Thursday, 31 December 2015


This time last year, I had one book published and another accepted for publication. I was both scared and excited in equal measure. Would anyone buy my story of the teacher and the rugby player? In the end, Sporting Chance did moderately well and got some good reviews. I still get sales every week.

Learning point 1 – dealing with reviews.

RainbowConnection had a more difficult birth. I still love the story and the characters, and it’s had some lovely reviews, but hasn’t sold well. I know it could be better written, especially the show not tell aspect. When it came out, I had no faith in it and didn’t advertise or promote it properly. It feels like a family member you don’t talk about.

Learning point 2 – dealing with promotion.
Learning point 3 – approaching bloggers.

This year, I’ve written or finished writing, one long novel, four shorter novels and three short stories. I’ve also rewritten a fanfic to make it an original novel. It hasn’t all be plain sailing. I have times when I can’t write anything much. I worry whether it’s worth continuing, like all authors. I can't help comparing myself to others when I know it doesn’t matter. I need to produce what’s in my head and be true to my voice. However, I’m lucky to have found a publisher willing to take me on, and an editor who has taught me a lot and believes in my work.

Learning point 4 – don’t compare yourself to others.

Learning point 5 – people out there want to help you. Always say thank you and appreciate the time and support they give to a new writer.

My, this is sounding so serious. Anyway, this is what I’ve written this year.

Comfort Zone is a longer novel linked to Sporting Chance. I wanted to give Aron a story and a HEA. Aron was Dan Morgan’s ex-boyfriend in Sporting Chance. He has some specific issues to deal with when he meets Joe Welsh. The style is similar to Sporting Chance in that there are family and friends who all chip in their views. The novel will be out in print as well so I get to hold it in my hands and look at it on my shelf. I loved writing this one because it flowed so easily. Comfort Zone will be out on general release 2nd February but you can get it on early download from Pride Publishing 5th January.

I was asked to consider writing a series. This is such a scary idea, I decided to get a few written before I submitted anything. I’ve produced a series of short novels around 50,000 words each, set on the North East coast of Scotland – a place I know well from holidays there. The first story, sadly, will probably never see the light of day as the MCs are both aged sixty and it seems people do not want to read about older men, but Jamie and John to appear in the other stories. 
Therefore, book two, Choosing Home, became book one in the Call of Home series, with MCs Zac McKenzie, an ex-footballer, and Seth Pritchard, who is recovering from a car crash and running away from his past.
The second book in the series, Returning Home, has MC, Darach McNaughton, returning to his home town and meeting the intriguing Brice Drummond. Darach’s copper’s nose tells him there is something to find out about Brice and what has happened to him, but curiosity can be a dangerous thing. Both of these stories have contracts and will be out in July and August next year.
The third story sees Sam Carmichael, the local Church of Scotland minister facing up to his past. I won’t spoil the second book by mentioning the other lead character. I have ideas for the fourth, but haven’t started writing it yet.

Learning point 6 – Some stories don’t get published.

Learning point 7 – writing a series is hard, but rewarding, and continuity is a bugger to get right.

Writing a short story requires its own form of discipline, especially when they can only be a certain length and have to contain scenes of a sexual nature. believe me, writing a sex scene at a funeral wake was challenging! Stay, started as a story for a submission call on the theme of random acts of kindness. I wanted to write a Christmas story. Not Every Time was produced in a couple of weeks with an is he or isn’t he question about Raz. I’ve written a sequel, which will be out in May next year, called, A Bell Rings, because I wanted to answer that question.

Learning point 8 – it isn’t easy to write a good short story, and you have to get used to people saying it needed to be longer.

This has been my writing year looking back. I’m going to write another post looking forward with my plans, such as they are, for next year.
I wish you all success in all your endeavours and


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