Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Spring has sprung

Well, it really does look as if spring as sprung. Lovely weather for the past few days. I hope that it doesn't unspring again. Not that I've been out much lately. I've been keeping my head down (no, not lying on the sofa) but getting on with writing my novel. I seem to work in fits and spurts. It goes really well for a while, and then I hit a block again (as I've done now).

This is the lull before the storm. From tomorrow onwards for I don't know how long, there'll be workmen all over the place. We're having lots of jobs done on the house, not least fitting a conservatory. I can't wait until it's all finished. I don't like the thought of all the upheaval, and I'm untidy enough without anything adding to the chaos.

I was delighted to see four copies of The Dark Threads in Waterstones, Leeds. The time before when I looked, there was only one, so (yipee!) they must have decided to order some more, which (double yipee!) must mean my books have been selling. The woman standing next to me pulled it off the shelf to read the blurb, and I managed (just) to resist the temptation to tug at her sleeve and say, 'Hey, you must buy that. It's a really good book.'

I'm also thrilled to see a super-dooper review, which you can read here.

And so to bed...

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Authors North Spring Meeting

I enjoyed the SOA's Authors North Spring Meeting on Saturday, which was in Chester this year. The theme was 'Fantasy and Terror' and the two speakers were David Whitley and Ramsey Campbell. David Whitley's presentation was particularly good. I must say I haven't read many books in that genre, but his enthusiasm and skills as a speaker drew me in. I also found myself observing his talk with a view to improving my own public speaking skills.

It was lovely to meet new people and also to see again some of those I met last year. There was a table to display our books. We weren't allowed to sell our books, but I 'exchanged' mine with Carol Fenlon for her novel 'Consider the Lilies'.

I started reading Carol's novel last night and I'm thoroughly enjoying it. I've nearly finished it as I couldn't put it down to get to sleep. The themes are multi-layered, but, basically, it's about a girl's feral childhood in 1960s Lancashire and her friend's search for the missing homeless adult she becomes. As it says on the blurb, this 'powerful and thought-provoking debut novel uses unique language and devices to challenge perceptions of homelessness, identity and exclusion in modern society.' It's poignant, beautifully written, and well worth a read. I'm off to get back to it now.

Friday, 16 April 2010


I didn't mean to have a break from blogging. It just sort of happened. Okay, that's a poor excuse. Other people, many of whom I'm sure are busier than I am, seem to manage to blog regularly. It's not even as if I'm putting off something I don't want to do: I love blogging. Even if only very few people read it, it is something I want to do. But somehow it's got left behind in my recent burst of activity. So what exactly have I been doing?

Well, on the writing front, I've been working hard on my novel and aim to have it ready to send out to agents soon. I've also been writing articles for magazines and journals. Just had one published (though I wrote this one ages ago) in the Healthcare, Counselling and Psychotherapy Journal (HCPJ).

On the book-promotion front for 'The Dark Threads' I'm continuing to give talks (though not many, I must admit), and I'm plodding on at the Speakers Club towards my Certificate, which tickles me a bit because public speaking is (or used to be) about as un-me as you could get! I've been participating in a project with the Huddersfield University who are putting on an exhibition which starts at the Thackray Medical Museum in a couple of weeks. I'm about to make an exhibition of myself. Watch this space.

Other stuff: we're going to have a conservatory built onto the back of the house. I have dreams of sitting there sipping G & Ts and watching the sunsets. However, first there is the alarming level of disruption to put up with. We need the boiler moving, the gas meter moving, and various other building work before they can start erecting it. We're also about to have a hole made in the living room wall to fit a gas fire and other disrupting jobs done. Perhaps I'll escape to a cafe to escape all the muck, dust, noise and chaos. There, I can sit happily and write (like J K Rowling).

I'm going to the Authors North Spring Meeting of the Society of Authors on Saturday, which is in Chester this year. I'm looking forward to that.

My plans for the weeks ahead are to continue to get my novel finished, get back to writing my blog - and, oh, yes, just have a good time, as I hope anyone who might happen to read this is doing.