An evening out with All The Bens

I thoroughly enjoyed watching the play ‘All The Bens’ written by Ian Townsend which was performed at Oldham Libraries on the 27th June. The three actors were superb and it was so interesting to meet the cast, playwright, and director after the performance for an enlightening Q and A. If you get the chance to see it, I highly recommend you buy a ticket. ‘All The Bens’ is certainly a brilliantly acted, thought-provoking play. Go to All the Bens Summer tour 2019 Facebook page to see where it’ll be performed this summer.
It was also fun catching up with Ian Townsend before the show. Well, it was for me, anyway, ha! I attended a useful one-on-one workshop with him a few months ago at Oldham Library. You can all blame Ian if my next book is even more outrageous than my others. He advised me to write without self-censorship, so I did. The result is The Trouble With Trouble, book 2 in The Trouble series. I completed the third draft a few weeks ago, plus a chunk of book 3.
Book 1, The Trouble With Liam, is already available on Amazon in Kindle, paperback, and audiobook editions. Tracey Norman – Actress/Voice Artiste narrated the audiobook version beautifully.

A thoroughly enjoyable evening in fascinating company

I mistakenly thought yesterday was Hug an Author Day, which is why I can be seen invading authors Elizabeth Haynes and Rachel Abbott’s personal space in this photo. They each signed a copy of one of their books for me after giving a riveting talk about crime writing to an audience at Oldham Library yesterday evening. They shared a platform with author Daniel Cole, but he wisely avoided a photo opportunity with me. He probably feared I’d crack his ribs. I once hugged Val McDermid at the same venue. She’s never been the same since.

Remember, remember the fifth of November

Remember, remember the fifth of November. I certainly will always remember that date as it was my first time sharing a platform with four other local authors at Oldham Library as part of last week’s ‘Love to Read’ events. I was as interested to hear what the other authors had to say as I was in speaking myself.

intro-to-author-talk-jpg  me-giving-me-talk-jpg

Suzanne Hudson, the lady who recently agreed to place six of my eight books on the shelves of Oldham Library, introduced us all to the audience and then we were up and running. I was going to speak off the cuff, but I’m glad I finally opted to write down all I wanted to say. As the first author considerably overran his allotted fifteen minutes, I was then able to discard a few paragraphs on the hoof when it was my turn so the other authors would all have enough time to speak.


This photo depicts me rummaging in my handbag for change whilst talking the hind legs off the lady buying Random Bullets from me. She also took a copy of Her demonic Angel as she told me that she enjoys reading short stories.




The photo on the left is of me being forced to hold a prop fan by the library admin, but at least it was marginally more sensible than the pink cardboard hat author Helen Durrant ended up with.




I’d only brought six of my eight books to the event. Delighted that Random Bullets was the book of choice bought by a few members of the audience. I had a gut feeling that it would be as big a favourite with the audience as it is for me. I had been toying with the idea of only bringing Random Bullets paperbacks to the event, but at least people could see the evidence that I’ve written a number of books and my other seven books aren’t mere figments of my overactive imagination. They looked great splayed out on the table in front of me. The last photo makes me look like a giant compared to Helen Durrant, but it is mostly due to perspective … I think. I’ll have several copies of my books left over from Oldham Libraries event to bring to my solo author event at Oldham Coliseum on 24th January 2017 at 1.15p.m. By then, I’ll hopefully be able to also bring along paperbacks of book nine, my current book, Holiday for The Hostile.


My fifteen minutes will be expanding into an hour

I enjoyed speaking at Oldham Library’s local author event yesterday morning alongside four other local authors. I’m always happy talking about my books and my experiences living as an indie author. My daughter, Zoe, took these photographs and a few videos. I even sold some books after the four other authors and I answered audience questions. I was surprised and delighted to be invited by a lady in the audience to be interviewed on a Manchester radio station about my books. My 15-minute talk at the library was good practice for the hour-long solo talk I’m booked to give on January 24th 1.15-2.15 at Oldham Coliseum.

When shall we three meet again?

oldham-libraryThis was the question authors Helen Durant, Carol Talbot and I asked yesterday as we sat having lunch in The Naked Bean, although we already knew the answer … 11a.m. on November 5th at Oldham Library to be precise. We three, plus Jo Harthan who couldn’t make it yesterday, will be strutting our stuff in the performance area of Oldham library next Saturday, talking about the many aspects of living our lives as authors. When I say strutting our stuff, I can’t promise any dancing, but who knows what might happen if the mood takes us? We will each be allocated fifteen minutes each, with questions from the audience afterwards.

I’ve changed my mind about winging it as I originally planned to do. As the time draws ever closer, the fear is edging in. Having now decided to plan my speech, I’ve written seven pages which I will either read out or use bullet points and freestyle around those bullet points. My freestyling could lead to my fifteen minutes allocated stretching to an hour, so I need to rein in my over-excitable side. I’m so passionate about my books and the writing and publishing process, I tend not to know when to shut up. I know I could gallop off at a tangent when ideas start firing off, so I might be safer just to read it out. I don’t want to be kicking myself afterwards because I missed something crucial out of my talk. At least I can talk more freely if I’m asked a question. I don’t want the first question from the audience to be, ‘Do you think you should be allowed out in public?’

oldham-coliseum-exteriorI’ve also been invited to give AN HOUR solo talk about my book, Living with Postcards at Oldham Coliseum sometime in the New Year. It will be for a Full Circle group of over 50s, so I’ll be in good company. They are even offering a small fee to give the talk. I’d have done it for free. I hope I can also mention my seven fiction books at some point.


coliseum-interior-2Apparently, it would be a forty-five-minute talk followed by fifteen minutes of questions. What with also being told on Thursday  that six of my books will soon be on the shelves of Oldham Library, I’ve had an amazing week. Once my books are safely on Oldham Library’s bookshelves, I’ll approach other libraries to see whether they’d also like my books to be included. I’m not entirely convinced that there won’t be a hitch, but if there is, I will battle to make it happen.

Unexpected fantastic news

28th October 2016

book-promo-postcard-scanI’m thrilled to have just received an email from Oldham Library to say they want to stock six of my eight books. I only sent them six. Maybe I should have sent all eight. I’ve been waiting for several months to hear their decision. I thought I would end up being disappointed, but instead, I’ve just received wonderful news; they want my books. They say they will buy a copy of each paperback and then see how they go with the readers. Fingers crossed that the readers of Oldham will love them.


This great news couldn’t have come at a better time as I’ll be talking at a ‘Meet your Local Authors’ event at 11am on 5th November at Oldham Library. Helen Durrant, Carol Talbot and Jo Harthan are the other authors who will be sharing a platform with me. I am having lunch with the other three tomorrow in The Naked Bean inside Oldham Library to discuss the event. I am still planning to wing it as I could talk all day about my books, not just the fifteen minutes allocated to me. Just ask the local taxi drivers and Tesco delivery men whether or not I can talk about my books. I will probably have to be dragged off the stage when my fifteen minutes (of fame?) are up. You see, I don’t get to talk to many people these days. I’m too busy writing books.

Update: Less than an hour after writing this post, I looked on my main blog at  and discovered a message hidden amidst the spam asking me if I’d be interested in speaking on my own for an hour about my only non-fiction book, Living with Postcards, at Oldham Coliseum. It’ll be for a Full Circle over 50s event to be held sometime in early 2017. They’d even pay me to speak! Of course, I’d be interested. I can’t get used to all this excitement.

I’m an accidental editor

It’s been a funny old week. On Monday, I was busy working on the final chapters of Holiday for The Hostile, sequel to my recently published paranormal thriller, The Hostile, and also narrating my third audiobook, Potholes and Magic Carpets.

I had started reading a book by an author, who shall remain nameless, as I had volunteered to be part of his Launch Team on Facebook. He had paid to have it edited. I was concerned to find eight errors in the first thirteen pages. I messaged him on Facebook to alert him to this worrying fact, whereupon the distressed author asked me to please consider editing his already edited book. I was reluctant at first, as I’m busy with my own work, but I knew he’d not meet his deadline of November 1st if he didn’t rapidly sort out his edit problem.

I initially said I’d edit the book for free because I felt sorry for his predicament, but as he’d been reimbursed by the original editor for shoddy services, he said he’d pay me what she’d been paid. He said he was sure I’d make a better job of it, which wouldn’t be hard. I discovered to my horror that the file he’d paid to have edited was littered with double words, missed or wrong punctuation, typos of every kind, etc etc. It took me four full days to edit his book. I found literally hundreds of errors in this already professionally edited book and amended each one, plus offered suggestions for improvement. When I say professionally edited, money had been exchanged between the first ‘editor’ and the author. It appeared all that had been done was for a spellcheck to have been run through it when diligent line editing had been required.

The author is delighted with the end result and I’ve just submitted my first Paypal invoice for editing services. I usually receive Paypal invoices, not send them, so sending an invoice was a novel experience. I’m guessing he might ask me to edit the next book in the series, rather than the first editor. Now to return to working on my own projects, primarily finishing off writing Holiday for The Hostile.

Update: I received payment from the author for my editing work today, so it’s official. I’m an editor as well as an author. Whether I end up editing any other author’s books in the future remains to be seen as there are many editors out there, although I thoroughly enjoy editing, so I’d certainly consider it.

In other news: Yesterday, I had my hair sorted out at my local hairdressers, not before time. My locks were preened in preparation for my ‘meet the authors’ event taking place at 11am inside Oldham Library on 5th November. I will be sharing the platform with three other female published writers who live in the Oldham area, all of whom I know personally. Helen Durrant is also speaking. She has written many successful crime thrillers. She and I have told each other we intend to wing it, but I bet we will end up panicking last minute and work out what we’re going to say to the audience. She and I occasionally meet up for a highly enjoyable catch-up.

As you can see from the video I made yesterday and stuck on YouTube for everyone to ignore, my lovely hairdresser is tiny. She is also the best hairdresser who has ever had the pleasure of working on my unexceptional hair.

A fun lunch at the library with fellow author, Helen Durrant

After we were both justifiably told off for talking by a lady at a writing group meeting last week, author Helen Durrant and I decided to meet  up for lunch so we could catch up properly. I should really call her Helen H Durrant, but I usually leave out the H. Helen is a traditionally published author with  seven crime novels under her belt. She wrote the Calladine and Bayliss series of crime novels. I recently finished reading the second of her DI Greco books, Dark Houses and thoroughly enjoyed the ride. Helen hasn’t always been traditionally published. She started off as an indie author like me before being signed to Joffe Books.

Helen’s lived in the Oldham area for far longer than I have, yet I still classify myself as an Oldham author, despite having lived in Jersey for eighteen years and over thirty years in Kent. I’m proudly claiming my Oldham author rights, because I wrote and published all eight books since selling my home in Kent and moving to Oldham in 2012 after my back permanently gave out. In 2012, probably high on pain-killing drugs, I spontaneously opted to sell my house in Kent and buy a cheaper one in Oldham in order to write. I did this rather than claim disability benefits, which I’d have been perfectly entitled to claim. The jury is still out over whether this was a wise decision or not. It all hangs on whether I can survive or not as a writer with no other income or anybody else to rely on. It’s not looking good, ha! Whatever happens, I’m enjoying the indie author experience, despite never having worked so hard in my life.

Helen and I met yesterday inside the spacious cafe inside Oldham Library where we ate a simple lunch and talked mostly about anything related to books. She ordered her usual soup but I panicked and randomly ordered Welsh rarebit. There was much to talk about, as we’d not met for over six months. I don’t tend to talk to many people face to face as I’m so involved with my books, so chatting to Helen was a tonic. We could have chatted much longer, but hopefully we’ll meet for lunch again in the near future.

Helen and I are actually scheduled to meet again on 5th November back at Oldham Library, but this time it won’t be for a fun lunch. Helen Durrant, Carol Talbot, possibly another female local author and I, are all giving a talk at Oldham library at 11 a.m. about our books and our lives as authors. This’ll be my first shot at formal public speaking, but I usually have no problem telling taxi drivers, shop assistants, Tesco delivery drivers etc about my books. I’m planning to wing it, which could be dangerous. I might say something unintentionally controversial, because I’m prone to putting my foot in it. I’m too honest for my own good, which you’ll know if you’ve ever read my autobiographical Mug Trilogy.

IMG_7550My daughter, Zoe, will be travelling hundreds of miles from her home in Croydon to my house in Oldham to help carry the books I’ve designated for the book signing afterwards. I suffer from a permanent slipped disc, so carrying anything heavy, like a box of paperbacks, would prove problematic. My birthday is two days before the library event, so Zoe was planning to visit me anyway around this time, so I don’t feel too guilty. The photo is of Zoe, her husband Chris, my magnolia tree and me. Sorry for cropping off half of your head, Chris.

I’ve a feeling there mightn’t be many people showing up to listen to four authors on a Saturday morning in Oldham, especially as it’s Bonfire night that evening, but I could be wrong. Hopefully the woman who scolded Helen and me won’t be in the audience. I’d probably succumb to a fit of the giggles if I saw her sitting glaring at me. Above all, I must try my best not to embarrass my daughter when I stand up to speak, but it’s pretty much guaranteed.

More exciting developments

books floor 3I received two exciting pieces of news this morning. I had emailed Suzanne at Oldham Main Library a few weeks ago to ask if the library might be interested in including any of my eight books on their shelves. As I had not heard back, I assumed that she would not be interested. However, Suzanne has just emailed me to say that she had been extremely busy but would indeed like me to send her copies of my books for her to assess. I immediately organised for Amazon to deliver six of my books to her in the next day or so. I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed that one, some or all will be deemed acceptable. I am glad that I recently redesigned all of my books and republished them with new covers. They now stand a much better chance of being accepted.

In her email, Suzanne also invited me to be one of the guest speakers at BBC #LovetoRead Weekend on 5th November 2016 at Oldham Main Library. I will be asked to give a talk about my writing career and my books, plus answer questions from the audience. She told me that I can also sell my books at the event. I look forward to hearing which other authors will be speaking at this local event. Hopefully, I will already know some of them.

I doubt that book nine, the sequel to The Hostile, will be published by November, but you never know. I have so far written 15,000 words of the current book and it is progressing very well. It is unimportant whether it is published by then because I have more than enough books to bring along. As my books are printed on demand, I hope I will be given a rough indication of how many will be attending. As well as bringing enough copies of my books to sell at the library, I will definitely be bringing a bundle of my promotion postcards to hand out. Maybe I can have a box of my books delivered to the library beforehand. That would make sense as I live alone, cannot drive and have a chronic back condition. Lugging boxes of books to the library is not really an option.

These two pieces of news from Suzanne have certainly made my week. I have also been encouraged by the number of listeners, mostly from America, who have recently been requesting promo codes from me through Audiobook Boom for my two audiobooks, Her demonic Angel and The Hostile. I await their reviews on Audible with bated breath.