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GTD for beginners, Part 3

With apologies for the skipped week, here is the final post in my introduction to GTD!

(ICYMI: Part 1 and Part 2)

Unlike many organisation methods, Getting Things Done works in a bottom-up way; that is, you start with the small tasks and work your way up to the big picture. This has the advantage that you can get to work right away and only have to worry about the long term once you have the day-to-day landscape under control. However you can’t put off the higher-level planning forever! Read more

Guest post: Kameron Hurley on combat in fiction

This week I’m delighted to host an article by award-winning author Kameron Hurley, whose Bel Dame Apocrypha trilogy is at last being published in the UK. Kameron and I first met in 2012 at Chicon 7, where she was giving away books if you ate a bug (dried mealworms and crickets, designed for human consumption, I would add!); I ate several bugs but did not take a book, for the sake of my luggage allowance, but would heartily recommend her work if you’re into SF with tough female characters. Read more

GTD for beginners, Part 2

This week’s post is a tad later in the day than planned, as I’m back at the day-job this week and – more crucially – didn’t put “Write next GTD blog post” in Things (the ToDo app I use on my phone and various Macs). A good example of why you should write things down the moment they occur to you!

So, last week I talked about setting up your buckets: places to save everything that needs dealing with, whether it’s a bill to be paid (your in-tray) or a blog post that needs writing (your notebook or ToDo app). If you’ve been following along, you’ll probably have a long list of stuff in your bucket and may be feeling a little overwhelmed by it all! Don’t panic – today I’m going to cover organising your tasks. Read more

GTD for beginners, Part 1

One of the things you get asked a lot, as a writer (after “Where do you get your ideas from?”) is “How do you find time to write?”. The simplest answer is that you have to give up other time-consuming activities: watching TV, playing video games, even—to some extent—reading. But even that will only get you so far if, like me, you are juggling other responsibilities, such as a day job or family. And you still need some time for yourself to recharge your creative batteries, or you’ll burn out. Read more


I thought I’d better write about why I haven’t been posting much here or on social media of late. Don’t panic, nothing’s amiss – I’ve just been somewhat distracted by major goings-on at my day job. I don’t normally post about personal stuff on here, but as it’s been impacting my writing and internet presence, I wanted to reassure people I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth :) Read more

Smells Like Tudor Spirit

16th century Italian gilt pomander
16th century Italian gilt pomander

Ever wanted to smell like an Elizabethan? OK, maybe not literally (eww!), but it was in the sixteenth century that perfume and scented items became popular with the wealthy. If you’ve read The Alchemist of Souls, you may recall Mal’s encounter with Jos Percy – and the loss of an expensive silver pomander!

When my friend and fellow writer Naomi Clark set up an Etsy store for her homemade fragrances and began tweeting about all the lovely essential oils she was buying, that got me wondering what scents my characters would like. Long story short, I met up with Naomi and we collaborated on two fragrances, one for Mal and one for Coby – and they’re now available to buy! Read more

The Prince of Lies – Christmas giveaway

My author copies of The Prince of Lies turned up the other day, so I thought it was about time I did a giveaway!

I have three paperbacks (UK edition) to give away, open to entries anywhere in the world. All you have to do to be in with a chance is to leave a comment on this post – please note that comments are moderated to reduce spam, so don’t panic if yours doesn’t appear right away.


  1. One comment per entrant, please – multiple commenters will be disqualified (unless you’re replying to a question on the post or similar).
  2. For security reasons, please don’t leave contact details in your comment – there’s a space in the comment form for your email address, I’ll use that to get hold of you.
  3. Closing date for entries is noon UK time on Tuesday 10th December. Any comments posted after that deadline will be deleted.
  4. I will be picking three separate winners (using a random number generator), to receive one copy each.
  5. I will aim to get the books out promptly, but given how close it is to Christmas, I can’t guarantee delivery times.
  6. If a winner does not respond by Christmas Eve (24th December) or doesn’t provide a valid email address, I reserve the right to select a replacement.

Good luck!


NaNoWriMo 2013: Week 4

This week was the week I had to finally admit to myself that I wasn’t going to make it to 50k in November. No way. No how. And that’s OK, because

a) I have some solid reasons (mainly a nasty virus that’s been dogging me since late October), but more importantly

b) I haven’t stopped writing Read more

NaNoWriMo 2013: Week 3

So, I’m even later posting this week than I was last week, mostly because of my day-job. Turns out our team is being relocated to the institute with which we’ve collaborating for over a decade, and whilst physically that’s barely 100 yards, psychologically it’s a big deal because it means reapplying for my current position plus overseeing my team’s transfer. I’m pretty confident of staying in my job, but it requires lots of meetings & discussions and has thus been taking my focus away from my writing. So…

Right now I’m behind and struggling. I’ve gone back and filled in a couple of scenes I skipped, which helped keep the words flowing, but I’m rapidly reaching the point where I’m trying to make up new plot without any idea of what’s going on. I have this annoying feeling that a plot breakthrough could be right around the corner if only I press on, so that’s my current strategy. Keep on keeping on – because that’s the only way a book gets written.

Target word count: 36,667

Actual word count: 30,483