Tag Archives: Networking

Harrogate, home and writing …

I got back from the legendary Harrogate Crime Festival yesterday and I have to say it was honestly the best yet. I’ve been going now for about 6 years and it’s just fantastic. I get to meet up with lovely authors, readers, bloggers and those from the publishing and agencies.

I think it felt even more amazing this year because I’ve got books out – had several people come and tell me how much they’ve enjoyed my writing which is just the best feeling ever!

Managed to catch up with some I’ve only met briefly in the past – the lovely Vicky Newham, Noelle Holten, Shell Baker, Tara Lyons, Col Bury, Graham Smith, Sheila Quigley, Ian Ayris, Jo Β Evans (and Scott), Ricki Thomas, Danielle Ramsay and so many more! Caught up with some of the fab members of THE Book Club too – Tracy, Helen, Sumaira, Alexina, Sharon and several more too. If I haven’t mentioned you it’s only because my blog post would end up being about 40 pages long! Rest assured though you’re all fabulous whether mentioned or not.

It’s hard to describe what makes going to Harrogate so fantastic. It’s the atmosphere, the venue, the people, the books, the panels and all those little things that don’t translate well into words.

The Thursday is generally people arriving and catching up before the awards party commences. Swiftly followed by more chatting whilst partaking in some of the beverages served in the bar. Friday there are panels to attend and socialising to do – and Saturday there are giveaways, more panels the north versus south football match which the north won – again!! – Β more socialising! A lot of people only pop down on a weekend so they rush about as much as they can trying to fit everything in! There is always some gossip – but I’ll be honest and say I rarely partake in gossip though I don’t mind hearing it! πŸ˜‰

Had a fan girl moment when Peter James recognised me from last year and told me he loved my top – such a nice man! Ended up being interviewed for an author only blog which is to be put out via you tube in the future.

I had a great conversation with the fabulous Kirstie Long who does a lot of PR work and hobnobs with the stars on a regular basis. Such a lovely person to sit and chat to – the hour or so we spent went very fast.

I sold a few books too which is always a good thing – still amazes me that my books are published and available for people to read and enjoy (or not as the case may be – this is equally fine as we all have different tastes). You all know I absolutely love the whole thing about writing – except the editing – and book 3 is currently with the editor! Eek!

Just want to add special thanks here to my amazing publishers – Caffeine Nights did an awful lot to get me on the map and help my name and books, Escape & With Deadly Intent, get known. Bloodhound have been and continue to be absolutely blooming fantastic – I’ve Been Watching You has been in the top 100 paid kindle chart on Amazon now for 26 days!! It was only released a month ago so that’s just fantastic!

Eventually I made my way back home – and was absolutely exhausted and sore but it was worth every moment. I can’t give enough encouragement to get out there and make your dreams come true – because when they do you realise what true happiness is. So go dance in the rain, run through the waves and accept the helping hand when offered. Seize the day and live for it while working for what you want, and be happy doing it with a smile.

Take care lovely people – be your wonderful self and keep smiling! X

Sunshine, Socialising and Friendship …

caffeine nights

I’ve just returned from the legendary Harrogate Crime Festival – and I can honestly say that for me, this was the best year yet. I’d bought a weekend rover ticket which allows access to all the events but I was far too busy to go into the majority of them. I met lots of the amazing authors from my publisher, Caffeine Nights (www.caffeine-nights.com), who are pictured above (Col Bury, Mike Craven, Nick Quantrill, Michael Fowler, Graham Smith, little old me hiding at the back and Darren Laws who is the publisher himself!) I feel very happy to be part of such an amazing team and can’t wait to work with everyone else and meet the people I haven’t yet met!

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As well as catching up with those named above, I spent lots of time with the lovely Eileen Wharton, pictured above with Col and Graham (left) and also pictured with David Mark (centre). Had a good natter with Sheila Quigley (right) who is so amazingly supportive – in fact everyone is so supportive but Sheila is wonderful. Writing gives the rare opportunity to become part of a community. A family of sorts. And it feels like a huge family party going back to Harrogate.

Me, Eileen and Sheila plan on meeting up very soon for a writing day. It’s so lovely to catch up with friends who I haven’t seen for a long time – Sue and Terry Wilkinson who are just two of the nicest people I could ever wish to meet, also nattered with Steve Mosby, Pete Sortwell, Caitlin Warrior, Leigh Russell (though we have agreed to arrange to meet next year because we were like ships in the night other than a brief hello) and lots of the lovely folk named above from Caffeine Nights.

The weather’s been pretty good overall – relatively warm sunny days followed by slightly chillier nights. The odd shower but nothing too bad and we all know I adore the rain anyway. The hotel was fab as always, and it was great to be in the venue hotel this year.

I met some wonderful people for the first time too – Scottish Rob who’s surname I didn’t catch, the quirky Kurt from Liechtenstien who smokes the biggest cigars I’ve ever seen! Michael Fowler who is published by Caffeine Nights, Anthony Schumacher, and even the fabtastic Tracy Fenton, Helen Boyce and Sumaira Wilson – Tracy runs the best book club on Facebook – it offers a place for writers and readers to interact and she does an awesome job! I look forward to seeing them all again next year. So many more I can’t mention or I’d be here all night!


In between all this I even had time to hobnob with the stars don’t you know. Lee Child is one of the tallest, most charming gent’s ever – a rare breed. Everyone I know enjoys his REACHER books. And not to name drop, but you know – it’s Lee Child! (photo above with Sue Wilkinson and Lee Child).


And even found time for a chat with Paul Abbott who wrote things like Shameless and No Offence – such a nice man who’s had an amazing journey after a rough start in life. So encouraging to new writer’s too – he works very hard. And yes, there will be a second season of no offence for those wondering!

It still amazes me how friendly Harrogate Crime Festival is – you can literally turn up and everyone will speak to you. There is no snobbiness, and no clickiness. Even the fab Lee Child and Peter James were in the throngs of people willing to chat and sign books etc.

Writing wise, I had a fantastic meeting with my publisher this morning. I’ve got lots of work to do – there’ll be a short story available later this year that is the lead in to the novel, and I’ve got my schedule for editing and cover design etc. So exciting! Can’t wait to reread book 1 to familiarise myself with it again and get the trusty red pen out.

As you may have gathered from the long blog post, I’m very excited and very happy! I hope you all have a fantastic month, and as always, keep smiling. πŸ™‚

Flowers, time and dreams…


I know I mention this regularly but isn’t it amazing how fast time flies! It’s the end of June already which means Harrogate Crime Festival is rapidly coming upon those authors and readers who use it as a platform for meeting up, nattering and generally having a good time. If you’re going let me know via facebook and I’ll look out for you πŸ™‚

Isn’t the picture beautiful? My lovely friend Eileen Wharton got them for me – I was having a particularly bad pain day – I don’t know how to describe it other than that. Some days are better – there’s always pain at the minute but some days it’s bearable and I don’t need many pain killers. Other days it’s like I’ve been hit by a train – my joints are stiff and swollen, hot to the touch and sore. This day was very bad – worst I’ve had in fact. I couldn’t bend my fingers, my wrists ached, my shoulders wouldn’t rotate without immense pain, I could barely walk as my knee and ankles/feet were also really sore. So Eileen came through to mine and brought me lovely flowers to cheer me up – which I needed trust me! I’ve been reading a lot of articles and what not about Rheumatoid Arthritis lately – it’s not a nice thing to have. Not that any disease is obviously. I don’t even know if I have that yet – that’s a presumption based on what the consultant said at my appointment. I had more bloods taken, xrays done of my hands and feet and have to go for an ultrasound on my hands and feet so he can see what’s happening with the soft tissue surrounding the joints. Until my next rheumy appointment though, it’s just painkillers. Which didn’t touch me that day. A friend who suffers described the pain very well – it’s like a permanent toothache in your joints then suddenly something cold hits the nerve and stays for a few days.

I’m still struggling writing as it hurts to type – this blog is actually the first writing I’ve done in about 2 weeks, not to say that I’m not thinking about it mind you. If anything it’s the thinking that takes up the most time for a writer! I have been doing some research, looking up points to include in my next murder scene, and also thinking ahead to which characters I want to use in book 5, which already has a basic plot outline. It’s going to be a busy few months – I’ve got the lovely Jo Rodgrigues working on my cover for the short story I’m releasing later this year, and the short story is currently with my wonderful editor Jenny Drewery. It’ll be so exciting getting it prepped and ready for release in October/November this year as a lead in to the first novel – I know I mentioned it last blog, but my release will be in March 2016 – just so you all don’t forget!! I’ve been contemplating getting the Dragon software which allows conversion of voice to text. Will see what happens with that.

I’ve also been dreaming about writing of late – odd dreams that sometimes match my novels or are like watching a plot unfold before me – I do wake and remember them so very often I quickly scribble them down on the notebook feature of my iphone – they don’t often make a lot of sense but they do provide a good insight into the dreamworld and may be used in future novels! I’ve also acquired a new app – which amazingly is free to download from itunes. It’s called moleskine – and you’ve guessed it – it’s a notebook app! That looks like my treasured moleskine notebooks! So impressed with this am I, that I decided I’ll keep a diary documenting my disease journey. It’ll probably never see the light of day, but it’s been really helpful for me both understanding what can set off the pain, and also helping me with the therapy that only journals provide.

Anyway, as I say, it does hurt a lot to type, so I’m going to leave this short blog post here, and wish you all the best for a warm July. Look me up at Harrogate if you’re going – I’m very excited to be meeting up with all the people I’m rapidly coming to know as friends. Take care, and as always, keep smiling πŸ™‚

positivity, pain and productivity…


(image obtained from internet search)

Can’t believe it’s been 6 weeks since my last blog post! Or that it’s coming up on June already! I write this listening to some Luke Bryan, Keith Urban, and Rascall Flatts this afternoon – just in the mood for some nice smooth country music to help me along on my blog.

I’m a bit late getting it done this month – those who are friends on facebook may have noticed a few posts regarding pain and pain killers so I figure it’s about time I explain what’s going on. I’ve been suffering some symptoms for about 18 months now but blood tests just before and after christmas have shown high levels of the things looked for in Rheumatoid Arthritis – this isn’t to say that’s what I have, it’s definitely an auto-immune disease. But could equally be fibromyalgia, or any of many others. Anyway suffice to say I have been suffering from quite a lot of pain and swelling, primarily to my hands, shoulders, knees and feet. It has steadily been worsening over the last 6 months and I’m now on a pain management plan until I see the Rheumatologist in 12 days. I have mentioned having depression before – and shown how supportive I am of hidden illnesses such as this and anxiety etc. It’s the same for auto-immune diseases. You can’t necessarily see them but lots of people suffer badly with them. From my perspective, I’ve been trying to remain positive and look to the future, knowing that my hospital appointment should result in some form of treatment plan and that the pain will ease. It has been hard though – the pain is bearable most days when I take my medication but it is constant. Last week I picked up a chest infection that pretty much sent my pain levels through the roof. It’s calming down again now but there have been many tears!

I think one of the hardest struggles so far of having something like this has been not being able to write. Obviously I have a day job which is working in the police control room – I hadn’t taken any time off from this job and work have been really supportive, but with my hands being so painful, all my typing has had to be reserved for work. And it’s virtually impossible to handwrite when my hands are like this – so I’ve not been able to get a lot of writing done. I think over the last 6 weeks I’ve managed about 3000 words which is definitely not like me. I know you can get software to convert speech into writing and that may be something I look into in the future if the symptoms persist after my hospital appointment – but for now it’s just been a case of battling on.

I mention often how grateful I am for my amazing friends and family – and I’m mentioning this again. They have been truly amazing – my lovely hubby has been cleaning, cooking and looking after me, holding me when it gets too much and making me believe it’ll be ok. My wonderful mum has listened to me whinge when the pain’s bad, and been so understanding when I’m walking at a snails pace when we go for our revered Starbucks. My friends, and work colleagues have all been so mindful and lovely, asking if there’s anything they can do, helping me do the daft things my hands don’t like, like taking yogurt lids off, or the foil tops off milk. Honestly, this pain is more bearable because of the people in my life.

Obviously with how I’ve been feeling, it’s been quite hard staying positive and not letting things get to me too much. I’m quite realistic and of the view that this is as it is. I’m doing what I can to assist my joints (losing weight, keeping moving etc). But being in pain has meant that I now look even more actively for the magic in every day. In order to keep positive I need to see this magic, to feel it and know it’s there for us all. It’s this that is stopping me thinking about being low – I’ve never asked ‘why me’ and I don’t intend to. Illnesses are just that – something we can’t necessarily control. So for me, this last few months has been about accepting it for what it is, and looking forward to the hospital when I shall get some relief. This week, the magic has been so visible. Rapeseed flowers coming out, the scent drifting through the car fans as I drive to work. The fledglings leaving the nests and singing to greet the dawn in the wee hours. Amazing sun rises. My mixed flower seeds sprouting up in the pots in the yard. I’ve found myself smiling through the few tears, and on some occasions banishing the tears completely.

A bit of news I can’t remember if I mentioned on my last blog – I have a publication date!!!! My first novel, With Deadly Intent, will be published in March 2016 by Caffeine Nights Publishing. It’s all so exciting now! This year when I go to Harrogate Crime Festival, I won’t just be someone working on a novel, I’ll be an actual author who’s book will be out next year! It’s been an amazing couple of months for me where writing is concerned. Me and the lovely Eileen Wharton have been to the book launch of Howard Linsky’s No Name Lane – Howard’s a top bloke – dead approachable and easy to talk to, though I do owe him and Eileen a little payback after the hotel room prank whilst we all visited Newcastle earlier this month for Newcastle Noir festival. Met some lovely people at both these events – the fab Mari Hannah who finally knows me (haha Mari – she’ll never not recognise us again!!) – the ever so friendly Susi Holliday and her other half known only as Susi’s bitch, Alexandra Sokoloff and Craig Robertson who were both a pleasure to chat to, and of course the usual crowd, Howard, Nick Quantrill, Sheila Quigley, David Mark and Luca Veste. This year’s festival at Harrogate promises to be a weekend full of time spent with amazing authors and readers and I can’t wait to go! Next year – more festival attendances are on the horizon! Being a writer definitely promotes getting to know people and making new friends. It’s a solitary job while you write, but you more than make up for that when we all get together!

The coming month will be spent making time to get some writing done. As well as working on book 4 (which is now 2/3 of the way done), I’ve also ventured outside of my comfort zone and been working slowly on something completely different. A supernatural novel – demons! It had been screaming at me for a while, and it’s been quite a freeing experience – crime writing can be difficult – there’s lots of research and fact checking involved. With something supernatural there’s an element of freedom because of the lack of restraint – basic research and then the ability to just write the story you have inside. I’m going to continue to develop both novels, albeit slower than normal, but they’re both going to get some attention this month. And of course, a lot of time will be spent seeing the magic in each day and showing my appreciation for my family, friends, colleagues and writer friends. Hope you all have a fab month too – tell everyone you love and appreciate them, look for the magic yourselves, take care and as always, keep smiling πŸ™‚

Contentment, happiness and winter …


Goodness January seemed like a long month – it could be the dark nights and falling temperatures but it seemed to stretch on and on which is most unusual, as in my life, time tends to pass at light speed.

As I get older, it becomes much easier to recognise the things that give me contentment, that make me happy. And they’re not the materialistic things. It’s nice having the latest gadget, or a big TV, or even portable harddrives so I can write when I want where I want, but these aren’t what gives me contentment or makes me happy. Contentment is coming home after a tough day at work to a loving husband, an affectionate dog, and a hot cup of coffee. Contentment is having the opportunity and choice to wear my pyjamas all day when I’m not working if that’s what I want to do. Contentment is waking up in the morning knowing there’s a whole day ahead of me where anything could make that day an adventure. Contentment is building a wealth of memories with the people I love each and every day, like my weekly (at least) visits to Starbucks with my fantastic mum who turned 60 in January, having coffee and a natter with my friend Claire and putting the world to rights, texting my friend Ange who works away dealing with disasters and all that entails, chatting to my friends Vicky and Eileen who help keep me focussed on my goals, and of course, my constant texts and conversations with everyone else I haven’t mentioned in this list.

And contentment leads very nicely into happiness. It’s been a tough couple of months for my tired mind – I’ve had the usual money worries that come after christmas, my hubby hasn’t been too well (though he’s improving now), and I’ve been less grateful for what I do have, and wanting more of what I don’t. It’s led to my depression flaring up – I’ve felt self-doubt, lack of self-worth, and worst of all, it makes me get irritated easily. I’ve had a lot of days where I haven’t slept great, and had nightmares, and a lot of days where I haven’t wanted to leave the house.Β Not that most people would realise, as like most people who suffer depression, I’m good at wearing my daily mask. The mask that tells people all is well and that I am happy. Truth be told, I’m coming out of it now and it hasn’t been as bad this time as it often is in the past when I have a flare up – this pleases me as perhaps one day I will see a life without suffering depression at all. I’m currently reopening my eyes and seeing the magic in the world, letting in the light to dispel the dark and focussing on where I want to be. The picture above is of some cheaply bought pansies, but I love the colour saturation and fringes of purple in the white. The sun shining on the flowers helps me believe that spring is on it’s way and the freezing cold temperatures will soon be fading.

I adore winter – I realise you wouldn’t think that from the comments above about the cold, but I do. I love the sparkle of the frost on the cars, and the crunching of it underfoot. I love the bright, blinding white of the snow when it falls, and the way the flakes float to the ground. I love the cold – there’s nothing better than pink rosy cheeks and cold fingers when you know you’re on your way somewhere to get warmed up. I love how England as a country sleeps through the winter months, in the knowledge that soon a big stretch will take place and springtime will slowly wake. That said, and I don’t know if this is an age thing or if it’s just been with how I’ve been feeling of late, but it’s been a cold one this year. Not so much temperature wise, we’ve not had many days below 0′ C, but I’ve felt the cold. It’s seeped through my bones into my very soul on some occasions, and it’s taking me a lot to stay close to anything that could even be said to resemble warm. As much as I love the winter, I’m looking forward to the buds bursting forth and slightly warmer temperatures with which to keep looking for the magic of life.

A lad fell in the river in Durham last week – to all intents and purposes a very lucky lad as it could have all been so much worse than it was. He was heard screaming for help by a passer by – at 0145 in the morning (as I say, very lucky!) – said passerby did his good deed and rang the police who raced to the scene and pulled the lad out of the river. The subsequent news headlines said ‘alcohol was an influencing factor’. I mention this because it leads in to my feelings about luck – I believe a lot of luck is made yourself, whether it be bad luck (by focusing on the negative all the time) or good luck (by focussing on the positive), but I also believe in Karma or fate. Que sera sera and all that. I’ve worked really hard over the last couple of years focussing on being positive and believing that my positive thinking would have a good outcome – and despite the occasional bouts of depression – it really has made a difference. I see the magic in a lad being rescued from the river, I see the beautiful nature and power of people giving to a disabled man attacked in the street in Gateshead and the funds raised giving him the power to do the things he wants to do, I see the amazing effect a small pot of flowers can have on my mood, and I know, without a shadow of doubt, that I am alive and happy and content. Whatever life throws at me, I will deal with because of who I am, who my friends and family are, and because I believe it will be so.

February will be an awesome month – I’ve got lots of writing planned, book 4 is now over a third of the way through. Kevin and Edina’s character’s are coming to life and speaking to me pretty much daily now – there is no escape other than to get those words down on paper (or screen – whichever is closest). I have book 3 to edit shortly also so it’s all go.

I just want to say a huge THANK YOU to you all too – without people reading my honestly written blog, and visiting my website, and wanting more writing from me, or just plain being supportive, then I wouldn’t be where I am today. Each and every one of you is awesome, and I feel like I know you all as friends, even if we’ve never met. Life is so fleeting – it’s good to be able to touch other people. So keep touching me, keep filling my eyes with tears of happiness, and often sadness. Be true to yourselves, do what makes you happy, and as always, keep smiling πŸ™‚

New Year, good vibes and snowdrops …



Above photo taken by me on a visit to Scotland.


Well it’s been another busy Christmas period and new year. I had the privilege of being off over Christmas which was lovely. I spent time with family, managed a little editing and was royally spoiled rotten by all my amazing family and friends. I adore Christmas- it’s just a shame it’s over in the blink of an eye! I spent a busy new year at work, and have been training a new starter for the last few weeks too. I enjoy training people – some people hate it, refuse to do it, and struggle with the hard work and patience that training gives – but not me. I enjoy providing newbies with the skills they need to do the job and feel a sense of pride when they get their wings and fly solo. My newbie was a treasure to teach too which always makes it easier. He said throughout though that it was an eye opener – classroom training just doesn’t provide the experience that on the job training does! It’s essential, but the on the job stuff is equally so!

I’ve been doing some networking over the last few weeks – have enlisted a few more readers for my novel so when it is released, people will hopefully assist with providing a review. So far it’s just friends and family, but when I get nearer to publication I’ll put it out there on social media for a select few readers to read before release so keep toot!

I’m currently half way through a well-earned fortnight off from my day job. Have done some cleaning (boring I know, and definitely not worth reading about so I’ll not go into detail!), some writing and still have another week to go! Tomorrow I’m indulging in socialising with my good friends Vicky Brown, and Eileen Wharton – I’m cooking too – doesn’t get much better does it! Good friends, good conversation, flowing alcohol (for those who drink – personally I’ll stick to coffee) and hopefully good food if I can get to grips with Vicky’s cooker! Am very excited, have been looking forward to it for ages. Spending tomorrow daytime prepping the food, doing some baking (both for my neighbour, my hubby, Vicky’s kids, and also for Vicky who is gluten intolerant but it doesn’t mean you don’t get cake – when I’m baking there’s cake for everyone!) and then hopefully I’ll also fit in some editing. Book 3 editing has now begun – and for those who know me, you’ll all know I hate editing! It’s one of those necessary evils of writing. But the finished draft is always worth it!

I’ve spent a few days catching up on TV, which isn’t something I get to do very often, and definitely not something I normally blog about – have to admit though, I’ve loved finishing Sons of Anarchy, and am absorbed in watching The Originals – neither of which are shows I normally would opt to watch, being a huge fan of both British and american crime shows. If you get chance, give them a watch. The scripts, plot and acting are fab! As I write my blog today, hubby has Roadhouse on the TV – classic kick ass action with the swoon-worthy Patrick Swayze – script and acting leave a little to be desired in places but it still remains a staunch fave! Rule 1 – never underestimate your opponent, expect the unexpected. Rule 2: Take it outside. Rule 3. Always be nice. Rules to live by if you ask me!

I’m looking forward to getting tucked into reading the next Mo Hayder novel (well next for me anyway, it’s the Jack Caffrey book 5) – love her terrifying writing style! Also in my to read list in the very near future is the newest book from the lovely and ever humorous Pete Sortwell – it’s called The Diary of a Restless Father and you can get it on amazon here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Diary-Restless-Father-months-10-15-ebook/dp/B00QED3U68/ref=sr_1_7?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1421700566&sr=1-7&keywords=pete+sortwell – Pete is a wonderfully funny writer, definitely worth a read.

Well I shall sign off here for now – hope you all have a fantastic January and, as always, keep smiling. πŸ™‚

Happiness, smiles and autumn…

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I absolutely adore the above quote – ever the wise Albus Dumbledore. I love it because it makes me think about the things that I am truly happy about – no matter how small these things may be. Right now, I’m happy as my ocean breeze candles are burning on the mantlepiece, I have a hot cup of coffee, I’m a stone lighter in weight than I was this time a month ago, I’ve started book 4, I have fantastic friends and family, I have a few pennies in the bank and am planning a lovely holiday in November with my lovely hubby, and I have my notebook by my side. It’s easy when we think about the things that make us happy. Even when I am having a bad day, one where my depression hits and makes everything seem that much darker, I can remember the little things that put a smile on my face.

Speaking of smiling, do you think about how often you smile? It’s a natural, beautiful thing that sometimes we get caught up in life and forget to do. Now you all know by now how strange I am – if you had seen me the other day, you’d have just thought ‘there goes Kerry being weird again’ – I decided I’d drive a whole journey with a smile plastered on my face. I smiled as I gave way at the roundabout, smiled when people stopped to let me through, smiled at passersby as I stopped at lights, and smiled at a little kid who waved as if he knew me. A smile is something so simple but it releases endorphines designed to make us happy, and it’s infectious. Give it a go, see how many people beam back at you if you smile at them.

There’s an awful lot to smile about at present – not only the aforementioned, but Autumn is pretty much here. The leaves are starting to turn that wonderfully bright orange, the green is starting to drop off to sleep to make way for the winter. It’s my second favourite season. I love how everything sheds it’s old self to make way for the new. I love the cooler nights moving in, the autumn winds that whistle through the trees, the rain that will soon start falling in earnest after the dry summer months (yes I am a pluviophile), the fact that I can wear long sleeves and scarves, and all the other stuff associated with Autumn. It’s time the country starts thinking of hibernating, the nights get darker, and the stars get brighter. There’s conkers all over the ground and still falling from the trees. One of my lovely godkids (or honourary ones at any rate) came and weeded the garden and drive for me the other day so it’s amazingly tidy ready for the lead up to winter. It’s very much appreciated cos it saved me a job and a bad back. I paid him naturally, so thanks CJ!!

It’s been another tough month in Kerry-land – my brother who was so desperately ill had just started recovering from his long hospital stay when he contracted C-diff so ended up being in his flat for about 6 weeks in a highly contagious state. He’s only just been given the all clear so that was a bit scary. Work have been cancelling rest days and making us work additional days/hours – not just me obviously, but that coupled with the optional overtime I signed up for a couple of months back has meant a lot of working. But do you know something, I might moan about it, and I might whinge about the long hours, but I’m grateful too – I have a well paid job, and I get to help people. Without giving any details away that would identify the person concerned, I took a call the other day from a girl who had taken the first difficult step in addressing an awful personal situation for her – I spent 45 minutes on the call, talking and listening and explaining options. By the time the call ended, I felt emotionally drained and so tired I could have cried, but I really felt like I helped. Without her even speaking to anyone else I helped her feel better about her situation. It’s an amazing feeling, helping someone. Whether it’s something like that at work, or helping the old lady across the busy street, or giving someone you care about money to do odd jobs cos you know he needs the money, helping is good.

Writing wise, all seems to be going fantastically. I’m almost done editing book 2, and I’ve been naughty and I admit to starting book 4 before editing book 3! There was a reason to my madness however. With working so much I genuinely hadn’t had time to sit at the laptop and edit – so editing has been done when I’ve been having writing days with the lovely Eileen Wharton. The rest of the time I’ve been handwriting in my notebook – which means that without even trying too hard, book 4 is about 8k words in already! I won’t give out spoilers but it’s really been interesting researching and plotting! My characters are gaining their voices even as I type this blog, and I intend to crack on with some work shortly. I need a couple of days now where I can send book 2 out to agents also, as well as sending book 1 to about another 40 agents lol – a reliable sources told me that unless you’ve sent your novel to 50 agents then you aren’t trying hard enough! So that’s next on the cards too! Hoping October and November will be good for getting lots done.

Well I think that’s pretty much everything gone over at present – I know it’s been a while and I apologise! Just two more blogs til christmas though! Hehe – sorry to all you last minuters but I couldn’t resist mentioning the C word! We all know how much like a kid I get at that time of year! Excited already – and almost done with the shopping! Anyhoo, on that note, take care lovely people, and keep smiling πŸ™‚

Festival, knock-backs and pick-ups …

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It’s been a weird month for me but a better month! It’s taken me a while to get my focus back with everything going on, but happily, it’s coming back slowly but surely. And let me tell you, I couldn’t be more happy with things changing for the better again!

Most of you know I had been signed off with stress after being battered with various happenings in my life. My brother, Michael, is now out of hospital after his 3 major surgeries and is getting back to normal. And I’m back to work, on phased return at present but it still feels good to get back in the saddle.

On recommendation from, well pretty much everyone actually, I still attended Harrogate Crime Festival from 17-20 July, and I am so glad I did. Last year was fab as I got to meet lots of new people and attend lots of panels etc. If anything this year was even better. I battled through the couple of panic moments, made new firm friends with several people who I only knew previously through facebook, and met up with old friends for a good natter. My highlight panel for the festival was attended Linda La Plante’s on the friday morning. She is an absolutely hilarious and well-achieved woman, such an amazing sense of humour – she had the audience in stitches from start to finish. I came away with multiple books courtesy of the festival and also via promotions such as Dead Good books. I can’t describe the atmosphere at this event – it’s the perfect venue for writers and also readers as everyone is so friendly and approachable. It was definitely worth the panicky moments and was lovely to meet everyone. It also gave fantastic opportunities as I managed to pitch to an agent who asked to see my work, and also to a great publisher, Caffeine Nights, so fingers crossed that one or both of them love my work!

Aren’t cars just pure money pits? Mine has been hammered this year with 4 trips to Scotland, my usual day to day usage and various travel days out for research purposes but I still didn’t expect a repair bill of over Β£500!! Still, I need the car and I haven’t really paid for a great deal since I got it a few years ago – and it is the most reliable car I’ve ever had. So repair bills aside, it’s worth it.

On the writing front, I had been suffering from what can only be described as writer’s block, though I hadn’t actually had time to sit down and write over the last couple of months so perhaps it was just life in general. This however, has also started to rectify thank goodness! Don’t know about other writers, but for me writing is therapeutic, and not being able to do so has no doubt increased my stresses. Last week though, I hand-wrote a few hundred words, granted it was a scene for book 4 as opposed to book 3 which I’m working on but any writing is good writing! Then this week, I reread my third novel from the start to refresh my memory and last night managed to write another thousand words whilst on my lunch break at work! Need to get this novel finished as the characters for the next one are already screaming in my head!

I’m a big believer in people being stronger than they think they are, and also a believer that when things are going badly then they can only get better. It feels really good to be getting back into believing this whole heartedly. Yes we might be skint (after the car repairs) but at least we have enough to pay the bills, and yes there have been moments of panic, moments I have doubted my strength to cope with everything but I have managed to cope regardless, and it’s with the support of all of my friends and family who have been fantastic. Someone paid me a compliment the other day, the person said that I was genuinely nice and kind, and after I blushed, it made me realise that we don’t take compliments very well, and it’s possibly because we don’t receive them very often. I decided to embark on a facebook assault and give compliments to people from my friends list – something which I have done every day since. Sometimes, it’s worth realising that we are the ones who can give support or let other people smile. So now, as well as focussing on doing the things that make me happy, I intend to do more of the same for others wherever I can.

Anyway, keep fingers crossed that good things come of my latest submissions, I know mine are firmly crossed! Smile at that stranger in the street, help the little old lady across the road, and most of all, keep your chin up and see the sky not the floor πŸ™‚ Keep smiling folks, til next time.


Notebooks, holidays and rain …

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Well where to start! An apology I think – it’s been ages since my last blog and I know you lovely readers must be wondering why! So apologies that it’s been such a long time, I’ve missed writing my blog to be honest.

Part of the reason I’ve been around but not on social media so much was my short break to Scotland with my fab hubby Pete. We stayed a couple of nights in a B&B on the way up the A9 which was lovely but soooo not long enough! Think a fortnight of sleep could have been better πŸ˜‰ – after this we travelled all the way up to the top and stayed with my aunt for 2 nights, then back down to Inverness and stayed with his Grandad for 2 nights. The Friday before we left, we were told to bring something nice to wear, and to our surprise when we arrived we were told that his Grandad, and Frances, his partner, were getting married the next day and that they wanted us to be witnesses. It was a beautiful service, with a bittersweet undertone as the reason for the rushed wedding was that Frances had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer. They had it at home having obtained a special license as Frances has also recently had a hip replacement so isn’t able to move much at present. I did what anyone would do, and got the bride ready (hair, makeup and nails) and made the bouquet, did the buffet and still managed to remember to sign the register.

I had intended to use the break to get some writing done, but to be entirely honest it was one of those hols that was so full of things to do, I genuinely didn’t have time. Was lovely to get away, though I wish we’d had longer.

The other reason I’ve been away so long is I’ve been absolutely shattered. Over the last couple of years I’ve been to the docs a few times and mentioned it but they’ve never found anything wrong, so haven’t been able to formulate a treatment plan. Recently it’s been the kind of tiredness that seeps into your bones and makes it physically impossible to focus on anything, and it’s been this way for months! Visiting the docs this time though, has proved fruitful. She has found that my vitamin d and calcium levels are really low, one of the side effects of which is tiredness and fatigue. So I’m on supplements (which taste like chalk by the way – yuck!) which should hopefully build the levels back up and get me feeling a little more energetic.


Had lots going on at work too as was selected to mentor a new starter. I love the mentoring process, lots of people hate it and find it difficult, but I quite enjoy it. It’s nice to help someone gain the tools they need to do the job. Mentoring’s all done now though, and she has her wings and is flying solo πŸ™‚

I think at my last blog I was probably about 30-35 thousand words into book 3, Time to Play. I’m now over 50k words in! Marlo and Ali are really coming into their own, and the whole story is coming together with a couple of twists that even I didn’t see coming. Love it when that happens πŸ™‚ as an author, there are different ways of plotting. Some people are the ‘fly by the seat of the pants’ type and don’t have a clue what will happen until it’s written, others, like my good friend Victoria J Brown, sit and plan the novel chapter by chapter so they know what happens in basic form from start to finish. I suppose I’m the fly by the seat of my pants type in some ways, and a planner in others. I tend to just sit down and start writing, I know my characters inside out and know they will help me build the plot. But if I get a bit lost, or think I might forget an important back story I mentioned in chapter 1, then I’ll do a plan (which invariably never gets adhered to but still!) I also generally work on the laptop, but always have my trusty notebooks with me, yes, you read right, notebooks not notebook. I have a moleskine that I use for character profiles, interesting things I see or hear along the way, writing plans and spidergrams etc, and another that I write scenes in when I’m not at the laptop. I was very pleased to pull a new notebook from my secret stash this week! Such a good feeling.

I was really happy this morning when I got up. I’d woken at some point during the night to the sound of heavy rain falling, and I remember thinking, in my sleep induced state, that I hoped it continued today as I love the rain (as if you guys didn’t know that already!), and lo and behold, when I got up the windows were covered in droplets and rivers, and there was a steady stream falling outside. It’s easing off now, but I think it’s perfect weather for getting to things you should be doing in the house, like writing a blog for example πŸ˜‰

Well I think I’ve gone over everything I meant to! All the photo’s on this blog were taken using my digital SLR whilst in Scotland – love it there! Always something to look at and the landscape’s forever changing. I promise I won’t leave it so long next time. Thanks for reading, have a fantastic weekend whatever you’re up to, and as always, keep smiling πŸ˜€
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Spring, anxiety and writing …

It’s been a bit of a higgledy piggledy few weeks – unfortunately lots of procrastinating on my part but also getting a fair bit done. Not that that makes a whole lot of sense but it’s true!

I’ve been on a bit of an emotional roller coaster which doesn’t help creative juices. Hubby is still off poorly though is getting better and will hopefully be back to work in the next week or so. Consequently him being off means he’s always at home, which puts my routine all to pot. Normally I’m very much a routine person (though spontaneous when it comes to going out as opposed to staying in), and I find that I work well when I am in routine. I make the time to do the boring stuff like housework and ironing whilst finding time to do my writing. When hubby’s off though, it’s almost like I feel the need to spend all my spare time either with him or out of the house – there’s no happy medium for getting things done!

Yesterday however, I pushed all that to one side and cracked on regardless. I’ve been in my current employment for about 9 months now, and they’ve never sampled my baking. Baking is one of those things I shouldn’t do (as obviously you eat what you bake) but I love doing. It calms me down mixing cakes and what not and I get to put my music on and lose myself in the dulcet tones of the singers I enjoy. At the minute, I’m very into my country, so the likes of Luke Bryan and Keith Urban filled the kitchen yesterday and mingled well with the multitude of cake smells. Work are being spoilt tonight (I’m on nightshift).

I’ve found myself over analysing a lot of late – something I know we all do very well! With hubby not being too good, I’m obviously worrying about him, and then my brother has stuff going on which means my poor mum is stressed to the point she can barely function, so I worry about her too. She needs to slow down and take check sometimes, but she doesn’t (pot, kettle me thinks). Anxiety is strange thing, it’s not something that I think a great deal about as I’m of the belief that life doesn’t throw us more than we can handle (for the most part anyway), and as hard as has been at times, I’ve always got back up. The same can be said for the majority of us, we are pretty hardy folk after all. I try not to worry about the things I can’t control, and focus on what I can control and what I can do. Thinking like this has been instrumental in me getting past my depression, and I heard from a good friend today who has been believing in herself more that good things have come to her too, and she feels like it’s helping her manage her anxiety (she suffers badly with it, same as hubby). I’m over the moon that it works for her too, I believe it, which I know a lot of my friends do, but it makes me very happy to see it working for those closest to me.

As a result of how I’ve been feeling, I’ve been reluctant to write a whole lot lately. When I’ve been at writing days or networking events it’s been fab and I’ve found my focus pretty quick and plenty has been done, but in my normal day to day life, it’s been hard to find focus with everything else going on around me. This must happen to all writers. I have been consciously avoiding writing, I suppose in case I transfer some of my feelings into my work. Writing emotionally is therapeutic, but there’s a difference in writing when something bothers you, and writing a scene that should bother other people. It’s a fine line between knowing when your emotions will influence your writing, and understanding when it wouldn’t be a good thing. That’s not to say I haven’t been thinking about my writing – Marlo and Ali enter my head multiple times during the day, and I’m still jotting ideas in my ever faithful Moleskine. I did decide this morning would be different though.

I’ll be going back to bed later, but right now, at this moment, I have a couple of hours where the house is quiet but for the birds singing outside. I could find something to do (there’s always something to do!) but I’m not going to. The minute I finish this blog, I’m making a coffee on my new machine (which I love!) and I’m going to crack on with some writing. Even if I only write a little, I’ll be happy in the knowledge that I’ve done it. Besides Marlo’s story is an interesting one, I need to find out what’s going to happen!

Hope you all have a fantastic week, and I’ll catch you all up on this weeks writing soon. Keep smiling folks πŸ™‚

NB: Just realised I didn’t mention the spring aspect in my title! Needless to say it’s officially here. The clocks jolted forward with a bang (which was nice cos I was on nights so worked an hour less) and life, as usual, continued without event. Loving the beautiful colours of the flowers bursting into bloom – I’ve got purple pansies, mini daffodils, crocuses and snowdrops either in pots or the ground around my house. The birds are busy getting their babies snug and people everywhere are starting to mow the lawns. It’s like the world is waking up again πŸ™‚ As you may gather I love spring, I also love winter and autumn for those who don’t know! We live in a beautiful, wonderful world. Embrace the nature next time you’re out and about, and let it help you smile πŸ™‚