Nolichuck! TJ’s Wild Frontier Adventure – review


TJ’s just an ordinary fourteen year old kid with extraordinary problems at home and school:  A broken up family from his parents’ bitter divorce, evil bullies almost every afternoon, failing grades, boring classes, snobby girls, mean teachers, cut from basketball tryouts, few friends.

Life is rough for TJ Cockrell.

And then that mysterious little green book had to go and throw him into the past.  And not just any past, but into the untamed forbidding forests of 1802 eastern Tennessee along with the savage Indians, wild beasts, bloodthirsty robbers, backwoods ruffians, and log cabin living!  Yup, it’s definitely not 2011 Knoxville anymore.

And he thought his present life was bad news!  But TJ’s adventures are only beginning.  Along the way, he fights off killer beasts and bandits and braves, meets the young Davy Crockett, gains a world of confidence in himself, finds his first real love, and is befriended by a fantastic frontier family who really has it together.

When he returns to the present, he’s a brand new person––but there’s killers loose in his house, bullies waiting to beat him up at school, a pretty new girl at Highland High he’s hasn’t even seen yet.  And the aftermath of the little green book to deal with!

Links to Nolichuck!:



TJ Cockrell is an average fourteen year-old boy. Still grieving from his parent’s divorce and his young sister, Natalie, going to live with their mother, he struggles with classes at school – especially history, has little self-confidence which is compounded by the bullying he receives from the more popular students at his school.

When TJ discovers a mysterious green book in his father’s normally locked desk drawer, his adventure begins. He finds himself back in the year 1802 and quickly has to blend in with the people of that time. His self-confidence is tested far beyond his expectations but he rises to the occasion.

TJ is a likeable character and the reader cheers when things go well and despair when things go badly.

Divorce and bullying are prevalent in today’s society and this book portrays both sympathetically but realistically. This is an interesting read and teens, especially those who are in the same situation as TJ, will be able to relate to his situation.

I look forward to more from this author.

About the Author:

Jackson Keene is the pen name of Jack Olen King. Mr. Keene is a former advertising man and senior marketing executive with a love of writing and history. In his free time, among other things, he volunteer coaches youth basketball and is a coach-player on his own men s team. He lives in Plano, Texas, where he enjoys creating stories about less celebrated yet equally exciting periods of the past and present. Nolichuck is his debut novel.


I was reading New Beginnings by Rebecca Emin when I was approached to read/review another book that dealt with childhood bullying. I agreed and started reading it today. I’ll post my review here when I’m finished. Bullying is as old as man and will continue to plague our lives unless we collectively take a stand to stop it.

So without any further preamble from me, I turn my blog over to Jackson Keene author of the debut YA novel, NOLICHUCK.

GUEST POST by Jackson Keene, Author of Debut YA novel NOLICHUCK

(NOTE:  TJ, our young hero of NOLICHUCK, endures constant bullying at school.  He even has problems with ruffians when he travels back in time to the wild frontier days.  His story of ultimately overcoming and gaining real confidence is very relevant for youth today who suffer harassment from mean classmates.)    



Are you faced with bullying at school or know students who are?  Ways to deal with bullies.

Bullying in schools has seemingly reached epidemic proportions today.  This appears especially true in elementary school, middle school, junior high school levels, and even up through senior high.  And it’s not just the boys who are tormenting their classmates.  Girls often are crueler and much more devious than the boys.

Bullying can take many forms.  It can be verbal such as taunting, teasing that goes way beyond mere kidding around, false accusations, vicious rumors, ugly slurs, constant unkind statements, making fun of someone’s appearance or intelligence or lack of material things.  It can be emotional such as constantly and publicly humiliating someone, continuously excluding someone from becoming part of an accepted group or popular crowd, derogating someone’s manhood or womanhood.  And it can be physical, including hitting, punching, slapping, kneeing a boy in his private area, shoving, tripping, choking, in the case of girls, pulling hair, yanking on clothes, spitting, biting, kicking, etc.

Whatever form bullying takes and wherever it occurs, bullying kids at school is intolerable behavior.  Unnecessary and unprovoked unkindness is always wrong, no matter what the excuse.

But there are ways students can help protect themselves and deflect bullying actions.

  1. Build a “defense team” around you.  The old truism that all bullies are cowards unfortunately is not 100% true.  Yes, many bullies are cowardly at heart, and they seek to lash out at weaker prey.  But all bullies, whether they’re a coward or not, respect power.  Two are better than one, three are better than two, four are better than three.  Early on, connect with other students who may also be targets of bullying action, and form a protective group.  In between classes, in the lunchroom, in the gym, on the playground, etc., keep together as much as possible.
  2. “Believe in yourself” and your good qualities.  I’m not saying don’t be realistic about areas where you want to improve.  We all have things that aren’t perfect in ourselves.  But spend equal time encouraging yourself in the many areas where you KNOW you have good qualities.  Think on all the good traits, skills, and abilities you have.  Don’t let peer pressure or group mentality or bullying take away your core confidence.  You have a lot of innate value.  You have dreams and hopes.  Don’t give those up.  Who knows how productive and how fulfilling your life will be in 10, 20 years versus many of those people who are being mean to you right now.  Look at the long-range picture and KNOW you’ll going to be someone and accomplish good things.
  3. “Stand up” for your innate worth.  When confronted by untrue or mean statements, reply calmly, logically, and clearly.  State what you know to be true about your self-worth.  Don’t back down.  And never give up on yourself.
  4. Think about taking some type of “martial arts or self-defense” class.  I’m not necessarily talking about becoming the Karate Kid here.  But learning some basic defense techniques and using them ONLY WHEN ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY will work wonders in scaring off would-be bullies.  I had several fights growing up with bullies.  I was always small, highly intelligent (not a good thing in my generation), but feisty, and I never lost a fight with a bully, and in fact had instances where the bully failed to show at the “appointed time” because my bluster apparently scared them off.
  5. “Make allies and be a friend” wherever you can.  Even among the more popular kids, you’ll find of lot of them have good hearts and real character who’ll sympathize with your plight and take up for you.  Be a true friend to everyone you can, knowing that real friendship pays dividends.  And don’t just be a friend to those in power, so to speak.  You should go out of your way to be friends with others less fortunate.  Help those in need, and you’ll find help may be coming back to you!
  6. “Never return evil for evil”.  It never works out the way you’d hoped.  Don’t say or do intentionally mean things to get back at bullies or others.  Rise above the maddening crowd and be a better person than the bullies who persecute you.
  7. “Make it known”.  In today’s “zero tolerance” environment, it’s not only okay but the correct thing to do to notify school administrators and teachers of bullying behavior.  They’ll take steps to stop the aggression.  In addition, you should confide in others who can give you comfort and guidance:  Siblings, family members, friends, acquaintances you can trust, and people at church (if you go).  Talking things out always helps, especially if the person has been through some of the same problems in their school days.  

 So if you know someone or someone’s child(ren) who is being bullied, or suspect they are, please share this post with them. It could make all the difference. author Owen Carey Jones launches his novel Rough Cut

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Rough Cut

Rough Cut is an international mystery thriller set in the UK and on the French Riviera. Populated with well drawn characters, it is filled with suspense and intrigue and the many twists and turns introduce the reader to the fascinating world of synthetic diamonds.

When a New York dealer in gemstones discovers a number of top quality synthetic diamonds in a batch he has bought, industry watchdog, the Federation of International Diamond Traders calls in Belizean, Carter Jefferson to trace their origin.

Carter, a synthetic diamond specialist who recently quit working or the FIDT to concentrate on writing but who still works for them on an ad hoc basis, is reluctant to take the case until he finds a reference in the file which takes him back 25 years to the time he was a geology student at Oxford University.

Old relationships are revived and family secrets emerge as an attractive English girl and a passionate young Frenchman are sucked into the web of deceit and death surrounding the illicit gems.


What can I say about Rough Cut other than it was difficult to put down. Owen’s style drew me in immediately and kept me hooked until the very end. His characters are believable and with the exception of the villains, are extremely likeable.

Carter Jefferson, the main character in the book, is a diamond expert and author. His expertise in the gems and previous work with the FDIT leads him back on a freelance basis into the case of synthetic diamonds getting into a shipment of real ones.

A trip to England for a book signing hooks him up with the former love of his life, Nicole. She’s had her share of tragedies since her father forced her to break up with Carter when they studied at Oxford. Her husband was killed in an accident a few short years ago and now, between the time Carter has his signing in London and arrives in the village in Yorkshire, her son is murdered.

As Owen led me through the trail of murder suspects and where the synthetic diamonds were coming from, he kept me guessing who was behind the plot.

I love to curl up with a good crime read and this one definitely fit the bill.

The Star Child Cover Reveal Event

The world is about to be cloaked in darkness.
Only one can stop the night.

Kellen St. James has spent his entire life being overlooked as an unwanted, ordinary, slightly geeky kid. That is until a beautiful girl, one who has haunted his dreams for the past eleven years of his life, shows up spinning tales of a prophecy. Not just any old prophecy either, but one in which Kellen plays a key role.

Suddenly, Kellen finds himself on the run through a Celtic underworld of faeries and demons, angels and gods, not to mention a really ticked off pack of hellhounds, all in order to save the world from darkness. But will they make it in time?

About The Author:

Stephanie Keyes was born in Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania and has worked for the past twelve years as a corporate educator and curriculum designer in the Telecommunications industry. She holds a Master’s degree in Education with a specialization in Instructional Technology from Duquesne University and a B.S. in Management Information Systems from Robert Morris University. She is a classically trained clarinetist, but also plays the saxophone and sings. When she’s not writing, she is a wife to a wonderfully supportive husband and mother to two little boys whom she cites as her inspiration for all things writing. The Star Child is Mrs. Keyes’ debut novel.


Giveaway Details (Open for US and UK only):

Celtic knot designed antique bookmark – will go very good with this book!

Rafflecopter link for the giveaway: Smiley author Sue Fortin launches her novel United State of Love

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United State of Love

My Journey as an Unpublished Author:-

“I have always dabbled with writing and always loved reading so when I had the opportunity last year to concentrate on writing, I grabbed it. It was a case of now or never to get that novel written.

So August 2010 I began my plotting and planning. I had one scene in my mind, a confrontation between two lovers over an ex. It had no story leading up to it and no story following it but it was the beginning of French Kissing in the UK, which has since become United State Of Love. I then went about building up other scenes that these three characters might find themselves in. My next step was to link these scenes with a story line. Funnily enough, the scene that started it all off never made the final manuscript, it just didn’t fit in with the story I had created.

While I was writing, I joined the Romantic Novelist Association under their New Writers Scheme and duly submitted my novel, receiving a critique back about four weeks later. Okay, I hadn’t written the perfect novel, I didn’t get a second read, I wasn’t put in contact with an agent and I wasn’t offered a three book deal with a mega advance. It took a couple of weeks for me to get over myself and realise that actually the critique had made some very valid observations, particularly concerning motivation of two of my characters. However, I wasn’t sure if I had the energy or enthusiasm to rectify this as it wasn’t something that could just be tweaked. Nonetheless, I didn’t want to give in and headed back to the laptop with a vengeance. Surprisingly, I really enjoyed the re-write, which was pretty much the first half with tweaking of the remainder.

My next step was to get some feedback from other people. The lovely Associate Reader Lou Graham and fellow Featured Author Nicky Wells both read it independently, giving me encouragement and advice for which I am very grateful.

My final step of the process was to have my novel professionally edited and proofread by Kit Domino, who is also a Featured Author with Love A Happy Ending. I am very grateful to her for ironing out the rough edges, leaving me with a polished novel ready for publication on 11 July this year.” author Richard F Holmes launches his Angelic Wisdom Trilogy

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Angelic Wisdom Trilogy

Richard Holmes’ Angelic Wisdom Trilogy combines three of Richard’s earlier volumes and has been updated.

This wonderful trilogy of angelic insights started life back in 2002, and was originally three separate volumes. It is a delightful piece of work that allows the reader to take a peek into the very souls of these truly amazing celestial beings that we like to refer to as angels. The first part of the book goes into great detail as to how the angels function and what they actually do for the Earth and mankind in general.

Part two gives a deep insight into spiritual (natural) law and answers the kind of questions that tend to keep the average mere mortal frustrated and in the dark. For example, have you ever wondered why you continuously seem to attract the same kinds of people into your life that always causes you hurt and pain? This question and many more are dealt with within the pages of part two.

There are also question and answer sessions in parts one and two, between the author and his celestial guardian, that are both thought provoking and interesting to say the least.

Finally, part three consists entirely of such a session and deals with matters that the author felt remained unanswered from the previous two volumes. This book will change your life; you can’t afford NOT to read it.

Celtic Connexions welcomes Gilli Allan

Celtic Connexions is thrilled to welcome author, Gilli Allan, fresh from her interview at Radio Stafford. No need to worry about hyperventilating here, Gilli. This is a really laid back, relaxed place but in case you do, I am prepared.

So we won’t beat around the bush any longer, we’ll get straight to the fire from the frying pan… well sort of. We’ll at least put Gilli on the hot seat.

1. Tell us a bit about yourself and what initially sparked you to write.

I suspect I’ve always been a writer.  Long before I was capable of committing more than a few laborious sentences to the page, I routinely developed long and complex stories in my head, peopled typically with fairies, princes and princesses and the sons and daughters of red-Indian chieftains.  And at primary school, instead of the usual playground games, I forced my friends to enact these dramas.

The idea that I could write down the story I wanted to read did not occur to me until I was ten or thereabouts. Inspired by Georgette Heyer, my fifteen year old sister had begun to write her own Regency Romance.  I copied my big sister.  Set in the olden days, my plot revolved around a party of ladies visiting a lighthouse.  They were trapped there by bad weather.  During the storm, my young hero – the 16 year old son of the lighthouse keeper – fell on the rocks. Confined to a couch by his not too serious injuries, he was nursed by my young heroine. My sister finished her novel, but my imagination and energy failed after only three or four illustrated pages of a small format notebook. But the writing seed had been planted and I continued with the hobby through my teenage.

The ‘love on a lighthouse’ story was a one-off.  Although I did enjoy those Regency romances so beloved of my sister, my own writing settled into a more contemporary style, and dwelt in a darker, seedier world – a world I had no experience of.  I was a lazy and innocent middle-class teenager.  Doubtless I was compensating, through my romantic fantasies, for my lack of a real love life.  I had to rely entirely upon my imagination and, unsurprisingly, never finished anything. I’m sure I bored my friends witless by insisting on reading passages out to them in the break times of the girl’s grammar school I attended.  An experience which wasn’t enhanced for them by the fact I couldn’t get through more than a few sentences without giggling and getting embarrassed by the rude bits (and by rude I mean nothing more risqué than kissing. I was nothing like the bold, sassy teenagers of today!).

I never took seriously the idea of writing as a profession. After all, writers were clever, educated people.  I was neither.  I wasn’t a star pupil at school. I wasn’t even particularly outstanding in English. My parents were both artists.  They never discouraged my writing, but it was ignored. Their interest in my notebooks was not engaged by my literary pubescent outpourings, but by the doodles and illustrations which lavishly embellished them.  It was clear where they thought my talents lay.  I left school at 16 with just enough exam passes to get me into art-college.  In my early adult life I stopped writing.

My career was in advertising where I worked as an illustrator.  When I stopped work to look after my young son, I started writing again.

2. Torn and Life Class aren’t your first two novels. Can you tell us a bit about your earlier works?

The ‘love on a lighthouse’ story was a one-off.  Though I loved to read those Regency romances that had inspired my sister, my own writing swiftly settled into a more contemporary style, and dwelt in a darker, seamier world than the writing of Jane Austen or Georgette Heyer inhabited.

When I started to write again, after having my son, Tom, it was with the serious intention of finishing the book and getting it published.  The book was a contemporary love story, but although it followed many of the tropes of the category romance (I originally intended it for Mills & Boon), it was unconventional.

My heroine was a young woman whose very first love affair had ended in pregnancy, threatening her budding career.  The story opens when she is in hospital and going through a miscarriage. The romance is between her and the OB & GYN consultant!  When I first had the idea it made me laugh.  I thought: ‘If I can carry this off, I can do anything’. Just Before Dawn was the first novel I ever finished. Given my subsequent experience, I am now astounded it was almost immediately taken on by a publisher, the then new Love Stories.

At the time characterized as the “thinking woman’s Mills & Boon”, Love Stories was a one woman band.  Anne Dewe was looking for un-clichéd stories about women and relationships; stories with a love-theme but which need not be conventionally romantic.  My book fitted the bill.  Just Before Dawn went through its fair share of editing before publication.

Now, feeling full of confidence, I let my hair down and wrote the novel of my heart.  Desires & Dreams, also published by Love Stories, revisited the darker world of my teenage imagination. It was still a love story, but it totally subverted the ‘romance’ stereotypes.

The heroine feels suffocated and bored in her relationship.  She feels there is something missing. She fantasizes about having an affair with an old boyfriend.  On her way to meet him for a lunch-date in London, she’s accosted by a street artist.  He flatters and romances her while drawing her portrait and, already subconsciously primed to go off the rails, she becomes enthralled.  But the face he shows to ‘punters’ is very different to the real man. Poor, bad-tempered and obsessive, she couldn’t have made a worse choice.  But their fatal meeting changes both their lives.  This book is not an HEA!

Both my books were published in hardback, using my own artwork for the cover designs.  Sadly, a few years after publishing Desires & Dreams, Love Stories folded. It was unable to get the promotion, marketing and distribution to gain success for itself or its authors. This was a time when publishing was going through a lot of changes, and moving from a gentlemanly profession to big business.  What became important was not bringing on a new writer who was exploring a slightly off-beat and unproved area of romantic fiction, but publishing the latest slam-dunk best seller, or a new writer who could be described as ‘the next Joanna Trollope’ or whoever. My reflections on my lack of success can perhaps be discounted as special pleading, and the truth is – no one liked what I was writing!  Whatever the real reason, I’ve been unable to find a new mainstream publisher for any new work, from that that day to this.  Thank heaven for digital Indie publishing.

3. Have the rights on your first two novels reverted back to you? If so, would you consider e-publishing them?

Yes they have, many years ago.  In fact, after the rights reverted, the books were taken on by a then new, POD publisher who republished them in paperback, again with my own art work for the covers.  Sadly I believed what I was told about marketing and distribution. And didn’t understand the amount of work I needed to do to get the books noticed and sold.  Also, I think they’d even then passed their sell-by, and were becoming very out of date. They were written in the 1980s before mobile phones and the internet, let alone the twin towers, and the banking collapse.  I feel I would need to do an awful lot of work on them if I was going to reset them in the modern world.  Or I could leave them as they are, and market them as historicals!

4. You’re a member of the Romantic Novelists Association. Can you tell us what that means to you?

More than anything the RNA provides support and a network of friends who understand what it is to be a writer. Before I joined I knew no other writers.  My first two novels were published with no help or guidance from anyone, other than my publisher.  I lived then in Coulsdon, a town in Surrey within striking distance of London. It was only after my husband took a job in Cheltenham, and we moved to Gloucestershire, that I first found out about the Romantic Novelists Association.  I joined immediately and I’m very glad I did.  Apart from anything else, it provides an important component of my social life.

I have never been able to profit from the RNA’s wonderful New Writers Scheme because I was already a published author when I joined.  And I have to admit, it has been a slightly galling experience to meet so many unpublished writers in those early days, people like Katie Fforde (who lives just 2 or 3 miles away from me as the crow flies) and to watch them find publishers, sign contracts and go from nowhere to bestsellers, while I languished – the years steadily piling up since my flash-in-the-pan ‘success’.

5. In addition to the RNA, are you a member of any other writing groups/platforms?

I contribute to several on-line discussion platforms:  ROMNA, the on-line newsgroup of the RNA, British Romance Fiction and Post Chick Lit, and I’m a member of the collection of Indie writers, Famous Five plus. The last two are Facebook sites.  I also post regularly on several other groups.  I don’t belong to a real-life writing group.  Maybe I should but there’s not enough time in the world.

6. Can you tell us about Torn? And Life Class?


You can escape your old life, but can you ever escape yourself?

ISBN =9781458003409

Jessica Avery is a woman in her early thirties with a three year old son, Rory.  She has made a series of wrong choices in her life – job, men and life-style.  Her job came to a disastrous conclusion.  The men in her life have let her down and her life-style involved too many pills, parties and promiscuity. But she believes that by quitting her old relationship and moving from London to the country, she has escaped all that.  Her choice now is to live a steady, responsible life in a tranquil new environment, putting her son’s needs and her role as mother as her number one priority.

But she finds country life less serene and bucolic than she expected. Her ex-partner tracks her down and assaults her as she leaves a local pub.  Luckily, a witness to the encounter steps in and helps to defuse the situation, but she is left badly shaken.  As an in-comer – and even worse, an ex-investment banker – Jessica is not made very welcome by the local mothers.  Then there is the management of the rural landscape – the interests of commerce versus the preservation of the environment – which begins to engage her interest and concern. She wonders if leaving London was the right move.

The narrative is played out against the low-key background story of a proposed by-pass to the local town. Initially Jessica favours a new road until she realizes the route it might take, tearing through the landscape she’s come to love.  She is torn between the pragmatic and the romantic decision. The friends Jess makes represent the differing positions. There is Danny Bowman, the counter-culture shepherd; his employer, James Warwick, affluent widowed farmer and father to three year old daughter, Sasha; Gilda Warwick, James’s match-making mother; and Sheila, the feminist nursery school owner.

The title – ‘Torn’ – can also be understood as referring to the personal choices which confront Jessica.  Despite vowing she wants no emotional entanglements in her life, she is attracted to two very different men.  She finds, to her cost, that in the face of temptation it is not so easy to throw off old habits and responses.  She is a woman who claims she has never been in love. Eventually she is prompted to re-evaluate this stance and to admit to herself, that beyond an undeniable physical attraction, she has indeed fallen in love, but with which one – the suitable man or the unsuitable boy?


About art, life, love and learning lessons

(chosen as book of the week 1/7/12 on Radio Stafford FM’s Sunday afternoon book programme).

The narrative follows four members of the class, who meet once a week to draw the human figure. All have failed to achieve what they thought they wanted in life. They come to realize that it’s not just the naked model they need to study and understand. Their stories are very different, but they all have secrets they hide from the world and from themselves. By uncovering and coming to terms with the past, maybe they can move on to an unimagined future.

Dory says she works in the sex trade, the clean-up end. She deals with the damage sex can cause. Her job has given her a jaundiced view of men, an attitude confirmed by the disintegration of her own relationships. The time seems right to pursue what she really wants in life, if she can work out what that is. She moves back from London to the country town where she grew up and where her sister still lives, yet she remains undecided whether to make it a permanent move. She’s always been clear eyed realist – love doesn’t figure in her view of the future – and yet she finds herself chasing a dream.

Stefan is a single-minded loner, whose only and overriding ambition is to make a living from his sculpture. So how the hell did he find himself facing a class of adults who want their old teacher back? If he can sell the big old house he’s inherited, he’ll be able to finance himself and concentrate on his work, and maybe give up the part-time teaching job. Love is an emotion he long ago closed off  ̶  it only leads to regret and shame  ̶  but it creeps up on him from more than one direction. Is it time to admit that letting others into his life is not defeat?

Fran – Dory’s older sister – is a wife and a stay-at-home mother without enough to keep her occupied. Her husband’s early retirement plans throws her into a panic. She sees her life closing down and narrowing into staid middle-age. On a collision course with her mid-life crisis, Fran craves the romance and excitement of her youth. An on-line flirtation with an old boyfriend becomes scarily obsessive, putting everything she really loves at risk.

Dominic is a damaged child. He has lived his life knowing all about sex but nothing about love. If he can only find his mother perhaps he can make sense of his past. But perhaps it is a doomed quest and it’s time to look to the future? If he can grow up enough to accept the help and love that’s on offer here and now, he has the chance to transform his life.

7. Which have your found the most difficult – the actual writing/editing of your novels, or the marketing and promotion?

A hard question to answer. I am not one of those writers who are bubbling geysers of plots and new ideas. In fact I’ve described starting a new book as like carving a block of granite with a teaspoon.  I begin with my characters and their back stories, and the scenario in which they come together. I might have a few elements in my mind about the story, but other than those few building blocks it’s always very nebulous and ill-defined.  It’s a type of approach aptly described ‘as into the mist’. (I apologize for mixing my granite and my mist metaphors!) In fact, when I was writing TORN I truthfully had NO idea how I was going to resolve it until I was within a couple of chapters of the end.  It was good.  I feel it made it fresh.  If I didn’t know, then the reader didn’t know either.

It’s the characters who tell you what’s going to happen.  And it’s wonderful and a bit magical when you suddenly get that ‘Of course!’ moment, and everything slots into place.  That’s what makes writing worthwhile – when the story catches fire and races off with you.  You’re left running behind, trying to catch up and get it all down. That’s when you need to be disciplined about the other things in life, like getting dressed, and doing the shopping, the washing and the ironing.

So then there’s the promo and marketing. I’m afraid I’m one of those typically English self-effacing types and find all that sort of thing terribly difficult.  In some ways it’s easier these days, in that you don’t have to telephone people and persuade them you’re the best thing since sliced bread. You can email.  And being digitally published it makes sense to use as many on-line opportunities that I can identify.  But I still don’t take advantage of every opportunity or ‘put myself out there’ as much as I could (or should?) For one thing, it all takes so much time.  I’m not a natural typist, I don’t think in perfect grammatical sentences, and the right words don’t necessarily come to me immediately. So, even just writing emails, I have to edit and correct far more than some people.

8. What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

To become a published writer you need to be resilient, tenacious, obstinate, persistent and obsessive. You even need to have a degree of selfishness. In other you have to be bloody-minded.  Think of the ‘wobbly man’  ̶   one of those figures with a heavy rounded base. Though they do fall over if punched, they don’t stay down. They swing around and bob back up again.

And if you truly believe you’ve got what it takes, don’t just talk about it, do it!  There are always reasons to put it off.  But don’t wait until you have the time, until the children are off your hands, until you’ve gone part-time or you’ve retired.  If you procrastinate now, you may never begin, let alone finish.  If you really have a book (or books) in you, you will find a way!

Thanks so much for dropping by today, Gilli. It’s been a blast! And you didn’t need your hyperventilating bag.

You can follow Gilli online at the following links:

Writer Cramped. Gilli Allan’s Blog
On Facebook Gilli Allan
On Twitter @gilliallan
And over at Famous Five Plus author Sheryl Browne launches Somebody to Love

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Somebody to Love

The first of three-book contract, Somebody to Love, described by my agent as ‘thoughtful but funny’ romantic fiction, is finally launched.

This is a book that is very special to me and I am truly delighted it has found a home. The story, centering around a single father’s search for that special someone, a woman with a heart big enough to love him and his autistic son, is fictional – but grew from a tiny incident that fuelled the desire to write it. Somebody to Love was inspired by ‘a lost little boy’. An autistic little boy, who was on a mission, it seemed, to throw his shoes over my garden fence in order to facilitate a meeting with my three-legged dog.

As mentioned, the story is fictional, based on a little fact, and a good deal of research, particularly in regard to Autism Assistance Dogs. To Karl, to three-legged Sadie, and with huge thanks to Danemere Animal Rescue Centre and Our Dog Publications.

After a turbulent marriage to a man who walked off hand-in-offshoot with something resembling a twig, divorced mum, Donna O’Conner, doubts happy endings exist. She’d quite like to find herself an Adonis with… pecs …and things. Alas, that’s not likely, when her only interest outside of work is hopping her three-legged dog in the park, carrying a poop-scoop. In any case, Donna isn’t sure she’d know what to do with an Adonis if she fell on one. When PC Mark Evans comes along, gloriously gift-wrapped in blue, however, she can’t help wishing she did.

Mark, a single father, is desperate for love. He doesn’t hold out much hope, though, that there is a woman out there with a heart big enough to love him and his autistic son. Enter big-hearted Donna, plus three-legged dog. And now Mark has a dilemma. Pretending not to mind her house-bunny chewing his bootlaces, he’s smitten with Donna on sight. Should he tell her his situation up-front? Announcing he has a child with autism spectrum disorder on a first date tends to ensure there isn’t a second. Or should he skirt around the subject, which amounts to a lie? When one lie leads to another, can he ever win Donna’s trust back? Admit that he didn’t trust Donna enough to let her into his life?

PUBLISHER’S NOTE: Somebody to Love has been made with love… love of animals. Sheryl Browne has done excellent research on assistance dogs, specifically their use with autistic individuals. With a focus on romance with police officers, appealing to all readers who love our boys in blue, the author’s “teasing but not telling” style makes this read appropriate for anyone, including young adults and older teens.

ISBN 9781908208118
Publication Date 1 July 2012
Format Paperback. Also available on Kindle




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Author Bio:

Now residing in Worcestershire, Sheryl grew up in Birmingham, UK, where she studied Art & Design. She wears many hats: a partner in her own business, a mother, and a foster parent to disabled dogs. Creative in spirit, Sheryl has always had a passion for writing. A member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, she has previously been published in the US and writes Romantic Comedy because, as she puts it, “life is just too short to be miserable.”

Sheryl’s debut novel, RECIPES FOR DISASTER – combining deliciously different and fun recipes with sexilicious romantic comedy, is garnering some fabulous reviews! Sheryl has also been offered a further three-book contract under the Safkhet Publishing Soul imprint. SOMEBODY TO LOVE, a romantic comedy centring around a single policeman father’s search for love, launches July 1. The book, which also features an autistic little boy and his Autism Assistance Dog, has already been endorsed by Danemere Dog Rescue Centre and is currently being reviewed by Our Dog Publications with a view to future advertising. WARRANT FOR LOVE, bringing together three couples in a twisting story that resolves perfectly, is released August 1.