Thursday 29 March 2012

Introducing the Blogging from A - Z Challenge

The A - Z Challenge starts in a couple of days time, so I thought I'd introduce the theme I've decided to blog about. If you haven't heard about the challenge before, or you want to know more, click the logo above and you'll be transported to the answers. You'll be able to sign up until the 1st April.

So, my theme... (I really wish I had a drum-roll here, I feel like it needs one...)

I will be blogging about the books and authors (and possibly the music when I need a cheat) that have inspired me and my writing - which sounds simple enough, doesn't it? These posts are not designed to be book reviews, so I'm choosing to resist re-reading them, or even glancing at the blurb. This challenge will be why I liked these books, and how they helped me.

I've been productive, and currently have all but five letters determined. I just have to figure out how much I'm going to allow myself to cheat!
This is my first time doing this challenge. I only actually found out about it in December, so I don't even have the luxury of having read the posts from last year's challenge. I can only hope that I'm doing it right!

So, that's my theme. I hope you enjoy reading, and I hope I have been inspired alphabetically, otherwise I'll have twenty-seven entries for C and nothing for the rest!

Here's the list of fellow participants - please check some of them out, even if you're not participating yourself. You never know who/what you might find!

Monday 26 March 2012

It's Spring!!

The sun is shining, the birds are singing, I've got my windows wide open and the sky is blue.

I've even done a bit of spring-cleaning around the blog. Please check out my new About Me page.

Here's a great summery song, just because it's been bouncing around my head all morning!

Friday 23 March 2012


Being at home during the day - writing and working very hard, obviously! - I sometimes catch the BBC daytime soap Doctors. It's a bit silly, and the acting can be a bit dodgy, but you can tell the writers have had a great time - I imagine them sitting around saying, "they'll never let us get away with this," and invariably, they do. (Today they even managed to squeeze in quite a rude joke by cutting away at the final word of the punchline!)

A current storyline is about a doctor called Freya who has a blog. But, worse than that, one of her nurse colleagues has decided Freya has Blogging Addiction Disorder (B.A.D). I found this very funny - not least because they dipicted how out of hand Freya's blogging was becoming by having her blog about a meeting she was currently in!

I found this even more than funny; in fact, I thought it was made up - and this post was going to ask: is anyone out there B.A.D?

But then, I casually googled the term, and discovered it's real! Uh, I thought, how about that? It had never occurred to me that blogging could be an addiction, let alone be a recognised addiction.

So, is anyone out there B.A.D?

Don't forget - nine days until the A-Z Challenge? Are you ready? Have you signed up yet? Click the logo below! (Hmmm, blogging every day for 26 days... anyone feeling a little addicted? lol)

Wednesday 21 March 2012

My interview with Patsy Collins

Today I'd like to welcome Patsy Collins to my blog. Patsy's novel is being published on the 30th March, and she is my first ever interviewee!  

Congratulations! Escape to the Country is not only being published, it won a competition with over 600 entrants - have you calmed down yet?
Have you been watching that video? 
No, I wouldn't say I'm totally calm yet. 

I love that video - I'm sure it's what most of us do when we receive an acceptance, but possibly not with so much style!

Where did the idea for this novel come from?
That's really hard to answer as I rarely know exactly what prompted me to write a story. I suppose it was at least partly a desire to use some of my research material.

How much research did you need to do?
26 years. Well, that's how long I lived on a farm. At the time I had no idea I'd use the experience in this way.

Did you find writing the novel easy, or were there many drafts and redrafts?
Yes and yes. There were a lot of drafts and edits, but all I had to do was make stuff up, tap away on my keyboard and then fiddle about with it a lot. There are much harder jobs than that.

What does your writing day look like?
There isn't a typical writing day. I have a full time day job and am a keen gardener so I fit in the writing during lunch breaks, when it's raining or dark and when Gary and I go away in our campervan - which we like to do as often as possible.

Cheeky question: would you choose Adam or Duncan?
Duncan. Although Adam is quite a charmer ...

What are you working on at the moment?
I'm working on a romantic novel about a couple who go away in a campervan. I'll have to do a lot of research!

And, finally, where will we be able to find Escape to the Country?
Amazon, Waterstones online, some 'real' bookshops including my local independent and I'm hoping to get it into libraries too. There will also be an ebook version.

You can read the first chapter for free here -

Thanks so much for popping over today, Patsy. I'd like to wish you every success with your novel!

Sunday 18 March 2012


It's been a while since I've had a blank post to fill. Over the past month, I've had posts telling you to visit other blogs, I've been tagged to share information about myself and excerpts from my WIP... I almost  feel like I've forgotten how to write a post!

But lo! - there is something I'd like to take your advice on. Please read on...

I've just about completed my WIP, a collection of stories which I'm suddenly scared to submit. Yesterday, I realised that my publisher doesn't actually publish collections. 
I'm currently torn between abandoning the project and writing something else, or writing a killer query that will explain why I think these stories work together. (If my publisher is reading, I am so, so sorry - I'm usually very good at reading and obeying submission guidelines!)

I really believe in this WIP. I've been working on it for a long time, and I still get goosebumps when I reach the final pages of the final story.

My options are:

  1. Sending off the query. In doing this, I'll be fulfilling the obligations of my current contract which asks for first refusal on similar works. If rejected, I can then consider another publisher or - gulp! - going it alone.
  2. In my killer query as it stands, I've explained that these stories could be standalone novelettes, thereby showing that I do understand the guidelines, but blatantly pointing out that I've chosen to ignore them, and risking my publisher's ire.
  3. Not sending this WIP to my publisher, or to anyone else. If I send it to someone else, I'll be ignoring the obligations of my contract and annoying my publisher who's been fantastic. However, by not submitting this WIP, I'll have to start something from scratch, and currently I have nothing in reserve.
I see so many pros and cons with all the options that my head is spinning. So I really want to know...

What would you do?

Wednesday 14 March 2012

From space to Minnesota...

Quick note: I've finally figured out how to use Google Reader to its best advantage, and found lots of posts on there that have never been delivered to me through Blogger. So hopefully this means I'll never miss another blog post, and you'll all be hearing a lot more from me! I'm feeling quite pleased with myself :-)

And now...

Today, I'm being interviewed by Rachel at Writing on the Wall. Rachel's questions are awesome. A couple of the questions contain spoilers, but Rachel will highlight these so you can ignore them if you want to.

Personally, I stand in bookshops and read the last line before buying. I can't help myself. But I know I'm not the norm!

Today's picture is - hopefully - somewhere in Minnesota. Isn't it beautiful? I'll see you at Rachel's!

If you'd like to read Cat and The Dreamer, there are links on the left-hand column - just scroll down a bit and you'll find them! I'd love to know what you think.

I'd like to say a huge thnak you to everyone who's hosted a guest post or interviewed me on my blog tour. It's been great fun, and I've loved answering all the great questions you've asked.

And thanks also to everyone who's followed the links, and found my book cover on numerous blogs over the past month. I can't believe Cat and The Dreamer was only released a month ago today!

Monday 12 March 2012

I'm not really here

Today I'm over on M Pax's blog Wistful Nebulae, sharing where my ideas come from. This is a sort-of tie in to the Cat and The Dreamer blog tour - I think I might just keep touring, like Status Quo!

Anyway, I hope you're ready for a glimpse into my head!

Google assures me this is a picture of a nebulae, so I thought it was perfect to illustrate M Pax's blog. Thanks for having me over today, Mary!

Saturday 10 March 2012

Lucky 7 meme... and some other stuff

Caitin at All About Growing Up and Becoming a Famous Author tagged me in this meme, which I've been following around bloggerland and really enjoying. I love the title of Caitin's blog - it reminds me of all the dreams I had as a child.

Here are the rules:

1. Go to page 77 of your current MS.
2. Go to line 7.
3. Copy down the next 7 lines - sentences or paragraphs - and post them as they're written. No cheating.
4. Tag 7 authors.
5. Let them know.

I'm currently working on a collection of novellas, so I put them all together to figure out which one was page 77.

He edges forward. My breath is shallow, constricted. My face is warm. Why did he have to bring this up? Why couldn’t we just go off into the sunset, happily ever after? In years to come, once we’d settled down and had five children and a dog and a farmhouse in Yorkshire, he could turn round and say, I know it was you.
I move closer and bow my head. My tears are real. They fall down my face in single file. Murray reaches to touch my shoulder. I can’t think straight.
“Did you do it?” he asks hesitantly, barely audible. He draws deep, slow breaths.

This excerpt is quite near the end of the second story. It's lucky I didn't have to paste a page later - it would have given away the ending!

I'm going to cheat slightly, and not tag anyone. I know this is naughty, and that if no one passed the tag on, there wouldn't be a game. But I've read so many, that I know a lot of people have already done this. And I hate missing anyone out of the fun. So, if you want to play, consider yourself tagged. And you're welcome to call me a cheat!


And now for the other stuff. I rely on email notifications to keep me returning to blogs I've commented on, but I've noticed that on the pop-up comments box that a lot of blogs use, the option to be emailed has disappeared. I just wanted to say, officially - because this has been bothering me for a few days - that I'm not ignoring you. I'd love to know if you replied to my comment, I just haven't figured out a way to remember which blogs I commented on!


Even as I type, I'm not sure if I want to do this, but here's one of the pictures from my recent photo shoot, which I mentioned in my last post. I'd prefer not to have any comments about it, because I really don't think I come out well. This is the picture Hubby thinks is the nicest.

I had hoped to have my photo taken next to Smeaton's Tower, but workmen were putting the scaffolding up  for its annual clean. Perhaps that's why the day felt so wrong - the image I had in mind wasn't possible.

Anyway... this is Smeaton's Tower...

Wednesday 7 March 2012

Say 'Cheese!'

Today's insecurity is a long-held one. I hate having my photo taken. Something happens between my face and the camera which means I end up looking nothing like myself. I pull daft expressions. I have my eyes permanently shut. And I look very grumpy, even though my brain thinks I'm smiling.

Yesterday, I had some promo photos taken. Despite my fear and hatred - and because portrait painters are so 18th century - I thought it was about time.

So, we went up to Plymouth Hoe, one of my favourite places, and I listened to the sea lapping against the small bit of beach Plymouth still has (there's a lot of concrete along the shoreline), and I almost forgot to be nervous. The photographer said 'Good' quite a lot, but I'm not sure whether it was because the photos looked good or he was just glad I hadn't broken his camera.

Now all I have to do is wait for the photos to appear in my inbox...

I'll be using them on this blog, on my Goodreads profile and on my Facebook page, so you'll all be able to see them... Excuse me, I'm off to have a panic attack!

UPDATED: I've seen the photos. That's all I'm prepared to say at the moment. Although you can help cheer me up by checking out my Goodreads and Facebook links ;-)

Monday 5 March 2012

Some gorgeous awards

Rachel at Writing on the Wall has passed these beautiful awards to me. Aren't they wonderful? Thank you so much, Rachel.

I've done some research and the Dream Launcher award was instigated by Doctor Faerie Godmother to thank people who've made a difference to her blogging/writing world.

So, I'd like to pass the Dream Launcher award to Melissa Ann Goodwin, who's quite a recent blogger friend, but has been so sweet to me over the past couple of weeks especially.

I'd also like to thank Teresa F Morgan and Marta Szemik who are among my earliest followers, and still frequently comment and offer great advice and support.


The Sunshine Award has been harder to pin down - there doesn't seem to be an origin. To accept this, I have to answer the following questions:

  1. Favorite Color? Currently orange - but in the past it's been red, then blue, then purple, with a brief flirtation with green.
  2. Favorite Animal? Meerkats, because we've gone meerkat crazy in the UK.
  3. Favorite Number? Thirteen - my birthday!
  4. Favorite (non-alcoholic) drink? Tea.
  5. Facebook or Twitter? Facebook. I've thought about Twitter, but that's as far as I get. 
  6. My passion? Writing, my kids and the gym. 
  7. Getting or Giving presents? I'm bad at giving presents, but I still love it. I'm proud that I moved my Mum to tears with a present once.
  8. Favorite pattern? I've never thought about it, but probably the pattern of waves on a stormy day.
  9. Favorite day of the week? Tuesday. There's a reason, but I'm not telling ;-)
  10. Favorite flower? Daisies. They remind me of making daisy chains when I was little and walking into class after lunch with flowers around my neck.
I'm going to pass this award to the blogs that I love reading. So, Linda K, Robyn Alana Engel, and Julie Fedderson this award's for you!

Sunday 4 March 2012

And the winner is...

Thanks to everyone who entered my 100 follower giveaway!

The entrants

And the winners, chosen by 
Number One son.

Congratulations to Baggy and Sarah. I'll be in touch!

Friday 2 March 2012

100 awesome people!

Thanks so much to all my new followers, and thanks to all my long-standing followers too. You are all awesome!

So, as promised, now I'm coming to end of my blog tour (one more guest post in a couple of weeks time), I'm going to giveaway two copies of my ebook.

All you need to do is tell me in the comments below that you want to be included in the draw.

I'll be accepting entries until 8pm on Sunday 4th March, when names will be pulled out of the hat