Ten Bad Writer Habits That I Have Every Intention of Quitting (but Probably Won’t)


, , , , ,

(1) Writing in bed in pyjamas until 2pm, being a sweaty and unwashed person


Not getting up oh no 

(2) Reacting defensively to interested friends and family asking about new work


(3) Late-night writing after alone wine


(4) Late-night writing when I have early morning commitments


(5) Pre-emptively apologising for myself when friends buy my book


(6) Writing instead of doing my day job


(7) Scrolling through twitter looking for “inspiration”


(8) Basing my opinion on my own work on over-read non-verbal cues on the faces of my friends and relations when I ask “did you like it”


(9) Refusing to read my books aloud to friends/family


(10) Insisting on reading my books aloud to friends/family when drunk


Add your own!



Back to the Blog and Back to the Past!

Oh, I’ve been a bad blogger!

It’s been a manic year for me, to be honest. I graduated from my PhD (hooray), moved to another country (sort of, don’t @me friends who know where) and began an exciting new adventure.

51SVTVNnkeLIn the midst of that another exciting thing happened which is my Igraine series came out! And like all of literature before, I have rudely and unfairly ignored her because of the mania going on in my personal life, so without further ado here she is!

You can already get all three parts, and watch this space because before too long the lovely Book Folks will be putting together the combined version with the paperback.

I41nPflQwryL.jpgn this series, I wanted to explore a darker and more troubled and troubling relationship still! Not just between Uther and Igraine, though here I had an opportunity to see how desire and violence intertwise, but also between ancient Britain and its Roman past. In a story that roots my original Arthurian series in it’s pre-Arthurian past, I’ve also thought about something that I wish I saw more in medieval texts – the shadow of the Roman past.

We know this is something people thought about in the Middle Ages, and I wanted to think about all the ways the past intertwines with the present and 51SDRuMZEmLthe way different pasts are negotiated in this series. I hope you enjoy it!

Find the trilogy here! 

I leave you with the Exeter Book ruin riddle:

Wrætlic is þes wealstan, wyrde gebræcon;
burgstede burston, brosnað enta geweorc.
Hrofas sind gehrorene, hreorge torras,
hrungeat berofen, hrim on lime,
scearde scurbeorge scorene, gedrorene,
ældo undereotone. Eorðgrap hafað
waldend wyrhtan forweorone, geleorene,
heardgripe hrusan, oþ hund cnea
werþeoda gewitan. Oft þæs wag gebad
ræghar ond readfah rice æfter oþrum,
ofstonden under stormum; steap geap gedreas.
Wunað giet se …num geheapen,
fel on
grimme gegrunden
scan heo…
…g orþonc ærsceaft
…g lamrindum beag
mod mo… …yne swiftne gebrægd
hwætred in hringas, hygerof gebond
weallwalan wirum wundrum togædre.
Beorht wæron burgræced, burnsele monige,
heah horngestreon, heresweg micel,
meodoheall monig mondreama full,
oþþæt þæt onwende wyrd seo swiþe.
Crungon walo wide, cwoman woldagas,
swylt eall fornom secgrofra wera;
wurdon hyra wigsteal westen staþolas,
brosnade burgsteall. Betend crungon
hergas to hrusan. Forþon þas hofu dreorgiað,
ond þæs teaforgeapa tigelum sceadeð
hrostbeages hrof. Hryre wong gecrong
gebrocen to beorgum, þær iu beorn monig
glædmod ond goldbeorht gleoma gefrætwed,
wlonc ond wingal wighyrstum scan;
seah on sinc, on sylfor, on searogimmas,
on ead, on æht, on eorcanstan,
on þas beorhtan burg bradan rices.
Stanhofu stodan, stream hate wearp
widan wylme; weal eall befeng
beorhtan bosme, þær þa baþu wæron,
hat on hreþre. þæt wæs hyðelic.
Leton þonne geotan
ofer harne stan hate streamas
…þþæt hringmere hate
þær þa baþu wæron.
þonne is
…re; þæt is cynelic þing,
huse …… burg….
This masonry is wondrous; fates broke it
courtyard pavements were smashed; the work of giants is decaying.
Roofs are fallen, ruinous towers,
the frosty gate with frost on cement is ravaged,
chipped roofs are torn, fallen,
undermined by old age. The grasp of the earth possesses
the mighty builders, perished and fallen,
the hard grasp of earth, until a hundred generations
of people have departed. Often this wall,
lichen-grey and stained with red, experienced one reign after another,
remained standing under storms; the high wide gate has collapsed.
Still the masonry endures in winds cut down
persisted on__________________
fiercely sharpened________ _________
______________ she shone_________
_____________g skill ancient work_________
_____________g of crusts of mud turned away
spirit mo________yne put together keen-counselled
a quick design in rings, a most intelligent one bound
the wall with wire brace wondrously together.
Bright were the castle buildings, many the bathing-halls,
high the abundance of gables, great the noise of the multitude,
many a meadhall full of festivity,
until Fate the mighty changed that.
Far and wide the slain perished, days of pestilence came,
death took all the brave men away;
their places of war became deserted places,
the city decayed. The rebuilders perished,
the armies to earth. And so these buildings grow desolate,
and this red-curved roof parts from its tiles
of the ceiling-vault. The ruin has fallen to the ground
broken into mounds, where at one time many a warrior,
joyous and ornamented with gold-bright splendour,
proud and flushed with wine shone in war-trappings;
looked at treasure, at silver, at precious stones,
at wealth, at prosperity, at jewellery,
at this bright castle of a broad kingdom.
The stone buildings stood, a stream threw up heat
in wide surge; the wall enclosed all
in its bright bosom, where the baths were,
hot in the heart. That was convenient.
Then they let pour_______________
hot streams over grey stone.
un___________ _____________
until the ringed sea (circular pool?) hot
_____________where the baths were.
Then is_______________________
__________re, that is a noble thing,
to the house__________ castle_______

Deals, Bargains and Freebies for the Festive Season!

Absolutely free! 

Grab it here! 
The King of Britain is dead, without a male heir. The politics of her country never mattered much to Igraine, until now, when they threaten to rob her of her home, Tintagel castle.

When the witch Merlin tells her destiny will make her queen, a defiant Igraine refuses an offer of marriage from Uther, a rough soldier and unlikely pretender for the throne.

But destiny cannot be avoided and the harder she fights it, the more brutal it will be when it comes.

THE CORNISH PRINCESS is the first book in the last series by Lavinia Collins based on women in Arthurian legend. It is followed by Book II, MERLIN’S CURSE and Book III, MOTHER OF THE KING. Also be sure to check out Lavinia Collins’ chronicles of Guinevere, Morgan and Morgawse, all available on Kindle and in paperback.

Deals, Bargains and Freebies for the Festive Season!

The full omnibus version of Morgawse is just 99p on Kindle!

Get your copy here!

MORGAWSE features all three books in the trilogy, previously published in single volumes on Kindle, as part of Lavinia Collins’ fantasy chronicles exploring the lives of Arthurian women. Look out for GUINEVERE and MORGAN.

The three books collated here have been described as “stunning”, “gripping”, “simply beautiful” and “enthralling”. Try this volume today and see what all the fuss is about!

Screen Shot 2017-12-12 at 12.45.08

New Release!

The final part of the Igraine trilogy – out now!


War is on the horizon when Arthur, Igraine’s son is declared King of Britain.

With her son lost and Merlin back at court, Igraine fights for control of the kingdom. Uther is broken by grief, weakening and dying, and Igraine is locked in a conflict with the witch over the destiny of her son, in which there can be only one survivor, and Igraine has not survived the dangers of court to give up now.

Taking Time Out

lt_george_teddyIn the ‘General Hospital’ episode of Blackadder Goes Forth, upon hearing that Captain Darling has been given the job of frisking soldiers to look for spying equipment, Blackadder quips ‘how lucky you are then that your job is also your hobby.’ 

A lot of the time I feel very lucky that everything I do is something I love and care about. Whether that’s writing, reading for reviews, or teaching literature, my job is something I would choose to keep doing even if we lived in the socialist future-utopia on universal basic income and didn’t have to work.

But that also means that the lines get blurred as to where your work time starts and your relaxation time ends. After all, I’m sitting here writing this on a Sunday afternoon, after a day of “writing for relaxation” and I’m wondering if it really is a good idea to have a job that is also your hobby.


Time to relax by walking some children in nature

Passion is important, but so is balance. Especially when a lot of one’s work is at home (research, writing, editing, promoting) it becomes hard to get that work-life balance right. Either I’m in my pyjamas eating graze boxes all day (they’re healthy, OK?!) or I’m up at 7, and pinging around the house until I fall asleep at 11pm.

I don’t imagine that this is a problem unique to me, and perhaps the solution lies in having a hobby that is both absorbing and relaxing. I’m open to suggestions! My latest one has been gardening, but now it’s getting cold outside and my natural inclination to hibernate for the winter has come out.

How does everyone else make sure they relax as hard as they work?

Grateful for any suggestions!



, , , , , , ,

Grab it now on Amazon, just 99p!

A queen or a prisoner?

Freshly widowed, with a child she can’t possibly have in safety and two grieving daughter, Igraine must negotiate the dangerous politics of a court in turmoil, unsure of if she is its new queen or a prisoner. With Uther’s promises not yet kept, and him slipping further under Merlin’s control, to protect her unborn child, her daughters and the home she has left behind, Igraine is forced to make deals with people she knows are not to be trusted.

MERLIN’S CURSE is the second book by Lavinia Collins in the Igraine Trilogy. Check out the first in the series, THE CORNISH PRINCESS, out now on Kindle.


Do you read your books in public?


, , , , ,

image1.JPGI’m gearing up for my first ever public reading of my book at a public library, and I’m feeling pretty nervous.

I really hate reading my own work out loud. There’s something about it, like listening to a recording of your own voice, which is the most uncomfortable, self-conscious feeling that I can think of.

I have read my books out loud before. To friends, at launch parties, after being lubricated with a not insignificant amount of Aldi’s finest prosecco. 

image2.jpgHas anyone else done a reading? What are your top tips?

There’s also an opportunity to sell books at the reading which is great because, y’know, income, but also I’ve left all of the cringe “buy my book” stuff to Amazon and twitter. I could, of course, just leave the books on the side and say nothing, but that’s a missed opportunity to share my stories with readers.

How does one negotiate thing?

So wish me luck! Here I go, out into the real world…







MERLIN’S CURSE available for pre-order now

  A queen or a prisoner?

Freshly widowed, with a child she can’t possibly have in safety and two grieving daughter, Igraine must negotiate the dangerous politics of a court in turmoil, unsure of if she is its new queen or a prisoner. With Uther’s promises not yet kept, and him slipping further under Merlin’s control, to protect her unborn child, her daughters and the home she has left behind, Igraine is forced to make deals with people she knows are not to be trusted.

Pre-order for a bargain 99p on Amazon – just click here!