Where I want to be now

It’s June and this is my garden. There are rain drops on the patio table the chairs are soaking wet, the geranium droop and Rufus, the concrete dog, is growing an ever thicker coat of moss.

Where would I rather be?

I think the answer to that is easy.


That not being possible, I have to find other ways of cheering up this grey day. The advantage of being a writer is that all I have to do is go upstairs to my office and I can create whatever environment I want. I, or my protagonist, can be on beach, at the top of a mountain, in the past, the future, on  a different planet, the permutations are endless. So, I am off to a hot Summer afternoon in a Georgian terrace overlooking the river in Bristol.




View From A Desk

How about adding your own desks to this thread.


The first thing you should know is, don’t believe a word she tells you.

She’ll say she likes to be at her desk at nine – and maybe she likes it but I can tell you now, that doesn’t mean she does it. Half nine on a good day. Occasionally I can even hear the beginnings of Women’s Hour before she plonks her ass down on my chair.

Also, she’ll say she always works at her desk in her study. That’s true in the sense that she isn’t one of these writers who takes her laptop to bed, and to be fair she never sits at me in anything remotely resembling deshabillée, but she sometimes cheats on me with the kitchen table. She says it’s because the kitchen is warmer and being an impoverished writer she has to think of these things. I think she just likes its proximity to…

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Hot Air

Hot Air

On Saturday I was part of a forum at the Hot Air Literary Festival. Held at the Emma Bridgewater Factory in Hanley this is the third year of the festival and in my opinion the best yet.

I would say that, I suppose, because I had such a good time. The discussion panel consisted of three of us, Laura Williams, a literary agent with PFD, Caroline Lea a writer and me. Caroline has been published by a traditional publisher, while I represented the world of the Indie publisher.

The discussion was hosted by Stewart Collins and a better co-ordinator could not be found. He made sure that we all had a chance to speak,  no one dominated the conversation and orchestrated questions from the audience.

It was great that the event was sold out and that people had so much they wanted to ask.  Hopefully we managed to answer their questions and inspire them to continue along the treacherous and stony path to publication.

The day was warm, the sun shone, the coffee in the green room was good and the people I met interesting. And as a momento I was given my own unique piece of pottery. Magic!



24 Things Women Over 30 Should Wear

Warning:Curves Ahead

This morning, as I was perusing my Facebook timeline, I happened upon an article that a lovely friend shared. It was entitled “24 Things Women Should Stop Wearing After Age 30”, and it triggered Maximum Eye-Rolling from everyone who took the time out to read it.

Written by Kallie Provencher for RantChic.com, this “article” (I use the term loosely) highlighted things such as “leopard print”, “graphic tees”, and “short dresses” (because “By this age, women should know it’s always better to leave something to the imagination”). Kallie, it seems, has a number of opinions on what women over 30 should and shouldn’t be doing, having also penned “30 Things Women Over 30 Shouldn’t Own” and “20 Pictures Women Over 30 Need To Stop Posting Online”. (What is this magical post-30 land where women are suddenly not allowed to do or own so many things?!)

Motivated by Kallie’s “article”, I decided to…

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My New Card

Business Card2

What a difference such a seemingly small thing makes. I had been ploughing through that mire of despond, which is familiar territory for many writers, namely I felt a total failure, thought my work was rubbish and I might as well give up and devote myself to my garden.

I had, however, resolved to have some new cards done; my old ones were way out of date and there had been one or two occasions when it would have been good to have a card to give out.

The design had taken me a very long time. Years, in fact, and in this case I’m not exaggerating. I wanted a card which represented me and what I did, but I couldn’t find the right image. A couple of weeks ago it occurred to me that if I am a writer then a picture of books would work, and if I was going to use books, then why not use my own.

I took a number of photographs, chose the best, set out the text and went off to Staples.

Their computer couldn’t cope with my USB! Disaster? Not at all. The ever resourceful Shannon suggested I email her art work, I specially liked that phrase, and text. I duly did and then returned to get the cards printed.

It was a hot, lazy, June evening and as Shannon manipulated templates and printed out a sample we got talking.

She liked my design. She thought the pile of books looked classy; they showed my name but placed they way they were, they didn’t shout out the information. I began to feel better.

Then the conversation turned to books. Shannon is an avid reader. She loves books, the feel, the smell, the texture of them. Once she’s into an author she reads everything they’ve written. She loves series, she loves YA books. She fancied giving “Clear Gold” a go.

I began to feel much, much better.

By the time I’d left the store with my box of cards, my belief in myself was well on its way to being restored.

What it took was a conversation with a reader. Because readers are what writing is all about and we forget it at our peril.

Thank you Shannon.