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Vote for Sometimes A River Song

Hi everyone – later today I will announce the winners of our free book competition – but now – da da!!

How to cast your very final vote for Sometimes A River Song to win the People’s Book Prize. You have just one week

Voting’s not that easy. I know it’s a labour of love so thank you, thank you in advance for your efforts! And here’s how with  links to help

Go to the Peoples Book Prize website- finalists  – or  click on this link – Finalists 

If you voted before (which is allowed) and are already registered put in your email address and Password. If you’ve forgotten your password (quite likely) – they will send you a new one BUT IT MAY GO TO YOUR JUNK MAIL.

If you have NOT voted before you need to register first with an email and Password of your choosing. To register click where it says register in blue or follow this link

Once you have the email and password sorted – enter them.

Scroll down the page find Sometimes A River Song – click on the box for a green tick, then click below to vote

Scroll back up – solve the easy maths sum and click on SUBMIT – it’s that easy!! Not! But a huge thank you if you persisted.

Love A x



Win a Free Copy of Sometimes a River Song

On a happier and more celebratory note (than my last post!) we are giving away 6 free copies of Sometimes A River Song, to celebrate the up and coming final of The People’s Book Prize. The giveaways can be found here: on my Twitter (just a simple RT is all it takes) and on Linen Press’s Facebook.

We’d love you to enter, even if you’ve read Sometimes a River Song (and if you haven’t you can read the first chapter free here ) you can always give a copy to a friend.

Happy weekend!


Met these three on my morning walk, gorgeous aren’t they?



On Never Writing a ‘Mother.’

I’ve had this post in draft here for a while. I wasn’t going to post it – too revealing- but it’s Mental Health Awareness Week, so here goes

After I’d been writing for a while it dawned on me that I never write a mother – not really. My mothers are always dead or absent  or very much in the background.

Perhaps it’s not surprising. I had a very difficult, often impossible relationship with my mother. Towards the end of her life, when for the first time in mine I dared to criticise and disagree with her, she disowned me completely.  For a number of years we had no contact whatsoever and that was both heartbreaking and an utter relief. We were reconciled briefly before her death.

The unhappiness and pain of this relationship never leaves me, despite counselling, despite becoming a mother myself, despite everything. Somehow the guilt of it still lies heavy on me. But recently and purely by chance, I came across this website – Are You a Daughter of a Narcissistic Mother? Take This Brief Survey to Find Out.

I took the survey – and was quickly reeling with the number of ‘yes,’ answers. I needed to explore more. Since then I’ve done other similar surveys and have been equally astonished by how much they reflect what was going on between my mother and myself, including all the inappropriate confidences and behaviours.

I’ve read the books too, devoured them, highlighting nearly every page. Now things have begun to shift. I find I no longer feel quite the same guilt. I no longer feel so ashamed – there’s an explanation! (I am always looking for explanations) It was real and there wasn’t a thing I could do about it. Just like I couldn’t do a thing about her depression or attempted suicide.

Sadly ‘the problem with being a child of a narcissist is… it takes years to finally see that the type of parenting they’ve been receiving is wrong – if not emotionally abusive.’ S Myers. Yes, its taken me years to undertand the deep sadness I carry, that never leaves me and deeper still my own sense of unworthiness. To understand that my own mental health was compromised and that in the end perhaps no one is to blame. Neither her nor me

But I’m getting there, and who knows,  soon, I may even be able to write a mother…

Five Quotes from Natalie G

w MI wasn’t going to write today. There is so much going on in my writing world at the moment (to do with all the other stuff writers have to do) that I’d given myself permission not to. But then I just happened to start reading Natalie Goldberg’s, Wild Mind, (again) and before long the notebook was open and guess what? I’d written about 750 words. And they were good.

Natalie G never fails me. She is my all time, favourite, go-to  when the well is running dry. Here are 5 great quotes from her, that I noted down today, it could have been fifty:

When her lawyer friend becomes  a writer she tells him,  ‘You’ve entered a different path. You can’t just leap into the lake of writing in a three piece suit. You need a different outfit to swim in.’

‘A river and a tree are not unconscious. They are part of wild mind.’

‘Let yourself live in something that is already rightfully yours – your own wild mind.’

‘Continue under all circumstances. No excuses.’

‘Don’t be tossed away. If your kid falls and needs stitches, write in the waiting room…’

Now, how could I not write after reading that?


Writing a Unique First Person Voice

The question I’m most often asked about Sometimes A River Song, by both readers and fellow writers, is where did  Aiyana’s voice come from and how did I sustain it throughout this first person narrative?

This post is my attempt to answer that question and share what I learned about how to develop a unique first person voice.

In the first place I was interested in a river boat community in Arkansas and I wrote a couple of stories using this setting. The stories had a kind of southern voice. I knew what that sounded like. I could hear it in my head from all my years of growing up watching American TV shows and from reading great American fiction.

(One of these stories, How the River Breaks Your Heart was later longlisted for, The Raymond Carver Short Story Prize, and published in For Books Sake – Weekend Reads 2016. You can read it again HERE )

Then one morning I woke up and the words, ‘Silas keeps the book,’ came into my head from seemingly nowhere. Continue reading

Ten Writing Competitions

Just finishing a short story or a novel and ready to submit to competitions? Here are ten that just might interest you.

Writers & Artists and Retreat West have teamed up for a free writing competition that offers you the chance to win a place on one of Retreat West’s incredible writing retreats. All you have to do is write a short story no longer than 1,000. The only stipulation here is that your story – which can be about anything you like – must use a beach as its setting. The competition will remain open to all entries (though each entrant must have an account with – also free!) until midnight on 17th September 2017.

Continue reading

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