Monday 30 October 2017

DAY IN THE LIFE OF AN AUTHOR | Katharine and Elizabeth Corr

Hey guys, and happy Monday! Welcome back to my Day In The Life of an Author feature - I'm so pleased with how popular it is so far, and can't thank the wonderful authors so far for writing fantastic pieces and detailing their daily lives for us :)

On the blog today we have the brilliant author/sister duo Katharine and Elizabeth Corr, author of fantastic YA books including The Witch's Kiss, The Witch's Tears, and The Witch's Blood, which is due to come out in March next year.

And here is Katharine talking about her day-to-day life as an author!

My day usually starts at 7; my daughters don’t need me to take them to school anymore, but they wouldn’t make the bus on time without a certain amount of “encouragement” (e.g., being reminded about the time at five minute intervals), so in theory I can start writing as soon as they’ve left, at 8am. 

In theory. 

In practice, the first thing I do is have a strong coffee and check my Twitter and Instagram feeds. I also usually put a load of washing in the machine (I swear it’s coming through a black hole from somewhere, there’s so much of it!) and tidy up the kitchen. I know – the glamour, right?

Anyway, once I’m finally ready to start work, the exact shape of the day depends on where we are in the writing / editing process. I write with my sister; early on, we don’t need to be writing at the same time or in the same place. We always start with a detailed outline; although this outline changes as we go along, it does mean that we can get on with stuff independently. When we’re on the first draft stage – or working on structural edits – a typical day might involve writing part of a new chapter and reading over something Liz has written or reviewing some changes she’s suggested.

It’s different when we’re further along. Last week, for example, we were finishing line edits on our third novel, The Witch’s Blood. With line edits, a lot of changes depend on exactly how a paragraph, or a line, or even an individual word, sounds, when read as part of the whole. So, last Monday – after the coffee, washing, housework, etc., on my part, and after the school run on her part –  Liz came to my house in the morning. We sat at my desk with our latest draft open on the screen and read aloud as much of the manuscript as we could get through. (Of course, working in the same room as your sibling always comes with risks. Occasionally we argue about plot or killing off a character. More frequently we start messing around, reading bits of dialogue in strange accents, mashing up our narrative with scenes from Star Wars or LOTR until it all gets too much and we collapse into hysterical laughter. Just as well our editor can’t see us…) 

After Liz left I got on with other tasks. Some were writing related: I sent some emails about school visits, talked to a librarian about a potential YA festival, and spent a bit more time on one of our proto-novels. Some, sadly, were not: I went to the supermarket, booked a plumber and spent a fair amount of time standing with the kitchen door open waiting for the cat to decide whether she wanted to go out. 

Very unreasonably, my family always seem to want some attention (and feeding!) when they get back home from school / work, so it’s difficult to get much done after 5pm or so (unless I can plead a solid, I’m-going-to-be-working-all-night editing crisis).  Still, with my laptop and my various (badly organised) notebooks, I do sometimes manage to fit in a little bit more writing just before bed. Left to my own devices I’d stay up late working every night, and get up later in the morning. But as it is, I have that 7a.m. start looming…

Thank you so much, Kate and Liz, for appearing on my blog! Make sure you guys check back next Monday for another Day In The Life of an Author feature <3

Check out The Witch's Kiss here:

Check out Kate and Liz Corr here:

Until next time :)

Monday 23 October 2017


Hey guys, and welcome to another very happy Monday! I am excited to yet again be sharing another Day In The Life of an Author feature - this time with Marion Eaton, (writing as M.L. Eaton), the author of various mystery/thrillers with a touch of the supernatural (the Mysterious Marsh Series) and fictional memoirs based on the childhood experiences of her brother and herself (the Faraway Lands Series). A book of meditations, one on Reiki, a James Herriot style memoir of her early days as a solicitor, and a spooky mystery make up her other writings to date. Qualified as a Solicitor way back in the 1970s. The legal firm which she started soon afterwards is now incorporated into one of the largest solicitors' practices in England.

Marion lives in the beautiful Sussex countryside with an understanding husband, a lazy saluki and a large rambling garden, all of which she attempts to keep in some semblance of order. 

So without any further ado, here is Marion Eaton talking about her life as an author...

“It’s for you!”

My husband handed me a heavy parcel wrapped in brown paper. He was grinning from ear to ear like a schoolboy — despite the fact that he was knocking sixty years of age. I grabbed the parcel and ripped it open. I already knew what was inside, but nothing had prepared me for the first actual sight of them. Nestled inside the box were five printed copies of the book I’d laboured over for so many late nights and early mornings. Written, edited, re-written, re-read — I’d thought I’d never see my opus in print. With a little hesitation, I picked up the first precious paperback, and felt the prick of tears as I smiled back at Richard. My dream had come true at last!

I’d wanted to write from the time I was a little girl in the early nineteen-fifties. Then I made tiny little books for my dolls. I illustrated them with tiny stick-people drawings and sewed them together with bright red embroidery silk. I was always scribbling as a youngster, stories and poems, but mostly stories. I squirrelled them away and forgot about them. 

Life happened. Two careers — one as a lawyer, the other as an aromatherapist — a husband, two children, three dogs, and many years later, I retired. I enjoyed it for the first few weeks, but boredom soon set in. Then one rainy Sunday morning I sat up in bed and declared:

“I’d like to write a book.”

“Why don’t you?” my husband asked, handing me the morning papers and a scrumptious cup of coffee.

“Yes, why not?” I agreed, jumping out of bed and rushing into the study to my computer — with the coffee, but not the newspapers. 

Actually, as I was writing — a memoir about the early days of my ‘soliciting’ life — I started to remember several strange and supernatural things. Things that really did happen. As a result, the memoir gradually morphed into a legal mystery thriller peopled with ghosts. 

That Sunday morning was a little over five years ago and I haven’t looked back since. I am now writing my twelfth book. I’ve worked out a routine that works for me, and Life is full of the joy of creation.

Each morning as I wake up, I smile. That puts paid to any lingering uneasiness from dreams or thoughts. I stretch three times and leap out of bed … well, ‘creak’ might be a little more apt.

Then it’s into the kitchen to prepare some lemon water for me, coffee for my husband. While waiting for the kettle to boil, I circle all my joints in turn, starting with the shoulders. I call it oiling them because it feels so good. I also fill my mouth with coconut oil to ‘pull’ out all the toxicity that’s built up overnight. You’re supposed to swill the oil round your mouth — actively— for at least 20 minutes. Without fail, my husband will appear and ask me a question. Obviously I can’t speak, so the dumb show that accompanies my answer is usually funny and occasionally guessable.  Husband goes into bathroom, chuckling.

I spit out the oil and repair to ‘my’ room where I do Osho’s Kundalini meditation. It consists of shaking the whole body for 15 minutes, dancing for 15 minutes… and that’s where I usually give up and take the dog, a Saluki named Poppy, for an hour’s walk.
A quick bite of breakfast (usually muesli, greek yoghourt and fruit, or a boiled egg), and I take a cup of coffee to my computer. My husband and I enjoy the (generally silent) companionship of sharing a study. It has French doors that open out into our secluded garden, and immediately outside them I planted a lavender labyrinth. Whenever I need a break — or some inspiration — I simply walk its paths and come back in refreshed. In the summer, I take my laptop out onto the swing-seat in the garden or work under the sunshade on our deck.

I write for at least an hour before I allow myself to look at email and possibly Facebook. Half an hour, max, then back to whatever I’m writing that day. I simply couldn’t do without Scrivener. It’s a wonderful tools particularly as I write a lot of different things — novels, non-fiction, articles and manuals — that all need to be set out and compiled in different ways. It took a little while to learn, but the results have been well worth the time invested. 

Time for a coffee break. I might do a little light dusting perhaps, peg out the washing or do some ironing before writing for another hour and a half. Now it’s close to lunchtime, so I prepare something light and take it into the garden or the sitting room — the sitting room is always full of sunshine, provided there’s some about. If my husband is free we’ll have lunch together, which usually leads to some interesting conversation, particularly when he’s helping me with research for my books.

In the afternoon, in between writing, I try a little book marketing. I have a marketing plan, at last, and I try to stick to it. For years my attempts were hit and miss, but I’m slowly getting the hang of it, and little and often seems the best way to go. 
I used to be anxious about building an email list, but now I’m really enjoying sharing news and discovering new (to me) readers who like my books. While I love people to offer to read my books, I’m still sometimes apprehensive of their opinions. But I’ve learned to appreciate their helpfulness, especially in pointing out mistakes and errors. And it’s lovely when they’re prepared to give an honest review when the book is finally launched. I’ve made some very good friends that way.

In fact, I have teamed up with two other writers of mysteries (we call ourselves the Mystical Mystery Sisters) and we’re planning to do some joint marketing. This promises to be both exciting and fun. I’m looking forward to it.

At about 5 pm Poppy reminds me it’s time for her afternoon walk. She is allowed two treats when we return and she doesn’t settle until she’s had them. Supper is quickly made. Again nothing too heavy nowadays … spaghetti maybe, a fancy omelette or a curry. At the weekend I do the traditional roast with all the trimmings and my husband will no doubt wheedle a trifle, or a baked sponge pudding with custard. Naughty but nice, like him!

After supper we may watch television, read, or if, as usual, I’m in the middle of writing a book, I rush back to my characters. I dread what they might do if I’m not there to make sure they tread the right path. I work until midnight, but I do take breaks — to phone friends or my daughters, shower, do a little yoga, drumming or chanting. (Yes, as you’ve guessed, I’m an ageing hippy!)

Whenever I can bear to leave my writing, I have coffee or lunch with my daughters or friends — we are blessed with several local pubs that serve delicious lunches — or take long country walks, or scrabble in the garden for hours on end. Occasionally we will lunch on fish and chips as we walk by the sea. I’m lucky to live near Hastings and there’s wonderful countryside and seaside nearby.

Some weekends I’m so busy teaching Reiki, or other workshops with a complementary health theme, that I can’t sit down to write until about 7 pm. On those days I will write flat out until 1.00 am and often later. (Writing is very addictive!)  

I am fortunate. I enjoy good health despite my advanced years, which I put down to the pleasure of writing, drinking lots of water (and a regular glass of wine), eating organic food, taking gentle exercise, meditating — and being happy. Reiki is the ‘secret art of inviting happiness’ and it is my spiritual path. 

I am very blessed. I love my life — but nothing is as exciting as unwrapping the first paperback copy of my latest book.

Thank you so much, Marion, for appearing on my blog! Make sure you guys check back next Monday for another Day In The Life of an Author feature <3

Check out Marion Eaton here:

Monday 16 October 2017


Hey guys, and happy Monday! Today I am so excited to be sharing with you another Day In The Life of an Author post, today with the wonderful Abi Silver! I have had Abi on my blog before, both with a guest post as part of a blog tour, and a review of her book The Pinocchio Brief - check out those links!

A bit more about Abi Silver...

I cannot remember a time when I was not writing stories.  Growing up with a house full of books (my parents were teachers), I was inspired from an early age to believe I could join the ranks of my heroes.  But I accept that I probably could not have produced “The Pinocchio Brief” without my experience as a lawyer to guide me along the way.  
Being a lawyer is just like being a detective.  You are often required to construct the whole jigsaw puzzle of your client’s case from its constituent pieces.  And you need to be a good judge of character too; the motivation behind people’s actions (which you must glean from their words and conduct) is key to understanding what really happened and why.

I was a pupil of Roundhay School Leeds, and went on to read Law at Girton College Cambridge before wander lust sent me off travelling through Asia, Australia and South America as a student.  I also lived overseas in Israel for 5 years, during which time I learned sculpting, pottery on the wheel and began and completed an MBA.

I now live in Radlett, Hertfordshire with my husband and three sons.  The peaceful village setting and warm community gives me ample opportunity to write.  I usually have at least three plot lines going on in my head at one time and ideas come to be at the strangest of moments.  The skill, of course, is to select the one which will work best and then sit down to write.

And today I am super excited to be sharing Abi Silver's day with you all! 

The day starts early with my husband’s alarm call around 6.30.  Fortunately, it’s drimply music and allows me to drift back off.  Sadly, I am struggling with the title of my second novel (work in progress).  I have some ideas and roll them around in my head, testing them for novelty, appeal, weight and relevance.

I’m at my PC around 8.30.  I like a large screen and substantial keyboard, which I tilt by resting it on a book, currently the 2016 National Trust Handbook.  I also have my document at around 200% size.  Sadly, I am both short sighted and becoming long sighted at the same time (is that possible?) so I push my glasses onto the top of my head and squint at the screen.

I have spent the last ten days with a hard copy of the story so far, annotating and commenting and writing myself scribbled notes. My plan is to work steadily now, editing my novel in soft copy.  I intend to plough on throughout the day, without interruption, and finish early to get some sleep. I was writing way into the early hours yesterday and feel rather jaded.

At 8.40 my husband texts to remind me the car has a warning light on the dashboard.  A call to the garage leads to a rude awakening for my oldest son (aged 17) to accompany me to the garage (although the unwelcome interruption to the writing day is compensated for by my reading two interesting stories in the newspaper which I will squirrel away to use in the future – maybe). On the way back he tells me his girlfriend will join us for lunch; she has her driving test in the afternoon and wants moral support.  I drop him home, buy some fresh bagels and fillings and then remember I agreed to check on my mum’s flat (she is away). I return home at 10.45.

I check my emails; there is one from someone confirming an offer of 8 weeks’ (legal) work.  He wants me ideally to start on Monday.  The work sounds interesting and I might be able to fit it into my writing schedule. I confirm my interest.  Then an email comes through from Dan, my publisher, asking me how I’m getting on with book 2. Might I have a title by the end of the week?  I finally start writing at 11.15.

At 12.20 I am well into a new scene and the creative juices are flying.  I hear the characters’ voices in my head and make handwritten notes of things to check on Google.  Then middle son (aged 15), reminds me I “promised” to drive him to his friend.  I break off, toast a bagel for youngest son (13) and leave him munching it whilst heading out of the drive.  I am back for 1.10 and pick up where I left off.  I finish a scene and take a break to check Facebook and Twitter.  In the words of Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman “big mistake.”  (Yes, I know I am not supposed to like that film).

A friend of mine has said some lovely things about The Pinocchio Brief (my first novel) on Twitter.  She has a book out next week and, in addition to “liking” and “retweeting” I find myself looking at her profile and website and stuff about her book.  Then I find a video sent to me on Facebook of a friend’s daughter jumping off a cliff into the sea (for fun I should add).  I am horrified and add a suitable comment (OMG!) but this only leads to noisy notifications throughout the afternoon every time someone else views the video and expresses similar horror.  I notice it’s 2.45 and remember I didn’t eat yet.  

Thankfully, there is one bagel left for me from the pile I bought.

I settle back down to write around 3pm and have another productive phase.  I am describing someone entering an empty flat after the occupant has died (the death was elsewhere, she isn’t going to stumble on the body!).  My visit to my mum’s earlier in the day is invaluable. I can imagine the atmosphere and close my eyes to help me depict it.  At 3.45 the garage man calls; the car is ready for collection. I stretch out my tight shoulders and hang out the washing, which has been tumbling around in the machine since early morning.  Middle son texts to ask if I can pick him up or should he catch the train home.  You can predict the answer. He finally arrives back in an Uber (his friend was paying) just in time for dinner and after I have swept the drive, as the rain of the night before has dislodged acorns and cob nuts from every tree in Hertfordshire and deposited them on our doorstep. Oldest son’s girlfriend has passed her driving test.  Hurray!

I settle myself back at the PC around 7.15.  My husband arrives home at 7.20. I am ruthless. “Your dinner’s in the kitchen” I say curtly and return to work.  At 8pm I hear the unmistakeable tones of Paul Hollywood seaping through the wall; Bake Off has returned.  I resist for as long as possible but watch the “show stopper.” 
Now it’s serious. I want to finish my editing and there’s loads to go.  I drink 3 glasses of water, close the door and really focus.   I’m planning to talk to a pathologist friend tomorrow morning and I go back through my manuscript and pull out all I need.   I also check facts on Google like “can you survive a 100-foot fall?” (you can – if you’re very lucky) and what the cover of a particular book looks like.  

Now it’s past 11.  But I’m on a roll.  I speak my characters’ lines out loud, I live their anguish with them, I re-read and re-write till my hands are stiff and my eyes are closing.  It’s 1.20am.  Aagh!  I crawl into bed but lie awake for another 20 minutes ruminating on the title again. I am getting closer; it’s within my grasp.  But then it’s gone.

Thank you so much, Abi, for appearing on my blog! Make sure you guys check back for another Day In The Life of an Author feature <3

Check out Abi Silver here:

Until next time :) 

Friday 13 October 2017

BLOG TOUR | 'The Red Beach Hut' by Lynn Michell | CHILD PROTAGONISTS

Hi guys, and happy Friday! Today I am super excited to be taking part in a blog tour, to celebrate the publication of The Red Beach Hut, a new novel by Lynn Michell, a novel about secrets, loyalty, and the unlikeliest of friendships. 

Check out the blurb here...

'Their​ ​eyes​ ​met​ ​and​ ​locked.​ ​Pulling​ ​his​ ​hand​ ​from​ ​his​ ​pocket,​ ​Neville​ ​waved.​ ​Once.'

Eight​ ​year​ ​old​ ​Neville​ ​is​ ​the​ ​first​ ​to​ ​notice​ ​that​ ​the​ ​red​ ​beach​ ​hut​ ​is​ ​occupied​ ​again.
Abbott,​ ​panicked​ ​by​ ​what​ ​he​ ​believes​ ​is​ ​a​ ​homophobic​ ​cyber​ ​attack,​ ​is​ ​on​ ​the​ ​run.​ ​The hut​ ​is​ ​his​ ​refuge​ ​and​ ​shelter.

Inevitably​ ​man​ ​and​ ​boy​ ​collide.​ ​Their​ ​fleeting​ ​friendship​ ​is​ ​poignant,​ ​honest​ ​and​ ​healing. But​ ​Abbot's​ ​past​ ​threatens​ ​to​ ​tear​ ​him​ ​away,​ ​as​ ​others​ ​watch​ ​and​ ​self-interpret​ ​what they​ ​see.

An​ ​evocative​ ​portrayal​ ​of​ ​two​ ​outsiders​ ​who​ ​find​ ​companionship​ ​on​ ​a​ ​lonely​ ​beach, Lynn​ ​Michell's​ ​novel​ ​is​ ​about​ ​the​ ​labels​ ​we​ ​give​ ​people​ ​who​ ​are​ ​different,​ ​and​ ​the​ ​harm that​ ​ensues.

And today I am very lucky to have Lynn Michell on my blog to talk all about child protagonists!

I run Linen Press, the only independent women’s press in the UK, as well as writing. Always writing. My fourteeen books have been published mainly by mainstream presses, and range from  a writing scheme for schools (Write From the Start) to a book about children as passive smokers (Growing Up in Smoke) to an account of what it is like to have ME (Shattered: LIfe with ME). Recently I’ve revelled in the swich from non-fiction to fiction, rejoicing in the freedom it brings to be as creative and wildly imaginative as I want. Writing and publishing slot together wonderfully well. When I’m struggling with my own words, I put them on one side, don my editor’s hat and wrestle with someone else’s prose. That’s easier because I can bring an objective, fresh perspective when a writer is too close to her own writing to see where and why she is faltering. I’m the gremlin looking over her shoulder and pointing out the clunky bits or where things aren’t quite clear or where she’s needing to write more or less. It’s a knack. 

As a publisher, I’ve noticed recently how many submissions are Young Adult rather than Literary Fiction and how many feature a child narrator. There’s been a definite sea change. I’ve been running Linen Press for 10 years and don’t usually pick up as many ‘coming of age’ stories as I am now. Women are writing about children and adolescents, and first love and wierd and damaging parenting, often narrated from the child’s point of view. In the Huffington Post, Sharon Heath says, ‘Whether the heroes and heroines of these books are precocious or tentative, suicidal or resourceful, disconnected or endearing, each of them bumbles along as we all did—as we all do!—without a handbook. Almost all of them suffer the mixed blessings of uniqueness and otherness, and a number of the current crop view life through the lens of autism—an apt metaphor in this age of preoccupation with iEverythings, where researchers are telling us our kids are losing the capacity to read facial expressions and social cues.’ Sharon Heath sees in child protagnists a chance for adult readers to revisit their own childhoods and to see them again with the wisdom of age and experience.

I too have a child protaganist in The Red Beach Hut. Neville is not your usual, boisterous eight year old. He’s an old head on young shoulders, an observer rather than a participant. I don’t label Neville because labels can turn an unusual personality into a medical diagnosis and there’s nothign wrong with him except he doesn’t fit the bill in terms of a conventional little boy. He counts things. He doesn’t miss much. He thinks and ponders and wonders. His mum is a sex worker so he has to walk up and down the beach some evenings while she sees ‘clients’. 

He bent over his sandals again, his forehead as creased as a paper fan. ‘I’m ready.’
She came to him, bent and kissed his cheek. ‘You don’t mind, do you, going to the beach and playing by yourself for a while?’ She looked into his grey eyes until he answered.
‘Nope.’ It was honest.
‘It’s not for long, is it? Just ’til the clock on the pier says six-thirty. OK?’
‘It’s a nice evening. It will still be light by the time you come home. You can look in the pools. Count the crabs.’ She knew she was inventing pleasures and making excuses but what other option was there? Best to put a cheerful gloss on what had to be.
She bent down again and hugged him. ‘You know I’d like to come with you but some evenings I can’t. I’m sorry, son.’
‘I already said. I don’t mind. I like the beach. I like the sea. I like to count things.’

Of course Neville is the first to notice that the red beach hut is occupied again and his imagination goes into overdrive. Always ready to take a hit, nevertheless he begins his tentative overtures to the man, Abbott, who seems to ‘have no anchor’ and in whom Neville senses a kindred spirit. And of course he longs for a friend.

I love Neville, a boy who has to put his jelly sandels on in the right order and who tells no-one he looks for mermaids on the rocks in the far cove and who feels sorry for the green boat that no-one sails. Abbott, the man in the red beach hut who ‘has the sea in his heart like me’ finds resistance impossible even though the last thing he needs is a stray child.
When he left the hut at five-fifteen, still sleep-drugged and lost in half-remembered dreams in which fingers played on pianos that turned into giant keyboards, he didn’t register the boy sitting under his window with his back against the hut wall.
Oh for heaven’s sake.
‘Please can I go for a walk with you?’
‘No. I want to walk by myself. Go away. You’re not to come here.’ Caught unaware, he didn’t temper his exasperation or disguise his anger. The boy looked up. Tears welled in his grey eyes. ‘That’s two people in twelve minutes who’ve told me to go away,’ he said wretchedly.

Abbott’s defenses are down and the walk turns into regular meetings and a friendship that is honest, open and compassionate. But Abbott’s past and the people who watch and misinterpret, threaten a quick ending to Neville’s magical week.

Thank you so much, Lynn, for appearing on my blog and for writing this great post!

Make sure you guys check out the rest of the spots on the blog tour <3

Buy The Red Beach Hut here: =UTF8&qid=1506877098&sr=8-1&keywords=the+red+beach+hut

Check out Lynn Michell here:

Until next time :) 

Monday 9 October 2017


Hi guys, and happy Monday! Today I am soooo excited to be sharing a brand new feature with you; something I have been wanting to do for a while, but I have only just managed to sort myself out enough and get organised to do it!

Every Monday from today into the foreseeable future, I will be sharing the days of a handpicked bunch of wonderful authors, who will be telling us all about their daily routines as writers. I adore reading these kind of posts (I am unbelievably nosy), so I hope you will too...

First up is Julie Stock, an author of contemporary romance from around the world: novels, novellas and short stories. She indie published her debut novel, From Here to Nashville, in February 2015 and has just published her second novel, The Vineyard in Alsace. A follow-up novella to From Here to Nashville is also in progress, as well as the next novel.

Check out Julie's day here...

My writing ‘day’ starts in the afternoon because I work part-time at my day job in the mornings. The moment I return from work, I change into comfortable clothes, have my lunch and then wend my way upstairs to start my writing.

I have a dedicated writing space with a desk and I sit alongside a window, which makes it a very light and airy place to write. My desk is pretty well-organised, with my laptop in the middle and two piles to the left of me – one to my immediate left for the current project I’m working on, and the other for everything else I have to do. I keep a list of what I’m supposed to be doing to try and stop myself from procrastinating!

I only work on one project at a time but I may have several things going on at a time. At the moment for example, I have just finished the first round of editing a novella sequel to my first novel From Here to Nashville, and I was only working on that during that time. However, I recently finished the first draft of my next full novel and sent it off for its first assessment. And while it’s away, I’ve been editing my novella. Now that both of those are ‘finished’ for the moment, I’ve moved on to a new non-fiction project.

If writing a first draft, I try to write between 1 – 2,000 words a day. I write in Scrivener and this allows me to set a target for the day and the counter is set up a bit like a traffic light, gradually turning green as I progress through my words. This is very satisfying! I try to do my words before I do anything else because as many writers will tell you, you feel so much better when you’ve written them and no longer have to worry about writing them.

If editing, I try and edit for an hour each day as a minimum but I really have to make myself do it. Setting myself a minimum makes it bearable and if it’s going well, I can choose to do more.

If I’m about to start a new project, I try to plan out at least a basic outline of the story to save myself having to do endless rewrites further down the line. I also spend a lot of time on developing my characters and their backstory before I get started on the story otherwise, they will come back to trip me up further down the line.

Once I have done some planning, written some words or done some editing, I have to turn my head to all the other jobs requiring my attention. As a self-published author, that may involve writing blog posts or articles for both my own website and other people’s. I’m also the Deputy Editor for the quarterly newsletter of The Romantic Novelists’ Association and regularly write articles for that, as well as supporting the Editor with all the other jobs she has to do. 

I also tend to my social media accounts (Facebook and Twitter) or things that need doing on my website. I spend a lot of time working on and thinking about marketing for both my books but especially my latest one, The Vineyard in Alsace, as well as promotion, ads, sales etc. 
Apart from that I might be preparing for upcoming talks, liaising with cover designers, printers, editors and so on. The list of jobs is endless but I do really enjoy having overall control of both my writing and my publishing career. 

From time to time, I go to meet up with other writers either in the RNA, or The Society of Authors of which I’m also a member because working on your own all the time can be a bit lonely otherwise. Likewise, I sometimes go to workshops or conferences.

The only thing I find difficult is switching off from it all when my business is in my own home. Still, my teenage daughter and my husband usually make sure that I get away from my desk for the evening when I like nothing better than to make a lovely meal, drink a glass of wine and watch a good film.

Thank you so much, Julie, for appearing on the first Day In The Life of An Author feature! Make sure you guys check back next week for another DITL feature <3

If you are a writer and would like to share your day as part of this feature, just pop me an email and we can sort something out...

Check out Julie and her books here:

Until next time :)

Wednesday 4 October 2017

AUTHOR INTERVIEW | 5 Minutes with Aydin Guner, author of 'The Devil in I'

Hey guys, and happy Wednesday! Today I am thrilled to be sharing another author interview with you - this time with Aydin Guner, author of The Devil in I, a fast-paced, modern day thriller set in New York City in which the main character is, literally, the devil in disguise. Described as ‘a modern day American Psycho’ we follow the life of the good looking, rich and charming Damon West as he indulges in whatever he wishes, drugs, sex, violence, and increasingly struggles to maintain a life on earth.

Intrigued? Check out the blurb here...

Damon West is a twenty-eight-year old living in New York City. His life appears to be perfect. He has a loving girlfriend, good friends, lots of money and a job on Wall Street, everything a young man could ask for.

However, Damon has a secret. Damon is the Devil.

For centuries, Damon has roamed the Earth enjoying everything the human world has to offer. Sex, entertainment, travel, new discoveries and more sex. Damon's life appears to be perfect but takes an unexpected turn when he meets a co-worker, Latasha Holmes.
Damon is suddenly submerged in a spiralling obsession with Latasha that he can’t control. She plays him for the fool. For all his charms, Damon is unable to deal with those emotions. Is it love, or is it obsession?

Whilst Damon’s world starts to spiral out of control, we start to question who Latasha Holmes really is. Is she aware of her actions? Was this all part of a higher plan? Has she been conspiring with the suspicious new boss, Jason Godfrey?

In The Devil in I, Damon faces the ultimate battle to hold on to everything he has: his job, his reputation, his girlfriend, and his life.

The Devil in I is part American Psycho and part Dantes Inferno. This fast paced, sexy, violent and modern day thriller is the ultimate story of Good vs Evil and unrequited love. Based in New York City, The Devil in I is not for the faint hearted.

Today I am lucky enough to have Aydin on my blog, to talk all things New York, writing inspiration and what he finds fascinating about the idea of the devil...

What was the inspiration behind The Devil in I?

I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of a Heaven and a Hell, a God and a Devil. As a youngster I obsessed over books like Paradise Lost, Dantes Inferno and Dr Faustus. In the scriptures, they believe the Devil walks among us as a ‘beautiful man’, so I was always fascinated with what that would look like and how that would be.

The book also touches on themes of unrequited love which is weaved throughout the whole story. Damon’s life falls apart when he can’t get the girl he wants. I think in some way, we can all relate to that.
 Tell us a bit more about Damon West. Do you have anything in common with him?

Damon is the perfect man. He is good at everything, he is intelligent, extremely charming, very funny, witty, has a 6th sense, can fake empathy. On the surface, you would never suspect he is the Devil. However, he is also extremely despicable. He cares for no one, he has no identifiable human emotion except for rage, jealousy and lust. And he does some terrible things. But, throughout all of this, he is likeable. You root for him because, well, he’s just too manipulative - you can’t dislike him, even after everything he does.

That was the challenge with this character. Having the lead character being the master of deception, you needed to be invested in him, you need to be behind him, and I think that’s been achieved. The crux of it is, he’s so good at being evil, you don’t even notice he’s being evil.

I’m not sure if I have anything in common with Damon. Maybe there’s a part of us all in him. I like coffee, which I wrote into the story and there is one interaction which is based on a real conversation, but, nope, other than that he is 100% fiction. 

What made you want to write about the devil living in the middle of modern day New York City?

I wanted to have a backdrop that was attractive and luring for the story. I think any story based in New York instantly makes it cool. There’s lots of scope for good scenes in good locations in the City. Wall Street was a key driver with the location. Damon is an exceptional trader - although in the book he is a mergers and acquisitions manager, he is a well known name on Wall Street. The global influence Wall Street has on the world, it’s the epicentre of capitalism and the symbolism of greed. Fitting for a devil.

What advice would you offer aspiring writers?

I’d say for your first book just take your time. Write about something which is important to you, and make sure it’s a story you really want to tell. There is going to be days when you don’t want to write, weeks will go by where you’re not interested in writing your story - which is perfectly normal, but if it’s a story you’re really excited about then those times will be less.

I’d also suggest not trying to write to an audience. Write for your own creative need. If you try to be the next JK Rowling or someone then your story is at risk of being diluted and insincere. Be true to yourself. Readers will hopefully fall in love with your own unique style, so don’t be afraid to be yourself.

Thirdly, paint a picture with your words. What you’re imagining in your head needs to be conveyed and translated so the person reading it also sees the same thing. Control the imagery with your writing, and if you want the reader to use their imagination, you can purposely hold off on some detail to allow the reader to fill those gaps.
Sum up The Devil In I in 3 words!

Exhilarating, Sexy, Unexpected.

Thank you so much, Aydin, for appearing on my blog!

Check out Aydin Guner here:

Until next time :)

Tuesday 3 October 2017

BLOG TOUR | 'Stories for Homes vol. 2' | SHORT STORIES REVIEW

Hey guys, and happy Tuesday! Today I am very excited to be part of an extra special blog tour, to celebrate the publication of an important and wonderful short story anthology - Stories for Homes (vol. 2). Stories for Homes features the very best in short fiction on the theme of Home, in support of the housing charity Shelter. 

The second volume, (which includes the stories I will be reviewing today), is dedicated to the victims and survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire. This is the tragedy that occurred on 14th June 2017, where the 24-storey block of flats set on fire, leading to countless deaths and overwhelming devastation. 

I feel very privileged to be helping to spread the word about this fabulous short story anthology, as not only are these short stories fantastic, but it is for a brilliant and thoroughly worthwhile cause. All of the sales from this book goes to the housing and homelessness charity Shelter, who provide information, support and advice to millions of people facing homelessness or experiencing housing issues. 

Check out the blurb here...

Published and unpublished writers come together to create an anthology of stories about what ‘home’ means.

55 writers are included in a second charity anthology that brings issues around housing, poverty and crisis to life through the power of storytelling. Volume One of the Stories for Homes Project raised over £3K for housing charity Shelter and raised awareness of housing issues.  Volume Two of the anthology includes stories, poems and flash fiction and again all proceeds will be donated to the charity.

So without further ado, I will be reviewing two short stories from the collection, Return to Winter and Real Comfort Food

Anyone who knows me and my reading tastes will know that I absolutely adore short stories, so I was very excited to dive into this book. Return to Winter by P.T. Whelan is a fantastic and deeply moving story about a son's relationship with his father, and his eventual realisation that he never knew his father at all. It is a narrative about family relationships, secrets, and how life experiences form who you are. The story is told in a wonderfully distinctive voice, and features characters that simply jump out from the page. I enjoyed the distinction between the descriptions of a personal family history, and a collective memory of past horrors: the Holocaust. The way the story was told was confiding, conversational and honest. I particularly enjoyed the ending of this story; it left me with a long-lasting impression and the image of a family who, after suffering a monumental loss, would remain closer than ever.

The second story I read as part of this anthology was Real Comfort Food. This story drips with poetic language and beautiful, comforting imagery that transports you to a warm family kitchen. This story is a wonderful testament to the power of comfort food, and the  countless memories that food can bring to a family, of any kind. I really did not expect the twist in the middle of the story, and I thought it was wonderfully incorporated and I really was not expecting it. I loved the relationship described in the story... all the feels. The characters and setting were so perfectly and intricately described that I felt like I was sitting right there in the kitchen, watching the scene unfold before me. The description of this 'unconventional' family was so heartwarming to read about, and I devoured every page (just as I wanted to devour the food described in the story!)

I hope you guys enjoyed my reviews of just a couple of the amazing short stories in Stories for Homes - make sure you check them all out!

Also don't forget to read all the posts on the rest of the blog tour, you won't regret it <3

Buy Stories for Homes here:

Check out the website here:

Until next time :)