NaNoWriMo 2017 – Day One

Today I started NaNoWriMo 2017. I’m going to be a NaNoReBel again. I’m using the time to write the first draft of A History of Cadbury as it’s a contracted book and needs to be in by the beginning of March 2018. My target word-count is 50,000 words for the month. Wish me luck. Join in if you like. And bear with me while I post a daily (hopefully) update.

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Diary of a non-fiction book: week 5 …

… Okay, so it’s not really week 5, but it’s the 5th week I’ve been able to allocate to the non-fiction book. I’ve honestly been so busy in the weeks since my last update. This is what comes of living on a farm (it can take 10 minutes just to get on and off the land when all of the gates are closed – we have to close them again after ourselves and just lately we’ve been herding free-range cows out of […]

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News: new platform for digital editions

I have a new platform for my digital editions. At the moment, only Diary of a Scaredy Cat has been migrated over. But eventually, all of my ebooks in various formats will be available from Pronoun, apart from those traditionally published. Hardbacks will still originate on Lulu and paperbacks will still be over on CreateSpace. But all eformats will eventually be available via Pronoun. Let me know what you think!

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52 books in 52 weeks: Be a Travel Writer, Live Your Dreams, Sell Your Features

I set myself the goal of reading and reviewing 52 writing guides over the year. Here is book 27. I have to say I loved this book. And I don’t even aspire to be a travel writer – too much hard work for too little remuneration (unless you make it really big, really quickly, or travel a lot already). But Be a Travel Writer, Live Your Dreams, Sell Your Features by Solange Hando made me want to get up and […]

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52 books in 52 weeks: How to Start a Travel Blog and Make Money

I set myself the goal of reading and reviewing 52 writing guides over the year. Here is book 26. First of all, How to Start a Travel Blog and Make Money by Kirsty Stuart is not a book on how to write travel. It’s how to set up the blog and then make real, tangible money from it. So if you’re looking for topics to include on your new travel blog, or how to write blog posts, this isn’t the […]

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52 books in 52 weeks: How to Write a Novel

I set myself the goal of reading and reviewing 52 writing guides over the year. Here is book 25. I was a tad disappointed with How to Write a Novel by Jonathan Reid. The sub-title reads: “a blueprint for fiction writing & how to outline your novel using the snowflake method“. The snowflake method is still a mystery to me. I’ve read one or two books that mention it and started to read one that covers it in more detail. But […]

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52 books in 52 weeks: Diary of a Scaredy Cat

*** shameless self-plug alert *** I set myself the goal of reading and reviewing 52 writing guides over the year. Here is book 24. I couldn’t complete a series on writers’ guides without at least including a plug for my own. Especially as it’s the first in a series, and especially as I’ve been getting some really good feedback. Diary of a Scaredy Cat: a year in the life of a frightened writer by Diane Wordsworth is a collection of […]

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52 books in 52 weeks: Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook

I set myself the goal of reading and reviewing 52 writing guides over the year. Here is book 23. If there’s only one book on your shelf or ebook and you want to target UK markets, make it this one (although there are some overseas markets too). Even older versions contain loads of useful material. You need to check the listings for the most recent information anyway, but the articles and advice remain the same. The Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook […]

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Update: Busy few weeks

It’s been a whole month since my last post (before this morning’s 52 in 52, that is). I haven’t been lax, I’ve been very busy – as usual. First of all, there was a bank holiday weekend. Then there was a full week’s holiday, followed by another full week’s holiday just one week later. Fortunately, all holidays are now over … for the month, at least. The biggest reason, however, was that I came to the rescue (I hope) of […]

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52 books in 52 weeks: The Author Organizer

I set myself the goal of reading and reviewing 52 writing guides over the year. Here is book 22. The Author Organizer: How to anticipate, survive and master the whirlpool of your publishing career by Ella Medler is one of a set of (currently) seven from Paper Gold Publishing. That’s quite typical of me, arriving late to the party. But I was so impressed with this book, I bought another one and then joined the forum. Incidentally, if you join Paper […]

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Diary of a non-fiction book: week 4 – day 2

Day 2 was actually on Wednesday when I went to the Cadbury archives again in Birmingham. What a day! I was late leaving in the first place and didn’t get away until 9:30am when I really wanted to be on the road at 9am. And then – horror! – my satnav lost my location. Mid-M1. Last time I went I went via my parents’ and I had a rough idea of which direction to go in. But this time I […]

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Diary of a non-fiction book: week 4 – day 1

My first day back on the non-fiction book was yesterday. First of all I reviewed the list of storage material I’d compiled the last time I visited the company archives two weeks ago. I’d made a list of all the things I thought might be useful, but I’d have to give the staff there notice to retrieve it for me. There are literally pages and pages of references I made, so I’m having to be choosy about what I request […]

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Diary of a non-fiction book: week 3 – day 2

I don’t know. You wait all week for a blog post, and then three come along at once … I didn’t get much done on the non-fiction book last week other than research. I’m very much at the research stage as it’s not really a subject I’d consider myself an expert on – other than eating chocolate, that is. But I have several books to read on various topics I’ll be covering in the book, and I’m still ploughing my […]

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Why I read books about writing

Lots of writers advise other writers to stop reading books on writing and just crack on with the writing. But I love to read books on writing. I love to see how other writers work and I like to find out new things to try. My husband has been a coarse fisherman for more than fifty years. He learned to fish at his father’s knee and is now a very experienced match angler. Yet he still loves to watch vlogs […]

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52 books in 52 weeks: Start Writing Your Book Today

I set myself the goal of reading and reviewing 52 writing guides over the year. Here is book 21. Start Writing Your book Today by Morgan Gist MacDonald is one of the reasons I refuse to stop reading books about writing. If I did that, I wouldn’t be trying out two new things this coming week – one of which comes out of this book on writing! I really enjoyed the no-nonsense approach of this book and the good advice […]

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52 books in 52 weeks: How to Write a Mystery Without Plotting it to Death

I set myself the goal of reading and reviewing 52 writing guides over the year. Here is book 20. I’m a plotter. When starting to write a book for the first time, I can plan for England. I love the planning process. I’ve tried writing by the seat of my pants, but I often run out of steam by about chapter 6. And so I was looking for something in between. Being a planner is great, but the novelty often […]

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Diary of a non-fiction book: week 3 – day 1

Week three is still very much about research for me at the moment. I’m on chapter 3 of the research material and I’ve searched for and chosen my usual five websites, and added those to my Scrivener file. The cards are coloured pink for research, and they’ve been labelled “to do”. I’m getting a little bit behind on the actual reading aspect though, and I’d like to catch up on that this week. I’d like to change some of those […]

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Diary of a non-fiction book: week 2 – day 2

Wednesday was a very long and tiring but certainly worthwhile day. I set off at about 8:45am and got to my parents’ in good time to drop the dog off and then cross town for my appointment, which was 11:00 – 11:30am until 2:00 – 2:30pm. But when I reached a place called Cotteridge (I know it well, but non-Brummies may have never even heard of it) the sat-nav literally started to take me in circles: “Turn right, and your […]

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Diary of a non-fiction book: week 2 – day 1

I’ve not been taking additional days off. I’ve been doing normal work stuff. It still needs doing, even when I have a book to write. Today it was back to the grind with a new research week. This week I’m researching the Quaker movement. This morning, after completing the new month admin, I opened up the next research section in my Scrivener binder and did another search for up to five websites. Again, I chose just one wiki link. The […]

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Normal work continues

Friday disappeared into the ether and I think I may have faffed a little. I know I did some reading for the non-fiction book as well as some regular research reading (or what other people call “reading novels”). I think I was feeling a tad burned out. So it was nice to have a bit of a recharge day. Today has been month-end admin. I’ve done my month-end accounts and I’ve started my new month word-count tracker spreadsheet. I also […]

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Diary of a non-fiction book: week 1 – day 4

Yesterday’s work session began with me updating the raw text version of this Diary of …that will be coming out after it’s all over. I added yesterday morning’s post, and formatted it, and then I wrote ten exercises for “pre-work” and ten exercises for “week 1”. As the weeks progress, I’ll be adding more exercises not previously seen on here. I need to write the introduction too. The other thing I did was go in and be more specific about the […]

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Diary of a non-fiction book: week 1 – day 3

By Wednesday I started to get into the swing of things and was beginning to feel like a proper writer again, writing for a living and all that. I was later to my desk as I was later getting up, and so the chores weren’t finished until closer to 10:30am. I very quickly entered some competitions that were closing soon, and then I opened up my Scrivener binder again. The day before I’d added all of my research index-cards – […]

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52 books in 52 weeks: Writing your non-fiction book

I set myself the goal of reading and reviewing 52 writing guides over the year. Here is book 19. Alex Gazzola is already very well-known by many of us writers for his Mistakes Writers Make website, and here, to add to his gems of wisdom, is the third in his series of books that go hand-in-hand with the website. Writing Your Non-fiction Book is a delightful, short little read, taking me less than half-an-hour to complete over a lunch break. […]

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Diary of a non-fiction book: week 1 – day 2

Tuesday was a much better, more productive day. I finished my chores thirty minutes earlier than usual, so was able to do some catch-up work from Monday. The first thing I did was come up with four dates in the near future when I can go and visit the company archives. Hopefully, I’m going mid-week, on a Wednesday, for up to three hours at a time. I don’t think my concentration will last much longer than that, especially after a […]

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Publication: the People’s Friend annual 2018

I’m delighted to report that I have a short story in this 2018 annual from The People’s Friend, out now. This is the first short story I ever sold to them after 31 years of trying. I’ve not got my copy yet, but I have it on very good authority that the story is called Catch of the Day. (The People’s Friend are known for changing story titles.) The book is only available as a hardback, but you can buy […]

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Diary of a non-fiction book: week 1 – day 1

The day didn’t get off to a great start. I’ve been fighting a cold and a “bit of a throat” for a couple of weeks and at the end of the week before last, I thought it had gone. However, come Wednesday evening, I started to get another “bit of a throat”, and this time it came back far worse than before, and this time it’s spread into my jaw, so I have a massive toothache too (the tooth feels […]

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Diary of a non-fiction book: week 1 – the story so far

A few weeks ago (on or around 12 June in fact, so it was longer ago than I thought), I was editing a book for lovely-already-boss and one chapter in particular gave me the germ of an idea for a book proposal of my own. I had a very quick think about it, and came up with another five possible topics within the same broad subject. I bunched together the three most likely topics – one for Birmingham, one for […]

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A week of ups and downs

It’s been a week of ups and downs this week, and a very busy one as a result. But there’s some good news in here too. Some very good news. The week started well with me cracking on with another big editing job. It was actually due in the previous day, Sunday. But I warned the “handler” at the publisher that it might be a few days over as I had some last minute queries. I promised her that the […]

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I found my writing mojo

This time last week I was feeling a bit annoyed with myself. I’d not done any proper work for a few weeks. So I pulled up my socks and gave myself a kick up the bum. Tasks and chores around the house are taking longer and longer. What used to be allocated an odd ten minutes here and there is now taking the entire morning – and mornings are my own writing sessions. So the first thing I did was […]

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52 books in 52 weeks: The Literary Agent’s Guide to Writing a Non-Fiction Book Proposal

I set myself the goal of reading and reviewing 52 writing guides over the year. Here is book 18. The Literary Agent’s Guide to Writing a Non-Fiction Book Proposal by Andy Ross does exactly what it says on the cover. An American book, written by an American literary agent for the American market means that it’s very thorough, and possibly goes a little more deeply than our UK markets require. Nevertheless, I like to start with the way the Americans […]

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