Sunday, May 24, 2015

Not Today ...

I said I'd report on writing-related stuff today but it turned out to be a headache day (sigh) and a tick-discovery day (Yuck.  Yuckyuckyuckbleurchh.) - BEAUTIFUL WOODS SHOULD NOT HARBOUR TICKS.  FULL STOP.  So I'll be back some other day to talk about writing.  Though I will mention that sitting at a computer I have never never never picked up a tick.  Just saying.

Saturday, May 23, 2015


There's a bunch of writing stuff to report on, but I'll post about that tomorrow - today, inspired by Susan Price and Kim Ayres, I just wanted to dust off the camera and head for the woods.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

3 of the Things I Did Not Know

A term, a source and a skill - 3 things I didn't know last week and now do!

a) toxophilite - a student or lover of archery

b) "comet" comes from the Greek, meaning "long-haired star"

c) Fred Astaire was self-conscious about his enormous hands and often danced with them half-folded to make them look smaller - that's what I did know - but what I didn't know was just what he could DO with those hands ...

Gotta love learning stuff!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

In Search of Cheer

Things to be cheerful about, in spite of the election:

1.  I finished Treasure of the Black Cow and sent it to my agent.  (Now we wait and see!)

2.  I posted a blog on a genre and artists that I'd never paid attention to before and now am really, really excited about.  (History Girls)

3.  I'm going to visit my Patron of Reading school, the really, really, really wonderful Queensferry Primary, again next week - creative writing workshops with P6s and P7s, a lightning visit to P3s and a meeting with the local librarian to set up the Summer Reading Challenge.  (I love Queensferry Primary!)

4.  Piano Guys videos.  (Mission Impossible, 8 Cellos, I Want You Bach, Pachelbel's Canon ... I could go on.)

And, so, onwards, right?  Next book, here I come -

(Oh and here's a photo from Happy Valley in Orkney.  That might help too.)

Saturday, May 02, 2015

26 Under a Northern Sky

Is Nick Drake a part of your past? Do you remember Poor Boy with fondness? Then this blog is for you.  Actually, it's for anybody - I mean, I'd never heard of Nick Drake or Riding Mill Station before this project - but it's been great finding out and having a go!

Yes, it's another 26 project - and this time the challenge was as follows:

We gave 26 writers from 26 the name of a station on the long route between Newcastle and Glasgow and the title of a Nick Drake song. These two elements became the inspiration for a creative piece. We didn’t set a form but asked that each piece should be able to be read aloud in under 3 minutes and 44 seconds – the duration of Nick Drake’s ‘Northern Sky’ – which gave us the project title.

My station was Riding Mill and my Nick Drake song was Poor Boy, and my piece is here

MY station, MY song - writing as possession - discuss.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

5 metres 80 -

(Sorry it underlaps the side box at first, but as soon as you press play, it overlaps and all's well.)

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Could I BE more pleased?

From a fabulous review of Silver Skin here on The Bookbag site, I give you Jill Murphy's verdict -
Hooray! I've been thirsting for something a little bit different and I found it in Silver Skin. This story mixes sci-fi and historical fiction to spectacular effect. How would a person from a highly technological future cope in the Neolithic world? Could the vast differences in experience, culture and understanding ever be transcended? Could worthwhile relationships be made? Lennon explores these questions in typically lyrical form. I love the way she describes both landscapes and people and the emotions they feel. Both Rab and Cait are utterly credible characters and it's both fascinating and moving to watch them inch towards a friendship despite the vast gulf between them.
The picture of a technological future in which artificial intelligences support and guide human beings, in which races have blended and in which space is the premium currency, is a picture I can believe in. But I think the picture of Neolithic society has the bigger emotional pull. The remains of Skara Brae form Europe's most complete uncovered Neolithic settlement. What was life like there? How did its people see themselves? How did they survive? Lennon presents an entrancing picture of a hard life but one rich with meaning. The story is set in the weeks leading up to the end of its occupation. What happened? Did Skara Brae's people abandon it? Was there an extreme weather event? We don't know for sure, but Lennon gives us a credible interpretation.
It's original. It's interesting. It's imaginative. It's beautifully written. The plot is compelling. And it mixes science and the supernatural to great effect. I really liked Silver Skin. Can you tell?!
Highly recommended.

Could I be more pleased?  NO!