12 Books in 12 Months

writing books and blogging about it



Writing Resolutions

There have been a lot of stories kicking about over the past few days about George RR Martin’s announcement he won’t get the next installment of A Song of Ice and Fire done before the sixth series of Game of Thrones airs on TV. In May last year he thought he could do it, but things happened, life got in the way, and he didn’t make the deadline. Continue reading “Writing Resolutions”

To NaNo or Not to NaNo

With just under a week to go, it’s time to make that all-important writing decision: to NaNoWriMo, or not to NaNoWriMo? Continue reading “To NaNo or Not to NaNo”

Silent(ish) Sunday


As some of you may remember, I am involved in a relay writing project with a bunch of lovely people I met on the internet. Entitled ‘The Life and Times of a Working Barbarian’ it involves each of us taking it in turns to pen instalments of a gripping fantasy saga containing lots of Strong Female Characters and, apparently, a fair number of worms.

For various reasons the barbarian took a bit of a break at the start of this year, so what with one thing and another I haven’t written a chapter since the start of October 2013. I’m therefore spending my afternoon reminding myself what has happened since, as it turns out my next chapter goes live tomorrow. There’s nothing quite as motivating as having totally forgotten an impending deadline…

I strongly urge you to do the same, and check back tomorrow to vote on what happens next.

Taking Stock

Peanut butter and chocolate cake. Oh yes.

I recently had a birthday, which was pleasant.  I saw my family and some friends, added to my ‘to read’ pile and my gin collection, and I made a cake that induces a sense of euphoria and remorse that I like to call euphorse.

The only trouble is that as I get older, birthdays are beginning to feel a little bit like markers for everything I haven’t done yet – not least because mine falls at the end of the month, where the deadlines live.

Continue reading “Taking Stock”

How to write a fight scene

fightclubOne of the most difficult things I’ve had to write recently was a guest post for the Fight! Fight! Fight! blog – a website dedicated to pondering what would happen if fictional characters did battle with one another. Yes, it is a niche market.

Part of my issue was that the page is run by my boyfriend, so I knew that when he gave me a deadline he actually had a few posts in hand and there was no real sense of urgency.  If I missed my deadline, something else would take its place.

The other problem I had was that it was not like anything I’ve ever written before.  I had a lot of false starts, because it turns out I’ve never written a proper fight scene – my stories and articles are generally pretty light hearted.  I had no idea how to make it convincing, so in the end I didn’t bother.

It turns out, therefore, that I don’t actually have any helpful advice to give on the subject of writing a fight scene.  Sorry for the misleading title of the post.  Still, if you want an example of how not to do it, you should probably check out the site.  FYI, you may benefit from familiarity with Pride and Prejudice and a thick skin in terms of creative language, as my fight is between Mr Darcy and Malcolm Tucker.

If you want to write a fight, by the way, he is always looking for contributors – you’ll find contact information on the top right of the Fight! Fight! Fight! page.  Hooray for the internet!

It’s OK To Not Win Sometimes

IMG_9565About two years ago today, in the golden aftermath of NaNoWriMo, I decided to write a book every month for a year.

About one year ago today, I had completed NaNoWriMo – with a manuscript I have yet to re-visit – and was spending December writing and drawing a graphic novel.

Today, I can confirm that this year I did not complete NaNoWriMo.  Continue reading “It’s OK To Not Win Sometimes”

To NaNoWriMo, Or Not To NaNoWriMo

It has been brought to my attention I’ve been casually mentioning NaNoWriMo all over the place for most of the year, but some readers might not have the faintest idea what I’m referring to.  Read on for an explanation.

Continue reading “To NaNoWriMo, Or Not To NaNoWriMo”

Journalists Wanted

Are you a journalist?  Have you ever known or worked with journalists?

Then I need your help.

My sixth book this year is about the staff of a recently shut down local newspaper deciding to start up a zeitgeisty current affairs stroke gossip website, probably called something like ‘Michty!’ (the genre for this one is Scottish), and getting it terribly wrong.  With hilarious consequences, of course.

I am hoping to gather some anecdotal research, which is where you come in.

Continue reading “Journalists Wanted”

First Draft of Caligula’s Blog Complete!

In university, I had a habit of working on essays right up until the deadline, then racing along to the history department to hand in essays right as they were being removed from the box.  It would appear that, certainly when I am unemployed, I have retained this tendency, for not twenty minutes ago, right before midnight on January 31st 2011, I bashed out the last few posts of Caligula’s Blog.  I’ve written 5905 words today, and I wouldn’t advise doing that much in one sitting because now my back really hurts!

The draft is very raw, and falls short of my 50k word target, weighing in at only 33, 173 words.  However, given that I knew nothing whatsoever about the man on the 1st of the month, and most diary style books are shorter than 50k, I regard this as being fundamentally OK.  We’ll see how that changes when I come to look over it again – April at the very earliest!

41 AD
January 24th

I dreamed last night I was standing in heaven, near the throne of Jupiter.  It was very beautiful and humbling.  I was about to say something, when Jupiter gave me a push with the big toe of his right foot, and I fell right on my face.  When I woke up it turned out I had fallen out of bed, so that’s probably why that happened in the dream.

Doesn’t feel like a great start to the day, really.  Still, things can only get better now that I’m awake!  Perhaps I’ll sacrifice a couple of white bulls to the big man this afternoon though, just to be on the safe side.

Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus – or Caligula to you and me – was assassinated later that day by his own men.  His wife, Milonia Caesonia, and infant daughter Julia Drusilla were killed by members of the Praetorian Guard a few hours later.  He was succeeded by Derek Jacobi.

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