Archive for the ‘Christmas’ Category

To those who celebrate it – Merry Christmas!
For those who don’t – have a happy few days, whatever you are doing.

Here’s a little Mariah to keep you company for a few minutes!

See you in a few days,

Happy writing,




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I am off on my Christmas break now, so instead of telling you what I am reading, I wanted to share a famous story with you: A Christmas Carol

Unfortunately, being a Dickens novel I have never got into it (see also: Great Expectations; Bleak House; Oliver Twist).  Maybe I’ll try again next year!

Instead, and because most of us have seen at least one film or tv version of the story, I give you a brief synopsis by Chris Pirillo:


Happy reading,



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…and all through the house
Were the remnants of wrapping
And bags to fill a warehouse!

I can’t believe it’s only a week until Christmas.

Normally I spend some time around now thinking about the strengths of my writing year and areas I can develop in the next, but this year went way off plan and never got back on track.  I don’t see the point in reviewing a year in which all my intentions went awry!

So I will focus on two specific positives of the year…

The first is the crime writing convention back in April. I found it thought-provoking and it made me want to go to more events like it. We all know that the year didn’t work that way, but I still want to go to more, and I am intending to go to the 2017 Classic Crime event in June 2017.  Hopefully more than just the one, in fact!  I don’t think I realised at the time quite how useful the day would be going forward.

The second is getting back into writing after my rubbish summer.  I may not be where I want to be but it would have been so easy to admit defeat some of those days, and I got back on the horse.  Yes, the horse is a bit of a scraggly old thing but it’s moving, and that is important.  I always say you can’t edit a blank page, and that is particularly relevant when things are going badly.  Any writing, however rough and ready, is better than none.

Two things don’t seem much of an outcome for 12 months, but both represent something important in my year: the first, a change in direction and in perception; the second a challenge I won.  It might not be reflected in word counts or books read but I’m still here, still writing, still being inspired. That’s a major success in my book!

I don’t expect to have any time to pop back before Christmas but I will prepare a suitably cheery post for Thursday, at least.

Whatever you are doing for the next fortnight, I hope it’s a happy, healthy and peaceful time for you all.

And I promise 2017 will be a more energised year on here.  I did ask Father Christmas for my mojo back, after all…!!

Happy Writing,







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So this is how Christmas week went:

21 December: work/out
22 December: work/out
23 December: work/out/wrapping
Christmas Eve: work/friends over/out
Christmas day: out
Boxing Day: out
27 December: stayed in pyjamas/did some writing.

I’m not complaining, it was a lovely week – but the whodunnit didn’t get much attention.  Even in the gaps I was too tired to get on with it to any great extent, and generally read instead.

My planned writing in the car was not super-successful either, although I did get a bit done.

Happily I got a chunk completed on the 27th, even if I spent much of the day in what felt like suspended animation. Well, that may be an exaggeration, but you get the idea!

I’m not going to worry though. Tomorrow is another day, as Scarlett O’Hara would say, and it’s one where I don’t have to go out if I don’t want to, and certainly not for long if I do!

So tomorrow I will carry on and just keep writing. That’s all anyone can do when they want to get the words from their head onto a page after all…

Just keep writing,

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This week, I’ve been trying to get into the spirit of Christmas; a little early, but it’s due to the fact that I promised to write a poem for the local newsletter, a sort of advert for the writing group, and the deadline was this weekend. Well, I sweet-talked the editor into an extension (easily done, as I’m married to him!) so the deadline is Tuesday.

I know not everyone who reads this will celebrate or even mark Christmas, so saying I feel ‘Christmassy’ might not mean much. That made me think maybe I should write a poem about what being ‘Christmassy’ means to me.

So I did a little word association, and here’s what I came up with:

Butterfly tummy
Cold noses
Twinkling lights

I am sure over time other words will crop up, and people will feel different things, but this is at least a part of it for me.

Looking at this list, I noticed something important.  See those words I have highlighted?  Those words are about peace.

Those words are fundamentally a part of a peaceful worlds: being part of a community with family and friends; sharing what we have so people are safe and secure; being joyful and thankful for the positives in our lives.  Being thoughtful about others and about our own actions and responses.  Being charitable – this doesn’t just mean giving money out but also being kind and caring, giving the benefit of the doubt.  Welcoming others into our lives as new family, new friends.

Put aside the religion for a moment, if you can, and take away the veneer of commercialism that has made Christmas a slick advertisement for all the latest things.

What remains is an opportunity to focus on, and make time for, other people.

That’s the spirit I want to get into, and that’s the message I want my poem to convey.

Happy writing,



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It occurred to me today that it’s nearly New Year.  I’m not sure how that happened – it’s been such a busy one and time has passed in a blur!  I wanted to write a relevant post and had a few ideas…

So firstly, here’s a seasonal picture:


My husband took this at the Warner Bros Studio Tour, so it’s a little bit of Hogwarts for you 🙂


Secondly, I hope you have all had a happy and peaceful few days.  Christmas is a focus of attention here at this time of year, but it shouldn’t take a specific date, or a specific season, for us to show our love for family and friends or to spend time enjoying each other’s company.

Finally, I want to say a huge thank you to you all: followers, readers, and droppers-in!  I know this blog flits from writing to life to peace to books – but then so do I, and so do many of you it seems!  Thank you for sticking with me on this journey; I am looking forward to finding out what happens next!

Happy writing,



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With barely more than 48 hours left of 2013, I have been looking at this year’s progress and where I need to get to in the next few weeks.

This time last year, I was still working on the family tree novel.  Now, after the waiting game I’ve played with agents, I have decided to speed up the agent approaches and work out a timetable for possible self-publishing.  It’s still not my preference but I didn’t write the book to let it sit in a drawer for the rest of my life!

I now want to give some attention to increasing my public profile. My blog merrily flows onwards but I really need to gain more followers; I should sort out a Facebook and twitter account. This is all possible outside of my personal pages so I’ll target those things for January.

As part of that, I’ll add more of my own prose to the blog for feedback and comments to see what I need to improve, and what works well.

Alongside that I want to do more poetry performances and perhaps make them a regular event – say once a quarter so I have time to write new material. As the poetry exists under my own name and not my writing name, I can keep the two separate which will please any agent I do eventually secure!

But all good things must end, and I think I’ll have to start looking for paid work in the new year too – it’ll mean less time for writing but looking on the positive side, it’ll give me new things to write about!  Besides, I am saving up for something important and it’ll all be worth it!

In other news – Book number 14 on the 100 best novels list is Vanity Fair.  I think I’ve read it, and I’ve certainly watched both tv and film versions of it!  I can’t remember much about it though so I think it might be one I go back to.

And finally – I’d like to wish you all a happy, peaceful and creative 2014.  This year has been difficult at times, but there has also been love, laughter and happiness – and a great sense of camaraderie, including on WordPress.  I want to thank you all for commenting, reading and liking posts, and following the blog 🙂

Until next year – happy writing!



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This is a short one, because here in the UK we enjoy an extra day of festivities after Christmas Day – Boxing Day, when ‘masters’ traditionally gave their servants a box of presents, or some such.  I did in fact get another present today, which was totally unexpected and rather lovely.

This week’s inspiration post is loosely related – I recently read a newspaper article about the terminology of the season.  From the article, I learnt that is some parts of the US people don’t say Merry Christmas but instead say Happy Holidays.  That’s not common here in the UK but there it is an inclusive term, covering a number of festivities both religious and secular.

It got me thinking about the differences in cultures, even those that are reasonably closely related.

I’ve always been interested in people – I did a degree in Sociology and loved the anthropology element, and the nature of human experience is most definitely a subject of interest.

So this week, I’m asking you a favour – tell me one tradition you have in the winter months.  It can be a family tradition, a religious one or a national one – anything you like that’s legal and appropriate to share on a blog open to all ages!

It will give me a little inspiration to explore new ideas and you never know, I might be able to make a poem or short piece of writing personal to you…

Happy holidays, season’s greetings and have a good few writing days!



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…and all through the house
Were trails of glitter and
Wrapping paper scraps!

Yes, it’s that time of the year when writing really goes into hibernation for a few days.

I can’t tell you what I’ve been working on this week – I know I was thinking about the ballet and wrote some notes but other than that I can’t actually figure out where the last few days have gone. It’s been incredibly busy.

But an idea keeps popping into my head, and it’s the kind of idea that needs a lot of attention. I’m not sure what to do with it yet – all I can say is that it was inspired by something I saw in London. It was something that made me reflect on how blessed I am in my life, and how incredibly lucky I am to live as I do; something that has already influenced a change in my own behaviour.

But it is also something I am not sure I could do justice, writing-wise, right now.

So I’ll hold it in my mind like a grain of sand that hopefully one day will form a pearl; if that day comes, I’ll share it with you as if it too is a Christmas gift.

In other news – We’ve got to number 13 in the 100 best novels – Wuthering Heights.  Yes, it is one I’ve read; as I mentioned last week I was influenced by Jane Eyre.  I can’t help thinking of Kate Bush whenever I hear the title now though – it’s a bit odd to think the song is older than me!  And just in case you’ve never heard it, enjoy this video and revel in the 1970’s 🙂

Also – I read this article about the discovery of early PG Wodehouse work; I am always fascinated by discoveries like this and wonder what else is out there waiting to be found once more.

And finally – As my next post will be after Christmas, I just want to wish you all a happy and peaceful few days, whether you are celebrating Christmas or not!

Happy writing,



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This is not the post I’d planned – that one needs a photo from the weekend and I can’t find the lead to download from the camera!

I’ve said before on a few occasions that I really love trees; that includes the lovely decorative ones seen in the UK at this time of year.

Tree time

Here’s one waiting to be put on display in my house!

Many people will have memories of decorating their homes for festive occasions, and one I really remember from childhood is decorating the Christmas tree.

We made hanging ornaments for them at playschool and primary school – cutting egg-boxes into little bell-shapes and covering them with foil for example. My parent’s tree, as we grew up, was a mishmash of lovely glamorous baubles and things we’d made as children that my mum couldn’t bear to throw away.  And there was always lametta.  Not the horrid angel hair stuff that knots up but lovely long shiny strands in a multitude of colours that caught the sparkle from the fairy lights we’d draped across the tree.

I realised this year that you can tell a lot about a home from decorations.  For example, those baubles celebrating ‘baby’s first christmas’, or ones shaped like princess shoes, or crosses and angels.  Each of these says something about the household – that there’s a baby there, or a woman/girl, or people who like to reflect upon the religious elements of the season.

When you write, you lay a trail of clues for your reader to pick up.  Decorations are a great way to do this, and if you look around you’ll see how much variation there can be.  You’ll soon see that you can tell a story without even mentioning the characters themselves.

Happy writing,



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