Friday, 24 May 2019

Just subbed to The Future Bookshelf

That's the submission done and dusted.  If you're subbing to them too, I wish you luck!

Thursday, 23 May 2019

In the UK? Unagented? Write for YA?

If you answered "yes!" to all those questions in the title up there 👆👆 then you'll be wanting to know about a publishing house that is looking for under-represented authors who write for YA and above.

The URL you need tomorrow is this one - go get 'em!

Sunday, 19 May 2019

Book review: Manners fit for the Queen by Anne Wan

⭐⭐⭐⭐ out of 5

This is a great book for the older end of picture book listeners, but some of the word choices (Etiquette, improve, disgusting, nervously, expecting, elegantly, delicious, splendid) may not be understood by toddlers and even the older picture book listeners would prolly struggle too.  It's a good way to start discussions about what the words mean and to encourage good table manners (the mirror is an awesome idea!) but I'm knocking off the fifth star purely because of the word choices.

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Which are you?

Just seen this on Facebook.

I tend to flick between "True Plantser" and "Neutral Plotter" but I used to be a die-hard "Lawful Pantser" until the end of my first NaNo and haven't looked back since!

Which one or even two are you?

Friday, 10 May 2019

Book review: Bridge of Lies: Adventures of Letty Parker by Misha Herwin

⭐⭐⭐⭐ out of 5

I have to be honest and say that I wasn’t impressed with the first couple of chapters or with the swearing (f**ts was written in full and uncensored several times which I wouldn’t want a 10 year old to read and ask what it meant) but when the author got into her writing it really flowed and I didn’t want to stop reading it!

If you’re a parent who is looking to start a discussion on swearing in fiction then maybe you won’t mind, but it’s aimed at pure, innocent, 10-12 year old children rather than adults who already know the word and maybe I’m being too fussy about it, but the swearing spoilt it for me unfortunately.  That’s why I’m knocking a star off.

If you can look past the swearing and you want an easy read with a mature-for-her-age (I started out thinking she was in her 20’s) main character then definitely get this book, but parents, please give it a read through yourselves first before just handing it over to your child.

Some of the phrases used, especially at the start of the book, were a bit tough to latch on to because they were laid on so thick and seemingly all at once but again, when the author got into the flow of her writing it just got written so fluidly and naturally!

Keep writing, Misha… you’ve got a wonderful way with words when you get into the head of your characters!

Monday, 29 April 2019

I was wrong about the software...

My members will be able to do more things online when Steve's finished.  It's not software that he's doing, like I'd thought, but an online thing.

Now would be a good time to become a member 'cos it's only my members who will have access to things like this and you will get better prices for crits and stuff too.

I love having every single visitor to my site, but I've already forked out £3400 for the software and online stuff, without even thinking about the yearly cost of the domain name and hosting.

There will always be things for the visitors to the site, but my members will always be my top priority and they will get access to things that the visitors don't, so it's well worth shelling out your money to join the site, considering it's under a tenner for even the most expensive fee!

Friday, 26 April 2019

Keep Out! was rejected this afternoon

Just had a rejection for my MG novel, Keep Out!

Took 7 weeks this time as opposed to 7 days that used to be the average, so I'm getting there slowly!

Not going to sub to anyone else for the time being 'cos I'm gonna sub to SCBWI's UV2020 and I'm gonna re-edit all the MSs again to see if I can make them even better.  Already got 3 subs out there too that I haven't heard back from yet, so don't wanna have too many out there in case I'm taken on by one of them!

It still stings, but at least they let me know, instead of leaving me hanging!

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Wanna help an author without costing you a penny?

Just seen this on Facebook and it's true for *all* authors, not just children's authors:

Sunday, 7 April 2019

A year ago today on Facebook

Please come back to this later if you've either just eaten or are about to eat, 'cos this is a gross question.

I posted this on Facebook exactly a year ago and I'm pretty sure a totally gross picture book came out of it:

Feeling sick yet?

I've just asked this on Facebook for the parents/carers/educators of children, but I'm after advice from my fellow writers and authors on this too:

So come on then... make up a name (to protect your privacy and because I always struggle with names in my manuscripts so want to be able to steal yours) and let me know, in the comments of this post, if you think I should write it as an early reader for 5 year olds or as an easy reader for 6-8 year olds.

Thank you so so much!

Friday, 5 April 2019

Are you a children's author? In the UK? Looking for a publisher?

If you answered all three questions in the title with "yes" then keep reading!

March Hamilton have got a few open submission windows between July and September this year so you've got a few months to put finish those edits and get your query polished up... don't forget where you heard it when you're rich and famous though, OK?  😉

Thursday, 4 April 2019

Write for MG readers and ready to sub right away?

If you've got a MG novel ready and raring to go but you want a couple of sentences of feedback on your query and first 10 pages of your manuscript then take a look at this page - it's only open until 5.30pm ET tomorrow (5th April 2019) and it won't be a lot of feedback, only a couple of sentences, but that's more than you've got right now and it's free, so what are you waiting for??

Now would be a good time to...

...become a member of the site.


Because you have unlimited access to me, the members area, exclusive software available only to my members and my in-house geek is coding an exclusive member's only page of one of the pieces of software that can be used without having to install anything.

There's also another piece of software that's going to be available to my member's only too and you get discounts on things in the members shop and having access to me whenever you need me!

If you've got any ideas of software that you want/need for your writing or illustrating, whether you're a member or not, just let me know in as much detail as possible and I'll see what I can persuade the in-house geek to come up with for you.

If you want a basic website but can't afford to pay anything for it, just let me know what you want and I'll see what I can come up with for you for free.  If you want something more professional that you're willing to pay for, just email Steve (my hubby) or go to his site so that you can see what he's done so far and contact him from there.

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Ordered another domain

Just registered and paid for another domain so that I don't have to specify that the site has a number in it.

I'm hoping that I can just set up a forwarder for the site and email address without having to fork out for hosting that I'll never use.  No guarantees though.  We'll soon find out I s'pose!

And it's done.  The new URL points to the current URL and the email forwarding works too.  In under an hour I've gone from thinking about getting the new URL to having it all working and redirecting like magic.  TSO Host are definitely earning their money from me!  👍👍👍

Saturday, 16 March 2019

Just updated one of the pages in the members area again

If you're in an under-represented group, in the UK and looking for an agent, I've just updated the members area again with a little something that closes on 25th March, so you'd better get your skates on!  😃

Monday, 11 March 2019

Just had me weekly Grammarly report, and...

...I appear to be quite a good userer of English words and grammar!  Better than 95% of Grammarly users in fact!  So there!

This is copied and pasted from the email:


Your Weekly Writing Update
Check out the big vocabulary on you! You used more unique words than 95% of Grammarly users. Keep it up!
Grammarly writing streak
54 weeks

Next Achievement
See all achievements 


You were more productive than
91% of Grammarly users.


words checked





Feb 17
Mar 03



You were more accurate than
30% of Grammarly users.


alerts shown





Feb 17
Mar 03



You used more unique words than
95% of Grammarly users.


unique words used





Feb 17
Mar 03


Grammarly Premium found
339 additional advanced mistakes.

Upgrade to Fix
Advanced Mistakes

Top 3 Mistakes
1. Missing comma in compound sentence  Learn More 217 alerts
2. Unnecessary ellipsis  Learn More 39 alerts
3. Missing comma after introductory phrase  Learn More 25 alerts


Feeling pretty proud of myself, just need to work on mainly the missing comma's and not use so many ellipsises.

If you want to get a Grammarly report on your use of language each week, just click here to go straight to the site, sign up, download the app and away you go!

Just worked out why there were so many errors - my account was set to American English instead of British English... that's hopefully changed and saved now though, so next week will be interesting!

That's my prescription taken now, so I'll shut down as soon as the groceries have arrived then head to bed for an early-ish night.

Just taken a photo of our baby girl:

The fur got shaved on Friday to discover the skin infection and her left ear is droopy because of an ear infection that is already starting to get to work and is a lot less swollen now after only 4 days!

The shopping has just been and gone so I'm gonna publish this and shut down in a bit. I've already taken my prescription so I'll give it until 7pm again then shut down for the night again.

 Shutting down now... nite nite orl!

Friday, 8 March 2019

If you write MG or YA, you're in the UK and looking for an agent...

Kerstin Wolf has just opened up her books again so I've just queried her.

Right now she's only looking for MG and YA manuscripts, so if that's you, get over to her site now!

It's all done online and she wants your query and first 10 pages of your manuscript.  She seems to be open for illustrators too but that's just from looking at the site, rather than anything she's asked for.

Go get 'er!  😃

Thursday, 7 March 2019

In the UK and looking for an agent?

As of lunchtime today, Anne Clark is now open for submissions.  This was her Tweet:

I am open to submissions! If you have a story you're proud of or an original non fiction idea, I would love to hear from you, whatever your background or experience. More on how to submit here:

Monday, 4 March 2019

Another member's area update

Just added some new information to the member's area... now would be a good time to become a member so that you get access to all this information that's available for members only!

Sunday, 3 March 2019

Updates in the members area

added a new section to the members area and updated the visitors download page too.  Not bad going for an afternoon's work!

The dreaded slushpile

I originally wrote this on SCBWI's Facebook page, but thought I'd put it here too.

I've got no idea if this is the way it (the process after you've hit the "send" button on a query to an agent or publisher) actually works or not, it's just what goes on in my head:

...[Agents and publishers] seem to have readers who quickly sort through the immediate no's and reject them quickly (which is why I used to be rejected within the first couple of weeks) then if you pass through the initial readers you're put into the slushpile to be read by the junior agents/publishers themselves (which is maybe 3-4 weeks after you sub) then if you get further than that you're into a much-reduced slushpile that is read by the experienced agents/publishers who have the final say about whether you're taken on or not. 

Back when I started subbing back in 2016 I was rejected by the first readers but I've now moved on to the junior agents/publishers so I've just got one more slushpile to navigate before I'm taken on now!

Sunday, 24 February 2019

Another small update to the software

Just added another couple of story ideas and another first name to the software and uploaded it so it's ready and raring to go!

Saturday, 23 February 2019

Book Review: Thomas Wildus and The Book of Sorrows by J.M. Bergen

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ out of 5


Just wow.

I was drawn in right from the first page.

It took me 3 days to read it cover to cover and my hot drinks frequently cooled because I was so drawn into the story.  It's a good job that I still drink cold tea and coffee otherwise they would all have had to be tipped down the sink and I wouldn't have had a very happy hubby after forcing him into the kitchen to make them for me!  lol

I can totally see why it won an award - it's an amazing book that drew me in more intensely than Harry Potter did.

Dunno if this is the author's debut book or not, but they've definitely got an awesome career ahead of them if it is! J.M. Bergen deserves more of the praise that JK Rowling had because they drew me right in from the first page but the Harry Potter was sometimes like walking through treacle.

Keep writing, J.M. Bergen and you will hopefully find a well-deserved following similar to JK Rowling!