Short NaNoWriMo 2015 wrap-up

writing is difficult writer's problems cartoon

A couple of weeks ago I did a NaNoWriMo 2015 mid-point update.

And I know you’ve all been losing sleep wondering if I managed to stick to my target to write an average of 1,000 words a day in November. Haven’t you? 😉

The good news is… *insert drumroll*

Calvin and Hobbes dancing

I did it! As you can see from my stats here below, I reached my goal by the skin of my teeth, but I did it.

Continue reading…

The Real Neat Blog Award


Thank you to Charley at booksandbakes1 and Deanna at a novel glimpse for nominating me for the Real Neat Blog Award. As is becoming a bit of a theme here, it’s taken me a while to get round to responding to these nominations. Sorry. Please check out Charley and Deanna’s lovely blogs to help make up for my tardiness.

Thank_you cat gif

The Rules:

1. Thank and link to the blogger who nominated you.
2. Answer the 7 questions the nomination has provided.
3. Nominate 7 other bloggers.
4. Create 7 questions for your nominees.

I’m going to “bend” the rules. To stop this post becoming ridiculously long, I’m going to answer the first 4 of Charley’s 7 questions and the last 3 of Deanna’s.

1. What is the best book you’ve ever read?

Continue reading…

#NaNoWriMo 2015: mid-point update

For those of you who’ve seen NaNoWriMo popping up all over the place the past couple of weeks and are wondering what it’s all about, the following cartoon gives a neat summary:

nanowrimo cartoon funny will write for chocolate @inkyelbows 3

I decided writing 50,000 words was an unrealistic goal for me. Instead I decided to use November to write an average of 1,000 words a day on my work in progress, my second novel. This project has been stalled for the last three months. Back in July I hit 47,000 words and the difficult “middle section”: not as exciting as the start, not as thrilling as nearing the end. I think it may be the writing equivalent of “the wall”.

And… so far, so good! As of last night I have written 15,421 in fifteen days 🙂

So although I won’t write 50,000 words in November and “win” NaNoWriMo, it looks like I will be 30,000 words further towards “The End” and hopefully closer to the original plan of having a first draft written by Christmas.

To everyone else doing NaNoWriMo and those having to live, work or interact with anyone taking part: keep going! You can do it! 15 days down, only 15 to go. Oh, and I find chocolate helps…

nanowrimo cartoon funny will write for chocolate @inkyelbows 2

If you’re taking part in NaNoWriMo 2015, how’s it going? If you’d like to be writing buddies, you can find me on the NaNo site under my Twitter handle: ClaraVal 🙂

 Claire Huston / Art and Soul

The Encouraging Thunder Award

Thank you to Felicia Sue Lynn for nominating me for the Encouraging Thunder Award! Please check out her lovely blog about “books and whatnot” 🙂 She is also taking part in #NaNoWriMo at the moment, so be sure to give her some words of encouragement to keep writing!

Although how long it takes me to accept/do them might suggest otherwise, I honestly do appreciate being nominated/tagged. It’s so nice when other bloggers think of you.


  • Thank the person who nominated you.
  • Post the Encouraging Thunder logo.
  • Talk about your purpose in blogging.
  • Nominate others for the award.

Why I blog:

Initially this blog was something for me to do after I finished writing my first novel, Art and Soul (hence the name of the blog!). I still wanted to write, but I didn’t want to start on a second novel straight away. And I wanted someway of connecting with other writers and readers while I was submitting my novel to literary agents. Basically, I needed a distraction! 🙂 And maybe, one day, I might be able to use the blog to tell you all I’m getting published… *sigh*

I’ve been amazed by blogging. Mostly by how friendly and supportive the community is. All you seem to hear about in the media are trolls and other unpleasant characters lurking under the virtual bridges of the internet. But I’ve been lucky enough to “meet” some genuinely lovely people. You’re all funny, creative, witty and eloquent.

you are awesome doctor who gif

And I’ve also been surprised by just how much I enjoy blogging and that I’m still doing it! I wasn’t sure how long I would stick with it. I might have to scale back the amount I post if I ever want to finish my second novel, but I wouldn’t stop entirely. Besides, blogging is a great excuse for searching through Dr Who images… 😉


I’ve tried hard not to nominate anyone who has already accepted/been nominated for this award. So apologies in advance to:

Sarah @ The Country Bookworm

Tori @ Book Dreamer

if you’ve already done this one. Feel free to ignore the nomination! 🙂 But, if you have time, it would be great to hear more about why you blog.

Thanks again to Felicia Sue Lynn for nominating me!

 Claire Huston / Art and Soul

The Confessions of a Writer Tag

Michelle at Sidereal Day tagged me for a new tag: The Confessions of a Writer Tag! I always feel like I’m the last blogger on earth to get round to doing tags, so it’s lovely to be in on the ground floor for once. Thank you, Michelle 🙂


The Confessions of a Writer Tag was created by Nicolette at A Little Bookish, A Little Writerly. It is a ‘get-to-know’ the writer interview tag, dedicated to spotlighting the creative process, works in progress, and connecting to other writers.

Rules of the Tag:

  • Please link back to A Little Bookish, A Little Writerly’s post, so that the original rules are always accessible to anyone who is curious and wants to participate!
  • Acknowledge the person who tagged you in your post.
  • Tag your friends and fellow writers – it’s up to you how many!

The Questions:

  1. When did you first start writing? Was being a writer something you always aspired to be?
    I recently found lots of short stories I had to write for English classes in high school. A couple of them were ok! I’ve always enjoyed writing but never aspired to write as a full-time job until recently.
  2. What genre do you write?
    My finished novel and novel in progress are both contemporary romances. Think more Pride and Prejudice than Mills and Boon though! My short stories all seem to be sci-fi/fantasy/magic realism. All the more unusual and fun stuff that doesn’t make it into the novels 🙂

Wait! There’s more. Click for the rest of my answers and pics of cake!

The Creative Blogger Award

The Creative Blogger Award badge

I was delighted to be nominated for The Creative Blogger Award by Calliope The Book Goddess and Tori at Book Dreamer. It’s taken me ages to write this post. Please help me make up for my uselessness by visiting their wonderful book blogs! 🙂

The Rules:

• Thank the person who nominated you and include a link to their blog.
• Share 5 facts about yourself.
• Nominate some bloggers in return and notify them about their nomination.
• Keep the rules in your post to make it easy for everyone to know what to do.

5 Random Facts about Me:

  • I love a bargain. Any kind of bargain. Finding great books in charity shops for 99p or less is a particularly enjoyable one.
  • I’m definitely a tea rather than coffee person. If I drink coffee it has to be so full of milk and sugar it doesn’t taste of coffee. Which is ridiculous. Easier to have tea!

Tea Rex cup of tea cartoon

  • While I usually like to receive quite impractical gifts, this year I’ve asked for a stand mixer as a joint birthday-Christmas present. Sounds dull, but it’s going to make baking a lot easier. I might start trying to make bread…
  • I’m not very good at Twitter. I’ve only been using it a few months and I’m still not sure I’m using it properly! That said, if it weren’t for the BBC’s breaking news feed I would probably miss out on most of the big things going on in the world.

Twitter Cartoon funny

  • Wednesday is my new favourite day of the week. Partly because I take part in WWW Wednesday (hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words) and get recommendations for future reading from lots of brilliant book bloggers. If you enjoy reading, please join in! And also because of #1lineWeds on Twitter. Each week writers share one line of their work in progress (it has to fit in a tweet) following a theme (which changes each week and is announced in advance). If you’re a writer, I encourage you to take part. Everyone is really supportive 🙂

That’s it! Thank you again to Calliope The Book Goddess and Tori at Book Dreamer! I won’t nominate anyone in particular, but if you fancy receiving this award please consider yourself nominated and let me know when you publish your post 🙂

 Claire Huston / Art and Soul

More Happy Than Not Tag

More Happy Than Not Tag Image

Thank you to Amy over at Curiouser and Curiouser for tagging me to do the ‘More Happy Than Not Tag’. This is the tag that has been on my “to do” list the longest. I’m sorry it’s taken me so long – better late than never!

What’s This Tag About?

The I Am More Happy Than Not Tag was created by Shelumiel @ Bookish and Awesome but originally made in response to the “What makes you #MoreHappyThanNot?” question inspired by Adam Silvera’s debut More Happy Than Not. It gives you the chance to highlight ways you find happiness.

Rules for the tag: (1) answer the question “What makes you more happy than not?”, (2) link back to the person who tagged you, and (3) have FUN.

I like to think, in general, I’m quite a happy person. So to stop myself from rambling on, I’ve limited myself to 6 examples of when I’m more happy than not 🙂

Wait! There’s more. Click for my answers!

The Beautiful Blogger Award

Beautiful Blogger Award badge pink

I’m slowly starting to make my way through my tags and nominations. Sorry for the delay!

Thank you to Amy at Curiouser and Curiouser, and Alicia at Caffeine and Books for nominating me. This is such a lovely award and getting your nominations made my day!

Also, being the Beautiful Blogger Award, it’s a top excuse to use this gif:

Dr Who You are beautiful gif

One for the Whovians there. You know who you are 😉

To make up for how long it took me to respond to their kind nominations, please everyone check out Amy and Alicia’s wonderful blogs and their great book reviews.

The Rules:

  • Link to the blogger who took the time to nominate you.
  • List seven random things about yourself.
  • Nominate seven creative, beautiful bloggers and notify them (I’m going to cheat here)

Seven random things about me:

Wait! There’s more. Click for the my random facts.

Submitting a novel to literary agents; aka “coping with rejection”

It’s been quite a while since I posted anything about my writing.

Snoopy rejection slips

For those of you I haven’t managed to bore with it yet, I have written a book. It’s called Art and Soul and is a contemporary romance – and when I say “romance” I mean in the vein of Pride and Prejudice, not 50 Shades (one of my friends was very disappointed!). It features love, art and cake. If you want to know more, click here.

In early June, I began submitting samples of Art and Soul to literary agents here in the UK. This usually involves sending them a covering letter, the first 3 chapters of the novel and a plot synopsis. I believe the process of querying is a bit different in the US.

Wait! There’s more. Click for the rest of the story…

200 Followers!! Thank you!

200 follows on Art and Soul 27_August_2015

200 followers! Woo-hoo!

Seriously though, this is amazing. Thanks so much to all of you who follows my various ramblings and occasional pictures of cake.

I’ll stop now before I start gushing, but I will take this opportunity to keep a promise I recently made (to some bloggers who will remain nameless 😉 ) by featuring a couple of random gifs of Ewan McGregor…

Ewan McGregor gif

Ewan McGregor gif2

Thank you all again! 🙂

 Claire Huston / Art and Soul