School’s Out

Hello to my regular subscribers and a very warm welcome to any newbies.
Here in the UK it’s the start of the summer holidays and usually I’m looking forward to it as much as the students I teach. This year however I find myself feeling restless, wanting another project to take on. I’ve been trawling through college courses but am still to settle on the right one. I guess the last 11 weeks spent on my stained and fused glass course has awoken the dormant artist. But top of my list of things to do still remains read read read. Both the balcony and garden are up for the task so it’s down to me to do the rest. That’s if I can get my local library authority to keep all my reservations headed my way in a timely fashion.
Some of you may well be heading into your summer break too and I thought I’d offer up some suggestions for excellent summer reads. My top 3 so far this year are:
Fledgling – Octavia Butler Sister Mine – Nalo Hopkinson Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman
My favourit…

Multi-coloured Creativity

Hello again to the regulars and a very warm welcome to the latest followers. It's a pleasure to have you here.

Ever wondered what writers get up to when they’re not writing? Well my passions have always centred round reading and dancing. But I have several others I indulge on occasion. I’ve always loved drawing and painting. I took an Art GCSE and my very first holiday in the UK was a painting one in Scotland. It was the first time I’d ever used any other medium besides pencil and watercolour. And it was liberating.
For many years, whenever I went on holiday I’d take a travel set of watercolours and paint postcards for people. I haven’t done that in far too long and am thinking of starting again. I take endless photos though and spend ages deleting and editing till I’m happy they’re worthy to post on Facebook which has been my online photo album for years now.
On one trip back to South Africa to visit dad, his girlfriend taught me the rudiments of jewellery making. I made several pie…

Best Laid Plans

First of all, a very warm welcome to all new subscribers. It's great to have you here and I look forward to sharing the many facets of my #indie journey with you.
Now, this may come as a surprise to some but just because I’m self-published doesn’t mean I’m not working to a publishing programme, self-imposed though it is. Long before I went on a course which encourages creative types to develop a business plan I always had a publishing schedule. I love colourful charts so it was inevitable. My guilty secret is out. I have always completed an annual chart, marking out Work In Progress, Future Projects and prospective blog posts for up to 4 months into the future.
Giving myself deadlines helps me achieve goals and I rarely shift the timelines unless something unforeseen happens. Just last year I rearranged my teaching timetable so that I have two full writing days a week and on those days I write from 7am to 5pm, only breaking for meals. I treat my writing as a job as I’m hoping that i…

Inside Out

As I've been invited to participate in a discussion panel at The Oakwood Literature Festivalin Derby on the 18th, this month is all about WORLD BUILDING. And the main question which needs answering is: Outside In or Inside Out?

I’m very proud to be an Inside Outer, especially as I’m in very good company it seems. Other Inside Outers are JRR Tolkien and Tad Williams. Inside Out and Outside In are terms used to describe methods of Fantasy and SciFi world building. As an Inside Outer, Tolkien focuses his attention on Bilbo and the hobbits then creates a world around them.
In my very first fantasy novel, written when I was approximately 12, it turns out I couldn’t settle for just one process. I remember spending hours drawing and colouring maps of a world for my central character Panthra to inhabit. As a man who could instantly transform himself into a panther when the need arose, he spent a great deal of time in desert terrain and the odd cave or two. Sadly the drawings were lost when …

April Showers of Appreciation

As many of you know, my self-publishing journey began in 2012. It wasn’t planned. I was collecting the usual mound of rejection letters from agents and preparing to paper many a wall with them when the kernel of self-publishing took root in my mind. Once this occurred it was then up to me to navigate this large and daunting world. Very much under the impression I was taking on this monster completely solo, I was astounded to discover many a helping hand.
The first of these was my wonderful writing friend Sydnee Blake who gave me the opportunity to participate in an Emily Benet blogging workshop. I was terrified, convinced that setting up a blog was well beyond my scope. Furthermore, what would I have to say to the world? How wrong was I? Here we are 7 years later and I haven’t yet run out of things to say and share. Sydnee, you opened floodgates in me I wasn’t even aware were there. Emily, you gave me the confidence to fight a fear of technology I was certain was beyond me.
Emily’s blog…

Short Story Share

The aerial acrobatics of the house martins alert me to the coming sunset. I see the swift shadow of the first flight emblazoned like a burn mark on the far wall. There must be a tear in the masking paper at the big window. My heart skips a beat.
Once, long ago, I saw myriad swallows spiral and swoop across a vast African reed bed. They pas de deuxed with air currents then pirouetted down to quench their thirst in the lake below. My shaded eyes drank in their Spitfire antics, my body ablaze with the wonder of it all.But that was before.
Still the swallows signal the arrival of the dark of day. Dusk, the shadier twin to twilight. Most people quiver at the setting of the sun. You can’t rightly blame them. The earth rotates, the tiniest bit, about 6º or so. Snap. Day into night. Corners consumed by shadow. And in the shadows… nameless lurking things.
The battery alert beeps on my catheter. Time to recharge. I can watch the swallow swirl on my Autumn Watch monitor in the medical supply bay wh…

My Favourite Things

As it’s my birthday month I’m going to indulge myself by telling you a bit about the 5 things which are guaranteed to put me in an exceedingly good mood and would therefore make excellent birthday presents.

There’s something particularly satisfying about watching an excellent film then discussing it in detail with an equally enthusiastic film goer. I often do solo cinema trips as not many of my friends share my taste in celluloid. The ones who do live a little too far away for this to be a regular option. So when it’s possible, I’m a very happy me.

Enjoying a great meal in the company of excellent friends is something difficult to top. Basically you’re getting a 2 for 1 deal. The well cooked food is there to be savoured and lingered over while the company is there to enhance the flavours. I’m blessed to share meals such as this regularly with ace friends. This birthday will be no different and there’s bound to be a plethora of these as I milk the fact it’s my birthday.

Reading a book, an…