Highs and Lows · Schedules And Lists · The Muse · Thoughts on thursday

So Thoughts On Thursday!

I haven’t really done one of these for a while so it seemed like a good way to have a quick catch up.

Lets start with the fact it is 12 months to Peterborough and #TheDarkerSideOfFiction2017, I am so excited and now really it is my main focus for the future, I had planned on doing The Dragon’s Mark as stand alone book next however as I worked on the project it became clear it has the potential to be a series with a various characters taking the leads at different time, this means I am going to go straight ahead with the Queen Of Ages Trilogy, I shall be doing a cover reveal next Monday as well as announcing the launch date next in next weeks vlog.

OF course the writing is the most important thing but I cannot help but take a look for ideas for swag and of course the search for the perfect ball dress has begun.

If you are on FB you can keep up with the Darker Side event here…https://www.facebook.com/groups/1433818133602201/

And the 2018 event here (as it stands I am not signed to be a signing author at this event but I will be there at the evening event for certain it is just too good to miss) https://www.facebook.com/groups/1541707772746487/

And if you are interested in coming to see me in Peterborough then this is the link you need… https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-darker-side-of-fiction-2017-author-book-signing-event-tickets-24955322040

I am so excited about the future and feel more positive than I have in a long time, make sure you sign up to the newsletter for your chance to get your hands on some bonus give away prizes and be first to know what is happening, I know I have not been very good at keeping up to date with them but I will be sending them out from now on the first of each month and every month one person who opens their newsletter will win a prize though the prize will change from month to month, so anyone opening the November newsletter will go into a draw to win a signed print copy of Voices Across The Void.

Right need to finish editing tomorrows vlog, had a slight technical issue as my memory card slot on the computer decided to die this morning so had to find the camera cable, I will not say how many wrong cables I picked up before finding the right one but I will say I swore.

Take care and if you dress up for Halloween post your pictures to my FB page I will set up a Halloween thread there.

4. Thursday · Highs and Lows · Schedules And Lists · Thoughts on thursday

Always playing Catch Up

Every year we begin the same way full of good intentions that fall to the way side as life continues to get in the way. Some times the distractions are real and justified, family time, illness and emotional drams but sometimes it is simply a case of distraction, too much time on social media playing games.  This week I have been incredibly busy as you know with Sports Relief stuff for work, but what it has made me realise is just how much I can get done when the pressure is on, I have spent days editing various video clips, enhancing photos and generally attempting to do a weeks work in a day or two and for the most part managing it. So why then have I not done two monthly round ups or sent out newsletters? Why have I failed to write daily or to get extra blog posts in the bag? I realise the reason is that I am not accountable to anyone else for them!

The downside to being an self published author is that you make your own deadlines, there is no one shouting at you to get a move on, no one waiting for that next book, well not when you start out anyway though I have no doubt further down the road there will be if I am lucky. So this last couple of days I have been looking more into ways to improve my productivity and to set myself goals, both professionally and personally that will help me get to where I want to be. That means first of all catching up with some housekeeping on the blog and doing a couple of round ups, a couple of posts that should have been done already so they are out of the way before A – Z starts and finishing up the editing for the work stuff.

With all that said I need to go get on with it lol I also have tomorrows vlog to film yet and I need to think of something interesting for that or you will just get me waffling lol

January Round Up

A - Z Challenge 2014 · Blog Challenges · Research · Schedules And Lists

A to Z Challenge 2014 – W is for Writing Apps


W I am a couple of posts behind so today and tomorrow will be doubling up on posts to catch up so apologies for double emails in your inboxs.

I decided today would be a good day to share with you some of the writing apps I use and my thoughts on them.

So first up we have Scrivener a tool many writers will be familiar with, I love using this especially in the early stages of writing story outlines as the corkboard feature is great for shuffling things around.  I decided to show you a screen shot from my Voices manuscript and as you can see from the number of stories down the side it has evolved from ten stories to a few extra which is part of the reason for the delay, I did toy with doing it in two volumes but have so many other things I want to do I decided that I would rather do one decent volume then get on with other stories.


Next up from the same people who developed Scrivener we have Scapple, this is a new app for me and I only have the 30 day free trial at the minute until I decide if I really need it or not.  I love mind mapping and it is a lot of fun to use one drawback is remembering to change the orientation for the paper if you want to print off your mind map and I will admit it would probably be just as easy if not easier to doodle on paper but this does have the advantage that you don’t have to struggle to make up what you wrote at a later date and you can move things around if you find one area becoming a little congested.


Next up Freedom, I decided to give this a go after hearing Zadie Smith mention using it, the concept is really easy it imposes discipline to resist the temptation of Facebook and twitter for you.  I am trying this with a 5 day free trial, you set how long you want your internet blocked for and can schedule which days you would like it to run on then it stops you being able to access the internet for those hours.  You can over ride the system by restarting the computer if you really, really need to but but I have to confess I am finding this one really good however remember to set your preference to allow you local network if like me you have a wireless printer otherwise that won’t work either.


The Magic Spreadsheet is the brainchild of Tony Pisculli and I know I have mentioned it before but it is worth another mention, if you have trouble getting into the routine of writing then this helps inspire and encourage you to form that habit. So far this year I have written every day even if only a few hundred words.

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Evernote is an app I have but I really do not use it as much as I should.  It is similar to an online scrap book where you can save images, websites, articles etc, it also now syncs to a desk top version which I have installed as I intend to start using it more now to tie in with the Freedom app so I can access research without needing the internet on.


Finally the last app I am using is Pomodoro which is aimed at helping you develop better time management, it allows you to focus on a specific task for a period of time normally twenty- five minutes although I prefer thirty minute sessions then a break in between each task to encourage you to get up and move rather than spending all day sat at the desk.




Do you use writing apps if so which ones and why?

4. Thursday · Highs and Lows · Schedules And Lists · The Muse · Thoughts on thursday


Okay first thing this morning I climbed on the scales and updated my Road to Health page, I am not going to go on about it here lets just say today we have a smiley face 😀

First thing I want to share with you today is a recipe I just found for Oatmeal Breakfast Cupcakes, I will definitely be having a go at making these they look delicious and healthier than some of the shop bought alternatives and can be used for breakfast or for morning snacks.

I have also been watching a few other Vlogs to get some ideas for improving mine and I have come to the conclusion I really need to get my editing software to work properly very few Vlogs seem to work being done in a single take so I am going to start working on one for next week keep fingers crossed.

My Facebook page finally hit another milestone this week as I passed the 300 likers mark, I do wish it were easier to get more interaction going on there but the new way FB decides to share posts is making that really hard unless you are incredibly famous of course but despite this I am still feeling very positive and have been doing more background research into various things related to my writing resolutions.

Hope you guys are all having a good day and speak to you tomorrow x

3. Wednesday · Me And Mine · Schedules And Lists

Get Ready 2014 Am Coming to get You!!


First let me wish you all a happy new year!!! I hope you all saw the New Year in with loved ones and surrounded by family, or if like me you were home alone last night (don’t worry it was through choice lol) you got to see the New Year in on line with friends around the world I was lucky enough last night to share the chimes of Big Ben chatting to a very good friend in the States I only wish I could have stayed up to share hers coming in , maybe next year.

Of course the New Year means RESOLUTION TIME, you will have noticed my blog has received a facelift and I have written my writing resolutions for this year, they have their own page but I will share them here as well in this post and will update you each month on them. So here are my ten writing resolutions….

1) Finish and publish Voices it has been dragging on far too long know even though I know some of the delays have been unavoidable.

2) Redraft Q of A and send out to at least three publishers/agents

3) Write every day and achieve a full year chain on the Magic Spreadsheet

4) Submit at least once piece of work for each month of the year to a journal or competition.

5) Use my time more effectively and not leave everything until the last minute

6) Set up the website properly as a place just for my work rather than all my other stuff although there will be a link to the blog for those interested.

7) Blog every day there is no excuse not to if I plan properly.

8) Photo blog over on Inspired Thru the Lens every day certainly no excuse on that one as it only takes a minute to schedule each post

9) Write in my journal every day – I was rather sporadic in that last year

10)  Accept I will never achieve perfection and let others tell me when things are going okay rather than having a hissy fit and hitting delete when I fee they aren’t.

Now on to my personal ones as I feel this year I need to be much more demanding of myself….

1) Read more and read at least ten books from the lists I have under the Challenges tab.

2) Watch more films – my film knowledge is terribly poor I have always read more rather than watching but I will watch at least ten films from the list under the Challenges tab.

3) Lose at least three stones – okay it sounds a lot but it is less than half of what I really need to lose and works out at less than a pound a week and it is not about anything anyone else may think of my weight it is about me wanting to get fitter and healthier.

4) In addition to 3 I will exercise three times a week, okay I might not be able to do much at first but I will use the Magic Workout Spreadsheet to inspire me and hopefully will build up quickly.

5) I will get rid of clothes once they become to big for me as I lose weight I will not save them ‘just incase’.

6) I will begin making Vlogs again and not be paranoid about how I look in them.

7) I will do at least two things from my Fifty before 50 list and find at least 10 new members of my family on my family tree I may even do a blog once a month introducing you to some of them.

8) I will keep an honest record of my year in my journal but I will also create a page to chart my weight loss which I will update monthly to share my journey and maybe inspire others to make the changes they want to be have been putting off.

9) Once a week I will cook something new using one of the numerous cook books sat gathering dust in my kitchen.

10)  Be happy, sounds easy but so often we put our own happiness to one side to please others.

So thats mine for this year some I know will be easier to stick than others but I aim to give all of them a damn good go!

Highs and Lows · Schedules And Lists · The Muse · Thoughts on thursday

Away Days and Thoughts on Challenging Oneself

admin-ajax.phpIf everything has gone to plan then in a few hours I shall be wondering round a stately home being totally over whelmed by the grandeur.

Does this look familiar?

Yes I am visiting Castle Howard one of the locations used for the filming of Brideshead Revisited as well as for other films and series.

I shall do a full post along with a few pictures next week, but I did remember that Stately home visiting is on my 50 before 50 so therefore deserves a proper post and that I really need to do a couple of the other in the near future.  I had actually forgotten a couple of the things on there like stopping smoking.  I mean how long before I can tick that one off?  I have not had a cig since the 31st of October last year, does that mean I can tick it off or does the fact there are still days I want one mean it would be tempting fate? I am tempted to say I get to mark it off on my one year anniversary of stopping but I am sure I read you must go two years before it counts.

Some goals we set for our selves are easy to say we have achieved.  I say on my list I want to visit more stately homes and in theory one more is still more and could be ticked off but unlike the wish to run a marathon it does not have a finite cut off point.  You run the marathon and it is run it does not matter where you finish or how long it takes (unless you have set your self specific targets) but for things like learn to believe in myself how can I ever tick that off.  Some days I might believe in my abilities yet the next I may delete whole swathes of writing dismissing them as rubbish.

I have realised I will never cross off all my 50 before 50 but I have also learned that by the time I get to 60 before 60 I will know to chose things that are more specific and achievable.

What have you challenged yourself to do that you realised after was totally impossible to quantify?

Highs and Lows · Schedules And Lists · Thoughts on thursday

My World Catch up


Hello every one well, as you will possibly have noticed I have been hard at work here on the blog with several new tabs at the top of the page for my monthly round ups and my projects (though that is still a WIP by itself).  I have also finally joined up at Writers Cafe anyone wanting to friend me on there can find me here I really haven’t had time to look round properly but fully intend doing so when I get chance.

Today is World Book Day the monster was delivered to school dressed as a Gruffalo I will take a photo if he co-operates when he gets home.


And a quick reminder for anyone on fb pop over and check out my author page, not only do I occasionally post exclusive content there but you also get the chance to answer question of the day.  Todays is all about which book you think all teenagers should read.

I am starting to get my head round technology a little more now and for anyone seriously using twitter as a promotional vehicle can I suggest you check out tweetdeck, it has different columns to keep track of your feed and follows aswell as mentions, retweet and who the people you follow are favouriting and following, you can even set it to follow your favourite people or a hashtag which I think would be really good for those going for sales.

The 30 day music challenge is almost finished and it has been a lot of fun to do, as I thought about each one I recalled so many songs I had not listened to for so long there are still so many songs which I love and didn’t feature that I am considering finding a way to add them in occasionally.

I haven’t really done much in the way of writing exercises lately and my sensory journal has also stagnated both of which I really need to get back into, I have bought The Writer’s Block by Jason Retulak which looks interesting, for those who like their writing prompts it is a must have, I rarely suffer from what you would class as writers block mine usually is more an issue of focus, even as I try to finish this ghost stories collection more ideas flood at me and I can safely say I will never write the all.  To be perfectly honest they would totally confuse anyone following me as my ideas cross so many genres that if anything the reflect my reading habits far more than my writing ones but I am going to have a quick go at one tomorrow as part of my flash fiction though it would be great to see what others could come up with from the same idea as well.

Right time for a coffee before writing tomorrow flash fiction post xx

Schedules And Lists · The Muse · Thoughts on thursday · Vlogs

No Vlog Today


Am having a few technical issues (okay I haven’t worked out how to use the video edit bit on this new computer yet) which I am working on so sadly for today no vlog.  It is not necessarily a bad thing as I have a stonker of a cold and have a nose Rudolph would be proud of.

So what to do instead well I thought just a general catch up chat post, I know you all seem to be enjoying my Tasty Tuesdays post and I have another quick tip for you that I will share, unless you are lucky enough to be capable of growing herbs then like me you will end up buying them by the bunch then end up with some left over,  two options for the leftovers is to either dry them out for either use in cooking or a herb pot pourri for the kitchen or my personal favourite…


Use spare jars rip or bruise the herbs to release the flavour then fill the jar with extra virgin olive oil and hey presto lovely flavoured oils for use when you don’t have any fresh herbs in. I really hate waste and though with the various pets we don’t have much herbs were one thing that did get thrown away now I just need to get a compost bin for the potato peelings and any other peelings the dogs or Guinea Pigs don’t eat.

I took collection of my business cards today as well, I didn’t get as excited about those as I did the book marks don’t get me wrong they look great am just not sure right now who I would actually be handing them to so they will sit on my desk until I figure out what to do with those.


I had a busy day shopping on Saturday with my daughter I actually managed to spend money just on me without coming home with things for everyone then my daughter and her fiance took us out for tea.  The top I am wearing was one of my bargains for the day that I bought in the sales, don’t you just love sales when you find something you love that you would have felt too guilty to buy at full price.

Hopefully other half is getting us tickets for a 1940’s themed swing evening for Valentines I realised recently that I would far rather go out less and go to different things than just go sit in a pub every weekend, there is a Faerie Ball I fancy in the summer but will save that one until I catch him in a good mood as it will involve an expensive taxi or a night in a hotel.

The final thing I will share with you is sort of a teaser for the ghost stories collection, but only that it explains my love of the paranormal I do not see ghosts nor do I feel them, in fact I am jealous of those who do, what I do seem able to do is capture things on camera, this was taken in the older part of the graveyard where my Grandad is buried.  I felt nothing but my little boy who was with me and aged around two and a half at the time did not like that area at all.  I did not see anything at the time I was just snapping away at the old stones, I was drawn to zoom in on this area during editing the photos and was at first just trying to read the writing on the gravestone in the foreground when I saw this…


I have been back trying to explain it away or replicate it have failed.  Is it a trick of the light? Is it something more? I know what I think but then again I believe, do you?

Me And Mine · Schedules And Lists

New Look

Do you like it? I admit I am not sure I may change it again but I really fancied a nice new look for the new year.  I am playing with my new photo software at the minute preparing a few pics for the other blog I have decided that I shall post three pics a week on there.  While pictures on this site are not for sharing as they contain my family the photos I post over on the other blog I am more than happy for my followers to use should they find anything which inspires them.  All I would ask is that maybe you credit the blog which may lead them back here lol I will also be posting the picture for Photo Friday there on the Saturday with a link to my fiction piece if anyone does feel inspired by any of my pics please make sure I know the links and then I can ensure they are posted where people can find them.

So pictures like this one you will be able to use should you so desire….


But not this….

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Do you like the pretty frames they match the one on the oil painting above my fire place.  As I have my pics set as screen saver so the computer turns into a digital photo frame, I am also borrowing an idea from Russell Ray Photos and actually framing pictures as I post them that way I know which have been posted.  Of course my pictures are no way in the same league as his so if you haven’t taken a peek then I recommend taking a trip over to his blog.

Schedules And Lists · Thoughts on thursday

New Blogging Schedule

As promised here is the new blogging schedule for 2013, not everything has changed but hopefully you will enjoy the balance between hearing about me and my work.  The new schedule will actually start next week for this week I am afraid you are just getting random posts until the monster returns to school and I can get back in the flow of things.

So here we go…

Monday Musings stays the same featuring either a book review, film review or author interview.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tuesday will alternate between me getting back into the saddle and continuing my Udolpho journey and a new feature Tasty Tuesdays.  I love cooking and as you saw from the Christmas pics I have a new assistant in the kitchen so I decided to share a few of our culinary adventures, now don’t expect Jamie Oliver most of the stuff I do cook will be really simple such as my thick creamy veg soup but they are the sort of things that everyone has their own version of so hopefully mine will give you ideas or inspire you to knock up something different.

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WIP Wednesday remains as before where I will discuss how I am faring on my WIP and will be the place for any reveals to take place.


Thursdays will alternate between me posting a Vlog or a writing exercise.  I am quite looking forward to getting stuck in to the writing exercises and seeing if they do help get the creative juices flowing.


Fridays will see Photo Friday continue with a mix of Flash Fiction and poetry inspired by an image from my hard drive, please feel free to use any of the friday pics if the inspire you and post a link back which I will add to the bottom of the post the following week so everyone else can come have a look.


Saturday will be a general catch up post as well as accepting any outstanding awards (and yes I know I have been really lax and have quite a few left to accept from last year but I will get there)

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Sunday will see a new feature Sunday Story where I intend to write a serial story on the blog.  Each installment will be between 500 – 1000 words depending where it suits me to stop and hopefully leave you with a cliff hanger or two.  I haven’t quite decided on the story yet but I decided to do this as frequently many of you request more when I write flash fiction so hopefully this will satisfy the desire for longer pieces.


Weekly Round Up has been cancelled and instead there will be a once a month post scheduled for the final day of that month regardless of day which will summarise the past month and look at what I am aiming to get done the following month.


Okay so there you have it the new schedule starting Monday I hope there is something there for everyone.