The end is nigh

Rebecca has done such a great job of summing up all the hard work that has gone into preparing Litmus 2015 for publication and of the doubt so many of us carry about our own abilities as writers. The launch on Tuesday evening marks not just the end of another module but also our own personal successes. Hopefully seeing our names in print will give us all that boost to our confidence we all need. Good luck, everyone

Litmus 2015

Book CoverIf you have been following this blog for a while, or can see the counter on the right of this page, you will know that it is only a few short days until our publication is released to the wide world on May 12th. This has been a long time coming for all involved but, I can personally say, I’m delighted it’s finally here.

We have been planning the Litmus 2015 anthology since January, carefully selecting which piece of writing we think best represents us as writers, refining the details, editing and reading in class, and finally pressing that send button a few short weeks ago. Four months to achieve that doesn’t seem like a long time, but the planning and blogging and scheduling will all be over in a matter of days.

And then what are each of us left with? A publication which we have individually contributed to…

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There are some great things up for auction from ‘Authors for Nepal’ on Ebay: signed artwork, signed books, critiques, all fab for book lovers and writers. If that isn’t you, bid on something for someone you love and send some much needed assistance to the people of Nepal.


11160657_978606502179677_768518093034374166_nA group of authors are raising money for the Earthquake Relief Appeal for Nepal. 

There are lots of goodies to be had from signed books, poetry and illustrations through to writing critiques. Children’s authors donating things include the legendary Cathy Cassidy and GHB’s very own Sue Ransom. Also not to be missed are children’s literary agents Polly Nolan and Julia Churchill, who are both are offering critiques.

What are you waiting for? Get on over to the auction now and keep popping back as items are still being uploaded!

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Litmus Launch and why Writers are like Hummingbirds

It is so lovely to see that I am not the only person to be getting excited about the Litmus launch. Thanks for the lovely article, Kath.

Litmus 2015

Book Cover
As well as promoting our book, the Litmus launch is a celebration of the end of the taught component of our MAs in Creative & Critical Writing and Writing for Children at the University of Winchester. It is the end of a very intense creative experience. A time for goodbyes and good lucks and thank yous. Of course, there will be graduation but that won’t be until next October, or even 2017 for some part-time students, so the 12 May will be our last communal hurrah.

I’m really looking forward to reading Litmus 2015; it promises to be an eclectic mix from a talented group of writers. People have worked really hard on this project; promoting, editing, organising and galvanising.

The hummingbird cover is beautiful and appropriate. Hummingbirds are relentless, tireless and always seeking nectar. We’ve learnt on our final module, in order to be successful, to find agents or to…

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5 Important Things I have learned from Books

I really enjoyed this blog from Girls Heart Books. I heartily endorse all of these facts, apart from the one from TLTW&TW. This just proved to me that sometimes books tell lies!

Hope you enjoy it, too.


…and by books, I mean classic fiction, not factual books.

I’m not even sure if this learning was conscious, they were just important lessons that are now embedded in my brain.

1. If you’re in deep snow and you start to feel all warm and sleepy YOU ARE ABOUT TO DIE! So don’t succumb and lie down in it. (White Fang by Jack London)

White Fang by Jack London

2. If you need to make some quick money – ideally to save your family – you could cut off your hair and sell it. (Little Women by Louisa May Alcott)

3. Turkish Delight is the most delicious, enticing sweet in the world. This is TRUE. (The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C S Lewis.)

4. If you keep very still and try to look as if you are grass and trees, you will be able to tame wild animals. (The…

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Giggling Is Good

I love a good giggle, a silly snigger or a stomach aching storm of laughter.  It makes me feel good.  It makes me happy.  Most of the time hearing other people chuckle makes me want to join in.  OK, I admit it – sometimes if I am in full grouch mode, the sounds of merriment make me seethe with resentment. Thankfully, that is an exception to the rule.

Illustration: Tom McLaughlin

Illustration: Tom McLaughlin

This article by Tom McLaughlin for The Guardian appeared in my Twitter feed this morning. Should I tell the world that I was reading Twitter on the phone during a pee-break at work? Probably not! Anyway, I was feeling tired and a bit gritty and grotty and reading Tom’s words made me snort, loudly, several times, in the privacy of my little cubicle.  I apologise to the other ladies using the facilities for any discombobulation this may have caused.  I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did.

Why Yes, I Should Write About Politics

John Scalzi, talking sense in 2008. Still applies now. I would add, however, that the opinions of a character are not, necessarily, the opinions of the author. It’s called FICTION for a reason!


Over on his site, Paolo Bacigalupi asks the question “Should Fiction Writers Write About Politics?” in the wake a of reader comment after Paolo did, indeed, write about politics. While Paolo answers the question to his own satisfaction (I encourage you to read it), let me state my own, probably unsurprising, opinion here:

Why yes, fiction writers should write about politics, if they choose to. And so should doctors and plumbers and garbage collectors and lawyers and teachers and chefs and scientists and truck drivers and stay-at-home parents and the unemployed. In fact, every single adult who has reason enough to sit down and express an opinion through words should feel free to do just that. Having a citizenry that is engaged in the actual working of democracy matters to the democracy, and writing about politics is a fine way to provide evidence that one is actually thinking about these…

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Ghlaghghee, 2003 – 2015


Glaghghee came to us in May of 2003 when my then next-door neighbor Jerry knocked on my door, said, “here’s the kitten your wife said she wanted,” thrust a small, furry thing into my hands, and then walked off. I looked at the small puff of fur, literally no larger than my hand, said “okay” to myself and then took it upstairs with me.

Then I called my wife, who was at work, and the conversation went like this:

Me: You didn’t tell me you ordered a cat.

Krissy: I ordered a what?

Me: A cat.

Krissy: I didn’t order a cat.

Me: Jerry just came over with a kitten that he said you wanted. He mentioned you specifically.

Krissy: Oh, lord. I was talking to him the other day and he said that his cat had had kittens and that he thought that one of them was an albino…

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