30 September 2013


Have you ever had something you've long imagined materialise?  This happened to me last Tuesday morning.
My work-in-progress is THE SILVER CANE, a Fitzjohn mystery and #4 in the series.  My title comes from the fact that the murder victim carried a cane with a silver handle.
I’ve envisaged this cane for months.  A silver handle, atop a slim piece of dark wood with a silver tip at the end.  The only thing I had not visualised is what shape the silver handle would take, although I did know it would be some sort of bird.
I’d never even seen a walking cane like this and I didn’t expect I would.  The canes I have seen are rather clinical looking things that stand in corners of chemist’s shop, waiting for some elderly new owner to come along.
Oddly, on this particular Tuesday morning, I seemed to be carried along on a wave of activities I rarely participate in.  That is, I went out for breakfast to an old part of town that I don’t usually frequent.  After breakfast I went to a bookshop that I’ve never been keen on.  I found I still wasn’t, so I left after a couple of minutes, but instead of retracing my steps back to my car, I found myself walking in the opposite direction.  That’s when I happened upon what I can only describe as a curiosity shop.  You know the sort; a bit dusty, dimly lit, cluttered, and simply filled to the brim with bric-a-brac - in other words, a wonderful place to browse.  I'm a good browser so, of course, I stepped inside. No doubt you know the rest.  There, leaning against an old cupboard was the very SILVER CANE I had conjured up in my mind, complete with an eagles head for its silver handle, and a silver tip at its end.  True story!
I’m now the proud owner of that silver cane, made in Italy, no less, and a most beautiful object. I must say, this whole episode has brought more meaning to the title of my next Fitzjohn mystery - THE SILVER CANE.
Do you have any spooky stories?

13 September 2013

Self Publishing vs Traditional Publishing

Traditional Publishing
There was a time when the possibility of getting your book published could have been compared to climbing Mt Everest.  After years of slaving over your manuscript to make it the best it could be, the day came when you finally said, 'It's finished.'  What a great feeling, but little did you know that getting your masterpiece traditionally published was yet another Mt Everest to climb.

Why?  Because as few traditional publishers accept unsolicited manuscripts, you first need to find an agent to represent you.  This mightn't sound too difficult a task, but more often than not, it is.  You start by trawling through lists of agents as well as sending your manuscript to those publishers who DO accept unsolicited manuscripts.  You live in hope every time you receive a reply be it snail mail or email.  After months, if not years of rejections, you start to wonder if it's worth all the effort you're putting into it.

Self Publishing
But I'm happy to say that we no longer have to put ourselves through any of the above if we don't wish to because now there's another way.  We can self publish.  All we need to accomplish this task is at our fingertips.  A computer and the world wide web to enable us to publish our book, and a plethora of places to choose from.  For example,
Kindle Direct Publishing
Create Space
Lulu, etc.

Not to mention social media when it comes to marketing.  Useful site to use for this purpose have been listed in the following blog posts,

A guide to marketing your book

Self publishing may not be everyone's cup of tea, but having been traditionally published and having self published, I have to say that self publishing does have its benefits.  These include control over:-
  • cover
  • blurb
  • formats
  • publication
  • marketing
  • pricing
  • knowledge of your sales 
  • full rights

You might also want to take a look at this article on how to publish a Kindle ebook, written by Jeff Goins and shared by Michael Hyatt on his web site.

How to Successfully Self Publish a Kindle eBook

8 September 2013


by Phillipa Gregory

If you enjoy historical novels about English history, then I would recommend The Red Queen.  Set in the 15th century, it tells the story of the War of the Roses from the viewpoint of the House of Lancaster and in so doing, follows the life of Margaret Beaufort, a descendant of King Edward III.

Outwardly pious, and at the same time ruthless in her plotting to overthrow the Crown, Margaret believes she is destined by God to see her son, Henry Tudor, on the throne of England.

It’s not often that I’ve read a book with a main character who is as scheming and contemptible as Margaret Beaufort.  Although, it’s one of the things that kept me turning the page.

As with all the books I’ve read by Phillipa Gregory, this one did not disappoint, and what an excellent and enjoyable way to learn more about English history.