Tag Archives: writing

Day 5 – Day trip to Aberdeen

Day 5 – Day trip to Aberdeen

The idea of driving into Aberdeen didn’t thrill me even though I’ve done it on previous trips but not all the way into the heart of the city. It probably wasn’t so much the idea of driving as it was the idea of finding a place to leave the car relatively close to the library for the entire day without having to run back periodically and pay to stay longer.

Even before we left Canada, we had pretty much decided on driving from Earlsfield Farm to Insch and catching the train there.

The station isn’t manned but there was a self-serve kiosk outside where you could purchase your tickets (in 2000 we bought our tickets on the train) so we did then hung out on the platform while we waited for the Inverness to Aberdeen train to arrive.

Signal Box at Insch Station with Dunnideer in the background
Signal Box at Insch Station with Dunnideer in the background

If you look really closely at the mountain in the background, you can see the tip of the hillfort just poking up.

Platform bridge at Insch Station
Platform bridge at Insch Station

The train arrived a few minutes before its scheduled departure time to allow folks already on the train to get off and those of us waiting time to board and get settled. It appeared that seats were at a premium because the majority in the carriage we were on had reserved tags inserted in the slot in the top of the seat back. We found a couple of empty seats reserved for stations the train had already passed through and took them. Who would book passage on a specific train then not turn up at the station? I know I certainly wouldn’t.

We passed by Aberdeen airport and as we did, a helicopter was landing. Seeing that sparked me to look for Bond’s headquarters (used in another manuscript in progress) as I had Google street-viewed them before. Knowing roughly where they were located and the colour of their building made it easier and I spotted it almost immediately.

The Central Library was a short walk up from the train station so we made our way there. I wanted to soak in some Aberdeen atmosphere and didn’t want to cart books about with us. I had already made arrangements to drop them off on our arrival.

Poster outside the Central Library
Poster outside the Central Library

On our way to the library, we saw this street sign and I just had to take a picture of it. It would have been better with hubby in the picture, too, but this will have to do… for now. Besides with the steps and the railings, I’m not sure how well I could have framed the entire shot with him in it.

Donald's Way
Donald’s Way Close near the Central Library

After relieving ourselves of the bag of books and using the facilities, we went on a short tour of Aberdeen – across Rosemount Viaduct, which changes names to Schoolhill (where it passes over Denburn Road, and latterly Upperkirkgate. Schoolhill and Upperkirkgate were streets I mentioned in previous drafts of my novel. Then it was down Broad Street in front of the magnificent Marischal College building (now home to the Aberdeen City Council). Even on the opposite side of the street, the building was so massive I couldn’t get all of it into the frame at once, not to mention we were on a bit of a time constraint to see the things I wanted to and photograph them and get back to the library on time to go on our lunch date.

Marischal College
Marischal College
By TFDuesing (http://flickr.com/photos/tfduesing/457006873/) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
From Broad Street, we continued on Queen Street past the Grampian Police Headquarters then Shoe Lane where we reached King Street and turned right heading for the top of Union Street and the Castlegate.

The Salvation Army Citadel in the Castlegate
The Salvation Army Citadel in the Castlegate
The mercat cross in Aberdeen
The Mercat Cross in the Castlegate
The Town House from the Castlegate
The Town House from the Castlegate

Aberdeen in the sunshine is a truly, beautiful place. The granite buildings sparkle. After this brief photo session, we quickly returned to the library via Union Street and Union Terrace, alongside the Union Terrace Gardens.

We were a bit late getting back to the library, but not everyone who was going out to lunch was available. Once everyone was gathered by the main desk, we set out to this as yet undisclosed location. I remember we walked up Skene Terrace then kept going at the end of the street. I’m pretty sure we ended up on Huntly Street at Mi Amore (confirm with library staff) a lovely Italian, Mediterranean restaurant.

When we returned, I was given a tour of the local studies department which was the area that helped me so much with my research and will also play a role in the sequel to A Shadow in the Past.

My friend, 2009 Dundee International Book Prize winner, Chris Longmuir, came up from her seaside town by train to be there for me. We had a wee natter and I signed the copy of my book that she had bought from amazon.co.uk earlier in the year.

Another of my online writer friends, Bill Kirton popped in, too. It was brilliant to finally meet him in person. We chatted briefly before it was “show time”!

Only ten people had pre-registered for the event with the library so I was well chuffed to see more like twenty people filling the seats. I chose what I hoped was an enticing segment from early in A Shadow in the Past and began.

Reading at the Central Library
Reading at the Central Library

When I was finished my reading, I fielded questions and answers related to A Shadow in the Past and my friends, Chris and Bill, encouraged me to write a book on Home Children – possibly from the child’s point-of-view.

signing the copy for the library
Signing the copy of A Shadow in the Past for the library
Presenting the book to the library
Presenting the signed copy of A Shadow in the Past to the library

As if I hadn’t already been treated like royalty by the library staff, they presented me with a tote bag filled with books from their Local Studies Department and two Waterstones giftcards.

Receiving a gift from the library
Receiving a gift from the library

It was an amazing day. Everyone in attendance enjoyed by presentation but best of all, I sold and signed three copies of A Shadow in the Past.

When it was finally time to leave, Bill walked with us as far as Union Street where we said our goodbyes. Chris accompanied us as far as the train station where we parted company when she discovered there was a train home that she might be able to make.

Our train left shortly after Chris’s so we headed towards the platform and waited. It felt good to finally relax on the train and recall the day’s events. At the Insch station, we doddled about waiting for the car park to clear before we got in and headed for ‘home’ with a detour up to Huntly for a bite of supper (not that we needed it) so we grabbed a couple of sarnies and packets of crisps from the ASDA and a bottle of wine to replace the one mine hostess at Earlsfield cracked open when we arrived.

Later that evening, the guys cracked open mine host’s bottle of 18 year old Aberlour (after having our 18 year old Glenlivet the night before) and I carried on with wine. More than once, we toasted a successful day.

And before I forget… wait, I did forget… my bad. Anyway, better late than never, let’s play SEEKING SARAH SHAND!

Seeking Sarah Shand
Seeking Sarah Shand

I Write Like…

I Write Like…

I would have never thought it but, according to the sample I copied and pasted from my work in progress, Shadows from her Past, I write like… are you ready for it?

I write like

I write like
Dan Brown

I Write Like.
Analyze your writing!

I wonder, if I were to take a sample from my published debut novel, A Shadow in the Past, if the same result would occur? Hmm… maybe I’ll try that some time.

Who do you write like? Why not try this and see? You can find out by clicking on Analyze your writing in the box above or by clicking here.

I’d love to see whose prose your writing style emulates, so why not give it a go then leave a comment telling the results of your writing analysis.



Words – how do you cope when they won’t come?

Words, Wonderful Words

frustrated writer

As a writer, you want the words you choose to remain true to your voice. How do you manage when your carefully planned scene loses the impact your wanted to portray doesn’t come across because your brain can’t relate it to your fingers? You write WORDS but they’re not the ones you envisioned using and they don’t flow smoothly. Your writing is choppy and disjointed – kinda like mine is right now.

Do you:

  1. Read over the last of what you worked on the previous day to get reacquainted with your characters and setting?
  2. Throw your hands up in frustration and stomp around the room?
  3. Bash your head against the wall or surface of your computer desk?
  4. Take long cleansing breaths and go off and do something else to clear your mind – like take the dog for a walk (assuming you have a dog to walk), go for a walk by yourself?

Does listening to music help you when you’re struggling to find the right words? Or do you prefer complete silence.

Depending on where I’m working, my writer’s toolbox includes a dictionary and thesaurus. But if I’m working on my laptop and space is at premium (outside in a lawn chair comes to mind), while I still refer to both of the aforementioned books, I tend to use online versions instead. These are my favourites.


I’m just back from doing Option #4 (sans dog much to his chagrin) so we’ll see if that had any impact.

Do you have any tricks that work for you when you’re struggling with your writing?

COVER REVEAL – The Fallen Stars by Stephanie Keyes

The Fallen Stars by Stephanie Keyes

“Imaginative and fast-paced. Couldn’t put it down!” – E.G. Foley, New York Times Bestselling author of The Gryphon Chronicles

“This well-written and intriguing fantasy was a delight to read. I can’t wait to read the second novel in this series!” – Linn B. Halton, author Never Alone on The Star Child by Stephanie Keyes

When all is lost, he will have to make the ultimate decision.

Kellen St. James was just your average seventeen-year-old prodigy, until he eighty-sixed the Lord of Faerie and proposed to a Celtic goddess. Now everything in Kellen’s life gets turned upside-down when Calienta, Kellen, and friend, Gabriel Stewart, find themselves on the run from a seriously irritated group of faeries. The worst part? They have zero idea why.

Suddenly, Kellen finds himself stuck in the middle of another prophecy that questions everything about him including where his loyalties lie. Plus, Calienta’s more than a bit different; she’s making choices that he doesn’t understand. And Gabe, his best friend? He’s started doing all sorts of freaky things that make Kellen question who he really is.
Kellen and Calienta will fight to stay together and keep the hidden part of the prophecy from becoming reality.

When the ultimate power is within reach, which side will he choose?

Release Date: 12-April-2013, Genre: YA Paranormal Romance

Sounds good? If you liked Twilight by Stephanie Meyer, Need by Carrie Jones, or Fallen by Lauren Kate, you will love this book!

Stephanie KeyesAbout the author:
Stephanie Keyes has been addicted to Fantasy since she discovered T.H. White as a child and started drumming up incredible journeys in her head. Today, she’s still doing the same thing, except now she puts those ideas down on paper.

When she’s not writing Stephanie is also a graphic designer, presenter, teacher, musician, avid reader, and Mom to two little boys who constantly keep her on her toes. In addition, she’s best friend to her incredible husband of eleven years.

TheStarChild200x300Keyes is the author of The Star Child YA Fantasy series, which currently includes The Star Child and The Fallen Stars. She is currently hard at work on the third book in the trilogy.

Interested in joining the blog tour from 6-Apr? Click here to register!

Blog Tour Registration Link


Giveaway (Open to US, UK and Canada)

1 wired star bookmark, 3 Star Child (Book 1) ebooks and 5 The Fallen Stars eBooks

Rafflecopter Link

I’ve been awarded The Very Inspiring Blogger Award!

I was pleased to discover that my Scottish author friend, Janice Horton, awarded me with The Very Inspiring Blogger Award.

Very Inspiring Blogger Award

Before passing it on, I need to provide seven random facts about me… here goes.

  1. I’m Canadian by birth but Scottish in my heart.
  2. I’m the proud(?) owner of the dog with the $1000 ear (affectionately referred to as the “alarm dog”.
  3. I recently placed 3rd in the 2012 Preditors & Editors Readers’ Poll in the YA category for my novel, A Shadow in the Past.
  4. In 1999, I met the Princess Royal at the former orphanage in Scotland where my father and four of his nine siblings were raised (Quarriers Village) near Bridge of Weir.
  5. I’ve lived in and around Brockville my entire life.
  6. I work for a trucking company (not a driver but in the office) and have a background in computer programming.
  7. When I’m not reading, I’m working on the second book in my Shadows series – Shadows from her Past.

Now to pass the gauntlet on to seven more intrepid bloggers, so here goes. The names are in a hat. Mr MR-K is reaching in. The tension is building. And we have our first recipient! Yay!

  1. Brook Cottage Books – Jontybabe JB Johnston
  2. Romance that Rocks Your World – Nicky Wells
  3. Scribbles – Pauline Barclay
  4. Chris Longmuir, Crime Writer
  5. Sarah’s Place – Sarah Shand
  6. Sheryl’s Ramblings – Sheryl Browne
  7. Between the Lines – Ali Bacon

Congratulations ladies!

Preditors & Editors 2012 Readers’ Poll Results

The annual Preditors & Editors Readers Poll, sponsored by Critters Workshop has drawn to a close. The results have been tallied and in the end, 4RV Publishing (with nominations in Children’s Books, Young Adult Books, Artwork from Books, Book Covers, Publisher, Author, Artist and Bookstore) finished with seven in the top ten.

Children’s Books (2 4RV nominations) took 8th place with First Flag of New Hampshire written by Stephanie Burkhart and illustrated by Ginger Nielson.

My novel’s cover created by Aidana WillowRaven

Young Adult Books (2 4RV nominations) took 3rd place with with my novel A Shadow in the Past.

Artwork from Books (2 4RV nominations) had two results tied for 6th place. Ginger Nielson who wrote and illustrated Willow, an Elephant’s Tale and my talented artist Aidana WillowRaven for her cover design for A Shadow in the Past.

Artist saw Aidana WillowRaven earn a 9th place finish in addition to her tie with Ginger in the Artwork category.

Author saw 4RV Publishing President, Vivian Zabel place 6th.

Bookstore 4RV Bookstore placed 3rd in the bookstore category.

Congratulations to everyone who placed!