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Location, location, location… did I happen to mention it matters?

Posted on April 2, 2018

I managed to timetable a research trip with a family holiday a couple of years ago. (Luckily: I think the accountant would have raised both eyebrows if I’d tried to put it through the books, and it would have given me sleepless nights to try it anyway. …

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Why writers have to talk to their characters

Posted on January 5, 2018

(Honestly, this is not just a way to justify why I spend so much time talking to myself.) It’s important that key characters in any story can throw the reader the occasional curve ball. It’s vital is that you, the writer, were expecting that curve ball …

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All those strange words in italics: the Ilmaen Quartet dictionary, part 2

Posted on November 5, 2017

The key to understanding the languages of the Ilmaen Quartet is understanding which populations have gone, and which survived. Most nations had organised the migration of their people into cities as the most effective and efficient way to meet everyone …

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All those strange words in italics: the Ilmaen Quartet dictionary, part 1

Posted on October 30, 2017

I find there’s a magic to other languages, especially those that are currently used, but alien to most western ears and so little spoken outside their own countries. Traditionally (thanks JK Rowling, Maggie Steifvater, Terry Pratchett et al.) the alter …

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eBook compiler versus Helen: the score is eBook compiler 2, Helen 0

Posted on October 21, 2017

I may have lost this battle, but the war’s not over. You WILL have your maps! Dear Kindle/Kobo/Nook readers, Apologies, there are no maps in the ebook version of Playing a Dark Game. After a week fighting the compiler, I’ve decided that managed retreat …

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The more brains on this, the better

Posted on May 11, 2017

Well that was a long hiatus, sorry not to have been blogging for a while but Book 3 and a part-time job have taken priority. The good news is Book 3 is due to hit the screens of beta readers during the Late May Bank Holiday Weekend, with a month-long r …

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5 things that make a great story

Posted on December 29, 2016

Like many readers and writers before me, I’ve spent years trying to work out what makes a story truly great. I suspect it’s hellishly more complex than my 5 points below but for me, these are the things that jump out as being essential. So, short and s …

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New characters – some pop out fully formed, some are dragged out kicking and screaming

Posted on November 1, 2016

The image that inspired Renia – art by Susan Martin The first 3 books have characters that I’ve been living with for a very long time, though getting a book print ready does help you to learn a lot more as the final bits fall into place. (Yes, Playing …

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Guildford Book Festival 2016

Posted on October 2, 2016

After sneaking off for a short holiday and skipping Blog duty in September (like you missed me!), this month I wanted to talk about one of around 300 regional book fairs we have in the UK, Guildford Book Festival. It has been running for the last 27 ye …

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Gunslingers wanted! –Sorry, beta readers. I meant beta readers.

Posted on August 19, 2016

I used to work for a software company, and as part of the design process we used to build a product so far, then get our partners to ‘gunsling’ it to see it they liked it, could break it or could find any bugs. (Yep, it was an American company.) Back t …

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