Friday, 16 March 2018


Yesterday I achieved something I had previously considered impossible. I completed a 5K run with Cybi Striders running club after completing a Couch to 5K programme with the club.

Now that may not be a huge deal for some people but as someone who is very much deskbound by virtue the nature of my writing, I never considered running was something for me. Add in a profound lack of fitness and I considered the very idea of running for any length of time ludicrous. But every week I turned up and met an amazing group of people in the process.

At the end of every session, we had homework slips with details of the amount of running we needed to do in between our weekly sessions together with motivational quotes. The last one was:

One of the greatest feelings is accomplishing something that you once thought was impossible.

It proves that with determination and persistence, we can reach our goals and when we do, the sense of achievement is incredible.

So here’s to the impossible and may we keep trying to make it possible.

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Happy World Book Day!

World Book Day gives us a wonderful opportunity to remember the books we love as well as an opportunity to think about the next book we want to read. I read books for the way they make me feel. Emotions are why I write after all. So here is my roundup of books which have stayed with me even though it might have been years since I’ve read them.

An Unexpected Countess by Laurie Benson gave me a hero, Hart, to fall in love with.

The Duke Secret Wife by Kate Walker was the first Mills and Boon book I ever read and the image of the heroine, Isabelle, at the opening of the book is still with me.

The Humans by Matt Haig made me laugh and cry and feel uplifted.

To kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I think this one speaks for itself.

Letters to the Lost by Iona Grey is an epic love story which weaves World War II with the present day.

Do you have any books that have stayed with you?

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Happy New Year!

Are you making any New Year's resolutions? While I've had publishing success with my short stories over the years, that call for my novel is still proving elusive, so I only have two resolutions this year - to read more and to write more, which I think is good for a writer! While that blank page can be full of possibilities, it can be terrifying at the same time. So I thought I'd share two messages for 2018 with you.

Wishing you all success, health and happiness for 2018.

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

What does Christmas mean to you?

Religious considerations aside, my favourite part of Christmas is that pause between Christmas and New Year. For me, it’s time to take my foot off the pedal and enjoy some time without the usual pressures that everyday life seems to bring. Cold frosty walks, cosy evenings in with the family and a book and some time to write. The only thing better than pursuing my dreams of writing is knowing that I have been blessed with a family who understand and support my writing journey.

So warmest wishes from me to you and I hope that this festive period gives you a chance to do whatever makes you happy.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Writing, fitness and stationery

Writing, in my experience, is much like fitness. If it’s not used, the risk is that inspiration dries up and words feel clunky but worst of all, confidence goes.
Previously, I’ve tried to write something every day. It helps keep me in the story even if it’s only 100 words, but after yet another rejection, my confidence dropped to an all-time low and the crows of doubt began circling far too close for comfort.
I was in trouble. Like running through stitch, I told myself to press on, sitting at my laptop believing inspiration would come.
It didn’t. I was trying too hard and forcing it.
I gave myself time off. I gave myself permission to write rubbish which is harder than it sounds. My inner editor was chomping at the bit to have something to do. Time off, too, wasn’t easy. I even flirted with quitting. Turns out I couldn’t. The characters in my head wouldn’t shut up and their story was desperate to come out.

I have a particular predilection for stationery and so reverted to pen and paper. Something clicked. There’s nothing quite so organic as feeling the words appear. I began writing anywhere and the drip, drip feed to my story breathed new life into my writing and I’m getting back into my stride. Finally I can give voice to the characters in my head. The fact I'm indulging my stationery habit is a pleasant offshoot!

I love this quote from Anne Lamott because with every book I've written, the process has been different. So why should this one buck the trend?

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

When the Joy Goes

Writing without recognition or at least some kind of validation is hard. It’s difficult to stay motivated, to keep spending those hours in front of the laptop and to keep pouring out those emotions.

Having received conflicting feedback from several sources to the same draft novel, the lure to walk away has been strong. I'm frequently guilty of overthinking my stories and doubting my writing ability. 

Questions arise, most often when I’m lying in bed about to drop off to sleep. How long should I keep going? How long should I keep trying? Should I keep going?

Several times I’ve considered simply packing up and concentrating on my family and the farm. Then the summer holidays arrived and this summer was particularly poignant as it marked the end of my daughter’s primary education.

So I did the unthinkable and gave myself permission to take some time off.

Not writing for a few days usually makes me a bit twitchy and to consciously decide to put the pen down and not turn on the laptop for several weeks was scary. Would I be able to write again? Would I want to? And if I did, would I have lost the ability I’d cultivated? A bit like taking time off from exercise, I suppose, and losing fitness.

But then school rolls around and new term begins and as turns out, a rest can be good. Back to school, back to work.

The crows of doubt may currently be perched on top of my laptop cawing at the number of times I’m using the delete button, but I’m still here and I’m still writing. I’m still being courageous. 

Does the joy of writing ever desert you and if so, what do you find helps?

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

The Romantic Novelists' Association Conference 2017

The RNA Conference is one of the highlights of my writing year. It’s the chance to catch up with writing friends, go to lectures and learn from multi-published authors and go to those all-important one-to-one’s. This year, the conference took place in the beautiful Harper Adams University.

As always, delegates are offered a wide choice of lectures and talks and although I’d have loved to have gone to them all, here’s a quick roundup of a few of the ones I did go to.

RITA winner and USA today bestselling author Sarah Morgan and Nicola Cornick gave a lecture on social media and how it can work for writers.

Alison May and Bella Osborne gave a very entertaining talk on the pros and cons of differing writing styles. It turns out that I am very much in Team Bella, being a plotter rather than a pantser.

Now you may have gathered from previous posts that IT is not my strong point so it was with a certain degree of uncertainty that I went to Laura James’s talk on IT in writing. I needn’t have worried as Laura took us through step-by-step the benefits of a number of apps and programs but in particular Facebook. My first-ever attempt at a Facebook live video can be seen on my Facebook Page with the lovely Janice Preston.

My Eureka moment however came from Fiona Harper’s talk on building characters where she very generously shared her wealth of knowledge.

But as always it was the chance to catch up with writing friends and meet online friends in person that added sparkle to the whole conference. 
From left to right at the gala dinner:
Louise FullerRachael Thomas and Gina Hollands

Me with writing friend Melissa Morgan

My writing mentor and guru Kate Walker and friends Marie and Sallyann
Jenni Fletcher was as lovely in real life as she is on line and I was so pleased I got to meet her in person.
Virginia Heath was charming and warmhearted with wise words of encouragement.

Generous Lara Temple who is one of the historical authors in the The Unlaced Bookclub on Facebook.


And yet there was still time for a quick explore.You can take the girl out of farming but you can’t take the farming out of the girl!