So I’ve just written and lost the same post, twice. Pretty irritating and now I cannot face writing it a third time – so apologies, that stuff is going to remain in my head now (not that it is a major loss to world literature or anything). 

I just wanted to let you know that I wasn’t being completely rubbish and not posting stuff, just that the internet is conspiring against me today and so I’m off to do some more work (offline) on my latest book. 

Happy Sunday everyone! 


So I’ve just written and lost the same post, twice. Pretty irritating and now I cannot face writing it a third time – so apologies, that stuff is going to remain in my head now (not that it is a major loss to world literature or anything). 

I just wanted to let you know that I wasn’t being completely rubbish and not posting stuff, just that the internet is conspiring against me today and so I’m off to do some more work (offline) on my latest book. 

Happy Sunday everyone! 

Day 18 – A book you wish you could live in

I might have been a bit lazy on Aside from Writing recently – but I’ve been trying the 30-day book challenge on my own blog over the last couple of weeks – why not pop over and see what I’m waffling about 🙂

Mel Cusick-Jones

Harry Potter

After a few days off, I’m back on the 30-day challenge wagon again! This was one of the easiest posts to answer in the challenge…

You know it, I know it – pretty much every Muggle in the world knows it, that’s why JK Rowling sold so many books – the magical world of Harry Potter is one of the best book places that anyone could want to live in.

I missed the first few years of hype around Potter and ‘kidult’ fiction (as it was being called at uni, which is where I was at the time that it started gathering pace). Then came the films…it irritated me that LotR and Potter were being geared up for a big Christmas film showdown in the media – to me the stories weren’t comparable, from what I understood of HP – and I thought it was stupid to make the comparisons…

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Cover Reveal! “Medusa” by Tony Talbot


Well, it’s taken me a while, but here it is! My latest book is live today!

“Lissa Two is a thief of the ocean cities, struggling to make enough money to clear her debts and take care of her traumatised sister, scratching a meagre living as best she can.

So she has enough worries without her life getting more complicated…but when a boy named Hattan literally falls from the sky, she can’t just let him drown.

It’s a decision she comes to regret, a decision that will change not only her life, but the lives of everyone she loves.

If they survive…”

Amazon Paperback.

Amazon Kindle.

It’s FREE for the first weekend of publication. As are four of my short stories – Fidget, Black Shark, Out of Step and Blind Date.

As always, thanks for reading and supporting independent authors!

Happy Thursday!

Woo Hoo!Just a random observation that brightened up my Thursday morning… We currently have 899 lovely people following the blog! This seems like quite a few for being around just about 18months. So thanks for taking notice of our little piece of the blogosphere – here’s to person 900

Something else that made be smile was this happy little bear, showing off how limber he is. My caption for this picture? “Woo hoo!” 🙂

Have you discovered anything random today?

Why Books Are Important in the World.

I’ve just read this fantastic post, from the blog of a new follower of ours. What better way to start a weekend – possibly when you’ll be writing – than with some inspiring words about books?

Thanks for the follow Kg – love the blog 🙂

Discovering the World of Book Publishing

Nothing can add to our intellect more than reading a book.  In books, we can experience new things that we would not normally be able to experience. With an active imagination, you can go to other worlds or made up worlds. Books can change our lives and other people’s lives. Reading can make us more intelligent. Without reading we wouldn’t know anything that we know today. Our forefathers have taught us more than we know.

We as individuals are capable of inventing new ideas, creating manuals to teach others how to save lives, writing books to teach our children about history, other cultures, the world around us and setting up new laws that will forever change our lives and the lives of others. We have educated ourselves beyond our ancestors by reading and studying books and manuals. We now can read manuals about healthcare, how to fix things, how to…

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Tony’s Rambles: The Curious Curse of the Cellular Phone

Sherlock Holmes lit his foul briar pipe and settled back into his chair, staring moodily out at the London fog.

“It has made your life much harder, Watson.”

Watson, startled out of examining his latest ApplePlum phone, looked up. “Sorry, old boy?”

“Cellular phones, Watson, cellular phones.”

“Not following old boy.”

Holmes leaned forward, his thin face harsh angles in the firelight. “No, of course not Watson, of course not. Now, observe and note.”

He leaned back again and ticked off points on his fingers.

“Firstly, description of character. I had to rely on hearsay and exaggeration. Now you bring that thing -,” (he waved towards Watson’s phone) ” – press a button, and bring me a precise image.”

“True, Holmes, true.”

“Secondly, and I use the vernacular, Watson, you understand, the vernacular. Backup.”


“How can we be in any peril when you merely bring out your magic device and call for assistance?”

“Impeccably put, Holmes, but what’s your point?”

“As chronicler of my narratives, Watson, you must realise the problem?”

“No, afraid not, Holmes.”

“I will provide you examples then. Take the Hound of the Baskervilles. Someone snaps a photograph on that machine of yours, and the mystery is solved. A mysterious ghostly hound? No, obviously just a dog painted with phosphor. Add a Geotag, and tell us exactly where and when.”

“Ah, yes. That would spoil the mystery somewhat.”

“And are we in peril, Watson, when Lestrade and London’s finest can be called at any time?”

“By Lor Holmes! You’re right!” There was a pause while Watson considered. “What am I to do, Holmes? As a writer of fiction, my readers demand suspense. They demand drama.”

“There are few options, Watson. Break it. Let the potential energy run down, the battery as you would say. Leave it at home. Have it stolen.”

Watson spluttered. “What about my RSS? My Twitter updates?”

“Sorry, old friend. They have to be forfeited. You cannot write tension and drama into a story while that thing is in your pocket.”

Watson considered the slab of plastic and rare earth metals in his hand for a long moment, then placed it on the table beside him.

Holmes slapped his thighs and cocked his head to one side. “Excellent, Watson, excellent! Now if I’m not mistaken, that’s Mrs Hudson on the stairs and a woman with size four feet following. Your tension and drama are restored, and  the game is afoot, my friend…”

Random thoughts on Groupon

I know this has absolutely nothing to do with reading, writing or books – but hey-ho, I couldn’t find a decent discussion thread to pop my thoughts into. I’m not actually here to really moan about Groupon, or the range of companies that offer similar things – just really offering an observation on my own use of such sites. (If you don’t care, please feel free to come back tomorrow when there will be a book review!)

When I first discovered Groupon, like many people, I was caught up with the range of offers I could make use of: supercar driving, facials, haircuts and fancy food…lovely! I bought a fair few offers – not a ridiculous amount, but enough. It was a bit like visiting the shops in the sales – I felt like I was missing out because it was a bargain, without always thinking whether I actually needed it. I knew there were a few offers I’d bought and not used – one was a hotel break and Groupon refunded that in credits, so I was happy enough with that – but I hadn’t actually added up how much I’d paid but not used. (I did this today and found that I’d spent £200.00-ish on drift racing, facials, a haircut, days out, etc. that never happened because I didn’t get around to it – not quite the bargain I’d thought!)

This year, I’ve already been much more selective – I tend not to ‘give things a go’ now, because I know I won’t get round to using them, opting only for things I would have paid full price for. We’ve had a couple of terrible meals in places that even hard-up students would not eat (and their pictures looked so good on the website) and so I’ll only get offers from places I’ve heard are good. It’s exactly the same thing you learn about the sales: I’m only interested in offers on stuff that you’d pay full price for in the first place, at places you want to go. Otherwise it’s just a waste of money.

What about you? Are you a Groupon fan, or more Group-off?

NEW RELEASE! Eight Mile Island by Tony Talbot

 Blog regular Tony Talbot’s latest book is released this week! It looks fantastic and we hope to get a review up very soon…in the meantime, check out the book and teaser we have for you today…

You can also enter to win your very own copy for Kindle in our giveaway! **CLICK HERE**

Welcome to Eight Mile Island. 

Dylan James is used to boarding schools. He’s been thrown out of so many in the past two years, he’s lost count. So when an elite academy in Oregon offers him a place, he doesn’t think he’ll be there more than a week.
But Eight Mile Island isn’t like anywhere Dylan has been before. In the dense forests around the school, there are things that look human but aren’t.
Things that are hungry, and waiting.
But that’s just the start of the mysteries, mysteries that mean Dylan may never escape. Even if he wants to…

About the Author: Tony Talbot was born in the 1970s and started writing in 2008 after a dream he had and couldn’t shake. Eight Mile Island is his fourth book. Tony regularly contributes to the Aside from Writing blog and so look out for future features and posts from this great author.


Want to know more? Check out the links!


Twitter: @authortony



Guest Post…Diversity in the YA World

Today’s guest post comes from Ebony who blogs at The Hundred Book Project. It was originally featured on her blog on April 30th 2012 and she’s kindly allowed us to re-blog it here for you to see. Hope you find it as interesting as we did – if you’d like to hear more from Ebony, you can check out The Hundred Book Project here. Now – on to the post!
Last month I reviewed a young adult contemporary fiction novel called Gone, Gone, Gone by Hannah Moskowitz.
I had a bit of a moment whilst reading that book, and it prompted me to write this post.
Inconspicuously slipped in, as one main character recalled another, was this line:

“His hair might not be golden blond – he’s black, so that would be a little weird – but his eyes kind of are.”

I did a double take.
It is honestly that rare to find a black protagonist in young adult literature that I had to make sure I had read correctly.
The book goes on to detail the tribulations of the budding relationship between the two characters. Did I mention that they are both guys?
That’s right; a gay, interracial teen romance.
And more amazing still, the issues that they struggle with don’t depend on their race, or even necessarily their sexuality. Those things are just a part of who they are, and beyond that they have the same problems ‘traditional’ couples experience: emotional vulnerability, family trauma, social/political issues, etc.
So, why don’t we have that kind of awesome diversity across the board in YA lit?
Teen readers are at a time when they start to form strong values and ideas. When better to acquaint them with the ideas of acceptance and moral courage – not to mention introduce them to other cultures and lifestyles? And that better way than to write life-like, relatable characters who just happen to be of assorted cultural heritage and orientation? Why do so many authors shy away from presenting the world as it is – and in a positive way, for once?
I can only guess.
Perhaps authors rush to create characters that their supposed audience will relate to. If the audience is considered to be made up of white, upper-middle class fifteen year old girls, then the prevalence of characters mirroring that stereotype is understandable.
understand it, but I don’t accept it.
In a majority of the YA books I’ve read, there are pitifully few ethnic or gay characters, let alone protagonists. It has got to stop.
Just like glorifying abuse is bad for real-world victims, when readers are shown Black or Asian characters who are mere bit players in the lives of the white protagonists (or my pet peeve, the ‘gay best-friend’ stereotype), it only serves to bolster the ridiculous idea that those societal groups are of less value. That their hopes and dreams and desires are inferior to their white counterparts’.
Why, why, why are authors not concerned with including a cast of characters which accurately represent racial and sexual diversity in the world?

I’ve thought about this question and decided it is not a conscious effort to cut certain social groups out of literature (that would be too horrible to comprehend), but rather a kind of laziness.

For white authors, I suppose it seems more difficult to write from the frame of mind of someone of a different culture, religion or orientation than oneself. But it is a worthy effort to include at least some diversity in your novel.
I don’t think there is any valid excuse for arbitrarily excluding diversity in novels, particularly those aimed at a vulnerable audience.
I can only imagine how it must feel to be a lover of young adult fiction, yet open an otherwise enjoyable book and find no central character whose ethnicity of orientation you can identify with.