Showing posts from 2017


Wishing you all a festive season filled with peace, love, friendship and joy . . .

 . . . and a year of high hopes and fulfilled dreams in 2018.

Melissa x

Where I'm At . . .

Well, blogging again, obviously, after several months away for various reasons. And writing again, albeit slowly, after several months away for various reasons.  Sometimes it is necessary to step away from your dream and rethink how much you really want that dream - or even if you still want it at all.  And sometimes the only way you can find out is to not follow that dream for a while and see what answer comes up.

So that's what I've been doing - taking time out to rethink. And doing some reading in my chosen genre too in an attempt to enjoy  reading romance again and to remember why I started writing it in the first place.   And I've been reading some truly amazing books by truly amazing and inspiring authors.

Sara Craven, who has just sadly passed away, began writing for Mills and Boon back in 1975. She's an author whose books I've picked up now again over the years, but reading some of her early and more recent work during my 'time out' has reconfirmed…

Daring to write!

I've just submitted my first chapter and synopsis to the Mills and Boon Dare Blitz.  This is a new line Harlequin are launching in February next year and they are looking for UK based authors - so if you like writing hot, sexy and explicit modern romance check out their blog. The call for submissions is open from 10th until 18th July, with feedback from the editors in mid August.

I'm also getting geared up for the annual RNA conference this coming weekend, held this year at Harper Adams Agricultural University right in the heart of the lovely Shropshire countryside.

This was the venue for my very first conference four years ago, which seems a lot longer than that now, having attended others in London and in Lancaster.  As always, there will be a wide range of talks and workshops and the opportunity to meet with publishers, editors and agents. And best of all, of course, the change to catch up with my wonderful writing fr…

Self Belief is Everything!

Being a big cricket fan, I've spent today listening to the Champion's Trophy final between India and Pakistan. Against all the odds and everyone's expectations, Pakistan won, and by a huge margin, beating probably the best one-day team in the world.  Often the  underdogs, Pakistan can't even play international games at home because foreign teams won't visit, still nervous after the attack on the Sri Lankan national team in Lahore in March 2009.  Seven Sri Lankan cricketers were injured in the attack by armed militants, and six security officials and two civilians were killed during the gun battle that ensued.  Sadly, terrorism is everywhere these days, and the UK is more than aware of that fact after the recent atrocities in Manchester and London. But the Pakistan cricket team, by sheer persistence, passion and hard work, are an example that if  one has the heart and the determination, nothing is impossible and even the greatest odds can be overcome.

What has cr…

A new job

May has always been a month of change for me. Perhaps it's the gentle turning of late spring into early summer, and the weather recently has certainly felt like it.  As I said in my last post, I've decided to return to part-time work in order to devote more time to writing and, as of the 5th of next month, I'll be working three days and writing the rest of the week. And that isn't all!  I've been lucky enough to get a position as visitor experience manager in one of Wales's most beautiful and historic places, Lake Vyrnwy - Llyn Efyrnwy in Welsh - in the heart of Powys.

The lake, owned and run by Severn Trent Water, was formed in the 1880s by the creation of the first stone-built dam of its kind in the world, and it's still pretty impressive today. You get a real shiver down the spine driving across the top of it to the visitor centre and RSPB reserve.  Surrounded by dramatic hills and farmland, it is remote but totally idyllic, and a great day out. There is…

The Practical Challenges of Being a Writer

I often think of this quote from Virginia Woolf as, like many other aspiring authors, I try and juggle life and writing every day.  Because no matter how committed one is to one's dream, a living has to be made all the same.  I've been lucky enough for the last ten years to be able to combine part time jobs, occasionally two or three at a time, with my writing, and being an early morning writer, that has usually worked well.  Luck ran out at the end of last year, however, and I had to take on a full time job.  The impact this has had both on the quantity of time I can devote to my writing and to the quality of my work has been huge.  My writing hours have dwindled and my energy and enthusiasm levels have dropped dramatically. There is very little opportunity for walking, which is an activity I try and do every day as it helps clear the creative blocks and gets me doing some exercise as well.

So, while a room of my own is no problem, money is something that is factoring very l…


Although spring doesn't officially start until 21st March, it really felt like it had arrived early and in all its glory today in north west Wales.  The sun shone warmly and the sky was clear blue so, lucky enough to have the day off work, I went for a long walk up in the hills. The beauty of nature at this time of year is truly amazing.  Hedgerows and trees were showing blossom, daffodils were everywhere and other springtime flowers were making an appearance too.

The trees were alive with birds, all of them flitting around looking for mates or, having already paired up, busily gathering material for their nests.  I got a good look at a couple of male Bullfinches showing off before a female, who seemed to be playing hard to get!  Seeing these lovely colourful birds is a real treat as, sadly, they are not as common as they once were in the UK.  Bees too were in abundance and I even saw a butterfly, the first I've seen this year.  So, it may be raining tomorrow but today was de…

Stalking in Fishguard

February is Fishguard Month and last weekend, as per every year, I headed south down the Welsh coast for another of Kate Walker's fabulous writing courses, organized as always by the incredibly hard working Anne and Gerry Hobbs at Writers' Holiday.  As all the attendees had been several times before, and indeed are now famously known as Walker's Stalkers, Kate tailored the course to our own needs as a group and as individuals, with one-to-one feedback on work we'd submitted beforehand.

The approach to the course this year was a little different and we looked in detail at one of Kate's own books, Indebted to Moreno, published in 2016. We'd all read this prior to arrival and in the sessions looked at key scenes which highlighted the things that every good Harlequin Presents romance novel should have - a sexy Alpha hero, a spirited heroine, a page-turning couple-centred story, and sky high emotional intensity throughout.  Needless to say, the book had all that in…

A New Year and A New Book

Although, to be truthful, this one has been hanging about in the wings since at least the end of November!  Sometimes, like a new seedling, a story needs to take root, to sprout and begin to grow, and that requires a lot of patience on the part of a writer who likes to get going and set a deadline for submission.  As such, this book promises to be a bit of a learning curve but hopefully it will be a period of new growth for me too as a writer.  Perhaps it's because this particular book comes on the back of a fast and furious series of rejections over the last year, some of which were very hard to swallow.  Exploring a different and unfamiliar process, letting the story write itself and set its own pace, means the characters don't do quite what I want them to do sometimes.  But, for now, I'm going with the flow and enjoying a sense of freedom in my writing that I haven't felt for a long time.  I have set a deadline, however, although I have a sneaky suspicion that it m…