Tuesday 2 December 2008

On Writing ...

Check out Lauri Shaw's website, where she's written up interviews with a few writers (myself included) to find out what we think about the current state of publishing. Is there light at the end of the tunnel? Or is it just the headlights of the oncoming train ...

Meanwhile over on authonomy, I've added some more samples of my work. You'll have to look up my profile (Debbie), as I can't post a direct link to it.

Monday 29 September 2008

HarperCollins editorial review

'...very strong struff, but it’s an immensely powerful hook with which to kick off the book.'

... is what HarperCollins had to say about my psychological thriller novel Hamelin's Child, which was one of the top 5 most popular books on the Authonomy site in August, as voted by other members.

'Hamelin’s Child is well written and very engaging. You paint a clear and harrowing picture of the world of narcotics and its terrible consequences both on individuals and society at large. From the outset the reader sympathises with Mikey, and I was truly intrigued to discover what challenge he would face next - whether his sister Kate would ever be able to bring him back home.'

Great comments! All I need now is a publisher prepared to take a chance on a 'marmite' novel.

Sunday 21 September 2008

FantasyCon 2008

Just got back from this year's FantasyCon in Nottingham. A great weekend with other fantasy, sf & horror writers and fans - plus a smattering of editors, publishers and book-sellers. Talks, drinks, panels, interviews, a demon-themed banquet (yours truly spent an hour inflating helium ballooons and running round decorating tables), drinks, the Raffle (capital R intentional - you have to be there) in which I actually won some prizes for a change, and drinks. Met up with all those people I only see once a year and generally had a fantastic weekend.

News - I'm back in control-freak mode as I've just volunteered to be on next year's committee! After 2 years off, I just couldn't stay away and 2009 will therefore be my 11th convention as a committee member (including at least 3 as organiser/co-organiser). So watch this space as I will be bullying everyone I know to register and/or donate goodies. Trust me - I have no shame ...

Monday 1 September 2008

Made the top 5 on Authonomy!

Yes, another Authonomy post, but hey - my sex-and-drugs thriller Hamelin's Child was voted as one of the top 5 best books on Authonomy for the first month! I'm thrilled to bits. It doesn't guarantee publication, but it does get me a proper reading and critique by a HarperCollins editor. Getting real live editors of the big publishing houses to read things these days is pretty rare as most of them no longer accept unsolicited submissions. So it's a step in the right direction. The book is now at number 3 in the all-time-favourites list, so go on over and have a read ...

Wednesday 20 August 2008

Authonomy got serious!

Oooh - Authonomy's gone and got serious! There's now a ranking system for people and books. My sex-and-drugs thriller is currently at number 5 - which means that if it can stay there until the end of the month, there's a chance it might get read by a real live HarperCollins editor! So if you want to take a look when it's open for public viewing, head on over to Hamelin's Child. Or any of my uploaded novels, for that matter - and don't be shy in registering and recommending my stuff (you don't have to be a writer, just a reader)!

Sunday 29 June 2008

Back from Winchester

Just been to the Winchester Writers' Conference for the first time in 10 years. It was great to catch up with old friends and make some new ones. Made some good contacts, spoke to the lovely Carolyn Caughey (senior editor at Hodder), who I met at my very first writers' conference back in - ooh - 1991 and who changed my life in that she encouraged a whole group of us back then who wrote genre fiction - some of whom are now among my closest friends. Had a great meeting with a literary agent, who liked my submission and wanted to read the rest of it and also got to speak with the editor of Ebury Press' new list. Now I'd been a bit cheeky and sent something to her in advance of the conference - knowing full well that she'd be deluged with submissions afterwards and as I'd hoped, she'd spotted the word "Winchester" in my covering letter and taken my sub out of the mountainous slush pile! That's what I call pro-active, so I just hope she reads it and likes it now.

What else did we do? Succeeded in being in the first 5 of every queue for meals, despite just about every event over-running. Oh and managed to sneak out of the big dinner before the speakers started - not that I didn't want to listen, but the room was so hot and we'd already been sitting there for 2 1/4 hours.

And the best bit was going to the talk by the Authonomy crew and finding that Kate not only recognised me from the site, but had just added my book to her bookshelf. The system works!

So I have a busy few weeks ahead. Contacts to follow up and subs to prepare. Plus I have to make a load of gemstone jewellery for the village fair, help do the admin for the village fair, process 60+ orders for new Telos books, sort out all my daughter's end-of-term trips, concerts & what-have-you and I guess I'd better squeeze work in somewhere too. And the pile of washing since the machine was out of action for a week ... But I'm getting boring now.

Monday 19 May 2008

Authonomy Again

Spent most of the last week on this Authonomy site (see earlier post). I just hope that HarperCollins and other publishers actually sift through some of the stuff on this site, because it's fab! There are novels on here that would fly off the bookshelves if published, so why is it so hard for a new author to get noticed these days. Is it really all about marketing? Two authors stand out so far for me - Anne Brooke and Ian Barker. Both very different, both excellent.

Getting some good reviews for my own stuff too, which is encouraging. Is there anybody out there listening?

Sunday 18 May 2008

Looking for Lisa

Odd title, I know - but I am. Looking for Lisa, that is. Lisa (Dachinger/Dorris/Petricca) is American and we've known each other for over 30 years, but lost touch recently. I was at both her weddings and she was at mine. She has 3 kids - Curt, Jennifer and Nathan and lives in Massachussetts. I keep seeing bits & pieces on the net about organic farming etc and trying emails but getting nowhere. Lisa' s one of my oldest friends, so if anyone knows her, please ask her to get in touch again!

Friday 16 May 2008


If you're wondering why I have a link to Telos' website, it's because not only is MD David a very good friend of mind, but I also handle their retail orders and do occasional editing work for them. It's an online book store - check it out for factual tv guides, novels and classic reprints, especially if you're a Dr Who fan as there are lots of Dr Who goodies for sale.

Monday 12 May 2008

I once asked Stephen King to dance ...

That's THE Stephen King. God of writing. And he plays a mean guitar too.

The man himself came to London to promote Bag of Bones and I was lucky enough to be invited to the evening party, courtesy of Hodder & Stoughton. We were all given special bottle of Bag of Bones beer, stored in large fridges with fridge magnets on them. Stephen gave a short concert with his band and we all drank a lot and ate very nice canapes.

And as the music got louder and we got drunker, I was talking to fantasy author Storm Constantine and between the two of us, we decided to ask Mr King if he'd like to dance. We almost got close to him as well, until his minder very kindly turned down our offer.

Shame, but probably for the best!

Sunday 11 May 2008


Finally been given access to HarperCollins' new Authonomy site in beta test version. There are only 100 of us - the first 100 who signed up back at the start of the year on an HC blog site.

It's interesting - kind of like YouWriteOn without the rules. You can comment on anybody's book at any time. I can see it becoming the first electronic slush pile, with presumably HC editors looking at anything which generates sufficient interest. However even with only 100 of us, it's getting busy and it's only been live for a week. I can't help wonder how manageable it will be when let loose on the web in its full version for anybody to sign up.

Tuesday 6 May 2008

Winchester Writers Conference

Just signed up for Winchester again - first time I've been for 10 years! Well, it isn't as easy as it was when I lived in Surrey, and I didn't have kids to think about back then.

For anyone who hasn't been before it's a great place to meet fellow-writers & network - never mind the lectures, workshops and 1:1 appointments with editors and agents. I met one of my best mates on my first conference (it was Southampton uni back then). I'm going this year mainly to network - to meet up with editors I haven't seen for some time and remind them of my continued existence. I'm sure it will be great fun!

Monday 31 March 2008


Yeah, OK - my pre-teen daughter could probably blog better than I can. She can certainly text quicker and work the DVD player. But I thought I ought to join the online community a bit more interactively than just by having a website.

If you've wandered onto this page at random or have perhaps come across me linked with the word "fantasy", I should point out now that it's not the under-the-counter brown wrapper variety, but more the Stephen King flavour. Writing, conventions, British Fantasy Society, magic, alternate realities, science fiction, other worlds, Tolkien, elves and wizards if you must (though I'd really rather not). So if you were expecting content of an adult nature, I'm sorry to disappoint you and thanks for visiting. Switch the lights off as you leave, please.

So who am I? As above - mother, writer, wife etc in varying orders of priority depending on who's shouting the loudest. I'm a member of the British Fantasy Society and was on the committee for over 15 years, edited the BFS newsletter Prism for 5 years and the BFS fiction anthology Dark Horizons for 4 years. And I've been on - ooh, about 10 FantasyCon convention committees.

I've had short fiction published in numerous places, including womens' magazines. I've been short-listed in the Ian St James Award and had a novel long-listed in the Crime Writer's Association Debut Dagger Award. I've won several competitions, but am still chasing that elusive big break. I do get past editors now and into second and third readings - but it's the marketing departments I can't crack! I'm just not famous enough.

So that's me. Can't think of anything else witty and exciting to say, so I'll sign off now and see what my very first blog post looks like...