#IWSG December: What would you do differently?

Hindsight is great isn’t it? If we could live our lives with our hindsight apps switched on we’d all be perfect human beings.

Or would we?

This month’s prompt question for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group is;

As you look back on 2017, with all its successes/failures, if you could backtrack, what would you do differently?

My reply has to be about time management. I should know better. I do know better. And yet, I let my day start with the time suck of social media, when I should insist on writing for a set amount of time first. Of course it’s not always social media, sometimes it’s hanging out the washing, or writing lists, or… ok, I admit I haven’t gone as far as housework, but you get the picture.

So, now I’ve outed myself I really should do something about that.

How do you manage your time? Hints and tips gratefully accepted!

Thanks for stopping by, and don’t forgot to visit this month’s co-hosts; Julie Flanders, Shannon Lawrence, Fundy Blue, and Heather Gardner!

And if you’d like to join this merry band of writers, started by Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh, then you can sign up here!

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Indie Authors Advent Calendar 2017

This year I am participating in the Indie Authors Advent Calendar again.

What is it?

It’s an online calendar you subscribe to by clicking on this link and typing your email address into the pop-up box. Then, each day over the advent period, a new window opens with a short story by one of 24 different authors. (And yes, one of them is me!)

Each day’s email alert includes a bonus from the day’s author, and on Christmas day, you receive an e-book with all the stories bundled together.

This year, the theme is on ‘Trees’. I think writers have an affinity for trees (all that paper!), so I’m looking forward to seeing what everyone came up with.

Oh, and it’s free too, so why not mention this bundle of Advent fun to the reader in your life?!

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Don’t mention the C word!!

I figure it’s time for a mid-month update on life, the universe and a few other bits and bobs.

Nano. Hmmm, not doing so well this year. To be fair, it was a last minute decision (although it was last year too), and I’ve gone into it with different intentions. Last year I had the first draft of a novel to write. This year I’m writing lots of different stories. I’ve also had lots of … just stuff, going on. Nothing major in itself but it all adds up; new puppy (aka third child), 12 year old’s birthday, 8 year old’s grouchiness that it’s not their birthday, tortoises to hibernateย  (a first for me – they’ve done it before!) and just stuff, stuff, stuff! And don’t even mention the C word!

Ok, ok – I hear you, quit whingeing and get on with it. (I am, really – I’m fishing and cutting bait as we speak ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

I realised that last year’s method of putting words to screen wasn’t working this time. Because I’ve been working on different stories I’ve needed to fiddle around with pen and paper to allow my mind to roam properly. Now I’ve accepted that, things are coming along.

I’ve got at least four stories in various stages, have had one accepted for an anthology, and… oh yeah, a Christmas story in My Weekly ๐Ÿ™‚

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#IWSG November – Is Nano worth it?


Good grief, it’s the first Wednesday of the month already, and I haven’t managed to blog since last month! Not even about being featured in last month’s Writing Magazine (Yes, moi!) about Nano, which is what this month’s IWSG post covers (surprise!)

(By the way, here’s part of the reason I’ve been busy – new addition to the family).

So, back to Nano. This month’s question is; Win or not, do you usually finish your nano project? Have any of them gone on to be published?

Well, last year was the first time I took part in nano, so my ‘average’ answer will be based on just the one occurrence.

Last year I ‘won’. That was down to determination. It was part of my target and there was no way I wasn’t going to reach it. This year I doubt I will. It has been a last minute decision, and I mainly intend to use the focus to prep up some short stories. (I think that makes me a ‘nano rebel’ this year).

Nano is good for making you concentrate on getting the words down, and that’s how I plan to use it this time.

As to the second part of the question… Watch this space. I spent a month writing the first draft last November and have spent the rest of the year revising it. Mind you, I did a lot of pantsing, so there was a lot of restructuring required. Maybe next time I should plan more…

Thanks for stopping by, and don’t forgot to visit this month’s co-hosts; Tonja Drecker, Diane Burton, MJ Fifield, and Rebecca Douglass!

And if you’d like to join this merry band of writers, started by Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh, then you can sign up here!

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#IWSG Oct: Actually I’m not so sure…

I didn’t post for the IWSG during August and September because it was the school holidays and life was a bit full on.

As a result, I was dropped off the list – that happens if you miss two months as it’s (fairly) assumed that you’ve left the group.

For a while I prevaricated about signing back up; it’s a bit like when your car insurance comes up for renewal and you try to decide whether to automatically renew or to shop around.

Well, I started to write a post about deciding to quit for a while… but then I realised I’d miss those monthly prompts and interactions with writer buddies around the globe. I’d still visit some, but the monthly blog hop was always a reminder and nice way to check in on what’s going on in other people’s lives.

So, I’ve signed back up. Not because I’m insecure (at the moment anyway), but ‘coz I like the support. I guess absence does make the heart grow fonder ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’m interested to see what it’s like being back at the end of the list. I was within the first 100 before and now I’m all the way back at 227, although I can see a few familiar names nearby. Will it be a bit like moving house? I’ve got new ‘neighbours’ now – who’s coming round to borrow a cup of sugar? (does anyone really do that? In my experience they’re more likely to tell me I’ve parked in the the wrong space!)

Anyhow, thanks for stopping by. Feel free to look around, just be careful of… yeah – that was the cat, she likes to pretend to be the carpet >rolls eyes<

Oh, and before you go, don’t forget to visit this months co-hosts; Olga Godim, Chemist Ken, Jennifer Hawes, and Tamara Narayan!

And if you’d like to join this merry band of writers, you can sign up to the list here (we could turn out to be neighbours!)

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I mean business this time!

Things have been quiet here on the blog recently, but there’s a reason for that. It’s called the school holidays.

I realised ahead of time that it would be foolish to think I could concentrate on my novel. That’s not innate wisdom, by the way – it’s learned from past optimism.

So, I stacked everything in a neat-ish pile, and thought about Christmas instead. Huh? you ask. Yes, August is the time to be writing Christmas stories for magazines, and I figured I had more chance of completing short term projects during the Summer holidays.

And I found it was really good to concentrate on short stories in a chunk of time like that, rather than more randomly when inspiration struck. So I think I’ll adjust my approach in future and focus on specific seasonal markets (which is probably what you’re meant to do, but despite paying attention to advice, I still tend to only really ‘get’ it through experience).

So, stories written and submitted (plus one commission! Whoop! Whoop!), the kids are back at school, and now it’s time to pull out the manuscript. I’m near the end of a second draft now. I had the first three chapters assessed, which was really really useful, so I’ll send the rest off too, so there’ll be a third draft looming after that. But… I mean business this time. This is the third novel I’ve written, but this feels like the right one to send out.

Wish me luck and watch this space ๐Ÿ˜‰

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A-Z of Fictional Characters: J is for Jobber

I could easily have gone with Jane Ayre for ‘J’, but that would have been the easy option.

Instead, I’d like to introduce you to Jobber, the heroine of New Moon, the first book in Midori Snyder’s Queens’ Quarter trilogy.

Now, *(small) Spoiler Alert!* back in the day when I first read this, any novel where the heroine was disguised as a boy was a shoo-in. I didn’t even realise when I first started reading this, so when the revelation occurred it was like being suddenly ramped up to warp 9.

(I seem to recall a start trek joke about this, but when I tried to google it, the results were too geeky even for me!)

So, Jobber. Whoa.

She’s gruff. She has no finesse, she’s not pretty. She’s an unkempt, argumentative ragamuffin, and she’s the only fire elemental (apart from the mad queen) left in a world where anyone possessing elemental magic buries it deep if they want to survive.

But everything is out of balance. The queen is paranoid and likely insane. There are rebel factions gathering in the hills, while in the city the street children hide from the authorities and steal to stay alive. But someone is murdering the children with magic, people are desperate and Jobber is the catalyst…

Obviously one of my favourites, Jobber was an influence. A refreshing change and an excellent example of someone with faults, who screws up, invariably says the wrong thing and yet you can’t help but love her.

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