Welcome to my regular feature called "When In Doubt I Turn To...
Today I would like to welcome Cressida McLaughlin, one of the most talented authors and one of the loveliest people.
Cressida's books always bring me so much reading happiness! The way she creates her stories and characters is remarkable, and I've had the pleasure of reading all her books up to date.
The paperback of The Once in a Blue Moon Guesthouse series is set to be release in next week, and I have a review for you as a part of the blog tour that will start on Monday ( June 26th) in the mean time I have a fantastically inspiring guest post by Cressida McLaughlin. Enjoy it!
When in doubt I turn to . . . by Cressida McLaughlin
Gazing out of the window, which sounds a bit half-hearted, but sometimes just turning away from the computer screen or page is enough to kick my brain into gear. If I get stuck on the next sentence, or something isn’t working but I don’t want to break the flow completely, then changing my view for a few minutes can be helpful.
If I need a longer distraction, then I go and make a cup of tea. Tea can improve any situation, and I don’t need to think about making it, so my ideas can percolate away in the background while the kettle boils.
When the page is my enemy, nothing seems to be working and my writing is flowing like a dry riverbed, then I go for a walk or jog (plod), or sometimes do some cooking. I’m not brilliant at it, and there are only a few things I can make well, but it’s fun and cathartic, and leaves my brain with enough space to mull over why the scene or character isn’t doing what I want it to. And at the end, I not only have a solution to my writing problem, but a tasty Bolognese or pasta bake to eat too.
The size of the problem dictates the size of the distraction – whether it’s a few seconds, minutes or hours. This post is very apt for me as I’m just starting my second week as a full time writer, instead of cramming everything writerly in around four day-job days each week. Now I have hours and hours stretching out in front of me. It’s the stuff of dreams, but it’s also intimidating to a certain extent.
But already I’m finding a rhythm; I know my brain is better in the mornings, so I can have 4 or 5,000 words done by lunchtime, and then use the afternoons for reading, social media or writing other things, like this. Every writer finds their own groove, depending on their circumstances, and part of that is their solution for writer’s block, word quagmires and misbehaving characters.
One thing I have quickly discovered is not a good way of clearing my mind, but is something I turn to far too frequently, is Twitter. “Oh, I’ll just have a browse, look at my notifications…” Forty-five minutes later I’ve achieved nothing except liking a few kitten GIFs, and my knotty problem is in exactly the same tangle as it was before.
So the conclusion I have come to is that tea is good, Twitter is bad. I might put that on a post-it note and stick it to my computer, as a reminder.
Pre-order The Once in a Blue Moon Guesthouse here
A huge thank you to Cressida McLaughlin! xo
The Mothers of Lovely Lane by Nadine Dorries
Welcome to my stop on this blog tour! I have an excerpt of the captivating book for you to lose yourself in and discover more about The Mothers of Lovely Lane. Enjoy it!
Excerpt - The Mothers of Lovely Lane
Elsie had a spring in her step as she made her way to the greasy spoon for the domestics’ morning coffee break. Even though Matron hadn’t allowed her to listen in on the conversation with Dr Gaskell, she had still picked up some crucial snippets. She was met by the warmth from the cookers and the smell from the huge urns of milky coffee as she opened the café door. Seeing that there was no one at the food counter, she made her way over to it.
‘How is anyone supposed to eat that bacon?’ she asked the young girl who was serving. ‘That’s a tin of bacon fat you’ve got there – where’s the meat?’
The young girl looked at Elsie with a resigned dismay that told her she had answered that question many times that morn- ing already. ‘Shall I put a rasher on your barm cake for you?’ she asked.
‘A rasher? You can’t call that a rasher. I suppose you’ll have to, but I’m only paying half price. Bacon meat is not the same price as bacon fat – go and tell the cook that. She has the fattest kids on Vince Street and we all know where the bacon’s heading, don’t we?’
The girl gave Elsie an imperceptible nod. Her mother and Elsie played bingo together. Embarrassed, she shed about in the tin of bacon fat, speared a couple of slices with a fork, laid them on a barm cake and passed the plate over to Elsie, who made to take her purse out of her apron. The girl looked around, checked that no one was watching and shook her head.
Elsie understood. ‘Thanks, queen,’ she said as she winked. ‘You’re a lovely girl. I’ll tell your mam what a good’un you are.’
She let her unopened purse slip back into her apron pocket, then turned her head to glance around the vast room of scrubbed tables and wooden chairs. She was trying to locate Biddy, Madge, Betty Hutch and Branna – her usual cohort of domestics. But Hattie Lloyd, Dessie Horton’s next- door neighbour, was sitting on a table near the counter and spotted her rst. Elsie almost jumped as Hattie shouted out her name.
‘Did you just pay for that bacon barm, Elsie? Didn’t notice you open your purse.’
‘Of course I did, you silly cow. What business is it of yours anyway? Your eyes are nearly as big as your mouth, what a pity they don’t see too well.’
Elsie saw the raised hand of Biddy Kennedy and without waiting for a reply threaded her way through the tables to where her friends were sitting.
She slammed her plate down on the table as she pulled back her chair.
‘I’ve got your coffee already,’ said Biddy. ‘I saw you coming in. What’s wrong with your face now, Elsie?’
‘Bloody Hattie Lloyd, that’s what. She just accused me of not paying for me bacon barm.’
‘And did you?’ Biddy picked up her cup and blew on the scalding coffee, sending milky froth scudding into the air.
‘No, I didn’t. I complained about the lack of bacon. If I pay for a bacon barm, I want bacon on it. She’s over-made-up and over-opinionated, that one. God, she gets my goat. How dare she accuse me of not paying.’
Noleen Delaney is one of an army of night cleaners at St Angelus Hospital. Son Bryan has a good job as one of the hospital’s porters’ boys, but Finn has done something unheard-of and passed his Eleven Plus exam. How on earth will they pay for his books, his grammar school uniform and shoes?
Bronia Ryan has battled depression since her husband died. Even in that poor neighbourhood her house is a byword for chaotic squalor. And now one son is in prison. Her youngest, Lorcan, wants no part of a life of crime, but how can he ever escape? Or protect his mother from her vicious eldest son?
As usual, St Angelus is at the heart of things. Life and death, love and loss, jealousies, rivalries and betrayals are woven into a rich tapestry – the latest instalment in Nadine’s great series about poverty, sacrifice and community spirit in post-war Liverpool and the early days of the NHS.
Nadine Dorries grew up in a working-class family in Liverpool and spent a great deal of time in Mayo with her Irish grandmother.
She trained as a nurse and has been the MP for Mid-Bedfordshire since 2005. She has three daughters.
A huge thank you to Head of Zeus for inviting on the BlogTour!
The Accidental Honeymoon by Portia MacIntosh
Today is also my stop on The Accidental Honeymoon Blog Tour! I have a guest post by the lovely Portia. I really enjoyed reading this post and I hope you will too!
Guest Post - Writing The Accidental Honeymoon!
Writing The Accidental Honeymoon – a story about a girl who gets drunk and gets married – made me realise something: I don’t think I’ve ever done anything stupid just because I was drunk. However, that’s not to say I haven’t ever done anything stupid. Is that better or worse? That all my mistakes have been made knowingly?
I have friends who have got drunk, made mistakes, and then the next day they’ve been so upset to have been so under the influence that they did something stupid. I, on the other hand, don’t always make the best choices, but I make them on purpose.
Don’t get me wrong, when I say ‘mistakes’ the worst we’re talking is a stupid haircut or messaging a boy who isn’t worth my time or my data. I definitely wouldn’t get married to a random person (so, mum, if you’re reading this, you can calm down now).
I'm not in my early twenties anymore, so I’m not sure how charming drunken behaviour is. I recently went on a night out with some students, and by 4 am I just wanted to cry. Everyone was drunk and being ridiculous, and then there was me, not much more than a little tipsy, watching them all doing shots and kissing each other and throwing up on the floor. Does this mean I’m getting old? Maybe, and it’s kind of hard to admit sometimes. I’m happy though, and that’s all that matters.
Portia MacIntosh has been 'making stuff up' for as long as she can remember - or so she says. Whether it was blaming her siblings for that broken vase when she was growing up, blagging her way backstage during her rock chick phase or, most recently, whatever justification she can fabricate to explain away those lunchtime cocktails, Portia just loves telling tales. After years working as a music journalist, Portia decided it was time to use her powers for good and started writing novels. Taking inspiration from her experiences on tour with bands, the real struggle of dating in your twenties and just trying to survive as an adult human female generally, Portia writes about what it's really like for women who don't find this life stuff as easy as it seems.
Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
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A huge thank you to Helena at LRR for inviting in on this tour and Portia MacIntosh for a lovely guest post!
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