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My Newest Favourite Writing Nook

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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

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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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Book Review – The Nearest Far away Place by Hayley Long

I have been a member of Goodreads for some time now and think it is a fantastic site. However, I have not been the best at contributing to it in the past so, in my quest to become a better Goodreads user and also share some of my thoughts and recommendations about books and authors, I have decided to link my reviews to my blog. I hope you find some of them interesting – who knows, perhaps I will help you to discover a new favourite book in the process…

Faraway Place

I read the first three chapters of this when my daughter got it from her Toppings’ Book Club as she was just finishing another book, and then I had to wait a couple of weeks to finish it, which was a challenge, as I was immediately hooked.
The story centres around brothers Griff and Dylan, who are in a terrible car accident where both their parents are killed. Dylan is worried that his younger brother is not coping well and we get a great sense of both their characters and their feelings throughout the book. It is in turns heartbreaking and heartwarming as we follow them both from New York to Aberystwyth via various flashbacks to the nearest faraway place, where we also get a good sense of their parents and what family life was like before the accident.
The story is beautifully written and very visual and, having not read any of the author’s other books before, I know I will be buying them now for both me and my daughter to enjoy.

***** Five Stars

662: Short story writing retreat, Moniack Mhor Creative Writing Centre, Scotland

I’ve been on a novel writing retreat here and it was amazing!

Authors for Grenfell Tower: An Online Auction

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ITEM: A place on our Short Story Retreat on Monday 30 October-Saturday 4 November. Worth £595.
DETAILS: Worth £595. You will spend a week in the amazing surroundings of Moniack Mhor writer’s retreat learning the craft of short story writing from the very best writers around.
BIO: Moniack Mhor Creative Writing Centre is in the beautiful Scottish Highlands, just fourteen miles from the city of Inverness. Since our first course in 1993 Moniack Mhor has been running creative writing courses tutored by some of the finest authors in the UK and beyond.
WHO CAN BID: Worldwide, but winners are responsible for their own travel costs. There is a reserve on this item of £250.

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Chasing Time Writing Retreats

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As per Sandra’s post on her own website, which I shared here earlier this month, I have more exciting news about the launch of our tutored residential writing retreats.  Two writing friends and I have set up Chasing Time Writing Retreats in a beautiful and quirky Scottish country house, and are excited to share our passion for writing with others. The programme is now up and running and we have taken our first bookings.

Having been lucky enough to go on various writing retreats myself, I know how valuable it can be to escape the everyday routines and commitments you may have at home, and be able to concentrate solely on developing your writing. In Rosely Country House Hotel, Arbroath, we have found the perfect place to host our retreats, with its uniquely atmospheric setting sure to provide writing motivation around every corner.

If this is the sort of thing that appeals, why not click on the link below and check out the rest of our website? We’d love to see you there. 🙂

Source: Retreats

Time On Your Side

This week saw the launch of a new writing retreat in the heart of Angus – Chasing Time Writing Retreats. I have to admit to a little bias in bringing this to your attention, as it is being run by two writing friends, Sandra Ireland and Dawn Geddes, and me.
We were inspired by the hugely unique and atmospheric Rosely Country House Hotel, where we meet as part of Angus Writers’ Circle, and felt it would make the perfect setting for our new business venture. We’re excited at the prospect of inviting other writers onto our tutored retreats and to share our passion for writing with those attending. We can’t wait to get started!
You can read about our trial run here, on a post shared by Sandra earlier this evening.

Please also check out our website at http://www.chasingtimescotland.wordpress.com and follow us on Twitter @ChasingTimeScot
Our Facebook page is http://www.facebook.com/chasingtimescotland
Thank you!

Sandra Ireland

Buying a gift for a writer is easy. An elegant pen, a bespoke notebook. A new edition of a much-loved classic. But ask a writer what their dream gift would be, and it might well be something you can’t pick up online.

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We crave it, can’t get enough of it. We want time that is elastic, time that stands still. Time that will work with us, and allow us to craft that perfect chapter before the kids come home, or the dog demands to be walked.

We all desire it, we’re all chasing it. You can’t buy it, but you can make it, if you allow a little space in your hectic schedule. Last month, three intrepid scribblers set out to do just that!

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In the company of fellow writers, Elizabeth Frattaroli and Dawn Geddes, I booked into the fabulous…

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Help! I don’t know what I’m writing! Categories in kid lit

Some useful comments here regarding recommended word lengths in children’s fiction…

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You might have caught a glimpse of this post a while back. I accidentally published the draft. Then I had a nervous breakdown trying to reel it in.

Luckily, there were no swear words in that draft. Nothing too incriminating. It’s a miracle, really. Considering the topic.

Let me begin with a disclaimer: Unlike most of my posts, this one’s not gospel.

Ahem.

This is a ROUGH guide. Categories in kid lit vary hugely and are always and forever evolving. That’s why this topic is a headwreck.

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Board books: Newborn to age 3

Standard board books are 16 pages. Or 8 pages. Depends…

There’s not a lot of scope for writers in this category. It’s more of an illustrators’ playground. A lot of the manuscripts for these books are written in-house or commissioned. Or purloined from the kid lit canon. You know, let’s do a series of board books based on nursery rhymes… No author…

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Scottish Association of Writers Annual Conference 2017

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I’m just back from this year’s Scottish Association of Writers Conference at The Westerwood Hotel (@TheWesterwoodQ) in Cumbernauld. And what another fantastic weekend it has been! The SAW Council work hard to put on such a great event and this year we had the biggest turn out from our writing group, @AWCAngus since I started attending a few years ago. It’s so good to be able to spend more time with friends and get to know each other better, as well as just generally soak up the buzz of being in the company of like-minded people. The icing on the cake is that we again came away with some prizes and placings in the various competitions that are adjudicated over the weekend, including top prizes of The Dorothy Dunbar Rose Bowl for poetry for our Club Secretary, Sandra Ireland (author of ‘Beneath The Skin’), and The Constable Silver Stag for a General Novel to Pam Turner.

Last year I was lucky enough to win the beautiful T.C. Farries trophy for a Children’s Novel, and it was with a certain reluctance that I found myself packing it up in order to pass the baton. However the consolation was that this year it was awarded to fellow Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCWBI) member, Sheila Adamson, so it was a bit like keeping it in the family.

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Apart from the competitions and the social side, there are a number of fantastic SAW workshops to attend, and my favourite two of the weekend were run by YA authors Keith Gray and Victoria Gemmell (another fellow SCBWI). Thank you both for being so lovely and helping to turn it into such a special weekend once again. I was also able to attend an outside workshop run by editor and literary consultant, Claire Wingfield (www.clairewingfield.co.uk) and between the three of them, have left feeling inspired and keen to get back to my own work in progress.

Our keynote speaker was the very funny Helen Lederer who rounded off a brilliant conference.

If you would like to know more about Angus Writers’ Circle you can follow us on Twitter @AWCAngus, and I hope your own writing is going well.