Cover Story – Stalkbook Setting

“I don’t see why it was necessary to disguise what is obviously Manchester as “Mancaster” – quote from an otherwise glowing review of my new novel(la), ‘Stalkbook.’

Fair point.

My reason for doing that was to allow me some creative licence with the geography and the architecture. After all, I don’t want some indignant native pointing out that you absolutely can’t see or even hear the bars on Canal St. (another recognisable Manchester landmark) from Castlefield – renamed Castlegate in the story. Or a review on TripAdvisor posted by a weary fan from other parts (lovely thought though), complaining that they had wandered around for over an hour and still not located the tunnel where the body was found in the novel.

Images of Castlefield ManchesterManchester canal towpath


It also meant that when choosing a location for the photography shoot for the cover images  we were not restricted to Castlefield Canal Basin. Portland Basin in Ashton-under-Lyne shares many similar characteristics, was closer to travel to, and less busy than Castlefield in the centre of Manchester. Both were constructed in the late 1700’s at the time of the Industrial Revolution. I’ll write more about the features and how they relate to two of the main characters in the novel in my next post.

Image of canal junction, Portland Basin

portland basin

My 87 year Uncle Ed told me an amusing anecdote about Portland Basin, when I explained that my novel, Stalkbook  revolves around a body found in a canal, and the cover images were taken there. He said that in the old days, because the three joining canals, Ashton, Huddersfield and Peak Forest, came under the jurisdiction of three different police forces, if a body was found the first officers on the scene would attempt to push it in the direction of another of the canals!


Now For Something Completely Different

Da-da! Announcing the arrival of my new novel Stalkbook (novella actually.) Bit of a digression from my previous novels.

Stalkbook Kindle

After treading a tightrope between sinister and salacious with my previous novel Blue Is The Object I decided to write a Mystery/Romance for younger adults, although it will appeal to anyone who ‘gets’ the Facebook and Social Media themes too.

Read more about it and get your copy here


5 More 5 Star Reviews for ‘The Life Coach Less Travelled’

The Life Coach Less Travelled

A very big thank you to these readers who have posted reviews on my Amazon pages. Read more of what they had to say by clicking the links under the comments:


“Couldn’t put this book down!”


“Absolutely loved this!”


 “A gripping, dark page turner”


“Excellent read. Couldn’t put it down”


“I enjoyed this book and recommend it”

50 Shades Of Grey Isn’t Black and White, Is It?

50 shades

My New Novel ..Not!


Finally I read it, (in 9 hours!) for research purposes (honest!)

For some of the context of my next novel, I’ve been exploring the complex, often colourful and frequently grubby aspects of what has been described as our ‘hyper-sexualised’ culture. Considering the hype around ‘Fifty Shades’, I felt I could no longer ignore its impact, or at least my curiosity about its success. For that, I have to give credit to the author, regardless of my personal opinion of the book, which did live up to my expectations that she had hit on a multi-million dollar formula; Mills and Boon meets Soft Porn, complete with Virgin/Whore archetype; Harlequin Romance with Bondage; Fairy Tale with Frisson; Snow White  meets Dark Knight; Cinderella with Carabiners (had to look them up). I could go on.

Before I do, I must point out that I do not want to patronise the millions of EL James’ readers who have enjoyed the book, for whatever reason. That’s good enough for me (fabulous for Erika). However, for the same reasons as I think it is important that people are aware and educated about the power of advertising and the media, I believe we need to engage in all aspects of our popular culture with open eyes as well as minds. To my mind, a healthy society embraces a questioning attitude, a willingness to challenge ideas presented to us and the ability to make informed choices, whether we are choosing cereal, a politician or a good read.

So, if  ‘Fifty Shades’ thrilled you as an erotic fantasy or whatever, whilst recognising that in real life you (and your daughters) would actually be more likely to be happier with a partner who was more respectful/open/affectionate and less controlling/creepy/abusive/damaged etc., well, why not?

Personally, possibly because I’m not into BDSM, but more likely to do with the comic-strip exclamations (“Aargh”!!) and the repetitiveness of his hotness, her wetness, his pants hanging on his hips “that way” and fifty more examples, I found the story only the taddest titillating; too often touching on tawdry for my liking. I read it in one sitting because after the first few pages I knew that if I put it down I would not be compelled to pick it up again, to plough through it, irritated by the quality of the writing, the contradictions and the “Crap”, “Double Crap” and “Holy Crap”s appearing on virtually every other page.

When I finished it with relief, one overriding impression of the behaviour of the main character, Christian Grey, stayed with me, summed up in one word:


Reviews for ‘The Life Coach Less Travelled’ #1-5

The Life Coach Less Travelled


Thank you to my readers, and especially for the wonderful reviews that have started to come in! Any honest feedback is of course appreciated, although it’s a writers joy to know their work has given pleasure.

Here are the first five (all 5 stars!) from Amazon:


Fabulous book – loved it“A rare reading experience when the characters stay with you long after you finish the book. A great story, fabulous characters that really came to life as the story progressed. Dark at times, sad at times, funny at times. Loved it; I wanted to start from the beginning and read it again! I go to a monthly reading group and this is the best book I have read for around a year! Read it – enough said!”   

 Is she beyond redemption? “A memorable journey into the life of a troubled soul. This was a colourful and captivating read with an engaging cast of characters caught in the orbit of a femme fatale turned purveyor of pop psychology. Will she stop at nothing to achieve her goals? ” 

Great reading “I loved this book & couldn’t put it down. It was quite dark in parts but very funny in others. I’ve kept it on my kindle & have read it twice now. I would definitely recommend it.” 

This was a great book, good holiday read I really enjoyed this book, I bought it on my kindle and read it on holiday. It’s one of those books that you just want to carry on reading, the story balances serious issues with some really funny characters. I’m going to read it again :)”  

A good holiday or wet Sunday read ” Given this book to read for our Book Club not sure I would have chosen it myself – however- I read it very quickly as I just wanted to know what was going to happen next! It was easy to get to know each of the characters (although with some, I didn’t want to know them!) Believable plot about what could happen when a manipulative evil personality just wants their own way.”

5 Random Approaches To Romance For Rebels

Flowers Work!

Image by Aaron Schwab, L.A., Ca., USA

1. Scientific Approach

Flowers work!


2.  Gastronomical Approach

(Or ‘the way to the heart is through the stomach approach’) Be Prepared!


3. Frugal Approach

More romantic assets than hard cash? Have no fear, the answer is here!

For 7p with romantic red envelope thrown in

For 7p with romantic red envelope thrown in


4. Cynical Approach

Too much sugar is bad for you, right? Guarantee satisfaction or money back?


5. Historical Approach

Is St. Valentine’s Day not all it’s cracked up to be, anyway?