Diary of a Writer – August Prompt

Clachtoll Rangers’ Hut – Now repaired

Back on Saturday from a week in Assynt. All much as usual but the Rangers’ hut door has been repaired. The hut itself, sadly, still closed. It’s a small space and ‘keeping people safe’ would be challenging.

So why a prompt? Well, maybe it’s time to begin thinking about the impacts of Covid-19 and to bring them into one’s writing. The door is an example – it could be repaired, joiner working on their own, but once repaired, it shuts off an informed and welcoming space.

Assynt itself is full of inspiration. Wonderful scenery, beaches (some still deserted despite the ubiquitous NC 500), excellent local food, a stag in velvet wandering the car park, a stoat on the shoreline, an otter in and out of the waves, young businesses setting up and striving and a range of local people who, like people eveywhere, comprise the welcoming and the not so welcoming. Constructive tension in abundance.

AND, AND we encountered NO MIDGES.


Look out for the People’s Friend dated 21st August as it contains the first instalment of my new Victorian era serial. In the shops on Wednesday 18th.

Has your own staycation been a source of inspration?



Lockdown Diary – 2020 – 84 – What Now?

My camera strap appears in countless photographs across the years. Why a camera strap? We finished the armchair travelling yesterday. The very last of the slides was shown and it couldn’t have been better chosen: a grandchild, sweets in hand in the conservatory of the little house we rented in Assynt and surrounded by board games, a jigsaw, the bird book…

DH has of course continued to take photographs, but they go digital from then and we’re saving the next fifteen years worth for either the winter or the next lockdown.

The next lockdown? Anyone else think we could be behaving in ways more designed to stop the spread of a pandemic?

So, the positives – good walk when I saw wonderful purple clematis, a neighbour or two and hordes of cyclists. Made real progress on the jigsaw. Made leek and potato soup (in June? ed). Got the WIP to the last 4000 words. Now have ideas which might take it into saga territory. (No! ED) Enjoyed Elizabeth Hawksley‘s blog post about Sprig Muslin so hunted for it in the depths of the bookcase and FOUND IT. Next up on the GH readathon when I finish Cotillion. Elizabeth’s great blog can be found here

DH preparing for his recycling adventure. Will the house seem empty?



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





Not NanoWriMo – Progress

An earlier RNA Goody Bag


Not NanowriMo has had to cope with such a lot of other stuff. Not least of which was the RNA Winter Party. It takes several days of faffing around to make up name-badges for new attendees and those who took their badge away from an earlier meeting (you know who you are).I also have to think about and order the canapés – such an imposition, I can’t tell you!

This year there was an innovation when Goody Bags were donated by the lovely folk at Harper Collins. They had to be physically shifted from their delivery boxes onto the tables in the vestibule. I’m so grateful to the lovely Anna Louise Lucia and Mick Arnold for help moving them. I was truly exhausted the following day. Maybe joining a gym isn’t such a bad idea.

Dancing shoes with medals


Next up was the fantastic Strathspey Ball organised by Isabel and Aileen in Boat of Garten. More moving – this time of tables, chairs, glasses, crockery etc. and then of the body in stirring Scottish reels, jigs and strathspeys. Don’t know about you, but I find strathspeys hard work, if lovely to dance and to watch.

So, the Not the NanoWriMo count? Maybe I’ll keep that to myself, but I did have 4 lovely days in Assynt where I saw the countryside under snow for the first time. How very beautiful it is. Writing was done and I think I see the way forward with my current Scottish Regency set in King Street and Heriot Row.

How’s yours going? Reached the 50,000?

My apologies for the clunky links below, but WordPress won’t let me embed them. sigh!

Anna Louise Lucia  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Louise-Lucia-Romantic-Suspense-Bundle-ebook/dp/B00AA33JEG/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1511780058&sr=1-1&keywords=anna+louise+lucia

M W Arnold (Mick Arnold) https://www.amazon.co.uk/Season-Love-M-W-Arnold-ebook/dp/B078486B25/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1511782885&sr=1-1&keywords=the+season+for+love

A -Z Challenge Z is for Zed

ZED is a name I saw in the village of Lochinver in Assynt. It was on the sign-board of a thrift or second hand shop. It was the sort of shop where you can buy odd plates, granny’s glass jam dish, holiday reading and it was Zed’s.

I’ve used the name twice. Once in a short story and more recently in my wip, tentatively titled, Courting the Countess. In the new book, Zed is that indispensable man at the hero’s right-hand. He’s self-educated, upright, an orphan and darkly attractive to a certain kind of woman.

Zed is so attractive to this woman that she’s started writing a companion novella to tell his story and that of the countess’s maid.

So far from being the last word, Zed has become an ongoing one. What do readers think? The first parallel story I remember is from Paul Scott’s wonderful Raj Quartet when he tells the first novel over again in the voice of another character. I was spell-bound.

Mirror work

Mirror work

I have enjoyed my month of a-z blogging and have visited many great blogs on the way. If you’ve dropped in here to see what goes on, I hope you’ve found something to please and thank you for coming. Anne, whose name led us out…

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