A return to book spine poetry

Hey there,

Hope your day is going well so far.

Not long after I started this blog I discovered Book Spine Poetry on the wonderful website Brain Pickings. Inspired by this post, I tried it myself and posted several of my attempts (June, October, November and December 2012 if you would like to take a look – check out the Archives menu on the right 🙂 ). I remembered recently how much I enjoyed it, so I’ve had another go:

The Girl you Left Behind, Wild. Past Secrets, Before I met you.



What do you think? Have you tried Book Spine Poetry? If so, I’d love to see so please get in touch either here or on twitter.

Much love,

Elle 🙂 xx

The Girl you Left Behind – Jojo Moyes

Wild – Cheryl Strayed

Past Secrets – Cathy Kelly

Before I Met You – Lisa Jewell

Writing update – June 2015

Hey there,

It’s that time again! I thought I’d check in with a writing update because it’s been a busy couple of months since the last one and it’s about to get even busier!

I’m wading my way through my edits of Book 4 so that it’s ready to send to the NWS before August. It’s going OK and I’m still on (self-imposed) schedule, so please keep your fingers crossed that that continues. As a reminder, here’s my elevator pitch:

What you want to see

Mark and Jenna’s ten year marriage is failing. When Mark receives a note threatening suicide from a woman he believes he doesn’t know, he’s certain this will end his marriage for good. Can he can find the woman in time to prevent her death and discover why she has implicated him in her choices? Can he do so without Jenna finding out, or is she already more involved than either of them know?

I’m excited to be going to my first RNA conference in July. I’ve wanted to go for a few years now and as it’s in London this year, travelling is more straightforward for me than to previous locations. I’ve taken the plunge and booked for the main conference, Friday to Sunday. If you’re an RNA online buddy and are going this year, let me know in the comments! Maybe we could grab a beer, shoot the breeze or, possibly, miss each other entirely in the crowd. 😉

I’ll update you separately on my short story collection because A LOT has been happening. Suffice to say for now that my self-publishing journey has well and truly begun. 🙂

*happy dance*

*stubs toe*

*tries to look nonchalant*

I think I mentioned last update that I’ve been working with an editor. We’re nearly at the end of that process and I’m cracking on apace with sourcing a cover designer, buying gin to get through psyching myself up for the formatting process and believing that, actually, IT IS GOING TO HAPPEN.

One thing’s for sure, although it’s a nerve-racking process, it’s a whole lot easier because you’re here. 🙂

How are things with you? I’d love to know so, if you’d like to, please get in touch either here or on twitter.

Much love,

Elle. 🙂 xx



Upcoming reads

Hey there,

Happy Friday!

I’ve only gone and bought more books.

As if my TBR pile wasn’t big enough already.

I was going to call this a Five for Friday of upcoming reads, but there are too many.

And this was me being restrained.

2015-05-09 06.40.13

Anyway, these are my upcoming reads. The next decision is, in which order do I read them?

Letters to the Lost ­– Iona Grey

Looking for  Alaska ­– John Green

The Day we Disappeared ­– Lucy Robinson

Wild ­– Cheryl Strayed

Tiny Beautiful Things ­– Cheryl Strayed

The Visitors ­– Simon Sylvester

We are not ourselves ­– Matthew Thomas

What are you currently reading? What’s next in your TBR pile? I’d love to know, so please get in touch either here or on twitter.

Much love,

Elle 🙂 xx

My writing – an update

Hey there,

Hope your day is going well so far.

It’s been a while since I’ve done a update about where I am with my writing, so I thought I’d check in and let you know how things are going.

I recently finished the first draft of Book 4 and have scheduled a programme of edits up to the end of June. Even though the NWS deadline is August, I’d like to finish the bulk of the work by June because, as you’ll already know if you’re in Scotland, the school summer break begins then. I will have some time, but the priority then will have to be teenager wrangling. Eep.

Book 4’s working title is What you want to see and the elevator pitch goes something like this:

Mark and Jenna’s ten year marriage is failing. When Mark receives a note threatening suicide from a woman he believes he doesn’t know, he’s certain this will end his marriage for good. Can he can find the woman in time to prevent her death and discover why she has implicated him in her choices? Can he do so without Jenna finding out, or is she already more involved than either of them know?

I think I’m at the point in the process I enjoy the most, although I do like all of it (except proof reading. We’ve discussed before how I eventually get the comma blindness). Anyway, this is the point where I have the bones of the story, but there are so many holes and possibilities that where it’ll end up is still open. In a few weeks, though, I will have fallen down one of these holes and will be in how will this ever work? territory, so I’ll be coming back to you for tea and sympathy then.

I was in the same position this time last year with Book 3, but it did come together. I received *coughs and shuffles feet* a very positive NWS report, so I decided to get Book 3 to stick its nose into the agent world to see what happened. Nothing is the short answer, but it remains a priority this year to have it nosing about some more. Just for completeness, this is Book 3 – working title Sins of the Mothers.

Three generations of women are affected by the past in ways they don’t even realise.

Ashley Burton’s dysfunctional relationship with her mother is surpassed only by the generation above. Pregnant and questioning her own ability to be a parent, she believes she must mend the rifts in her family to stand a chance. Why is her grandmother Jeanne so unwilling to talk about her life as a young woman in occupied France? Will Ashley find out or will the Sins of the Mothers live on?

Although I would like to have an agent and pursue the traditional publishing route with my books (the reasons for this I can give you another day if you would like to know them – just let me know in the comments) I am keen to experience the business of self-publishing too. I like the idea of being in control of the process and I think it will be beneficial confidence wise to JUST DO IT, so I’m planning to self-publish a collection of short stories, hopefully later this year. I say hopefully, not because I’m being a wuss, but because I have a tangentially related adventure to tell you about later that is going to take up time this year. Both ventures will need my full attention and I don’t know yet which will come first. I heard someone say recently (not to me) If you’re going to be half hearted about something, make it something else which I think is a good philosophy to live by and I’ll be deciding on my initial focus soon.

I think that’s it for now. How goes it with you? I’d love to know, so please get in touch either here or on twitter. Oh, and, elevator pitches can always be improved upon, so if there is anything bugging you about the ones above, let me know! Feedback would be much appreciated – thank you in advance. 🙂

Much love,

Elle. 🙂 xx

Christmas reads

Hey there

Hope you are well today.

December is nearly upon us and I’ve been planning my Christmas reads.

Here are the stories that will be keeping me company over the next few weeks:

Winter Tales: Stories to warm your heart – The Write Romantics and Guests

Winter Warmers – Carole Matthews

The Great Christmas Knit Off – Alexandra Brown

Married by Midnight – Talli Roland

I’ll Take New York – Miranda Dickinson

The Christmas Surprise – Jenny Colgan

What about you? What will you be reading this December? I’d love to hear so, if you’d like to, let me know either here or on twitter. 🙂

Much love,

Elle xx

Five for Friday – Recent reads

Hey there,

Happy Friday!

It’s been some time since I shared my favourite books, so here, as a Five for Friday, are my top 5 recent reads:

Little Lies – Liane Moriarty

Set in the worlds of the parents of Pirriwee public school, there is a death following the parents’ quiz night. Little Lies covers the six month period up to the death, until we discover who died and how it affects the lives of those involved.

The Rosie Project – Graeme Simsion

Don Tillman wants to find a wife and sets about using scientific methods to do so. Whilst intent on his purpose he becomes embroiled with Rosie, a young women the opposite of Don in every way, who is trying to find her biological father. Don is confounded by Rosie and starts behaving in ways very alien to him as he gets more involved in her life. It’s a lovely, warm, funny book and I’ve recently discovered a sequel, The Rosie Effect has just been published, so yay!

11/22/63 – Stephen King

I don’t like reading horror, so when I realised this was a Stephen King book that I would actually be able to read, I was chuffed. 11/22/63 is about a man going back in time with the goal of preventing Kennedy’s assassination. Jake Epping leaves 2011 to live a life that will lead him to the crucial day in November ’63. It’s a lengthy book and I’ve read a lot of criticism of it because of that, but I didn’t find it too long.

What Alice Forgot – Liane Moriarty

Alice hits her head at the gym and wakes up worried she has damaged the baby she has been carrying for three months. The trouble is, she’s nearly 40 and the baby is now a teenager with two younger siblings and she can’t remember the intervening period. Liane Moriarty is fast becoming one of my favourite authors as she always provides an unusual and interesting story.

Apple Tree Yard – Louise Doughty

Yvonne Carmichael is a respectable, middle-aged scientist who embarks on an affair that turns out to be the catalyst for a series of events that land her in the dock at the Old Bailey. At first I thought this book was moralising along the if a woman does bad things, worse things will happen to her lines, but is was cleverer than that. It’s one of my top five reads because it was so well written and was a genuine can’t-go-to bed-till-I’ve-finished- it page turner, which doesn’t happen often, but I didn’t find it a comfortable read.

I’d love to know about your favourite recent reads, so if you want to tell me, please get in touch either here or on twitter.

Much love,

Elle 🙂 xx

Five for Friday – Anticipated Books

Hey there

Happy Friday! Hope you are well today.

This post from Novelicious got me thinking. Which soon to be released books am I looking forward to reading? There are many, but in the spirit of my Five for Friday posts, here are my top um…five.

Us – David Nicholls

One Day is the only book by David Nicholls that I’ve read so far. Us is about difficulties in marriage mid-life as a husband finds out his wife plans to leave him. If One Day is anything to go by, I’m sure tears will be shed and the characters will stay with me long after I’ve finished reading.

The Night Falling – Katherine Webb

Katherine Webb is one of my favourite authors. I have enjoyed all her other novels so far, particularly The Misbegotten and A Half Forgotten Song, so I’m looking forward to what The Night Falling has in store. It’s set in 1920s Italy, a story of disparate lives coming together one hot summer.  It’s sure to hold plenty of mystery and have a vivid historical setting – perfect reading for an autumn weekend.

The Last Anniversary – Liane Moriarty

I get the impression that this has been released elsewhere already, but that UK publication is not until October? The first book of Liane Moriarty’s that I read was very popular The Husband’s Secret, but that was probably my least favourite so far. Little Lies and What Alice Forgot are on my list of top reads during 2014 and I know from now on I’ll be waiting not-so-patiently for each new release.

The Christmas Surprise – Jenny Colgan

The Christmas Surprise revisits Rosie Hopkins of Sweetshop of Dreams fame. It’s released in October, but I’m going to try to wait till December to read it. Good Luck me.

I’ll Take New York – Miranda Dickson

As well as introducing Bea and Jake,  I’ll Take New York revisits characters from Miranda’s first book Fairytale of New York. I look forward to Miranda’s books every year, so roll on December.

I’m looking forward to Christmas already. 🙂

I’d love to hear your recommendations for upcoming releases – let me know which you’re looking forward to most either here or on twitter!

Much love,

Elle 🙂 xx

Book benches

Hey there,

Hope you are well today.

Thanks to twitter (what else?) I found out about Books About Town, a project by Wild in Art and the National Literacy Trust.

Fifty benches shaped like open books can be found around London this summer. There are four trails – the Bloomsbury trail, the City trail, the Greenwich trail and the Riverside trail – maps are available on the Books About Town website. You can see the benches in London until 15 September and even bid for one if you like, as they will be auctioned in October to raise money for the National Literacy Trust.

I saw a few benches recently – it’s quite hard to get a photo because, given that they’re benches, someone’s behind is usually parked on them. However, as it was a bit rainy in Greenwich, I managed to snap this:


Frozen in Time – the Captain Scott BookBench.

Frozen in Time – the Captain Scott BookBench.


Bee-yoootiful! You can find out more about this bench and its artist here.

I love public art events, not only for their fun and aesthetic value, but also from an educational and engagement point of view. If you miss the benches, Wild in Art are working with Transport for London to bring bus sculptures to the city in September for seven weeks. You can find out more here.

Have you seen the benches? Have there been any public art events near you? I’d love to know, so please get in touch either here or on twitter!

Enjoy the rest of your day.

Elle 🙂 xx



How do you know when you’ve done enough research?

Hey there,

Hope your day is going well so far.

This post is a plea to all you writers out there. How do you know when you’ve done enough research?

I’m currently editing book three. It is set, in part, in World War II France. I’ve read books about the period, watched newsreel footage, videos and read newspaper articles. Although I researched a bit at the beginning, most of it I did after the basic plot of my story was in place, so I was able to think how my characters would have fitted into what I was reading and watching etc.

My trouble is, I don’t know if I’ve done enough.

My temptation is to keep going, in part because it’s interesting, but also because I don’t know when to stop.

How do you decide when you’ve done enough research? Any advice you can give would be much appreciated. 🙂

Thank you!

Elle 🙂 xx

Five for Friday – Christmas reads

Hey there,

Happy Friday!

There are so many lovely Christmas books keeping me company for the month of December. Here’s what I’m reading over the holiday season:

Miracle on Regent Street – Ali Harris

Christmas at the Cupcake Cafe – Jenny Colgan

Christmas at Carrington’s – Alexandra Brown

A Vintage Christmas – Ali Harris

Christmas at Rosie Hopkins’ Sweetshop – Jenny Colgan

What are you reading this Christmas? I’d love to know so, if you’d like to, get in touch either here or on twitter!

Much love

Elle 🙂 xx