Monday, 5 November 2018


According to the Society of Authors it has warned MPs that the changes to Universal Credit could silence working-class writers, impeding diversity in publishing and thus making it harder to attract different types of readers.

Speaking at the All-Party Parliamentary Writers Group inquiry into authors’ earnings on Tuesday (30th October), the SoA chief executive Nicola Solomon cautioned MPs that Universal Credit - awarded as a single monthly payment to people who are on a low income or out of work (twice monthly for some in Scotland) -could be detrimental to some authors’ income, forcing them to give up writing all together.

The SoA further explained that under the old system, currently in the process of being phased out, some authors with low earnings are able to claim working tax credits to supplement their income, thus ensuring they continue writing as a profession. But replacing this with the Universal Credit means self-employed people have to meet the “Minimum Income Floor” (an assumed level of earnings, based on what the government expects an employed person to receive in similar circumstances) in order to receive benefits. This is a threshold many writers are unable to reach. "This is equivalent to the National Living Wage for most working-age people," SoA said. "Given that the median annual income of a professional author is about £10,500, well below the National Living Wage, many authors will lose their entitlement to benefits under the new scheme."

Ms Solomon highlighted to MPs in her testimony to the inquiry that authors, including the likes of JK Rowling and 2018's Man Booker winner Anna Burns, have depended on the benefits system to support their writing. In the acknowledgements of Milkman (Faber), Burns notably gave thanks for the support of benefits from the Department for Work and Pensions that - along with the support of her local food bank, various charities and the SoA - enabled her to write her acclaimed book; sales of which reached the highest volume of any winner in the BookScan era in the week after winning the prestigious prize.

Unfortunately, claims the SoA, changes to the benefits system risks driving such working-class writers out of the industry. "From JK Rowling to Anna Burns, many authors have depended on the benefits system to support their writing. But, the design of the Universal Credit fails to recognise the reality of the work of authors or other self-employed workers in the cultural sector," said Solomon told the inquiry.

"Universal Credit risks driving working-class authors and other under-represented voices out of the profession. This would have a shocking impact on the diversity of stories being told. If writing is seen as a privilege then, only the privileged will be able to write. This gives us an incredibly narrow group of people who can afford to write, which in turn will make it harder to attract new readers and lead to a narrowing of our readership base."

NB We all know that writers are not in it for the money but this action will destroy more than just the pleasure of writing as less books produced will be detrimental to our children, grandchildren and future great-grandchildren.

Courtesy of the Society of Authors

Saturday, 20 October 2018


Whenever we hear stories about authors being defrauded by unscrupulous vanity presses, sometimes for thousands of pounds, the reaction can often be unsympathetic:

                 “It’s their own fault for being so gullible.”             
                 “They should have done their homework.”             
                 “That was a stupid mistake. Don’t they read about these things?”

Whilst it is true that authors have more information at their fingertips than ever before we still question why some keep falling for these scams and schemes from the same exploitative companies?

1. High-pressure sales target author psychology
Vanity presses are quite notorious for being aggressive in their pursuit of authors. Once they have your contact information, vanity presses often flood you with inquiries and “reminders” to join them. One “manuscript referral service” tested resulted in over 120 emails from some of the worst vanity presses in the industry.

Throughout, these solicitations the push is to initiate a phone conversation with the author. A sales rep can apply more manipulative sales tactics when having a direct conversation with you. Remember, once a vanity press gets its hooks into you, the pressure can be relentless.

2. Vanity presses provide emotional validation
Flattering a prospective author is one way that Vanity presses can ensnare you. Usually by assuring you that only the best manuscripts are selected for publication by their “editorial board.” Having submitted a manuscript so epically atrocious it must have reduced more than one editor to tears of laughter, maybe just to tears?

A forty-page “autobiographical, metaphysical, self-help book for adults” was also submitted to eight of the most prominent vanity presses. Unsurprisingly, every single one replied to let me know they were interested in publishing my masterpiece? To a novice author who is uncertain of the marketability of their work and perhaps eager for validation, such a positive response from a perceived ‘authority’ can be powerfully seductive.

What you must remember is, it’s honesty and practical advice you need as an author, not ego stroking and half-truths.

3. Vanity presses prey on an author’s insecurities
Flattery is always seductive, but that’s not the only way a vanity press can work their way into an author’s psyche. Many vanity presses will try to persuade you that you are incapable of producing a professional book without forking out for an expensive, full-service, publishing package. This is especially effective if you are not comfortable with new technology. After all the idea of handing over the details of publishing to someone who can take care of it all for you must be enticing.

Vanity presses tend to bombard the author with the message that they cannot succeed alone, and that the fees are really only a “manageable investment.”
What most authors don’t realise is that the “manageable investment” could exceed £15,000.

ALLi authors can attest, professional quality is within reach of any author willing to put in the time and effort, and it doesn’t require a £15,000 publishing package to achieve.

4. Prejudices about self-publishing
Despite a decade of rapid evolution, the self-publishing industry still faces prejudices and unfair assumptions, such as:

           Self-published books are amateurish
           Self-publishing is prohibitively expensive
           Self-publishing requires the author to do everything themselves
           Self-publishing is a last resort for authors who couldn’t secure traditional publishing contracts

Vanity presses routinely exploit these prejudices, often trying to persuade the novice author that they can’t succeed without their company’s help. And, that their only other options are years of fruitless queries to traditional publishers, or a difficult and lonely self-publishing process that’s doomed to failure.

To the author, this sales pitch may strengthen their lack of belief in them self. Having encountered amateurish self-published books they often assume that is the state of all such published books, never having seen any evidence to the contrary.

Remember, a professional self-published book is indistinguishable from a traditionally published book. It’s only the amateurish books that are bad in the reader’s eye.

5. Reliable information is lost in the noise
Trustworthy sources of information about self-publishing companies are few and far between. ALLi’s Watchdog Desk has evaluated and rated hundreds of services, and other industry watchdogs like Writer Beware are an invaluable resource, but they are both limited by time and staff constraints. Authors may not know of these resources, or may lack the technical skills to find them on the search engines. The problem is further compounded by the volume and prominence of misinformation on the Internet.

Vanity presses purchase highly-visible ads for top searches, thus ensnaring unsuspecting authors looking for information. Supposedly respectable publications take ads for substandard vanity presses, legitimising those companies. Consumer watchdog charities like the Better Business Bureau sell out, whitewashing negative ratings for companies that purchase “accreditation.” (For example, notorious vanity press Author Solutions carries an A+ rating with the BBB, despite hundreds of complaints and a majority of negative reviews.)

Some Vanity Presses flood the Internet with glowing testimonials from authors they have deceived. Others wage despicable smear campaigns against self-publishing watchdogs in an attempt to discredit them. 

When searching for reliable information on how to self-publish, the deck is stacked against us authors.

However, you can help arm unwary authors against schemes and scams by sharing watchdog service ratings and alerts. In the end, it’s not the author who should be blamed for falling victim to a rip-off; it’s the deceptive vanity presses that have made an industry of defrauding authors.

Courtesy of John Doppler at ALLi (

Friday, 21 September 2018


How to help boost readership and earnings for writers, which could also mean you?
Libraries are full of stories in a whole range of formats that people can borrow, including you. They are ideal places for research and to get ideas, so go to your local library and borrow stuff. Especially stuff written by writers you like.

Even if you already own the books or have read them before, you don’t actually have to read them again? They could just sit in your car or on the shelf until you return. The point being, that having taken the book means it is registered as a loan for that author. And that, means they will earn a Public Lending Right (PLR) royalty. Plus, it also helps keep our Library Service operating. The old adage applies here - use it or lose it!

Did you know that most Library Services offer a free eBook/audiobook service which is easy to use? Firstly. you need to download the specified app to your device and register it to your library card to get started. After that you can download eBooks or audiobooks via the app. This actually takes less time and effort than visiting the library yourself, especially if it’s cold and rainy outside.

After years of campaigning by the Society of Authors, the law was changed at the end of 2017 so that eBook and audiobook loans now earn PLR royalties too. And again, it doesn’t matter if you don’t read/listen to the book as the author earns! Mind you it would be great if you did. Of course, remember if you are an author you can register your books with the PLR and start earning too if your books are borrowed?

Did you know if the library doesn’t stock a particular book you love, you can suggest they stock it – either physically or as an eBook. Don’t be afraid to speak to library staff or find the relevant link on the website to make any recommendations. You might always get what you want, but if you don’t ask you don’t get. And of course, you never know what the Central Reserve might hold. It is does have an extensive collection.

Readers are sometimes left with books lovingly kept but which they no longer read. Libraries are almost always happy to accept donations of new or good quality second hand recent books. And of course, as an Author you could can donate copies of your own books if the library doesn’t have any/many. Don’t forget, if you are donating books you have written, tell them you are a Local Author! Libraries buy lots of new titles every year but can’t buy everything. If you do donate something they don’t have and it proves to be popular, the chances are they will buy more copies.

Libraries are a great free resource. They run regular events help promote books and authors or have story-time reading sessions, especially for children. My local library is based in Central Cardiff. I am on their mailing list so get regular mail shots telling me what is going on or sending me invites to Author events. And they are usually Free. So, come on, make the effort and go check your local library out now.

Wednesday, 19 September 2018


Came back from a great day out with the other half to discover a large envelope waiting for me. Was delighted to discover I have been accepted as a Member of the Society of Authors. The comments on my Facebook page were encouraging especially those which said ‘You’ve arrived’ - what more can one ask from your fellow authors. I am so chuffed with the news as I have been wanting to join for sometime now. Shows perseverance pays.

Having been away ‘down under’ for nearly 3 months I have literally let things slide due to wanting a relaxing time with my family. However, I have returned with a new surge of energy to start catching up and progressing my writing.  The first thing being to meet with the publisher who surprised me by exceeding expectations and instead of only 6 picture books to review I had a 11 of the remaining 12. Luckily very few alterations so I am hopeful all 12 will be launched over the next couple of months. That means the end, for now, of the Little Friends Picture Story Book Series. However, I have designed a Colouring Book to go with the series so am happy with the results.

Whilst away we managed to launch ‘Can You Hear Me’ by Yami Gray. Yami (pen-name) is a young British writer now living in Australia. This small book is a collection of poems she wrote between the ages of 11 and 15 and is complimented by a small number of lithographic line-art images. The poetry is dark for one so young but makes excellent reading for those interested in unusual poems.

The next job on the list is to get the manuscript from another young writer I am mentoring completed ready for publication. This will be a fantasy story and may well be the start of a series of books relating to the heroine. Time and exams will tell.

After that I realise it’s time to concentrate on marketing and so I am setting plans in motion to start promoting the Little Friends Books and myself as both author and speaker. Interesting times are ahead. Watch this space.

Saturday, 8 September 2018


So at last I am back in the UK after an extended stay 'down under' on the Gold Coast visiting family and friends. I had intended reporting back on the new people I was meeting but unfortunately circumstances didn't allow for me to do that so I am using today to catch up on what was missed. Apart from meeting the author Ally Blake I met quite a few other writers which was great, as well as linking up with fellow SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators) Members from the Gold Coast, Queensland area.

It is surprising where some writers go to offer their books for sale. Two of them I met at a local market/craft fair across the road from one of the places I was visiting. Mind you it was warm so sitting outside for a few hours wasn't too bad. As one of these writers wrote stories about their dog she had her pet on the stall with her which certainly proved to be an attraction and drew the crowds to her stall.

Despite the size of Australia it’s surprising the number of writing groups there are in the country, especially around the Gold Coast. One long standing group was The Ten Penners. They started out as a group of ten like-minded writers in 2004 and have developed their group since. The ladies I met proved to be warm and welcoming and were delighted to meet a fellow author.

Another author I met was Ally Blake. She was doing a workshop at the local library (see the previous blog Ally Blake Workshop 8th August). Ally writes for Mills & Boon and has just released book number 36. She is a well-recognised speaker and her events (I am told) are always well attended.

The other authors I met via a local SCBWI group meeting. They meet once a month at a local coffee shop to share ideas and up-date each other on what is happening in their individual writing worlds. Much the same as we do here in Cardiff where I live. Again I was made most welcome and it proved to be an interesting afternoon. Remember, if you are ever away from home always check for a local writers group or your societies meeting group as people will usually let you join in and will make you feel welcome.

And so, now I am back, it's time to get into the swing of things once again. I am seeing my publisher regarding the release of the final books in the Little Friends Picture Book Series and will be discussing what comes next. I have even started making a list of the things I want to achieve. Maybe the break away from all things writing has refreshed me? Who knows? Only time will tell.

Tuesday, 14 August 2018


This is Part Three of a series of blogs I should have been writing from 1st June.

Over the years I have learnt that sometimes finding the right words isn’t always easy. Even as a writer we often struggle to express that moment or feeling in the way we want our readers to feel or understand what is happening. And, it’s even harder when you want to explain to someone personally, knowing that you are doing so in order to help them. Especially when that someone is a young adult. But more so when it is someone you care about.
Throughout my life I have always tried to offer suggestions or ideas to my children rather than telling them what they should do when a situation has arisen or where advice is required. My mantra has usually been: If you come with a question or problem I won’t tell you what to do. What I’ll do is give you a variety of paths with possible solutions and consequences. I can only listen and make these suggestions on how I think things might work out if you take a certain type of action. The decision as to which path you choose well, that’s down to you.
Besides, I never wanted to be the one who would say I told you so or was told why didn’t you make me do this. The decisions we take in our life affect us first but also many others around us. And it’s not easy.
I suppose that is why I write. Choosing the right words is far easier when you can write it down and then rub it out if they don’t make sense or its doesn’t sound right. Haven’t we all often wished we could have done the same in real life?
Unfortunately, with today’s modern social media we no longer have the option to delete. Once its out there in cyber space you are stuck with it. So, the decisions you make and what you say does affect a multitude of people. The damage you cause cannot be undone.
It’s also harder to accept when it’s being done to you. People who don’t think carefully before saying, writing or doing things that hurt others are uncaring and often selfish. And the closer to home it comes the more spiteful and hurtful the the perpetrator is. At least in the victim’s mind.
And so, just as you would when writing a story, think before you speak. Stop and read out loud before you click the send button as unlike the word document you cannot delete once it’s gone. 
And remember you may have had a few seconds of satisfaction but the hurt lasts and in the long run you will be the one who will suffer. From loss of friendship, loss of love and loss of self-worth. If you can’t respect others then you don’t respect yourself.

Friday, 10 August 2018


This is Part Two of a series of blogs I should have been writing from 1st June.
Being ‘down under’ for nearly three months visiting family means filling my time when they are working or doing their own thing. This year I decided to make some pre-arranged meetings with local Gold Coast authors and members of Queensland SCBWI – the Society of Children’s Book Writers & illustrators.
Having made my links prior to leaving the UK I was delighted to meet up with a few of the ladies from The Ten Pennies writers’ group. They have been around a few years now and have written a collective of short stories for young adults with some success. One of the ladies, Marion, invited me to join her at Broadbeach Library where the Australian writer Ally Blake was giving a Romance Writing Workshop.

Ally has been a Mills & Boon UK author for some time, having just written her 36th book and regularly does these workshops. She is a very popular speaker and at only $5 (approx. £3) the two-hour event, with a cup of tea/coffee was well worth the visit. I was, along with all those attending, fortunate enough to receive a copy of the workshop notes.
The workshop was open to all and was sold out very quickly with a waiting list. I was fortunate to attend but then I did plead the cause that I was a UK author visiting Oz. Maybe that helped a little?

                          ALLY BLAKE & MYSELF               LADIES FROM THE TEN PENNERS GROUP

As a SCBWI member I regularly attend similar workshops in Cardiff with the members of the Welsh faction and find them both enjoyable and informative. Whether you are an experienced writer or a novice such events are a benefit. So, check your local library and internet for similar workshops and go along. Apart from learning a few things you also get to meet some fabulous people.

Wednesday, 8 August 2018


This is Part One of a series of blogs I should have been writing from 1st June.

Not having blogged for some weeks I thought it time to do a bit of catching up. The reason for my sloppiness is that I have been or at this moment in time still am  in Australia visiting my family. And even though I had planned on blogging while travelling the best laid plans of mice and men etc somehow never seem to work out.

My husband and I left for Oz at the end of May. The idea was he would stay for 3 weeks  during which we would celebrate the grand-daughters 18th birthday. She’s the youngest from my youngest daughter from  a previous marriage. I have to admit that I am currently on husband number 3. Maybe I’m a glutton for punishment! Who knows? Either that or I’m  just living a future novel - my life story. And what a life it’s been. However, I digress.

The first 3 weeks went well and in due course my husband returned to the UK where he quickly settled into the life of a bachelor for the next 2 months. That and visiting the two step-grand-children and doing all the grandfatherly stuff one does.

And so I duly moved in with my youngest daughter and her two, now young adults, kids. Knowing their would be times when they would be busy working or doing their own stuff I pre-organised some meet ups with local authors and members of the Queensland SCBWI Organisation. SCBWI stands for Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators. I’ve been an International and UK member for sometime and thought it would be nice to link up. 

This year I didn’t get a hire car as my daughter had lots of hours owed her from work so we had planned on spending time together doing girlie things. Everything was going to plan. Or so I thought.

First thing to go wrong was one of grand-daughters having a car accident. Luckily she wasn’t hurt but it meant her car has been off the road now for over 4 weeks. This means my daughter has had to run her to work and collect her in the evening. Then a couple of weeks ago the eldest daughter flew off to the UK as their father has recently come out of hospital and needs some care. This means I have limited means to see my other two grand-children who live some distance away. And finally my youngest daughter has been head-hunted for a National Managerial position. This gave her two weeks to hand in her notice and pass over all responsibility to the next person.

Despite all this excitement we did manage to get some jobs done such as a visit to the opticians, got youngest grand-daughter to an interview at TAFE (equivalent of UK after school college) and managed to fit in a couple of trips to IKEA.; My  youngest daughters favourite shop. And it didn’t cost me very much this time either!! Not to mention the odd meals out and celebrating the other grand-daughters boyfriends 21st and hers in advance as I will be back home when she turns 21. We also managed to attend to Teddy Bear’s Picnic with Teddy’s in attendance. Boy what a life they lead here down under!

And in between all this I have been reviewing and editing a very long manuscript. Hang on aren’t I supposed to be on holiday??

At the end of the day I have now decided to give up organising anything unless it’s absolutely necessary. At my age who needs the stress or worry of it? I think I will just go with the flow.

Monday, 14 May 2018


Having recently spent a long week-end on the Isle of Wight I was surprised to discover how inspirational the island has been, and still is, to many writers. From Queen Victoria, who was inspired to write her letters and diaries whilst staying on the island at Osborne House to Poet Laureate, Alfred, Lord Tennyson who made his home at Freshwater in the 1850's. His home proved to be a tranquil escape from his many fans.

There were many writers, artists and illustrators who were drawn to the inspirational beauty of the island including Lewis Carroll, Edward Lear and William Allingham as well as Victorian Photographic pioneer Julia Margaret Cameron. 

Karl Marx  described the Isle of Wight as 'The Island is a little paradise,' and Lewis Carroll said it presented 'Golden summer hours and whispers of a Summer Sea.' Obviously encouraging all to write their best work.

After driving around the island in the warm sunshine I have to agree. The island is beautiful as long as you stay away from the more commercial areas. Especially if you want peace and quiet for your creative juices to flow!

There are plenty of current children's writers and illustrators who reside on the island where they write and publish surrounded by the sea. These include Jules Marriner, Zoe Sadler and Marianne Su Yin. 

Many base their stories on the island like Frank Fenwick's Sailor Ted series. And Philip and Eleanor Bell of Island-based publisher Beachy Books, whose Jack and Boo picture books of fossils and dinosaurs, wild woods and beaches, all mirror the island's unique landscape. You only have to visit the rugged, colourful coastline of the famous Needles to understand why.

         Sailor Ted and the Cowes Week Adventure Image                   

Also living on the island and no doubt having based his fantasy tale Podkin One-Ear on the creatures living there is the 2017 Blue Peter Book Award winner Keiron Larwood.

If you are visiting the Isle of Wight then check out the Literary Heroes - An inspirational tour around the island. It shows 15 places of interest linked to assorted famous literary persons. And of course for something special why not check out the details of the Isle of Wight Literary Festival held in October. The event is based mainly at Northwood House, a Grad ll Georgian manor house set in 20 acres of parkland in the heart of Cowes.

So where do you find your inspiration for writing from? What is it that encourages you and gives you the wonderful ideas that makes you want to sit down and write those exciting stories?

Share your ideas and help encourage other writers new to the process. 

Send to:

Wednesday, 25 April 2018


This last two weeks has seen the start of the 'Cardiff Children's Literature Festival.' 

The event features Authors and Illustrators who bring a cast of colourful characters from the world of children's writing aimed predominately at youngsters aged 3-11.

It features many well known, such as The Gruffalo and Harry Potter but also welcomes the newest of story characters in both English and Welsh. There are over 40 exciting events, in and around Cardiff,  during the two week period which will satisfy all book-lovers.

I attended a lecture tonight hosted by Horatio Clare and Philipa Milnes-Smith. It doesn't matter how long you have been writing there is always something new to learn.

A member of our local SCBWI Association Claire Fayers will be attending and we shall have a stand to greet and meet potential writers/illustrators who want to learn more about us.

Monday, 23 April 2018


One of the joys of writing is when you see readers enjoying your books. None more so when its a child who is looking through the story and pictures. Recently I was sent a photo of a young Australian who has just sat down to read the first set of six Little Friends Picture Story Books - Woodland Adventures with his Grandparents.

It doesn't really matter how many sales one makes, although they are always welcome, but a picture equals a thousand words any day and is certainly just as, if not more, pleasurable to see.

I hope they have fun and enjoy reading the stories together. Have already ordered the next set of six from me to be sent once they are in print. Whooppee!!

Wednesday, 21 March 2018


Well I am delighted to say I have received the first draft print copies of the second series of the Little Friends Picture Story Books - Garden Adventures. I have to say they are looking good but as is normal the print is all askew. Hey Ho that's the joy of POD which my publisher says will be sorted PDQ!!!

Anyway after going through them carefully I have done some word amendments and some image amendments and hopefully they now look better and are ready to be printed correctly.

Luckily the front covers have not been changed and unlike my copies of the first set of Woodland Adventures they include a bar code and retail price? Ha ha well, these things do happen sometimes.

I have to say people who have reviewed the books are also delighted with them so I hope once the last lot are complete I can start promoting them with a vengeance.

Having said that I must confess that when I set out to write these stories it was purely for my own pleasure. After all I am supposed to be retired so it was a way to keep the 'little grey cells working.' Although I will confess it has been an enjoyable experience being involved in the fictional writing world. And certainly different to the factual one.

And of course it has introduced me to a variety of different people who have made the last few years very interesting and enjoyable. It's true what they say you do need a hobby and once retired you wonder how you ever found time to work???

Monday, 26 February 2018


Well what a strange couple of weeks we've had down here on Cardiff Bay. The weather has been alternating between freezing cold and brilliant warm sunshine. And its only February! 

Saturday I worked at my laptop with the apartment door open it was that warm. Yet Sunday I was freezing due to the cold front coming on from the Bristol Channel. And today, Monday, we are back to the sunshine bit with a wind blowing. I wish it would make it's mind up.

A week last Saturday I was asked to redo the video interview I did for a students media class. The original one had been taken inside the Millennium Theatre Centre and was too noisy so I invited the young girl Runzezi to come to the apartment. What an afternoon we had. Having been sat chatting for awhile about the English language (Runzezi is Chinese) we were shocked when the apartment started to shake and the TV began to rock back and forwards on its stand. I honestly thought a large truck had hit the building. However, it turned out we had an earthquake.

WHAT! I hear you say. In Cardiff Bay, South Wales. Never...... Well yes we had. In fact the whole of South Wales into England felt the effect. At least some did. It was exceedingly strange because some did and some didn't feel anything; even those who were supposedly over the epicentre of the quake? Of course when I told my husband about it he asked if we had been drinking ha ha. I must admit it was a bit of a shock at M4.7 as it is only the second time I have ever experienced such a thing. The first time being in Taiwan a couple of years ago and that was M6.9.

Anyway we managed to get the video done and the whole interview and write can be seen on:

Not bad for a student doing media and journalistic studies in a foreign language. Mind you it was quite strange talking about oneself as well!!

Monday, 12 February 2018


Well it's been quite an interesting time since I last wrote something here. For a start I am now another year older! I was going to put a comment about getting old but to be honest I'm not really bothered. I just keep telling myself (and everyone else) that I'm only 31. The reason for this is I decided to start going backwards in birthday years once I hit 50. That means I will be 30 next year. (In reality 70.) So maybe I'll start coming forwards again? My daughter tells me if I don't she will cease to exist by the time I get to 21 ha ha. I have also decided to have more than just one 'birth day' and have spread the celebrations out over a couple of weeks, maybe a month. It's a lot more fun that way. Perhaps I'm making up for all the parties I never had as a kid??
I've also been busy completing a friend's website. She's an artist who creates brilliant pictures and murals for kids but her website was so out-dated it needed to be brightened up. I've made it full of colour with some lovely images of her work. Totally different to the original. Fortunately she loves it.
This week I also completed two interviews. The first one has gone live on the ALLi (Alliance of Independent Authors) Blog. Reads great. In fact sounds better than when I originally answered the questions lol. You can read it by clicking this link:
The second interview was for a student from Cardiff Uni. Runzezi is Chinese and is in her final year doing Media and Journalistic Studies. We met at a local Art gallery and got talking and she asked if she could interview me. Always one to chat I said yes. What should have been about an hour and a half turned into three hours. It was good fun. We talked about all sorts of stuff not just my writing. She's off back to China later this year but I hope to keep in touch with her. Waiting now for the finished result to go live.

Wednesday, 17 January 2018


As I reported recently, like the rest of the UK I have been caught up in this horrible flu virus that has been doing the rounds. It seems that people have been dying from the effects of it. Maybe the bugs are fighting us back. Or maybe we are trying too hard to be clean? I remember the days when we played out in the dirt all day, ate our sandwiches with grubby hands and didn't wrap up because we weren't feeling the cold all the time. What has happened to us? It seems our desire to be cleaner could actually be killing us! This is my fifth week of the virus but fortunatly it looks as if I am finally beating the thing at last. Still coughing now and again but at least the cold appears to have gone. I live in hope.

Told my daughter in Australia about people dying from this flu and she told me not to! I said I had no intention as I was going to outlive my Dad to which she laughed. But, I meant it. He was 94 when he passed away and I would seriously like to at least reach the same age if I can. Mind you I also told her she would probably be looking after me to which she responded that was okay but she wasn't sure how her kids would cope with me. Told her tough they would just have to put up with a grumpy grandma!! What! Me grumpy. Never.

Yesterday was a good day as I approved the first draft of the basic cover design for the new set of the Little Friends Picture Story Books. They are being titled 'Garden Adventure Series.' Hopefully they will be in print within the next few weeks. Now I just have to finish the last set of draft books to be titled 'Farmyard Adventures Series' and that will complete the whole series of 18 books. It will be a relief as the reissue has been a long process but also a sad time that they are finished.

Also yesterday proved to be an interesting day for me as I was invited to be interviewed live by Ceri Stennett on Radio Cardiff for the 'Come on In' show. The time seemed to pass so quickly. I could have carried on chatting a lot longer. But, as Ceri said, I can always go back again. What a nice man. As I came out of the recording studio his next guests were waiting and they all complimented me on the interview, telling me how well I had come across. I felt quite chuffed by their comments. Certainly lifted my day for me. Now to see if I can download a copy for my records.

   Me and Ceri

Monday, 15 January 2018


Well what a crazy Xmas break I've had. Unfortunately the week before Xmas just as I was looking forward to a relaxing few days away at the Botolph Hotel & Spa on a Musical Break I was struck with a virus. What started out as a mild sore throat has ended up with my now entering my fifth week suffering with a cough and cold. And of course I have passed this along to my husband. You can guess how poorly he's been suffering!!

All this of course put paid to a good Xmas break and a New Year celebration. However, one good thing to come out of it is that I have lost quite a few pounds in weight. Just what I needed ha ha.

The other good thing was that being stuck at home meant I got the opportunity to catch up on some work. Finished the second set of the Little Friends Picture Story Books so they are off to the publisher later this week. And have just completed the third and final set so they will follow to the publisher in due course. The plan is to have all 12 books up and running by the end of April at the latest.

Another gain is I managed to complete the first review of the manscript for one of the young writers I am currently mentoring. It now needs proofreading and a front cover design agreeing upon prior to it going to the publisher. I'm also progressing the other young writers work, a series of poems which will include some lineart relating to the subject of each poem. Again these should be in print within the next couple of months.

That now leaves me free to decide what to do next? I have a number of short stories to finesse and a novel based on a famous opera star to complete. I am also considering reviewing and updating my historical novel and mystery short story book. The latter is due a new cover which is in the process of being completed. Looks like Spring 2018 is going to be an active start to the year.

NB are you a young writer? Would you like to have your written work reviewed then please feel free to contact me at