May

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted on here. Too long. The last couple of months, as I’m sure for most people, have been the longest and yet shortest months of my life. Strange times we are living through. My wedding has been delayed, until possilbly late in the year. Although realistically I think we are looking more likely at next year.

I haven’t been writing much. I hit a block in the story I was writing and couldn’t break through it. I know what is coming next, but I’m just not sure on how to get there. After a month without writing a word, I thought it was best to start something new, just to get back into the flow of things. Last week I started writing a new story, that will be much shorter. It’s an idea that I’ve had for a little while now. I’m hoping it will be finished in time for halloween. The working title, is The Vampire. It will probably change, I’m not good at naming things and I also never like my titles.

After I’ve finished writing that, I’m going to go back to my main story, which has the working title of The End of Times or Jacob’s Army. Not sure which I like more. Or it may change again. That’s the biggest thing I’ve ever attempted to write and I’m no where near finished. I feel like I’m completely out of the groove, but I’m hoping that a break will do me good and get me back into the flow. It’s an idea that I’ve had for a decade or maybe even longer, so I’m determined to finish it.

My Mum recently moved and as part of that I neeed to empty the wardrobes of stuff that I left when I moved out. While doing that I found the original notes for the story that I made when in Sixth Form. It was strange to see them. Especially as I had no idea I had ever written it down. The idea is roughly the same as well, which means that it’s been sitting in my head for around 10 years. A strange thought.

I never know what to write in blog posts. I like to keep everyone updated with what’s going on, but I haven’t written any short stories to put on here in a long time. Maybe I should try to do that in the near future? I’m not sure. If there is anything that you would like me to write about, please leave a comment and I will do my best.

As with writing, reading also stopped over the last couple of months. I just felt no motivation. I downloaded Darren Shan’s new books on my kindle and still haven’t read them. I really want to read them, but I just haven’t felt like reading recently. I will get round to them eventually. I did read Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn, an early Star Wars book over the last weekend and really enjoyed it. I’m catching up with comics at the moment and then I’m going to try and read some more. If you have any suggestions, feel free to let me know. Something fresh will probably be the kickstart that I need to get back into reading.

Speaking of Star Wars, Disney Plus finally launched in the UK and with it The Mandalorian. I’m glad they released it weekly as it gave me something to look forward to each Friday. It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to say that about a TV show. I really enjoyed it and plan to rewatch the whole thing before Season 2 in October. It lives up to the hype, for sure.

I also watched the 9 Skywalker Saga films over the last week on Disney Plus. I was planning on just watching Rise of Skywalker again, but I thought it would be better to watch the whole thing as quickly as possible and I was right. I don’t think anything tops Star Wars for me, I love the whole thing and could watch the films over and over again, and have done many times. The Last Jedi still stands out as my favourite. It was the third time I saw Rise of Skywalker and I think it gets better with each viewing. This time I didn’t find the pace to be strange at the beginning at all. It’s nice to know the story and just enjoy it from start to finish. I can’t wait for Taika Waititi’s Star Wars Film. I’m a massive fan of everything he’s done and his episode of The Mandalorian was the best of the bunch.

Well that’s all for May. I will be back in June at some point with more ramblings. Until then, stay safe and thanks for reading,

Ashley

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February 2020

A month gone already. As everyone says, each year seems to go quicker than the last. We’re already a good way into 2020 and I feel like the last month has gone in a blink of my eye.

Writing hasn’t been too good for the last month. I’ve written on some days, but not most. It’s hard to find the time and the motivation. I haven’t been sleeping very well and that has a massive impact. When I sit down to write it feels like a chore. I will push through and get some done, but it’s harder than I want it to be. I need to set a target and see if I hit it. I’m at 68,000 words in my current story. I’ll set a target if 80,000 by my March update. That should be doable.

I’m still reading Star Wars Thrawn at the moment. I’m really enjoying it. It feels like something completely different in the Star Wars universe and it really adds to the whole thing. The new Darth Vader comic also started this week, which was fantastic. I can’t wait for issue 2 in March.

Naturo, at one point as a teenager was my favourite manga. I was buying each book as they came out and read them in one sitting as soon as I got home. I have 52 volumes sitting on a shelf in the spare bedroom and I’ve never read past that point. I’ve always meant to go back and re-read the whole thing and then finish the whole series. Earlier this week I started doing just that, I’m currently reading book 4 and falling back in love with the world of Ninjas. My favourite manga is now Monster, however I will always have a soft spot for Naruto and it feels really good to be finally revisiting the story.

I’ve seen some good films during the last month. I already have 5 on my pottential films of the year list. Jojo Rabbit was so good, funny and touching. Little Women was so much better than I thougt it would be. I read the book when I was in sixth form and really enjoyed it. The film was so much better. Parasite was shockingly good. I kept on hearing and reading that it was amazing, but was warned not to know anything about the plot before watching. I went in completely blind and absolutely loved it. Can’t recommend it enough. David Copperfield was another surprise, I thought it looked good from the trailer and it didn’t disapoint. It was quirky and kept up an odd-goofy-fun tone throughout, which could have gotten boring but managed to just be really enjoyable. I saw A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood during December in a preview screening. I went to see it purely because Tom Hanks was in it. I didn’t know who Mr Rogers was, other than being mentioned in American films and TV shows. I thoroughly enjoyed the film, however. I thought it was really touching and I couldn’t recommend it enough.

There are two honorable mentions for January as well. The Lighthouse, which was brilliantly atmospheric and had me gripped from the opening momnets. I didn’t expect it to be as funny as it was. Also Richard Jewell, another true story that I knew nothing about. There is some controversy about it not being acurate enough regarding the journalist and how she got the information, which is a real shame. It’s a story that deserves more attention, especially now in a world where fake news and click bait seems to be everywhere.

That’s all for this month, but I will be back with more updates.

Thanks for reading and until next time,

Ashley

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2020

Happy new year!!

It’s been quite a while since I made a post on here. Life has gotten in the way, but I’m back again in this new year. As of today I’ve just hit 64,000 words in my latest story, with the working title End of Times. It’s going to be the longest thing I’ve written, and I’m no where near the end. I’m really excited to share it with everyone, but it’s going to be a long way off. I think I’m about a third of the way through the story and it’s going really well. I have been writing between 500 and 1000 words a day, and it’s my first resolution of 2020 to carry that on.

2020 is going to be an exciting year. I’m getting married in April. It’s going to be here before I know it. Lots of planning and preparing to be done and no time to be nervous.

My fiance bought me a new tablet with a keyboard, that I’m using at the moment to write this, which allows me to write wherever I am. It’s much lighter and smaller than a laptop so I can write on my lunch at work.

I’ve been reading a lot more recently, which is good. I used to read all the time, but the heavy reading lists (including some really dull books) at university made reading less fun. It’s taken me a few years, but I feel that I’m enjoying reading a lot more than I used to. My second resolution for 2020 is to read one book a week.

At the moment I’m in full-on Star Wars mode. I’m reading Star Wars Thrawn, about 200 pages in, and really enjoying it. I have a pile of Star Wars comics to get through. I’ve also seen Rise of Skywalker twice at the cinema and loved it both times. Before it came out, Tabby and I watched all of the films, episodes 1 – 8, Rogue One and Solo (In about a week and a half), and Rise of Skywalker feels like a natural conclusion to everything. I really enjoyed it and can’t wait to see what they do next with the franchise. The stand alone movies in a couple of years can’t come quick enough.

I read Watchers by Dean Koontz between Christmas and New Years, which was a really good read. It’s a real page turner and I got through it much quicker than I thought I would. I haven’t read much of Dean Koontz, but I plan on changing that in the next couple of months.

Looking back at 2019, we had a lot of excellent books and films. The Testaments by Margaret Atwood really stands out as my book of the year. It’s sequel we didn’t need, but it more than lives up to the original. I really enjoyed it and urge anyone who hasn’t, to read both The Handmaid’s Tale and The Testaments. You won’t be disappointed.

My film of the year is a toss up between Knives Out and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. I keep on going back and forth between the two. Knives Out is a really fun film that kept me guessing to the end and I’m really happy to hear its getting a sequel. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is an epic that only Tarentino can make. When watching I was completely absorbed into that world. My only gripe is the length as I had to leave the cinema to go to the toilet. I got the blu ray for Christmas and re-watched it to see the bit I missed, and enjoyed the film even more the second time around. I’ve read rumours of a 4 hour version coming out this year and I am more than happy to enter that world again and see more.

I’ve also joined Letterboxd to keep track of the films that I’ve watched and hopefully find some films that I would otherwise miss. If you would like to follow me, or check out my ratings on the films I’ve seen so far this year, you can do so here:

https://letterboxd.com/Ashley93

I have one list on my profile of my favourite films, which is in no way complete and I plan to add to it soon.

My third and final resolution for 2020 is to update this blog more often. I don’t write on it enough, even though I enjoy doing it. My plan is to do more little update posts. Keep people updated with how writing is going, the films I’ve watched and the books I’ve read as well as news on when books will be coming out. I have 4 finished novels, with only 1 published. I really want to get my writing out there to as many people as possible and I plan on taking that a lot more seriously this year.

Thanks for reading and until next time,

Ashley

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I’m Back

It’s been nearly 3 months since I last wrote on here. How time flies. I’ve been getting used to a new job and a new sleeping pattern. It’s been a struggle at times and writing these blog posts keep on slipping from my mind. I’m back now though.

I have a new computer, an actual desk top computer. Writing feels more professional while I sit at it. I’ve been writing most mornings before work. Getting anything between 500 and a thousand words done. At the moment I just hit 47000 words into my new, and as always, untitled novel. This is going to be the longest thing I’ve ever written and I feel like it’s going well. Not sure when it’ll be finished, because this is a long story and I’ve got a long way to go. It’s a story I’ve been working on since I was in sixth form, but finally pieces have started to fall into place.

I’m going to start uploading Homecoming again, which I’m annoyed about how long it’s taken to get on here. I’m going to make a page with all of the previous chapters on it, making it easier for people to catch up and keep up to date. That should be done early next week. I’m also looking into getting both Homecoming and The Broken Pocket Watch into print and kindle books. Editing takes a while and it’s not fun, but I’m taking it more seriously.

I’ve been reading and listening to e-books while walking to work. I’m nearly at the end of the Wayward Pines trilogy, which feels so much better than the TV series. Even though I know the general plot, it’s still good to read the original story. I’m also reading, My Sister, The Serial Killer, which is really great. Not a long book and I expect to be finished pretty soon.

I did recently listen to the audiobook version of Along the Way: The Journey of a Father and Son, written and narrated by Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez. That was a great book and a great insight to some really good films. I’ve never been a big fan of memoirs, I read a bit of them and then get bored, but listening to them read the book made it a lot more engaging and I really enjoyed it.

I’ll be back soon with new chapters and new updates. I’m sorry it’s been a while, but at least this time I have been writing.

Thanks for reading,

Ashley

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The Outsider by Stephen King

Image result for the outsider stephen king

I didn’t know anything about this book before reading it, other than it was a crime story. I’m not the biggest fan of crime stories, I probably haven’t read the right ones. I picked this book because it was the new Stephen King book out in paperback and cheap because of that. I started reading it Saturday morning, thinking I’ll read a couple of chapters before breakfast and before I knew it I was over a hundred pages in and couldn’t put it down. That’s something people say a lot about books, but it’s a good cliche and very true in this case. I had to know what happened next. I would recommend this straight away to anyone.

It’s hard to talk about this book without giving spoilers, so be warned. There will be spoilers from this point on. Nothing major, just enough to say why I liked this book so much.

I was enjoying this book quite a bit as a crime story. I’m not too familiar with the genre so I was along for the ride. I was piecing clues together and not getting very far. A man being in two places at once and I was jumping to the obvious conclusions, one of them was an impostor. I thought it would be simple enough like that, but I was still enjoying the book. Probably would have finished it, had a good time and mostly forgot about it.

That changes around half way through. On Saturday night I was sitting up in bed reading, trying to figure out the growing mystery when the plot started twisting. Slowly at first, but then the twist really hit. I stopped reading and thought I had stumbled into an all out horror without realising it. I put the book down with chills shivering through me.

It and Dracula combined with a crime novel makes The Outsider. Two of my favourite books. I loved this book and finished it within two days. Stephen King has a knack for creating characters that I care about way beyond the plot. I wish every writer was this great at building up characters. I want to know what happens next to them and I think that’s the trick to anything horror. If I care about the characters it adds to the fear. I’m not just scared of something, I’m fearing for the character’s lives.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys crime or horror. It’s a mixture of crime and horror. It’s a chilling read with twists and I really enjoyed it.

Thanks for reading,

Ashley

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