Thursday, 23 January 2014

TODAY IS THE DAY…. Finally…it’s here…

Well today is the day - PUBLICATION DAY. 

The day I have dreamt of for about three decades. To be fair to the publishing world, it’s not three decades of trying but rather three decades of intermittent dreaming and ‘ if onlys.’

I began writing Beyond the Past on the 26thDecember 2011 after reading Wuthering Heights for I don’t know how many times. I never get tired of Cathy and Heathcliff. When I started writing I never intended for the book to be a crime book. There were only two things I was certain of – the main character would be female, strong, independent and called Annie and rugby league would feature in it. I had no plan, no idea where the story was going… but I loved every minute of writing it. It took nine months to finish my first draft. I enlisted the help of my sister who read the chapters as I produced them.  I was often told off for being on facebook instead of writing!!

Once edited, I researched all the available websites and was overwhelmed. I am probably not on my own thinking the whole process is unnecessarily convoluted and massively stacked against new writers. I spent hours trawling the internet and concluded I needed an agent to find an agent who could then find me a publisher!

So the quest began.

From September 2012 I started sending information to literary agents and some publishers, although the number of the latter taking unsolicited manuscripts is miniscule. It was a demoralising experience. I was getting nowhere, most of the time not even getting a response. 

I almost gave up. Then I wrote a blog for An Authors Way and had a ‘light bulb’ moment. I created a website, facebook page and twitter account. I published the first three chapters on the website and on both An Authors Way and Authonomy websites. I started to get positive feedback and started to build an audience, which has grown steadily.

With virtually no confidence left, I was ready to accept I wouldn’t be successful. I decided to do one more desperate search of the internet and this led me to Pegasus, Elliot and MacKenzie Publishing Limited. They accepted direct submissions. I sent the information requested, though with a heavy heart knowing it was likely it would be another ‘no’.  It was the best feeling in the world when an email arrived to ask for the complete manuscript. Again I sent it in not expecting much of a response. It cost me £11 to send it on (which to a Yorkshire lass is extortionate!).

Weeks passed and finally the email arrived.  I opened it with trepidation thinking it was another decline. BUT it wasn’t. They loved my work and wanted to publish it. I was on cloud nine. All the hard work and persistence had paid off.

Everyone who knows me, truly knows me, knows that when I set my mind to do it, I get it done. Determination and hard work will always prevail. Even when I am almost defeated, I always have one more go, thank goodness I did.

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Thursday, 16 January 2014

Seven days from now....

A crazy but ecstatic start to the week….


Today I physically got my hands on MY first book, hopefully with many more to come. The poor parcel man must have thought I was crazy (well, first impressions are usually correct!). I was beyond excited, I had goose bumps. It had taken me from the 9th September 2011, when I finished the manuscript, until Monday the 11th January 2014 to actually see the project come together. The persistence had paid off and although it was a hard slog, I almost gave up a couple of times, I have loved the whole experience of it.  This is absolutely what I want to do.

Just for today, I allowed myself some time off. I was feeling nostalgic but not in a morbid or negative way. I found myself driving to a place that heavily featured in my school childhood days and my first marriage – Roundhay Park. It wasn’t to lay any ghosts to rest or wallow in what could have been but to reflect on how far I’d come in spite of everything that had come my way. I was a hundred years away from those days when I’d sit on Hill Sixty in the summer and watch the world go by, to sledging down the very same hill in the winter snow.
I thought of the concerts I’d seen there – Michael Jackson, Robbie Williams, Genesis, Mike and the Mechanics, Big Country and my personal favourite, the Barenaked Ladies. I even remembered the Sunday afternoon walks pushing my eldest around in his multi-coloured pram.

Reminiscing, my smile was as wide as the lake itself (No comments required!). So, I apologise to all my fellow walkers who saw this crazy woman in full stride smiling her head off, occasionally stopping to take the odd photograph. 

I have no regrets of my past, well maybe a few but I really believe the past experiences, good and bad, have led me to where I am today. Right here, right now I am loving my life but the hard work has only just begun.

This was a great start to a very exciting week and one of many more to come.


I had every intention of sitting and writing a couple of more chapters of the sequel, Beyond the Lies but I have learnt that it’s best not to plan each day and go with the flow.
The long awaited feature article was printed in the Yorkshire Evening Post. I was a little disappointed that some of the facts were not quite right but that’s the newspapers for you. The article, however not only raised awareness for the book but also for Menieres syndrome. An old friend got in touch to say she also suffered and we have connected again. I also received text messages and emails from people I have not seen in years and that was very uplifting.

The parcel man turned up again but this time with my twenty copies of the book. I had an action plan. I knew exactly where they were going and who to. I wrote a few personal notes and delivered some of the books.

Paul at VantagePoint Harrogate had also run a separate feature on the VantagePoint website - This was incredibly professional and I cannot thank him enough for it.

In the evening I attended the Wetherbyhour networking at Wood Hall Hotel, Wetherby. I had driven past the signs for the hotel lots of times but never quite had the time to go and see it. What an amazing place, just the sort of place I would picture my characters driving up to. The evening was a resounding success. I managed to meet some new, lovely people as well as the usual lovely people that are always at the event.

I met Tanya Arnold from the Super League Show which was an absolute privilege.  I’m a huge fan of women succeeding in a field which is generally dominated by men. I was thrilled to give her a copy of my book. I also met Kate Hardcastle, co-founder of Insight with passion and fellow rugby league fan, although opposite teams! An incredibly inspiring woman doing incredibly inspiring work.

Jo, the founder of Wetherbyhour is a bundle of energy and delight, which is infectious the minute you are in the same room as her. It is always a pleasure at these events and I always leave feeling inspired and loved.

In just two days, the word has got around and interest has grown in the book much greater than I had ever anticipated.

And to top all this, I have a new friend on facebook who is the daughter of one of my heroes, Anne Williams. Life is sweet..

It’s definitely happening now.  Roll on the 23rd January 2014…just seven days from now…


Beyond the Past can be pre –ordered from Amazon or Pegasus Publishing via my website

You can follow me on twitter at  @beyondthepast1 & Facebook