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!).

 

Monday Motivation: Happy Author Is Happy

The sparkly owl I knitted also makes me happy. Essential companion when reading and stalwart book-cosy!

It’s Monday morning as I write this – not traditionally a time of deep joy – but I am fizzing with excitement. Okay, some of that may be the caffeine (I didn’t sleep well and possibly over-filled the tea bucket) but it’s mostly happiness.

I am just so damn lucky because I love my job. I went out for a meal with my lovely husband recently and do you know what I started blethering about as soon as my first beer hit? My job: My current WIP, my ideas for this website, how amazingly nice and supportive my readers are, how flipping lucky I am, and how I still can’t believe I get to do this…

So, thank you to you all for being here. I am so grateful to you for reading and talking about my books and for hanging out in my corner of the internet.

And I’m grateful to all readers, too. They (well, ‘we’, since I’m a reader, too) support an industry which promotes creativity and empathy and enables a (lucky) few to work in their PJs.

On that note, if you fancy winning a signed copy of The Language of Spells, there’s a GoodReads giveaway running at the moment (finishes Thursday). You can enter here.

 

 

He’s back!

lochgoil-in-winter

No, not Voldemort; my lovely son.

My eleven-year-old went on his school outdoor pursuits trip last week. In Scotland. In March. Yes, there was snow… And I missed him terribly. I mean, serious ‘didn’t I used to have two arms?’ missed him.

So, the weekend was spent in a contented haze, gazing at my boy (safe, alive, happy and well), and grabbing as many cuddles as I was allowed (thankfully, lots). He had a wonderful time and I’ve been reminded of how utterly blessed I am; total result.

In other news, I have been working lots. I have a secret project that is almost-ready to be revealed (subscribe to my newsletter if you want to be first to hear about it!) and I’m hoping to finish the zero draft* of a new book by the end of the month. It’s a bit of departure – probably classed as urban fantasy – and it may never make it out into the world, but I’m having too much fun to leave it half-written.

Hope you have a good week, and thanks for reading!

* Yes, most writers have ‘first drafts’. I’ve decided mine are so messy and disjointed they need to be downgraded.

 

 

 

Progress Update: Includes Kitten

Well, my mini writing challenge (15,000 new words, write first thing every morning) has been going really well, but I’m going to have to switch projects from the ‘new shiny’ to the official WIP.

I heard back from Agent Fabulous re. the latest rewrite and I have a little more work to do. It’s exciting, though, as I can really see how to improve this draft and the finish line is in sight!

However, progress might be slightly banjaxed (in the cutest possible way) by the arrival of a new member of our household: Zelda Kitzgerald.

Zelda
Is there anything sweeter than a tiny grey tabby kitten curled up on your lap? No. No, there is not.
Look! Zelda matches our sofa - we obviously had no choice but to adopt her...
Look! Zelda matches our sofa – we obviously had no choice but to adopt her…

Book News: The Antidote by Oliver Burkeman

Hello! I’m up to my eyebrows in rewrites and this post might not be coherent so I’ll keep it short.

If you want to feel a bit happier, but talk of goal-setting and thinking positively just makes you feel more neurotic, lethargic and anxiety-ridden, Oliver Burkeman’s new book might of interest.

It’s called The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking and you can read an extract (in the Guardian) here.

Venice: City of doors and windows

I can now reveal that last week’s coy allusion to happy busy-ness was in reference to my holiday… Yes, folks, I spent last week sipping wine in the sunshine and wandering the streets of Venice with my lovely family. *Smug mode engaged*

Contrary to popular opinion, Venice is not a city of water. No. It’s a city of impossibly picturesque windows and doors. At least, according to my camera’s memory card, at any rate… Look.



I particularly like this simple facade. Faded and crumbling, but still beautiful. And, yes, I know the pictures are skewif. I blame the subsidence. And the vino.