5 Year Writing Project: 2016 round-up

Round up of 2016’s writing achievements, and a quick look ahead.

In August 2013, I signed up for Misha and Beth’s 5 year project. The idea was to set yourself a writing goal and then stick with it for 5 years until you achieved your aim. In my case, my goal was to get a novel finished and published.

3 years and 4 months later and I have:

bullet-30 Achieved the first part of my goal. Yes, my novel is written. It’s called The Reluctant Scribe and is a historical novel set in the Tang Dynasty, 7th century China. I’ve had feedback from various people, including a professor of literature, and it has all been positive. Continue reading “5 Year Writing Project: 2016 round-up”

Is Christmas the right time to buy a book about walking?

Stuck for Christmas presents? Try buying books.

Gift ideas for Xmas?

buying books for ChristmasI really don’t know much about selling, but I’ve shifted a few copies of my non-fiction book, Walking the English Coast, in the past few weeks.

People are buying copies as presents for other people, or even as presents for themselves.

In the New Year we start thinking about exercise and make resolutions to get healthy. So, in January I expect demand will go up! Continue reading “Is Christmas the right time to buy a book about walking?”

Desperately seeking a final story

Yesterday was the last day of NaNoWriMo

desperately-gif-500

Apart from one day of panic, when I thought I might have sucked my brain dry of inspiration, I’ve done pretty well during this NaNo month.

30 short stories in 30 days is no mean feat.

Yesterday, it was time to come up with my final story and I turned to a wisp of an idea that’s been gentle wafting through my mind for some time.

It involved a woman searching for her tortoise. And finding love instead.

Anyway, that’s it. #30days30shorts over and done with. Now follows the most important part of any writing spree: the dreaded editing!


Illustrating the stories

Somebody asked me where I found the illustrations I used in this series of NaNo posts.

  1. I searched for Creative Commons Zero images (CC0) on sites such as Unsplash, Pixabay and Pexels,
  2. opened them in my Corel PaintShop Pro programme,
  3. modified them with line drawings on my Wacom pad,
  4. and experimented with various photo manipulation tricks.

It’s been great fun finding suitable images and converting them for each piece.

Creating the illustrations took almost as much effort as writing the stories themselves. Should have really called this project #30days30shorts30pics Anyway, here’s a gallery of them all:


Are fortune-tellers really con artists?

Or simply excellent interpreters of psychological ‘tells’?

fortune-teller-gif-500 What if a fake fortune-teller suddenly discovered her fortune-telling wasn’t a trick after all? What if she discovered she really could see into the future?

That was the starting point for yesterday’s NaNoWriMo short story.

But… as usual, the story ran away from me and insisted on becoming something different. So, instead of my fortune-teller being in possession of a supernatural talent, she turns out to be just really, really good at sniffing out the truth.

Sigh. I do my best to write about magic and the paranormal. But I guess this proves you can take the woman away from the science, but you can never take the science away from the woman. Or something!

Anyway, only one more day of NaNo left and one more story to go in my #30days30shorts challenge.

Marrow wars – day 28

Bill and Alf are neighbours, but not friends.

bill-and-alf-gif-500Bill was convinced his marrow would win the prize for best vegetable, but Alf had pipped him to the post and then crowed – positively crowed – about his achievements in the Ruddy Duck.

So Bill decided it was time for a bit of sabotage.

(Yes, these things really do happen.)

That was the starting point for my 28th NaNoWriMo short story. It was one of those funny little plots that’s been worming through my mind for some time. Good to get it out at last.

Today’s story is also done. I’ll post a summary tomorrow. Only one more day to go… can’t believe I’ve nearly finished #30days30shorts