Books, Books, Books!

Having finished the latest (maybe final?!) rewrite on the WIP, I’m now free to catch up on my reading. Yay!

Here are the books I’ve been gazing at longingly for the last few weeks…

N.B. This list doesn’t include the books I’ve put on my Christmas wish-list or the pile I have out from the library. Yes, I am a bookaholic, but you guys knew that, right?

mynotoriouslifeMy Notorious Life by Kate Manning. This was featured on Catherine Newman’s blog (I love her writing and have followed several of her book – and board game! – recommendations with great success). Plus, it sounds amazing. Here’s Emma Donoghue’s blurb:

Not just a splendidly page-turning story of an angry orphan clawing her way up in the world, but a gripping docu-drama about women’s business (in several senses) in nineteenth-century America. My Notorious Life gives midwifery its full dues: the glories and the miseries, the feminism and the money, the literally bloody ethical dilemmas. Unflinchingly memorable (Emma Donoghue, author of Room)

provincial The Diary of a Provincial Lady by E.M. Delafield. I think I heard about this book from Sara Manning on Twitter and, as my obsession with the 1930s continues unabated, I grabbed a second-hand copy with both hands.



goodomensGood Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. The fabulous news about the Radio 4 adaptation of this book reminded me that I’m long overdue a re-read.




businessforauthors Business For Authors by Joanna Penn. I’ve been freelance for many years and have even run my own company, but I haven’t quite made the psychological switch to treating my fiction writing as a business. I really want to build a career/continue doing this full-time, though, so I’ve downloaded this manual to kick-start my business-planning for 2015.




The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton. I missed reading this with my book club because of deadline-hell, but everybody loved it so I’m keen to give it a whirl.

One word after another…

neil gaiman quote

I’ve hit one of those points in my WIP when I’m stuck and a bit bored and it seems suddenly pointless and ridiculous, and all I want to do is read good books instead (books which are brilliant and clever and imaginative and, above all, not in crappy first draft stage like my stupid book).

The frustrating thing is that I hit this point (several times times) in every book I’ve written and I can’t seem to avoid it.

The positive thing is that, having been here many times, I know the drill. I know it’s normal (for me, at least). And I know that if I force myself to keep writing one word after another I’ll get through it and the writing will get easier…

Until the next time.

[Image Credit: WritersWebTV via Twitter.]

Friday Five: The ‘I can’t believe it’s April’ edition

Look for Helpers

Apparently, the last Friday Five was in November. Whoops…

1. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know it’s been a bad news week. Like many people, I’ve taken some comfort from the words of Mr Rogers (see above). Also, this excellent post about Boston on Bea; Running Into The Smoke.

2. This post by Matt Haig on writer’s neuroses is very good (and, sadly, very true).

3. Author and artist Terri Windling has written a series of thoughtful posts this week about fear and creativity. It’s something I battle with regularly and I particularly liked this post on courage. It includes a very apt quote from e.e. cummings:

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”

4. I know this isn’t exactly new news, but it makes me so happy… Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane is out 18th June. Huzzah!

5. Since it’s Friday… Books and alcohol. No, I’m not describing my house*; Flavorwire lists 15 amazing book-filled bars.  [Via CatherineCaffeinated]

[Image Credit: The Huffington Post]

* Not entirely.


I navigated the Bemuda Triangle and returned victorious!

Yes, there’ll almost certainly be another rewrite further down the line and, if I’m lucky enough to get a publishing deal, further edits and copy editing and all that, but right now I’m breathing a big sigh of relief.

I finished the book.

Now I can enjoy the fact that my kids are on summer holiday and hang out with them properly (rather than saying distractedly ‘in a minute’), read (yay!), watch films and television, and say ‘remember me?’ to my husband. I may even go outside. Hurrah!

Oh, and tomorrow I’m meeting up with my awesome family to watch the The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy live with Neil-frakking-Gaiman.

I’m also taking a little internet break. I’ll leave you with Ze Frank on finishing stuff. Hope you all have a great week!

[Image via Neatorama]

Glorious mistakes

It’s the 10th of January and, thanks to a migraine yesterday, I’m only just easing back into work. I still haven’t written that inspiring ‘new year’ post, finished the short story that I began in December, or pitched for any new journalism.

I’ve also realised that the book I was working on before Christmas is dead in the water. I’m feeling a bit rubbish about it, but am telling myself that it was useful to attempt the rewrite. Truly, those hours of work are not wasted. At least I can finally lay that particular book to rest, but it’s also disconcerting to find myself, suddenly, without a WIP.

So. Onwards. I’m planning a couple of weeks of free-writing and brainstorming in the hopes that a clear winner emerges from the various half-projects and new ideas I have slopping around in my brain. I want to just dive in (and usually do) as I hate being in-between books. I feel lost and grumpy, but I’m going to force myself to take the time to research, explore and dream.

This new year post from Neil Gaiman might help… His wish for 2012 is that we “Make New Mistakes. Make glorious amazing mistakes.” If you’re making mistakes it means you’re trying something new and, most importantly, you’re Doing Something.


[Image notes. I’ve vowed to create more stuff this year. Not just with writing but with craft, art, home-making, and food, too. My best friend got married on the weekend and I made this card for her and her lovely husband. I’m pretty pleased with the way it turned out and am so glad I hauled out my paper supplies rather than buying something mass-produced.]

Film News: Gods Behaving Badly

I adored Marie Phillips’ Gods Behaving Badly. It’s funny, smart, satirical and has the clever and fully-realised kind of fantasy world that I dream of writing myself. Like Harry Potter or much of Neil Gaiman’s work, the book is set in our reality but with a twist. It’s a world in which the Greek Gods (having fallen on hard times) live in a house-share in London.

I’d heard that it was being made into a film and today I saw the casting news. And it is awesome. The list includes… Alicia Silverstone, Oliver Platt and the brilliant Edie Falco.

Coen brothers’ favourite John Turturro.

And… Wait for it… Christopher Freaking Walken as Zeus.