Countdown to publication – one month to go

Only a month to wait now before Trish is launched into the world. I can hardly believe it. On 19 March, A Novel Solution will be published, to be followed a few weeks later, in June, by the paperback.

It’s taken a while. As you may have gathered from these occasional glimpses into my life and writing habits, I’m not the most organised of authors. Like a DIY decorator let loose with a paintbrush, I have to create an unholy mess before I can start to see exactly what it is I am actually aiming for.

I make no apologies for this unashamed ‘pants-ing’. For me, as I’ve said many times, the magic comes in the edit. It’s there that I explore my characters, shape the story into something that resembles a coherent plot, and add a few extra funny moments. Which means, though I can dash off a passable rough draft in a few weeks, the editing process takes an age and needs careful thought. With help from SRL Publishing and a host of writerly friends and supporters, I think I have pulled it off once more!

So, if you enjoyed Note to Boy (still available from the usual places) or my contributions to the short story anthologies Taking Liberties and Order and Chaos, please do take a look at A Novel Solution. One of my very favourite authors, the peerless Lissa Evans (Old Baggage, and many others), says kind things about it. You can preorder now – a good thing, they tell me, for favourable algo-whatsits.

PS Thank you to everyone who sent good wishes after my recent hip op. Happy to say, I am at last on the mend and on the move.

Looking forward to what 2024 brings

Happy New Year everyone! I’m a looking-forward sort of gal so, I am thinking ahead to what goodies 2024 will bring, while being thankful for the best bits of 2023 – a curate’s egg of a year fo me.

Very excitingly, Spring will see the publication of my latest, and I think funniest, book, A Novel Solution (a reminder of its zingy cover is below) with the lovely people of SRL Publishing. The hardback drops – is that the term? – in March, to be followed soon after by the paperback. But of course, if you wish you can put in a preorder NOW on Amazon. Keep your eyes open for further news of the launch.

The Breakthrough Book Collective, of which I am proud to be a part, launched in 2023 and I am happy to say goes from strength to strength. The publication of its first two anthologies of short stories, Taking Liberties and Order and Chaos, were extremely well received and another is planned. The Collective also published the novel In Truth, Madness by Imran Kahn, an important, timely and hugely readable book, which looks at the world’s trouble spots through the eyes of a fictional jaded foreign correspondent. I can’t praise it enough. We hope to add more books to the list as the year progresses. And I’d like to add, what a joy it is to work with such a talented, positive and generous bunch of writers.

Lastly, a personal note. I shall be hors de combat for a while since, as seems to be my habit, I shall be starting the New Year with a new hip. But back, as soon as I can, with a cobalt-chrome spring in my step.

Fiction fun in Oxford

It’s free, it’s fun and it’s (mostly) fiction.

The Oxford Indie Book Fair (OxIB) is about to welcome one and all to another day of buying, selling and talking books. This year’s fair promises to be bigger and better than ever before and takes place in Oxford’s historic Examination Rooms on Sunday 26th November.

I’ll be bringing along my comic fiction, Note to Boy, and introducing my latest humorous book, A Novel Solution, which is available to pre-order. Keeping me company will be my very good writer chums, Jason Cobley and Eamon Somers. As well as our own books, we’ll be showcasing the short story anthologies, Taking Liberties and the newly released bestseller, Order & Chaos, which the three of us, along with other established writers, have contributed to.

So, there’ll be lots to see and talk about. And buy of course! Come along, meet the authors, publishers, booksellers and other professionals who make books happen, have some wonderful conversations and find your next great read. Entry is free. See you there!

Breakthrough Books to launch at Margate

I’m pleased and proud to announce the launch of the author-led publishing venture, Breakthrough Books, will take place at the Margate Bookie Festival in October. The event will be marked by the publication of two inaugural short story anthologies, Taking Liberties and Order and Chaos. Both books are the result of a group of more than 20 published authors – including me – banding together in a collective based on mutual support and literary freedom.

Here’s what nothingintherulebook.com had to say about it.


Spring cleaning

The roses are in full bloom. The sun is shining. And young and older person’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of … spring cleaning. Not the house! Of course not! Rather than going to the bother of dusting the cobwebs from the vacuum cleaner and trying to locate the polish, I decided to spring clean my website instead. That is, ask the lovely Jason* to give it a bit of a facelift.

The result is the pages as you see them now. In addition to more up-to-date pictures (and, sadly, my more up-to-date wrinkles!) and information on my comic novel Note to Boy, two new projects have been added: Taking Liberties, the short story anthology I contributed to, which is just out; and A Novel Solution, the comic fiction I am currently editing with the publisher, to be released in early 2024.

Hope you like the bright new look.

*Jason Harvey of Somefolk did all the hard work.

Why Review?

Why review the books you read? I can think of five gold star reasons.

  1. Reviews matter. They really do. Studies have shown that 95% of consumers read reviews before deciding on a purchase. I’m willing to bet that figure is even higher for books. Think about it. How many times have you bought a book without checking the reviews first?
  2. Reviews increase visibility. They are how readers discover new authors and make sure their favourites are up to scratch. Authors benefit from honest reader feedback. And yes, most of us do read reviews – the good, the bad and the occasional ugly – despite what some writers say.
  3. Success breeds success. I’m talking algorithms here. Not that I pretend to understand this dark art. But it seems common sense to me that reviews influence them. The higher a book’s ranking, the greater the number of reviews (and stars) it has, the more likely it is that readers will find it via the algorithms. And being found by new readers is what turns an unknown work into a chart-topper.
  4. Reviewing is good manners. It seems to me, if you’ve read a book, especially one you enjoyed, it’s only polite to let the author know what you thought about it and spread the word to other readers. Reviews don’t have to be long, editorial analyses – though they are welcome too! A few lines saying what you liked or disliked about a book are fine.
  5. It’s good to take a moment. I review every book I read – with the possible exception of the blockbusters that can manage fine without me. I find it therapeutic to sit and think about what I’ve read, and articulate my response to it while it’s fresh in my mind. It’s like when you’ve watched a film and just have to talk to someone about it. The experience isn’t complete without that pause for reflection. Reviews give you that space.

Obviously, here I’m thinking about my own books: Note to Boy and the anthology Taking Liberties. But not only them. Once you’ve read a book, do please share the experience with other readers on Amazon, Goodreads, booksellers’ websites, or wherever you read and write about books.  

Thank you.

Doing it for ourselves

For a writer, there’s little to beat the thrill of holding a book you’ve written. And today, I had that thrill as I unboxed paperback copies of Taking Liberties.

This has been a remarkable experience for several reasons. Firstly, it happened unbelievably quickly; the wheels of the publishing industry usually grind exceedingly slowly. Not in this case. In only a few months, a group of authors were able to put their heads together and, sharing their various skills and talents, produce a short story collection to be proud of. I was pleased to be a small part of it.

Secondly, the anthology has already achieved success as an ebook, staying at #2 in the short stories ‘hot new releases’ chart for quite some time and getting blush-inducing reviews: “wonderfully eclectic”, “funny, moving, thought provoking”, “offbeat”, and “wonderful, uplifting and sometimes surprising”. Fingers crossed, the success continues with the release of the paperback.

And thirdly, amazing though all that is, even more amazing, in my opinion, is the way in which all this came about.

It’s tough out there. I know how hard, how very hard, it is for an unknown writer to find a publisher and then, almost as important, to get their book in front of a sufficient number of readers. New authors, without an existing fanbase to call upon, can – and do – get lost in the white noise of today’s big-name celebrity marketing promotions.

But what can the poor indie writer do against such juggernaut forces? As my old granny used to say, if you want something doing properly, do it yourself.

And so the Breakthrough Book Collective was born. We are a group of friends and colleagues, all proven and published writers, doing it for ourselves. Many have other skills, such as editing, design, art, journalism, photography, podcasting, presenting and marketing, which we pool for the good of the collective. We write in different genres, have different backgrounds, but we share a commitment to putting the creative and financial power in the hands of the creators. And in producing engaging, exciting and professionally presented books, of course!

Taking Liberties is our first initiative and is now available as a paperback. You can order it here. And please do remember to leave a review. We’d be so grateful.

And if you want to read more about the Breakthrough Book Collective and other ‘commons’ projects, my fellow collective, the author, artist and presenter Stevyn Colgan has explained it better and in much more detail in his blog here.

Taking Liberties out today!

I’m chuffed to bits to let you know that Taking Liberties, the anthology of short stories by twelve writers, of which I am proud to be one, is released today and is available to order from Amazon and Kobo as an ebook. For those who prefer a real-life paperback, that will be coming along very soon, in the next week or so.

My heartfelt thanks to Stephanie Bretherton, Ivy Ngeow, Philip Whiteley and Zena Barrie for all the blood sweat and tears, and to them and my fellow Breakthrough Book Collective writers for being so flipping talented.

Taking Liberties is the first venture of the brand new Breakthrough Book Collective.

Taking Liberties Now Available to Pre-Order

Your patience is rewarded! Taking Liberties, the exciting new anthology of short stories, is available for preorder NOW, and will be released into the wild on 17th April. Each of the twelve stories in the book takes freedom as its theme. Among them, you’ll find my contribution, On The Brushes.

“A collection that is full of surprises. But it is no surprise that this talented group of authors have found so many unexpected and entertaining ways to write on the theme of freedom. A great read.” says Lulu Allison, author of Salt Lick (Women’s Prize for Fiction 2022 Long List)

Be one of the first to dip into this fascinating collection of stories from established and emerging writers by pre-ordering your copy today.

Taking Liberties is published by The Breakthrough Book Collective.