Wednesday, 30 September 2015


Rich means having lots of money, or other items of value. It can mean splendid, costly or elaborate eg richly decorated or patterned. Alternatively it's used to describe abundance. eg My mind contains a rich supply of story ideas.

Soil which is rich contains plenty of nutrients and is very fertile. Richness in our own food comes from fat or spices. Engines can have too rich a fuel and air mix.

Sounds, scents and colours are often described as rich when they're heavy, full or deep.

The phrase that's rich is sometimes used to convey the idea something is considered outrageous, ludicrous or extremely amusing.

Do you have any riches?

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Fattening up

No not me (like I'd tell you anyway) I'm referring to my article in the November issue of Writing Magazine, which will be in the shops any day now.

As well as my, not entirely serious, piece there's lots of good advice in this issue, especially for those who're considering trying NaNo.

There are loads of writing competitions listed too.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015


An idyll is a simple, happy and peaceful situation or period of time, or picturesque scene or incident. Often they're rustic, rural or romantic (or all three). It can also mean a poem or other artwork which describes something so idyllic. Some of the places we visit with our van are idyllically suited to my becoming an idyllist.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Brand new

OK, brand new is a phrase and not a word and this may be more of a rant than an explanation*, but this has been bothering me for a while ... Why do people (particularly those in marketing) say something is brand new? The only definition I've been able to find is 'completely new'. But new is like pregnant, dead or unique - either you are or you're not. You can't be slightly pregnant or fairly unique and an object can't be just a little bit new.

While I'm ranting, semi-naked is just as bad. There's no such thing. A person may not be wearing many clothes, but saying someone who's removed their shirt is semi-naked is like referring to someone as mildly dead. (Unlike the people who built the spynx who are really, totally and absolutely completely dead)

Are there any redundant or illogical expressions which annoy you?

*See the comments for that.

Monday, 14 September 2015

Purple pumpkin

This site has a monthly short story competition with varying word counts and a different word of phrase to be incorporated. There's a €10 prize, plus the winner and their story will be feature on the website and on social media.

The word count for September is 900 and the key word is chocolate. I don't grow pumpkins and I've eaten all the chocolate, but I can always do purple. These are autumn crocus.

Purple Pumkin are also open to a wide variety of book submissions.

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Uncommon wealth

The top prize for the Commonwealth writers competition is £5,000. There are also five regional prizes of £2,500.

To enter you'll need to submit an unpublished short story of 2 to 5,000 words by 1st November - and be a citizen of a commonwealth country.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015


Travail, or travails, is a situation involving a lot of hard work or difficulty. Eg the travails of book promotion. Apparently just bunging up a link and hoping people will buy it isn't enough. (But I'm going to try that anyway.)

Here's where you can buy my book!

Travels is something different altogether - I hope if you have any trips planned they don't involve any travail.

Sunday, 6 September 2015

In case you missed it.

Just a reminder that my novel, 'A Year and A day' is on special offer at 99p/99c - but only until tomorrow.

Friday, 4 September 2015

Sail into success?

Thanks to Alyson for passing on the details of this travel writing competition. Up to 750 words of fact or fiction about water related travel are required and the prize is £100.

I really should be able to come up with something for that!

Wednesday, 2 September 2015


Time for another Insecure Writer's Support Group post. If you're a writer who ever feels insecure, or
would like to support those of us with insecurities, then do join.

My insecurities this month aren't so much over the writing - that's actually going pretty well at the moment - but over marketing. Anyone who hopes to sell books, whether traditionally published or not, will have to get involved in the business of marketing. It's not a skill which comes naturally to many writers, me included.

I expect I'm further hampered by being British. Obviously there are exceptions, but we're generally not great at telling people we're awesome and we're reluctant to bother people. Standing in a corner mumbling, 'I've written a book but you probably won't be interested', isn't going to win over many customers, is it?

As I have written a fabulous (and fun) new book 'Firestarter' which I want people to read, clearly something had to be done. So I've taken a bravery pill and got started. One of my awesome* ideas was to send out a terrific newsletter. The first one has gone out and as far as I know nothing horrible happened as a result** ... If you'd like to sign up to get the next one, you can do it here.

Another wonderful initiative was to do a price reduction on an earlier novel. You can get the marvellous*** A Year and A Day for the wonderful bargain price of 99p/99c during the first week of this month. That's NOW!

What do you think, am I on the right track? Have I overdone it, or is there more I could do?

*the italics are so I can pretend I'm being ironic and/or it's someone else saying it.

** ooops, went all British again there.

*** Actually it's not terrible. Some reviewers gave it 5 stars.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

A Year and a Day

The e version of my novel A Year and a Day is on special offer all this week. Instead of £1.99 or $2.99 it's available for 99c /99c

Stella knows visiting a fortune teller is a stupid idea. It's just one more daft thing her best friend Daphne persuades her into. Orphaned Stella doesn't believe a word of the fortune teller's claims the family she longs for and a tall, dark handsome man are coming her way. The gypsy produces a letter, to be read in a year's time, which will prove the predictions true. 

Stella knows Daphne's fortune will be a self fulfilling prophesy. She's happy to encourage the part about Daffers working in an Italian Restaurant owned by the delicious Luigi. She's less keen on Daphne's attempts to manipulate both their lives to fit the promised fortunes. This starts with an attempt to pair up Stella and her boss 

Yes, Luigi introduces her to truffles, names cocktails after her and serenades her on the river. And yes, he only uses 'would you like dessert?' as a rhetorical question, but she isn't going to fall in love just because some gypsy said so. 

At least John, Daphne's incredibly annoying brother, is so unlike anyone's romantic hero image that Daphne's no longer trying to push him and Stella back together. So irritated is she, by her friend's determination to make their fortunes come true, Stella's even nice to John. Well nice-ish. That includes sharing her chocolate and dressing as a schoolgirl. 

When Daphne suffers a horrible accident, Stella changes her mind about the gypsy's promise which included a threat to her friend's safety. The only way to save Daphne, as foretold, seems to be to make the whole thing come true. That means stopping herself falling in love with the wrong man. Difficult, but that's the only way they'll both be healthy, happy and best of friends at the end of 'A Year and a Day.'