Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Happy Holidays

Heading off to India tonight to meet up with my dad and Marilyn. We're doing the full tourist trail - down to Goa for a few days on the beach, then up to Delhi for the Golden Triangle. Other than Skype, I haven't seen my family in almost two years, which is how long it's been since I last left East Africa. Really looking forward to it, especially the food. Hoping to pick up some new clothes in Mumbai on the way home as I'm looking a little threadbare. 

It's dad's birthday on 15th, and we'll be spending Christmas in Mumbai, then home to Rwanda in time for New Year and my annual Oath, Boast & Toast.

Wishing everyone a cool Yule and plenty of nommy muncies.

Sunday, 10 December 2017



I know I'm late to the part on this one, but if you enjoy murder mystery whodunnits, you need to listen to Serial. A very clever podcast which tells a different part of the murder investigation each episode. Thanks to my friend Dani for putting me onto it. [NB: sorry about the jovial tone. I only realised halfway through that it's a true story.]

Saturday, 9 December 2017


Aw. I really enjoyed this TedX talk. Grab a pen and a piece of paper. Here's my attempt to draw cartoons when I should be writing.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Revved up on Writing

Wanted to get the Still Life manuscript up to 60k before heading off on holiday. 

Sometimes social media can be useful. After announcing to the world that I was going to write 3,000 words, I felt as though I had to do it - so I did. Here's the timeline...

2:04 PM
Right. I'm going to sit here until I've written 3,000 words.
This may take some time.

3:00 PM
1,000 down, 2,000 to go...
3:51 PM
2,000 down, 1,000 to go...

4:35 PM
3,000 words done. MS now at 60,100. I rest.

What I personally find interesting about this is the time perception v. reality conundrum. It felt as though the first 1,000 words were the easiest to write, the second 1,000 I was flagging a bit and the last 1,100 were slow going, but my Twitter feed proves otherwise. It took me about an hour to write the first 1,000, 50 minutes to write the second 1,000 and only about 40 minutes to write the final 1,100 as I even took a 5-10 minute break to dunk biscuits!

Not a bad day's writing. Now I probably won't do any more until I get back from hols. But it's a nice round number to leave things at.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

The Piano That Saved Christmas

(Picture shared with permission from Autisme Rwanda)

A really special week so far, thanks to Pianist Without Borders, Fabio Tedde, Autisme Rwanda, and Ilse Lasschuijt. Here's a Christmas story about music, autism, and the kindness of strangers: The Piano that Saved Christmas. Part of my side project, Kigali Keys, attempting to build pianos in Africa.

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Crystal Clear

Crystal Palace

Finally returned to writing after a long hiatus. Just polished off 2,000 on Still Life, a story exploring postmortem photography past and present. Looking at the age of Victorian England and the Great Exhibition, through to very modern maternity wards.

It is extremely difficult to go back to writing after you've taken a long break. As most writers will tell you, it's a muscle, and if you don't use it you lose it. Well, not entirely, but it takes some work  getting back into shape.  

The weirdest part is when you think you remember where you left off, then return to find an extra couple of chapters you hardly remember writing. That's when you really know you've been away too long.

However, it is nice to return to a solid manuscript. It's now at around 57,000, so just reaching the edge of a novel. I think it's easier to find enthusiasm for finishing something off than for building it up. Less of a marathon ahead. I've got a fairly clear idea where I'm going and the characters are fully formed. I'm also feeling more at ease with the Victorian era, which means I can write more words before I need to stop and Wikipedia something.

I have about a week left to press on with it, then taking a break. Off to India for Christmas. Hopefully that'll refresh my brain, as there's quite a few projects I want to work on when I get back. 

After a long period of distraction and side projects, it's really nice to come back to the page.