Why I have chosen to Self-Publish

This post will share my ambition to traditionally publish and why that dream has changed to wanting to be an indie author.

The Traditional Author Dream

For years my dream was to be a published author. From the moment I realised someone wrote the story I was reading, I wanted to be that someone.

Back then, the only way to publish was to look inside a similar book for the contact details of the publisher and send your manuscript to them with a covering letter in the post.

Since then, things have changed. Many publishers won’t accept unsolicited manuscripts so you first need to get a Literary Agent. Most places won’t accept manuscripts by post so you now must send the document by email or using a form on their website. Their websites inform you of everything they want and don’t want. Most places now want:

  • A polished manuscript
  • A personalised covering letter (body of email) saying why you choose them
  • A synopsis (that fits on one page)
  • Comparative novels
  • A pitch
  • A marketing plan
  • And social media links.

Sounds like a lot! And often you need a good pitch to even get invited to send all that to them in the first place.

That’s not to add that rejection is high.

The Different Publishing Paths

As a result, it is no surprise that people have come up with solutions to this madness. One alternative method is to self publish and another is vanity publishing.

Here is a little info graphic on the basic differences between the different paths for novel publishing (from my interpretation):

Vanity Publishing is not for me. I don’t have the upfront costs and I want more control.

Traditional Publishing is no longer for me. I have a lot of admiration for people that are fortunate enough to get their Literary Agent and publisher. It instantly gives their novel validation that it is good enough to print. And, you know that it will have been processed by a number of industry professionals before going to print. But, I’m bored of querying.

Ready to publish

I have waited long enough and now I realise I don’t need someone else to say yes when I can give myself permission to publish today.

Con Artists

In recent years, the only requests I have had have been from ‘publishers’ I don’t trust. They requested my novel after a pitch event or via Instagram. Their websites were newly created and had no details about authors or books they have worked on/with or even who the agents or editors at the company are. I passed.


It has taken me years to find the money to pay for an editor myself. I need to pay as you go. I also like the idea that the sales will go to me.


After all the time I have put into it, I want my novel to be the way I want it. I want a say over the formatting and the cover. I want control.


I don’t want this to be my only novel. It is important that my novel is a quality product. I want to be confident and proud of my book. I want readers to enjoy it and want more. Once I publish, I don’t want to stop.

Self publishing is scary. But, I’m ready. And, I hope you will enjoy following me in my journey to publication.

If you enjoyed this you will like:

Seven tips for querying agents

How to Write a Synopsis

Felixstowe Book Festival – The Publishing Industry

Writers beware! Know who you are querying.

Click my link tree to discover more ways to connect.


Goals: Progress Since September 2019

Here is an update on how I have progressed towards the goals I set in September 2019 (towards achieving my annual goals set in January).

2019 Goals - Dec Review

Social Media

Blog (Word Press):  To continue to post at least twice a week keeping to my content schedule as much as possible. 

I am so proud of myself for keeping up with this goal.  Even during NaNoWriMo I managed to post twice a week.  

Instagram:  To maintain the new connections I have made and continue to engage with them and share content about my writing.

My posts have slowed down but I am still posting regularly.  Recently my post have been every two days.    

Twitter:  Continue to share links to my content on Twitter and connect with writers on the platform.

I took part in #RevPit and was one of the winners.  I keep meaning to write a blog post about it.  Basically, winners get to email their first 5 pages and query letter to an editor.  The editor then tweets about the ten submissions they have with advice on how to improve – this advice is useful to all writers so worth following the hashtag.  The next day, winners get an email to let them know which tweets were about their work.  

I did Boost My Bio for Pitch Wars then forgot to enter the main competition for a mentor – OMG I was so cross with myself (serious understatement).  It had been a busy weekend with two book festivals!

Facebook page:  To brainstorm how I can use this to connect with more writers.

I haven’t done anything new to my page but it is getting more traffic.  I have also been active on World Indie Warriros Facebook page.  I did my first Live via their page.  Then during NaNoWriMo, I did three live write-ins and I’ve hosted a midweek chat in December.

YouTube: To be brave and get in front of the camera and start sharing video content.  

I’m not sure I understand the change in terms for YouTube videos so I’ve not pushed myself to do this but I am super proud of myself for getting in front of the camera (see Facebook above).  

Tumblr: Share Instagram and Word Press content to this platform.

This happens all the time as my other sites are set up to automatically share there.


I sent out my second newsletter at the end of October.  This also included a full guide on using Hashtags on Instagram.  My next newsletter is due out at the end of December.  Click here to sign up.  


Jewel of the sea (formerly Drift)

Enter into the Wattys.  Put novel out to Beta Readers.  Take part in September’s #PitMad.  Work on my query letter.  

I entered Wattys but wasn’t a winner.  I also entered Wattpairs Mentorship Challenge on Wattpad but wasn’t chosen to be a mentee.  My Beta Readers went quiet…  I didn’t let these things halt my progress towards my dream. 

At the end of December it will be 10 years that I have been chasing traditional publishing.  I have decided it is time to be brave and self publish.  With my birthday money I have booked an editor and taken that first step towards making it happen.

Diamond in the sky (formerly Glide)

Re-plot novel, edit existing version and write ending.

I edited the first few chapters and updated Diamond in the Sky on Wattpad. I then used Save the Cat to plot and develop the remaining chapters.  Then during November, I worked on this novel for NaNoWriMo.  I managed to write a further 45k words, bringing the book up to 60k words.  There is still more to be written but I am so pleased with my progress and I know how it end now.  

Red Dresses

#NewYearNewNovel start a new novel for 2019

This is the new novel I started in April this year.  I plotted out the first few chapters and wrote the first 15k words to see how I got on.  I really enjoyed this novel.  I envision it being a steamy new adult romance.  I definitely plan to return to this project at a later date.  

Tinsel Tiger (picture book)

Research publishers and Literary Agents and pitch events to consider querying.  Consider whether to commission an artist to do the images and then self publish.  

I haven’t had any time to make any further progress on this project so it has taken a back seat.   


In October, I volunteered to write the World Indie Warriors brochure, ready for December. 

I planned to have the brochure completed by the end of October so it would not distract me during NaNoWriMo.  It turned out to be really hard to get all the details required from all the creatives involved.  

During November, there was still missing information I was chasing.  I set aside Sundays to make time to get it finished and I managed to get everything by 1 December 2019.  

It was my first time creating a brochure and it was a steep learning curve but I really enjoyed doing it.  I wish I could do something like this everyday for a living.  You can view the World Indie Warriors brochure here.  

Writing Course/Writing Festivals

Attend writing festivals

I got to attend The Ingram Sparks Print Facility Tour which was part of the Milton Keyne’s literary festival #MKLitFest.

I also attended WoW Con which is an online Literary Festival run by Write Mentor.  I also paid for a one-to-one via Skype with a Literary Agent.  I intended to write a blog post about it but just haven’t had the time.  




Make time at least once a week: Planner:  continue to use Carpe Diem planner; Pocket letter:  write another pocket letter; Scrapbook:  Do at least one page; Crochet:  Finish Aria’s blanket for her birthday.

I haven’t found anytime for crafts. I haven’t been using my planner, written any letters or created any cards.  I haven’t added to my scrapbook or finished Aria’s blanket.  

I did attend the Festive Planner Meet in Felixstowe.  I can’t even begin to express how amazing it was to spend time with these girls doing crafts for a few hours.  It had made me feel motivated to do more crafty things in 2020.  

For Christmas, I have brought brown paper and festive stamps to decorate it with.  That counts as a craft, right?

Read at least four and a half books by the end of September (annual goal 6 books)

I’ve exceed this goal and read a total of 11 books.  I will be sharing a post in early 2020 with a collection of all the book reviews posted in 2019.  

I have also read The Practice Boyfriend by Christina Benjamin (review  scheduled for January 2020) and Crown of Conspiracy by Kara S Weaver (review scheduled for February 2020) and Trust Me by Maddie James (review scheduled for March 2020).  

I have also signed up to Net Galley to be able to review new releases.  I will write a review on how I get on with the site and I’ll post about any books that I manage to read (time is always my biggest challenge).



Writer courses:  Continue to take advantage of any free courses that come my way if I have the time to do these. 

I desperately want to enrol on Page Malcolm’s courses, especially her author academy, but it is beyond what I can afford.  I keep missing her live videos as they are when I am asleep but I always try to catch the replay as the content is valuable.  

I am also incredibly lucky that Willow Editing has given me access to her self-publishing course to beta test it.  I started it at the end of October but then had to stop due to NaNoWriMo.  I intend to make good use of this during December.  She is so friendly in the videos she actually gets me excited about editing which is you knew how much I hate editing then you’d understand how awesome she is.  

Resource book:  Buy another writing help book.  I am considering the Emotion Thesaurus.

I haven’t ordered any resource book but my wish list has got longer.  lol!

What’s next

I am really pleased with what I have achieved this year and I’m feeling positive that 2020 is going to be even better.  I am actively pursuing self-publishing and I love being part of World Indie Warriors.  

How did your goals go this year?  Are you feeling positive about 2020?

If you enjoyed this post, you may also like:

My Books

#BoostMyBio for Pitch Wars 2019

How was NaNoWriMo 2019

I got to tour Ingram Spark’s print facility

Why I Love World Indie Warriors

To discover more ways to connect, click my link tree.




Click My Link Tree
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Click My Link Tree
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Goals: Progress Since June 2019

Here is an update on how I have progressed towards the goals I set in March 2019 (towards achieving my annual goals set in January).

Social Media

Blog (Word Press):  To continue to post at least twice a week keeping to my content schedule as much as possible. 

This has been happening even though it has been challenging to find time since returning to work.  With my hashtag series, I’ve got quite a few posts already scheduled so I should be able to post twice a week for a little while still.

Instagram:  To maintain the new connections I have made and continue to engage with them and share content about my writing.

This has definitely happened and I there are some writers that stand out to me as we have been chatting off Instagram (I even met three of them in person).

On Instagram, I took part in the #WIWJulyChallenge by @worldindiewarriors.  I have continued to post for the #StorySnippetsSaturday challenge and I took part in their week long #WritingJourneyChallenge in August by the same hosts.  For September, I have been doing the #aestheticWIPup photo challenge (I’ll share my highlights soon).  

I got to create the October Instagram photo challenge #WIWOctober for @worldindiewarriors , so I need to post daily for that – eek. 

Twitter:  Continue to share links to my content on Twitter and connect with writers on the platform.

Twitter is a platform I’ve neglected as Instagram has taken precedent and I tend to only use it for events.  On Twitter, I took part in #SFFpit September,  #PitMad September.  I am also taking part in #PitchWars.  

Facebook page:  To brainstorm how I can use this to connect with more writers.

I haven’t really done this.

YouTube: To be brave and get in front of the camera and start sharing video content.  

I just don’t have the opportunity to create videos. With an ambitious, mischievous, one year old that rarely naps, I think I will have to put this goal on hold until she moves out.  

Tumblr: Share Instagram and Word Press content to this platform.

This happens all the time. 


I managed to send out my first ever newsletter (sign up here).


Jewel of the sea (formerly Drift)

  • Edit: Enter into the Wattys.  Put novel out to Beta Readers.  Take part in September’s #PitMad.  Work on my query letter. 

I’ve attended a few pitch events and got some requests. As a result, I had to work on my query letter (which I am rubbish at) and send to the interested parties.

I didn’t put my novel on Beta Readers but I did email it to some writer friends to read for me. I’m saving up for an editor and I think once I finish the next edit, I’ll try out the Beta Readers site.

I entered Wattys 2019 and as I write this post I don’t yet know the results. They are released today! Wish me luck.

Diamond in the sky (formerly Glide)

  • Finish & edit:  Diamond in the Sky has been on hold but work on this is possible to start in July or August but I plan to give myself a little break.

I went back to the drawing board. I’ve got a new notebook and I’m exploring all the characters – even the side ones – to make them more real. I’ve also been use Save the Cat to work out the plot and beats as I’m struggling with how to put the pieces together towards Act 3 and 4. I know what I want to happen and can see certain scenes in my head but I need to put it together. The aestheticWIPup challenge this month has really helped me discover where the gaps are.

Tinsel Tiger (picture book)

  • EXTRA: I needed a picture book to enter a competition.  I decided to edit a poem I had written into a picture book format and submitted it. I also pitched it during #PitMad.

I have pitched my picture book a few times but not had any interest. Is it the pitch or the story? I don’t know.

I have thought about researching agents and querying them. I love the story but I’ve not written a picture book before so perhaps I’m doing it wrong.

I’ve also thought about another poem I wrote that I think could be edited into a fun picture book.

Writing Course/Writing Festivals

  • Third Quarter: Attend writing festivals

I’ve attended a few Literary Festivals over the summer and they’ve been a wealth of information.  Granted these weren’t free to attend but I made the most of what I got for my money:

  • Felixstowe Book Festival – Felixstowe
  • YALC Book Festival – London
  • MKLit Festival (blog post coming soon) – Milton Keynes
  • Wow-Con (blog post coming soon) – online


Working Together Course:  Finish this course.

I’ve got a certificate and everything. *happy dance*

Crafts: Make time at least once a week:

  • Planner:  continue to use Carpe Diem planner
  • Pocket letter:  write another pocket letter
  • Scrapbook:  Do at least one page
  • Crochet:  Finish Aria’s blanket for her birthday

Over the summer crafts has taken a nose dive. I did take Noah to a local craft cafe to do some activities but the challenge is Aria.

This week she removed a painting from the wall, took the leg off a table and climbed up a chest of drawer to throw pens at us. If you restrain her (car seat, cot or a high chair), she just screams. Until Aria is more easy going, she needs someone to play with her so I can help Noah do crafts or even his homework.

In the evenings, I’ve been focused on reading/writing and it’s left no time for anything else. The local craft cafe also do evening activities for grown ups so once Aria is better at night, I’m going to a scrapbook evening.

Read at least four and a half books by the end of September (annual goal 6 books):

I’ve smashed this. I’ve finished my annual reading goal. This summer I have read Envy, The Deepest Blue (book reviews of the last two are coming).

I bought lots of books at YALC. I’ve also been sent some books by authors for me to review and I’ve borrowed books from the library. I’ve got ebooks on my Kindle. I’ve even got sample books and guide books from Ingram Spark. I’ve got more books than time!

I’ve almost finished You Stole My Heart, Do I have To Take Your Name and I’m reading The Lost Prince on loan from the library and got The Cruel Prince waiting on my Kindle.

That’s enough about my goals, did you achieve yours? Let me know in the comments. If you enjoyed this post, you will like:




  • Writer courses:  Continue to take advantage of any free courses that come my way if I have the time to do these. 

These have mainly been the workshops at the book festivals, etc.  However, a friend on Instagram recently sent me access to her self editing course for me to review which I am eager to take a look at as editing is one of my major struggles.

  • Resource book:  Buy another writing help book.  I am considering the Emotion Thesaurus.

I downloaded a sample on my Kindle but haven’t looked at it yet.  The other day someone posted on Instagram a picture of a book they are using for plotting and it looked awesome and now I want that one too.  And, I’ve been toying with buying the Writers and Artists Yearbook but can’t decide if I need the children’s one or adults…

What’s next

I’m going to evaluate how I am doing and set some new goals for the next quarter.  

Let me know how you are progressing towards your goals and whether you check in on yourself too?

If you enjoyed this post, you may also like:

Goals: Progress Since March 2019

Felixstowe Book Festival – How to connect with local writers?

Why I love YALC

Book Review: Save the Cat, Writes a Novel


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Click My Link Tree
To Connect On Social Media

#BoostMyBio for Pitch Wars 2019

Pitch Wars 2019

Are you wondering, “What is Ally up to now?” Well, let me explain…

Pitch Wars is a competition where the prize is a mentor. I’ve never taken part before but this year I’m going to do it.

I only get to choose four mentors to submit to and the mentors can only pick one mentee from all their submissions. Wish me luck!

To read other #boostmybio mentee posts, click here.

To read the mentors profiles, click here.

About me

I’m a natural redhead. It’s the first thing people notice about me. I married my first love in Mauritius, we have a son, a daughter and two cats. I’ve just returned to work from maternity leave but I still find time to write and drink copious amounts of tea.

I have wanted to be an author since before I can remember and been chasing the dream ever since. My favourite genre is YA Contemporary Fantasy/Paranormal Romance. I love making my characters everyday problems a little more complicated with a touch of magic and fantasy. I’ve also written a picture book and my short romance story was published in an anthology.

This year I have discovered the #writingcommunity on Instagram and loving it! I blog about my writing journey and share tips along the way to help my fellow writers. I also post book reviews.

My novel is Jewel of the Sea

#YA #PR #ContemporaryFantasy

TEEN WOLF but mermaids in the UK.

Love struck, misfit, redhead discovers she’s a mermaid. With her emotions connected to her dormant weather manipulation powers, falling in love is deadly dangerous!


Jewel of the Sea was inspired by Rachel Vincent’s werecat shifters series.  I found myself creating my own world of shifters but aimed at a younger audience and put my own spin on things. 

It would appeal to fans of The Immortal Instruments, Vampire Academy and Wolves of Mercy Falls.

Jewel of the Sea is based in my hometown, Felixstowe, which has enabled me to recreate the coastal town in a vivid and realistic light.  My husband was my first love and best friend, so a lot of the romance in this story was inspired by my personal life. Jewel of the Sea addresses many issues teenagers experience at school but the fantasy elements enable them to escape into a magical world.

The following list is a sample of what to look forward to in Jewel of the Sea:

  • mermaids
  • shape shifters
  • fairies
  • storm summoning
  • weather manipulation
  • spell casting
  • An epic battle
  • Romance
  • friends to lovers
  • enemies to lovers
  • love triangle
  • coming of age
  • first kisses

What I’m hoping for

I’ve lost count of the amount of edits and years spent working on Jewel of the Sea. I’m constantly seeking feedback from others but what I need is a professional pair of eyes. If I had the money, I would hire an editor! I truly believe they are worth their weigh of gold and imagine you can learn a lot from them about your writing. Please tell me how I can make my novel better?

This year, I realised I’ve been neglecting my query/pitch. I feel so stupid for not twigging sooner how important it is. I have been working hard on fixing it but have no idea what else I need to do. Please help me make my first impression irresistible?

I am sure there is so much more I need to know that I haven’t thought of because I don’t even have an inkling. What am I missing?

And, I hope this doesn’t sound sappy but after all our hard work together I would love to become lifelong friends.

If you enjoyed this post, you may like:

About Me

Have you finished your novel? What is next?

How was #PitMad September 2019?

What to watch if you love mermaids!

Click My Link Tree
To Connect On Social Media
Click My Link Tree
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Goals: Progress Since March 2019

Here is an infographic of the goals set for this year showing whether I have achieved them yet or not:


Social Media

  • Consistently Post: Post twice a week to my blog, post three photos/videos a week to IG, share content to Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook. Brainstorm how to use my FB page more.

I am really pleased with how I have done here.  I have managed to keep up with my blog schedule.  I have also posted daily to IG.  In addition, I have been networking a lot on Twitter this past month and my connections have boomed.  

  • YouTube: Start making YouTube videos.

This hasn’t happened. I am no longer scared, I just want to do it but it is actually really hard for me to get the right conditions to create a video.  I often have kids around or it is late and I am tired.

  • Online Events: Take part in Twitter and Instagram events 

Woah!  I only just finished editing Jewel of the Sea in time for the June #PitMad Twitter Event.  This deadline gave me the kick I needed to cross the finish line.  

This month I am doing the #authorschallenge2019 on Instagram.  Last month I did the one week #StorySnippetsChallenge which was so popular it had now become a Saturday event called #StorySnippetsSaturday.  

In April, I took part in the Camp Nano. More about that later.

I am planning to take part in PB Pitch on 20 June 2019.  


Jewel of the sea (formerly Drift)

  • Edit: Finish work on Act 2 and start Act 3

I smashed this goal.  I have not only finished Act 2 and 3 but also Act 4. That’s right, Jewel of the Sea is finished.  You can read it on Wattpad for a limited time.

Diamond in the sky (formerly Glide)

  • Finishe & edit:  Diamond in the Sky has been on hold but work on this is possible to start in July or August but I plan to give myself a little break.

Scarlet House

  • First Quarter: Start novel #NewYearNewNovel

This was my Camp NaNo project.  I used Save the Cat to write an outline for the first few chapters and set myself a goal of 15k. I am please to say I achieved it!

Tinsel Tiger (picture book)

  • EXTRA: I needed a picture book to enter a competition.  I decided to edit a poem I had written into a picture book format and submitted it. I also pitched it during #PitMad.

Article Writing

  • All year: Submit to Little Mum Mag & to Ginger Parrot

I still don’t have time for this at the moment.

Writing Course

  • Second Quarter: Take advantage of free opportunities to learn

An advert came up on Facebook to join a group to work on pitches ready for #PitMad.  It was a week long course, each day we were set a challenge to help us develop our pitch. 

The course was brilliant and I really like my pitches.  Here are my favourite two for each book.

#PITMAD #YA #PR #ContemporaryFantasy

TEEN WOLF but mermaids in the UK.

Love struck, misfit, redhead discovers she’s a mermaid.

Being in the middle of a love triangle awakens Mariah’s dormant weather powers and gives a dangerous new meaning to the status ”It’s complicated!”


VELVETEEN RABBIT for Christmas decorations.

A tiger made of tinsel comes to life and has all sorts of fun.  A story told in rhyme to inspire the imagination of children.


  • Second Quarter: Flexible work request

I had to put in a request to change my hours and attend a meeting with HR to persuade them to agree to the change. The meeting was a success. When I return in the autumn I will have the hours I want. I’m very happy with the outcome.

  • All year: Crafts

I am ashamed to admit I have not found time for crochet. I hope to finish Aria’s blanket by her birthday. I still haven’t done even one scrapbook page. think I need to set a night aside for crafts.

On a positive note I tried something new and created my first pocket letter for a friend. I wish to do another and write a blog post about it.

  • All year: Journal/Planner

I bought a Carpe Diem planner and find it very therapeutic to see my monthly and weekly plan. The stickers are aesthetically pleasing. I do find the layouts restrict me from doing what I want. I’ve searched for someone selling dotted paper but nobody does for this planner.

  • Read a book every two months

I’ve finished Red Queen and posted my review. I have completed Save The Cat (review to come) which is a theory book.

I’m currently struggling go get into a book at the moment as I’m so focused on finishing up my novel and have limited time but I am making slow progress.


  • Working together course (be able to effectively support my son’s school)

I had my first volunteer session and it went really well. I still get nervous when I go in to help but each time I go it gets easier.  The children are wonderful and so enthusiastic about technology.

  • PitMad Challenge (Facebook Group)

This was a private group that you had to request to join. It involved a 7 day challenge during the week leading up to PitMad where Kathy Ver Eecke helped authors to develop their pitches with daily lessons.  It was incredibly good.  I cannot fault the woman and I am so thankful for everything I learnt on this course.

What’s next

I’m going to evaluate how I am doing and set some new goals for the next quarter.  

Let me know how you are progressing towards your goals and whether you check in on yourself too?

If you enjoyed this post, you may also like:

Goals: Progress since Jan 2019

Book Review: Red Queen

#PitMad June 2019 Summary

The Story Snippets Challenge

  if_twitter-01-01_3066980  if_instagram-01-01_3066990  if_youtube-01-01_3066976  if_g-01-01_3066962

Ally plus text

YA Author Spotlight!

Look at who got featured!

Author CL Walters was looking to feature writers from Instagram on her blog and I got picked. You can read her post about yours truly by clicking here.

She is the author of two novels that can be bought from Amazon.com:


Swimming Sideways by CL Walters

What do you do when your world has fallen apart, and there doesn’t seem to be a way to put it back together? Abby Kaiāulu (Kaw ee aw oo loo) gets the chance to start over when her family relocates from Hawaii to a small town on the Oregon coast. But she’s hiding a secret. Leaving the past and the cultural lessons of her Hawaiian grandfather behind, Abby redefines who she is to hide it. There’s Good Abby – she makes and follows the rules – and there’s Bad Abby – she always questions them. But both leave Abby wondering: which one is she really? Her road of self-discovery takes her on a journey where she must discover the truth of who she is as a daughter, a sister, a woman, a Hawaiian and as a friend. But just when she thinks her world might be coming back together, it falls apart all over again.


The Ugly Truth by CL Walters

Seth Peters has been angry for a long time. Living with an abusive, alcoholic father has that effect. But when he wakes up in a hospital – outside of his body – due to an accident that he doesn’t remember, Seth is no longer angry; he’s terrified. When his memories begin to return, he is confronted with a legacy of lies he’s constructed to survive the pain of his own life. Realizing he’s no different than the man he’s loathed his whole life, Seth’s learns that his choices have set into motion far-reaching and terrible consequences for the only true friend he’s ever had, Gabe Daniels. Challenged with wallowing in the pain or confronting his fears and admitting to the ugly truth about himself, Seth must decide if facing what he fears most to save his friend’s life is worth the risk of losing his own.


If you like this post, you may enjoy:

  if_twitter-01-01_3066980  if_instagram-01-01_3066990  if_youtube-01-01_3066976  if_g-01-01_3066962

Ally plus text

Goals: Progress since Jan 2019

Here is an infographic of the goals set for this year and whether I’ve achieved them or not:


Social Media

  • Blog: Keep up with two posts a week. Start including links to my previous posts within new posts. Rework old posts to give new life & build an advice collection.

Posting twice a week has proven more challenging than I expected but I have discovered the IFTTT app. This app is able to convert Instagram posts into draft blog posts. When I have struggled for time this has been a game changer. I highly recommend it.

I have also revamped old posts and started referring readers with links to previous content they may like.

  • Instagram: Try to post three photos/videos a week

I have been posting two to three times a day! I have over exceeded this goal. I’m so pleased with myself and connected with lots of cool new writer friends as a result.

  • New:  Discord (new) & Facebook Group (new)

This wasn’t in my plans but a lot of IG writing groups have invited me to their Facebook group and discord channel so we can chat more easily as IG limits chat groups to 30 people.  I have also created a Facebook Page of my own which I hope to utilise in the near future.

Online events:

  • Twitter: Take part in Twitter events like #PitMad or #AskAnna

As I’ve ripped Jewel of the Sea apart I have nothing to query. #WriteMentor did a pitch event to earn a place on their rolling course with a mentor. I didn’t win but I gave it a go as I’ve worked hard on improving my pitch.

Mariah has a magic-meddling mum, and about to discover she’s a storm summoning mermaid that needs to gain control of her emotion-connected powers ready for the impending battle with the powerful, unstoppable death crows!”

I’ve also taken part in IG events like monthly photo prompts and joined #FellowCreativeMinds and #HustlingWritersCommunity. If Aria wasn’t unwell I would have also got more involved in #STCExperiment – there is still time.

  • YouTube: Try making a video once each quarter, working towards once a month

I still haven’t braved the camera. But, I took baby steps and made two Instagram story videos which has helped me feel more confident. It is still something I am keen to do and I’ve started following more writers on YouTube. I really enjoy their content and they help inspire me to create my own.

YouTube writers I’m enjoying are:

April Grace Reads

About:  “24. Writer. Reader. Full-time final year Creative Writing graduate. Full Time Ride Operator in a children’s play centre. Books are my passion, especially YA fantasy fiction. Email me at aprilgracereads@gmail.com. I’d love to chat with any of you guys! “

Fellow Creative Minds

About:  “A channel to give help, support and encouragement to creative minds everywhere! I post twice a week. Once on Wednesday, usually a reading your writing, and then I post another video each week at a random time. To join the growing creative minds community, join our Discord and follow lizthewritingwiz on Instagram. Happy Creating! 😊”

Bethany Atazadeh

About:  “I’m an author of science fiction and fantasy novels, as well as a writing coach over on Patreon, and obviously, a youtuber! (AKA authortuber 🙂 This channel also used to be dedicated to music, so if you look back far enough you’ll find some fun songs.”

Author Brittany Wang

About:  “Hello friends! My name is Brittany Wang and I’m an aspiring author currently working on my YA Fantasy Novel. If you’re looking for writerly insights as well as writing community, you’re in the right place and I hope you’ll subscribe so you don’t miss a thing! If you’d like to interact more with me and my writer’s community, join our Plotter Life Writer’s Facebook Group and come hang out with me on Instagram where I’m active daily!”

Happily Ever Author

I feel I should mention Pagan as although she’s not on YouTube she does post videos to Facebook and helped me with advice on how to get started.  Click here to read about my review of her Facebook Group.


Jewel of the sea (formerly Drift)

  • First Quarter: Another edit

I have been fortunate enough to get some feedback on my novel that has helped me see what I need to do.

I’ve also been following the principles in Save the Cat Writes a Novel. It has really helped with pacing. If you have not read it, you are missing out. Once I’ve finished the book I will write a review.

Diamond in the sky (formerly Glide)

  • First Quarter: Finish novel
  • It started out well but once I realised the extensive edit needed to finish Jewel of the Sea, I decided I needed to focus completely on one project.
  • Diamond in the Sky has been put on hold for now.

Scarlet House

  • First Quarter: Start novel #NewYearNewNovel

This did not even happen even a little bit. I was struggling with time for my other projects so something had to go and this is what got the chop.

My plan is for this to be my Camp NaNo project next month. I shall use Save the Cat Writes a Novel to have an outline ready for April.

Article Writing

  • All year: Submit to Little Mum Mag & to Ginger Parrot

I have been so tied up with my own projects I have not had time to write for others.


  • First Quarter: Get my bodacious body back (diet & exercise programme to achieve a more healthy me)

This has gone so well. Eating paleo has been a life style choice and I hope to write blog post to share more. I feel more healthy and my figure is looking great.

  • All year: Scrapbooking (my son is now 5y old and I still haven’t started his. I need to do this).

I haven’t had time to do this. At the moment I can’t see when I will have time which is sad as those memories are precocious. I showed my son my baby album and he loved it. Maybe if I print his pictures at the very least I can put them in an album.

  • All year: Crochet – I learnt to crochet in 2018 and if I don’t want to lose the skill I need to keep practising.

Well… I still haven’t finished the blanket. How embarrassing is that! I hope I finish it before Aria turns one.

  • All year: Journal – I’ve always wanted to get into it as I love the creative way of expressing yourself and being organised.

I have tried a few times but over think it. I’m going to a meet up at the end of the month with some local planner girls.  I am hoping these women will share their wisdom with me and help me get started.  I want to use it to help me organise my writing.

  • Read a book every two months

I’ve read Rebel of the Sands (review coming soon) but I am a little behind target. I’ve started Red Queen but doubt I will finish it by the end of April.



  • Working together course (be able to effectively support my sons school)

I have now started this course. I feel nervous about volunteering at the school (first volunteer session is on 27 March).  It is so silly but I am scared of the little kids (lol).  I feel supported by my peers and the staff at the school and I am sure that once I have done it, I will feel better about it.

I feel this course and the experience will boost my career.  I would like to work in a school as the hours would be good for my children and there is also the aspect that once I am published, I would love to visit schools in Suffolk and inspire the next generation of writers.

  • New: #WriteMentor

This wasn’t in my plans but when the opportunity to try it out for free came up, I went for it.  For February, I was fortunate enough to be part of the exclusive private Slack group for writer #WriteMentor.   I need to write a blog post for you to truly appreciate how amazing this opportunity is and why when I return to work I plan to subscribe as a paid member.


What’s next

I’m going to evaluate how I am doing and set some new goals for the next quarter.  

Let me know how you are progressing towards your goals and whether you check in on yourself too?

If you enjoyed this post, you may also like:

Goals for the year ahead – 2019

My best kept writing secret of last year (Happily Ever Author)

I did #FebWritersChallenge

I did #JanWritersChallenge

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Reflecting on 2018

The year is coming to an end and as I look back I am really pleased with what I have achieved.

What I used from 2017

I ended 2017 by reflecting on what I had learnt in my first year of blogging. 

When I look back at my Reflecting on 2017 post, I still use a lot of the tools and tricks I learnt in my first year of blogging. 

Things I no longer do is embed Instagram pictures within my blog posts as they no longer seem to work.  I also stopped using LoCal.

I am disappionted that I didn’t put what I learnt about creative writing into practice.  Writing blog posts feels easier than writing a novel as I can dip in and out more easily, whereas when I write a novel I like to get into the chapter and write a chunk – nowadays, I struggle to find the time for that.

Progress towards 2018 Goals

I have acheieved 82% of the goals I set at the start of 2018.  I’ve also achieved goals that I hadn’t anticipated such as article writing for an online magazine.  I particpated in NaPoWriMo (poetry writing) which is outside my confort zone and really stretched and challenged me.  I also hit my NaNoWriMo word count goal.

Personal life

I’ve also felt positive about my personal achievements this year.  I completed my CIPD HR Diploma which is a professional qualification.  I gave birth to my beautiful daughter Aria Rose. 

I’ve also been making the most of my materntiy leave by being actively involved in activities at my son’s school such as parent phonic classes and parent maths classes (so I can better support him with his homework).  I have also been making it to the Stay & Play sessions.  I am out attending groups with my baby and making new mum friends for her and we are currently doing baby massage classes together.  

I have really enjoyed including some blogs posts about my personal life and will continue to do so next year.

What is in store for 2019?

Well more personal posts for sure but I need to set some goals to get my focus back on my fiction writing as getting published is my lifelong ambition. Check back early January to see the goals I set to keep progressing.

If you have enjoyed this post, you may like:

Reflection on 2017

Goals for 2018

Reflecting on NaPoWriMo

NaNo Progress Diary (the end)

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Thank you for helping me reach 200+ Followers

This is a really quick post as I can’t believe my blog now has over 200+ followers!  Wow!

Thank you.  I couldn’t have done it without all you amazing people who click ‘follow’.  It means so much to me.  That’s why I follow back most people who follow me.

When I first started blogging, I was scared to click post.  I had this fear people would judge my writing and laugh at my amature content.  I was intimidated by the thought of coming up with subjects to write and thought I would run out of ideas or be boring.

At the time, I had no idea how much I would enjoy blogging.  I have suprised myself with how I always have a generous stream of ideas for blog posts.  The most challenging this has been finding the time to write and take pictures for posts.  I’ve learnt to schedule my posts to space them out and this also keeps me organised.

This year is the first year I have been consistent throughout.  I used to post immediatley and I’d end up with a batch together.  Learning to schedule is one of the most useful tools I have discovered. 

Blogging has been a big commitment and I once my daughter was born I had to reduce my schedule a little.  But, I couldn’t stop bloggin now.  I love it! 

There will defiitley be more blogging next year.  I am seriously considering paying for my blog as I use it every week and love interacting with others that share my interests.  

To some people 200 might not seem a lot but for me it is.  I am really proud of myself and I’m daring to set myself a goal to double my followers by the end of next year.  Can you imagine that!

I hope you are loving your blogging journey too. 

Please comment and let me know how long you have been blogging and what you blog about.  Do you pay for your blog – do you recommend it? 

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NaNo Progress Diary (week three)

Thursday, 15th November 2018

10:20 pm

I thought Aria would never go to sleep but, finally, she did.  I am super keen to make sure that week 3 goes better than week 2.  To stay on track for 25k I needed to write 955 words… I managed to write 973 word! *phew*

I did get a little distracted today looking up a name for my word cutter/huntsman character.  Then, I didn’t even use it!

Friday, 16th November 2018

11:00 pm

Tonight, I have been blogging and researching content for my blog. 

This week I have also been meeting with companies to discuss at home business opportunities as I am looking into ways to bring in a little income without compromising my commitment to my children.  I’ve got some serious thinking to do and it has been quite distracting.  

Saturday, 17th November 2018

11:00 pm

I didn’t feel motivated to write this evening as I feel stuck in my story and I’m still beating myself up about how poorly I did last week and that I didn’t write last night.

I’m so glad that I put my butt in the seat because I managed to write 1,352 words tonight and once I got into the chapter, I really enjoyed writing it.  I wrote in third person tonight which isn’t my usual style (I’m a die hard first person POV write) but I was writing from another characters perspective and I think using a different style helped me get past the point I am stuck. 

I’ve no idea where the story will take me tomorrow.  I didn’t have much time to plan an outline for this one and I have no idea where the story is going just an idea of what I want it to achieve.  The vagueness is now causing me problems. I used to be a pantser but with my limited writing time available, these days I really do need a plan.  

My 25k goal is still doable but there is no chance I will achieve 50k.  I’m glad I set a more realistic goal for myself.   


Sunday, 18th November 2018

10:30 pm

Do you ever feel like everything is working against you?  I thought today might be tricky to write as it was also my son’s joint birthday party.

Unfortunately, my son woke up and was sick.  As it was a joint party it still went ahead but without him.  I ran around town making sure that my contribution (money, food, etc) was still made available to the other mums.  The whole point of a joint party was to share the costs. 

Once I got both little ones to bed I went to my PC, only to find that my cat had made herself comfortable on my chair.  She had that look on her face that told me she would not be moving.  After, coaxing her off the chair I logged onto the PC.  By then, my husband and his friend were watching a new TV series on Netflix – it looked pretty good and kept distracting me. 

However, I am pleased to say I did manage to write, even if it was only 607 words. 

Monday, 19th November 2018

9:00 pm

Noah had to be kept off school due to the 48h rule to prevent him passing on his tummy bug, however, he has been absolutely fine all day which meant he wanted entertaining.  There was no opportunity to sneak in a few extra words for my manuscript.  I made him do homework every time he said “I’m hungry,” before giving him a snack.  Which if you know any 4 year olds, that is a lot of homework.  

Now, both the little ones are in bed it it my time.  But, I am struggling to focus on my project when I can feel Christmas fast approaching and all the Black Friday sales have started early!  I’m always looking for ways to save money so I’m finding it hard to resist temptation to shop.

10:30 pm

I managed to write 1,022 words before being called away mid sentence by a hungry baby. I just felt like I was getting back into it too. It is too late to go back downstairs and I’m tired, so, sweet dreams all. Tomorrow, I’m going to try and double my daily word count. 

Tuesday, 20th November 2018

10:10 pm

Noah was well enough to go to school today.  Today was Stay and Play at school so I was there for the afternoon. 

Tonight, neither of the little ones wanted to go to sleep.  The oldest one kept claiming to need the loo and needs reminding about hand washing.  And, the little one seemed to know when I left the room, despite my expert ginger ninga skills and would start crying. 

So, despite challenging conditions, I have managed to write 927 words.  To get back on track, I currently need to be doing 1,029 words per day.  I am behind target but I’m no quitter!

Wednesday, 21st November 2018


I’m so pleased that this afternoon I got to write.  Noah is at school and Aria is asleep.  But, now it’s time to go and pick him up so I’m going to end there with my 359 words and hope I get a chance to add some more this evening.


I’m glad I got to write earlier as Aria has been difficult to settle tonight.  She is teething and experiencing her first cold, bless her, so really struggled to fall asleep – it could be a long night. 

I am not going to write tonight, however, I did chat with a friend about my project which helped generate some fresh ideas to work on.  I also drew a picture earlier today of one of the villains in the story.


Reflecting on week 3

Obviously, I hadn’t anticipated a sick boy or a restless baby but despite these challenges, I feel week 3 has gone better than week 2.  But, I still want to do better!

Not writing an outline for my novel or doing any preparation is really taking its toll now.  I’m struggling to know what direction to take the story in and every time a new character is introduced I have to come up with a name and think about what makes them who they are.  

Plus, ‘Black Friday’ sales are cropping up everywhere and reminding me that it is Christmas next month and although we don’t go overboard… I haven’t done anything.

My motto for this week’s NaNoWriMo is “If you take time to plan, you save time in the long run.”  Are you doing NaNoWriMo?  How are you getting on?

If you like this post, then you may enjoy my week two diary for NaNoWriMo November 2018 or Week Four.  If you want to know what I have been working on then check out my NaNoWriMo Project post.

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