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Author, Avid Tweeter & Blogger, Lover of books, Teacher of Maths & Swimming, Mother, Speaks Spanish, Friend to many...

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Me Before You by @JojoMoyes

So exciting! I just found out that Me Before You is going to be made into a movie! This is going to be great...

Read the book now so that you know what it's all about. Oh, and you might need a tissue or two!

Amazon - Just saw it is at no.14 in the paid charts! Obviously, a good recommendation!

My GoodReads Review - apologies for the brevity. I did not review much in those days! :)

All the best,

#ValentinesDay FREE #eBook

As Valentine's Day approaches read four stories reminiscing on first love, regret, and passion. Perfect bite size treats to get you in the mood! If you enjoy, make my day and leave a review!

Thank you,
Vanessa :)

*~FREE eBook*~ via

In FIRST DATE, when Alice gets invited to a ball on Christmas Day she is bowled over. No-one had ever asked her out on a date before, let alone invited her to a ball. However, the bubble bursts too soon. It turns out she is filling in for an ex-girlfriend. Even so, she puts on a brave face and heads for the ball. She can have a good time even if it does not lead to love. A ball is still a ball after...

In CARELESS CUPID, a mission becomes harder than expected... you are not supposed to fall in love with the person you are trying to help.

In THE ENGAGEMENT PARTY, Rachel might get a lot more than she expected on her big day. A stranger from the past flushes out feelings she had put aside. A lost love is hard to forget...

In PRECIOUS, different generations appreciate the timeless value of a book.


"... easily devoured in a single sitting."

"It is young love so fresh & new with all the trappings of heartache & embarrassment that can go with it."

"This is Chick-Lit with a twist, and a squeeze of class. The style is comfortable, fluid and at ease with itself."

"...delightful shorts, each approaching love from a different angle. The first reminds us all of how tumultuous young love or "infatuation" can be, never knowing how your heart truly feels until it's forced to decide. The second was my favorite because it threw a bit of otherworldly interest into the mix. I loved the idea of a cupid sent from above to help us out. And the final short reminds us that what once was can never be again. This book was a great way to spend some down time without having to get embroiled in complicated subplots and character analysis. Easy beach or before bed read!"

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

#Charity Anthologies

A few years ago, I published six anthologies to raise money for charity. This was great fun at the time and I got to meet some super authors.

Seeing as it is Valentine's Day coming up, I have some free promotions coming up and have even made a new cover for one of them, LOVE IS IN THE AIR!

The price of this eBook is only 99p or $0.99. 

Or, if you want a FREE copy then download it this week on the 3rd & 4th Feb, or next week on the 10th & 11th Feb. Either way, do me a favour and leave a review please? Thank you SO much.

I am keeping a running total of sales so that I can donate any proceeds to charity and have currently got £14.65. I will make the next donation after the end of the UK Tax Year - April 16. Help me get to £20 please?

Just in case you're wondering, I took the cover picture at 4:30 A.M. before the "Round the Island Race" last year. I don't know why I like to wake up for this... must be the view! If you have not been to Cowes to see this event I recommend it. A very impressive sight.

I leave you with the foreword by Angela Kelman, who explains a bit more about how "Love is in the Air" came about, and why we choose this particular charity - Diabetes UK.

All the best,

"Having a story to tell is one thing.  Deciding on the right way to tell it is something else. 
Do you tell it in first person?  Do you tell it in third person?  Do you tell it in present tense?  Do you tell it in past tense?  And do you split the point of view between more than one character?  Will it all work out in the end?  The mind boggles. It can be a daunting thought, especially when the end can seem so far away, on the last page of a notebook needing filled.

This takes me on to one of the perks to writing short stories – the end never feels too far away.  And, if you want to see how the story works written in a different tense, then it’s a much more manageable task to handle.  This small decision can make you feel completely differently towards a story.  It’s a decision that needs to be right.

The lovely thing about a short story book is that you can get examples of all these different types of writing under one cover.  It will, in return, definitely give YOU the reader something you love.

I can’t believe this is the third short story book to be released by the same group of authors.  Some of the authors have changed since OUT OF DARKNESS hit Amazon in October; more writers introduced their work, not only to you, but to us, for A FESTIVE FEAST.  And now, more still, for LOVE IS IN THE AIR.

All of the authors involved have been a great, supportive bunch of people.  I’ve met some good friends along the way.  I’m glad and proud to be here for the journey.  I’d like to say a big thanks to Vanessa, for getting the ball rolling those months ago, but also, to the writers, for keeping it rolling.  Let’s see how many more writers we can pick up along the way.
So, may you enjoy our new romantic collection of short stories.  May you laugh, cry, gasp and sigh your way from cover to cover.  And may we continue to raise money for some wonderful charities at the same time.

This particular book is raising money for Diabetes UK.  This charity not only cares and unites people affected by diabetes, but its active research is always pushing forward to help in prevention, improving care and treatment, and working towards finding a cure.

My son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes three years ago at the age of 6.  Type 1 Diabetes develops when the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulin.  He needs two injections everyday to keep his insulin levels up and his blood sugar levels down.   I see, everyday, how this can affect a young person’s life, and I hope one day, like many others, that it will be a thing of the past.

This charity is very close to my heart, so I thank you for your support.  We couldn’t do it without you.

Kind Regards,
Angela Kelman"

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Rejection... how do we deal with it?

I know I have not blogged much recently, more for lack of something to say really. I am writing, working, reading, spending time with family...

But, you might be interested to know that I decided to submit my novel to one agency for potential representation. I know... I wanted that one.

Now, I know I was probably asking for a rejection, based on the fact I did not take long to prepare it. In fairness, last time I tried I took ages and it got me nowhere. I felt that the writing should speak for itself, and with things being digital, they could either read it or not. I submitted what they asked for after all.

So, no surprises then when I received this yesterday...

"Dear Vanessa, 

Thank you for sending me The Victorian Dream and for giving me the opportunity to consider your work. 

I have read your material, but I did not feel it would be right for my list and therefore I am unable to offer you representation.

I am sorry not to be writing with better news, but I hope this response will not discourage you and I wish you all the best with your writing.

Best wishes"

Effectively a standard nondescript NO.

The truth is that agents get hundreds of submissions and have to wade through what is called the "slush pile" to find something that will sell to the masses. I understand, which is why I gave up nearly 4 years ago, that the chance of your work being picked is slim.

Interesting articles to read...

How to interpret Rejection Letters

I guess from my rejection email... the agent included my name, correct book title, and said they'd read the submission (hmm...). Not completely terrible, maybe?

Don't Give up until you've queried 80 agents or more

The problem with this article is that I have never been a patient person... Like was said in the classic and fantastic film, Shawshank Redemption "Get busy living or get busy dying"

I am sure an agency out there might my new novel. In fact, one was interested a few months ago when I took part in the #pitchwars via Twitter. But, I soon realised the books they had on their website had hardly any sales and they were not even going to print a hardback. Therefore, I can do it all myself again via KDP, Smashwords, and Createspace.

I once talked to an online friend, Terry Tyler, about this and she also said that she had given up on agents. She has written several blogs about this... A FEW SELF-PUBLISHING TRUTHS

I am unsure what to do now, since I would love to have more support and experience behind my historical novel. I am currently still writing up the original letters found by my parents for the second book in the series, and am unsure on whether to publish the first or not. Read my latest update... Finished the Diary!

I'll give myself a week or so to consider my options. At least, the agent did not say... "Give up Now!"

Either way, I think I will head Terry's advice and edit further - NOT another 'how to write' article - but it may help new writers...

Anyway, thank you to all who continue to support me.

TO AGENT OR NOT TO AGENT? That is indeed the question...

Vanessa :)

Friday, 1 January 2016

Happy New Year

So, it happened - we are now in the year 2016! Is anyone else like me? Wondering where exactly 2015 actually went? I really can't say what I have done this year - it's a blur!

All I know is that I love my family more than ever and I am happy - busy, but happy!

Writing has taken a back-burner as I started teaching again, but I have spent a lot of time researching so it's all good! Maybe this year I'll publish another book? Who knows.

I have been promoting my trilogy this year via channels like Freebooksy and BargainBooksy and they have worked at keeping sales alive. However, it has taken over a lot of my time and I think the time has come to walk away from the trilogy for a bit. So, HYBRID is no longer free to download. I have had it free for over 2 years, have barely had reviews from this, and the sales have allowed me to pay for the promotions - so, no, I have not made enough sales to warrant the effort and expense. Don't get me wrong, it's a lot of fun seeing the downloads rocket, but I feel a like a gambler waiting for that next big hit! I have to step away...

So, on to my resolutions!

  1. Keep on writing
  2. Get fit - I would like to lose a stone at least... (hee hee)
  3. Blog more often about books I have read
  4. Promote authors I love
  5. Have fun teaching & building up new resources
  6. Smile more!

I think that's enough... they are achievable (I have lost weight many times before - I CAN do it again!)

What are your aims for the year? Let's make it a good one?

All the best for 2016,
Recently visited with the family & had an amazing time!

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Star Wars #TheForceAwakens

#TheForceAwakens is trending on Twitter and I know why since I went to see the movie today!

Copyright: Lucas Films
Let me tell you something - it was AWESOME! There is something about that soundtrack and the characters that brings it all back to life again... use the force!

The central character, Rey, is fantastic... I thought the actress, Daisy Ridley, did a great job as the "new Luke/ Leia". Feisty, enigmatic and curious - a lot like Anakin was portrayed in Star Wars, Episode I. It'll be interesting to see where her character goes as it grows.

Her partner-in crime - the new "Hans Solo", Finn, is a clever addition. He is not as funny as Hans and misses a sidekick, but I like the fact he has torn loyalties! He works well as a newbie and again we'll see what happens to him.

The fact Harrison Ford was back in the role of Hans was great! Just... oh, no spoilers! Watch & you'll see what they do... Boo hoo!

I'm not too convinced on the new "Darth Vader" - he is just as strange as Anakin became when he grew up - I guess this is the point? But, this is early days... there are more films to come for sure.

The challenge will be to keep the ideas fresh and the plot original. Personally, this film allowed me to get back into the "Star Wars" world after years of absence! 

There is no doubt there are familiar themes running through this new franchise. This may or may not be a good thing - depending on your point of view. Personally, I think it might hook in the next generation. But, I think the producers have to be careful not to annoy existing fans! 

We are not stupid, and if they simply roll out the same again on the next film, I'll be waiting for the DVD. Keep it original, please...

Here are some links for more information! Enjoy

Vanessa :)

Friday, 11 December 2015

Distraction for #Writers

It's not difficult to find something else to do at this time of the year! So much going on...

However, it has been my pleasure to help an author, A.G. Lyttle, I met a few years ago online to prepare his book for the market! He is planning to publish his book, based on the Easter Rising of 1916, in 2016 to mark 100 years since the occasion!

Not only is his book a fantastic read, but I have been having fun trying to design a cover too. All of this is great practice for my own book publication should I fail to get representation! (I might add that I am yet to send it off to any agents - chicken that I am!)

To read about the feedback I got on my new novel read THIS! I was thrilled to get the feedback, but am only now going over the edits!

I have also been reading a lot recently. I find that it relaxes me a lot, and feel that writing will come... no point forcing it. BUT, every day my mind conjures up new ideas, so I know my creative side will not be quashed!

I have gone back to teaching maths part-time and am enjoying it - I know some of you will doubt this, but I CAN make maths exciting! I am lucky to have a great group of children to work with.

Life is busy, but I'm happy. Ultimately, I love helping people too much to hide at home.

To all of you - have an amazing Christmas period! 

Spend time with friends & family and LAUGH a lot! Very therapeutic...


Vanessa :)