Roll Up, Roll Up – It’s The Pink Cage Blog Tour

Once upon a time, authors went on book tours. Now they go on blog tours. Blog tours take reviews into the 21st century. The writer or publisher chooses a number of bloggers and asks them if they are willing to do author interviews or book reviews. They then agree to post them up on a specific date. Each blog will appear in sequence, so that, for example, 10 blogs will appear over 10 days.

The goal is to create greater visibility for the book and its author on the Internet, which can be a vast place. Blog tours are particularly useful for encouraging people to buy ebooks, as people make the transition to Kindle and other e-readers.

My blog tour is a mini-tour really, with five bloggers putting up posts over five days. Here’s an itinerary of my whistle stop blog tour.

Monday, September 19th. Writer Orla Shanaghy poses some gritty questions about the realities of the publishing world in her blog, Wait Till I Tell You.

Tuesday, September 20th. Sian Phillips, another keen writer disguised as an accountant, who is one of the queens of the Twitterverse, talks to me about the inspiration for the book and does a reader review on her eponymous blog.

Wednesday, September 21st. Writer Louise Phillips (no relation), is doing a book review and dreaming up some tough questions for her blog, the wonderfully-named 120 Socks. She claims the book helped her through woman flu, so I’m sure she’ll be gentle.

Thursday, September 22nd. Creative writing tutor Michelle Moloney King reviews the book for her blog, Teacher King. She too is a queen in the Twitterverse.

Friday, September 23rd. Last, but not least, writer and musician Derek Flynn is dreaming up some even tougher questions for his blog. Though we live in the same county, we have only met in the Twitterverse, but I’m sure that’ll be amended soon.

I know it’s a lot to take in, but I’ll be posting up every day on my social media pages when the entries are ready, so you’ll be able to follow the blog tour as it unfolds. I’d like to take the opportunity to thank all the bloggers for agreeing to take part and for their support through social media channels and in person. It can be as hard now to be reviewed on a blog as it is to be reviewed in a newspaper, so I feel very privileged that they’ve taken such an interest.

See you on tour.





Playing with Words

This weekend, the fields will be full of people playing, kicking balls of various shapes and sizes. Writers like to play too, but their playthings are words. It goes without saying that if you’re a writer, you love words. And you’re always kicking them around in your head, pulling them apart and putting them back together.

Playing with words isn’t just nonsense. It can be a way into your story. That’s because playing with words frees up your mind and gives you access to the cave of wonders that is your imagination. As your inhibitions go, the ideas flow.

Here are a few ways you can turn words into your playthings.

  1. Alphabet Soup

Write the 26 letters of the alphabet down one side of a page. Then write 26 words to match. See if you can break up those 26 words into sentences. Each word will begin with the next letter of the alphabet. For example.

A Black Cat Drifted Eastwards

Keep going until you’ve reached the end. The sentences can be as daft as you like, as long as they’re recognisable as sentences. And you can give yourself a bit of leeway with X and Z.

 2. Play with the Dictionary

The dictionary contains many wonderfully obscure words. Open a random page, look for the weirdest word you can find and see if you can them in a sentence. Or, to really challenge yourself, pick three words and see if you can weave them into a one-paragraph story.

3.  Word Deconstruction

Worried that your writing is cluttered with clichés? All you have to do is play around with your sentences. Change the order of the words, drop a word, turn a noun into an adjective or a verb and you have a completely original image.

For example.

He charged through the crowd like a battering ram


He battering-rammed through the crowd.

Or the classic ‘he was as white as snow,’ becomes

He was white snow

Or even

He was snow.

4. The Laughing Tree

They say writing comes from the subconscious. The best way to tap into your subconscious is to just let the words flow onto the page, without stopping them or worrying about their order. Doing that helps you come up with wild and wacky images, like a tree laughing in the wood. It’s known as free writing and it gets you past that little voice that tells you your work is crap.

Feel free to suggest your own ways of playing with words.

A Time to Write

A few days ago, I read about a writer, quite well known, who said that she had given up because it was taking too much valuable time from her family life. She said she loved her new career in pottery, but I still thought it was a pity she wasn’t able to balance her time so that she could enjoy family life and writing life.

Time is one of the biggest stumbling blocks that aspiring writers encounter. ‘I don’t have enough time,’ they say. ‘I wish I could find the time.’

But the truth is, if you really want to write, you’ll find the time.


This might sound like a very arrogant thing to say from someone who doesn’t have a job outside writing, doesn’t have children and doesn’t have a husband (yet!). But time isn’t the real issue. The real issue is fear. That and the natural human tendency to take the easy route. It’s so much easier to channel surf or go on Facebook than face the blank page or computer screen.

Even in the busiest life, there are little pockets of time that you can use for your writing. Our creative writing tutor had us map out our time on a spreadsheet to help us figure out where those pockets were. And there are always more of them than you think.

Early Mornings

Are you a morning person? Why not take advantage of the stillness and peace in the house while everyone else is asleep. It’s an easy way to snatch time for yourself without interrupting the rhythm of your work and family life. Or you could swap a book for a notebook on your daily commute.

A Writing Lunch

Do you read while you’re eating your lunch at work? Why not swap the book for a notebook? It might mean that you need to escape to your car, but giving your mind a break from the cycle of work will energise it for the afternoon. If you enjoy socialising with your colleagues, you could still do it at the coffee break.

While You’re Waiting

We spend a good bit of our lives these days waiting, in a queue at the bank, in a doctor’s surgery, or on hold while you’re on the phone. Writing doesn’t have to take place in a sacred, silent space. You could be waiting a long time to find one. If your life is hectic, you write where and when you can. And at least you won’t have to silently fume at the time you’re wasting.

In the Evenings

Evenings are the time when we slump into a happy torpor in front of the telly, or curl up with a good book. Writing can be the last thing on our minds. But it’s also the longest stretch of time we have in a day. And for night people, it’s when they’re most alert. Besides, delving into another world can be a very relaxing way to spend time. Like a holiday for your brain. And you don’t even have to miss your favourite programmes – you can Sky Plus them.

The best news of all is that you don’t need to spend hours every day writing your masterpiece. All you need is 10 minutes.  In 10 minutes, if you write like fury, you could end up with 300 words. That’s 2,100 words per week. And more than 100,000 words in a  year. Even if you wrote nothing, you’d still be moving your writing forward by taking the time to think. Put in those terms, your writing goals will be a lot more attainable. And your fear barrier will melt away.