Wednesday 5 December 2018


Thanks to Alex  and Co-Hosts:  J.H. Moncrieff, Tonja Drecker , Patsy Collins, and Chrys Fey

So, we find ourselves at the last IWSG of 2018 - can you believe it?! I certainly can't, the months have just galloped by and I feel like I haven't really been on top of things with my blog for a while. Alongside work and family commitments I have been writing and editing as much as I can and I check in with Twitter almost daily, but finding the time to put together a proper post has slipped down my 'to do' list of late. If I haven't managed to visit your blog recently, please accept my apologies.

This month's optional question is: What are five objects we'd find in your writing space?

There's been some chat around Twitter recently about writing spaces/rooms. I love seeing other writers' special places. As my family has grown-up a spare bedroom became available and I tried to create a special writing space. I set up my laptop, pens and pads, post-its, inspiring pictures and a scented candle. All went well for a while, till daughter returned and reclaimed the room as a study for her own ongoing studies! Ah well, nice while it lasted!

At the moment I have set up at the dining room table. It isn't too bad as we also have a table in the kitchen so only use the 'best room' when we have visitors so I can leave my things out most of the time - I expect I'll be vacating it over the Christmas period though!

As to what I like to have around me apart from my laptop. There will be notepads and several coloured pens and highlighters. Index cards which I use for keeping track of characters and places. Folklore books and sheets of online research. A mug of tea or chamomile tea. Snack of choice is usually chocolate. At the moment there is also a basket of ironing and some Christmas baubles! One thing I really like is peace and quiet. I'm not a writer who works well with music or lots of noise around me.

I'm interested to hear what other writers like to have around them when they write. I bet there's a lot of you who disagree with me on the music front!

Thank you for stopping by today.

Wednesday 7 November 2018

IWSG (November)

Thanks to Alex
Co-Hosts:  Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor, Ann V. Friend, JQ Rose, and Elizabeth Seckman

Sorry, I'm unable to take part in IWSG this month. Have fun all, hopefully back next month. 
Thank you for stopping by, I have disabled comments for this post today. 

Wednesday 3 October 2018

IWSG (October)

Thanks as ever to Alex
Co-Hosts this month:  

Question: How do major life events affect your writing? Has writing ever helped you through something?

I'll answer the second part of this question first - Yes, writing has helped me hugely over the years when dealing with some painful experiences. From the rather awkward and naive attempts at poetry as a teenager trying to make sense of relationships and the sudden loss of my father, to the MG manuscript I wrote five years ago after losing my mother following a long illness. There is no doubt that having that manuscript to escape to was much needed and although I haven't really done much with it, I have recently been thinking about it and wondering whether I should revisit it and work on it some more. 

On a non-fiction note, I find that writing down my thoughts and feelings is a good way to process things - usually, this writing is for my eyes only!

However, on the flip-side, I have experienced periods of stress that have smothered my creativity and the words have dried up for a while. When this happens I try not to panic as this only makes me more stressed! At times like this I allow myself a break from writing to re-charge that side of me until the urge to write overtakes me again.

I am definitely thankful to have writing in my life!

Wednesday 5 September 2018

IWSG (Sept) & other news

Hi everyone, September arrives and with it the reflections of summer and all the things I have done (and not done) over the year so far! Blogging for me has taken a bit of a back-seat this year, although I visit others more than I post myself, carving out the time to sit and put together even a shortish post worth reading, has proved more challenging. Not only in respect of the time but also the inspiration!

I have been writing, reading, researching, plotting, submitting and waiting and I think there are only so many ways to talk about this here without boring you all! I can often be found around Twitter though so feel free to join me there @SuzanneFurness if you don't already. That said, I do like to try and join in with the Insecure Writer's Support Group so thanks as ever to Alex and the other administrators for hosting this wonderful group. It's good to share and support each other because, as we all know, writing can be a lonely business if you don't connect with others.

In non-writing news, I took a weeks holiday to Croatia recently which was great. A chance to unwind and relax. Swim, read, eat and all the usual holiday things! It is a beautiful country and we met some lovely people. I am missing my breakfast table view! (pictured below). We swam in waterfalls, swimming pools and the warmest, clearest sea. Oh yes, and for those Game of Thrones fans among you . . . you might recognise a couple of these places! I don't watch it myself, but the view from there was amazing so well worth a visit! And more for movie fans - did you know that Mammia Mia Here We Go Again was filmed on the Croatia island of Vis? We took a boat trip around several of the islands which are really beautiful and saw Vis from a distance but didn't get to stop there this time.



School started back yesterday, so after six weeks off, it is back to the day job for me. I'm ready to see what the Autumn term will bring. Thanks for visiting . . . 

Wednesday 1 August 2018

IWSG (August)

Thanks as ever to Alex  and this month's co-hosts: Erika Beebe, Sandra Hoover, Susan Gourley, and Lee Lowery

Hello everyone, I hope you are enjoying your summer with plenty of opportunities for writing and catching up with reading. It has been very hot in the UK (apologies to those who normally live in warmer climes but we are not so used to it here!) I do like it, it is so lovely to wake up to the sun shining and not to have to think about taking a coat everywhere but I know a lot of folks are finding it harder to cope with and our once green lands are looking decidedly brown at the moment. And of course, we cannot fail to have heard about the terrible fires that have resulted around the globe. We did have a rainy weekend here though, for which the plants and wildlife are grateful.

My summer didn't start so well this year when my husband was taken into hospital for an emergency operation, but thankfully he is well on the mend now. Life knocks you sideways sometimes.

I am delighted to report that my latest MG manuscript is now finished, edited and ready to query to agents! I'm so happy to have got here again as there have been times when I doubted myself. This is the fourth MG manuscript I have completed and tried to find an agent for. I am really hoping that the odds are in my favour this time. My writing has improved and I have learnt so much over the last few years. 

I think this is a positive post today. A little celebration of the end of another story. What comes next, well, I'll just have to wait and see. 

Question: What pitfalls would you warn other writers to avoid on their publication journey?
I can't really give any specific advice as I am still on this particular journey myself, but I can say that one of the biggest things to find is the persistence and resilience to keep getting up and carrying on when all you seem to hear are doors slamming in front of you. Anyone who's been there knows how hard it can be. Prepare yourself for a long haul flight! 

Thanks for stopping by today and reading. Just to let you know it will probably be Friday or over the weekend before I get to return comments and visits. I am off to do some walking today and tomorrow, so computer access is likely to be limited!

Wednesday 6 June 2018

IWSG (June)

Thanks to Alex and this month's co-hosts  Beverly Stowe McClure, Tyrean Martinson, and Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor

IWSG Day Question: What's harder for you to come up with, book titles or character names?

Interesting question and one I don't really have an answer for! I have had names and book titles pop right up fully formed and I've had times when I've changed both during the course of writing the story. I do like names to have a connection to the story and I will research the meaning of different names. Sometimes the name generator sites are good for sparking ideas for names and places when writing about a fantasy setting. In my current ms my female protagonist's name came to me before I wrote a word of the story or had any real idea of any plot! In case anyone is interested, that name is Esme Starling. It's magical realism meets fantasy. Not sure if that is a particular genre!

I've not been around the blogosphere much of late. I've been struggling to feel inspired to write long posts, choosing instead to focus all my creative energies on my ms. I'm deep into edits with it at the moment and it is taking shape which probably means much of my available writing time will be focused on that. Between the day job, volunteering and the general stuff of life finding time for everything can be challenging sometimes! 

I would love to have the ms polished and submission ready by the end of the summer. 

I check in on Twitter more regularly so feel free to catch me there.

In other non-writing news, I am helping my eldest daughter plan a wedding. It's for next June but amazing what needs to be booked and sorted well in advance.

We've been doing some decorating at home and updating the floor in our hall and kitchen. We are really pleased with it so far. And yes there is a hint of purple in there!

Thanks for stopping by, I will hop around over the next day or two and catch up with folks. 

Wednesday 4 April 2018

IWSG (April 2018)

Thanks to Alex and this month's co-hosts:

First off this month, I am pleased to report that I have completed the draft I have been working on! Yay! At times, over the last few months it has been hard to imagine getting to this point but my confidence in myself feels renewed and I am eager to start working on the draft now. To give myself a push in the right direction, next week I am going away for a few days peace and quiet on Dartmoor so hopefully I will have less distractions and the luxury of some dedicated writing time. I can't wait!

I also hope to get in some walks on the moors soaking up some atmosphere and, of course, fresh air.

Therefore, this month, I am feeling a little less insecure than of late. Long may the feeling continue!

All of which leads nicely on to this month's optional question . . . 

When your writing life is a bit cloudy or filled with rain, what do you do to dig down and keep on writing?

It can be hard sometimes to keep on pushing yourself to find the words and commit them to paper or screen. This is exactly how I have felt for the last six months or so. Despondency set in and the little voice in my head kept taunting me with self-doubt . . . the one that yells; 

You'll never be good enough. You're deluding yourself if you think you can succeed. See, another rejection, which just proves what we've been telling you . . . 

It wasn't just a bit of drizzle either, some days it felt like I was in the middle of a raging storm!

BUT, I did dig deep and push on and now the sun is starting to poke its head through the rain clouds. I'm not sure I've got any magic secret to pass on, except the total and unwavering desire to succeed one day. I knew I had to finish this draft if I had any hope of having a new manuscript to sub. I did take a break, life and other issues got in the way anyway for a while, but as soon as I was able, I sent the partially written draft to my kindle (I find this a great way to read as it gives me a different perspective) and read through what I'd got. And guess what? It wasn't nearly as awful as I thought! There was definitely something there and slowly I started to make some notes and then it gathered pace. I won't lie, it was hard work, but if you want something badly enough you got to keep going. 

Whilst all this was going on, I was still sending out other completed work and, hidden within the rejections was some really positive comments and feedback which also gave my confidence a much needed boast. Sometimes, just knowing you have been close to an offer is huge. It really made me think, I can't give up now! So, I would say, if you can send out work, whether that's short stories, poems, or novel length pieces, do it. . . because you never know what may just lie around the corner.

Wishing you all a happy writing month.

Wednesday 7 March 2018

IWSG (March 2018)

Thanks as ever to Alex and this month's co-hosts:

       Mary Aalgaard, Bish Denham,Jennifer Hawes, Diane Burton, and Gwen Gardner

First an update on last month's post! I have managed to write this month and it feels good. I know where the story is going so I feel more positive. Not quite finished the first draft but soo close now - maybe about three thousand words so should easily be achievable before our next posting!

I'm feeling a bit insecure about my blogging presence of late though. I seem to have slipped to posting only once or twice a month. I still enjoy interacting and visiting other blogs but coming up with my own posts has been trickier.  I want to write a post because I feel inspired to do so rather than just produce something because I feel I have to. So, for now, I will probably continue in the same way. Does anyone else ever feel like this? Is it OK to just post when you feel like it or should I try for a better schedule? I would be interested to read your thoughts.

How do you celebrate when you achieve a writing goal / finish a story?

I can't say I do any one thing in particular but a bit of chocolate or glass of wine is always a nice little reward.

Tuesday 6 February 2018

IWSG (February 2018)

Thanks to Alex J. Cavanugh and this month's co-hosts: Stephen Tremp, Pat Garcia,Angela Wooldridge, Victoria Marie Lees, and Madeline Mora-Summonte

I am so insecure this month! I haven't been able to get myself into a writing groove this year. My WIP lies dormant on my computer and my protagonist has been desperately trying to escape the clutches of an owl witch since December! (Sorry Esme I will come back to you really soon, hang in there and don't give up on me!) I am only probably about 10,000 words from the end of the first draft, which is so close. 

I've been feeling down on myself and my writing I suppose  - berating myself for my lack of success, thinking I'll never quite be good enough to get there. I need to reconnect and get to the end of the draft. I enjoy the editing and re-writing process so if I can push through the rest of the  first draft I'm sure I will feel better about myself and my writing. 

Onwards and upwards . . . 

IWSG Day Question: What do you love about the genre you write in most often?

I mainly write middle grade (8-12). I love writing for this age group as they are open to so many ideas and the themes in MG books are increasing wide and varied. I have read and admired so many fantastic authors of MG over the last year, it is definitely alive and well! Most of my stories include a fantasy element or magical realism. I am also a huge fan of myth and folklore and a lot weaves its way into my writing. 

Thursday 18 January 2018

New Year Update

I know I've been sorely lacking in my blogging of late. The new year is already nearly three weeks old and I am still trying to get myself into a routine that works for me and my commitments. I've been struggling with a few things and I have felt mentally exhausted and somewhat overwhelmed by life. I need to take a bit of 'me time' so I may continue to be a little sporadic over the next week or two.

Writing wise I am still working on a first draft. Progress has been slow over the last month but every sentence counts and I am determined to complete it as soon as practical. I enjoy the editing process so I am sure I will feel energised when I get to that stage! I have also subbed a couple of finished stories so projects still out in the big wide world!

It's my birthday tomorrow, so hopefully a nice meal out with the family will be in order this weekend.

I hope the new year has started well for you all and that 2018 brings you lots of happiness.