Thursday, 15 February 2018


Oh sweet distractions. We've all done it, right?
Please tell me it's not just me.

I have all this wonderful sweet sweet time. I used to dream of this; the availability to write full time.

I actually 'won' NaNoWriMo in November; over 50,000 words in just one month.
I know I can do it!

But then a bad back, Christmas, flu etc. got in my way.
But last week I finally managed to finish draft 1 of my work in progress.

The dreaded 'editing' looms like a loomy thing in loomy town.
Actually, I normally quite like it; shaping and molding my little booky wook.

But what have I done?
Bugger all this week!!

  • Monday I had to rest thanks to a rare migraine overnight.
  • Tuesday I went out with my mother-in-law; it's a public service she provides for me. It means I get a little fresh air from time to time.
  • Wednesday I was prepping for a photoshoot (this includes shaving, waxing, bathing). But then I saw the leak in the roof had started up again, worse than before the repair. A minor hissy fit may have ensued. 
  • Today is Thursday and I've waited around for the roofers to come back and fix what they fixed before, and social media'd as it's easier to pick up and put down. 
  • And now I've started organising a group promo for my folks in the Facebook group Indie Coffee Lounge  Ooh yes, muchly organising must be done. Yes, even writing this very blog post can be added to my list of important stuffs I simply must do. 
What am I doing? Really? I'm procrastinating. 
Come one, I've not been so busy all week I couldn't have found the time to do some editing. 
But I've wriggled out of facing it. This is my confession.

I know why too. 
I am suffering The Fear.
The fear that I will start going back through all that hard work and decide it's total tripe and will never be good enough to publish. 

This is what it looks like in my head. I'm still that little girl. I fear the pointy fingers of derision. The ones which tell me I'm crap, and not worthy. That I'll never achieve anything. Just not good enough. 

Time to tell them to fuck off!!! (excuse my potty mouth)
No. Bollocks. I'm not apologising. Sneer and jeer all you want at my naughty words. They're my words and what I feel and no pointy fingered people are going to dissuade me from venting my spleen! 

Piss off pointy fingers. 
I am a grown woman. 
I am an author. I have 7 books out, all of which have some lovely reviews.
I CAN and I WILL do this. 
So boo yar shucks (*pokes out tongue*)

Hear me roar.
(ooh, scared myself a little bit then)

Ah, that feels betterer. 
Tomorrow I will dedicate the whole day to editing. Because I can. 
And you can too xx

Always in love & light,

To view my selection of lovely books which I've successfully published please go here

Friday, 26 January 2018

Hello from actual me

Over the past (almost) five years I have shared many things with you.
You know how I'm a British indie author of romance novels, of course.
You may have gathered intel on the things I like (or not e.g.coriander!).
And if you follow me on Instagram you've seen all sorts of things, especially my cat and food ;-)

But what you have not ever seen is me. Actual photographic evidence of my face.

So, I set a challenge. When I reached 1,000 followers on Instagram, I vowed to change all my author profile pictures to one of my actual face.

Well, today I reached that target, so have been true to my word.

It feels very exciting to meet you all at long last.
I was very protective over my identity, for many reasons. But those reasons have lessened over the years.
I did a fantastic photoshoot with a wonderful photography company, and they gave me bags of confidence.
I must say it feels very liberating.

So, here I am. Hello!

Sunday, 31 December 2017

My Year as a Writer

Wow, has it been a year already? Where did it go? Wait, I want a do-over! I wasn't ready.

When I cast my mind back to 2016, I see it as a year of illness. I was sick with colds for over half the year. These all culminated in a charming illness named Labyrinthitis. And as exciting as that sounds, it did not involve David Bowie or any singing fantasy creatures at all. No, it's a nasty inner ear infection type of a thing, which leaves you immobile. Every time you try to move you are met with a tidal wave of dizziness and ensuing nausea.

But I thank that illness. October 2016 was the start of it. I was off work for 8 weeks. And at the end of that time the dizziness was subsiding, but I couldn't face returning to work. The thought of it made a stone plummet inside me, seemingly wrapped up with a ribbon, given the tied knot feeling which accompanied it. I felt sick.

So, with some savings behind me, I quit. Just like that. I phoned up my boss and, with terror gripping my heart, I told him I wouldn't be returning. I was quivering like a bowlful of jelly (see; seasonal reference there). What was I doing? Were those words really coming out of my mouth? 
I did consult hubby first by the way. Just to clarify.

But as I got off the phone and the shock wore off I felt a great weight drop from my shoulders. My spirit soared. I was free!!! 

It took me another few months to truly begin to feel like myself, and even now I tire easily. My energy had been completely sapped. 

I had already begun to write Love Bites the year before, but it was agonisingly slow progress. Most writers will tell you how they have to hold down a full time job, household duties etc. and fit in their writing as and when they could. And that was me.

I had been stuck at my joyless desk at work, fantasising about unlimited free time to write. Stories were always forming in my mind. "If only I had the time to sit down and write them," I would inwardly cry. 
This did not help the soul sucking job seem any less so. Not at all. 

I had been working full time for about 20 years. And despite many redundancies, I'd had very little time away from an office. I'd been employed most of that period, working full time jobs which offered monetary compensation only. Nothing made me feel happy, work wise. Not until writing came along. It just feels right. I can't imagine not writing now.

This year was a golden opportunity. In 2017 I was going to release my book, and as I had time to dedicate to marketing, I was sure I'd have a success on my hands. 

Well, I wrote Love Bites. It went to a beta reader, who quite rightly pointed out it should become a duology. So I wrote book 2, which involved reconfiguring some of book 1 as I went along. It was really hard. I don't recommend this approach. 
It also meant twice the editing :-/ 

Having gone through more editing, proof readers, and another beta read, the duology wasn't ready for release until August. 

I threw everything I had at its launch. This was my big chance. Adverts, social media, launch party, business cards; everything at my disposal was loaded on my success waggon. 
I think I took a wrong turn; it was met with a somewhat quiet reception. 

What had gone wrong? 
Well, nothing was wrong. It just wasn't my time. 

But what was this year for if this wasn't my big break?
Well, I had plenty of time for rest and recuperation. 
My days had been spent with me waking up naturally, and sitting down to write/edit as and when I could. No pressure. 

But here's the thing, without the pressure, there was no backlog. The urgency fell out of my writing. It became a gentle plod. The furious scribbling never happened. Well, not until NaNoWriMo at least. 

Yes, my first ever NaNoWriMo. 50,000 words written in the month of November. But as December became manic, I've barely touched it again since. I began a whole new novel, this time focusing on loving oneself. I'm hoping to pick that up in January.

But I should also start searching for a new job. I don't like not paying the tax man. Words I thought I'd never say! But I don't feel like I'm contributing to society. It feels wrong. 

My Christmas miracle doesn't seem to have happened. I've not had an enormous flurry of sales. So, if I want to be able to continue eating next year, I suppose I ought to go job hunting. 

I've really enjoyed this year. It's been relatively stress free. It's been an absolute privilege being able to write. I've not been lazy. I've actually worked really hard. But I had more time to worry too. I've worried The Darkness and Light Duology into release. So much fussing! But I think it was worth it. 

And I've worked on myself. More healthy eating, exercise, and really taking a long hard look at how my life is and what I want it to be. 

I'm still waiting to hear back from Waterstones. Who knows, perhaps they'll decide to stock my book soon? That would be amazing.

2016 - my year of illness
2017 - my year of wellness (or recovery, at least)
2018 - my year of success? I hope so.

Where will your 2018 take you? What are your hopes and dreams?

Always in love & light,

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Review - Up in the Air - Things Get Hot in the Snow!

Date read: 30th December 2017

My rating: 4.5*

Genre I reckon: Romance, winter sports, hot hot hot!

Buy link: Amazon

Well, it can sure get hot in the snow! Phew!!

This book is genuinely riveting. Plenty of action and drama.
The characters are well developed, and have the right amount of angst to contend with.

It's set on a snowy mountain where snowboarders roam.
Channing is a female snowboarder who's more like one of the guys, thanks to the influence of her twin brother and his mates.

There's a great deal of personal growth in this tale. Inner battles as much as the battle for gold on the slopes.

There's a few snowboarding moves and terms, but don't be frightened; they're all explained really well.

Oh, and a really sexy guy, of course.
The build-up of tension is excruciating. And hot!

A definite recommend to a friend.

Shoop shoop!

Thursday, 30 November 2017

How NaNoWriMo almost gave me the bends

Don't ask me why I'm using a sea analogy for this. I have no idea. Just bear with me, and dive in.

I'm a Pantser, I can't and don't plot. Seeing others planning actually was a cause of anxiety before NaNoWriMo even began. Should I be doing something? I have a vague idea, maybe the first paragraph in my head. Is that enough? 

Oh, NaNoWriMo is the National Novel Writing Month.
A whole load of crazy authors pledge to write 50,000 words in November. 
Just in case you didn't know. 

1st November arrived, and I just had to take the plunge. I dived straight in with the one little bit I already knew. 

Where this story would take me after that was anyone's guess. 

I immersed myself in the story as I wrote. I learnt a lot in a very short space of time. For instance, what florists do the other six days of the week. Turns out they're always busy. Who knew? 😉😁

It was all very pretty. I was enjoying the scenery and getting to know the characters. Aw, isn't writing wonderful? Happy place. lalala. 

Then I disappeared into a plothole (*insert dramatic music here*). 
I felt like Alice, falling down a dark place. 
Where on Earth was I? What was happening? 

And then I had some days of NOT writing!! Argh, I was behind my target. How would I ever catch up? Panic set in.

This is never going to happen. I'm too far behind. Already there's others who are finishing, but I'm way behind. All is lost. Abort, abort! 

I started trying to fight my way to the surface, hurrying too quickly. I was in danger of getting the bends. 

But then my lovely writing buddies rallied around. 
"Just keep writing, just keep writing," they reminded me. 
I'm great at giving this advice to others. Rubbish at actually following it myself. 

I listened. 
I read the useful tips on the NaNoWriMo site, and their emails. 
Others were posting lovely memes about how to write, how plots should be formed etc.
OK, I did too, but you can't expect me to pay attention to my own posts. Really. 

But with a bit of hand holding, I was able to push on. I relaxed, and allowed myself to just go with the flow. 

I had a really good writing day. I woke up naturally (no alarm clock), and had the plot drifting through my mind as I was finally in that place between sleep and awake. I usually rely on this when I write, but it hadn't happened yet during this book. Hello, old friend. Thank you. I have a direction again.

Not wishing to lose my mojo, I stayed at home on the Saturday whilst my husband and his children went out and had fun without me 😭

But it was worth it. I was back on track. Just in time, as I then headed into the final week. 

And then it happened. On Tuesday 29th November 2017, I hit the magic 50,000 word goal. 
(*insert fanfares, confetti and much merriment*)

I emerged victorious!
I came, I saw, I conquered.
Oh the relief, the sheer sense of achievement. It was amazing.
Even I had to admit my own awesomeness (I don't do this very often). 
I was a winner! 

So, was it all worth it?
The sweat, the worry, the stress, the pressure, the difficult times?
Hell yeah! 
It was a terrific motivator. I'm really glad I took part in my first ever NaNoWriMo.

And honestly, if you take part and don't reach 50k who cares? 
It's more of a guideline anyway. 😉
As long as you have more words than when you started, you are a winner. 

But every writer knows, this is only the beginning.
There is more story to go before I can proudly pronounce 'the end'.
Then there will be the (*drumroll*)... EDITING!!! 😱 (*scream*)

Congratulations to all writers who took part, or are just writing on their own. 
You're doing a great job. 
Keep telling your tails; see what I did there? 😉

Always with love & light,

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

What's the deal about Christmas?

No, I'm not a Grinch. That's not what this article's about.
But what is it with Christmas, that makes some people pout? 
It is a time to be filled with love, goodwill and cheer.
But all around me, lots of moaning is what I hear. 

It is far too soon to decorate your room,
Never you mind that it banishes the gloom. 
Nothing should be done until late December.
And it should be about Jesus, remember. 

Christmas songs are being played in shops,
Even in the butchers. I just want chops! 
We'll be sick of it by the time the day is here. 
Never mind, we'll have the same argument next year. 

Tee hee. Like my little Ode to a Christmas Cynic?
Every year we have the same moaning and whinging from some, whilst others are over excited, and have the tree up by the end of November.
The shops put their Christmas adverts out nice and early. Well, they've spent a fortune trying to lure us in; they want to get their money's worth.
"It's over commercialised," I hear some say. And yes, it is in a way.

My step children are both in their teens. There is no Father Christmas, and no magic for him to bring.
They're not even overly bothered by presents, and barely glance up from their devices as family gather around.
I had been wondering why I even bother with the big festive feast. I cook turkey with all the trimmings every year. I really like doing it, but it gets stressful, and hubby doesn't overly like turkey.
I tried goose one year, but it was considerably more expensive, and only hubby appreciated it.

But, without the turkey, pigs in blankets, bread sauce (made with brioche), cranberry sauce etc. we don't really have anything. At this stage of our lives the meal IS our Christmas. That's a bid sad, isn't it?

(this is what I look like in my head, but in reality I'm more off a half drunk sweaty mess)

We're not Christians. Not that many among our acquaintance are either. Those of our friends who get the most excited are actually the least religious. Odd!
So, we don't have church to attend, or Jesus to cherish.

It could be argued it's not really a Christian festival. There are those who would point out that Jesus was born some time around April. But it's celebrated on December 25th as it covered up the pagan festival of Yule.

Now Yule is definitely something I can get into.
You may have noticed, I'm part witch. But even without that, I love what Yule represents.
It celebrates the return of the light. The Winter Solstice marks the shortest day just before Christmas Day.
It brings hope that days will now start to become longer again. And spring isn't too far away.

I get SAD. My mood plummets around this time of year (hence this article).
I really struggle, and just want to hibernate like a little bear until crocuses start to emerge.
Regrettably, I'm human. Humans must carry on.

So, I decorate my tree at the start of December. I worked out it's better environmentally to buy a plastic one and re-use it for many years. No needle drop either ;-) So, I can feasibly decorate it, and bring some much needed, beloved light into my home.
This also serves as a memory jog, a nudge to get out and buy the few presents I need to buy.

Incidentally, a few years back I put a spending limit on presents. Bless him, hubby became over enthusiastic. This was lovely, and I got very spoiled, but I'm crap at buying presents, so it actually made me feel bad.
This year I've asked him to sponsor a girl for me. I've seen adverts on TV about it. The poor girls in other countries who are dragged out of school and forced into marriage at a ridiculously young age, where all kinds of horrors await.
I have all I need. They clearly do not. If I can help even one of them, is this not a better gift? To give someone a life is surely a wonderful thing.

Anyway, I'm getting off track.
Whether you are already sitting amongst piles of wrapped presents, more excited than a kid in a sweet shop.
Or whether you're sat with your 'bah humbug' hat on, scowling.
Or even if you're crying because it reminds you of a loved one who's no longer here, and celebrating is the last thing you feel like doing.
That's OK.

Christmas is a deeply personal thing.
It means something different to each one of us.
I'm not going to judge you. Just as I ask you not to judge me.

Celebrate in your own sodding way, and stop worrying about what others are doing!
Stop having the same argument every year. We're allowed our own opinion.

Please remember that every religion will teach you a fundamental truth:
Love is the way. Hold compassion in your heart.

So, whatever and however you're celebrating...
I wish you love & light. 
And to all a goodnight.

Psst...this would make a great stocking filler for adults:

Saturday, 18 November 2017

What do I look like?

So, the time is nigh! 
Having kept myself in the shadows, a little like the great Banksy, I am finally about to reveal myself. 

I've been self-published for 4.5 years, and have 7 books out in the world, yet nobody has seen any proper pictures of author me.

I did this firstly as a form of protection. I write under a pseduonym.
This was partly to protect myself, but also those connected with me. 
But this is now less of an issue. 

It has also forced me to use my writing in its own right. 
My words and books have been able to speak for themselves without interference. 

But it has kept me in the shadows.
This was a good thing, but also a bad one. 

So, I'm going to break the chains of my own making. 
But only once I've reached 1,000 followers on Instagram. 
Clever marketing? No, I'm really not that clever. 
I just need the support to take the final plunge. 

Having been secret for so long, it's now weird and scary to reveal my appearance to you all. 
It's strange, but it's true. 
Think what Clark Kent would feel like telling his co-workers/fans that he is in fact Superman.
Or any of the superheroes, for that matter.
Not that I'm a superhero. I'm just a normal person. Actually, you'll probably be really disappointed. 

So, to find out whether I'm a beauty or a beast (or just something in between), please go and follow me on Instagram, spread the news (there's a post on Faceook and Twitter

Thank you for your support. 

Always in love & light,