I decided that in this post we all need a bit of cheering up, so I’m filling it with sunlight and flowers. Well, the images will be that. How are you all? Hope you’re all fine.
So, first things first, let’s talk about Ukraine. I’ve felt so horrified about what’s been happening and have been giving to charities helping people on the ground as much as I can. A friend of mine basically spent her entire life savings helping four families escape. They are the families of people she has been working with and they are currently in the Netherlands. They’re hoping to get them to the UK at some point. When I say life savings, I’m talking five figures, nearly six. My friend is amazing. I don’t have that kind of money, but I have been involved in a fundraising anthology to raise funds for Ukranian children in need.
Here’s the details (they were in the last post, but here you are again):
I’ve already submitted my short story and I’m looking forward to seeing this fly off the shelves (metaphorically speaking). Well done to the ladies of the Romance Cafe who organised this, including my friend Sofia Aves (who is a superb author).
Right, moving on. What else has been happening? I managed to actually go out last weekend. I met up with three friends who were up from London. We had dinner at Babs (really nice Mediterranean food) in Glasgow and then drinks at The Anchor Line. I had a fab night. I’ve known the three of them for more than 20 years and being with them again was like no time had passed. Yes, we’ve all gotten older, but our sense of humour stays the same. Thanks for a great night guys.
Over the weekend, I also caught up with my parents and visited my niece and her wee boy who is around five months old and totally gorgeous. So, busy weekend.
What I’ve been watching: I am totally loving the new series of The Marvellous Mrs Maisel. It’s superb. So funny, so stylish, so beautifully written. I’ve also been watching the newer version of Das Boot (I remember the original series) and it’s also really, really good. Gripping storyline, brilliant characters and just all round excellent series. It’s mostly in German with some French and English. Talking of German programmes, I cannot wait until the new series of Babylon Berlin comes out. I believe they are working on it now. Cannot wait! Also cannot wait for the new series of Outlander and I’m hoping there will be a second series of Carnival Row, which is in my top three all time amazing tv series along with Babylon Berlin.
Films – I watched the majority of Marley & Me the other night, but had to switch it off when Marley got old. If you know the film, you know the outcome and I couldn’t bear watching it again, especially as we have an elderly pug, Bonya, whose legs are starting to go and who has issues with incontinence. She’s an old girl, we love her and it’s unbearable to think she might not be around soon. I’m hoping we’ve got another year with her. Keep everything crossed for us!
Yes it’s another image of tulips, but they are my favourite flowers – equal billing with peonies. Ooh can’t wait til peony season!
Right, so that’s us up-to-date so far. Please preorder the anthology and, if you’d like more information about Sisters of Sin, other authors and freebies, please sign up to my newsletter. Til next time,
So, the excitement grows. The Sisters of Sin series is being launched this year 🥳🥳🥳and over the coming few weeks, I’ll put up the links for the pre-orders so you can be the FIRST to get the books. This is set of nine romantic thriller novels about a group of kick ass female assassins and the hot sexy men in their beds. Over the coming weeks, I’ll share information about seven authors behind the series, do cover reveals and give you more info about the books themselves…including sneak peak chapters. Watch this space for more!
So, how are things with you? I’ve been busy as usual running around like a blue arsed fly trying to keep all the plates spinning. Hopefully once the books are launched, things will be a bit quieter. I’ve been mostly doing domestic stuff, writing Envy (one of my two Sisters of Sin books) and working. I’ve also had a busy time with my degree course. I’m currently reading The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy as part of this year’s course. It’s a really great book. I’m thoroughly enjoying it, I love the way Roy writes. It’s about a family from Kerala and how tragedy in the past affects them in the future.
What else have I been doing? During the odd times I have some time, I’ve been watching telly. I finished watching Wandavision on Disney+ recently and I really enjoyed it. The first couple of episodes were odd and I wasn’t sure I liked the series. However, I stuck with it and I’m glad I did because it really took off. After that I moved on to reruns of Castle cos it’s highly enjoyable. Nothing taxing, just a good watch.
Due to the pandemic, I had to cancel a whole load of things I had planned over the festive season and as Covid is still raging here (although it’s mostly the Omicron variant which appears to be not as nasty), I’ve not managed to reschedule those yet. So, it’s been pretty boring around here. I’m desperate to meet friends for lunch or just get a change of scenery. However, I’ll need to be patient. This weekend I can’t go out anyway as I have a big uni assignment to write: 2000 words on Ali Smith’s Hotel World. I hadn’t read Smith before I did this uni course and I thoroughly enjoy her writing style and storytelling. I’ve now also read her Girl Meets Boy and it’s really good, beautifully written.
Right, I’m going to go now. Got housework to do 🥱🥱🥱 (I hate doing housework, it’s such a bore) and my uni course work. I also want to get 2000 words of Envy done if I can. So, I’ll say adieu for now and see you soon.
Good morning from dreich and overcast Scotland. And no the pictures used in this post are not recent ones taken from the lovely scenery around about me. Unfortunately, we’ve not had any snow yet. 🙁 I love the snow. However, we’ve had a bit of rain and there was a smattering of snow on the hills overlooking Port Glasgow. Anyway, to assuage my desire for snow I’ve decided to enhance this post with pictures of it that were taken in Scotland.
Firstly, the exciting news. The Sisters of Sin books are in production and the first one is due out at the beginning of June. Woohooooo!!! I know I’ve been talking about this for two years now, but we’re ready to go. We have a core group and we’ve recently invited two guest authors to join us. I cannot wait to get this series out. Watch this space for more details!
So, how was your Christmas? Hope you had a good one. As the rest of my family were away doing other things, it was just me and my two kids, three dogs and four chickens for Christmas this year. I spent the day watching crappy movies on telly, flicking through the numerous books I got and eating chocolate and we had stuffed chicken and veg for dinner. I much prefer chicken to turkey which is why we had that. Turkey is okay, but I much prefer the taste and texture of chicken. We had chocolate log for afters. Was a nice, quiet kind of day. On Boxing Day we just had buffet type nibbles for dinner. Easy peasy.
I’ve just realised I haven’t posted anything for quite some time and, to be honest, the reason for that is partially because I have nothing to tell you. I’ve been working and because of Covid I had to cancel several nights out I had planned. This included an ABBA tribute act, a lunch with my besties and a night out at the Barrowlands to see Goodbye Mr Mackenzie on their 30th anniversary tour. I was not happy, I can tell you. However, I felt in the circumstances (ie the Omicron variant is running rife in Scotland) it was the best thing to do. It’s meant we couldn’t enjoy our Christmas break as much as we’d like. I had also planned to take the kids out to dinner in Glasgow. We love going to see the Christmas lights and then getting something to eat. Sigh. Never mind. Surely this bloody pandemic will be over soon!! They say the Omicron variant isn’t as dangerous, but what it is doing is forcing people in key jobs to take ten days off work which in turn is putting pressure on the health service, police, supermarkets, their supply chains and public transport. We were already seeing the effects of the variant on public transport before Christmas. Anyway, all these events I had to cancel will be rearranged…that’s a promise!
On to books. I’ve been reading Ali Smith’s Hotel World (superb book) and Edmund Blunden’s Undertones of War (also excellent) as part of my OU course. I’d never normally read either, but this course has opened up a whole new avenue of writing for me. Ali Smith is a brilliant writer and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed Hotel World. Blunden’s Undertones of War is also good, but, and maybe it’s just me being tired when I read it in bed at night, I’m having to reread the odd passage or paragraph to ensure I get the full meaning of what he’s saying. The first read often leads me to go: what? What’s he saying here and who’s he talking about? So, I have to reread it and sometimes I get the meaning and other times I don’t so I read on. I think it might be the language and the text tends to jump about from scene to scene to scene. Anyway, I’m still enjoying it. I’d better get it finished because I’m supposed to have done that by now!
What else has been happening? Have you been watching A Very British Scandal? Watched the first one last night and was hooked. The Duke of Argyll’s behaviour towards Margaret is really nasty, but then she’s not really a nice character either. It’s highly addictive watching. Going to watch the next one today.
We’ve been watching all the Harry Potter films and are now halfway through the first Deathly Hallows. Such great books and really enjoyable films. My daughter is a huge fan, so talks all the way through which is annoying. However, I’m still enjoying it. As a Terry Pratchett fan, of course, I watched the Hogfather. Love that version. Mark Warren as Mr Teatime is superbly creepy. I’ve also recorded a few Christmas films to watch, including Elf and Scrooge (the musical), although I am hankering for a bit of Muppets Christmas Carol so may dig that out the Christmas DVDs box this afternoon.
Right, I must love you and leave you. I have a couple of thousand words to write for my second book in the Sisters of Sin series, my first one having been completed already, and I have to catch up on my uni coursework which has been sadly neglected recently.
So I’m writing today feeling all mellow having spent last night in my friend’s hot tub in her back garden looking up at the stars and drinking wine. It was amazing. Magical. Thank you A for having me over to enjoy the tub. I did, however, fall in when I tried to get in which had us all laughing. Typical of me!
Anyway, how are you all? Hope you’re well and have been having a good weekend.
I’ve not a lot to talk about this week as I have been mainly writing. The Sisters of Sin series is definitely going to come out next year. We’ve set new deadlines and we are sticking to them. I’ve written one book and have a good plan of the second book. I just need to sit down and write it. My tv series script is moving forward at a faster pace now and we’ve put in some amazing plots developments. I’m so excited about it. I’ve also been writing and uploading a load of articles on to Medium and Vocal media, and have shared their links in my social media posts. However, I’ll slot them in at the and of this article if you’re interested in reading them. I hope you do. Please give me a clap on Medium and heart on Vocal if you enjoy the articles. Some are older, but I’m promoting them again.
Koen De Bouw as Professor T
Last week, I also watched the entire third series of the original (Belgium) version of Professor T and, I hate to say it, but the British version is not a patch on it. I like the British version, but the original is far quirkier and sharper. It stars Koen De Bouw as criminologist Professor Teerlinck who helps the Federal Police solve murders. It’s a comedy and highly entertaining. De Bouw is excellent as the oddbod Professor T. It’s on Channel 4 boxsets and is part of the Walter Presents series, which is also excellent. I’ve downloaded several other of those series to watch and I’ll let you know how I get on.
My Open University course started yesterday, but because I was so busy (I also met other friends for a late lunch), I’ve not started it yet.
In other news, I’m currently attempting to hatch some Silkie chicks. Not from my own girls, but fertilised eggs I bought of Ebay (you really can buy anything from Ebay). I’ve got another two weeks to go and I’ll let you know how I get on. It’s looking hopeful for two of the eggs.
Right, that’s me for this week. I’m away to make lunch and start another Walter Presents series. Til next time,
So, how’s your week been so far? It’s Wednesday and I am truly suffering from hayfever today. Although the weather has got slightly colder and it was raining last night (so welcome – that heat last week was way too much for me), my allergies have gone into overdrive. I just want to dunk my face into a big bucket of cold water. That’s what I feel like doing.
Well, I’ve gone and did it. I actually started writing Envy over the weekend, my second book in the Sisters of Sin series I’m writing with international authors. I have about 4000 words written already. My plan is to write a minimum of 2000 words a day so that I have my first draft finished by the end of next month. Wish me luck!
It’s a superb book. I really recommend it. It’s about a handsome writer who will stop at nothing, including murder, to make it as a writer. Just when you think he can’t stoop any lower, he does. Even the ending is just him all over. I was glued to it, truly gripped. It is told from the point of view of various unfortunates that the protagonist, Maurice Swift, comes into contact with. This book was leant to my by my lovely friend Jane, who also leant me four other John Boyne books. Thank you Jane. You’ve made me a John Boyne fan. Can’t wait to start the next one.
I am also in the process of reading Craig Martelle’s How to Be a Successful Indie Writer:
It’s full of great tips on running your own indie author business. I’ve had this book for a while, but not read it. I decided recently that if I every want to make a go of being an indie author I better get my head down, learn everything I can and just do it. Part of that is reading this book and three others in the same series, and I also wrote down some aims and objectives. You gotta have a plan!
Right, I am going to finish up here. Til next time,
Here’s an article I put up on Medium yesterday and it got such a good response, I decided to share it with you here…
Writing is something that many people aspire to do. I don’t know how many times people have said to me, once they’ve found out I’m a writer, that they want to write a book.
But actually starting a book and, more importantly, finishing it are a whole different ball game.
Let’s get this over with first – if you think writing a book is easy, stop reading now. Even the simplest children’s book takes time and effort. Writing is hard work. So, if you’d much rather play your Xbox or watch tv, cheerio.
Right, everyone still here who actually wants to write? Let us begin.
I once taught writing for children at Glasgow University and I always loved the enthusiasm my students had for the subject. I told taught them many things, so of which I’m going to share today.
Note: this article is about all kinds of writing, not just for children, so please don’t leave.
Right, on to the good bit: getting started.
The first question anyone ever asks me is are you rich? For the sake of full disclosure, I should tell you I am not rich and never have been. The second question is: where do you get your ideas from? My answer: anywhere and everywhere.
I find getting ideas for stories easy. They are born through reading, through people watching, through things I’ve seen on television. I can be drifting off to sleep and suddenly an idea will pop into my head. They come more easily if I’m bored and my mind starts to wander.
I jot down the idea in a notebook or in my cell phone, and tuck it away for a later date when I can revisit it.
Here are other suggestions for gaining ideas for stories:
Ask yourself ‘what if…?’ – What if that person were actually a time traveller? What if my next-door neighbour was a spy? What if my pet could talk?
Take a scenario and give it a twist. Write down a regular sentence such as: The man walked down the street and met his mother. Now give it a twist: The spaceman walked down the gangway and met an elephant. It doesn’t have to be that silly, but should give you a little mind boost that will trigger other ideas.
Look at street names or car number plates and create a character from it. Then ask yourself: who is this person, what do they do and what is their story?
Cut some images out of a magazine or download and print them. Put them together and create a story from what you see. It could be an alpaca at the beach with an ice-cream seller or a tramp with a glamorous film star at a fast-food restaurant.
Go to an outside space and people watch. Jot down their descriptions and what they are doing. Give them a name and a job. Start to work out who they are and what they are doing with their lives.
Hopefully, this has given you a little boost and you’ll start writing some amazing. Remember: in order to be a great writer, you should read, read and read some more. Read everything and anything. Read the greats and the not-so-greats…only then will you be able to recognise amazing writing and be able to produce some yourself.
I’m planning to do more of these short articles on writing, so keep an eye out.
Back to this week and there’s not much to update. I was supposed to see a friend on Saturday afternoon, but it was so blustery here in the west coast of Scotland that we had to cancel. I just don’t find sitting out in a wet and freezing cold garden appealing.
Book update – am back planning the second of my Sisters of Sin books. I hope to start writing it next week. The first book, Greed, is currently with beta readers and I’m awaiting their views. * gnaws at nails nervously *
Reading – still on Babylon Berlin and it’s really good. The tv series has added a lot of back story to Gereon and Charlotte that is not in the book, but that’s okay. Still loving it.
TV – today I expect to finish all 11 series of Shameless and I feel bereft already. It was a wonderful series full of mad capers and I’ve loved it. Sigh.