Slow Writing by Chris Galvin

QWF Writes

Chris bakes muffins too

Like bread dough, my writing seems to require time to rise in a warm, draft-free place. The long proofing period is necessary; turn up the heat to hurry the rising, or don’t leave it long enough, and I get a stodgy, dense loaf.

Under ideal conditions—solitude, free time and excitement about what I’m writing—the words pour forth quickly. It’s exhilarating. But normally, I write when I can. I like to have control over an essay or story as it forms, and I edit as I write, considering each sentence as I put it to paper—does it say what I want it to say, or does it imply something else? I read what I’ve written aloud—does it have the right rhythm? Is my translation of Vietnamese dialogue as true to the original as possible? Does it sound natural?

The second proofing of the dough is as important as the first. Even…

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What I Read in 2014

Eva Holland

I managed to read a heap of good stuff this year, nearly all of it narrative nonfiction. I burned through Katherine Boo’s Behind the Beautiful Forevers back in January, and I still can’t quite comprehend how she transformed her years of reporting into such a seamless story. I picked up John Jeremiah Sullivan’s instant-classic essay collection, Pulphead, during a trip to Boulder in March, and have been working my way through it ever since. Later that same month I read two fascinating books by writer pals of mine during a three-day ferry ride from Bellingham, Washington, to Southeast Alaska: The Oil Man and the Sea, Arno Kopecky’s chronicle of a sailing trip through the proposed tanker route for a controversial pipeline, and The Footloose American, about a young Hunter S. Thompson in South America, by Brian Kevin.

In the spring I read two wonderful books by Mike…

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What I’m Reading: Prince in Exile Book 2 by HJ Bradley

After fleeing from Ukonsaari, Prince Teuvo sets out across Finland to seek refuge in Stockholm with the one person who is sympathetic to his cause.

However with the dark shadow of the coup still haunting him and the changing dynamics of his relationships with Olani and Astrid, he discovers that the one thing that will secure his place as king has gone missing.

Samu, a mysterious thief in Mr. Black’s employ offers his services, but can Teuvo trust that he has Ukonsaari’s best interests at heart or is there something darker going on?


My Review: Prince in Exile Book 1 by HJ Bradley

I was wanting to read this, and I am glad I finally got to do so. It is great for a short read and I read it in just under an hour and a half. The plot is clever and the book has great flow. From the outset the characters are believable and likeable , and I was generally interested in their plight to get out of Vinterstaden. The book is filled with a great mixture of action and romance and it has a storyline that stays with the reader. I read the Kindle version on my iPad Kindle app and have the second book too, so I can get straight on with reading that. The cover of this book is amazingly well done, and I love the colours and font and think they compliment themselves nicely. The story is put across well in a direct and readable manner despite the length of the book, and all the ins and outs of the plot made me forget about this. The three words at the end of the book – ‘” to be continued “- had me immediately saving Book 2 as “to read” on Goodreads. The other thing I did notice were a few small spelling and grammar issues, but overall the book was a great read, it was just a little short. The language is very direct and sensual. The feelings of love between the characters are very strong and the book is heartwarming because of this.


What I’m Reading: Prince In Exile by HJ Bradley

I’ve been looking forward to reading this because I followed the author’s progress in writing the book. I also enjoy the genre that the book is written in. This is my fourth book of the year so far. Here is a synopsis of this book:

“Love will only get you so far.”

Ukonsaari. This tiny island Kingdom has been under the dictatorial rule of an evil King for decades.

It is not until his father, the Crown Prince, is assassinated that Prince Teuvo finally realizes just how bad his country sits in ruins. Taking matters into his own hands, he forces himself into the country’s political landscape, only to find himself out of his depth.

When an attempt is made on his life he is forced to take his two lovers, the feisty Princess Astrid of Norway and his personal guard Olani Kransk, and flee his homeland.

Will their love be enough to fight off their enemies? Can Teuvo take back his homeland despite the overwhelming odds? And who is the mysterious Mr. Black who seems to be stalking his every move?


My Review: Sleeping Arrangements by Sophie Kinsella Writing As Madeleine Wickham

I am usually a huge fan of Sophie Kinsella, and have read Cocktails for Three, which is written under her pen name of Madeleine Wickham, I loved that book, saw an unabridged version of the Sleeping Arrangements audiobook on, and read the positive reviews there. I Thought this would be good, but I was sadly mistaken. I love Spain and anything to do with it, and was appalled at how the idea of going there on holiday seemed like a chore or like the family were going somewhere mediocre. It is a great country with a lot to offr. There was the typical complaint and scenario that the characters left on a day on which the weather was glorious in the UK, and I didn’t like some characters, and felt the book was lacking in detail about them. The only insight I got was from the narrator’s tone of voice. I really hope Swimming Pool Sunday and all the other Madeleine Wickham books are worth a read. I completely agree with other reviewers that this book does not come anywhere close to having the spark and originality of Sophie Kinsella’s Shopaholic series.
The title is not very imaginative either I’ll give this 3 stars.



First Book of 2015: Taken by Sharon Hamilton.

The full title of this book is Taken: The Agonising True Story of My Missing Sister. This year I will introduce a star rating system for my books.
Taken is Sharon’s story of the long years between her sister Vicky’s disappearance and the discovery, seventeen years later, of her body in the garden of a house once occupied by Peter Tobin, who will stand trial for her murder.
I was looking for something great to read to start 2015 off and I found this. I love true stories that have an impact, and especially someone’s personal experiences. This book does not dissappoint: it is an extremely well-written account, and the reader can tell it comes straight from the heart of the author. The love and dedication with which the novel was penned is obvious, and Sharon Hamilton has an amazing attention to detail despite the painful personal subject matter of the story.

A must-read for those who like true stories, the book is a great way to keep Vicky’s memory alive. There were times when the story brought tears to my eyes. It is such a powerful book. Well deserving of five stars.


What I’m Reading: Naomi’s Gift An Amish Christmas Story by Amy Clipston

This is the first of Amy Clipston’s books I have read, and I chose it because, after having read Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult and then having watched the film adaptation of the book, I started to become interested in Amish culture, and am interested too because my cousin (who is not Amish) lives in Pennsylvania, and I wanted to know more about the state, although i realise the Amish are concentrated around Lancaster County.
Since my interest in the Amish people and culture began, I have watched a few more Amish-themed films. I was thinking about buying this ebook last year, but back then it was much more expensive than it is now.
Just a few days ago, I was browsing uk for Christmas novels and saw Naomi’s Gift An Amish Christmas Story for just £1.99. This is really a novella (short novel).

When I buy ebooks I typically try and get them as cheaply as possible, unless there’s a book by an author I feel I can justify spending full price for .
Here’s the synopsis of the book. I have read 13% of the ebook already since yesterday, and so far the story has a great pace and is easy and relaxing to read.

Take a trip to Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania, where you’ll meet the women of the Kauffman Amish Bakery in Lancaster County. As each woman’s story unfolds, you will share in her heartaches, trials, joys, dreams … and secrets. You’ll discover how the simplicity of the Amish lifestyle can clash with the “English” way of life—and the decisions and consequences that follow. Most importantly, you will be encouraged by the hope and faith of these women, and the importance they place on their families. Naomi’s Gift re-introduces twenty-four-year-old Naomi King, who has been burned twice by love and has all but given up on marriage and children. As Christmas approaches—a time of family, faith, and hope for many others—Naomi is more certain than ever her life will be spent as an old maid, helping with the family’s quilting business and taking care of her eight siblings. Then she meets Caleb, a young widower with a 7-year-old daughter, and her world is once again turned upside-down. Naomi’s story of romantic trial and error and youthful insecurities has universal appeal. Author Amy Clipston artfully paints a panorama of simple lives full of complex relationships, and she carefully explores cultural differences and human similarities, with inspirational results. Naomi’s Gift includes all the details of Amish life that Clipston’s fans enjoy, while delivering the compelling stories and strong characters that continue to draw legions of new readers.


My Review: Hannah Same Both Ways by Hannah Rose.

I hope you all had a great Christmas day, and if you’re from the UK I hope you had a great Boxing Day yesterday. I love reading, and will occasionally read a book by or about a person with a disability to aid in my disability awareness work for my Facebook page where I raise awareness primarily for Cerebral Palsy and Hydrocephlus but also for any disability and/ or condition really.

A couple of days ago, I finished reading Hannah Same Both Ways by Hannah Rose. It’s the true story Hannah tells about her life since she was diagnosed with transverse myelitis, a condition which damaged her spine leaving her paralysed from the neck down and on a ventilator. It’s a small world because not only does she live not too far away from the Liverpool – Cheshire area my grandmother lives in, but she also visited the Villa in Portugal on holiday that is owned by Simon, and his wife Denise. Simon just so happens to be my sister’s husband’s cousin. On her travels with her family, Hannah has also visited a hotel in Tenerife called Mar Y Sol (she doesn’t mention the name but it’s in the Los Cristianos/Playa de las Americas area where the hotel I describe is). The hotel is supposed to be really well adapted for people with disabilities that has actually been recommended for me to go to a couple of times but I have never actually gone to yet . I do remember making enquiries about rooms and facilities though, so hopefully Alfredo and I can go in the future.
The book’s unique cover and Hannah’s chatty and quirky personality drew me to devour the book in just a few days. Each chapter is headed by a quote taken from the chapter it is about, which is a ice idea. All the way through the book I had a great sense of how loving and helpful Hannah’s family are, and how important they are to her. Her friends and carers are also tremendously important. I can identify personally with lots of aspects of Hannah’s life because of my own disabilities and the fact I have used care agencies, use a hoist and an electric wheelchair, and cannot stand being pushed in a manual one, although I need to ne because I don’t have the muscle strength to use a manual wheelchair on my own. I dont’t like being in a manual wheelchair on the occasions when my powerchair can’t be used as I really feel my independence is being taken away from me, even though I am able to only drive my powerchair for a very short amout of time before I tire and/or am in pain or have a muscle spasm because of the effort I have to go to to move my chair on my own. I, like Hannah, need to carefully plan what I do each day. I also really like shopping and fashion , as well as watching Friends on TV and listening to the Backstreet Boys on my MP5 player! I really loved watching Neighbours During the 80s and 90s. I identify with the many assumptions Hannah mentions that people make about the abilities of those of us with any kind of disability.

So this is a small world. They have this great saying here in Spain which equivalent to saying its a small world, but they say “el mundo es un pañuelo” (the world is a handkerchief ).
It was nice to read about her experiences and opinions on life. I would highly recommend this book.

This review is also on


My Review: Amy and Matthew by Cammie Mc Govern

I wasn’t sure about this at first but it turned out to be a great read, and Amy and Matthew are really realistic characters. They both have their challenges in life, and get through them together on most occasions. The reason they meet is because she’s looking for peer helpers at high school. That’s great that a friendship so great comes out of a situation like this. I can identify with Amy’s disability as I also have CP, although it affects me differently.
This book was recommended to me by someone who knew I write books with characters with disabilities in them, and I’m so glad I got to read it as I had never heard of Cammie McGovern before. The story is well written, has great pace throughout, believable characters and some very thought provoking and tense, as well as sad, moments. This was a good way to show disability awareness too. I have Cammie McGovern’s other books on my to-read list.
A must-read if you like a realistic and enjoyable read.
I thought there could have been more moments where she described how her disability affected her, and that more aspects of Matthew’s personality and less of her relationship with her parents could have been included, so it just focused on Amy and Matthew, as the title says it’s a love story. I thought at times we saw too much of Amy”s high school life, and I enjoyed the part after she graduated high school. I can identify with the peer helper system, and I had one-to-one help due to my disabilities. I started my education in special education.
This review can also be found on www,