Award winning author

Bookings are now open for my three 2020 residential writing retreats, co-tutored with RNA Chair Alison May. Details can be found here.

Films

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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Defining beauty

On a recent museum trip – I saw images from the Qajar dynasty in Persia – the period from 1795 -1925. The display focused on the women of that period.

My attention was caught by description of the beautiful women of the Qajar court – paragons of beauty with a thick monobrow and moustache.

There are paintings and a few very rare photographs of the Qajar women - showing a very different idea of beauty

There are paintings and a few very rare photographs of the Qajar women showing very different ideas of beauty

Today’s women use cosmetics to highlight curved lips or long lashes. The Qajar women would paint on a moustache if they were not lucky enough to possess one naturally.

This got me to thinking about how things change – and particularly how our perception of beauty changes. Continue reading

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Oh Oh 7 – a near miss

Can't wait for the new Bond film!

Can’t wait for the new Bond film!

This week I almost but not quite managed to accidentally on purpose bump into James Bond.

I was working at Pinewood movie studios – and Daniel Craig was too. The latest Bond film – Spectre – has been in production there. A couple of my (female) colleagues came into the office all agog because they’d seen the super spy himself riding around on a golf cart.

I immediately found many reasons to leave the office and walk to my car, the cafeteria etc. etc. – but alas, was a total failure at Bond spotting. In fact, I’ve been at Pinewood during the production of several Bond films, going back to Timothy Dalton, and have never bumped into the superspy himself.

But that did get me thinking about Bond and how the character is so powerful that he has survived several incarnations. Often, when an actor leaves a role, the role dies. But not Bond. Giving rise to the eternal debate – who was the best Bond? Continue reading

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Writing retreats 2020 - 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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