May Writing Update


It feels like it has taken absolutely ages, but I have finally finished the first draft for my third and fourth novels! I’ve absolutely exhausted myself working on these, along with a shiny new edit for The Poisonwood Shadows AND studying for an accounting exam (which I thankfully passed!).

Both books really need a few rounds of editing. They are scrappy and the word count isn’t high enough. Both are lingering around the 55k mark, but now that I have a beginning, middle and end, I am confident I can bulk both these out in my edits.

Editing can be a nightmare. It’s often frustrating and makes my head hurt! But I feel like getting down the initial draft of a novel is the real challenge. It can be tempting to give up when the words just aren’t flowing or the story doesn’t seem right, and it takes a lot of determination and effort to persist. It can feel like churning toffee or driving with no wheels sometimes, but you really have to power on through and force the words out. Soon enough the inspiration with return and the words will flow out of you!

Now I’m feeling really inspired to get on with my edits. Once the printed manuscript arrives, I’ll be making a start with book four to begin with. My aims for this month are to increase the word count and put together a cleaner, more developed edit, then prepare a submission of the first three chapters, along with a new submission for The Poisonwood Shadows.

There’s a lot of work still to do. I’m hoping to start looking at book three within a month or two, and I’d like to give North of the Moon a final polish before I start querying that one also. As the last year or so has been heavy on writing, I’ve been starting to feel extremely hermit-like, so I’m looking forward to beginning a round of queries again. I’ll also be on the lookout for open submissions and competitions, and I’m happy to be reaching this next exciting stage!

Playlist Update


Happy New Year everyone! 2017 is here at last!

I have finally got around to making a start on my playlists, something that I have been planning for months. Ideally I will be creating playlists and pinterest boards for all of my upcoming projects, though some of the boards may remain private until things take shape a little (or at least have a title!).

I am working hard on the drafts for the two new novels which I am writing, and music always plays a big part in keeping me inspired, so now seemed like a good time to organise things a little and post my current playlists onto Spotify.

Be sure to head over to new Playlists page to view these (link above)! I will also be doing a Poisonwood list and a general ‘writing inspiration’ list, so be sure to check back!

Literary Heroines


As it’s coming pretty close to ‘publishing time’, I decided to reblog a post I did for another website on Literary Heroines. My own book features what I believe to be a pretty strong female lead, and I enjoyed looking up some of my favourites. I’ve since thought of A LOT more, so would love to do another post on this subject sometime soon!

Anyway, I hope it’s an enjoyable read for you all. The best heroines are smart, brave and independent, but not necessarily the perfect woman. Which of the below do you relate to most?

Hermione Granger – Harry Potter books

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Hermione is smart, sassy and knows exactly how to defend herself. She may not always know exactly how to act in certain social situations due to her extreme smarts, but she is loyal friend. Most importantly, rather than becoming pathetic and useless when her boyfriend left her, she got on with saving the world with her friend. Now that’s a heroine!

Elizabeth Bennet – Pride and Prejudice

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Lizzie is an independent, do it your own way sort of girl.  She doesn’t excel at anything in particular and she’s okay with that. She may be stubborn and judgemental at times, but she is open to the lessons life has to offer and it certainly works out okay in the end!

Catherine Linton – Wuthering Heights

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The daughter of Cathy and Edgar grows up innocent of her mother’s volatile history. Adorably curious and adventurous, she looks for the best in people and doesn’t always find it. With the fire of her mother and mildness of her father, Catherine is smart and caring, but knows how to stand up for herself.

Jane Eyre – Jane Eyre

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Jane may be meek and plain, but she’s got it figured out. She is content with the simple life, shunning the gaudy, false side of life. Slow and steady is her approach, and though often overlooked, she sticks to her values, stays true to herself  and still wins the man she loves.

Daenerys Targaryen – A Song of Fire and Ice books

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Dany is a fighter, with a steely determination. She will suffer through anything and still come out with her head held high. She’s no stranger to the tragic, the horrific and downright bizarre, but remains clear-headed and never doubts that she’ll come out on top eventually.

Lisibeth Salander – Millennium Trilogy

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Lisibeth is unique and unashamedly herself. She will gladly embrace her dark side if required, and always finds a way to defend herself in the most creative of ways. She embraces her work with dedication and razor sharp intelligence, doesn’t care what people think of her, and loves to stay on the rebellious side of things.

Wendy Darling – Peter Pan

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Wendy loves to play, and is certainly in touch with her inner child, but she’s also mature enough to know when it’s time to grow up and be an adult. She is caring and motherly, with a desire for fun and adventure. If only it could be that way all the time!

Paige Mahoney – The Bone Season

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Paige has cut her own path in life. She might be an outside, but she’s okay with that. Fiercely caring defiant, Paige will fight with all she’s got to look after her friends. Through all of life’s unexpected, unwanted turns, she keeps her fighting spirit and never gives up.

Celie Johnson – The Color Purple

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Celie is inhibited and stamped upon for a long time, but life’s lessons slowly give her a purpose in life. She is not the smartest of women, due to the restrictions the men in her life place upon her, but she loves powerfully and patiently waits for her talent and lot in life to find her.

Alina Starkov – The Grisha Trilogy

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Alina has a dark side and she’s well aware of it. She is no stranger to living in conflict, torn between one life and another. One side wants a quiet, easy life, the other yearns for power and success. The goodness in her will always fight for the ones she cares about, though she will always wonder about what the other side of things would be like.

Matilda Wormwood – Matilda

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Though surrounded by total fools, Matilda quietly gets on with things in her own way. She keeps the secret knowledge that she is meant for great things to herself, patiently biding her time and doing the best she can with what she has until her world begins to grow a little.

With such a fantastic list of heroines, you can’t fail to be inspired! I hope you enjoyed reading, now go out and do something great with your weekend 🙂

Literature Inspiration


It’s been a while since I’ve really had anything to post, as I’ve been getting my head down and editing (and editing and editing!). I feel like I’ve finally hit the home stretch, and hope to be done by the end of the year, with a view to publish in January. It’s a bit longer than intended, but I’d rather not burn myself out with the work I do – it would only show through in the final product which is the last thing I want!

Fitting in work, roller derby, family life and a social life around writing can be tough, but I always try and make time for reading each day, as well as all the other stuff. I aim for an hour, but don’t always make that! Reading LOTS is one of the most important pieces of advice for writers. There are so many benefits, such as improving your language and imagination, as well as relaxing a buzzing mind at the end of the day.

I wanted to write about some of my favourite books and how they have inspired me as a writer. I seem to lean towards tragic heroines who have affairs and go mad, though that’s certainly not intentional! It’s more the way their emotions are captured that has influenced my own writing style.

I tend to swing between my what my ‘favourite book of all time’ is, so I’ll start with my top five:

Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte

I read this book every so often and it never seems to get old. What I can’t get over is how ahead of its time it is and how Emily Bronte imagined it all wandering around on the moors of Yorkshire back in the 1800’s. I adore the raw emotion of Wuthering Heights, and the fact that it’s not really a love story, but a tale of madness and obsession. It’s haunting, spooky and a true classic.

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Cider With Rosie – Laurie Lee

Cider With Rosie was my Grandma Olive’s favourite book, and this has probably had a slight influence on why I like it so much. The book has an innocence to it that reminds me of being younger. There is a wonderful nostalgia the whole way through the book, and I can’t get enough of the way Laurie Lee’s countryside village has been written. The scenery, seasons, characters and all of his memories build up such a safe and comforting visual picture in my head. I have always loved books like this, as they provide such an escape. I try to include descriptions of all the senses in the way I write to really try and engage the reader and take them away from wherever they are.

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On The Road – Jack Kerouac 

On The Road is a contemporary classic for a very good reason. I’m a huge fan of travelling and experiencing anything that’s beautiful, breathtaking and memorable. A part of me has always wished I could emulate the way Dean and Sal just head on out without worrying about where they’re going and when they’re coming back. I love how fearless these characters can be. Kerouac has an amazing writing style (though I have to admit, I have really struggled to get through some of his later stuff). He writes as he feels, and the book has such an energy and a flow that captures what I love about my own travels.

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Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert

Madame Bovary is a bit of traumatic, arduous book at times, as the main character becomes so weighed down and tragic. It’s beautifully written though, and similar to Wuthering Heights in its emotion. I found it difficult to get into at first, but once it really hit its stride I couldn’t put it down. Finding beauty in fragility and tragedy is something I love in a novel. The characters are so flawed. I loved Emma’s quirks and senseless annoyances – tiny things that build up and lead her to create an idealistic daydream world that she just can’t translate to real life. I like books with imperfect characters who make bad choices!

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Peter Pan – JM Barrie

This is the ultimate children’s book for me. I love its innocence, but also the tragedy of the boy who never grows up. JM Barrie has such an imagination and I adore the way he captures the magic of childhood. It’s not particularly one that has influenced my writing, but it’s a story that has always stuck with me and reminds me to keep a hold of my ‘inner child’.

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