Twenty Five

14 Jun

You can read my response to the Scottish Book Trust’s call-out for Celebration themed writing at

Take a Deep Breath

10 Jun

The tag line of this blog is that is about writing and the creative process. Well, I am feeling very Zen at the moment and having had a birthday last week, it’s time again for a re-focusing. Those of you who have followed me for a while will know that life can be a struggle and that my creative time is nibbled away with a whole range of things – from the need to make money, to care commitments or the self-destructive need to sit and do nothing for a while.

But, I am feeling charged up thanks to two books and a YouTube video. First, the video – I have suffered from insomnia all of my life and up until now I have used the hours before sleep to tell myself stories and to let my mind go to a million places (some of them useful, others, not so much). But none of this was good for my mental, emotional or physical health. On a particularly rough day, my husband passed on a recommendation for Yoga Nidra for sleep. I have listened to the video a few times but can now use its techniques and fall to sleep really quickly without it. The fact that I am sleeping better has made me a lot calmer (albeit I have only been using this technique for a few weeks) and I feel as though I can concentrate better rather than my head spinning in different directions, with nothing getting done.

Matt Haig’s The Midnight Library was one of the books that has given me pause for reflection too. If you don’t know the book, a woman is allowed to experience all of the lives she could have lived if she had made different choices. Wow – mind blown. A great mix of philosophy, engaging characters and realism.

The second book, I am only half way through, but again, my mind is a bit blown. Will Storr’s The Science of Storytelling is easily the best book I have read about writing. That’s not to say that it is highly technical or explains the process or gives you great story beats. Instead it links in with the very heart (or mind) of storytelling. I have a deep interest in psychology, so this book is ideal for me. It talks deeply about perception and perceptions, of how we construct the narrative of our lives and how we can construct the narrative for our characters. Cracking. This will not be left half-read like so many other books on writing that I have.

And so, to action. I am trying to add a photo here of a blank grid which I intend to fill with lovely pink rectangles over the next 120 days (each one marking a writing day) but my IT is being obstructive. I will show you it when there is something more to see.

Free Event – Change of Date

8 Jun

The Scottish Writers’ Centre is hosting a great selection of readers and writing on the 15th of June at 7pm (changed from tonight). Tickets are free (although you do have to sign up for free membership of the Scottish Writers’ Centre to access). As with most things at the moment, the event will take place over Zoom.

I am reading a new flash fiction piece at the event and was lucky enough to hear the rehearsal of some of the other readers, so can guarantee a great night. Each writer only has a five minute slot to impress you, so there will be a cornucopia of talent.

I hope you can join me.

Australia here I come

11 May

I am delighted to announce that All the Places I’ve Ever Been is now available in Australia – where a lot of the action is set. All the Places I’ve Ever Been follows Meg as she leaves her job in the iconic Glasgow Apollo and travels the world with Australian rock band MindSet.

All the Places I've Ever Been - cover

Competition News – Congratulations

12 Apr

I was sitting last night thoroughly fed up with lockdown/Covid and all the attendant rubbishness when I opened my emails on my phone and my mood changed in an instant. ‘Congratulations’ – I like emails that start like that (when they are not spam) and so, good people, I give to you my 2nd place flash fiction Let’s Not from the lovely people at Cranked Anvil (that’s not me in the picture by the way, but I think it is a good illustration of my story.

You will see a countdown on the Cranked Anvil website for the deadline dates for their next Short Story and Flash Fiction competitions, so time to get writing.

This one is me – an old photo but you really don’t want to see what a year without a haircut looks like.

Are you Getting your Five a Day?

2 Apr

Oranges, apples, bananas, kiwi, melon – are you getting your five a day? Well, you can get them free for the next five days – or at least you can get my short story collection called Five a Day free for the next five days.

Happy munching. And as ever, the best way to say thank you (as I know you are very polite) is to pop a wee review on Amazon.

Five a Day: Short Stories and Flash Fiction by [Colette Coen]
Free ebook collection

Another Book Giveaway

25 Mar

This time Amazon is playing ball and I am able to do a 5 day giveaway for St Antony’s Tongue – a collection of short stories and flash fiction. Every time you read a page, I get a wee payment, so you get a free book and I still get paid – what’s not to love.

St Antony's Tongue: Short Stories and Flash Fiction by [Colette Coen]

Book Giveaway

23 Mar

Today marks the one year anniversary of the first lockdown in the UK. It’s been a weird and really not wonderful year. I made a decision not to write about Covid and I am going to stick to that until I feel as though reflection won’t totally screw up my mental health.

For the last few days though, I have been thinking about doing another ebook giveaway, so here it is. Amazon is playing up a bit, so it’s only for 24 hours. I hope you enjoy reading what I can now confidently call my first novel, as the second one is nearing completion. Hooray.

Hope you enjoy, and as ever, please leave a review on Amazon.

All the Places I’ve Ever Been

All the Places I've Ever Been by [Colette Coen]

Twitter Pitch #Xponorth

15 Jan

Scotland’s biggest Twitter Pitch is happening today between 9am and 9pm (GMT). Agents and publishers get to see the 280 character pitches for completed work and work in progress.

I have popped a couple of tweets on which you can see @colettecoen or have a browse using the #xponorth hashtag, remembering to like and retweet any that take your fancy.

Happy New Year

3 Jan

We made it to 2021. That’s worthy of a celebration: which is why it’s the 3rd and I am just getting around to my resolutions. Not that they took much contemplation as they have been the same for decades – read more, write more and stop wasting so much time. I’m not even going to say that I want to lose weight and exercise more, as it is a rare person who doesn’t. I did get an exercise bike for Christmas which arrived a few weeks ago. I was using it regularly, but today was the first time I had been on it since Christmas Day. My mantra is ‘everything in moderation’, so I’m not planning to beat any world records.

What I am planning to do though, is to use some of the helpful plans for reading and writing that have appeared over the last couple of weeks. The Guardian has put together ways to ‘Feed Your Soul‘ for the 31 days of January – which I plan to work through (although I might not stick to it religiously – did I watch Clueless yesterday – No)

There are a wide range of reading challenges at Girlxoxo – I have chosen to do the Alphabet Soup – Author Edition Challenge, which means a total of 26 books should be read in the year, although it may take me all year to get through ‘Promised Land’ by Barak Obama. I only managed 20 last year, but in my defence, books are a small proportion of the reading I do – what with my editing work, G2 Writers, newspapers and magazines. You’ll be able to follow the books I’ve read in the sidebar (Goodreads).

I’ve also been tearing out the middle of The Writers’ Forum magazine which has a calendar of Daily Kickstarters for each month. They are timed challenges which should take no more than 5 minutes – there is a variety in the type of challenge and I finally started using them today – I had to write about the setting for my next story and why I chose it. Interesting exercise as I have been reading a lot of short stories recently and have been struck by their variety (especially in ‘Days of Awe’ by A.M. Homes

Well, those are my brief resolutions. Onwards and upwards, well as much as restrictions will allow.