Wednesday 27 July 2011


Blogfests are a great way to find new bloggers and for other bloggers to find your blog. It's all about the interaction and I love social media for the opportunities it gives you for interacting with people who have similar interests.

With that in mind, I recently found a writing related blogfest that I want to take part in. You may also be interested. The blogfest is hosted by Christine at The Writer Coaster

Click the below image to go to the hosting blog. The blurb below it is copied over from Christines blog. I love the prompts. Will you be posting?

What book made you realize you were doomed to be a writer? 
What author set off that spark of inspiration for your current Work in Progress?
Or, Is there a book or author that changed your world view?

As writers, we're always striving to get out a message of inspiration to others. This blogfest is a celebration for those who have done this for us. Join the Spark Blogfest, aka Sparkfest, by posting your answer to any of the three prompts above (or make one up as long as it fits the theme).

I'll make it worth your while!
  • There will be three Amazon Gift Cards ($15, $10, $5) awarded to random participants!
  • The blogger who writes my favorite entry will get an interview on my blog so they can tell us more about their awesome source of writerly inspiration!
  • By networking with other writers, you gain followers and comments for your own blog.

Only one Sparkfest post August 22-26 is required to participate.

Monday 25 July 2011

Harrogate Opening Evening

After attending Theakstons Old Peculiar Crime Writing Festival at the weekend, I'm a little overwhelmed with facts, information and stories of which to share and discuss on the blog. There is too much to cram into one post or to write about it in consecutive posts so I've decided to write about Thursday's opening event today then wait a couple of posts before discussing more. I don't want to give you Harrogate burnout yet I have so much enthusiasm after attending that I do want to share it with you.

The Weekend started in a relaxing way with an awards ceremony on the Thursday evening. Six great authors were shortlisted for crime novel of the year. All six nominated authors attended and were briefly interviewed on the stage.

The short list was:

From The Dead - Mark Billingham
Blood Harvest - S.J.Bolton
61 Hours - Lee Child
Dark Blood - Stuart MacBride
The Holy Thief - William Ryan
The Anatomy of ghosts - Andrew Taylor

The award winner was Lee Child with the book 61 Hours. He was a gracious winner who stated he would have been happy to come in sixth behind his fellow nominated authors.

The presentation of the lifetime achievement award was something I feel privileged to have been present for. The award was given to P.D.James who at 90 years of age received a standing ovation as she walked to the stage. You could feel the love and respect for her in the packed room. She has a crime writing career spanning decades, with her first novel, Cover her Face being published in 1962. I felt truly honoured to be present.

After the awards we moved to the opening night party where Theakstons Old Peculiar was on tap or, for those of us not up to drinking pints if beer, red and white wine were available. Armed with a glass of red I mingled with published and aspiring crime writers, crime readers and bloggers. I met some wonderful people whom I am now pleased to call friends.

Friday 22 July 2011

Harrogate Crime Writing Festival Photographs

As you'd expect, I don't really have time while I'm at the festival to put up a proper blog post, so I thought I'd share a couple of my highlights in photographic format. I will try and put the experience into words at some point next week.

I'm having an amazing time. I hope you enjoy the photographs. The quality may not be spot on as they have been taken on my phone, but you will get an idea so far...

The Twitter gang

Twitterer @Pamreader

Martina Cole

Lee Child!

Wednesday 20 July 2011

Crime Writing Festival

Tomorrow I am heading to Harrogate for the Theakstons Crime Writing Festival. I booked it about two months in advance and at the time it seemed an age to wait, and now it's here and I go tomorrow.

It's four days spent thinking about nothing but crime writing, ok, there may be a bit of alcohol thrown in, but I'm sure I will still be thinking crime at the time. There will be some big names of the crime writing world there, including, Tess Gerritson, David Baldacci and Val McDermid to name only a few of the many.

This is the complete line up. I can't wait!

What do I hope to achieve by attending?

I hope to pick up some great tips from the professionals about the craft and I hope to meet people involved in the writing and publishing world and gain an invaluable insight from this. I know I will also come away from the event with some great friendships started.

I hope to be able to post some photographs on the blog while I am still there. The event is Thursday evening until Sunday lunchtime. I have a blogging app on my phone, so I should be able to share some of the weekend with you, while I am there.

At some point upon my return, I will post my thoughts on the event and what I have come away from it with.

If you are interested then follow me on Twitter and/or Facebook where I will no doubt be posting regular updates live from the event. You can follow these by clicking on the relevant links on the right.

I'm so excited!

Monday 18 July 2011

Hospital Appointment and The Spoon Theory

Last Thursday I had an appointment with a consultant rheumatologist. It was a good appointment in so far as she spent time with me, listened to me and explained things to me. She was only allotted 30 minutes for the appointment but I came out after about 45-50 minutes.

I'm a bit more defective than I thought I was but certainly not in comparison to some real bendies she has seen. It would seem I do have hypermobility in my larger joints (knees) where I didn't think I had. The slackness of my collagen has made my foot arches drop (again I hadn't realised) this has affected the angle of my knees and then my hips. My lower back is more curved than normal (again without studying multiple persons naked backs I was not aware my own curve was not the norm). My hips, as I did know, are very stretchy.

She was far from offended at my voicing my lack of faith in the NHS, which I think prompted the longer appointment.

I have been booked in for physio which I'm told will make me feel a lot worse before it starts to help and I'm not to expect it to help at any speed. My body has been failing me gradually for my whole life, it's not going to be fixed in a few weeks.

I'm also to be booked in for some relaxation sessions in an attempt to help my poor sleeping pattern.

For those people following me on twitter, you may well have seen me use the phrase "spoonie". This is in relation to an analogy created by Christine Miserandino to explain how it feels to live with any life debilitating illness. It is regularly used by people living with a variety of disorders as an open letter to family and friends in relation to how hard some days are.

I'm doing ok.

Below is the spoon theory explaining just how bad some days can be - though for me, not all days.

The Spoon Theory 

Wednesday 13 July 2011

How I Feel about Blogging

Following on from Fridays blog post where I discussed the issues of a blog platform and personal interaction, I wanted to write about how I personally feel about blogging. Making Fridays post has helped me with it somewhat. It made me take a step back and have a good look at what I have here and how I feel about it.

When I make a post people take the time to stop by, read and then generously comment. I've recently noticed that I'm coming across those very commenters on other blogs and it's become a more regular thing as my own interactions with my commenters and fellow bloggers grows

This shows to me that this blog is so much more than just a platform. It is getting it's own identity in a place where I have found a great bunch of people, a great community. At first blogging is a slow process and you can feel as though you are talking to yourself but hanging in there and actually taking the time to talk to those who take their time to stop by and talk to you is pretty rewarding.

Bloggers names I see regularly popping up and other blogs I read have really shown me the community we have here. So for anyone new and starting out with blogging, I'd say, stay with it. One day you will notice you are actually recognising people and they you and you have conversations. It's a great feeling.

So, whether this blog is a traditional platform or a place to talk to great people and share experiences along the way. I'm extremely glad I took the blogging plunge and started Life in Clarity up.

Sometimes I have so much more to say than 140 characters will let me sum up.

How do you feel about your blog and it's place in the blogosphere? Love it or find it a time sucking black hole?

Monday 11 July 2011

A Me Update

So it's only a matter of days since I boldly announce I'm going to blog every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and if you're really lucky, sometimes on a Saturday.

And how do I feel today? Too tired to make a considered blog post. This blog post is far from considered and is being typed up on my phone from my bed.

The decision was; fail to post as I've said I would, or just say a few words about how things are going- the few words won.

It's a mixture of being busy and physically fatigued which is slowing me down on the blogging front. My day job is busy and I've had a productive weekend on my writing. I was really pleased to work my thought processes through a tangled plot hole and actually come through the other side smiling.

The busyness of the day job, family commitments and writing are wearing me out and on top of that I haven't had a decent night sleep in a week. One of the perks of Ehlers Danlos I believe.

I am worn out, but the blog, and you my blogging friends are important, so I will do my best to stick to schedule. These random garbled updates should be infrequent.

I know I am a bit behind on acknowledging your comments as well, but I always get them done and will get to them. Thank you for popping by, reading and commenting. I appreciate your time.

Anyway. I'm shattered. Time to wind down. You can expect less rambling on Wednesday. (I hope!)

If you stop by, tell me how you're doing at the minute.

Friday 8 July 2011

Writer Platform or People Interacting?

Who are we aiming our blog posts at?

I read a lot of writers blogs particularly since I decided to start writing my own stuff and taking it seriously. There are some great blogs out there, full of resources and information, all of which can be sucked into my head and hopefully retained somewhere useful for later recollection.

These blogs are themed. That is, they are writing blogs. Discussions on the how to's and best working practices. They often present the idea that each writer must start and maintain their own platform before even attempting to get an agent. I have even read somewhere - I can't remember where so cant link to it - that New York publishers aren't supporting new authors anymore. They are saying that authors need to build their own brand and web presence. A brand which is you!

Now I read all this and I soak it all in like a big empty sponge, but then I start to stumble around a bit.

The whole point of having a platform is that you are putting yourself out there. People start to read your blog, connect with you on twitter and facebook and your platform is up and running right?

Well is it really if all you're doing is talking to fellow writers on writers blogs? Fellow writers aren't necessarily going to go out and buy your first book, but real people from real connections you've made online and not just because you've been told its a good idea to create a "writing" platform, may do.

Readers- the people you want to buy your books, the people who matter don't necessarily write. I read lots, but only started writing last year. You won't reach real people reading real books if you are only targeting writers. Maybe I've got this all wrong but it just seems like common sense to me.

Be yourself with people. People like that. Build up a genuine community of blog followers and maybe one day when that book is published, the friends you met along the way will give you a huge hand of encouragement.

And for my non writery blog followers. This blog was here before I decided to write and as you can see I blog about anything that affects me or I find interesting. This is me and my journey in various directions. At this point in time though, writing this novel is a major part of my life and I blog to have a reminder of where I have travelled and to interact with people.

Why do you blog?

Wednesday 6 July 2011

Review - Pariah by David Jackson



It's a bad enough day for NYPD detective Callum Doyle when his cop partner is murdered. It's about to get a hell of a lot worse ...When the dead man's replacement is also brutally killed, suspicion falls on Doyle himself. Then he receives an anonymous message. This is just the beginning, it says. Anyone he gets close to will die and that includes Doyle's own family. The only way to keep them alive is to stay away. For good. Doyle is desperate to find out who is responsible, but when his every move puts others in danger he is forced to back off. With the investigation getting nowhere and his isolation deepening, Doyle has to ask himself an uncomfortable question: just how low is he prepared to sink in order to get his life back?

Review -

Callum Doyle really looks as though he has no place to go. Every step he takes someone is close on his heels and with fatal consequences, and it's this premise that makes the book a page turner.

Just when you think things can't get any worse, they do and with a great story telling technique the disaster that is Doyles life is portrayed well.

One of my favourite characters was Paulson. I'm not sure if I was supposed to like him or not but the way he was written just made me see him leap off the page. I hope he makes it into any future Callum Doyle books.

As I mentioned, the book is a page turner and when I was reading it I was having a tiring week but I had to keep picking the book up just to see what was happening to Doyle. A great sign for a book. I'm hoping there is to be more from Doyle. He's a good guy and a good read.

Just to add, there will be an interview with David Jackson, author of Pariah, on the blog within the next couple of weeks. He's a lovely guy and I'm really looking forward to chatting to him. Look out for it.

Monday 4 July 2011

The First Draft

So on Saturday I did the first read through of the first draft of my crime novel. It was an amazing feeling just seeing it printed out. I could visibly see I had achieved something.

What did I find? I found some of it was okay. Some of it needs work. There were plot holes and time line errors. I even found one of the characters had his name changed half way through. But, behind all the flaws I can see the story. It's there. Like a stone in the rough waiting to be chipped out. I have actually written a novel. One that needs a lot of work but it's there.

What am I doing now? I'm doing the second read through but this time with a pencil in my hand. (I like working with a pencil) I'm making small edit notes on the manuscript itself plus I have a notepad where I'm making story line notes and another sheet of paper where I'm writing down the time line as I read. So far the time line for the first day is ok but I know it goes a bit squiffy later.

I'm really excited by this and I'm enjoying the process. I can't promise I will be saying that in a couple of weeks but so far, it's great!

Saturday 2 July 2011

Read Through

The first draft is finally complete! I can't believe I've finished something so massive. I am really pleased with what I have achieved so far, but it doesn't stop here.

Last night I printed out the whole thing and today I am going to sit down and read it through. From beginning to end. I'm going to attempt this first read through as a reader and not sit there with my pencil in hand making changes. I intend to read it through once as I would any other book I pick up and then I will read it through again with my pencil and note book and make notes, list flaws and plot holes and tear it to bits, but for today, I'm sitting down and I'm reading my own crime novel!

Here it is, all ready to be read and I can't wait.

Friday 1 July 2011

Blog Schedule

Following on from a previous blog post where I discussed the possibility of setting a blogging schedule, I've decided the best thing for the blog and I is to have a running schedule.

I'm a slightly disorganised person so if I have deadlines and schedules I'm more likely to make sure things get done. I work better under pressure than left to my own devices with time spanning out in front of me.

So, for the blog, I intend to post on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and if I've got enough to say, I will also blog on Saturday's.

I'm not going to go as far as to give a theme for each day but I will be here with a little something to say and I hope you will join me.

I will be here tomorrow as I'm a little excited about something!