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Showing posts from January, 2016

Something Useful for 2016 - Exercise No. 18

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January can be such a grey month in so many ways - visually because of the weather and the lack of colour in our gardens, and emotionally due to the, again, weather, anti climax after the festive celebrations and probably the lack of cash until pay day.
I don't really like grey. It's a non colour - not this, not that - a limbo shade that begs for direction. And yet, sometimes, we need that limbo, that pause, that rest. 
Does the colour grey inspire you? What story could come from the concept of grey? 

My Top 10 Books - The Keepers

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My bookshelves are overloaded to the point of collapse with all the reading material my family have collected over the years. With each new purchase, I rearrange them a little. With each house move, I cull a percentage of them but that always makes me want to buy more. My children devour books so quickly that every birthday and Christmas present list includes at least one new book for them.

There are some books though that I will never part with, however full the bookshelves become, because they're tied in with my life journey and soaked with memories. They're keepers.

1. On Writing by Stephen King

As a writer learning the craft, I'm drawn to discovering how successful published authors have arrived at that point in their lives. I don't fare very well with instructive 'how to' books on writing. Sharing a writer's personal journey is the best way for me to learn. I've read several books of this kind but the best I've come across so far has been On W…

About Me (or You)

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Here I am on my birthday weekend in Venice, hot chocolate waiting (plus my very patient husband), and still checking my phone for emails. I really should learn to put down the 'social media' when I'm on holiday.

When I started blogging back in 2009, the general advice out there for writers who used social media was to be everywhere - Facebook, Twitter and anywhere else social-media-ish that you could manage. For a while, I tried to be 'omnipresent' online but I soon learnt that I was happier on some social media sites than others, and that keeping track of all the places I had to post was exhausting.

These days I limit myself to my Facebook page, my blog, my business site,Google+ and Twitter. I dip into other sites like Linked In, Pinterest and Tumblr but only occasionally and when they prove useful. The problem with using more than one site in this way is publicising them. I mention the relevant sites on my Murdering The Text website and on my blog but how do I t…

Choice Words for January

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As you know, my manuscript is currently in the hands of a literary agent. I got to the point with it where I couldn't see anything more I could do to improve it, or at least not without a new set of literary agent eyes.

Janice Hardy writes about When Should You Stop Revising? on her Fiction University blog, laying out the different factors that can point out whether you've finished or not. Have a look.



What I'm doing this month - January

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This is how I started the second day of the new year, walking around in rainy Venice with my husband to celebrate my fiftieth birthday. With our children safe at home with their uncle, we spent a wonderful long weekend in a city that constantly inspires me.

Come the Tuesday morning, my children returned to school, my husband to work, and me to my writing and plenty of post Christmas housework. Smack down back to earth.

January is my birthday month but unfortunately it's also a month that acts as an anti climax after the festive break. It's cold, often rainy and, let's face it, most of us have usually spent all our pennies until the next pay day comes around. It always seems like a terrible time to me to be making resolutions so I keep those until the spring. This month, therefore, continues without a lot of change.

I'll continue to wait for responses from the literary agents whom I've submitted my novel to. I've had three no's (with encouraging feedback) s…

This year's reading list

This post's title should have a tagline - Must Do Better. Last year, I only managed to finish three of the fifteen novels on my reading list. I could make all kind of excuses (working on my novel, housework, rampant children) but ultimately, I only have myself to blame for my lack of reading accomplishments.

This year's list is the remaining novels from last year:

1. Sepulchre by Kate Mosse
2. Small Kindnesses by Satya Robyn
3. Magyk by Angie Sage
4. The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
5. Never Look Back by Clare Donoghue
6. Mystery Man by Colin Bateman
7. Duma Key by Stephen King
8. Rose Madder by Stephen King
9. The Golden City by John Twelve Hawks
10. The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks
11. A Song of Stone by Iain Banks
12. Ghost Story by Jim Butcher

One a month should be do-able. I'm already a few chapters into Sepulchre. Wish me luck.

Photo Inspiration for January

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This month's photo inspiration is an image taken on my birthday trip to Venice straight after the new year (which is why I haven't posted until today).

There's a burnt-out candle, Christmas decorations, two finished hot chocolates and one biscuit remaining. A lone figure stands at the bar in the background.

What does this inspire you to write?

Happy New Year

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It's here at last. The new year has sprung. Say hello to 2016.


Here's hoping for twelve months of progress, fortuitous meetings and loving company. Happy new year to you all.