Procrastination Bingo

(The Game that Puts the Pro into Procrastination)

Okay, so today’s the day you’re going to finish that chapter / start that new novel /crack on with that poem. Today is DEFINITELY the day.  Only these things can’t be rushed.  Maybe wait until you’ve got a few cups of tea inside you. 

Okay, that’s better.  Time to open up that Word document.  As soon as you’ve checked your Twitter feed, that is.  And updated your Facebook status.  And put the bins out.  Ooh, look, a new recipe for vegan Christmas pudding!

If you’d rather tweezer out your own eyelashes than buckle down to some proper writing then you’ve come to the right place.  Grab yourself a Procrastination Bingo board and get crossing off those boxes.  Heads down, everyone, markers at the ready. Any row to win or all 16 essential tasks for a Full House!

BINGO!

Pro Bingo

 

Land of Fire and Ice and Stories

Just got back from the Iceland Writers Retreat in Reykjavik. Wow! My brain’s still buzzing with the stunning scenery and from meeting so many wonderful writers during my time there.

The retreat offered the perfect mix of writing workshops, delicious food (I’m especially going to miss my breakfast skyr and snacking on chocolate-coated liquorice) and sightseeing, with an extra sprinkling of literary receptions and readings in Reykjavik and beyond.

While I’d love to share the rest of my chocolate liquorice with you (ha! Who am I kidding? It’s mine, all mine), I might have to restrict myself to sharing a few of the unforgettable sights instead…

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Strokkur, Geysir

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View from Harpa

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Hallgrímskirkja

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Þingvellir

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Ingólfr Arnarson

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Gullfoss

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Sólfar by Jón Gunnar Árnason

A huge thank you to Writers News for such a fantastic prize!

Empty Nest Syndrome

Yesterday I waved my youngest off into the big wide world.  I packed him up some mutton pies, brushed down his tattered trousers, and watched him disappear off into the Victorian London sunset to seek his fortune.

This isn’t his first time away from home.  Not by a long chalk.  The cheeky little feller keeps coming back, demanding rewrites.  And more pies.  He’s very fond of pies.  But I’m trying my best not to think about him now.  It’s for the best.  No wondering what he’s up to.  No brooding over how he might be faring out there.  It’s time to throw myself into something new.  And thanks to the fabulous folks at Writing Magazine there’s a new literary adventure just around the corner, in the shape of my prize trip to the Iceland Writers Retreat in Reykjavik.  So it’s out with the Victorian ragamuffin garb and straight on with the Viking hat…

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Yes, I know it’s got horns.  It’s also a tad pinker than is strictly authentic…

 

 

Top Five New Year’s Resolutions for the Procrastinating Writer

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1. Buy more notebooks – the more beautiful the better. Not that you’ll actually use them for writing in, obviously (that’s what scraps of paper and the back of old envelopes are for) but you owe it to the 57 notebooks you already own. They might get lonely otherwise.

2. Rearrange your writing space. It turns out January’s very own Janus (Roman god of beginnings, doorways and transitions) is a bit of a crafty ‘Changing Rooms’ type of fellow too. Nothing makes him happier than moving desks and bookcases round and creating new storage solutions for overflowing collections of notebooks. Of course I may be confusing him with Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen..

3. Research, research, research. Now, some people come at this all wrong, by letting the writing project dictate the research. All well and good if you want to spend your days in dusty library books about Victorian shoemakers, or endless Google searches on the mating habits of crocodiles, but less good if you’re hankering after a healthy slice of lemon drizzle and a bit of winter sunshine. Why not make this the year you thoroughly research a book about a hapless writer/notebook collector who tours the local cafes feeding his/her face with endless cake and cups of tea before heading off on a round-the-world cruise? Ah yes, I can practically hear the waves lapping against the ship now… *sniffs air* And is that a bestseller in the making I can smell? Oh no, wait, I think it’s lemon drizzle cake.

4. Yes, you guessed it, spend more time on the internet. After all, once you’ve clocked up 4,000 tweets of 15 words each you’ll have written the equivalent of a 60,000 word novel anyway. I make that about 11 tweets a day… Easy! But don’t forget the #MmmLemonDrizzle hashtag.

5. Plan the soundtrack to the film version of your as yet unwritten novel. It really doesn’t do to leave these things to the last minute. (Bet you’re glad you ditched your Victorian shoemaker book now aren’t you?  Good luck finding songs about cobblers with big beards and pocket watches). Don’t forget to watch each YouTube video all the way to the end, just to make sure the timing’s 100 percent accurate. And if you don’t have a scrap of paper or the back of an envelope to hand for jotting down your perfect playlist, you could always pop out for a new notebook…

 

Cover Reveal – ‘Halloween Night: Trick or Treat’

Shut the curtains. Turn off all the lights (except your reading lamp – you’ll need that) and find a nice big cushion to hide behind.  Halloween is about to get a whole lot scarier…

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“Graveyards, spirits, witchcraft, black cats, candy, and haunted houses. 

Strange things happen on Halloween. All Hallows Eve is the single night where the veil between the living and the dead is opened. And now spirits, monsters, and candy will collide!”

Halloween Night: Trick or Treat (Hocus Pocus & Co) is due for release on 27th October – just in time for the big night – and contains the following spooky MG and YA stories, including my Trick-or-Treating tale, ‘Knock, Knock’:

Big Brother Zombie by Evan Purcell

Give Us Something Good to Eat by Rie Sheridan Rose

Halloween Ritual by Amy Giuffrida

Haunter by Ryan Bartlett

Hello Annie by Tiffany Morris

It’s All a Bunch of Hocus Pocus by Violette Ulalume

Knock, Knock by Jennifer Moore

Ms. Holstein’s Special Halloween Treat by Chad P. Brown

Night of Monsters by Matthew Wilson

Something Good to Eat by Patrick Hueller

The House of Sam Hain by Betty Rocksteady

Sweet Nothing by Julie Hutchings

The Ghost by David N. Smith and Violet Addison

The Peeping Trick-or-Treaters by Kevin Lewis

Tricks and Treats, and Chicken Feet by Shawn Anderson

What Lurks in the Darkness by Kathleen Palm

Doctor Who, When & Where – Welcome to The Time Machine

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Greetings Earthling.

Welcome to the Writing Room.

From the outside it’s just a normal-looking door.

But, like all the best time machines, it’s much bigger on the inside…

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Just a quick few thousand touches of the buttons on  the control keyboard and the entire universe is your oyster…

Recent top destinations have included Victorian England, an alien maternity ship, the inside of Schrödinger’s box, Frogner Park in Oslo and the bottom of the ocean.  But that’s merely the tip of the travelling iceberg.  The writing room time machine promises to take you wherever and whenever you want and still have you back in time for tea. Not bad, eh?

There’s no need to splash out on psychic paper before boarding – as soon as you take your seat and fire up the controls you’ll find yourself slipping seamlessly into the skin of any chosen creature, be they human or otherwise, living or dead.  They’ll probably require regular feeding, however, so be sure to bring a plentiful supply of tea, coffee and snacks.

Don’t forget to pack a spare pair of plotting pants and maybe a sonic biro or two for in-flight doodling. Next trip commencing in four… three… two… one…

So Long Easter Bunny, Hello Little White Rabbit

The Easter Bunny may have hopped off into the warm melty sunset for another year but there’s a new member of the Leporidae family ready and waiting to take his place.  BEWARE THE LITTLE WHITE RABBIT (Leap Books) launches today!

All thirteen Young Adult stories in the collection are inspired by Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, but this is Alice as you’ve never seen her before… from rich historicals, castle towers and deathly plagues, gritty urban explorations, intrepid reporters, would-be car thieves, watchmakers, futuristic wormholes, secret workshops… to the last human in a world ruled by machines.

You can read a sample of my story, ‘Undercover Alice’ and all other twelve tales over on the Leap Books blog site or head to goodreads for links to stockists.