Book Thoughts, Uncategorized, Writing, Writing Thoughts

Last July, I finished the draft of a book that I’ve been working on for far too many years. I gave it to my mother to edit (she is an editor, though not for fiction) and I’ve just got it back! Time to decipher the red scribbles and get going!

I think I’ll also follow my own editing advice as I go. But it’s good to be getting towards one of my new year’s resolutions of finding an agent!

WHAT AM I DOING?? #experimonth

Book Thoughts, London, Uncategorized, Writing, Writing Thoughts

This April I’m participating in EXPERIMONTH run my my church Hope City – taking up something brand new just for the month! Creating, learning, or doing something you’ve never done before! And for some insane reason…. I decided TO MAKE A RAP VIDEO!

I mean, it’s just like poetry right? Can’t be that hard. Right?!

Sadly I told too many people about it to pull out now. So far I’ve written about half the lyrics – I’ve got a lot to do!

Why not join me and do something new this month?

A wonderful world to send you to sleep – One Sleepy Night by Sebastian Braun

Book Reviews, children's books, picture books, Uncategorized, Writing

As a sleepy star twinkles down from the sky, a little bear watches other animals going home to sleep, before going home for a snuggly sleep itself…
This is a beautiful book that made me want to sleep let alone guest blogger Jemima who was reading it with me, and whose favourite it is.The words and pictures come together to create a lovely, magical, sleepy world.

The Gap of Time – a too-close Shakespeare retelling by Jeanette Winterson

Book Reviews, Book Thoughts, Uncategorized, Writing

A father and son discover a baby girl, and decide to look after her. In another time, a father grows convinced that his wife has been cheating with his friend, and that his daughter is not his own. He sends them away. And eventually, all the people and all the characters come together, etc etc etc.

The above is a plot description for both this book and for Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale. This book is part of ‘Hogarth Shakespeare; a project to get renowned contemporary writers to adapt the bard’s plays, and a summary of this one appears in the front of the book. I was unfamiliar with the story so read it greedily, hoping for the ability to spot clever parallels and riffs from the original. Generally, however, I felt disappointed. Winterson’s version did not seem to add or grow the story at all, just to set it in a different time in a fairly straight way.

My ten resolutions for 2016!

Book Thoughts, London, Writing, Writing Thoughts

   It’s 2016. Wowzer! Since starting to write my resolutions today I’ve got pretty excited about this year. It’s got a lot of unknown in it, but I have a feeling it’s going to be marvellous! When writing resolutions I choose ones that will make me feel happy, not put on pressure and will inspire me to do awesome things. Some of these are book related, some are not. Here goes!

GOSH THIS BOOK WAS GOOD!!! The Night Clock by Paul Meloy

Book Reviews, Book Thoughts, Recommended, Uncategorized, Writing, Writing Thoughts


On a council estate, one tragedy hits after another. A man shoots in a play area, people are gripped with depression, friends betray each other. And social worker Phil Trevena’s patients keep dying. Darkness and oppression grow and seem the grip the lives of the characters all around, with guilt, despair and terrible thoughts gripping even the most lucid minds. And then the monsters begin to appear – and the people who can turn them back…

GOODNESS ME THIS BOOK WAS EXCELLENT!!!! I read it and thought – I’ve never read a book that does anything like that before. After an extremely dark and seemingly real opening focussing on the difficulties of seriously troubled people, it opens up into fantasy, expanding and explaining the happenings of the beginning – and then races around an intriguing and original fantasy system in order to stop terrible things happening. There is a fantastic range of characters, stories, backstories and more – and though it feels a bit chaotic it really really works! 

Whooooaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh – City On Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg

Book Reviews, Book Thoughts, Recommended, Writing, Writing Thoughts

It’s 1977, and New York City is home to a huge variety of people. But the seemingly random shooting of a teenage girl in a park links some of them – a super-rich family who run huge businesses, junkies, teenagers, post-humanists, musicians, gay schoolteacher, a reporter and a police officer. A huge cast of characters attempt to find justice, meaning and happiness in a variety of ways, as a greater threat is gradually uncovered and the city begins to ignite.

I am completely blown away by this book. It’s scope, plot, characters and composition are simply extraordinary. The way it fits together, and the sheer fact that despite it being extremely long (I had it on kindle but apparently it’s 900 pages) it kept me hooked from start to finish. It’s magnificent triumph in portraying such an array of characters in deep, flawed but identifiable ways. The exceptional way the plot comes together. I’m still reeling!!!

I liked this book much more than Ian did – Clariel by Garth Nix

Book Reviews, Book Thoughts, teen book reviews, Writing, Writing Thoughts


Clariel has been forced to move from the forest she loves to the city, where her parents have plans for her life that she is not happy with. But there is trouble in Belisaire – a King who does nothing, a man trying to take over, and a free magic beast who is trying something. Clariel finds herself drawn into feuds and battles she would never have chosen, and gradually secrets about herself and her powers are revealed.

My friend Ian reviewed this book for me a few weeks ago, and just thinking and reading about it made me want to read it! And perhaps because my expectations weren’t so high, I liked it a lot more than he did. It’s a prequel to the Abhorsen series – and I very much enjoyed entering into the world Nix has created again and seeing it from a different perspective. The thing that ruined it for me was the fact that pretty much the whole way through I could tell who the main character was going to be in the later series – and it just didn’t feel right.

This book somehow snuck into my heart – A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

Book Reviews, Book Thoughts, Writing


Ove doesn’t like people breaking rules. He doesn’t like people using computers. He doesn’t like men in white shirts. He doesn’t like wasting money, or electricity, or fuel. He is personally offended if someone changes their brand of car. He has alienated all his friends, and lives in misery amongst people who drive him mad. But he has decided not to live any more. Except with Parveneh and her family moving in next door and constantly barging into his life, the young man failing to repair a bicycle, his oldest enemy possibly being taken into care and a million other frustrating, annoying things about other people that must be taken care of, he never quite seems to find the time…

This book is interesting. Because you really don’t like Ove. He’s grumpy, he’s mean, he’s petty, and he reminds you of some of the most miserable people you’ve ever met. So to start with I didn’t feel particularly compelled to follow his story. But nevertheless, and I’m sure it wasn’t JUST pregnancy hormones, I found myself in tears multiple times throughout the book. It was very moving and human.

Writing tips – create boundaries to prompt creativity

Book Thoughts, Uncategorized, Writing, Writing Thoughts

A couple of months ago I finished the latest draft of the novel I’ve been writing for a few years. It’s currently with various trusted people for editing/feedback, but it being done for a while has given me some freedom to try writing something new! And this is how I’ve been doing it…