Monday, 30 January 2017

#ScribeFest 2017 – Middlewich Literary Festival

We are back in business! Scribe (Middlewich Literary Festival) will run from 23rd - 25th March 2017 and it's gonna be wild! #ScribeFest celebrates all aspects of writing, illustrating and art. There are even top secret plans for an interactive genre mix crime scene adventure...

Finer details are still being worked out, but we will have events running in different venues around Middlewich, including a Top-Secret Crime Scene Investigation, a children's story writing and illustrating workshop, and visiting speakers and performers from the literary and arts industry.

Follow Scribe Festival on Twitter, use the hashtag #ScribeFest to see live updates, and like our page on Facebook to see exclusive news and giveaways before and during the event.

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Thursday, 26 January 2017

Unleash Your Creative Spirit

We have only one week left until my first book signing event of 2017, and I am rather excited now! I haven’t been to Telford for several years, so that will make a nice change to my weekend routine. I look forward to seeing all my author friends and colleagues at the event, and of course, meeting new readers. Come and see me! I am eager to see you.

After considering my options with regards to book swag, and the fact that my business finances are rather slim after a few advertising experiments, I decided to get creative with my offerings. Before I became a published author, I spent a lot of time making greetings cards and bead jewellery. It was my method of relaxation after a long day at work in a demanding job. This was before I had children, of course, when the evenings belonged to me. I would stamp and colour and embellish to my heart’s content.

The arrival of my babies interfered somewhat with my hobby. Now, whenever I step near my craft cupboard, I hear cries of, “I want to do painting, Mummy!” and “I want to do crafts with you!” That is lovely, of course, but with young children comes a lot of mess, and I cannot simply sit and craft in peace. So, I started doing it in the evenings again. I set aside my marketing and computer work, and revisited my old hobby. And I have created some beautiful book themed greetings cards and bookmarks that I will bring to the book signing event. What do you think?

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Monday, 23 January 2017

Author Brand Design

The world of publishing is certainly diverse these days. And there is so much more to being an author than simply writing your masterpiece and sending it out to the world. For starters, we need to decide whether to throw ourselves at the mercy of the publishing gatekeepers, only to be rejected time and time again, or whether to go it alone.

We know that being an independent (Indie) author can prove quite lucrative if it is done properly. I have learned during the past couple of years that all of those “overnight success stories” we hear about in the media are not necessarily accurate. The authors behind those successes have often spent years, anything up to a decade or longer, writing, publishing, networking and marketing before making their breakthrough.

I am at the point now where the idea of being an actual “proper” author is sinking in. I think we need to feel the lifestyle in order to project it. Up to now it has pretty much been a hobby that kept me entertained during my long days stuck at home nursing babies and preschoolers. Now my children are getting older, I am finding a bit more time to myself, and I must treat it like a job. Now I am developing my author brand. Exciting!

Did you enjoy this article? Join my tribe today, and I will send you a fabulous FREE book to get you started… (be warned, my vampires do not sparkle, and my wolves will bite!) 

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Do I Need Book Swag?

I have attended a few book signing events during recent years, and have noticed a growing trend for something called “book swag.” For those of you not in the know, book swag is basically free stuff that you get from authors keen to spread the word about their books. It could include posters, promotional flyers, keyrings, pens and even more specific items like lip balms, all emblazoned with an author logo or book cover.

Now, I do not yet have any official book swag. Indeed, the signing events I previously attended did not specifically call for such a thing. My eyes were opened when I attended the Sandbach Author Signing Event back in November 2016. At this event I was surrounded by professional indie authors, most of whom proudly displayed (and distributed) a variety of colourful, promotional free gifts to their visitors. All I had to offer was a few business cards and a couple of flyers. Boring!

In February I will attend the West Midlands Valentines Book Signing and Ball. I don’t yet have any official book swag, but I plan to procure something of interest, if only to keep up with my fellow authors and their established marketing practice. It is all a huge learning curve for me as I step into another new world in the hopes of finding my readers. Perhaps I can tempt them out with a fruity Redcliffe lip balm, or a Blackpool souvenir with a vampire twist… Any suggestions?

Did you enjoy this article? Join my tribe today, and I will send you a fabulous FREE book to get you started… (be warned, my vampires do not sparkle, and my wolves will bite!) 

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

The West Midlands Valentine’s Book Signing & 1940’s Ball

February 4th 2017 TELFORD


It’s a New Year for new experiences, so why not make The West Midlands Valentine’s Book Signing & 1940’s Ball one of them! This February the 4th is set to be a day filled with books, romance, laughter, and live 1940’s style music all thanks to The West Midlands Valentine's Book Signing & 1940’s Ball. With over 25 confirmed authors covering genres such as romance, chick-lit, erotica, young adult, horror, and children’s fiction, there is sure to be something here for you or your loved one just in time for Valentine’s Day. Or at least something to occupy the kids with. 

 When the door close to the signing at 16:30 we will be reopening them at 19:30 for our 1940’s swing ball, where The Vintage Vocalist will take to the stage and take us back in time with classics from The Andrew Sisters, Vera Lynn, Anne Shelton, and many more. (1940’s dress is very much encouraged but not essential). So, why not come and mingle with the authors and get those books signed before joining them for a swing around the dancefloor? 

 ALL PROCEEDS MADE ARE BEING DONATED TO HELP FOR HEROES. *Tickets to the signing will be available on the door * Children under 16 years of age enter the signing for FREE, but must be accompanied by a paying adult at all times. * Tickets to the ball will NOT be available on the day and need to be pre-ordered before January 27th – All attendees to the ball must be over the age of 18 years. Please visit our website for more information –

Event Address: Casey’s, Cordingley Hall, Wellington road, Telford TF2 8JS

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Thursday, 12 January 2017

So Many Novels, So Little Time!

It dawned on me earlier this week that I have the complete opposite of the famed “blank page” syndrome. You know the old scenario: writer wants to create a wonderful novel, writer sits before computer and stares blankly at the screen, unable to form the words that will convey the amazing story they hold in their mind. Eventually, writer succumbs to the belief in writers’ block, slumps back in their chair, and wallows in self-pity for a while.

I have about five novels currently in various stages of progression. The main one is book 5 in my Redcliffe novels series, Heart of the Vampire. This continues the adventures experienced when Cornish bookshop owner Jessica Stone explores her witch heritage and becomes embroiled with the local werewolf pack, receiving mixed responses from her vampire boyfriend. The series will end after book 6, as yet untitled, because I feel that it has run its course. My muse may decide otherwise, however!

Moving away from the Redcliffe novels, I have first drafts of a couple of novels set in and around Cheshire and Manchester that feature female vampire hunters and their adventures in a tough job. One is a retired vampire hunter who lives a new life with a husband and young children. She concealed her past from him, but it all unravels when her former target, a vampire that managed to seduce her and almost kill her, returns to the area and must be exterminated. It is a quirky novel, I think, and I really want to have it published soon.

Another novel features a female vampire hunter that lives on a narrowboat, and her story takes place in and around my home town in Cheshire. This story was requested (or should I say, demanded) by my local fans, and they have been waiting for around three years now. I really should dig out the manuscript, tidy it up and get it published. That story caused a bit of turmoil for me when it took a strange turn and introduced past lives, angels and demons. Yes, my Muse is a confusing creature, indeed. I will tackle my YA zombie romance at a later date!

Did you enjoy this article? Join my tribe today, and I will send you a fabulous FREE book to get you started… (be warned, my vampires do not sparkle, and my wolves will bite!) 

Monday, 9 January 2017

Defining Your Local Accent

One of the key factors in my writing process is the definition of accents. Having grown up reading books by Enid Blyton, Roald Dahl, Judy Blume and L.J. Smith, I have been largely exposed to characters that speak in old fashioned Queen’s English accents, or a sort of generalised white America accent that I can’t quite define because I don’t know enough about the country and its various regions.

Now, I am very definitely not from a Queen’s English background, so I didn’t really connect with the characters in the books I read. They were distant, posh people who I could never emulate. I did feel a connection with Roald Dahl’s Matilda, but I am still not sure what kind of regional accent she might have spoken in. I get the feeling it was somewhere in the South of England, but I can’t be sure.

My characters are mostly Northern, like me. I grew up in the Staffordshire Moorlands, close to Stoke-on-Trent, and so I have a sort of hybrid “Stokie” accent when I speak. It grows more broad when I return home to visit, which I find quite amusing. My husband grew up in both Wigan (Northern England) and Staffordshire, because his family moved to my home town when he was ten. His accent grew into a hybrid Lancashire-Stoke, but then returned to its Northern roots when he went to university in Manchester and took up full time work in the region.

I want my characters to have accents. I don’t want them to be traditionally English, or cockney or anything that to my mind is all too common and far removed from my experiences. My heroine in the Redcliffe novels series, Jessica Stone, is from Manchester, but she now lives in Cornwall where the adventures take place. Her best friend, Liz, is also Mancunian, living in Cornwall, and she marries a local university lecturer who has a Cornish accent. Jessica’s love interests, the identical twins Jack and Danny Mason, have their roots in Dublin, but since they are over one hundred years old and have lived in many places, their accents seem to come and go, largely depending upon their emotional state.

How important is it for you to read stories where the characters have a definitive accent? Does it help you to relate more to the characters and the story, or do you prefer to learn about other cultures and other lives? I find the whole subject fascinating!

Did you enjoy this article? Join my tribe today, and I will send you a fabulous FREE book to get you started… (be warned, my vampires do not sparkle, and my wolves will bite!) 

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Does Your Gender Affect Your Writing Success?

Here is a loaded question, and I would be very interested to receive some responses in the comments below. I am currently reading On Writing by Stephen King, and I have reached the section of the book where he tells us that if we are serious about writing, we actually have to do it. We cannot keep putting it off and blaming our life circumstances, our lack of free time, and all the other millions of excuses we come up with.

Now, I totally agree with that. But one sentence in King’s book struck a chord. He wrote that he was fortunate to have a “self-sufficient wife” and she allowed him to hide away and write whenever he needed to. They have children, and he wrote his novels and short stories since before they were born and throughout their lives. Did his wife shoulder the parental responsibility, and do all the boring, everyday essential tasks of caring for the children before he found fame and fortune?

I would say that I have a self-sufficient husband. In fact, he is so self-sufficient that I am often left at home with the children, and I do 99% of the household chores, nurturing, caring, doctors’ appointments, etc. My husband simply works, in a demanding job that takes him away from the family home for anything up to sixteen hours every day, five days a week. He then spends the weekends ‘catching up’ on his personal affairs, and sleeping because he so exhausted from working all week. But he provides the income, and I must accept that.

In order to follow Stephen King’s advice, I need to change that model of behaviour. My husband refuses to make his work hours more flexible, or even to book time off that he is legally allowed (that is a whole other saga!). He did recently have a pay rise, however. Our cashflow is not brilliant, but if I am to look at the bigger picture, I need some help with childcare. To that end, I plan to investigate the costs of childcare, and see what I can fit around preschool and school. Then perhaps I can find time to finish the manuscripts I have languishing on my hard drive, and finally get my career established professionally.

How do you fit writing in around family and work?

Did you enjoy this article? Join my tribe today, and I will send you a fabulous FREE book to get you started… (be warned, my vampires do not sparkle, and my wolves will bite!) 

Monday, 2 January 2017

Reading My Christmas Gifts

You won’t be surprised to hear that I received some fabulous book related Christmas gifts recently. I am still reading one of the books I received, On Writing by Stephen King. It was a surprise present from my husband, and he earned some major ‘good husband’ points for this one! I am just over half way through the book, and it is brilliant. I feel inspired, invigorated, and enthused to get back into my novel writing as soon as the children return to school.

I also received a couple of quirky, fun Christmas presents from friends. They bought me a coffee mug with a funny quote printed on it, “Please do not annoy the writer, she might put you in a book and kill you!” They also got me a cute little bookmark that has a waving hand at the end of it. When my youngest daughter saw it she burst into fits of giggles, which was adorable. Did you receive any quirky, fun gifts?

Did you enjoy this article? Join my tribe today, and I will send you a fabulous FREE book to get you started… (be warned, my vampires do not sparkle, and my wolves will bite!)