Another Anniversary for me…
My 11th anniversary of becoming a published author
How I almost missed this I’ve no idea. Until another author reminded me about the 10th anniversary of our inclusion in an anthology together, I would have missed the 11th anniversary of being a published author. She made me think!
Obviously, I missed the 10th anniversary of being published as an author – for the first time – so I thought I’d better mark the 11th anniversary – I plan to be here for the 12th, but who knows?
I’ve been published before being an author of fiction. My scribblings were concerned with music and the music business, and my efforts found their way into various music magazines when I lived another life.
Way back when I also wrote Biographies for the musicians, singers, songwriters, record producers, and others, I co-managed with my husband – for their press releases, and covers of their albums – and anything else requiring copy. I’ve even helped with storyboards for music videos.
But, writing a piece of fiction – well, that was something I’d dreamed of doing since I could first write a proper sentence back in primary school. Later, at senior school, I loved English Literature and English language classes taught by a former actor, who managed to bring the words on pages to life for me. I fell in love with writing in his classes. I’ve always been in love with reading.
He always said I should become a writer, and was a massive inspiration to me. Life happened and I kept my dream secret and just got on with things. In the back of my mind, I still harboured my dream.
I never thought it would ever happen, but it did.
Be careful what you wish for!
Seriously! I’m happy that I’ve achieved what I dreamed about for so many years. But, I have to admit I had no idea what being an author and being published entailed. I suppose I thought that one wrote a book, got a publisher, and then people went and purchased the book. Of course, later, when I sat and thought about it properly the penny dropped.
Writing a book and getting published and then – hopefully – making sales is not so different from songwriting, recording, and eventually finding a record label and a music publisher. Same process, different product, in many ways,
Lots of hard work and dedication is involved with writing, editing, perfecting a product before ‘going live,’ and having something to offer a publisher or record company (as it would have been back in my day) and often all worked on in isolation. Like in music, marketing is key, and goodness me, it’s exhausting and time-consuming.
If I hadn’t joined Facebook in 2008 and become acquainted with so many lovely writers, I doubt I’d have ever taken the steps to make my dream reality. Joining WordPress was also very instrumental in my taking steps towards becoming a published writer.
In 2011 joined a small group of writers on Facebook who wrote short stories and flash fiction for fun. We decided to put together an anthology in aid of The Norfolk Hospice, and Telling Tales Anthology was published soon after – in 2011. I have two short stories in the anthology, sadly out of print now. My stories are The Debt Collector and The Ghost in the Privy.
The Debt Collector is about a hitman seeking to collect a debt on behalf of a music manager.
The Ghost in the Privy is a ghost story about the uninvited occupant of a garden privy, it has some humour, as well as creepy aspects. For those who don’t know, a privy is a lavatory at the bottom of a garden and was quite common until the middle of the 20th century – for all I know, they may still exist and may still be in use!
Following Telling Tales, I had two stories included in the anthology, In A Word: Murder in aid of The Princess Alice Hospice, in memory of crime writer, editor, and blogger, Maxine Clarke.
My contribution is: Dreamer, and Hollywood Cover-up
Dreamer is about a rock band who are on the verge of massive success but in order to achieve this, they are told by their super-star manager and record label, to sack their songwriter and lead guitarist. This proves almost impossible; he wrote their hits. The band is forced to resort to a deadly solution.
Hollywood Cover-up is about a young woman who is a PA to one of the movers and shakers in Hollywood, someone who owns book publishing, produces movies, and finances a presidential candidate. There is a fundraiser at the Beverley Hills home of the mogul and during the party, his English PA, Tuppence, overhears a disturbing conversation and later witnesses murder. From that moment on she is running for her life.
At the same time, I was approached by a publisher – at that time they were known as Accent Press – later sold to Headline/Hachette and to be known as Headline Accent – to contribute two stories for an anthology they were putting out featuring some of their star authors. I was contracted by them for The Haunting of Anne Chambers (Shiver anthology) and Merry Christmas Everybody (Wishing on a Star anthology).
The Haunting of Anne Chambers is a story of piracy, modern and 18th century, involving Cornish pirates and modern-day drug smuggles – timeshift, crime with a tinge of romance.
Merry Christmas Everybody is a ghost story set in a recording studio one Christmas when a band and their producer are struggling not to kill each other over ‘musical’ differences. It’s based loosely on real events I experienced in a recording studio in 1989.
On the back of these, I also signed a contract with Headline Accent for my first full novel, with co-writer, Christina Jones. Only One Woman, and similar books. I’m working on the sequel now.
Since then I have contributed to 16 anthologies with various publishers.
I’ve also had my collection of short crime stories published, Undercover: Crime Shorts which features a collection of crime stories and an extract from my series of novels, in with my agent, called Ms. Birdsong Investigates. These are about a former MI5 Intelligence Officer who is forced to accept ‘voluntary’ redundancy or the loss of her pension after a botched operation in Moscow.
Undercover: Crime Shorts is being used by Western Kentucky University, KT, USA, 2nd-year-students in their classes Introduction to Literature. It’s now in the third semester of being used.
I’ve been asked to be the lead panelist on the LitCon online author discussion in March held out of New York City, NYC USA, entitled, The Intersection of Literary Fiction and Women’s Literature.
I write for print and epub magazines, including a regular series for The writers’ and Readers’ Magazine.
So many fab authors and book groups have invited me to do guest blogs, interviews, and features, enabling me to make even more lovely friends. I’ve chatted on video and radio and had a blast.
In December 2020 I signed with Langtons International Literary Agency in New York, NY, USA. Another unexpected delight that came out of the blue; I’d never considered getting an agent. until I was approached in 2019.
It has been an eventful 11 years. So much has happened regarding my writing, too many events to list. But, without the help and advice and the opportunities offered to me by my contemporaries and friends on Facebook and WordPress, things may well have been very different. A HUGE thanks to them. They know who they are.
And of course, a HUGE thanks to those who spend their hard-earned money on my books and who are such fab supporters, and have become treasured friends. I am forever grateful.
You can find out more about me and my books internationally: