Monday, 21 November 2011


My review of Nancy Holder's and Debbie Viguie's Unleashed: Wolf Spring Chronicles is now live at The View From Here Magazine

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Favourite Authors - Margaret Atwood

Happy belated birthday to Margaret Atwood who was 71 yesterday. She is one of my favourite authors. I love all of her books. I am trying to not rush through her back list - I want to take my time. She writes novels, shot stories, tweets, blogs and writes non fiction. I'm glad she hasn't decided to retire. 

My first Atwood was Cat's Eye. It was the first book I read after my A-Levels. I got it out of the library the afternoon of my last exam and battled through it's stale smoky smell. After that I got back into reading in a big way. 

My favourite quote from Cat's Eye is this one: 

“Another belief of mine: that everyone else my age is an adult, whereas I am merely in disguise.”  

In Happy Endings, a short story, Margaret Atwood references both the mechanics of short story plotting, and the effects of gender stereotyping in Happy Endings. A story that unravels and also reveals more as it progresses.

Lots of her books deal with crisis of identity, finding a place in society, memory. She has strong female characters in her novels who have to battle against cliched ideas of gender and politics. Her characters are pro-active and want to fight back against preconceived ideas.  

I like the way that each book is never the same. She writes across genres and bends the rules. One novel will be a historical tale and then she will write a spec-fiction book. I want to be able to bend genres like that. I'm not much of a fan of writers who always stick to the same genres for their own writing career. 

My favourite short story collection is The Tent
My favorite short story is Happy Endings.
My favourite novel is either Cat's Eye or Handmaid's Tale

Friday, 18 November 2011

How To Survive When You Have Fallen Into A Writing Black Hole

I’m not sure what it is about this time of year but around October time and into November I find writing really hard. Ideas don’t want to budge. Stories get stuck in draft zero. Stories written months ago now seem stupid. Rejections feel like a punch in the stomach. I started questioning myself – why should I be writing, I can’t write, I should pack up all my writing bits and pieces and hide them in the loft. I had fallen into a writing black hole. Maybe it’s the nights getting darker, earlier.

So this year I have been filled my notebook with tips and tricks to stop myself from being sucked all the way into the black hole:
  • Don’t over think ideas.
  • Struggling with an idea? – Take a bath, relax, let the idea roll around in your head. Have the notebook on stand-by.
  • Don’t feel like you need to write a story chronologically. The story might operate with a beginning, middle and end but you don’t have to write within the structure. Cut, Copy and Paste are your best friends.
  • Not everything you write deserves to be published.
  • Writing is subjective.
  • Stuck? Read Writing Down The Bones.
  • Keep a writing diary – write down what you achieve even if it’s only ’50 words written’ or ‘read ten pages of book.’
  • Sometimes playing Eye of the Tiger can really help. Don’t punch the laptop screen.
  • Once you're ready to write then keep the word counts small and build up - try 100 words each day with anything else being a bonus. Expand word count.
So what have I been doing? Well, I have been writing a brand new chapter 1 for my novel. I am hoping this chapter will set up the character and the world in a better way than the now defunct chapter one (which now becomes chapter 3). I have been reading. A lot. And my first review for The View From Here Magazine should be appearing over the next few weeks. I have some ideas that need teasing out. I’m hoping they will become flash fiction pieces and short stories.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

The Department of Extinct Objects

Just a quick post before bedtime. I have a flash fiction piece, The Department of Extinct Objects, up at Referential Magazine.

Here's the first sentence:

There have been confirmed reports from the Department of Extinct Objects, that the last known book, a tatty, circa 1990s edition, of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, which was being cared for by Beatrice Ingles, aged nine and three quarters, has gone missing....

You can read more by following this link > The Department of Extinct Objects

Thank you Jessie and Referential Magazine.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Batteries Not Included For The Apocalypse

My flash fiction piece, 'Batteries Not Included For The Apocalypse' is now available in November's edition of Static Movement Magazine.

Here's a snippet to tempt you:

Douggie didn't want to be rude but the end of the world was boring. The apocalypse was more like a bird watching film rather than the sandy wastelands of Mad Max .

You can read the rest by following this link > Batteries Not Included For The Apocalypse.