Guest Post: The Wonders of Iceland by Kristen Valentine

Otherworldly. That’s the word that all my guidebooks use to describe the landscape of Iceland. Accurately? Yes. Adequately? Not exactly. But even after a few days of being surrounded by the haunting black and green countryside and the stony grey coast, I didn’t realize how truly otherworldly Iceland is until I was engaged in the mundane task of renting a car.

“In case you see an ash cloud, here’s what you do,” the Hertz clerk told me after I declined the “sand and ash” insurance. “Pull over and turn the car off and wait till it passes. Do not attempt to drive through it.”

She went on to explain that, even though there hadn’t been a major volcanic eruption since 2011, there was still ash on the ground from the last one and the wind could whip it up into a dark, dangerous swirl with no warning. She also cautioned me about wild sheep in the roadway (just honk at them, and hopefully they’ll disperse), as well as the distinct infrequency of gas stations and the strict prohibition against driving my rented Toyota subcompact onto any backroads. “But you should be fine!” she added cheerfully. Continue reading

The London Launch of Watching Over You by Mel Sherratt

Last week I was honoured to be invited to the launch of Mel’s latest book, Watching Over You.

Anybody that knows Mel through Twitter, Facebook or in person will be aware just how hard she’s worked to get her books out there, and last year she proved what an inspiration she is when she signed a two book deal with Amazon’s own Thomas and Mercer. Less than a week after its launch, Watching Over You has hit bestseller status in the Amazon Kindle chart. A fitting end to a wonderful week – well done Mel! Continue reading

While No One Was Watching by Debz Hobbs-Wyatt

I’m delighted to welcome award-winning author, Debz Hobbs-Wyatt, to the blog today to share her writing journey with us. A truly inspiration piece.

Hi, just want to thank Jane for having me on her blog – always available for a little blog hop! I’m Debz and I not only work as a full-time writer, having abandoned the regular day job, but I also work as an editor, professional critiquer, and a small publisher. I also edit for the e-zine CaféLit and am a partner at small press, Bridge House Publishing, which is how I met Jane’s and her fabulous writing.

I am living proof that if you want something enough – you can get it. But it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to the craft. So be prepared for the long haul – but what a glorious ride it can be. Continue reading

Pop-Up Bookshops: A New Concept in Book Promotion

As Christmas is the time when we traditionally flood the shops in search of those all important gifts, it seemed fitting to host a post from author and dear Twitter friend, Daisy White, who has utilised a new concept in independent book promotion which is gaining national interest. Over to you, Daisy:


This time last year I was writing a list of things to do for 2013, and one of them was ‘Start Indie Bookshop’… Funny how things turn out!

The Pop-Up Indie Bookshop (now Daisy White’s Booktique) launched as a market stall in March on a vile rainy day, with the very basic idea of bringing independent authors down to a grass roots level and giving them a chance to showcase on the High Street – so not just a bookshop, but a marketing platform for those wanting to promote but lacking the venue. The inspiration for the business was partly my own experiences as an author… Continue reading

Those final steps…

This week I wrote my dedication and acknowledgements for The Truth Will Out. An exciting time for any author, but also one that fills me with a little apprehension. There are so many people that have helped with research and support during the two years it took me to write this novel. I desperately don’t want to miss anyone out. The book wouldn’t be what it is today without all the help I’ve received and I’m grateful to each and every one of them.

A few days later, I received the typeset PDF version of the book. It’s interesting how a different arrangement transforms a word document manuscript into the layout of a real book. I admit I felt a sizzle of excitement. There’s even an author bio and picture of me, and of course Bollo gets a mention too. Even though this is the second time around, I’m still pinching myself. I don’t think the exhilaration of seeing your own work in print ever leaves you. Continue reading