Characters in setting

Rounded, multi-layered characters are essential if you want people to be engaged in your story. Reading is an emotional trip and we want to gasp, shiver, feel rolls of warmth, resentment, sympathy, fear, loss, and triumph as we turn the pages.

Superwomen are fine in some contexts – we like a bit of pushing over […]

Five quick and dirty writing tips

Writing friend Keith Dixon asked me in one of those round robins on Facebook to share five writing tips, but without copying his (curses!).

After nine, soon to be ten, books you’d think it would be easy, but the problem is that over that time, I’ve gathered a jumble of writing dos and don’ts. It […]

London Book Fair 2017 – Networking, America and Getting Over Ourselves

Left to right: ‘ALLis’ Joanna Penn, Jessica Bell, me, Rebecca Lang LBF 2017

Back in March 2010, I started this blog. Weeks later, in the Year of the #Ashtag, I descended on Earl’s Court for my very first London Book Fair. Breathless newbie that I was to this writing and publishing game, I […]

Seasonally adjusted writing

Seasons drive our behaviour whether we like it or not. We no longer live in caves, but in heated and insulated houses with curtains, double-glazing and electric light which weather-proof our lives But am I the only person who tends to ‘hibernate’ in winter and virtually live outside in summer?

When we write, we must […]

Roman taxing times

As I sit down to fill in my tax return, I’m looking for any distraction. I wondered how the ancient Romans were taxed. Today we have income tax, company/corporation tax, sales taxes/VAT, excise duties (road fund licence (UK), alcohol, cigarettes), local taxation, inheritance tax, to name but a few. But how similar are our taxes […]