Editing tips that really work!


I am currently editing my book ‘Making Allowances.’

At times it feels like a slow and tortuous process. I am not an expert but here are some tips that have really helped me.

  1. Cut long sentences in half. If you have to read it twice to understand it, think about halving the length.
  2. Use adverbs very sparingly. They can slow down the pace of your story.
  3. Remove extra punctuation.
  4. Make sure all your verbs are active, remove the passive ones.
  5. Check your prepositions and remove them if they slow the story down.
  6. Try to use original similes and metaphors.
  7. Limit the use of ‘very’ and ‘really’. Do you need these words? Again they can spoil the flow of your writing.
  8. Allow yourself the time to edit thoroughly. Don’t put yourself under too much pressure.
  9. Seek advice from peers.
  10. Remember that first drafts are terrible. Second and third drafts should show some improvement but keep going until it’s as good as it can be!

Best of luck with all your writing endeavours. Please feel free to share your editing tips too!


Book Covers, opinions welcome!

Making Allowances 6MA final amazonMaking Allowances Amazon

Here is a selection of book covers I am considering for my new book, ‘Making Allowances.’ It is a racing thriller about conditional jockeys, hence the name to account for their weight allowance. I am not sure about any of them actually. What do you guys do for covers? Anyone used Canva?

Any thoughts on the above covers would be very much appreciated. Looking at them again, I think I like the third right best. As this book is going on kindle, I am thinking the cover needs to be simple and eye-catching, so prospective buyers can actually see what it’s about.

Many thanks,




Winter survival!


I know those in Iceland and Canada may laugh at the British panic as soon as snow and freezing weather arrives, but the truth is we’re not used to it and more importantly our infrastructure is not geared up for it either. Lincolnshire has been badly hit and schools and colleges are off so I’ve been making sure all the animals are fine, they all have plenty of water and food. I’ve become quite a dab hand at stitching rugs, making emergency leg straps from baler twine and defrosting frozen water pipes.

We’ve had temperatures as low as -15 and up to 15 cms in snow in part. It’s picturesque, breathtaking but once my animals were sorted, I found myself worried about elderly neighbours and I have been delivering food and making sure they have enough logs and coal. It is  possible to be seriously injured or die in this weather and the key seems to be to be prepared.  I have a 4×4 but I have heard horror stories of people trapped in their cars in the snow, walking for miles and becoming exhausted and hypothermic. Here are some top tips to help you through.

Dress in layers. Choose lots of thin layers. These will trap the air and keep you warmer for longer. A final lightweight water proof layer will prevent the damp getting through.

When outside keep active, movement in itself will generate heat.

Keep high calorie snacks in your pocket, Trek bars are ideal as they are lightweight but nutritious.

Wear a hat! 90% of heat is lost through the head so this is vitally important. A hat that covers the ears is ideal.

Sensible shoes complete with thick socks are essential. If you are trying to get into the office, then pack wellies in the boot together with socks. A shovel might be useful too.

Make sure your phone is charged and that you have plenty of fuel in your car and water in your washer bottle.

The forecast looks set to improve but in the meantime keep warm and stay safe!


As the Crow Flies review- Damien Boyd *****


This is the first Damien Boyd novel I have read but it was very gripping. It introduces DI Nick Dixon who is asked to look into his friend’s death and then leads a fuller investigation when is looks to be suspicious. His friend, Jake Fayter, was a climber and he dies in a climbing accident. Nick is sceptical as he used to climb with Jake and knows how skilled and prepared he always was. Nick relieves the past as he tries to find out how Jake met his death and who was involved.

The author clearly has a great knowledge of climbing and this really comes across well, together with detailed description of climbs and places. This lends a real authenticity to the writing. As Nick pursues his inquiries he learns much more about his friend and unravels a complex web of lies with unexpected results.

Gripping, well written and well researched. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and look forward to reading more.

George Chaloner-jockey retires at 25 due to injuries!



George Chaloner, Ascot winning jockey has retired at the grand old age of 25! He had  successful career and won the Wokingham Handicap and Northumberland Plate. However, after an awful 2017, when he was involved in two serious falls , the second of which was in the first race after his three month recovery period from the first, he sustained a broken foot and T8 vertebra. After that and being diagnosed with PTSS as a result of the falls, he decided to call it a day. This highlights the dangers that jockeys, particularly those riding over hurdles, face on a daily basis.

Fortunately after announcing his retirement, George, now has a new job in racing. He will be working on the promotional and marketing side at Pontefract racecourse, but will also train as a clerk of the course. This is heartening to hear as it give hope to jockeys that there is a life after retirement within the racing industry and it is great that racing is looking after it’s own! I’m sure that there are also many transferable skills.

Best of luck to George in his new role!

#iamwriting Making Allowances


I am currently writing my new book, Making Allowances which should be due out in April or so. It is a racing thriller. So I thought I’d give you an overview.  Here is a brief synopsis;

Finn McCarthy is an ex National Hunt jockey who has a new role as a jockey coach. He has had a difficult time coming to terms with retirement but is determined to make a go of his new job. At least it’s still in racing.

Harriet Lucas is a student who works part time as the charity Racing to School which aims to introduce school children to racing and involves lots of educational activities.

They meet when they witness one of Finn’s conditional jockeys, Sam Foster, being beaten up at the racecourse when earlier in the day he has ridden a good winner.  Harriet assists Finn get Sam to safety and she thinks that one of the children she was looking after may be able to identify his attackers.  When another conditional jockey is hit by a vehicle in a hit and run and they find out that Sam has gone missing they start to think that something is very wrong.

Finn’s early life as a conditional was far from perfect and he understands how vulnerable young jockeys are, so he is determined to find out what is going on. When their initial inquiries come to nothing, Finn and Harriet join forces to try and find Sam.  But they are drawn into a complex web of intrigue and start to realise that the closer they get to discovering the truth, the more they put themselves in harm’s way.

Are you depressed and male? Read on…


The recent death by suicide of racehorse trainer, Richard Woollacott, brings into sharp focus the issue of mental health and men. Richard was a well known and successful trainer He died aged just 40. His wife launched an emotional appeal  stating that ‘suicide  is the biggest cause of death of men aged 18-45. We must DO more.’  Kayley has started an on line appeal page. She said,’ I’ve lost my husband, best friend and father of our child. It’s too late for us but it’s not too later to speak out and do more to help others from becoming lost.’

Richard had suffered with mental health problems for some time. In my work.

I come across young men who need help. We have lost students and the effect on their families and friends is devastating.  What can we do?  Try to break down the stereotypes. Beliefs such as, boys don’t cry, can be very dangerous.

Mothers, teach your sons to speak openly about their feelings, sisters and girlfriends, talk to your brothers and boyfriends. Wives, talk to your husbands. Talking and listening is crucial so take the time to look after your nearest and dearest. If you’re concerned about some one then log on to MIND or encourage them to ring Samaritans on  freephone 08457 90 90 90

I hope this helps raise awareness of this worrying issue.