Thursday 23 July 2015

Sea, Earth, Sky

Hello everyone, it's been a while and I apologise for how awful I am with keeping up with this blog.

I'm going to keep blogging here, specifically about my writing, but I wanted a space to write about other things without this becoming a huge mish-mash of posts and topics. I set up this blog to talk specifically about writing and reading (I can't believe how long ago - nearly four years!) and I am so impressed that I've kept it going. Over the past few years I've tried out different topics, different series and regular posts, trying to keep it going and I don't want to lose that.

I will keep posting on this blog, hopefully about writing, events I go to (YALC post coming soon, as well as a recap of the Winchester Writers' Festival.... I know, it's been a while, I really should), and more, as well as general updates on my writing (yes I really need to do that).

But I also wanted a space where I could explore more specifically other interests, such as my love for the sea and coast, the countryside, and my attempt to live a simple, happy life. So I created this space here at Sea, Earth, Sky, where I have lots of upcoming ideas for posts and series. Join me there - and please subscribe, follow, like etc. Thank you! And thank you for all your support - the journey continues!

Tuesday 16 June 2015

Places to go, places to see: who wants to go travelling?

I am a creature of habit and like visiting the same places over and over. I love familiarity. Despite that, there are places that I would love to visit, some of them just because they look so beautiful, others because of stories I've written or read, or others just because of books. Some are nearby, others further afield, but I know I can - and should - go to all these places - one day.

I've been to Fowey a couple of times this year, and I will never tire of it. It's my favourite place. And I can't wait to head back to Edinburgh this summer.

"I'm in love with places I've never been and people I've never met"

But I think the beginning of the summer makes me even more dreamy...

1. Dublin/Ireland
It's meant to be beautiful!

2. Scottish islands.
This is partly for research, but also the idea of a small island really appeals to me. Except it would be cold, but still, I want to visit!

3. Sweden
Again with the cold thing, but it looks so pretty!

4. Denmark - Copenhagen
Partly again for research, but also just because it looks beautiful.

5. Bronte parsonage
For obvious literary reasons.

6. Greece
Oh goodness. It just looks amazing.

7. Croatia
Looks absolutely gorgeous.

8. Hay on Wye

9. Cardiff/Wales
Doctor Who. Torchwood. What more can I say? Plus I've never been to Wales. I really need to. It looks lovely.

10. Stratford

11. Oxford
I've driven through Oxford before, but never really stopped. It features in one of my books, but I've never actually seen it - I should!

And further afield... I would love to go to New Zealand and many places in America, especially as I have friends scattered all over the country.

Plus, I would love to revisit several places, including Italy, Vienna, and Prague.

Where would you like to go?

Tuesday 9 June 2015

Series I need to complete

With the release coming up of Royal Wedding, and the Waterstones Piccadilly event with Ally Carter and CJ Daugherty, I have been thinking of some of the series that I have read, but don't actually own all the copies of, leaving my shelves a little sad (but maybe my bank account a little happier...). So here are the top series I still need to complete.

1. The Princess Diaries - Meg Cabot
I KNOW. I have remedied the fact that I never finished reading this series (due to being "too cool" as a teen for a while) but I still don't own books 7 to 10. I need to sort this!

2. Sarah Dessen
Not technically a series, but who cares. I have read everything Sarah has written, but mostly either from the library or on Kindle, which is problematic when you want to reread them!

3. Gallagher Girls - Ally Carter
Again, I mostly read these from the library. Sadly.

4. Night School - CJ Daugherty
I read some of these on my Kindle, which just doesn't feel the same.

Does anyone else own any incomplete series like this?

Monday 1 June 2015

Why Pinterest reinvigorated my writing

So, recently, I started using Pinterest again. I'd used it a little bit before and liked the idea. But I'd never used it for my writing. I knew friends who did, and I didn't think that it would work for me. But then something, I can't remember what now, prompted it. I think I thought that I should look up some pictures as a guide for my Scottish island story. And so I thought of Pinterest, and just like that I was hooked.

So now I've created boards for all my projects, and scroll through them before I start writing, in order to take me back to that place. In a way, because I'm working on several different things at once, it helps me get back into that frame of mind and to the right place.

So I'm now a huge fan of Pinterest and using it for writing, in a way that I hadn't thought I would be. It's a great way to find inspiration and ideas - from landscapes to character outfits. I'm a very visual person and I see things like films in my head, if that makes sense, so of course it makes sense that it works for me.

Does anyone else use Pinterest for writing inspiration?

Tuesday 26 May 2015

What I'm Writing

It feels like it's been a long time since I've really blogged (and I can't sugar coat it, it has been a long time). I had such good blogging intentions this year, but blogging fell by the wayside as I had to organise my time and focus on my actual writing in the time that I had. So I haven't blogged as much as I should have. And I don't know why. It's not like it's hard to sit down and write a post. But it hasn't happened. I've planned out a few posts, so we'll see how that goes.

For this post, I wanted to share with you all what I've been working on, writing wise.

I'm sure you all know (and if you saw my earlier post about the Writer's Voice) that Treading Water is done and I'm currently querying it - so I won't bore you with that.

For now, I'm sticking with YA contemporary -with a few small deviations and new formats! My MG stuff has taken a back seat for a moment.

I finished another edit of another YA contemporary a little while ago - called Sweet Little Lies. I've also been editing a more paranormal-esque boarding school YA, which at the moment is called Wildfire.

But that's been put aside for some first drafts that have just demanded attention. They are both rather different: one is a road trip across Europe, and involves royalty, Royal Weddings, and boarding schools. I still haven't come up with a title that I'm completely happy with, but I'm having fun writing it.

The other one is more of a writing challenge - set over twenty four hours and with four points of view. So far, it's proving interesting and I keep wondering if I should make it just one point of view, but I think the four different ones make it more interesting and different - although I'm thinking of changing it ever so slightly, but for now, I'm going to stick with it and see what happens! This one is called The Longest Day - rather fitting title I think.

What are you all working on writing wise?

Does anyone else work on far too many projects at one time, like I seem to do? Let me know!

Friday 22 May 2015

2015 book releases I can't wait for!

I haven't blogged in a while and I feel bad about that. I keep meaning to blog about things I've been doing, but it hasn't happened, and I apologise.

Instead, I decided to put together a list of ten books being released in the next few months that I can't wait for. Already this year we've had some amazing book releases, and it seems that every month there's just plenty more books that I can't wait to read, making my TBR pile more and more worrying. These are roughly ordered in release order.

1. Sarah Dessen - Saint Anything
Okay, so I cheat slightly, because this book was released a couple of weeks ago, but this was one of  my most anticipated books of the year and it certainly didn't disappoint. This made me sob, laugh, wish I could write as well as Sarah, and long for pizza. One of my new favourite Sarah Dessen books!

2. Liz Kessler - Read Me Like A Book 
This is another cheat, because this book was released recently, but I've been looking forward to this for a long time - since I first heard about it and I can't wait to get it.

3. Giovanna Fletcher - Dream a Little Dream 
I've loved Gi's previous two books, so I'm looking forward

4. CJ Daugherty - Endgame
I have adored the Night School series from the moment I picked up the first book and so I can't believe we're at the end of the series. I'm both excited and apprehensive - but I can't wait to read.

5. Robin Stevens - First Class Murder
I feel like we're incredibly lucky to be getting another one of these wonderful books this year. Arsenic for Tea was released in January of this year, and this summer, we're being treated to another!

6. and 7. Meg Cabot - Notebooks from a Middle School Princess and Royal Wedding 
This is two in one, and just because I was so incredibly excited to hear that Meg would be writing more books related to the Princess Diaries world. The Princess Diaries was the first proper YA I read, back when I was about twelve, and it seemed such a different but wonderful world, I adored it. I was also worried that my teacher wouldn't let me read it! So I couldn't have been more excited for these two books!

8. Lucy Clarke - The Blue
Lucy's first two books were full of wandering, travelling, the sea, and gripping stories, and so I can't for this next one!

9. Emylia Hall - The Sea Between Us 
I absolutely adored Emylia's first two books, which were so beautifully written, and I feel that this one, set in magical Cornwall, is not going to disappoint. I can't wait!

10. Rainbow Rowell - Carry On 
I don't want to wish the summer away, but I really can't wait for this book! I adored Fangirl, so I was super excited when this was announced (I think excitement is a recurring theme of this post).

And a bonus -

11. Lisa Glass - Air
I love Cornwall, surf stories, and UKYA so I adored Blue. Can't wait for this sequel!!

What a list!

What book releases are you all looking forward to in the next few months?

Thursday 21 May 2015

The Writer's Voice: Query and first 250 (Treading Water)

Query and first 250 words of my YA novel, Treading Water, for an online competition, The Writer's Voice. (Also good if anyone wants to know how my novel opens and the query I've written!).


I am writing to you to seek representation for my young adult contemporary novel, TREADING WATER. Treading Water is a story about what happens when everything you know is about to change, as well as family, growing up, and first love. It is complete at 64,000 words.

Eighteen year old Marian Key and her famous artist father have always lived in the same old crumbling farm house. Marian has been looking forward to returning home from school for a summer of swimming and solitude all year, and she can’t wait to shed her winter self.

But when her father announces that he is selling her childhood home and moving to America, everything Marian knows is threatened. Suddenly, the summer is fraught with the prospect of change and losing everything that she loves. She is desperate to hold onto her home, no matter what the cost, but she doesn’t know how. Time is beginning to run out, as the house is invaded by family, including a cousin who she doesn’t see eye to eye with. As Marian finds enemy forces moving in, she struggles to remember what it is she loved about her home.

Then there’s the mysterious boy Marian comes across in the woods. Sebastian Hawk is a student and artist, who is fascinated by fairy tales and finds a magic in Marian’s home that she thought had gone. After an uncertain start, Sebastian and Marian team together, as Marian tries to come to terms with growing up, moving on, and ghosts from the past, as well as falling in love for the first time. Can Marian save her home before it’s too late?

I recently completed a Creative Writing MA at the University of Exeter. I am a member of SCBWI and write for MuggleNet. In 2013 I had a short story, ‘Tide’, published in an eBook, Jam, and another short story, ‘If I Remember’ was a runner up in a YA short story competition. I was also shortlisted for an IdeasTap and Writers Centre Norwich fiction mentoring scheme in 2014 and have been awarded a Young Writer’s scholarship for the Winchester Writers’ Festival this year.

FIRST 250: 

We found the ants in the honey the morning my father made an announcement at breakfast. It was two days into the summer holidays. This seemed important, although the ants stick more in my memory. After all, it wasn’t every day you came across drowned ants in a honey jar. The morning sun bounced off the gold lid, lighting up crumbs that were scattered across the table.
 ‘Marian,’ my father said, the rejected honey pot in front of him. He laid his knife down on his plate. His voice was hesitant and hoarser than usual. His movements were slow. I paused as I buttered my toast.
 I didn’t want to look at him, nor did I want to hear what it was that he had to say. I stared at that honey pot, with the tiny black bodies floating in the thick mix. They were small dots that could have been breadcrumbs or bits of dirt. How had they even got there? They were ants on a suicide mission. It was sad to see that they had all followed one another, like a group of soldiers who trusted their leader implicitly, not realising that they were heading to their death. I shuddered.
‘Marian.’ My father cleared his throat. ‘I’m going to sell the house.’