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Do You Know What You Are Doing? ~ Maressa Mortimer

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I met up with a friend and as we chatted, we decided to play the same challenge in The Sims. For those of you who don’t know, The Sims is a simulation game where you set up a family with a house, jobs, schooling and relationships. It can get very involved, as their emotions can influence their actions. After a while, it can be a little tedious, watching your little people go to work, have families, earn more money, and build a bigger house, which is where Challenges come in. The instructions can be incredibly precise, like what kind of fridge your people are allowed to have, or no fridge at all. With my friend, we agreed to play a Rags to Riches Challenge. When I got home, I decided to play the same version as her, Sims 4. This one is very different from the one I normally play, Sims 3. It looks a little like The Sims 2, but with way better graphics. I downloaded the game and launched straight in. Did I want to try a ready game? Nah. Did I need the tutorial? Nope, just start Ne

Five of my Favourite Places to Write -- Ruth Leigh

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Welcome to my blog! I make a point of never missing a deadline, of planning every aspect of my busy and successful life and ensuring that I am never caught out by anything. Perhaps that is one of the reasons that I live such a gorgeously inspirational life. People often approach me (once they’ve got past my security – note to self, should I think about firing my bodyguard?) and say, “Ruth, how do you do it? You make it all look so easy.” Then they humbly request an autograph and a selfie. #soblessed #secretofmysuccess   OK. We’ve known each other a while now, so I hope and trust that rather than clicking your tongue in disgust and vowing never to read another word I write, you are chuckling at this ludicrous intro and looking forward to one of my trademark Funny Blogs.   It’s 12.36 on 12 th August. I am very, very busy indeed. I got back from holiday late on Monday evening, turned myself around on Tuesday and then went to Belgium for the day so my son could visit his girlfriend on

Writing Exercises - Gym time for the mind. -- Amanda Bedzrah

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I don't want to be a one dimensional author and I think it is very important to be a life long learner of any craft. It is with this in mind that I started exploring ways to exercise my writing. The need to become a better author and ensure that I remain relevant has driven me to do writing gymnastics. Some days I am walking, running other days and weightlifting some days. I know I need to exercise my body, one look in the mirror or a trip up the stairs reminds me how much I need to. I have not always been successful with the gym and I have wasted many months of gym membership, but when it comes to exercising my writing, I have enjoyed it more and find myself committed. It has been a lot of fun exercising my mind.  However, as with physical exercise, I find that writing exercise requires the same discipline and intentionality. It doesn't just happen, you don't just get slim or strong and like physical exercise if you stop, bad habits creep back in and the weight creeps back

Rejigging Gargoyles: Misha Herwin

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  Rejigging Gargoyles I’m someone who is very rarely late. I’m never the one running down the platform to catch my train. If that ever did happen then it would be because I arrived so early that I was in time for the earlier one. So looking at the date and realising that I had a blog to write for tomorrow was quite a shock. Under normal circumstances it would have been scheduled days and would be ready to go live at half past the witching hour. This week however everything has been subsumed by a major rejigging of “A Gathering of Gargoyles.” I thought it was finished and ready to go and an edit would be little more than a hunting down of typos so was totally taken aback when my editor said it needed work. According to her, there were too many climaxes followed by dips that slowed the narrative down. The basic story worked. It just needed to be taken to bits and put back together in a different order. I read through the ms. I made notes on each chapter and wrote them down of piece

Lionesses of the Sea -- Julia Jones

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  Photo to accompany Lionesses' letter to the  candidates for PM, asking for better opportunities   for girls football The football Lionesses who caught our hearts as well as winning the European Cup were clear that they were a fortunate generation, building on the stubbornness of those who’d gone before. Interviewees referred to the players of the c20th who’d given their own money and time, as well as their hearts and skills, to the game they loved.  Not everyone was prepared to gloss over past rejections. The clubs who’d refused to host their games because ‘no one’s interested in women’s football,’ weren’t going to be forgiven and forgotten, as the team packed Wembley Stadium with a record 87,192 attendance and won the first major competition for England since 1966. Former player turned presenter, Alex Scott, said, ‘Let’s just remind ourselves as well, back in 2018, we were begging people to host in their stadiums a women’s game for this Euros. So many people said no. I hope you

Prescience, or perhaps just bad timing, by Neil McGowan

I’ve come to the conclusion I’m either prescient, or just suffer from incredibly bad timing. Or, perhaps, it’s neither, but a form of pareidolia. Back in early March 2020, I put the finishing touches to my first Young Adult novel. The plan was to work out a plan to do some pre-launch marketing, try and build up some pre-orders, basically all the usual stuff we do as writers when we have a new book coming out. (I use the term book loosely, to include chapbooks, poetry collections, short stories, and so on.) I’d sketched out a few drafts of what I thought would make a good cover, worked on the blurb, written a synopsis, and was all good to go. A week later, we went into lock-down as Covid cases began to skyrocket. Normally, this would be a gift to a writer – all that time at home to write. (You’d think, anyway, but that’s a post for another time.) My average commute was around an hour each way – I never considered it totally wasted as I often cycled and used the time to let my sub-cons

And the winner is... by Joy Kluver

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 ... not me, obviously! I didn't stand a chance against Richard Osman. He wasn't there so I couldn't even get a photo with him. And that trophy was whisked away quickly so any plans to steal it were thwarted. Not that there were any plans. Thoughts maybe but no actual plans. Still, it's a great honour to be nominated and on the plus side, I didn't have to lug home a heavy glass trophy. Not winning didn't mar the experience of the Theakstons Crime Writing Festival though. It was great to see old friends and make new ones. I might not have won but I did a giveaway on Twitter for people to find me at Harrogate. One couple studiously followed my location tweets and eventually found me in the queue for a panel. In my relief to hand over the heavy bag of books, I forgot to sign them. So they had to find me again! When in Harrogate, Betty's is a must. Their hot chocolate was divine as always but I did find another cafe that also served superb hot choc! They even ha