Getting published without an agent

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t always need an agent to get published.  There are now a number of completely reputable, professional publishers who accept manuscripts from unagented authors.  Here are some of the ones I have discovered: Bookouture Bookouture is a relatively new digital publisher, which has won awards for the way they treat…

How to complain

Being British, it’s natural not to want to complain.  Well, we do.  We mutter under our breath when the waiter’s back is turned but as soon as he asks us ‘How is everything?’ we found ourselves smiling and nodding, and saying those inane words: “It’s lovely, thank you”. Well, no more!  I’ve had enough of…

Happiness is…striking gold with a book you love

Reading is a high risk activity. By that, I mean that when you start a book there are no guarantees you’re going to enjoy it. I hate giving up on a story, though, so unless I’m at the point where I’d rather do the housework – and that takes a lot…

An Exciting Insight into the Publishing Process

I have recently signed with a publisher and am quickly learning about the publishing process. I have to say, I was clueless as to how it all worked before, but am finding the whole thing fascinating as it unravels. I naively thought you write a book, they decide if they’re going to publish it and…

Review of Rhiana Ramsey’s debut crime thriller Sweet Oblivion

Guest post by Gemma Hook Last month I was lucky enough to get my hands on the indie published, debut novel from Rhiana Ramsey entitled Sweet Oblivion. I have to admit that I have sometimes been dubious of self-publishing but I can honestly say that this is one of the best crime reads I have…

Attempting something scary: The black forest gateau

I’ve wanted to make a black forest gateau for ages but have been putting it off as it looked like it would take hours and would inevitably go horrifically wrong. Lovely friends coming over for dinner gave me the perfect opportunity to try it – they wouldn’t mind if it ended up flat as a pancake…

Ooh, exciting. But wait, what about the rude bits…

I had some incredibly exciting news this weekend – a publisher of romance e-books is interested in my manuscript!  It’s the news I’ve been waiting for for, ooh, about five years and it’s beyond thrilling. I don’t want to say too much at this stage in case they a) decide it’s been a terrible mistake…

Joining the Romance Novelists’ Association

For a couple of years now I’ve been wanting to join the Romantic Novelists’ Association (RNA).  The Association organises events for authors, established and aspiring, including a summer weekend conference every year where you can attend workshops and lectures held by those in the industry. It’s taken me this long to join because you can’t…

It’s a Mystery, what makes these such tasty reads

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve read two mystery novels, Alpine For You, by Maddy Hunter, and Real Murders by Charlaine Harris.  They were both different in their style but both offered page-turning cliff hangers before climaxing in very satisfying endings (neither of which I saw coming). Alpine For You, Maddy Hunter The blurb:…

Word Crime

Every so often I take a break from fiction and pick up a factual book.  My current factual treat is Dr John Olsson’s Forensic Linguistics.  The leading expert in the field, Olsson details some of the cases he’s worked on and explains how linguistics has helped to solve mysteries and bring criminals to justice. Every chapter…

Loving a Cosy Culinary Mystery

When I was younger I loved a cosy mystery, be it Murder She Wrote, Miss Marple, Nancy Drew or Colombo.  Aside from catching the odd few minutes of Midsomer Murders, in recent years I seem to have forgotten my penchant for a good, harmless crime, where the only people who ever die are those that…

3 ways to improve your writing

I’ve taken a break from writing recently.  I felt I wasn’t really getting anywhere and needed to hone my skills by doing something different, rather than ploughing on relentless. Time will tell whether this detour has helped my writing, but in the meantime I’m enjoying the experience. Here’s what I’ve been doing: 1. Judging Contests…