Rainy days

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For me there is something magical about curling up with a book and listening to the rain coming down outside. Today I’m reading Lucy Dillon – All I Ever Wanted and I’m at a part where **spoiler alert** her bathroom floods and her kitchen ceiling caves in. Having had this happen in our garage conversion earlier in the year from storm damage, I totally understand her distress. As I sit here listening to the rain outside I can also hear the constant dripping into buckets inside. Although the roof is booked in to be fixed this month there is still the fear that this rain might worsen the situation, how so I’m not sure and I try to pull myself out of my world and back into Caitlin’s. I want to fully immerse myself in her world again.

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I consider how people feel reading my books. When my debut novel ‘Twisted Fate’ was released I was overwhelmed by the reaction I received from readers. I had many messages of embarrassingly crying in public whilst reading my book, men and women alike. It got to the point where I learned to know where friends and colleagues were in the book by how excited, devastated or elated they were in their regales of the previous evenings reading. Although I felt guilt at times, I have to admit that the writer inside me did a serious happy dance. These emotions that they were expressing were because they had connected with my characters! How awesome is that?

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So as I’m working on my fourth novel I’m reminded of the heart and soul that was poured into that book. I obviously can’t speak for every writer but I feel what my characters are feeling, hence why I don’t write horror! So if they are moody, excited or upset, so am I. There have been many points over the years where I have pressed on with chapters purely to get my character, and ultimately you my devoted readers, out the other side of a traumatic situation.

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I love how as a writer I can convey this through my words and storytelling so you too can sit and enjoy being part of my imagined world. And equally I am forever grateful to my fellow writers who allow me to share in their worlds too. I’m off to go see how Caitlin and Eva’s story ends. No more spoilers I promise.

Happy reading, much love,

Claire x

P.S. This post was inspired by a fabulous quote during Writing Hour today 🙂

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Beat writer’s block – how to have fun and stay healthy in mind and body as a writer

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So after years of working in an office, then the past six months working from home, I was feeling completely sluggish in both mind and body. I know I’m always much happier when I’m eating healthily, exercising and being creative, especially writing. So what have I done this year to keep my writing life fun?

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It’s been fantastic to have been able to fully immerse myself into the writing process however I have also found it mentally challenging at times. A few things have helped me along the way and I thought it might be of interest for some of you too.

Firstly I set myself a schedule. Originally I sat down for an hour at 4pm each day before cooking dinner for the family. Then, I came across the most wonderful online group who were meeting once a day on Zoom to sit and write in silence, together but all working on our own projects. This has been invaluable for me and recently I’m joining them most days for all three sessions. During the past five months I have written around 130,000 words, this does not include all the hand written morning pages! There really is something so powerful about a group of people working together. Please find out more about this fabulous group below https://writershour.com/

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Secondly eating healthily really does make me feel so much better mentally and physically. By being at home I technically had more time to prepare better meals and healthy snacks. This, however, has also meant I’ve had more access to unhealthy snacks. Considering that I do the shopping I only have myself to blame, just because it’s gluten/dairy free does not mean it’s good for me! So I got back in touch with the fabulous Helen who set me back on track with my diet. Within a week I was feeling so much better and feeding my family properly too. The link is below https://www.foodisglorious.co.uk/

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Thirdly after a few weeks of trying to keep up with the fabulous Joe Wicks and his PE training I decided to return to what I know best, yoga and meditation. For me this does not need to be something requiring all the right clothing, expensive mat and be trying to get myself in (and out) of complex poses. I prefer to literally just go with the flow. Somedays I follow a video on youtube and other times it’s just a backstretch part way through the day or a few rounds of sun salutations before breakfast. The same is true with meditation. I can choose to just sit in the garden and meditate for a few moments or use a guided meditation I’ve found online. I’m not going to recommend anyone here as I feel it’s a very personal thing. You need to find a teacher or program that you feel comfortable with and enjoy.

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I’m also lucky enough to have four wonderful children aged 16-28 who are my sounding boards, as I am theirs. My eldest son has been helping me to edit my manuscript and as, not only an avid reader, but a talented Life Coach he’s pretty good at helping me to stay vaguely sane too. If you’d like to find out more about him here is the link https://www.facebook.com/BrandonLawsonCoaching

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Oh, and find fun stuff to do, I managed to do a few awesome things this year. It turns out I can grow things in my garden other than wild flowers… who knew! I also, passed my motorcycle theory test and started taking my big girl bike lessons on the 500cc, super nerve wrecking but soooo cool! Hopefully I’ll get to take my test next year!

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Finally, play your music loud and dance like a loon!

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I’d love to hear what things you have found helpful for you in your writing process.

Take care, stay safe, Namaste

Claire x

P.S. My forth novel is currently on the third rewrite, yep, rewrite, not just editing. It’s taking a bit more work than I’d planned as my editor and I decided that having the book in first person rather than third would work much better.

Make Time

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Hi Welcome back

This is just a quick message of something that I felt the need to say, possibly more to myself than to you but I hope it helps you too.

I have spent many years absolutely overwhelmed by life. There is always someone or something demanding my time and I am ever obliging, I hate the idea of letting people down. Yet then I realised that the person I let down the most with me! Yep, I felt guilt over not visiting my mum or texting my adult children or contacting the friend I haven’t seen in years.

The part I was missing was that I was always waiting. Waiting for everyone else to finish what they were doing before I took anytime for myself. I’m not meaning until I took that trip around the world or applied for my Doctorate. I mean, running a bath to relax in or reading a book or popping on a film, just because that’s what I felt like doing.

So I have started to make time – I now go to ballroom dancing classes with my, initially unenthusiastic, partner who now enjoys it, I go to Clubbercise, OMG try it if you get a chance, it takes you straight back to your Bacardi Breezer sipping clubbing days, and yoga class, something I thoroughly need.

Also, little things like lighting candles and running a big bubbly bath, juggling with the fruit, playing the recorder. Or like last year, when I finally brought a motorbike and took my CBT, hopefully this year I will brave the big girl bikes!

So listen to the songs you love, sing, dance, laugh! This is me giving you permission. Remember what you used to love doing or the things you always fancied trying,and just do it! I promise to if you do. A great quote from Rachel Hollis is, ‘if not now then when?’

Please get in touch and let me know what uber fun stuff you have done or doing, just because!

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Writer/Yoga Retreat

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So after months of trying to remember my password, and trying to prove I’m not a robot, I’m back! It appears that as a human I cannot tell the difference between a car and a shop front, so it is assumed, by a computer, that I’m a robot!

However, having escaped cyberspace purgatory I consider that if in fact I was a robot I would remember my password!

These things are best remembered when I’m not in overwhelm. I mean, is it just me who forgets passwords, my children’s names and to pay for their school dinners?

For me, I’m busy panicking because I ate a gluten and dairy free chocolate brownie or ten rather than going to yoga! Namaste.

This is a great week. It is half term and I have booked the week off work and have camped out in my living room, with my fabulous new sofas and my tiny laptop.

It is my own version of a writing/yoga retreat and there has been much writing and there might even be the odd sun salutation thrown in!

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I believe that making time for yourself and the people and things you enjoy does not have to cost a fortune and involve a lot of stress, it can literally be switching off from normality and doing what you love.

 

 

My achievement list reads (and it’s only Wednesday) – these are in no particular order

A strong 8,000 words on my new book written
Eaten the biggest fry up in the world
Drunk many, many cups of coffee
Watched some of my favourite films
Visited my Dad – to take him his Christmas present (you see how caught up in overwhelm I’ve been)
Shot cuddly toys and drew a lama with my daughter & granddaughter
Shaved my legs
Smiled a lot
Watched a Joanna Penn Webinar and got even more fired up about my new book, enough to sort out this website
Spent time with my teenagers
Caught up with my eldest son on the phone for a proper chat
Decluttered the living room to make space for the new sofas
Relaxed
Lit candles, just because

So for me this week has been magical and fantastically therapeutic.

I have many more thing to do before returning to work but it has been a well deserved break.

I hope you are having a glorious week too, whatever you are doing.

Please follow and sign up for updates in the form on the Welcome page. It would be great to hear how you are doing too. It really has been far too long.

Love Claire x

 

Aspiration Day at Clenchwarton School

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It was so wonderful being invited to be one of the guest speakers yesterday at ClenchWarton Primary School.

So fabulous to have felt I have inspired young minds. When you are asked what you wanted to do as a job and you say I used to sit at my typewriter, my calculator was my phone and I pretended I was a writer. The young girl looked me straight in the eye and said, ‘Then your dream came true.’ Wow… humbling, I got quite chocked up to realise that I am living the life I love. From the mouths of babes.

Also being asked for my autograph and having to write them on the back of my shopping list notepad amused them.

It is these moments that make the difference and why I do what I do.

Massive thank you to everyone for making me so welcome.

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Octavia Hill -Meet the Authors- 11th September 2015

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So today I’ll be at the Octavia Hill Museum selling and signing copies of my books. It’ll be great to see you all and any questions about how to write or self-publishing please come and ask. All my books are still half price throughout September.

Other local authors will be there too, which is always great to meet lots of different authors or differing genres.

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Come along, bring a friend or ten, going to be a wonderful afternoon. Starts at 3pm -6.30. Pop in anytime within those hours. As ever, your support is much appreciated. THANK YOU X

World Book Night- 23rd April 2015 11-2pm

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We are proud to announce that we are going to be holding our World Book Night event at the Angles Theatre in Wisbech.

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It is going to be a wonderful event where Simon Crow & myself will be selling signed copies of our latest books & there will be a raffle to win a hamper which includes all of our books & a Custard Tarts & Broken Hearts book.

We very much look forward to seeing you there 🙂

Daydream and Reminisce

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Sometimes while I am up to my eyeballs, literally most of the time, I take a break. Where does this usually take me? Well, other than the local coffee shops, I like to take a wander around the charity shops.

Normally I can find the odd bargain or two and other times, I find something that goes on my wish list and it takes all of my willpower to not just hand over the money and claim it as my own.

On one particular occasion I discovered a little red suitcase. It was there in the window of a charity shop on the Steep Hill in Lincoln but was not for sale yet, as it was part of their window display. However, because I wanted it so bad I popped my name down for them to contact me once it was available. Why? I mean, it was just an old suitcase, I rarely travel so what was the point?

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picture borrowed from (https://www.flickr.com/photos/woolgenie/7662451110/) who is also lucky enough to have one.

The point was that it reminded me of my childhood. It was identical to the one I had owned as a small child. It had traveled to London with me to visit my grandparents. It had held my dance costumes when I attended shows around the country. But to me it was worth far more than the £20 I paid for it. I almost wished for it to have been my old one and have my name written inside when I opened it. It didn’t but that didn’t matter.

So on my last visit to Lincoln I found this…

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an old typewriter! Now my typewriter that I had learned to type on as a child, was cream and this one was blue. But strangely it was very similar to mine and the one I added to this website when I first started it.

My point is this… I didn’t buy it as it was £30, of which I did not have. However, I know that soon enough I will find one at the right time, in the right place, when I have the money to purchase it and it will become a part of my world, as it was all those years ago when I wrote my first little stories.

For now I will ring my parents and see if they still have mine.

Have a brilliant week and allow yourself time to daydream and reminisce. x

Enjoy the challenge

I love Rubik’s cubes, they remind me of hours of frustration during my childhood.

But it got me thinking, life is like a Rubik’s cube. You get one side/part sorted and start on the next it unsettles the part that was set.

One day I might learn to get all the sides at one time! But do you remember how once you finished it you got the urge to mess it up and start again.

Maybe it’s not supposed to all be perfect, half the fun is starting over and trying things a different way.

Maybe we need to just enjoy the challenges and the moments of perfection.

Your time to shine!

Hi, Lovely to see you here.

I would like to share a quick feel-good tip with you.

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After doing my level one Reiki qualification many years ago, one of the best things I learned was the need to protect your own energies. So every morning I spend just a couple of moments wrapping myself in a big energy blanket to protect my energies and keep me healthy, wealthy, happy and safe. I then imagine I’m putting my shields up like one The Incredibles and deflecting negativity. I then ask that the positivity sprinkles over me like a snow globe.

So the other week when I spotted a snow globe that you can pop your own photo into it I was so excited. I bought it and cut a photo out and wrote my wish on the back of the photo. Then every time I pass it, I shake it and literally see myself sprinkled in positivity.

I find this to be a powerful reminder that I am safe and on track to accomplish my dreams.

Wishing you the most wonderful weekend.

Claire x

Out of hibernation

Hello,

Somehow it appears that I have hibernated longer than I expected to! I don’t know about you but it seems to have been a long drab winter. I, personally, have found it very hard to get motivated, possibly because I invested in some extremely cosy blankets in late October that have made moving quite unnecessary (and chilly). In all honesty the dress code in the house has been that of the blanket origin.

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Anyway, now that I’m awake again, I’m raring to go!

I have pens, paper, notepads, charts & post-it notes a go-go.

So I’m going to stop rambling & get back to working out the plans for the year & will update you very soon.

Take care, Claire x

 

My visit to the Mothership of the publishing world

Wow two years ago already!!

Author Claire Upton

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Yesterday I was honoured to be invited along to none of than HarperCollins. To say I was excited was an understatement, they are to me the Mothership of publishing, the one that everyone wants and hopes to be noticed by. Unfortunately it was not to discuss my publishing contract with them, but nevertheless it was HarperCollins. I would have sold my soul to the devil himself to get there.

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Luckily for me they have a good train service from Norfolk to London so no soul selling was needed. So my friend & I jumped on a train to the Big Smoke & it was the most exciting day ever. We managed to get on the right train, navigate our way around the underground, and find a rather lovely winebar, that presented us with shot glasses full of Smarties to compliment our coffee.

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And the shard is behind me!! Made my knees…

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Busy times

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So although I have not been on here in far too long, please know that things are still moving along.

I have been busy working with Bird’s Nest Books assisting new writers to get published. I recently co-hosted a very successful Prose to Print event. It involved me running a quick creative writing workshop for the 24 attendees & then Jane Levicki spoke about the various ways to get your work published. The brilliant David Johnson of DMJ Imagery filmed the interviews, which is great to look back over.

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To polish off the day I was lucky enough to interview the panel of authors, the wonderfully talented Sue Welfare, Jon Lawrence & Darren O’Sullivan. It was a truly fun & inspiring day.

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While I’m tweaking my next novel I feel honoured to be consulting with a couple of writers on their manuscripts, it is very exciting to view the process from the other side.

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In addition my friend & I have opened a second hand shop in Sutton Bridge, Lincolnshire, UK, called The Fabulously Thrifty Shop. The aim is to raise money for local causes & charities. We have had an amazing first two weeks trading & the donations & sales are coming in thick & fast. Oh, & also, my books are on the bookshelves!!

So I hope that all is well in your worlds, take care & enjoy the lovely sunshine 🙂

 

Happy Sunday

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Well I hope you have all had a wonderful weekend. My day has been spent in Starbucks researching. There is nothing I love more than the idle chatter that surrounds me as I work. I considered for a moment putting my headphones in and switching off from it, however I decided that it defeated the object of being out and about rather than shutting myself in the office.

I’m glad that I did decide to venture out because it not only gave me a chance to clear my head but I popped into Waterstones and was delighted to see that the fabulous Elly Griffiths’ latest novel is out. Set not far from where I live, her book is set in Walsingham and from the blurb it promises to be another stunning novel. I had the pleasure of appearing alongside her last year and she is a wonderfully talented lady.

So I hope the week ahead brings you loads of great things.

Keep smiling 😊