Making up maps

I’ve been a little slack on the blogging front lately, but that’s because I’ve been concentrating on the writing end of things, so that’s good, right?

I’ve been working on my Skye & Poggitt world, and have decided to stick with Alternative to Frog, as a title. I like it, it works and making that decision has helped me clarify a few things in the story. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, then the origin stories Alternative to Frog and Uninvited Guests, will get you up to speed.

One of the things I’ve found useful is to put together a map of where things are in relation to other things. I’m sure I’m not alone there. So, here’s my map of the Merewoods, with (of course) Granny’s cottage as the centre of the action. And a sketch of what’s what and what’s where on the ground floor of the cottage. Good luck in trying to interpret my writing!


I won’t win any prizes for art, but that wasn’t the intention. And if you’re wondering what the funny shaped thing between the table and the fireplace is, it’s supposed to be a fireside armchair 😉 .

Posted in Writing | 2 Comments

Ten reasons why you should employ a writer

And of course it’s only fair to follow up my last post with the flip side of the coin!

  1. Documents will be well written.
  2. One day you’ll be able to say, “I used to work with her/him.”
  3. Word of the day can be an interesting and fun game.
  4. They’re very handy in quizzes.
  5. They spend a lot of time daydreaming, so you can blame anything that goes wrong on them.
  6. If you’re nice (especially if you ignore the time they spend writing when they should be working), they might dedicate a book to you.
  7. They might base a character on you.
  8. They might not base a character on you!
  9. People may actually read your company’s blog posts.
  10. They’re really nice people. (Honest guv).
Posted in General, Stoopid stuff | Tagged | 5 Comments

Ten reasons why you shouldn’t employ a writer

I was determined to be a bit more timely with my blog posts this month.
Yeah, we all know how that sort of thing works out, right?
So, this morning I sat down (with determination!) and thought about what I’d planned to write and realised, Oh god, that’ll take ages!
Then, while I was procrastinating trying to find my notes, I came across this;

10 reasons you shouldn’t employ a writer;

  1. They will be drawing up plot points or character studies when they should be working.
  2. They will be assessing colleagues for potential quirks, habits or mannerisms they can use later on.
  3. They spend a lot of time trying to figure out how they can leave work and write full time.
  4. They spend a lot of time dreaming.
  5. They are inventive. Just how truthful was that CV?
  6. They might actually manipulate situations for research purposes, to see how they turn out.
  7. They might base a character on you.
  8. They might not base a character on you!
  9. They must be pretty warped individuals to come up with some of those ideas, right?
  10. You’ll never be able to read a sex scene in the same way ever again. 😉

(Next week, just to be fair – and to allay the paranoia – I’ll talk about the reasons why you should employ a writer). Meanwhile, anyone got any more to add to the list?

Posted in General, Stoopid stuff | Tagged | 1 Comment

IWSG: March – Upcycling Stories

Look at that – I aim to blog every week or so, but it’s the first of the month already!

Although I know what took the time up; preparing for half term, half term, and recovering from half term. Damn – I should be better prepared! 😉

Anyhow. The first of the month means it’s Insecure Writers Support Group time again. And this month they’re asking;

Have you ever pulled out a really old story and reworked it? Did it work out?

Well, the short answer is yes.

Oh, you wanted the long version? Ok, well, quite often stories brew away in my backbrain for a while before they’re ready to spill onto the page. Even then, they often don’t work first time, or something else will shove itself to the front.

One story in particular, I originally wrote for a competition. Needless to say, it didn’t get anywhere, and I left it on the shelf.

Around that time, I gradually came to the conclusion that I wasn’t a competition writer. My style isn’t really what competition judges are looking for. But. I knew that readers liked ’em. I just didn’t know how to go about getting the readers.

I pulled it out after a year or so, and read it to my writing group. Fortunately for me, someone with experience said; “This is just the thing that magazines like The People’s Friend are looking for.” And, what do you know? They were!

Writing is part of the battle. Understanding who your audience is, is another part.

The co-hosts for the March 1 posting of the IWSG are; Tamara Narayan, Patsy Collins, M.J. Fifield, and Nichole Christopherson. Do stop by and visit their blogs to say hi.

IWSG Badge
The IWSG was founded by Alex J Cavanaugh, where writers can blog about their hopes, dreams and fears. If you want to join this merry band of writers Click here to add your name to the list.

Posted in IWSG | Tagged , , | 18 Comments

#IWSG Feb: Bookshelf Philosophy

Tony was so fed up with the tatty old shelves that had been taken apart and put back together over the years that, when we renovated our house, he had the carpenter make these for me.
I love my bookcase ❤

I didn't just put this picture up to show off (ok, maybe a little bit 😉 ) but also to demonstrate how my reading habits have changed.
Thing is, some of that is due to the rise of the kindle too, and as this month's Insecure Writers Support Group question is, How has being a writer changed your experience as a reader? I'll have to save that for another post. And maybe yet another post; What does your bookcase say about you? Hmm maybe I'll do a three-parter. Tune in next week too!

However, back to this month's question.

I have less time for reading these days because I now spend some of that time dreaming up my own stories. As a result, I’m less patient than I once was. If I were purely a reader nowadays, I’d spend an awful lot of time on Goodreads, and I’d probably have some kind of book blog.
But writing and children don’t allow time for that, so my reading habits have changed.

I’ve always read fairly widely, but now I also read to learn new techniques, for research and to read the novels of fellow writers, and that can lead to little gems that I’d perhaps not have stumbled upon otherwise.

I’m more sympathetic to authors, because now I understand that this is someone’s baby, and the amount of work they’ve put into it.

I can spot clunky writing and poor proofreading. And I can appreciate good writing – and by that I don’t just mean beautifully polished prose, but writing that’s so effortlessly smooth you don’t realise you’re reading it. All of these can provide a benchmark for my own work.

How has writing changed reading for you? Or maybe you just want to compare bookcases? 😉

IWSG Badge
The IWSG was founded by Alex J Cavanaugh, where writers can blog about their hopes, dreams and fears. If you want to join this merry band of writers Click here to add your name to the list.

The awesome co-hosts for this month are; Misha Gericke, LK Hill, Juneta Key, Christy and Joylene Butler!

Posted in IWSG, Writing | Tagged , | 22 Comments

Storytime Blog Hop

It’s a bright, but frosty morning here in Devon.

The sun is so bright that if you’re heading east, you can’t see a thing. But if you stand still too long your feet stick to the ground. (Yes, I do realise that this is NOTHING to the extreme weather you probably get in your part of the world, but we don’t get exciting weather very often, so when we do, we like to shout about it.) (Really – the Eskimo’s may have 90 words for snow, but that’s nothing to the number of cusses a Devonian can come up with for rain.)

Anyhoo, my point is that it’s not a morning for going outside if you can possibly help it. Far better to light the fire, stick the kettle on and check out the stories in the latest Storytime Blog Hop.

1. Veronica by
Jessica Kruppa

2. Last Stop by Erica Damon

3. Jesse and Tyler by Bill bush

4. The Poisoner of Time by Karen Lynn

5. New Stork Inc. by Katharina Gerlach


7. Hello Again! by J. Q. Rose

8. Reflected by Elizabeth McCleary

Happy reading! And don’t forget to drop by and say hi to the authors 🙂

Posted in Storytime Blog Hops | Tagged | 7 Comments

Anybody hopping?

storytime bloghop

The first storytime blog hop for 2017 is NEXT WEEK!!!

I don’t have anything ready for it this time, but I’ll be reading everyone else’s stories. Could your story be one of them?

If you have a 1,000 word speculative short story that you’d like to add to the mix, pop on over to Juneta Key’s site for more information.

And if you want to see what previous hops were like, you can look here, here and here.

Happy hopping people! 🙂

Posted in Storytime Blog Hops, Uncategorized | Tagged | 5 Comments