Happy December!

Sadly, not my wreath. Or my door.
Sadly, not my wreath. Or my door.

Hello, my lovelies!

As the more astute will have already noticed – it’s December. I know I say this every year, but I cannot believe how quickly the last twelve months have flown. It’s been a mix of a year (with plenty of bad stuff in the wider world, for sure), but there have been lots of positives, too, and I certainly have a lot to be thankful for. In fact, I am living a charmed life (something I hate saying as I imagine a giant axe falling to punish me for my happiness/good fortune/smugness) but it’s the truth; I am an exceedingly lucky woman and I am very, very grateful.

I was a wee bit stressed last month with a combination of parental responsibility and book deadline, but I’ve spent the last couple of weeks enjoying the absence of that stress and getting things sorted for Christmas. This has involved Leaving The House, which is most exciting. I’ve been to Edinburgh with my lovely husband for some art-appreciation, Christmas shopping, some beautiful walks and a fancy writerly lunch with the fabulous Clodagh Murphy.

captainamericakiltI also enjoyed a family trip to the cinema to see Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them (so much fun!) with a bonus sighting of this Captain America kilt outfit.

Oh, how I love Scotland!

I’ve been working, too, of course, but now I’m going to ramp up and get as much done as possible before the holiday.

I’m taking a small break from fiction to write a book on writing. It’s a combination of everything I’ve learned over the last few years, with tips and advice from top authors I have interviewed on The Worried Writer podcast. Part of me worries ‘who cares what I think?’ but I do feel that I might be able to help other people. Basically, I want other writers who are anxious or filled with self-doubt to think ‘if she can do it, then I can, too!’.

In reading news, I loved Elizabeth Buchan’s The New Mrs Clifton and I’m currently enjoying The Quarry by Iain Banks (it came out a couple of years ago but, as the author passed away and I knew it was the last book from him, I have been saving it).

 

 

 

 

Thank you for reading – and for your support and encouragement this year. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas/holiday and that you will join me again in 2017!

Don’t forget, you can keep in touch by signing up for my free readers club (plus, exclusive content and giveaways!).

 

Rewriting and Recovering

womanwriting

Hello, my lovelies.

After boasting that I had finished my latest book, rewrites appeared from my editor, and I had to re-open the document and get back to work. I was expecting edits, of course, but they coincided with a busy time personally (I help out with my the local youth theatre group and it’s been the lead-up to show week) and a teensy fainting episode which resulted in me bashing my head.

In case you missed it, I did a short ‘update’ episode of my podcast, The Worried Writer, at the beginning of the month: The Worried Writer #21: Deadlines and Mild Concussion

I have been off the internet and social media in an effort to focus on my book and get the rewrites done by the deadline and it’s been very helpful. Much as I love the internet (and I do, truly, love it!) it was good to take a step back and reduce the number of external voices in my head. Especially with the turbulent (and terrifying) political times of the last couple of weeks.

I’ve also done lots of reading, which is always a good thing.

I will have to put together a ‘recommendations’ post soon, but for now I’m currently enjoying The Outrun by Amy Liptrot.

Also, a quick reminder that The Language of Spells is now available in audio format. If you don’t already have an Audible account, you can sign for up for a one-month free trial and get it completely gratis! (Or any other audiobook you fancy, of course).

The Language of Spells: Audible UK                      Audible US

Personally, I love audiobooks and if you have any recommendations, I’d love to hear them!

And, as always, thank you for visiting.

Starting A New Book: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

autumn

Hello, my lovelies!

I had such grand plans for October.

I was going to finish the second draft of my supernatural/fantasy book and send it to my agent. I was going to start the first draft of a new book. I was going to update this blog regularly, take a week off with my family, sort out some DIY tasks, and, in all likelihood, solve the global warming crisis at the same time. In other words, I succumbed to the ‘do all the things’ trap. My perfectionist side likes to do this every so often – it piles on the pressure and watches the inevitable meltdown with a giant carton of popcorn. Sigh.

This was probably a result of finishing the old book completely and finally (copy edits done!) and not having started the new one. After a few weeks of panic (I’ll never have another idea! I’ll never finish another book! The others were flukes!) I settled back to work. And nothing happened. Even if I managed to write, it came out stilted and weird.

First I bullied myself (‘you must write 2000 words today or else’) and my brain froze and refused to work at all. Then I took a week off to read and watch films and walk and think and, by the end, my creative mind was beginning to wake up and send me little snippets.

Today, I finally seem to be in the zone. I have a couple of characters I adore and a ‘feeling’ which, for me, is the most important part. The relief is enormous!

In other news, it appears to be the end of October. If you’re doing NaNoWriMo this year, I wish you lots of luck (and words – lots and lots of words!). I won’t be taking part officially, but I will be trying to write as much as possible on my first draft. I’ll aim for 30,000 and will check in here throughout the month. Do feel free to set any goals in the comments, so that we support each other during November!

theworriedwriter_300Finally, if you haven’t tried my free podcast, yet; do consider checking out the latest interview with Joanna Penn (from The Creative Penn). If you need inspiration to get more productive or to follow your writing dreams, Joanna’s energy and enthusiasm may be just what you need.

Episode #08: The Worried Writer: Joanna Penn ‘I Measure My Life by What I Create’ 

Alternatively, if you’re struggling with getting words down at all and are in a writing slump, this post may help: The Only Way To Defeat A Bad Writing Day

I Have A Book Title! Meep!

Lazy morning, Zelda-style
Zelda is successfully hiding her excitement at my new title…

Hello my lovelies! Hope you are all well, and I apologise in advance for the number of exclamation marks in the following post.

I’m very excited to announce that my new novel has a title* (courtesy of my wonderful editor at Lake Union) and a release date. Yes, it’s up for pre-order Right Now. No cover art, yet, but I have been told it’s being designed AS I TYPE THIS. (Sorry, forgot to warn you about the all-capitals-shouting, too. SORRY – TOO EXCITED.)

So, without further ado, my next book is called:

In The Light of What We See

And it will be published on 8th March 2016. Meep!

In other news, I’ve put together a little behind-the-scenes freebie for those of you who enjoyed reading about the Harper family in The Language of Spells, The Secrets of Ghosts and The Garden of Magic (or for people who just like free recipes).

Head here to grab your copy.

It features a lovely photograph of Iris’s journal, created by my amazing in-house production team (AKA My Mum and Dad – thank you!).

Also, if you’re interested in writing, but need some help in getting started, check out my latest article on The Worried Writer: How To Build a Writing Habit The Easy Way

 

*Listeners of my podcast, The Worried Writer, may be confused. You might be thinking ‘but Sarah told us the title in the last episode’. Apologies! It changed. I hope you like the new one!

 

 

Quick Update and Creative Thinking for Beginners

Hello, my lovelies. How are you all?

Thought I would swing by and say ‘hello’ and let you know that I’m still alive and typing…

Work and life has run away with me slightly recently but I hope to get into a more regular blogging routine soon. Please let me know if there is anything you’d like to see more (or less!) of on this site and feel free to send me questions. I love questions!

I did put up an article on The Worried Writer today, though. If you’re at all interested in developing your creative process, do check it out.

Also, I’ll leave you with the beautiful fairytale-inspired artwork of Jackie Morris in this Guardian article. Enjoy!

[The image is from a set of Jackie Morris notecards. Art for the cash-strapped!]

Podcasting, Writing and the Joy of Rereading

ID-100305236It’s been a lovely sunny Easter holiday. We’ve had the first picnic of the year and even been to the beach a couple of times (which means, of course, the first outdoor fish and chips of the season – yum).

In between the fun, I’ve been busy editing and uploading my new podcast. The first episode is now live and you can subscribe in iTunes or listen via The Worried Writer site.

The first episode features an interview with YA author (and my good friend) Keris Stainton. I really hope you like it!

Writing-wise, I’ve been trying to work on a new project that just doesn’t feel right. I don’t usually hit my first, serious ‘I can’t do it’ wall until around 20,000 words, but I am seriously flailing at just 4000. I need to decide whether it’s the wrong project or the wrong idea or whether I’m just burnt out and need a little break.

Speaking of feeling a bit odd, after finishing the excellent The Girl With All the Gifts by M. R. Carey, I couldn’t settle on a new book to read.

So, I decided to visit some old friends…

I used to reread a lot and it’s something I’m trying to find time to do again. It’s nice, every once in a while, to step off the ‘shiny new book’ conveyor belt (so many new books, never enough time!) and to slip between the worn covers of an old favourite.

Sometimes it’s like coming home, with everything just as I left it – and is just as comforting as that sounds. Sometimes, though, it’s deliciously unsettling; familiar stories made strange with the fresh perspective of another decade (or two) of life.

How about you? Do you like to reread books or is once enough?

[Image credit: pannawat at FreeDigitalPhotos]