Sarah Rayner: One Moment, One Morning

The other day I finished reading an amazing novel. It’s one of those which had been sat on my bookshelf for some months, since I moved house back in April. However, it had never made it’s way off the shelf again for some reason. Instead, it sat there in hope, collecting dust.

Last week I decided I was spending far too much money on new books without ever having finished those I already had. So, I made a commitment to myself. For every new book I purchase, I must read one of my existing books first.

The book I chose was called “One Moment, One Morning” by Sarah Rayner. I read the back page. It said something about a train journey, three different passengers and their experiences. It sounded harmless enough. A bit of light reading, I thought. So, I grabbed a bookmark and started.

To say it was an emotional rollercoaster is not an exaggeration. I think the tears might have started before I finished the first chapter. I won’t give away any spoilers, but it’s a harrowing story about a personal tragedy, seen through the eyes of three very different female characters

I was very much captured by the author’s beautiful style. I could really feel the desolation of one particular character and how she comes to terms with her loss.

Let’s just say I would dearly love to be able to capture the same emotions in my readers when I write. Something to aim for, I guess.

Andrew Davidson: The Gargoyle

I picked up Andrew Davidson’s debut novel The Gargoyle at a book stall which comes to my workplace from time to time.

I always browse the stall when I can, but they very rarely bring anything I’m interested in. It’s mostly children’s literature and cookery books. Not that I have anything against these particular genres.

Indeed, I have a very healthy collection of cookery books in my kitchen and just about every one has tell-tale signs of being used frequently!

On this one occasion, however, I spotted a novel. I picked it up and it sounded interesting so I bought it.

Like many books I buy, I carefully placed it on my bookshelf and there it remained for quite some time until I spoke to my partner about it and he said he had enjoyed it. Having learnt that he has an impeccable taste in literature, I thought it was high time I gave it a go.

I remember that day I started reading it. We were going on holiday abroad, my partner and I, and he was going to a barber’s shop the evening before we were due to fly to have a wet towel shave. Apparently, they’re all the rage these days! So, we went into the shop and after he was settled in the chair, I opened the book and began to read.

I was gripped from the very first page. The action is narrated by the central character whose name we never learn. He is involved in a serious car accident and suffers life-threatening injuries and terrible disfiguring burns all over his body. His recovery is aided and abetted by another hospital patient by the name of Marianne who believes they have been lovers in a previous life, centuries before.

This is a book I couldn’t put down until the very last page. Highly recommended.

Online Writing Prompts

I enrolled on an online writing course a little while ago via a website called

The course is called Daily Writes and cost me $5 (about £3). You receive an email every day for 31 days which sets you different writing tasks. It’s proved very useful in a number of ways.

Firstly, and most importantly, it has got me into the habit of writing on a regular basis. Previously, I would just pick up my pen and paper when I felt like it. The problem with this strategy is that there would never be a good time when I just ‘felt like it’.

Admittedly, I haven’t written every day. I do still have quite a demanding full-time job, after all. However, I am beginning to discipline myself. I have created some time, most evenings, when I sit down with my journal and my pen and I complete the next activity. At the weekends, I might do 2 or 3 activities in a day, or I may do none, if I’m particularly busy.

Secondly, I’ve found it’s given me some much-needed focus. Often, I would just sit there, pen in hand, and not have to clue where to start. The prompts are invaluable and well thought out. I have written small poems for example, something which I was never attracted to when I started. There is an activity where you are encouraged to write a classified personal ad for yourself too which is great fun.

Thirdly, there’s a wide variety of tasks within the course. This is helping me to discover my natural writing style and what forms of writing I enjoy or dislike. I guess I always just presumed I’d be a novelist but I hadn’t properly considered the alternatives. Now, I may give them some more thought.

Finally, it has given me the confidence to know that I am definitely becoming a writer! I still allow my partner to read most of my work so far, and I hang on his every word when he gives me his constructive criticism. His most recent compliment is that I ‘have prodigious talent’. Wow.

I should point out that I haven’t yet reached the end of the course. I’m currently on day 22. However, a few days of hard work should see me get it finished off. I’m looking forward to the sense of achievement.

Incidentally, if you feel that receiving an email every day seems like a bit too much for you, there are plenty of other courses available on the site. Feel free to browse and see what suits you.

I am truly enjoying my journey so much. I sincerely hope you guys are too!

A Journey Into The Craft

I can’t remember when I first wanted to write. I have a vague recollection of writing a fantasy story about dragons and witches when I was a child. However, like a lot of things with me, I made a great beginning, a reasonable middle, yet I never reached the end.

I’ve always had a voracious appetite for reading, though. My mum taught me to read simple words before I started school so I was ahead of the game already. I read the entire seven-book Narnia series by C. S. Lewis before the age of nine and had made a serious dent in Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings trilogy before starting secondary school at 11.

It never occurred to me that I could really be a writer myself until I met the love of my life. I was absolutely bowled over when he told me about his First Class Honours degree in Creative Writing, and the small fact that he’s a published poet. How romantic is that?! I thought, as I fell head over heels in love.

So, as I’m now the wrong side of 40, I’ve decided I need to get off my butt and give this thing a go rather than just dreaming about it. So, with the best tutor in the world by my side, I picked up my pen and paper and began to write. Imagine my surprise when he was seriously impressed with my novice attempts!

“A little editing required” he said. “Otherwise, it’s great!”

“Well!” I thought. “I have no excuse now! Let’s see what I can make of this…”

So, this blog is about my journey into the craft of writing; and it is very much a craft. It’s not a linear discipline, like mathematics. There are no right or wrong answers, no taboos, no limits. The only boundaries are the imagination.

I’ll be talking about writing courses, writing retreats and any tips I can share for budding authors out there. I’ll also be talking about the books I’m reading at that time, and discussing my favourite authors.

No doubt, there will also be comments about my beloved cat, Lily. She’s been my loyal companion for six years now and I don’t know what I’d do without her. She has a more calming and relaxing influence than yoga, meditation and a good bottle of wine put together.

So, I hope you enjoy my ramblings. Please feel free to add your own comments.

Thank you for reading!