Recently Read – Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

EleanorEleanor is the new girl in town, and with her chaotic family life, her mismatched clothes and unruly red hair, she couldn’t stick out more if she tried.
Park is the boy at the back of the bus. Black T-shirts, headphones, head in a book – he thinks he’s made himself invisible. But not to Eleanor… never to Eleanor.

Slowly, steadily, through late-night conversations and an ever-growing stack of mix tapes, Eleanor and Park fall for each other. They fall in love the way you do the first time, when you’re young, and you feel as if you have nothing and everything to lose.

My Thoughts;

I read this book while I was on holiday and I couldn’t put it down. It is so beautifully told in alternating chapters between Park and Eleanor, starting the day Eleanor gets on the bus for her first day in her new school. It’s not a great experience for her and all Park wants to do is stay invisible but there’s a space next to him so in the end he tells her quite harshly to just sit down there. In their own very different ways they are different from the rest of the kids and slowly a connection starts between them. It’s slow and endearing.

It’s not all sweetness and light though. The differences for Eleanor are quite harsh. This book deals with the tough subject of domestic violence in the home and in contrast, Park’s home is warm and welcoming. His mother who is Korean is absolutely adorable and has his father under her thumb which is brilliant to see as he is a great hulking strong man, who happens to adore the woman he married.

It’s a book about relationships. relationships between teenagers, families, and the relationship you must have with yourself. It’s a wonderful book to read. It tore my heart out at the end and I’m now going to read more by Rainbow Rowell.

Posted in Recently Read | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

What’s Your First Draft Like? – Mari Hannah

Today I’m thrilled to have award winning crime writer, Mari Hannah on the first draft hot seat.

MariWhen an assault on duty ended her career as a probation officer, Mari Hannah turned to scriptwriting. She created a number of projects, most notably the pilot episode of a crime series for the BBC, a piece of work she later adapted into her crime debut – The Murder Wall – which went on to win the Polari First Book Prize. Her second book – Settled Blood – won the Northern Writers’ Award.

The Times described her series character DCI Kate Daniels as a Northerner set to join the roster of top literary detectives.

When you decide to write something new, what is the first thing you do?

When an idea first occurs, it consumes me. This is particularly annoying if I’m in the process of writing another book. Like it or not, that often happens. There’s always part of me that believes the new idea is rubbish. Even so, I can’t stop thinking about it. If it remains with me, I know I’m on to a winner. When the uncertainty is out of the way, I begin by imagining the main characters in my head. Nothing is written down at this stage.

Do you have a set routine approaching it?

I plan everything out before taking to the computer and couldn’t do it any other way. It’s a method that worked for me in screenwriting – it’s worked for me in novel writing too.

Pen and paper or straight to the keyboard?

It depends on how I feel. Sometimes, it’s straight to the keyboard to write a lengthy synopsis which will takes me around a week. Other times I use a card system where I write out the main story beats as scenes or, in the case of a book, chapters. This is particularly useful as I can move them around at will, something I can’t do with a synopsis. I’ve written several of my ideas as screenplays first. There are obvious benefits to this. It forces me to think visually. I get a lot of the dialogue down and brief descriptions of the action. It also concentrates the mind. At the conclusion of each scene, I imagine those drums at the end of an episode of Eastenders. I’m thinking: what hook can I create to keep the reader engaged for what comes after? It has to be strong enough to keep them turning the pages.

Mari desk

How important is research to you?

In terms of police procedure, very. I’m not anal about it but I owe it to my readers to be as authentic as possible. Fortunately, I come from a criminal justice background and have a working knowledge of the police, the judiciary, courts, prison system etc. My partner is an ex-murder detective who advises me on all matters relating to criminal investigation. Outside of policing, I’ve found many professionals willing to talk me through a range of subjects. Kate Daniels #2 and #3, for example, required a knowledge of flying I simply did not have. I’m lucky to have friends who are pilots.

How do you go about researching?

I tend to research locations first. I take loads of photographs and decide upon time of year, that kind of thing. I’ve learned as I’ve gone along not to overdo the research. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred it overcomplicates matters. The trick is to do a little and more if necessary in subsequent drafts. Much of it will hit the bin in the editing process and that is wasted effort. Anyway, too much research slows the pace. It should almost be invisible.

How do you store everything; ideas, research, images that catch your eye?

I store a lot on my smartphone. I use the Voice Memos application to interview others or talk to myself – I get a lot of funny looks! It’s quick and easy. I take pictures on my phone too and store them in the cloud until I need them.

Tell us how that first draft takes shape?

After the planning stage, I write every day if I can possibly manage it. I loosely follow a three-act structure: set up, development, and resolution. When I reach the end of the set up, I read over my work before attempting what is often referred to as the ‘muddle in the middle’ and then reread again before I write the resolution and pump up the action in a race to the finale. I know it sounds like a faff but it gives me confidence to know that it all gels (in my head at least) and that I haven’t dropped the ball on the way through.

Are there any rituals you have to do or items you must have with you while writing that draft?

Before I even write the title, I Google the sunrise/sunset times for the period I’m working in. It keeps me from writing stuff that is happening after dark when witnesses can’t possibly see! I also begin a timeline document on a second computer that keeps me right in terms of days of the week. You can’t interview a bank manager on a Sunday. My last book took place in the autumn when the clocks went back. If you are writing in real time, it’s important to know these things. If you make a mistake, readers will pull you up on it.

Does the outside world exist or are you lost to us for a period of time as the magic works?

Once I’m in the zone, I just go for it. I turn off notifications. Leave my phone in another room. I abandon Twitter mates – perhaps stopping by briefly at night to say hi. People are very forgiving. They understand what a drain on your time social media can be. Oh, and I ignore my partner apparently! I never listen to a word she says, rarely coming up for air. I’m expecting divorce papers any day now.

Mari wallWhat does your workspace look like?

It’s a box room with two desks, two chairs and a murder wall – a white board like in a real incident room – and woe betide anyone who might touch it! I have many reference books on the shelf above my head: law, policing (especially homicide cases), psychology and sociology books from when I was training to become a probation officer. I use them often. I write in silence, using music only to create the right atmosphere. For example: if I’m feeling particularly upbeat and need to write a really sad scene.

Edit as you go or just keep getting words out?

I edit as I go, rereading and cutting the previous day’s work before I move on. No ‘dirty’ draft for me. I can’t write on unless I know that what is behind me makes perfect sense.

I see many writers counting words in a day. Word counter or other method of keeping track of progression?

Word counter? No. I try to write a chapter a day, whatever length it might be and no matter how long it takes. Sometimes I manage that. Sometimes not. When I began writing, I could agonise over a sentence for hours. These days I’m more relaxed. If I don’t want to write, I do something else. I write for pleasure. It should never be a chore.

So, that first draft is down. Roughly how long did it take? And what shape is it in?

As I said above, I edit as I go. By the time I’ve reached the end, the draft is in good shape, pretty much ready to show my agent. I read it through, polishing – my partner calls it fiddling – until it is the very best I can make it and then I send it off and bite my nails. My agent gives me notes, I rewrite if necessary, and then it goes to my publisher. I reckon it takes about a month to plan, three months to write, a couple of weeks to edit once my agent has seen it – then we’re good to go. Except that I’m usually in various stages with other books. You can bet your life that as you hit the final straight, a copy edit or proofread for an earlier book will arrive, so I’m afraid that drags it out, sometimes for months.

In what format do you like to read it through, ereader, paper or the computer screen?

I used to use paper until I found a wonderful app called iAnnotate created by a company called Branchfire. It is such an amazing piece of kit, allowing me to annotate (but not change) a manuscript. It’s really useful for when I’m on the move. I have it on two iPads so that when I’m reading and making notes, so is my partner. Did I mention that she is my first editor and chief collaborator, an unlimited source of murderous thoughts and anecdotes?

What happens now that first draft is done?

I crack open a bottle. :)

Thanks for digging into the depths of the first draft. It’s been a pleasure having you.

You can find Mari on her website, Twitter and Amazon

Monument to Murder

monumentWhen skeletal remains are found beneath the fortified walls of an ancient castle on Northumberland’s rugged coastline, DCI Kate Daniels calls on a forensic anthropologist to help identify the corpse.

Meanwhile, newly widowed prison psychologist Emily McCann finds herself drawn into the fantasy of convicted sex offender, Walter Fearon. As his mind games become more and more intense, is it possible that Daniels’ case has something to do with his murderous past? With his release imminent, what exactly does he have in mind for Emily?

As Daniels encounters dead end after dead end and the body count rises, it soon becomes apparent that someone is hiding more than one deadly secret…


As usual, if you want to take part in the First Draft series, just let me know! You can find a list of the previous Q&A’s Here.

Posted in First Drafts, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Crime Book Club – The Three That Got Away

Next Wednesday 20th July, we are reading for our Crime Book club, Murder in Mykonos by Jeffery Sigir. You can find details of the book club Here. It’s great fun and all new member are more than welcome and you have a week to read the current book.

As August is our first year anniversary – yes, can you believe we have been running a year! – we are going to vote on next months read from three that got away during the voting system during this past year. For any new readers of the blog, you can see the playlist of the book group meetings on YouTube Here.

So, the choices for next months read are;

Norwegian by Night by Derek B. Miller

Norwegian by nightHe will not admit it to Rhea and Lars – never, of course not – but Sheldon can’t help but wonder what it is he’s doing here..

Eighty-two years old, and recently widowed, Sheldon Horowitz has grudgingly moved to Oslo, with his grand-daughter and her Norwegian husband. An ex-Marine, he talks often to the ghosts of his past – the friends he lost in the Pacific and the son who followed him into the US Army, and to his death in Vietnam.

When Sheldon witnesses the murder of a woman in his apartment complex, he rescues her six-year-old son and decides to run. Pursued by both the Balkan gang responsible for the murder, and the Norwegian police, he has to rely on training from over half a century before to try and keep the boy safe. Against a strange and foreign landscape, this unlikely couple, who can’t speak the same language, start to form a bond that may just save them both.

Just What Kind of Mother are You? by Paula Daly

what kind of motherWhat if your best friend’s child disappears? And it was all your fault.

This is exactly what happens to Lisa Kallisto, overwhelmed working mother of three, one freezing December in the English Lake District. She takes her eye off the ball for just a moment and her whole world descends into the stuff of nightmares. Because, not only is thirteen-year-old Lucinda missing, and not only is it all Lisa’s fault, but she’s the second teenage girl to disappear within this small tightknit community over two weeks. The first girl turned up stripped bare, dumped on a busy high street, after suffering from a terrifying ordeal.

Wracked with guilt over her mistake and after being publicly blamed by Lucinda’s family, Lisa sets out to right the wrong. But as she begins peeling away the layers surrounding Lucinda’s disappearance, Lisa learns that the small, posh, quiet town she lives in isn’t what she thought it was, and her friends may not be who they appear, either.

Precious Thing by Colette McBeth

Precious thingRemember the person you sat next to on your first day at school? Still your best friend? Or disappeared from your life for good?

Some friendships fizzle out. Rachel and Clara promised theirs would last for ever.

They met when Rachel was the new girl in class and Clara was the friend everyone wanted. Now in their late twenties Rachel has everything while Clara’s life is spiralling further out of control. Then Clara vanishes.

Imagine discovering something about your oldest friend that forces you to question everything you’ve shared together. The truth is always there. But only if you choose to see it.


As usual, you can vote by leaving a comment or on the Facebook page or on Twitter using the hashtag #crimebookclub.

I look forward to seeing you next week!

Posted in Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

An Interview With Agent Juliet Mushens And Attending Festivals

I thought I’d share this short video today. Agents always seem to be scary beasts on very high pedestals. I like the information and approach in this video.

Is anyone going to the York Festival of Writing in September this year?

Posted in Social Media, Writing | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Recently Read – Remember Remember by Lisa Cutts

Remember Remember by Lisa Cutts

Expected publication: August 21st 2014 by Myriad Editions

Remember (2)When Nina returns to work after recovering from a near-fatal injury, she’s supposed to be keeping her head down. But the cold case she’s working on – an infamous train crash from 1964 – is no match for the lure of the shootings, drugs deaths and robberies keeping her colleagues busy.

And before long she uncovers crucial new evidence linking the historic crash to the current spate of heroin-related deaths. Once again, she’s back at the centre of a complex case which brings her face-to-face with a network of criminals who will stop at nothing to protect their empire.


My Thoughts;

This is the second novel in the Nina Foster series and having read the first one, Never Forget, I can say that Cutts comes back stronger than ever with this book.

She has created a wonderful protagonist in Foster who is realistic and amusing. As she goes about her job as a detective returning to duties following a stabbing, we feel her thoughts and fears and well as her determination and sharp wit. It made me smile when she described someone using the ‘geezer walk’ and said they looked ridiculous but were unlikely to ever find out, as those who recognised this particular gait as belonging to a moron didn’t want their teeth knocked out for delivering constructive feedback“. This was both observant and witty and made me smile.

Foster has a wonderful relationship with her colleague Wingsy that flows naturally. It is obvious that Cutts is a serving police detective. This is a definite police procedural, sometimes a little heavy on the procedural detail but for fans of procedurals and those who want to know how it really works behind those secure doors of your local police station, this gives a very real insight.

Cutts has also delivered a protagonist who is three dimensional, who has a life, worries and concerns, and family issues that need to be addressed and balanced with the demands of a heavy job.  During one particular family meal, Foster really became a deeper person within the novel for me rather than just a cop trying to solve the crime she has been given. It is this insight into the protagonist that will keep me reading the series because having a protagonist admit to feelings that Foster has to, without getting heavy and losing the plot of the story, takes some delicate work.

An interesting procedural with a likable protagonist that you’d probably want to go out for a drink sometime with!

You can find Lisa Cutt’s First Draft answers on the blog Here.

With thanks to the author and publisher for the advance copy.

Posted in Books, Recently Read | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

What’s Your First Draft Like? – Eva Dolan

evaToday I’m thrilled to welcome crime writer, Eva Dolan to the blog. Eva is an Essex-based copywriter and intermittently successful poker player.

Her debut crime novel, Long Way Home, is out with Harvill Secker.

When you decide to write something new, what is the first thing you do? 

It’s different for every book. Sometimes the crime comes first, sometimes a character pops up and I decide to follow them and find out what trouble they’re in, with Long Way Home the starting point was an issue; namely the exploitation of migrant workers and how far this could go before it became a serious crime. 

Do you have a set routine approaching it? 

However the original idea presents itself I always start off a new book the same way, making lots of notes, character sketches and location ideas, longhand with my old fountain pen in a fresh Moleskine. Unfortunately my handwriting is truly atrocious and when I go back to the notes I can’t read more than 20% of what’s there, so it’s more of a superstition than a useful part of the process. 

Pen and paper or straight to the keyboard? 

Once things get serious and I’m sure I want to go ahead with an idea I switch from pen and paper to the keyboard, mainly because I don’t want to risk losing something important to illegibility! I like having that yawning white space waiting to be filled up and feel like I think clearer on the screen where it’s easier to get a complete overview and chop and change bits. I redo all my notes and begin to outline. It isn’t unusual for the original ‘ideas’ file for a book to end up around the 100 page mark. 

How important is research to you? 

It’s hugely important. Crime readers especially are sharp-eyed, well informed and very unforgiving of factual mistakes, and I’ve always aimed to present a highly realistic world in my books – even the ones which nobody else has ever seen – so getting the details right is crucial. 

How do you go about researching? 

With Long Way Home the only way to get the facts was to talk to people. Before starting it my knowledge of gangmasters and slum landlords was pretty limited, I didn’t really know what the physical realities of a migrant workers life in the UK was or just what hurdles they faced. Maybe I could have pieced something together from media reports but it would have felt hollow and I wanted this book to be an honest and revealing expose as well as a crime novel.

Luckily, through friends and family, I found people who were willing to talk about their experience of coming to England in search of work. Mostly they were success stories but only because these people had persevered through the early days of their migration, living in bad conditions, being routinely ripped off, lonely and exhausted and frequently despised. It was comforting to know that they’d come through all of that and were settled, some with their own businesses now, most with young families, but it infuriated me that they were exploited in the first place. 

How do you store everything; ideas, research, images that catch your eye? 

I tend to think totally in words and try to keep my research material quite streamlined. So everything goes into the Word doc. I’d love to be the kind of author who has a ‘murder wall’ complete with photos and post its and sketches all linked by lines of red string but it just isn’t how I work. Maybe I’ll try that out with my next book though. 

Tell us how that first draft takes shape? 

Assuming I’ve done the prep work properly I just dive straight in, working on my laptop, trying very hard not to lose momentum until I’m finished. 

Are there any rituals you have to do or items you must have with you while writing that draft? 

I’m hugely superstitious so I have a few pairs of pyjamas which are for working not sleeping and a woolly cardigan two sizes too big I always wear – my office is cold even in summer. I always start a writing session with a rollie and a coffee – which has to be in my special writing mug. When the last one broke I spent months trying to replace it, bought four which just didn’t feel right, and finally found a pretty blue and white geometric print one in John Lewis. I’m very careful with it now! 

Does the outside world exist or are you lost to us for a period of time as the magic works? 

On a good day nothing will put me off but when the words aren’t flowing I’m constantly getting up and moseying around the house, taking the dog out, raiding the fridge, getting distracted by pretty much anything. Luckily the good days just about outweigh the other ones. 

What does your work space look like? 

I’ve recently moved offices – my last one was so dank I couldn’t bring myself to work there – this one is much nicer, with a view over the garden and sofas for lolling, a couple of bookshelves stuffed with inspiration and my vinyl for when the MS needs a soundtrack. But I can’t see any of that from my desk because I’ve pushed it against a blank wall to minimise distraction. On any given day it might have my notebook on it, a cup of coffee and an ashtray with way too many butts in, but that’s about it. I want to be looking at the page and nothing else. 

Eva Dolan work space

Edit as you go or just keep getting words out? 

I edit as I go along, in the naive hope that by the time the MS gets to my editor it won’t need too much work. Hah!

Every writing session starts with a reread of the previous day’s words and I tighten up and tweak them as much as possible.

The only thing I don’t edit at this stage is the capital letters. For some reason I’ve never been able to bring myself to put them in as I go along – even though every time I finish a book I sulk about having to sort them out and swear to actually use the ‘shift’ key next time. 

I see many writers counting words in a day. Word counter or other method of keeping track of progression? 

Ideally I like to do 1000 words a day. Any less and I feel like the day’s wasted but if they haven’t started flowing after a couple of hours I tend to walk away from the desk and do something else. 

Eva first draftSo, that first draft is down. Roughly how long did it take? And what shape is it in? 

The first draft of Long Way Home took around six months and because I edit as I go along it was ready to send over to my agent at that point. Naturally it was nowhere near as perfect and polished as I hoped and it came back with lots of small changes which needed making. 

In what format do you like to read it through, ereader, paper or the computer screen? 

Because my printer was still packed up after a house move I did the read through on screen and actually found it worked better than working from a printout because you can fix any problems right away. That said I think your eye tends to pick up the typos and  little punctuation mistakes better on paper. 

What happens now that first draft is done?

Waiting. Lots of waiting. Feedback from agent. (And with my latest book editor too.) I don’t even look at it until I hear back from them. I think you need to create some distance, take a break from the fake world you’ve been living inside for months. So I catch up on my reading and all the boxsets I’ve been Sky +ing, get out and about and catch up with all the people I’ve been neglecting slightly in favour of my characters, play a lot of online poker, four to six tables at once, which is my version of meditation.

I try not to think about the next book but inevitably ideas start coming up, that writing part of the brain doesn’t like to be idle for long.

Thanks for digging. g into the depths of the first draft. It’s been a pleasure having you.

You can find Eva on Twitter, her website and  Amazon.

Long Way Home.

long wayA man is burnt alive in a suburban garden shed.

DI Zigic and DS Ferreira are called in from the Peterborough Hate Crimes Unit to investigate the murder. Their victim is quickly identified as a migrant worker and a man several people might have had good reason to see dead. A convicted arsonist and member of a far-right movement has just been released from prison, while witnesses claim to have seen the dead man fighting with one of the town’s most prominent slum landlords.

Zigic and Ferreira know all too well the problems that come with dealing with a community that has more reason than most not to trust the police, but when another migrant worker is attacked, tensions rapidly begin to rise as they search for their killer.


As usual, if you want to take part in the First Draft series, just let me know! You can find a list of the previous Q&A’s Here.

Posted in First Drafts, Writing | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Recently Read – The Good Girl by Mary Kubica

The Good Girl by Mary Kubica

Mira UK. ISBN 978-1848453111

Good girl“I’ve been following her for the past few days. I know where she buys her groceries, where she has her dry cleaning done, where she works. I don’t know the color of her eyes or what they look like when she’s scared. But I will.”

Born to a prominent Chicago judge and his stifled socialite wife, Mia Dennett moves against the grain as a young inner-city art teacher. One night, Mia enters a bar to meet her on-again, off-again boyfriend. But when he doesn’t show, she unwisely leaves with an enigmatic stranger. With his smooth moves and modest wit, at first Colin Thatcher seems like a safe one-night stand. But following Colin home will turn out to be the worst mistake of Mia’s life.

Colin’s job was to abduct Mia as part of a wild extortion plot and deliver her to his employers. But the plan takes an unexpected turn when Colin suddenly decides to hide Mia in a secluded cabin in rural Minnesota, evading the police and his deadly superiors. Mia’s mother, Eve, and detective Gabe Hoffman will stop at nothing to find them, but no one could have predicted the emotional entanglements that eventually cause this family’s world to shatter.

An addictively suspenseful and tautly written thriller, The Good Girl is a compulsive debut that reveals how even in the perfect family, nothing is as it seems….

My Thoughts;

The book reads in very short chapters so is easy to read and keeps you wanting to turn the pages. Each chapter is from the viewpoint of either Mia’s mother, the detective or Colin Thatcher. They are also set before and after an event that you are not sure the full facts of. This gives the book an even more interesting and unique take on the crime novel. The writing is clean and beautiful. No word is used unless it’s needed, and each word works for its place, giving you a real feeling of what is happening for that character at that point in time. You feel immersed in a world shrouded in mystery and helplessness.

Kubica has created a cast of characters that you root for even if you feel maybe you shouldn’t.. You watch the relationship between Colin Thatcher and Mia Dennett shift and change as he defies his employers. I loved reading the chapters from Thatcher’s viewpoint the most. He is a hard man who is employed to do hard jobs. This man is unbendable and yet he makes a decision that changes everyone’s lives.

The detective Gabe Hoffman is wonderfully drawn. He is steady and determined, yet gentle and realistic.

I did figure out the twist in the story just under halfway through. I don’t know if that is because I write and therefore I read as a writer, deconstructing language and plot or because at that point I was reading quite slowly and savouring the words Kubica had written that I picked up on the single sentence that gave me the suggestion. It did nothing to detract me from the book though.

It’s difficult to believe that this is a debut novel, it is so cleverly and beautifully written. I look forward to reading more by Kubica. This is a fantastic book and I would recommend it to every crime fiction reader out there.


Posted in Books, Recently Read | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Just One Reason You Will Love Scrivener

In 2013 I did a post on why I was starting to use Scrivener. You will find that Here.

It is a complex, or should I say, fully functional piece of software for a writer, having anything you could possibly need, right at your fingertips. I have seen multiple posts on why people love Scrivener and why you should try it, so I thought I would let you know why I use it and the freedom it has recently given me in my writing life.

Just one reason I love it and will stick with it from now on.

You know how if you’re working on a word document, you work in a straight line? Sometimes you could write the ending earlier than you get to it if you know what it’s going to be, but you save it somewhere else maybe, but other than that, you’d be left with folders all over if you tried to do anything other than write in a straight line.

Well, that’s just what I’m loving about Scrivener. The internal folder system that lets you drag and drop them around at will and then compile them in a straight line when you’re ready. I found that at times I would get stuck in a place and I’d sit there staring at the screen with no word output, but because of this wonderful ability of the folder system, and the fact that I have a full synopsis so know what is happening, I can move on to a scene/chapter that my mind at that point in time feels it wants to work on. So this way, I am always writing. I’m currently working on all the chapters for one of the threads of the story because my heart is there right now. I can move them all into the right places as the rest of the story progresses. I’m not confined. I’m free to write what I want, when I want to. It’s liberating, my word count steadily rises and my story progresses because of this. I think I’d find it extremely difficult to write a first draft in a word document now.

If you’re not using Scrivener, you can get it on a free trial. It’s worth taking a look. Anything to keep those words and that story moving forward.


InsecureWritersSupportGroup (3)Today’s post comes to you courtesy of Alex Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writers Support Group. The monthly blog hop that does what it says on the tin. Check them out, you’ll be glad you did.

Posted in The Insecure Writers Support Group, Writing | Tagged , , , | 21 Comments

Back To Blogging

After a weeks holiday I am back and will be resuming a full blogging timetable. As you know, for me, that is rather scattered. But I hope it will be more consistent and regular now. Thank you for your kind good wishes as I set off on my holiday.

photo (40)My week in Kos was wonderful and relaxing. It was definitely needed. There was sun and a beautiful location with nothing to do other than eat – mmm, I’m not weighing myself until next Monday! – read, drink, relax and dip into the pool. The resort was stunning and exactly as shown in the photos. There was a restaurant with outside floating decks to eat out on. I loved these! A pool bar with seats and tables actually in the pool! A great way to cool down with just your feet in the water and a drink and a book in your hand.


We did fit in a visit to Kos town into that hectic schedule, which in itself was a beautiful place. It wasn’t a huge town and comes complete with its own historic castle ruins which I paid to walk around. For anyone interested in Greek history it’s a great place to wander.


I managed to read three books in the week I was away. I was slightly disappointed this figure wasn’t higher but I didn’t read on the flight either way and I actually spent time conversing with my family! I also managed to hand write a chapter of book two that I’m currently working on. So it always pays to take that note-book places with you. It seems that peace and a beautiful setting works for my creativity….

I have come home already wanting to book next years holiday. It gives us something to look forward to throughout the year doesn’t it?

As for the blog, there will be consistent book reviews coming through as well as blog posts I’ve had running through my head. It’s amazing what peace and quiet can do for a brain!

Have you been away this year? Looking forward to one ahead? Where is your peaceful place where you find you can think and ideas flow freely?

Posted in My Life | Tagged , , , , , , | 16 Comments

A Week Break From Blogging

Just to let you know, there won’t be any post’s from me for the coming week ahead. I’m away on my holidays for a week. Sunshine and lots of books are the plan. I’m wondering just how many books I can actually read in a week if I set my mind to it?

And for any would be burglars – the house is occupied and the dog is still in residence… (Cheaper than putting him in kennels!)

You may see me around social media occasionally if there is wi-fi on the complex, but blogging requires more time and input and to be honest, switching off sounds like a good plan once in a while and I might see if I can do just that.

So, all that is left to say is -

see you soon

Posted in My Life | 14 Comments