Afternoon tea with author Jacqueline Ward

I thoroughly enjoyed yesterday’s ‘Afternoon Tea with author Jacqueline Ward’ event. It was held in the perfect setting of Alexandra Park’s Conservatory in Oldham. Jacqueline gave a reading from her psychological thriller, Perfect Ten, then enthralled the audience with an informative talk about her career and the publishing industry. I’m looking forward to reading my signed copy of Perfect Ten.

It was lovely to meet Jacqueline for the first time and to reacquaint myself with Phaedra Patrick and Dan Forrester. (Thanks for the lift home, Phaedra. Much appreciated.)

The event was part of Oldham Library’s annual Bookmark Festival. A perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Alexandra Park Conservatory Jacqueline Ward montage jpg

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.

A fun Friday evening in Manchester

I had a wonderful time at HOME in Manchester on Friday evening. My daughter and I enjoyed the Q and A with author Paul Auster, trying out the intriguing Virtual Reality stand, then watching the innovative theatrical performance of Auster’s City of Glass. The production values were excellent, even though Zoe and I emerged scratching our heads over the story itself. I also had my copy of his new 900-page book, 4321, signed by the author. And there was I worrying my book, The Lying Scotsman, might be too long at 400 pages.

I also had my copy of his new 900-page book, 4321, signed by the author. And there was I worrying my book, The Lying Scotsman, might be too long at 400 pages.

Better than expected

My meet-the-author event at Oldham Coliseum on 24th January went even better than I’d hoped. There were about fifteen Full Circle members in the audience, which was a perfect number, as I wanted my talk to be informal. I was less nervous than I’d expected to be, probably because I’m passionate about writing and talk about books every chance I get. Selling a few of my signed books was a bonus.

Most of the photographs were taken by Jenny, one of the organisers, shortly after my hour-long talk. I gave my talk next to the small table but sat with the audience for the group photos. I notice I’m wearing the same outfit I wore for another meet-the-author event at Oldham Library in November. I really must wear something different if I’m ever asked to give another talk about my books. People will think I only own one set of clothes, which is far from the truth.



Thanks to Rose Sergent at Oldham Coliseum for organising today’s event. I really enjoyed myself and would happily have talked for two hours, not just the one hour I’d been allocated. It’s now back to writing book ten for me, the third book in The Hostile series.The Hostile series.

Tomorrow’s meet-the-author event

Looking forward to speaking for an hour or so at my meet-the-author event at Oldham Coliseum tomorrow. I hope my voice holds out for that long, as I don’t use it very often. I’ve thoroughly prepared my speech and am not too nervous … yet. I’ll be the only author talking at tomorrow’s event, as far as I’m aware.

My talk will be about my nine books and life as a full-time indie author, although I’ll be concentrating on my non-fiction book, Living with Postcards, as the organiser requested. I’m bringing about 50 of my 2,000 postcards along to illustrate the talk. I could have put together a powerpoint presentation, but I reckon holding the actual postcards will be more satisfying for the audience, and feel less formal. I’ll be handing out my own book promotion postcards too, whether the audience wants them or not, ha! They can turn them into paper airplanes and launch them at me if they get bored.

This’ll be the second meet-the-author event I’ve spoken at in the past six months. Maybe that’s why I’m not too nervous, although my first talk was only 15 minutes long, and there were four other authors speaking then. Wish me luck.

An interesting turn of events

Not wishing to tempt fate, but 2017 has kicked off encouragingly for me. In early January, I was contacted on social media by a publisher of crime thrillers who asked me if I’d be interested in proofreading three books a month for them. They publish six books a month. I’ve already read and proofread three edited books for them over the past two weeks. I found many errors in the three edited books, and have been swiftly paid for my work. I am now free to write my own books for the next two weeks before I receive three more books in February to proofread. I’m currently writing the third book of The Hostile series. I’m looking forward to enjoying the three crime thrillers a month that the publisher will hopefully be sending me to proofread. They seem happy with my work.

The books the publisher has recently sent me to proofread are all on the brink of publication and were all five-star reads. I would have happily purchased them, as I enjoy reading crime thrillers more than any other genre. This new dream job as proofreader came about because of my recent habit of marking typos on my kindle while reading books I’ve purchased on Amazon. If I know the author on social media, I’ve sent them a list of the errors, so they can make their books as perfect as possible. I don’t set out to find errors but can’t ignore them if they spring out at me. Each author I’ve approached has been grateful I sent them the list of errors the editor had missed. One author happened to be the publisher of crime thrillers who now uses my services.

Only one book out of the scores of books I’ve read in 2016 had no typos. Most had well over a dozen errors, several had over a hundred and one had more than 450! All had been ‘professionally’ edited, which makes my blood boil. Aren’t editors supposed to eliminate typos? I suspect some editors had merely run a spellcheck through the document. There is no excuse for such negligence. Yes, I’m sure there are meticulous editors out there, but they seem to be few and far between. It’s one reason I am happy to continue self-editing my books. I no longer trust editors to do a perfect job.

This new dream job came about because of my habit of marking typos on my Kindle while reading books I have purchased. If I know the author on social media, I send them a list of the errors, so they can make their books as perfect as possible. I know hundreds of authors on social media, some in the real world, so I have spent a great deal of time sending free lists of typos in books that have been professionally edited. Two of the books had hundreds of errors in them, even though the authors had paid hundreds of pounds to the editor. One editor apologised and reimbursed the author after my list of errors was sent to them by the author. I ended up editing his book, despite never having edited a book for payment before, and despite being busy with my own writing and marketing. I didn’t set out to be an editor or paid proofreader as well as being an author; it was a happy accident.

I’m not saying I’m perfect, far from it. As I’ve self-edited my own nine books, I dare say there may be the odd typo in one or two of them. If there is an error, I would hope that some kind reader would tell me about it, as I can easily rectify the problem. As an indie author, I can swiftly amend and republish on Amazon.

In other news. Two weeks from now, I’ll be at Oldham Coliseum talking about my books, particularly my non-fiction Living with Postcards, in front of an over-fifties group. I’ll be the only author talking at this event, unlike my talk at Oldham Library a few months ago where I shared the platform with four other local authors. I am not too nervous because I’ve prepared my speech. What’s the worst that could happen? Don’t answer that.

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.