To NaNoWriMo or not to NaNoWriMo?

With three days to go I haven’t quite decided whether I’ll be taking part in NaNoWriMo or not but the very fact that I keep thinking about it suggests I will be doing it. I’ve even written a few notes about characters for an idea I’ve had, which should keep me going for 30 days of daily writing and provide the 50,000 words that NaNoWriMo requires.

I’m not going to structure the writing much, but just practise free-writing, try some different ideas, and let it flow, hoping to do a chapter per day. By the end of November I should have a sense of achievement and the skeleton of a novel or maybe a series of potential short stories. I’ve done NaNoWriMo twice before, in 2011 and 2014, so hope not to feel too overwhelmed by the whole procedure. It’s quite fun getting a certificate, a badge or a banner for your computer when you complete the task.

After an intense few months getting Lawn House Blues published and before I start the more serious ‘life writing’ book I am planning to work on in the New Year, I think having a manic month of experimental free-writing in November might be just the ticket … I seem to have convinced myself.

In case you don’t know NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month and more can be found about what it involves on their website . It is free to enter but there are facilities for you to make a donation if you wish, to help support classroom kits, free creative writing programmes etc.

NaNoWriMo link



Last week I had a wee break from all things Lawn House Blues and took a trip with my husband to Edinburgh. I am embarrassed to say it was my first visit to this wonderful, historic city, full extraordinary buildings and galleries. The second-hand bookshops were fascinating and the Writers’ Museum a joy to visit. Here were the stories of Robert Burns, Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson.


On the train home, reading my Writers’ Forum magazine I came upon an advert for ‘one sentence poetry’ and was inspired to write a sentence;


Edinburgh, I thought you would be grey and stern

But you were brown and warm

And your lofty buildings stood firm

As the autumn wind blew golden leaves.

November Storm

I know it’s only October but here I’m referring to the November storm in Chapter 27 of Lawn House Blues, hoping some of you might by now have got round to reading the book. This is no spoiler alert as even the back cover tells you of a destructive storm which damages the house. I enjoyed writing about the storm and describing its effects. I tried to visualise  it and imagine the Suffolk countryside. I re-wrote the chapter several times to try to make it feel real.

Then quite by chance I visited Gainsborough’s House in Sudbury with friends and came upon the exhibition of Harry Hambling’s work, called The Suffolk Eye. (The book of the same name was on sale in the gift shop). In one corner of the exhibition I saw this painting which is called ‘December sunset’. There were no signs to say no photography so I discretely snapped it with my phone. Here was a picture of how my November storm might begin.


Once home from the exhibition I was delighted to see the picture again on the Instagram site harry_hambling. I knew that he had lived in Suffolk all his life (1902-1998) and painted the landscape and people of his native Suffolk. He was of course the father of Maggi Hambling, the painter and sculptor, and it was she who encouraged him to paint on his retirement by giving him a set of oil paints.

I loved the colour and atmosphere of this painting and could just imagine Max driving Jenny and Jacob home and seeing these dark, threatening clouds in his rear view mirror before the storm broke.

Thank you Harry Hambling for painting such a wonderful picture for me.

Down to business

Firstly thanks again to all of you who came to Friday evening’s book launch and for the interest you have shown in Lawn House Blues. I hope you’ll enjoy reading it when you have time.

For those of you who couldn’t make it to the launch event or who live far away I have compiled a list of places where you can get a book. (I do have a few copies left at home for any friends who are passing by my house).

The book is selling for £7.99 and the ebook for £1.99.

The paperback is currently available at Wivenhoe Bookshop as well as Red Lion Books in Colchester. Other independent bookshops will be able to order a print on demand copy for you via Gardners, a trade wholesaler who I believe usually arrange delivery within 24hrs.

The paperback is already on Amazon, see Amazon paperback link

The ebook link for Amazon is Amazon ebook link

The other ebook platforms are:-

Smashwords, iTunes, Kobo and Barnes and Noble.

Please let me know on the contact page if you have trouble accessing Lawn House Blues because I’d love you all to read it.

I loved my book launch

Friday’s book launch went well and Lawn House Blues is now freely available for you to purchase, read and enjoy.Photo 21-09-2018, 18 52 06 copy

The Nottage Institute was a great venue and we had lots of space in which our lovely guests could have a glass of wine, mingle, and look at the displays while I signed a few books. They patiently listened to my little talk and a short reading after which they were graciously generous with their appreciation.

From my point of view it was lovely to see old friends and new and I’m only sorry I wasn’t able to circulate and chat more – the book signing table remained busy throughout the evening. It was an exciting and enjoyable event and I enjoyed talking about the Lawn House story and the characters I’d created over the last 2 or 3 years.

I’ve just realised I forgot to ask the audience if they had any questions after my talk. During the evening a number of people said how much they loved the ‘spiffing’ cover but, although I thought they might,  no-one asked where the ‘blues’ in the book title came from. Perhaps you will be able to answer that yourself when you read the book.

For now I’ll just share a few pictures with you. Thanks to the photographers amongst you – there might well be more to come.



_MG_8336 copy


Book launch day

Today’s the day!

 Book cover Lawn House Blues

The door to Lawn House has been opened today and you can now buy the book and find out more about what’s been going on inside. That’s because Lawn House Blues is really a story about a house – a once grand English country mansion in rural Suffolk, now struggling in modern times. The families of the owners, the staff, and the visitors to the house all play a part in a developing saga and they each experience happy times and sad times, mixed with a smattering of intrigue.

Now down to business:-

If you want to buy the book it will be on sale at the book launch event this evening, between 6 and 8 pm at Wivenhoe’s Nottage Institute on the quay. If the weather is good we can have the balcony windows open for a fine view of the river. The paperback will be sold for £7.99.

It is also available at Wivenhoe bookshop, Red Lion Books in Colchester, and all otherindependent bookshops can get hold of it for you from their trade wholesalers on a print-on-demand basis.

Lawn House Blues has also been released on Amazon as both a paper-back and Kindle edition. Other ebook platforms can also access it. The ebook price is £1.99.

If you have any trouble getting hold of a copy please do contact me through this site’s contact page and I’ll do my best to get a copy to you. I’d also be thrilled to hear any comments you have about the book and will always be grateful for any published reviews.

Happy reading.

4 days and counting

Boxes full of ‘Lawn House Blues’ are waiting to be unpacked and I’m busy finalising arrangements for our launch on Friday. It’s a privilege to be able to use the lovely and interesting space upstairs at the Nottage for this event and hopefully you’ll have time to look at some of the displays as well as hear more about my book.