2016 – the year of Magic Teacups

If you read my roller coaster “review” of 2015, you may recall that I hoped that 2016 would be a bit more Magic Teacups. (If not, here it is!
Which, I guess, it was.
We’ve spent a whole year in lovely Dartmouth and Mr Archer is constantly Smuggy McSmugface when he opens the blinds every morning to the view down the valley. We’re getting to know people (the DA loyalty card helps…) and getting involved in the community (and will be doing more in 2017). 
The portfolio career continued, swapping accommodation bookings and cleaning for books! A stint as a summer helper in the Dartmouth Bookseller led to some part time, ad hoc work – perfect for an author. I also set up my own business providing flexible support services such as recruitment and administration, prompted by my attendance at the Dartmouth Business Club.
Um, yeah, 2016 was definitely less eventful and not a huge amount happened…oh, wait… I SELF-PUBLISHED MY FIRST NOVEL!
How could I possibly talk about this year without mentioning the arrival of ‘Cocktails, Rock Tales and Betrayals’ on an unsuspecting world? Because, let’s face it, I haven’t talked about much else for the last few months.
I’ve said this in other blog posts and interviews, but it was the World Book Night Event in April of this year that really kick-started the whole process. Hearing traditionally and self-published authors talk about their how they had got their works out made me want to be standing on that side of the table at World Book Night 2017 telling my own story!
Having submitted to a number of agents and received stock replies of ‘thanks, but no thanks’ and ‘it’s not right for us but keep writing’, I considered the self-publishing route. With lots of help and advice from other authors who had successfully done it, I was more determined than ever to get the book out there myself. I was in the fortunate position of having the time and funds available to dedicate to the editing, cover design and marketing processes. 
So I did it! I wrestled with Kindle Direct Publishing, Createspace and Draft2Digital and won!
‘Cocktails’ came out at the end of September (and already feels like a lifetime ago) and swiftly on its heels was ‘Off Track’, an anthology of stories with a train theme written by my fellow chums in the Writer’s Playground. It’s a pretty cool feeling when you search your own name on Amazon… Book 2 (and possibly Book 3 and maybe another anthology) is coming next year.
What, then, for 2017? A carousel? Ferris wheel?

Cocktails, Rock Tales & Betrayals – launch day!

Two years ago today, I received this email from Charlie and Amie at the Six Month Novel programme. I remember doing a happy dance around my kitchen reading it as I realised that there was a good story there just waiting to be told!


And then the hard work began. Four weeks of plotting and planning, four months of writing and four weeks of editing the first chapter. I wrote “The End” around the 1st March 2015.

Then life kind of got in the way. If you read my end of year post ‘2015 – A Bit Of A Year’ ( – then you’ll already know that last year had a few ups and downs.

It wasn’t until April of this year that I really got renewed vigour for writing. I attended a World Book Night event at Stoke Lodge Hotel, where Lesley Pearce regaled us with tales of her writing journey (and penchant for Sean Bean!). Various self-published authors also took to the floor and shared their experiences of that journey and their relative successes. Which made me think…if they can do it, so can I.

And it was on that day I decided to do it! I said to myself that at World Book Night in 2017 I would be the one standing up and telling people what I’d achieved!

I had already submitted to a number of agents by that point, receiving stock replies of ‘thanks, but no thanks’ and ‘keep writing’. Having heard these self-published authors stand up and explain how they had got their books out there, I was more determined than ever.

I explored the opportunity of assisted self-publishing through third parties such as Matador and also attended a number of workshops by pure self-published authors in my genre at Tiverton Literary Festival. I also met some lovely authors at Urban Writers Residential Retreats, who also provided me with invaluable advice on the whole process.

After sitting down with a pros and cons list of both (plus weighing up costs), I decided to go it alone and do it all myself. I was in a fortunate position of being able to have the time and funds available to dedicate to the editing, cover design and marketing process.

So I did it! Having wrestled with Createspace, Kindle Direct Publishing and Draft2Digital over the last month or so, I am proud of what I have achieved. Not just writing an 81,000 word novel, but taking control of the elements of the process and doing things the way I want.

If you don’t buy the book and therefore don’t get to the acknowledgements, you’ll see how important the Six Month Novel programme and the other super supportive writers were to kick start the idea that had been floating around for many, many years. I’m hoping they’ll continue as I work on the sequel…


Thanks to everyone for their support so far, it is much appreciated.

Now, Book 2!

Love Julie x