Wednesday, 10 August 2016

What I'm Doing This Month - August

August has crept up on me. Who am I kidding? August has grabbed me by the heels and dashed me through the past ten days in a whirl of family trips and events. It's always this way during the school summer break, finding ways to keep my kids (now teen and pre teen) amused and fed, and throw in my normal routine too. I wrote about this back in 2009 when I called it the August Monster.

With the first draft of my second novel completed (last month's target), I decided to take a step back from it all before I went any further. My muse, however, had a different plan. Cue several nights of tossing and turning and making notes on my mobile phone whenever ideas dived into my head.

I had always planned to write the Steve Haven books as a trilogy but the more I threw around the events that had to happen in the story, the more I realised that a series of books would suit much better, allowing me to tell the whole story rather than rushing through the bare bones.

The August target is therefore to map out the plot for the entire series and get on with writing it as a whole first draft. Come September, I should be halfway through the third novel if all goes well.

Wish me luck and have a wonderful month.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Photo Inspiration for July

A foreboding entrance or a gothic welcome? What do you think? I found this gateway whilst on holiday with my family. What story could this lead to?

Friday, 8 July 2016

What I'm Doing This Month - July

As I expected, June outdistanced me in a race towards the end of the school term, dragging me behind it (and preventing me from posting anything on this blog - sorry about that).

July always brings mixed feelings for me. There is so much to arrange and finalise before the school holidays and yet once the summer break is here I can relax. Only eleven more days to go.

With a puppy to amuse along with my children, this year's summer break is bound to include many many visits to dog friendly sites. Fingers crossed the weather is good enough for time spent outdoors.


With my novel in the hands of several agents, I've made the decision not to send it out to anyone else until I've completed the entire trilogy. My target this month is to complete the plot, chapter plan and story arcs for the trilogy and finish the first draft of the second novel, with the summer break target of completing the first draft of the entire trilogy.

Mslexia Children's Novel Competition

I've also submitted my novel to the 2016 Mslexia Children's Novel competition. The prize is £5,000 with five finalists attending a special networking event with literary agents. The judges are novelist Anne Fine, literary agent Claire Wilson, and editor Charlotte Eyre. Fingers crossed I make it into the final five.


This month sees my first performance on stage in years (decades) in a musical revue night by the local amateur dramatics society. My daughter will be taking part too. Wish us luck.

That's my month. What are you up to?

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

What I'm Doing This Month - June

Summer arrives this month in the UK, with its warmer days (mostly and not necessarily without rain), vibrant colours and the chance to unwrap from winter woollies (or is that just me?). As a mum, this season is dominated by the summer break and amusing my children. What new adventures and fresh horizons will the long break from school bring this year?

For the last couple of months, my life has felt chaotic with new interests and the latest addition to our family, puppy Bailey devouring a large slice of my time. Now she's settled in and I've got my head around the additional activities in my life, it's time to reorganise.

Catching Up

I've let a lot slide over the past few weeks so June and the summer will be all about catching up with the tasks that I've pushed to the back of my mind and only touched on recently.

Along with the housework and my health regime, I desperately need to carve out a daily niche for my writing. I managed last month's writing target (one page a day) but even that was snatched and chaotic. I need to find at least an hour a day to write, just write, without interruption.


A few weeks ago, I joined the local amateur dramatic society with my daughter, towards the end of their rehearsals for a musical revue in July. I haven't sung this much in a long time (well, not in tune anyway) so I'm going through a rather steep curve of learning twelve songs and how to breathe properly during singing. There's a great energy in the group when we're all belting out a song together. I may well lose my voice by the end of it all but it's great fun.

Getting Ready

The last half term of school before the summer break is always manic with performances and trips. So along with juggling all of that, I'm getting ready for our holiday this month (ironing and packing mainly) and the summer break itself. With a dog in tow, our usual summer trips out will have to be rejigged so we can take her along. I foresee much walking in parks and at beaches.

Getting Healthy

Any kind of healthy eating regime has disappeared as I've juggled life recently. I've concentrated on feeding the rest of the family but forgotten my own needs (cutting out sugar and most carbs). As a result, I feel sluggish, fat and grouchy. This month, I'll return to paying attention to what I eat by putting together a meal plan for us all. The puppy has put paid to exercising in the house but thankfully, taking her for a walk twice a day is just as good. This is probably going to be my biggest challenge of the month. Wish me luck.


My old schedule (writing, home business, housework, exercise) just doesn't suit anymore so I'll be reorganising it and getting creative with my time. Putting together a schedule is never a problem but keeping to it is another story. More luck needed here.

So that's my month. What are you getting up to in June?

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Choice Words for May

Write what you know is a phrase that's often thrown at writers. I've even talked about it myself on this blog. Like most lessons, it can have different meanings and challenges to different people.

Author Emma Newman wrote about this topic in The Untrue Truth of "Write What You Know" as a guest writer on Chuck Wendig's terribleminds site. Her article is well worth a read with its discussion of transferable skills. Have a look.