Monster-Hunting for Girls (Ages 8-14) is Published!

Having been delayed and then un-delayed, my poetry chapbook Monster Hunting for Girls (Ages 8-14) is now published! Check it out here if you’d like to buy a copy or get a taste of the kind of poetry it contains.

I’m slightly in love with the front cover. Dancing Girl Press wanted to make it look like a vintage biology textbook, which works well with the horror elements of the book. Though I’m anticipating having to answer the question “Why is there sperm on the front cover?”

As the title would suggest, this chapbook is about childhood and early adolescence. Specifically, it’s about the slow realisation that monsters exist outside the pages of Goosebumps books and episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Contrary to the title, it is suitable for all genders but probably not suitable for eight-year-olds!

Poetry Stuff

It’s poetry time y’all! Firstly, a quick update on my upcoming chapbook Monster-Hunting for Girls Aged 8-14. This will now be published in late October, and I don’t mind the delay because it means the release date will be appropriately close to Halloween! Dancing Girl Press have sent me the galleys and the front cover and it’s all looking goooooood.

Meanwhile, here’s a little poem about childhood that wasn’t quite right for the chapbook, but I still like it.

Sacrifice

I’m seven and a bit.

It’s the first of September.

I leave a fairy cake by the fireplace

for St Adamantine.

She is my favourite virgin martyr

because her name sounds like Wolverine’s claws.

Also, I have got her mixed up with Santa

and think she will come down the chimney

to bless the fairy cake

that I have now licked all the icing off.

I’m scrawny, because I only eat

the bits I want to eat.

“Other People’s Butterflies” Release Day!!!

Today’s the day. My YA novel Other People’s Butterflies is now out in the world. It’s available to buy in paperback and eBook forms, and if you have Kindle Unlimited it won’t cost you a penny. Here’s the UK link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1735937525 and here’s the US one: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1735937525

Looks pretty. But what’s it all about?

How do I know it’s any good?

Well, the signs are promising! It has a couple of reviews on Goodreads and they are both five star, hellz yes! Here’s one of the reviews:

“This book has everything: gossip, mystery, an espionage sub plot, and some lovable backyard hens. Gwen Foster is a force of nature and seeing the world through her eyes is a pleasure. OPB showcases a point of view that is seldom talked about and brings it front and center. I imagine this book will be the “right book” for many readers to come.”

Thank you Kierstin Shea! If you’re wondering what she means by “a point of view that is seldom talked about”, I imagine she’s referring to the fact that the protagonist is asexual and aromantic. If you’re still looking for Pride month reads…

Trigger warnings

So, I’m frankly a bit clueless about trigger warnings, and when/where they’re helpful. I got the Amazon description for the book all sorted out, and then realised that the Amazon description is probably the best place to include trigger warnings – whoops. In the meantime, I’ll post them here for anyone who needs them:

TW – sexual assault

TW – animal death

Getting a bit emotional!

I started this blog three years ago, having tried and failed to publish my first novel. But persistence wins the day, and all I can say to struggling writers is don’t give up! There are many roads to publication, and it’s often just a matter of finding the right one.

Speaking of which, I can thoroughly recommend Art Over Chaos publishing, who have been so supportive throughout the publication process. They publish novels, novellas and poetry, and are particularly interested in #OwnVoices writing and diverse books. If this sounds like a good fit for you, keep them on your radar.

If you decide to read Other People’s Butterflies, don’t be shy about sharing what you thought. Feedback is fab, and reviews are particularly useful as they can increase sales and act as a kind of “matchmaking” service, showing readers whether or not a book is right for them.

I’m also more than happy to chat about my experiences of indie publishing with any writers who are interested. Much love to the writing and reading community on WordPress, you are all fabulous!

“Other People’s Butterflies” Cover Reveal

Here it is – the gorgeous front cover for Other People’s Butterflies!

Ain’t she pretty?! I take no credit for this cover, as it was designed by Rose Sinclair from Art Over Chaos and the sum total of my input was “Errr, maybe it should have butterflies on it?” I’m not the best when it comes to aesthetics.

The eBook is now available for pre-order here (the paperback version doesn’t have a pre-order unfortunately) and it’s only $4.99/£3.52. Slightly cheaper than a Grande Skinny Vanilla Spice Latte from Starbucks!

Yep. Mystery, intrigue, high school drama, 1940s spy drama, ace/aro representation and some serious friendship feels could all be yours for the price of a ridiculous coffee. Here’s the blurb to give you a better idea of what it’s all about:

“Gwen Foster has never been kissed. But when she gets the chance to finally see what all the hype is about, it’s with her best friend’s crush. Embroiled in relationship drama she doesn’t understand, and ostracized from her friend group, Gwen escapes the angst by using her favorite femme fatale as a role model… and makes snooping on her classmates her new pastime. 

Gwen’s detective work appears to be going well, until an unknown social media account starts spilling all the scandalous personal details she’s uncovered. Now this wannabe spy must stop whoever is behind it before everyone’s dirty laundry is aired, and Gwen is forced to finish high school without any friends.

Other People’s Butterflies is a coming-of-age contemporary mystery about not needing to find your first love – but yourself – and how to mend the relationships that matter to you.”

Readers and Reviewers Wanted!

My debut novel Other People’s Butterflies is being published next month *hyperventilates* and I’m looking for book lovers to read and review! If you would like to receive an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) in exchange for an honest review of the book on your blog or other social media platform, please fill out this short form.

What is Other People’s Butterflies like?

My novel is a contemporary YA with an aromantic-asexual protagonist, so the most obvious comparison that springs to mind is Alice Oseman’s Loveless. However, I think the plot is more Harriet the Spy meets Gossip Girl. You may be interested in it if:

  • You enjoy contemporary YA.
  • You enjoy contemporary YA with some 1940s spy stuff smuggled inside it.
  • You are interested in books with LGBTQIA characters and themes.
  • You like books about friendship, self-discovery, and the messiness of growing up.

Why are reviews so important?

For a debut author – especially an indie author like me – reviews are priceless. They can build credibility and increase sales, and also provide valuable insight into what readers want. Since this is my first published novel (hopefully the first of many) it’s important to know what readers are enjoying and what I need to work on.

So, if you fancy helping out a debut author and think that Other People’s Butterflies might be your sort of book, please fill out this form to enjoy a sneaky peek before everyone else!

A Good Thing, a Very Bad Thing, and a Poem

A Good Thing

So, I’ve not had the best week. But to start things on a positive note, I’ve been in touch with Rose Sinclair from Art Over Chaos, and things are moving along with my YA contemporary novel, Other People’s Butterflies.

It’s with the editor, and we’re aiming for a June release date, which is (checks calendar) three months away!!! There’s still work to be done, of course, but it’s all very exciting and I’ll be keeping you updated.

A Very Bad Thing

I rarely post personal stuff on this blog, which doesn’t make a lot of sense because my writing is full of personal stuff. Last Thursday, I got an unexpected phone call telling me that one of my oldest and closest friends had died. She was a truly incredible person in so many ways. She was also 32 and planning a wedding, and I can’t quite get my head around it.   

A Poem

I wanted to post a poem to honour her, but none of mine are good enough so I’ve borrowed one from Carol Ann Duffy:

“Miles Away”

I want you and you are not here. I pause
in this garden, breathing the colour thought is
before language into still air. Even your name
is a pale ghost and, though I exhale it again
and again, it will not stay with me. Tonight
I make you up, imagine you, your movements clearer
than the words I have you say you said before.

Wherever you are now, inside my head you fix me
with a look, standing here whilst cool late light
dissolves into the earth. I have got your mouth wrong,
but still it smiles. I hold you closer, miles away,
inventing love, until the calls of nightjars
interrupt and turn what was to come, was certain,
into memory. The stars are filming us for no one.

The Problem with Magic Shows

Just a short post today to share two bits of good news. Firstly, my poem The Problem with Magic Shows has been published by Moment Poetry and is now available to buy. The sleeve for the poetry card is illustrated by the very talented Martina Egedová, and I feel like the neon colours and quirky imagery (that poor bunny!) really suit the tone of the poem as well as the content.

Secondly, my contributor’s copy of Common Bonds has arrived, hooray! I’m going to whizz through Little Women as fast as I can, then dive in.

More Exciting Writing News

Okay, I have an announcement to make. Those of you who follow me on Twitter may have already seen me flipping out about it but for those of you who don’t,

Drumroll please…

I’m getting a novel published hooray hooray hooray!

My YA Contemporary novel Other People’s Butterflies is going to be published by Art Over Chaos publishing in 2021, and will be available as both an ebook and an actual book, made of paper!

So, what is Other People’s Butterflies all about?

Seventeen-year-old Gwen Foster’s first kiss is a mistake for many reasons. Mostly because it costs her the friendship of her two best mates, Martine and Angie. Feeling lonely and bored without them, she becomes obsessed with an old spy novel and develops a very unethical hobby.

Spying on her classmates and collecting the gossip she unearths on her phone is fun at first, and might even help her understand all the romantic drama that’s mystified her since she was eleven. But things go south when her phone disappears and a mysterious social media presence called “MimiKnowsStuff” starts spilling everyone’s secrets.

Now Gwen must make the transition from amateur spy to amateur detective, figure out how to get her phone back and put a stop to Mimi’s mischief. As if that weren’t enough to deal with, her childhood friend Ethan has reappeared, and decided he wants to be “more than friends”.

In a nutshell, it’s Harriet the Spy meets Gossip Girl, with an aro-ace protagonist. I’ll post more info when I’m closer to publication, but any questions are welcome!