Monday, 17 February 2014

Moving on...

I'm moving cyber homes to the following link: and hope you'll come on over and join me. I'd love to have your company!

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Getting SMART for 2014

A few years back, I wrote a guest post for Alison Kent's blog. Yesterday, while setting my writing goals for 2014, I dusted it off as I needed a reminder of how to get SMART. I hope you find it helpful, too.


If you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there:

Goal-setting is so important, especially for writers. It’s far too easy to sit at the computer checking emails, loops, blogs and websites until a day has passed … a week … a month, and before you know it you don’t have an awful lot to show for the time spent staring at the screen.

Not only is it important to set goals, but it’s important to write them down. Writing out your goals allows the message to travel from the brain to the hand to the page, then as you read them back the message travels from the page to the eye to the brain, thus making your goals more concrete. Does this make them more achievable? I believe it does, as seeing your goals set out on the page, preferably in your own handwriting, makes them real. Also, as you keep looking at them, the words are driven into the brain and eventually become part of consciousness. You can even write them down fresh every day, which will help reinforce their impact. I have a lovely online writer friend and each week we email each other our goals for the week. At the end of each week we report on how things went, and if we didn’t reach our weekly goals we explain why not. Then we set the next week’s goals, and so on. We’ve both found that when we do this, our writing flows better and we get much more done.

While I like to dream BIG, letting my imagination go wild in the process, when I’m setting goals I use the SMART approach. SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-related. “I’m going to write a book” or even “I’m going to write a book by Christmas” might be worthy goals but they’re not SMART … both are too vague, too easily put aside to focus on other things. Before you know it you’re setting the same goal twelve months later.

There are variations on the terms that make up SMART, but here’s my take …

SPECIFIC – What are you going to do and how are you going to do it? “I will write 500 words a day on my WIP before checking my emails or surfing the web” (oh, please, a dark chill has just swept down my spine). But this is a very specific and is …

MEASURABLE – I will write 500 words per day, seven days a week. You’ll know when it’s happened because you’ll have those 500 words on the page, which in turn will make you want to get 500 words down tomorrow, and the next day. Then you’ll be thinking like a winner, you’ll feel you’ve succeeded – and as we all know, nothing succeeds like success. Just make sure the goals you set are …

ACHIEVABLE – goals need to feel within reach, but make sure they stretch you. If we set unrealistic goals that need a huge commitment on our part, we’re likely to feel overwhelmed before we start, and it’s easy to let good intentions fall away at the first sign of difficulty. Equally, goals need to make us feel challenged. “I’m going to write a chapter each day until this book is finished!” Yeah, right. But 500 words a day, or 3500 each week, will get that chapter written. Again, stretch yourself a little, or it won’t seem particularly satisfying. Remember, we want that self esteem to soar!

RELEVANT – how do your goals fit with your long term plans? Are they consistent with other goals? Will they feed into your dreams and ambitions for yourself? Say your goal for the week is to rework a synopsis of an old oft-rejected manuscript, but your editor is screaming for those edits by Friday close of business. Is working on that synopsis relevant right now? Well, it might be if your overall goal is to be the very best synopsis writer in the universe, but if you want a career as a successful writer, I’d go for the editor option.

TIME-RELATED – put a time factor into the equation, otherwise things remain too vague and it’s easy to give priority to other things (remember that Internet surfing? Constant email checking?) Procrastination is the thief of time! No time factor = no urgency. Set those goals and make sure you’ve got a date by which you want them achieved.

And that’s all there is to it.

Richard Bach wrote, “You are never given a dream without also being given the power to make it come true”. Setting SMART goals is one mighty step toward getting that power, and making those dreams come true.

Where will your road take you? Good luck!

Monday, 23 December 2013

Yoga for Writers

My first non-fiction book, Yoga for Writers (Simple Stretches for the Desk-Bound), will be released by ThornBerry Publishing in January 2014. Although it is aimed at writers, the book is suitable for anyone whose work involves long hours sitting at a desk.

Our bodies are designed to move, not remain inactive for long periods of time. By moving the body through a series of simple stretches, we restore energy – both physical and mental.  At the heart of yoga is the concept of balance, but this is often difficult for writers to put into practice. How often have we sat, eyes burning, back aching, shoulders screaming, head bursting, and thought “just one more line, one more paragraph, one more page”?

When the words are flowing and the muse is on fire it is hard – no, make that impossible – to turn off the computer or put down the pen. But a few minutes refreshing the mind, body and muse with simple yoga stretches and breathing techniques can release stiffness and tension in the body and actually enhance concentration and improve creative flow.
To celebrate the release of Yoga for Writers, I'll be adding a new feature to this blog which will give tips and suggestions for incorporating yoga and healthy living into your day. I hope you'll enjoy this.

If you would like to be notified when the book is released, please visit my website: and join my mailing list.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

New Review - Diamond Heart

Lovely new review on Amazon for Diamond Heart. It's so great to get reviews like this...

"This was a well written, emotionally satisfying story. I loved the sparring between Paige and Lucas as much as I loved the sexual tension between them. And the stakes...well, other characters will be affected by the outcome of this relationship. I love how it ended, but won’t spoil it by giving specifics here. I’ll just say this was a great story to take with me on a vacation."

Buy Links:

Thornberry Publishing
Amazon. com

Monday, 9 December 2013

Calling all romance writers...

Received the following contest information on one of my loops which might be of interest to other romance writers:

Love Romances and More Reviews Announces the "Most Romantic Love Scene
Ever" contest!

Have you written what you and/or your readers have said is the most
romantic love scene ever? Have you written a scene that readers would love
to have come true for their Valentine'
s day?

Love Romances and More Reviews announces it's Most Romantic Love Scene Ever
contest. This contest, which is $5 per entry, will have two levels to
determine the most romantic love scene ever:

For the first round, using a 6 base criteria our judges will choose the top
5 chapters depicting your most romantic love scene ever. The top 5 entries
will then go on to round 2. Our reading period begins January 1 and will
run until January 31, 2014. Entries must be received no later than
December 29, 2013. (See below for submission information).

For round 2 we will post the top 5 chapters on our website and for reading
ease, at the Love Romances Cafe, for readers to vote on the most romantic
love scene. Public voting will take place between February 1 and February
7, 2014. The winner, who will be announced on February 14, 2014 will
receive a page at the Love Romances and More Reviews website for a year to
promote their book.

The contest is open to the first 50 entries. Contest applications can be
obtained from Angie at She will
give you directions on how to submit the title of your book, name, the
chapter depicting your most romantic love scene and submission payment.
NOTE: Given our overall readership NO graphic or hard core erotic scenes
will be considered. We want to be able to post full chapters for the

We are also looking for judges who are willing to read 5-10 chapters. If
you would like to judge please contact Angie at

Questions can be directed to Angie at

Friday, 12 July 2013

MFRW Summer Camp

How do you fancy attending a weekend summer camp packed with great workshops? What's more it's free and you can take part from the comfort of your own laptop. The Marketing for Romance Writers' Summer Camp takes place this weekend and promises to be exciting, informative and supportive.

You can find more information and the workshops schedules here.

I look forward to seeing you there!

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Talking Bull

I'm often asked which of my books I loved writing the most, which is like asking to choose your favourite child. Of course, it's impossible to say. But I do have a sneaking regard for Bull at the Gate, probably because it's my only contemporary romance (to date) which has a hint of the paranormal about it and was great fun to write.

The idea for Bull at the Gate simmered for a couple of years before I actually decided to write Dee and Alex’s story. Fascinated by a snippet in the UK press about a housing development centred around an ancient stone and the controversy it created, I was inspired to write my own take on the concept. However, I had to wait until I had exactly the right characters to make it work.

While Dee is a modern woman, with her own business and her feet planted firmly on the ground, she is driven by love for the grandmother who raised her and a respect for the traditions of the village where she grew up. So when developer Alex McKinley arrives and threatens to destroy an old fairy gate which is central to the village’s rituals and beliefs, and very special to her grandmother, Dee steps in to fight him all the way.

His rigid and uncompromising attitude earns Alex the nickname “Bull” but only he knows the demons he must fight to provide for his young daughter. A single parent, he plans to give his child the best money can buy and that means throwing his weight behind the prestigious, and lucrative, new development in what he considers an antiquated English village.

While I love Dee’s fiery passion, and her equally “bullish” attitude toward protecting the intangible things she holds dear to her heart, I also feel for Alex, who thinks the only way to protect his child is through practical, and financial, means. These two people and their differing desires certainly make an explosive mix and, of course, neither considers the influencing power of the old fairy gate ;)

Here's the blurb and an extract:

Alexander “Bull” McKinley’s reputation as a hard-nosed businessman is tested when an old Fairy Gate and local superstition stand in the way of a lucrative development contract. Alex has his hands full trying to convince the villagers to play ball, without the unexpected—and definitely unwanted—attraction to the feisty redhead leading the revolt.

Dee Ashman detests those who put profit before people, and she’s damned if an arrogant, insensitive and, okay, wildly attractive capitalist is going to destroy the symbolic heart of the village and break her beloved grandmother’s heart.

But they cannot deny the desire that burns between them nor the unleashed passion neither can resist.


She looked down at the hand he offered. “What’s that? On your hand?”
    He glanced down, turned his wrist. “Allergy or something. Damn thing won’t stop itching.”
    She took a step back. “When did it start?”
    “Last night.”
    Left hand, she noticed. Hers was on her right. The hands they’d touched that night as they stood by the Fairy Gate.
    “Weird,” she said almost to herself, and held up her right hand to show him. “Don’t you think that’s the strangest thing?”
    “We both have it.”
    He narrowed his eyes. “So?”
    “It must be some reaction to that electric shock thing we had going.”
    He pursed his lips. “Hardly probable.”
    “Then maybe it really was a warning from the Gate.” She tried not to smirk. “Warning you to keep away from me.” 
    “Only one way to find out.”
    “We already tried that.”
    “We weren’t anywhere near the Gate. This time we are.”
    He started walking toward the structure, jerking his head for her to follow.
    It was, after all, only an experiment, Dee told herself . If they touched hands and nothing happened then all would be well and that would be that. But if they had that shock again, then something weird really was happening and it had to do with the Gate.
    Ten feet from the structure, Alex held out his hand. Keeping her gaze on his, Dee tentatively reached out. She let her fingers hover above his, their palms an inch apart. Then his fingers curled around hers.
    Not exactly an electric shock, but there was definitely a tingle, an awareness, sizzling right through her palm, up into her wrist and along her arm.
    “Feel anything?” he asked, keeping her hand firmly in his.
    She shook her head. “You?”
    “Uh, uh.”
    She realised she was in no hurry to pull her hand away and felt an altogether different kind of sizzle as his dark gaze slipped over her body in a sultry and seductive manner. “Maybe we should try something else.”

Buy Links: