In Pursuit of the Strange and Curious…

Our next retreat focuses on settings and characters, drawing inspiration from some gothic writing of the past. Here’s a little teaser from Sandra to whet your appetites…

Source: In Pursuit of the Strange and Curious…


Saltire Literary Awards 2017 Shortlists Announced! @Saltire_Society #Edinburgh #Scottish #Scotland #LiteraryAwards

I’m thrilled to share this with you as my great friend and writing buddy, Sandra Ireland, has been shortlisted in the First Book category. What a fabulous achievement!

Love Books Group

2017 Saltire Literary Awards shortlist unveiled at special event in Edinburgh

Multi-award winning writers and household names James Kelman, Bernard MacLavertyand Denise Mina feature alongside emerging talents Ever Dundas and Kate Hunterin 2017 Saltire Literary Awards shortlists, unveiled today (12th October).

The shortlists for the seven awards that make up the 2017 Saltire Literary Awards were officially announced at an event hosted at the Edinburgh West End branch of Waterstones and featured readings from last year’s winner of the Scottish Book of the Year Award, Kathleen Jamie.

Widely regarded as Scotland’s most prestigious book awards, the Saltire Literary Awards are organised by the Saltire Society, a non-political independent charity founded in 1936 which aims to celebrate the Scottish imagination.

Established writer John Burnside, one of only two poets to have won both the T. S. Eliot Prize and the Forward Poetry Prize for the same book, features in both the Poetry and Fiction Book Awards…

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Chasing Time Writers Retreats ~ Meet The Team & Booking Info @ChasingTimeScot

Thanks to Kelly at Love Books Group for this lovely round up of Chasing Time.

Love Books Group


I am very proud to have been Blogger in Residence at Chasing Time Writing Retreats in October. I am delighted that I will be continuing my residency in November too.  Below is information about the super team behind Chasing Time Writing Retreats and about the fabulous writing retreats themselves.


Date: 4pm Friday 3rd of November 2017 to 2pm Sunday 5th of November 2017

Noir is the new black! Our November retreat aims to lift the (coffin) lid on what makes a dastardly dark tale! What is Gothic and how can we use its conventions to enhance our writing? Sandra Ireland, author of gritty noir thriller ‘Beneath the Skin’, will be leading a series of workshops on character, setting and suspense, while the gloriously Gothic venue will provide you with lots of inspiration. What better way to wile away a dark November weekend?

Friday evening.

Over supper…

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Inaugural Retreat Success

Here’s our latest Chasing Time blog post following our first retreat last weekend, which went even better than we could have hoped for. We’ve already had three 5* reviews (which are included at the end of the post), and are looking forward to doing it all again in a few weeks time!

Source: Inaugural Retreat Success

Chasing Time Writing Retreats @ChasingTimeScot Day #2 #Review #Writing #Retreats #Scotland

A lovely write up of day two of our inaugural Chasing Time Writing Retreat…

Love Books Group


Day 2

Chasing Time Writing Retreats – Stop The Clock

Arbroath, Scotland

I awoke in my fancy princess bed well rested and ready for the new day of adventure at the writing retreat.


Everyone gathered for a beautiful breakfast. You can choose to have a full English and they also have a vegetarian option.


The first event of the day was a brisk walk around the grounds of the Rosely House Hotel, to ignite the creative juices.


For the remainder of the morning, we had a flash fiction exercise, followed by creative workshops. I found these very inspiring and they really lit a fire in my belly. Perhaps that wee idea I have had for a while will come to fruition.

A beautiful buffet style lunch was set up by author and host Dawn Geddes for us all, with a mix of meat and vegetarian options. The hosts are very happy…

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Chasing Time Writing Retreats @ChasingTimeScot Day #1 #Review #Writing #Retreats #Scotland

A lovely round up of day one of our writing retreat, by Blogger In Residence, Kelly Lacey of Love Books Group.

Love Books Group

Day 1

Chasing Time Writing Retreats


Upon arriving at the Rosely Country House I am awestruck by the sheer size of the building and its palatial grounds. My room is out of this world, I feel like a Princess. It’s bigger than my own upstairs at home.

We are greeted by the Chasing Time Writing Retreat team which includes Sandra Ireland, Elizabeth Frattaroli, and Dawn Geddes. A glass of chilled bubbly and I got settled into my seat next to the fire in the public bar. Readily anticipating meeting the other retreaters.

A real mix of characters arrived around the table. Later on the blog, you will get to meet everyone involved in more detail with their personal bios and photographs.

Night one was a relaxing evening with a hot plate of oatcakes and stovies for the meat eaters and cauliflower cheese for the vegetarians. I had the cauli…

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Hello and Goodbye August! (And all the bookish things in between)

Well, August came and went pretty quickly, huh? But what a month it was. Between managing to get lots of writing done on my own YA novel, Sixteen Again, whilst on holiday, to coming home and launching straight into the fabulous Edinburgh Book Festival, then formalising lots of arrangements for our first Chasing Time Writing Retreat in Angus at the end of the month, it’s been all go.

The Edinburgh Book Festival has quickly become a highlight of my literary year, and this year I was lucky enough to include an overnight stay in Edinburgh and to attend lots of author events, as well as two SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) crit groups in the Spiegeltent. Special mention has also to be made of the Unbound evening on the 18th, where singer/songwriter Genevieve Dawson ( @gdawsonmusic ) and novelist Sarah Perry ( @_sarah_perry ) in particular were amazing. (Watch out for Sarah’s book coming out – the writing is beautiful and I was seriously holding back tears by the end).

It was also the first time that I had heard Matt Haig speak, and he had us all spellbound, even as it was touch and go at one point as to whether the Bosco Theatre venue would be blown away by the fierce winds outside. And of course, there was the sold out SCBWI event, The Great Gender Debate, with authors Jonathan Stroud, David Leviathan and Kathryn Evans, ably chaired by the South East Scotland SCBWI Coordinators, Sarah Broadley and Anita Gallo.

I even managed to squeeze in a visit to Blackwell’s Writers at the Fringe to support my lovely author friend, Sandra Ireland, who was one of five authors reading from their books. (Check out ‘Beneath the Skin’ by Sandra if you love a slice of gothic noir and fantastically well-written novels).

So that brings me smoothly on to the writing retreats that Sandra, Dawn Geddes and I are launching, with the first one being at the end of this month. It’s come round fast and we’re really looking forward to welcoming all our guests soon. The venue is superbly atmospheric and bound to inspire, and I might even be able to squeeze some more of my own writing in over the weekend too!

The Chasing Time team

For more information go to

Hope your own writing/reading is going well too – bye for now.

Book Review – Release by Patrick Ness

This is what it says about the book on Goodreads:

Inspired by Mrs Dalloway and Judy Blume’s Forever, Release is one day in the life of Adam Thorn, 17. It’s a big day. Things go wrong. It’s intense, and all the while, weirdness approaches…

Adam Thorn is having what will turn out to be the most unsettling, difficult day of his life, with relationships fracturing, a harrowing incident at work, and a showdown between this gay teen and his preacher father that changes everything. It’s a day of confrontation, running, sex, love, heartbreak, and maybe, just maybe, hope. He won’t come out of it unchanged. And all the while, lurking at the edges of the story, something extraordinary and unsettling is on a collision course.

My own thoughts…

This is the third Patrick Ness novel I’ve read (still have the Chaos Walking trilogy on my TBR pile which I must read soon) and, as usual, I loved it. I think what I most admire about Patrick is the fact that he takes risks when he writes and tries out unusual formats and/or concepts – if you haven’t read his short story in the ‘Losing It’ anthology edited by Keith Gray, you really should, it’s so clever.

Anyway, back to Release. I was so looking forward to this coming out (excuse the pun) and it didn’t disappoint. Adam is a great character, so well drawn, that you immediately empathise with him and his struggle for acceptance, and his best friend, Angela, is brilliant. A seriously kick-ass, got your back kind of best friend. I loved Linus, detested Enzo, and held my breath all the way through a pivotal scene with Adam and his father.

There is a mystical mythology type of story running alongside the main thread and I’ve seen this getting mixed reviews, but I thought it really worked, and that it was another example of Patrick doing something different in a way that only he can. The way that both threads tied up together in the end was almost poetic.
I would definitely recommend this to readers.

**** 4 Stars

My Newest Favourite Writing Nook


I have just returned from our summer holidays where I was lucky enough to go on a cruise around Italy, France, Spain and Portugal (it was soooo hot!) I was looking forward to the break for obvious reasons, as well as perhaps one huge not so obvious one. Having cruised before, I know how much my two love going to the onboard kids’ club on days at sea and making new friends. It’s great seeing them happy and excited, but there’s an added bonus for me too. Metime. My husband is also happy to relax and do his own thing on these days, so it leaves me lots of time to write.

The ship only had its own library – #bliss



I managed to get more of my work in progress (Sixteen Again) written in those five days than I’ve achieved over the past month and a half of the school holidays, and it felt good to go old school and write longhand as well. Now I just need to type it up and see if any of it makes sense!

Hope your own writing is going well.





Noir At The Bar #Dundee 2017 #CrimeFiction #Scotland #Scottish ~ Hosted By@WendyHJones

Round up by the lovely Kelly Lacey of a fab night, where I unexpectedly ended up doing a wildcard reading from my work in progress, ‘Sixteen Again’. #scarybutfun #NATB #Dundee #amwriting

Love Books Group


I was honoured to attend Noir At The Bar Dundee at The Braes Bar on Thursday evening, it was lovely to see a host of familiar faces and to feel at one with my tribe.  With the love of books as the thread that binds us.

Wendy Jones was the host and organiser of the event and with a plethora of talented authors, I knew I was in for a treat. Neil Broadfoot and Caroline Dunford were, unfortunately, unable to attend due to illness.  Mac Logan stepped in to save the day.

Each author gave a short bio and then read an excerpt from their latest novel with the order of events picked at random from a hat. The picker was then treated to a signed copy of that author’s book.

It was lovely to meet crime fiction blogger, Gordon from Grab This Book. I didn’t have a chance…

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