My August in Edinburgh

August is over… and I feel like I’ve been in a marathon. Feet pounding pavements en route to events, dodging flyers, groups of tourists, etc.  2,839,000 tickets were sold or issued for free for more than 3,500 shows, and it feels as if I might have been to most of...

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Best books of 2017

When Goodreads asked readers to set themselves a reading challenge for 2017, I thought why not make it a round figure? 100 seemed plausible at the time. But as it turned out, not quite achievable, although I'm not far off.The challenge did mean keeping better track of...

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Writing is not always solitary: SOAIS conference

Anyone who knows me is well aware that I lurve events to do with books, authors, writing. Usually these also involve visits to illustrious places. Last year I drove all the way to Wigtown (which, believe me, is a LONG way from most places) just to catch the last day...

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Podcasts, Podwalks and Echoes of the City

I've recently been involved in a fascinating project. @EchoesoftheCity has recorded site specific podcasts linked to various locations in the city of Edinburgh, designed to be listened to as podwalks. When the call first came out for writers to submit stories for this...

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Writing, Re-drafting…Everything but the kitchen sink

It's a hard lesson to learn, but less is more. On my fourth draft of current project and I'm paring right back to find the story is getting stronger and stronger. I'm learning that my default reaction is to say, 'oh that'll be good' and 'what about if this happened'...

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The Jane Austen Writers Club – a great book for writers.

I don't usually blog about one particular book, but for this, I will make an exception. Not a beginners book - you need to know what PoV and characterisation etc are for instance - but for someone who wants to improve, particularly in plotting and editing - this is an...

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Best books of 2016

The decision to keep a book journal was one of my better moves this year. Having only started in March, my year to date total is 60, which implies my total read was probably in the region of 80-90. Not too shabby. Could do better, if there wasn't quite so much choice...

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Writing: ideas and copyright…Plagiarism or homage?

In these days of social media, it almost feels as if plagiarism doesn't matter. How often do you see a picture or a quote retweeted, without credit given to whoever spent time and mental energy creating it in the first place? As someone who has made a living being...

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Creating a book journal

Back in March, on this blog, I bemoaned the fact that I had 'too many books to read, and too little time.' I was convinced that the growing pile of books awaiting my reading attention was the result of my reading too slowly, or not often enough, not the result of...

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