A Drizzly Day

Which is fine by me because I can sit in my tiny officeporch, and write, look for places to submit, work on my collection, stop by ad hoc fiction’s weekly slot, flit around on twitter for a bit, dig out stories I’d thought I’d lost… I just found the very first piece of fiction I wrote that was accepted somewhere. It was called The Thinking Place, although the magazine changed the title to something I didn’t like. It was published in Feb 2008 in Take a Break’s Fiction Feast and I was paid £250! I was the most chuffed person ever. At the time I was travelling on the back of a motorbike with my now husband, then HTB. Anyway I want to add this story to my collection so I searched all my old e mail addresses and eventually found it. I read it as I’ve not read it for ages and I’d completely forgotten the ending, which I loved. I laughed out loud for surprising myself! Sometimes endings are hard – this is about my most favourite ever.

I bought myself a mentorship with Cornerstones for Christmas. My lovely mentor, Debz Hobbs-Wyatt is full of great advice and encouraging words. We’re working on my collection of short stories, half of which are a bit magical and half of which are mostly based in reality. I’m learning a lot already, two weeks into the mentorship. My goal at the end is to get it published as a stand alone collection – I know this will be difficult. If I can’t attract a publisher – even a  very very small one – I’ll self publish, but I’ll self publish knowing the collection is the best it can be and has had an expert eye passed over it.

Life continues to be extremely full, which is the way I write best. And nowadays, who isn’t busy? If I get over-busy though, I head to the sofa and read (though I can’t remember doing that since NY). At the mo all the reading I do is in bed before sleep.

This week I’ve heard I’ll be in the next Monkey Collection and for the next month I’ll be on tenterhooks with 10 submissions winging their way around cyberspace, hopefully getting somewhere.

And in other news, the P on my keyboard isn’t working very well. Makes writing on sites like Hour of Writes, where I only ever write ‘live’ on the site, very difficult! I usually manage 1700-the full 2000 words in the hour allotted. I never manage it typo-free, I often end up with something I wasn’t expecting. Sometimes it’s even quite good.

Shout out to all the fellow scribblers out there… keep those words coming…



Who keeps nicking all my time?!

Somebody must be, because I just can’t find enough. The things that go first are this blog and my housework. I’ve updated ‘read me here’ though, as there’s a bit of good news! Got to go. There’s no word to make the sound I want – the sound where a cartoon character whizzes off screen, so you’ll have to imagine it. ==========)))))))))))

A book launch, and other things…

Being asked to a book launch makes me feel like a writer. It makes me believe it just a little more. I’m not meant to say anything about it yet but it’s in Edinburgh, in a week and I am very excited, especially when I heard about one or two of the other authors who are going to be in the anthology. More soon.

I’m on the flash500 longlist which is great – even if it gets no further it’s a buzz simply getting that far.

And a new venture, The Monkey Collective is about to publish volume two of The Monkey Collection and I’m in it! It’s been an exciting time and, as I’ve had very little time to write recently, I’m extra specially pleased.

If I believe in a story and it gets rejected, I simply read it through again, perhaps tweak it, perhaps leave it as it is, and send it out to the big wide world again as soon as I can. This is the case with both the stories for flash500 and The Monkey Collective – I love both the stories and was always sad they’d never found their home.


Busyness and Publication

I’ve been busy. I’m always busy, but two weeks ago I got married and it was a large, three day wedding that needed a lot of work to make it happen. Fortunately I had lots of help but there has been a lot to do. It was wonderful – beginning on Friday night in our local and ending on Monday morning, when we put the stopper back in the single malt at 6.30 am, after a marathon putting the world to rights session with my brand new husband and my brother.

We got married on Sept 9th, 18 years to the day after our first date. Life went back to ‘normal’ on Monday, three days ago and I’ve spent every possible minute since then writing.

A couple of weeks ago I got the great news that I am in the Scottish Book Trust’s anthology again for this year. I’m not supposed to say anything just yet so I’ll keep it at that!

I’m currently polishing my novel for a competition that closes soon; I’m writing a piece for an anthology that I was in last year and would really like to be included in again; I’ve just entered Ad Hoc fiction’s wee weekly 150 word flash fiction comp and I’m thinking about an entry for Hour Of Writes. On Monday I went back to my writing group after a long absence and really enjoyed being back there. It’s great to be with like-minded people and spend two hours talking writing. I’m also collecting together all my published stories to put in a collection – I’m thinking about self-publishing them…

I’ve made a tiny office in what was our porch. It’s crammed with books and pictures but it’s a place mine all mine, a place my thoughts can go free. And when there’s a pause in my thoughts I watch birds on the honeysuckle just outside. This morning a robin, Mrs blackbird, eating fuschia seeds, two great tits picking green caterpillars off the cabbages, and a teeny wren, eyeing up the pretty spider that’s far too big for her on my window, spinning her web.

I’m back!

A shortlist, publication in an anthology and a wee mention on a website and I feel like I’ve got my scribbling mojo back. Good feeling.

And I’m on Amazon! New anthology: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1521735271/

Busy busy, not enough hours in the day but happy that even with a tiny amount of time I’m having some success. I really like the story that’s just been published too.

The Summer Holidays are here, my wedding is on the horizon, my holiday let business has taken off big time and I really am rushed off my feet. But I’m happy and content in life, and have all kinds of interesting and fun things to look forward to. Probably won’t get much new writing done in the coming weeks but I’ve plenty to polish and work with, and new ideas get jotted down for the future. My dream of having an anthology of my own work published is getting closer. I still hope it’s this year.

Start all over again…

Lots of rejections, non-progressions to shortlists, no replies; busy life; deaths; reorganisation of entire house; visitors; business picking up (I run a holiday let) later, and I’m back. I’ve tickled the keyboard from time to time, but nothing too great has come out. My ideas, however, have been non-stop and I’ve been itching to get back to the keyboard, especially as I now have an office. The total house reorganisation resulted in us finding a room – a whole room! – that I could turn into an office. Okay, ‘room’ is a slight exaggeration. It’s a porch. It was first, the dogs’ place, at night, when they were alive. Then it turned into a home for the tumble dryer I had to buy when I got fed up of Scottish winters seeing my house hanging with laundry like a crazy fabric shop, and a dumping ground. When we dug everything out, a room piped up, ‘I’m here! Use me!’ so in went a desk, a chair, a couple of cat baskets and some books. Voila, an office. It’ll be freezing in the winter, but in the summer it’s an office al fresco, opening as it does onto my back yard where I have boxes full of busily growing veg. In a small cottage full of four people’s stuff, this is my very own corner. It’s like being a kid getting her own room again – a whole room, mine, that I don’t have to share with anyone (except the cats), that I can decorate in my own no-wall-space left under the posters/kids’ drawings, postcards, post its, reminders, notice board way, that I can cram with plants and books and ideas. This room is chock full of my ideas. It’s a little bit of me, a place I can retreat to and write. Previously I camped in a corner of the lounge and had to bear my soul to everyone who came in and paused to look at what i was doing. This office/ porch – porffice – is an extension of my own imagination, a place full of ME, that I can come to and relax and be creative. How lucky am I. To get here required weeks of reorganising and finding piles of crap that needed sorting. But it was worth it.

I mentioned that my business has taken off – I spend a lot of time ironing sheets – first time in my life – as I want the place to get cracking reviews and people to love it, which happens every single time. The ironing is good though – I can daydream and think up stories, an stimulate my mind by listening to TED talks. Every one I listen to widens my mind and gives me ideas.

I’m back on the Scottish Book Trust site, with a follow up to last year’s piece that was published in the freebie book that was in a print run of 150,000. I’d love to be in this year’s book but not sure if a) my piece is good enough or b) if it is, whether I’m allowed to be in it two years running. I suspect not. But it’s here, on their site:


I’m feeling better. Life is good. Never ever been so busy – if I wrote a list of all the things I do day to day in the home at work on my computer in the village at school for our forthcoming wedding, then you’d never believe it could be done. I breathe in and breathe out and get on with it. Being busy stops me thinking about stuff I shouldn’t be thinking about and I get FAR more done. Every week I choose a couple of hours to sit on the sofa and just read for two hours and catch up with myself. Invariably I’ll fall asleep, but that’s fine. This year I’m trying to read a book a week. I’m two books behind schedule, which isn’t bad.

Thanks for reading.

Thanks for finding me, porffice.

Thanks for being patient, my precious ideas.

On Being Unable to Settle

Today is the first day I’ve had free to write, for AGES. There’s been a health scare, Christmas and family times, A Christmas Quiz and family New Year party – Hogmanay up here in Scotland –  both of which I helped organise. It’s been busy, fun, chaotic.

There’s a ton of housework and washing to be done, but I’m really good at ignoring that and sitting down to write. But instead, I find myself obsessively checking the NYC Midnight site – for today is the day the results of the Flash Fiction Challenge 2016 are announced… Getting from 2100 to 48 people is fantastic and I’m very happy. But the boost in visibilty and financial terms that winning would be…. well, it would be amazing. I can but dream. The money is most definitely secondary (except that at the moment we’re living beyond our means in many ways so it would most definitely be helpful) but the boost for my writing CV would be incredible. Wonderful! America is only just waking up. Nevertheless I’ve been checking my e mail and the NYC site since I woke up, when America still slumbered. From  now on though, I’m on tenterhooks….

Another reason I can’t write much is that my writing muscles are slack. The less I write, the more ideas I have, yet the harder they are to get down. The advice about writing every day is spot on – if you don’t, the writing muscles slacken. Mine are slack. They’ll be back; by the end of tomorrow I’ll have plenty of words on pages and I’ll have my voice back. I love Christmas and the holidays but writing gets shoved to the side, as Mummy takes over, just as it should be. The kids will always come first, but once they’re at school, writing comes first.

And if I’m nowhere near the top ten, that’s fine too. I’m chuffed to bits to have made it to the final round of 48 people. I imagine they are all, like me, waiting, waiting for that announcement.

Back to the housework. It takes my mind off it, but doesn’t deter the butterflies that are flapping away inside me…Fortunately, I can work with them present, even if they make me flit from job to job, here and there, settling on cleaning the sink one minute and then folding clothes and then thinking about dinner, tidying the endless piles of STUFF dumped all aroudn the house by me or my man or the kids… it’ll all get done, but in crazy little fits and starts.

And I bet I won’t be able to find a damn thing when I’ve tidied up, as my mind is all over the place and I’ll put things in funny places…

Ooh! Spark for a story. Bye bye housework, see you later…