To Finish or Not To Finish: a Novel in Limbo

I spend a lot of my time sat in the dark as I feed my baby, staring at a picture of a girl in a yellow dress. And now one thing for sure: her story isn’t over yet.

When I started my Master’s a year ago, I did it with the intention of using the time to work on the sequel to Searching For Katherine (r.2014), which has sat unfinished in my proverbial desk draw for the past three years.

However, three months into my course – I found out I was pregnant. Overwhelmed by work, university and now pregnancy – the novel remained unfinished.

Well now I am on maternity leave, my degree has come to an end, and I have a month-old baby boy – my time is both free and less so at the same time.

Hanging on my living room wall is the original sketch – done by an old friend of mine – of the cover for Searching For Katherine.

It is of Katherine in a torn yellow dress, walking through the forest. I always loved the drawing because it was of a pivotal moment in Katherine’s story; of limbo. She finds herself leaving one hell, with no promise of salvation or safety once she gets wherever she’s going – but she still takes the journey. And thus, I too am in limbo when it comes to this book.

But now it’s time to come out of the forest and choose a path. Do I scrap the book altogether, and take time as a sign that some books just shouldn’t be finished? Do I pick up where I left off? Or do I start the manuscript again; and embellish it with the things I have learned in life since last writing it?

I always felt a duty to Katherine to finish her story, I still intend on doing so, but perhaps not in the way I originally planned.

I think I’ll dust off the old hard drive tomorrow and see where we left off, and if there is a story yet to be salvaged.

Chapter Eleven | Finding Jennifer Book Teaser

Here is a little taste of what’s going on in Chapter Eleven of my upcoming novel – and sequel in the SEARCHING FOR KATHERINE series, FINDING JENNIFER. Enjoy!


Sex In Books | Not That Sexy (16+ content)

sex in books.pngEveryone loves a cheeky sex scene in a romance novel; or those secret make-out sessions in your favourite Young Adult series, but there’s a line.

With a society that is climatized to seeing sex in everything, perhaps no sex in a book is the New Sexy?

If an author tells you they have never written a salacious sex scene – they ar lying. But, ask them if it ended up in the book, and some will say no.

For my novel, Searching For Katherine, I wrote a sex scene for the night of Jennifer’s wedding – and then deleted half of it. Yes, I kept some of the build-up and the tension in, but there is no actual sex in the sex scene.

Sometimes, the idea of sex is sexier than the act itself. And sometimes, sex isn’t sexy. 

the-russian-concubineIn The Russian Concubine by Kate Furvinall, there is a sex scene between the two main characters who are roughly fifteen or sixteen years old. The boy is injured and weak, the girl tending to his wounds as she hides him the shed from her family.

It is a sweet, tender moment, but it is – naturally – a very awkward and fumbling scene. Why? Because virgin teenagers don’t know how to have sex, so it would be ridiculous for the author to have pretended otherwise. It is a beautifully written scene and one I have specially marked in my copy. I read it when I need reminding that sex isn’t always the sinners show it’s perceived to be. Sometimes, sex is communication.

It is a beautifully written scene and one I have specially marked in my copy. I read it when I need reminding that sex isn’t always the sinners show it’s perceived to be. Sometimes, sex is communication.


It’s difficult to write an article about sex in books without mentioning the elephant in the room: Fifty Shades of Grey. Originally written as a sexy Twilight fan-fic, and quickly tidied up when the website when crazy and was picked up by a publishing house; Fifty Shades is the perfect example of Sex Overload in fiction.

I won’t waste too much time talking about this series, but if memory serves me right; there’s a lot of pretty ridiculous sex in this book series. They have sex anywhere and everywhere, several times a day and it some strange positions and situations. I think Mr .Grey needs to see a therapist because he just can’t keep it in his pants.

The sex is completely unrealistic – however, it also proves that sometimes there is only one way to write a sex scene: badly. E.L James repeats the same phrases and rhythms throughout the book, giving all the scenes a very samey vibe. But, she is an international best-selling author; so she must have gotten something right!

porn v books.png

Perhaps sex scenes in books scene somewhat ridiculous because they are a little bit more real than we’re used to.

Most adults have watch pornography at some time or another, and we’ve all seen those perfect six-pack muscle men with engorged penises and perfect bodies. They give women expectations of what a man should look like in bed, and I’m afraid to say that not every man is built like Superman. Nor, should they be!

And for the men, those poor bastards are relentlessly shown swimwear models with tidy, toned bodies and tiny waists. None of these women have scars or stretch marks, none have bore children and they certainly don’t look like the women we see in the high street doing their shopping.

Why is porn so popular? Because we like to fantasize. Why does sex suck in books? Because sometimes… you’ve just got to use your imagination – and the only references most of us have are porn sites and some embarrassing sex stories of our own.

And because reading the word penis is never going to be as sexy as seeing one! 

So maybe next time you read an awkward sex scene in a book; remember that sometimes it’s better in real life than it is on the page; give the author the benefit of the doubt. And, if it’s really bad, just skip it.

Got an opinion? Share it in the comments! 

Indie Pride Day | Book Giveaway

Today is #IndieBooksBeSeen Indie Pride Day: a day to celebrate and share independent authors and poets from all across the world via social media.

Today, if you check the hashtags #IndieBooksBeSeen or #IndiePrideDay, you will see thousands of photos of Indie Authors holding up their #ISupportIndieBooksBeSeen signs, as well as a copy of their own book.

In celebration of #IndiePrideDay, I am doing my biggest giveway yet! Check my Instagram for full details and the actual post. 

quote yourself a freebie

QUOTE YOURSELF A FREEBIE! All you have to do to win is comment below with your all-time favourite book quote! I will be announcing the winner Saturday 2nd July 2016.

The winner will receive:

The rules are:

  • One entry per person.
  • No giveaway-only accounts (I will be checking!)
  • Must be entered on July 1st 2016. Any entries after midnight will not be counted.
  • You must be aged 13 or over (some of my books have explicit content) or have the permission of a parent/guardian to enter.
  • This is a world-wide competition.
  • Your entry must be in the comments/ Tweets of one of my original posts, i.e: this blog post, the Facebook or Twitter posts, or on my Instagram.

Good luck, and may the best bookworm win!

Finding Jennifer: Extract

As I get back into the swing of things (mainly working on Chapter 6), I thought I would share an extract with my readers: just to give you a taste of the story.

Don’t worry – I won’t give too much away!

findingjennifer extract ch 6 promo

Why Writing A Sequel Is So Hard

I have always envied series writers for their ability to keep a story going for 2+ books without losing the will to live, or losing the plot along the way.

I tend to stick to 1-book plot lines or poetry: nice and quick with no afterthought. But now, I am writing a sequel for the first time (more in theory than in practice at the moment), I need to know the secrets!

There is so much more to consider when carrying on a novel to the next book:

  • have the characters developed?
  • is there a time lapse?
  • will it be a continuous plot?
  • are you restricted by a previous timeline?
  • is there some very specific details mentioned before that can’t be changed?
  • where is it set, and why has it / hasn’t it changed?
  • why is there a need for a sequel: what did you leave unanswered?
  • what does the reader expect to happen?
  • what do you expect to happen?

There’s a lot to consider, but there is one very important question when writing a sequel or a series: WHY?

Why are you carrying on? You’ve finished the first book – so why does there have to be more? Is something left unresolved? Did you end on a cliffhanger? Are there too many unanswered questions? 

You need to know the answers to those questions before you start writing – that’s why it’s so hard: because you’ve knowingly constricted yourself to an already established story, now you have to carry it on.

Make it a good one!

BOOK GIVEAWAY: Searching For Katherine

BOOK GIVEAWAY TIME! To win a copy of Searching For Katherine, just follow the instructions below. Competition ends 15 May 2015 (UK time):


This is my first EVER book giveaway and is exclusive to Facebook! (entries only accepted via comments on my Facebook page)

To win a brand new copy of Searching For Katherine, simply comment below the Facebook Giveaway Post 1 reason why you like the book: whether it’s because you like the art work, love the story or you just really want a free book, whatever your reason is – just be honest!

sfk 2015 edition

The giveaway ends 15th May 2015 at midnight (UK time) and I will announce the winner on Facebook as well as contacting the lucky winner! The copy will be signed by me with a personal message to the winner.



Terms and Conditions: Entrants must be 13 years old or over, any entrants under 16 must have parental permission to enter. Postage and Packaging will be paid by the author unless over £5.99. Global entries welcome. The giveaway ends at 12:00 am 15 May 2015 (UK time), any entries after this time may not be considered.

Countdown To Christmas: Day 3 (Searching For Katherine EXTRACT)

HELLO! It’s December 3rd and it’s time for another countdown post!

Today, you get an extract from my novel, Searching For Katherine, and if you like it then the purchase link is below! ( I know it’s not Christmassy, but at least it’s a present!)

searching for katherine 2

Extract Taken From Chapter 13:

Jennifer climbed out of the back of the limo, picking up her dress so as not to tread on it, her shoes clicking across the concrete pavement in the dark. Marcus followed behind with her suitcase and lifted her dress from the floor. She opened the building door and struggled through the door. “I can’t do this – stop.” She put her palm flat on Marcus’ tuxedoed chest: “I need to take this train off – Luca will go mental!”

Marcus untied her train and held it, bundled up in his arms. She took her keys from her sleek black clutch bag and unlocked their front door. Luca was nowhere to be seen, but she could hear him barking quietly to himself so she didn’t bother looking for him. Marcus followed behind, shutting the door with a backwards kick of his foot. He dropped the things on the sofa and gave an exaggerated sigh. Jennifer stood in the living room in her wedding dress.

“You look very out of place.”

“I feel it in this thing!” She picked up the edges of the dress and stared down at them distastefully.

“You look beautiful, though.” He smiled, leading her to the bedroom so she could sit down on the bed.

“It’s a shame your parents couldn’t come to the wedding. It would have been so nice to meet them.” Jennifer rubbed her swollen feet and released them from her white high-heeled shoes. Her dress spilled over the edge of her bed, like a giant meringue. She had been complaining all day about how extravagant the wedding had been and that the food was making her feel sick. Marcus thought it might have been her dress; she had said it was too tight, even though it had been altered two weeks before.

Marcus pushed some of her dress aside so he could sit down beside her. His black tuxedo looked shocking next to her white wedding dress, “They were in Jamaica – they couldn’t just leave.” He fiddled with the trim on the bottom of her gown, twisting it around in his hands.

“I know, I know,” she placated him, “But it would still have been nice to actually meet them.” She gave a quick smile and stood up. Marcus took hold of her hips and pulled her in front of him, her dress engulfing them. She laughed at the sight: “Why did you insist I have a great big white wedding dress?” She played with the netting that erupted from the waist of her dress.

“So you looked like a princess on our big day. You only get married once, Jen. I wanted it to be special.” He mockingly pouted at her.

“It was special, baby.” She kissed his forehead and then sat on his lap, surrounding them in the white skirts of her dress. “So, it’s my wedding day.”

“Our wedding day,” he corrected her, tapping her nose with his finger.

“Our wedding day,” she repeated. “We’re married now; everything is ours.” She kissed him again. They glanced around her room and remembered the day she moved in.

Fiddling with her dress, she whined “This itches; can I take it off yet?”

“You’ve only been wearing it for a few hours.”

“A few? I’ve been wearing it since nine o’clock this morning.” Jennifer turned to see the time on the bedside alarm clock. “Twelve hours I’ve been wearing this thing and it’s digging into my hips.” She squirmed in her dress. “Please can I take it off?” she pouted at him and he lifted her from his lap, making her stand in front of him.

“Okay, turn around.” She did as she was told and turned. He brushed her hair to the front of her shoulder: it was now long, curly and a deep hazelnut brown with a hint of red. She liked dyeing her hair as a surprise to Marcus, but this seemed to be the only colour he had liked so far. Jennifer twirled her hair around her fingers as Marcus unlaced her corset-backed dress. It fell to the floor and she was left standing in her underwear, as white as her dress. She turned to face him again and he had taken off his suit jacket and tie. He hugged her, stroking her hair, her face burrowed into his shoulder.  She pulled back and kissed his lips.

Let me know what you thought in the comments, and what else you would like to see in the Countdown To Christmas! 🙂

Searching For Katherine – UK Page

Searching For Katherine – US Page

*ANNOUNCEMENT* Searching For Katherine Cover Change

After a lot of resistance (on my part) and advice from professionals and cover designers, I have decided to update the SEARCHING FOR KATHERINE book cover just in time for the new print run!

This is the original cover as designed by the wonderful Debbie Bretherton:


This is the new cover designed by Mark Looker, who designed my other covers:

searching for katherine 2 Whilst I love them both, it has been brought to my attention that the original cover was slightly misleading and didn’t fit with my author branding.

I hope you all like the new cover, and if you were lucky enough to have one of the original covers: they are now limited edition and signed. So they might be worth a bit of money one day (haha)!