Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Big A-Z Reveal, Polar Night Character Closeups, and The Write Space with Ellie Garratt

Busy day here today! And just when I said I was going to cut back a bit on blogging LOL. 

First up, today is the day for The Big Reveal Blog Hop, hosted by Brits in the USA and Mina Lobo, so I am excited to reveal my theme for this year's A-Z in April Challenge.

I'm writing about Alaska this year to go along with the publication of my novel Polar Night. Alaska is the setting for the novel, and I had such fun learning about this fascinating state that I thought it would be a great A-Z topic. Looking forward to seeing what others have chosen for their themes!

And speaking of Polar Night, this is the last day for my Character Closeups feature on E.J. Wesley's site The Open Vein. Aleksei Nechayev is hanging out with E.J., so I'm a little worried about E.J.'s safety. Hope everything will go smoothly, as Aleksei is a dangerous guy to have around. Visit us here to get to know Aleksei and to sign up if you'd like to be included in my ebook giveaway.

Danny and Amanda already visited E.J. this week and had a great time. Thanks again to E.J. and to everyone who stopped by to visit!

Now on to the big news of the day! Ellie Garratt, author of Passing Time, is here today as part of her blog tour. I'm thrilled to be part of the tour and excited to have Ellie here to share her writing space with all of us.

Take it away, Ellie!

The Write Space 

Thank you for hosting me, Julie. It’s an honour to be passing time with you and your readers.

I believe every writer needs a space of his or her own to write, no matter how small. Why? It focuses the mind on the task in hand. It lets the business-like part of the brain know you are serious. It also lets other family members know you can’t be disturbed unless there is an emergency or they are bringing copious amounts of coffee and biscuits.

Like most writers I dream of having a room just for writing. It would have a large mahogany desk, fireplace, wall-to-wall bookshelves, a majestic view, and maybe even a dog sat by my feet. The reality for most writers is the complete opposite.

When I first started writing I sat on the sofa with a lap tray or used the dining room table. Both were great but meant I had to keep putting my writing stuff away. Then I bought an old writers bureau, which meant I could leave everything out all the time. It was small but worked perfectly. I’ve since moved house, and my bedroom now doubles as my writing area. In fact the reason I chose the flat was because the bay window was perfect for a bigger writing desk, and the estuary view inspiring (if you ignore the car park).

One of the UK writing magazines does a ‘Where I write’ feature every month, which I love. So I thought I’d share my current writing space with you.

As you can see I have a fondness for elephants–nothing at all to do with my name being Ellie. Honest.

On the left is my blog calendar. If I don’t note everything down, I will forget. Underneath the calendar is my current work-in-progress word count. The boxes contain all my writing and Star Trek magazines. The folders contain my current projects. I have a few good luck charms: a NaNoWriMo mug, robot USB hub, and various bookmarks.

Finally, the other side of my desk:

Neil Armstrong is hiding in the right-hand corner. You can just see the car park through the window, and beyond that is the River Exe.

So that is my writing space. What is yours like? Do have your own room or desk, or do you make do with whatever space you can find? Do you have a dream writing area? What would it be like if money and space were no object?

Book Blurb

Nine dark fiction stories that may just give you nightmares.

A man lives to regret Passing Time. A father will do anything to save his son in Expiration Date. An author finds out her worst nightmare is back in The Devil’s Song. A woman gets more than the claim fee when she takes out vampire insurance in Luna Black.

In Dining in Hell, the Death Valley Diner becomes the wrong place to stop.

A serial killer wants to add another file to his collection in The Vegas Screamer. In Eating Mr. Bone, an undertaker could meet an unfortunate end. A con man meets his first ghost in Land of the Free. And will truth finally be set free in The Letter?

Book Links

About The Author

A life-long addiction to reading science fiction and horror, meant writing was the logical outlet for Ellie Garratt’s passions. She is a reader, writer, blogger, Trekkie, and would happily die to be an extra in The Walking Dead. Her short stories have been published in anthologies and online. Passing Time is her first eBook collection and contains nine previously published stories. Her science fiction collection Taking Time will be published later in the year.

Author Links

Last but not least, your chance to win a prize:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Great theme! Your book and Ellie's sound fascinating.

  2. LOVE this theme! I've always wanted to go to Alaska.

  3. Having been to and loved Alaska, looking forward to what you write about during the challenge. I won't be participating this year, but I'll certainly see what everyone else is up to.
    Good luck, Ellie, with your book. Loved reading about your writing space.

  4. Can't wait to see what you write about Alaska. Years ago, I entered a series of essays on the Iditarod. It's on my list to see this one in person some day.

  5. Looking forward to your posts on Alaska. I do think the A to Z is more interesting and challenging when people go with a theme. :)

  6. Your Alaska posts sound interesting, can't wait to find out more about it :)

  7. Julie, what a cool theme. I traveled on a cruise to Alaska and didn't spend as much time as I wanted looking around. It was very "touristy" at the ports and I'd like to visit a different way in the future.

    Ellie- I love the window at your desk. I too dream of a different office. Someday...

  8. Brilliant idea, using A t Z to promote your book in this way!

  9. Congrats re Polar Night Julie and thanks for doing the Big Reveal, another interesting theme

  10. @Charity, thanks! And I agree on Ellie's book, can't wait to read it myself.

    @Dani, thanks! I hope to make it there myself some day.

    @Karen, thank you! I hope you will like the posts, I've so loved learning about Alaska.

    @MJ, oh, how interesting! I hope you will like the posts, thanks!

    @LG, me too, I love the themes. Although I had fun doing random posts the first year too.

    @Laura, thank you!

    @Brinda, thanks! And I can imagine that's true about the cruise, it seems like they are always very touristy no matter where you go. I agree with you about Ellie's window, love her desk!

    @Mina, thanks, and thanks for hosting this fun fest!

    @Dani, thanks!

    @Davud, thank you, the reveal is fun!

  11. I'm looking forward to your A-Z posts! I've been to Alaska twice - many years apart! - and loved it. Still working on my theme... :)

  12. @Madeline, thank you, I know I will love your A-Z posts! Good luck getting your theme together. :)

  13. Cannot wait for some chilling Alaskan adventure and Ellie is the queen...

    Jeremy [Retro] #66
    AtoZ Challenge Co-Host
    Oh No, Let's Go... Crazy

  14. Oo - Alaska. Great theme!

    What a nice writing space! I'm so envious. (You don't want to see mine. Trust me.)

    Enjoyed the post, Julie & Ellie. :)

  15. Love the A to Z theme, Julie!
    I've already been over to EJ's this morning. Very fun post, BTW.
    Congrats to Ellie. I really like that cover a lot, and her writing space rocks!

  16. That's a nice writing space and I love the little elephants.
    I know there is more to Alaska than I know about it. I'm sure you'll bring us very interesting information.

  17. Ellie, you have quite a view there!
    Already visited EJ this morning, Julie.
    And Alaska is perfect.

  18. @Jeremy, thanks!

    @Melissa, isn't that space great? I just love it. And thank you!

    @Susan, thanks so much!

    @Al, I love the elephants too, so cute. :)

    @Alex, I am envious of Ellie's view! And thanks so much about the theme.

  19. visiting Alaska is on my bucket list! :) Would love to see what I need to plan for!

    Jamie Dement (LadyJai)

  20. Hi Julie .. that will be so interesting - I get to learn more about Alaska - looking forward to it ..

    Ellie .. love the writing space and area - so neat! That view to the Exe will be great when the sun decides to appear again!

    I'm looking forward to reading both of your books - cheers Hilary

  21. Wow...a lot to think about and to look up!

    My A to Z Theme? Two for one, I think.

  22. Everything about this post was awesome--the theme, the writing space (I LOVE WRITING SPACES!!), the book!

  23. I am going to have to pay attention to this one! I want to write some game material about supernatural goings on in Alaska.

    Tim Brannan
    The Other Side and The Witch
    Red Sonja: She-Devil with a Sword
    The Freedom of Nonbelief

  24. @Jamie, I hope I get to visit there too, one of these days!

    @Michael, I agree, I love it. And it puts my couch to shame LOL.

    @Hilary, thank you, I hope you will enjoy it!

    @Susan, that sounds like a good one. :)

    @Ashley, wow, thanks! :)

    @Timothy, oh, that's just what I wrote about! I hope you will enjoy the posts. Thanks!

  25. Great idea to tie in your book with the theme. Don't know much about Alaska so looking forward to it.

  26. Hi, I'm new here! I followed the link from Ellie's blog. :)

    I love the cover for Polar Night. It looks superb.

    Ellie's writing space is so clean! Mine is much more messy than that. I love how it's in front of the window, too. I think I may have to move mine to reflect...



  27. Great theme! Can't wait to read your posts, Julie.

    I love having a peek at your writing space, Ellie. I especially love that you have a big window there. It's one thing I really wish I had in my space.

  28. I'm rather late to the party but thank you again, Julie. It's an honour passing time on your blog.

  29. I forgot to say I love your A to Z theme. I'm looking forward to some interesting posts!

    To everyone who commented about my space being neat, err...I did have a major tidy up before taking the pictures. LOL.

  30. I just read Amanda's first chapter last night. :) It'll be fun to learn more about Alaska. I know when we get its winds, it gets dang cold down here.

    I have to keep a blog calender, too, Ellie. Sometimes I still mess up.

  31. It makes perfect sense to use Alaska as your A to Z theme.
    Ellie's space looks well organized!
    I'm off to E.J's now-----

  32. I can't wait to learn about alaska! (:

  33. Your writing space looks nice and organised. A blog calendar - not a bad idea... Love the elephants! I've only got the kitchen table, but I can dream of my own space.

    Look forward to your posts Julie. I know hardly anything about Alaska other than it's cold!

  34. Nice uniting Alaska and your book for the theme. Love your writing space.

  35. What a great use for the type of research we writers have to do that then doesn't end up in the book. Looking forward to learning more about Alaska. Best of luck!

  36. Your topic of Alaska seem like a really cool (no pun intended...o.k, well, maybe it -was- intended) theme.

    Looking forward to your April posts!

  37. You have such a neat writing space!

    All the best for your book, And your theme :)

  38. I see a lot of themes are related to places. Good luck for the challenge.

  39. @Elizabeth, thank you!

    @Alexandra, hello, so nice to meet you! Thank you for your comments about the book cover. And I agree about Ellie's space, I love it.

    @Christine, thank you!

    @Ellie, you're very welcome, it was fun to have you here and I loved seeing your writing space.

    @Mary, thank you, I appreciate it!

    @Michelle, thanks so much.

    @Fida, thank you!

    @Nick, LOL, that's about all I knew before I started researching too. Thanks!

    @Sheena, thank you!

    @Jocelyn, thanks so much, I appreciate it.

    @Mark, haha, thanks!

    @Damyanti, thank you for the good luck wishes, I appreciate it.

    @Scots lass, thanks!

  40. Visiting from the A to Z Big Reveal Bloghop. I've wanted to go to Alaska since my grandma brought me an Eskimo doll after her glacier cruise (I was probably 5).

    Great theme and I love your book cover! Good luck with everything:D

  41. @Robin, oh, how cute! Thank you so much, it's great to meet you. :)

  42. Ellie's space looks peaceful, and it's clearly working to ignite her creativity.

    I have fond memories and amazing photos from an Alaskan cruise I took years ago, so I'm really looking forward to your A-Z contributions, Julie.


  43. Nutschell at The Writing Nut does this every Wednesday. I love it. I also love your writing space, it has a window!

  44. I totally understand the need to slow down on blogging. I have that need, but don't feel it happening yet. :) Great reveal!

    BTW, I'm having a giveaway to celebrate 100 followers on my blog.

  45. I am so looking forward to Alaska! I am a new follower.

  46. @Robyn, oh, I bet that was an amazing cruise. Thanks!

    @Jenn, I love Nutschell's feature, I was part of it one week and it was so much fun. She is so creative with the stuff she does on her blog!

    @Nancy, congratulations on your followers, that's awesome! I will be there to check it out. :)

    @Rhonda, thank you so much, great to meet you!

  47. I'm also looking forward to learning more about Alaska! It was nice to get a view of Ellie's writing space!


  48. Looking forward to your posts on Alaska--what a great theme for this challenge! :)

  49. What a great theme! And I, too, have a fondness for elephants which translated into a gorgeous bracelet, a statue of Ganesh and several crystal elephants.

  50. @Julie, thank you!

    @Heather, thanks!

    @Melissa, oh, how cute! I bet that bracelet is gorgeous.

  51. Awesome A to Z theme!

    I have a writing space too, except it's occupied by orchid plants and other random stuff that I put down on it. Really should make a plan to turn it into a desk now. :-/

  52. @Misha, thanks! I can't wait for the A-Z to start. :)

  53. great theme, Julie! Look forward to reading more. :) I might not take part in this year's A-Z as I thought. :( deadlines are crowding my life..LOL
    Lovely cover for Passing Time.

  54. @Cecilia, thank you! I'm sorry you might not be able to participate but I certainly understand, those deadlines are more important.

  55. love your alaskan theme. you need to tell us how you decided to choose such a remote setting!

    and yay for ellie!

  56. Hi Julie,
    Have fun with the blog! I look forward to reading your A-Z entries. Very clever theme!
    ~Just Jill

  57. @Tara, thanks! And I second your yay for Ellie. :)

    @Jill, thank you!

  58. all the books are awesome! I love Ellie's workspace :)

  59. @nutschell, I agree, I wanted to steal Ellie's space LOL.

  60. That's an awesome writing space with elephants, Neil, and a wonderful view!

  61. Hi Julie, and thanks for stopping by my blog. You meet so many nice people during the A to Z Challenge and then lose track again. I'm looking forward to sharing some snippets of my 50 years in this country. I'm sorry I forgot all about the Theme reveal the other day. Take care and enjoy your minion duties.

  62. I would like to visit Alaska sometime. It would be such a stark change from North Carolina! :)

    I don't really have a theme for A-to-Z this year. Every Monday I'll post a letter-themed piece of flash fiction, but the rest of the week the articles will be as random and eclectic as my imagination! :)

    Thanks for stopping by my blog!

  63. What an excellent blog! I'm so happy to know I'm not the only "pre-hopper" on the AtoZ experience. I saw how the list was growing and thought I'd better start soon - in order to visit everyone at least once . . .
    Thank you for the visit, thank you for the great wishes - This will be fun.
    love & love,
    -g- (AtoZ person)

  64. Nice to meet you, Julie.
    I don't have a theme for the A to Z - just a very good (hopefully :)) general idea. Yours sounds very interesting.
    Silvia @ Silvia Writes

  65. I'm looking forward to your theme for this April. I hope to visit Alaska one day.
    I have Ellie's book on my Kindle and I wish my writing space was half so neat.

  66. Looking forward to reading about Alaska, Julie.

    Ellie, great workspace!

    Happy Weekend :)

  67. @Tyrean, aren't the elephants great? I love them. :)

    @Inger, I know, it's so hard to keep track of all the great blogs you find! So glad to "find" you again and I am looking forward to your posts.

    @Colin, I'm sure your posts will be great, thanks so much for visiting here.

    @Maggid, thanks! I think it will be fun too. Thanks so much for coming by here.

    @Silvia, I definitely think your ideas are good. Thanks for coming by.

    @Susan, thanks! I hope to visit as well, even more so now. :)

    @Carol, thank you! And happy weekend to you as well. :)

  68. Alaska is one of the few U.S. states I haven't been to, so I'm looking forward to your theme because I want to go someday :)

    I don't have an official theme, but since my blog centers on reading and writing, most of my posts will fall within those two topics.

    Nice to meet you! :)

  69. @Stephanie, those are good topics! So nice to meet you too, thanks. :)

  70. I am excited to read about Alaska in your A to Z posts. I have always wanted to visit Alaska in the summer; the pictures I see are always so pretty!

  71. Thanks for stopping by my blog! I look forward to reading yours this next month!

  72. Looking forward to your Alaska A-Z posts. I also love seeing people's writing spaces. Thanks for sharing.

    I follow writers! Hope you'll follow me too.

  73. Alaska's a great theme! My husband is constantly wanting to go there, so maybe you'll convince me. He'll be grateful. :D

    That's a lovely writing space. I do have an enclosed room with french doors (I love french doors). It's also the guest room, so a bed takes up half the space. My cat likes to sleep there, though, so it's nice.

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse

  74. @Jess, I agree, I love the pics I've seen. Thanks!

    @Danielle, my pleasure, and thank you as well!

    @Cathy, thank you, I look forward to following.

    @Shannon, oh, I hope I will convince you then LOL.

  75. Whoa, its a busy moment for everyone! Can't wait to see the fun posts tomorrow!

  76. think that is a neat way to get your book out there! Plus I think Alaska would be cool to read about. I am having trouble figuring out a theme for my blog. Yeah- I Know- the challenge starts in a day!

  77. What a great theme! I couldn't come up with one that I felt I would be able to stick with, so I'm just wingin' it.

  78. I don't know much about Alaska, so this should be fun.

    Ellie sounds a lot more organized than I am in terms of putting down her schedule.

  79. thanks Julie! Your comment makes me motivated. And thank you for dropping by my blog. I really appreciate it. Can't wait to read your posts too!:)

  80. @Tammy, me too, I know it will be a fun month. :)

    @Stephanie, the first year I did A-Z I didn't have a theme and really loved doing random posts. Good luck with whatever you decide!

    @Amanda, I think winging it is fun too. Thanks!

    @JL, LOL, she is a lot more organized than I am too.

    @Miss uncertain, my pleasure, and thank you so much!


Thank you for your comments!