Released July 17th!!!!

Katy and Adam are heading to Thailand to get married, this has been their dream for a very long time, and now they’re off, the whole family is going with them!

24 British holiday makers split between two areas of Koh Samui try to prepare for a beautiful wedding in a tropical paradise, but everything that could go wrong, does go wrong! From mis-booked flights, lost luggage, storms, blackouts and a nasty bout of food poisoning, you’d be forgiven for thinking this was something written for National lampoons, but this is based on a true story…seriously…you couldn’t make this up!

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Waterloo Sunset

It was a late spring night, the sky a deep red as the sun descended below the river, shimmering pink and violet on the Thames as the dark sky slowly invaded the burning horizon. She had been stood, staring at the water for hours, it had changed from pale blue without a wisp of cloud, through the stages of evening approaching, lilac, orange with yellow hue, then the orange sunk deeper ad deeper until the sky burned fierce and the reflection in the water made it seem as the plague of Nile, running as blood. In the distance shadows were approaching, foreboding, dark and heavy. The breeze guiding them in in a mischievous taunt, to bring the fitting end to the worst day Bernice had ever known.

What would happen next? The rain would come of course and she’d get wet, because she’d probably still be stood here, staring at the water, nowhere else to go. She could go home, she thought she might as well as it would probably not be her home for long. A woman with no job would have no money, and no money would mean no fancy apartment in the busiest city in the world. Maybe she should explore the city while she was here. She looked from one end of the bridge to the other and realised that for all of the nine years she had lived in London, all she knew of the city was her commute to work from her apartment. She didn’t even know which side of the water the Theatre district was in, which way the nightlife would be calling, where Soho was or even, from this point, how to get to Buckingham palace or the Mall. She knew Albufeira better than London and she’d only spent a week there last summer.

She didn’t know anybody either. Nearly a decade in this bustling, thriving city. One of the most multicultural cities in the world, the capital of one of the most successful countries in the world. People flocked to London everyday for their fortunes. Media, music, business, commerce, government, even Royalty; it all happened right in this city, and Bernice knew which stop on the circle line to get off to get a Hot Mochachino on her way to the office. As if on cue, the phone in her pocket buzzed and out of habit she pulled it out immediately and looked at the message from her flatmate.

Yo budz, OMG, NO WAY! Redundant sucks!

Don’t do anything stupid, where you at?

Oh Gemma! Always trying to sound street, when she was a privileged, educated young lady from rural Essex. She would tell her it’s all going to be OK and she’ll get another job no trouble. She’d convince her to get a bottle of wine and sit in while they scout the net sending out CV’s and canvassing the world for work.

What was the point? So she could live in another place she never got to know? Once more working all hours to be completely alone in a big city? All the time she spent here she’d not even been on one date, in nearly ten years she’d not gone to dinner with one girl! She wondered if her friends even knew she liked girls, her life had been that mundane and isolated.

The lyrics of the Kinks song played in her mind as the sun finally descended below the river and Bernice knew this should make her do…something.

I’m off for a wander

She quickly text back and made her way across the bridge,  heading into the direction of the city….

To find out what Bernice did next…why not buy yourself a Short Sizzling Summer Read:Offline Cover 1

Beaten Track authors present fourteen short summer reads filled with friendship, romance and, of course, enough heat to make your ice lolly dribble.

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Summer Bigger Than Others takes you away to your own private island of diverse stories that will make your summer days sweet, sizzling and sexy.

From relaxing on a sandy beach or hiking in the great outdoors, to nights at the opera or days at the strawberry farm, an adrenaline-shooting roller coaster rush awaits.

Make this summer the best it’s ever been; make it bigger than all the others.

THE STORIES:

Aligning North – K.C. Faelan

Aloha? Oy! – Jonathan Penn

Anything or Nothing – Terry Kerr

Dazzle Me – Ofelia Gränd

Fang and Fortune – L.L. Bucknor

Finally – Amelia Mann

Home is Where the Hard is – Caraway Carter

Offline – L.M. Steel

Ribbons and Frills – Claire Davis and Al Stewart

Roller Coaster – J P Walker

The Strawberry Farm – Victoria Milne

Ultimate Summer – Alexis Woods

Waking Up in Vegas – Hunter Frost

Will…You Have Me(?) – Shayla Mist

Worth the Money!

The last thing any author wants is to see a bad review slamming their work, declaring how awful it is. If it’s the idea or the story-line it’s one thing, but if it’s the composition, the structuring and all the annoying things like spelling, then there’s only one person to blame!

If you didn’t get an editor then it’s you!

When I was starting out on the self publishing route I read a lot of money saving advice about editing your own work. All the blogs about having an unbiased view of your own writing and how strict to be with yourself. There’s also a lot of programs and apps you can download, some for free, some for varying prices, that will edit your work for you. Don’t be fooled and don’t be a fool: nothing compares to a good editor!

I know, I know, I know! I can hear you shouting that it costs too much! They charge so much, you’re just starting out, you don’t have that kind of money to spend!

You will not have that kind of money to spend either when your reputation is battered by the reviews that shout “The idea was good, the plot was great, but the spelling, the grammar and the composition is disastrous!”

Here are some extracts from my early reviews:

Some aspects of it are undeniably good, but there aspects too which badly need revisiting.”

 

“for example – strongly suggested that once the story was down on the page it had never been revisited by any kind of objective, editorial eye”

 

it felt like a draft.”

 

I had redrafted this story several times, but it is really hard to be that critical, that harsh on your own work. Quite frankly there’s a lot you just don’t see. one example was on the first page of Once Upon a Set of Wheels: I had written that Davidson was reaching into a drawer, however I had spelled it draw. No spellcheck picked it up of course, it isn’t a misspelling, and I had gone over it over and over, but I just hadn’t seen the mistake.

Debbie, my editor, spotted on her first look, straight away and pointed it out and I was flabbergasted at how I had missed something so simple. I wondered what else I had missed and got wrong.

When I got her first edited copy of Baby Driver, I felt like I was back at uni and had just got back my very first assignment. the amount of red pen all over it made my heart sink in despair: I had published this book out there to the masses and it was in terrible shape! After a small wallow in self pity (and a few glasses of pinot grigio) I read through the red pen and as we worked on the points together, the story I had come up with, my tale, my idea, transformed from and drafted idea into a novel.

Trying to recover from the early edition is a struggle, but the revised version is a wonderful improvement and is proudly down in print now.

I know that you may still be wary of the costs and looking at some apps. I know there are some out there that are very good, and even some editors use them as an aide. However they don’t use them alone. The ones that are useful are going to cost money, free ones may give you an insight but don’t rely on them, some are terrible.

One was recommended to me and I thought I’d have a look, it was so ‘obsessed’ about words in ‘ly’ being unnecessary adverbs it started deleting the name Kelly!

I was fortunate, my editor was also my publisher. I work with a hybrid publisher, so it’s not the traditional contracts etc. For my first novel: Baby Driver, the editing was in with the publishing. However for my upcoming book, I paid for the editing by an editor who works with Debbie on multiple projects. It wasn’t cheap, but it was worth it. I also used Beta readers and proof readers. These can also cost money, but this where I tend to draw the line. There are lots of groups and communities you can join on book club sites such as Goodreads, Book Blogs, World Literary cafe, where you can connect with beta readers and proof readers who are happy to read your work for free or in exchange for you reading theirs.

You may be an experienced writer, you may have edited, proof read and beta read manuscripts for many others, however I truly believe it is just too hard to be that critical of your own work. A good editor has training and experience and is most importantly; unbiased and disconnected from you the author and from your work.

They may seem like a great cost, but the difference in your work from looking like an amateur self published book and a professional piece of work, is well worth the money!

Little One

Little One

Fly little one as high you can

And you’ll soar in pale blue skies.

Shine little one as bright as you can

And we’ll see you in every sunrise.

Sing little one as loud as you can

And we’ll hear your song over the seas

Laugh little one as hard as you can

And we’ll feel your happiness on a summer breeze.

Play little one, as boundless as you can,

And we’ll watch you in fresh swirling snows

Dance little one, As wild as you can

And we’ll cheer you on with happy bravo’s.

Run little one as fast as you can

And we’ll glimpse you in the summer afternoon

Dream little one as big as you can

And we’ll share them in the light of moon.

Be free little one, as free as the wind

Free from worry, from sorrow and fear

Rest little one and be at peace

We know you’ll always be here.

For every time a bird sings or waves crash on the beach

Or when shimmering through the window comes the sun.

In everything around us that makes us smile.

We know will be you, Little one.

L.M. Steel

Fools Rush In!

When is the time to say this is finished, my work is complete and it’s ready for the world to look at? It’s not always right now! You may think you have the next Harry Potter series or Horror Sensation to compete with a King masterpiece, but that really doesn’t mean you should go ahead and push that publish button. There’s still a whole lot of work to do!

On the 22nd of November 2012 my book(s) Once Upon A Set Of Wheels, come out on e-readers. It took a long time to come to page; I started writing this story fifteen years ago and it took me nearly five years to write. Once it was finished, all 288’450 words of it, and proof read by three people, I started sending it out and have amassed twenty-two rejections. Downhearted and deflated I put the manuscript  away in a draw and the book I was writing at the time, which is almost a parallel tale to Once Upon A Set Of Wheels, Birds of Prey, I saved to disc half way through and stopped.

I kind of went into writing hibernation as I returned to education and threw myself into the world of forensic science, chemistry anJudged By your Peersd the life of a mature student. On Graduation I moved and began to settle down and inspired by case studies and some personal experience I wrote a story which is also available on e-Reader: Judged By Your Peers.

In the summer of 2012 I decided to finally look into Indie Publishing, it seemed like a good idea. I have a friend who has published an autobiographical novel about her battle with anorexia, Hoping For Rain by Catherine Kerr-Phillips, and she explained that self-publishing was in a different place now as it was ten years ago when it was very much ‘Vanity Publishing’.

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The original draft!

I took Once Upon A Set Of Wheels out of the draw, I edited it a bit and unfortunately I found that one of the floppy discs I had saved it on (yes it was that long ago that it was saved on floppy disc, I had to buy a plug in drive and everything!) was broke and the words upon it were lost. Thankfully I had printed out three copies way back when, and started to retype it onto my new Windows 7 Microsoft Word.

However I was too keen: read a few blogs of the ultimate success stories of self-publishing and thinking I knew what I was doing quickly pressed the publish button.

Before long I realised my mistake; although I received some lovely glowing reviews, I also got trashed! From book cover design, to editing, to clearly having no idea what I was doing. While my book was out there I started to approach blogs, just googling and going down long lists of reviewers and blog posts. Most of them don’t want to know you because you clearly haven’t done your research.

Once Upon A Set Of Wheels

The original covers! (I can't believe I released them with these designs!)

The original covers!
(I can’t believe I released them with these designs!)

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I was fortunate and found myself in touch with Beaten track Publishing thanks to a connection made on Goodreads. Debbie McGowan was amazing and was very quick to tell me to get my book off sale and she began the painstaking process of editing. When I got the manuscript back four months later covered in red pen I felt like I was back in the first year of uni, and I also felt like a right idiot! My story was a mess and I’d let it go out to the world like that; no wonder I got trashed!

I’ve spent just under two years trying to recover from it and although slowly getting there, it is a slow process. Beaten track have been great and I’ve slowly made friends and contacts that have helped with direction.

I’m not the first and I won’t be the last to get over excited. Although it took twelve years for Once Upon a Set of Wheels to actually be published, I still rushed in blindly and I’ve paid the price for it.

The worst offenders for this I know are NaNoWriMo folk. Oh yes I’ve seen it, you spent November rushing to write 50’000 words and because Amazon ort kobo or Scrivner or someone else offered a voucher code for Winners to see their story in print, you uploaded it and hey presto you have a published book. Then you get torn apart by the wolves and the trolls and it feels like the writing world is the most evil place on earth.

Take your time, find your market. make connections with other bloggers, join groups on Goodreads and Amazon.

This is your story, your baby, your pride and joy. Don’t send it out into the world until it’s after care has had the same amount of hard work, sweat and tears that it’s formation took.

Once Upon a Set of Wheels Part 1: Baby Driver, is now available to buy on Kindle and in Paperback.

Once Upon a Set of Wheels Part 1: Baby Driver, is now available to buy on Kindle and in Paperback.

New Website

So I said that the new look website would be up and running within in the month, how about within the week?

Here it is in all it’s glory:

http://www.lmsteel.co.uk

The gorgeous back ground is a glorious sunset in Ullapool in the Highlands of Scotland.

The banner image is a foggy reservoir hidden and cloaked in the rugged hills above Stirling and Dunblane in Central Scotland.

Everything else is very similar to before but tidied up and rather more professional.

There is just one page to finish and sort out and that is the poetry, which I am still working on as I am hoping to create postcards and decals and also a book of the collections.

Take a look around and let me know what you think.

The Purge!

Right, here we are then, I’ve been flitting about for around five months and the updates I’ve made have been pertaining to the very sad nature of what is happening in my family and a very brave little boy.

I haven’t really written anything to do with writing, to be honest I’ve been off the scene more or less completely. I’ve been, for lack of a better word, purging.

I’ve also been training for this:

Now that is out of the way and life is kind of getting back on an even and less crazy path, I feel I should explain the purge.

Fifteen years ago I wrote a book that took me four years to write. I then sent this book out to publisher, after publisher after publisher. Then agent after agent after agent. I wrote scripts, I wrote stories, I wrote poetry, and I received rejections, rejections and more rejections and I lost sight of what it was I wanted to do.

I put my stories in a box and I went back to university deciding if I wasn’t go to make it as a writer then I wanted to do something other than stack supermarket shelves for the rest of my life. (there’s nothing wrong with that, I just didn’t want to do it!)

Four years ago I left university, got a job and started writing again. I wrote Judged by Your Peers. I got one swift rejection and on the hype of E.L.James success and to be fair, not a lot of research, I thought what the hell? And pressed the self publish button.

Then a month later I got out that story I had written so long ago, reformatted it and what do you know, pressed that button again!

Then…I started doing some research, got totally trashed reviews and realised the research really should’ve come first. Being a First Class Science Graduate, you think I’d have got that right from the off, but eagerness overtook common sense and I spent the last two and half years trying to keep up and figure out what I’m doing.

Then of course life got in the way. I got a new job which is great but busy and I’m back in the scientific world which requires not just work, but CPD (Continued Professional Development) as well. After Christmas when we received the news about my cousin I kind of shut down a little, personally and in the writing world.

I took down most of my website for reconstruction…then didn’t actually go back and reconstruct it. I’ve barely blogged at all. I basically walked away from it all and purged.

Did I do anything?

Yes.

I finally got Wedding in Paradise finished, edited, proof read, Cover designed and out to a few reviewers. (all positive, yay!!!!)

I also wrote a short story for an upcoming anthology Summer Bigger Than Others, from BeatenTrack Publishing. It’s called Offline! Can you guess where that inspiration came form?

I’ve been reading for some research about a pre-war love story I want to write.

Other than that. I’ve been spending time with my family, I’ve been reading, watching telly curled up on the couch on a Saturday night. I’ve been seeing friends, playing games and spending time with real people.

I’ve been trying to keep fit, train for crazy obstacle courses and I also climbed a mountain!

Me at the summit of Mount Snowdon

Me at the summit of Mount Snowdon

(oh and yes I voted too)

Now I’m back, cautiously and carefully. I’m purging every blog I subscribed to with advice about how to get rich quick in publishing. I’m leaving almost every group I joined on Goodreads. I’m cancelling memberships to society’s I’ve been paying a fortune to be a member of and quite frankly getting nothing out of.

I’m starting again!

I am now officially reconstructing the website, it should be up and running within the month, if it’s not, then someone shout at me.

So while that’s happening, where better to start than here?

What can I offer here on this blog?

I can’t offer you advice on how to succeed in self publisihing or the best places to go and blogs to read, because quite frankly, I failed!

I can however offer advice on what not to do!

So that is what I will offer: How not to Succeed!

I will also offer snip bits and blurbs and samples of my writing.

I am also, going to start almost from scratch on the networking side of things, looking to make friends and contacts who can offer advice, instruction and of course friendship.

Blank page, here I am!