Friday, 29 March 2013


Thank you very much for all the lovely comments via the blog, twitter and facebook concerning  the story of PUTTING RIGHT THE PAST. I had a good time writing them and explaining how and why I wrote the book.

There are some great book review websites and blogs (one of my addictions) and there is no way I would ever be able to do what they do. I know of one site where the lovely lady manages to read three or four books per week, she then writes fabulous long reviews about them. What I would like to do is tell you about some of the books and authors I have enjoyed over the last twenty odd years; thanks to websites like Amazon most of the books are still available.

My reading habit is a bit odd or so I'm told; the thing is I keep certain books for different situations. When I'm writing I seem to stick to biographies, real life story's and travel books. Other times I just love to read my favourite authors, fiction by the boat load escaping into other peoples worlds, that's when I'm at my happiest.

Then I have what I call my 'SUNDAY BEST BOOKS',  people of a certain age will remember that when we were young we had clothes that we only wore on Sundays and special occasions. Well I have books like that, I think it's because I have been reading some authors for so many years, I like to treat their books with lots of love and respect, that's not saying I don't treat all books with repect, but these just have that little bit of extra love given to them, am I being stupid I don't know

If one of my favorite authors has a book out say in February and I know I have a holiday in June I will save it until then, because I know I won't have to rush through it. This list does get added to all the time, at the moment I think there are about twenty authors on it; one author was only added just last year but her book has become one of my all-time favourite reads, more about that in a later blog. 

I do think you have to be in the right mood for for certain books, even down to what time of the year it is, I did say I was odd didn't I and the older I get the worse I become. My obsessive reading habit all started with one book and to this day it's still one of my all-time favourites, even though it was written way back in 1992.

The book I'm talking about was written by Robert James Waller 'THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY', let me tell you about the book and how I came to read it.

I first started to read this book at Gatwick airport; I was going on holiday to the Canary Islands. The book had been featured in a big way on The Oprah show, all of America seemed to be talking about it. When I'd got myself settled in my seat on the plane, an older lady sitting next to me had noticed the book, she remarked that she didn't think it was a good idea for me to be reading it now and suggested I saved it for my holiday as I would probably get upset, and perhaps being on a plane wasn't the best place for, well lets say being emotional.

As the story unfolds it's a very hot summer in Madison County Iowa, the year is 1965 a middle-aged photographer, Robert Kincaid is lost, so he drives up to a farm to ask directions. That is where he meets Francesca Johnson an Italian war bride, she is there alone as her husband and children have gone off to the state fair. She directs him to the location he's looking for, but then she invites him to join her later for dinner. During dinner Roberts talks to her about art and poetry; these are things she never gets to talk about with the local towns people. This takes her right back to when she was a Neapolitan girl and not just a bored farmers wife.The next night she invites him back again for dinner and with a little help from a few glasses of brandy, one thing leads to another and thats where I'm going to leave them.

If you have never read this book, I suggest you might like to give it a go, It's a short book and the two characters come to life in an instant. I find that nowadays a lot of books seem to be full of young fit glamorous creatures, so to have a love story about two people in their late forties is so refreshing.

Back to the plane I hear you say, well I managed to finish the book during the flight and just like the lady sat beside me said I did cry, actually I sobbed and when I turned towards her she was crying too. The book was later made into a wonderful film with Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood, I loved the film but I was so glad I read the book first.

As well as my favorite books I will in the next few blogs talk about some of my SUNDAY BEST authors.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013


I really don't know what to write in this blog, so much has happened in the last week or so, I suppose I had better start at the beginning.

My book PUTTING RIGHT THE PAST was due to be published on April 1st yes April Fool's day, honestly it's not a joke and that's still the date when the paperback comes out. But on Sunday 17th March we had a family get together, while they were there I got them to set me up on Facebook, more about that later. We had a lovely day some nice food and lots of chit-chat.

After they'd left I had a quick check on Amazon to see if my book had moved up the charts with paperback pre-orders, to my complete surprise and amazement the ebook copy was up and available for people to download. I was hoping it would be there before Easter as Rachel from Troubador Publishers said she would try her best to have it available for the Easter weekend.

As you can imagine I was so excited (the understatement of the year) as this was two weeks before the arranged release date and yes I did download myself a copy and yes I did start reading it all over again, but this time was different, this time was special it looked like a proper book, not an email or printed on A4 paper with lots of corrections in red ink scribbled all over it.

So what was I to do, this had thrown my blogging schedule out completely but in a good way not a bad one? Monday 18th March arrived and I posted my blog called 'How I  Tried To Get Published' and then on Tuesday 19th the blog 'We Finally Got Here' was ready for posting. But was I ready to tell the Twitter and Facebook world that it was there on Amazon for everyone to read?  Then there was the small matter of six preview chapters to sample free, it was all very scary.

Well I did tell everyone and the reaction I got was unbelievable, by that I mean I was so shocked how nice people were. I have always known that the authors and readers I talk to on Twitter were nice and so supportive I was hoping they would wish me well, but for so many people to go out their way to send me such lovely messages, people who I had never even spoken to on line before. This started on Tuesday 19th and a week later it's still happening, not a day goes by without me getting lovely comments from all over the world and if you are one of the people I haven't thanked please accept my apologies, I have tried so hard to tweet and email back but I'm sure some have got lost in all the excitement.

Something else fabulous happened this week too, I was interviewed by my good  friend and author Amanda Egan this was for her Mummy Misfit website, you must check it out! The interview went live on her blog on Sunday 24th and again we both had some great feedback, Twitter and Facebook people are so kind. One of the amazing things that did happen after the interview unbelievably we were sent a tweet by the lovely Beverley Knight. All this came about because of one of the questions Amanda asked me.

The question was "Name a song that sums up your book" my reply was that it would have to be "No One Loves In Vain" by the wonderful Beverley Knight; the song is a big part of one of the chapters and without giving too much away the words sum up someones loss.

Well that's the weekend over with so what's in store for this week, another little bit of excitement regarding the book, the paperback version has been delivered to me from the printers, my writing actually in print a real book that I can hold unbelievable, I was over the moon as you can imagine, I still can't believe it's happening.

So that's the story of how and why PUTTING RIGHT THE PAST came about, I hope you have enjoyed reading the last five blogs as much as I've enjoyed writing them, thank you so much for all your support and lovely comments they have meant so much to me. The book is out now for the all world to see and my mission is accomplished.

Next time I blog I want to tell you all about my SUNDAY BEST BOOKS and I will start with one of my all time favourites.


Tuesday, 19 March 2013


Hello again I know that it was only yesterday that I posted my previous blog. But EXCITING NEWS! although the paperback version of my book PUTTING RIGHT THE PAST isn't released until April 1st. The Kindle version of  PUTTING RIGHT THE PAST is now released and available for download right now on AMAZON at £1.99. Which means I have to post my final blog about writing my book sooner than expected, so here it is I hope you like it.

Two months after giving up and dumping my book in the drawer I was persuaded by friend's, family and author Amanda Egan not to give up and get it sorted out. A very special friend of mine Samantha Grainger helped me put right all the editors corrections, then with a little bit of rewriting of a couple of chapters off it went back to Troubador again (for the last time hopefully.)

The next big project was the book cover and I had great fun sorting that out, I knew exactly what I wanted and I couldn't be more pleased with the result. Ninety percent of the story is set around the complex in Tenerife where Carole lives, she spends so much of her time by the pool listening to her neighbours problems, so the cover just had to be of a swimming pool. I hope you like the final choice as much as I do.

Then the final task was the proof reading, with the help of Troubador and a very good proofreader that was all sorted, well that's what I thought, wrong again! It was very exciting the day my final manuscript arrived in the post. All my work, my writing, all my words were there on those pages, just as I had always dreamt they would be one day. I just couldn't believe it was all actually happening. So I made myself a strong black coffee and I was ready to read my book. After reading a few pages however I began to realise that we were not quite there yet, this still wasn't the final stage after all. Parts of the story just didn't match up dates, ages of some characters, locations I could go on but I won't. I now realise these issues should have been rectified way before it ever went to a publishers. I will never let this happen again next time I will read it over and over again, double checking, no triple checking everything.

So here we go again, I read the whole thing yet again, then passed it on to a good friend who did the same.  Hopefully together we have come up with the finished product, I think I am about eighty-five per-cent happy with it all. Something tells me I will never be one hundred per-cent happy, there will always be something I would want to change.

Now what have I learnt? Well one things for sure the writing and publishing of a book isn't a straight forward business, well not for me anyway. But my god I've learnt so much in the process and the great thing is all that I have learnt I've already been able to put into practise when writing my next book. The working title is 'FROM LONDON TO NEW YORK' but that will definitely change.

So that's the full story so far, in these five blogs I've told you how the book got started through to getting it published. I can't tell you about the last part yet which will be finally having the finished printed paperback in my hand. I can't wait for that day to come, it will be an amazing feeling and I can't wait to share this with you all in a later blog.

Monday, 18 March 2013


At last my book was finished it had taken a couple of years on and off to get to this final stage, or that's what I thought. Well I printed it off and put it into a lovely A4 file, at this point I was the only one who knew the full story because I hadn't let anyone else read it.

My partner and family were aware I'd been writing the book but I wasn't going to force anyone to read it, at this stage it had only been for my own benefit, a kind of sense of achievement, a project that had kept my mind off other things. It was left lying around on a coffee table for anyone who wanted to read it, it was up to them.

It was several weeks before my partner eventually picked it up to read, I've since found out that he was really afraid to read it in case it was a load of rubbish, he just didn't want to have to lie to me if it was. He knew I would be able to tell if he was lying. One day I came home from work and he was reading it, by the end of that evening he had finished it. His reaction wasn't quite what I was expecting, utter disbelief  is what springs to mind, his exact words were ....

      'It reads like a real book, a proper story, where did it all come from and how could you think something up like that'

He just couldn't stop smiling, that was really encouraging, I was pleased he'd enjoyed it but that's when he started on about me getting it published. We decided there and then we would give it a shot, but first there were a lot of spelling mistakes and grammer that needed correcting, plus a little help with some of the plot lines that needed tweaking. Over the next few weeks we both got stuck into it together.

I then researched different agents on the internet, I looked at who represented my favorite authors, and drew up a short list.  It kept coming back to the same name, so that was that off it went in the post. Oh and by the way I've  forgotten to mention I aimed high I'd only gone and sent it to Lizzy Kremer, the Lizzy Kremer of David Higham Associates, just google her and look at the great authors she represents and you'll understand why I chose her.

I suppose you can guess what happened next, I had a letter back saying no thanks, a very nice letter I might add. We all have dreams and one of mine would still be to have her as my agent (but that's never going to happen)

Another couple of agents and nice no thanks letters later I gave up, PUTTING RIGHT THE PAST was put away in a drawer and I started another project. Well three actually but none of them made it past ten thousand words. I just didn't like the characters or the plots. As for PUTTING RIGHT THE PAST it was destined to stay at the back of the drawer, until one day a friend suggested self publishing and as you all know thats exactly what I've done.

The company I've chosen to publish with is Troubador Publishing, they have been great especially the very patient Amy Cooke. She has been so helpful and has guided me through the whole process. We have had a few scary moments though the scariest of which was when it came back from it's first edit.

My god I've never seen so much red ink in my life, there were so many corrections needed, I couldn't believe it. I just freaked I felt I'd failed, who did I think I was, what an idiot just because I had time on my hands it didn't mean I was a writer. PUTTING RIGHT THE PAST was thrown back into the drawer and that was it, I'd given up no more writing for me, back to just reading books, I was good at that my dream was over (or was it?)

Well as you know it didn't stay there, next time I will tell you what happened when it next saw the light of day and escaped from the drawer again, thats when the hard work really started.

Monday, 11 March 2013


First of all I would like to thank everyone for the lovely comments about my last blog and my visit to The Romaniacs for Tuesday Chit-Chat.

So in the last blog I told you where I wanted my story to be set, I actually started writing about Rosa and Augusto the two people that gave me the idea for PUTTING RIGHT THE PAST. However after a couple of pages I'm afraid they were deleted, erased never to appear again. As they disappeared so did Mainland Spain and I moved my little story to the island of Tenerife.

The main character in the book is Carole Harding and I must say I love her; first and foremost I would love to be her friend, she's such a good, honest, lovely woman, but where did she come from? I can honestly say Carole just appeared on the page one day, other characters were going to have more to do in the story, but the more I wrote about her the more I realised it had to be her story. The idea of everyone on the complex having secrets which needed to be sorted out sprang to mind, Carole seemed just perfect for the job.Then that's when my imagination went into overdrive, my partner still asks me where it all came from? I always say who knows!

I find it so easy writing for the characters that I like, I found Nadean, Felicity and Victoria's lives a joy to write, as for Jeremy the evil person in the book oh I so wanted him to get his comeuppance. But I felt Carole also had to have something in her past that no one knew and that is where the inheritance came into the story. I think my favourite bits to write were the two parties and Carole's transformation.

One of the other things I need to do when writing is I have to know what each character looks like before I start, they could have a face of an actor or someone who serves me in a supermarket, it doesn't really matter as long as I know what they look like. I'm not sure if this is normal but it works for me, one day I will blog about this and who I think Carole looks like, she actually has the face of a British actress, well in my head anyway, but you'll all have you're own ideas of course.

Well that's about it for now, on the next blog I will tell you what happened when I finished writing the book, also how I started to learn all about the world of publishing, not forgetting the day I saw my book cover for the first time. I hope you have a good day.

Monday, 4 March 2013


Before I start I would just like to thank everyone for the kind emails, tweets and comments about my last blog.

The idea for my book 'PUTTING RIGHT THE PAST' came to me on a holiday in Spain, I was staying there with my partner and we rented a lovely apartment at the top of a very steep hill which looked right out to sea. There was about forty apartments and they were set out in an L shape, ours was right on the top in the middle. Most of the apartments were owned by people who lived and worked there, so it was very quiet during the day when they were all out at work.

Now I'm a nosey sod and was very interested in the comings and goings of the residents, I would be sat on the balcony in the mornings with my coffee as they went off to work, by the time they returned  it would be evening and more importantly, wine time. The thing is I have a terrible habit of inventing names and situations for people I see, unfortunately after a few glasses of wine my brain goes into overdrive.

We had stayed in the apartment the previous year and one of the residents had really intrigued me. I had named her Rosa, by the way she isn't the Rosa in my book. I first noticed her about four o'clock in the afternoon when she came out to take her two dogs and a cat for a walk. Now Rosa was beautiful she must have been in her late twenties early thirties she had long dark curly hair. After her walk she would then take her pets back to the apartment and would go off to work. Nothing unusual about that I hear you say, well she would come back about midnight, then take the pets for another quick walk before her guest arrived.

Yes she had an admirer and he would arrive about twelve thirty and stay until about two in the morning. He was about fifty and very smartly dressed, I named him Augusto and he was always in a suit and tie, I guessed that he could be her boss. The following year we returned, Rosa was still living there and she had now gained another cat and her routine of walking them was still the same, but her days of going out to work were over. Also the cat was not the only thing to have moved into her apartment, Augusto had moved in as well.

I told you I was nosey, well that's where the idea for my book first started; I knew it had to be based around a block of apartments somewhere in the sunshine, full of people sat on their balcony's knowing everyone else's business. Sadly Rosa and Augusto never made it into 'PUTTING RIGHT THE PAST' but whoever they are in real life they were my inspiration, I have a lot to thank them for.

Well I hope you are having a good day and next time I will talk about the characters I created in 'PUTTING RIGHT THE PAST'.