2018 Plans and Resolutions: Val Penny and Jane Risdon.. @valeriepenny @Jane_Risdon

It’s the penultimate day of my 2018 Plans and Resolutions series and I can’t believe it’s nearly finished. Today I have posts from Val Penny and Jane Risdon.

Guest post – Val Penny

I am delighted to be visiting Sandra’s blog today to chat about so many of the exciting events and opportunities 2018 offers.

It was clear last year that 2018 would be an exciting one, because my husband had learned last May that he had qualified, again, to represent his country in their International Fishing Team. Imagine our happiness when our older daughter compounded our excitement by informing us that in April, 2018 we will become grandparents for the first time. Joy of joys! Time to get knitting.

I also made a New Year Resolution this year. The first one I have made in many years, and it is very simple: I resolve to read more books by authors with whose work I am not familiar. This has been a fabulous resolution. I have been thrilled by a historical romance, ‘Heart of Stone’ by John Jackson, spooked by the ghost story ‘Woman in Back’ by Susan Hill and intrigued by the mystery that is ‘The Silence’ by Katharine Johnson and next on my TBR pile is the biography ‘Born a Crime’ by Trevor Noah. This is the best resolution I have ever made, and one that is not at all difficult to keep.

But the thrills of 2018 continue to roll in. My debut crime novel, ‘Hunter’s Chase’ set in Edinburgh is to be published by Crooked Cat Books on 02.02.2018. The Edinburgh Bookshop is hosting a book launch for me on 15 February, I am excited and nervous about that, in equal measure. So, when my publishers confirmed that they were accepting the second book in my Edinburgh Mysteries series, ‘Hunter’s Revenge’, with a view to it being published in the late summer of this year, I really did not think things could be any better.

I was wrong. In a good way, but I was wrong: things could and did get better when I was asked to lead a session on publicising your novel at the prestigious Swanwick Writers’ Summer School in August. I have no doubt that the magic of Swanwick gave me the confidence to show ‘Hunter’s Chase’ to publishers in the first place, so it will be a delight to be back.

All in all, 2018 is shaping up to be an extraordinary year for me. I hope it will be similarly exciting for Sandra and all her readers.
The Author:

Val Penny is an American author living in SW Scotland. She has two adult daughters of whom she is justly proud and lives with her husband and two cats. She has a Law degree from Edinburgh University and her MSc from Napier University. She has had many jobs including hairdresser, waitress, lawyer, banker, azalea farmer and lecturer. However she has not yet achieved either of her childhood dreams of being a ballet dancer or owning a candy store. Until those dreams come true, she has turned her hand to writing poetry, short stories and novels. Her first crime novel, ‘Hunter’s Chase’ set in Edinburgh, Scotland will be published by Crooked Cat Books on 02.02.2018. She is now writing the sequel, ‘Hunter’s Revenge’.
Hunter’s Chase Blurb

Hunter by name Hunter by nature: DI Hunter Wilson will not rest until Edinburgh is safe.

DI Hunter Wilson knows there is a new supply of cocaine flooding his city and he needs to find the source but his attention is transferred to murder when a corpse is discovered in the grounds of a golf course. Shortly after the post-mortem, Hunter witnesses a second murder but that is not the end of the slaughter. With a young woman’s life also hanging in the balance, the last thing Hunter needs is a new man on his team: the son of his nemesis, the former Chief Constable. Hunter’s perseverance and patience are put to the test time after time in this taught crime thriller.


Guest post – Jane Risdon.

The past five years have been hectic for me working on various projects including Only One Woman which has now been published (Nov 2017) and its promotion is taking up a great deal of my time. The paperback will be published May 2018 and I am really excited about seeing the book in stores, libraries and in audio, worldwide. I’ve lined up some exciting events – which I cannot disclose now – but they’re linked in with Only One Woman, so it seems this year is going to be spent mostly in promotional activities. Several readers have asked about a sequel too, which I am considering and I do have the story in my head so who knows…

I really hope that Ms Birdsong Investigates (my series featuring a former MI5 Officer) will get published. It was submitted in 2017 to my publisher but they are not publishing new titles for the foreseeable future. So I am sending vibes to Accent Press in the hope they can alter their policy soon and I can see Ms B. in print. I also hope to complete the other two books (so far) in the series which are in various stages of completion.

I’ve never made a specific New Year’s resolution, it is a map to failure I’m convinced, and I don’t set goals either. If I achieve things I want to achieve that is cool, but I don’t set specific times and activities in cement. If it happens, it happens. I think it is the rebel in me – I cannot stand having to do anything. Self-motivation is not lacking however.

I do need to complete several other projects – novels – mostly crime/thrillers – which are also in various stages of completion; requests for me to write for anthologies, newsletters and online magazines often seem to get in the way. So if I aim for anything, it will be to complete all my outstanding Works in Progress and if my publisher is accepting again, submit in the hope they’ll see the light of day. If not, I am seriously considering putting them out myself, but that is time consuming and takes away from writing, and I’d also like to spend a little more time out walking in the countryside and photographing things I enjoy. 2018 is going to be a full-on year for me and I am looking forward to every moment.

Jane Risdon Bio:

Following a career in the international music business managing recording artists, song-writers, record producers, and actors, Jane fulfilled her dream to become a full-time writer 7 years go. Short stories, flash fiction (mostly crime) followed, signing with Publisher, Accent Press, in 2014. She’s contributed to over a dozen anthologies in all genres and her novel, Ms Birdsong Investigates (featuring a former MI5 Officer) is with her publisher. Her co-authored novel – Only One Woman – with lifelong friend, Christina Jones, was published by Accent in November 2017 in e-pub/POD format garnering over 21 5* reviews to date. The paperback for stores and audio will be published May 2018.
Only One Woman – blurb

Two women, one love story.

June 1968. Renza falls head over heels for heartthrob guitarist Scott. But after a romantic summer together they are torn apart when Renza’s family moves away.

December 1968. On the night she believes to be her last, Stellameets Scott at a local dance. He’s the most beautiful boy she’s ever seen and if this one night is all they have, she’ll take it.

As the final colourful year of the sixties dawns, the question is: can there be only one woman for Scott?







Only One Woman Accent Press


Only One Woman Facebook



2018 Plans and Resolutions: Isabella May and Julie Ryan. @IsabellaMayBks @julieryan18

Today’s posts in this series come from Isabella May and Julie Ryan.  Despite being almost at the end of the series every post has been different and today’s two are another example of that so read on and find out what I’m talking about.   

5 New Year’s Resolutions for a Bookworm – Isabella May
Thanks so much, Sandra, for inviting me onto your blog to chat New Year’s Resolutions for 2018. I’m hoping it’ll be an exciting and prosperous and healthy New Year for everybody – especially those of us who love to read and write books!

Truth be told, I am not one for making resolutions at all, having spent most of my teens and early twenties doing just that, then failing spectacularly to make it past midday on January 1st without devouring something saccharine and temple-achingly good. They rarely work, and I’m all about following the Inspired Action of the present moment and carpe-dieming… 

That said, I DO think there are several things that we (and I include myself here!) as a book-loving community can do to make the world a shinier, happier place this brand spanking New Year. Yup, the Positivity Guru in me just can’t help herself. So here we go. Read on if you’d like to be inspired… and look away now if you are prone to eye-rolls!

1: Leave a NICE review on Amazon and Goodreads… or don’t leave a review at all. Now, I say this to myself as much as to anyone else. What we give out we sure as hell get back like a boomerang, after all. Frankly, why would anyone continue to read a book if they believe that it’s less than 3 star? And does it honestly make anybody feel good (sender of the critique included) to slate somebody else’s work? The answer is a resounding NO, so cut it out; the karma you receive back in the months ahead will work out oh, so much nicer for it.

2: Put the book down if you don’t enjoy it. I have spent way too many hours of this year reading books that just didn’t float my boat, skim-reading through pages full of wooden characters that just weren’t doing a thing for my excitement levels or attention span… because I felt obliged/was returning a favour/everybody else claimed X,Y or Z was ‘the best thing since sliced bread AND the advent of the Kindle’/I’d spent £1.99 on an eBook purchase and was going to damned well get my monies’ worth. Well, that equates to a whole lot of hours that could have been spent doing other things instead; other things like reading books that do make my heart sing! So no more of that in 2018 for me…

3: Stop comparing yourself to everybody else! That goes for all of us and it certainly goes for us authors. In the year that is 2018, I intend to quit using the success of others as my barometer, accept that I have a unique writing voice, and just get on with being unapologetically me. No more passing myself off as oddball and ‘maybe not everybody’s cuppa’, no more saying sorry for crossing genres. The world needs more kooky writers; the publishing world needs more variety. I am going to stand tall and proud (all 5 foot 2 inches of me) and get out there and do my thing! Oh yeah.

4:Make more bookish friends We can never have too many of them…

5: Go to a bookish event I live just a stone’s throw away from Gibraltar, yet for the past two years, I have managed to ‘be busy’ when the annual Lit Festival is on. Not good enough for a bookworm! My heart sinks when I think about all those fabulous and inspiring talks from authors that I’ve missed… not to mention the opportunity to settle the score with resolution number four while I was at it. In 2018 I will make it my mission to go to at least one!

Above all in 2018, here’s to LOTS more reading time, and the launch of LOADS more books to add to our ever growing To Be Read piles…
Author Bio:

Isabella May lives in (mostly) sunny Andalucia, Spain with her husband, daughter and son, creatively inspired by the sea and the mountains. When she isn’t having her cake and eating it, sampling a new cocktail on the beach, or ferrying her children to and from after school activities, she can usually be found writing.  As a co-founder and a former contributing writer for the popular online women’s magazine, The Glass House Girls – http://www.theglasshousegirls.com – she has also been lucky enough to subject the digital world to her other favourite pastimes, travel, the Law of Attraction, and Prince (The Purple One).  She has recently become a Book Fairy, and is having lots of fun with her imaginative ‘drops’!  The Cocktail Bar is her second novel, following on from the hit sensation, Oh! What a Pavlova, published in 2017. Her third novel is currently being polished up and involves copious amounts of churros con chocolate: watch this space… 

Book 2 – The Cocktail Bar:

Published 13th February.

Rock star, River Jackson, is back in his hometown of Glastonbury to open a cocktail bar… and the locals aren’t impressed.  Seductive Georgina is proving too hot to handle; band mate, Angelic Alice, is messing with his heart and his head; his mum is a hippie-dippy liability; his school friends have resorted to violence – oh, and his band manager, Lennie, AND the media are on his trail.  But River is armed with a magical Mexican elixir which will change the lives of the Three Chosen Ones. Once the Mexican wave of joy takes a hold of the town, he’s glad he didn’t lose his proverbial bottle.  Pity he hasn’t taken better care of the real one… 

Universal Amazon buying link:  http://myBook.to/thecocktailbar  

My hopes and wishes for 2018 – Julie Ryan

Like many people I won’t be sorry to see the back of 2017. It proved to be a difficult year for us as a family as we lost my mother-in-law back in May so 2018 will continue to be a year of firsts – first mother’s day without her and so on. Trying to move forward I’m hoping that 2018 will be a year of firsts for me personally. 

Having written three books in the Greek island mystery series and a Christmas novella, I am embarking on pastures new with a story about three sisters in conflict provisionally entitled Finding Rose. There’s a triple time shift too as the narrative moves between the present, The Tudor Court and WW1. I’m really hoping that this will be the year I find an agent and a publisher so January will be filled with submissions and crossed fingers. The book has been professionally critiqued and edited to within an inch of its life so other than polishing the blurb there isn’t much more I can do except wait with bated breath. 

I don’t make New Year Resolutions as such – mainly because they have usually been broken by January 2nd. It’s also counterproductive to say I’m going to give up chocolate. Apart from the fact that will never happen, the minute I ban something I immediately crave it. Instead 2018 will focus on us getting fit as a family. There may have been a request to Father Christmas for new bicycles!! He also brought a soup maker and a low fat fryer so healthier cooking is on the horizon too.

I could say I wish for World Peace, for global warming to be reduced and an end to povery and hunger. Of course I do, but it leaves me feeling depressed and impotent. Perhaps 2018 will be the year that everyone makes a little difference. Together we can make a big difference one step at a time.
Author bio:  Julie’s roots are in a small mining village in South Yorkshire. After a degree in French Language and Literature, wanderlust kicked in and she went to live in France, Poland, Thailand and Greece. Using the latter as inspiration she started a series of mystery romantic thrillers set in the Greek Isles. 

Jenna’s Journey is the first novel in the Series, Pandora’s Prophecy and Sophia’s Secret make up the rest of the trilogy. 

Author links

Author Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/julieryanauthor

Author Central Account: http://www.amazon.com/Julie-Ryan/e/B00F0VYX34/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1

Website Url: http://julieryanbooks.blogspot.co.uk

          Twitter: https://twitter.com/julieryan18

About the books:

Finding Rose

When three sisters, Ginny, Sally and Molly are brought together at their father’s hospital bed, they are forced to confront not only the prospect of a future without him but also the secrets of the past that have kept them apart.

Their father, Eddie Matthews, drugged up on morphine, seems to be rambling but in fact is reliving his previous lives as a Tudor monk and as a soldier on the Front in WW1. Struggling to speak he reveals that he has a secret and urges his daughters to ‘Find Rose’. Can the sisters put aside their differences to fulfil his last wish?

Buy links









2018 Plans and Resolutions – Daisy James and Jeannie Wycherley  @daisyjamesbooks @Thecushionlady

It’s the beginning of the end now as this is the last week of this series. However it’s ending on a high. Kicking off the final week I have posts from the lovely Daisy James and Jeannie Wycherley.

My New Year’s Resolutions – Daisy James

First of all, a huge thank you to Sandra for featuring my guest post on her January Resolutions blog. I’m really excited to be part of it and Sandra has inspired me to really take the time to think about my goals for 2018.

Every year I try to make my resolutions as diverse as possible – not too easy, but certainly not too taxing either. I print them out on a piece of brightly coloured paper and put the list in a pretty frame on my desk to remind me to maintain my focus. 

I’ve looked back at my 2017 goals and think I did okay, not brilliant, but at least I was able to tick off seven of the ten resolutions I made. The one I’m most proud of is the one challenging me to take a new class. I wanted to come up with something completely different to the courses I usually pick like creative writing or crafting. So, for the last twelve months I’ve been learning archery. It’s fun, but it’s a sport that requires precision, a steady hand and in my case an ability to laugh at your mistakes. 

So, for 2018 I asked myself the same questions as I did last year to help me to select my resolutions and here are a few I’ve decided on.

What are your career goals?

I’m thrilled to be having a brand new series called The Paradise Cookery School published this year. It’s set in the tropical paradise of St Lucia in the Caribbean and follows Amelia (or Millie as she prefers to be known) as she struggles to get to grips with setting up a cookery school there. The first in the series is called Sunshine & Secrets and is due out on the 9th of March. I love the cover! I have to admit that like Millie I’m a confirmed sunshine addict and prefer holidays that involve lying under a palm tree with a book and a cocktail in hand. The second story is called Confetti & Confusion, which will be published in June, and the final instalment is Mistletoe & Mystery, out in September. I can’t wait to invite everyone in!

What are your learning goals?

After writing about cookery schools, I really fancy taking a cookery course myself. I love baking and can often be found sprinkling icing sugar and edible glitter on cupcakes and whipping up a batch of apricot and blue cheese scones. So, to challenge myself, I’ve signed up for an Indian cookery class.

What are your exercise goals?

Writing is a sedentary life, as well as quite a lonely way to make a living. Along with continuing to improve my archery skills, I intend to work on upping my step target to 10,000 a day. I got a step counter in my Christmas stocking so this will definitely help to keep me motivated.

What are your lifestyle goals?

I eat far too many cakes and biscuits than is healthy! Because of my love of baking there is always temptation in my kitchen. So, I resolve to replace the mid-morning treats with a plate of healthy snacks like fresh fruit and veggie sticks and dips. I think this is going to be the hardest resolution to stick to, especially when I get the afternoon munchies.

New hobbies.

I love going to the theatre so I hope to try to get there more often this year. A member of my family volunteers at a small local theatre that puts on regular amateur performances and we do go as much as we can – even to the shows we’re not sure about which often turn out to be more interesting than we expect. I was lucky enough to be given tickets for The Jersey Boys for Christmas and I’m really looking forward to that night out! 

Of course, I love reading and my resolutions always include a goal to read more widely and try new authors, and to expand into non-fiction too. I don’t put a number on how many books I will read over the next twelve months, but I do try to get through as many as I can. 

I’d love to hear what’s on your blog readers’ resolutions list!

Once again, a huge thank you for having me, Sandra. It’s been great being here.

Love Daisy. 
About the author:

Daisy James is a Yorkshire girl transplanted to the north east of England. She loves writing stories with strong heroines and swift-flowing plotlines. When not scribbling away in her peppermint-and-green summerhouse (garden shed), she spends her time sifting flour and sprinkling sugar and edible glitter. She loves gossiping with friends over a glass of something pink and fizzy or indulging in a spot of afternoon tea – china plates and teacups are a must.

About the Books:

Blurb: She might be the most famous person in the country, but no one even knows her name…

Callie’s exquisite, glittering silk gown has been shortlisted for the celebrity wedding of the year. But just as all her dreams are coming true, disaster strikes!

Leaving behind the bright lights of London, Callie is forced to return home to sleepy Althorpe. And there’s one man she hopes to avoid – the childhood sweetheart who turned her life upside down. But now she’s back, is it finally time to stop running?

Yet, as Callie faces her past, a Cinderella-like hunt begins for that perfect, pearl-embroidered dress, mysteriously submitted without a name…

Blurb:  A knight in a shining camper van!

Life is far from picture perfect for food photographer, Emilie Roberts. Not only has her ex-boyfriend cheated on her, he’s also stolen her dream assignment to beautiful Venice! Instead, Emilie is heading to the wind-swept Cornish coast…

Emilie doesn’t think it can get any worse – until disaster strikes on the very first day! And there’s only one man to rescue this damsel in distress: extremely hunky surfing instructor, Matt Ashby.

Racing from shoot to shoot in a bright orange vintage camper van, Matt isn’t the conventional knight in shining armour – but can he make all of Emilie’s fairy tale dreams come true?

Amazon UK page:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Daisy-James/e/B015ECQG7E/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Jeannie Wycherley – Decisions, decisions!

2018 is going to be huge! Or it might not be. It’s a trifle difficult to tell, because as I write this, from this side of the countdown to New Year when I’m feeling frumpy, pale and worn out because 2017 has been such hard work, I just don’t know what will happen. But oh the plans I have! 

I set myself goals for 2017 and to be fair I hit most of them, but in the midst of that, life did what it does best – it got in the way. My husband was diagnosed with prostate cancer in February and had surgery at the end of March, so he was off his feet for several months recovering, while I desperately tried to keep our gift shop open and self-publish Crone, my debut novel as originally planned, and keep hubby on the road to recovery of course. I’d wanted to publish Crone by Easter but in the end we went live in May. I felt like I was juggling a million balls.

In the meantime I shelved the second book I had planned, and instead I began writing a novel version of a short story that was published by Bards and Sages in February. For some reason this story, The Municipality of Lost Souls, set in Durscombe, a fictional coastal town in East Devon, UK during the 1860s, just enthralled me. At its heart it is a story of good and evil. No surprise there, I write dark fantasy and horror generally, but this is a departure for me because it is historical and more ‘Victorian Gothic ghost story’ than gory scares. In The Municipality of Lost Souls, three women, cousins in their thirties, the granddaughters of a woman renowned for witchcraft, each confront evil and inequity in their own way after the municipal officers (men in charge of local government) take it on themselves to use the wrecking of ships as a means to swell the town’s (and their own) coffers. I fell in love with the characters when I wrote the short story and I wanted to explore their world some more. 

I am a definite plotter when I write. I find flying by the seat of my pants uncomfortable, and I have a greater tendency to avoid writing and procrastinate if I don’t know what I should be writing. But what I will say is as true for The Municipality of Lost Souls as it is for Crone, is that occasionally a character comes along and they just … take over. In Crone it was the magical and mysterious book shop owner, Mr Kephisto. In The Municipality of Lost Souls, it’s a local Lord of the manor, probably related to royalty somewhere along the line, named Phineas. He is based on an ex-colleague of mine, and his compassion and love shine through, and add a different, more human, dimension to what could be an otherwise rather obvious class divide in the story. 

In the meantime, Crone was getting wonderful reviews and people were asking me for a follow-up, so I rather reluctantly looked at what form that could take. It was while I was playing with some ideas for a series that Beyond the Veil began to take shape. In December 2016, I lost a friend (cancer again), and her husband announced her passing by telling us she had ‘stepped through the veil’. I loved this gentle image so much, I kept it in mind.

Having not really shaken off The Municipality of Lost Souls, I decided to set Beyond the Veil in the same location, 150 years on, so the town of Durscombe gets another outing, and there are a few references to previous characters. In Beyond the Veil, the main character, Heidi has a cycle accident and is clinically dead for 183 seconds. However, before she can step through the veil to the other side, someone pushes past her in a furious rush to return to the land of the living, and in the commotion Heidi is sent back too. When she is found at the scene of a murder she protests that supernatural powers are at work. Trying to unravel Heidi’s story, a fraught detective reluctantly enlists the help of local oddball, Cassia Veysie, who claims to be descended from witches (yes, the ones we met in The Municipality of Lost Souls) but her inexperienced meddling with the world beyond the veil simply makes matters worse. After all, there are some doors that should never be opened.

Theoretically then, 2018 could be a brilliant year if I can get both of these out into the public domain. I also have a third novel that I keep rewriting, called The Jumpers, but honestly it’s such a horrible beast of a story (it’s a story about loneliness and the desire to be someone else but the jumpers of the title are people who jump off buildings so it’s a little grim) that it may never see the light of day.

In an ideal world, Beyond the Veil will be out in March 2018, and The Municipality of Lost Souls will follow in August or September, but that depends on finances/covers/editors etc. I’ll probably start writing the follow-up to Crone If you’d like to be kept up to date with these projects please join my mailing list, or my author Facebook page, and follow me on Twitter.

Look forward to chatting with you!


Newsletter sign up: http://eepurl.com/cN3Q6L

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jeanniewycherley/


Website: https://www.jeanniewycherley.co.uk/

Author Bio:

Jeannie Wycherley leapt at the chance to write when she was made redundant from lecturing in 2012. Since then she’s been honing her craft, learning as much as she can from other writers, and scribbling short stories as Betty Gabriel. She finally took the plunge with her novel Crone in May 2017. A repackaged anthology of her short horror stories, Deadly Encounters followed in August. Her short story, ‘A Concerto for the Dead and Dying’, is included in the bestselling vampire anthology, Mrs Dracula.

Jeannie’s inspiration is largely drawn from the landscape where she lives in East Devon: rocky coast, pebble and sand beaches, winding lanes, picture perfect cottages, cliffs and forest. She lives with her husband and three dogs, make a lot of soup in her cauldron, is a terrible insomniac, and plays a lot of Runescape.
About the book:

Blurb: I stood in front of the tree once more, the bark rough beneath my fingertips. This time I knew the truth. I swore on my son’s life that somehow, someway, I would have my revenge.”

Heather Keynes’ teenage son died in a tragic car accident. Or so she thinks. However, deep in the wilds of the Devon countryside, an ancient evil has awoken … and is intent on hunting the residents of Abbotts Cromleigh. 

No one is safe.

Heather is drawn reluctantly into the company of an odd group of elderly Guardians when she delves into a series of coincidental deaths. Who are these Guardians, and what is their connection to the Great Oak? Why do they believe only Heather can put an end to centuries of horror? Who is the mysterious old woman in the forest and what is it that feeds her anger? 

When Heather determines the true cause of her son’s death, she is hell-bent on vengeance. Determined to halt the march of the Crone once and for all, hatred becomes Heather’s ultimate weapon. Furies collide in this twisted tale of murder, magic and salvation.

Crone is available:

UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Crone-Jeannie-Wycherley-ebook/dp/B072BHCSQF/

US: https://www.amazon.com/Crone-Jeannie-WycherleyJeannie578180X/

2018 Plans and Resolutions: Bernadette Maycock and P.A. Davies @BRMaycock @padavies_

Entering into the last few days of this series and I have two quite different posts for you today. One, from Bernadete Maycock, that talks about the pressures that we can put on ourselves and how she plans to tackle them this year.  My second post is from PA. Davies and is quite simply inspirational and encouraging in equal measures.  I hope you enjoy reading them as much I did.

My 2018 resolutions – Bernadette Maycock

When I got to this year I had one simple resolution-get back to being myself. That’s the myself I was before I got confused with whether I was a blogger or an author and had no idea what I should be spending time on. 

There was a time when I had simply designated days and times for everything including time off but then I began to feel ‘The Pressure’- pressure of keeping up with other bloggers and other authors, to read quicker, blog more often, write a higher word count and get more books out. As a result all that happened was that everything went kablooey and stalled and suddenly I found I was having both reading and writing blocks as I sat at night, trying to figure out what I should be working on. As a result for this year I’m keeping it simple, read when I want to so I can properly ingest and adore what I read, blog twice a week and get back to enjoying writing, Goodreads, my lovely social media pals on Carmel Harrington’s Imagine, Write, Inspire, an online writing group of which I am a very proud member, and also the brilliant bookish readers, writers and bloggers on Twitter and Facebook. Hopefully it works! 

At present I’m on edits of the first book of a chick lit series about a lottery winner in the small town of Abbeyglen, who doesn’t quite know when or how to stop helping people, and after that I will be continuing work on book 2 of the series, where a not so welcome ex-Abbeyglener returns and sets about returning things back to the way they used to be. There will of course be comedy and romance in equal doses! Anyhoo, that’s me, I have to say thanks so much for having me, Sandra, was lovely to be able to drop by and I look forward to hearing what other  people are up to this year! 

About the author:

When Bernadette Maycock (BRMaycock) isn’t dreaming up vibrant leads for romantic comedies, she’s ingesting books for her blog, in particular chick lit (her first love!), romantic comedies and thrillers. 

Bernadette is now working on a three part romantic comedy series about AbbeyGlen Village. She lives in Co. Westmeath, Ireland with her brilliantly out there husband, Keith, and their four amazing little men. 

Connect with Bernadette:

Amazon Author.to/bernimaycock 

BRMaycock’s book Blog 

Twitter (@BRMaycock) 




About the book:

 HEATHER GREEN is a fun loving, happy go lucky, twenty-six year old who has remained upright and beaming despite a few wobbles in life. She wears her heart on her sleeve and pins on her thoughts for good measure.  We meet Heather as she moves out of her family home to share with four guys, much to the dismay of her long suffering (by his own admission!) boyfriend Graham. We follow her housemates and watch their sometimes funny, sometimes-fraught relationships as they go about their daily lives.  Join Heather as she navigates the simple things in life, her inability to remember the code for the house alarm, odd driving habits, general musings on chick flicks, casualties in cooking, as well as her attempts to talk down the “mad farmer with the gun.” Experience comedy and drama as we get to know her family and housemates, and, as an unexpected event finally takes her down, learn what happens when the last people you expected to turn to are actually the ones you need the most.

Before  I impart  my  literary  plans  for 2018, I feel  that  I should share  –  in the  briefest way I can  –  events  that  have  occurred in 2016/2017:  events  that  almost  made  me  lay down my creative pen and leave it there forever! 

Unfortunately, I have  to date  been through 16 months of medical treatment  that  has resulted in me  reaching an all  time  low, fighting not  only the  excruciating pain of  a physical  injury  but  the  onset  of depression too.   Before  –  and part  way into this  period of  my life  – writing seemed  the  only  escape from  my  angst  and starting a  new novel  (or so I thought) would be  the  perfect  remedy with which to mask and forget  about, my troubles. However, the  increase  in my pain  – and  the  subsequent  continuance  of  my  mental  imbalance  – hindered that  one  pleasure so much  so,  that  I decided to call time on writing and  thus  leave  my novel  half completed.  If  truth were  told, I also considered the  option to call  time  on everything else  too.   

Thankfully for me  though, this  latter consideration was  quickly erased by the unprecedented love, patience  and support  of  a  few cherished people, all  of  whom  I am truly grateful to and humbled by their selflessness.  

This  prequel  to my plans  for 2018 is not a means from  which I wish to evoke  sorrow or gain sympathy, it  is  told in earnest  to convey to  all those  people  out  there  who might  be feeling down  –  and at  times, alone  –  that  that  there  is  always somebody  that can  and  will  help you through it.  There  is  always  another way  forward and  believe  it or not,  there  IS  light  at  the  end of  that  metaphorical  dark tunnel.   

Had it  not  been for a  handful  of  certain people  in my life, I probably wouldn’t  have had a  great  deal  to plan for in 2018:  literary speaking or otherwise. But, their encouragement  and help  –  coupled with an uncanny belief  in both  my writing and me –  has  not  only been incredible,  but  the  reason why I eventually found the  strength to finish my novel  Absolution  and get  it  published in  October 2017.

It  is  also the  reason that  I now  find the  strength to  look forward to 2018 and  –  despite still  undergoing  medical  treatment  –  focus  on what  I  would  feel  totally lost  without; storytelling. After all, how else am  I to  use  this  bizarre  imagination that  I have  been blessed with  if not  for writing?  And to  those  who made  this  newfound focus possible, I  thank  you  all. You know  who you are  and you know  how endless  my gratitude really is. 

And so, onto 2018 and what I currently have in my sights. 

Well, despite  an obvious  sequel  to  Absolution  needing to be  written, I have  made  the decision  to put  that  particular  need  on hold for a while  and concentrate  on  a  novel  that I am  currently doing research for.   

Initially  entitled  I  Muslim,  the  novel  will  be  a  controversial and hard-hitting story of misguided prejudice  and racism,  set  against the backdrop of  an actual  and  horrific event  that  occurred in the UK.   For me, it  will  be  pushing certain boundaries, challenging  not  only my writing ability  but  also  my  own morality and beliefs.  I am both nervous  and excited to start  this  novel  and  only  hope  that  I can do the  subject matter a  decent  service  …  we  shall  see. 

In other news, my second novel  –  George: A gentleman  of the  road  –  is  at  the  early stages  of  being  made  into a  film  and is  currently with  an  American scriptwriter.  I’m looking forward to see  how  this project  develops  and hope, like  I do with my next book, that they are able to do George a decent service and capture his true spirit.

So, that’s  what  happening  for me  in 2018  up to now,  but  who knows what  other adventures may come along?  I only hope that they are exciting.

For  updates  on my writing  and other stuff  –  or to find out  more about  any of  my published novels – please visit and/or follow me at the sites below. 

Thank you for reading. 

I hope you all have a safe 2018 … and beyond.

Best wishes. 

Paul Davies. 

Website: www.padavies.co.uk 

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/padavies.ukauthor 

Twitter:  @padavies_
About the book:

When the Militia entered the peaceful village of Nyanyar Ngun, South Sudan in 1992 – amidst the backdrop of a bitter civil war – it wasn’t in peace.

Soldiers of the SFL committed untold atrocities in that small farming village, before finally razing it to the ground. From a line of terrified children, boys were chosen to become recruits of the Militia, whilst girls were taken for selling within a market of odious buyers. Those who weren’t selected were either left to perish or murdered where they stood.

In a field of high maize next to the village, sixteen-year old Jada lay hidden and afraid, witnessing the merciless slaughter of his parents and the capture of his sister Kiden; powerless to stop it, too frightened to try.

But now – tortured by grief, consumed with shame and driven by guilt – Jada must embark on a long & arduous journey to rescue his sister from a sinister world and earn his absolution…or die trying!

Read the reviews for Absolution here: Amazon.co.uk

2018 Plans and Resolutions: Jim Ody and Kelly Clayton. @Jim_Ody_Author

Running this series has introduced me to new authors and new books I want to read.  Today is no exception as I’ve discovered, from Kelly Clayton, a crime series set in Jersey, a place new to me booth in life and in fiction, and the fabulously named Zombie Cupcake Press (no I didn’t make that up!) that has published some of Jim Ody’s work. So get a comfy seat and your drink of choice, coffee for me, and read on.  

The year ahead – Jim Ody
As an author you have to plan ahead however being creative it means things often change! My planning surrounds writing, sales and marketing which are all surprisingly in equal parts. I am always working in the future  as an example I have written a number of things now that have not been released yet. On January 27th 2018 my third book for Zombie Cupcake Press will be released. It is called A Cold Retreat and is a psychological/thriller that looks at the fine line between doing something you want to do right up to the point you no longer being comfortable, but feel unable to stop. It explores perception of right and wrong, and what happens when someone doesnt say no. I wanted to try something different for this book and had a number of BETA readers to make sure that I was still being sympathetic and sensitive with the subject matter. It is important to me that I look at things from every angle and remain as subjective as possible.

I have just finished writing a novella called Beneath The Whispers which will get a final round of edits before being submitted to my publisher for a spring/summer release. This is a story about a guy caught between his cheating ex-girlfriend and his childhood sweetheart. It looks into his heart and mind and tries to piece together what he really wants. All of this is whilst searching for a USB stick that holds a mystery that cannot be allowed to be seen. The truth of the stick holds the key to his future.

Now short stories never appealed to me. Until I had one published by Bloodhound Books a year ago, and saw how it raised my profile. I have now got into the habit of suddenly writing a short story in a matter of weeks when asked to submit. I have a Sci-Fi comedy being released in February by Zombie Cupcake Press in their anthology called Off Course. A handful of writers were given an outline of a story and we came up with our own stories that intertwined together. As a rule I stay away from Sci-Fi, so this was incredibly challenging but a great deal of fun too.  Another of my short stories has just been accepted for an anthology by Crazy Ink. My story is called Sweet Little Eyes and is a thriller about a woman taking her son on a road trip for his birthday, but things arent quite what they seem. For this one I set the story in California. Writing a book based in America is something that I have thought about doing for a while and I was surprised at how naturally it felt.

Currently, I am re-writing a comedy/caper novel called Just South Of Heaven which will be the first book in a series. I first wrote this book back in 2002, so Im bringing it up to date and rephrasing a lot of scenes. I hope to have this book released next year. I have the full outline written to the follow up called Missing Miss Legless about a one-legged porn star gone missing, and I also have a brief outline of the third book called Gold Dogging. With this series I get to unleash my comedic side. They are a contemporary take on the Dime-store detective novels with witty dialogue and crazy characters. They are a bit of fun that will then allow me to be more serious and commercial with my other novel releases.

My most important release for next year is yet to be started but already has a title A Stolen Truth. I am quite excited about this as it will be my most commercial release to date. I cannot give any details away other than its a psychological/thriller about a woman who wakes up and decides she no longer loves her husband.

In the past few days I have also been speaking to another author about co-writing a book. This is an incredibly exciting proposition for me. Im not sure how well it will work but watch this space.

Most importantly I want to get out and meet people a bit more in 2018. Ive spent a lot of time interacting and socializing via the internet, and whilst I now have a YouTube channel, I need to be getting out to conventions and author meets to be able to see fellow authors and readers.

Throughout 2017 I have always tried to promote other authors. I have been incredibly lucky with a number of people who have helped me so far and I want to give something back. I have a street team of over 70 dedicated people, and they to a great job of promoting me. I like to think Im approachable and always happy to answer questions that others have. I hope to carry on doing this in the future, spotting authors to join my publisher, or helping out any self-published authors with my experiences.

2017 was a huge year for me going from being self-published to being signed to a publisher, but now I want to more towards the next level.   

Author Bio:

Jim was first published in an English School Textbook in 1987. He won a competition to draw a dog-walking machine. Having won an art competition the year before, he felt that at the age of eleven he had peaked and consequently retired from the world of art. 

For 10 years Jim wrote for a number of websites reviewing and interviewing bands in his own unique way, as well as contributing dark poems and comedic features. 

He writes dark psychological/thrillers that have endings that you won’t see coming, and favours stories packed with wit. He has written three novels released through Zombie Cupcake Press, and has also contributed to several anthologies.

Jim has a very strange sense of humour and is often considered a little odd.  When not writing he will be found playing the drums, watching football and eating chocolate. He lives with his long-suffering wife and three beautiful children in Swindon, Wiltshire. 

Link:  www.facebook.com/JimOdyAuthor

The Books

Amazon UK page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jim-Ody/e/B019A6AMSY/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1517055911&sr=1-2-ent

2018 – Kelly Clayton

Towards the end of 2017 I had a good think about what I needed to achieve in 2018. I have a historical murder mystery, Fortune’s Hostage, being released in April, with a standalone novel, Cyber Sisters, and a fourth DCI Jack Le Claire due to be published before the year-end. In addition to that I have several ongoing projects with The Blonde Plotters, a collaboration I have with two other writers, Deborah Carr and Gwyn GB. Oh, and I work full time in the finance industry.

I realised I had to maximise my writing and publicity time and that means getting organised, and staying focussed. I always achieve set deadlines but I’ve been thinking that if I planned my time properly I could achieve a lot more.

My plans for the year ahead are:-

Dedicated writing time of two hours each day. Absolutely no pootling about on Facebook, internet research (especially where I end up looking at something completely irrelevant) or general faffing about. Just writing. An hour before work and one in the evening – every day. 

Setting aside 4 hours a week to deal with marketing and publicity. Actually setting it aside; putting the time in the diary and sticking to it.

That’s it. Doesn’t sound too difficult, does it? However, I need to factor in that I have a demanding day job and that has to take priority. I travel regularly for work and my schedules can get disturbed.  But I do know that I can also spend time doing things that aren’t exactly a priority. I work to deadlines and will burn the midnight (or dawn!) oil to achieve them. What I need to do is make the deadline smaller, gentler and daily. Two hours of writing a day and 4 hours of marketing a week (every week) should mean I achieve my 2018 publishing goals and perhaps squeeze in a couple of extra projects. Wish me luck. I may need it!

Author bio:

Kelly Clayton is originally from Scotland but has lived on the Channel Island of Jersey for most of her life. Kelly has three published novels in The DCI Jack Le Claire Mystery Series; Blood In The Sand, Blood Ties and Blood On The Rock. The books are mainly set in Jersey and can be read as part of the series or as a standalone.

Kelly lives with her husband and three cats in a home overlooking the sea.

About the books: 

Blurb:   How do you stop a killer who has everything to lose? 

A man sits alone on his yacht, contemplating his good fortune as the sun slowly sets. But the past has a way of catching up with you. 

Sophie Ginelli has returned home, having fled Jersey a decade earlier. She is trying to make amends and claim what is hers by right. But a lot can happen in ten years. Will she like what she finds? 

With her future threatened, Sophie must decide what she is willing to do to come out on top. An unexpected romance opens her eyes to new possibilities. Will she follow her heart? 

Is blood thicker than water? 

DCI Jack Le Claire is called in to investigate a suspicious death. As he peels back the layers of the victim’s life, he uncovers a web of family tensions, jealousy and deceit. 

Can he piece together the connections between a series of crimes while facing his deepest fears as his past continues to haunt him? 
Kelly’s latest book, Blood On The Rock, is available at https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0765W92QG

The digital boxset of the first 3 books is also available at https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B077XGSFB4

2018 Plans and Resolutions: Jackie Baldwin and Brenda Bannister @JackieMBaldwin1

Today I am thrilled to have Jackie Baldwin and Brenda Bannister on the blog. Both had some ups and downs last year but have hopes for a better year this year so read on and find out exactly what I’m talking about.

2018 Here I come! – Jackie Baldwin

I do like a year that’s an even number. There’s something about an odd numbered year that strikes me as inherently chaotic. Last year was a case in point. One Sunday evening in February I attended my usual spin class. The very next day I developed angina and booked a ticket into the world of the unwell, not sure if my return portion was going to be required. Like I say, chaotic! Anyway, long story short, six months later, I was the proud owner of a reopened artery and three shiny (in my imagination) new stents. Given that I wasn’t able to do much apart from the day job, I also managed to write my second DI Farrell novel, Perfect Dead, which was accepted in October. Things were starting to look up!

I would like to say that I exploded into 2018 like a velvet and lace clad ninja juggling champagne bottles. The reality is that I was under house arrest dealing with my editor’s notes. Looking a bit like a character from a zombie apocalypse I made it to midnight to toast the other half. My life now resembled Groundhog Day. Eat, edit, sleep, repeat. When you read this post I will still be editing and my cream dressing gown will, rather like the portrait of Dorian Gray, bear witness to my stress snacking excesses.

Perfect Dead, or, as I like to refer to it currently, ‘the instrument of torture,’ will be out in ebook on 15th June and available in paperback on 23rd August. However, the excitement of those days will pale for me beside the far greater excitements of my daughter’s graduation in June and my son’s wedding in August. After a difficult year, there is so much to look forward to! I also intend to have a third literary baby and conceive a fourth. My third novel will be another DI Farrell book and my fourth will be something completely different.

Another goal, is to hit the gym and regain the fitness that I have lost. Around eight years ago I became a ‘born again’ gym bunny. Nobody was more surprised than me! I would hear myself bragging to my bemused friends about how many weights I could lift in my Body Pump class. My proudest moment was when a really strong girl turned round and checked out MY weights. I had arrived. And now, I’m back to square one, lifting ‘baby’ weights. By the end of 2018 I want to have equalled or surpassed the weights I could lift before. (Makes impressive grunting noise which doesn’t translate to print.)

After September, I intend to go on a big adventure as I should be able to obtain travel insurance by then. Can you imagine the indignity of being turned down by SAGA? At my age!!!! I haven’t decided where yet but I’m thinking somewhere like The Galapagos Islands or Machu Picchu. Even thinking about it brings a smile to my face.

Finally, I would like to wish Sandra and all of her readers all the very best for 2018! There’s something so invigorating about the start of a New Year brimming with possibilities. May all of your dreams come true!
Author bio:

Jackie Baldwin is a Scottish crime writer. Her debut crime novel, Dead Man’s Prayer, was published by Killer Reads, Harper Collins on 2nd September 2016. The second in the series, Perfect Dead, is due to be published on 15th June 2018. For most of her working life, she has been a solicitor specialising in Family and Criminal Law. However, she now practices in Dumfries as a hypnotherapist.


My new book is called PERFECT DEAD and is the second in a series following DI Frank Farrell, a former practicing RC priest, and his team. The action takes place in the Artists’ town of Kirkcudbright in Dumfries and Galloway. A young man is shortlisted for a major art prize and a week later is found dead, having apparently shot himself. Suspicion falls on two other shortlisted candidates, one who is allergic to sunlight and one who heads up a decadent Art Collective at Ivy House. Bones are then discovered on a massive MoD firing range which belong to a missing Irish Girl who was the girlfriend of one of the other artists at Ivy House and went missing three years ago. The police are also investigating a forgery ring believed to be operating out of the town, necessitating officers going undercover. The investigation is hampered by secrets that people are desperate to keep hidden. The team are pushed to breaking point as they strive to catch a callous killer before he strikes again, this time much closer to home.

Pre-order link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Perfect-Dead-Frank-Farrell-Book-ebook/dp/B078792L7T/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1513680714&sr=8-2&keywords=jackie+baldwin

The first book – Dead Man’s Prayer

Blurb: A dark and gripping crime debut, the first in an exciting new series. Eighteen years ago, DI Frank Farrell turned his back on the church. But when an ex-priest is murdered in his hometown, he has no choice but to delve into his past. Perfect for fans of Stuart MacBride, James Oswald and Val McDermid.

Ex-priest DI Frank Farrell has returned to his roots in Dumfries, only to be landed with a disturbing murder case. Even worse, Farrell knows the victim: Father Boyd, the man who forced him out of the priesthood eighteen years earlier.

With no leads, Farrell must delve into the old priest’s past, one that is inexorably linked with his own. But his attention is diverted when a pair of twin boys go missing. The Dumfries police force recover one in an abandoned church, unharmed. But where is his brother?

As Farrell investigates the two cases, he can’t help but feel targeted. Is someone playing a sinister game, or is he seeing patterns that don’t exist? Either way, it’s a game Farrell needs to win before he loses his grip on his sanity, or someone else turns up dead.

Link : https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dead-Mans-Prayer-gripping-detective-ebook/dp/B01DT37ZIE

Brenda Bannister – Highs and Lows

Last year was one of highs and lows. My first novel, The Tissue Veil, was published on the 26th January, so is coming up for its first birthday, but 2017 wasn’t the best time to be promoting a book. My father had a fall in February and died in April, after a couple of difficult months with hospital-acquired infections and another fall. My mum needed — and needs — a lot of support. On a happier note, my daughter got married in July!

The Tissue Veil was launched in bookshops both in my home town of Frome and in Brick Lane, East London, reflecting its Stepney setting. It’s self-published and sales are still modest, but It has received some great reviews, and I’m planning to capitalise on a recent one in the School Librarian journal (the book is not specifically YA, more a coming-of-age novel with cross-over appeal) by approaching sixth forms and colleges locally and in London. Told over two time frames, the story follows Emily and Aysha, young women living in the same house a century apart, and deals with themes of friendship, love, betrayal and the importance of self-determination for girls.

I moved to Frome in 2010 after a career in educational libraries — the last eighteen years in further education in Tower Hamlets — bringing the seeds of a story with me, seeds which the writing classes and groups I joined helped to nurture. I was one of the founder members of Frome Writers’ Collective in 2014 and in 2016 we went on to develop Silver Crow Books – a new initiative which provides a cost-effective manuscript screening service for members and support through the self-publishing process — for more info see http://silvercrowbooks.co.uk/. I also organise the annual Frome Festival Short Story Competition.

I’m currently writing a novel based in Somerset from Edwardian times to the second World War. What’s it about? A girl called Lily, changing times, disappointments, father figures, reconciliation — but I’m not great at detailed advanced plotting, so am still feeling my way into this one. I guess my resolutions are to continue to promote The Tissue Veil, get stuck into the second and find more time this year for fun and travel.

The Tissue Veil (ISBN 1785451464) is published by Black Dog in association with Silver Crow Books and is available in paperback and as an e-book through Amazon and trade suppliers.

1901 is a traumatic time for sixteen-year-old Emily. Her brother and mother are dead and her father wants her to marry his devious business partner, William Baines: she needs to get away. A century later, life for most young women has changed, but Aysha, a Bangladeshi ‘A’ level student, understands family pressure only too well.

What if you discovered a hundred year-old diary under your floorboards – and then found references in it to yourself? Or what if you lived in 1901, yet kept seeing glimpses of a girl from modern times? And what if both of you had problems that only the other could really understand? Emily and Aysha live in the same Stepney house and an inexplicable link develops between them, fuelled by Aysha’s discovery of a journal and Emily’s sightings of a ‘future ghost’. Each takes courage from the other’s predicament – after all, what’s a hundred years between friends?

Link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tissue-Veil-Brenda-Bannister-ebook/dp/B0743LJJN3/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1516937394&sr=8-1&keywords=The+tissue+veil

2018 Plans and Resolutions: Sue Barnard and Tabitha Ormiston-Smith @AuthorSusanB 

Today I have two authors for you again, Sue Barnard and Tabitha Ormiston-Smith.  Both have put a different spin on their guest posts so read on and see what you think.  

Guest post – Sue Barnard

Hello Sandra, and thank you so much for this opportunity.

First of all, a little about me.  My name is Sue Barnard, and Im a British novelist, editor and poet with a very warped mind  so much so that one of my sons once described me as professionally weird.  Im also very interested in family history.  My own background is far stranger than any work of fiction; I’d write a book about it if I thought anyone would believe me.

I currently have four novels published; they are all stand-alone stories and vary in genre, but have a common theme of Romance with a Twist.  The Ghostly Father is a re-telling of the traditional story of Romeo & Juliet, but with a few new twists and a whole new outcome.  Nice Girls Dont is a romantic intrigue centred on a search for family secrets, The Unkindest Cut of All is a murder mystery set in a theatre, and Never on Saturday is a paranormal time-slip romance novella based on an old French legend.

My plans for 2018 are quite varied.  I’m hoping to put together an anthology which I plan to self-publish, I intend to make some progress with a poetry project which has been on the go for ages, and later in the year should see the publication of my fifth novel, Heathcliff (yes, that is THE Heathcliff).  

I supposed I’d better get on with putting these plans into practice.

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Less is more – surprising discoveries in productivity – Tabitha Ormiston-Smith

Ah, productivity, the writers’ bane. So often, at least when we start, we like to think of ourselves as untrammelled free spirits. Pretty soon, though, we discover this is a myth; this generally happens either when we encounter our first deadline, or when we look back and realise it is two years since we started our novel and we’re still going on it.
In 2016, I had an extremely productive year. Using as my guide the most popular writers’ productivity technique, the daily wordcount, I produced almost a quarter of a million words. It was a massive result for me. And yet, this enormous volume of drafted material did not produce much in the way of published work. I published one novel (which I had already finished writing the previous year), a collection of short fiction (which was already published as an e-book), one novella and a few short stories. 

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this, and looking back over past years, and it seems to me that my problem in 2016 was trying to do too much. I worked on so many projects. I wrote most of a new novel, and then left it unfinished while I wrote four novellas, a long story, eight short stories, half of another novel and some material for the new edition of Grammar Without Tears. Several other stories were started and not finished, and I hopped about between all these things like a demented flea, constantly getting sick of one thing and starting another. Altogether I worked on 25 projects, and I completed only six of them. It wasn’t a very impressive result, especially for someone like me, with a background in project management.

I was thinking about all this as I set up my project plan for 2017. Unlike the previous year, I started with a firm idea of what I wanted to achieve, and it was limited to what I knew I could get done in the year. My basic project plan consisted of six goals, and as I expected, this went a lot better. I did miss by a whisker completing one of them, but 5 out of 6 is a lot better than 6 out of 25. 

This year I’m taking the principle even farther, and my project plan is limited to two books. I may well do other stuff too, but anything else I work on will not be allowed to take time away from those.    

The thing is, you have to finish what you start. Stephen King stresses this in On Writing, his wonderful book for the novice writer. And if you’re flitting about like a bee in a field of poppies, that won’t happen. 

How to make it easy – the Rule of One

One simple rule can help you to take a more disciplined approach to your work. With apologies to Lloyd Biggle, I call it the Rule of One. 

Choose one goal – just one. And don’t work on anything else unless you are unable to progress with that. Now when I say ‘unable’, I am not talking about being sick of it! Or imagining that you have ‘writers’ block’. I am talking about when the manuscript is away with your editor, or it’s all ready to go and you’re waiting for your cover design to be ready, or you’re waiting for a proof copy from the publisher – something genuine, not an excuse. Then, and only then, you can allow yourself to choose a second goal; something to work on while you wait, but which will have a lower priority than the first one as soon as that one becomes available again. 

Recent publication – Fifty Shades of Grammar. 

Link: https://www.amazon.com/Fifty-Shades-Grammar-Tabitha-Ormiston-Smith-ebook/dp/B077ZSG7KF

Blurb: Everyone, it’s said, has one book inside him, but getting it out can be problematical. Perhaps you can’t English very well, or you work long hours and just don’t have time, or you started writing and then got stuck? Fear not, for help is at hand.

Packed with friendly, no-nonsense advice, Fifty Shades of Grammar will answer all those questions you were too afraid to ask. From sentence structure to punctuation, from setting up your workspace to support your efforts to overcoming the dreaded ‘writer’s block’, from traps and pitfalls to avoid to editing, the problems faced by the novice writer are clearly addressed – and with LOLCATS!

With this book at your side, the only variables will be your talent and your commitment.

Coming Soon: Twice Seventeen – expected early February. YA fiction.


Dancing Feet:  Ashley is devastated when her widowed father returns from his business trip with a new wife and her two daughters in tow. Pushed to one side by the interlopers, can she make a new life for herself?

Melanie’s Diary Melanie’s life is out of control. Her status-hungry parents have forced her grandmother into a home, and she’s under siege from the school bully. But things are going to get a lot worse before they get better… 
Author Bio: 

Tabitha Ormiston-Smith was born and continues to age. Dividing her time between her houses in Melbourne and the country, she is ably assisted in her editing business and her other endeavours by Ferret, the three-legged bandit.