Category Archives: Writing a novel

Cross Genre, #Memoir, #Travel, #Motivational and Inspirational, #History ~ Why?

DSCN2797[1]Dear reader and writer

I posted a tweet about a week ago “Soon to be announced – launch of my Fantasy. It’s a bit of everything , .”

It may have been a coincidence but a day later there was a post on a blog I admire and subscribe to The Book Designer:

Thinking about writing on multiple genres – here’s what you need to know

Firstly – an agent and publisher does not know where to place it ~ or is to self publish best

I must admit that it has crossed my mind as to where bookshops would place my new book, and it is that market which I hope to tap into, as well as Amazon, but I reasoned that it was more a ‘gift book section’ since it is inspirational and motivational. OK – got it, but I am self publishing, or publishing through a small indie press, Eventispress, run by local authors.

Secondly writing what you are moved to write is not always the most productive for marketing purposes.

Will my current readers stay with me? Should I stick to the same genre  to be consistent and build up an audience. Yes, there is lots of sense in this but circumstances have meant that I have altered course. I will write this more fully on another blog post. Whether I am right to veer in different directions I’m not sure. I could give all sorts of arguments ~ this was a book I needed to write, I was so inspired by my surroundings that I could not help myself, I was grappling with ‘who I am’ and this just felt the right direction to go in and I’m thrilled with the result…

Thirdly I’ve not been true to my author brand.

I hold my hand up here. I’m not very good at marketing in a logical way. I know I should be more business like about writing but if I failed to enjoy what I do then I would give up. 

.Specialisation is one key to success.

I must argue that there is one theme running through all of my novels and books and that is my love of social history. If I visit a place the first thing I do is read about its past and its people. ‘Riduna’ and ‘Ancasta’ are historical romantic fiction. Norman’s memoir is of course history too – 103 years of it! Then ‘Murder Now and Then’ was inspired by an unsolved murder one hundred years ago and finally, ‘From Redundancy to Rejuvenation’ is inspired by many folks through the ages who either lived in or visited Fife. In fact I ‘met’ them as I walked along the Fife Coastal Path. They were fascinating characters.

Branding is more than genre, it is style, characterisation and voice

Yes, I believe that the characters in ‘From Redundancy to Rejuvenation’ are as true to my style as any of my novels ~ more so since the book is in part a personal memoir. My writing reaches from the depth of my soul in a way which I have not really experienced since writing ‘Riduna’ ~ that’s because it was written at a time of ‘soul searching’ and my encounters were as real to me as Harriet and her family in my Riduna Series, who have lived with me for about fifteen years now. It is truly my own voice.

I will finish with this wonderful quote from The Book Designer.

“But ultimately, your goal is to link your name to an organic and dynamic brand that’s based on you and arouses a positive, emotional experience for your targeted readership–regardless of genre. yes!!

By doing so, you can tie a common thread between all genres you choose to explore.”

I could not have put it better myself ~ beautifully written. I recommend reading the whole post for anyone interested in exploring different genre, or multiple genres. 

‘From Redundancy to Rejuvenation ~ A Writer’s Fantasy Walk Along The Fife Coastal Path’ is now available as a paperback on Amazon.


Filed under Events, Fife Fantasy, From redundancy to Rejuvenation, Writing, Writing a novel

Capitals or not capitals – do lower case letters in a title irritate you?

When I was looking at options for a cover design for my latest book ‘Murder, now and then’ a friend suggested I set the task as a challenge for design students at his college. The tutors are always on the look out for ‘real business opportunities’ to give their students experience of following specifications, meeting deadlines and working with the business world.

I was delighted to think that my new book cover would be designed by local students and, as a college tutor in a previous life, I looked forward to working with them both actually and virtually. There was also a certain amount of nervousness about the outcome too.

After an eventful but enjoyable time the proposed covers were submitted for a competition. The outcome of this was that I chose the two covers which won the most votes, one to be used for the paperback and the other for the ebook.

Murder, now and then available on Amazon

~  Murder, now and then available on Amazon

This is the overall winner and paperback cover. It is intriguing, combining:

~ the elements of time – the poppies and dagger-like objects – WW1

~ the circuit board at the top – the future – 2019

~ farming – with the fields

~ the missing piece of the puzzle over Bedfordshire

~ the grave of the girl murdered in 1919


Back coverMNAT


~ and on the back a Sherlock Holmes spyglass

~ over the island of Jersey

~ and the cameo of the missing girl from 1919 !!!!

Would readers grasp even half of the symbolism embedded in this cover? Did it matter? Would readers think about it afterwards? Yet again did it matter?

Strangely, this cover was particularly liked by female potential readers.

Does it have effective impact as a design? These were all questions I set aside as I prepared for the launch.

The e book, which was preferred by the men who voted, was quite different.

Available on Kindle

Available on Kindle

~ it had an impact with the colours red and yellow

~ the dagger-like weapon slashed through the centre

~ the figures spoke of scarecrows or of country dancing –  a link to country roots

~ it had a retro feel with the lettering, speaking of days gone by – the dual time zones of 1919 and 2019


Using two covers has been great, but they have also caused a few problems. One of them being the title. In my specification I suggested that the ‘now and then’ should almost be an aside and did not have to be in capitals. That was fine but one chose to use them and the other didn’t. My dilemma now  is how do I write about the novel – with capitals or not? Often I have used a comma and not used capitals, but sometimes I felt it appropriate to be more conventional.

My question to you is ‘does it matter’ as long as I am consistent? What do you think?

Leave a comment

Filed under Bedfordshire, Book reading, Murder Now and Then, Occasional Posts, Words, Writing a novel

Mid Bedfordshire Murder Mystery Tour ~ No 2 ~ A Walk to look over the vale of Bedford

For the next few posts I will be exploring the places in Bedfordshire I know so well, which feature in my murder mystery ‘Murder, now and then. This time we will leave the bicycle at home and venture on foot.

There are many pleasant walks around Haynes and Clophill ~ one passing the old church and through Pedley Woods returning via great Lane ~ another progressing further through the woods until you emerge overlooking the valley towards Hitchin and the Barton Hills, but today I’m going to take you from Haynes Church, the inspiration for my novel.

There is parking (at your own risk) in the church car park, unless there is a service on, and I’d like you to follow the steps of the video and pause a while at Nelly Rault’s grave. Nelly was the young Jersey lass whose true story and unsolved murder set my writing journey in a direction I had not anticipated, but have thoroughly enjoyed. Once you have found her grave you can also admire the view across to Haynes Park, close to the setting of my murder back in 1919.

We shall walk today because you will be  following in my heroines footsteps, who I have renamed Lucille Vardon.

Back-tracking along the church path, turn left, passing the unspoilt cottages of Haynes Church End on you right. You will pass one of the imposing gateways to Haynes Park, but this is private land. Fortunately for us the farm track immediately to its right is a

Haynes Park, Bedfordshire

Haynes Park, Bedfordshire

designated footpath and this leads parallel to the drive and winds on the edge of farm fields. Taking a right hand turn, clearly marked, the footpath veers towards the village of Haynes before joining another path from the village. Turning left the other side of the hedge you continue, back towards Haynes Park and their farm buildings until you reach a small pond. You can pause on the bench here if you wish to seek some peace and quiet.

The path continues until you are standing above the valley looking over towards Bedford. The sight of the Shortstown hangers, great cathedrals paying homage to the airships of

Shortstown Hangers

Shortstown Hangers

yesteryear including the R101 in the distance ~a sight which captures you breath in a moment’s reflection. Did ‘Lucille’ stop too and gaze in awe of this remarkable sight whilst walking this way from her work at the army camp to Bedford?

Below there are footpaths towards Wilshamstead and, although there is no legal path through the woods now where the 1919 murder took place, but the trees are clearly visible and whilst I was planning my novel my imagination ran riot here, as ideas flowed to intertwine past and present. It was here that I came up with the title ‘Murder, now and then,’ before the ins and outs of the novel were conceived but not long afterwards the idea of a centenary in 2019 began to take shape and the ‘now’ murder shifted a few years!

You may retread your footsteps to return to the church or, if you have a longer walk in mind you could continue back towards the village of Hayes and return to Church End by road, adding another couple of miles or more to your walk.

Returning along the lane you may glance over towards the farmhouse in my novel and your eyes may do a double – take. It does not actually exist and it superimposed on the video ~ clever hey! (I did not wish to upset a local farmer!!)

‘Murder, now and then’ is Diana Jackson’s third novel and is a murder mystery in Bedfordshire set in 2019, with flashbacks to the original murder in 1919. 


Filed under Bedfordshire, Murder, Murder Now and Then, Virtual Tour of Bedfordshire, Writing, Writing a novel, WW1