Thursday, 12 September 2019

Quick update

I recently presented a workshop for Nottingham Writers' Club, was shortlisted in a competition, and had a story published in The Weekly News.

The organisers of the competition I (and writing friend Sharon Boothroyd) were shortlisted for, are running another free to enter short story competition, with the them of murder. The prize is £50.

Wednesday, 11 September 2019


We're back home after ten weeks away in the campervan! (The photos are all of homes, or former homes, we saw on our travels.)

Here's a free to enter writing competition. Be sure to include your home address on the entry, so they know where to send the £100 prize, should you win.

The word home is usually used to mean the place where we live, but it can be used in a wider sense to mean the area, or even country we, or our family, originate from. It can mean our wider family and background, an institution, the end of a race, a position in sports and games ... It's where someone, or something, belongs.

To me, home means either the house, or the van, depending on which I'll be sleeping in that night. It's where Gary is, where I cook and eat, the place I read and write.

What does home mean to you?

Wednesday, 4 September 2019


"If you could pick one place in the world to sit and write your next story, where would it be and why?"

That's this month's optional Insecure Writer's Support Group question – and probably the easiest writing related question I've ever faced! I'd write it in R'ten, the mobile writing retreat. I do quite a lot of my writing in there as I'm fortunate to spend quite a lot of time travelling. It's especially helpful to be able to write in the location stories are set, both to get me in the mood and make research easy.

Do you find this question as easy to answer? If not, what question would you rather be asked?

Thursday, 29 August 2019

Wednesday, 21 August 2019


I really wanted 'grotesque zoomorphic corbels' as the word of the week, but as Gary pointed out, that's more than one word. Still, I can use them as the illustration, can't I? These are on the Castle Acre priory.

Something which is zoomorphic has, or represents, an animal form.

Thanks to Sharon Boothroyd for passing on the details of this free to enter poetry competition. It's open to UK residents only (dead or alive!) and there's a £100 prize. If you can work zoomorphic into your winning entry, I'll be really impressed!

Thursday, 15 August 2019


A lapidarium is a collection of carved masonry and gravestones. This one is at Coldingham Priory.

I hope you appreciate the lengths I go to in order to find you interesting words ... Coldingham is 409.8 miles from my home!

Saturday, 10 August 2019

Travelling writer

I'm doing my best to live up to my travelling writer nickname at the moment.

A few weeks ago I popped into the DC Thomson offices in Dundee, I'm currently doing a bit of island hopping (all the pictures were taken on the last one we visited – can you guess where we were?) and in a few weeks I'll be presenting a writing workshop in Nottingham (It's just £10 for four hours if booked in advance – be lovely to see you if you can make it.)

I'm even getting some writing done. Not much, but some.

Wednesday, 7 August 2019

Lin, win and In(secure)

Has your writing ever taken you by surprise?

That's this month's Insecure Writer's Support Group question. (If you'd like to join the group you can do so here – but you don't have to be a member to join the discussion.)

My answer is YES! I don't think I could keep writing if that wasn't the case. When I start writing, I don't always know the direction the story or character's will take. I don't know if that story will sell, win a prize or be one of those which doesn't quite make it.

Competitions wins have surprised me – I had a poem performed in the House of Commons and a novel published as the result of winning competitions. As a result I'm always on the look out for free to enter competitions, such as this poetry one, which I regularly share on this blog.

The biggest surprise though has been the change to me as a writer. I started off 17 years ago, writing just for fun, imagining it to be a short term hobby I'd quickly abandon when a new enthusiasm took over (that's happened before). Today I'm a full time writer. I even present workshops to encourage other writers, such as this one in Nottingham next month.

Another thing which can surprise me is the English language. I'm always learning new words (which is why I post my regular word of the week). Today's is lin. A lin is a 'collection' of water – it can mean a pool above or below a waterfall, but is generally applied to the waterfall itself, or to a ravine through which water is forced, producing a torrent.

The photos are of The Lin of Dee (apparently Queen Victoria's favourite picnic spot) and The Black Lin (centre). On our current trip we've also seen The Lin of Quoiche and The Lin of Tummel (my favourite in terms of names). They're all in Scotland.

Friday, 2 August 2019

Friday Freebie

The winner of last week's Friday Freebie book is Celia!   Please contact Gail Aldwin with your postal address and she'll send The String Games in the next few days.

Here are some recent photos from our trip to Scotland.