My March 2017 roundup!

Now then!

Every month I’ll write a quick roundup of my recent goings-on. This is mainly for my benefit, because I’m forgetful and often need evidence (tentative as that may be) that I’ve achieved something or done something worthwhile for my career/health/relationships etc.

It’s also a way to roundup the best bits featured on the blog this month. Your time is limited, so I wanna help you get to the good stuff and get on with your day 🙂

So, without further ado…

Writing goings on…


The manuscript for LIONCLAD is currently being read by two agents (1 full, 1 partial)

I’ve had partial/full requests before so I’m trying not to get my hopes up, but to go from months of nothing but form rejections to read requests within days of querying is pretty nice.

We’ll see what comes of it, but I’m hopeful, especially as I think either of the requesting agents would be a blast to work with 🙂

(ALSO ALSO my Savage Wife Geej had a full request on her manuscript last month so yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!!!)




Rob’s halfway through #3 of BUMSTORM! Look forward to picking up an e-copy via his online shop in the next few months or from our table at Thoughtbubble Leeds 🙂





My lovely friend and fellow P2P2016 mentee Ashley Ruggirello is now repped by Mandy Hubbard of Emerald City Literary agency!!

Mandy fell in love at first sight with Ash’s novel ‘ONE THOUSAND STARS THAT BIND’ a YA gender-bend retelling of ALADDIN set in an alternate Ceausescu-era Romania. Can’t wait to see it on bookshelves at my local Waterstones! 😀




My ‘Eds bro’ Mike Kubat recently took up a post writing for Disney!!!!

Mike was one of the first people in the animation industry to ever believe in me and I’ll always be grateful for his support and often-needed kicks up the butt. It’s been Mike’s dream to work for Disney so I’m beyond stoked for him. Knock ‘em dead, Koobs!


What’s happened on the blog?

This month I invited three lovely authors for a ‘Cuppa and Catchup’:

First was
Meg Cowley, Yorkshire-based fantasy author of THE CALEDAN TRILOGY and indie writer champion extraordinaire. Meg is an absolute powerhouse and often cranks out entire manuscripts in a few short months. I quizzed her on that enviable writing stamina as well as her favourite authors and how she likes to relax (cake and coffee, which we had in abundance when we met up in Halifax earlier this month).

Next up was author and essayist Holly Raychelle Hughes, whose harrowing experiences as a production professional in Hollywood were recently featured in an issue of the Image comic series GLITTERBOMB.

I also had the immense pleasure of interviewing Tim Powers, author of ON STRANGER TIDES, THE ANUBIS GATES and LAST CALL. A veritable legend in the writing biz, several of Tim’s novels have inspired a number of movies, TV shows and videogames. He’s also one of the three founding fathers of the Steampunk genre, if you weren’t impressed already 🙂

I also shared some ideas on how to fall in love with writing again. If you have any better ideas than the ones listed here, please tell me. I find I have an on-off lukewarm crush with the whole fiasco lately!

Places I’ve been this month

rachelvkstoneOn 4th March I attended the annual TBC BOOK CLUB Northern Meetup at the Lazy Lounge in Leeds.

TBC is such a great group of authors and readers so it was lovely to put names to faces at last. Had some great chats with V.K Stone, author of PSYCHO ANALYSIS who very kindly gifted me a copy of his book!


Rob and I took a trip to York in early March to attend a Pubmeet hosted by the British Fantasy Society.

There we met fantasy author and all-round splendid gent Adam ‘AJ’ Dalton who shared his expertise on fantasy sub-genres and the shifts in history that influenced them.

Adam’s lovely wife Nadine was also in attendance as well as a dozen authors and fantasy enthusiasts from around the UK.

There was a book raffle, and Rob and I absolutely CLEANED UP as you can see from this photo:


We rounded off the evening with some drinks in the pub, followed by rants about publishing and that time Nadine turned down a date from Tom Hiddleston!


manchester-roadshow-final.pngI attended Dotmailer’s Dotlive Summit in Manchester!

Email marketing continues to be the strongest, most intimate way to communicate with customers and blog followers. I’m a bit of a nerd for email marketing so I was absolutely in my element with the abundance of stats and new tactics to try. I just read that sentence back to myself…no regrets felt!


Books I’ve read this month

I’ve read some truly delicious books this month. While some titles are from my usual pickings of YA and fantasy, I also found a couple of great non-fiction titles. Here are some of the best books I’ve read this month:

Also Pierce Brown dropped a teaser chapter for IRON GOLD which is due out in 2018 which just had me like:


I’m currently reading:


TV and movies I’ve watched this month

95f9c12e41044306a1430639b24ac1b2LITTLE WITCH ACADEMIA continues to inspire and amaze me. Born from the masterminds at TRIGGER that brought you KILL LA KILL, this is a sweet, emotive and visually gobsmacking animated series about an ambitious misfit who’s determined to follow in the footsteps of the greatest witch in recent history.

I cannot wait for LWA to get its English dub so I can show it to my sister and nieces. They’re big HARRY POTTER fans so this seems totally up their alley 🙂



MY HERO ACADEMIA season two is finally here! Fans of X-MEN may want to check out this series about a powerless boy striving to be a hero in a world where 80% of the people have superpowers. It’s a powerful, beautiful, gut-wrenching story for anyone who’s felt like the underdog (and let’s face it, most writers do from time to time!). 




Speaking of X-MEN, Rob and I went to go see LOGAN for our 10th anniversary. Absolutely loved it. Was sobbing buckets by the end which I really didn’t expect. Not a perfect film, but certainly one of if not my all-time favourite X-Men film (Adam’s review of LOGAN is worth a read and sums up pretty much all of my feelings on it).


Odds and sods

It’s been a bit of a challenging month as Rob went in for a hernia operation just under two weeks ago. It’ll take him anywhere from 4-6 weeks to recover, which means there’s NO heavy lifting and very little walking about in store for him until then. Rob does the cooking (and most of the cleaning) in our house so this is pretty much all my rodeo until he’s better. Ah well. Not managed to give him a lovely dose of food poisoning JUST yet!



My lovely friend and colleague Jen Carter has moved to New Zealand for a year! Jen is a talented illustrator, photographer and writer so I’m very hopeful she’ll get immersed in the growing comics and zine scene in NZ. You can find Jen’s artwork on her Instagram.


logo-headerAs most of you know, I work as a Digital Content Producer for StepChange Debt Charity. It’s honestly the best job I’ve ever had (yes, even better than writing on the Eds, sorry guys!). I’m so proud of the work the charity does to eradicate family poverty and societal prejudice against people struggling with debt.

We recently released our annual Personal Debt Statistics Yearbook. Definitely worth a read if you’re curious about the issues that can potentially lead people into debt problems. 

I was recently outraged by this infographic put out by Business Insider. It claims that a person living in the US and working minimum wage can also be wealthy if they just SAVED ENOUGH MONEY.

Well shit, son! Is THAT all it takes? Everybody! Guess what? Rising living costs, reduced hours and throttled access to welfare benefits aren’t to blame for our woes. WE ARE! Happy Day!!!


Granted, there are some practical tips featured in the above infographic  (eat less meat as veg is cheaper, reduce your cable package costs, try charity shops for clothes where possible). It’s a shame that some of the other tips are naive at best.

Patronising people on minimum wage is NOT helpful and only encourages this terrible tendency to vilify those who are struggling with debt and money problems. Unemployment, reducing income and rising costs of living continue to be the main contributing factors to financial hardship in the UK, not overspending. While I can’t say for certain that this is the case for our cousins across the pond, I’m willing to go out on a limb and say it’s likely.


adamboxer.jpgMy brother in law Adam took part in a boxing match recently to raise money for Cancer Research!

Adam had to do something when it was revealed that his fiancee (and my younger sister) Kelsey was battling Hairy Cell Leukemia. This determination to help led to Adam stepping into the ring in the name of charity.

While the other guy won, it was a very close result which left Adam itchy for another rumble. He was invited to fight again for a charity match in Bolton today, and I’m very glad to report that he won!

Coming up in April:

  • I’m off down to Essex for Easter to see Liz aka Mother Luckett – can’t wait!
  • An interview with Mike Kubat that’s guaranteed to be as hilarious as it is illuminating (i.e. very).
  • More books to read, anime to watch and friends to pester 🙂


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