Of Saints & Pilgrims: A Journey to St. David’s

Pope Calixtus II declared that two pilgrimages to St. David’s were equal to one to Rome.  If he’d travelled, like I did, by the tiny stopping train that trundles through the Welsh marshes and then for hours along the South Wales Coast I think he might have revised that to a one:one ratio. St. David’s … Continue reading Of Saints & Pilgrims: A Journey to St. David’s

Five things I’ve learnt about writing from reading Dorothy Dunnett #IDDD

Back in April this year, my friend Lucy recommended the Lymond Chronicles to me.  I’d been moaning to her about how hard it is to plot a series of books and she recommended that I learn from the expert and read Dorothy Dunnett.  I went home, downloaded Game of Kings to my Kindle and started … Continue reading Five things I’ve learnt about writing from reading Dorothy Dunnett #IDDD

Celebrating autumn

Is it just me or does the run up to Christmas seemed to have started even earlier this year?  It was mid-September when I saw the first Christmas books released and Christmas gifts appearing in the shops.  It’s as if the world’s forgotten there’s a whole season in between. A season that’s particularly lovely and … Continue reading Celebrating autumn

Stopping to take stock

For the past few years I’ve had what people call a ‘portfolio career’. As well as writing, I’m a consultant, an external examiner and a creative writing tutor.  That takes a lot of swapping of hats and this week has been particularly hectic.  Monday morning saw me at an important meeting in York, Monday afternoon … Continue reading Stopping to take stock

Going Back to Find Something New

I’ve been coming to Glastonbury (the town not the festival, as I’ve explained a lot in the past few weeks) every year or so since I started writing Beltane six years ago.  It’s become a kind of spiritual second home and I love it for its quirkiness, its willingness to embrace the alternative and the … Continue reading Going Back to Find Something New

Ness of Brodgar – Uncovering #Orkney’s Neolithic past

I’ve been fascinated by the Neolithic period in a very unscientific kind of way for years.  Stones circles are a bit of an obsession of mine and I’ve driven down many tiny lanes in search of sites that are marked on OS maps but don’t have a single sign post. I love the mystery of … Continue reading Ness of Brodgar – Uncovering #Orkney’s Neolithic past

Remarkable machines, feisty heroines and tea – 5 reasons why I love #Steampunk

With the publication of my first Steampunk novel, The Dirigible King’s Daughter yesterday I’ve been thinking about what first drew me to write steampunk. Like many people I suspect I came to it via Gail Carriger and then realised that I’d already read some steampunk books like The Golden Compass.  I’d also been to Whitby … Continue reading Remarkable machines, feisty heroines and tea – 5 reasons why I love #Steampunk

A Small Celebration

Two weeks before Christmas I had a bit of a party to celebrate the launch of Beltane.  It was held in my local village hall which, with the help of my friends, was transformed into a Yuletide haven. So step inside and join the celebration... There was music from some of my extremely talented friends. … Continue reading A Small Celebration

My turn on the Lovely Blog Hop

I’ve been asked by my fabulous friend, Jessica Redland, to take part in the Lovely Blog Hop where writers talk about some of the things which have shaped their lives and their writing.  Jessica lives not far from me in Scarborough and we often meet up for cake and to talk about writing.  Her first … Continue reading My turn on the Lovely Blog Hop

Fictional Yorkshire

I’ve just read a lovely novel set in ‘God’s Own County’ (which is what Yorkshire folk call the place where they live). It’s ‘There Must Be An Angel’ by Sharon Booth which is set in the fictional village of Kearton Bay which is based on Robin’s Hood Bay on the North Yorkshire coast.  For me … Continue reading Fictional Yorkshire