Category Archives: Goodreads

Book Review: In Good Weather the Sign Outside Reads Danger Quicksand By Sarah Hymas


sarah-hymas peony moonSarah Hymas’s latest pamphlet is called In Good Weather the Sign Outside Reads Danger Quicksand and I am lucky enough to be reviewing it. Sarah is no stranger to making interesting, playful pamphlets. Her pamphlet Lune was produced in 2012 and was Runner Up for Best Pamphlet in the Saboteur Awards 2013

Since 2003 Sarah has been published in various magazines, including: New Writing 15, Magma, The Rialto, Poetry Wales, Warwick Review, Washington Square Review, Stand, Tadeeb, Keystone, Iota, Staple, Tears in the Fence, Rain Dog, The Leeds Guide, Orbis, Agenda, The Slab, Smiths Knoll, Shadowtrain, Cadenza, Raconteur.


 © S. Hymas 2014

© S. Hymas 2014

Sarah is no stranger to approaching multiple time frames and once you understand this is what she is doing, the writing is easier to put together in your mind. The concept is supported by using different folded sections for marking the moving of time. The pamphlet is playful, you can even experiment with how you read it, as I did. Sarah means for it to be a puzzle, that’s part of the design.

The four parts are packed with satisfying, vivid description firm in time and place. The reader is transported into and through inter-linked moments, things change and return to how they were before, only better, I admired the juxtaposition between natural and man-made, assisted landscape, assisted life.
As the book unfolds (literally) you drift through past and present whilst at the same time a nagging idea arrives, perhaps it is all fantasy, all fiction, maybe it is imagined beyond that. At the end, you are brought right back into the present.
Clever writing, astute design. A gem on your bookshelf, get your copy now!
It is worth buying this pamphlet for looks alone (Yes! I know you should never judge a book by its cover). There are semi-opaque end pages featuring interesting photographs, look closely and all is revealed. The pamphlet is handmade and is a limited edition, mine is 5 of 48, so if you want one, I would suggest you use the links in this review and snap one up before they are all gone.
Sarah Hymas In Good Weather 1

© S. Hymas 2014

sarah hymas In Good Weather2

© S. Hymas 2014


There is variance within the forty-eight. I’ve used two different colours for the internal pages: teal and cobalt. So please if you have a preference, do state it.



Host(Waterloo, 2010) £10 inc p+p

“The voices, the stories, the detail and the imagery are powerful, superbly-crafted and original.” Bernardine Evaristo

“The poetry is earthy and takes a no-nonsense approach to setting out their journey from commuity-based god-fearing and pious, through to the complexity, toughness and verging on faithlessness, of modernity.” Anne Stewart in Artemis

“… excellent at capturing social and religious codes of behaviour, with the acuity of Austen or Alice Munro … Host is a tactile and muscular collection, rooted in the complexities and textures of the physical world. Hymas has created fresh and exuberant work that, at its best, captures the awe of being alive. Sarah Westcott





inkspill disclaimer

The views and opinions expressed in this review are those of the writer and are not necessarily shared by the author.

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End of the Month Review – August 2013


The summer has basically been one long break from writing. After NaNoWriMo in July, the house move, finishing work late July and having friends to stay throughout July and August – not to mention unpacking, de cluttering, a birthday and attempting to sell property. As I have already confessed August had no working action plan – I kept dipping in to write a little but then didn’t stick to it!

untitled I am glad to announce that the final day enabled me to submit poetry to two online locations AND I have a very full and challenging SEPTEMBER action plan to follow. My muse (which has been lacking) is seeping its way back into me. (Thank goodness) inkspill keyboard

I have done a lot of reading this month, other than research and articles on writing, I read two novels is as many days this week (I was avoiding all the jobs I needed to do.) I have read 4 books this month and am halfway through my 5th, I must find time to upload my Goodreads profile. (Which looks like I haven’t read since March!) imagesCA8MSS7R

I worked on several projects that I am mid edit /re-write on, completed more research into markets and publishing opportunities. I wrote a morning journal in an attempt to keep writing through the block. I also attempted to keep up with writing challenges on other blogs for this reason also – that and they are fun! A fast way to learn how to… a new genre and meet more writers.

I also enrolled on a Stunt Writing course stunt-writing-final1-1 online and attempted to log a daily gratitude.

I celebrated a birthday imagesCA6ANW3Pgift

and more recently have completed job searches for this Autumn. I have secured an interview next week and signed up with several agencies.  imagesCAVZQJ1K

Today I managed (by the skin of my teeth) to make deadlines for poetry submissions. I have 6 poems under consideration for e-publishing anthologies. They were written in a rush though, we will wait and see.

I also found out about scriptwriting opportunities – I will look out for them next year because I didn’t have time to work on my ideas this time round. I also sent off for information about a Literature Festival and have booked my tickets for lots of events and one workshop (all to look forward to in October!)

And FINALLY I started marketing INKSPILL – the online writing retreat taking place here in the final weekend of October (25-27th), the programme is coming together and I hope to drum up lots of interest over the next month.

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The Importance of Comments and Reviews


Some great points raised – the epublished author relies even more on the comments and reviews of the reader – If you are lucky enough to have access to downloaded ebooks then you may like to check this out, although I haven’t yet read Adventures in Cargo City – I know that AR Neal CAN write and I have read an excerpt which made me want to go and buy an e-reader!
ENJOY! And don’t forget to LEAVE A REVIEW!

Sitting in bed with my Notebooks


Today started too early and I never really caught up. I managed several errands and tried to read some articles on writing. I had several mugs of coffee, surprise,surprise, that didn’t help my wandering attention. By 4pm I gave up and gave in. I was level exhausted tired. I had been up until 3 a.m researching. I woke up an hour ago hauled myself out of bed and read half a poetry book whilst chomping on carrots. I won one battle!

I am now scouring notebooks for inspiration and writing will happen…. The carrots are back in the fridge and I am halfway through a bar of white chocolate!

Apologies for spelling I am on the phone and can’t see what is being typed.

Taking Stock – February 2013



Wow! What a whirlwind month, never before have I felt the true impact of February being 2-3days shorter than the rest of the year! It seems only yesterday when the beginning of the month was shining with all it’s new possibilities.
Most of the writing I have managed this month has fallen in this last week (which isn’t quite over although now it is March), I knew this would be the case as I’ve had extremely busy weeks with work and had booked a travelling adventure (otherwise known as a mini-break holiday with friends) mid month. It is no wonder I feel exhausted.

The last day of February was ‘Poetry Day’, I wrote, edited, proofed 10 poems for 3 different submissions. This filled me with a little trepidation as I am a poet and have the dream of writing my own collection/book of poems. I know how many are needed for a title and I now know a daily limit would be 3 to 4 poems. I have a back catalogue, however as I haven’t written for 6 years and age wise belonged to a younger generation when I last wrote I am finding that reading with a critical eye, old material may not make it through. I know I have a few gems amongst the angst and coal darkness of youth, not enough for a whole book though.

I am still loving working as a freelance writer again and wouldn’t change the hours I have poured into it so far for anything. (Although looking around this place, I need to spend more time in March packing and completing DIY fixes to get my place on the Market fast!) Writing fills me with the positive energy you find when you finally connect at soul-level to doing what you were born to do. I have known this since I was 13, why I have pushed against it for so long who knows, the fact that 2 decades later it still has such a dominant presence forces me to stand still and listen… and then type!

This month I have managed 6 submissions (4 more than January), 14 pieces – 2 short stories, 1 flash fiction, 10 poems. (And a Partridge in a Pear tree?!)
I have managed to read 2 books (the latter was a turgid Non-Fiction text that took time to absorb and work through) – it was worth it though. I started my 3rd book, 21 pages in. I’m not surprised by this drop in reading, I’m sure the hours of reading are probably the same, I just chose a harder book to get through.

I managed to send and celebrate February Birthdays with cards and presents, well apart from my brother’s birthday. I had just landed and he had the family get together the day before his real birthday and I had 2 appointments in the morning and barely made it to the lunch on time. Didn’t feel too bad though as he handed me my Christmas Present, we will eventually make it to GMT!

There have been several major life/work projects that have taken time, energy and emotion that are, thankfully, for now OVER. I survived them all!

I am delighted that more people are following the blog and dipping in for a read and a splash and that posts are being liked, we have over 70 followers now (inclu. those whose follow on email, I dread to think how rammed their inboxes are!) this is amazing and I thank you all for adding me to your blog lists.
I possibly found the opportunity to write a book this month too, I am in the bidding process. Early days. My hair has turned white from this past month’s writing. I need to make sure I’m not biting off more than I can chew. It will depend on deadlines. Advances are paid though, whoahoo. I know from previous freelancing that the cash flow and workload never match up. I have almost forgotten the colour of money!

7 aims for February:
1) Submit more writing than I did in January.
2) Allow plenty of editing time.
3) Cross-reference writing projects, make sure I am on track.
4) Keep on top of emails, especially those connected to freelancing.
5) Allocate specific time slots to the AWF Blog, in order to complete some real writing (controversial) and to keep my posts fresh and alive and more than – ‘I am still trying to do what I was meant to do yesterday!’
6) Write at least 5 days a week.
7) Keep reading (I managed 6 books in January)!

And the balance;
1) Remember to send birthday cards to loved ones.
2) Keep saying YES to new opportunities.
3) Keep filling my jar – stones, pebbles, sand and water.

Now there is a successful month! ^^^ My writing schedule (I now realise we all need one) looks similar with almost all the projects and submissions crossed through.

4 Aims for March
1) Compile writing schedule to stay on track and allow time for completing submissions.
2) Work on Collection of Poetry
3) Make a bid for book commission
4) 1000 wds a week on current m/s (now @ Chapter 9)

That was it folks
I hope you all had a successful month.
Keep climbing those mountains!


Amazingly I discovered this publication earlier today whilst researching. Then I discovered this post on Kristen Lamb’s blog. i love how the universe sends crystal clear messages to us sometimes. This post is a great read, you can order the book on Amazon.

Kristen Lamb's Blog

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Happy Friday! We have a real treat. Becca Puglisi is here to give tips to take your writing to a whole new level. All writers struggle, especially when trying to convey emotion. It’s easy to beat the same words until they bleed and WE cry. This is one of the reasons that The Emotion Thesaurus is a must-have reference for writers. Becca and Angela took the time to put together one of the most innovative and valuable writing tools I’ve ever seen. We are thrilled to have Becca here today!

Take it away, Becca!


I considered writing today about that one thing you need to write a truly great story that the reader can’t put down. But we all know that there isn’t just one thing. Voice? Plot? Characterization? Motivation? Sure. All of the above. But since I’ve seen roughly a gajillion blog posts that cover these topics, I’d…

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Taking Stock – January



The end of January is here and I have been in a flux of real/ paid work, some O.T which paid for the treat I booked last weekend, packing and de-junking (well let’s be honest de-hoarding!) Bills, paperwork, new challenges, dreams and desires. In the past 24hrs I have managed to fit in work, a fab new haircut, a much awaited trip to the cinema to see ‘The Hobbit’, research & writing.

I want to apologise to ALL my JANUARY born friends and family… although I sent electronic birthday wishes Text messages, phonecalls and social media, I was unable to get birthday cards sent in time! Must try harder (although to be fair I can’t quite believe that I am managing to spin the plates I already have in the air!) Just to let you all know, I thought about you all on your birthdays and also considered how I should have sorted the cards! I will try to better this epic fail in February, especially as it is my little brother’s birthday and my partners too!

Not buying and posting birthday cards gave me spare time, in which I worked hard to guarantee the last submission of the month was in the post on time. I also compiled February agenda in the Writer Diary, on the family calendar and in my journal notebook! No missing opportunities this time. (Including birthdays.) Two A4 pages to get stuck into this weekend!

I have already started on four of my February submissions and have the skeletal frame of a few other pieces that have evolved from the writing encountered this month. I also spent an hour Wednesday morning writing the first draft of the DP Photo story challenge. I am half way through and have a list of 3 things I need to research before I can complete the challenge (this is my first weekly challenge and it takes more effort than the daily posts – which are generally free-writes!) I am tempted to read other submissions, but want to create my story first as an uninfluenced, personal response to the photograph!

I am feeling hopeful as we move forward into February. I have taken stock and created these 7 aims:

1)      Submit more writing than I did in January.

2)      Allow plenty of editing time.

3)      Cross-reference writing projects, make sure I am on track.

4)      Keep on top of emails, especially those connected to freelancing.

5)      Allocate specific time slots to the AWF Blog, in order to complete some real writing (controversial) and to keep my posts fresh and alive and more than – ‘I am still trying to do what I was meant to do yesterday!’

6)       Write at least 5 days a week.

7)      Keep reading (I managed 6 books in January)!

And the balance;

1)      Remember to send birthday cards to loved ones.

2)      Keep saying YES to new opportunities.

3)      Keep filling my jar – stones, pebbles, sand and water.
Have a fabulous last writing day – January 2013.

That was it folks


Finish Lines


I am currently completing some language research for a current submission I hope to have ready by the end of the weekend. I have finished my final draft and edit, however I might make some amendments after a quick surf of some websites tonight.
I booked a February trip last night and although it is paid for is a treat I can barely afford whilst trying to complete the other projects this Winter. I got a call earlier for more work next week – that has paid for the flight!

I had some Indoor Fireworks for Christmas, we have just set most of them off. Pretty hard to capture in a picture… delightful experience though. Happiness on fire.

I have also managed some time reading blogs, I added lots last night, for some reason I have woken up to be a follower of a load of sports blogs, I have no idea how that happened. The sites were running slowly last night.
I picked up on GOOD READS and have managed to join via Facebook. I was ill last year and managed to read 40 books, I have gone for 42, as it beats last year and is also the meaning of life, the universe and everything!
I just don’t know how to add the side bar gif that tracks my reads and reviews & allows you to link to the Goodreads site too – if any of you know please can you leave me technical advise? I think it is to do with the frames of the theme I have chosen that don’t support sidebar columns, I love this theme though, it suits the fountain and I don’t want to change it.

I am on my 6th book, the chapter headings have quotations from other books, I thought it might be fun to read those too this year. I read 100 pages or so this morning. I love weekends!
I hope you’re all having a great weekend too.