Sunday 11 June 2023

Things They Never Said - First Week in the Big Bad World


Well, my debut novel Things They Never Said has been out in the real world for nearly a week now and I'm pleased to say that it seems to be doing well. Yesterday it even managed to make it into the Kindle Contemporary Romance top 100, although by the time I found out, it had already been knocked off its spot.

I've had some wonderful reviews too, so thanks to everyone who has taken the time to post. 

Some which stand out are:

"Entertaining with great characters"

"Good storyline and it deals really well with themes of love and loss"

"A lovely heartfelt read"

"A page turner at its very best that will pull your emotions in every direction"

But I think my favourite has to be:

'A great read with unexpected turns and revelations - this story will make you smile, exasperated and cry."

I always think that if a book makes you cry then its done its job, and I'm over the moon that the words I have written have inspired these reviews. I really do think that letting your book into the outside world is very like watching a child move away from home.  I'm just glad that my first book baby is surviving! Its available on Amazon Kindle (currently at 99p) audible and paperback.

This week I was also hosted on someone else's blog for the very first time.  The lovely Anni Rose, invited me on to her blog and asked me some very interesting and thought provoking questions. You can read the post here Thanks so much Anni for hosting me.

So all in all its been a very exciting week, and I can't wait to see what comes next. 

Tuesday 6 June 2023

Today's The Day!

 Yey! Finally, it’s arrived! Today is the publication day for my debut novel.


I’ve been writing for many years now as long term readers of this blog will know, and although I’ve had some success with short stories, that elusive book deal has always been, well, elusive.


When I sent Things They Never Said to Choc Lit, I felt as though it was my last chance. I’d decided that if Choc Lit didn’t want it, then I would publish it myself. I had faith in my book and I was determined to see it published one way or another.


But to my delight, Choc Lit offered me a 3 book deal and the time in between has been a roller-coaster ride. 


First came the edits which initially scared the heebie-jeebies out of me. The extent of work required was staggering especially as it was suggested that a suitable turnaround time would be two weeks. At the time I was due to go on holiday in two weeks’ time, and what with work and family commitments, I wondered if I would be able to do it time. But I did and as I worked through the edits I felt I was making it into a much better book.


Two more rounds of edits, each one easier than the last and the book was finally finished. 


The next excitement was receiving the book cover which I was delighted with. 


The book became available on Amazon on pre-order and I began to grow increasingly nervous as people I know said they couldn’t wait to read it. Was it any good? Would they enjoy it?


And then last Friday I received the audio files for the audible version. I downloaded them and with both eagerness and trepidation began to listen. I couldn’t believe my ears. The actress had brought my book completely to life. For the first time the characters who had been living in my head for some many years sounded like real people. And as I listened, I realised that all that time spent editing had been well worth the work. I won’t deny I shed a tear or two then.

Yesterday I received this.




And today is publication day. It's a moment I've bee waiting for, for years. I can't believe it's actually happening.

Things They Never Said is available on Amazon on Kindle, Audible and paperback. At the moment it's on offer on Kindle at an introductory price of 99 pence,

Sunday 5 March 2023

The Geek Within Me

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you’ll know that I’m a big fan of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) which challenges authors to write 50,000 words in the month of November.

During November many people use the online forum and local events where people congregate to write in sprints to spur them on. 


When I first took the challenge having a full time job and young children, I didn’t really have the time to indulge in the social aspect of the challenge though, I just concentrated on the word count.


In order to achieve the 50,000 words at the end of the month you have to achieve a daily word count of around 1,700 words. It was this target that I worked towards, knowing that if I did the words every day I would be assured of reaching the end target. If I got behind I would then be playing catch-up so it made me write, consistently.


What I loved most of all was uploading the word count on the progress chart. Seeing my achievement in graphic form was incredibly encouraging especially if I had over achieved the daily amount.


I haven’t done NaNoWriMo for the last few years, mainly because during November I’ve been concentrating on editing, but I have really missed it.


At the moment I’m in the middle of writing Book 2. For a long time I’ve been at the 50,000 word mark. I haven’t been able to move forward on this because I’ve had massive plot problems and I’ve had to go back and cut a lot of text. Spending time working out not only what needs to be cut but also what needs to been done to drive the plot and the characters forward has taken up a lot of my time.


Doing this, though, gave me a sense of purpose and finally I could see the way forward. I’m aiming for at least 80,000 words so that’s another 30,000 to go and  I decided that I wanted to achieve this by the end of March. 


And that’s when the breakthrough came. I was skimming through some old writing magazines when I came across a recommendation for ‘Pacemaker’. Part of the website is free. (You can pay for an upgrade for all the bells and whistles). But to chart your progress and add in a daily word count, you can utilise the free version of this.


I set up my project with the word count I wanted to achieve in the time I wanted to achieve it and, hey presto, I had my own personal NaNoWriMo in February.


On the first day, after a hard day at work, I didn’t really feel like writing, but the thought of needing to update my progress on the app pushed me on. And there you go, my inner geek was ignited. The need to watch that target being achieved, and often over achieved is really spurring me on. I love it when I go over and the amount of words I need to write daily, decreases. I've missed a few days here and there, but not many as I don't want to see the white spaces between the green progress bar.


And, if I carry on like this, I know I will have an 80,000 word completed draft by the end of the month.


What spurs you on?

Wednesday 1 February 2023

Finally - It Happened to Me!

If you are long term readers of this blog, you will know that for many, many years, I have been trying to become a published author.

I've had a lot of rejections along the way but for some strange reason (insanity maybe?) I refused to give up. 

I have been thinking and learning about self-publishing for a long time because I'd decided that if no one wanted to publish me then I would do it myself. 

But something inside me wouldn't give up the dream.

I'd been working on what I will call here, for now, Book 1, for a very long time. In fact in a very different format it was one of the first longer pieces of work I ever wrote. Over the years, I worked to improve it (in fact I wouldn't recognise it now from the original). I came across the rejection letter from Mills and Boon from that very first attempt, and I have to say I whole-heartedly agree with them. 

Book 1 has been through 2 critiques through the RNA's New Writers Scheme, and my online writer friends have also been kind enough to comment on it on numerous occasions.

After finally getting Book 1 to be the best I thought it could be I decided to submit it to Choc Lit.

And, I'm delighted to say that this is the result

To say I'm chuffed to bits is the understatement of the year.

I'm so looking forward to working with the Choc Lit team who seem a very friendly bunch.

The other Choc Lit authors seem lovely too, and I've already have lots of encouragement from them.

So, now the hard work really begins, but I'm looking forward to getting my teeth stuck into it and can't wait for the day when I can say I'm a published novelist.

Its been a long time coming!

Saturday 21 January 2023

My Top Crime Authors of 2022

Like most writers I do love a good read. Last year I read 55 books which I think is pretty good going. I write romance and I read a lot of romance but I do like a good bit of crime too.

Here are my favourite crime authors of the books I read in 2022.

Biba Pearce


This is a crime series based on a detective Rob Miller.  I read the first three novels last year, which began with the Thames Path Killer.  In each novel the detective has to track down a serial killer and the novel concentrates on both the detection of the crime and the personal life of Rob Miller. I have thoroughly enjoyed each novel and actively look to when she publishes the next novel.


This year I read books 4 and 5 in the series which were:

These were both page turning books, and I look forward to reading the next one.


Lynda La Plante


I’ve loved the many TV series written by Lynda La Plante but this year I started to read her books which I absolutely love.


I started with the Widows series reading the three books: Widows, She’s Out and Widow’s Revenge.

And then I moved on the series which follows on from this featuring Detective Jack War, the series starts with Buried which re-investigates the robbery which was committed in Widows revenge.

Then I went back in time to Detective Jane Tennison.  I loved the Prime Suspect series on TV and reading about Jane Tennison from the beginning of her career has provided me with many happy reading hours.



Who were your favourite authors in 2022?

Wednesday 4 January 2023

Thoughts on 2022

At this time of year, I always to take a moment to reviews the highs and lows of the year, and to assess what I’ve actually achieved over the year.  I must say I’m glad to see the back of 2022, as it’s not been an easy one. But then when is life ever easy these days? It started badly, attending the funeral of my youngest son’s friend on my son’s 18thbirthday. Two other more elderly friends died and I spent a lot of time supporting the bereaved at the beginning of the year. 

I was looking forward to February as I had planned a weekend in London with my husband for his birthday. Unfortunately, a hurricane stopped all train travel and we had to postpone at the last minute.  We did get to go in March though, and the weather was so much nicer so perhaps it was a blessing in disguise. 


In February my eldest son left home to join the army. I was sad to see my first born fly the nest. I wasn’t one hundred percent behind his decision but it’s what he wanted to do so I supported him. Ten weeks later he was back home after having decided it wasn’t for him after all. I’m glad he tried it though and made that decision himself. He’s since found himself a good job and seems much happier so that’s something to be grateful for. 


In April we were supposed to be going to Ireland to visit my husband’s relatives but after two years of dodging the bullet, we both got COVID. I’d been worried about catching the virus as the medication I take for my Psoriatic Arthritis means I have low immunity. Thankfully the vaccinations protected me and the illness wasn’t as bad as I had feared. We finally got to Ireland in May.



The first half of the year was tricky for my youngest son. I spent a lot of time helping him learn to drive and supporting him through three driving tests. When he did pass I spent several months biting my nails whenever he went out int he car. And then were the A-Level exams which were also stressful. He's now at university studying history.He was really looking forward to going but has ended up more homesick than he expected, but I'm hoping in settle in more next term. 

On the plus side my husband and I had two happy holidays in Spain at our apartment, so the year has had its up-sides too.



And through all this I have been trying to keep my writing going. 


In 2022 I completed Book 1 sent it to several agents, either heard nothing or got rejected, edited it again and sent it to the publisher, ChocLit. Its currently going through assessment via their reader panel, the result of which I’m hoping to hear from soon. 


I’ve been learning as much as I can about self-publishing. If Book 1 doesn’t get taken up by ChocLit I’m going to bite the bullet and publish it myself. I’ve spent many years submitting things and either getting rejected or being ignored so maybe it’s time to take control of my writing destiny.


I’ve done some serious editing and redrafting of Book 2. This came into being during NaNoWriMo so was a very rough 50,000 words. I got more or less to the end of this, deleting and creating so that it was 70,000 words, then I got a bit depressed because it still wasn’t quite working. So, I went back to square one, did a lot more plotting and planning and am halfway through the process of re-writing. Hopefully by the end of this draft I will have much deeper characterisation and a sound structure and my next edit will be more a case of fine tuning.


I’ve dipped my toe into the world of Twitter and done some extensive research on how to develop my own website. I’ve also been reviewing and editing some short stories as I have decided to self-publish a couple of short story anthologies as a way to introduce myself into the world of independent publishing. 


After a slow start to the writing year, I’ve ended on a positive note and am fully motivated to make sure that 2023 will be the year I finally get published (one way or another).


What were your best bits of 2022 and what are you looking forward to in 2023?

Sunday 1 January 2023

Happy New Year!!

Well, it’s here, 2023. It’s hard to believe that another year is over and we’re already into the next one. 

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and New Year and weren’t too bogged down with this nasty cold / flu bug which seems to be everywhere. My eldest son was the first to by laid low, then my husband got it just before Christmas and is still coughing and spluttering. My youngest son caught it from him and has been suffering quite badly with it. I, however, have managed to escape it so far. There, I’ve just jinxed myself, I’ll probably catch it now I’m due back at work.


Christmas – well it takes so much preparation and then it’s over in a flash. I hope you all had a lovely Christmas, we did. We spent it with my husband’s family – twenty of us. We all chipped in with the cooking but hat’s off to my brother-in-law and sister-in-law for hosting it all. We had a great time but I was glad we had nothing planned for Boxing Day so we could all recover. There was another party on the Tuesday for a belated 21st. And then my mum came to stay with us for a few days. It was lovely to spend some proper time with her, especially at this time of year.


Amidst all the celebrations, there is also a sadness to this time of year for me. Five years ago, just before Christmas my mother-in-law passed away. The following day, whilst my mum was undergoing knee replacement surgery, my dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer and passed away ten days later on 30th January. This is him on my wedding day.



I still miss him so much and am sad that he’s not here to see what lovely young people all his grandchildren have become. I try to look on the positive side though, that he is not really lost to us, but is forever with us in our hearts. It makes me cherish my mum even more though, and I am eternally grateful that she is still very much in our lives.


It’s not been a great year for a lot of people, and I’ve had some incredible stressful periods throughout the months, but I have ended the year feeling positive and particularly motivated for my writing in the year ahead. Life is what you make it after all, and I’m going to do my best to make 2023 a thoroughly productive writing year.


Wishing you all the very best for 2023!


Things They Never Said - First Week in the Big Bad World

  Well, my debut novel Things They Never Said has been out in the real world for nearly a week now and I'm pleased to say that it seems ...