Tag Archives: All the Places I’ve Ever Been

Procrastination, Clutter and the Creative Process

7 Nov

A friend just won a de-cluttering voucher at a raffle, her husband commented, ‘I know what we need to get rid of, it’s doing it that’s the problem.’

Well, I am a fan of clutter, although I am also an ex-librarian and it has to be organised clutter. I tend to know where things are, even if things aren’t quite in Dewey Decimal order. I thought I’d share with you a photo of my very cluttered work space just before I have a bit of a tidy.

My mind can be on about three different projects at once, and this is reflected in the guddle that is my desk. I also know what needs to be read/attended to/filed, it’s just getting round to doing it that’s the problem.


My messy workspace.

Can you spot:

Inspiration quotes and Guardian cartoons hiding the front cover of All the Places I’ve Ever Been;

Dictionaries and grammar books being held straight by Lewis’ chess pieces;

My new business cards for Beech Editorial Services;

My lovely blue sand hour glass, which amazed my teenage daughter as it actually runs for an hour. (She’s more used to egg timers). It’s meant to help me stay focused on the task in hand;

Catalogues that I have browsed through, but need to actually buy from if anyone is going to get anything for Christmas;

Books on Mary Queen of Scots and a printout on the Scottish Enlightenment;

At least four notebooks;

A Bakewell slice;

Files full of information and inspiration for the two novels I am currently working on;

Lots of stationery;

A pile of half-read Writing Magazines?

Amazingly there is no coffee cup (surely some mistake), and I’ve saved you the boxes of magazines and newspapers that hide under the desk, to be plundered for ideas at a later date. And that, really, is the point of all the clutter, to inform, to entertain, to inspire – I sound like the BBC. Organised chaos, basically, a bit like my mind…

Right, on with the de-clutter, I might be here a while.


Mothers’ Day

21 Mar

Okay, so maybe you can’t afford to send your mum on a round-the-world trip, but you could buy her a book that sends the heroine on such a journey. Even better if your mum remembers the 80s. What book would that be? I hear you say. Oh, you know, don’t you? And don’t worry, one of these days I’ll finish the next book, and give you something different to look at.

Just to guilt trip you – got my Amazon payments for last month – 3p. Really must get on with writing something new.

Post 201: Kindle Deals

5 Jul

Normally WordPress do lots of fireworks and ‘Wow aren’t you wonderful’ comments, yet I managed to do post 200 without noticing – so here’s post 201.

I’m beginning to wind down for my summer holidays, in the way only a mother can, by frantically shopping, washing, ironing etc, and downloading books and syncing my ipod, and generally anticipating sitting by a pool with a glass in one hand and my Nook in the other. I’ve also got actual paperbacks to take too – Go Set a Watchman, My Brilliant Friend, among others.

If you’re still looking for a holiday read, then you could read both of the above, and then, let me think, All the Places I’ve Ever Been – £1.99 for the next two days. Get it fast, it’ll be £2.99 before you know it.

Holiday Reading – Cheap (but Great Quality)

3 Jul

Right folks, time for another Kindle Countdown Deal for All the Places I’ve Ever Been (99p for next two days, then going up in increments for a few days before it returns to its normal price).

All the Places I’ve Ever Been is a coming-of-age novel set in the late 1980s. It follows teenager Meg Burns on a round the world journey as she flees from a violent attack in Glasgow to travel with Australian rock band MindSet. Streetwise but emotionally immature, each new city brings opportunities and challenges. The band gives Meg the security she has never had, but when support turns to control and secrets re-emerge, she needs to decide who she can really trust.


No matter how far she runs, Meg can never escape the past.

No matter how far she runs, Meg can never escape the past.

If you’ve already bought it, I’d love it if you could share this link with your friends, and add a review on Amazon (even if it’s only a word or two). If you haven’t already bought it – what are you waiting for – you won’t get it cheaper.

If, like me, you don’t actually own a Kindle (I’m still struggling with a Nook, which I think is going to be upgraded very soon), then you can buy a print copy, online, or in person if you see me out and about.

Happy Holidays.

A Little Round Up

6 May

Hello, this month this blog is Blog of the Month for the Federation of Writers (Scotland), so I thought I would give a little round up of who I am and what I do, and what appears on this blog in case this is the first time you’ve been here. If you want reminders to read the blog, you can sign up to follow it via email, Facebook or Twitter, by clicking on the links.

  • I live in Glasgow with my husband and three kids who are mainly of the teenage variety.
  • I’ve been writing fiction for as long as I can remember, took it relatively seriously in my early 20s when I was very involved with the Castlemilk Writers and Cutting Teeth.
  • Got too involved in my career, and as involved as I should have been with having kids in my 30s, so writing took a back seat.
  • Gave up my career, got a job in a supermarket, did a 6 month Faber Academy Novel Writing Course, wrote a novel All the Places I’ve Ever Been , published 3 collections of short stories, won a few competitions, and was shortlisted twice for the Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award, in my 40s.
  • I’m in the G2 Writers group (with former members of the Faber Academy and Glasgow Uni MLitt Course)- writers I’ve worked with who have published or are just about to publish novels or poetry collections: Ethyl Smith, Vicki Jarrett, Maggie Ritchie, Gail Honeyman, Kev Scott, Maria Sinclair, JoAnne McKay Charlie Gracie
  • I regularly post new fiction here – often inspired by the writing prompts at Creative Writing Ink.
  • I also post more generally about what I’m up to in the writing field and give hints about all the things that keep me away from writing, mainly to do with care responsibilities and hospital visits (rarely mine).
  • I am currently working on my second novel – although I’ve put another ‘second novel’ on the back burner which was actually my first novel, and the one I’m writing now was my first play, so, oh, you get the idea. I’m writing something.
  • So, that’s me – if you want to know more, hang around, take a look at some of my previous posts, or have have a look at my publications.

Readers Like a Bargain

2 Apr

Into Day 3 of the Kindle Countdown Deal for All the Places I’ve Ever Been, and there has been a decided slow down of sales, even though the ebook is still only £3.99. So it would seem that it’s all about pricing, and getting the promotions right – maybe all the people who were going to buy it finally got round to it when I reminded them again that it was out there. Maybe people just aren’t willing to take too big a punt on a relative unknown.

My sister questioned if I should permanently reduce the price of the ebook, but the way Amazon works, this would reduce my royalty rate to 30%, whereas if I occasionally do Countdown Deals (allowed every 90 days), then I retain the 70% rate I normally get.

I has been very exciting doing this and getting a reasonable number of sales. If you’ve not snapped up a bargain yourself yet, you’ve got until 8.00am BST when the ebook returns to its list price. Remember, if you don’t own a Kindle, you can always get the paperback,or if you are an Amazon Prime customer you can borrow the ebook for free through Kindle Unlimited.

Update on Countdown Deal

1 Apr

So, my Kindle Countdown Deal has been running for 24 hours, and I am amazed at how successful it has been, moving me from a ranking round about 1,500,000 (yes all those zeros should be there), to 2,896 in General Fiction, 350 in Women’s Fiction, and 185 in YA. Okay, so I cut the price from £3.99 for an ebook to 99p yesterday, £1.99 today, and £2.99 tomorrow, but I’m shifting units, and building a bit of momentum.

In terms of marketing, I’ve been posting in lots of the Facebook groups I’m a member of, but the one with the most traction has been my old school. All the Places I’ve Ever Been does start in the mid 80s in Glasgow, (though it then takes the protagonist around the World), so there is an obvious attraction for people who know the time and/or place. I think the ‘oh I remember her’ also helps.

I did dip my toes in the water of pay-per-click advertising a few weeks ago, but I must admit once I reached about £25 spend for £5 profit, I thought it was time to stop. I know other people who have used this method more successfully, but I think it probably works best if you are selling higher ticket items with a bigger profit margin.

I’d totally forgotten to Tweet about the deal yesterday (can’t really get into Twitter), so I’m off to do that now.

I’ll give another update tomorrow, where I might even admit how obsessively I’ve been checking the sales figures – well, it is exciting finding people who want to read what you’ve written.

Bye for now


Kindle Countdown Deal

31 Mar
Don’t tell anyone – no wait a minute – tell everyone, my novel is on a Kindle Countdown Deal for the next few days. The sooner you buy it, the cheaper it is – ONLY 99p today. (You’d be struggling to get an EasyJet flight for less). So if you’re looking for a bit of escapism while the kids are off school, click away. All the Places I’ve Ever Been 

Vanity, Vanity

25 Mar

Just made it into my local paper’s website – The Extra. Took me a while though to be brave enough to get my picture taken, as I’ve been suffering really badly recently from a flare up of eczema. (My story Five a Day is based on my struggles with the condition). My sister even offered to Photoshop a picture for me, and while I’m totally against such nonsense in women’s magazines, where perfectly natural ‘blemishes’ are expunged, I was tempted.

Instead I waited until my dermatology appointment and resultant magic cream before I ventured in front of the lens. In a Escher like way the photo was taken by my daughter, who is the girl on the front cover of All the Places I’ve Ever Been, which was taken by me. Is your head hurting yet?

Anyway, need to pop down to the newsagent to see if I’ve managed to make it into the paper version of The Extra. Lots of ‘likes’ when I posted the link on Facebook, which will hopefully translate into a few more sales.

No matter how far she runs, Meg can never escape the past.

No matter how far she runs, Meg can never escape the past.

Colette with All the Places I've Ever Been

Probably could still do with a touch up.

Some Questions Answered

13 Feb

One of my friends is about to discuss All the Places I’ve Ever Been with her book group in Switzerland, and posed me a few questions. I thought the easiest way would be to do a little Q & A here. If there’s anything I’ve missed, please feel free to ask below, or on GoodReads.

Q: Where did you get your inspiration?

A: I’ve always been a big music fan, and a keen traveler, so it made sense to put the two together with a love story to create my first novel. I suppose lots of young girls fantasize about running off with a rock band, and I was no different. Even though I was no longer young, the stories that had stayed in my head were the go-to ones when I started the Faber Academy course on Writing a Novel a few years ago.

Q: Is it based on a true story?

A: While I am the same age as Meg, and was therefore a teenage girl in 1985, and while Meg and I have visited a lot of the same places, and had a lot of the same impressions, she is a fictional character. I did do quite a bit of research though, watching every rock documentary I could get my hands on – thanks to MTV – and re-visiting places via Google Maps. I also went to a rehearsal of one of my workmates bands Rebel 69, and that was really interesting, allowing me to get close up to the dynamics of a band.

Q: Have you visited the same places as Meg?

A: I can’t claim to have visited all the same places as Meg, but I have been to a lot of them. The places Meg stays longest, like San Francisco, New Orleans and Paris, are places I have been and spent a bit of time, but I decided that Meg wouldn’t go to the Far East, as I thought that would be too difficult to make realistic when I haven’t been there. Everywhere else, I’ll let you guess.

I did go to quite a few concerts at the Glasgow Apollo before it closed in 1985, and I was able to do a tour of The Barrowlands Ballroom when I was doing my research – getting into the dressing rooms, and asking loads of questions of the manager Stan.

Q: Any other interesting info?

My friends who read the first drafts were great at picking up little mistakes in the details. I don’t drink gin, but chose what I thought was a classy brand for the band’s party. One of my gin-drinking friends was able to tell me that that brand wasn’t around at the time, as she remembered quite clearly when it came on the market. She was also got me to check when Neighbours was first shown in the UK, and right again, it was too late for my book, so that had to be scraped too.

I did have a bit of an argument with Stevie from Rebel 69 as he claimed Big Country never played the Apollo, but I won that one, thanks to a bit of research in Apollo Memories.

#Glasgow Apollo #Barrowlands #Faber Academy #Writing Inspiration # Rebel 69 #Janice Galloway #Book Group Choice


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