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Showing posts from December, 2015

What have I done this year?

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After the build up to Christmas and the day itself, my family and I are having a few days at home together. It's all very relaxed and with no real plans to keep to. Late nights, family games and good company. My husband and children are taking advantage of the lack of routine to have lie-ins so I'm usually first up, enjoying the quiet with my morning coffee. It gives me time to think and reflect on the year that's almost over. It's been generally a good one, in some ways quite magical, and definitely a year I want to remember.

Back in January, I posted my 2015 reading list and my goals for the year. I didn't do very well with the reading list, only completing three of the fifteen (even worse than in 2014). I must read more next year. I did better with my goals. I revised and polished my novel and began the search for an agent. I returned to the partial first draft of my second novel which now requires a massive rethink because of changes to the first novel. Due to …

Merry Christmas

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Just a quick post to wish you all the best for Christmas. May the day bring you all that you wish for, and if that isn't possible (I doubt I'll get that unicorn this year - darn) then I hope you have the kind of day that you need. 
Corny I know, but this is from the soundtrack of  one of my favourite Christmas films.

My Christmas List

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Have you made a Christmas list this year or are you just hoping that your family know you well enough to buy the right gifts for you? I've probably left this list a little late to be of any use to my family but just in case...

Firstly, I'd like a peaceful Christmas Day. Not peaceful as in alone, or with the family tied to their beds, but peaceful in that there are no cross words or bad feelings, towards anyone, just good cheer and lots of laughter.

Secondly, for my family to remember that when I'm tidying away the torn-off wrapping paper and fussing over some aspect of the food, I'm not being a kill-joy. I'm simply attempting to quieten my anxiety and keep on top of things. I'm enjoying myself, really I am, even if I'm frowning.

Thirdly, wouldn't it be wonderful to have a day without war, or murder, or cruelty? This is a long shot, and incredibly naive. Still, fingers crossed for that one.

I'd like a day without pain. I'm still suffering with my…

Something Useful for 2015 - Exercise No. 17

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Have you seen this Christmas advert yet?


An elderly gentleman finds that the only way to bring his family together at Christmas is to fake his own death. This German advert has reduced most people I know to tears, including me.

Many families only come together to celebrate weddings or commiserate the loss of a loved one. For me, Christmas was the main time each year when my own family gathered in one place - aunts, uncles, cousins, friends who meant as much to us as family too - and it was these gatherings that often created the stories my family would tell and re-tell.

What Christmas tales did your family create from the yearly gatherings? Happy? Sad? Comical? All of those together?  Let me know.

Photo Inspiration for December

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Early one morning last week, while my family remained warm in the house before school and work, I ventured outside to leave the bins for the refuse collection. It was hardly a romantic or glamorous start to the the day but when I looked up, I saw this.


In the midst of the lightening sky, a crescent moon and a star (or is it the space station?) sat shining alone together. It was one of those skies that made me pause (and obviously take a photo).

What does this sky inspire you to write about? New beginnings? Peace? Partnership? Let me know.

Choice Words for December

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One of the questions I asked myself when plotting my novel, Shadowbinder, was how I could make things hell for my protagonist? And then, how could I make it worse? The next question I asked myself was how could I make the story's outcome matter to him?

Writer K M Weiland discusses this same topic in her article, When Your Story Stakes Aren't High Enough. Have a read.


It's that season again

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Christmas trees are going up in people's homes (they've been up in the shops since the beginning of November). Black Friday and Cyber Monday saw a record spend by the British public. Bets are being placed on whether we'll have snow on the big day.

In the run up to Christmas, I think we all go a bit doolally in our quest for the perfect festive celebration. That isn't necessarily a bad thing but it can certainly cause as many arguments as it does rewards.

When I first started writing the 7 Ways articles, I posted one on how to survive the run up to Christmas. I think that 7 ways to keep your sanity in the festive season is still as pertinent today as it was back then. Go on, slap a snowman.

A major part of the preparations in the run up to Christmas is buying presents. Throughout the year, I make a note of all the things that my children mention they would like so I have a shopping list by the time I get to November. My husband is more difficult. This year I told him, …

What I'm Doing This Month - December

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December this year finds me in a very festive mood and for once, I'm rather organised. I finished my Christmas present shopping in November. That's never happened before. I have Christmas cards ready to be written and wrapping paper at hand. We're not quite sure where the Christmas tree is going to go in our new house but that's only a minor blip on the festive horizon.

I'm still unpacking boxes with the target of having it all finished by mid month, and delighting in re-discovering all kind of gems that I'd packed away during probably the move before last.

I have a new desk for my first ever study. I'm sitting at it now as I type. This will probably be the last room I'll sort out but I'm all kinds of giddy to have all of my things together, unpacked and in view.

So what of my writing for December?


Waiting

After sending off my novel to three agents mid November, I'm waiting for a response. One got back to me almost immediately to say they were l…