Shivers… books set in cold climates

Last month's blog, which was written at the start of the summer heatwave and was about books set in hot places, seemed to strike a chord with a few people. As the heatwave intensifies, maybe it's time to think about cold places as setting. The novel I'm drafting at...

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Record temperatures: Books set in hot summers

it's still June and already records have been broken. I feel quite fortunate to live in Edinburgh and not Spain. But I'm fascinated by extremes of temperature. In fact I've got the first draft of a MG book which is set entirely in the summer of 1976, when all our...

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What use are Travel Books in the age of the internet?

We're off to the Canary Islands for a week, and as my bags sit waiting in the hall, full of suncream and fiction, I find myself thinking about travel writing books. We have a small shelf of guidebooks which we never look at these days because of course we look online...

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Write every day? Creating an effective writing routine

An interesting article in the Guardian recently made me think about that advice you hear all the time - to be a successful writer, you should write every day. I’ve never found that works for me.   I’ve done Nanowrimo a few times; this is where you try to write a novel...

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Managing Social Media without sacrificing writing time

I am not going to claim to be any expert on social media, but thought I would just share with you some of my ideas about managing social media without it affecting your writing time. Firstly I hardly ever post something spontaneous. All my tweets and posts for my...

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Five best ‘how to write’ books

I do love books about writing. I've never picked one up and not found something that speaks to me. Maybe I'm just a terribly slow learner, and  information falls out of my brain all the time which I have to keep stuffing it back in. But never mind my deficiencies....

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Best Books of 2018

When you've read more than eighty books in a year, narrowing down the best reads is quite a job, but I'll give it a go. This year's reading has brought home to me how writers are really pushing at genre boundaries. Now if you pick up a crime book, it is not...

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Nanowrimo: November Novel Writing in a Month

November is over. For those who write, this means the end of another Nanowrimo.  A chance to splurge out a first draft of a novel in thirty days. I haven't participated in Nanowrimo every year, but I always find it an interesting experience. Twice I  tried 'just...

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How to hook an agent

I have just signed with an agent, and what I have to say about the process might contradict other advice out there, but I think it's worth considering. Those who did not know me BC (before children) might find it surprising to know that I used to sell life insurance...

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