Inspiration from snow

Needed to get out today. Walked through the woods, along the Mersey and back …took loads of videos of me talking – I know, but good practice as it’s early days in this lark for me. Some voice in the back of my head said, ‘How is this working? How is this recording?’

Me…’It’s on video, isn’t it? Yes, I know it’s instagram video, but I can see myself moving…’

Of course, got home, eldest daughter looked at me perplexed…’Er, you need to record and instagram….’

Oh well. Wasted classics but good rehearsal I suppose. And I do have one on my camera, only it’s sideways and I can’t work out how my turn myself to vertical. Any suggestions?

But. Was inspiring. Babies in trees, figure feeding the birds, a worn bench and table of sorts … Photographs are great for that, but so is being out walking. Wonderful the ideas and thoughts you can have.

Feel very lucky to have been able to do this today. Met a freelance roofer who couldn’t work for the day. No work, no pay, in the freelance game. I know all about that. We had a good chat. I’m lucky. I work indoors. And tomorrow, I’ll get down to hard core work again. I hope Mr. Roofer is back closer to the sky.


Joys of being freelance

It’s that dilemma, when we have work to do and yet the weather pulls us outside. Can the things I need to do, wait?

Will we have another day like this?

Will I be here to witness it?

Hang it. I’m a Freelancer! I have choice! I may not be paid for this, but it will feed my soul, bring inspiration, help me write about snow authentically   🙂

Hang it, ‘Seize the day!’  I’m heading out … and I may be some time … (who am I quoting here?) See what I’ve done? Got so much into the decision to go snow hunting … and I haven’t even got my eyes in yet. (What I say before I’ve put my contact lenses in)

And I don’t just mean out into the garden again! See ya!


I spent the weekend cleaning and tidying my bookshelves and it is so therapeutic! Found that I’d recently bought a copy of a book I already had because I couldn’t see it in the mess. I’ve re-found books I want to read. I’ve found old favourites. And I want to re-read those!

I read Simone de Beauvoir’s books – one after the other when I was in my upper teens and I wanted to live in Paris. It was my big aim. I’ve spent time there, but not felt I’ve lived there, well, I haven’t! I’ve spent three months at a time in the Charentes, but I’ve not spent that amount of time in Paris. Well, I still can and it’s still on my ‘to do’ list.

H E Bates, ‘Fair stood the wind for France’ altered something in me, also read in my upper teens. It hit to the core.

I read Milan Kundera’s books on a beach on Formentera. Scared myself with Susan Hill. Very disappointed in her sequel to Daphne de Maurier’s ‘Rebecca’ mainly because I wanted a happy ending for the characters. But, another I need to re-read, because it might actually be the right ending for them. Trying to keep on open mind!

I treasure and use my books on fashion, history, all the rich pickings for research.

And all the children’s and YA novels are now on the very top shelf.

Oh and autobiographies! Afraid there has been a cull here. However, Bette Davis is going nowhere. She and Susan Heywood were my film heroines when I was little, thanks to weekend tv showing old films. They both played damaged, strong, fiery women, often the ‘bad girl’ and who didn’t care how they looked. And their films dealt with the human condition. Wonderful!

I keep wandering into the room, especially with the sun shining in there, just to look at the books. Old friends, new friends and friends still to meet.




I’d be interested to know how authors cope with moving on from the book they’ve written to the next one they want to write.

My fiction writing thoughts have already moved on from Jiddy Vardy. My ideas now are about Harris and Dee, not Jiddy and Jonas. My eureka moments are set in Formentera and Hawksmoor, not Robin Hood’s Bay and Whitby.

And yet I am looking forward to going to Robin Hood’s Bay and recording some videos showing the sea and cliffs and talking about Jiddy. I’m excited about striding out into the waves and showing Jonas’ fear of the sea. I’m so, so excited about seeing the book in print and discussing it with anyone who deigns to read it.

And on the other hand, I’m excited about The Monster Belt. My brain is working out my characters’ journeys. I am awakening in a different landscape and time.

What is taking me away from cocooning myself into the next book is having to talk and market the previous one. How do authors do this???? For months and months afterwards. This is the dilemma. Managing the two at the same time. I love Jiddy. I love talking about her, but she doesn’t belong in the world I’m now writing about. And she is fading if I don’t talk about her. But Dee and Harris can’t appear unless I let her go! Aghhh!!!!! And on top of this, there’s the day job!!!

I guess I’m lucky to be surrounded by such interesting people and if I think deeply about it, I want them all along for the ride. 🙂DSC01726



From idea to print

Two days ago, Elaine of ZunTold emailed to say that she has sent ‘Jiddy Vardy’ off to be typeset and digital copies made to send off for reviews. I can’t quite believe it. It’s been almost a year of writing, editing and discussing. And this is after I’d written a version, even several versions of JV.

So, it’s going to be typeset now. Elaine’s news came after the last discussion about the final word that had been flagged as an anachronism from proof editor, Debbie.

Having previously been through the eyes of copy editor Anna.

Having been through the hands of Elaine.

Having been through the tunnels and caves of my brain!

The next stage: a hard copy of the book. I’m excited to see this.

And then reviews to hopefully include in the final version of the book that will be ready for the bookshops.

Image shows the changing font for the cover – image by Isla.JV image from Isla Feb 2018 (2)


Wuthering Heights’ Fireplace

Emily Bronte’s ‘Wuthering Heights’ was a revelation when I first read it. Main characters were mean to each other. Really mean. And the writer didn’t shy away from very practical choices that ‘love stories’ didn’t usually highlight so realistically.

Cathy loved Heathcliff. She also loved luxury, pretty dresses and being complimented. She also wanted a man who looked good and not all dirty and tatty.

So she gave up the love of her life for material reasons and chose Edgar Linton.

No other love story had done that before! What?!!! Gothic and dark and wild!!

I realised that there didn’t have to be happy endings for some people in love stories. Love was more complicated. End of the first section of the book.

And then the next section went on to explore those choices that Cathy made. And the writer leaves us with a satisfying ending taking in the effects on Heathcliff, Edgar and the next generation and concluding wider themes including those of inheritance.

Being brought up near Haworth, where Emily Bronte grew up, I knew about the influences to Wuthering Heights. The families the Brontes knew in the area. Scandals. Buildings and places.

Various houses have been cited as being used as locations for The Heights and Thrushcross Grange.

Here’s one of them. Wycoller Hall – that some say houses the fireplace in Wuthering Heights that Emily Bronte used.


Mile in shoesSome actors when they are getting into a character work from the shoes up. Try it.

I tried on Noel’s this morning. They did make me walk differently. I felt different. I could feel the floor through the thin soles. I shuffled. Walking felt difficult. It made me feel that he is hard on himself. He doesn’t give himself comforts. He doesn’t spend money on his shoes. The shoes actually made me feel sad. I saw how he sees life.

Try on shoes you’d never dream of wearing. High, low, battered, pristine. Try on men’s, women’s, see how other shoes make you move and feel.

Women have been sacked for not wearing heels to work. I know!!! Men – you try it!

Men who always wear flat shoes, see what a bit of height does for you!

Let’s try on each other’s – and let everyone wear what they are comfortable in.

And when you’re building your characters – try on their shoes. Get under their skin. Live their life.

Let’s all give it a go. We’ll create more depth to our characters and we’ll probably be kinder people too. Win, win! XNoel's shoes