Category Archives: Writing

The curious case of the man who corrects grammar mistakes in the night: the Apostrophiser!

Here’s a tale that will warm the hearts of writers everywhere, and it’s a true story!

In Bristol in the UK, there’s a man who goes round at night correcting the dreaded apostrophe mistakes made on shop signs in the city. He has made a tool for this purpose, called the ‘apostrophiser’, a very large pole that either places an apostrophe after the ‘s’ where it should be and can take out the ‘s’ where it shouldn’t be.

This guy has been dubbed the ‘Banksy of Punctuation’ and has been doing this incognito for thirteen years! Only his family knows who he is. Does he have too much time on his hands? Maybe, but I know it drives me mad to see apostrophes in the wrong place, nor would I stay in a hotel or B&B where I see ‘accommodation’ with one ‘m’ on the door, so good on him, I say! 👍

What’s the irony of this story? There’s no such word as ‘apostrophiser’! 😂

Full story in The Guardian.


To all authors, writers, artists, photographers, crafters…

In 2017, may your books sell well, your stories are well received, your paintings are enjoyed, your photographs tell the stories you want to tell, and the things you make don’t fall apart. In short…

Happy New Year


Good luck to all authors taking part in NaNoWriMo this month!

Guess who won’t be taking part yet again this year, but I’ll be thinking of you! 👍😉

(I can’t believe it’s November already!)

OK, Holiday Over: Back to the Grind!

I did it again: I went away on holiday for two weeks without writing a word of my book! My laptop stayed at home (I needed space in my case for all the tacky souvenirs!), but I did take a writing pad to scribble something of chapter 15; I didn’t, though! Now I’m back and I have to motivate myself into starting where I left off. That’s not easy when you have to go back to your day job, you have the holiday washing to do and the house to clean from top to bottom.

It’s a case of, ‘Oh, I’ll start tomorrow.’ Tomorrow never comes, though, does it?

One way of getting back into my writing is doing a mini edit. Although I haven’t finished Episode, I get to a point where I find it useful to look over what I’ve already written and this often motivates me to carry on and finish the book. I will finish it and get it published in 2017, though, and that will take me to ten years since I finished Goalden Girl!

Planning and Writing Your Fiction Book: Some Do’s and Don’ts


  • A rough plan: plot, characters, genre, age of the reader (adult, teen, children, young children)
  • Research press release sites, free if possible, to get the news of your new book out there
  • Carry a notebook and pen with you and write down your ideas when they pop in your head before you forget them
  • Write in a quiet environment if you can; if you can’t, have some music on in the background, preferably instrumental and not too loud
  • Write something every day, even if you don’t feel motivated. A few lines is better than nothing at all. Some days you’ll find you’ll write more than others
  • Take a break when you feel you need one. You don’t want to end up thinking it’s a chore
  • Have an internet presence: website, blog, Twitter, Facebook page, Instagram, whatever. A potential reader will find you there, but stay off the internet while writing! Do whatever promotion, networking, research, blogging you need to do when you take a break, then when you go back to your book close the browser
  • Edit, edit, edit, but shop around for editors and proof readers who can help you polish your book
  • Send your book to a literary agent or publisher supporting your genre if you want to go down the traditional publishing route
  • Approach bookshops to ask about book signings, if you have the balls! You might also be able to get an interview with a local newspaper if your story has a local interest slant


  • Tell yourself you’ll do some writing tomorrow. Tomorrow never comes!
  • Write with the telly on! It’s distracting and if your favourite programme is on you’ll miss most of it
  • Do the housework unless you need a break. Yeah, you might need to polish the bookcase, but unless the dust is feet deep leave it for another time
  • Give up or doubt yourself or your book. Shit happens, life gets in the way and your book may not be progressing as quickly as you want it to, but you will finish it eventually. Unless you die first, in which case you won’t be bothered
  • Worry about rejection letters if you send your masterpiece to a publisher. It’s their loss; send it to someone else. Send it out to more than one publisher
  • Dismiss self-publishing or POD. Check out Lulu, Createspace, Blurb, Completely Novel etc. It doesn’t mean your book is of a lower standard because it’s self-published
  • Just think about your book in print, think about it in eBook format, too. Most readers have a Kindle or Nook and Kobo these days; you can also download eBooks from iTunes and Google Books. Bear in mind, though, that if you want to promote your Kindle edition, Amazon get shirty if your eBook is available elsewhere
  • Dismiss online promotion. There are some cracking sites, many free, happy to spread the word, Readers Gazette being an excellent example. Many of these sites offer author interviews, too
  • Pay for reviews or promotion unless you can absolutely avoid it. Independent Author Index, Independent Author Network, Readers Views and Readers Favorite are among some of the popular ones used by indies that are inexpensive
  • Think that when your book is finally finished that’s the end of that, you have to promote it and get as many readers as you can interested in it. That’s where the promo and review sites and possible book signings and interviews come in

Time To Get Back on My Horse, Then, I Suppose

Now where was I with Episode, my sequel to Epiworld? Oh aye, chapter 7, pathetic when you consider I started writing the stupid thing a year ago! Should be plain sailing from here now, though (I just hope I’m not speaking too soon!) I’m up to the part where Alice and Travis have been thrown through a time portal back to Ancient Greece and have landed on the feast table where King Menelaus and his brother King Agamemnon are celebrating his forthcoming marriage to Princess Helen. Alice and Travis are thrown in the dungeons and Helen makes the guard free them, but Travis discovers that he’s too late to save her from a marriage she doesn’t want: she’s already Menelaus’ wife.

For anyone who knows anything about Greek literature, I’m using the story of The Iliad as a backdrop for the book, and Helen is integral to the plot, though as yet I’m not sure how. I have to kick-start my motivation, don’t I, and have some idea where I’m going with the book. That’s not going to be easy and I return to my day job on Monday as well. Can’t wait. Not.

I can’t say I’ll start tomorrow, because tomorrow never comes, so when will I start again?

No time like the present!

Death: Not The Final Nail in The Coffin for Your Writing, But Still a Pain in The Arse

No, I’m not dead yet (at least not the last time I looked, although I suppose it’s stating the bleedin’ obvious that if I were dead I wouldn’t be able to write again), but I’m talking about the death of a loved one.

Three weeks ago, my old mum succumbed to pneumonia and the ravages of dementia and passed into the next world to take up where she left off and started nagging my dad again, with me at her bedside at the end, holding her hand and telling her he was waiting for her. Any minute now, I thought, she’s going to sit up and tell me to shut my gob and let her die in peace; and so she did die at 7.30 in the morning. I’m naturally upset, but her dementia and schizophrenia are no more and she was 89; not always a good life, but a long one. I’m glad for her she’s gone.

Since then, my feet have barely touched the ground: a funeral to arrange, an endless list of officials to tell, a solicitor to consult about wills and probate, red tape and palaver to get through. I already have a bulging Manila folder related to her estate. My book Episode hasn’t been on my mind since and I haven’t had the energy to pick up my pen, nor have I been able to find the strength to do any book promotion for my other titles. There go my Christmas sales!

Yeah, wouldn’t you know it, there’s Christmas slap bang in the middle of it all; and that four letter word, work.

I’ll grieve when I get round to it, shall I?

This is the first time I’ve even thought about writing and I see this blog post as the first step to motivating myself to get started again, but not until January. Maybe not even then; dunno, yet. Not even mindfulness can get me through this period right now. It seems selfish to even try a practice.

Work, though, now I can probably find the time to get that finally sorted out. New year, new start.

I’ve said this before, but I don’t usually like New Year. This time around, however, what with the shock of Keith’s illness and Mum’s passing, 2015 can kiss my weary arse. On New Year’s Eve I plan to dance naked around the garden with a party hat and Manhattan cocktail, welcoming 2016 and daring it to piss me off just once. It should be mild enough, it’s been so un-December like in the UK lately, and even if it’s below zero so what, Keith can stand at the door painfully embarrassed calling me a chav as he does sometimes and it’ll give the neighbours something to laugh at.

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