Tag Archives: G2 Writers

Summer Holiday Reading

14 Jul

I absolutely HATE packing. I know that deciding what to wear on holiday should be fun. but it’s the run-up to actually putting things in the case that I hate. Do I have enough? Does that still fit? Can I actually go to the shops and not just buy clothes for the kids? Our baggage allowance is what?

It is getting easier though – for a start there’s only 4 of us going away instead of the usual 5. (Will be weird, but cheaper without No1 son, who has already been away with his pals, but my mum is trying to make me feel guilty that I’m not taking him.)  Kids 2&3 are old enough to pack themselves, but need to keep a wee eye on them after No3 turned up in Brussels in October with no jacket – it was -2 degrees. To be fair to him, we’d never been abroad except in the summer, so he didn’t really compute that it might be cold.

But what I do love about packing, is choosing what I’m going to read on holiday. Because we’re not going with ElCheapo Airlines, like we usually do, I’m going to sneak in a few paperbacks as well as a Kindle (I’ve finally realised that the Nook, while a nice ereader, getting almost impossible to buy books for. And my sister-in-law was upgrading her Kindle, so I got the old one.)

Lovely man in the local Waterstones gave my kids great recommendations, although we realised that we already had quite a few of the books they were suggesting. I bought the lovely Maggie Ritchie’s new novel Looking for Evelyn (Maggie is a G2 Writer, but I missed her book launch. Did make the launches of two compadres’ launches – Kevin Scott’s Dead Cat Bounce, and Gail Honeyman’s Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine). Rest of the holiday reading is coming from the book shelves, and looks like this.

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And from the Kindle: Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry; Holding by Graham Norton; and CJ Sansom’s Revelation. A bit of a mixed bag, I know, but that’s the great thing about uninterrupted reading time – you get to put the mind to Umberto Eco and chill with Graham Norton.

And if you are still looking for books to take away, check back in between tomorrow 15th and the 19th of July, and you’ll be rewarded by a Free Book. Subscribe or Follow me so you don’t need to remember.

 

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.

Structo Magazine – Looking for Subs

24 Mar

I’ve just been published in this rather lovely magazine Structo Issue 15 is out now, but if you are a writer looking for an outlet then these guys seem to know what they are doing. Submissions for Issue 16 are open now until  April 5th 2016. They have the rather lovely submission rule that you have to prove that have bought a recent literary magazine. There’s a rather blurry photo of me on their website holding Mslexia, as is my rather more photogenic pal Paula Hunter (who is also featured in Issue 15)

 

structo

 

A Treat at the Retreat

11 Mar

This time last week I was at Moniack Mhor – on Day 2 of my annual retreat. I had intended to blog when I was there, but it didn’t happen, so here instead is a reflection – which will hopefully be more interesting than – got up, had breakfast, wrote, had lunch, read, wrote, walked, had dinner, drank.

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So, this year was my third time at Moniack Mhor – the first time in Spring, although that didn’t stop us having snow every day (I was in the Highlands after all), but it did change my schedule a bit as I was able to go out for a couple of head clearing walks.

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The first time I went on retreat, I must admit I was a bit overwhelmed – wow, I’ve got all this time, and I’ve got no family to look after, and I don’t have a washing machine to feed, and I’ve got all this time to write, and I really should make the most of it, and I can’t believe I’ve got all this time to write. Aaaah. Second time, I relaxed a lot more into it. Decided that I had to write a complete novel in the first day, realised that I do need down time between burst, and that flicking through a trashy mag can be as vital a part of the creative process as reading Ulysses (which I brought back unread from my first retreat).

Fast forward to last week. Six of us met at Queen St Station in Glasgow (another 2 folk would join us later) for the 3 and a half hour train journey to Inverness, where we were met by the lovely Gordon and his minibus and taken to Moniack Mhor. The train journey itself was lovely – a great chat, and fantastic scenery, then into the cottage and we were off. I set myself absolutely no targets, and as they say, I managed to exceed them. I had been critiqued the previous night at our usual G2 workshops, so I started with going over my draft and making changes based on the comments. Then I pulled out another short story which had also been through the workshop but never been revised. And finally I started my novel, and over the next few days wrote almost 5,000 words. Not bad going.

Click for Options

Sunday was Mothers’ Day, and it was 5pm before I saw my three kids – and no, the non-mothers in the group didn’t decide to give us breakfast in bed – and my own mum. So, back home, what happens next. Well, there was the inevitable back to work blues – why can’t I still be at my desk writing? Which was followed by a major TV binge. But from Wednesday I’ve been able to find the inner retreat – to get into the writing groove – to go out walking, to read, to write, to be a proper writer.

And that really is the treat from the retreat. Being with a group of writers (and I’m lucky that I have a great group of writers who I know well, even if they are camera shy) means that you don’t have to apologise that you are heading off to write. You don’t have to feel embarrassed or guilty or self-conscious. You are there to write, and that’s what you do.

On a final note – since as a group we are normally picking over each others’ writing with a fine tooth comb, it was great to kick back and relax. And what can I say – Obama Llama brought on an asthma attack I was laughing so much.

 

Moniack Mhor

2 Mar

Where I’m going to be for the next few days – Moniack Mhor Writers’ Retreat.

Can’t wait – lots of reading, writing and fun with the G2 Writers’ Group.

 

#Moniack Mhor

#G2 Writers

#Writers’ Retreat

Structo Magazine Launch

22 Jan

I’m not going to make it to the launch of Issue 15 of Structo, but I do have one of my short stories in it, as does one of my G2 buddies @Paula Hunter.

Print copy of magazine on sale in February with on-line copy available free to all, three months later.

 

Reading Lists for the Year

16 Mar

Apr130119apr13I know we’re already in the middle/near the end of March, but I thought I’d share with you my reading shelf for the year. I’ve never done this before, but I’ve read a couple of books recently which haven’t really excited me – in fact I’ve abandoned one last night as I couldn’t get through another WW1 novel (being a pacifist and all). So I thought I would give myself something to look forward to by going through my books and picking out the must-reads for the year, There’s about 25 here so I need to get going, although I am slightly ahead of my Goodreads.com Challenge for this year.

So next up is Paris Kiss by Maggie Ritchie – one of my G2 writing buddies though I haven’t read any of this, as productive Maggie is well into book 2 which is the one we’ve been critiquing in the group.

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