Wednesday, 11 November 2015

2015 Rainbow Awards

Shuttered has received an 'Honorable Mention' in the 2015 Rainbow Awards. Very pleased.  :)

Take a look.

Friday, 11 September 2015

777 Writer's Game

I was tagged by two writers, DG Jones, and Teresa Edgerton, to do the 777 challenge. That's where the tagged person must take 7 paragraphs from a page ending in 7 from a work in progress, and post them in a blog for all to see. Then I have to tag 7 more writers to do the same. Unfortunately, all the writers I would've tagged have already done this! So, you'll just have to put up with my paras. These are from my (neglected) WiP "Locke & Co".


Allery opened her eyes and blinked until her vision cleared. She was lying on the sofa back at the cottage, bloodied cotton pads discarded in front of her. Driscoll was slumped at the dining table, a can of beer in one hand and his forehead pressed into the other. As she sat up, he turned his face towards her.
"It's not your week, Al."
She stretched her back and rolled her shoulders, wincing at the pull between her shoulder blades and guessing that was where her newest scar sat. "Two deaths in as many days," she said. "It's not the best."
Driscoll picked up something from the table and tossed it to her. She caught it and looked at the little lump of metal as he said, "The bullet with your name on it."
"I'll add it to the collection," she said dryly. "How are Nick and Esme?"
Driscoll tapped his fingers on the tabletop and eyed the inside of the beer can as if looking for the answer. "Alive."
Allery picked up the cotton pads and took them into the kitchen to the carrier bag they used as a bin. "You sound pissed off," she commented.

Friday, 14 August 2015

Self-publishing – Things to Avoid

I've wanted to be a published author since I was at primary school. I finished my first novel (one about unicorns, called 'Waterfall Mountain'!) when I was in my early teens. It was a portal fantasy involving, well, unicorns. Anyway… I wrote a lot of animal stories. I blame the late, great, Brian Jacques and his fantastic Redwall books. The first novel I wrote (and finished) about people was called The Kingdom of Malinas.

I was sixteen. At that age, you think everything you do is awesome. I wanted this book published.
Bear in mind, the internet wasn't really a thing when I was sixteen. All I could do was go to the library and read the Writers' and Artists' Yearbook.

First thing to do now when you want to self-publish? Get on the internet. Join forums. Check out Absolute Write. Do not send your MS to every vaguely accepting-sounding publisher you can find and then give up when you get an endless stream of rejections.

I self-published because I was young and impatient and I was lured in by all the vanity presses telling me that all the best authors of old are self-published, and it's cheap! And easy! And you will earn millions!

I ended up in contact with Minerva Press (they no longer exist) but, luckily for me, quickly realised they were a vanity press. While looking for real self-publishing companies, I came across Trafford.
The Kingdom of Malinas was published by Trafford Press first of all. I did all the editing, the layout, the design – my brother did my front cover. I paid Trafford money. I made nothing.

My second bit of advice? Do NOT pay a publishing company anything to publish your book. Just don't. Pay an editor, yes. Pay to get copies of your book, of course. But don't fork out money just because you're eager to be an author. Research. A lot.

After a few years (and TKoM is no longer published by Trafford), I chose Lulu. I rewrote my novel to the best of my ability at the time, and, this time round, hired a professional artist to design the cover.

This is my third bit of advice. HIRE AN ARTIST. Unless you're an artist yourself. In which case, I'm very jealous. I found my artist through DeviantArt. She was fantastic, and her cover is the one I still use. You must find an artist who is good at design, too, one who'll know how to give you a good font.

Font is what lets a lot of self-published books down. The titles and author names often look terrible and, to me, are usually the biggest giveaway that the book is self-published (not a bad thing, but will put some people off).

Do not let your little brother do your cover art. Unless – same as above – he is an artist.

If you're not confident of your editing abilities, or if you just want one, hire an editor. Get beta readers too.

A couple of years ago, I finally decided to rewrite TKoM again. For the final time. And this time, I published through Smashwords and Amazon as an ebook only. This is great because you don't have to pay anything. You don't need to buy proof copies, you see.

I also published the remaining two books in the trilogy – The Empress Graves and The Barbarians' Key. You can find details of these, as well as links to buy, here:

My final bit of advice? Unless you want some of your royalties going to Mr American Taxman, you need to get an ITIN. This is extremely easy – please don't panic about it because it sounds more complicated than it is. There is a very simple and easy to follow guide, here:

To recap:
1. Research. Don't rush into anything.
2. Don't pay a publishing company.
3. Hire an artist and editor.
4. Get an ITIN.

To follow other posts in this series visit:

7 August: Thaddeus White- nuts and bolts on how to self-publish

14 August: Me - pitfalls to avoid

21 August: Jo Zebedee - marketability and why some books suit self-publishing rather than the traditional route

28 August: Teresa Edgerton - advantages of self-publishing when reprinting a back catalogue [initially traditionally published].

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Rowan's Con

This is the very first of my video blogs. May also be the last, we'll see! But I promised my editors of Shuttered that I'd film myself doing the trick that the character Rowan does. It's taken me a while to get round to it, because I had neither a sherry glass, nor a brandy glass, but I found some in a charity shop the other week and bought both for about 75p. Bargain!

Please excuse the sound blip, I think I got a text. ;)

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Coeliac Disease

I have recently been diagnosed with coeliac disease. Sounds awful because "disease" equals "ew!" But it's not that bad, all things considered.

It started with an awful feeling in my throat - as if something was stuck or someone permanently had their hands around my throat. This was November 2014. I figured it was probably just tonsillitis or stress. Though I didn't particularly feel stressed, my first solo book was coming out (Shuttered, published by Dreamspinner Press) and I was buying my very first home.

I'm not one for making a fuss or going to see a doctor. It got to March before I finally thought this feeling isn't right.

The doctor thought it was acid reflux, despite me having zero other symptoms of that, and put me on Omeprazole. She also thought maybe my thyroid felt a little enlarged so off I went to the hospital to have an ultrasound scan. I also had blood tests.

Tablets did nothing. Scan came back normal. Bloods were fine except... I was anaemic.

Because I'm female, doctors instantly think anaemia has something to do with your menstrual cycle. I told the doc there was nothing wrong with me in that respect, thank you very much, and was just told to eat more iron in my diet. I don't eat a lot of meat, so I figured, ok that probably is the reason.

I upped my iron intake and started taking Spatone iron supplements. Back for a blood test and my iron levels had dropped.

I was put on a three month course of iron tablets - ferrous fumerate. I was also sent back to the hospital for an endoscopy to see why my body wasn't absorbing iron properly.

Now, let me tell you about the endoscopy. I find it difficult to swallow tablets and I have a very sensitive gag reflex. However, I'd read so much about how the endoscopy is easy and you don't feel a thing, that I figured I'd go in there, have no sedation, and just get on with it. Even when I was sitting in the waiting room, after I'd been tagged and weighed, and a young woman came in all red-faced with streaming eyes, I thought it'll be easy.

So in I went, no sedation. The nurse sprayed my throat with numbing spray, which despite burning and then making you feel like your throat's closed up, really does nothing. It was pretty horrific. Lots of gagging involved. Your instinct is to push the nurse away but you can't so they just hold your hand tight. The nurses were all lovely actually.

They take biopsies from your small intestines and then send you on your way.

A few days later, I got a letter. I have coeliac disease and must go gluten free straight away.

Coeliac disease is an autoimmune disorder. It's not an allergy or an intolerance. Basically my immune system is so nuts (I also have hayfever - pollen is a threat! destroy! destroy!) that it goes into overdrive when I eat gluten and damages the lining of my small intestines, meaning I then can't absorb nutrients properly.

There's no cure, but sticking to a strict gluten-free diet will help my body heal and prevent the long-term consequences of the disease (of which there are many grim ones, including cancer).

Now, I didn't get many of the symptoms of CD. No toilet trouble, pain or farting! I was (still am at the moment, I'm very early into my new GF lifestyle) horribly tired. To the point of almost falling asleep at my desk at work. I've got what I call 'an old lady hip' which could be a symptom (I have to go back to hospital to have a DEXA scan on my bones!) and I had rashes on my arms, which I always put down to eczema.

If I think about it now, it was silly to think the tiredness and achy bones was just me getting old! I'm only in my early thirties. I'm hoping my dodgy memory will improve too.

Going gluten-free, so far, has been... okay. I realised yesterday that I'd never get to eat Ferrero Rocher again. GF food is much, much more expensive than "normal" food, and it's half the size. I had to buy toaster bags and separate butter to use in the office at work, because I have to be aware of cross-contamination. No gluteny crumbs in my butter, please!

I do, however, get food on prescription now. But it's "staple" food like bread and pasta and not, unfortunately, biscuits and Ferrero Rochers.


So there we are! I'm diseased. But looking forward to feeling young again, hopefully very soon.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Win Goodies!

I've been extremely lax on my blog. I've been very busy in my life - just moved into my very own places, got pet snails, got diagnosed as a coeliac. More on all this later! I'm planning on doing some vid-blogs, so you'll get to see (and hear) me. But just a quickie for now... Visit: Joyfully Jay's blog leave a comment on the post before midnight on the 11th of June, and you could not only win a copy of Shuttered, but also a KINDLE and a load of other goodies. :)

Friday, 20 March 2015

Ray of Sunlight by Brynn Stein - Guest Post

Thanks so much for having me on your blog today, Emma.

This is the last actual blog stop on my tour. Tomorrow will be a blog take over at Harmony Ink and Friday wraps up the tour as a Facebook takeover at Harmony Ink's FB page. Thanks to everyone who has followed the tour so far. Feel free to drop by the takeovers.

I tried something new with this book and had a book trailer made by Lex Valentine at Winterheart Designs. I love it. Go check it out if you get a chance and let me know what you think of it.

Ray of Sunlight comes out today. I’m so excited. This is probably one of my favorite books so far of the ones I’ve written. Living Again will always be toward the top of the list, and Through the Years was fun because it spanned five decades. Haunted will always have a special place in my heart because it was my first. But something about CJ and Russ just grabbed my heartstrings and won’t let go.

I do have a couple more books coming up. For Mac will be out in May. It’s about Branson, who was raised by his homophobic brother, Mac. He has tried his whole life to deny that part of himself. When he meets Liam, he fights his own nature tooth and nail until love wins out and Liam helps him have the courage to be comfortable enough to live life for himself and not for Mac.

What No One Else Can Hear is coming in July. Jesse McKinnon is called (mentally) by a young empath who has been misdiagnosed with Autism and is living in a residential facility. Jesse travels across the country in search of Jimmy, but helping him proves to be more complicated than just showing up. Fate and a disgruntled ex-employee at the residential facility where Jesse now works combine to keep them apart and both would have been much worse off if it wasn’t for Drew Ferguson, another employee at the center and best friend (and eventually more) to Jesse.

Comment below for a chance to win.

Here’s how the giveaway will work. Visit as many sites as you want, as often as you want. Each comment will enter you to win one of the following prizes: 1st) An autographed paperback copy of Ray of Sunlight, 2nd) An electronic copy of Ray of Sunlight, 3rd) Your choice of audio or electronic copy of Living Again, 4th) An electronic copy of Through the Years, and 5th) an electronic copy of Haunted. The takeovers for Harmony Ink’s blog and Facebook page will be part of the tour, so comments on there will count. I will draw the winners during the FB takeover and will announce them then, but will come back and announce it to all the sites too. So, you don’t have to leave your email address here if you don’t want to, just remember to check back. You’re also welcome to leave your email in the comments if you’d rather or email me at with the subject heading of “just in case”, so I can contact you if you win, if you don’t want to have to stop back by the blog sites. You don’t have to be present at the FB takeover to win.

Blog Tour Stops
Bike Books Review
Grace Duncan
Susan Laine
Jo Ramsey
Alicia Nordwell
Jana Denardo
Lex Chase
Sean Michael
Charley Descoteaux
Anne Barwell
Karenna Colcroft
Anna Butler
Nic Starr
Shae Conner
Jessica Davies
Aidee Ladnier
Emma Tett
Harmony Ink Blog
Harmony Ink Facebook Page

Ray of Sunlight

Russ Michaels has his whole life ahead of him but no plans beyond dropping out of school as soon as he turns eighteen. He’s been in and out of juvenile detention for the last four years and thoroughly expects to end up in an adult penitentiary at some point. He hates life and everyone in it, especially this latest community service that he earned in lieu of juvie yet again.

CJ Calhoun has big plans. He wants to bring joy and happiness to sick and injured children for as long as he can by performing as a clown. The problem is, he has stage-four cancer and a horrible prognosis.

When circumstances throw these two polar opposites together, they find they have more in common than they imagined. CJ discovers Russ’s talent for art and arranges for Russ to create a mural in the hospital foyer, which leads to a tentative scholarship to the Art Institute. As life changes in ways neither of them could have expected, Russ must work harder than ever to better himself as CJ struggles with his deteriorating health.


Brynn Stein
Brynn Stein has always loved to write. Fan fiction, original fiction, whatever. While Brynn wrote in numerous genres—everything from mystery, to contemporary, to supernatural—she had always tended toward strong male characters. And then she discovered “slash,” male/male romance, and all those strong male characters were finally allowed to express their love for one another. It seems that there are always at least two characters clamoring to tell Brynn their story.

Brynn lives in Virginia near her two grown daughters who encourage her writing and provide a sounding board for fledgling stories. When she isn’t writing, Brynn teaches children with special needs. In free time, when such a thing exists, she reads anything she can get her hands on, and haunts bookstores. She draws and paints, and enjoys the outdoors—especially if she can get to the beach—and is always thinking about her next story.

Please feel free to contact Brynn at any of the following: