Monday 30 December 2013

Goodbye 2013...

Seaton, Cornwall
... I'm really going to miss you.

Occasionally you get one of those years that's just perfect, don't you? And 2013 was one of those years for me!

There was a lot of sea. music and alcohol, and I published my second book. I did a reading in April and a signing in December. I sold some books and several people told me that a couple of my stories made them cry.
Erm, not sure where this is
Marazion, overlooking
St Michael's Mount

I did quite a lot of writing, quite a lot of procrastinating, quite a lot of beta reading. And watches several of my blogger, Facebook and Twitter friends have some fantastic success with their books.

And the sun shone... a lot. It was the best British summer in a very long time. I even managed to develop a tan... well, a very vague tan that I needed to point out to people, but the lines were very obvious to me!

And most of all, I had fun... so much fun!

Saltash waterside, Cornwall
Me, and my hat, and some cider!

Hayle, Cornwall

So, the only thing left to do is look forward to 2014 (unofficially entitled My Nemesis Year).

I wish you lots of happiness, success and love throughout 2014.
Happy New Year xxx

Friday 20 December 2013

Merry Christmas

There's a possibility I won't get round to posting anything else before Christmas, so I'm good to sign off now.

Fighting against my hermit tendencies, I have accepted five offers to be sociable over the next week. Which is a lot for me!

No fear though, I fully hope to be able to lock myself away to work on my two books-in-progress! The words flow better when you've got a chocolate Santa to hand.

I hope you all have a wonderful, safe and Merry Christmas!

Wednesday 18 December 2013

My new book is on its way!

Yesterday, I received the first set of edits from my editor for my next book, Our Beautiful Child. Yay!!

You may or may not know that my publisher, Vagabondage Press, are American. So, the hardest part of the whole process is changing all my beautiful British spellings into American. In Cat and The Dreamer, the first book they published, my spellings were preserved which I was surprised - and happy - about, but policy has obviously changed.

I love British spellings, but after a while I started to accept the changes that involved 'u's, and the replacement of draught with draft. But then I hit the word omelette which doesn't have the te in the American spelling. After publishing my short story Omelette in That Sadie Thing I'm rather attached to the spelling, and currently I've overlooked it. It's very possible I will change it to chicken pie or better still pasty just to avoid dealing with it!

The other thing I hadn't fully appreciated before is how many commas American's use. They are everywhere - the British style (or maybe just my style, I'm not entirely sure) seems to have simplified the use of commas. But my editor would have put one after the but at the beginning of this sentence. In the end I've just gone with it, otherwise I would have ended up unediting all the editing she'd done... Not a good way to conduct a professional relationship!

On the plus side, she has added a couple of semi-colons, and by now you should all be aware of my addiction to them!

UPDATE: I thought I'd email my editor, just to double-double check, and I can keep my British spellings. D'oh. If I'd emailed her before this post, I wouldn't have had to write it! Now I'm going through the ms again.

What do you think about American v British spellings?
Do you have an opinion?
How are you today?

Thursday 12 December 2013

My ten minutes of fame in my own town

I warned you there would be a post about my book signing - and here it is!

When I arrived, I had a small table to set up on - I think I did pretty well. In fact, before I even arrived, a lady who was having a coffee had already bought one, so I was greeted by the sight of someone reading my book - pretty cool!

Books, badges and chocolates were set up - and no, I didn't eat all of the chocolates, there are still some left - and I waited.

There was an initial flurry of customers (friends) who'd promised they'd come...

... and then it settled down. The bookshop owner had asked her journalist friend to pop in and interview me - it was my first ever face-to-face interview, but I didn't have time to get nervous because he jumped straight in. I think it would have been a different matter if I'd been warned - far too much time to worry and panic!

Outside, we had a couple of musicians playing...

A few more friends came in and bought the book, and even a couple of strangers. I got quite good at making random conversation with people sitting at tables and trying to enjoy their coffee and cake in peace. I tried to tweet but I was in a Twitter black spot so it didn't work - I had to randomly walk outside and wave my phone around.

All in all, it was a really fun morning. But exhausting. Trying to be nice to people while they're trying their best to ignore you in case you force them to buy a book is hard.

The owner introduced me to a customer. The customer said: "We've got an author in our village, [insert random name here]."
"Oh," said I, having never heard of the author, and having no idea which village this woman was talking about!

The only problem I have now is that all these people who know me as their jolly, upbeat gym instructor will have a whole different opinion of me...

And finally, I saw this as I was leaving... (the shelf is labelled such, not just my book).

Tuesday 10 December 2013

The Ghosts of Aquinnah

Please give a warm welcome to Christopher Casey, one of the characters in Julie Flanders's new novel, The Ghosts of Aquinnah. After hearing about this book for so long, I am desperate to get my hands on it!

Aquinnah, Massachusetts

The Ghosts of Aquinnah Character Interview 

What is your name?
Christopher Casey

What do you look like?
I have dark curly brown hair and brown eyes, I always seem to have the beginnings of a scruffy beard on my face. I’m athletic and wiry and because I’m Irish I’m cursed with pale skin. 

When were you born? Where do you live?
I was born in 1863 and at the moment I’m bouncing between homes. I was born in Galway, Ireland and lived there until recently. Then I moved to Boston, Massachusetts and have recently lived with the Winslows in the town of Chilmark on Martha’s Vineyard. That didn’t work out too well, so now I’m temporarily living in the fishing village of Menemsha on the Vineyard. 

What has been the most important event in your life?
I left Boston on January 17, 1884 to sail to Savannah, Georgia on The City of Columbus. I’ve always wanted to live where it’s warm. I didn’t get very far, as the ship sank off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard. My life has been a bit strange since I ended up on this island. I’m fortunate I survived the wreck though, as more than 100 people didn’t.

Have you ever been in love?
I am now, actually. Crazily so.

Do you hold grudges?
No, not really. Life is too short for that, isn’t it? 

Who is the person you respect the most? Despise the most?
I respected my mother. She raised me on her own because my father died before I was born. She’s dead now though. I can’t say I really despise anyone, but I’m not particularly fond of Josiah Winslow. 

What goal do you most want to accomplish in your lifetime?
I want to marry Stella Winslow.


A brilliant flash of light transcends through time.

Another freezes a cloaked figure within a frame of salty mist as waves crash against a rocky shore. Her harrowing expression shadows the beacon to a pinprick.

By the next blaze, she is gone. Only the lighthouse remains.

Hannah’s eyes blink in step with each heartbeat. Images of her deceased parents and Martha’s Vineyard explode like firecrackers inside her mind.

She shakes her head.

For weeks this eerie woman dressed in nineteenth century garb has been haunting my webcam, but tonight she stared into my soul.

Why? ...

Who is she? ...

Casting aside months of research on historic lighthouses, Hannah drives to the coast and boards a ferry.

What is the strange connection she has to this mysterious woman suspended in time?

Hannah finds out.

But, it’s not at all what she expects...

Hannah unravels a century old murder.

Buy The Ghosts of Aquinnah:

Author Bio: Julie Flanders is a novelist and freelance writer in Cincinnati, Ohio. She has a life-long love affair with the ocean and has spent more summer vacations than she can count on the island of Martha’s Vineyard. When not writing, Julie can be found playing with her pets, reading, cheering on her favorite sports teams, and watching too much television. The Ghosts of Aquinnah is Julie’s second novel. Her debut novel Polar Night was released in February, 2013 by Ink Smith Publishing.

Find Julie at:

Friday 6 December 2013

Return to Canterbury

It's my huge pleasure to help Melissa Ann Goodwin with the cover reveal of her new novel Return to Canterbury, the sequel to The Christmas Village which I'm reading at the moment with my son.

About Return to Canterbury:
Things have settled down for thirteen-year-old Jamie Reynolds since last Christmas. That’s when he time-traveled to 1932 and wound up in the town of Canterbury, Vermont. There he met Kelly and Christopher Pennysworth, who quickly became his best friends. Back in his own time again, he misses them every day.

But, as the July 4th, 2008 holiday approaches, the biggest black cloud hovering over Jamie’s life is the mystery of what happened to his dad, who has been missing for almost a year.Little does Jamie know that he will soon reunite with Kelly and Christopher for an adventure even bigger than their last. Together they’ll uncover a secret plot that threatens to destroy Canterbury. But will they be able to stop it before it’s too late? And will Jamie finally solve the mystery of his father’s disappearance? Return to Canterbury with us and find out!

If you're in the US you can enter a giveaway for Return to Canterbury right here.

Find Melissa on her blog here

Put Return to Canterbury on your Goodreads TBR list here

Buy The Christmas Village here

Wednesday 4 December 2013

IWSG: I'm being haunted by my character

It's the first Wednesday of the month, so it's time for December's IWSG post. To find out more about this amazing group, and to sign up, check our the website here.

Here's the truth: I get haunted by some of the characters I write about - they creep into my head and won't leave, even after I've stopped writing about them.

Dark characters, emotionally-wrought characters. I get weighed down with their problems and their thoughts until it's hard for me to remember they are not real. I dream about them, indeed I dream as though I am them. When I'm writing an upsetting scene I can find myself dragged down even when I'm on my way to work. 

It's not altogether a bad thing, it means I can really empathise, which is a good thing for a writer, right?

In my soon-to-be-edited-again novel, I have a character who disappears into the walls (literally/figuratively - that's the reader's call), and I actually found myself trying to do the exact same thing - in awkward situations I'd find myself creeping closer and closer to the wall, pretending I wasn't there!

Sometimes, I find it hard to come back to being just me.

Of course, this wouldn't be a problem if I wrote about happy, playful, beautiful, confident people... I'll have to try that one day!

Do you ever find yourself being taken over by your characters?
Is this a good thing, a bad thing or a distraction?

Sunday 1 December 2013

19 weeks

Those of you who've followed my blog for more than a year will know that I tend to shun the normal New Year's Resolutions. I prefer to make mine at random times - my birthday, the start of the school year, Tuesday...

Today is a Resolution Day because in exactly 19 weeks time I will be forty...

I've been counting down to this day for a long time, the number kind of lingers once you reach one of the other ages. It'll be a different age for all of you, but then - suddenly - it will be there, lurking.

Not that I'm worried about the age (despite the very small letters above lol), I don't feel that old at all. It helps that my 20s were a wasted decade. Okay, I got married, had children, bought a house - but I was a passive bystander. It wasn't until my 30s that I started to take an interest in my life.

So, therefore, I'm actually [age]-10, always.

Here are my resolutions to be completed by my birthday (and yes, I might have mentioned some of these before, I don't always succeed):

  • To figure out the business side of writing AND to not look at any stats, at all
  • To have my next novel ready to query
  • To start a new story with the title 19 Weeks, because the more I look at it, the more I love it
  • To complete two pull-ups and ten press ups (injury means both of these need a lot of work)
  • To gather the courage to update my author pic
  • To have a lot of fun, not just the normal amount, but loads more!

So that's mine, what would you like to achieve by my birthday??
(Or your own, if you prefer...)