Award winning outback romance
Thank you to everyone who has supported Wedding Bells By The Creek and taken it to Number One. Almost as much cause for celebration as the wedding itself.

Films

Bubbly splash and blog splash

My friend Rhoda Baxter is celebrating today – the best kind of celebration for an author – a new book. Some of us have a splash of champagne to celebrate ( yep, that’s my favourite too), and today Rhoda is doing a blog splash to mark the launch of Girl in Trouble.

She’s asked a few of us to join her. Rhoda writes smart funny books and I’m a fan, so this seemed like a good idea to me, not the least because it introduced me to something new… The Octonauts.

I love these guys almost as much as I love The Clangers.

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Plot with dialogue

The blog is on tour this week. You can find me over at the Take Five Authors blog – where I am talking about the way we plot.

At a workshop last weekend, I was fascinated by the idea of using dialogue to plot. For someone who doesn’t like to plot (that’s me) it seems like a great idea – thank you Sophie Weston.

I also talk about some of my favourite movie moments – where dialogue is everything. And there’s a picture of Marlon Brando. Here’s another one – just to get you in the mood… then head over to Take Five Authors.

A Streetcar Named Desire is not my favourite Brando film – but he certainly rocked that T-shirt!

 

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The perfect man…

I have gone visiting this weekend over on the Take Five Authors blog – where I am talking about making a perfect man..

Do we really want a perfect hero – or are his imperfections what make us really love him?

Pop over to Take Five Authors for more…..

Here’s a hint at the type of imperfect hero I am talking about.

 

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Reading between the frames

If you haven’t seen this – it really is worth a look.

I read a film last night.

I know what you are thinking – and yes, I watched it too. In fact I did both. At the same time.  And it was quite an eye opener.

The film was A Few Good Men – which of course features an absolutely brilliant performance by Jack Nicholson. A fine Keifer Sutherland performance too. Not to mention Kevin Bacon. And a young Tom Cruise doesn’t do too badly either.

The reason I watched it was none of the above – it was all about the writing. Continue reading

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My best reads of the year

It took me far too long to get around to reading this

It took me far too long to get around to reading this

As the end of the year approaches – there’s time for one more wafer-thin book blog… which includes what I have to say are my two standout books for the year.

Both are books that I’ve read in the last few weeks… and they could not be more different.

One is a mega best seller – the other isn’t – but it should be.

One has been made into a Hollywood movie – and oh how I wish the other would be.

Both are a little outside my normal reading zone – and have convinced me that I need to move the boundaries of my reading zone…

My pick for the year is… (drum roll please) Continue reading

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Like sand and glue

A young Bob Dylan singing protest songs at a rally in the US.

A young Bob Dylan singing protest songs at a rally in the US.

A little while ago, Bob Dylan was award the Nobel Prize in Literature – the first songwriter ever to receive the award. I found this really interesting for two reasons…

Firstly that some people should question that a songwriter should be given an award for literature.

And secondly – why hasn’t it happened before?

Personally – I am a Dylan fan. I’ve seen him in concert a couple of times. I love his early acoustic roots and songs like Blowing in the Wind – but I am also a fan of his electric side.

He really does know how to write a song! His music might not appeal to everyone. David Bowie got it pretty right when he wrote about ‘a strange young man called Dylan – with a voice like sand and glue.’

Dylan’s rough and scratchy voice might not appeal to the purists or to opera lovers. But sand and glue is exactly what his songs are….. Continue reading

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Storm troopers and stories

The two Skelligs rising out of the sea mist.

The two Skelligs rising out of the sea mist.

My visit to the Aran islands (see last week’s blog) was all about knitting, but there were two more island groups I had to see while I was in Ireland. This time it was all about language and literature and puffins with light sabres. Both islands are uninhabited, but both have stories to tell.

It started with the Skelligs – two tiny islands off the ring of Kerry, which are also in a galaxy far far away. Lacking any sort of space ship, my view of Great Skellig Island was from a headland on the mainland.

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TV and Radio Top Ten Tips

As some politicians have learned to their cost, the mic is always on!

As some politicians have learned to their cost, the mic is always on!

A couple of weeks ago, I was asked to draw on my (too many) years as a broadcast journalist to offer some tips on how to make the most out of those rare opportunities to talk about our writing on TV or Radio.

I thought I would share some top tips with you here… Continue reading

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A dive into the archives

The old archive - when everything was in hard copy... page proofs and magazine stories and rejected novels. Now it's all in my computer.

The old archive – when everything was in hard copy… page proofs and magazine stories and rejected novels. Now it’s all in my computer.

I never throw away anything I write. Even if it’s terrible. It’s not just because I am a pack rat and have trouble throwing anything away (although I am and I do- as testified to by my messy office).

It’s because there’s no such thing as a bad idea. A bad idea is just an idea that hasn’t been fully developed. It’s also because writing, like any other skill, is learned and improved on over time. An idea I might not have been able to properly develop ten years ago, might just be a trigger for something better today.

So… and here’s where I am putting it all out there .. I thought I would take you with me on a dive back into my archives Continue reading

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Inventing a language

The book title text says it all really.

The book title text says it all really.

I remember as a child being chastised by my teachers for using made up words. If it wasn’t a ‘real’ word, I wasn’t allowed to use it in my school work. To be fair, those teachers were trying to give me the kind of education that would allow me to make a living when I grew up.

Imagine my surprise and delight a couple of nights ago when I saw an interview with a man who is making a living out of making up not just words – but whole languages!

The interview was with David Peterson, a linguist and the author of a new book called The Art of Language Invention. I was riveted. Peterson is the man who invented the Dothraki language for Game of Thrones and a number of other languages for fantasy worlds. He also has the awesome title of President of the Language Creation Society. Continue reading

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Writing retreats 2017 - Intensive tutor-led retreats with Janet Gover and Alison May
Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence Finalist for The Wild OneColorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence Finalist for The Wild One
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