Writer of historical fiction, blogger, mum, pet lover :)

The Book of Dust-Philip Pullman

For my Masters degree, I’m specializing in Children’s literature. I’m enrolled on three units, one that covers Folktales and Fairytales and one on YA (Young Adult) fiction.

YA fiction is a gente of writing that I have yet to fully explore. With preconceived ideas that YA books are merely ‘meant for teenagers,’ I ‘ve been proved wrong -they are just as enjoyable as any contemporary book you care to mention!

At the moment, I’m exploring the alternate worlds of Philip Pullman’s fantasy books. The Book of Dust was recommended in Book Club TV show recently, but when I took out the book (and also as part of my own research) I was disappointed that it was a YA book. How wrong was I ?

The Book of Dust

Malcolm Polstead is a lowly innkeeper’s son, who goes about his life unnoticed and ignored….so he makes for fabulous spy material. When a baby named Lyra is under the care of the local Priory of nuns, Malvolm is swept into danger, intrigue and the very heart of what’s right and wrong. He has to battle forces who want to suppress freedom of thought and inquiry, in a world inhabited by alethiometers, daemons and a Magisterium.

The book is well written, explaining themes of suppression, religion, forces of good and evil and human consciousness. Pullman himself wants to explore the concept of matter and spirit and the time old philisophical questions surrounding our own place in the world.

A definite 5 * Looking forward to the next episode of the trilogy! 📚


How to create settings for your book


‘The world only exists in your eyes – you can make it as big or as small as you like.’ – F. Scott Fitzgerald.


Creating your own world in your novel is one of its most important elements. Otherwise, where can your characters live? Love? Fight for their lives? How can you set up your plot lines with no background?

A good setting frames a novel, makes your characters believable, and can hold your readers interest until the very last page. Who doesn’t want that, right?

Here are a few tips to help you along the way:

  1. Use your imagination! By that I mean let your thoughts, and ideas flow. Open your mind to all possibilities and your writing will flow. If you find your computer room a bit stale in your creativity, then – take a walk, listen to music, do some baking – anything that will let the ideas pop to the surface. For my latest book (still in the editing stage), I took inspiration from a TV show I was watching at the time. I found myself asking ‘What if?’ a lot – and set about writing my book!
  2. So, as inspiration hits – write it down. Have a pen and paper to hand at all times – in the bathroom, bedside, kitchen, garage – and then jot down your ideas. They may seem like random thoughts and squiggles, but who knows where they will lead?
  3. Jot down at the start where your book will be set – then write all you know about that place. Research as much as possible – whether its a tropical jungle, a desert, or even in space – if you find out as much as you can about the world you’re character will inhabit, all the better! You can always edit it down later.
  4. Take into account all 5 senses as you create your world – smell, sound, sight, taste and touch. By using these (don’t stress about using them all, at any one time), they will enhance the setting and your characters’ place in that world. Any mood you create will influence your characters, make them more real to the reader, whilst driving the plot forward.
  5. ‘Show, don’t tell.’ You’re probably heard this a hundred times, but it still rings true. Instead of saying. ‘It was warm,’ describe the world around your character – the weather is only a small part of that! NB :A literary friend of mine told me to avoid writing about the weather at the start of every chapter – it makes for a monotonous read!

There you go – tips and ideas to get your creative juices flowing, and a bestseller by Christmas ! (Well, we can all dream ….!)

Please share any tips you have, they are all welcome here!

Have a great week!

#writing #writingtips #settings #storytelling



Beautiful Libraries Around the World

I have to share this! Fabulous libraries around the world….

It’s Tuesday, Savvy Readers. I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather be spending the day in a library (Don’t tell my boss!). So we’ve gathered up a list of the most beautiful libraries from around the world for you to dream about. WARNING: These places are *stunning* and will cause an extreme desire to pack your bags (and books!) and travel there. Proceed with caution!

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Reading fest

I’ve been confined to my bed this last week, having caught a nasty bout of flu. I havn’t felt much like doing anything, just watching endless shows on Netflix! (I would wholeheartedly recommend Alias Grace, based on a Margaret Atwood novel, and Fargo is pretty good too.)

Nevertheless, in between my lemsip drinks and soup, I’ve managed to get some reading done! Reading, for me, is always linked to guilt – that I havn’t done anything around the house, or studied, or written. An illness then, is an ideal time to stay in bed, read and recover.

The images show what I’ ve been reading….

1.Stephen King. This book is always with me. It is dog-eared and well worn, but I refer to it constantly.

2. Philip Pullman & Jodi Picoult with Samantha Van Leer. These are both YA books, and are needed for my Masters as I’m specializing in Children’s literature. The Picoult is a fairy tale whilst Pullman is an expert at writing adventure stories. Love both books!

3. Emma Donoghue. Loved her book Room, and Frog Music is equally as good. I’ve read a few of her books now, including historical fiction book The Wonder.

4. AJ Finn. The Woman in the Window. This is a new book, a psychological thriller that’s a Hot Read in my local library.📚 I’m half way through it, its a real page turner, it reminds me of that classic Hitchcock film Rear Window so it has the seal of approval from me!

What’s everyone reading/watching this week? Any recommendations?

Have an awesome week, the weekend is close! 😊

#reading #bookaddict #netflix #fiction #books 📚

Book Review: Stephen King/Owen King, Sleeping Beauties

I’ve finally got around to finishing the latest epic horror from the King stable – and what a read!

I’m delighted to give this one a review. Firstly, at over 700 pages, it certainly isn’t a light read. It also has themes of misogyny, domestic violence, feminism and has references to the current President mixed with the regular horror genres that King has become so famous for.

It has a list of the main characters at the start of the book, just in case you get lost ( easily done! ), that include ‘a fox, between 3 to 4 years,’ who plays a pivotal role in the story.

The main character, Clint Norcross, pops out of the pages, as does his wife, Lila. Clint is the psychiatrist at the local women’s prison while Lila is the sheriff of the same town – the fictional town of Dooling.

A sleeping virus, called Aurora after the sleeping beauty of the fairytale, is sweeping across the world, causing chaos and destruction in its wake. But it only affects the female population, who, when they sleep, get covered in a coccoon. When the men try to prise open the coccoons, the horror starts…..

Don’t wake them.

The book will certainly appeal to King’s fans – his Constant Readers – and there is a refreshing tone to the writing that maybe Owen King’s contribution.

Either way, it is an epic read, and I compare it to The Stand and Insomnia.

My only criticism is that they could have explored Evie Black more, the main plotline of the story – maybe a separate book about her ?

Loved it – 5*

#books#reading #readingrainbow #stephenking #bookreview 📚

Book Fest

This is my pile of books from LifelineBookfest. They hold the Fest a couple of times a year…and I ‘ve been to every one!

People queued for hours to get first dibs on the thousands of book laid out there at a fraction of the price. The books here cost me less than $30. I love bargains!

My first read? It has to be the Alexander McColl Smith book…have heard many good things about his books and yet to read them.

What’s your favorite author?

Please share!

Have a great writing week!😊

#writer #writerslife #reading #bookaddict

Write what you know


“Write what you know.”

I really didn’t know what that meant until recently.

Write what you know?

What if you wanted to write about someone in outer space?

Or a solitary man cast on a desert island?

How about an Egyptian Queen during the Roman Empire?

Mmmm…. 🙂

Then I learnt that ‘Write what you know’ means to write about that universal genre  –


Human emotion transcends anything you care to write about, especially if you want your readers to connect with your characters.

Love, hate, jealousy, bitterness, regret – these can occur in any setting, place or time.

Even on an island in the middle of the ocean (it worked for Daniel Defoe, didn’t it?).

Whether your character is knee deep in aliens on a corrupt spacecraft, or winging it solo in the Wild West, they all have inner desires, goals, heartaches and motivation that drives them forward in the story.

It’s what makes them human after all.

And really, that’s what you want to achieve if you want to produce well rounded characters that have human traits – be it good or bad – just like the rest of us!

Happy writing! 🙂

#writing #writerslife #writingtips #writewhatyouknow


How to Kill a Character

Thanks for great tips here 🙂

Inevitably there comes a time when a character must die. It’s often easier to kill off “evil” characters than “good” ones, but both are necessary to bring “balance to the force”.

I came across author Lucinda Hawks Moebius’ tips recently and wanted to share them with you as a reminder of the basics to keep in mind when deciding to kill or not to kill 😉

Lucinda Hawks Moebius

Happy Writing!

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Happy Birthday Mr Dickens and Congratulations NSW State Library and the NSW Dickens Society

Happy birthday Mr Dickens! Honored to share this post 🙂

Write or Wrong

Today is Charles Dickens’ birthday and the State Library of NSW have celebrated by making a big announcement in conjunction with the NSW Dickens Society. Sydney has won the bid to host the Dickens Fellowship Conference, it’s now in its 112th year. Last year was held in Cararra, Italy and the year prior Aberdeen, Scotland. The 2018 conference will be held during Australia’s glorious springtime from October the 25th through to the 30th in Sydney.

The announcement was made in Centennial Park beneath the life-sized statue of Dickens as part of the birthday celebrations that the NSW Dickens Society have arranged. As it turns out, NSW doesn’t just love Dickens, he loves us too. He reportedly encouraged people to move to NSW and sent his two sons to live here. Consequently Charles Dickens holds a special place in our hearts.

Dickens enthusiast and Booker Prize winner Thomas Keneally…

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