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.


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



Insecure Writers Support Group Badge 

Attempting to ignore my ill-health, it’s time for my monthly post for Insecure Writer’s Support Group Day.

January 4th Question: What writing rule do you wish you’d never heard?

As there are a few rules that I wish I’d never heard, it seems easiest to start with the first one I broke.

At school in the 1960s and 1970s, my teachers tried hard to teach me, and other students, not to split our infinitives, ever. I never felt that these teachers gave me a reasonable explanation, so when the split infinitive worked, I insisted that I had the right, in the words of Star Trek “to boldly go where no man has gone before.” This usage seemed appropriate as many of my earliest short story attempts were SF.

I felt justified in breaking this cardinal rule when I later heard that the first English Grammar used Latin Grammars as its basis – the Latin infinitive is one word so can’t be split. To my mind, that explained why my teachers, most of them trained in Latin, stuck to the rule.

I have since discovered that although many authorities quote the Latin argument, others point to different 19th-century grammarians for the rule’s origin. Check out these links if you want to know more about split infinitives:





As for me, I learned as a teenager that there were writing rules that needed questioning, and fifty years later nothing has changed, and I welcome excuses to break rules.



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 this January 4th posting of the IWSG are Eva @ Lillicasplace,
Crystal Collier, Sheena-kay Graham, Chemist Ken, LG Keltner, and Heather Gardner.

Where am I going in 2017?


Any realistic writing plans for 2017 are dependent on my health.

My multiple sclerosis has entered a vicious, downward spiral with side issues like pulled tendons and swollen legs aggravating the MS. The consequences are that first, I have to cope with constant pain, sometimes bearable but other times excruciating to the point that all I can do is scream. Second, a combination of medication and lack of sleep at night, from the pain, means that I doze for much of the day, or I struggle to stay awake when I need to do anything crucial.

Excuses over, here are my writing targets for 2017 in achievable order:

I fell asleep here at 17.45, I think [Day 1]

[Day 2] Finally, I’ve got a bit more energy to write.



My debut novel, Spiral of Hooves was published on December 9th, 2013 and was available for eighteen months. My publisher, Spectacle Publishing Media Group was changing hands, so I chose to terminate our agreement, receiving all my rights back.

As I don’t feel that the novel was promoted effectively, which is clear by the friends who ask if I ever finished writing the book, then a second release is needed. Furthermore, there has never been a paperback version, so that will be part of the publishing plan.

The first step, though, is to check the reviews, that I copied off Amazon and Goodreads, for anything that needs revising and reading the novel again myself. The resulting revision will also allow me to check the foreshadowing for the sequel Tortuous Terrain.

Next, I need to identify the publishing route. I had presumed that it would be impossible to find a publisher that handled previously published books. However, I discovered Fahrenheit Press that publishes ‘Crime Fiction’ and are “not too bothered if the books have been published before”. I need to check them out more, so if anyone knows about them, please let me know.

The other option is the self-publishing route, and the choice seems to be between Create Space and Book Baby, although there may be better options that I’m overlooking. All recommendations are gratefully accepted. This route means formatting the novel for both eBook and paperback, a major task and daunting – but worth getting right. There are also financial implications at a time when health care has to be the priority.

And then I need to promote Spiral of Hooves effectively and widely – having prepared a strategy in advance.


16:00 – can I rest now, please?

20:28 – rested and showered so sort of energized.



Photo of a cloud illuminated by sunlight. ~ by Ibrahim Iujaz from Rep. Of Maldives


Storms Compass is the first book in the post-apocalyptic series Gossamer Flames. Books 2 and 3 are partly written already, as I constructed all three around short stories.

One of my critique partners has done an extensive page by page assessment that will be the basis for my final draft. Even though one of my two line-editor friends edited an earlier draft of Storms Compass, I will have made enough substantial changes to run it past the other editor. There are cost implications at this stage as well.

When I have the polished novel, I will attempt to find a publisher – having ensured that I have an excellent synopsis and blurb, that my author profile reflects the ones on social media, and ensured all recommendations for submissions are checked off.

That process could take me into 2018, so I need to be making other plans.



A lot is dependent on (a) the response that I get to the re-release of Spiral of Hooves; (b) my financial situation. If sales are minimal and health care eats away at our savings, I can attempt to finish the re-draft of Fates Maelstrom and doing research for Eagle Crossing.

On the other hand, if both Spiral of Hooves and Storms Compass are well received, I will need to work on their sequels. Is that hopeful thinking?

Have you any advice on this crazy plan, please? Does my strategy make sense?