Win A Copy of Winter Tales

wintertalesLast year I was delighted to contribute to Winter Tales, a short story collection in aid of two great charities. My story is called ‘The Art of Giving’ and it features Iris Harper (a character from The Language of Spells) in her youth.

I’m giving away a paperback edition of the book to a member of my mailing list – the first of many subscriber-only perks!

To be in with a chance, just sign up for my newsletter here and I shall pick a name on Sunday.

[The giveaway is open internationally. It closes at midnight GMT on Saturday 31st January 2015. Winner shall be picked at random.]

Shiny New Things

2015 has got off to a cracking start with some Shiny New Things…

First off, BBBITWIO* has given me an iMac (his ‘old’ one!) and I’m a wee tiny bit excited. Meep!

Quite apart from the fact that my PC had become a bit temperamental (the screen flickered with irritating regularity and it took FOREVER to start up/shut down), I’m also now able to use the Mac-only collaging/brain-storming software of my dreams… Curio.

Plus, my lovely Mum and Dad gave me a colour printer to replace my old black-and-white, so I’ll be able to print out pictures for my paper-and-glue book collages (as well as other crafty projects) – yay!

In other news, I’ve** moved this website over from (free blogging platform) to (self-hosted). Hopefully, you won’t see any difference or have problems with the new site, but please shout if I’ve inadvertently broken anything.

Also, if you were kind enough to follow my blog using the RSS button, you may find that you have to re-subscribe to continue getting the posts by email. Sorry!

While I’m on the subject of subscribing to things… I now have a mailing list. If you would like to receive an (occasional) newsletter from me with book news and recommendations, exclusive content and giveaways, please consider signing up here.

I promise not to share your details or clutter up your inbox with too many emails.

Thank you!

* Best Big Brother In The World: It’s Official

** My use of ‘I’ in this paragraph is somewhat misleading… Please replace with the more accurate ‘my wonderful husband’.



Tracking Goals Using The Plannerisms Planner

I’m obsessed with goal-setting and stationery, so when I discovered a planner/notebook thingy which has been designed expressly for the purpose of tracking goals, I knocked it out with a club and dragged it to my cave immediately.*

It’s called the Plannerisms Planner and I went for the ‘aqua’ colour-way which is a lovely soft turquoise. The pages are decent quality and there are two ribbon markers so that you can keep your place in both the monthly and weekly planning sections. There are also pages for listing monthly, quarterly and annual goals, a pocket in the back and an elastic closure.

Here it is with a lovely spotty-fabric notebook my daughter gave me for Christmas:


I’m going to use this alongside my Filofax (which I will continue to use for appointments, daily to-do lists, and notes).

If you want an idea of how the weekly view looks, here are last week’s pages (at the beginning of the week, before I’d filled it out):



As you can see, you have a blank column at the start of the week where you can list recurring goals such as ‘writing’ or ‘yoga’ and then you can either put a tick in the appropriate box (or a value if you want to track number of words written or miles walked or whatever).

I’ve split the pages with some washi tape so that I have space above my recurring goals for other tasks and deadlines.

I’m using the monthly planner pages to continue with my sticker reward system for writing fiction.

I know that we’re not even half-way through January, but this is really helping me to stay motivated. Hurrah for stationery!

* Well, you know. Clicked ‘buy now’ and waited impatiently for the post.

You Cannot Do It All. (No, really: You can’t)

8314704680_1c8faa4603_zIt’s the first week back to work for many of us and, perhaps, you’re already regretting the shiny list of goals and resolutions you made in that hazy, optimistic pause between the third and fourth glass of Baileys. There are many reasons resolutions often (always?) fall by the wayside, but if (like me) you’re determined to make 2015 an amazing, productive year, then you need to accept something right now – you cannot do it all. If there is one thing I’ve learned in my almost-38 years, it’s this: You cannot chase perfection in every area of your life at the same time. Also this: If my house is ‘visitor-ready’ clean, I’m not writing enough. Look at your list of goals again. You don’t have to cull it if you don’t want to, but it might be worth seeing if you really care about each and every one of them. Then, pick one thing off the list and throw all available time and energy at it until it’s done. Also, for the sake of balance, kick something OFF your list. Something that you already do during a normal week: Ironing is a good one to chuck (sadly, I’ve never ironed so this one doesn’t work for me). Watching television or playing video games is another possibility. Or, you could cut down on your gardening/cleaning/tidying/scrapbooking/socialising. I have a terrible tendency to try to do All The Things and my goal-list for the year is ambitious to say the least. Still, I’ve taken my own advice and have (regretfully) resigned from Novelicious to make room for a new project I have planned. It’s terrifying to turn down paid work (particularly work which I enjoy so much!), but that terror is going to push me to overcome the nerves I have over my new project – as well as freeing time and head-space in order to make it possible. At least, that’s my theory! So, how about you? What will you give up in 2015 in order to achieve your goals? [Image Credit: John Levanan, Lamp, typewriter and specs…]