Posted in My Journey, News & Events

Where did Briony go?

Hey everyone 👋, long time no see?

Sorry for the silence, I know I’ve been around, but no where near as much as I would like to and well long story short, times got tough and I completely lost my mojo. 😔

There was a poignant bereavement in my boyfriend’s family that took us all completely by surprise and that mixed with my own grief of my Nan’s passing, now a decade ago, it began a bit of a downward spiral. It’s amazing how many other things can also rear their ugly head at your worst times. It wasn’t pretty. I spent most of March just floating along. A shell of who I am.

But as time has passed I’ve managed to rekindle my passions with my hobbies one by one. Spurred on by the love of those around me, who are all worth their weight in gold. ❤️

However, I wanted to write about this today, because for anyone like me who just needs a bit of reassurance, if there is one thing this experience has taught me it’s that it’s okay to take a break. You will get back on track eventually, but take your time, recharge your batteries. Take care of yourself because there’s only one you. 💫

So, where did Briony go? Well…

There was my writing holiday, which I never talked about as it was the prelude to everything mentioned above. But, it was such a perfect trip, I didn’t want to let it pass me by on here.

My boyfriend and I took ourselves off to the beautiful town of Stratford-Upon-Avon. Where we spent a week in such a quaint hotel, right next to the river, where we wrote and wrote and wrote. We wrote at the hotel (aptly named Pen & Parchment!) in coffee shops, in the park. We ate good food, went for culture fulfilling walks in the surprising February sunshine. We even managed to catch to catch a show! I mean you, can’t go all the way to Shakespeare’s birthplace and not see one of his plays now can you? 😋

I came away with the beginnings of book two ladies and gentlemen. (I was even writing all the way back on the train home!) This author has a work in progress! 😍 A getaway like that is definitely something I will be doing again for sure. It’s made Stratford-Upon-Avon even more of a special place in my heart. I can’t wait to go back already.

I have had a couple of you asking me how I went about planning such a trip, so I am determined to give it it’s own post in due course too. So watch this space if you wish to find out more. 👀

In April, me, Momma and my good friend Ginger went to Wonderwool in Wales. These days out, just the three of us and a yarn festival, they’re just the best and if you don’t leave somewhere like this feeling inspired, I don’t know what will!

I treated myself to a couple of bits, which I am now obsessed with. For example, I now know kinda how to use a drop spindle to make my own yarn out of fibre. I also own a sterling silver crochet hook. 😍 What is life? 😂 I would definitely recommend a visit and they’ve just announced the dates for next year! (For more info on my purchases I did a haul post on my Instagram, for more info on the show visit their website.)

And this final one is a silver lining story, which at the minute, I really dig. So during all of this, my day job got rather stressful too. I ended up needing to commute around on trains a lot for a couple of weeks and with my head already swimming, it was enough to tip me over the edge. I needed a distraction, but something small and discreet as not to draw attention. (I’ll be honest, I haven’t felt much like talking over the last few months.) So I picked up a book and finished it within a week, so I picked up another.

I’d forgotten how much of a source of relaxation reading could be for me and it was mad to feel the stress just drain out of me for those few hours a day I was by myself with the world blurring by.

My current read is called The Curse of The Boyfriend Sweater by a lady called Alanna Okun, who I discovered on Instagram. It’s mini snippets of life writing, she’s disguised as essays, based on her own life and crafting experiences and I just love it! 😍 Can’t praise it enough in fact and even across the pond here in the UK, I can totally relate!

So book number two, woolly adventures and reading moving back home in my heart. ❤️ What’s next for me now? You’ll have to watch this space and see. 😉 (There’s a secret craft project for one, my draft from NaNoWrimo that everyone I’ve talked to about it wants to read for two. And some rather exiting plans taking shape for the future. But they’re all just glimmers of WIPs at the min.)

However, as a thank you to you all for being so patient with me over the last few months, I wanted to leave you with my first teaser for my next novel. 👏

I’m really only just getting to know the characters of this novel myself, but what I do know is it’s set in the same universe as Unravelled. It’s not going to be a direct sequel, but in keeping with similar themes and the general feel good vibe, so fans of the first book will still fall in love with the second. ❤️ Instead of knitting taking centre stage this time it’s going to be it’s sister craft crochet. Again, mimicking how the stories themselves are connected. This story showcases more of girl power! and friendship than romantic love and it nods towards our more internet age when it comes to crafting these days.

And…

I do have a title, but I want you to have a going at guessing what it’s called before I tell you. Just based on what I’ve just revealed above. Have some fun with it, yenno. Build the hype and all that jazz. 😉

Oh and here’s one more clue:

_ _ _ _ _ _ ? 🧶 (6 Letters)

Leave your guesses in the comments below and I’ll be back soon with the reveal.❤️

Thank you for being here and giving me light in the dark.

B xo

Posted in My Journey, News & Events

End of Year Wrap Up, New Year’s Resolutions And Blogversary! 🎉

Hello, hello, hello and welcome to 2019 everyone! 🎉

I hope this new year finds you all well and raring to go with the adventures this year will bring.

However, before I get fully stuck into 2019, I want to tie up a few loose ends, let you know my resolutions and celebrate another blogversary! 😱 🎉🎉🎉

The end of 2018 was such a whirlwind of awesomeness that I ran out of time to do my wrap ups! 😂 Therefore on reflection I don’t think they’ll be something I’ll be carrying on with in 2019. However, for those of you who have a good memory will remember, one of my resolutions from last year was the finish what I started. So here I am, doing just that…

SEPTEMBER

I went on holiday.

The annual family holiday was pure bliss. ☀️ Taking little Bobby away with us too was just perfect. It’s lovely to get away just as summer fades to autumn.

I also managed to crochet a top in two days whilst on this holiday and I purchased a lot of wool. 🤫 (What can I say? My Mother is a bad influence. 😉)

I went to Yarndale!

I know I’ve already blogged about this, but my wrap up wouldn’t be complete without mentioning it. What a wonderful day it was! I’m already planning my trip for next year. Who’s with me? If you’re a yarnivore and you’ve never been to Yarndale, I definitely recommend it!

OCTOBER

It was my birthday!

And I was treated like a princess! 👑 Afternoon tea at the RSC, incredibly thoughtful gifts and lots and lots of love. Getting older isn’t so bad when it comes with days like that. 💕 Thank you to everyone who played a part in making my day so special.

I got my first tattoo!

Ever since I signed my publishing contract I knew I wanted a book tattoo. Books have always been a huge part of my life and Unravelled just sealed the deal. However fear had been putting me off for the best part of year. However, with some forward thinking from one of my bestest babes, I was booked in and well, I am utterly in love with the end result. It’s everything I ever wanted and more. ❤️

I finished my second pattern test.

The Grecian Top I crocheted for the lovely homemadebymarcie. 💕 Never have I had such lovely compliments about my body whilst modelling anything. 😂 It was a definitely a confidence booster! You can purchase the pattern for this top now from Marcie’s Etsy store.

I went pumpkin picking!

I ticked another thing off of the bucket list last October by finally going pumpkin picking! It was fun activity gearing up toHalloween and I had a great time picking and then carving a ghost pumpkin!

NOVEMBER

I had my ebook launch!

Again, something I know I posted about already, but this was a fun one. I had a great time celebrating the launch of Unravelled as an ebook during our online party across Facebook and Instagram! Thanks again if you tuned in, we had such a giggle. And remember, if you haven’t got your copy already, Unravelled in ebook format is a bargain price of just £3.99. Available now from the Amazon Kindle Store!

I won NaNoWriMo!!!!

Again this is something I’ve already blogged about but it was such a personal achievement for me that I had to give it another shout out. I wrote a novel in a month. Yes it’s a mess, yes it’s no where near publishable but it exists. It’s on paper, I have a first draft and it’s longer than Unravelled. Now I know what the whole thing entails, I’m not sure it will be an annual affair, but for anyone wanting to give National Novel Writing Month a go I advise a month of dedication! You’ve got to be prepared to write every day. Because I know if I’d have fallen even just one full day behind, I would have been toast! If you fancy reading a bit more about my NaNoWriMo novel, the synopsis and an excerpt are still available on my NaNoWriMo profile.

I completed my Doctor Strange cosplay!

A year’s worth of crochet paid off on the 25th November as I attended the MCM Comicbook Convention in Birmingham in full Doctor Strange crocheted cosplay! I was so proud of myself putting it all on together and I had some really lovely comments on the day. 💕

DECEMBER

December is always a crazy month for me. The Christmas madness kicks in and I always end up disappearing of the radar for a little while. This year was no different, however, I did try my best to fully embrace the festive season as best as I could so here we are…

I crocheted a peacock!

A bit of bizarre project for the time of year, but it was a special request. However, he went down a treat. The pattern I used was from Moji Moji Designs on Etsy, I definitely recommend checking out her store for super cute crochet!

I visited a German Christmas Market.

I had a lovely evening full of yummy food and drink and even picked up a really cute pair of mistletoe earrings. Which swiftly became my staple jewellery piece for the rest of the festive season!

I made a festive door hanging!

I took a couple years away from my annual festive foliage night, however I went back this Christmas, but was terrified I forgotten everything! However, apart from an unfortunate instance of the bottom falling out, I was proud as punch with the result. It’s actually still on the door! It’s just too pretty to take down straight away…

I went to see Elf on stage.

And I got so enthralled in it all that I forgot to take any pictures! 🤪 However, it was a magical experience and really helped me get into the festive spirit. I also got to watch Martine McCutcheon perform live during the festive season. Bonus.

Bobby thoroughly enjoyed his first Christmas and I got spoilt rotten.

Another tradition I’ll be skipping on the blog this year is my Christmas haul. I was absolutely spoilt rotten and a) I think I’d actually make my phone explode with all the pictures but also b) I had such a lovely quiet one that I don’t want to take away from anything by splashing it all over social media and having other people judge. (However, I’m sure inevitably things will crop up on my Instagram feed, so if you genuinely are interested, keep an eye out on there.) All in all it though it was a lovely, super cosy day and I’m actually kinda gutted it’s all over and done with now, if I’m honest. Again, thank you to everyone who played a part in making my Christmas a special one, you’re all angels worthy of sitting a top a tree. ⭐️

And there we have it, all up to date and ready for 2019!

And with the New Year came my 4th Blogversary! Honestly, I don’t know where the time goes. But it’s been amazing to look back and watch my journey unfold through these blogs. 💕 And with another exciting year ahead, I determined to keep it up.

So what can we expect from brionymarshallauthor in 2019?

Well…

As I mentioned earlier, I’m going to scrap the monthly wrap ups this year and instead just blog about something when it’s fresh and happening to keep you all more in the loop.

I also have two New Year’s resolutions that will most likely shape my content for 2019:

    Read more Chick Lit! – The hobby that suffered the most in 2018 was definitely my reading. Plus I definitely feel I could be more well read in my own genre, so I’ve given myself the aim this year of reading six chick lit books. Any recommendations? Be sure to send them my way!
    Write the first draft of book 2! – NaNoWriMo was definitely me joining the writer gym for a month. I knew a new manuscript was on the horizon but I was scared to jump right in after having such a long break from novel writing. However, after my NaNoWriMo success I’m ready to bring it on!

And there was go. I hope you enjoyed this mammoth post! And if you stayed with me all the way to the end then you definitely deserve a brownie point! 😂

So once again Happy New Year everyone and if you have any resolutions of your own I’d love to hear all about them in the comments. 🥳

– B xo

Posted in My Journey, The Notepad

I did it!!! 🎉🎉🎉

Guys, I completed NaNoWriMo!

I wrote a 50k novel in a month! 😱

I am a NaNoWriMo winner!

After years and years of attempts, I finally passed the finishing line and wow! There’s still a part of me that can’t believe I did it. A novel in a month. A novel that is longer than Unravelled and I wrote it in a month. Wowzers.

In November I nailed the art of writer discipline. The only reason I won is because I wrote every day. Even on days where I had plans, I mapped out my time and wrote something. Even if it was only a couple of hundred words, I added something to my word count and it paid off. I’ll be honest, on the 29th I had to play catch up. But I managed it because I planned and persevered and believed. I also learnt to silent my inner editor. This one was most certainly a hard one to crack and took me some serious pep talks from cheerleaders. 😂 But I got there.

Don’t get me wrong, the manuscript needs a lot of work, I cannot wait to read some of the hot mess of words I was writing late at night through tired eyes! 😂, but the story is there. It just needs improvement and that’s the point. So I can’t make any promises for when or how this story will make it’s way into the world. But, for those of you who are interested here is the mock cover, synopsis and excerpt from my NaNoWriMo profile:

Synopsis:

Richard Clarke, or “Richie” as he’s known in the industry, is an actor in his prime. At the age of forty one, he’s been on his journey through arthouse and low budget. He’s played corpses and extras then gradually moved up to evil villains and romantic leads. He’s dabbled in almost every genre, and recently his career has taken an all-time rocket boost and he’s four times winner of The People’s Magizine’s ‘Sexist Man Alive’ Poll. But if only someone could have told that to his soon to be ex-wife…

Penelope James, or “Penny” to her friends, has always loved fashion. That’s why she’s devoted her life to it… or as much as she can. A Levels, University, Apprenticeships, she’s done it all. But the fashion world outside of the comfortable four walls of institutionalised education will eat you up and spit you out in seconds. So Penny currently works in her Auntie’s boutique selling glamourous fashion to the over fifties in a small little town in the middle of nowhere. However, when Penny’s Dad has a friend who knows someone, who’s heard that the big boys are looking for new talent; a very small job role in a huge television production. It might not be exactly what Penny’s after but it would be a foot in the door.

And then Penny meets Richie.

This could be Penny’s big break in more ways than one. It’s a risk, but then isn’t all things in love, and fashion, a risky business?

Excerpt:

“Ready?”

I nodded slowly, was now too late to start feeling a little uneasy about this situation? Next thing I know Win has opened the door and is leading me into the biggest office I have ever seen. At the far end of the room two men are sat opposite each other. On the desk an open decanter and two glasses of whiskey, on the rocks.

Win cleared her throat as we made our way over to where the two men were seated, “Penny this is Carl Wright our Executive Producer, I don’t think you’ve met yet.” The older of the two men turned to face me. He had a kind but stern face. The laughter lines around his mouth and eyes were deeply set, but by the way he owned the chair he sat in  he made you know that he was not the kind of person you would want to cross. He extended his hand to me, showing me a full pearly white smile.

“Hello Penny, lovely to finally meet you, welcome to FBW Productions.” I took his hand, his grip was firm, the practiced handshake of a well accomplished business man.

“Thank you.” I barley whispered. Where had my voice gone all of a sudden?! But luckily Win came to my rescue with a second introduction.

“And this is Richie Clarke. Our star.” She added the last part with a grin, which Richie himself tried to shrug of with a half laugh as he got to his feet to take my hand.

Richie Clarke. I was shaking the hand of Richie Clarke.

My knowledge of popular culture outside of fashion was rather limited, (Remember my current favourite band is Queen?!) but even I knew this guy’s name . The definition of tall, dark and handsome , Richie Clarke has been a household name for a few years now, his specialities being television and romance. If there was a cop show that needed a heartthrob or a romantically challenged criminal mastermind, Richie was your guy. Popping up in many lead rolls across the different television channels for the last five years. Being in his early forties, his wall calendar was the kind of thing you’d buy your Mum for Christmas but secretly something that you, personally, would want on the wall all year round. He was always a firm favourite in the “Sexist Man Alive” polls but also at the TV award ceremonies too. And the last I heard he was happily married, with a baby on the way and breaking a lot of ladies hearts.

“Hey.” His voice was as smooth and as rich as cocoa.

For those of you who don’t know, NaNoWriMo is such a beautiful, kind, loving and inspirational non-profit organisation that help and encourage writers of any ability to write a novel in a month. The main event is November. (National Novel Writing Month.) But they do other things throughout the year that you can be a part of. Please take a look at their website and, if you can, help them by donating to their cause and give more people a chance to realise their dream. 💫

I’m off to print my winner certificate now and hang it on the wall along with my Christmas decorations. 😂 I can’t believe it’s that time of year again already?!

Happy Monday everyone.

– B xo

Posted in My Journey

Russell Howard’s Round The World Tour. 

Last night I had the pleasure of going to see one of my heroes; the lovely Mr Russell Howard. 😍 (Those of you who have been here from the start know how much I adore this man. ❤) Yesterday was the seventh time I’ve seen him live!!! And every time I see him his stand up gets more and more poignant. I feel like I’ve grown with him in a weird but rather comforting way. Last night he got me right in the feels and after thinking about it a lot today, I wanted to highlight an aspect of this on my blog. 

Russell spoke about how his biggest fear is death and how his Dad advised him to stop worrying about that and instead, live. He spoke about making sure to take note and collect the “moments” in life, the special times you hope will flash before your eyes whenever the time comes. And I truly believe there is a lot to be said for that. 

At the minute I’m experiencing a lot of “moments”. Things that are happening in the here and now are going to become memories that I know I’ll want to treasure forever. Life moves so quickly that sometimes it’s hard to absorb everything in the ways that you want to. Sometimes you really have to take a second to actually stop and take it all in. 

Today I want to remind all my readers that through life you need to remember to take a step back and just feel. For me there are many exciting times ahead and I know I’m not the only one. But then a “moment” can just as easily be born out of pure coincidence. However they occur, we need to remember to grab hold of these “moments” and live them to full. Make your sticker book of life a colourful one. 🌈

Thank you Russell for an amazing evening. Your performance was on point, like always. Thank you for the laughter, thank you for the “moments”. ❤

– B xo

Posted in My Journey, Unravelled

My Kind of Writer.

  

With the first draft of Unravelled currently with my publisher (Happy Reading Diane! 🙂 ), there has come a time for reflection of my novelling journey, so far. Writing my first draft of my first novel has been my biggest writing achievement yet and I have learnt so much about myself as a writer (even at this early stage!) So I thought I’d share a few of my musings with you all. 🙂 

My Kind of Writer.

1.  (Initially) Writing a novel feels like you’re at the bottom of Mount Colossus. Prior to my novel draft, the largest piece of writing I’d ever produced was my Univesity Dissataion (and I remember fearing that was an unmountable mammoth!) But in reality when you really get down to business, the words just flow. Now at the end of my first draft I don’t know what I was worried about. When it came to it, I actually wrote more instead of less. The worst thing a writer can do is freeze in fear of a word count and as a result not add a single word to it. Just write and worry about the word count later (that’s what editing is for!) 

2. Not writing in a linear fashion (even when your friends find it bazaar). This technique of mine has become more apparent the more I write. I started writing Unravelled with chapter one. However, after finishing chapter three I jumped ahead and wrote the ending. I then went back to the beginning but soon found myself flitting between the two sections right up until the end. I even did it with individual chapters! It’s almost like I couldn’t get my ideas out quick enough. As a writer you need to find what works best for you and just go with it. Everyone will be different with their technique and that’s fine. There is no right or wrong way to write. 

3. Having a prime writing time. I have discovered that my prime writing time is either first thing in the morning or just after dinner. I wrote my novel draft at all different times of the day and I personally found that it was these times that I was on top form. Sometimes the ideas just kept coming and everything flowed like a fountain but then at other times my brain felt empty and just getting a hundred words down was a struggle. For me writing in the evening is the most convient time but it’s also my least productive time. Coming home to write after a long day at work is not the one. Find your prime time and use it to your advantage. The worst thing you can do is force your words when the times just not right. 

4. Coffee is fuel. I like mine caffeinated, white, with just a spoonful of sugar. 😉  But seriously, when I’m writing, coffee is a good friend to me. I use it as a treat to work towards for when I reach a goal as well as something to help me keep up with all the ideas racing through my mind. Find your own personal fuel and keep it to hand when writing. It will help get you in the zone and keep your head in game.  I’ve heard chocolate is a good choice too. 😉 

5. Reading is the secret weapon. When I’m writing if I ever in doubt I turn to a book. Any query you may have as a writer can be solved by picking up your favourite novel. Never underestimate the power of books. 😉 

And finally… 6. Don’t believe your doubts. Never stop, you can do it! As a writer you can drive yourself insane with self doubt. And if we truly listened to this part of our writer brain we’d never write a word! I imagine we wouldn’t have half, if not more, of the amazing novels we have in the world if writers listened to their self doubt. Don’t let it win. Believe in yourself. Just do it, just write and the rest will follow. 

And there we go. Happy Writing everyone! 

– B xo

Posted in My Journey, Unravelled

To Return & Conquer.

Here I am, back at home. I am currently snuggled up in my nice cozy bed with that clean sheet feeling and my boyfriend cuddled up next to me. Bliss. 

But I’m on the brink of somthing. The brink of somthing big. I have awoke on this Monday morning and I can feel excitement in every muscle of my being. There’s a week stretched out before me. It’s long and quiet and I can’t quite see the end of it, and I like that. You see this week I have returned  with determination. There’s a passion in my heart and a fire in my belly. I have a plan and the ending will be spectacular. Just like a multi million fire display, but in my bedroom. 

The ship will finally dock at it’s first harbour. The journey has been years long. I bet the passengers would love a break and bite to eat. But when they come to land they’ll have grins on their faces and they’ll punch the air and hug each other. There will be cause to celebrate and the recoup, ready for the next departure. 

This week will be a milestone and I feel both equal parts sheer excitement and   belly butterfly nerves. The next part of the dream is nearly complete and it’s a whirlwind of emotions.

This week I have returned and I shall conquer. 

– B xo