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

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

Knitted Together

Last weekend I went to the Unravel, Festival of Knitting in Farnham in Surrey.  I’m an occasional crocheter (I used to do a lot more before I started writing novels) and am just about competent with a pair of knitting needles.  I saw some amazing hand-crafted garments, beautiful wool and yarn in every possible shade … Continue reading Knitted Together

Ghostly Whitby

In the days around Halloween, English Heritage transformed Whitby Abbey with light and stories.  The ruins were bathed in coloured lights. Turning the west end a glorious shade of purple, drenching arches in ghostly green and lighting the pillars blood red. In the darkness we gathered to hear stories. Burke and Hare told us tales … Continue reading Ghostly Whitby

Steampunk Research at Lanhydrock

I love visiting stately homes and grand country houses.  There’s something about these glimpses into long gone lives that I find really fascinating. I’m also a sucker for costume drama and historical novels. However when I started writing a steampunk short story for the Write Romantics charity anthology I realised that I’d not learned as … Continue reading Steampunk Research at Lanhydrock

Museum of Witchcraft

While I was in Cornwall last week I couldn’t miss out on the opportunity to visit the Museum of Witchcraft in Boscastle.  When I started writing Beltane I borrowed an introductory book on witchcraft from York library (which did result in some interesting looks from the library staff). Four years on I now own a … Continue reading Museum of Witchcraft