As I intimated earlier, this blog is now moribund. I have changed the name from ‘blog’ to ‘news’ to reflect the sporadic nature of my updates.
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So, onto my news update…
Beneath The Water is finally here! Huzzah!
Beneath The Water is set in both Arisaig on the west coast of Scotland in the present day and amidst the medical community of Edinburgh in 1847.
Stella Jackson is broken-hearted after her fiancé leaves and she runs away to Scotland. Initially she stays with her best friend, but ends up working for the mysterious Jamie Munro in the beautiful, but remote, Munro House. It’s a Gothic love story set in a stunning part of the world with a historical strand which explores the background to some of the medical breakthroughs we take for granted today such as obstetric anaesthesia.
‘I really enjoyed this story about secrets in the past and present… A very compelling read.’ – Portobello Book Blog
Something a little bit exciting happened with In The Light of What We See, but I was strictly forbidden from talking about it… It’s been killing me!
The book has been chosen as a Kindle First title, which means it is out (Kindle format and in the UK/Australia only) right now. During March, members of the Kindle First book club can pick up a copy of the book for just 99p and read it ahead of official publication on 1st April.
I’m sorry I couldn’t tell you about this before – I hope you will forgive me.
I also hope you’ll forgive a little horn-blowing… In The Light of What We See hit number 3 on the Kindle chart yesterday. Whoop!
It’s also currently NUMBER ONE in the ‘Contemporary Fiction’ chart on the Australian Amazon. Thank you, Australia!
I’ve also received my first three reviews and they are all five star… Cue a massive sigh of relief!
If you’re in the UK, you can join Kindle First (for free) and grab your copy for 99p here. For Australian readers, the price is $1.99.
For those in the rest of the world, there are only four weeks to go until official publication; do pop back next week (or sign up here) to hear about a pre-launch giveaway.
Just a quick update to let you know that I’m still here – I’ve just been buried in my Scrivener document, trying to get a first draft finished. I’m working on a follow-up (standalone novel in the same genre) to In The Light of What We See and it has swallowed my brain!
If you’re interested in an audio update on my writing life (complete with a croaky, cold-choked voice), my latest podcast episode is up here. It also features an interview with creative coach, Mark McGuinness, and we discuss motivation, meditation and smashing through creative blocks.
I’m also getting very excited about my next book launch. In The Light of What We See will be published in two months time (meep!) and I’ve been researching ‘book swag’ for giveaways. This mainly involves losing hours to the delights of Etsy. It’s a hard life…
I have a tendency to get a little, um, obsessed by things and my ‘thing’ of the moment is tidying the house. This, in itself, is pretty magical. Or, if you prefer, crazy-unusual.
I love my home and my ‘stuff’ and like to keep a basically sanitary environment (clean kitchen and bathroom, hoover-up the hair balls once a week) but I’m not a great housekeeper or what you’d call anywhere near house proud.
However, over the last couple of years I’ve been feeling less comfortable and happy in my home and more ‘argh, I’m going to get buried under all this STUFF’. You know when you go to sort out a tower of clutter and just end up wandering from room to room, searching for places to put things, and then, defeated, you put the pile back down again? That.
I like to think of myself as a reasonably non-materialistic person. I don’t often shop as a recreational activity and hardly ever buy clothes for myself. However, there are four of us in a modestly-sized bungalow and I do have tiny book-buying addiction (although that counts as business-related, right?).
Add in my thrifty mindset, which has always been of the ‘make do and mend’ and ‘keep hold of it in case I need it/can upcycle it’ bent, then it’s not surprising that we ran out of places to store the clutter quite some time ago.
Even knowing all of this, I thought I was keeping on top of things fairly well. I have regular decluttering sessions and am good at passing on outgrown clothes.
I had just started one of my periodic half-hearted tidying sessions, when I heard about Marie Kondo’s The Life-changing Magic of Tidying: A Simple, Effective Way to Banish Clutter Forever via this blog. It cropped up on another of my regular reads and I took the hint from the universe and bought it.
Well. This is a short book, but it’s certainly changed my thoughts on how to tidy.
The author is sweetly bonkers but I love her positive approach. She advocates showing gratitude to your home and your possessions and letting go of those which no longer bring you joy. She recommends that you focus on the things you actively want to keep, which makes the whole exercise more enjoyable.
She also recommends that you tidy by category, rather than area of the home. You gather every single item that belongs in that category and lay it out on your bed or the floor. Kondo says that this approach will really help you to see your things afresh and help you to make decisions about them and, I have to admit, she’s right. Plus, you only have to make decisions about that category once, rather than several times as you encounter items around the house.
Anyway, I started with clothes on the weekend and managed to fill seven bin bags for the charity shop. Seven! And I haven’t even started on the children’s stuff, yet…
I’m dreading the ‘books’ category so I’m going to skip it for now and go onto paperwork. I see lots of shredding in my immediate future…
So, although it is early days, I’d definitely recommend this book/her approach. For starters, I wouldn’t have started decluttering in the ‘hidden’ spaces of my drawers/wardrobe (I would have begun with visible surfaces) but I swear the room actually feels lighter, which makes me feel motivated about tackling the rest.
How about you? Got any tidying tips? Advice for tackling my book collection?
Apologies for the radio silence, I’ve been busy with summer holiday stuff (lots of lovely visitors, days out and family time) and with – pause for drum roll – Finishing The Book! Hurrah!
It is, of course, not really finished. There will (possibly several) rewrites, but it’s an achievement nonetheless. I can’t quite believe I’ve typed The End on another book-shaped thing.
I’m letting it ‘rest’ while my agent reads it and have been getting stuck into other projects. Top of the list is a short story for a charity anthology. I decided to revisit Iris Harper (who you may remember from The Language of Spells) and I’m having a blast!
I’ve also been busy over on Novelicious, writing about theme and, ahem, sex scenes.
It’s the last day of the summer holidays here and there is a decidedly autumnal nip in the air. I’m up to my neck in school bags and uniforms and am feeling ambivalent about the new term. On one hand, I shall have more time in my writing shed but I know I shall miss my children and the long, lazy summer days. Sigh.
I hope you had/are having a truly excellent summer and, as always, thank you for reading.