Start of a new teaching term – feeling all fresh and shiny!

This summer has been filled with lots of great things, none of which have been very disciplined! Time to get a regular writing schedule, exercise schedule and healthy eating plan. I’ll start after this next gin.

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Seriously though, I keep seeing that quote everywhere – the one that says if you always do the same things, you’ll always get the same results. Stuff like that normally annoys me, but there is a valid point here. I definitely need to make some changes!

If you’re planning to get organised too – good luck! Check back here occasionally and hold me to account please 🙂

Time flies!

Well, I seem to be averaging two blogs a year at the moment! Not brilliant for a writer. In my defense, we have moved THREE times this year and I’m mindbogglingly shattered. Still, I am writing – plowing on regardless – but it’s slow process. I’m still working through book 1 of the murder mystery series and trying to find new ways to promote the trilogy. If anyone fancies reading and reviewing any of the Eshla books, please let me know. I’m happy to send a free mobi file, for use on kindles, or a pdf.

It hasn’t all been hard work though – got in a few good days at the beach (with best friend in picture below) and an amazing 12 hours on the flying Scotsman in vintage luxury (strictly for historical research you understand!).

The Real Origins of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Middle-earth” — Don Massenzio’s Blog

Originally posted on C.M. Blackwood: Most Old English poets were anonymous, and only a few are known by name. Cynewulf was one of them. The works definitively attributed to him are but four: Juliana; Elene; Fates of the Apostles; and The Ascension. While the modern reader may need a little help to understand who…

via The Real Origins of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Middle-earth” — Don Massenzio’s Blog

Six Ways To Self-Edit & Polish Your Prose

Some really useful stuff here.

Kristen Lamb's Blog

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Whether you are new to writing or an old pro, brushing up on the basics is always helpful. Because no matter how GOOD the story is? If the reader is busy stumbling over this stuff, it ruins the fictive dream and she will never GET to the story. So today we are going to cover six ways to self-edit your fiction. Though this stuff might seem like a no-brainer, I see these blunders ALL the time.

….unfortunately even in (legacy) published books.

When I worked as an editor, I found it frustrating when I couldn’t even GET to the story because I was too distracted by these all too common oopses.

There are many editors who charge by the hour. If they’re spending their time fixing oopses you could’ve easily repaired yourself? You’re burning cash and time. Yet, correct these problems, and editors can more easily get to the MEAT…

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A quick update…

November since my last blog! That’s shocking. I’m in one of those tunnels of time where days and weeks don’t seem to behave like they’re supposed to. Another house move, a new job for my husband and a battle against disability discrimination with the Department for Work and Pensions (!), and here I am six months older but still writing!

Murder mystery writing, it turns out, is much slower than fantasy. With fantasy, solutions can be dreamed up from the depths of your imagination. With mysteries they have to be real and believable – the clues, just subtle enough not to give the game away but obvious enough to the reader when the truth is revealed. Add in the need for historical accuracy and I find myself triple checking every line!

In short, the first draft is going slowly. But it is still going and that, I keep telling myself, is what matters!

Here’s a picture of my desk. Just to prove I’m still working!

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4 Publishing Industry “Rules” You Can Break (and 6 You MUST follow!) — Don Massenzio’s Blog

Originally posted on Carly Watters, Literary Agent: In publishing rules are just guidelines. We give you these guidelines to help you (believe it or not). We’re not trying to make your life harder; we are trying to show you how to succeed. These guidelines are what you should generally follow, but there are times you…

via 4 Publishing Industry “Rules” You Can Break (and 6 You MUST follow!) — Don Massenzio’s Blog

Why Christmas starts in early November (and always will).

For the past 14 years (ever since I moved into my own home with my son) our Christmas decs have gone up the first weekend after bonfire night. Purists everywhere are shrieking with horror as I type! 

  
For some reason, I’ve never bothered to explain why. I guess it amuses me that some people react so strongly to something that ultimately has no direct impact on them whatsoever – every year I get responses that vary from the mildly amused, ‘nutter’, to those people who bang on about how it’s ‘just wrong’ (you know who you are ;-)). 

So, my reasons: it’s all about numbers (slightly ironic for an English teacher, I know!). In December, you get three weekends before Christmas. Back in the days where everyone was married and women stayed at home, maybe that was enough to do all the things that people need to do but as a single Mum with a full time job, I quickly realised it wasn’t. 

Things to fit in:

  • Decorate the house. 1 day. It’s great – I make a big deal of this; drink mulled wine, watch A Christmas Carol, have your lovely friend and her kids over for the day.
  • Present shopping. 1 weekend if you’re lucky. 
  • Present wrapping. 1 day (I’m not gifted in the art). 
  • Taking presents around to various friends before the day. Several days depending on who I could afford to buy for that year. 

Now, all of the above could fit into the three weekends of December. It’s a snug fit, but you can do it, just (there’s a reason why Christmas movies always show stressed out parents). However, that means ignoring the fact that December is one of the most fun months on earth. I wanted to fill my December weekends with visits to Santa (Spalding garden centre is hands down winner), trips to see the lights turned on, carol concerts, Christmas festivals in East Carlton park and days with my amazing parents/grandparents. The solution I came up with was to introduce the concept of ChristmasTIME, which begins the weekend after bonfire night with the decs going up. This is a tradition of ours that enabled me to really enjoy everything that Christmas has to offer with my gorgeous boy and has given us some fabulous memories. More important than ever now he is virtually housebound. 

  
At the end of the day, traditions are meant to serve us, not us them. 

So continue to laugh! I don’t care 😁 I will always start my ChristmasTIME in November and everyone else will just have to get over it.