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Be The Best You

As the year draws to a close, I reflect on the lovely people I met in 2021. Mentoring on Zoom has been a lovely way to connect as well as working on honing the craft of writing. I have seen novels written that were a mere 3000 words when we started last January. I have seen short stories conceived, crafted, submitted, accepted and published that were formed inside the bubble. I have seen novels completed, proofed and self-published. We are indeed proactive 🙂

This is why I intend to continue with the programme and each time I run it, I tweak it and adapt it to suit the needs of those taking part.

The group sessions are at a time to suit everyone which we work out when we have our meet n greet session; the next meet n greet will be Wednesday, January 5th. The weekly group sessions cover all key aspects of creative writing — from voice and style to what happens inside publishing houses and how to submit your best work. These take the form of a Powerpoint presentation with time for interaction and questions. But these are more of an extra bonus as the real up close and personal work happens in the weekly hour-long one-to-one sessions. So no matter your level, this is where the changes happen. I will offer guidance and suggestions and show you both your strengths and your weaknesses on work sent that week on pre-agreed days ahead of the sessions. I am flexible so can adapt to meet your timelines. I know you all have busy lives! Any day except Saturday I work (a girl needs one day off!).

Usually, I look at chapters from novels or memoirs or short stories… whatever you have (prose though, not poems!). So if you have a partially-completed or finished draft of a novel or even a short story collection and don’t know what to do next… consider taking part! Even if you’re experienced but need more brainstorming on plot than the nitty-gritty dotting of the I’s… that is fine. We had a few writers looking for that and for having to produce work to get them writing! Accountability is a strong motivator.

There are still spaces for the next one which is £229 for the six weeks but remember the critique and Zoom on one piece is usually £75 and you get six as well as everything else. But don’t take my word for it, look at what people said about the bubbles last year! A few people have come back and done it two, three times, not so much the group sessions as these don’t change much between courses, but certainly for the one-to-ones! I have had at least three people I have mentored through all or most of 2021! You’d think they’d be fed up with me by now ;)!!!


Book now! Email … if you need to wait until the end of December (it’s an expensive time of the year!) then also email me as I am happy to take a small deposit to hold your space if that will help!

As well as the bubble scheme I also have a very special more than half-price offer for anyone wanting to treat a writer friend (or themselves!) to a short story critique. My gift vouchers are for £25 and £35… £25 for flash fiction critique and follow-up on pieces up to 1200 words, £35 for 1200 to 5000 words (or thereabouts!) Happy to have a Zoom session after the edit if the writer wants it for no additional cost.

I can email these to you to print or forward! Offer only until Christmas Eve so act now!

Thanks to everyone who has followed the blog and/or taken part and I look forward to making more friends in 2022!

What are you waiting for?

Happy Christmas everyone! Stay safe.

Cheesy picture alert… well, it is Christmas!

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Make 2022 your year…

It has been a strange year in many ways. I have been busy writing and completed another novel that I am now getting ready for my agent to submit, a few little edits.

But I think the thing I remember most about last year is that because of the mentoring bubbles, I have been able to see and interact with far more clients than I usually do! While I was ambitious at the start of the year with a full calendar of bubbles, I did manage to have a respectable number of people in most of them! So the plan for 2022 is to run the six-week programme in January and September and if demand comes will possibly add one in the spring.

If you want to sign up early, before this Friday then I have an early bird special.

I am looking for prose writers: novelists and short story writers who have works in progress or even completed works and don’t know what to do next.

The programme is catered for all levels with the main emphasis being on the weekly one-to-one sessions to look closely at what is submitted that week; it doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner who needs more guidance or someone who needs more brainstorming on plot, checking you’re on the right track, or just being accountable and having to produce work every week. The group sessions are seminar-like with a Powerpoint presentation on all key aspects of creative writing: Choices we make, character arcs, plotting, devices, style… and catered to the needs of the group. Even if you think you know this, you will always find out something new! I also add in drop-in Zoom sessions for anyone who needs it and to promote interaction.

Cost? £229 for 6 weeks, £209 if you book this week!

If you have any questions or want to book please email me

Make 2022 your year!

Read what some of last year’s mentees had to say! LINK

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Turning Pink

This time last year I welcomed some lovely ladies to my blog to share their breast cancer journeys for Breast Cancer Awareness month.

I plan to re-blog some of those stories this year with updates on how everyone is doing.

If you have had your own journey with breast cancer and are happy to share it to raise awareness, please message me and I will feature you on my blog for October!

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Being Grateful

The most important thing I have learned so far about life, is to be grateful. To take time out of the day to sit and realise how far you’ve come and to be truly grateful.

I have been busy and working hard and sometimes it becomes about making ends meet when really there is so much more.

So this morning I am back and editing Dotty and thinking about all the good things and how much there is to look forward to.

Count your blessings and never give up on your dreams.

We attract what we think about the most; so the trick is to focus on the things we love and instead of being in a mind-set of thinking about what we want (which will attract more of always wanting them) imagine you have them. Imagine you are living your dream. Let the buzz of that dream surge through you and feel it as if you have it. Now you will attract more of that feeling. And you will be living your dream.

After the media hype yet again this weekend, I have to tell you… declutter from your life anything that is negative and not good for your soul. If you focus on bad news, you attract more bad news.

So take time out of your day for gratitude.


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Join my next mentoring bubble

I still have spaces in my next mentoring bubble. This is a special six-week programme for short story writers and novelists to sharpen and hone your creative writing skills. The idea is that rather than a usual online course this has group and individual sessions.

The group sessions are weekly 90-minute Zoom sessions and the areas covered are:

Week 1: Getting Started: Ideas, Themes, Concepts, Morals, Meanings. Why
we write, Literary versus Commercial. Choices – Voice, Viewpoint, Tense,
First, Second, Third-person, Character versus Omniscient narrator.
Week 2: Character: Character arcs, Character motivation, Character
change, Archetypes and functions
Week 3: Structure and Plots: Story Arcs, Getting the Shape of the story
right, Plot, Scenes and Timelines
Week 4: Style: Pace, Place, Handling flashbacks, Exposition – Filler,
Teasers and Thrusters, Showing and Telling, How to write Effective Dialogue
Week 5: The Art of Editing – General dos and don’ts, Formatting, Lifting the
lid on the editing process, what to look for.
Week 6: – Self-publishing/marketing yourself/anything else you want to
cover – General Q&A. Sharing work!

I also have a weekly chit-chat session where I will hang out on Zoom for anyone who wants to drop by if they have questions or just want to talk all things writerly.

The main bulk of what happens for personal growth comes from the hour-long weekly one-to-one sessions where we review works in progress. This might be one or two chapters from a novel, a handful of flash pieces or a short story. Zoom allows active discussion and screen-sharing allows me to get up close and personal to issues with style and nitty-gritty copy editing. I also help with placement of work and last time saw some successes with work that came out of the bubble.

I will also create a dedicated Facebook page and give writing prompts and opportunities.

The reason I keep the price reasonable is I am one of you, a writer. As such I know things can be costly but I also appreciate how vital it is to get good solid helpful empowering feedback on your work.

Why am I qualified to help? Well, as I said, I am a writer. I have an agent, have written seven novels, many short story successes (winner of inaugural Bath Short Story award, shortlisted in Commonwealth Short Story Prize, Pushcart nominee) and I have been helping other writers as both an editor and a mentor for coming up twelve years. I also work for Cornerstones Literary Consultancy offering the same and actually do a lot of mentoring through them. I have helped a lot of writers reach their goals.

Please email me for more information and to book your place on the next mentoring course.


Check out my website and read the recommendations: I know I can help you!

Also watch my short video!

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Sometimes we take things for granted. I think I have had enough lessons in my life not to do that, but sometimes it’s hard not to. I think the pandemic has been an opportunity for some to sit back and take stock of what really matters. Do you like your job? Are you happy in your life? Are you where you want to be?

Since I was young I always thought about work as something I wanted to do and enjoy and not something I had to do but it is not always possible to think that way, I appreciate that. I feel blessed to have found the thing in life that makes me truly happy. To be a writer; to get up every day and do what I love is truly a blessing.

While at the moment that is not paying the bills; writing still is, in that I get to enjoy working with other writers… until the day comes when I can just write 🙂

We have to enjoy life; I took a big wage cut many years ago now for the dream and I have never looked back and never regretted a single day of it. Sure, I seek more financial freedom but I know it will come, and I also count every blessing and enjoy every day of the ride.

If something is not working for you in your life, change it. Do it now.

Be happy.

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Is it the calm before?

It’s a strange time for all of us at the moment, as we attempt to return to normal amid lots of reported new Covid cases. I have to say, I tend to stay in my own little happy bubble: writing, editing and of course going to the gym! I am thankfully double vaccinated but careful. I think staying fit and healthy is essential for our well being.

I have been a full-time editor and writer for eleven and a half years now (who can believe it?) and I mentioned in a previous blog post how I had needed to adapt my work, thereby introducing my mentoring bubbles this year. This has kept me going but there is a strange quiet on the work front these past few weeks. I do have one or two mentoring clients but that’s about it… where has everyone gone? Is this a Covid effect of the world opening up or something else I wonder?

Being self-employed is for me (and my other half) a complete blessing, but when work is quiet… it can be a worry. However, ever the optimist, I know it will pick up. I think this is only the second time I have had a lull like this since I have done this.

I am using the time to write more and I think it’s true to say any writer never runs out of things to do. I also have a proof read for next week as well, a small one.

For anyone interested in a full critique of a novel I have a 25% discount in July, so take advantage of my quiet time. Email me.

Whatever happens in life, I think we must all stand back and count our blessings. I have a lovely home, family life… and do the best job in the world. I am truly blessed. I love my writerly life.

Stay safe everyone!

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As some of you know I set up some mentoring bubbles at the start of 2021. I felt, with the never-ending lockdown, we writers all needed something. We needed interaction and some of us needed something to kick-start our writing, and to be accountable. A new year is always a perfect time for setting goals. As such, the programme (which I made a super low price) filled up with ten lovely writers and was so successful, in fact, over half of the people carried on with some mentoring once it was done. Now six months on, and I still work with three of them. As the world opened up it seemed fewer people wanted to join but we still had five for the one that soon comes to a close, and at least one of those plans to continue.

So it’s been successful and reflects the need for us all to adapt to the changing demands of our lives, especially at this odd time!

Zoom has changed the way I work, although I run my other editing and of course my own writing alongside it. I now offer a Zoom call to all editing clients post-edit and I think it works better than simply emailing over the answers to their questions. I am a ‘people’ person and so that interaction seems to work very well.

What I have come to realise is how useful it is to work together in this way. Zoom allows for screen share and getting up close and personal to identify both strengths and weaknesses. I look at style but also at the character development, story arc, plotting and so on.

I had planned a week dedicated to the short story with daily group sessions as well as a one-to-one critique but since no one has signed up and we only have a week to go, then I think it must be the way the world is at the moment. But I do have a short story week planned for December and I have a feeling that will be a better time, in fact I already have someone signed up for it.

What I want to focus on right now is ‘The novel bubble’ which NOW seeks writers. This starts in July and is for six novel writers who are working on and have some of or a full draft of a novel, be it first, second, even tenth draft and is stuck. What do they do now? They could come to someone like me for a full critique… or they could consider signing up for some intensive mentoring over 10 weeks. It’s a similar price, in fact, to a full critique on a 100K manuscript but the difference is we look at 10K a week (or thereabouts), with a Zoom call (up to 2 hours weekly) to look at what is working and what is not, with suggestions and guidance. Also weekly group sessions on all aspects of writing and I have a special guest for one of those sessions 🙂 My lovely agent can also offer her advice to you. The cost, up front for this bubble is £599… but you do get a lot for that. If you are interested I do want to know more about YOU, the project, see a SAMPLE and you need to be able to commit to the sessions and the work. It runs JULY 11th to SEPTEMBER 19TH. Group and one-to-one sessions will be at a time and day to suit you all and we can work that out before we get started.

Please email me if you want to do this:

My hope is that this is the beginning of a productive and an enduring relationship.

So what qualifies me to help you? Firstly, I am one of you. I am a working writer, with a literary agent, and I know how hard it is to get work out there. My agent is working so hard for me now to sell one of my novels… it’s tough out there. But what I do know, from over eleven years of editing for writers and small presses, from mentoring writers, working as a small publisher, core editor for Cornerstones and being a published novelist and short story writer myself, is that it has to come from the heart. It’s about the PASSION. And that passion is what drives us to be better writers. We are all on a learning curve, just at different places. It is tough but what I can assure you is that the learning is reward in itself, and the people who make it, are the ones who NEVER GIVE UP.

If that’s you, get in touch and let’s begin our journey together.

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Short Story Week June 27th to July 04, 2021

I always like to emphasise when I work with writers, how I ‘cut my teeth’ with short stories. While I did go right for the novel to start with, believing that true writers are novelists, I quickly learned the power of the short story. I have Dr Gill James, at Bridge House Publishing, to thank for not only accepting my first short story for publication but for later making me her co pilot. And I realised, that while my aspirations were to become a novelist, the short story was not only an art form of its own, but the lessons gained from mastering it, would make me a better writer… end of. And in fact the novels that I found the easiest to write, were those I adapted from short stories. I have one novel published to date; it was adapted from a short story. I have five other novels that are in various stages with my agent and pray (closes eyes and mutters) that another novel will be with you soon.

So, to date I have a long list of short story successes and about thirty short stories published; ‘the best of’ being published in my short story collection Because Sometimes Something Extraordinary Happens.

I still work for Bridge House and in fact we recently selected our stories for the next collection, Resolutions, out at the end of the year.

So, I have put together a programme, similar to the workshops and sessions that form part of the six-week mentoring bubbles, aimed at developing our short story writing. These will be at 6.30 each evening (Mon to Friday) conducted via Zoom and recorded with links sent to view afterwards. Over the week as well as these daily session/workshop (1.5 hours approx.) plus writing prompts and opportunities and a dedicated Facebook page, every one of you will be given a one-hour Zoom mentoring session and critique of a short story (or more if flash) up to 2500 words. These sessions can be at dates and times to suit you.

The course costs just £75 each which is the cost of the critique alone but you will get the workshopping/seminar sessions as well. You will also get the chance to interact and share work if you wish at special sessions on the Saturday and Sunday (July 03/ 04) and discuss what you learned during the week.

The course is limited to 15 and you can be a beginner, or someone who wants to develop more, or maybe see it from a different angle. This is now open for places, but please book early if you want to take part as the spaces will go.

Email me and book you space now. Payment by BACS secures your spot!

What are you waiting for?

To find out more about all the bubbles on offer this year, check out my website!

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In The Peaceful Still

It’s in this quiet time of the morning, before I write, I feel closest to the reason; the reason for everything.

This is when I wait as the day sits poised and ready, I reflect on what truly matters and I give thanks.

I look back down the road to acknowledge just how far I have come. I then look ahead into the hazy mist; watch it clear and know that tomorrow dreams will come true.

Happy writing, happy reading, happy life 🙂

Happy Monday… stay safe.

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