Sunday, 30 September 2012

Carnival of the Indies

You might have noticed the new badges proudly displayed to the right and left of my blog - because one of my blog posts is included in this month's Self-Publishing: Carnival of the Indies! Take a look!

The Carnival of the Indies No 24 is described as "A collection of outstanding articles recently posted to blogs" reposted on the website/blog The Book Designer.  I cannot begin to express how totally thrilled I am to see my blog post included in this. 

This site is a brilliant and invaluable resource from Joel Friedlander, a self-published author and book designer who blogs about book design, self-publishing and the indie publishing life at He's also the proprietor of Marin Bookworks, where he helps publishers and authors who decide to publish get to market on time and on budget with books that are both properly constructed and beautiful to read.

I strongly recommend any writer who is considering the indie route, or just wants to learn more about the business and communicate with other writers to sign up to regular bulletins from The Book Designer.  It has taught me so much and continues to help me learn from a wonderful community of people. 

My blog featured on Digital Books Today

I am thrilled that my post about using a kindle has been reposted on the brilliant website Digital Books Today.  
You can find it here

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

That other place

I’ve just been reading a perceptive and illuminating travel blog.  

It's called and one of the posts really resonated with me.  We often think that “the grass is always greener on the other side.”  In fact, sometimes we spend our lives pursuing a dream of moving away, somewhere different, somewhere exotic, somewhere better.  We tell ourselves stories of this other place.
But this can be a fallacious trap.  

There is a reference to the British sculptor Antony Gormley, creator of the Angel of the North.  The blogger comments:

“That’s what Anthony Gormley meant. We’d all be happier if we accepted that ‘the other place’ that we sometimes escape to, is in our imagination rather than an actual country.

Reality and fantasy.  Two worlds colliding.       

Related posts:

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Matty Horse and Pony Adventures on kindle!

I have previously posted about my Matty series shortly being available as e-books and you can now buy them from Amazon.  Click on the links on the sidebar. 

I am donating 100% of my royalties for all three books to the Redwings Horse Sanctuary

Originally published in 1998, the first book, Matty and the Moonlight Horse was translated into Swedish, Norwegian, German and Finnish, and was later available in the USA, in paperback.   The second in the series, Matty and the Problem Ponies, was similarly published in 2000.  Matty and the Racehorse Rescue was published in 2002 and translated into German, Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish.  This is the first time it has been available in the English language, and the kindle versions are the first time readers have been able to buy all three books in the UK. They are aimed at pony-mad pre-teen and teenage girls and are drawn from some of my own experiences.  

The series starts with Matty and the Moonlight Horse.  Thirteen year old Matty and her fun-loving pony mad friends Ronnie, Spike and Gina work hard at the local stables, mucking out, sweeping the yard and grooming the ponies, hoping that Miss Pugh, the world’s worst riding instructor, will allow them a few rides.

Then impulsive Matty sneaks a ride on Snowstorm, a stunning new pony who she instantly falls in love with, much to the fury of his owner, Mark, and his domineering father. Matty wonders if she will ever get a pony of her own – especially one like Snowstorm.

So the teenage girls come up with a plan – to work even harder, pool their savings and earnings and buy a horse together.

One night, when they miss the last bus home from the cinema, they take a short cut through the graveyard, which they soon regret – until, at the stroke of midnight, they have an unexpected encounter with a mysterious dark bay horse.....

The mystery, action and adventure continues in Matty and the Problem Ponies and there is more drama and danger in the thrilling final story of the trilogy, Matty and the Racehorse Rescue, also available from Amazon on kindle.

Related posts:

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Models, playing god and storytelling

Recently,  I went to the Hornby Visitor Centre near Margate.  Apart from the sheer nostalgia of seeing all the historic toys, what really struck me when I gazed at the vast model railway was not so much the trains, but the miniature village with its houses, people, farm animals and buildings. A microcosm of what it means to be part of a community.

When I was a child I loved my model farm, which comprised of a host of plastic farm animals, which were arranged as I wanted them, which did as I wanted.  It provided me with hours of fun. The horses were my favourites, of course, and I made my own stable block out of balsa wood and glue. I created my own world and controlled it in a way that isn't possible in reality.  Playing god in a small way.  Deciding, making choices about where things went and what happened to them. Becoming a storyteller.  And I thought of what it had in common with writing and reasons for writing.  I was controlling my own imaginary world.  Creating stories.

Related posts:

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Page Fright

Really pleased that another of my short features has been published on Creatabot, the website for creatives.
It's all about the fear of the blank page - very much an issue for writers, and it starts like this....

Empty space. Empty place.
A blank page on a blank screen.
Fear of the unknown.  Is that what is so daunting about writing those first few words?  Why is that blank space so intimidating?
Page fright.  A writer’s nightmare.  The evil twin of procrastination.

Read the full article here

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Authorship, copyright and Marshall McLuhan

In the 1960s Marshall McLuhan predicted the rise of modern mass media, which he explored in his classic book The Medium is the Massage.  This discusses the way the growth of technology can reshape society, sensory perception and revolutionise the way we communicate and live.  He coined the phrase the "Global Village".  It's fascinating to read about his prophetic observations.  He talks about print technology and the way the invention of printing did away with anonymity "fostering ideas of literary fame and the habit of considering intellectual effort as private property. Mechanical multiples of the same text created a public - a reading public. The rising consumer-oriented culture became concerned with labels of authenticity and protection against theft and piracy. The idea of copyright....was born."

He talked about the subsequent invention and availability of xeroxing (photocopying) and how this enabled everyone to "steal" and copy at will.  "Anybody can now become both author and publisher."

Anybody?  This last comment got me thinking about existing technology and the way writers can self-publish onto a digital format, a technology that is increasingly accessible and user-friendly. This in itself raises plenty of issues both for and against.  Interesting times for writers and readers.....and publishers......