I've set up this blog so that all my friends, relations and colleagues in the world of writing can keep up to speed with what I'm doing - from now on, I'll never have to say sorry for not keeping in touch.

Or anyway, that's the plan.

So do please link up with me on Facebook and Twitter - https://www.facebook.com/margaret.james.5268 and https://twitter.com/majanovelist

You can find my novels as digital downloads on Apple iTunes, Kobo, Kindle and Nook, and most are available as print paperbacks, too.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Teaching and learning...

Cathie Hartigan and I are very excited today because we have finished our new guide to creative writing - The Creative Writing Student's Handbook.

We have both been teachers of creative writing for a very long time and have had the huge pleasure of seeing many of our students become published writers.

But what distinguishes the commercially published writer from one who is still trying hard to climb the mountain?

We came to the conclusion that the students who do well tend to be the ones who are good learners.  So we've written a book which we hope will help all students to be good learners. You'll find the book on this website - www.creativewritingmatters.co.uk - in free instalments beginning on February 1st  2013.

We hope you'll find it useful and entertaining.  Do let us know what you think!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Seven little things...

What is it about the number seven?

Lucky seven, seven year itch, seven brides for seven brothers, seventh son of a seventh son, seven swans a-swimming, it's one of those numbers with which we all seem to connect.

I was very flattered when my friend Christina Courtenay nominated me  to receive a Very Important Blogger Award - thank you, Christina - and here's the Award itself:

Now it's my turn to tell readers seven hopefully interesting things about me:

1 I speak perfect Franglais.

2 I would like to be a vegetarian but can't quite resist the lure of bacon sandwiches - bacon from outdoor and organically reared pork, of course.

3 I'd like to have been an archaeologist but am equally happy excavating the plot holes in my own stories.

4 I am very good at wasting my time.

5 I like orange Smarties.

6 If I were to come back as an animal, I would like to be a whippet, preferably a fat, spoiled and lazy whippet.

7 I like sloe gin.

Christina has a fascinating blog at http://christinacourtenay.com. Do pop over and have a look!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Short stories for short winter days

So, it's still January, which some people feel is the gloomiest month of the year. My personal non-favourite is November, with January running it a close second.

But spring is on its way, we hope, and in the meantime we Choc Lit authors are doing our bit to brighten up our readers' lives by offering them a delicious selection of stories and recipes.

What else can you get for under a quid which will cheer you up and inspire you to go into the kitchen, if you see what I mean? If you're in mourning for Christmas, you'll find some recipes to give you that warm, fuzzy Christmas feeling again, but we've made sure that our suggestions are acceptable all year round!

You'll see the cover of this collection is now adorned with pretty blue irises, which are one of my own favourite flowers. They don't last long in water, but they give me enormous pleasure for the short time they are around.  We hope our short stories will give our readers some pleasure, too.


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

What will 2013 bring?

We in the English-speaking world start our new year on 1 January, just after the sun has started edging its way towards us again, or rather as our planet tilts on its axis and we edge a little bit nearer the sun. Let's hope the UK has a better summer this year, with some actual sunshine from time to time!

I see a lot of my Facebook friends are making New Year resolutions, but a lot of them aren't. I think it's always a good plan to take stock once a year or so, and 1 January seems as good a time as any to do it.

My resolution is to use my time more effectively and try to have something to show for every working day, even if it's only a full litter bin. Sometimes, I find I have to write myself into a corner before I can turn round, growling fiercely, and write myself right out of it again. Let's be inspired by the success of a certain E L James, who The Guardian newspaper reckons earned a massive £42,000,000 last year!




Okay, money isn't everything. But wouldn't it be lovely to be able to play around with such a fantastic sum? I wonder what E L James will do with all that dosh? Maybe she'll tell us one day. She looks very happy, anyway...

The photograph is taken from The Guardian link above and is by Michael Lionstar.

Happy New Year, readers, wherever you are and whatever you do - and may the sun shine on you.