Summer Party – Romantic Novelists’ Association 17th May at 18.30

The Summer Party and Joan Hessayon Award night of the Romantic Novelists’ Association will be held in 2018 in the fabulous Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.

Tickets are available from Eventbrite Ticketing, here


Diary of a Writer – March prompt







So what comes to mind when you think of a stoat? Is it the beauty of their undulating movement? Is it their gorgeous natural colouring?

Have you been forever alienated by Wind in the Willows?

Have you, like me, watched one fight its natural shyness to recover a rabbit it killed earlier and take it back to the kits?

Sometimes the creative process seems a bit like trying to force a trolley-load of ideas through that small space.

No rabbits were harmed in the writing of this post.

CAPITAL STORIES contains four sparkling five star gems by me and three Capital Writing friends. For your kindle.


Diary of a Writer – February Writing Prompt

I took this picture in Chile. The island is a resting place for sea-lions, but only after they get onto it. Had I a better camera, I’d be able to show you the bobbing heads and leaping bodies in the channel between the shoreline and the island. The sea-lions spend a lot of time trying to get onto that rocky outcrop. Once there, they rest up, enjoy a bit of sun and get hungry. So, it’s needs must, and back into the spray.

Writing life is a bit like that. Occasionally you finish something that really pleases you and then you rest up a bit until the urge overwhelms you and – needs must – you jump in again and write something else.

Capital Stories – a collection of four gems according to WJRH – by Anne, Kate, Jane and Jennifer and a wee snip at 99p.


Diary of a Writer – serially challenging

Diary of a Writer – serially challenging.

It’s always a great feeling to press send on a submission and I did that this morning just before enjoying one of these.

The box was a pressie from a local tradesman in the run-up to Christmas. I really do think it pays to ‘shop local’ and when the dividend comes in the form of Tunnock’s finest, who’s going to argue?

The MS is instalment two of the serial I’m writing for People’s Friend. Fingers crossed and tentatively on to work on Instalment three.

Another two hours spent on choosing the canapés for the RNA’s Awards’ Night Party (it’s a long and truly delicious list) and maybe now I should think about the ‘tea’ – as in that knife and fork repast the household looks forward to in the evening.

Having read the lovely Capital Stories created by my fellow Capital Writers, I’m looking round for something. I see my publishers, Endeavour, are advertising Lesley Downer’s

On the Narrow Road to the Deep North – journey into a lost Japan – which I have on my trusty kindle. Maybe that’s after-dinner sorted.

What are you reading? Both the above books are currently 99p.


A Quality Product

Diary of a Writer – January Prompt may seem a little counter productive. Why post a picture of home-made marmalade as it is undoubtedly a labour intensive product and might distract you?

Well. because it’s a good product. There are excellent marmalades on the market. During my short writing retreat in Assynt, I visited the wonderful The Culkein Store where I laid in huge quantities of goody bag and take-to items. Scented candles, jellies, and Three Fruits Marmalade all made it into the car. We’d previously sampled their chutneys courtesy of visiting family and were really excited to make our own choices.

So, I have a large jar of their marmalade against the possibility the home-made runs out, but I’ll still be off to the supermarket to harass the fruit and veg manager over when the Seville oranges are arriving.

It’s also the case that creativity in one sphere aids creativity in others. When the WIP is going well, it’s equally likely I’ll fancy trying a new recipe. Who knows, that baby jacket I have on the pins might even make it off them. Well, let’s not get carried away by fantasy. If I can send off the story my editor was keen to see amended, then it would be a flying start to 2018.

How about you? What activity raises your own creativity?

Diary of A Writer – December Writing Prompt

Creel Christmas Tree, Ullapool








The Creel Christmas Tree in Ullapool was a surprise find at the behest of a family member who’d read about it on-line. The waiter in The Ceilidh Place was keen to tell us how the lights will be switched on as the ferry reverses away from the pier with its lights blazing. He was so excited by the whole project and disappointed for us that we’d be gone from the area before the event.

So if any of you, dear readers, are in Ullapool over the festive period and can post a pic, please let us know where to find it.

I’ve chosen the Ullapool Creel Christmas Tree as this month’s prompt for a number of reasons. Firstly, I was returning from a writing retreat/holiday in Assynt which is one of my favourite destinations. It may well remind me as December madness descends that there is a book in need of TLC.

A Retreating Writer

Secondly, it’s such a wonderful creation: a nod to the area’s fishing history and an artistic rendition of the Christmas tree – which is my all-time favourite decoration.

Finally, no tree was cut down to provide this great talking and gathering point. Yes, we do have a fresh one. Oh Dear!

Courting the Countess

Bella’s Betrothal





Diary of a Writer – October Writing Prompt

A modest selection

Notebooks, notebooks, notebooks…

A staple of any writer’s toolkit and the one we love most, is our notebook. The picture shows but a modest selection from my immodest collection (no, numbers will not be revealed, but suffice it to say the completed ones can be considered as a useful addition to the attic insulation).

The big, plain A4 was in my goody bag at the recent, and excellent, Scotswrite conference of the Society of Authors in Scotland. I love these for jobs like editing and critiquing. I also still find it easy and therapeutic to write long-hand when the pc isn’t available or there’s a wee glitch to be sorted. Something about seeing the words appear and then the crossings-out makes it all very real. The two wee ones are from another goody bag – Romantic Novelists’ Association – and as meet-up swag. Thank you ladies, Annie Burrows and Christine London. The next size up were brought to the launch of Bella’s Betrothal by fellow Capital Writer, Jane Riddell – the elegant black and silver, and bought by me in the V&A – who doesn’t like shoes?

The medium sized ones comprise one for note-taking and, the dark one, for recording everything I send out and how the work fares. Some of the pages have lovely red £ signs indicating a sale or licence fee (I have plays, folks).

So, how many do you have? Did you start out sewing together pages to make a book, aged 6? Doesn’t the simple sight of a notebook prompt you to get started?

2018 Weekend Conference Scottish Association of Writers

SCOTTISH ASSOCIATION of WRITERS (SAW) is an umbrella organisation for writing groups, clubs, workshops throughout Scotland and has many such affiliated.

Edinburgh Writers’ Club, celebrating its 70th Anniversary this year, is a founding member club. So, I’m a member of both.

SAW has recently published the Schedule for its 2018 conference, again to held in the centrally situated, Westerwood Hotel, and you can view or download it here.

SIMON BRETT is the keynote speaker and the weekend features adjudications by experienced professionals like Shirley Blair, fiction editor of People’s Friend.

Hope to see you there, ANNE