Bergren, Melanie Dickerson, Marissa Meyer… the list goes on and on. 😉 You’re on there, too!
Aw, thank you! Now, what is your favourite genre to write in?
That’s a hard one, for me, at least. I’ve written in fantasy, contemporary, and a little science fiction. Contemporary is a lot of fun, but I’d definitely say fantasy is my favorite. But I really want to write a mystery, too.
Cats or dogs?
Dogs, definitely. We have a super adorable crazy dog, and I wouldn’t give her up for anything. 😀
Tell me a little bit about your brand-new book:
I wrote this book for my mom for Christmas a few years ago. I honestly don’t know how I came up with the idea, other than just trying to torture my characters. *sigh* But it’s a story about a volleyball player, Pam, who gets in a car accident. Her entire life has centered around playing volleyball, so when she finds out that she’s paralyzed, she gets angry at everyone… including God. Her whole life seems ruined, and her dreams are now paralyzed, just like she is.
Thank you very much for stopping by, and all the very best : )

C.B. Cook is a teen author with many short stories under her belt, and now a published novella, Paralyzed Dreams. She has been blogging for over a year and is working on writing a middle grade fantasy series. When she’s not balancing homework or writing, she can often be found messing around in Photoshop or talking to her dog. You can visit her at


Quotables – Fascinating Work, Slaving Away and Poetical Landscapes

4921I can’t sit still and see another man slaving and working. I want to get up and superintend, and walk round with my hands in my pockets, and tell him what to do. It is my energetic nature. I can’t help it.

– – –

I like work: it fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours.

– – –

What the eye does not see, the stomach does not get upset over

– – –

I don’t know why it should be, I am sure; but the sight of another man asleep in bed when I am up, maddens me.

– – –

It was a lovely landscape. It was idyllic, poetical, and it inspired me. I felt good and noble. I felt I didn’t want to be sinful and wicked anymore. I would come and live here, and never do any more wrong, and lead a blameless, beautiful life, and have silver hair when I got old, and all that sort of thing.

– – –

Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome isn’t an ordinary book. It is a rambling, hilarious book that doesn’t perscribe to the usual story structare of a novel. It started out as a travel guide and ended up as, as … one must really read it to find out. And you can (for FREE! Public Domain, I love you) right here.

… and don’t forget …

… that while Our Intrepid Heroine isn’t in the public domain, it is waiting for you to pick up a copy right here. Think of it as a Christmas present to you.

books, ness rambles, ness talks about life, ness writes about writing

The Proof has come – and I have proof!

So this is a post which I meant to post on Friday. And then I moved it forward a little. ‘I’ll post it then,’ I thought. But then I didn’t. Because reasons. So now I’m posting it late. Oh well …

Do you ever have moments of ‘Squee!’? I do. And I did last Friday morning.

The Proof … has come.

… and here is proof of the Proof.

I’ll admit it – I’ve not mentioned Our Intrepid Heroine in a post before. But I’ve been steadily working away at it and now, after weeks of waiting, the Proof has come.

The first moments of holding your book in your hands are beautiful. Disbelief and wiggle-squeals take hold of your emotions. And then you flick through the book and see your words upon a page, your story told in actual ink. It is quite wonderful …

quotereally2But I’d better back-track a little because I’m sure that you have some puzzled questions. (Or perhaps you haven’t, but I’m going to answer your not-so-puzzled questions anyway.)

Our Intrepid Heroine is a short story of eighty-seven pages. It is the tale of a Heroine who sets off to obey the command of a King. Namely, to kill a dragon. Things don’t turn out quite the way she expects them to.

She wanted to slay a dragon. In peace. Was that too much to ask?

Yes, apparently it was.

Narrated by a scatter-brained, scholarly-minded gentlemen and divided into tips (not chapters), I vastly enjoyed writing this completly unorthodox tale – and the characters within its pages.

Particularly the Hooded Person of Unknown Gender. And the Female, ah yes – the Female.

“I’ve waited every day and stared out into the horizon just like my stories say. But,” said the Female, “I don’t think I’ve got the longing look right. Does this look longing enough?”

So while I work gallently away at the paperback version of this short novella, I have the proof beside me and I’m not at all ashamed to say that I pick it up and flick its pages often.

And while the backcover may prove to be tricky to format, the final product will be worth it. Because having an ebook isn’t quite the same as holding a Proper Book in one’s hand.

However, it is still the cheaper option I suppose.