Summer Holidays, Reading, Writing and Catching Up

Hello, my lovelies!

As is often the way, I need to start this post with an apology for neglecting the blog. I find that writing here often slips to the bottom of my ‘to-do’ list and I need to have a good think about how I can remedy that…

In the meantime, for regular (but not too frequent – maybe every two months?) updates (plus exclusive free extras), please sign up for my readers group newsletter.

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Zelda can't believe the summer holidays are over, either.
Zelda can’t believe the summer holidays are over, either.

So, the summer was wonderful (lovely family holiday to France, lots of lazy starts and relaxed days, and some beautiful sunshine here in Scotland) but it went far too quickly.

I allowed myself lots of ‘reading for fun’ time, which was pure heaven. Some notable favourites include Paradise Lodge by Nina Stibbe, Peter May’s Lewis trilogy (Scottish crime fiction, book one is The Blackhouse), A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman and We Are All Made of Stars by Rowan Coleman (which made me sob on the plane back from France. Embarrassing, but worth it!).

I also recommend The Art of Deception; a fun fantasy novelette by my friend Stephanie Burgis. It’s stuffed with scintillating sword fights and delicious deception and is available from all good ebook retailers!

The children (who are both in their teens, now, so I should probably call them something else) went back to school last week. Yes, autumn comes quickly north of the border, and we are, once again, neck-deep in after-school activities, uniforms, and homework.

And, I’ve also been writing lots. I finished a supernatural thriller and sent it to my agent for her opinion (meep!) and am now diving into the edits for a book I wrote earlier in the year. It is set on the west coast of Scotland in the present day and 19th century Edinburgh, and I’m planning to finish it in the next couple of weeks. Then the terrifying submission process can begin.

In other news, the audiobook for The Language of Spells is on its way. I’ve been listening to the files as they are recorded and the narrator, Stevie Zimmerman, is doing an AMAZING job. I’m so excited!

Do check back next week for the cover reveal and publication-date, and thanks for visiting!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday Five: All The Books, All The Time

So far, 2015 has been really good to me reading-wise. I have enjoyed loads of great books (some of which I got for Christmas or my birthday – yay!) and, better yet, I’ve become totally immersed in them (not always possible since I made books/writing my job…)

So, here are a select few recommendations. If you’ve read anything brilliant lately, please let me know in the comments… I like to keep my to-be-read pile topped up.*

yesplease1. Yes, Please by Amy Poehler.

This is just as funny, warm and honest as I was hoping it would be. It also contains these (perfect) words on writing a book:

“Everyone lies about writing. They lie about how easy it is or how hard it was. They perpetuate a romantic idea that writing is some beautiful experience that takes place in an architectural room filled with leather novels and chai tea… The truth is, writing is this: hard and boring and occasionally great but usually not. Even I have lied about writing. I have told people that writing this book has been like brushing away dirt from a fossil. What a load of shit. It’s been like hacking away at a freezer with a screwdriver.”

 

 

 

the bees2. The Bees by Laline Paull was an excellent, unusual read. Writing a book from the point of view of a bee can’t have been an easy task, and I’m in awe of Paull’s imagination and linguistic dexterity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

wild3. Wild by Cheryl Strayed. Definitely read the book before you see the film (which, considering that it’s a worldwide bestseller, you probably already have done). Beautifully written, bare-your-soul honest, and uplifting. Warning: It made me sob, so maybe don’t read it on public transport.

 

 

 

 

 

 

rosegarden4. The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley. I had never heard of this author but when my friend Stephanie Burgis recommended it I downloaded a Kindle sample and became instantly hooked. It’s a ‘time slip’ novel in which a grieving woman steps into the past while staying at a beautiful house in Cornwall. Romance! Smugglers! It’s also got a cracking plot and lots of heart; happy sigh. It definitely won’t be the last Susanna Kearsley I read…

 

 

story5. And, still in progress… Story by Robert McKee. Although this seminal work on the craft of story-telling is aimed at screenwriters, it’s been recommended to me again and again by other novelists. I’m (finally) giving it a go and, so far, it’s very interesting. I bought the audiobook and am listening to it during my daily walk which is both good (multi-tasking) and bad (I can’t take notes).

 

 

 

*By ‘topped up’ I mean ‘ridiculously tall and impossibly large’.