My writing year has got off to a good start as I completed Stage 1 of my writing plans. Over the last month, I have managed to finish a re-edit of my debut novel “Spiral of Hooves” with the aim of getting it republished. For those that missed the original release, it was in December 2013.

So, I removed a subplot that didn’t work and garnered some negative comments. I also tidied up some strange sentence constructions, and corrected all the Americanisms, as it’s set in England, and I had a UK publisher in mind.

Then, everything went awry – I read more about the publishers including an interview with their main man and I concluded that my mystery was wrong for them – not gritty or dark enough. They also tend to go for writers with a few books to release at the same time.

The problem now is what next? Do I submit this novel to a UK agent, a UK publisher, a US agent, a US publisher, OR do I translate it into German or Martian? Joking…

Oh, in case you were wondering, it’s a mystery set against the horse world, but not a cosy mystery. It has action, darker moment, and a couple of erotic scenes, but it isn’t really bloody or violent except for a few brief moments.

A shorter version of this post first appeared on Facebook, and several friends made helpful suggestions, some of which I will mention here.

In the FB comments, and back on my January blog, several people talked about self-publishing. However, I know now that will require extra skills that I need to acquire or pay for – not just the editing services that I already use. I have been reassured that I am capable of learning to format but I’m a writer. I am aware that there are excellent companies out there that will help in that process.

My major concern is the money, as we face major health bills that look like a bottomless pit. When my wife spent two days in the hospital after her recent heart attack, the bills came to $30,000.

The logical alternative is to try to find an agent or a publisher in either the UK and/or the US. How many submissions should I do at once? Do I start with agents first? Does it matter where the agent/publisher is?

The big quandary: As I’m disabled, I’m very restricted in where I can go. Flying is out, so that leaves driving – well, someone else driving me. What happens if an agent in New York wants me to go there = 2+ days driving? Book tours would be a challenge.

Then there is the language – British-English and American-English. I changed the manuscript into British-English with a US address, but I’ve found a US agent that is interested in submissions on horses. Guess I need an American-English manuscript for US agents and publishers. Yikes. Back to Grammarly then.

That would then allow me to submit to publishers like Imajin Books when they open for submissions in April? Although they like to see reviews, Amazon deleted mine but my Goodreads reviews are still up. One of their star authors said, “I wouldn’t worry about it. You can do this.”

So, do I submit to agents first and then, come April, I submit to publishers?

Do I mention that I don’t stick to genre? “Spiral of Hooves” is a mystery with a sequel; then I’ve almost finished “Storms Compass”, Book I of my post-apocalyptic saga; then comes “Fates Maelstrom”, first of the Snowdon Shadows mysteries; and my alternative history, “Eagle Crossing”, is flying along.


My Rogue, My Ruin – a review

I realise that I haven’t written a review since September 1st. Although, despite my poor health, I have been reading so there are seven overdue reviews. I’m going to leave those for now and review the book that I just finished.


My Rogue, My Ruin (Lords of Essex #1)

by Amalie HowardAngie Morgan 

The beau monde has always had it all–money, pride, titles–while the needy die on their doorsteps. So I don a mask, steal from the rich, and give to the poor. I am no longer Lord Archer Croft, the Marquess of Hawksfield and the son of a duke.

I am the Masked Marauder.

My only rule: never let anyone close enough to know my secret. So I’m cold and hard and scare everyone away. That’s just what it takes if I hope to make a difference in this world.

Until one woman, Lady Briannon Findlay, pitied by the ton, sees through my defenses, and I can’t help the heat between us. Everyone sees her as quiet and frail, but I see the spark behind her eyes and I’m like a moth to her flame. For a moment, I think I might be able to keep her and my secret.

But I was never meant to have it all…

REVIEW – ****

I received this book as a prize in a random genre competition and found it hard to put this down. In fact, I stopped reading another book to make time for this one. I’m a very slow reader, otherwise, I’d have read this in one sitting. I rarely read Historical Romances but this had all the right elements to draw me in: well-drawn characters, mystery and intrigue, a strong female lead, visual settings, and there are horses – not surprising as the setting is England in 1817.

The romance between Archer and Briannon/Brynn is tempestuous given their vibrant characters, with incidents and society leading to some challenging encounters. True love never runs smoothly as Archer and Brynn discover, often struggling against their own personalities and realistically wavering emotions. Their motivation throughout is logical in the situations they find themselves.

The characters are all believable and well-imagined, and the society they inhabit rings true – my upbringing brought me into contact with the modern ‘remnants’ of the ton and I could visualise some of the ‘types’.

Attempting to avoid spoilers, I found the mystery plotline worked extremely well and kept me thinking until the end. This was the kind of mystery plot that has you looking for the clever foreshadowing and hidden clues. As a mystery reader primarily, I felt that the authors pulled that off brilliantly.

Attempting to work with another author must be a challenge – I’ve only once attempted it, and failed – but Amalie Howard and Angie Morgan have blended their writing seamlessly. There are no signs of anything like alternate authors for alternate chapters or scenes. They write with one voice and I now await the next Lords of Essex novel.

Books Are Not Free

From 11th to 15th February there is an excellent event taking place on Facebook called ‘Our Books Are Not Free’ to make readers aware that books cost money to produce.

Here is the Facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/events/206705409792190/222606034868794/?notif_t=admin_plan_mall_activity&notif_id=1486627935877048 

This is the online magazine detailing why ‘Books are not free’ and the writers involved: https://www.joomag.com/magazine/golden-box-book-publishing-books-are-not-free/0748123001485514607 

I am supporting the event, but what do you think. Should writers give their books away for free?

[If you say ‘yes’ then there is a second question – should shopkeepers sell their goods for free?]

Announcing: The 2017 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge! #atozchallenge


Last week, I posted an advance notice of exciting news about The 2017 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge. That teaser got me wondering what we would learn.

Well, the waiting is over and the announcement has been made, HERE.

Not what I thought, but it seems logical. Some bloggers might need to adjust their schedules, but I believe that is feasible.

Read the announcement, then let me know what you think below.



Insecure Writers Support Group Badge

I must apologise to any followers still out there. I realise that I haven’t blogged even once since my monthly post for Insecure Writer’s Support Group Day on January 4th#IWSG – TO BOLDLY GO.

I had intended to post one or two book reviews as there are seven novels screaming at me for reviews. My excuses are getting stale, although I wish my health were better as that would help. However, a month has passed and here is my February IWSG post.

February 1 Question: How has being a writer changed your experience as a reader?

When I was a child, and through my teens, I devoured books – well not like Firmin the rat at the heart of Sam Savage’s fantastic debut; belatedly, I just wrote a quick review on Goodreads.

In my teens, I did write as well, but at that point, the writing merely fed my desire to read some great science fiction and fantasy. Perhaps I was picking up something from the reading, although not vice versa.

It was when I retired as a journalist and began working on “Spiral of Hooves”, my first published novel, that I began to read as a writer. It wasn’t immediate, but I began to note how the writing elements came together in other people’s books – or didn’t.

I follow a few writing ‘mentors’ that have written fiction, such as K M Weiland, so reading their creations is both an insightful and enjoyable experience as a writer/reader. Example: K M Weiland’s Storming which I did manage to review.

However, I try to switch off my analytical self when I read – most of the time. The time for this writer to assess the elements is not when I’m engrossed in the tale. That works in a similar way that my internal editor must be locked away during a first draft. I must find the right moment to switch brains and avoid interrupting the flow.

So my writing has enhanced my reading experience.



The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group Day. We post our thoughts on our own blogs. We talk about our doubts and the fears we have conquered. We discuss our struggles and triumphs. We offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling.

Please visit others in the group and connect with my fellow writers.

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Our Twitter hashtag is #IWSG

And be sure to check out our Facebook group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/IWSG13/

Our revved up IWSG Day question may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.

The awesome co-hosts for the February 1 posting of the IWSG are Misha Gericke, LK Hill, Juneta Key, Christy and Joylene Butler!



A Big A To Z Announcement Is Coming! #atozchallenge

Six years ago, at about this time the first A to Z Blogging from A to Z April Challenge Linky List appeared as sign-ups opened. A successful and popular blogging experience was born – thanks to founder Arlee Bird, who celebrates his birthday today so I hope it’s a great one. [He’s three years ahead of me, but I move one year closer in August.]

I admit that I was an observer in the first few years of A to Z. The first year that I took part was in 2014 when I chose aspects of the future world that became Gossamer Flames. In 2015, it was the War of 1812, and last year I went for a story format entitled ‘A Brilliant Conspiracy’.

Last May, I started scribbling out some ideas for 2017, and have added to those notes. However, there is exciting news on its way, if I read the tempting ‘trailer’ on the A to Z website correctly. If you want to know more, which you must do, then visit and be tempted:  http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/2017/01/a-big-to-z-announcement-is-coming.html