Category Archives: Cover Reveal

Plots, Sequels and Radio Interviews!

Well, what a lot has been achieved this week… lots of plotting and planning. Four hours each morning with a notebook and I think I am about ready to start my sequel to one of my novels on Monday. Yay!

I have blogged about many things on here, mostly writerly, but not on plotting and ‘idea brainstorming’. I don’t think you can force ideas to come, you have to let them show up. Sometimes they march in without knocking and plonk themselves down in front of you. Here I am! Other times they whisper as you sleep or drift in and out like a tide that you can’t hold onto, you have it, you don’t. It’s a tease until you grab it and hold onto it like a wriggling cat until it settles on your lap.

This week has been enlightening. And it’s been exciting. You just never know who or what is going to show up. The good news is that for all its convolutions and complexities that have to be part of this novel to make it a good sequel, the ideas have come mostly pretty well formed and the new characters even told me their names! I am getting to know them now! While I never planned it this way, I have ideas for the two books that will make this a trilogy — and scope for more later. I had not planned to ‘plan’ the third book but since there is this thing called ‘foregrounding’– the legwork for the next one, i.e. the planting of the seeds — then it makes perfect sense. I now know how it all ends and what has to happen in the third one. I even have ideas for the names of the books. I am excited ❤

So how much do you plan?

Well, not too much. That said, if you were to see my notebook you would say I have it pretty much worked out, and I guess I kind of do. However, the true magic of writing happens when you allow your subconscious to guide you. Plots change. They change because as you write, things need to happen: pacing things! When you read a great novel and a chapter ends with one of those moments: another body is found, someone isn’t who you think they are — you know, ‘the unexpected reveal’, well, I like to think it’s by magic. A lot of these, I think, are not planned. They just happen. I have had a character  walk in and make a statement and I’ve spent the next hours, maybe days, working out why and what it means. Truly. Something in me knew it had to happen, and every time it really was vital to the story, I just didn’t know it when I planned the book! See, magic! Writing is magic. You need to plot and plan, absolutely — but then you need to allow the magic in.

I can’t wait to get writing now.

And in other news…

Cover reveal!

My short story collection is out in July and I will be in conversation with Tony Fisher on BBC Radio Essex this very afternoon from 2 pm talking writing and short stories! Do tune in: here’s the link!


And, here it is… my cover. Me and my nan! Her photo was taken in the 1930s and relates to the last story in the book, the newest short story of mine 🙂

Because Sometimes Medium

Out July 2019

Launch Event, St Nicholas Church, Canvey Island, July 19th 7 pm, all welcome!

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Don’t Give Up

I began my serious journey from scientist to writer close to fifteen years ago. Eleven years ago  I saw my first short story published. My mission to seek an agent and have a novel published took writing four novels (it’s a thorough learning process) until one was deemed good enough to find a home with a publisher in 2013. An agent (after several near misses) followed in 2014 after my move back to Essex. I did the dance…

I had hoped then to finally see some of the other novels, including the new ones that followed, seek homes but it is not always as simple as that. My agent moved to a big agency and while she took me with her, her focus then shifted to non-fiction and I found my submissions and my plans slowed right down. That is not to say I was not writing, and I have had something published every year since that first short story was published — amassing over thirty short story successes. I have still won or been placed in competitions so that was keeping my belief alive. But it can feel as if you lose your momentum when nothing happens with the novels. You feel as if you are writing into a void. We all need to know we are heading somewhere.

As some of you know my life has undergone some significant personal changes over the past couple of years with meeting the new love of my life and then, of course, my focus was the wedding last year. While I did have some excellent feedback from my colleagues at Cornerstones about one of the novels and was empowered when I did the screenwriting course last year because my lovely tutor felt I was on the brink of a breakthrough, I was still uncertain of my next steps. Which novel to develop first.

So, I wrote a list of what I wanted to achieve in 2019. Apart from getting married, I decided I wanted to finally publish a collection of my short stories and that is now all put together. I will do a cover reveal soon 🙂 It is set for a July launch! Thank you Bridge House Publishing. Dancing 😉

I also said I needed to get a new agent. It can be demoralising thinking about starting again when you have already been through all of that. However, if you want something enough you do whatever it takes, right? And I was going to do just that. Luckily for me, I had a serendipitous meeting with an agent while attending an event that was part of the Essex Book Festival with friend and amazing writer, Fiona Cummins.  It was what I would call fated, happenchance perhaps… and lead to a request to look at my work. That lead to a meeting in London last week and… on Friday I signed a contract with the amazing top London agent Camilla Shestopal formerly of PFD but now with her own agency! We met at the Chelsea Art Club and two and a half hours just melted away. We connected. It was exciting, for both of us. Inside I was doing the dance again. It felt right, that’s all I can tell you.

So I announced the news from our weekend getaway in Brighton where we celebrated with cake (as you must… an ENORMOUS piece of cake for ENORMOUS news!) and now I feel as if I finally have a focus and begin edits today. I will not say which novel we are working on first, suffice it to say, I could not be more thrilled or excited.

So, writers: the message is clear: never lose sight of the goal even when life changes. Accept that life is change and there is no rush. Sometimes what happens is exactly what is supposed to happen. Oddly for me, good news always seems to come when I look the other way. It just kind of happened. We do not know what will come next but all I can say is I have a great feeling that this is the right time. I feel like a real writer again.

Validation is everything.

So, stay strong… and keep writing. Keep learning. Don’t give up.

My new pen pot bought in Brighton… nice eh?

Humming bird pen pot

Oh… and I am doing the dance! Dancing like no one is watching 😉

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Bridge House News

Yesterday I had the pleasure of another cover reveal. Yes Bridge House is still going, but it does take more of  a back-seat these days compared to the crazy number of titles we were doing at one point. Gill and I still work for love and a Christmas meal maybe but that’s about it! Of course we have our other projects but it doesn’t mean lots isn’t going on in the background.

And we celebrate our 5th birthday this year with our 21st anthology title! God we did do a lot. And remember the one novel and the titles from Red Telephone! Yikes! But it is a lot of work and small sales hence the shift to one annual.

The competition we ran in 2011 and selected in 2012 is finally being published in 2013. So it has been a while coming but we have released other titles in the meantime.

It’s a great selection and named after the winning story. This one Gill and I co-edited. So it should be out next month, so you know when I said there were five titles coming out that I have a stake in, I mean six!!!

So here is the cover and I hope some of you take a look!

We have our once a year call for subs opening on Jan 1st!



On Amazon soon … but know what is on Amazon? Not with a cover yet — but Wild n Free Too! LINK

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The busy writer’s life …

A short post this morning as I have a busy day ahead.

I was delighted to be invited to the special launch of the next Commonwealth Short Story Prize tomorrow in London. So I’m now finishing some work today so I can then take another MS on the train with me to work as well!

I am also off to Chester in the morning (before catching the train to London) to look for launch outfits!And it seems, thanks to a friend we are also securing the services of a personal shopper! There is a first time for everything! It all feels very Sex In The City, especially then heading to a lovely hotel in Bloomsbury afterwards and some networking at this event. What an honour it is to have been invited. Wow. Little ol’ me.

Makes me feel like a real writer, don’t you know!

This of course all follows the exciting week of cover reveals and the song! If you haven’t listened yet then please do, scroll back to Friday’s post and have a listen. You can download it for free although I’m hoping people will pay whatever they think is right and this goes to the animal sanctuary.

Right — work calls. There will be no blog tomorrow or Wednesday but I will be back Thursday with photos and information about the Commonwealth Short Story Prize that I hope many of you will have a go at.

Have fun everyone!

Love to write


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It’s here … Cover Reveal While No One Was Watching

One month away from the official launch event on October 25th ( just a couple of days shy of the official launch date on November 1st) I am thrilled to be able to reveal the cover of the first edition (50th Anniversary) cover of my up and coming debut!

I have talked here before the need to get the cover right and there have been many discussions about this one. I might have some news about a second cover, but that’s still in discussion.

While it’s a popular saying — don’t judge a book by its cover — I think we do and if the cover catches your attention you have picked the book up, turned it over and read the blurb. And hopefully you’re heading for the till.

This cover is bold and it makes the statement it needs to.

So without further ado — cue drum roll…

Here it is …


Friday, November 22nd, 1963, Dallas, Texas, 12.30pm. The US President, John F Kennedy, is assassinated as his motorcade hits town, watched by crowds of spectators and the world’s media. Watching too from the grassy knoll nearby is a young mother who, in the confusion, lets go of her daughter’s hand. When she turns around the little girl has vanished.

Fifty years later, when everyone remembers what they were doing at that moment in history, she is still missing. Who will remember her?

Local hack Gary Blanchet, inspired by the mother’s story, joins forces with former police psychic Lydia Collins to seek answers. Risking ridicule for their controversial theories and with a classroom shooting close to home to deal with, they re-examine the evidence from that day, study footage and look at the official report for details of witnesses in the JFK case. But this time they’re not looking for a man in a crowd with a gun; they are looking for little Eleanor Boone.

Gone, while no one was watching? Maybe someone was.


Available from Parthian Books, official release date November 1st


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