Sunday, 12 March 2017

Marching on

This is where we sometimes walk our dog, Dexter. Where we live there are lots of lovely dog walking areas nearby, both right on the doorstep and a short drive away. In fact the countryside that surrounds the city I live in has been much of the inspiration for the setting of Sadie's House. Its very beautiful, very green and very hilly, scattered with little villages and country towns. Where I live isn't particularly rural  - its typical suburbia, but it is surrounded by lots of green belt, lots of fields, trees and walking areas and so although we never meant to have a dog (we inherited him after our son and his girlfriend separated), he gets lots of exercise - and so do we! So we are all quite lucky in that respect.

So here's the update. I mentioned in my last post that I had sent The Secrets to a big London agent. I was talking to one of my most beloved friends about facing your fears and getting out of your comfort zone. Self publishing was a huge step for me because it frightened me to death, but I really wanted Dad to see the book in print. In the long term, that didn't work out all that well - there were lots of mistakes and after all, it was my first attempt. I sold a few, but haven't broken any sales records and now, of course, I have withdrawn it all and I am starting again. So to send off the work that I actually finished a year ago, then spent months and months editing, knowing that, as has been the case for many - including the likes of Stephen King and JK Rowling, the most likely scenario is that it will be ignored or rejected. And yet that very thought does not put me off in any way. I already have several other agents listed and details almost ready to go at the push of a button. So here's a shout out to  with thanks for their updates on agents accepting submissions. I continue to use this fabulous source to stay on my game! The agents said typical replies take about 12 weeks, and its only been about 4 or 5 (not that this little fact is stopping me from checking my emails every day....!)

So I continue to operate under the notion that maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but one day. I will keep marching on regardless. As I said to my friend, while ever I am alive, and even beyond, anything is always a possibility, and that's what gives up hope. The whole thing...this whole journey is so completing exciting! I have never been a person for whom everything just drops into place at first attempt. But with a great deal of perseverance, and a great deal of hard work, I have successfully accomplished many of the things I set out to do. Maybe its the same for this......

Saturday, 18 February 2017

To be, or not to be (published) that is the question....

I was very excited to hear from the publisher with a request for my full manuscript. However, I have decided after all, not to submit.  And why was that, I hear you enquire….
Well, let me explain.
Never underestimate the power of a bit of research. And I’m kicking myself a bit, after all you would think I would have learned my lesson really wouldn’t you? So maybe I’m a little bit sceptical, or paranoid, or nervous ..(or all three!) but it seemed to me, after all that I have been through so far on my writing / publishing journey, to have been so very quick and easy to have my manuscript requested by the first company.
Exciting, but doubts crept in. Who and what was the company I had submitted to? I had researched, but in hindsight (and aren’t we all clever there…) it was surface research. I had been on their website, seen their publicity….and all may well be above board.
The reviews.
Why did this only occur to me later? Not too late, I might add, but still. I read the reviews. Now it seems that this particular company offer 2 publishing packages. One is a traditional publishing package, in which the company pays the bills and the writer receives royalties. The other package, however, is classed as vanity publishing, in which the virtues of said book are extolled, but because of the risks, especially with unknown authors, etc etc, then a substantial contribution towards the cost of publishing is required. Running into thousands of pounds. I had previously  seen something about this, but had expected that if this were to be the case, I would be informed at an early stage. The request for my manuscript came with no such advice.

Now I can be naive, but not completely stupid. I know that any such reviews can be written by disgruntled customers and clients, so to take this with a pinch of salt. I am capable of deciding for myself….aren’t I? So why not send off the manuscript and see what they say?

 It was the fact that so many reviewers had experienced exactly the same process, with the same letters going out, asking for financial contributions. One even said that they don’t even read your work, just butter you up then start asking for money. And at this point I started second guessing myself. Did this mean that everyone would only be made this offer? Was I now doubting the quality of my work and concerned that it would not be chosen for traditional publishing? Should I send it anyway? Should I start all over again?

The whole thing is quite exhausting!

So anyway. As I said, I decided against it...such is the power of the Internet and reviewing that it did, in fact, influence my decision. Not because I doubt my work, but quite the opposite. I deserve better, so I am not even going to enter that particular arena. I’ve sent it all instead to a big London agent. I’m pretty terrified, to be honest, but at least I feel I will have an honest answer. And if it’s not right for them, I will move on to the next one. 

Meanwhile I continue to be optimistic. I feel a bit like kids,  climbing...they always reach the top, but my climb is taking considerably longer, and the top is nowhere in sight right now.

Still, you never know.........

Sunday, 22 January 2017

And on to the next phase....

We had a bit of a busy year last year. In lots of ways we still seemed to be suffering some continued fallout from the apocalypse that was 2015,  but there were lots of highlights. People often say to me "I would write a book if I had time....." which I always greet with a wry smile. I said in an earlier post how hectic life was, but I know what they mean. And last year, we were away every school holiday. In between everything else I didn't leave myself much time for writing. I didn't see my friends as much as I would have liked either, a fact I intend to address this year. This year then, we have decided to try to slow it down a little (the madness of life, that is....the opposite for the writing.) We were thrilled when we had the unexpected chance to go skiing last Easter as my son was working in a popular ski resort so we flew out to see him. We hope we might do the same this year (fingers crossed.....) but the whole family became so excited by the notion of skiing that we have booked for all of us to go and give it a try. Not 'till next February, mind, so everyone can save up, but we face the prospect now of lots of excited chatter and we are already shopping for ski wear......I feel a sense of childish excitement. We will visit Cornwall in the summer but apart from that are going to spend a bit more time at home. And writing.

So anyhoo....(I can't decide if that is a terrible term or if I quite like it....I like what my mouth does when I say it.....!)...back to the progress on the book. I submitted The Secrets to a publisher and I shall be completely honest about its progress. I was open about the fact that I had previously self published, to save us both from wasting our time. I have had a message saying that the submission had been forwarded to the editors so that fact had not meant immediate rejection. I am now waiting to hear their judgement. Meanwhile I had started re editing The Key but have left this to one side in recent weeks. I am finding myself pulled in the direction of the Third book and began sketching out ideas for where I would like the story to go. I have written the opening paragraph and have lots of bits of chapters and ideas, but I want to get started on it properly this week. Let's see what happens....the best laid plans and all that....

And of course I am busily picking out my dress for the film premier....
Well we can all dream can't we. 😇

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

To Boldly Go......

Captain’s  log January 2017………
Ok so I have to admit that I am a bit of a Trekkie. My favourite film is Star Trek lV, which I have seen dozens and dozens of times and it never gets old. That particular  story, however, has nothing to do with this post. No, I am referring to the next step of my journey as a would be writer and author.

I’ve not been shy on here about sharing some of my trials and tribulations as I ventured into the world of publishing. I have been disappointed with the printing of my second book….let’s just say that things had not turned out as I had hoped, and so after some lengthy consideration, I have decided to cancel the contract I have with my publishing company. This was delayed by the fact that I was having trouble scanning the documents I had to sign, until in a flash of genius, I discovered a free app that lets you scan from your IPad. Hey Presto, documents signed, contract cancelled. Somehow this makes my books rather more valuable as they are now out of print/less easy to locate….not entirely sure how that works but a lengthy email from the support team explained this…….it tickles me to think of them as collectors items…..but let’s not get carried away……..

So what are my next steps, I hear you ask in a chorus of curiosity. Well I’ll tell you…..

1 I have to remove all images I have had from the company from my publicity and marketing, and replace them with my own. This is in progress.

2 The Key is being redrafted. I have removed all the errors and made a few, very minor changes. I am also rewriting it in the third person to see if this works and will then decide which version I prefer. It will then also be thoroughly edited!

3 I have amended The Secrets by removing the prologue and epilogue. The  first chapter,which directly ties it to the first  book has gone and everything bumped up to make 30 neat chapters. It is much more succinct as a piece of work that will  a) stand alone or b) read comfortably as either a first book, or a prequel/second book after the first. (Well that made sense in my head…..)

4 I have written a cover letter and synopsis for The Secrets, have  selected chapters and now will double check submission formatting ready to go again.

5 I will resubmit to a  publisher who had accepted my work before  (sadly took such a long time getting back that in my haste, due to Dad’s ill health, I had already gone in another direction)

6 I will increase  my search for suitable traditional publishers and begin the round of submissions once more. Whilst I work on upgrading  The Key, I will submit The Secrets. All will need to know that I had already previously published so we shall see what response that brings.

And then there is the third instalment…

So we are kind of back to the drawing board, as it were.

I am feeling quite bold to have made the decision to jump ship and move forward on my own. Not quite Captain Kirk bold, but feeling a bit brave nonetheless. I have distanced myself from the Klingons, positioned myself in the Captain’s chair and I’m all set for the next adventure. Warp speed would be nice, but hold on tight anyway. We’ve come a long way….but there’s even further to explore!

Friday, 28 October 2016


I went back to work after the summer holidays, to a very much changed environment. It's not a myth that people in my profession often work 50, 60 and 70 hour weeks (and more!) and this was the situation I found myself in, trying to adapt to my new role and keep up with the work pace. Lots of new challenges. And so I found myself coming home from work and literally conking out on the sofa, too exhausted to move or even think. And yet there was this latest book to promote.....

However, I took the time to come to a decision about it's future, and have actively disengaged myself from the promotion process over the last couple of months. But I lovingly crafted the story of Albie and Edgar, the history of the house and the secrets and tragedies that developed. "The Secrets" took a long time to write and a long time to edit. Unfortunately in publication something was lost in translation regarding the printing of the book and I can't say that I am happy with the result of the cover. So there are changes afoot, and I will pop up with details of these soon. I am on a fascinating journey and I have been intrigued by the different directions I have taken with regard to venturing into writing and publishing. Publishing my first book was quite frightening and, in hindsight, done too quickly. The second one - well I have dragged my heels and I am still wavering. I can't say too much here until I have sorted it out, but I am in the middle of making a number of changes. The story, however, remains the same.

SO, it's available on Kindle at the moment, if you are curious to find out more. "Sadie's House; The Secrets".

My first book "Sadie's House; The Key" is being completely redrafted, and this is taking AN AGE!!! I have been heavily reassured by several sources that it is common to look back at your first writing with a very critical eye, but I hope I'm not losing anything by redrafting it in the third person, instead of the first. We shall have to wait and see.

And meanwhile, the family remain patient with me as I fling my way precariously between job, writing, cake making and trying to maintain my responsibilities and wife and mother, daughter and sister, friend and pet owner. I have been lucky enough to have quite a few holidays this year. But now the decorating needs doing, the Christmas shopping won't do itself, and there's another good series on Netflix.......

It's a busy old life. I love it :)