Thursday, 29 December 2011

Meet The Author - Pauline Barclay

Today I am pleased to be sharing a well-earned glass of festive bubbly as I chat with the lovely Pauline Barclay, author of novels Magnolia House, Satchfield Hall, and Sometimes It Happens...

She's also the woman behind the fabulous Famous Five Plus site, which we'll learn more about later.  

But first, let's find out a little bit more about Pauline, her books, and her life on the wonderful island of Lanzarote...

What made you want to become a writer?
An over active imagination! I’ve always loved writing, as a child I wrote poems, even a song once, which was sung at school on open day. Many years later I started writing short stories, but it was after I studied with the Open University for a BA (Hons) degree that I was offered work in communications. I then spent many years writing for corporate companies in the UK and then later in Holland. This then spilt over in to writing fiction, though some argued I was already doing that!!.

How do you gather together ideas for your books?
I’m a tad nosey and often listen into other people’s conversations where I sometimes get an initial idea. I gather all these snippets and then let them mull around in my head. Then I let my imagination run wild, that bit is very easy! It’s at this stage that characters and more ideas start to form. Once I start writing I can change things so many times that I wonder if I will ever have a novel at the end of zillions of re-writes!

Tell us a little bit about your books.
I have three books published, they are all different, but one thing they have in common is that each story is about something that has happened that triggers a chain of events. In Magnolia House a tragedy years earlier that struck the Leonard family eventually leads to Jane Leonard giving half of her house to her only son, but what happened in the past, pales by what this act of kindness does as Jane Leonard faces being homeless.

Satchfield Hall is an epic saga that spans four decades. Celia Bryant-Smythe committed the worse social sin of the time, sleeping with her lover before marriage, the consequences were devastating. Her father, the Squire of Satchfield Hall, powerful and ruthless is determined to make her pay and he does.

Sometimes It Happens… is about a working class woman with a seventeen year old daughter who wins the lottery. Doreen Wilkinson, convinced the rich are friendly, kind and sophisticated, could not be more mistaken as she and her fun loving daughter arrive at the luxury villa resort, Villas Bonitas. Doreen is totally unprepared for Villas Bonitas and Villas Bonitas, with its rich but not posh owners and guests are not prepared for the “fink fought” speaking Doreen Wilkinson.  

Would you say you write in any particular genre, or do you prefer just to see where the next book takes you?
I guess if I was to place my writing into a genre, I would say family sagas and probably, Post Chick Lit

You live on the gorgeous Canarian island of Lanzarote.  Do you find that living in the sun inspires you to write more?  And can you tell us a little bit about a typical day in the life of Pauline Barclay?
I love the sun, it such an inspiration for everything I do in particular writing. As for my days they are not routine as I have several commitment and these can mean I am busy every day of the week. The only real routine to my day is our early morning walk along the seafront with our two gorgeous doggies. For me the most beautiful time of the day. 
The beautiful island of Lanzarote

With Christmas and New Year celebrations upon us, can you tell us a little bit of what you’ve been doing over the festive season?  And how does Christmas over there in The Canary Islands differ to Christmas over in the U.K.?
Apart from the weather, which normally is gorgeous, it also quite international. Not only because of the people living here, but many come from, Norway, Ireland, Germany, UK, Spain to celebrate their Christmas and New Year in the sun. For us, it will be a traditional British Christmas with all the trimmings and, all being well, we will sit out in the sun overlooking the ocean eating our turkey!

You’re the author behind the fabulous Famous Five Plus site, of which I’m a member.  What made you want to create that site? 
As an Indie Author, who takes writing seriously and professionally I wanted to create a group where like minded Indie Authors could come together to share experiences and support. Being an Indie Authors as you know, means you have to organize and do everything yourself. It is not only hard work, but only one voice trying to compete in the market place. I wanted to create a site that would not only showcase all the group members and their publications, but be dynamic, interesting and informative and one that we could all share in promoting. Apart from Sunday, I update the Famous Five Plus site everyday and because I want each group member to participate, the Post, Book Page, News and Trailer Page are changed everyday show casing FFP members publications. The membership is growing, which means our presence is growing too which has to be a positive for FFP and each member

The life of a writer can be an incredibly busy one – especially in your case!  But what do you like to do to relax?
I don’t relax easy…! But when I do, I love walking our doggies and disappearing into a great book. 

Can you tell us about any new projects you’re working on at the minute?
I am trying to write my new book, it has a working title, Maddisons, but with so much going on at the moment, I am struggling with enough hours…. Laugh! But isn’t everyone these days!

Thank you, Michelle, for inviting me to your fabby Blog, it’s been great chatting with you, and also thanks for the lovely bubbly, so well chilled!

And thank you, Pauline, for taking the time to talk to me.  It was a pleasure to share the bubbly with you. :)  I wish you every success in 2012 with your writing! 

You can buy all of Pauline's books - both as ebooks and in paperback - from and 

And you can also find out more about Pauline and her work on her website - - her blog Scribbles! and also over at Famous Five Plus.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

It's about time for another darts-themed blog post...

I don't think it's much of a secret anymore that I'm a bit of a darts fan.  So, as far as I'm concerned, it's that time of year again - that time of year when we really know it's Christmas in our house.  Because the darts is on.  The PDC World Darts Championship, the tournament I kind of wait all year for.  And it's not disappointing me so far, infact, it's all going my way - at the minute!  By that, of course, I mean that all the players I love to watch are still in there with a fighting chance of winning this thing, including the lovely Paul Nicholson, my favourite darts "eye candy", and my muse for the character of darts-playing Paul "Bad Lad" Parker in my light-hearted comedy romance Too Much Trouble in Paradise.

Paul Nicholson - "official" darts eye candy!
Mind you, it was touch and go in his first round match, most of which I watched from behind a cushion as Nicholson struggled to find his best darts against the Austrian player Mensur Suljovic, giving me one excuse after another to hit the vodka (Spanish measures!) to calm me nerves, even though he finally managed to overcome his opponent and win by 3 sets to 1.  He made bloody hard work of it though.  Thanks, Paul.  You made being a fan of The Asset tough going that evening.

However, I'm pleased to say that his second round match last night was much easier to watch, mainly because me nerves had already been calmed thanks to 2 glasses of sparkling wine drank during the incredible match between Phil Taylor and Dave Chisnall beforehand, but more about that in a minute.

No, last night Mr Nicholson came through and beat Alan Tabern easily to reach the final 16, although, to be honest, I spent most of the earlier stages of the match with me concentration wandering to his hair!  Not sure what's been going on over Christmas but I could have sworn Nicholson's hair had been a few shades lighter when he'd played his first round match.  Last night he looked like he'd dipped his head in a bowl of black shoe polish!  My lovely #DartsFamily Twitter friend @shancalfe pointed out that he looked like Gary Numan, and she wasn't wrong.  I half expected him to break away from the dart board, forget about hitting that double top, and start belting out 'Are Friend's Electric'!  It was extremely distracting, especially as I'd been certain that Phil Taylor had also been getting up close and cosy with the old hair dye in the previous match.  Is there something going on backstage at that tournament that we don't know about it?  Is Simon Whitlock going to appear this afternoon with a Beatles cut?  Actually, that doesn't bear thinking about...

Where was I?  Oh yeah, Paul Nicholson.  So, he won, I was happy, because it guarantees me a bit more eye candy during this tournament, and that's never a bad thing.  'Tis the season to be shallow, after all, and Paul Nicholson really brings that side out in me at this time of year.  I'm a darts tart, what can I say?  If he approached me with his arrows clutched firmly in his hand and asked me to check out his Shanghai finish I'd be there faster than you could say 'Bullseye'!

But, despite Mr Nicholson undeniably being the "easy on the eye" match last night, the game of the entire tournament so far (for me) was the match that went before him on December 27th - the match that saw another of my favourite players - Dave "Chizzy" Chisnall knock Phil "The Power" Taylor out of the World Darts Championship in the second round!

Dave "Chizzy" Chisnall victorious after his win over Taylor.
I'd missed the first set due to my need to see whether Sacha and Chrissie finally got it together on 'Holby City' (I'm an old romantic at heart!), so when I did eventually turn over at 9pm I was surprised - although certainly not disappointed - to see that Mr Chisnall had taken the first set off Phil Taylor, so I settled myself down with a tin of Roses, sparkling wine, and the hope that this PDC newcomer could actually see off the 15-times World Champion.  And what a match it turned out to be!

Now, I've got nothing against Phil Taylor, infact, he's also one of my favourite players, but I love to see an underdog win - I think a lot of us do.  And I've been a fan of Dave Chisnall's ever since I saw him play in the BDO World Championships not that long ago, so to see him playing the way he did in his second round match, well, it was bloody exciting, to say the least.  Got quite animated I did, which, at this time of year, means moving around somewhere other than in the direction of the After Eights!  Don't know what the neighbours must've thought though, with the shouting and cheering coming from me and my husband as those final darts were thrown.  A great result - for me, and for Dave Chisnall! - and a great night of darts all round.

Now we just have to see what happens in the next round for the players I'm keeping a very close eye on - Paul Nicholson and Dave Chisnall - and keep my fingers crossed that they continue to play the way they did last night.  Because to see them go further in this tournament, well, that would make me one very happy darts fan indeed...

Want to find out how I managed to mix darts and romance together?  Check out my Tenerife-based romantic comedy Too Much Trouble in Paradise - available to download from and
Too Much Trouble in Paradise - a story of love and friendship; new beginnings, second chances, sun, sea - and darts! 

Thursday, 22 December 2011

It's Christmas! And time to say thank you...

It may be Christmas, but I didn't feel in the festive spirit at all yesterday, to put it mildly.  I'd obviously eaten something that hadn't agreed with me (my husband reckoned it was a chocolate eclair because I'd eaten one of those and he hadn't, but I refuse to believe that something containing chocolate and fresh cream could have made me as ill as I'd felt yesterday - that's not the kind of world I want to live in!), so I spent most of yesterday suffering agonising stomach pains, inbetween which all I wanted to do was sleep, but, the most shocking thing of all, was that I had absolutely no appetite!  Didn't eat a thing yesterday, I couldn't.  And anyone who knows me knows I love my food - especially at this time of year - so for me to not want to eat really meant I was ill!  It was all I could do to get a cup of tea down my neck!  Even my favourite TV chefs, the Hairy Bikers, were making me feel quite queasy, and that's not good, because I love the food they make!  And I also quite fancy Si King, but that's another blog post altogether, that is...

My favourite TV chefs - Si King's the one on the left, by the way...
Anyway, I'm feeling quite a bit better today, my appetite's slowly coming back, although I couldn't face anything more than toast right now.  And that better change before Christmas.  Hopefully I'm on the mend now; just feeling a bit tired, so not a full day at the computer today, I don't think.  Back down to the sofa with the dog and a Christmas movie this afternoon, because we're hitting the shops for that last minute food shopping tomorrow, and that won't be for the faint hearted, I can tell you.  I need to get me strength back up for that little outing!

So, here are are.  2011 is drawing to an end, and what a year it's been!  To say there've been a few ups and downs would be an understatement, but the most important thing of all was that this was the year in which I started to fulfill my dream - that dream of becoming a writer.  It's still very, very early days, and my journey is only just beginning, but at least I've finally found the courage and the confidence to get out there and give it a go.  Even though it's the scariest, and yet - at the same time - the most exciting thing I've ever done!

And, as I've travelled on this writing journey of mine, I've met some amazing people - other authors, book reviewers, people who I got to know thanks to Twitter and Facebook - and without those people, I'm not sure I would have come as far as I have done this year because, as I'm sure those of you that know me well can testify, I've wanted to throw in the towel on more than one occasion.  But thanks to the fantastic support - and friendship - from a lot of those people I've met along the way, I'm still here, still writing, and looking forward to 2012, when I hope I can push my writing dream forward a little more with two planned books - the soon-to-be-completed follow up to No Matter What, which should be released round about April/May next year, and a Christmas romance, which I'm hoping to have ready to release by November/early December 2012.  That's my plan, and that's what I'm going to be working on.

So, I guess what I really want to say in this post is thank you - to everyone who's supported me, encouraged me, and- most importantly of all - put up with me this year.  It really means a lot.

Thank you to all those who've bought my books, read my books, reviewed my books and, hopefully, enjoyed them!  You're the important ones, you're the ones I want to keep happy because, without the readers, without those people who love to buy books, we writers really have no point!
It means more than you'll ever know to read a good review, or some kind words about my stories.  You have no idea how ridiculously happy that can make a humble indie author like me feel, so I can only hope that you'll continue to read and enjoy my work in the future.

Thank you to everyone who's liked my Facebook Fan page, friended me on Facebook, read this blog, joined this blog, featured on this blog, or followed me on Twitter.  All those little things really do mean a lot.

So, all I really want to say now - before I pop off to enjoy Christmas, open a few presents (I'm getting a Kindle!!), see the family, finally watch Hangover 2 (and you have no idea how excited I am about that one! A bit of Bradley Cooper over Christmas... yes please!) - sorry, where was I?  Got slightly distracted there for a second... I must be feeling better.  Oh yes, I really do hope that everyone has a fantastic Christmas!  Whatever you've got planned.  Enjoy!

And, once again, thank you.  All of you.  Your support is more appreciated than you'll ever know.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

See You At The Show - My Ultimate Fantasy Cast List!

I think it's time for some fun blog posts this week.  So, with that in mind, I thought I'd re-visit this theme, and - as was done in this post not so long ago, No Matter What - My Ultimate Fantasy Cast List - I thought I'd do the same with another of my books, the raunchy, sexy, rock 'n' roll romance, See You At The Show.

So, let's once again imagine that Steven Spielberg's been on the 'phone, begging me to let him turn this book into a movie (I told you I've got a vivid imagination!), but he wants me to input some ideas as to who I'd like cast in the lead roles.  Well, it's easy really.  As I've mentioned before, when I create characters for my books I almost always write them with someone in mind, it makes it just that little bit easier as far as I'm concerned.

But just who did I have in mind when I was creating the characters in See You At The Show?  Who do I think would be perfect to play the lead roles in this imaginary movie?

Here's who...

Joseph Fiennes - my perfect Mark Cassidy!
Let's start with Mark Cassidy, the front man of the fictional rock band in the book, Black Rock Diamond.  Just who did I have in mind when I created him?  This may come as a surprise, but he wasn't based on an actual rock star at all.  When I created Mark I didn't necessarily want him to look like your typical rock star - I wanted him to be a little more, conventionally handsome, shall we say.  So, who would I like to see playing Mark?  This guy was also in my "cast list" for No Matter What, but I thought he'd be just perfect in See You At The Show too - the ever lovely Joseph Fiennes!  As he looks in this picture.  Just like this, but add a boat-load of tattoos, maybe mess the hair up a bit more, make him American... then we have my perfect Mark Cassidy!

Maybe an odd choice, but that's the way my mind works!!

My choice for See You At The Show's Johnny Jackson - Dave Grohl!
Right, who's next.  Ah, yes.  Mark's best friend and band mate, Black Rock Diamond's lead guitarist, Johnny Jackson.  This character would be so easy to cast, because there is only one person who could play Johnny Jackson in my eyes - my own ultimate Rock God, The Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl!
Dave Grohl - my real-life ultimate Rock God!
He's Johnny Jackson personified, really.  He's exactly how I imagined him to be as I wrote him, so he would be more than perfect for that role.  Absolutely ideal! And we wouldn't even have to stick any fake tattoos on him! ;)

Ok, who haven't we done yet?  Oh, yes, of course.  The rather lovely Daniel Madison - the ambitious, prominent and handsome politician in the book.  Who would be perfect to play him?  Absolutely no doubt in my mind about this one, either.  Again, only one person in my eyes could do this - and we're kind of keeping it in the Fiennes family here a bit, but I think Ralph Fiennes is the perfect Daniel Madison!

Ralph Fiennes - the perfect Daniel Madison? Oh, yes!
As he was in the movie 'Maid in Manhattan', but without the American accent, of course!  Because Daniel Madison is the archetypal English man.  He's polite, courteous, with a perfect middle-English accent; a man who is thrown completely out-of-his-depth, because he falls in love with a woman he wouldn't usually have even crossed paths with.  I just loved the idea of pushing two completely different people from two completely different worlds together, and then see what happens...

Natalie Portman - could she be Stevie?
But it's when we come to the "casting" of that aforementioned woman - the beautiful, wild and outspoken Stevie Stone, roadie with the band Black Rock Diamond, and Mark Cassidy's on-off girlfriend - that I kind of hit a bit of a brick wall.  When I create my female characters they usually come straight from my imagination, they're not usually based on anyone in particular, but I suppose they always carry a little bit of me in there somewhere.  So, who would I "cast" as Stevie, if I had to find the perfect actress to play her in this fictional movie?  Well, I've had a think, looked at a few actresses to see who would fit the part, and I came across the lovely Natalie Portman.  She's a great actress, get the hair a bit shorter, stick some tattoos on her, she could be Stevie!  Anyone else got any ideas on who would be perfect to play Stevie Stone?

So, there we have it.  The main characters in my raunchy rock 'n' roll romance, See You At The Show.  My fantasy "cast" list, the people who I think would be perfect to play the lead roles in a fictional movie of the book - but, for those that have read the book, who would you have cast as Mark, Johnny, Daniel and Stevie?  I'd love to know what you think...  

See You At The Show is available to download from  and

Friday, 16 December 2011

Authors - want your book featured on my blog? This month's featured book - Satchfield Hall by Pauline Barclay.

As well as my new 'Meet The Author' features I've started recently here on my blog, I've also decided to begin a featured Book of the Month slot, which basically means that, for a whole month - obviously! - my blog will carry a cover image of whichever book I'm featuring at the time, and a link to where the book can be bought, as well as a short introductory post explaining a little more about the book, and anymore links where the book can be purchased.

If you're an author - especially if you're an indie author - and you'd like your book featured on my blog (I'm looking at books for February onwards now) then please let me know and I'll certainly do my best to get your book up here on my blog. And, if you'd also like to be featured in my 'Meet The Author' slot, then please get in touch and I'll get some questions sent over to you.

My first Featured Book of the Month is Satchfield Hall by Pauline Barclay...

'When the news reached Henry Bryant-Smythe about his daughter’s indiscretion, he not only dealt with it, but stamped on it with such a resounding thud, that the consequences ricocheted through the years and well into the future. Henry Bryant-Smythe cared nothing for the consequences of his actions and even less for the feelings of those involved, with the exception of his own, and these he cosseted.

Celia Bryant-Smythe’s disgrace set in motion events that would affect the lives of many people, taking decades to unravel. Lives would be lost and destroyed and it would take until the death of the one man who had callously started it all, Henry Bryant-Smythe, until it was finally over.

Satchfield Hall is not about gentleness, tranquillity and privilege; it is about, power, love, lies and in the end revenge.'

Satchfield Hall is available to download for Kindle from,,, and

And it is available to buy in paperback from and

And look out for my author interview with Pauline Barclay here on my blog, very soon!

You can also find out more about Pauline and her books by visiting the fabulous new blogsite for authors and book reviewers Famous Five Plus

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

I'm back, and I ain't going anywhere!

Actually, that title sounds a bit naff, really, doesn't it?  Apart from the bad grammar, it sounds like one of those statements axed X Factor contestants use when they claim "you haven't seen the last of me" and then end up doing nothing more than opening a new branch of Wetherspoons in Cleethorpes.

But, despite the fact I haven't actually been anywhere, I am back.  Back from the depths of way-too-negative vibes I experienced yesterday.  Which weren't good, to say the least.  Infact, I feel more than a touch stupid for venting feelings I should have kept to myself out loud, which is why I've now deleted yesterday's blog post, despite the fantastic, supportive comments I received from people.  And I thank each and every one of you for those words of support and encouragement.  They really meant a lot.

But I just didn't want that post hanging around, doing me more damage than good.  Because it was written when I was feeling far too vulnerable, and more than a tad stressed.  When I (stupidly!) decided to check my 'phone yesterday morning I was up to me eyes in corned beef and mashed potato, trying to knock up a decent homemade pie with Jeremy Kyle yelling out DNA results in the background and the dog barking at some poor bloke going past the window on his motorised scooter!  At that point, reading that somebody had actually described the first few chapters of some of my books as "not good" and "rambling", well, it was the straw that broke the proverbial camel's back, so to speak. Note to self: Do not check 'phone whilst trying to do a hundred and one other things!

Anyway, I wrote a blog post I shouldn't have done, but I'd just like it to be known now that every ounce of negativity I felt in that post has now gone.  It's gone, and it's not coming back, not if I can help it.  Because I was stupid to let one person's opinion get to me like that.  I should know by now that, as a writer, you do sometimes need to develop a rather thick skin, but I let my guard down yesterday and that shouldn't have happened.  The corned beef and potato pie turned out fabulous though!  So, there you go, out of all that negativity came positivity!

And, actually, that's rather true.  Because, as I sat watching TV last night, I had an epiphany during Holby City.  Just sitting there, thinking rationally about everything, I came up with some great ideas for future books, and there's nothing better, as a writer, to know that, once you've finished one book, there's an idea for another one just sitting there waiting to be worked on.  I have an idea for a summer romance, and an idea for a fun, Christmas novel that I hope to have ready to put out there next November/December.  So, rather than the events of yesterday knocking me - like I kind-of led people to believe with that shouldn't've-been-written-blog-post - they've actually made me come back fighting, determined to make a success of this writing of journey of mine, if it kills me!  Although, I rather hope it doesn't, because I've got a lot of plans...

Sometimes, though, when something like that happens, it can serve as a wake-up call, a reality check, if you like.  Creative people can, I imagine, be extremely sensitive people too.  Our books are like our babies.  We watch them grow, we nurture them, then we put them out there, all on their own, so of course we're protective of them.  And when someone criticises them of course it's going to sting a bit.  But it's something I need to deal with, so yesterday was a good old kick-up-the-backside for me, a reminder that the kind of books I write are not going to appeal to everyone.  Not that I ever did think that, but yesterday was the first time I've ever actually read a negative view of my work.  So, yes.  It was a wake up call.  And I should have handled it better.

But, today is a new day and I've woken up with a new attitude, a new way of looking at things, and a realisation that I still have a long way to go on this writing journey of mine, but I'm in for the long haul, because I'm doing what I love.  I love to write,  Simple as that.  And to walk away from that just because one person caused me to have a full-on strop and throw my pens out of the pencil case, well, how stupid would that be?  No, I've got work to do here.  I've got books to write, characters to create, stories to tell.  And I just hope that people will forgive me for yesterday's slightly more public-than-it-should-have-been rant, and stay with me as this up-and-down journey of mine heads onwards and, hopefully, upwards.

I will continue to write what I write - sexy, sometimes edgy romance, because that's what I love.  I've been sitting here this morning, playing my rock music loud, reading back some of my own work, and do you know what?  I am still so, so proud of what I've done.  So proud that I've managed to write those books and put them out there for the world to see and make of them what they will.  All I know is that, as a writer, I need to hang onto what makes me individual, and whether my writing attracts the masses or just a handful of fans, that really doesn't matter.  Because I write what I write, and that's the way it's always going to be.

So, once again, to quote more of those axed X Factor contestants, you haven't seen the last of Michelle Betham, Romance Author....

Right, now, before I go anywhere near those new ideas of mine, I've got some hot movie stars to finish writing about... so, if you want me, I'll be somewhere in Las Vegas with a Bradley Cooper lookalike...

Sun, sea, & fun romance on the island of Tenerife

If, by any chance, you'd like to sample some of my books for yourself, they're all available to download from and 

A Hollywood romance, with a kick

A sexy, edgy, rock'n'roll romance!

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Let's meet Mummy Misfit!

Today in my 'Meet The Author' interview I'm talking to the wonderful Amanda Egan, author of Diary of A Mummy Misfit, and the just-released sequel, The Darker Side of Mummy Misfit.

Want to know a little bit more about Amanda, her writing, and her books?  Then read on...

First of all, can you tell us how Diary of a Mummy Misfit came about?  And can you tell us a little bit about the book and the various characters in there?

To answer that question the other way around ... I guess the Mummy Misfit is me - mixed with bits of other people.  We took the private education route (still are!) and I didn't fit.  Fenella, the Misfit's, best friend is loosely based on a very close friend but almost a caricature.  All the other characters are a total mish-mash of people I've met along the way.  Some of the bitchy comments were actually said to me but most of them are fabricated.  The lovely, dotty Mrs Sengupta is pure fiction.  As is, the gorgeous Pritesh. (sadly!)

The sequel has just been released this week, can you tell us anything about how any of the characters might have changed in this follow up?  Without giving anything away to those that may not have read Diary of a Mummy Misfit yet, of course!

Obviously Mummy Misfit had to move on - it couldn't be more of the same.  The great thing is, the scene was set and I knew exactly where I wanted to take the characters (and some new ones)  The Darker Side of Mummy Misfit is ... well ... darker!  It will still (hopefully) deliver laughs but a lot more happens in the sequel.  This will be the final chapter and when people read it, they will see why.

When you start out writing a new book, do you have a specific outline all laid out, or do you just start writing and see where the story takes you?

I have a rough plan but I never tie myself up in it.  If I over-plan I lose interest.  I love it when the characters suddenly surprise me and tell me where they want to go.  That feeling when you just know that the book is writing itself is weird but great.

What authors, if any, have inspired you? 

I know we both have a shared love of Lisa Jewell - a great storyteller and a huge talent.  I also love Maeve Binchy. Jill Mansell, Catherine Alliott, Sophie Kinsella - any chick lit I can lay my hands on!

You've asked me this question yourself, but I'd love to know your answer to this - as independent authors we're denied the usual book launch that a lot of "traditional" authors have, so, what would your ideal book launch be?

Oh I could write for hours on this one - but I won't! There's nothing I like more than a party.  I'd like a HUGE affair in a swanky London hotel.  I'd have all my family and friends (Twitter buddies too - remember you promised you'd wear heels!)  Lots of champagne and delicious nibbles and a beautiful floor length, silk dress (probably black!)  I'd get the formal book launch bit out of the way and then boogie until dawn.

You're actually a trained actress, so, when you were writing your books, were you imagining them as possible TV projects, or even movies?  Could you see the books being easily adapted for TV or film?

It wasn't until after I'd finished the diary that my husband said that it would make a great six part comedy.  Then people reviewed it and said the same thing.  Now I can see it very clearly and that would just be dream come true.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?  How do you relax?

I'm now a Twitter addict.  I've had so much fun chatting to people and making true friends.  I also love to read (obviously!) I host themed dinner parties with friends, try most crafts, listen to music (all sorts), trawl charity shops and play Guitar Hero and Wii with my husband and son.  I do a mean 'Hotel California'!

Have you got any future projects in the pipeline that you can tell us about?

As you know the sequel should be out mid December - Kindle and paperback.  From January, I plan to do everything I can to promote the two Misfit books.  I will also continue working on a project I put aside to complete the sequel.  It's not a diary this time - it's quite different and I'm hoping that when I return to it I still like it.

Amanda, it was a pleasure, as always, to talk to you.  I wish you continued success with your writing, and all the luck in the world with the release of The Darker Side of Mummy Misfit.
Diary of A Mummy Misfit is available to download for Kindle from or, or in paperback from

The Darker Side of Mummy Misfit is available to buy in paperback from, and it's also available to download now for Kindle from and


Monday, 12 December 2011

The X Factor - My take on the final weekend. And yes, thank God it's over!!

Set to make £8 million, apparently!! X Factor winners 2011 - Little Mix.
Yep.  We have a new X Factor winner - the first girl-band ever to win - Little Mix!  Am I pleased with that result?  Quite honestly, I couldn't really care less.  They were okay.  I quite enjoyed some of their performances, infact, their rendition of En Vogue's 'Don't Let Go' (which just happens to be one of my all-time-favourite songs ever!) was one of the highlights for me in a series I was determined not to get sucked into, again, but failed miserably on that score.
So, for the past God knows how many weeks (I daresn't count, it'll be far too depressing) I've spent every Saturday enduring (I can't use the word enjoy, because it only applied to about 2 shows in the entire series, and that was probably the ones I was drinking alcohol during) act after act trying to show us why they deserve to be the next best thing.  And none of them really had the X Factor - whatever that was supposed to be - in my opinion.  But it is only my opinion, remember, because I know there are a lot of people out there who love this show.

It just stresses me out too much, that's all.  My husband told me last night, as I ranted once more at the TV during the final show, that I should just try and take it for what it is - an entertainment show.  Thing is, though, that's quite difficult to do when I don't actually find it entertaining.  And as a fan of "real" music, there are times when it makes me quite angry, because these acts aren't musicians.  Not really.  Some of them can sing, I can't argue with that, but the majority of them are only looking for the the quick fame a show like this can give you - no matter how tenuos that fame may turn out to be for some of the acts.  They're quite willing to be manufactured and manipulated into something that will make somebody lots of  money - because, I'm sure, it isn't always the acts themselves that see the bulk of it.  Allegedly!! ;)
However, I've just read this lunchtime that Little Mix are set to make around £8 million, not just with their music, but also in lucrative commercial deals for things such as cosmetics and clothing.  They're being described as a "marketers dream", and I can't argue with that.  I actually pointed out to my husband the other night that they would be so easy to market and make money out of rather than Marcus.  So, if the girls are set to make £8 million, just what is everyone else around them set to make?  Don't sit there and tell me The X Factor isn't an exercise in making money...

A good judge? Not for me
So, X Factor final weekend.  I watched it, although I hadn't been looking forward to it, and how did I find it?  Dire, actually.  For starters, there is no way - if we're talking about singing talent - that Amelia Lily should have been knocked out first on Saturday night. Her duet of 'River Deep, Mountain High' with Kelly Rowland was, for a 17 year old, incredible!  That girl can sing!  Marcus Collins, however - in my eyes - can't.  Not that well, anyway.  Again, just a personal opinion.
Throughout this whole series I've described him as mediocre, at best.  Nice guy, I just wasn't blown away by his voice.  And his duet with Gary Barlow on Saturday night's show was nothing short of boring for me.  Amelia and Little Mix should have been the final two but, thanks to Gary being Marcus's mentor, Marcus won that one.

Because, I'm sure, an awful lot of Take That fans would have blindly voted for Marcus purely because of Gary, and I think Gary knew that.  His inconsistincies as a judge when critiquing Marcus let him down, too, they really did, because there were times when his vocals were weak and his performances just, well, ordinary.  Including during Sunday night's final show.

On some of those nights Gary would tell Marcus he was "amazing" and his performance was "incredible", only to backtrack the next day and say it hadn't been all that good at all.  Tell him that on the night, Gary!  It wouldn't have made you look bad, infact, I would have had a shed load more respect for you.  Just saying.

We really do need Simon Cowell back.  He used words like "okay" when he was a judge, even to his own acts, and that's what we need.  Honesty.  If they're only okay, then tell them.  Surely that's what a real mentor would do, not tell them they were incredible when they weren't anywhere near that!

So, for almost two hours last night I ranted, sighed heavily, and shouted at the TV as another X Factor year drew to a close but, can I just say that for almost ten minutes, when Coldplay appeared (and I was surprised, to say the least, to see them on a show like that!) I sat back, watched some real music, and thoroughly enjoyed it.  And I'm not even a huge Coldplay fan, but it was nice to just have some proper stuff to listen to for a few minutes.
But, once that was over, I was convinced that Marcus would be crowned the winner this year - purely because of the amount of support Gary had.  I'd even had an email asking me to vote for Marcus and help Gary win the show!  Er, no!  I'll make me own mind up, thank you.  I may have loved Take That beyond anything back in 1993 (we all have our crosses to bear) but I will not blindly vote for someone just because a member of a band I quite like happens to be mentoring him!  Doesn't work like that, thanks.

Marcus Collins - should HE have won over Little Mix? No!
Marcus didn't - in my opinion, and again, it's just my opinion - deserve to win, but he'll get a record contract anyway, and that's another problem with this show.  Does it really matter if you win?  The answer to that is no.  It doesn't.  Some of the bigger success stories in X Factor history have actually been the ones who've come second - JLS, Olly Murs, to name but a couple.
So what's the real pull, then?  Is winning really everything?  Of course it isn't.  That's why Marcus didn't look too fussed last night on hearing he'd lost out to Little Mix.  Winning the show may get you a touch more publicity, and a single out straightaway (and why Damien Rice's 'Cannonball' as a winners single?  Nice song, but a bit dreary, really.  What's wrong with a nice, happy song for Christ's sake?  It is bloody Christmas after all!) but it doesn't necessarily guarantee you the bigger career.

To make this show better, to make people really want to win it, really want to give everything they have, and to make it slightly more exciting for us poor buggers who end up sitting through it week after week, year after year, make the prize one recording contract, and one recording contract only!  Make it so that coming second does not automatically mean that you'll get a contract too.  Second/third/fourth/whatever place should mean that, well, you got a bit of publicity, fair enough.  But hopefully you used it well enough to attract attention from others, not those behind The X Factor.  Because, sometimes, the programme really can just show itself up to be the cash cow it more than likely - allegedly - is.

However, on saying that, these kids that enter The X Factor know that this may well be the only chance they get to show the world what they've got.  And who can blame them for that?  They're following a dream, and I would never discourage anybody from doing that.  I'm doing it myself, after all.  And, let's face it, if there was such a thing as an X Factor-style show for writers, would I completely ignore it out of some more-than-likely misguided principal?  No.  Of course I wouldn't!  Just as these kids want to get noticed for their voices, I want my books to get noticed, too.  Which doesn't, in reality, make us all that different in the end...

There is, however, no X Factor show for writers, so if you'd like to find out more about the books I've got available, you can find them here on both and  

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

The ups and downs of an indie author...

I'm in a bit of a funny mood this week, and I'm not happy about it, because when I'm in one of these moods I tend to waste time dwelling on things therefore getting absolutely nothing constructive done in the process.  It's actually quite exhausting, to tell the truth.

So, why am I in a funny mood?  Because my sales for December (so far) have been crap!  Sorry to be blunt, but they are.  They're rubbish!  I tell you, it's a good job I'm not relying on my books to earn a living because I'd be pretty much done for if that was the case!

These pretty dire sales figures are twice as depressing for me because, for the past two months, I've had some of the strongest sales figures ever, oh, I'm not talking a threat to Jackie Collins or anything like that, I just mean that, as far as sales of my books go October and November were really good.  So, I actually thought things might be starting to take off.  I thought things might be looking up.  And then we get to December, those fantastic sales figures disappear and we're left with those horribly depressing orange bars!  And I've now come right back down to earth with a huge bump!

I guess only now have I realised the immense amount of emotions you experience as an independent author.  Oh, I know I've only been doing this for 6 months so my books haven't exactly been out in the big wide world for that long a time, but I know of authors who published around the same time as me and their sales are incredible!  So, I need to know what their secret is because, right now, I'm experiencing more ups and downs than an out-of-control pogo stick!  And it's exhausting!  Even watching the ever-gorgeous Bradley Cooper on The Graham Norton show last week (several times - thank you BBCiPlayer!) failed to bring nothing more than a faint smile to my face, and that was probably because he was sitting next to Jessica Biel at the time, and she's enough to make any self-respecting female feel inadequate!

Of course, I know I'm not the only one feeling this way.  I know there are hundreds, maybe thousands, of other indie authors out there going through exactly the same thing - I just thought that December might actually be a fairly good month for sales.  Am I being naiive here?  Probably.  I guess I just got quite used to seeing my book selling, and then for that to suddenly stop, well, it's been a little disheartening.  I mean - and, yes, this was just a tad irrational, I know - I was ready to pack it all in this week.  Just forget it, leave it alone, stop writing.  Walk away from my dream because it was doing nothing but making me depressed, and I always said that when writing wasn't fun anymore then I would stop.

However, after another viewing of Bradley Cooper's Graham Norton interview (this time ignoring Jessica Biel, hard though that was) I realised - and don't ask me why it was Bradley Cooper who helped me decide this, he just did! - that it wasn't the writing that had ceased to be fun.  No.  Writing these books is the bit I enjoy more than anything, I love it, I love everything about it.  Writing the books isn't the problem.  I have got so many stories fighting to get out that I know I could carry on writing for years and still probably never get all those stories written down.

The part of this process that is bringing me down the most is the constant feeling that I need to be always out there marketing, finding new ways to get my book noticed.  And I think I've just worn myself down to the point where I need to take a break from aggressive marketing and concentrate on writing for a change.  I started my new book way back in July, yet the first draft still isn't finished because I've spent so much time working myself into a frazzle trying to dream up new and innovative ways to market myself and my book.

So, sales figures may be disappointing - so far - for December, but that may change.  I can only keep my fingers crossed and see what happens.  But, as far as I'm concerned, I'm going to spend the rest of December concentrating on this new book, and remembering just why it was that I started writing in the first place.  And the answer's easy - because I love it.

Then I shall start the new year with a fresh approach and, hopefully, a clear head and a handful of new ideas so that I can step forward into 2012 and make sure that things in this indie authors life can only get better, because, as each day passes, I begin to understand more and more just what it is that I need to do.  There'll be lots more downs, as well as handfuls of highs, I'm sure of it.  But nobody said this would be easy.  And they certainly got that right!

Oh, and before I go, I'd just like to give a mention to a fabulous blogsite called Famous Five Plus, of which I'm a member.  It's a wonderful place for indie authors and book reviewers, a place where us authors can showcase our work, post about our journeys as writers, have our books reviewed - it's a place for support, more than anything.  A place where I've met some fantastic authors and reviewers, not to mention acquiring a list of books to read that is growing by the day!  So, I'd just like them to know how grateful I am to them for all the support and exposure they've given me and my books so far.  I truly am grateful.
Go on, go visit the site, and maybe you'll discover some new books to read, and meet some great authors!

A sexy, contemporary saga.
So, if you fancy taking pity on a struggling independent author - I'm a writer - I'm allowed to lay it on thick!! ;) - and you like your romance with a bit of a kick, or you just want a fun, frothy read, then why not make now the time to try out one of my books!

No Matter What , See You At The Show and Too Much Trouble in Paradise are all available from 
and also here at
Edgy, sexy romance.

So, go on.  Grab an ebook bargain and put a smile on this independent author's face!!

A fun, frothy escape to the sun!

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Meet The Author - Introducing Lacey Dearie...

This week in my 'Meet The Author' post I've been talking to new author Lacey Dearie, who's debut novel The Tangled Web has just been released on Amazon. 

Lacey is an indie author from Ayrshire in Scotland.  In her other lives she has been a book-keeper, a secretary, a paralegal, a mystery shopper, a blogger, a failed actress, a sex toy tester and a freelance writer.  Her first paid writing job was an article about Friday the 13th for respected British magazine, The Lady (using her real name) and she hopes to begin writing factual articles again in the future.
The Tangled Web is her first novel and has taken over three years to complete.  Now that the project is finished she hopes to spend more time with her son, start an Open University degree course and catch up with the housework (oh the glamour of being an indie author!)
Lacey loves to hear from her readers and can be contacted on or on Twitter as @laceydearie.

So, let's find out a little bit more about Lacey, and her work...

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what it was that made you decide to sit down and write this book?
I've always wanted to be a writer, since I was able to write in fact!  When other children were spending pocket money on sweets or comics I was buying Care Bear stationery, turning my kitchen cafe into a desk and asking for a typewriter for Christmas.  As I grew up I decided I wanted to do something a little more "realistic" until I attended a Travis concert in 2002 where a drunk and emotional Fran Healy urged the audience to "follow your f*****g dreams."  Not long after that I was involved in a minor car accident and I realised that if it had been worse, and anything bad had happened to me, I would have died as a book-keeper, having never attempted a writing career.  That horrified me.

Tell us a little bit about the book.
This book was inspired by various experiences I had in my life, with old friends, old boyfriends, and people I met online.  It was a nice way to come to terms with some things, and cheaper and more fun than a visit to a psychiatrist.
The book is centred around two women, Vicky and Flic, and what happens to them when they think they'll follow their own dreams and try to be private investigators.  They carry out the business online, using social networking, and the story is about how even though they try to keep everything in a nice neat little virtual world, it always spills over into their real lives, usually with disastrous consequences.  

What inspires you most when writing?
The people in my life and life in general.  I never feel inspired if I'm just sitting at home watching TV.  I always feel inspired when I'm travelling and I'd love to write more stories set in foreign countries - maybe short stories next.  The book was originally set half in Devon and half in Portugal but it all changed and relocated to Inverness and Cyprus because of my fondness for those places.    

How do you go about creating characters for your books?
I usually start with some personality traits of two or three people I know and mix them together and exaggerate them - really make them larger than life!  Over the couse of the story, I let them evolve some more and by the time I was finished with all the characters in The Tangled Web, they were unrecognisable from the original ideas I had for them.  I've grown to love them all though.  Even the baddies.  Especially the baddies!

Do you have any method to your wrting, for example, do you work from an outline, or do you just sit down and write and see where the story takes you?
Yes, I work from an outline.  I always write my synopsis first and gradually build on it.  It took me two weeks of writing all day every day to write the final synopsis for The Tangled Web.  I tried just sitting down to write to see where the story took me, but it was a complete mess.  It's not for me!  

What kind of books do you yourself like reading?
Chick-lit and erotic fiction.  The trashier the better.

What do you like to spend time doing when you're not writing?
I'd say spending time with my son and husband, going for walks and experimenting with vegan baking.  Now that I've finished The Tangled Web I'm going to start training for a 10K next year to raise money for The Anaphylaxis Campaign and also start an Open University degree in the autumn.  Well, that's the plan.  Who knows, maybe I'll be inspired to write another novel instead!  

What plans have you got for marketing your new book?
Lots of tweeting, lots of blogging and sending out reminders to buy the book with my Christmas cards this year.  I'll see how it does in the first couple of months and then work out another plan of action.  Any tips on marketing from fellow indie authors would be much appreciated.....hint, hint.  

What are you working on next?  Do you have plans to write another book?
I have no plans for another novel at the moment, but I'd definitely like to write another at some point in the future.  Perhaps for Nanowrimo next year....who knows.  I'd like to start blogging more often, so that will be my creative outlet for the foreseeable future!

Lacey, it was great talking to you!  Thank you so much for taking the time out to answer my questions, and I wish you every success with The Tangled Web.

Don't forget, you can contact Lacey via Twitter or email, and check out her blog Lacey Dearie's Tangled Web 

Her debut novel, The Tangled Web, can be found on both and