Friday, 2 December 2016

Blog Tour: Talking As Fast I Can by Lauren Graham of Gilmore Girls!



In Talking as Fast as I Can, Lauren Graham hits pause for a moment and looks back on her life, sharing laugh-out-loud stories about growing up, starting out as an actress, and years later, sitting in her trailer on the Parenthood set and asking herself, 'Did you, um, make it?' She opens up about the challenges of being single in Hollywood ('Strangers were worried about me; that's how long I was single!'), the time she was asked to audition her butt for a role, and her experience being a judge on Project Runway ('It's like I had a fashion-induced blackout.') 
Complete with photos and excerpts from the diary Graham kept during the filming of the recent Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, this book is like a cozy night in, catching up with your best friend, laughing and swapping stories, and - of course - talking as fast as you can.

I'm sure you all know Lauren Graham as Lorelai from Gilmore Girls, and, if you don't, well, where have you been?! Lauren has a new book published in the UK by Virago on December 6th, titled Talking As Fast As I Can, and I'm very excited to be part of this blog tour - she's one of my favourite actresses and I'm sure her book will be one well worth reading!


As part of this blog tour, I've been asked to share my favourite Lorelai moment from Gilmore Girls, and that was no easy task. Lorelai has so many great lines and scenes that narrowing them down was almost impossible, but I managed to come up one that has stuck in my mind since the year 2000. Honestly, she's one of the best characters to ever grace TV screens! (I even prefer her to Gilmore Jess - shh, don't tell anyone I said that!)

The Lorelai moment I've chosen is from the second episode of Season 1, 'Lorelai's First Day at Chilton', and features Lorelai dressed for Rory's big day looking like an extra at a rodeo. Rory is starting her first day at Chilton School, Lorelai oversleeps and the only clothes she has available are these. She ends up in a meeting with her mother, Emily, and Headmaster Charleston, and the whole incident basically sets the scene for the next seven years of the show. This is Lorelai, quirks and all, and you either like it or you don't! Obviously, I love her -- she's the kind of character you want to watch for seven years, and I'm so glad A Year in the Life continued the Gilmore story. I really, really hope they make more episodes. Who do I need to talk to about that?

Thursday, 16 June 2016

The Rock 'N' Roll Diaries Blog Tour: Jamie Scallion Talks About His Career!

Jamie Scallion is the super cool author of The Rock 'N' Roll Diaries, and I'm excited to be part of this blog tour for book three, Losing It. If you don't know what the RNR Diaries is all about, here's more information about the first instalment:

When Burt decides he must start a rock band to win the love of Bex, the hottest girl in the school, he is forced to assemble a group who wouldn’t normally be seen dead together. The RockAteers are born. It must work, and not just for Burt’s sake. Egg has spent his life on the outside looking in, Tea needs to avoid becoming part of his criminal family and Clipper yearns for more than a fast track to a football academy. When Egg reveals his song-writing genius, the only way is up… Can four opposites led by an ego-maniac function as a band and navigate the music industries shark infested waters? Who will win the race to sign them? And who will get the girl?

As part of this blog tour, Jamie has very kindly written a really interesting piece about his career, from his time in a band to his newfound status as a young adult author. Thanks, Jamie!


Rocker to Writer
by Jamie Scallion

I’ve been in bands for a long time. My dad was in a band; my brother was in a band. You could say it was in my blood. I love writing songs. Coming up with a strong concept and working on telling that story in three or four minutes was and is an all-consuming passion. It felt like a natural progression to write a book. It’s a very different discipline of course, a marathon not a sprint. Muscles I didn’t know I had were needed in the pursuit writing a decent novel. I wrote four novels before I felt like I was even getting somewhere. 

I started touring with The Script in early 2007. We were both supporting a bigger band at the time on a four week UK tour. We got on and our friendship was built on four cornerstones: laughter, creation, inclusion and innovation. Laughter because they made me laugh, creation, because each of their songs is a vignette, songs like The Man Who Can’t Be Moved or If You Could See Me Now have a storytelling flair that really appeals to me. Inclusion because I was drawn to the way they treated their fans; with respect and affection. The Script isn’t an exclusive members’ club, it’s a party anyone can join. Innovation because I had never seen a band so focussed on thinking outside the box and striving to create an experience that pushes boundaries. 

After that first tour the lads started to get pretty big, pretty fast. They began to invite my band on the road with them more and more and the friendship built. When I mentioned I had written a novel about my experiences on the road Mark and Danny asked to read it. I sent them a PDF and they read it in a matter of days. 
“What if we brought the band to life with music!” they said. 
This was a crossroads moment. I saw it very much as a choice between traditional publishing or some kind of enhanced self-publishing. By applying the same ethos The Script lived by I felt sure the books would have a good chance. Decision made, we started to work up a model that concentrated on using talented friends to help build the book and design the world it would live in. The tour bus became our office. Our shop front would be the World Wide Web. We wanted to harness the power of social media to create the buzz. Despite Mark and Danny being behind it we didn’t want to over use The Scripts clout to gain superficial followers. We wanted to engage people, to get people reading sample chapters, listening to excerpts of the songs we had written. We were meticulous in our plans. Our mantras were don’t run before we can walk and if we don’t know the right person, let’s ask someone who does. 

On the music side we were savvy of course. On the literary side, not so much. We took meetings with literary professionals. Many of whom were positive but constricted by traditional practices. Some didn’t understand what we were trying to do at all. One even suggested we re-write the story and base it on three Irish lads from Dublin. But Amazon got it! They were enthusiastic from the moment we explained our idea, saw its scope and had exactly the place for us to house the book - KDP select. Kindle direct publishing select were the only outlet who instantly understood the potential and could help us spread the word in the most effective way. We retained our independence and ability to act quickly whilst at the same time having their full support, with the added benefits such as the Kindle Owners Lending Library allowing us to extend our reach even further and build on our positive word of mouth. 
They introduced us to Amazon music, Audible, Create Space and Goodreads. They created a landing page on their site and helped develop our campaign. It’s been incredible. I love being in control of my own destiny and I love the direct contact with our very engaged fan base. It’s already been the most empowering, exhausting and exciting thing I have ever done in my life. Whatever happens next, we are immensely proud of what we have achieved so far.


Fine Jamie on Twitter: @JamieScallion

Monday, 9 November 2015

Review: The Art of Horror edited by Stephen Jones

Publisher: Applause
Format: Large hardcover
Released: October 9th, 2015
Rating: 10/10

Amazon summary:

Amazingly, there has never been a book quite like The Art of Horror-a celebration of frightful images, compiled and presented by some of the genre's most respected names. While acknowledging the beginnings of horror-related art in legends and folk tales, the focus of the book is on how the genre has presented itself to the world since the creations of Bram Stoker and Mary Shelley first became part of the public consciousness in the 19th century. It's all here: from early engravings-via dust jackets, book illustrations, pulp magazines, movie posters, comic books, and paintings-to today's artists working entirely in the digital realm. Editor Stephen Jones and his stellar team of contributors have sourced visuals from archives and private collections (including their own) worldwide, ensuring an unprecedented selection that is accessible to those discovering the genre, while also including many images that will be rare and unfamiliar to even the most committed fan. From the shockingly lurid to the hauntingly beautiful-including images of vampires, werewolves, zombies, ghosts, demons, serial killers, alien invaders, and more-every aspect of the genre is represented in ten themed chapters. Quotes from artists/illustrators, and a selection from writers and filmmakers, are featured throughout.


The Art of Horror is a visually stunning book that belongs on every horror fan's shelf. It's a giant 256-page hardback filled with images of horror art, and it also boasts a forward by literary legend Neil Gaiman. Stephen Jones has done a great job of editing the entire thing, and it's nothing more than a love letter to horror and all the art that has accompanied it over the years.

Split into ten themed chapters, The Art of Horror starts with my favourite of all creatures: 'vampires, bloodsuckers and other undead'. It then goes on to cover zombies, man-made monsters, werewolves, ghosts, serial killers and anything else you can think of that goes bump in the night. Nothing is omitted here, and instead there's an absolute wealth of horror history and its accompanying artwork. I particularly enjoyed reading about the visual history of vampires and how they came to be the fanged creatures we know today, and I'm very glad to confirm that Buffy gets a mention!

The Art of Horror draws on a lot of artwork from various different sources, such as film posters, paintings and book illustrations, and each image has a story to tell. There's a paragraph of text linked to every image presented, and that itself is well worth the price of the book. There's lots of facts and trivia included, and it even features an image of the cover of the first paperback printing of Dracula. I'd never seen it until now! I'm also impressed with the inclusion of book and film art from I Am Legend, The Last Man on Earth and The Omega Man. Any horror book that includes these is an instant buy for me!

There's also some brilliant Cthulhu art presented in this book and it's a real treat to look at. Also making an appearance is fantastic original art of Regan from The Exorcist, Sam from Trick 'r Treat and Jack Torrance from The Shining. In fact, there's so much good stuff here that it's impossible to mention it all!

The Art of Horror is an incredible book for horror fans, and is one that can be read as a whole or one to simply dip in and out of. I can't think of another book like it, and I'm not sure any other could be better than this. If you're a fan of horror or the macabre, or even just horror cinema, then this book needs to be in your collection. Applause, Stephen Jones and all involved have truly accomplished something special here and I'm very glad I got the opportunity to see it!

Monday, 28 September 2015

Six of Crows Blog Tour: Six Memorable Quotes + Giveaway!

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price - and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy, Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can't pull it off alone. A convict with a thirst for revenge. A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager. A runaway with a privileged past. A spy known as the Wraith. A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums. A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes. Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz's crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction - if they don't kill each other first.

Six of Crows is the massive new book from Leigh Bardugo, author of the Grisha series that took readers by storm over the last few years. It's officially published by Orion Children's Books on September 29th and can be purchased from all good book sellers.

From 24/9 - 29/9, bloggers in the US and UK will be paired up to share their own Six of Crows-inspired lists, such as six tips for surviving the Grishaverse, six signs you do/don't have what it takes to join Kaz's crew, and more.

I'm really excited to be a part of this blog tour - I'm partnering with US blog The Midnight Garden - and would like to thank Leigh and Orion for organising it!



Catch Leigh on her UK tour!

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A word from Leigh Bardugo...

Thanks for being on the Six of Crows blog tour! A lot of influences went into Six of Crows, and the easiest way to pitch the book has always been ‘Oceans 11 meets Game of Thrones’. 
But I think it's also fair to say that SoC has a lot in common with one of my favourite, and most quotable mob films: The Untouchables. This is seriously one of my top 5 favourite movies and no one has heard of it. It's like every dude needs a poster of The Godfather and Scarface up on his wall, but they've forgotten one of the most badass movies ever made. Maybe it's because Eliot Ness, the film's hero is such a total square? (I mean, he's a treasury agent trying to take down Al Capone with an accountant on his team.) Maybe it's because Capone was finally put away for tax evasion and not something more glamorous? Maybe it's because Kevin Costner is universally acknowledged as a tool. But The Untouchables is a phenomenal movie with few moral absolutes, great set pieces, and one of my favourite lines of dialogue ever: 
‘You wanna know how to get Capone? They pull a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue. That's the Chicago way. And that's how you get Capone.’ 
I'm disturbed at how often I use this quote in my daily life. But seriously, though I didn't realise it at the time, Jimmy Malone's philosophy is basically Kaz's philosophy. Fight fire with fire? Nah. You set off a nuclear bomb.


Six Memorable Quotes from Six of Crows
“’No mourners,’ Jesper said as he tossed his rifle to Rotty. ‘No funerals,’ the rest of the Dregs murmured in reply. Among them it passed for ‘good luck’.”

“When everyone knows you’re a monster, you needn’t waste time doing every monstrous thing.” (Kaz)

“Mattias Helvar was a druskelle, one of the Fjerdan witch-hunters tasked with hunting down Grisha to face trial and execution, though to her [Nina] he’d always resembled a warrior Saint, illuminated in gold”

“Traitor, witch, abomination. All those words came to him, but others crowded in too: beautiful, charmed one. Roed fetla, he’d called her, little red bird, for the colour of her Grisha order.”

“I don’t know what your excuse is, Wraith. I’m the one who can never walk away from a bad hand.” She [Inej] looped her arm in his. “That makes you a rotten gambler, Jesper. But an excellent friend” 

“pretty sure most of us don’t have ‘stalwart’ or ‘true’ checked off on our resumes.”



But wait. There's more! Enter to win a Six of Crows prize pack full of US AND UK swag by commenting on all 12 blog posts by 11:59pm EST Friday, October 2.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Fans of the Impossible Life Blog Tour: Kate Scelsa's What I Love - Nick Cave!

SEBBY seems to carry sunlight around with him. Even as life in his foster home starts to take its toll, Sebby and his best friend Mira together craft a world of magic rituals and impromptu road trips designed to fix the broken parts of their lives. MIRA is starting over at St. Francis Prep. She promised her parents she would at least try to pretend that she could act like a functioning human this time, not a girl who can't get out of bed for days on end, who only feels awake when she's with Sebby. JEREMY is the painfully shy art nerd at St. Francis who's been in self-imposed isolation after an incident that ruined his last year of school. When he sees Sebby for the first time across the school lawn, it's as if he's been expecting him. As Jeremy finds himself drawn into Sebby and Mira's world, he begins to understand the secrets that they hide in order to protect themselves, to keep each other safe from those who don't understand their quest to live for the impossible.

Fans of the Impossible Life was published on September 10th in the UK, by Macmillan Children's Books, and thanks to author Kate Scelsa for writing this post for me!


What I Love: Nick Cave
by Kate Scelsa

It should be noted that there are two famous Nick Caves – one is an American multimedia artist and one is an Australian musician. They are both very cool and one time they met and took a picture together: 
But this post is about the artist Nick Cave, seen in that picture on the left, whose art mostly consists of what he calls Soundsuits, elaborate costumes that cover a person’s entire body and are made out of sticks or toys or crazy fur. Some of them are horses. Some of them look like they escaped from a children’s book. Some have masks and reference ancient folklore and tribal costumes. 
Cave has a background in dance, and he decided to call the outfits Soundsuits when he put one on and started to move in it, and it made a sound. 
In my young adult novel “Fans of the Impossible Life,” my character Jeremy tries to convince his friend Mira to join his newly formed art club, but Mira insists that she’s not an artist, she just likes to sew things. Jeremy shows her his favorite art book, Nick Cave’s “Meet Me at the Center of the Earth,” to prove to her that art can be many things. 
I chose to reference Cave’s work in FANS partly because I’m a fan of the ways in which his work is so playful and unpretentious. Cave’s creations often venture out into the world, staging performances on street corners and interrupting a normal day with a kind of joyful exuberance that I think many artists shy away from because they don’t think something so joyful could be seen as “serious art.” But I also chose to reference Cave’s work because I find his Soundsuits to be deeply profound, and I think my characters relate to his images on this deeper level as well. 
Many of Cave’s creations reference folklore and fantasy, so there’s a conversation happening here with history and with the history of ritual and magic. It’s a powerful thing to put on a costume and transform yourself completely into someone or something else. There’s a simultaneous erasure of you as an individual and a heightening of a regular human into something that seems to have an otherworldly power to it. In a 2009 New York Times profile, the artist said, “When I was inside a suit, you couldn’t tell if I was a woman or man; if I was black, red, green or orange; from Haiti or South Africa. I was no longer Nick. I was a shaman of sorts.” 
In 2013 Cave staged a performance with some dancers from the Alvin Ailey School wearing his horse Soundsuits in Grand Central: 
A friend of mine took her four-year-old son to see it and he completely freaked out. There is something very powerful and uncanny about seeing the Soundsuits in motion. And part of what’s amazing about them is how low tech they are. Cave is just covering people in stuff and having them move. A big part of their charm is how evocative they are while being so relatively simple. 
Jeremy tells us in FANS that his favorite photograph in “Meet Me at the Center of The Earth” is of a “stick figure peering out from the cave of its own body, an empty basket where its face should have been.” 

Looking at this image as a writer, there’s already a story forming in my mind around this creature. Why doesn’t it have a face? Why does it seem so inquisitive? Is it hiding something? Is it afraid? 
I love the way that you can lose yourself in this kind of fantasy with each of Cave’s pieces. And the fact that the narrative of them is centered on an individual rather then on the environment (the way that it is in installation art) also seems very powerful to me. Cave is bringing out a kind of secret magic that’s hidden in the individual, almost as if this is what we look like on the inside, and he’s exposing the true self, while simultaneously hiding the figure in the armor of the fantasy. Do we hide our own mysteries? Are we allowed to show all of ourselves? Is there a reason why we need to stay hidden? 
But then maybe there’s something as simple going on here as the idea that, if you’re a crazy, colorful fur creature, there’s actually no chance of hiding that part of yourself, so you must embrace it. You must dance, and you must let everyone see your crazy beauty. And the world will be a more joyful place for it.


Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Emmy and Oliver Blog Tour: Robin Benway's Playlist!

Oliver's absence split us wide open, dividing our neighborhood along a fault line strong enough to cause an earthquake. An earthquake would have been better. At least during an earthquake, you understand why you're shaking. Emmy and Oliver were going to be best friends forever, or maybe even more, before their futures were ripped apart. But now Oliver is back, and he's not the skinny boy-next-door that used to be Emmy's best friend. Now he's the boy who got kidnapped. A stranger - a totally hot stranger! - with a whole history that Emmy knows nothing about. But is their story still meant to be? Or are they like the pieces of two different puzzles - impossible to fit together?

Simon and Schuster are publishing Emmy and Oliver this Thursday in the UK, and it sounds like a brilliant contemporary read for YA fans! As part of this blog tour, author Robin Benway has kindly shared her playlist along with notes - yay music!

Thanks to Robin for this piece and I hope you enjoy reading it!


Emmy & Oliver Playlist
by Robin Benway

Suburban War – Arcade Fire

“Now the cities we live in could be different stars / and I search for you in every passing car…”

“Oh, my old friends / They don’t know me now…”

This song is probably the reason why I started thinking about Emmy & Oliver in the first place. I had always sort of a vague idea in my mind about these two characters, but it was this Arcade Fire song (and frankly, this entire album) that started to solidify who they were.

Buzzcut Season – Lorde

“And I’ll never go home again / Place the call, feel it start / Favorite friend / And nothing’s wrong when nothing’s true / I live in a hologram with you…”

I basically listened to Lorde nonstop while writing Emmy & Oliver, since not only did the music sound right, but the lyrics seemed to summarize exactly what I wanted the characters to say to each other. I listened to this song over & over while writing the part where Emmy first teaches Oliver to surf.

Overjoyed – Bastille

“Oh I feel overjoyed when you listen to my words / I see them sinking in / Oh I see them crawling underneath your skin…”

When I first heard this song (thanks, Viral 50 on Spotify) I knew exactly what scene it would involve. I hadn’t even written that scene yet, but it was too perfect for the moment. It’s the first time that someone really listens to Oliver since he’s come home, and his friendship with Emmy grows because of it. If you’d like to read a snippet from that scene, continue on!

I Wanna Go – Summer Heart

“I had nothing to lose and I had no one to trust / and you were calling my name…”

I listened to this song obsessively when I wrote the surfing scenes for Emmy & Oliver. To me, it just sounded like summer and lazy days and the ocean. (Even though the book takes place during the spring. But whatever!) When I went online looking for information about this song, I found the most perfect fan-made video. If Emmy & Oliver had a book trailer (it doesn’t, sorry!) this is what I’d want it to look like:

Ribs – Lorde

“This dream isn’t feeling sweet / We’re reeling through the midnight streets / And I’ve never felt more alone / It feels so scary getting old…”

Lorde comes through yet again. This song was, for me, the background for the friendship between Caro, Drew, Emmy, and Oliver, and the way friendships shift and change, especially when someone new enters them. I also liked how they’re all on the cusp of change (college, moving out of their parents’ house, or, in Oliver’s case, coming home) and how these changes both pull them apart and push them together. Being seventeen is scary sometimes. Lorde gets it.

If You Do, You Don’t – Cartel

“So take me out, and take me anywhere / I’m out of touch with everything and I don’t care / So I must be out of my mind / And all that I have to give to you is all my time / So I’ll stay with you…”

So waaaay back in the day, I had this song on a soundtrack that was for a book that will never see the light of day. (Never.) But I listened to it obsessively while writing a few certain scenes, and I was so disappointed when I realized that it would never be on a soundtrack for a book that didn’t exist. Enter EMMY & OLIVER. Thanks, kids!

Anthems for a 17-Year-Old Girl – Broken Social Scene

“Park that car, drop that phone, sleep on the floor, dream about me…”

Emmy & Oliver is my fifth book, which means that I’ve been trying to get this song on a soundtrack for one of my books for AGES! And it finally worked! I always envisioned this song sound like late nights and wet grass, when you feel like you’re the only person awake in the world, listening to that one song on repeat. This would be that song.

Los Angeles – Denison Witmer

“All of these homes are lined up so straight / But here on the inside, it’s not that way / I gave you my life and more / From sadness to sunshine, I’m yours…” 

I’m starting to realize that the subtitle of the Emmy & Oliver soundtrack could easily be “All the Songs that Robin Wanted to Put on a Book Playlist But Never Could.” Because here’s another one! I’ve loved this song for years, and when I wrote a Book That Will Never Be Published (you’re welcome), I loved this song for two of the characters. But with Emmy & Oliver, it just fits them so well. If only they actually lived in Los Angeles.

But it also fits their families, too, and the idea of trying to keep up appearances when you’re falling apart.

Silhouette (feat. Ellie Goulding) - Active Child

“Tell me that you’ll stay, even when I’m far away / My voice will carry through / Until the end it’s me & you / We can make it if we try / All that I’m saying is you’re home / You’ll never be alone…”

So this song pretty much wrecked me while I was writing one of the scenes toward the end of the novel. I first heard it in the car and I started crying because I knew it was basically Emmy and Oliver talking to one another. (Sometimes when you’re writing a book, you can get a smidge emotionally involved with your characters. Ahem.) I wanted to wait a few days after the book came out (now available for purchase at all fine bookstores, hooray!) because there are potential spoilers here. Not big ones, though. But still.

Say Something – A Great Big World

“You’re the one that I love / And I’m saying goodbye…”


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Saturday, 11 July 2015

The Lost and the Found Blog Tour: Cat Clarke's Writing Essentials!

When six-year-old Laurel Logan was abducted, the only witness was her younger sister. Faith's childhood was dominated by Laurel's disappearance - from her parents' broken marriage and the constant media attention to dealing with so-called friends who only ever wanted to talk about her sister. 
Thirteen years later, a young woman is found in the garden of the Logans' old house, disorientated and clutching the teddy bear Laurel was last seen with. Laurel is home at last, safe and sound. Faith always dreamed of getting her sister back, without ever truly believing it would happen. But a disturbing series of events leaves Faith increasingly isolated and paranoid, and before long she begins to wonder if everything that's lost can be found again...

Quercus have just published Cat Clarke's new YA novel, The Lost and the Found, in the UK on July 2nd. It looks set to be as good as her previous books, my favourite of which is still Undone!

As part of this blog tour, Cat has written a great post about writing essentials - thanks, Cat! Do check out the previous stops on this blog tour, which you can see on the banner below.


My Top Ten Writing Essentials 
by Cat Clarke

You might think that all a writer needs in order to do their job is a computer, or a pen and some paper. And you might well be right. I would love to be one of those writers. But I’m not, so here are my writing essentials*. 
1. Tea 
The tea has to be in the right mug. A writing session calls for a mug of considerable size, and should ideally be one that also makes me smile. I have no time for boring mugs. Oh, and the milk ABSOLUTELY must go in first. (I’m fully aware of how controversial this is.) 
2. A sofa or a bed 
I used to write at a desk but that felt a bit too much like proper grown-up work. Now I tend to write on the bed in the morning (NB: not actually IN the bed... very important distinction there) and on the sofa in the afternoon. This way I can trick myself that I’m just messing around on the computer and not doing actual work. Let’s just ignore the fact that for a large part of the day, I am indeed messing around on the computer and not doing actual work. 
3. Pets 
Ideally a dog snoozing on either side of me and a cat looming above in a slightly menacing fashion. Optional extra: additional cat sitting in the hallway making sounds like a baby in distress. 
4. An open Word document 
I like to have the document open, even if I’m not quite ready to start writing. This makes it easier for me to sneak up on the story and get started without really making a conscious decision to do so. This is VITAL if I’m going to get anything done. 
5. Music 
I used to listen to music when I wrote, and was convinced that it wasn’t possible for me to manage without it. These days I tend to write in silence. But I like to listen to certain songs on repeat while I’m gearing up for a writing session. I nicked this idea from Keris Stainton – thanks, Keris! My current favourite is Peter von Poehl’s The Story of the Impossible. 
6. Lunch or dinner already planned 
There is absolutely no way I concentrate if I don’t know what my next meal is going to be. It also helps if the prospective meal has the potential to be extra delicious. 
7. A good book This can be problematic if the book is TOO good. Because then I just want to read all day and leave the writing till tomorrow. So it has to be a book that I can put down, even if I don’t particularly want to. 
8. No plans for the rest of the day ESPECIALLY not a scheduled phone call. Phone calls are the worst. Well, actual phone calls are usually fine, but the prospect of them? Not so much. 
9. An idea of what I’m going to write next If Past Cat has been kind, there will be a few sentences in the Word document, outlining what should happen in the next scene. I’ll often ignore these suggestions, but it’s comforting to have them there nonetheless. 
10. Oh dear… 
This is all getting a bit ridiculous, isn’t it? After all, it’s just making stuff up. How hard can it be? Instead of telling you about number 10, I’m going to go away and WRITE. (And by ‘write’, I mean ‘make sure all the essentials are in place so that I can begin to start to think about maybe, just maybe, getting some words done’.) 
*Correct at time of going to press. Subject to change on a daily basis, annoyingly.


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