Sunday, 19 January 2020

If You Can Think It, You Can Write It: Introduction


This is a manual for anyone who has ever had the dream of writing a novel and wished they could have a few signs pointing them in the right direction. Not another How-to-Write-Fiction manual, I hear you say. There are already plenty on the market. Why bother? The answer is, I would like to offer the knowledge and experience I gained during my writing journey to those setting out and who are looking for guidance and encouragement.

When I was getting ready to publish my first book, the advice was to build an audience by blogging. Although unfamiliar with social media at the time, though that’s changed, I enjoyed blogging. However, as the novel took up more and more of my time, I found it difficult to keep posting regularly and stopped.

A while ago a friend suggested I rework and use my early blog posts as an introductory guide to writing a novel. I considered the idea and got as far as organizing the chapters but put it aside, as the story I was working on had a deadline. Mulling over my New Year’s resolutions, I decided that a good approach to getting the project up and running again would be to post a chapter on the first of each month and, once complete, I could publish the combined results as a book.

The title arrived thanks to an unknown school teacher. A friend’s young daughter came home from school one afternoon and told her mother she’d written her first story. Mama was impressed. “Wow, honey, that’s fantastic. I didn’t know you could write stories.” “The teacher said if you can think it, you can write it,” the little girl answered. I’m more than willing to admit this is a simplification of what is involved, but it’s also the truth and an excellent way of looking at the situation if you are have the urge to write a story but don’t know where to begin or doubt your abilities.

When I’m asked why I spend my time writing fiction, the answer is straightforward—there’s an idea for a plot or a character in my head that’s occupying my internal landscape and the only way to maintain my sanity is to write it down. Once I’m underway, I fall in love with transforming whatever is living in my imagination into a tangible form with a beginning, a middle and an end. The beauty of a book is that once finished, you are able to share it with others because the conversion from abstract to concrete is complete.

As a novelist you have to accept you will never please all the people all of the time, but the desire to share and for others to read and, hopefully, enjoy your stories is a powerful one.

As with any endeavor there are obstacles to overcome, but there’s no rule that says you can’t just sit down and write your fictional tale. We use language every day, and most of us have been doing so for years. We all know friends who love telling stories, from the latest gossip at the office to what Uncle Bertie did in the war. However, if you are going to make a serious effort, cultivate the following three qualities as they will take you a long way down the road to fulfilling your dream. 

Determination isn’t a constant quality; it varies. A storm out at at sea can send huge waves thundering onto the beach, yet at other times the sky is blue, the sun is shining and tiny wavelets surge and retreat. Your resolve is like the sea; the wind pushes the water forward but not always with the same amount of force. So cultivate determination—or as I call it, stickability—and by focusing on your goal, you’ll increase the chances of achieving your heart’s desire.

Developing a regular writing routine (aka a writerly habit) cannot be stressed enough, and every writer has their own rhythm and their individual method of tapping into the creative process. My habit, for the most part, is to write as soon as I get up and inhale a large coffee. I work for as long as I can, but I’ll also have periods of working later in the day when I give myself a word quota and stay at the keyboard till I’ve reach my target. Some swear by coffee shops or the library as places for work. Sometimes words flow, other times it’s a case of patience, encouraging them on to the page. Even when the words arrive, they’re not always the ones you want; but if you’ve got something to play with—then that’s better than nothing. Being disciplined doesn’t mean being rigid, but it does mean putting in the time and effort.

Here are a few definitions of the word ‘drive’ from the Oxford dictionary: by compulsion, force along, impel, urge, compel, energy, initiative, go along before an impelling force. You get the drift.

When you combine purpose and tenacity, you generate momentum and enthusiasm enabling you to make progress. Energy bubbles, and characters, plot, setting etc., ferment and incubate in your mind. Determination gets you started and discipline keeps you going but most of all, the act of bringing to life characters and events that exist only in your imagination provides the impetus to continue with this fascinating, absorbing yet difficult activity. Why? I believe it’s because creating something is one of the most satisfying things you can do.

My aim is to give you the tools you’ll need to get going on the novel that’s burning a hole in your brain. So…let’s begin.

(Homework from an introduction? What kind of book is this going to be? Well, inspiration plays a huge part in motivation, and reading about these writers shows you how dedicated they are to their craft. Besides, reading is easy homework!)
Recommended reading:

Work hard, play hard, have a great month and see you all on the 1st February.

Thursday, 21 November 2019

Healer's Magic on Audible!

At last! 
Healer's Magic was the second book I wrote and self-published on Amazon, but the journey, for one reason or another, from book to audiobook has taken much longer than I anticipated. In fact, I managed to publish seven other audiobooks before this one!

Nonethless, I am very happy to annouce that the audiobook is now availalable on Audible, Amazon and iTunes. Click the link to hear a sample:
Healer's Magic is FREE as an audiobook with Audible's 30-Day Trial:

A powerful healer. A treacherous enemy. A deadly conflict.

Tatya's world slides into chaos when a demon consumed with the desire to control her power attacks those she loves. She refuses the local master vampire’s offer of aid, as he's just turned her best friend into one of the undead. She needs allies, but who can she trust in the battle to destroy this dangerous enemy?
If you like urban fantasy laced with mysticism, fast-paced action, and stubborn independent heroines, you'll love this fresh innovative take on the vampire/demon myth. 

'Healer’s Magic’ is Book One in the 'Kala Trilogy'.

Here's what reviewers are saying about this epic paranormal thriller.
"An intoxicating work of creativity, passion, imagination and danger...stretches the boundaries for this type of fiction in new ways...fresh and original." Gillian Hancock, Indie Book Reviewer.

"An interesting concept ... great energy that whisks us along...genuine and authentic." Laura Clarke, Indie Book Reviewer.
"Addicting, multi-layered story." Layla Messing, Indie Book Reviewer.


The ebook edition is also FREE and available to download from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, Prolific Works, Story Origin etc.

Best wishes, be kind to yourselves and others and keep reading!

Thursday, 29 August 2019

Playing with graphics

As an indie author/authorpreneur/self-pubbed author*, I sign up to a lot of newsletters, especially those that have insights into any relevant areas of the book publishing/marketing industry. One dropped into my mailbox today from which stirred my interest.

The email was about a website called BookBrush which allows authors to create images for marketing their books. The Free Plan allows 3 downloads per month, so I clicked the link and spent a happy hour clicking buttons and experimenting. You can view the results below. I'm not a professional, although, I use Adobe photoshop for my book covers and for my ads, and I found this amazingly quick and easy to use.

Here are my results:

I'll tweak these a bit more and, especially in the second one, would like to play around with the font, but next time I won't click the Download button twice on one image as it counted as two downloads! There are 2 plans, the Limted Free plan and the Plus plan which is $8 per month, paid yearly ($96). 

If you like learning new skills and want to give BookBrush a try, check it out here:

And if you're looking for someone to help you promote your books, check out      

Best wishes, 

*self-pubbed, for those who don't know, refers to self-published authors, not writers who choose write their books in pubs (tradition British drinking places).

Friday, 16 August 2019

Special Weekend Freebies!

Hi everyone! 

This weekend I'd like to share these free books with you. Some are mine, some are written by other indie writers and you can download as many as you want. Take this opportunity to fill your ereaders with some great summer reading.

Veiled Planet (a sci-fi romantic thriller) and One Summer in Montmartre (a time-slip Women’s Fiction) are FREE until the 18th August.

Both Smashwords and Kobo have had sales of my three box sets in the last couple of months, and until the 18th August, you can pick up the Kala Trilogy Box Setthe Adept Solutions Box Setand the Saoirse Saga Box Set for $2.99 each on Amazon. So, head on over to your local Amazon website and pick up some free and discounted books.

And if you haven't done so already, then please download these permafree books from your favorite digital retailer.

If you're an avid reader, please check out August’s Giveaways where you can download as many books as you want and fill your ereaders with plenty of summer reading.
Dean Foster’s August promo has a fabulous collection of Sci-fi and Fantasy books, all neatly organized according to genre, which makes finding your favorites real easy.
Check out this brilliant group giveaway for action and adventure in far-flung universes.

 Be kind to yourself and to others and keep reading.
Best wishes,

Monday, 11 March 2019

New Release: Song of the Fae

Song of the Fae is live! Yeah!

I'm always nervous and excited as the release day of a new book approaches, hoping readers will enjoy the results of my hard work and imagination. After the book goes live, there's a slow deflation and a sigh of sadness as I say goodbye to characters whose dramas have occupied my internal landscape for the past  months. 

Now, it's up to you, dear readers, to see if the book meets your expectations. 
Here's the blurb:

First a prisoner, then a fugitive, now Roshène must earn her freedom.

Roshène’s blood is powerful, but she’s trapped in a nightmare without memories where her every move is controlled by a demonic sorcerer. When a chance to escape appears, she seizes it and flees.

Alone and with no one to turn to, Roshène accepts help from Hunter, a Fae guardian. Together, they undertake a hazardous journey to safety: the prize—the return of her memories. Along the way, she becomes increasingly dependent on and attracted to Hunter.

In exchange for their protection and help, the Fae will demand payment. But the question haunting Roshène is, will Hunter turn out to be just another jailer or her savior?

Song of the Fae, a gripping romantic thriller, takes you on an exhilarating journey into a marvelous urban fantasy world.

Reviewers say:

"A perfect start to an exciting new series!"
"A wonderful start to a series I have fallen in love with."
"Hunter and Roshène rock this story!"
As a new release, the book is currently sale for 0.99c, so pick up your copy today! 

Song of the Fae, Book One in the Fae Heritage series, is available from:

Amazon     Barnes & Noble       iBooks         Kobo      Smashwords

Have a great week and best wishes,

Thursday, 29 November 2018

Ancestral Secrets now on Audible!

I'm really pleased that Ancestral Secrets, the third book in the Adept Solutions Series of Investigations for the Magickally Challenged (surely that's one of the longest book titles?) is now available as an audiobook. Yeah!! Currently Stars & Ashes is being recorded by the same narrator, Apryl Renee West, which gives me confidence as I know she does a great job. 

Ancestral Secrets, like all Audible's audiobooks, are free with a 30-day trial.

Check out a sample here:

Also available on Amazon and iTunes.

Sunday, 21 October 2018

The Good, the Bad and the Freebies!

First, the good which is short and sweet! It’s great a feeling when the hard work you put it pays off, and Madaxa’s Heir has been the best release I have had so far. Yeah! 

Now, the bad which is not so short and not sweet at all. I have made a copyright infringement complaint to Amazon because someone has copied, pasted and uploaded a book I unpublished in January 2017. The book in question is an early version of Healer’s Magic (under its first incarnation as Tatya’s Return). Whoever it is has even used my name, but Amazon confirmed it’s not been uploaded from my KDP account, which means any sales won't be going into my bank account. I unpublished this book 2 years ago and re-released it as Healer’s Magic after paying a reputable editor a whole lot of hard-earned money. So please do not buy this book. Amazon is taking its time removing the book from sale, and I have asked them to block sales while the dispute is ongoing – but have had no confirmation they are doing so. As you can imagine, I have cursed this nasty cheat more than a few times, but, hopefully, Amazon's copyright department will sort this out sometime soon.
Thank goodness it's time for the Freebies! I have three series and have made the first in each series free.  So if you don’t already have Stars & Ashes, Hekate’s Chalice or Healer’s Magic, then pop over to your favorite digital retailer and download one or all of them for free! 
FREE at your favorite digital retailers!
I have also released the three series as box sets ($4.99 per box set), and if you fancy bingeing on your favorite, now you can. 
Only $4.99!
And, last but not least, if you’re looking for some new authors, check out this great science-fiction and fantasy giveaway… you never know what little gems you might find!

Until next time, be kind to yourselves and to others, stay well and keep reading,

Best wishes,


Sunday, 30 September 2018

Madaxa's Heir is Live!

I'm super thrilled to let you know the final episode in The Saoirse Saga, Madaxa’s Heir, is now live! 
This is always a moment of shivering excitement and a certain degree of terror as all the hard work of the last few months, interrupted by moving house, finally comes to a conclusion as the book is published. 
I do feel sad when a story ends because something which has occupied my mind and my days for months has come to an end, and I shall miss these characters: but I’m also happy because sharing them with readers like you completes the process.

When the one you love betrays you, who can you trust?

Protected by a holy warrior and pursued by bounty hunters and the emperor’s assassins, Kia is hiding a secret the emperor can never find out—she is carrying his grandchild. After giving birth, Kia has to leave her daughter and resume her duties as a member of Prince Rial’s personal guard.

Discovering Rial has betrayed her shatters her trust in him, but when a rebel force attacks the emperor’s fleet, Kia must put aside her personal feelings and stand by Rial’s side as he aids his father.

During the battle, she seizes an opportunity to free herself, and the galaxy, from the emperor’s tyranny. Is this one throw of the dice a mad gamble that will result in her death, or can she—against all odds—achieve the ultimate success?
The final explosive episode in the fast-paced action-packed Saoirse Saga is on sale at 99c for one week only. On the 7th October the price will be 2.99, so pick up your copy today!
I’d like to give a special thanks to the awesome members of my ARC team—you guys rock!  Thank you for everything.
And here are the links:
Until next time, be kind to yourselves and to others, stay well and keep reading!
Best wishes,

Wednesday, 1 August 2018


I remember when I was young, sometimes at Christmas or on birthdays, I’d open a gorgeously wrapped present and be filled with amazement and satisfaction when I saw the one item I’d been praying someone would give me.
It isn’t my birthday and Christmas is still some way off, but I opened an email the other day that gave me the exact same feeling of surprise and  delight. And, no, I hadn’t won the lottery, which would be truly miraculous as I don’t play because I can’t bear the weekly disappointment, but it was from Instafreebie, (if you don't know about this site, check it out). They'd written to let me know that they’d chosen Stars & Ashes to be featured on their blog, email, and social media on the 1st of August, as well as on their homepage for the week!  Yeah!! (I admit there was a lot of jumping up and down and grinning like an idiot for a while.) For an indie publisher like me that was definitely a wow moment. Traditional publishers have way bigger budgets to promote their authors, so to be given this platform is a wonderful bonus.
So, if you haven’t already got it, you can download the full version of Stars & Ashes from now until the 8th August on Instafreebie. After that only the preview will be available.
Take a minute and check out my book and the many other great books available.

Stay well and keep reading,
best wishes,

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Hekate's Chalice now on Audible!

Yes, my audiobook venture continues with Hekate's Chalice now live on Audible! 

Here's the blurb: 

A stolen artifact. An imminent deadline. A tenacious investigator.  
JB runs a private detective agency, but if business doesn't pick up soon, he'll have to close the doors for good. When someone steals Hekate's chalice, JB and his maverick team jump at the chance to track down the supernatural object. They're resourceful and determined, but can they outsmart wizards, witches, and daemons before the client's deadline expires?  

If you like gripping mysteries interwoven with generous doses of magic and humor, then you're going to love this imaginatively creative world. Hekate's Chalice is the first volume of the Adept Solutions series.

Audiobook listeners are a discerning eager audience, and if you're a writer and haven't already got your books available in this format my advice is do it! An interesting challenge comes into play with a narrator entering the equation. Not only does your story have to satisfy but where one person may hear a smooth honeyed tone, another may find the same voice monotonous and boring. In the end though, the listening experience is, just like reading or eating or your favorite color, a personal and subjective one.

So here's the link for you to check out the sample for yourself: 

You can listen to the book for free with Audible's free trial, and get another book, too.

Stay well and best wishes,



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