Tuesday, 26 January 2021

Nostepinnes and niddy-noddies

 There are some amazing words associated with yarn. These are two of my favourites! What are they?

Well, a nostepinne is essentially a wooden stick, usually tapering, with a few grooves cut in it. It's used to help wind a ball of wool from a skein. Here's a You Tube video (no affiliation, but it's a clear video) to show you:

A niddy-noddy is used to wind wool into a skein. Again, easier to see it done than to try to explain it!

Why do I even know about these things?

Well, for one, I'm a fairly keen knitter (very late to the party, only learning how to knit about 18 months ago, but now knit most days). Two, the main female character in book #10 has a yarn business, and she uses them!

That's one of the things I love about writing - learning new words and researching specific things.

What are your favourite (new) words?

Tuesday, 19 January 2021


Last Friday (15th Jan), there was a Twitter-pitch event run by XpoNorth. The idea was that authors Tweet-pitched their work - essentially send a Tweet (with #XpoNorth in it) pitching a book. Agents and publishers were following the hashtag, and if any of them liked the pitch, they could get in touch and ask for more details, or invite the author to make a full submission to them.

I pitched book #10 over the day. The advice had been to pitch, even if the book wasn't at submission-point and if an agent was interested, to then give them an estimated date for when the work might be ready to submit (but to submit only when the work was ready). Book #10 is almost at first-draft stage. There are a few scenes to write and of course, it needs editing, but I thought, "Nothing ventured, nothing gained" and pitched it.

Well, I got lots of likes and re-tweets on my pitches, which gives me heart that I've written something the market will be interested in, but sadly, none of the likes were from agents or publishers. Ah well.

There were some cracking ideas in the pitches. If you're on Twitter, go and check out #XpoNorth to see some of the amazing ideas that were tweeted over the day. I'm really hoping that quite a lot of them are ultimately published, because they sounded fantastic.

Tuesday, 12 January 2021

Back in The Realm

After last week's post, I opened the file from Fiona for "Invasion" (Guardians of The Realm 4), made a large pot of tea, and read through all the feedback.

Huge relief because...

She LOVES it!

That's not to say there weren't a gazillion comments throughout - this is Fiona, after all, and she's the most thorough editor I've ever worked with. And the best.

I've been delighted at how easy it has been to drop back into The Realm. It's as if I've never been away! Okay, I've been living (and dreaming) this world for some time now, but I've also drafted another book while Fiona was working her magic, in a different genre and with a very different setting. When I've done that in the past, I've sometimes struggled to become fully immersed again in the first project. This...? This feels like putting on all my comfiest clothes and snuggling down. I'm loving being back in The Realm.

All going to plan, I should have these edits done by the end of January, then the book will be back to Fiona for a last check. The cover is getting designed as I type this, and various other things sorted. I'm aiming for March as a publication date, but I'll keep you all posted. I'll be looking for cheerleaders soon!

Until next week...

Tuesday, 5 January 2021


Happy New Year everyone. Let's hope 2021 isn't as much of a shocker as 2020 was!

blackboard with news written on it

I have updates for you! "Book #9" is back on my desk, and it now has a name! It will be called "Invasion" and is the fourth book in the Guardians of The Realm series.

The editing arrived back from Fiona on the last day of 2020. At time of writing this (Sunday 3rd) I haven't opened the file yet, because I know that as soon as I do, I will be sucked back into The Realm and there are other things I need to clear before that. I'm hugely excited to be back in The Realm with Aeron and Faran again and I'm hoping that Fiona really has loved the book as much as she said she did!

As for "book #10" - that's on hold for the moment. I didn't quite get to a full first draft by the end of the year (partly because I started on a second draft really - checking the timeline and the scene orders etc). I've packed away all the notes, maps and paraphernalia relating to book #10 to clear some real estate on my desk for "Invasion".

In a Facebook group I'm in, a fellow-writer (Mason Cross) had a suggestion of writing 100 words per day on a side-project, so I am also doing that. I've tweaked the challenge slightly to be 100 words and/or 10 minutes of planning. The idea is that by the time I've done the edits on "Invasion" and also the editing of book #10, I will then have a few thousand words and some planning for "book #11". 100 words is easy to achieve. 10 minutes of planning is easy to do. But they will add up to  a decent chunk by the time I'm ready to start that project for real. And then the 100 words/10 minutes will be on the next side-project. And so it goes on.

Setting writing goals seems almost futile with the way the world is at the moment, but I'm intending to publish both "Invasion" and book #10, hopefully before summer. I'm also hoping to have a first draft of another book by the end of the year. In a (more) ideal world, I'd like it to be at second draft (or better) but let's see what 2021 is going to throw at me! Two books published and a third drafted is enough. Anything more would be a bonus.

How about everyone else? What plans do you all have? Have they been scaled back after what happened in 2020? Do they exist at all, or are you just hoping to get through the year as unscathed as possible? Or are you optimistic that 2021 will be closer to normal and have drawn up plans accordingly? Drop me a note in the comments below.

Whatever your plans, I hope that 2021 is kind to you.