Read for free!

Free Kindle readthis weekend only

Just a quick post to share the news that The Road to Newgate is free on Kindle for the next few days. Why free? Because the success of writing a novel and finding a publisher prepared to back it and send it out into the world properly edited and with a strong cover – wonderful though that is – means nothing without readers.

Here’s the link:

Hoping for new readers and maybe some more reviews. Fingers crossed.

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News of a book bargain!



Charlatan is a bargain on kindle/nook this week!

This is a big deal – the first time there has been a price drop on the e-version of my first novel which came out in September 2016 from Fireship Press. I’m excited to share that until Wednesday, the book is available for $0.99 or 99p (or equivalent). Here is a link to Charlatan on Amazon…





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Introducing Alex Macbeth and The Red Die

This gallery contains 6 photos.

Originally posted on Kate Braithwaite:
The body of a man with a red die in his pocket is washed ashore near a quiet village on the coast of the Indian Ocean in southern Africa. But what looked initially like a…

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Characters as family and the writing process with John R Bell

I’ve just posted a great interview with John R Bell about the journey he undertook to create The Circumstantial Enemy. Love this photo! Check out his thoughts about writing it with the link below!

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via When characters are “like family”. Interview with John R. Bell

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“Never give up, never surrender!” Book love and advice from author G. Elizabeth Kretchmer

This gallery contains 6 photos.

Originally posted on Kate Braithwaite:
Today I’m introducing a fellow novelist – G. Elizabeth Kretchmer. Kretchmer is the author of two novels – The Damnable Legacy and Bear Medicine – and a collection of short stories – Women on the…

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Get back in the saddle!

rodeo-646573_1920After a year hunkered down to finish writing my novel, I’m tempted to stop and forget about writing for a while. Don’t misunderstand me. I like writing, I love having written, I adore refining and editing and drawing out the meaning, but I don’t enjoy the drafting, the plotting, the necessary development of all the characters to round out the story.

‘You choose to write,’ says the voice on my shoulder.

I do. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

‘Just get on with it and stop whining,’ says the voice. ‘Get back in the saddle!’

So that’s what I’m doing, with assistance in the form of the Unthank School Online Fiction Workshop with Ashley Stokes. With online forums every Thursday, this three-month-long course provides a helpful framework for disciplined writing, supported by a friendly group of talented writers I can turn to from home, on my schedule.

I can’t recommend it enough. Yee haw!

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Oops. Missed another Nanothingywrite?

November is over and once again I have not participated in National Novel Writing Month. In fact, my writing rate for November was abominable. My bum-on-seat and fingers-on-key stats are a disgrace. Oh, I guess I’ve done a few writing and reviewing jobs… but in terms of fiction, I’ve only a handful of pages to show for the month.

It’s easy to get into a funk about writing. Not writing enough. Not sending out enough. Receiving rejections. Not even receiving rejections… just a great big silence. Lacking inspiration. Lacking motivation. Lacking confidence. Ugh. Why do we bother?

Of course I don’t have the answer to any of those questions but I do have some writing inspiration for anyone looking to get started on a new project this December. It’s not Christmas themed I’m glad to say, Just an idea prompted by a book I read recently that might get someone’s creative juices going. Maybe even mine. So here goes.

the alice networkThe Alice Network by Kate Quinn is a thoroughly enjoyable dual timeline historical novel which tells the story of two apparently very different women. In the 1915 a shy young woman with a speech impediment, Eve Gardiner, jumps at the opportunity to spy for the Allies in German occupied France. Thirty-two years later and Eve is a foul-mouthed angry drunk with deformed hands but when she meets Charlie St Clair, a young pregnant single American girl looking for a lost family member, the past becomes of vital importance.

When these two women first meet they have nothing in common. One is American, one British. One in her fifties, one in her twenties. One brave, one not. But it’s one of the joys of the novel that not only do they become immensely important to each other – they are also far more similar than they realize. They are both independent. They are in fact both brave. They both have a liking for Scottish men!

So here is the starting point. Dream up two characters that will meet in some unusual circumstance – stick them on a broken down train, sit them next to each other on a jury panel, make one the black sheep of the other’s partner’s family. You get the idea. Now position them as having nothing in common – age, background, work, problems, whatever springs to mind. But do give them something to connect over: a personality trait, or a desire, or belief that they both share.

Write the story of how they find out what they have in common.


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If you need help writing your novel, try this

Screenshot 2017-05-08 19.04.17

It’s more of a workshop than a classic course but I benefited so much the first time around, I’m doing it again. It’s excellent. Truly. For more information, go to: Unthank: How to write a novel

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Giving the game away (nearly)

Forget that spoiler alert! Go on, do it! It’s time to give away the story!


Give away the story? Or at least part of it? Am I being serious?

juneStrangely yes. This week reading June by Miranda Beverley-Whittmore, I was struck by her clear statement of the events that would unfold in the course of the novel.

On page 4 she writes of the delights to come: of “the dark, terrifying night Lindie bashed in the man’s head, his hot brains quivering on her fingertips yes; but also the open, shimmering promise of the movie stars; the silky noose of the blackmail around everything the girls had come to love; the soft open moans of the stolen kisses; and the baby.”

What a great way to draw the reader in! Do I want to read on to learn about murder, blackmail, movie stars, stolen kisses and a baby? You bet I do.

So here’s the writing exercise. This one requires you have something already written – perhaps a short story you have never quite been happy with (I know I have a couple that fall into this category). Take the story and at an early point, say in the first 3 paragraphs, tell the reader what drama will unfold. Not the final resolution. That would be a real spoiler and you will notice that Miranda Beverly-Whittemore keeps back plenty. There is no indication as to who the murder victim is, who is the blackmailer or who is going to have a baby. Instead the reader has questions, all of which will be answered by the time the novel wraps up.

So do the same with your writing. Let your reader continue on their journey with questions needing answered. But see if this signalling of events in store makes your story more compelling.

I think it just might.


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Character notes

middlesteinsI have been reading The Middlesteins this week and came across a section where Attenberg has one character list the lies she has told her husband during their marriage. The list includes not being on the pill and what she really thinks about his sister. It’s fun and very revealing. That made me think that this was an exercise that could be useful.

Here’s the prompt:

Select the two characters in your novel or story (whether at the outline or draft stage, it doesn’t matter) who have the most conflicted, contentious or important relationship. Pick the point of view of one, not necessarily the one whose point of view you have chosen for the piece in question. Then start with the following statement:

X had told Y (pick a number) of lies in his/her life –

  1. start writing…

From memory I think Edie Middlestein had told her husband 5 or 6 lies. But of course you can have as many or as few as you want/need.

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