Friday Catch-up: Exams, writing and getting crafty

Hello, my lovelies!

I thought it was high-time I gave you all a personal update…

I’ve been trying to support my eldest with her first set of ‘big’ exams. In Scotland, these are called National 5s and they are roughly equivalent to GCSEs.

In truth, there hasn’t been much to do in practical terms (my daughter is one of the most hard-working and organised people I have ever met), but the subject has loomed large over the household and, being a soggy over-emotional kind of parent, I empathise with her deeply and will be very happy when they are over!

LandandSea
Land And Sea by Iona Mackenzie Laycock

I’ve also been trying to get a better work-life balance (ha!) and took a day off last week for a rare day out with my lovely mum.

We both love craft and have dabbled in a variety of different projects and materials over the years. We went to the Knitting and Stitching show in Edinburgh and wandered around in a happy daze, discovering interesting new things and stroking the beautiful yarn, threads and materials on offer.

We also took a workshop with textile artist Iona Mackenzie Laycock, which was brilliant. Iona showed us a technique involving a hot iron and pearlescent acrylic ink to make a ‘layered landscape’ picture. Iona was really nice and it was lots of fun to be in a real-life class (I do most of my learning online these days).

It also reminded me how important it is for me to do other creative things which are just for fun.

Speaking of fun, I finally sent the first draft of the new book to my agent, and have spent the last week happily writing on an old project. It’s a slightly different style and genre to my other stuff and feels like a wee holiday!

I also finished episode #15 of The Worried Writer. If you haven’t listened yet, all the shownotes and episodes can be found at worriedwriter.com or you can subscribe via iTunes or Stitcher.

elizabethbuchanI’ve been reading lots, too, and highly recommend Elizabeth Buchan’s I Can’t Begin to Tell You.

It’s set during WWII in Denmark and London and focuses on the SOE/Danish Resistance. I finished it at the beginning of the week and I can’t stop thinking about it.

I’m also looking forward to reading Catherine Ryan Howard’s, Distress Signals, which came out yesterday.

I have been following Catherine’s blog for ages and was thrilled to speak to her last year for The Worried Writer.

 

 

So, how about you? Read any good books, lately? Seen any wonderful films? 

 

 

 

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!]

Moth Tales

YA author Karen Mahoney has teamed up with artist Candace Ellis to create a web comic called Moth Tales. The first episode went up yesterday and it looks beautiful.

The comic is a companion to Karen’s forthcoming book Falling To Ash and will work as a prequel/side-story thing. It’s a fantastic idea and an absolute gift to readers.

Yay for creative and talented people doing cool things!

The cloud tripped over the mountain


If you were to score my weekend on the number of words written, it would do very badly indeed. However, if you scored it on reading and art enjoyed, wine and ice cream consumed, and general good times, then it would do infinitely better.

In a weekend stuffed with pleasures both big and small, here’s my highlight: While looking at the Turner watercolours at the National Gallery in Edinburgh, I was chatting to my seven-year-old son, trying to get him to engage with the pictures. I was reading bits of information from the cards and saying startlingly dull things like ‘look, a square in Venice on a stormy day’ and ‘gosh, look at those mountain peaks’. He bore my involvement with good grace and obliged me with comments like ‘smudgy but nice’ and ‘yes, it’s a boat’. Counting the visit as a complete success, I turned to round up my husband and daughter and, when I turned back, he was staring at a painting with a swirling wave of cloud tumbling down from the sky. He said: “It’s like the cloud tripped over the mountain.” And, you know what? It was.