Writer as Artist as Writer...

I make lists.
That's not unusual is it? Lots of people I know make lists.
Lists make me feel as if I've achieved something, and when they're lists for an event that I'm looking forward to, it creates an air of anticipation around the whole thing.
My lists are a teeny bit different to most people's...
Because, ahem....

I paint my lists.

I don't mean that I paint over them. I mean I actually paint pictures of the items on my list.
Not every list. I mean, I don't paint my weekly shop. That would be mad! (As if you don't think I'm a just a bit potty already.)
No, I mean my Packing Lists. For things like weekends away, holidays, and for the much-anticipated writer's Conference held by the Romantic Novelist's Association, this year in Leeds.

I'll find you some of the painted lists in my sketchbooks. Hang on a minute while I dig some of the better ones out...

Here's one. It was a big mistake, by the way, to wear skinny jeans to Cub…

Publication Week For Summer at the Art Cafe!

I’ve had the most amazing week.
My novel - you know, the one I started writing four years, yes, four years ago, I know! It probably seems like an eternity to you, but in the great scheme of things it's truly nothing - anyway, it popped into the big wide world on Tuesday 15th May.
I celebrated first of all with the ladies from our local RNA Chapter (that always makes me laugh, a Chapter usually being a motorbike region :-) ) Then later with biker pal Annie and her hubby, Champagne and home made pizza on our wood fired pizza oven in the garden. Annie had read the very first, raw drafts of the novel, and had been so encouraging and supportive. She was just the right person to celebrate the book's launch.
Here it is, so you can just click on it and buy it right now this minute. It's on Special, at 99p:
Summer at the Art Cafe
Dressed in its utterly gorgeous, and, ahem, *modest blush* painted by me, front cover, it’s out there, on its own, without me standing over it…

A Life in Colour

The world has been white far too often this year – and I’m trying to ignore the social media posts that tell me the Easter weekend will be suffering the same fate. All those poor snow-flattened daffodils and crocuses, it’s such a shame. Spring is meant to be about colour after the greys of winter – and I’ve been planning a blog post about colour for ages now. Mostly since I was waxing lyrical during a writer’s meet-up, about apricot skies and long, lilac shadows. A friend’s head swivelled towards me.
‘You can tell you’re an artist,’ she said, with a grin. ‘I’d just have said it was an orange sky. And now I’m going to have to look at the colour of shadows on the roads!’
(Now I come to think of it, that’s a great title for a novel, ‘The Colour of Shadows’. I thought of it first! It’s mine!)
Yes, I am an artist, in my ‘other’ job. I adore colour. I have pink hair! Cyclamen, actually, if we’re being picky. I’ve dyed my hair pink on and off for the past thirty years, and I think it’s here to …

The Call of the Keyboard

I’m not going to begin this Blogpost by apologising for my very long absence. I’ve not been sitting around, eating Cadbury Giant Chocolate Buttons all day or anything, I don’t know where you get that idea from.
I’ve been very Busy, learning How to Write. I have! I’ve done writing courses, and attended writing conferences and I’ve met Lots of Very Interesting and Informative Writing type People. The increased Prosecco consumption has nothing whatsoever to do with any of it.

Anyway. In case you didn’t know, my debut novel meets the big wide world this Spring, and I can’t being to tell you how exciting (and scary) that is.
At the moment, the only people who know how rubbish I can be are me, and my lovely, and very patient, editor. Ticket to Ride took me two years to write and shortlisted for publisher ChocLit’s Search for a Star competition in 2016. I kept in touch with ChocLit as I’d read so many books on their lists that I’d loved, and I’m delighted that they have accepted both my first n…
Shortlisted for Choc Lit Search for a Star Competition 2016

Sorry, was that a bit ear-splitting?  That was me, overtaken by excitement - okay, it's still me, overtaken by excitement - reading my name on the shortlist of six on the Choc Lit, Search for a Star competition this morning, for my debut novel, Ticket to Ride.

Mind if I do it again? Only a bit quieter?

The winner will be announced on 16th July.  I'll be the one prodding my emails every 30 seconds until then...

So, at the moment I'm about 12000 words into the stand-alone sequel to Ticket to Ride, which I told you about earlier.  I've called it A Spoke in the Wheel.
I am loving it - and living it. My characters are real - no they ARE - and are living out their lives inside my head.
My 'outside my head' life is endangered by them - I have to keep going back to check that I've locked the door, I couldn't remember how to get to the gym the other day - and that's no…

Taking the Plunge!

50, 000 words, it said. In a month. FIFTY THOUSAND? I'd never do it. 
How's that for a positive start?  
That was 2014 - and how I became a writer.  I can say - 'I'm a Writer' now, with a big dollop of humility - because...drum-roll please - I have completed my first novel! All thanks to and that challenge to write 50, 000 words in 30 days. 

 The story idea had been germinating in my head for more than a year, and I knew I wanted to write it, but I didn't have the faintest idea how to even begin. When Facebook pointed me at a new and local Writing Group, I took it as a sign. 
Writing at least 2000 words a night, I read books about how to write, wrote character bibles, learned about arcs and structure and was mentored by a local author. I knew my characters better than I knew my friends. That wasn't difficult - I never saw my friends, I was too busy writing!
Beside my bed is a teetering pile of notebooks, each with their own pen. In the nig…