Thursday, 1 December 2011

Too Many Irons In The Fire

M.C. Escher 1960 lithograph Ascending and Descending

Well now I'm in a pickle.

I seem to have taken hold of my steadfast working model and pulled it to pieces for no good reason other than some deep seated belief that as 'an artist' (ahem) and a human being one must keep evolving or else sink into the mire.  So, much like the old radios I used to deliberately destroy and then rebuild as a child, last year's model of EJM has been redesigned.  Trouble is, I'm not sure whether it's actually an upgrade or not.

The old system used to run on late nights, fags, wine and the principle of repeatedly beating one particular project into submission until either it was finished or else I was.  Now take a look at the bright, shiny new me.  I work in the daytime, sober and minty-fresh and flit from book to screenplay to book to other screenplay.  So far, so very pious.  Except I don't seem to be getting very far.  I am now working on four separate projects and seem unable to let any of them go.  Some are still early drafts but two in particular really ought to be the hands of others if only they were in my eyes, finally, absolutely, no-going-back, ready.  I know I should probably try and concentrate on one project but which one?  What if I make the wrong choice?  What if the screenplay is but one draft away from perfect but I choose to labour for the next year on getting the book finished, by which time the screenplay is so far from my consciousness as to never be resurrected?  Maybe what I really ought to be doing is promoting the book that IS out there - but then where's the instant-gratification in that?

I appear to be continually trudging uphill only to find I'm in almost exactly the same place as when I started.  Talk about Escheresque...

Having said all that, there are some rogue drafts out there.  One agent in particular has asked to see my work and so I've flung just about everything I have at them and we'll see whether any of it sticks.  In the meantime I shall re-draft a scene here, kill off a character there, maybe even completely re-write the ending...who knows?

One thing I do know is, these are some great quandaries to have.  I truly thank my stars every day that I am lucky enough to have the time to indulge myself so wantonly by releasing all these little chattering people in my head onto the page.  I guess I just can't wait to see which ones get to the end of their story first...

Happy Countdown to Christmas everyone..


Don't forget '25 Random Facts' is available as an e-book on 
For more information check out my website, , or join me on my facebook page, 

And finally, if you'd like to sample the first three chapters for free, 
without having to download, go here:

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

What A Difference A Year Makes...

Who can believe it's October already?  What with the recent heatwave in the UK, us Brits have been hard pushed to even remember that Summer is actually over, let alone that Christmas will soon be bearing down on us like a rabid reindeer.  With that in mind I recently checked my calendar and discovered it's only a little over three weeks until the infamous London Screenwriters' Festival kicks off.  Just three weeks left to hone my scripts, perfect my pitches, and try to resurrect what few social skills I might have once had.  It's at once a scary and exciting prospect and one that leads me to remember how it felt to be a complete new-comer to all this last year.

On a completely personal level, it's a fantastic barometer of how far I've come and what I've achieved in a little over a year.  I enrolled on my first screenwriters' course just last summer with little more than a desperate want to see if I could possibly make a career out of my two great passions - writing and film.  It was incredibly daunting but also so amazing to discover that, yes, you really can do this for a living!  It's not a fallacy.  Since then I have done a second course, attended a festival, a masterclass, and numerous seminars.  I've made some fantastic new writer friends, who have made the whole process so much more fun and who keep me going when I sometimes (make that often) start to doubt myself.  I've written two screenplays (not that they're final drafts yet mind you!), self-published my first book and started work on a second.  And then of course, there's the blog, the website and seeing my twitter following go from around 70 to over 600.  I've even been asked to guest post on a couple of websites - the most recent of which is here... (thanks so much Lucy for the opportunity!)

There is a ridiculously long way to go yet and I'm in no way blowing my own trumpet, but I can't help but be proud that I finally found the motivation to chase my dream and, more importantly, keep at it.

So if there's anyone out there like me, dreaming of getting into the industry but believing it to be an impossible hill to climb, rest assured it's all there for the taking.  Get out there, get educated, get meeting other writers and watch it slowly morph into reality.  It may be a long road but the journey is so worth it.


Don't forget '25 Random Facts' is available as an e-book on 
For more information check out my website, , or join me on my facebook page, 

And finally, if you'd like to sample the first three chapters for free, 
without having to download, go here:

Thursday, 22 September 2011

All Change!

Hello! I'm still here - just got a little waylaid with kids, holidays, blah blah blah...oh and of course a little bit of writing ;)  Hope you all had a wonderful break and, depending on which side of the equator you sit, are looking forward to the new season and all the nonsense it brings.  It struck me the other day that us northern hemispherians (you won't find that in the Collins English Dictionary) have rather cleverly found ample celebrations to see us through the dark, damp winter.  By my reckoning there's something every month up until May for us to spend money we don't have on....Halloween, Fireworks, Christmas, Valentines, Easter... So chin up, it'll be Spring soon - yay! (and we'll all be another year older - yeuch)

Personally, apart from all the Hallmark celebrations, I'm looking forward to a new slew of writer's festies and seminars as these seem to come into their own at this time of year.  In particular it's the London Screenwriter's Festival in Regent's Park at the end of October - so expect to find me laden with business cards and witty one-liners, trudging from workshops to seminars to the heart-stoppingly, nerve-wracking 'speed-pitching' sessions.  With this in mind, promo work on '25RF', as it's affectionately known, has taken a back seat for now as I resurrect a couple of screenplays I was working on at the beginning of this year.  One of them is pretty much completed and that's the one I'll be pitching, whilst the other will be given an airing wherever I think I might have a receptive audience.  It's a multi-protagonist storyline so is going need a few more drafts before I get it right but I'm not one for giving up and it WILL see the light of day - one day.

On the book writing front, when I last saw you I was in the midst of a rewrite of an old story of mine however things have changed over the summer and I'm onto something brand spanking new and loving it.  Inspired by a wonderful holiday in Umbria you can expect mucho italino as it's something of an italian family saga running from 1940's to modern day but The Godfather it most certainly isn't - instead you can expect more of the tortured souls, screwy relationships and disasters of the kind that '25RF' was bred on.  My intention with this new book is to once again self-publish and thereby give Random Facts a boost at the same time - I  have read a lot of advice about getting more than one book out there as one will feed the other, so let's see. That is if I don't cave and try to get it traditionally published in the end.  Time will tell.

So you'll excuse me if I love you and leave you now but these books don't write themselves - unless you're very, very, lucky..

Ciao for now x

Don't forget '25 Random Facts' is available as an e-book on 
For more information check out my website, , or join me on my facebook page, 

And finally, if you'd like to sample the first three chapters for free, 
without having to download, go here:

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Writer, Interrupted.

Sometimes life gets in the way, for good reasons and bad.  Thankfully my personal excuse for not blogging in recent weeks basically boils down to the kids being home 24-7 and summer holidays so I'm certainly not complaining; however it does mean I have been hugely distracted from my work.  In the bigger picture, the terrible recent events worldwide have made it seem horribly self-indulgent to bleat on about myself when there are obviously so many much bigger things for everyone to be concentrating on.

Still, it would be foolish to let things slide when we've come this far and since I do have a little bit of news to share here goes...

First off, we have a new cover for the ebook:
I struggled for a long time initially to find an appropriate copyright-free image but then discovered there are plenty of sites where you can pay for a permanent license to use an image quite cheaply. I quickly found something that I felt gave more of a hint to the storyline, messed about with it a bit on Photoshop and Gimp and hey presto!  I think it's a vast improvement and we'll see whether it has any real effect on sales.  In the meantime the blue paperback cover will stay the same.

I have also experimented with a book giveaway on Goodreads.  I'd read about authors doing this for a while but didn't fully understand the benefits until I joined in.  Seeing as I had a few paperbacks going spare at home I couldn't see the harm so offered five signed copies to the UK, USA and Canada.  I set the giveaway up to run for a couple of weeks and waited to see if anyone took the bait.  The results were fantastic.  Not only did 1,190 people enter but 180 added it to their 'to-read' shelves.  One of these readers has already read and rated it 5 stars so I couldn't be happier.  It never occurred to me quite how powerful a promotional tool this could prove to be and it's something I'll definitely be returning to in the future.

Finally, I was also delighted to see some reviews finally start to come in on the US Amazon site and even happier that, so far, they've all rated it 4 stars and above.  Cannot begin to tell you what a confidence boost this is and it has definitely spurred me on to keep writing the next book - just as soon as these kids are back in school..... :D

Have a wonderful rest of your Summer everyone x

Don't forget '25 Random Facts' is available as an e-book on Amazon and Smashwords .  
A sample can be read at my website, , and I'd love for you to join me on my facebook page, , or twitter

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Don't Call Me Self-Published, I'm An Indie Author!

June 21st? Has it really been that long since I last posted? Such a slacker....

So, what can I tell you?  First of all, paperbacks are approved and now available for sale through 
Hopefully they will be supplying Amazon by the end of August but apparently it takes time to get into the distribution channels.  In the meantime there is ONE copy for sale on and it's a bargain at US$139.45 (+$3.99 shipping). Don't all rush at once..... 

But seriously, why would anyone bother to do this? is there something I'm missing here?  

Which also leads me onto another puzzle I just don't quite get, namely how just one extra sale can see your title leap thousands of places in the Amazon ranks. Quite literally thousands.... you don't stay up for long but all the same I can only assume there are a whole heap of indie authors like myself whose sales are sporadic to say the least.  If anyone would care to explain I'm all ears..

Other than that, I had a lovely surprise when '25RF' got a Staff Pick: 'Best of Indie' at ebookfriendly - that really was a thrill.  Here's the link .  As for further promo, looks like we're going to have to wait until the end of the summer holidays before the reviews start coming in.   And as for the mailout....
well let's just say some screenplays got in the way.

That's all for now on the '25RF' front - I'm deep into the next book which I hope to have out in the Autumn so apologies if this blog gets a little dusty.   I'm currently on my way to the Indian Ocean and a whole heap of trouble you see...(in my head at least).  But for now it's time I got back to reading John Locke's "How I Sold One Million E-books In 3 Months" - there must an answer in there somewhere..

Don't forget '25 Random Facts' is available as an e-book on Amazon and Smashwords .  A sample can be read at my website, , and I'd love for you to join me on my facebook page, , or twitter

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Baby Steps

I have news!  It's not terribly huge or anything but it is kind of exciting...

First of all, the print proof is here....

Can't begin to explain how exciting it is to have an actual printed copy in my hands - even though I should really be championing the digital age seeing as that's what brought me this far.  But somehow it just makes it all seem that little bit more real when you can hold it in your hands and flick through the pages.  Also I can finally tell everyone how long it is in pages rather than word count - 180.  Short and sweet and to the point, but a great read all the same (so I'm told!)

There are a couple of small things I've decided need changing so I am now waiting for the revised proof and then it'll be time for my first print run.  Those copies will be sent out to indie bookstores and reviewers with a few held back of course for my biggest fans - my family.  Best get practising that E J Mack autograph!

In other news, I've seen an increase in sales and sample downloads, which is excellent, and I also have a couple of leads on potential author readings which is exciting, if a little nerve-wracking.  Offers to review are slowly materialising, though they won't be posted for a month or so yet, so all in all things are looking up.

In the meantime I'm making space for my screenwriting again, which makes me very happy.  The first draft of my new script is finished and it's definitely got legs so we'll see where that takes me.

As I said in the title, they may be baby steps but at least they're moving forward.

Don't forget '25 Random Facts' is available as an e-book on Amazon and Smashwords.  A sample can be read at my website, , and I'd love for you to join me on my facebook page, , or twitter

Friday, 17 June 2011

Frog In A Well

That's me.  "Two steps forward, one step back"...

As the traditional working week comes to close I have at least managed to slowly wean myself off the Mac.  Well at least a little bit.  I even managed to watch a movie last night ('Biutiful' with Javier Bardem which I recommend though don't expect more than an ounce of joy from it).   I seem to be constantly glued to the computer these days and in danger of even being called a workaholic - but you know what, that feels great because it's the first time in my life I found something that I really can't put down.  Would be nice if I could somehow earn a decent wage from it but I'm a patient woman and these things take time...

So this week my two steps forward were getting a couple of pieces online (links below) and having a number of reviews confirmed, although their online date is yet to be advised.  Steps back?  Only a couple of reviewers declining the offer, so no biggie I guess.  The most difficult points are the days when it all goes quiet and I run out of ideas and start to wonder what I've got myself into.  But today it's Friday and I'm feeling positive so the general mindset is 'at least I've got it out there, there's no need for instant gratification'. Just a shame I'm so impatient.

Next step will be when the print proof finally arrives; then I can branch out with my promotional ideas.  As amazing at the digital age is, there are still some places where you need something tangible to hold in your hands.

Right, that's it.  Enough about memememe.  Hope everyone has a fantastic weekend.  I've got my screenwriter's hat on at the moment and am off to a movie preview and director's Q&A tomorrow.  Whatever you're up to I hope you enjoy :D


check out this week's links:

Monday, 13 June 2011

Slog Blog

So I've written it, blogged it and published it.  That should be enough shouldn't it?  Apparently not.  Having chosen the DIY route for publishing '25 Random Facts' I am now faced with the daunting task of finding an audience.  No small feat, believe you me.

In my naive head I had thought that the publishing bit would signal the end of the work for me and I'd be free to develop my other ideas, scripts or maybe even edit the next book which is waiting in the wings.  Instead I am faced with a daily slog of trawling the internet for ways to promote and publicise my baby.  But publicise it I will.  As I have already said to some friends, I shall fight the good fight and just hope I don't drive too many people mad along the way.

I have made my first approaches to book bloggers and await responses.  I am hopeful already of a review and an excerpt being posted but I was never one to count my eggs.  So in the meantime I will just have to try and exhaust every avenue I come across.  Which leads me to this blog.  I keep reading that people like to follow other people's experiences, especially when it comes to the creative arts so let's see where it goes.  No doubt there will be tantrums, frustrations and general self-loathing from time to time but hopefully this will be tempered by excessive highs when people say nice things.  Lord only knows to what dizzy heights a decent review will take me.  Whatever happens, I just hope it's a rollercoaster ride rather than a washed out damp squib.  

So to get the ball rolling here are a few of the lovely things people have been saying so far on Amazon and Goodreads....
"a wonderful read and a great story"
"I found this book to be an excellent read from a fresh new author and would highly reccommend it!"
"I can't recommend this highly enough"
"Betrayal, lies, secrets, love and blackmail all wrapped up in a nifty little thriller
a real page-turner that kept me gripped right up to end"
"impossible to let it go"
"A must"
"it's a fabulous book!"
"a terrific rush to the finale."

Aren't people wonderful?

'25 Random Facts' is available from Amazon and Smashwords.  
Please come and find me on my Facebook page
and at Goodreads.