Friday, 30 March 2012

Getting Ready for A to Z!

With more full day to go until the A to Z April Challenge starts, I thought I'd give it a little plug - and also those taking part, who are all listed below.

I wracked my brains for ages before deciding what to do, finally settling on PLACES - either places I love that have happy memories or places I'd like to visit.  Oh, and the occasional place that just fitted the letter of the day...
I was going to do something to do with writing and in a way I still have, as many of these places have inspired me or are lodged in my mind for future reference.  I've also had stories published that I set in a couple of them, so it is writing-linked in a way.  I know it doesn't have to be, but as this is basically a writing blog...

I'm really looking forward to reading lots of entries over the next 30 days.  I hope you'll join me!  (I'm #862 on the list - if you're taking part, what number are you?  Let me know so I can make sure I read your entries!)

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Hosting Patsy Collins - Escape to the Country blog tour!

Today I'm thrilled to welcome Patsy whose novel, Escape to the Country (isn't the cover great?  I love her tights!) is released on 30th March.  You can read the first chapter here to whet your appetite!

It's going to be available in bookshops and from Amazon or Waterstones online shops and there will also be an e-book version.  Personally, I can't wait to read it as Patsy has had some cracking short stories published and I'm sure her novel will be just as enjoyable!

Without further ado, let's get down to business...

Hi Patsy!  You've had a lot of short stories published - was writing a novel a challenge in terms of keeping up the momentum and not tying up the ends of the story too soon?

It was a challenge in that there's a lot more of it than in a short story so it's harder to keep track of everything and be consistent throughout. In a way, although it's all told from Leah's pov, Escape to the Country is several stories - there's the crime story, the romance, the development of Leah's agricultural skills, then there's the story of Jayne and Jim. I think weaving all those together helped me keep the momentum going.
Tying it all together at the end seemed to come naturally with this one. That's not always the case.

Everyone seems to have their own way of writing - did you have a meticulously drawn up plan for Escape to the Country?

No! I knew how I expected it to end and had thought out a few key scenes, but I worked out how to get from one to another as I went along. That's what works for me as if I get an interesting idea halfway through I can incorporate it without messing anything up.
When did you first start writing and what was the first thing you had published?

I started writing seriously (or at any rate as serious as I'm likely to get) ten years ago. My first published and paid for story was a 60 worder in Chat magazine in 2003. My first short story publication was to The Lady in 2005.
When you meet people for the first time, do you tell them you're a writer?

I haven't done, but that's not because I hadn't previously considered myself a writer. I am a writer - maybe it's time I started telling people so?
It definitely is!  Did you mull over the plot of Escape to the Country for a long time before writing it, or did it all come spurting out suddenly in a spontaneous fountain of creativity?
I thought a bit, spurted a bit, thought some more, spurted some more ...

Do you have a favourite word?

I like almost all words when they're well used.

And finally, how do you feel right now?

I'm still feeling a bit like this -

So would I be!  Congratulations Patsy! 

Monday, 19 March 2012


Margo Kelly tagged me a little while back, but I never was any good at playing tag!  Finally, I have accepted that I am IT and am going to fulfill the conditions of the tag and try to catch a few people to tag in return!  Sorry I'm such a slow runner, Margo!

So... I have to tell you ten things about myself and then tag ten more people.  I apologise in advance if the people I tag have already been tagged - don't feel obliged to play again!

Here goes, then!

1.  I'm an Aquarian so hate being tied down (not literally - behave!) or restricted in any way.
2.  My brain doesn't always connect before my mouth has done its work.
3.  I make cakes for people and decorate them in my own style - a recent one I did for our school site manager had sick and dog poo on it (made from icing, don't worry!)
4.  I love kids but I'm glad mine have grown up (15 and 19)
5.  I have a bit of a thing about colourful coats - I keep buying them (mostly on Ebay).
6.  I don't drink any more as I seem to have developed an allergy to it - but I'm thrilled to say I don't miss it a bit!
7.  I spend too much time looking in the mirror and posing around - or shop windows will do...
8.  I'm brilliant at keeping secrets - you can tell me anything.  (I'm also very good at not looking shocked when you do!)
9.  I've been friends with my best friend since I was 11.
10.  I'm pretty rubbish at dieting - but being thinner gives me a scraggy neck anyway.

Your turn!  I'm tagging these people, but anyone else who wants to play can consider themself tagged!

Annalisa Crawford
Anita Chapman
Judy Jarvie
Rebecca Bradley
Morton Gray
Rachel Lyndhurst
Heather Murphy
Tracy at The Literary Pig

Run fast and den only counts if you've got both feet on it!

Saturday, 10 March 2012


Until the eagerly-awaited real sunshine gets here, I will make do (very happily!) with this pretty award from my friend Annalisa Crawford

Before I can pass it on to some other lovely people, I have to answer a few questions...

1. Favorite colour? Green, red and purple (but not mixed together because that makes a sludgy brown)
2. Favourite animal? Cats.  I love it when they pass you in the street and give you a dirty look.
3. Favourite number? I am very drawn to 9.
4. My passion?  Creative expression in its many forms and rule-breaking wherever possible without    getting arrested.
5. Getting or giving presents? Ooh, getting!  It doesn't often happen, whereas I always seem to be giving them!
6. Favourite pattern? Greek patterns, especially this one:
7. Favourite day of the week? Saturday. There is still all of Sunday to look forward to.
8. Favourite flower? All flowers gratefully accepted except lilies.  I really hate the smell!
9. Twitter or Facebook? Facebook, but not in excess.  I like the 'chat' feature.
10. Favourite non-alcoholic drink? Hot one - tea.  Cold one - fizzy water.

And now it is my great honour to be able to pass this shiny award on to some others!
I'd like to nominate Peggy Eddleman whose blog keeps me very entertained, Kittie Howard whose blog is always interesting and Cassie Mae because she makes me laugh every time!

I could give it to EVERYONE whose blogs I read because I truly enjoy them all - which is why I follow them - but I don't think that 's the idea!

    Wednesday, 7 March 2012

    Insecure Writer's Support Group

    I've been feeling pleased with myself lately - not because I'm less insecure, but because it doesn't bother me as much.

    I often wonder whether I've lost it - the knack of writing short stories that meet the requirements of the market for which I'm writing them, that is.

    (If we're talking marbles, I seem to lose a few every day.  I swear I can hear them dropping out of my ears every time I shake my head. Or perhaps it's just the rattle of my ever-shrinking brain.)

    I'm still writing, but I don't seem to be hitting the mark.  A few months ago, this would have made me feel like giving it all up, but now it's just making me wonder whether I'm writing the stuff that's right for me. 

    I love writing short stories because those fabulous words - THE END - come around so much sooner. 

    I have a short attention span (yes, I admit it, I get bored easily) and have never seen a novel to fruition, but I'm thinking the time to have another stab at novel-writing may be nigh.

    I have dark thoughts and plot-lines that will have no place, believe me, in a short story for the WOMAG market.

    What I need to do is to believe in myself and my story enough to see it through. 

    Watch this space!

    Thanks for stopping by - hope you aren't feeling too insecure today! 

    Sunday, 4 March 2012

    A to Z Challenge - Going for it!

    Hi Everyone!

    Just a quick one to let you all know that I've decided to take part in the A-Z Challenge in April.  If you haven't already signed up, why not give it a try and keep me (and the hundreds of others taking part) company?

    I was worried that it would take more time than I have to spare, but then realised that it's going to be a good exercise in writing regardless of whether inspiration has struck, so that's got to be useful! 

    You can find out more about the challenge by clicking the link above (I don't think it will work if you click the picture but you're welcome to try it.  I'm not that technically brilliant!) Or you could click here!

    Thanks to the advice of my technical adviser Annalisa Crawford, you should find the list of everyone taking part below!

    Right - I'm off to look in the dictionary under A for a little inspiration.  I'm really looking forward to seeing what other people write!  And, of course, if anyone has any advice to offer this little challenge newbie, do feel free!