Wednesday, 30 August 2017


Audible means capable of being heard. If something happens audibly, that means it's audible. When a sound is indistinct, or simply not loud enough, you might complain about its audibility (creators of TV dramas don't seem to care about the audibleness of their product).

Audible is also an Amazon salesline, which enables subscribers to listen to a huge range of audio books for a monthly fee. They're currently offering a free trial.

From Story Idea to Reader is now available as an audio book (see my last post for more info) so if you'd like an audible version of the writing advice offered by myself and Rosemary J Kind, sign up now!

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Listen and learn

I'm delighted that From Story Idea to Reader, the accessible guide to writing fiction co-written by myself and Rosemary J. Kind is now available in an audio version. As Rosemary had all the hard work of organising this, it seemed only fair to give her the additional task of telling you about it...

Getting From Story Idea to Reader published as an audio book seemed the natural next step for what is proving a very popular book. Originally, we had seen it as being primarily for the UK market, but from the responses we’ve had from around the world, the style and writing advice are proving useful for a very wide audience.

When you’re putting an audio book together the first challenge is to find the right voice to record the book. Patsy and I did consider reading it ourselves, but rapidly concluded there were others out there far better qualified in that field. Charles W Hall, who narrates the book, has a lovely warm and expressive voice that is a perfect fit with our accessible writing style. He is American and we have had to explain the English pronunciation of some place names that we take for granted, but we’re very happy with the end result. Trying to explain how we say places like Peterborough and Swanwick that to me are obvious, did make me wonder how many American place names I might be mispronouncing!

For me, the funniest part of listening to someone else reading the book was the number of times I would suddenly think ‘That’s a good point’ almost as though it had been written by somebody else. I think the lesson in that is that as a writer it does no harm at all to refresh your knowledge at intervals and think about your writing. Although in reality the line that hit me hardest was one of Patsy’s in which she gives you permission to get up from your desk every once in a while and go and do something else. I think we can all be guilty of spending too long trying to concentrate when in fact taking some time away from our work might do us more good.

We have a limited number of codes for free copies if you would like to review the book on Audible. They are available on a first come first served basis for those who're willing and able to this relatively soon. If you are interested then email me at with ‘Audio Review’ in the title field.
From Story Idea to Reader is also available in paperback (£9.99) and ebook (£3.99) versions.

Monday, 28 August 2017

Best bank holiday reading?

It's a bank holiday and the weather isn't dreadful – I think I'll celebrate by sitting in the garden with a book. 

Which book do you think would make a perfect bank holiday garden read – and why? (Feel free to mention one of your own and add an Amazon link.)

I'll start off with Firestarter. It's romantic, fun, lots of it is set outdoors and there's plenty of yummy food and drink. And there's a hunky fireman. More than one, actually.

Mac Wheeler suggested Expiring Covenant.

Frances mentioned a selection, including  Basic Theology for Fallen Women.

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Want to earn $200 per word?

It really is possible to get $200 per word ... but only for the lucky winner of this flash fiction competition and then only for 100 words. Still that's $20,000 and it's free to enter.

"This contest is open to writers from all countries and entries are accepted in four languages: English, Spanish, Arabic and Hebrew. The slogan for the 2017 contest is ‘The Word, bridging the gap between different cultures and religion’ but there are no subject or genre restrictions. All stories entered must be original and unpublished."

Thanks to Lindsay Bamfield for telling me about it.

Do you recognise this bridge? How about the one right behind it?

Friday, 25 August 2017

Cafe lit - call for subs

Cafe lit are looking for more short story submissions. (There's no deadline - this is an ongoing project.)

"Just a quick heads-up to say that we're looking for more stories.
We're also accepting themed stories - autumn, end of summer, Halloween, 5 November, Christmas. 
So get writing and invite all of your writing friends. We look forward to your submissions."

Accepted stories are published here and may be selected for an anthology - if these sell enough copies there's the possibility of earning royalties, but if making money is your only aim, this isn't the site for you.

You can send up to 3,000 words, but very short pieces are also considered. You may, if you wish, attach a short bio to be published with your story.

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Bad, good and better

There's not long to enter this travel writing competition, as it closes on 7th September (bad) - but the prize sounds nice and it's free to have a go (good).

The best thing about it though, is that it provides me with a marvellous excuse to post photos from my trip (better).

Wednesday, 23 August 2017


To swoop often means moving easily and rapidly through the aiir. Swoop is a word generally used in conjunction with another. When followed by down, it means to dive or drop at speed, like a bird of prey. If swoop is followed by on, it implies making a sudden attack from a distance. Swoop up means to snatch everything in one go.

During my trip to Wales earlier this year, I watched choughs swooping through the air - just as my character Alice does in Firestarter. (I'll keep any similarities between our trip and the next chapter in the novel to myself!)

Friday, 18 August 2017

Will you boost the prize?

Thanks to Beatrice Charles for sending me the details of this blogging/essay competition. There's a top prize of up to $2500 for a 600 to 1500 piece on the following topics -

  1. "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power." - Abraham Lincoln. Do you agree?
  2. "Nobody realises that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal." - Camus. Discuss.
  3. Should the role of education be to prepare students for working life, or to broaden their mind?
  4. "No book is really worth reading at the age of ten which is not equally - and often far more worth reading at the age of fifty and beyond." - C.S. Lewis. Discuss

Beatrice says, 'There are categories also for child and YA writers. In particular they seem to encourage schools to enter. If numbers allow then they will match prizes to school or educational charity (although in previous years this hasn't happened as far as I can tell).

Prizes vary according to number of entrants. So the adult prize is between $250 -$2500

It may interest some of your contacts, and the more who enter the better the awards.'

I'm not sure I'll enter the competition, but the topics would also make great fiction prompts.

The photo shows me facing no kind of adversity, putting no effort into doing what's become normal for me lately... Oh dear, that isn't helping establish a link. Thank goodness for C.S. Lewis - I'm fifty and I read books. Phew!

Wednesday, 16 August 2017


A lodestar is a star used to help navigate at sea. It's usually the polestar, but not neccesarily. It can also be a guiding principle, or object of pursuit.

A lode is a vein of metal ore. Presumably some lodestars have lodes. Perhaps even loads of them.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Still travelling

I'm still away having fun editing and researching really hard, in remote locations. I'll be back in the land of lots of wi-fi soon and will be back to replying to your comments and reading other people's blogs soon, I promise.

 And almost certainly sharing lots more pictures from the trip.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017


An engram might not be an actual thing but if it is, it's a memory-trace – a permanent change in the brain which would account for the existence on memory.

I have lots of great memories and this photo represents many of them - they're some of the flowers from our wedding. They were grown in our garden and delivered to the venue in our campervan to an event shared with friends and family.

Obviously there was cake involved and I even signed a copy of my first novel which was released earlier that year. Oh, and my dress was purple.

What do you think? Do the things we experience physically change our brains in some way?

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

What helps?

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is great at making writers realise they're not alone with their insecurities – and for offering help and support.

I'm wondering, what's the most supportive thing that's ever been done or said to you with regard your writing?

For me, it was when Gary and I were discussing what should go on our wedding certificate for our occupations. Although I had a day job at the time, he suggested writer.