Rank Outsiders REVAMP!

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My Cup of Tea Press and me have been revamping Rank Outsiders, my first racing thriller.It has been re-edited and has a new cover. The cover is more in keeping with the genre and my other books will be rebranded in a similar way, thanks to Rosie and  Jamie from My Cup of Tea Press! Rank Outsiders is a racing thriller.

Jockey, Tristan Davies is concerned when several strange incidents at the yard, suggest that someone is trying to fix a race and prevent one of their stable stars from winning.  The horse is let out of its stable and narrowly misses a car, glass is found in his bedding and the horsebox has a puncture en route to the racecourse. Suspicion points to the horse’s relatively new stable lad, Kyle Devlin. Kyle is in care and supported by social worker, Poppy Ford. Poppy needs no encouragement to help prove Kyle’s innocence, so the pair decide to join forces to find out what is going on and find themselves unraveling a complex web of intrigue which has far-reaching consequences. When the two worlds of racing and social work collide, the stakes are very high indeed.

Praise for Rank Outsiders.

‘A great story, beautifully and ingeniously plotted.’

‘A thrilling read which is well paced and well plotted.’

‘I really enjoyed this book by Charlie De Luca and want to read more.’


Rank Outsiders in available to download on Amazon.






Grand National Tips!


Well, it’s that time of year again when the forty horses line up for one of the world’s most spectacular sporting events, The Randox Grand National held at Aintree on Saturday.

The prize money overall is over a million and the prestige is huge, so there’s everything to play for. Runners and riders will be confirmed tomorrow.

The going is likely to be soft, verging on heavy in places and the four mile track with its huge fences, is one of the longest races. There are some great horses and jockeys in the field, so it will be a hard one to predict. Anything can happen!

Top weight is Minella Rocco from Jonjo O’Neill’s yard ridden by Noel Fehily. Likely favourites are Blaklion, trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies and ridden by son, Sam, Gordan Elliott’s, Tiger Roll and Sandy Thomson’s Seeyouatmidnight. That said, the Grand National is notoriously unpredictable, which is why it is such a thrilling spectacle.

Women are well represented with Katie Walsh riding Baie des Iles, Briony Frost riding Milansbar  and Rachael Blackmore riding  Alpha des Obleaux. All are highly capable and I would love a female jockey to win as it would really shake the sport up. The women all ride really well.

But it’s anyone’s guess and because of this, it’s always worth looking at the outsiders as many bookies pay out to five or more places. Here are my suggestions for each way bets with long odds.

Colin Tizzard’s The Dutchman ridden by Harry Cobden. Tizzard is in form and won the Cheltenham Gold Cup this year with Native River. Likely  to be 50-1

Sue Smith’s I Just Know ridden by Danny Cook also 50-1

Ross Sullivan’s Baie Des Iles ridden by Katie Walsh at 66-1

David Dennis’s Final Nudge ridden by Gavin Sheehan at 33-1

I also drew Perfect Candidate in the sweepstake at work, so shall be watching him too at 66-1!

The very best of luck to anyone deciding to have a flutter!

Editing your own work? Here are some tips.


Probably in common with most writers, I struggle to edit my own work.  I am editing some of my own work and a book for a friend. Editing for a friend is SO much easier!  It must be because you are too close to your own work.

I have been researching this area and have come across some tips that may helpful to others.

When you have finished your book, set it aside for at least a month, or longer before even attempting to reread.

Read it out loud. I have discovered an app, Natural speaker, which might help here. I downloaded this and uploaded my book. The voices are a bit mechanical in the free version but it did help once I had my headphones in and computer open and at the ready.  This enabled me to correct the text as I listened to it. It was easier to hear clumsy sentences rather than read them.

Use spell checking and check everything.  I mean everything.  You may think you can spell but I  found some words I thought I knew, I had been spelling wrongly for ages! Annoying!

Start from the end and work backwards.  This is not as daft as it sounds as just reading the words without getting into the story can really help your focus. Once you start to follow the plot you can get caught up in it and miss the obvious!

Take your time and don’t set yourself impossible deadlines. Slow and steady wins the race!

Good luck with your editing. Do any of you have any tips you can share?

This would be much appreciated.







Happy Easter!



Well, it’s that time of year again! Looks like we may have a colder Easter than usual followed by a heatwave in April apparently. I haven’t yet taken the horses’ rugs off and they are looking tatty and in need of repair.  The rugs that is; not the horses. Plenty of time to do that once the Spring actually arrives.

I am looking forward to some time off, having an Easter egg hunt with the kids, maybe going to the races, and definitely riding and walking in the Lincolnshire countryside. I am having some off from editing ‘Making Allowances’ until the holidays are over.  I am also meeting up with fellow writer, Scarlett Brodie, who writes funny cosy crime novels as I m doing an interview with her for her next book, ‘Missing in Millfield.’ This is a great book, so look out for more news as the release date is coming fast approaching.

Then it will nose to the grindstone in preparing students for exams!

I hope you all have a good rest, plenty of chocolate and that you get to spend some time with your loved ones! Happy Easter!






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.