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Showing posts from January, 2014

Five Rules of Writing

1. You must write.
2. You must finish what you write.
3. You must refrain from rewriting, except to editorial order.
4. You must put the work on the market.
5. You must keep the work on the market until it is sold.

These rules are not new. They are not mine. They were put together by science fiction writer Robert Heinlein in 1947 and have been quoted so often they've become infamous in the writing world.

Having a unicorn for a muse, you might have guessed I am not really into rules. I believe every writer has their own way of producing creative work and trying to follow someone else's rules can seriously interfere with that, if not kill it stone dead. But I have time for Heinlein's rules because they aim at the heart of what we do.

Rule 1 is obvious. If you don't write, you will never be a writer. Note Heinlein does not say "you must write every day" or "you must write 2,000 words an hour", or whatever the latest creative writing course tells yo…

My Top Ten Borrowed Books 2013

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When I was a child most of my reading came from my local library, so I am always excited to see my annual UK library loans. Although libraries are sampled for the purpose of calculating the loan data (which means not all of them are represented each year), I think loan figures are a truer indication of how much people are enjoying a book than sales figures, since when readers borrow a book from a library they do not have to worry about its availability or cover price.

I'm pleased to report that my most popular borrowed title with over 5,000 loans is:


The UK loan year runs until June so it's a bit early for libraries to report later books in this series, but I'm delighted to see some of my older books are still popular too. (Muse: maybe this means historical books are like wine... they improve with age?)

My top ten borrowed books of 2013:

1. SWORD OF LIGHT (Pendragon Legacy 1)
2. THE GREAT PYRAMID ROBBERY (Seven Fabulous Wonders)
3. SONG QUEST (Echorium Sequence 1)
4. THE …

The Unicorn's Best-Selling Formula 2014

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January is traditionally a time for taking a step back, reflecting on the year that has passed, and working out what to do in the year ahead. Using some kind of oracle like the Grail Code in my last post can be good for drawing hidden issues from the subconscious and giving general guidelines, and maybe you were inspired to try something similar. But there's nothing like hard data to give you a kick up the backside (or a slap in the face), so this post is going to take a look at the numbers.

Last week, I wrote a post over at the History Girls asking why some blog posts are more popular than others, based on which of my posts had collected the most "hits" over the past year. Of course, as some of the comments pointed out, a "hit" might simply be someone searching for a certain term on Google. So if their search string happens to be in your post title (by accident or design), then it will count as a hit even if the person searching has no intention of reading you…

Happy New Year!

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I have a confession to make. I already wrote this post once, but took it down an hour later since it felt like too much pressure. As you've probably guessed, I've been making my New Year's resolutions and thought it would be a good idea to announce them here... but changed my mind. (If you are one of the four people who read my post before I deleted it, then I hope you didn't laugh too hard.)

However, the unicorn says I should still write a New Year post about making my resolutions, for which I used the Oracle of the Grail Code - this beautiful card set he unearthed with his glittery horn while I was working on my series about King Arthur's daughter.


These cards focus on the female energy of the Grail legends and come with a book that contains simple 'spreads' for answering deep-seated questions. This morning being an auspicious one, I asked the cards a general question concerning my writing and my life - which, for me, feed and nourish each other.

My three…