I would not have three children’s novels, four fairy tales, three Christian books (teaching or testimonials) and one historical fiction novel – all on sale on Amazon, if I had not persevered. My books have not been an overnight success – the thing most authors dream of – but I have kept on keeping on because, well, what else am I going to do? I want to write, I love to write, it’s in my bones, and now that I’ve learned the art of self-publishing there is nothing and nobody who can stop me. Hurrah!

Of course, I am still looking for that elusive publishing deal that is going to rocket me to the heights of ‘success’ but in the meantime, I am enjoying my own kind of success.

1. I am following my dream – not everyone does that.

2. I have the pleasure of knowing people all over the world read and enjoy my books.  I may not earn much money, but every positive review is worth more than gold to me.

2. I love my life – it’s so balanced. I teach part-time and write full-time (LOL)…in other words, the life of a writer means you’re constantly engaged in the process in a variety of ways -thinking, taking notes, dreaming up characters and plots, even on my teaching days and even when I’m ‘relaxing’ in front of the TV – I’m usually semi-engaged in something connected with my dream. If that doesn’t sound like an appealing life to you then maybe you’re not passionate enough about being a writer. Time spent writing, to me, is a pleasure and not hard work. Even when my eyes are bleeding from hours on my laptop, it’s still a pleasure and a satisfaction I can’t explain. That, my friend, is success. Cheers!

Just to let you know, I published my third children’s novel yesterday!! It’s been a busy week!


If you’re sure you want to write, and you’ve been putting it off for a while then here’s something that will help you get started. Set yourself some realistic goals and try and stick to them. Make your goals clear and specific.

For example. By next week I will have contacted three agents about my book.

Or by tomorrow I will have written 500 words.

By the end of the month, I will have sourced three competitions and entered at least one of them.

By next summer I will have completed my 100,000 word novel and started on my second one.

Short term and long term goals are essential for success. So is flexibility. You need to be forgiving towards yourself if life gets in the way. Goals can be changed, so don’t beat yourself up if you don’t achieve every goal. Set them anyway. It’s very satisfying when you can tick them off one by one.

Be strict with yourself if you want your dream to become a reality. Regular, small amounts of writing are better than one big chunk of writing once a month. If you are sporadic about picking up your novel to work on it you will lose track of the story plot. It’s far better to plug away at it every day or two, even if you only write fifty words a day.,

It’s been a while since my last post…you know how it is, life kinda catches up with you. I’ve been incredibly prolific, having just self-published my tenth book -a historical fiction novel called All for Sixpence. I’m going to start posting regularly on this blog to give people a helping hand with their writing projects…just what I needed when I started writing seriously 6 years ago. Below you will see my new novel, and below that I am going to write about the importance of a good story.



Before I start writing a novel of any kind, whether for children or adults, I always have a very strong sense of what the story is about. I more or less know the ending, although my stories always evolve as I’m writing them. I write down a few pages of what the story actually is – for example – Sarah is mistreated by her step-father and her mother is distant, so she’s alone really until she meets David and falls in love. He is killed in action when she’s 7 months pregnant. They were due to be married upon his return but now she’s having a baby out of wedlock. In 1937 that’s not good. And so on…

Usually the details I write change considerably by the end of the book but the basic premise of a good story is there.

I make sure there are twists and turns, happy events, sad events, life-altering events, things to make the reader think and hopefully to feel emotion so they can engage with the characters. It is important that the story makes sense and is cohesive, not just a random gathering of events but with one thing leading smoothly onto another. Even with flashbacks or different timelines, it can’t be disjointed. It has to make sense. Several reads and edits over several months will enable you to spot where things don’t flow. Don’t leave a chapter or passage in just because you like it. It needs to fit like a glove into your story.

Make sure there is enough tension to make it interesting. Nobody wants to be bored by too much niceness. Be gutsy, be real. Life is messy. Teenagers get pregnant out of wedlock, people get divorced, abuse others, lie, cheat and steal. People can also be wonderful, so have a mixture of good and bad in your story.

What’s your story about? Do you know? Can you sum it up in two or three lines? Practise writing a 50 word summary of your story, then try 30, then 20. If you can’t do it then your story isn’t strong enough or clear enough.

All of my books begin with a strong story idea and evolve and many of the comments I get once it’s published, are like ‘Great story!’ or’Great plot!’  Plot is not actually the same as story though and I will blog about that another time.





I had been planning to create a writing blog for quite a while and started by creating one on Blogger called Labradors and cappuccino. If you go over there you’ll find very similar content for the first 10 or so blogs because after a couple of weeks I realised that although Labradors and cappuccino may mean a lot to me as a blog name -it does not adequately describe my blog. My blog is a writing blog -not a blog simply for Labrador and cappuccino lovers!! http://labradorsandcappuccino.blogspot.co.uk/

So, my new blog title is Words! words! words! because my whole life now revolves around using them well.
The most exciting thing I’ve ever done as a writer is write my first full length children’s novel and enter it for the Kelpies 2012 Book Award.  I was shortlisted and had to attend the award ceremony at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Of course, I was upset not to win but at least I was in the top three – so, onwards and upwards!Tomorrow I’ll blog about my history as a writer, or would-be writer, which dates back to my teens, many moons ago.

Welcome to WordPress.com! This is your very first post. Click the Edit link to modify or delete it, or start a new post. If you like, use this post to tell readers why you started this blog and what you plan to do with it.

Happy blogging!