Last year my novella Krampus won the Readers Review Room critics award. Subsequently, I released a fuller version for a charity called Shine Bright James. SBJ is a charity close to my heart. It was set up by a family member whose little boy died of a condition called NKH, a rare incurable disease that sadly claims many lives in infancy.

The charity aims to help the families who use a facility called Robin House in Glasgow. Robin House is there to support the families who are often bereaved or facing bereavement. SBJ wants to help those families enjoy the time they still have with their little loved ones, or with expenses that may occur during their difficult time. They organise several worthwhile events throughout the year. In 2018, they organised a zip slide over the Clyde, a charity football match and an 80s night.

The story itself is about the two faces of Christmas and how they’ve been put at odds with each other by folklore. They must come together to save the one day of the year that saves the human race. You can read it on kindle and paperback now.

It’s my turn on the blog tour for Jennifer Gilmour’s Clipped Wings, and what a read.

CW CoverIt’s my pleasure to be on the first day of the blog tour for Jennifer Gilmour’s ‘Clipped Wings’ book, a book made up of many stories of domestic abuse survivors. This is an unusual book to be asked to read let alone review on the first ever blog tour I have taken part in. A worthy one though.

Clipped Wings is an emotionally charged account of domestic abuse told from many different perspectives. More than twenty survivors’ come together to spread the word and tell us about their experience. Luckily, these are the people who get to tell their story. The stories themselves are short, like something you might read in Take a Break but with a little more gravitas. Ultimately, each one is heart-breaking.

There’s also material from a male perspective. Unfortunately, there are men who also suffer domestic abuse. I’ve often seen this treated like a joke. The upshot is that domestic abuse is never funny no matter who you are. This book only highlights that it comes in all shapes and sizes and abusers aren’t always big burly drunken men.

You can feel the psychological effects even from these short stories and it becomes a grimmer tale as the book goes on. It wasn’t an easy read. You’re delving into someone else’s heartache. In their worst moments though, you can feel the desperation and the bravery that it takes to speak up and to escape systematic abuse.

This is not a book that is to be enjoyed, but it must be read. Each of these survivors deserved their own book, but for now they get to tell their stories as a collective. What a collective it is.

***** out of *****

About the author



Born in the North East, I am a young, married mum with three children. I am an entrepreneur, running a family business from my home-base and I have a large readership of other young mums in business for my blog posts.

From an early age I have had a passion for writing and have been gathering ideas and plot lines from my teenage years. A passionate advocate for women in abusive relationships, I have amalgamated and fictionalised other survivors experiences alongside my own to write my first novel detailing the journey of a young woman from the despair of an emotionally abusive and unhappy marriage to develop the confidence to challenge and change her life and to love again. I hope that in reading my debut novel, I will raise awareness of this often hidden and unseen behaviour and empower women in abusive relationships to seek help for themselves and find the confidence to change their lives.

Get this book here:


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Mental Health awareness is sadly still lacking

I watched Sinead O'Connor pour her heart out in a recent video blog and I felt astounded.

The point she appeared to drive home was that people are still ignorant of the various mental health issues that are plaguing millions of people. Why? Why when people say they have a physical condition do we trip over ourselves to offer words of wisdom and support? Yet, when someone cries out for help on account of a mental health issue we suggest, without making eye contact, that they "pull themselves together".

Mental health is something that is increasingly affecting our celebrities. It's easy to remove ourselves though because we tell ourselves they're rich and famous and have lives we could only dream of. What do they have to be sad about? No matter your wealth and status in the world, we all have to face ourselves when the door is closed.

Mental health illness isn't just something that affects the rich and colourful though. And it's not a passing fad. My own experience of it is not technically my own. I'm fortunate that the most I've experienced is reactive stress. Most of us can relate to that. However my experience of it is more profound than I realised early in my life.

My mum had a very serious mental health condition. When I was growing up I experienced her highs and lows. As a single parent family I know she did her best to combat it so she could bring stability into a home where our father was largely absent. It didn't always work. It was the 1980s and the world was still in a hangover from the days where mental health patients were treated abysmally; in hospitals and in society. Even our extended family had no great understanding and would tell her to pull herself together or simply stop looking for attention.

My mother committed suicide at age 43. She has missed an entire lifetime of her family growing older and half a dozen grandchildren. The irony is that her death educated us in unspeakable ways. Now we have compassion and empathy in ways that many people still don't. My mother has become a symbol of celebration for our entire family and couldn't possibly know how profoundly she is missed.

This is the heartbreaking effect of mental health illnesses. We avoid having to deal with it until we no longer have the choice. Then when we do deal with it, it's often too late in the day. I hope Miss O'Connor gets the help she not only needs, but absolutely deserves. She is no different to any other person with an illness. She needs nurtured back to health. I just hope it isn't too late.

The Dead of Winter – ON SALE for 99p/c

“Dark, sinister and suspenseful”
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Two children have disappeared. The mask of this community is about to fall.
The Dead of Winter is on sale for 99p/c from the 26 – 29th April 2017.
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Kindle Unlimited – a service well worth paying for

I’ve read a few comments recently about how people are being shortchanged by Kindle Unlimited because it doesn’t have big names or many bestsellers on it’s list. I don’t think its amazon that is short changing people as much as it is the major publishing houses not embracing the change to how people are reading.

I have my four books listed in Kindle Unlimited and I would say I have more success with that than I do with selling actual copies. I hope that changes but I’m glad that KU has provided me with a platform to be seen rather than my books drowning in the tide.

Kindle Unlimited doesn’t provide you with full access to the library, and much of the content on there will likely be from self published authors or authors who haven’t sold a million copies. However, there are still hundreds of thousands of books for you to download. At £7.99 a month ($9.99 in America) I believe it’s a treat.

Nobody complains that Netflix doesn’t have all the blockbuster films or new releases on it. It’s a service that provides exclusive content for a monthly fee and should be treated as such.

So I would ask that people support the Kindle Unlimited service. As an author, it has some great promotional tools to allow us to lower our prices or make our books visible through the free days. What’s so bad about that? I know that you have to make the digital format of your book exclusive to amazon. You would have to weigh up how much success you’re having with other retailers. For me, it’s worth remaining in and, for the moment I wont consider going elsewhere.

Rebel Lexis – *****

It’s not easy to get a cross-genre book just right, particularly when one genre contradicts the very existence of the other. Can you imagine the next Fifty Shades book going all Mad Max on us? Yet, Paul Alan manages to convince that one works with the other with this meticulously written ero/sci-fi kick off to the series.

The story itself is vivid and imaginative and makes use of its surroundings to enhance, rather than hinder, the story. It presents a worrisome look at a future that should be too far away for us to care about, yet I found myself really pondering over it. Definitely one to give a try if you like your futuristic sci-fi laced with a little nudge and wink.