What’s the point?

I’m a writer. I know, I’m stating the obvious here, but bear with me.

Sometimes, like today, when I wake up to news of another senseless attack on innocent people – this time in Manchester – I wonder if there’s any point. People are suffering, daily – terrorist attacks, poverty, living in war zones.

In my day-job, I’m a gym instructor. I like to think I make a difference to people, in a real and practical way. A small difference, to a small number of people.

But sometimes, like today, it doesn’t feel enough.


M.B. Feeney: an interview

2uglwsxWelcome to another interview with one of the authors featured in the Where Words Fail Music Speaks anthology.

You can find the anthology on Amazon, on Kindle and in paperback.

I hope you’re enjoying the series so far. I’m meeting lots of new writers, which is really cool.

Today, please welcome M.B. Feeney to my blog!

  1. Tell me a little bit about yourself.

I’m too close to 40, I live in Birmingham (UK) with my partner of 16 years (get less for murder these days), 2 kids, 1 mad dog, and 2 chinchillas. I’m not working (other than writing) at the moment as my youngest is still in Primary school, but that may change when he starts Secondary – unless I sell the movie rights to one of my books hahaha.

  1. Why did you decide to be involved with the anthology?

My friend’s teenage son suffers with Cluster Migraines and I know how much he suffers with them. I suffer with migraine’s and can’t imagine anything worse, and hoped my short helps even just a little bit. I also used it as an excuse to push me out of my writing comfort zone.

  1. All the story/poem titles are 90s Brit Pop songs. How did you choose your song title?

I’d originally picked a different song. The story was similar, but I didn’t ‘feel’ it. Then, I heard taunts of ‘there she goes’ and the song and story idea were just chosen for me.

  1. How did your story/poem develop?

As mentioned above, I’d started the prologue, but once the first chapter was almost finished, it didn’t feel right, so I put it to one side for a few days. Eventually, the darker side of my story began to develop in my mind, and I just went with it. Not long after I finished it, I watched 13 reasons Why, and with all the discussion about the show, I’m glad I chose the direction I did, even if I don’t deal with suicide, the bullying is still the main thread of the plot. Due to word count limits, I’ve had to end on a slight cliffhanger, but I will write the second part and release the two as a complete story in the future.

  1. Does your submission in the anthology reflect your published work, or did you take the opportunity to experiment?

As I mentioned before, I used the anthology as an opportunity to move away from my comfort zone with my writing. Mostly, I’m a romance author, and while this story does have a little romance included, it’s not the main theme.

  1. As a novel writer, how did writing to a tighter word count feel?

The majority of my books are between 10-30k, so keeping it short wasn’t a problem, but it will be extended into a Part Two.

  1. Tell me about your last/next project.

My next release will be a ‘bromance’ set in 90s London. It’s an NA almost coming of age story – with a hint of romance of course. It’s currently going through self edits and beta reads, but I can’t wait for people to read it as I had so much fun writing it. Took me back to my teenage years!

  1. What’s the best thing about being a writer?

Probably the creating side of it. I love thinking up new ideas – it’s so hard to find something completely original, so putting my own spin on a trope or plot is fun. Not always easy, but it’s my favourite part.

  1. Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time? (writing or non-writing answers allowed 😊)

Hopefully being able to pay bills with my earnings. I don’t necessarily want to be the next E. L. James fame and sales wise (although it’s nice to dream), but a steady and regular income would be amazing.

MB Feeney picAuthor bio:

M.B. Feeney is an army brat who finally settled down in Birmingham, UK with her other half, two kids and a dog. She often procrastinates by listening to music of all genres and trying to get ‘just one more paragraph’ written on whichever WIP is open; she is also a serious doodler and chocoholic. Writing has been her one true love ever since she could spell, and publishing is the final culmination of her hard work and ambition.

Her publishing career began with two novellas, and she currently has multiple projects under way, in the hopes that her portfolio of what have been described as “everyday love stories for everyday people” will continue to grow. Always having something on the go can often lead to block which eventually gets dissolved by good music and an even better book.

Her main reason for writing is to not only give her readers enjoyment, but also to create a story and characters that stay with readers long after the book is finished, and possibly make someone stop and think “what if . . . ”

You can find M. B. Feeney here:  Facebook // Twitter // Blog 


Before you go, I just want to direct you to my guest post on The Bandwagon as part of Vikki Patis’s Cornish Reading Challenge.

I’m sharing my love for the Tamar Bridge!

Red edit hiccup

I’m still in the red edit zone, so no completed chart just yet. Instead I have these:

Yes, I’m making the grievous error of not just a prologue, or epilogue, but both!

But, let’s gloss over that for now.

My red edits have gone really well, and I technically finished them last night, after a full-on day of reading my own words, cringing, and occasionally being wow-ed.  In fact, there are several pages which don’t even have any edits on them at all!

I added reason and sense to some of the plot points that were somewhat lacking, and a bit of emotion where I’d forgotten to show it. I cut a lot of useless stuff, including a whole character (RIP MC’s boyfriend, but he was kind of pointless, and ended the relationship in the same chapter he was introduced).

Despite all the cutting – some days, I hovered around the exact same number, even though I was writing furiously – I added 2261 words to the story, which means it now stands at just over 40,000! Still too short for a novel, but on my way. By adding four more chapters, I should easily make that up to 45,000.

I swapped around some of the early chapters, but I’m still not completely happy. The opening feels sluggish and dull – but I think it’s necessary to set the scene. Due to the nature of the story, I can’t use flashbacks (which I usually love, so this is hard for me). Perhaps, when I get to the beta reader stage, fresh eyes will be able to point out the problems.

Big question: Prologues and epilogues, love them or hate them?



Clare Dugmore: an interview

2uglwsxWelcome to another interview with one of the authors featured in the Where Words Fail Music Speaks anthology.

Have you bought your copy yet? How many of the authors have you read before?

You can find the anthology on Amazon, on Kindle and in paperback.


Today, I’d like to welcome Clare Dugmore to my blog… Hi Clare…

Thank you for having me on your blog, Annalisa. It’s great to be here to spread the word about The Where Words Fail, Music Speaks anthology, and why we chose to support ClusterBusters.

  1. Tell me a little bit about yourself.

Hey, I’m Clare Dugmore. I’m a thirty-something romance writer from the West Midlands, of England. I’m a married of mother of two, and in my spare time I enjoy binge watching shows with Hubby, spending time with my two sons, and playing video games.

  1. Why did you decide to be involved with the anthology?

Originally, I agreed to take part because I’d do anything Kyra Lennon asks me (😝), and I like writing for anthologies.

As I learned more about the cause, and how terrible cluster headaches are, I wanted to do something to help those who suffer from them.

As Kyra said in her interview, clusters aren’t widely known about, and not enough treatments have been developed to combat them. I hope our contribution can spread awareness, and raise money for more research to be done.

  1. All the story/poem titles are 90s Brit Pop songs. How did you choose your song title?

I had a really hard time with the song, which is funny, because I was a teen at the height of 90s Brit Pop, and a HUGE fan of one of the most popular Brit Pop bands, Blur. Alas, I couldn’t find anything from the Brit Pop era that fit my story, and instead settled on Letters to Cleo’s cover of Cheap Trick’s “I Want You To Want Me,” which is featured in the movie “Ten Things I Hate About You.” I love the song, I listen to it a lot, and it fit perfectly with my story. 

  1. How did your story/poem develop?

My story is an idea I’ve had rattling around in my head for a while now, ever since I read an article about a guy who realised he wasn’t as straight as he thought, when he started getting jealous seeing his roommate with another guy.

As soon as I read the article, I had a “What If?” moment, and everything else sort of fell into place.

What if you’ve repressed your true sexuality, and unknowingly fallen for your best friend/ roommate?

I mean, it happens often enough in heterosexual friendships, when one of them develops feelings for the other? But my story added the layer of my main character, Joss, having to work out that she’s bisexual, and then dealing with the fallout of coming out to her conservative parents.

  1. Does your submission in the anthology reflect your published work, or did you take the opportunity to experiment?

Yes and no. This is the first LGBT story I’ve written, and I hope I did it justice, especially with Joss grappling with her sexuality and coming out to her parents. In other ways, it was typical of what I usually write in that it was a romance, with some angst keeping the two characters apart.

  1. As a novel writer, how did writing to a tighter word count feel?

I think I’m getting better at it. At least, I hope I am. This story was great, because the plot felt perfect for a short. I don’t think it needed to be long and drawn out like a novel, so that made it easier for me.

  1. Tell me about your last/next project.

My most recent release, ALL IT TAKES, was on February 14. It’s a new-adult romance, about a uni student who gets pregnant from a one-night stand with an MMA fighter, and how they navigate having a child together, when they’re not actually a couple.

Right now, I’m working on an age-gap romance about a twenty-five-year-old makeup artist, who falls for a former rock-star twice her age. Trouble comes in the form of his ex-wife, and their attitude-filled fifteen-year-old daughter.

I hope to begin serializing it this summer.

  1. What’s the best thing about being a writer?

The escape. I read and write to escape, to get away from life’s stresses for a few hours, and go into another world. I hope my stories offer that escape to other when they read them. 

  1. Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time? (writing or non-writing answers allowed 😊)

EEK! I’ll be almost 40!! I hope not too much changes, because I’m happy where I am right now. I hope to be thinner (I’m currently doing the keto diet, and have lost two stone already.) I hope in five years, I’m at a healthy weight.

Writing wise, I hope I’ve made a bestsellers list, somewhere. New York Times and USA Today are the dream, but I’d settle for Amazon right now! Lol


Clare Dugmore bio PicAuthor Bio

Clare Dugmore is an author of all things romantic; be they contemporary, paranormal, fantasy. She loves a good love story!

Her novel, ALL IT TAKES, a dual-POV new-adult, contemporary-romance about responsibility, love and discovering who you are in life, released on February 14, 2017.
Clare is a thirty-something, married, mother of two from the West Midlands, of England. In her spare time, she enjoys binge watching shows with her hubby, spending time with her two sons, and playing video games.

You can connect with Clare at: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


Kyra Lennon: an interview

2uglwsxAs you know, one of my stories has been published in the Where Words Fail Music Speaks anthology, and over the next few weeks/months, I’ll be featuring a series of interviews with some of the other authors involved (and possibly me, because I love talking about myself!)

You can find the anthology on Amazon, on Kindle and in paperback.

First up to be interviewed is Kyra Lennon, whose idea and dedication started all of this…

  1. Welcome to my blog, Kyra – tell me a little bit about yourself.

Hello! I’m Kyra Lennon and I live in the South West of England. I write contemporary romance, mostly of the fluffy variety, and when I’m not doing that, you’ll probably find me trawling the British countryside, looking for pretty things to take photos of!

  1. Why did you decide to be involved with the anthology?

The idea for the anthology came about as several of my friends live with cluster headaches. One of them has them extremely severely at times, and after finding out more about what he goes through – because it’s more than just intense pain – I discovered that shockingly little is known about cluster headaches. Most people have never even heard of them.  There is not yet a cure for them, and while there are some medications available, they aren’t as effective as they would be with further research. That was what triggered me into action. I want to help raise money so more research can be done to help those who suffer so much.

  1. All the story/poem titles are 90s Brit Pop songs. How did you choose your song title?

Haha, that was a fun process! 90s Britpop is like a step back in time to my teen years, and reminding myself of how many amazing songs there were back then was super cool! Choosing the right title was a matter of listing my favourites and slowly whittling them down until I had one that I felt I could work with. I settled on Come Back To What You Know (Embrace) but my finalists included Hush by Kulashaker, The Day We Caught The Train by Ocean Colour Scene, and Do You Remember The First Time by Pulp.

  1. How did your story/poem develop?

I struggle to write short stories, and it turned out my plot was a tad too long to fit into the word count limit. I think (hope) I made it work, but it was hard as I wanted to make sure the emotion came across and made sense. The idea for the story itself came – as it so often does with me – from a situation I was in a very long time ago, but the plot was severely altered for dramatic purposes.

  1. Does your submission in the anthology reflect your published work, or did you take the opportunity to experiment?

My submission is pretty normal to the kind of thing I would usually write. I planned to experiment and do something totally different, but when it came down to it, I went back to what I know! (See what I did there? :p )

  1. Tell me about your last/next project.

Okay, my next project is actually a short story that came from a previous anthology. It’s been lengthened and the end has changed since it was previously published. This one, I did experiment with a little. It’s not straight up fluffy romance. It’s called Reasonable Doubts, and this is the blurb:

Darcy Ryan is a woman on a mission.

A mission to take down the corrupt cops who ensured her best friend, Matteo Torres, went to jail for a crime he didn’t commit – the murder of his wife, Rebecca.

Darcy is willing to do just about anything to prove his innocence, including getting up close and personal with lead detective, Finn Drake.

She knows she’s playing a dangerous game, but it gets more dangerous than she could have ever imagined when she discovers everything she thought she knew about Rebecca Torres was wrong, and Finn Drake isn’t the man she thought he was either.

Darcy’s life and her best friend’s freedom are on the line. With her entire world turned on its head and time running out, she has to decide. Should she take a chance on Drake and go against her gut instincts, or go it alone and pray she can find the killer before he finds her?

  1. What’s the best thing about being a writer?

Being able to write about things I am not brave enough to do in real life!

  1. Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time? (writing or non-writing answers allowed 😊)

Ha, I don’t do thinking that far ahead, but I would love to see myself on a bestseller list at some point in the next five years!


Kyra LennonAuthor Bio:

Kyra is a self-confessed book-a-holic, and has been since she first learned to read. When she’s not reading, you’ll usually find her hanging out in coffee shops with her trusty laptop and/or her friends, or girling it up at the nearest shopping mall. Lennon is a proud supporter of several charities. She currently volunteers for her local cat shelter as a fundraiser and social media guru. Kyra has also had stories published in charity anthologies to raise money for Cats Protection, the British Heart Foundation, and the Innocence Project.

Kyra grew up on the South Coast of England and refuses to move away from the seaside which provides massive inspiration for her novels.

Find Kyra here: Facebook // Twitter

The green edits are done!

Green edits

I originally allowed myself thirty days for this part of the process, but did it in fifteen! As I got closer to the end, I reduced the date goal, because I like tidy graphs…

Normally when I edit, I meander around – reading, adding notes, watching TV, going back over the same parts again and again to get them perfect… on the first set of edits, I hear you ask? Well, yes, I am was a perfectionist.

But, no more! I’ve finally learnt. I worked steadily through the comments I made, although some of them still exist because I’m not quite sure how to execute them just yet.

There have been a lot of other changes though, a lot of additions (including, finally, a character’s reaction to an event that affected her deeply, but I ignored in my first draft!), and an awful lot of crossing out. However, the opening chapter is still shockingly bad, and the last chapter is dragging – but that’s okay. In fact, they might even still exist when I’m ready to share with my beta readers.

In the past, I have only shared my work when I’ve gone through extensive drafts, and made it as perfect as I can get. If people so much as point out a spelling mistake or punctuation anomaly, I’m devastated. I consider this to be a huge step forward in my writing attitude.


Green edit page
These edits have been nicknamed the green edits, because of the green pen. The next edits will be the red edits. And, because I do love a chaotic-looking draft, I’ll be making the changes on this same print-out!

Years ago – stop me if I’ve told you this before – my favourite subject at school was technical drawing (Yes! I’m so old, that was actually a separate and specific subject!) I loved the lines, the angles, the pencil chaos that became clear when my black pen – in two different thicknesses – created the picture. All the pencil marks were essential to get the right lines in the right place, but eventually they were erased and my cube (in my first year) or my detailed house floorplan (in my last year) was revealed.

I approach editing a manuscript in the same way, and it’s so satisfying when I see the final story revealing itself.

Next up: the red edits, trying to get my first and last chapters improved, and possibly extend the length. It may not be a very long novel – some of my recent reads have been under 50,000 – but I’m currently at 39k. That’s a good novella length, but I’m desperate to get a novel under my belt – my long-term goal depends upon it!

How many different colours do you use?

Do you edit by hand, or prefer to do it all on the computer?

The anthology launches!

I’m excited to be taking part in the release blitz for the Where Words Fail, Music Speaks Anthology, which is out now!
Where Words Fail, Music Speaks is a collection of short stories and poetry by writers from all walks of life.
Each story is based on the titles of 90s Britpop songs, including Come Back To What You Know, Bittersweet Symphony, Animal Nitrate, Disco 2000, and more.
Our list of authors is: Kyra Lennon, Clare Dugmore, Annalisa Crawford, Ker Dukey, Wesley Copeland, Robb Turburville, D H Sidebottom, Audrina Lane, M.B. Feeney, Karen Frances, S.J Warner, Scout Dawson, Kimberly Morgan, Maddie Wade, Rebeccalou Heronpontin, Andrea Coventry.
All proceeds from the sales of this anthology will go to Clusterbusters.