Cover Reveal – Locked Up



A prison officer and a convicted killer must work together to solve a brutal murder and expose conspiracy inside a prison.

Ariadne Teddington is surrounded by people who lie but that is to be expected when you work in prison where every man claims to be innocent.

Charlie Bell, an ex Detective, now finds himself in that prison serving time for murder after having taken the law into his own hands.

When a fellow inmate is killed Charlie is asked to investigate the case from the inside. Soon Charlie finds himself working with Ariadne but she is a guard, he is an inmate and some lines should never be crossed…

Can two people on different sides of the law come together to solve the case?

And do the answers lie closer to home than anyone ever imagined?


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3 in 4

3 in 4Life is what happens when you are making other plans. That’s why my blogging is getting a bit sporadic at the moment. Thankfully it is also a sign of some good things happening too.

In my previous blogs I have told you about various publishing deals I have been fortunate enough to get this year. So for those who don’t know I have sold a short erotica story, a contemporary crime novel and I’m self-publishing a steampunk novel. These are exciting times.

Specifically, this is an exciting month. All three novels are coming out within the next 4 weeks!

This wasn’t my plan it just happened, but I have to admit that this is also silly season first conventions and coming up I have The Asylum (25th August) and Bloody Scotland (8th September). Both are weekend deals, one in Lincoln and one in Stirling, so long distances and overnight stays involved.

3d render whiteSo my plan was for “Shades of Aether” to be ready for Asylum, which is why I have a Facebook banner saying out on the 25th August.


And when I spoke with Bloodhound Books about publishing “Locked Up” in September I did ask if it could be ready in time for Bloody Scotland and those lovely people agreed – thank you, Betsy!

Sinful Pleasures book

With the erotica it is going into an anthology – “Sinful Pleasures” – being published by Sinful Press, I have absolutely no say in it at all. So its publishing date of 20th August is what I was given and grateful for it I am too. I really am; thank you, Lisa, for including me.


So that’s three very different books coming out in close proximity.  And I want to actively help market them all. After all, that is part of the author’s job.

So I am blogging, Facebooking and Tweeting.   Why does only Twitter get a verb?

Anyway – mindless wondering over – It does occur to me that with such different genres I might be sending out mixed messages, but the real message is “Hey I’m a professional writer, come read my good stuff.”

And that’s the truth, I write in different genres because like all human beings I have facets, different sides to me, diverse interests.

So over the next few weeks, you will see different sides of me, a mix of steampunk, crime, and eroticism.  Admission – I am typing this up in the car as we head for Bristol – obviously I’m not driving, but I forgot to punctuate that last sentence which gave me steampunk crime eroticism. Now that oddly is a good round up of “Shades of Aether”, though there’s not exactly any eroticism in there, there are explorations of forbidden loves.

Now here is another admission – I am much better at being a writer than I am a publisher. So, the plan was put “Shades of Aether” on CreateSpace, order some copies for me then bung it up on Amazon to release on the 25th. Turns out that by getting to a state that I can order copies the site automatically lists the book on Amazon, so unwittingly, I actually released the book last night.

Publishing is definitely a steep learning curve! And thanks to Lisa and Will for being so helpful when I have ‘questions from the stupid’ about how to self-publish. And yes those questions will be shared in a later blog in the hope others can learn from my mistakes. But that’s for another month, August and September are for the 3 in 4.

Oh and if you are wondering about the cover for “Locked Up” – that I will reveal on Monday the 14th August.

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Call Outs

I’ve kind of hit a roadblock with my WIP, so on the way to work this morning I decided I was going to write a blog tonight, you know, do something creative.  I had a theme in mind, and you’ll tell you what it is during this blog, because it’s still in here.  But during the day something else happened and I feel like sharing this.

If you follow my blog you will know that I can come out with some random stuff and the last piece was about the reaction to the latest Dr Who, click here to read more.  Today on Facebook I was ‘called out’ on it, by a white middle-aged internet using male, his description, for the lazy way I’ve approached that and was told that I’m the prejudiced one, because this person doesn’t know a single other person who’s upset by the news.

Well good for him.  And thanks to the other friend who waded in with some salient facts proving my case.  Not that the first friend would know because he flounced out of the conversation.

Now here are some things you should consider if you want to call me out on anything I write:

1. I welcome your comments, especially constructive criticism.  These are learning opportunities and I enjoy the chance to discuss any points.

2. Generalisations are just generalisations, they are not pointed attacks, they are just ways of expressing a point in a readily understandable way.

3. Just because you haven’t experienced it, don’t mean it ain’t happening.

4. This is a blog not national journalism.

5. Call me out, I will respond, that’s what discussions are about – two way exchange on points of view.

6. If you flounce out of the conversation with your male privilege held high remember I don’t have to make you look foolish, because you did it to yourself.


But one of the things that was thrown at me was that if I want to ‘get upset’ about discrimination I ‘need’ – yes need – to write about what Trump is doing to the LGBT communities.

Yes, I could do that.  I really could, I could rant for hours on that topic and many other misogynistic and/or downright stupid things that the American administration is doing, but here’s the thing.  I’m an EU – soon reluctantly to be British – citizen and this blog is mostly read by those in the UK.  I do have some Americans followers – and thanks for taking an interest wherever you are – but not many.  Besides, the thing is I don’t have a voice in an election I can’t vote in and most Americans have already realised what a dreadful mistake they’ve made.  Also, ranting against anything is a very negative thing to do and I am trying to make my life more positive.

Do I think people of the LGBT (and the ever growing acronym to LGBTQIA) community deserves a voice? Yes I do. Do I want to actively promote that voice?  Yes I do.  So what am I going to do about that – Well writing this blog was part of the plan.

I believe that people, more than administrations, can make a community what it should be, and I think it’s the quieter ways that will help integrate communities.  But I have a limited reach (hence comments above) and a limited skill set. I’m not a politician, not a great campaigner, nor am I a martyr, nor even a bleeding heart liberal.  Hell, I’m not even a journalist, just a blogger in that respect.

What I am is a writer, and a freelance editor.

So when one of the guys I freelance for comes to me and asks if I’d be willing to give my time and effort to help support the writing community to bring forth some good fiction with main characters who happen to be LGBTQIA, I didn’t hesitate to say yes.

So Jefferson Franklin Editing is offering free and discounted edits to writers who advance the LGBTQIA cause – to help get more LGBTQIA stories into the hands of readers.

Now I will admit that I’ve never had a main character who is anything other than hetrosexual, because that’s what I know.  And I am aware of the very great offence I could cause if I were to poorly portray that community, and let’s face it, if I did poorly portray that or any other community – I’d deserve criticism.  There are in my books some characters who I think are probably gay, but I’ve never made a thing of that, because it hasn’t been relevant to the story.  And now I’ve actually committed that to the page, I think I’m going to have to find a way to amend the situation and try to better present this under represented section of the community.

So if you have a gay soldier, or a lesbian teacher, or a gender-fluid private investigator (oh how useful would that be?), if you’ve a transexual dragon-trainer, or an omni-sexual/pansexual(?) space-traveller, then let’s hear from you.  Mind looking at those I may be a limited in my thinking, so please, please, please, come up with something original to surprise and delight in whatever genre you want.

Here’s the link with all the details – 2017 LGBTQIA Edit Giveaway.  And I look forward to seeing some of your work.

(Right now I’m going to go cogitate just how useful it might be to actually be gender fluid investigator because I can see that could bring up some really interesting plot and action possibilities.)





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Who is she?

Image result for jodie whittaker dr who

Image shamelessly borrowed off a news site – hope no one minds.


She is Jodie Whittaker.

She is the Doctor.

And what exactly is the problem with that?

Well according to a lot of the internet, most particularly the white male population on the internet – quite a lot, but let’s have a look at the situation with just a touch more critical analysis, shall we?

Right I suppose I should start with an admission – when I heard talk of possibly having either a black or female Doctor, I was uncertain if it would work.  This was back before Capaldi was picked – and on that topic, have to say Capaldi was brilliant, he was everything and more than a classic Doctor or a Nu-Who should be.  He rivals both Tom Baker and David Tennant in my affections for who is the best Who.  I also don’t want Capaldi to leave, I think he has way more to give to the role and has been hampered by some damp squib scripts this last season, but I’ve digressed enough and there is a reason why I’ve stated this here.

Yeah, so point was, I’m a middle-class, middle-aged (hate that), white woman and I wasn’t sure about a radical change in the nature of the Doctor.  Then I thought about it for five minutes and realised I was the one being stupid.

The Doctor is a regenerating, time-travelling alien.  His world is much bigger than ours.  He travels to worlds even Hubble can’t see.  He goes to times we will never live to number.  He is way beyond anything of human existence.  He’s allowed to be – after all – he’s not real!

But let’s bring a little reality into this anyway.  Do that, then you start to think about the scientific world and the nature of evolution.  The reason that we have different races on Earth with huge variations in nothing more important than skin colour from ebony to porcelain, is because human skin reacts to the amount of UV it receives.  But that is only skin deep, i.e. surface level, i.e. it doesn’t matter.

So what if the Doctor did become a black man?  Would it matter to me?  Did it matter when I was disappointed to hear Matt Smith had got the role?  Yes, but I kept watching and soon realised that he was still The Doctor and his youth wasn’t a barrier to me enjoying the series.  At the time Idris Elba was being talked about as a potential Doctor, but I didn’t know who he was, hadn’t seen him in anything at that point, but now I have, and he’s a good actor and he could fill the role. And that’s what matters, can the actor act?  And if the answer is yes, then skin colour is not a barrier.

But I’m not leaving the scientific yet.  Evolution is not and Earth Science, there are plenty of theories about how life might evolve on other planets, and despite what we see on fictional TV, most of these theories do not result in bipedal humanoid species.  So why should the Doctor who can travel anywhere, any when, be bipedal humanoid?  If he’s going to move freely among the two headed, why shouldn’t he have two heads? Or three legs or be a quadruped? Or a blog in a spray painted bubble-wrap costume? We put up with that for villains, why not for heroes?

The reason – budgets and availability – and the bubble wrap burst with every movement, so much so even with the shaky sets you have to feel extra sorry for Tom Baker and Elizabeth Sladen in that one.  Also, humans are the only actors other humans can understand.  Why not bung the Doctor under a load of prosthetics?  Well, heat, discomfort, time and money all jump to mind.  And even though motion capture and CGI are utterly spectacular these days – a dotted up Andy Serkis for the next Doctor! Or even undotted, he’d be dotty either way – and brilliant.  But again that is still a very expensive way to go.

Let’s dip now into cannon.  Twelve (the great Capaldi) started his tenure with the line:

“Kidneys! I’ve got new kidneys! I don’t like the colour.”

Now that should tell the astute listener that the internal organs can change.  So if the internal organs can change, why can’t testicles become ovaries?  And don’t get hung up on the idea either, there is a precedent.  In human babies we all start female, then something changes and roughly 50% turn male and that’s when what would have been ovaries become testicles.  So if it can work that way in humans, why can’t it go the other way in Time Lords?

And if we are going to talk about cannon and precedent, we have to have a look at Missy, as played wonderfully by Michelle Gomez. I was uncertain who this mad woman was to start with, we all were, but when she revealed herself, it wasn’t a shock, was it?  And there again, didn’t she just make the most marvelous Master ever?  And yes there were some grumblings about how the Master wouldn’t change sex, but that was a mere blip on the radar compared to what’s been happening with the idea of a female doctor.  So what are we effectively saying here?  It’s okay for a woman to be the villain, but they can’t be the hero?  You might want to have a word with Diana Prince about that one, or Sue Storm, or Kitty Pride, or Emma Peel, or – you know what, the list does go on, but hopefully everyone’s getting the point.  Even the guy grumbling in his mother’s basement.

So, it would appear that both according to cannon and logic, a female Doctor is acceptable.  So what other arguments are there?

The English language.  Eh?  Yep, the English language itself has been given as a reason not to have a female Doctor as it means we can no longer say every time ‘he’ regenerates.  Well, I have to say, that there is a bit of failing in the English language that we have no gender neutral – oh wait – we do.  It’s ‘it’. Now, to take another SciFi classic, in Star Trek, specifically in the books about The Excalibur, they have a character who is both male and female, who is referred to as ‘s/he.’  No, I’m not sure how you pronounce it either, but it gets over the issue.  The Doctor is an alien who doesn’t conform to our rigid ways of thinking so why can’t we call the Doctor, it or s/he? Perhaps that is too ‘out there’ thinking.  Well here’s a thought, why not call The Doctor, The Doctor? After all, that is a gender neutral term.  Oh and just one clarification – the gender neutral term is – as much as I hate to say it – ‘he’. So get over it.

That’s language, so what about numbers?  Chronologically, Jodie is way past the 13th actor to play the Doctor, but that, cannon-wise, will be her regnal number.  13. Unlucky for some.  Is 13 going to be unlucky for being a woman?  Oh get real, it’s just another number and let’s face it, she couldn’t make the series crash and burn any faster than Sylvester McCoy did.  Loved Ace, but let’s face it, the only decent Dr McCoy is on the Enterprise.

To recap, there’s no good reason why the doctor can’t be female.  As long as the actor can act, why would colour or gender make a difference?

Which leaves a very specific question – is Jodie Whittaker the right woman for the job?  I have seen Jodie Whittaker do both comedy (St Trinians) and drama (Broadchurch) and I think she was good in both, so why wouldn’t she be good as the Doctor?  There is a question as to why not cast a complete unknown?  Well, that’s easy too, Doctor Who is a huge role.  It makes a major impact on the actor’s career, and you need to have an actor who can deal with that, i.e. one who is established and isn’t going to crash spectacularly out of the show for some reason.

Last question – am I uncertain about Jodie Whittaker as the Doctor? Of course I am.  But not because she’s a woman, not because the Doctor can’t be a woman, I’m worried because if there is any problem with the next Doctor Who series the blame will land solely on Jodie Whittaker’s shoulders even if the truth is that the writing is shite. (Chibnall, I’m making a point not accusing you of anything!)

Well here’s the one thing all the fans should remember; we don’t control this series, the series makers do. The decision has been made and all we can do is wait to see what happens.  Only time will really tell if this was a good or bad decision and isn’t that just what Doctor Who is about?  Regardless of who plays the Doctor?

So, she is Jodie Whittaker

She is the Doctor.

And I, for one, am looking forward to seeing her.



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Ten Minutes of Terror

No I didn’t go on a zombie run or do a locked room breakout.   I went to meet a bunch of authors and hear them read sections from their novels.  All were from Bloodhound Books, and one of them was me.

Meeting authors doesn’t sound that terrifying does it?  Well, in fact, it’s not.  Even we crime fiction authors are actually a very nice bunch.  In fact, it was a great night.  All but 10 minutes of it were great.  But there were those ten minutes.  Ten minutes, when I had to stand up in front of 60 plus people and read out my own work – TERRIFYING!!!

Here’s the thing, I am afraid of people.  It’s not quite the same as I’m afraid of spiders – I don’t squeal and shout “kill it!” when I see another human, sometimes want to, but generally, I don’t.  Yet the fact remains – I am afraid.

I’m afraid I’m going to mess up.  Make a fool of myself.  I fear being laughed at, heckled, verbally attacked, physically attacked. I write crime so I spend a great deal of my time thinking about just how horrendous people are to each other.  That’s what I fear.

I should add that this is related to my ever-present depression.  Because of the depression, I have spent most of my life trying not to leave a mark.  Hide in the shadows, don’t make a sound.  For those who actually know me, and are thinking – what?  She’s not like that – Actually I am.  I learned years ago that that behaviour gets me nothing and actually hurts me, so I try to overcome it. Probably over compensate a fair amount. People assume I’m standoffish, well, they don’t assume it, they’re right – I am standoffish – until I get to know someone, then I can relax and be me.

But this is a confidence trick, inside I am still a scared little girl.

I also want to make clear that this is not just a vague nervousness, its real heart attack terror time. I worry about going into the office every day because of the number of people there so imagine how I feel when faced with a bunch of strangers. Anyone could be in that bunch – including the real-life serial killer let alone the ones in my imagination. Which means I was literally quaking in my Doc Martins, my heart was hammering like I had run a mile (like I  could run a whole mile!)

So I guess you’re wondering why I’m writing this post – well it’s not that I want to mention that

LOCKED UP on will be released on 7th SEPTEMBER,

or anything.  Well okay, it is, but it’s more than that.  The author’s job doesn’t stop at writing a book, we also have to promote ourselves and our work, and shrinking Violets do not do that well. Which means I have got to face this fear and overcome it.

Next question – how?

Well, exposure therapy.   Basically, I’m looking for open mike events to attend. I am going to go face my fear where it is ‘safe’ to do so.  It won’t be easy or fun, but I have to do it and the more I do it, the more I can trick the audience that I have confidence, and then who knows, maybe one day I might even convince myself.


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Fiction Flashes

Another month gone by in a flash!

I’ve been quite quiet on social media and blogging through June because I have been absolutely up to my eyeballs with stuff – more over stuff I wasn’t expecting to have to do.

If you’ve read previous blogs, you will have seen that I said I had a contract for my steam punk novel – well I had a verbal contract but we all know that they aren’t worth the paper they’re not printed on, right?  Well, finally I got the real contract through.  While there was nothing actually wrong with the contract – the publisher had been fair and clear in all the clauses, but there was a tie in factor I was a long way short of being comfortable with, and a get out clause that was unnecessarily punitive.  When I saw everything set out in black and white I saw that actually it wasn’t the contract for me.

So after a sleepless night, because I didn’t want to let the publisher down (she’s a lovely lady and I’d be happy to contribute more short stories to their anthologies), I knew I had to do something I never thought I would – I refused a publishing contract. This was even weirder and riskier than when I broke with my agent.  I hated doing it – really did – but my gut was telling me that it was the right way to go and sometimes you just have to listen to the gut.

The result of which is that I am now going to self-publish Shades of Aether.  <<Bites nails to the quick with nerves>>  Luckily all the hard work was already done, structural and line edits, only the proofreading to go.

So June has been a whirlwind of finding a proofreader – thankfully Jefferson Franklin Editing made room for me – by bumping another job I had booked with them.  Then there’s the cover to think about – luckily another friend of my is a publisher (very different genre so she wouldn’t publish a steampunk book) and she gave me recommendation of a cover design company she uses.  Got in touch with them – explained what had happened and why I needed a quick turn around – and they said – we’re on holiday for two weeks so not sure, what’s your design brief?  Luckily I had one, we exchanged a few emails and they’ve stepped up to the plate with an agreement to get me draft design by end of July which should just about give me time to get it all set up for a decent print run in time to take copies to The Asylum – the Lincoln steampunk convention – not medical institution!

So – phew!

Then there’s my debut crime novel to think about – more on that later

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Bus Contracts

You may have worked out by reading this blog that I have been trying to get a novel published for some time and you’ll see from my previous blogs that it’s finally happened for me.  Bloodhound Books have agreed to publish my Locked series starring Charlie Bell, ex-cop, convicted murderer, absent father – and he’s the good guy.  The final edit has now been returned, so it’ll all going through.  Book 2 – Locked In – is next under my eye for editing.  And book 3 – Locked Down – is finally plotted but I’m struggling to find time to write that (more on that next blog).  Book 4 – Locked Out – isn’t even under contract and that’s virtually writing itself in my head at least, I just hope I can remember it all when I get to that point.

Just to spice things up a bit, I have also been offered another contract – this time for a short story – an erotic short story!  It’s not my regular genre, but it was fun to write, and it got picked for publication, so I can’t complain.  Oddly it has also sparked a bit of a flame.  A friend of mine pointed out last weekend that another erotica publisher has put out an open call for submissions, closing date was yesterday, so I had 3 days to come up with something.  In the end I wrote three shorts until I go the one I wanted.  And yes I got it in.  (As did the characters!)

The sweetener at the moment is that I have also been really, really lucky with another book.  I sent out my Steampunk novel, Shades of Aether, to one publisher – yes just one – and they picked it up!

In all honesty, I really should add that I have had stuff published by this company (Xchyler Publishing) before (Steel & Bone), and had a tentative discussion about the book some months ago, so it wasn’t exactly going in cold.  Still it was fabulous to get a really enthusiastic response within three days of submitting the full manuscript.   This is also the first of a series, so as I write those, hopefully they too will sell. I’m really loving Shades, it is, basically, another crime novel, but unlike my contemporary crime, which tends towards the dark and gritty) this one has more elements of high adventure and higher society and it is a lot lighter hearted, there are some actual funnies going in.  Of course, I’ve still got work to do, editing of the manuscript etc, nothing is polished first go, but it puts a big old smile on my face to know that someone liked it enough to accept.  If you’re on Twitter you can find me at @ShadesOfAether, I put the steampunk stuff there.

May held a ton of other things I want to share, but they will have to be in the next blog, because this is the point I want to get to in this post:

Publishing contracts are apparently like busses; nothing happens for ages, then you get three in close succession. 

Anyway, this happy bunny has to hop off now.  Speak soon.

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