Tag Archives: Gail Honeyman

Out with the Old and In with the New

31 Dec


Here we are on Hogmanay, and it’s time to take an inventory of the last year, and plan for the one ahead. I sat this time last year with my family, and we all said ‘well, 2017 can’t be as bad as 2016’, well it was a close run think – I lost my father-in-law and a friend, who were both lovely gentle people and who are missed. I also spent at least ten nights in hospital (5 separate admissions) with one of my kids, and countless other times at A&E, Out-Patients, the GP and Boots with both oldsters and youngsters. But we did welcome a new baby into the family, and had a wedding which united my nephew with the cousin of one of my oldest friends.

I also got on top of my horrible atopic eczema, thank you Child’s Farm, and got my mojo back (at least a bit)


An alright year on the writing front. I got back to my writers’ group; went on a retreat to a freezing but very atmospheric country house/castle; continued to write short stories; and made some progress with my novel. I managed to get a few pieces published, but there were the inevitable knock-backs and disappointments. I am starting the new year with a new notebook, which I hope will be filled with lots of tantalising snippets that will grow into fully-formed beauties.

Out with the Paperblanks (I love you) and in with the Essential Waitrose

I have a writing plan in hand, should funding become available; and a another plan if it doesn’t. I’ve got my new office/son’s bedroom painted, so all I need is a carpet, and his university term to start again, and I can move back in.


I failed miserably at my GoodReads challenge of reading 20 books this year (only managed 12), and got to the stage with my book group that I didn’t even know what book I was meant to have bought (and read). That will all change this incoming year, with Girls of Slender Means by Muriel Spark in honour of her centenary. I am a huge fan of Muriel Spark, but I actually haven’t read this one, so I am really looking forward to it.

The fact that I haven’t finished many books disguises the fact that I have been doing huge amounts of reading. My writers’ group means that I critique around 15k words a month, and I am nearly finished a Proofreading Course which takes reading to a whole new level. I plan to launch my new website/business in the next couple of months.

Talented G2 Writers

I’ve felt huge pride, and not a little jealousy in the success of friends – four past members of my writers’ group have gone on to great things. Ethyl Smith and Maggie Ritchie published their second novels this year, and Kevin Scott and Gail Honeyman , their first. Gail’s success has been phenomenal, and gives hope to us lesser mortals. Having read the books in draft form, I am only now getting round to reading the books in full, but I know they will be great.

So here’s to 2018, may it bring happiness and health to us all.




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.


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.


Big Success Story (just not mine)

23 Oct

Many, many congratulations to my wonderful writing buddy Gail Honeyman who has proved that dreams do come true with a bidding war for her first novel. Bookseller Article Had an amazing night celebrating her success and found it really inspiring to know that sometimes hard work really does pay off – mind you Gail has tonnes of talent too.

Feeling very pumped up after my short break in Brussels, and ready to embark (for the first time) on NaNoWriMo to challenge myself to write 50k words in November, well what else am I going to be doing during the long dark days before Christmas?

P1050593 P1050637 P1050640 P1050747 P1050786

Edging Towards the Dream

4 Jul

So, it’s been a horrible year with lots of family illness (which are likely to roll on for some time) but I noticed when I last blogged that there was a big target on the screen and I was down to one month to become a proper writer. Well, drum roll, I’ve edged a little closer to my dream of being a published novelist and am now re-editing my novel after receiving comments from a sizeable agency (I’ll say no more of that just now).

I didn’t make it passed the final cut of New Writing Scotland http://www.arts.gla.ac.uk/scotlit/asls/NWS32.html but three of my fellow G2 writers did – Phil Murnin, Gail Honeyman and George Craig (although George has abandoned us now). Really delighted for them and all their successes – Phil is also in receipt of a New Writers’ Award from the Scottish Book Trust http://www.scottishbooktrust.com/writing/scottish-book-trust-training-awards/new-writers-awards  and Gail was recently shortlisted for the Lucy Cavendish Award http://www.lucy-cav.cam.ac.uk/fictionprize/ . Well done to both of them for that.

Recently I won a Blankety Blank cheque book and pen (or a Moleskin notebook and Shaffer pen to be more factually accurate), from the website CreativeWriting Ink. Follow the link to read my story – Pictures on a Wall. http://creativewriting.ie/pictures-wall/ Winning this story, coming on the back of my contact with the literary agency made me think that maybe I am a proper writer now. Still can’t quite believe that, and still don’t have a printed book in my sticky fingers but it is all seeming more realistic and realizable now, despite the lemons that life continues to throw at my head – anyone got a lemonade recipe?



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