Sunday, 20 March 2011


Last weekend I attended the annual Scottish Association of Writers conference. I'm a postal member of Erskine Writers so it's always nice to meet up in person with the group at the conference. Our group did very well - getting about 12 mentions in competitions and I'm pleased to group myself in amongst those mentions as I won the T.C Farries Trophy for the first part of my new young adult novel. This win means so much to me because I've been excited about this book right from the minute the idea started to unfold in my mind and it's so great to know that someone else sees some potential in it. I am now frantically trying to get it finished so that I can start sending it out. The photo above shows all of the first prize winners of the weekend (I'm the second person in the front row). I felt like I was at a press conference when this photo was getting taken as I kid you not there must have been about 20 cameras flashing in our faces!

The weekend came at just the right time for me as I was badly needing an escape into a world away from my day job and some time out just to completely switch off that part of my life and focus on writing, writing, writing. I was very touched by the encouragement and support from not only my own writing group (especially my Mum who I am lucky enough to have as a writing buddy in the same group) but other groups and I know that I will have a lot of people on my case if I don't get this novel finished!

Jane Wenham-Jones was one of the key speakers at the weekend. She was hilarious and also spoke a lot of important key truths. I attended her workshop and she made us shout out things which we feel stop us writing. A lot of valid reasons popped up - work commitments (that was mine), family commitments and so on. She gave validation to these points but basically told us that what really stops us writing is fear and lack of confidence. And I have to agree. I am nearly 20,000 words into my novel and am having flashes of doubt at every new chapter. Is it interesting enough? Are my characters engaging enough? Where the hell am I going with this...and so on...but I've not lost that excitement I had with the first page and that is keeping my faith alive in what I am writing.

It was lovely to win the T.C Farries; it's fantastic when someone tells you that you write well, that they love your idea, but what we all really need as writers is total belief in ourselves and our writing - this is what is going to get you through those last 60,000 words (or 100,000, depending what type of novel you're writing) And I am already thinking ahead here...that faith is what is going to allow you stand up in front of people and sell your stuff!!

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Stylish Blogger Award

Thanks to Rosemary over at
for awarding me the Stylish Blogger Award. Through accepting this award I now have to tell you 7 things about myself and pass the award on to other blogs I like. So, here firstly are my 7 things:

1. I was the Dux of my Primary School and was also in line to be Dux of my High School but due to my point blank refusal to do Higher Maths was taken out of the running. This makes me sound like some sort of super intelligent swot but in fact I was in a very small Primary School at the time which focused heavily on English and Art (subjects I loved).

2. I worked for 3 and a half years in Cafe Cosmo at the Glasgow Film Theatre during my student days. I really wish I’d kept a proper journal of my experiences here as I met so many interesting characters-both staff and customers. Some of us were convinced that the cinema was haunted. Some Ushers in cinema 1 said that when they sat down at the end of an empty row they could feel the row move as if someone sat beside them and felt weird sensations of coldness. In the bar a lot of us had experiences where we heard our name being called (this happened to me on several occasions and I also sometimes felt a sensation of someone brushing past me). A male customer approached me one evening and asked me if the bar was haunted and then proceeded to tell me that he was ‘sensitive’ to these things and that I wasn’t to think he was crazy but he had heard a female calling his name and thought it was me at first but then realised I didn’t know his name. He told me that he thought the ‘ghost’ was called Amy and had died very young. Spoooooky! During my time here I also met some famous people (some of whom I didn’t recognise until someone pointed out who they were. I served Peter Mullan beer for about a month before I realised who he was – I thought he was a tramp). I served Gary Lightbody from Snow Patrol before they hit the big time (I was a fan from the very beginning so knew who he was as soon as he walked in the door) ...I was too shy to let on I knew who he was. He complained about the price of our Hagaan Daz ice cream.

3. I started writing when I was about 7. I used to staple bits of paper together to make ‘books’ which I illustrated. In primary 7 I had an unhealthy addiction to Sweet Valley High Books and wrote my own series of Sweet Dreams books in lined jotters, which again were illustrated and probably shockingly Americanised. I typed up my first proper ‘novel’ when I was about 12 called ‘Rhea the Rollerskater’ and sent it off to some poor unsuspecting publisher who responded with a very kind rejection. The rejections unfortunately are still rolling in 18 years later but I like to think my writing has improved slightly!

4. I had a fear of dolls when I was a child (and a very overactive imagination which resulted in my Mum having to remove several dolls and weird looking pictures from my bedroom when I was a wee girl!).

5. I have a Degree in Communications and Mass Media (I used to want to be a film director) and a Postgraduate Diploma in Careers Guidance (I now work full time as a careers adviser). For my 4th year dissertation for my Media Degree I wrote about the films of John Hughes, relating it to Youth Culture. It was shocking. There is nothing intelligent that you can say about Pretty In Pink, Sixteen Candles or Ferris Bueller.

6. I got my tonsils removed when I was 22. A truly happy graduation present as they caused me so much grief during my last year of Uni. They told me I would only get home the next day if I ate my lunch successfully. The nurse forgot to give me my painkillers but I still shovelled down all the cauliflower cheese so determined was I to get out of there!

7. When I was younger I had a bit of a spooky resemblance to the child in Thomas Cooper Gotch’s Painting ‘The Child Enthroned’.

And here are the blogs I'd like to give Stylish Awards to:
* Apologies for rubbish links - I'll need to see why it doesn't hyperlink properly when I try to insert them in my blog!