Festival Time

The trouble with living in flat Suffolk, is that when you travel to the Isle of Wight where there are many hills and walk around the festival all day, your calf muscles tell you all about it the next morning!

Such is the situation Sam and I find ourselves in today, and in order to see Liam Gallagher stare us out tonight we’ve got to do it all over again.  But hey, we’ve met up with some friends and we’re having fun.  The sun is shining, and there’s not a dollop of mud to be seen anywhere.


Jammin’ with Jimi…


Because I’ve been irradiated through and through, I’ve been told to keep out of the sun as much as possible.  There are ways of doing this – high factor sunscreen which I slather on religiously, and a pseudo-Victorian contraption which I bought at Osborne House some years ago.  Here’s a little conversation we had yesterday regarding aforesaid pseudo-Victorian contraption:

The security guy at the entrance gate gave the folded down parasol sticking out of the side of Sam’s rucksack an evil stare.

“What’s that – an umbrella?”

“No.”  Sam replied.  “It’s a parasol.”

“A what?” The guy’s expression was blank.

“A parasol.”  Sam stated firmly.

The guy turned to a colleague.

“Here Dave, have a look at this mate.  Can we allow it in?”

I took the parasol out of the rucksack and unfolded it.

“It’s an umbrella.”  Said Dave with some conviction.

“No.”  I replied. “It’s a parasol.  The rain would fall right through it.”

“Should be okay.” Said Dave with some conviction. “Has it got a pointed end?”

“Only a little bit pointed.” Replied Sam. “I use it to poke people with who don’t walk fast enough.”

Dave and his colleague with the high IQ nodded and chuckled.  And so through the entrance gate I sailed with my parasol.  Many people at various festivals have asked where I bought it.  It’s pretty, and looks so much better than sitting in the sun under a big black umbrella.  I was even allowed to take it on the  Big Wheel.

Stevie on the Big Wheel



When the sun sets it’s time to fold up the parasol, but the end of it sticks out of Sam’s rucksack.  One woman passed by and told us it was dangerous.  Sam told her not to stand too close to it!  My parasol and I will go on to face Liam Gallagher today…


Tales from the Port Naain Intelligencer collection Blog Tour – Episode 3…

Sharing this for Jim Webster, as at last we have Internet at our holiday home that lasts for more than half an hour! Hope to send back some pics of the festival tomorrow…

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Benor awoke with the dawn. He crawled out from under the hedge and looked about him. There was a stream nearby and enough dry wood for a fire. He’d walked late into the night, initially because it was fine, the going was good and he was enjoying being out of the city. Then when he realised how late it must be, he just kept going to find somewhere to sleep. He got the fire going and arranged a can on it to boil water. Then he washed himself in the stream. When the water was hot he transferred it to his mug and put some more back on the fire to boil. He took a mirror out of his bag and propped it on a branch, then with a razor and his mug full of water he started to shave. Whilst he realised he wasn’t going to cut a fine…

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How To Deal With An Author Publishing A Novel Similar to Yours

Nothing was worse than finding out Emma Donoghue had written ‘Room’ when I was sending ‘A House Without Windows’ around to agents and publishers. She had written it 3 years’ before and I never knew it until one of the agents told me. Grr!


There I was beavering away on book three when I discovered that a well-known author might be about to publish a novel with the same central concept as mine. I had logged onto the early reviews and a reader had mentioned the words, ‘a mother with a secret.’ Oh, Christ, I thought, and so began my two-day long endurance until the book came out.

I bought it and read in a frenzy that ripped the pages and wrecked the spine. Huh – take that, stupid book! Reader, it was all I could do not to stamp on the thing, because what stared up at me was virtually the same book as mine. It even had an almost identical opening scene.

It felt as if there was a brick in my stomach. I was 50,000 words into my first draft, for goodness sake. It was possibly one of the worst first…

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Can You Write to Order?

I’m struggling to finish a book by a traditionally published author I’ve admired for a long time.  I started reading his psychological thrillers when the first one came out back in 2012.  He’s sold over 2 million books and is often up there in the bestseller lists.  He’s fortunate enough to be able to make his living writing fiction, and as far as I can tell seems to write a couple of books every year, sometimes more.

Unfortunately,  I think that having to write the aforesaid couple of books every year to satisfy his publishers is now having an untoward effect.  This latest book is not half as good as the first one, which was one of those un-put-downable thrillers.  I’ve even found spelling/grammar mistakes in the book, which has previously not happened.  It’s taking me so long to finish this book because frankly, it’s boring.  I keep picking it up after a few days, forgetting who’s who, and then wishing I could hurry up and get to the end to find out ‘whodunnit’.  I checked on Goodreads and the majority of readers think the book is good, but some others have the same opinion as I do.

Reading should be a pleasure, and I’m disappointed that the standard of his writing has slipped somewhat.  I suppose he is now on the treadmill of having to sell a certain number of books in order to earn his living, and therefore has to keep on writing and turning them out whether he wants to or not.

I consider myself lucky.  Okay, I’m not a traditionally published author, but I write when I want to and for the love of it.  I have a day job and so does my husband, and I don’t need to sell books in order to put food on the table.  I’m sure I don’t want the pressure of having to write to order to satisfy agents and publishers, because then all the fun goes out of it and the stress levels rise.  If I had to meet deadlines, I know I would start churning out a load of rubbish.  The enjoyable hobby I now have would become a chore.

I was once asked to co-write with some other authors and produce my book in their series by a certain time, but I had to turn them down with a heavy heart as I knew I couldn’t do it.  If it takes me a year to write a book, then a year it will take.

Could you write to order?  Can you meet deadlines? The whole idea of having to finish a book by a certain time fills me with absolute dread!






Author Spotlight – Geoff Le Pard

Am sharing this post for Geoff Le Pard, who has often taken part in my short story contest. I’ll be checking out his books for sure!

Hugh's Views & News

While I’m busy working on my next collection of short stories, I’ve two ‘Author Spotlight’ posts for you this week.

Bloggers Bash 2016 T-ShirtFirst, let me introduce you to Geoff Le Pard. No stranger to my blog, Geoff has appeared on my blog several times. I’m always delighted when he pays Hugh’s Views And News a visit. He’s recently launched a brand new book, Apprenticed To My Mother, and has written the following piece for us. You won’t find this in the book, so this is an exclusive! Over to you Geoff.


My mother never cried. I mean that, truly. I cannot recall a time when she cried. She laughed so hard, she cried, yes, but tears of sadness, of grief of any of the usual reasons for those sorts of tears? No, not one.

It wasn’t because she was unfeeling or cold, far from it. She was empathetic and while a…

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Book promotions worth your time and trouble, and some which are not (IMHO).

Let’s start with the good news.  In my opinion here are a few marketing ideas / promotions which might help your book to sell better:

1.  BookBub promotions:

Yes they are expensive, but most authors who get accepted do notice a rise in their book’s ranking.  The trick is to get accepted in the first place – I’m still trying!

2.  Guest posting on more popular blogs:

Check out the more popular blogs that accept guest posts and write some good content.  Your own blog’s site will feature all your books somewhere on the side bars I expect, so there’s no need to keep mentioning them.

3.  Winning a reputable writing competition:

You can gain some kudos by doing this, and thereby win followers who will check out your books because they are interested.

4.  Give one book away free on Draft2Digital:

If one book is free on Draft2Digital it then becomes free on many popular digital sales channels.  People will download your work because it’s free, and they may then be interested enough to check out your other books.

5.  Gaining good reviews on Netgalley:

These are honest reviews not given by family, friends or by any other authors you’ve agreed to swap reviews with.  They will stand you in good stead in the long run.

6.  Write good content for your blog that people will want to read:

This includes making sure the spelling and grammar are correct.  Nothing puts me off sooner than a blog full of mistakes and bad English.

7.  Add a couple of chapters on Goodreads.

I’ve had lots of interest in my work this way.


Okay, so here’s a few more that are not worth getting out of bed for:

1.  Cover reveals:

Who cares?  Readers want to be enthralled by words, not the cover.  Nothing puts me off more than an invite to yet another cover reveal.

2.  Continually spamming social media with ‘Buy my book’ messages:

Again, who cares?  Twittering and Facebooking ad nauseam makes a huge spam sandwich that nobody wants to eat.

3.  Blog tours:

You might gain more interest in your book from a tired sloth with a full belly.

4.  Launch parties:

Don’t bother, because everyone suddenly finds an excuse not to be at the party.  You’re the only one there and you spend all night talking to yourself.

5.  Constantly sending out messages for people to subscribe to your website:

Just make the form available.  They’ll subscribe if they’re interested.  If they do this voluntarily, then they’re less likely to unsubscribe.

6.  Signing with a small publisher who asks for ‘set-up fees’:

They’re trying to make a profit, and a part of your royalties, dear author, is the answer to their dreams!

Can you think of any more?  If so, please let me know!





Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The #Travel Column with Debby Gies – Cruising – Reports and Tips -Part One.

Yes, the Celebrity Equinox is a wonderful ship. However, after last year and the ride back to the ship on a tender from Grand Cayman in a terrible storm, I’ll be spending the next few years at my holiday home on the Isle of Wight!

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

Delighted to welcome D.G. Kaye – Debby Gies to the blog as a regular contributor with her new Travel Column. Debby is a non-fiction author who has received wonderful reviews for her inspirational memoirs. She also is a seasoned traveler and her book Have Bags Will Travel is packed with useful information and entertaining stories of her own adventures.

To get the column off to a flying start (or in this case sailing start), Debby has three posts on Cruising holidays which will be posted every two weeks before moving to a regular monthly slot.

Travel Column – Reports and Tips – Part 1

Thank you Sally for inviting me to guest post for your Travel Blog Magazine series. In this series I’ll be sharing some of my favorite places I’ve traveled to, tips about preparing for travel, staying safe when traveling, and how to get the best bang for…

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Open Book Blog Hop – 18th June


This week the topic is:

What’s your opinion on authors giving away their books for free?

My opinion changes on this one.  To start with I decided not to give away any books for free.  I came to the conclusion that $1.95 (the price I settled on in 2015) was not too much to pay for one of my books, and readers did buy a fair few.  In 2015 I sold 1142 books, and just under 1000 in 2016 (in August 2016 I had my best ever month at 179 books sold).

Then the rot set in during 2017 with pirated copies everywhere on the Internet.  I received almost daily Google notifications that my books were ‘free’ for downloading, even though I had not authorised this. I decided to try and draw honest readers in by offering one of my books for free during February, March and May 2017.  All in all I had 6577 downloads, but the amount of actual books sold dropped to 642.  I didn’t offer any more books for free during 2017.

It wasn’t until a year later that I slowly started dispensing with Kindle Unlimited and adding all my books to Draft2Digital so that they could be sold on various digital outlets.  At the moment ‘The Pilates Class’ is free on many digital sites (except Amazon), in the hope that readers will download it and then be interested in one or more of my other books for sale.  So far ‘The Pilates Class’ has only been free for a couple of weeks, so the jury is out so to speak about whether the whole exercise is worth it.

Do I think it’s a good idea to offer free books?  With all the pirated copies out there, authors might as well offer at least one to draw readers in.  As I see it, the book would then be downloaded from an authorised site!  The thing to do I suppose is offer the first book in a series for free, but to date I haven’t yet written a series.

We can’t beat them, so we might as well join them.  I gave up with Blasty, who to begin with sent me daily messages listing another 500 sites offering my books for free.  After a while when I stopped visiting the site, strangely enough they stopped sending me any more messages.  This makes me wonder whether the notifications were actually genuine, or whether they just wanted me to pay a monthly fee.

Do you think that offering free books is a good idea?  Click on the link below to see what other blog-hoppers think, or you can add a comment or blog of your own on the subject.


1. Link your blog to this hop.
2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.
3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants’ blogs.
4. Tweet/or share each person’s blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.
5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Getting to Know You with Annette Rochelle Aben

Enjoyed Sally’s entertaining interview of Annette Rochelle Aben.

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

Welcome to Getting to Know You where guests pick five questions that reveal a little more about their personality and background. This week my guest is Miss Personality as far as I am concerned. You don’t have to be in the same room with Annette Rochelle Aben to know that she is funny, compassionate, empathetic and generous. That all shines through in her blog posts, social media comments and radio podcasts. And as you will find out… it also shines bright as day in her interview.

Annette is also a talented poet and her latest release Haiku Perspective 2018 has achieved the distinction of becoming a best seller.

Before we look at the questions that Annette has decided to answer, here is the official biography.

Allow me to introduce myself, I am a writer, an author, a wordsmith and perhaps find myself to be more interesting than is necessary. So…

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A Clever Scam

Scammers are becoming ever more sophisticated in their efforts to relieve us of our money.  Here’s one I’ll share with you that almost had us fooled:

Sam received a letter from our bank, which seemed to be typed on genuine headed notepaper.  The letter stated that in order to repay the money owed under the loan agreement he needed to pay £77.53 by June 30th. This would be a final payment to clear the remaining balance within the agreed term.  It went on to say that as he pays by direct debit, the final payment would be requested from his bank on or immediately after the date mentioned.

This immediately rang warning bells in my head.  To start with we have a joint account, and usually correspondence is addressed to both of us.  Secondly we have no outstanding loans with that particular bank, and neither of us had any idea what the £77.53 related to.

I logged in online and sent a secure message questioning the letter and asking them to check the P.O Box address given and to investigate further.  Back came a reply today stating that the P.O Box number and phone number given on the letter was genuine, but they unfortunately could not find any notes or electronic communication they have sent associated with the letter Sam received.

Hmm… I suppose these days it’s easy enough to copy a piece of headed paper.  I don’t think I’ll be paying that £77.53.  Would you?