Becky Jerams

Songwriter. Singer. Author.

June Update

Hi everyone! 

Just writing a little update in bloggy-form on what I've been up to the last few months as I know things have gone a little quiet on the old Western front... Sadly, I haven't had much that I can share publicly at the moment, but I have been working on lottttssss of different projects behind the scenes! So here's a bit more info for you guys on what I've been doing...

1. Editing my new novel

So, reading through my old entries I've discovered that it was October (!!) when I finished the first draft of my new book and I foolishly proclaimed that in 6 months time it would all be edited, polished up and ready to go.

Ha ha ha. HA HA HAAAAAAA. *manic twitching*

So here's what happened. I went through and edited the book to the best of my abilities by myself. And pretty much nothing changed except some tweaks and a whole load of highlighted sections with gazillions of question marks typed up next to them. Yup, I was completely stumped and stuck and had hit my creative limits.

Since then, my project partner (ooh mysterious) has come on board to really help me and push this book back into the right direction. And with her help things are finally, finally getting there. She completely gets my characters and the stories I want to tell, but she's also thoroughly brutal when it comes to shaping it into a proper product. Unnecessary description? CUT. Weird joke that doesn't land quite right? GOODBYE. Clumsy prose? GONE. ONLY PERFECT SENTENCES.

It is a long, hard process that we are barely even halfway through yet, but I am learning SO much and definitely becoming a better writer because of it. I'm discovering my bad habits and weaknesses (such as CONSTANTLY DESCRIBING DOORWAYS MAKE ME STOP) and also getting to grips with how to be more succinct and make every word count.

As such, the book is now transforming from an endearing but kind of ugly caterpillar into a fully-fledged beautiful butterfly and I am SO EXCITED ABOUT IT. This is easily the best thing I've ever done. And you know what? Whatever happens next, whether it 's destined for greatness or not, the fact that I've even created it at all is utterly thrilling to me. I have never taken on an endeavour this enormous before and to think that it's changed from the seed of an idea on a walk home from the shops into this huge, expanding, team-built, marvellous THING feels like one of the biggest achievements of my life.

Of course, we ain't there quite yet... There are many more snatched Skype sessions to get on with, many more plans and brainstorms to make and many more words to pick at. We have lots of ideas of where to go next, but we can't put anything into action until the bloody thing is finished. And it takes as long as it takes.

Luckily I have lots more time over my summer break from work, so the plan is to GET SHIT DONE. Watch this space. (Did I mention I am VERY excited about all this?!)

2. Songwriting/Setting Up My Home Studio

As well as living the book-life, I'm of course still making music as much as I can! I have a brand new home studio set up in my computer den and having somewhere to record decent vocals from the comfort of my own flat has opened up sooooo many more possibilities for me. I am finally able to say YES to collaborating with producers who live far away and YES to friends who I've been meaning to write with forever but we just can't get the time to meet in person.

I had a little studio set-up before, but it was getting super old, laggy and crappy with a broken laptop and a mic that just sounded dull and fuzzy. Now my new equipment has made me so much more confident with home-recording and the results are sounding a million times better. THANK YOU to my parents for lending me the money to get started up, and for buying me the iMac as a present :'( I am soooo lucky!!! And they have told me I can make it back to them one day when I get a big hit and buy them a luxury Villa in France with the royalties. (Well, we can all dream right?)

I've been working on all kinds of stuff the last month or so. A lot of K-Pop pitches in various different styles, as well as gaining connections for more advert work. Ads are something I LOVED doing in the past and I'm really excited to get back into that world again. I've also had a funky gospel session singing job and been building up connections with loads of different people for future jobs and collaborations. I love that I now have the freedom to work with lots of super amazing people on such varied briefs and I really hope this summer I can sew the seeds for being able to do more of what I love in the future.

3. Writing "Whispers Beneath The Waves" On Wattpad

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So all the while I've been focusing on my new book and new music, I've had this little idea bubbling in the background. I know how much my previous gay romance stories have resonated with people so I thought it would be fun to keep that side of my writing alive with a brand new story, this time with a fantasy twist. WBTW is all about a young guy called Lennon and his relationship with a merman. It's very slow-burning, mysterious and smouldering - pretty different to my usual light-hearted contemporary stuff. I've never written anything with a fantasy or supernatural theme before, but it's something I'd like to explore more in the future so this has been a fun starting point.

I'm not sure how the book is being received by readers, but hopefully they are enjoying it! I don't have tons of time to invest in it and have only been updating on Wattpad once every few weeks, but I'm hoping to try and finish it slowly but surely. If you'd like to read what's online so far, check out the link below:

WHISPERS BENEATH THE WAVES - Read On Wattpad


4. Playing A Gig!

At the start of June I played my first headline gig in a long time at The Wave Maiden pub in Southsea. I organised the whole evening by myself, inviting two awesome talented friends Corinna and Marley to play on the night too. It was a chance for me to test out loads of new material and perform with Cam on acoustic guitar for the first time. Along with my friend Chris on electric guitar, we had a really nice, country-tinged sound on stage and I had the best time performing an hour-long set of songs. I even sang two duets with one of my best friends Paul, so it was such a special evening. Loads of people came out to show support and I was so touched at how passionately people got into the evening and how lovely everyone was!

It was also MY LIVE RAP DEBUT. I'm not gonna lie, I feel pretty proud of myself for getting through the entirety of Eminem's "Lose Yourself" without messing up. Here's the video:

I don't perform super often but when I do I always enjoy it so much and I'm truly thankful for everyone who came out. I'm already planning my next night for December 15th when my old pal Chris Ricketts is home from the Cruise Ships and wants to put on a show together. More details soon, but it should be fun! :)

5. Getting Into The Book World

I have a lot of musical friends and contacts but when it comes to bookish pals, I don't know so many people. And since this is a world I really want to learn more about I've been doing my best to get involved (and try and read more, I'm such a slooow reader waa!)

First off I've booked tickets to YALC in July which I'm super excited about - I went a few years ago and absolutely loved it. It's such a great convention to meet authors, hear talks, buy books and get advice from agents working in the industry. If anyone is going then make sure to come say hi!

Secondly, I've started adminning a brand new Facebook group run by the people behind the Maximum Pop! online blog. It's called Basic Book Life and it's a place for discussions on Young Adult books, recommendations and all other kinds of fun interactions. We are talking about ways we can make the group more exciting and perhaps hosting giveaways and such in the future so please come and join if you like teen fiction:

Basic Book Life Facebook Group

Keeping fingers crossed that I can keep building up connections in this world as I love it so much, both as a reader and a writer, and I'd love to get more involved in the community!

6. Seeing Gigs

Ahhhh I have seen such amazing gigs this year - there was Dodie in Brighton (who is a real current fave of mine) then Nerina Pallot played the Wedgewood Rooms and it was amazing to hear her play some of her lesser-known tracks and B-sides. I love when we get to hear a really unique set from someone with such a huge, amazing back catalogue.

I also saw Ben Folds last month in The Anvil theatre in Basingstoke. We were SO close to the stage, watching just him and a piano as though he were sat in our front room. It was utterly spectacular, one of the best gigs I've ever been to! It left me feeling so inspired. He even did an epic drum solo where his stage crew built a drum set around him! Just... WOW!

This week I'm super excited to be seeing HAIM in London for the first time. Then next week I'M SEEING TAYLOR SWIFT AT WEMBLEY AHHH!! AND Charli XCX and Camila Cabello are supporting. I'm so excited I could faint! Then in July it's Kate Voegele and Tyler Hilton. I've been SO spoiled for all my favourite artists this year, it's going to be sooo much fun.

7. Seeing Friends

A few weeks ago my friends Kanata and Tomo came over to Portsmouth from Tokyo for a visit - they showed me and Mat around Shibuya on our Honeymoon so now it was our turn to return the favour! It was sooo lovely to have them to stay and show them Southsea and Brighton. We even watched the Royal Wedding together with scones and jam which was so special!

We've also seen lots of people over summer for gigs and drinks and days out. We have such lovely friends and family and I really love getting to spend time with everyone :)

8. PLANNING MY BIRTHDAY!

So this June I turn 31, which I know is a weird age to hold a birthday party, but I didn't do much to celebrate my 30th as I was in full-on wedding planning mode so I decided to go all out and have a big celebration this year instead. 

The theme for my party is 90s/00s and it's fancy dress - I'm so excited and hope we'll all have the best time dancing to cheesy music and having a laugh. I know who I want to go as but I'm having trouble finding the right costume (Arghhh!) - I've also spent ages making little fortune tellers with "Who is your 90s BF/GF" and kissing dares on. It's going to be so funny haha!

Soooooooo... that's pretty much all my news for the time being! :) I've also been working my day job in the art shop and making plans for where to go travelling next. After visiting Budapest with Mat in April (which was beauuutiful) we definitely have the travel bug!

I am loving life so much right now - it's busy and hectic and there is so much work to be done, but everyday I wake up pumped to start the day and to make a little more progress. I'm definitely feeling super inspired and full of happiness, and I just can't wait to see what the second half of the year will bring.

I'll keep you posted when there is more news - and if you've read all this, thank you so much for the interest and support! :D

Wishing you all a super great summer - speak again soon!

Becky xx

20 Things I'm Loving Right Now!

Hey guys! I haven't posted on my blog in a while and I felt like it needed a little update now we're three months into 2018 (eek, how did that happen?!)

Things are ticking along slowly for me at the moment... I've had a few little releases at the start of this year (see my news page for info!) and I've just been writing, writing, writing... So as I don't have much to update you about, I'm going to post up 20 things I am currently loving! HERE WE GO!!!!

1. Ladybird

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I saw this at the cinema last week and it was absolutely beautiful mesmerising, heartfelt and hilarious all at the same time. As an awkward precocious teen in the noughties myself, I related to Lady Bird far more than I should probably admit.

2. Your Name

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This is a sci-fi anime movie all about a boy in Tokyo who finds himself swapping bodies with a girl in a remote village who he has never met. Add time travel, a giant asteroid and a heart-aching romance and you have one unique story. Everything about Your Name was STUNNING. The animation, the music, the storyline... It's such a beautiful piece of art and it really moved me far more than I ever expected it to. Dare I say, better than Ghibli?!

3. Ru Paul's Drag Race All Stars

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The new Ru Paul All Stars is airing RIGHT NOW and it's a cracker of a season. I love all the Queens so much and the tasks have been hilarious as ever. I think I might be rooting for Shangela to win, although everyone has been great! Also, Vanessa Hudgens lip-syncing against a pork chop for no apparent reason might just be my favourite TV moment of all time.

4. Zumbo's Just Desserts

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This Netflix show is basically Great British Bake Off but with Willy Wonka style desserts instead of cakes and a load of lovely Aussies rather than a load of lovely Brits. I am literally obsessed with it and the desserts are just DROOOOOOLWORTHY. Also, Rachel Khoo is basically my new spirit animal, how does she always look SO GOOD?

5. My Joe Browns Coat

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I got this coat half price on Simply Be on a Black Friday deal and OH MY GOD IT IS THE BEST COAT EVER. It's so super warm and has saved me from this hideous frozen weather, plus I get compliments on it all the time  because let's face it, it's definitely the best coat ever. Look at the FUR. I never find good deals like this so I'm soooo chuffffeeedddd with it hahaha!

6. Noodlerella

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Noodlerella is the friend of a Youtuber I worked with last year, and I am becoming so obsessed with her beautiful aesthetic! She makes videos on lots of interesting subjects, writes books and puts a lot of effort into her social media, making it so pretty and eye-catching. I definitely find her posts give me a boost of inspiration!

7. Goodreads

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I've been making more effort lately to review the books I've been reading and try to keep track of them all a little better. Goodreads is such a great site for writing reviews and finding hidden bookish  gems you might not discover normally. I have also had so many lovely comments here on my own books and whenever I need motivation I always go and read the nice reviews <3 (Let's just pretend there are no nasty ones hahaha!)

8. The Greatest Showman (Movie & Soundtrack)

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This movie. THIS MOVIE, GUYS. I had heard so much hype about it and it certainly did not disappoint. I left the cinema feeling on a complete high after watching it, the story and most importantly the soundtrack are absolute magic. Now I listen to The Greatest Show, Come Alive and From Now On on a loop as I walk to work AND FEEL INVINCIBLLEEEE!!!

9. Bojack Horseman

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I know, I know, I'm really late to the party with this one... But I've recently discovered the genius that is Bojack Horseman and now I'm trying to catch up with all the seasons. I love how it threads black humour with hertbreaking drama in a way that only adult animation can really carry off.  Very clever and very funny. Even though the LSD drug trip scene in Season 1 gave me nightmares...

10. The Good Place

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What am I supposed to do with my life now this series is on hiatus?! The Good Place is one of the best, funniest, freshest, most diverse and intelligent sitcoms I have EVER seen. I am so hooked and I cannot wait for Season 3! (Also... If Chidi and Eleanor don't get together properly next season SOMEONE WILL PAY.)

11. Fifty Shades Freed Soundtrack

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I cannot tell you how bad the Fifty Shades Freed movie was... But the soundtrack is SO GOOD! All of the Fifty Shades soundtracks are! Sultry, sassy and sexy with some of the biggest names in music and songwriting right now on the tracklists. I'm really loving this new collection of music, especially The Wolf (aka. the car chase song!)

12. Skype/Facebook Chat Calls

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I've been doing a lot of songwriting sessions this year over video chat - either Skype or Facebook chat. It's amazing how someone can be miles away but feel like they are right there in the room with you! It's been awesome to be so productive and keep in touch with fellow songwriters in different parts of the country/world! 

13. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

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Rainbow Rowell is fast becoming one of my all-time favourite authors and I have been catching up with some of her older novels from the library. Attachments was such a sweet story about a guy in IT who falls in love with a co-worker he's never seen through her emails. Very romantic and endearing, just like all of Rowell's work!

14. When We First Met (Netflix Movie)

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This very silly, cheesy Netflix movie was such fun to watch with my friend Katie a few weeks ago. It involves a time travelling photo booth which I think says it all. We laughed a lot and I definitely have a crush on Adam Devine now...!

15. Bullet Journaling

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I kept seeing people making this beautiful bullet journals on blogs and Instagram so this year I've been making my own. Mine doesn't look like this piece of art in the picture, mine looks like that but shredded and set on fire. But despite the fact it is so not-pretty, I've really enjoyed keeping list and track of things in its pages!

16. Trollied

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For those who don't know, Trollied is a little comedy show on Sky that has been running forever and a day about people who work in the fictional supermarket Valco. It's very harmless, but something about it is so damn lovable and even after all these series I LOVE watching and laugh out loud during every episode. There is something so warm and cosy about it, I feel like everyone in Valco is my close personal friend. Probably because after working in retail my whole life, I've met most of the different characters on my travels in one shop or another!

17. Slimming World

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Yep, this year I've taken the plunge and joined Slimming World! I find it so hard to stick to diets but I've actually stuck to this one more than anyone ever expected me to, including myself! I'm not being super strict, but I have definitely changed my eating habits and been making much healthier choices in my life, plus I've lost 2 pounds, woohoo!

18. Jane The Virgin

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Another cosy Netflix show that makes me smile! I'm on Season 3 of Jane The Virgin and I love everything about it from the silly humour to the crazy tela-novella style twists. Jane is such a great leading lady and I can't wait to see what mad situations she gets into next.

19. Derry Girls

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Derry Girls is a brand new female-led comedy on Channel 4 about a group of Irish girls growing up in the nineties, when the IRA were causing terror attacks. It sounds like a strange premise for a comedy, but it really works and manages to be utterly hilarious and poignant all at the same time. I'm so happy to see more comedies about women, by women being aired and Derry Girls is right up there with shows like The In-betweeners and Fresh Meat.

20. Vonda Shepard

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One of my hugest songwriting inspirations growing up was Vonda Shepard, the lady who sung on Ally McBeal and wrote the theme tune. She was playing recently in Wimborne and me and Mat went to see her for a second time. She was absolutely brilliant live and we met her afterward! She is SO nice! I had such a rush of nostalgia hearing all the old songs and I love discovering her new material too! Look at her face next to my face eeee! <3

 

OK, so there we go! 20 things I loooove right now! Did you like this list? If so I'll do another one next month! Let me know any cool suggestions for shows/music/etc. that you think I'd like!

Hope you're all having a great start to the year, let's catch up again soon!
Becky x

 

2017 Thoughts/2018 Resolutions

Hi everyone!

Looks like it's that time of year again... 2017 has finally come to an end and everyone is filling their Facebook statuses with reflections of the year gone by, as well as resolutions for the year ahead. I have to admit, I am a sucker for "year review" type posts, both reading and writing them. I think there is something wonderful about the closing of one chapter and the start of another, plus I love any opportunity to reflect on recent memories and make plans going forward. So here are a few thoughts on the past twelve months and all the things I have experienced.

2017 has been a totally crazy, life-changing year for me. I feel like a different person now than this time last year and I have achieved things I know I can truly be proud of.

Here are some of the main events from this year, all of which left a huge impact on me:

- I married my best friend (and it was the best day of my life)

- I turned 30 (and it was scary, but also I feel like this new decade will be a good one)

- I Honeymooned with Mat to Japan and it was EVERYTHING I wanted it to be

- We also had a Mini Moon in Brighton in a beautiful hotel and it was thoroughly lovely!

- I had an epic hen do with all my best friends and I will never forget how amazing it was!

- I had a cut on a worldwide #1 album it broke a sales record for the band's most downloaded B-Side.

- I had a cut on a #2 album in Japan, and got to visit a pop-up cafe in the Tokyo HMV playing our song over the speakers (talk about a dream come true)

- I travelled to Sweden by myself for a writing camp and met so many amazing new friends

- I had multiple music videos out for my co-written songs, something I've always dreamed of!

- I had two songs featured on a Dutch teen movie

- I had a B-Side cut with a Japanese actress

- I had multiple cuts with FAKY including the ending theme to a Gundam anime

- I had a song reach the heats for Lithuanian Eurovision

- I released my published my second e-book and made it into a few Kindle charts

- I finished the first draft of a brand new novel, and have put the wheels of a very big exciting new project into motion

On top of all this, I've had so many great times with friends and have shared lots of very special moments with people, whether it was to do with the wedding, working on music together or just hanging out. 

In all honestly, everything has been somewhat overwhelming. I have experienced moments of pure joy and jubilation, but there has been a lot of pressure attached too. This year has been the best and the most stressful year of my life simultaneously. The anxiety and nerves I've felt about wedding planning, travelling and having work released in the public eye  has been all-consuming. Not to mention the absolute crushing frustration I have felt at not being able to do what I love full time.  After the wonderful highs of so many dreams coming true, it has been unbearable to go back to mundane work life again, without any free time to keep momentum moving.

But all that said, I don't think I would change anything for a second. Because all the highs have been worth the stress.

This year I got to see everyone I love in the same room and feel their joy radiating out of every corner. I got the chance to promise my love forever to the one person I could never be without. Relationships from the past became a little stronger and friendship groups got a little bigger.

I got to see hundreds of thousands of fans reacting to music I played a part in, and read strangers saying the song gives them strength in times of hardship. All I've ever wanted is to move people through music and I finally got to do that.

I got to see places I could only dream about, places I wasn't sure I'd really see in my lifetime. I got to meet wonderful, talented people who teach and push me to be a better songwriter. 

I did things I've always wanted to do. And I'm so incredibly happy that I did, even when I had to leave my comfort zone and get a little bit pressurised in the process. I've discovered just how much I can achieve when I really put my mind to it and I'm actually really bloody proud of myself!

So now, going into the new year, I'm already thinking of all the resolutions I want to make in order to move forward to get the most out of my life. 

First of all, I have to get my crazy anxiety under control! I am so sick of it looming over everything I do and I am sure there are ways I can keep a better lid on it and stop it affecting every decision I ever make. I want to give myself more time to enjoy the things that bring me pleasure on a smaller scale. I want to read more, watch more movies. Mat and I want to travel more and see as much as we can, even if it's just other cities in the UK. I want to get out of my own head and just live in the moment without worrying about tomorrow. When we went to Japan, it was the one time I really felt like I was living for the moment and it was so freeing that I want to be in that head space all the time, not just on holiday!

Secondly, I want to get more serious where my creative work is concerned. I feel like I've become a little aimless and have lost sight of my end goal over the past few years, which is to make a enough income from creative work to drop my day job hours. I am not as far off from this goal as I once was, and now is the time to start making creativity my number one priority again. It's always so hard balancing a day job with writing and music, because ultimately I need money and a steady job to live, but I feel like I have really lost that balance recently and I need to make more time to invest in writing and music if I ever want to make it to the next rung of the ladder (and I am sooooo close now!)

On top of that, I want to start being pickier with my time. I have had a handful of projects this year that messed me around big time, and there is nothing more frustrating than putting your all into a project, only to be let down by people who don't share your same commitment, or even seem to appreciate how much of your own time and money you have put in for free. Right now my time is so limited that I don't have a second to waste on people who aren't driven or who keep changing their minds at the drop of a hat. So I'm going to be very picky with who I collaborate with from now on. I also plan to stand my ground a lot more when people mess me around, and be a little pushier for people I really want to collaborate with.  Luckily, I have some very rewarding co-writes in the works right now with some super talented and motivated people, so things are definitely looking up!

My final resolution for the year is to find my voice again. I have dabbled with performing again this year, but it's never been something I've done as anything more than a hobby. I am not a typical "pop star" and I have never wanted to be one, which is why I have left that part of me behind as I've moved forward songwriting for other people. However, singing and performing has always been such a passion of mine that it is something I've regretted not pursuing further. This is why I am SO excited about the new project I am working on with my amazing and talented friend Ellie. I don't want to share too much just yet as we aren't finished, but we are working really hard on it and hope that more will be revealed in the later half of 2018. It is something that will allow me to sing and perform again without the focus being on trying to get signed or be some kind of pop star... which is EXACTLY what I have wanted to do for a really long time! It is also something which allows for collaboration in lots of different directions, and it's also a project we have total control over (so no big company butting in with decisions that ruin the end result).  I have put so much passion into what we are building and I plan to make it my number one priority next year. I just hope that people will love it as much as I've loved creating it... But whatever happens, I am super proud that we are making it at all and that we are on the way to getting it finished!

So there we go... 2018, I am ready and waiting for you. Fingers crossed you have just as many cool adventures waiting for me as the ones I had this year :) Thanks to all the good people in my life for sharing so many wonderful memories with me. Let's go do it all over again next year!

Wishing everyone reading this a happy and super prosperous 2018 - thank you always for your support with everything I do.

Much love,

Becky xx

(PS. Here is me with my crew over Xmas hehe!!!)

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My New Novel - Update

Hey everyone!

So, I can hardly believe it... After ten months of writing, and 108,000 words, I have FINALLY finished the first draft of my brand new novel... Eeeeeek!!!!

As many of you know, my other books were all written on a weekly basis on the website Wattpad, which was a fantastic experience, but this time around I wanted to keep things a little quieter as I worked on them, ready for a big reveal. So this is actually the first time I've gone into a project completely blind without any reader's comments to guide me. It's a little terrifying as I only really have my own judgement that I am going in the right direction. But I LOVE these characters, and I really hope that means other people will love them too.

The story is also a lot more personal to me than my "Love Series" books. Even though there were plenty of little pieces of me scattered in Scotty, Olive, Benjamin Apple and co, I don't think any of them have captured my personality or my struggles in quite the same way as the leading ladies of my new story have. These two girls are ME, both in different ways. And all the themes that run through the book are incredibly close to my heart.

I don't want to give too much more away because there is still a lot more work to do before the book is finished, but I will tell you a little about the process of writing it. Many of my friends have said to me that they can't believe I've written so many words or want to know how I manage to come up with whole stories the way I do. I can't really explain how the stories come, they just kind of appear fully formed in my head during a flash of inspiration. I can't take credit for that, I'm just the lightning rod where my muse chooses to strike.

The hardest part for me isn't thinking up ideas, but actually sitting down and getting the story out, every day, come rain or shine, even when you can't be arsed or feel like the whole thing is going nowhere (EVERY writer feels like this at some point during their project, trust me). Sometimes it's definitely a struggle to keep going. But honestly, it's all about routine and getting into the habit of writing little and often. if you can master that then you can 100% finish your book! You just need to take it word by word, sentence by sentence, and soon enough everything starts falling into place.

I was lucky that I had a lot of time to write this year over summer - since I work in a Uni, I am not needed in so much when the students aren't in. I got so much work done over this time period which was great. However, getting back to early starts and late finishes was HELL and I never seemed to have enough time to write as much as I wanted. I started getting up an hour earlier than usual at 6am so I could get a few hours writing in before work (I find that my mind is far more alert and energised first thing in the morning rather than after work!)

It was beyond frustrating to get into the flow only to be cut off by time limitations, but I did the best I could each morning and I soon discovered that persisting morning after morning, even if I could only write one or two pages, was enough to get the novel finished!

Well... the first draft anyway! There is still lots to do and I've already found a whole load of things I want to fix, change, tweak and clip. For a start, I want to get the word count down as much as possible and get rid of any unnecessary waffle. I am a TERRIBLE waffler and I'm trying really hard to work on my problem of going massively over the designated word count.

I also want to change a few character's ages and fix a lot of dialogue. My main character sounds like a completely different person in the early chapters of the book compared to the later ones. I always find it takes a while for a character's voice to fully form in my head and I have to get to know them as I'm writing. When I first wrote Reasons To Love A Nerd Like Me, Scotty was really brash and swore a lot in the first few chapters which was so different to the sweet-natured, polite character he became! So consistency is definitely something I need to focus on!

Another aspect I want to work on is making my words really sparkle and shine. So far, I've just wanted to get the story out by any means possible. Now I have to look at everything from the grammar to the tone, to the choice of verbs and adjectives. I need to buff and polish those paragraphs into something way more poetic than they currently are. Which I am sure is going to be an enormous job because right now some of what I've written barely makes sense LOL.

Sooooo... I've finished, but also, I've only just started. I have no idea how long it will take me to get everything sounding perfect, but I'm estimating around 6 months realistically. I hate that it takes SO long to finish a bloody book. I am from the music world, where you write and record a song in a day then wait a few weeks for production and it's all wrapped up. To have something that takes around 2 years from start to finish feels so ridiculously slow that sometimes it's just unbearable. I am like an anxious whippet at the start of a dog race, DYING to shoot out and run, but the gate is always holding me back.

Still, it's pointless rushing anything. I want this book to be the best I can make it so I can pitch it to agents, and that will take however long it takes. And hopefully, by the end, I'll feel super proud of the final product and the immense amount of work I've put into it!

So there we go! That is where I'm at right now and I'll definitely keep you all posted on the next stages. Now I will just end this massive musing by stressing how strange it is to have something take over your WHOLE ENTIRE LIFE for so many months that no one else knows about. I literally spend every waking minute of every day thinking about my story and characters and my next move forward in the world I've created. And when I'm not thinking about the story itself, I'm thinking about where to find agents, what contacts I know who might be able to give me advice, how to get funding if I go down the indie route and what books I can be reading next for inspiration.

It's all pretty time-consuming. And whenever I mention it to other people, it's so hard to explain that this is more than a little hobby to me now, this is literally EVERYTHING and I have to get it right or else I just wasted 2 years of my life and my whole future is OVER (NO PRESSURE OR ANYTHING).

Ahem. Anyway. It'll all be fiiiiiine. (*nervous manic laughter*)

Thanks for reading this long old post, it feels great to be able to express myself and talk about thisjourney so far! Now I'll end with some of my current favourites:

CURRENT FAVOURITES:

1. Pink Hair!

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Last weekend, my Mum and my boss Jacqui both helped me dye the end of my hair bright pink! We did it with a LIVE home bleaching kit followed by LIVE pink dye on the tips. My hair is very dark and we accidentally missed out the blonde booster with the bleach, so it didn't take very well and left me more "sun-kissed" than blonde. I was worried the pink wasn't going to show up at all because of this, but the end result was surprisngly vivid! The overall look was way more subtle than I had been expecting but I think maybe it's nicer than had it been totally neon.

It's faded a little in a week, but I'm hoping we can give it a round 2 pinking just before I head off on my Honeymoon in just over 2 week's time eek! Which leads me nicely to CF #2...

2. Honeymoon Planning

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On November 6th, Mat and I will be jetting off to Japan for our belated Honeymoon and I'm SOOOO EXCITED! It's been such a long wait for us to go (we wanted to avoid the really HOT summer in Tokyo, as well as picking the best time for work), but now it's almost here and I'm so ready for it! Thank you SO much to all of our wedding guests who helped us reach our goal of getting to Tokyo, you really have made our dreams come true. We've been booking up so many things to do and researching all the districts we want to go and explore. There is so much to do that it's hard to fit it all into 14 days. I can't wait to switch off for 2 weeks and have an amazing adventure with my favourite person in the world. I think it will be a truly life-affirming and transformative experience!

3. American Vandal

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This Netflix show is one of the most brilliant and innovative series' I've seen for a very long time. Set up like a real crime documentary, the story follows a high school jock called Dylan who has been expelled for drawing penises all over the teacher's cars in the car park, only he claims he didn't do it despite the weighty evidence stacked against him. What starts off as a stupid "dick joke" style comedy, becomes a really fascinating look at unpicking evidence and society's habit of putting people into boxes. It was hilarious, clever, surprisingly complex and full of heart. I cannot rave about this enough, I just loved it.

4. "Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn

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This is not my usual stlye of book AT ALL, but I picked it up in the library and gave it a go since I know it's been a huge hit and I honestly could not put this down! It was so thrilling, darkly comic and filled with twists and turns on every page. I think I'm going to give thrillers more of a chance now because it really did capture my imagination. Will definitely check out the movie version next too!

5. Strictly Come Dancing

IT'S BACK! You know Christmas is coming when Strictly is back! I just love this show, the glitz and the glamour and watching all the contestant's journeys. This year my favourite without a doubt is Susan Calman and her beautiful friendship with Kevin Clifton. Alexandra Burke has also blown me away with her amazing dancing! Such perfect Saturday Night Viewing!

6. "Frozen Charlotte" by Alex Bell

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Another book choice - I am 3/4's through this one at the moment and I am absoutely hooked! This is a YA read so aimed at a younger audience, but it's also a horror and a really creepy, compelling horror at that set on the Isle of Skye and involving scary porcelain dolls, ghosts, posession and a host of sinister cousins who aren't quite what they seem. This has been HUGE mind-inspiration for me and is making me really want to write a young horror at some point in my career, something I never thought I'd be interested in doing before. I hate anything gory or unnecessarily violent, but I do have a streak for the macabre and love shows such as Scream Queens, True Blood etc. (I just close my eyes at the super gory bits LOL). I think I like young horror because it's scary without being too graphic and focuses more on the mystery. This book is part of the "Red Eye" series that features many more scary stories for kids so I'm going to read some more for research and try my hand at my own in the future!

I'm not sure if I will get time to blog again until I'm back from Japan, but I promise I'll be back with an account of all my adventures when I return! And I will try and vlog some of the trip too as lots of people have asked if we will :)

See you on the other side! 

Becky xxx

My new blog! (Autumn Reflections)

Hello everyone!

It's that time of year again. Summer is slowly petering out to make way for colder temperatures and darker nights. Leaves are falling off the trees, Christmas is gearing up in the back of everyone's minds. Oh, and Squarespace has charged me for another year's renewal fee, right at the moment when I want to be putting my money toward literally anything else besides boring website maintenance. 

But still, something about this combination of events, and the fact I've been enjoying the blogs of other writers recently, has given me a little kick up the bum to get my own blog set up on here. I have always blogged extensively for a large portion of my life, from angst-ridden Livejournal posts as a teen to extensively detailed Myspace posts to Wordpress and every other blogger format known to mankind.

Then something happened. Real life got busier. I started writing actual fiction books alongside juggling a thousand other things and my blogging fell somewhere along the wayside. I guess I wondered what the point was anymore. But you know what? I miss it. There is something incredibly therapeutic about writing down your thoughts and feelings and adventures, even if it's only for your own personal pleasure (and maybe for your Mum to read).

So welcome to Becky's Diary, 2017 edition! I'm not going to stress about updating it tons, but when the mood strikes I am hoping to write about all the things I'm passionate about, list the things I am loving, rant about the things I am hating and generally share all the craziness that's been going on in my world. Did I mention 2017 has been crazy so far? Here are just a few of the crazy but awesome things that have been going on since January...

1. I GOT MARRIED.

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Yep, after ten years together me and Matty finally tied the knot on July 8th at The Square Tower in our home city of Southsea. It was absolutely the best day of my life, neither of us could stop smiling for a second and having all of our friends and family in the same room was absolutely magical.

We had been planning the day for a year and a half, and after initially claiming what a cool, laid-back bride I was going to be, I turned into a total cliche. Crying over lamps, shouting over earrings, having "Weddy Krueger" style wedding-nightmares on a regular basis of everything going wrong. Because it turns out that planning a wedding is stressful. I think it nearly gave me a full-on anxiety-ridden nervous breakdown at points. But my God, was it all worth it.

It really is a day I will remember all my life and meant so much to me to make our commitment official in front of everyone we love. People say it's just one day and you shouldn't put so much importance on it, but it was about so much more than one day. It was hundreds of days of planning and laughter and love. I feel like it brought me closer to lots of friends and family and it made me appreciate just how far me and Matty have come together and made us even stronger than before.

In short, it was perfect. Also, the hen do was fricking brilliant and you should all watch me and my girlfriends miming to Destiny's Child like drunken superstars:

2. I GOT MY FIRST WORLD #1!!!!

Yes it really is as insane as it sounds. After a year and a half of waiting for news on my co-written song You Better Know it finally launched on the night of my wedding (what are the chances?!) with the K-Pop band Red Velvet. Meaning I woke up not only a married lady, but with 20,000 tweets to read through all raving about a song I wrote another lifetime ago in Sweden with my songwriting friends Kanata and Pontus and lots of rum. And then, after 3 TV performances and even a mini music-video by the band, the song hit #14 in the charts with over 120,000 copies sold (the best-performing Red Velvet album track of all time). Then the mini-album reached number one, not just in Korea, but in the world.

Surreal is not the word. I still don't believe this any of this really happened.

I have been writing and pitching songs for Asia through my publisher for many years and dreaming of the day a big band would finally cut one of my tracks, so I really can't put into words how much this whole thing has meant to me. To know there are literally hundreds of thousands of people out there (a number that boggles my mind) listening to this song just blows me away. To know that I charted in Korea. That it's been played on Korean SNL, on huge tour dates which other famous K-Pop acts attended (*waves to Taeyeon*) and that it has been covered by dozens upon dozens of strangers on Youtube all making their own art with it. The song has become bigger than the three of us who wrote it. You Better Know has flown into the world and become it's own entity now which I truly hope has brought strength and hope to people when they've needed it most.

All I've ever wanted to do is bring joy into people's lives with my music and I feel like I've finally made a small mark on the world through this song. Thank you so much to Kanata, Pontus and everyone behind the scenes who made this dream possible.

3. I HAVE HAD MORE CUTS IN 2017 THAN ANY OTHER YEAR

So on top of the amazing Red Velvet taking a track, this year has seen more songs than ever before finally finding a home. So far in 2017 I've been lucky enough to get the following placements for my co-writes:

- Elvina Milkauskaite: "Try" (Lithuanian Eurovision Heat 1)

- Mariya Nishiuchi: "Won't Leave Without A Fight" (Single B-Side)

- FAKY: "Surrender" (Music Video)

- FAKY: "Chase Me" (Ending Theme To Gundam Build Fighters)

- K.OH!: "Ponytail", "Take Me Back To Summer" and "Fight". (All performed at Summer In The City 2017)

- Djamila: "Invisible" and "Hush" (Both featured on Dutch Teen Movie "Misfit")

On top of this I am still waiting on two more release which (fingers crossed) are coming out later this year/early next. One with a solo J-Pop act and another with a well-known K-Pop girl band.

A huge thank you to both DWB and Kanata Okajima for all these opportunities and placements. I am hoping when the royalties start trickling through in a few years time that this will all be a great start to gettinga house deposit and building up a future from something I love to do, which is truly an amazing feeling.

I remember times when I thought I was never going to reach this level with my music, but everyone told me to be patient and keep working at it. I kept on being persistent and now all the hard work is paying off. Hopefully this is just the start of many more to come if I keep writing and pitching, fingers crossed!

4. I TURNED 30

This is the craziest thing of all. And I'm not going to lie, I've been having apocalyptic levels of existential crisis about hitting the big three-oh, the kind that keeps me awake at night worrying about the inescapable passing of time.

BUT on the plus side, I feel really good in my skin at this age too. I'm much more confident in my own decisions. I'm assertive in ways I could never dream of a decade ago. I know what I want out of life and I'm not wasting anymore time in getting it. People's opinions matter less and less to me. I've managed to stop looking slightly less of a mess in daily life (unless you see me at work, in which case you'll see the same scruffy state as always).

I can travel alone. I can make small-talk with strangers. I can use the oven. 

I am getting "house-broody" and I'm filled with wanderlust.

I've held my dearest friends close and the ones who slipped by the wayside don't cross my mind anymore.

I am a wife  and I have a husband. Blimey.

All in all, I'm in a really good place right now. And once I've accepted the fact I'm in this new decade, whether I'm ready for it or not, I think I'm actually going to really bloody enjoy it.

5. I AM WRITING A NEW BOOK

OK this is the last crazy thing on the list, for now. As many of you reading this may already know, I am writing a book! A brand new one outside of my Love Stories series with all new characters and themes.

I don't want to say too much about it yet because it's still in the super early stages and I'm not ready to reveal any secrets yet. But I will give a few hints...

1. I have a female main character this time around - and girl power/female friendship is a huge theme of the book

2. Other themes include sibling rivalry, jealousy, dealing with haters, self-esteem issues and most importantly MUSIC!

3. There's also some romance. Of course!

4. There are parts of this book project that I am working on with my amazingly talented friend Ellie Wyatt, and I am SUPER excited about our collaboration. That's all I'm gonna say for now...

I have been writing the first draft for around 7 months now, and I estimate it will take the same amount of time or more to edit it once I've finally finished. I've been working my bum off trying to bring the story in my head to life and I feel as though I've poured more of myself into the pages than any of my previous novels. I've also been working on it completely blind without any kind of audience this time around to steer me in the right direction. It's really scary. I have no idea if people will react the way I'm expecting, or rather hoping them to.

I definitely go through cycles of being absolutely in love with the story to doubting every little part of it. And motivating myself to keep writing every day, even on the bad days, has definitely been a challenge. However, I've had more good days than doubtful ones. Because I LOVE these characters, I love this world and I love having the chance to bring messages that are important to me to an audience. All the wonky little pieces will fall into place if I keep working hard. I won't stop going until everything fits just right.

So... watch this space! Fingers crossed that sometime in 2018 I'll be able to say an agent has pricked their ears up at the book. And if they don't, I'll just work my bum off to launch it myself! GOD BLESS THE INTERNET!

Right. Enough mad rambling from me for now. I look forward to updating this little corner of the virtual world and sincerely hope some of you will come along for the ride.

I'd like the end with some of my current favourites, because who doesn't love nosing at other people's recommendations for STUFF?

 

CURRENT FAVOURITES

1. Taylor Swift's new music video

COME ON THIS IS JUST A VISUAL MASTERPIECE. So many hidden references. A blinding hit of a song. Taylor looks bloody gorgeous and the sheer drama of the whole thing is breathtakingly amazing. THERE IS A FRICKING TOWER OF TAYLOR'S FALLING TO THEIR DEATH FOR CRYING OUT LOUD. Genius. I'm SO hyped for the album.

2. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

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I just finished this book last week and I loved it sooooo much. Not to mention I cried a literal ocean in my living room at the ending. It was so well written, romantic and inspirational. I'll definitely be checking out Ms. Moye's entire back catalogue now.

3. Kesha's new album

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Kesha released her new album Rainbow last month - her first collection of songs since escaping her record contract with Dr. Luke. It's been clear that Kesha has been forced to fit the wrong mould for years now and the hellish limbo of being unable to release any new material has lit a thousand fires beneath her. This record is absolute pop perfection, from the stunningly emotional Praying (best pop song of the Decade?) to the more upbeat and sassy tracks such as WomanLet Them Talk and Boogie Feet. Also huge shout-out to the lyrical brilliance of Learn To Let Go and Hymn, both of which brought literal tears to my eyes in a public place (oops). Kesha has a lot to say on this record and I'm so happy she finally has the chance to say it. Plus her voice is immense, the best I've ever heard it. Such a good album!

4. Zoella

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I have always been aware of the phenomenon that is Zollea, but it was only during her Christmas vlog-a-thon in December that I really got hooked on her videos. Since then I have watched her weekly updates religiously, to the point where she basically feels like an extended member of my own family. I love everything about her warm, cosy videos. I love her style, I love her gorgeous house and homely tips, I love her dog Nala, I love her walks around Brighton doing fun things. It's total aspiration-inspiration viewing and makes me want to be a domestic Goddess (or at least be a Domestic Goddess vicariously though her). I also LOVE her entrepreneurial streak and have become a big fan of her shower gel and Let's Spritz body mist. Can't wait for the Snowella Christmas line to launch very soon, yay!

5. Black Mirror

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After the news of a fourth Black Mirror season hit Facebook this week, I've been going on Netflix and filling the gaps of the series I've only half-watched. (Why I've been watching random episodes from every series I have no idea)... I caught up with San Junipero  followed by the original episode National Anthem last week and loved the fact that two such wildly different stories and genres were written by the same man. I think Charlie Brooker is a genius and his twisted cautionary tales are scary, compelling viewing. Shut Up And Dance has been my all-time favourite episode so far (and feature's my friend Ellie's song in one scene!!!) - looking forward to what new dark twists and turns come next.

6. Dodie Clark

My last favourite of the month has to go to the incredibly talented singer-songwriter/Youtuber Dodie who recently released her second EP You onto iTunes. I was lucky enough to meet her and see her perform live at Summer In The City over summer and it was honestly one of the best gigs I've ever been to. Her music has so much passion and tenderness, I have fallen head over heels in love with every single song. Both of her EPs are beautiful and the extensive list of live covers on her Youtube channel are well worth watching too. I am a massive fan and I hope I can find a way to book a songwriting session with her one day. You never know right?!

I hope you enjoy these picks and check some of them out! Thanks so much for reading. I'll be back again very soon because writing this blog has reminded me how much I've missed the wonderful world of blogging!

Take care and let's catch up again soon!

Becky x x x