Thursday, 31 December 2015

Big Plans for a Big 2016 #amwriting #ASMSG

This evening we are preparing to see out 2015, and eager to welcome a very exciting and productive 2016. For me personally this feels like a particularly eventful New Year's Eve, if only as a visualization. Today I have been at home with my children, beginning the slow process of tidying the house and removing all Christmas decorations (I have left my tree up for just a little bit longer, it looks so pretty!) We also spent time with our neighbours, which was very nice as always. And now for a family evening at home, cherishing the safety and security of our place in this hectic world.

My writing plans are well underway for 2016, and I have a rather large project in mind to achieve... all will be revealed in due course. Our Scribe festival dates have been set for October, and there are meetings to attend and more plans to be made for that big event. Much more to come, indeed. See you next year, folks!

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Monday, 14 December 2015

Life Behind the Vampire; The Darkness of Love by Catherine Green #ASMSG

The Darkness of Love tells the story of stable boy Marcus Scott and his adventures on the estate of a powerful aristocrat in Victorian England. It takes a darker turn when we discover that the Master of the house, Lord Gregory Stockton, is a vampire and plans to seduce Marcus and turn him into his heir. Marcus, blissfully unaware of this fact, falls into an affair with Lady Stockton when he discovers that she shares the desire he feels for her.

Marcus Scott first made his appearance in my debut novel Love Hurts (A Redcliffe Novel). He is a friend of Jack Mason, and as it turns out, Marcus is something of a mentor to Jack. The two vampires meet during the First World War, when Jack Mason is a young vampire struggling to understand what has happened to him. Marcus teaches him how to live as a vampire without drawing attention from the humans, and the men become firm friends.

While I was planning, or maybe even discovering, the back stories to my vampire characters in the Redcliffe novels, Marcus Scott became very persistent. He is by nature a very charming and irresistible man. When he fixes his ice-blue gaze on you and curves his lips into a mischievous smile, you simply melt before him. Marcus was only twenty-three when Lord Stockton took his human life. Although it was a traumatic transition into immortality, Marcus found that he did, and still does, enjoy being a vampire.

You can read about the human Marcus in The Darkness of Love, and then you can read about one of his vampire adventures in my new short story Christmas with the Vampires, available on Amazon now.

Did you enjoy this article? Join my tribe today, and I will send you a fabulous FREE book to get you started… (be warned, my vampires do not sparkle, and my wolves will bite!) 

Thursday, 10 December 2015

“But You’re Still in Your Pyjamas!”

This was the incredulous response from my husband sometime during the madness of NaNoWriMo. It was a Sunday morning, and I had got up earlier with our toddler, prepared some breakfast snacks for the children, and then settled down at my computer to tackle the word count. My husband came downstairs after having a lie in bed, and our children kept him busy while I worked.

When he entered the room and I told him I had been busy all morning, he just stared at my dishevelled appearance.
“But,” he said, “You are still in your pyjamas!”
“Yes,” I replied, “But that is the beauty of being a writer and working from home. My pyjamas are my work uniform.”
My husband simply shook his head in despair and walked away.
Ha ha!

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Hunting the Hunted - An Excerpt from my #NaNoWriMo WIP

Sometimes I forget that not everybody knows my characters the same way that I do. My Redcliffe series has given me a whole new group of fictional friends that live in a part of my psyche where their lives are real, at least in some alternate universe. It is the same for my characters from other novels, including The Vampire of Blackpool (still seeking a publisher), and my latest work in progress, Hunting the Hunted. To that end I have decided to share an excerpt from my current novel, so that you see a little of the madness I was working with during #NaNoWriMo. Enjoy!

We watched our hunters race along the pavement, disappearing from view as the uniformed police officers followed them. The police were fast. They sent their armed officers after the hunters, and the others quickly closed off the street and worked to ensure their precious human civilians were safe. I leaped up onto the roof of the high building, and Lottie followed. We strode across the base of the sloping roof, and I reached out telepathically to locate my prey. I sensed William almost immediately. He was running down a narrow alley between a hotel and an office building, with his sister close behind. The police were still following them. And they had reached a dead end. I leaped across the wide expanse of road, high enough that the humans below would not see me, and I landed on a high balcony just in time to see my hunters being arrested. William was shouting at them not to grab his injured shoulder, and Samantha was shouting something about them being private investigators. It didn’t help. They were bundled roughly into the back of the waiting police van, having first been relieved of their weapons by the law enforcers. I stood in the shadows and observed the spectacle.
“There you are,” Lottie said as she swooped down to land beside me, “You are fast, for an old vampire!”

Friday, 27 November 2015

I’m a #NaNoWinner, Hooray! #NaNoWriMo

I did it! I survived #NaNoWriMo2015, and I conquered it! This has been a very challenging month for me. Not only did I have the ongoing chaos of domestic family life, I was dealing with emotional and mental health difficulties as a caregiver. By that I mean that I do not have a mental health disorder, but I am close to people that do, and I take on the role as cheerleader, counsellor, and supporter for these people, because I love them, and I want them to be happy.

There was one major trauma during #NaNoWriMo for me this year, and it was the death of my beloved Nanna. I was very fortunate to have her in my life for over 33 years, and I am thankful and happy to hold such precious memories of growing up with her, and with my remaining grandparents. My Nan was my cheerleader. She was incredibly proud of my writing achievements, and she would keep our distant family members well informed of my projects and novels in progress. Therefore, I had no choice but to persevere with #NaNoWriMo this year, even as I was wracked with grief and sadness at her loss. This new novel, Hunting the Hunted, will be dedicated to my Nanna Hargreaves. It is the least I could do.

Congratulations on your successes, fellow Wrimos. Whether you hit 50k or not, you wrote something, and I am proud to call you my writing buddies. Well done folks!

Sunday, 22 November 2015

We're on the Slippery Slope to Success! #NaNoWriMo

The past week has been very challenging for me. I fought hard to catch up with #NaNoWriMo, and for a couple of days my Muse was wild and active. Then the day approached for my Nanna's funeral. I am very fortunate to have reached the age of 33 and still have all four of my grandparents living at home. I have given thanks for my blessed life when it comes to loving family. Now, however, the grief is hitting me very hard. My urge to write the novel has all but died, and yet I feel the urge to write something poetic and meaningful, although I do not know what.

My Nan was incredibly proud of my writing achievements. She always asked what I was working on, After her funeral, when we attended the wake, I found myself meeting with distant relatives that I hadn't seen since I was a little girl. They all knew about my books, and they all told me about how Nan kept them informed of my activities (alongside the Facebook updates from those that see me online). I find myself wavering between the desire to give up and call this year's #NaNoWriMo a failure due to circumstance, and the burning need to continue with my novel, to complete the challenge, and to make my Nan proud, wherever she has moved on to now. You all know how this will turn out... see you at the finish, my Wrimo friends!

Friday, 13 November 2015

I am Back on Track for #NaNoWriMo!

Phew, what a day! It has been a challenging start to #NaNoWriMo2015, with the shock of a family bereavement last week. It was my wonderful Nanna, who succumbed to illness after a lengthy stay in hospital. She battled hard right to the end, and I think truthfully she knew it was coming, and so did I, deep down. It was still a shock, however, and as I write these words, I feel the tears welling up once again.

It would be very easy for me to give up on NaNoWriMo 2015, and blame life events for the cause. But that is not my nature. I have been battling many life challenges during these past five years, and the struggle continues every day. We all have our challenges in life, and we all have our stories to tell. Mine is a story of emotional upheaval, living with mental illness (not mine, but a close family member), living with accident related illness, and the general chaos that comes with small children.

And so, this time, I am determined to succeed at NaNoWriMo and honour the memory of my wonderful Nanna, who always believed in my writing, and was incredibly proud for each novel that I got published. I do this also for my Grandad, who now has to live in a nursing home full time, and who is bereft without his wife. I'm not sure exactly how many years they were together, but I know it was a long time. I do not remember any occasion during my 33 years where I have not seen my grandparents together. And now, Nanna will join us in Spirit, and we will continue to visit Grandad regularly so that he is not alone.

Good luck with your life challenges, fellow Wrimos. And if you are struggling with the challenge, do it for the ones you love. They will motivate your words to flow. See you later!

Friday, 6 November 2015

Six Days in, and I am Struggling! #NaNoWriMo

We are barely one week into the month that is #NaNoWriMo and I have to admit, this year I am struggling already. It doesn’t help that there is a lot of personal stress happening at the moment, the most recent being a family bereavement. I am still coming to terms with that one, so this is not the place to elaborate. No, right now I am focusing on #NaNoWriMo.

I know it is not imperative that I complete this challenge. I have been doing #NaNoWriMo for four years now, and I did not complete the challenge in 2013, what with having a newborn baby and a wild toddler to contend with. I did complete it in 2014, and I really want to complete it this year. And yes, we have not yet reached the end of the first week. There is time to rectify my lack of word count. And I am not massively behind. I have written almost 8000 words so far… yes, I do believe this challenge might be met after all. Catch up next week, and happy writing, fellow Wrimos!

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

And now, back to the Writing! #NaNoWriMo 2015

Oh yes, the time has come! We are fast approaching that marvellous month of madness and mayhem…it is time for National Novel Writing Month, 2015. And this year I am ready and raring to go. There is one slight problem: I don’t have a clue what I am going to write! But that’s never stopped me before… and this year I have a team of writing buddies on hand to assist, which is fabulous. We are forming our own little NaNoWriMo group, just the three of us for now, although we may persuade a few more to join us as we progress.

Part of the joy of NaNoWriMo is the sense of community and comradeship that we find. Although I have not yet managed to attend local write-in sessions for our regional writing groups, I now have people in my home town that will participate this year, and we have a central venue in which to work together. Amazing! And then, of course, I will have all of my lovely supporters via Twitter and the NaNoWriMo forums. We are always there to console and cajole at odd hours of the day or night, such is the all-consuming madness of the month.

So, for the next couple of days, I must prepare my home and my family for the abandonment that is to come. Fortunately, my elder daughter is now in school, so she is happy to relax when she gets home in the evenings. My younger daughter attends preschool, so I do have at least two days in the week for solid writing sessions. And the rest, well, I will do what I can around the domestic responsibilities. November will be a month for ready meals (sorry kids!), a dusty house (nothing new there, then), and even less sleep than usual for me. But it is totally worth it! See you on the other side… with my brand new manuscript!

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

And My Next Event is… A Dose of Dark Fiction!

Phew! We have survived the madness of #ScribeFest 2015. The week was a huge success, with our events well attended and very well received. Huge thanks to our audience and supporting visitors for your participation and feedback. We are now already planning the festivities for #ScribeFest 2016. Well, these things take a lot of preparation, don’t you know! I thoroughly enjoyed all of it, from the planning through to the events and finally to the after-show party, such that it was. A jolly good time was had by all, and if you missed SCRIBE, well then you had better get it in your diary for next year, once we release the official dates…

And now for my next event. Oh yes, I am well and truly back on the bandwagon after a lengthy absence through maternity leave. The 21st century author does not have the luxury of hiding behind their books. We have to be out there, in the public eye, being seen and heard and acknowledged. It is a double-edged sword, and one that I have battled with during my exploration in the industry. But, I have to say, I do enjoy getting out and meeting people. And I am very honoured to be invited as a guest with acclaimed horror writer and playwright Dan Weatherer. See you in Hanley Library, Stoke-on-Trent this Halloween, for A Dose of Dark Fiction. These tales are not for the faint hearted!

Monday, 5 October 2015

Workshops and Talks at SCRIBE (Middlewich Literary Festival) 2015 #ScribeFest

We are just one week away from the start of our fabulous SCRIBE festival in Middlewich, Cheshire. You may have heard about Middlewich recently, as the town hosted the Loyal Company of Town Criers Championship competition. Well, just as the dust settles from the party of the criers, we are about to kick it up again as we celebrate SCRIBE.

Are you a writer? Do you enjoy books and reading? Well then, this is the festival for you. We have a wonderful selection of guest authors for you to meet and talk with, all appearing on Saturday, October 17th. You can find them on our Writers in the Real World panel over in the Boatyard Artspace, and at Book Bites in Middlewich Civic Hall. Our authors write a bit of everything, from romance to horror, true stories about ship wrecks, to local myth and magic. You are sure to have an enchanting time!

And that’s not all. For the children, we have the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party hosted by professional storyteller John Kirk. Fancy dress is optional but highly recommended… Following the tea party, you and your children can join in with an illustration workshop. Our resident artist Ian Hill-Smith teams up with children’s writer Philip Latham for a blind drawing exercise that will be very entertaining and offer lots of interactive fun.

Then there are the wonderful workshops on offer. All day Saturday you can try your hand at writing poetry, writing for radio and writing non-fiction. All workshops are available on a booking basis, and you are advised to book your tickets as soon as possible, since we have chosen small, intimate venues to enhance your writing experience. Throughout the week we have a variety of events happening during the evening, including “Jane Austen, Money and Marriage” hosted by Elizabeth Williams, and Read Dating at Middlewich Library. There are events at local pubs featuring Miles Hunt from the Wonderstuff, and John Lindley with “Reel to Real.”

SCRIBE begins on Monday 12th October with a launch party at Drinks and Bites café, and it will be broadcast live on Red Shift Radio. On Thursday, 15th October, you are invited to our Short Story Awards Evening at Middlewich Town Hall, where you can read the best of our story entries, and cheer on our talented young writers as they receive their prizes. Come along and join us, and bring your friends!

Monday, 28 September 2015

From Town Criers to Short Stories - I am The Judge! #ScribeFest

One thing I’ll say about being a writer, is that you truly never know where your work will take you. This weekend is a case in point. I have just had the honour of acting as a judge for the Loyal Company of Town Criers British Championships 2015. I never even knew there was such an event, but it was held right here in Middlewich on a beautiful September Saturday. We even got a mention on ITV Granada in the news bulletin!

After the excitement, and the responsibility, of judging my specialist category for the town crier competition, I am now preparing for something I am far more familiar with. Later this week I will join the panel of judges as we assess our short story competition entries for SCRIBE (Middlewich Literary Festival). This is something I take great pleasure in doing, and this year we expect to receive a wide range of stories from new writers. We will have some of these stories displayed at the Short Story Awards Evening, held during the literary festival on Thursday 15th October. Whether you entered the competition or not, we look forward to welcoming you to our festival.

See you soon!

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

To Kindle, or not to Kindle, that is the question #publishing

OK, folks, I need some advice. I have written three novels during the past two years that so far remain unpublished. Admittedly, I have only allowed myself to release one into the hands of potential publishers and agents, but I think the other two are just about ready to be birthed. My challenge now, is finding the right way to publish and actually make a bit of money to live on. Up to now I am reliant on my husband for a financial income, because my novels are not being seen (and bought) by enough people in the right places.

Now, I have been doing some research. I still hold a dream of finding an agent, even though I know that is not a shortcut to fame and fortune. Even having an agent would not bring me the big publishing contract that I wait for. However, I feel that having an agent would take some of the strain away from me, because they would find the right publishers for my work, and I could be free to get on and do the writing that is screaming for my attention. At present I am distracted by promoting, networking and researching just where to send my books, and who to direct my attention towards. What I need is an agent with the right contacts in the right places, but then so do we all.

Anyway, it has occurred to me that perhaps now might be a good time to self publish. I am something of a hybrid author, because my novels to date have been made possible by a partnership publisher (Mirador), and a small traditional publisher (Chances Press). Their remit is limited due to their size, however, and some of my books are simply not suitable for their requirements. I understand that. It is the nature of business. So now I wonder, should I release a novel on Kindle, and do the work myself? I seem inundated with advertising from independent specialists who keep trying to sign me up to their own self-publishing programmes, where they claim I will learn how to earn a “genuine 6-figure income” from publishing my books on Kindle.

I know that these claims do actually ring true. If you know how to manipulate the market, you clue yourself up on keywords and auto bots, and all the necessary internet jargon, it is possible to sell your books to a wide international audience. But I also know that it is a huge leap of faith, because the responsibility is solely mine. I have to edit my book, provide a good front cover for it, and ensure that it is properly formatted and presented so that it looks professional and provides a good experience for the reader. I know I can do this. The question is, do I want to? Or should I play the waiting game and continue sending out my manuscripts to publishers and agents, until somebody says yes? Come on friends, I need your advice…

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Welcome to SCRIBE Middlewich Literary Festival 2015 #ScribeFest

SCRIBE Festival takes place this October in Middlewich, Cheshire. We have brought together a range of local authors, some that you may have heard of, some that you may not. Our authors will be providing workshops throughout the day on Saturday 17th October where you can polish your skills in writing non-fiction, writing for radio, and writing poetry. You can also meet the authors, ask questions about their work and their adventures in the publishing world, and see their books for sale. Our authors are wide ranging, including stories for children, adult horror stories, paranormal romance,  historical accounts, local myths and legends, and much more.

Alongside the author events, we are offering a few slightly different experiences. Throughout the week you can attend talks, presentations, a Read Dating event, and our Short Story Awards Evening. Details of the full program, and online booking is available via the SCRIBE website. For your children we offer an invitation to the Mad Hatter's Tea Party, and later that day we have our local artist and illustrator Ian Hill-Smith collaborating with children’s writer Philip Latham for a lively interactive workshop called “Children’s Literature and Illustration.” This was a huge hit at our festival in 2014, with both adults and children joining the fun and rising to the challenge.

And now, back to the writing. Do you have ideas for stories buzzing in your mind or languishing in a notebook somewhere? Then write them down, and send them to us! We have the fabulous SCRIBE Short Story Competition open to all, but we do love to see submissions from our local friends. For details on how to enter, please see our Short Story Competition page on the website. You can win cash prizes, and you will be invited to our Short Story Awards Evening presentation, taking place during the SCRIBE festival, 12th - 17th October. The deadline for story submissions is 25th September, so get those pencils scribbling!

For more information, and to keep updated with news on events and workshops, follow @ScribeFestival on Twitter, and search #ScribeFest, or you can like our page on Facebook. We may add more events in the run-up to the big week, if we can fit them in, so keep checking back, and make sure you book your places and get your tickets now, as this will be one busy week in Middlewich! See you soon!

Saturday, 5 September 2015

SCRIBE Short Story Competition 2015 #ScribeFest

In June 2015, Middlewich residents and visitors from across the UK joined in a weekend long celebration of the town’s renowned FAB (Folk and Boat) festival.

Up to 15 venues played host to music and dance throughout the weekend on the Middlewich canalside and in the town centre. Artists from around the world entertained thousands of visitors each day.

Together with hundreds of canal boats and the town centre setting, the Middlewich FAB festival has continued to provide a fabulous showcase of live entertainment every June since 1990, and has attracted renowned performers including Bob Geldof, Lindisfarne, Ade Edmonson, Neville Staples and many more.

In recognition of this amazing and unique event, the SCRIBE festival has based the 2015 under 16s and over 16s short story competitions on FAB.

For details on how to enter, please see our Short Story Competition page on the website You can win cash prizes, and you will be invited to our Short Story Awards Evening presentation, taking place during the SCRIBE festival, 12th - 17th October. The deadline for story submissions is 25th September, so get those pencils scribbling!

For more information, and to keep updated with news on events and workshops, follow @ScribeFestival on Twitter, and search #ScribeFest, or you can like our page on Facebook.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

#ScribeFest - A Write Good Experience! Middlewich Literary Festival

I am back from a very busy, and very enjoyable, weekend at the Middlewich Boat Pull event, and now I am very happy to announce the official launch of our brand new local festival, Scribe (Middlewich Literary Festival). Scribe takes place from 12th - 17th October 2015, and it is set to be a very lively festival, with visiting speakers and authors from all over the UK, lots of local venues opening their doors, and a chance to meet our local artists, writers and performers.

Some of our guests include Elizabeth Williams from the Gaskell Society, talking about Jane Austen, Money and Marriage; Miles Hunt with the Wonder Stuff diaries; poet John Lindley and film maker Alex Bell; journalist Joanna Collie, and various authors including yours truly (of course!), historian Gill Hoffs (who you may have seen recently on the television show Coast), author Paula Manley, and author and playwright Dan Weatherer (responsible for the award winning Legend of the Chained Oak short film).

#ScribeFest is a brand new festival concept that aims to bring together local artists with those visiting from further afield, to offer a creative and invigorating atmosphere in our canal town. We even have something for the children, in the form of a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party hosted by professional storyteller John Kirk, and a Children’s Literature and Illustration event run by local artists Ian Hill-Smith and Philip Latham. More events will be announced as we continue our preparations, but I am very excited about this one, as you can probably tell! Oh, and you might be interested to enter our short story competitions, one for adults and one for children, all with cash prizes and an invitation to our very special short story award ceremony during the festival.

So, here is my call-out to book lovers old and young. And to all of my artist and creative friends, we offer an open invitation to come and visit Middlewich in Cheshire during the October festival. Our pubs are welcoming and very cosy, we have events planned in various venues including my favourite café Drinks and Bites, and in Boatyard Artspace at Middlewich Narrowboats, which is a fabulous place, and very pretty with views over the canal and lots of colourful boats bobbing around. In fact, if you own a narrowboat, why not travel in style when you come to our events? Now, there’s an idea…

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Made in Middlewich: Boats, Beer, Books and Crafts

Hey folks, what are you doing this weekend? Do you fancy meeting your favourite paranormal author in Middlewich? Then come on up!
I will be exhibiting the Redcliffe novels, and The Darkness of Love, as part of The Middlewich Creative weekend of crafts, beer, boats and books. You can visit us at Middlewich Narrowboats, Canal Terrace, Middlewich, CW10 9BD from 10am on Saturday 22nd August, until 4pm on Sunday, 23rd August. See you there!


Thursday, 30 July 2015

This Writer is Getting On It!

This year is shaping up to be rather productive for me on the work front. Outwardly, nothing has really changed. I am still officially the mother and housewife, running around after my children, preparing for 'big school,' and observing various monumental developments in their young lives. But aside from all of that, I have managed, and am managing, to actually do some writing! I currently have 4 novels in progress, one of which is close to being polished enough to publish. I am shopping another novel to various publishers, and I am certain it will find a home very soon. I even have enough short stories in my archive to consider publishing an anthology, although that is a seed of an idea at present.

So, what about the other side of writing? That murky, uninspiring, necessary task of marketing and selling books? At present I am the only one spreading the word about my, uh, words. I have no team of professionals on hand to assist. I  have no marketing budget to speak of. It is just little old me, emerging from the shell, and actually talking about my books, in public, after rather a long absence. I will kickstart this new phase of authorhood with my involvement in the upcoming Scribe literary festival in October. More details will follow, as we are currently awaiting the official media launch, but the event is shaping up to be a good one, and I am very excited to be sharing the stage with some impressive local authors. If you are located near Middlewich, Cheshire, check back here for an official press release later in August... I will follow up the literary festival with events in 2016, all to be confirmed. See you soon!

Friday, 24 July 2015

I’m a #CampNaNoWriMo Winner!

I am so happy! My Muse has returned, and I have reached my target and won #CampNaNoWriMo for the first time. I attempted it in previous years and was unsuccessful, so this feels like a real achievement. #CampNaNoWriMo differs from #NaNoWriMo because you choose the word count, and everything is more relaxed. I decided to aim for 25,000 words on my new novel, and I got there in 23 days, hooray! And now I will continue writing, because the words are flowing again. Here is a synopsis of my new novel, Hunting the Hunted:

Frederick James Mitchell is a very old, very bored, vampire. He haunts the hidden tunnels beneath the city of Manchester, and hides out in his luxury penthouse apartment when he is playing human. One day he discovers a vampire hunter watching him. He lures her underground to fight, but his control is lost when she brings backup in the form of  battle hardened twins William and Samantha. By a curious twist of fate, Frederick is saved by the intervention of an enchanting young female vampire. His lust for life awakened, he sets about seeking revenge from his attackers, taking pleasure wherever and whenever he chooses.

Monday, 20 July 2015

Why #NaNoWriMo and #CampNaNoWriMo are Perfect for Me

This month I am a very happy writer. After what feels like a ridiculously long absence, my Muse has returned, and she is raring to go. I signed up for #CampNaNoWriMo last year and my enthusiasm fizzled out very quickly. There were a lot of distractions within the family due to babies and accident-induced illness. I had to reluctantly accept that my writing would not flow while my mind and heart were consumed with other affairs. And it put me into something of a depression, I will admit.

Anyway, that was last year. This year, I am back on track. I never gave up with my writing, and it was always there, ticking over in the background, buzzing like a machine on standby just waiting to be switched on. Perhaps I needed the time to recharge my batteries. Maybe I was simply focusing my attention on my young children, conscious that they are growing fast and that my writing will still be there when they leave home as adults. Whatever the reason, I feel like I didn’t achieve very much on the writing front in 2014. I did, however, keep both of my blogs updated regularly, so I was still writing something, even it was largely what I call ‘disposable babble.’

Now, back to the present. When I began #CampNaNoWriMo this year, I wasn’t entirely certain that I could achieve my goal. I set a word count target of 25,000. That way it is not as much as the full 50,000 required for #NaNoWriMo, but it is still a good enough chunk of words to constitute a fairly decent novel. I had to start somewhere. I need new material to publish. My last novel was published in 2013, and now I am itching to get something else out there, although my methods and plans are a whole other story. And I am happy to report that my novel is growing steadily, and I am well on my way to achieving the word count goal.

I find that #NaNoWriMo and #CampNaNoWriMo are perfect writing challenges for me. I am one of those people that works better to deadlines, and I believe that the reason I have not necessarily reaped the benefits of being a freelance writer so far, is that I have not been putting myself in positions where I have tight deadlines and people to answer to. It was quite nerve-wracking, I suppose, taking on such a responsibility, and what with the distractions of preschool children, I didn’t trust myself to do the work. Doing #NaNoWriMo is a fantastic compromise. I get to write my novels, in the way that I choose, and there is nobody to criticize. Indeed, I receive a whole lot of praise, encouragement and support from my virtual cabin mates on #CampNaNoWriMo, and there is always someone to talk to online when you need a pick-me-up. You get a whole month of writing abandon, and afterwards you have a solid piece of work that you can mould into a finished novel. Perfect!