Saturday, 24 December 2016

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

This time of year brings out so many different emotions and unfortunately one of them is usually stress as we try to create the perfect Christmas. So one of my favourite times of the year is that pause between Christmas and New Year. The mania of Christmas has passed and New Year hasn’t happened yet. I can put off the thought of making any resolutions and the rush of getting back into my stride which inevitably involves the school run and lunchboxes hasn’t yet landed in my lap.

This pause is just the time for long walks along deserted beaches and a chance to review and rethink and inevitably that means my writing. Am I writing what I want to? Am I enjoying what I’m writing? A year ago, the questions would have been very different with the focus of a publishing contract with Mills and Boon very much at the forefront of my mind and certainly the bar by which I measured my success. I can’t help but believe that writing in that way was restricting. Writing should be its own reward as an idea is created and perfected to my own standards.

So I’m going to enjoy this pause and let the winter wind blow away my preconceived ideas of what success means to me in my writing. The idea of just writing and letting my subconscious take me where it wants to go in the story, telling myself that my writing is just for me (unless I choose otherwise), is so appealing and freeing that I can feel the joy and enthusiasm returning just as warmth returns to cold fingers.

Sometimes life makes us pause and the pause can be good for us.

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

A New Book

I think that there are several things that happen when a writer starts a new book or a completely fresh project, some of them good, some bad and then there are some that come along just at the right moment. So today's inspiration struck me as totally apt as I start writing my new book.

We're bombarded by information every day but there's something about being told to 'just write' that's freeing. The idea of writing a book, all 55,000 words in my case, is daunting. There's so much to consider from the conflict to plot to a convincing emotional journey and I've been guilty in the past of trying too hard and not letting the characters tell the story they want rather than what I want.

So I'm going to try and remind myself that - first drafts don't have to be perfect and in almost every case they're not. They just have to be written. I can edit it better later.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Variety is the spice of ... writing

We all know that feeling, that gut instinct that things aren’t going as they should. Oh, we’re putting the effort in, so that’s not the issue, but the cause of that niggle won’t go away and it’s stopping the words from flowing.

If you don’t know what I’m on about, I’m very envious, but if you do, take heart. I’m convinced there’s a Eureka moment just around the corner and it will appear at the moment I least expect it.

I’ve been writing on a regular basis now for five years and I’m lucky enough to have a designated writing space, albeit in the family study surrounded by everybody else’s books and stationery as well as my own. The silence combined with the knowledge that this is where I write is so much of a comfort that it has become my own personal writing cave. I still dream of the private log cabin in varying locations, some days on the beach, some days in a forest, but this space is mine, at least until the family come home.

And until recently, it’s been working beautifully.

Then things changed.

A knock to my writing confidence and the crows of doubt began to circle without mercy pecking away and finding fault. Suddenly my writing cave wasn’t the haven it had been, my work in progress ground to a halt and each time I sat down to write, I felt like I was dragging the reluctant words out. It certainly wasn’t flowing and desperate measures were called for. The trouble was this meant change. My writing self shuddered.

I changed the time when I wrote as well as the place and, the biggest shock of all to me, consciously abandoned my beloved silence.

It’s still early days but the music seems to have silenced the crows of doubt and my subconscious appears to still be in shock by the change of routine in place that the words are beginning to flow again. After all, I can hardly wait indefinitely for inspiration to strike!

It seems a writer’s life is just like any other: the only thing we can count on is change but variety can hold the key.

Monday, 5 September 2016

Back to School

So, this morning was hectic. After a month and a half of mostly relaxed mornings, we were up and out of the door by 7.50am! Now the house is strangely quiet. I'm already wondering how my daughter's day is going, what homework she'll have and what books she'll be reading for English.

I was the kid who read with the torch under the blankets (no duvet back then!) and last night I found myself in the same situation - telling my daughter to put the book down, turn the light off and go to sleep - it was a school night after all. And her response? 'Only if you read it after I've finished it.'

And the book? Small Steps by Louis Sacher. Now I read Holes and recommended it to her so it seems fitting  that she should read Small Steps and recommend it to me. For me to have passed on my love of reading to my daughter makes me a very happy writer.

Writers read a lot of books and for all sorts of reasons. To refill that creative well, to escape from reality for a while, to learn from writers I admire, for relaxation and for the sheer joy of it. So I find I have my own homework! And it will be a joy.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Romantic Novelists' Association Conference 2016

I was pleased to be able to join hundreds of people from the writing industry when we all gathered together for a conference organised by the RNA at Lancaster University last weekend. 

This was my third conference and it was a hectic, fun and exhausting weekend of lectures, workshops and appointments with editors, agents and publishers, not to mention the chance to catch up with writing friends.

Based in the George Fox building, 
we were spoiled for choice in the diversity of subjects being discussed.

There were Charlotte Mursell and Clio Cornish from HQ, a division of Harper Collins talking about how to reach the top in commercial fiction.

Alex Brown and Kate Bradley gave us ideas and an insight into Alex's own journey on writing a commercial novel.

And Kate Walker gave a fantastic lecture on how to pack an emotional punch - an essential, if difficult, task in writing romantic fiction.

But is wasn't all work. There was the gala dinner on Saturday night and here I am all dressed up with good writing friend Melissa Morgan

All in all, a fantastic way to spend the weekend.

Monday, 6 June 2016

Back to School

Half term is a great break for parents and children alike most of the time. For me, there’s no lunch box to pack, no rush to get to school by 8.30am and no uniform to iron to name but a few. It also means as a writer that I don’t get to spend the time I’d like to at the keyboard which tends to make me twitchy! Bearing in mind that I’m happiest writing every day, even if it’s only fifty words as it helps keep me in the story, I find it so much harder to take a break from writing as it takes a while to get back into it and to remember where I was up to.

But being forced to stand back also makes me take stock and be sociable again. It’s the chance to meet up with friends and family and to press pause on life albeit temporarily and reacquaint myself with a social life. There is fun to be had with real people and not just the fictional ones in my head! So I have done more than poke my head out of my writing cave, I’ve gone out and had a look around. 

I’ve eaten out at Hickory's in Rhos on Sea,


          visited Penrhyn Castle

been to a food slam in Menai Bridge,


and even succumbed to temptation and bought a pair of boots from Schuh in Chester. (Fabulous shop, just far too many wonderful shoes to choose from!)

Now however with half term over, I need to knuckle down and get back to work as half term also brought with it the delivery of my RNA conference pack, that wonderful bundle of paper from the RNA detailing all that’ll be going on at the conference in July. I love pouring over it, selecting those talks and lectures that I want to attend but there are the all-important appointments with editors. And that means deadlines.

So now the holiday is over and it’s back to work and back to my writing cave. I shall be holed up for the next few weeks preparing, polishing and honing those chapters I’m taking to the conference this year. 

Wednesday, 25 May 2016


Time. We can all feel it passing but can't do a thing to stop it, halt it or turn it back. Should we make the most of it? Yes. Do we? Personally, no. There's always something to do first before I can afford to make the most of it.

I think there are certain moments in life that make us stop and pause. We've all heard the sayings 'live in the present' and 'it's called the present because it's a gift'. Then there's the whole concept of mindfulness. But unless it strikes a personal chord, it's unlikely to generate more than a passing nod of agreement.

I was catching up on friends' Facebook posts as they travel around Europe in a camper van with their two children. It's the stuff of dreams for many and they're keeping a record via their website, appropriately named Tin Can Family

I was struck dumb by Lottie's blog post What a canoe trip taught me about life  and her thought provoking and touching words. It's not everyday that someone tells you something that makes you sit up and notice what you've got, but when they do, it's worth paying attention. I don't want to think about how many times I've thought that once I reached a certain milestone, I'd be happy, successful or able to relax. 

So it was with a glad smile and a light step that I took a break from writing to meet up with my good friend, Melissa Morgan. There was lunch, yes, cake too, and time to sit in the sun for a good long chat. Time with friends is precious and as Jane Austen put it so well in her book, Persuasion:

… ‘that is not good company … that is the best.’

Thursday, 28 April 2016


Well, what is she up to now? you might wonder. My dabble with technology continues albeit at a snail's pace and this time with Facebook. I am rather pleased to report that I now have an proper Facebook web address. So, here it is:
 and it would be lovely if you got chance to stop by and see what I'm up to. Click on this link to go straight there.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

A New Book

I love that excitement when I start a new book - the rush of possibilities, the chance to give names and back-stories to those voices in my head (does that sound weird?!) and the moment when I can create something new. But there's always the flip side to anything. The self-doubt that I'll be able to do it again, trying to remember how I managed to write a whole book last time and always wondering if the conflict between my characters will carry through to the end of the book.

So last week, I headed to beautiful Betws y Coed to meet up with writing pal Melissa Morgan to talk about heroes, character motivation and writing progress. There's nothing like a change of scene to spark a few ideas and the wild waters and quiet woodlands provided the perfect backdrop. 

And this week? I'm following the advice given to me by author and tutor Kate Walker: BOCHOK. Bum On Chair, Hands On Keyboard!

Friday, 1 April 2016

Learning from the Past

Before I start, I should warn you that there's no grand social faux pas that I've learned from. Sorry to disappoint! It's rather more literal.

Last week, I went with my family for a short city break to Cardiff. While we were there, we visited St Fagan's National History Museum which details a history of Welsh life. It's a 'living museum' and therefore, in my view, far more interesting than looking at something in a glass case.

I was enthralled. This visit has not, I hasten to add, spurred a change in direction for my writing. I am not going to attempt to pen a historical novel with my woefully inadequate knowledge of history but will try and encapsulate what I learned.

The buildings that have been taken down from across Wales and resurrected at St Fagan's are presented as close as possible to how people would have lived and it was those little details that hit home and brought the places to life. The smell of the peat fire in the 1700's farmer's cottage. The linen at the window that diffused the light rather than making the room darker. And the high threshold that would have kept the thresh inside the house.

The devil's in the detail, so they say, and it's the little things that count, so I am going to try to include the little details that will really bring my writing to life.

And as an attraction, if you're in the area, St Fagan's is a great way to spend your time. From a grand house built on the site of an old castle to a farm outbuilding that dates from the 1100's and all surrounded by farmland, it was a peaceful, beautiful and enlightening.

Sunday, 6 March 2016

In it for the long haul

Today sees the Anglesey Half Marathon get under way and as the runners begin their race, I can’t help but feel some sort of affinity. Alright, I’ll be honest, I haven’t pushed through stitch, felt the burn and build-up of lactic acid or suffered blisters for a while, but I have put in the hours in front of my computer. And yet last month, I hit the wall and lost my way. 

It’s a situation that’s all too common and is often the point where many writers give up. I was lucky. I found my way again through the support of my family and friends and the guidance of other writers. A chance to talk things through with a fellow writer shouldn't be underestimated. If anyone will understand, they will. 

So I was glad as always to spend some time with good friend and fellow writer Melissa Morgan when we met up in beautiful Criccieth last Thursday. The long distance runner may have been lonely but there's no reason for the writer to be as well!

Of course, food was involved and this time, we chose Dylan's Restaurant set in a fabulous art deco building with super views over the sea.

The beautiful Welsh coastline.

As someone once said, never give up on something you can't go a day without thinking about. So if you'll excuse me, I have writing to do!

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

The Beauty of the ARC

If the joy of reading allows us to live through the characters we read about and to experience what they do, would it be a stretch to suggest that writers are in the business of selling emotions? And as both a romance writer and romance reader, I am a bit of an emotion junkie.

So it was my pleasure to take the chance to preview an e-ARC of In the Boss's Castle by the very talented Jessica Gilmore which is due out at the beginning of May 2016 with Mills and Boon. Authors sometimes offer readers the chance to have sight of an ARC or Advance Reading Copy before the book has had the chance to go to the publisher for the final print in exchange for a honest review. But Jessica asked for nothing in return other than to read it.

And I loved it! Chock full of emotion, it was devoured!

Here is my review which I posted on Goodreads:-

Full of plans, Maddison grabs the chance of a job swop in London, leaving her life in New York behind in the hope that absence will make her ex-boyfriend’s heart grow fonder. But life has the habit of shifting and altering and soon Maddison isn’t as sure that what she thought she wanted is actually what she wants. Add in gorgeous Kit and I had the joy of watching two people discover who they really are and work out that they are meant to be together if only they will give themselves a chance.

The PA/Boss trope has been done a hundred times but this one’s different as Maddison’s job swop lends a temporary nature to their relationship. Add in the seamless flow of this author’s perceptive writing that is once again so full of emotion and I was happily ensconced in a book that not only took me to the beautiful heights of Scotland and the warmth of Cape Cod but also made me relive that falling in love feeling: the highs, the lows, the doubts, the excitement of meeting someone new.

A beautiful book and highly recommended.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Writers need other writers

Writing – it’s a solitary job and while writers work alone for the most part, we’re not antisocial really. In fact, if anything, we’re fascinated by people and relationships and have a bevy of supporters from family and friends to those who get roped into reading early drafts. But as with any job, writing has its idiosyncrasies – when the characters won’t behave, when they keep secrets from the writer, when it just isn't flowing – and which another writer understands all too well.

So I was looking forward to catching up with my good writing pal
Melissa Morgan in beautiful Betws y Coed. 

Of course food and cake were involved as we talked shop and bounced ideas off each other. So I have come to the not-so-very startling conclusion that … drum-roll please … writers need other writers. And if we can visit somewhere stunning to catch up, it’s all good.

All smiles after cake!

Friday, 15 January 2016

One Giant Leap ...

On the day of Tim Peake’s space-walk, I have taken my own giant leap and, not exactly embraced technology, more like given it a lukewarm handshake.

I have finally taken the plunge and joined the world of Twitter.

So I find I'm facing another learning curve, deciphering the world of hashtags and learning a whole new language. I am officially a tweeter and a tweep on Twitter!

Why not stop by and see me on Twitter? @SarahSnowdon10

Saturday, 2 January 2016

One Year On ...

Happy New Year!

I can hardly believe that a year has passed since my first post.

Are you making any resolutions? I gave up making resolutions long ago but occasionally I get the urge to think about one every now and again and there’s one that keeps coming up.

Write more.

Not necessarily more words, although that always helps – it’s easier to edit a page full of words than a blank page – but to lose that inhibition that I think holds writers back at various times during their writing career. I've heard some writers comment that a glass of wine helps get the creative flow going but I'm not sure my finger-keyboard coordination will stand up to alcoholic influence! So I'll go with the wise words of William W Purkey:-

"You've gotta dance like there's nobody watching,
Love like you'll never be hurt,
Sing like there's nobody listening,
And live like it's heaven on earth."

So here's wishing you all a very happy, healthy, successful 2016. XX