Accountability and all that Jazz Part Two

Earlier I tried to take part in challenge Viola Bleu set me to sit between 9 and 11 to work on WIP. I was determined to do it.  I was dressed – I was tempted to wear my PJs to save time but glad I didn’t, a book review for Duvet Dwellers Books was published and the dogs were fed and sorted but I could feel time slipping.


At 8.57 I was grabbing my tea with the hope of sitting at my desk for 9am.  Viola Bleu was ready to go. I was feeling the pressure.

9.05 am I had not reached my desk. I cringed at the sight of the kitchen and begged my daughter to help tidy it.

9.15 am I was giving medication to our ferret. As an important role model in my WIP, his medical needs come before the words. This was followed by a quick conversation with my husband to say I was writing so did not want to be disturbed.


9.20 am  I was saying goodbye to daughter and scrabbling to find money for her.

9.25am my friend texted to say she was leaving soon to come over for a much-needed natter – gulp (sorry Viola Bleu I did not switch my phone off).

9.30am I began to write. The scene was there in my head  – the dark, rustic cabin in the secluded woods with Old Al meeting Beetle – an Ellfaenian ferret for the first time.  It is instant hate and Amber is unaware of the danger she was putting him in. I could see it, feel it and even smell the smoke of the fire blazing in the hearth but I only stumbled out 394 words in the following hour. My back ached and in the back of my mind I had nagging doubts about the validity of the words I was writing, I also had to overcome the desire to edit words from yesterday.

Word count accountability after an hour

10.25am I was aware my friend would be arriving any second.

10.30am she was here with much-needed cake and the kettle was on.

I didn’t complete the challenge but my word count has gone up which can only be a good thing.

Roll on tomorrow and I will try again.

Happy writing!

Accountability and all that Jazz Part One



Word count accocuntability
Word count at 9am 21st March 2018



Let the challenge begin

Inspired by the challenge Viola Bleu has set herself in her post below and the conversation we had after we have teamed up this morning to see if we can improve our word count for our WIPs.

The kettle is on and provisions are at hand let the art of self-discipline begin!


Motivational post by Viola Bleu

Today I’ve really been thinking hard about the astonishing word count I’ve managed to notch up blogging since I started. WordPress, as you know, has the clever ability to show us our stats at any given moment and I have become slightly addicted to watching the numbers grow. In 2018 alone I have typed over […]

via I lost my self-discipline, but found 34,000 words — Ideas.Become.Words

Flash Fiction: The Shadows

It’s Friday! Time for some flash fiction inspired by the word prompt Shadows from The Fiction Cafe – Writer’s Group.

shadows word prompt


The Shadows

They are waiting. I tried to explain to my wife how they lurk and hide when she is there, retreat into the corners of the room out of sight. In her absence, they descend. The darkness deepens, the shadows grow as their fingers reach out to touch me, eager to grab and catapult me back into my nightmare. Their warm, putrid breath is warm on my neck.  I freeze. Terror squeezes my heart, clamping it tight. Sweat pours from my brow, cool on my shivering body and I scream until she returns to clutch my hand.

Duvet days, reading and writing 

Duvet Days

Health has thrown me a curveball with episodes of vertigo on top of everything else so duvet days have become the norm. At first, I was fine with the idea of snuggling down with Nigel or Pip to recover; I had books to read and review, jelly beans to eat and of course, an imaginary world to explore and write about but then I realized screens made my vertigo worse. It is hard to read or write when the words tilt and swim. instagram imageMy euphoria of hitting the 40,000 word count a week ago has dwindled. It is now increasing at snail’s pace as I snatch a few legible words here and there on paper and screen. I just have to remember the number of words is getting higher. In the back of my mind, I have Louise Jensen’s voice telling me she wrote 200 words a day on her novel and she is a successful best seller author. If you haven’t read her books you are missing a treat. My reviews for her The Gift and The Surrogate are on Duvet Dwellers Books.

Thank Goodness I have an old-fashioned Kindle with no backlight and several books from the library to read – these are much easier on the eyes. Getting the reviews written and published to Duvet Dwellers Books is harder but I will share them soon – hopefully.

Last month Reads

This month reads

  • Write a Novel in 30 days by Megg Geri
  • Hangman by Daniel Cole
  • The Sandman by Lars Kepler
  • The Pearl Sister by Lucinda Riley
  • Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella
  • The Coven by Chrissy Lessy
  • The Haunting of Hattie Hastings Part 2 – watch out for my participation in her blog tour next week
  • Brighton’s Mermaid by Dorothy Koomson
  • The Curious Heart Of Ailsa Rae by Stephanie Butland
  • Million Love Songs by Carole Matthews
  • Alive by Sharon Bolton


I am unsure how I will read and review all those but fingers crossed.

Hopefully, I will be back to myself to join in with Camp NaNoWriMo in April to do another 10,000 words for Amber’s tale and smash the 50,000 target.

Happy reading and writing!


Meet the Author: The Minds behind Lars Kepler

This week the Scandinavian thriller The Sandman by Lars Kepler is released. My review for this chilly and disturbing novel is available here. The first book by Lars Kepler I read was The Hypnotist and assumed it was written by one person but I was wrong. Lars Kepler is the work of the duo, Alexandra Coelho Ahndoril, and Alexander Ahndoril, and their story and way of producing their novels are different to the ways I have read about but it works so well. Together they have produced six internationally best sellers in the Joona Linna and Saga Bauer the series. As part of The Sandman blog tour, I am pleased to introduce you to the minds behind Lars Kepler.

Introducing Lars Kepler


How did you decide to write together?   

Alexandra: “For eight years we lived in 23 square metres.”

Alexander: “… And we wrote at home,”

Alexandra: “And then we lived in 46 square metres when our first two daughters were born within a year of each other,”

Alexander: “… And we wrote at home,”

Alexandra: “We bought a double bed that could be folded down from the wall in the living room,”

Alexander: “… And we wrote in the hall. We cook together, we refurbished our home together, we take care of the children together.”

Alexandra: “We were always the first to read each other’s writings, but never until the manuscript was actually ready, there was no other way.”

Alexander: “Fundamentally it’s very lonely being a writer. You can’t let anyone else into what you are doing until it is finished, otherwise you risk dispersing the magic.”

Alexandra: “But we just couldn’t accept that isolation of writing.”


Why did you become Lars Kepler?

Alexandra: “In 2008 it so happened that we both finished our writing projects at the same time. We decided instead to write something together. We worked on a children’s book but quickly found that it did not work, it was quite impossible for us to agree on anything.”

Alexander: “We just couldn’t get our styles into harmony. Our individual literary voices were too defined. We decided to write a play instead. I had written a great deal of drama, and Alexandra had been an actress for a long period of time. It ought not be too difficult, they thought, but in this they were much mistaken. The collaboration was a disaster. We argued about every possible detail.”

Alexandra: “It’s odd when one respects someone’s writing so much, and yet finds there is no way of collaborating.”

Alexander: “Not being the sort of people who give up easily, we tried again, but give up our individual authorial voices. Together we invented a third author, one who was neither Alexander nor Alexandra, but a person in his own right. Lars Kepler was born.”


Why the name “Lars Kepler” ?

Alexandra: “The name Kepler comes from the German scientist Johannes Kepler, who solved one of his time’s greatest mysteries: it was his calculations of the planets’ orbits that paved the way for Newton’s theses about gravity.

Lars is a homage to the Swedish crime fiction author Stieg Larsson as he inspired us to start writing crime fiction. He breathed new life into the Swedish crime writing tradition in a way that sparked our own creativity.”

Lars Kepler was provided with a life story of his own: he had once been a teacher at upper secondary level, who had become a lonely, retiring person after a personal tragedy he did not wish to talk about. Now he works nights at a homeless hostel and writes in the daytime – crime novels.”

Alexander: “We have always loved thrillers, we grew up in the 70’s with Sjöwall & Wahlöö’s ground-breaking police novels.”

Alexandra: “Suddenly we had broken down the wall of loneliness experienced by almost all authors.”

Alexander: “It was so fantastic writing together, almost as if we had fallen in love again.”


So the key to your creativity was Lars Kepler. What happened after your identity was revealed?

Alexander: We were worried that they would not be able to write together again. We believed that anonymity, protected by the name of Lars Kepler, was a necessary safeguard of the collaboration.”

Alexandra: “We need not have worried. The obstacles had already been torn down. As long as the writer was Lars Kepler, our creativity kept flowing.”

Alexander: “We have come around to thinking that being uncovered was actually good. Our biggest advantage is that we can meet their readers.”

Alexandra: “We can travel about, meet journalists and readers, and take part in book fairs and festivals.”


Many authors who write together split the work into dialogue and prose, or write certain characters. How do you two work together? 

Alexandra: “We share everything, from the first idea to the last line. When we finish a book there is not a single sentence in it that we have written alone.”

Alexander: “And we do all our research together, we visit prisons, we read forensic or post-mortem reports, and we talk to doctors and police officers.”

Alexandra: “We act out fighting scenes together and we go to the shooting range together. Authenticity means everything to us.”

More about Joona Linna and Saga Bauer

I find the protagonists of these books powerful, complex and unforgettable.


The Sandman

Author Bio



Alexandra Coelho Ahndoril was born in 1966, and grew up on the south coast of Sweden. In the early 90s, Alexandra moved to Stockholm to pursue a career in acting though she eventually became an author.

In 2003, she published her critically acclaimed debut novel Stjärneborg (Stjerneborg) about the life of astronomer Tycho Brahe which received the Katapult Prize, Birgitta och Katarina (Birgitta and Katarina, 2006) about the life of Saint Birgitta of Sweden, and Mäster (2009), about the radical socialist August Palm.

In addition to her work as an author, Alexandra has also been a literary critic for two of Sweden’s largest newspapers, Göteborgs-Posten and Dagens Nyheter.



Alexander was born in 1967 and grew up twelve miles north of Stockholm. Alexander studied philosophy, religion, and film at university. His first novel was picked up when he was nineteen.


Before he began writing as Lars Kepler, he had already penned twenty theatre plays, one opera libretto, nine novels including Regissören (The Director, 2006) a novel about Ingmar Bergman. Regissören was nominated for several awards, including the prestigious Independent Foreign Fiction Prize and has been translated into 11 languages.


AUTHOR-PHOTO_Lars-Kepler_CREDIT-Ewa-Marie-Rundquist (1)
Alexandra Coelho Ahndoril, and Alexander Ahndoril


Thank you, Knopf  for the opportunity to take part in this blog tour and good luck to Alexandra Coelho Ahndoril, and Alexander Ahndoril with their new release.

I love the idea of creating a third person to write a novel with other people. Who would you like to work with if you had the opportunity or do you prefer to work alone?

Happy writing!

Sandman_blog tour graphic_NEW