The Bendy Brain


On Friday I went to see Ruby Wax in her show “Sane New World,” with my friend Jo. We laughed and laughed and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, but what made the evening truly memorable, for me, was what I learned.

First of all -neuroplasticity: the brain is bendy. Well not quite, it’s probably more like a circuit board, but it can change. It can be rewired. And if our thoughts and habits can change, so can we.

Those voices that keep telling you you’re no good, you’re bound to fail, there’s no point in even trying, they can be switched off!

And the worry bug can be eliminated, or at least de-fanged. That’s the creature I’m working on just now. It burrows into my life and can gnaw away at the happiest of moments, so from now on whenever I feel the first little nibble, I’m going to concentrate on the NOW …

This is the trick, the way to rewire those circuits. Concentrate on one of the five senses. Bring yourself back into the present. I favour biting the inside of my cheek. Painful but it works.

Do it often enough and the worries, fears etc., won’t go away completely, but will not longer have the same power over you.

That’s the theory . Watch this space.


Guest Writer : Freda Warrington

Vampires are great. I’ve never understood why agents and publishers have decided that they are so last year. Perhaps that is one of the reasons why their businesses have relatively short life spans, while Vampires never die.

Jan Edwards

fredaauthorFreda Warrington is a British author best known for her epic fantasy, vampire and supernatural novels. Four of her novels have been nominated for the British Fantasy Society’s Best Novel award.

Her novel, Elfland, published by Tor, won the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award in the Fantasy Novel category for 2009. Her latest book, The Dark Arts of Blood is the long-awaited, brand-new fourth book in the much-loved Blood Books series.



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Unblocking the Wordage and Verbiage

Brainstorming with someone whose opinions you trust can unplug any writing block and there are other ways to clear the plot jam too …

Jan Edwards

download (1)My current project has been stuck for a week or so.  Jammed up in a plethora of possibilities that never quite work when run through  my internal cinema.  Remember those days of Saturday morning showings at the Regal that would suddenly halt – with cowboys  held on mid-leap after static steers, or vast tentacled beasts frozen in mid-clutch for their human prey? Well, maybe  not quite like that – but not far off.

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Clear Gold is published!

Clear Gold Cover

She’s out there! Mouse has made her way into the world. “Clear Gold” the first book in my trilogy for YA is out as an e book, with the print copy to follow shortly.

In a world where water is more precious than gold, Mouse is a fighter. She’s a girl who wants to make her way out of the narrow confines of the Town, where everyone has their set place in society. She’d curious about everything and resents the way in which The Olds restrict knowledge to a chosen few.

The story began because I wanted to explore what would happen if we ran short of the most vital element on this planet, but Mouse soon took over and it was her character and the way in which she deals with her situation that kept me writing.

And now the book is done and it’s up to my readers to decide whether they love her as much as I do.

Cake on the verge of cracking up.

Cake on the verge of cracking up

I love baking and trying out new recipes, so when I knew I was hosting a meeting of Penkhull Press I flicked through my cookery files and found a recipe for a chocolate and ale cake. It was one on Delia’s and with a Delia Smith recipe you can’t go wrong. Or can you?

It all began well. Making the cake was easy. Just put all the ingredients in together and whisk. In the meantime melt the chocolate with the Guinness, beat in the butter and chopped pecans and use to stick the two cakes together. The remaining, pecan less icing, went on top. Simple!

Not so. :-((

Icing has never been my strong point. I’m a throw it together cook and hope it tastes good. On Master Chef I’d be thrown out for my total lack of presentation skills. My attempt at decorating this cake however, wasn’t bad.

I was so impressed with myself I called to Mike to come and look at what I’d done! By the time he arrived in the kitchen, disaster had struck. A huge fault line appeared right across the top of the cake, then another smaller one running off from the first. Not even the icing, full of booze though it was, was holding it together.

I went to bed full of dire forebodings. All the next day I kept checking in case the cake completely cracked up. Nerves taut I finally served it up.

And no one noticed the cracks!

Cake all gone2

Plots and Pinnacles

Endings are the hardest things.

Jan Edwards

imagesIt was just over two years ago that I wrote the draft of a Holmes  pastiche for particular  publisher.   I had hoped to see it out on the bookshelves by now – but we all now how slow some publishing wheels grind. It was a fun exercise, however, and one that set my usual writing lines on a different tangent.

(As  a Guest at Conan Doyle Con at the end of the month I shall have to lean the laurels of my story in the forthcoming Mammoth Book of the Adventures of Moriarty.)

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My Writing Routine.

myslexia I love doing surveys. Ticking the boxes gives me such a sense of satisfaction that I rarely can resist, so when mslexia sent an online survey about writers’ routines I simply had to stop what I was doing and fill it in.

It didn’t take me long. I am after all a creature of habit. Sometimes this is good, sometimes no so good. It can make me efficient, on the other hand it is easy to slip into the familiar pattern and end up being bored. Boredom is not productive and does tend to sap creativity.

On the other hand, having to write a set number of words a day is making a huge difference to the way I write and the speed at which I am getting through the first draft of my final book in the “Clear Gold” trilogy.

Every day, come what may I write either 500 or 1,000 words. The amount is variable to allow for life, which has a habit of not conforming to my routine. Even when things don’t work out the way I’d planned it is always possible to jot down 500 words. They may be rubbish but at least they are there, ready to be edited at a later date.

Ideally I write in the morning, after breakfast.

First however, I have to look at my emails and glance at Facebook and Twitter. I used to be very disciplined about not checking social media until the writing was done, until I realized I’d missed important a  number of important email. Not pictures of people’s cats but changes of arrangements, or meetings being cancelled.

Once that is out of the way. I write. Sometimes the words flow and it’s effortless. At others it’s like sweating blood, but it has to be done and when it is, then there is time for coffee. Or lunch, depending how long it took.

After that I can do the social media stuff, think of new stories, or do anything else I choose.

That at least is how it’s supposed to be what actually happens…