It’s Friday 20th June, and I’m going to the Winchester Writers’ Conference. I’m due to head off for a train in less than an hour and I’ve not finished packing. I want something to read on my Kindle Fire.

I don’t have much time, so I don’t browse book blogs or ask on Twitter for recommendations. I head straight to Amazon.

Do a couple of my favourite authors have new books out? One does, but I’m waiting for the price to drop. The other’s book isn’t out yet.

I’ll try something new, and cheap. I head to the Kindle Daily Deals and see a bunch of different books.

I skip past the ones that look like romance or thrillers, and pause at Off to Be the Wizard ( / The title makes me think “children’s book” and the design, at teeny-tiny thumbnail size, isn’t hugely clear – it also looks childish.

But I pause long enough to realise that the cover shows old-school computer game style graphics (an impression backed up by the series title, “Magic 2.0″).

That might be my kind of thing.

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If you’ve been an Aliventures reader for a while, you might remember the On Track ecourse I launched back in 2011.

It was one of my favourite projects, and over the past couple of years, it’s only been available to members of Writers’ Huddle, because a couple of other projects (Kitty and the bump) have been keeping me busy.

I’ve been gradually updating On Track, though, and doing some techy things to turn it from an “everyone takes the course all at once” to a “start whenever you like” course … and it’s finally ready. Hurrah!

If you’re bogged down on a writing project, perhaps a novel, blog, non-fiction book, memoir, or even something small like a short story, On Track is designed to get you going again.

Back when I ran this as a group ecourse, with support along the way, it cost $49. Because I no longer have the time to be that involved, I’ve made it totally free (all you need to do is enter your first name and email address to get instant access). You’ve got no excuse not to take it! ;-)

You can get the full details, and join, here.

You’ll get the first week’s module as soon as you begin, then another module each week from then on (you’ll get an email alert to tell you that the module is available, and to give you a quick summary of what you’ll learn that week).

If you’ve got any questions about the course, just pop a comment below, or drop me an email on

Want to find out more or join up right away? Head straight on to the On Track page here.

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Image from Flickr by nic519.

Have you ever thought about – or daydreamed about – turning your writing into a career?

Perhaps you’ve already made some progress (buying a website domain, submitting some pieces), or perhaps it still feels like more of a dream than a plan.

The good news is that it’s probably not as complicated as you think. If you have visions of creating a complicated business plan, or spending hours doing market research, or investing loads of money in expensive courses … forget all that!

There’s really not too much you need to do to start making money as a writer.

I had the pleasure of chatting to Thursday Bram a few weeks ago – she was the June guest speaker for Writers’ Huddle – and one of the things we discussed was what new freelance writers need to do when they’re getting started.

Thursday said, and I agree with her, that the two most important things are to:

  • Get a website set up.
  • Write pieces for your portfolio.

These apply to pretty much every writer – a very simple website is fine initially, unless you’re actually specialising in writing for the web.

Of course, these aren’t likely to be the only two things you do – so I’ve expanded them into seven first steps to take, ideally in this order:

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2nd-baby-two-500Well, the title and photo probably gave the news away. ;-)

My husband Paul and I are expecting our second baby in December, a little brother or sister to Kitty (who turned one in March).

This is really exciting for us; right from the start, we wanted to have two children close together, and we’re thrilled that everything has gone so smoothly. Kitty loves babies and dolls, and we know she’ll be a very proud big sister by the end of the year.

What This Means for Aliventures

For now, nothing’s going to change: I’ll still be blogging here (though as you might have noticed, I’ve been posting a bit less frequently recently).

In the autumn, I’ll be taking off on maternity leave for a while. I’ve not set exact dates yet, but I’ll keep you posted. So the Aliventures blog will fall silent for a few months while I focus on being a mum to Kitty and to the new baby. The newsletter will also be on hiatus, though again, that’s running as normal until the autumn.

Writing services: As you might guess, I’m no longer on any new clients – in fact, my client list has been totally full for several months now. If you’re looking for a writer/editor, though, please do get in touch and I’ll hopefully be able to recommend someone who’ll be a good fit for you.

Writers’ Huddle: My community/teaching site, Writers’ Huddle, will continue to take new members until I go on maternity leave, and there’ll be a new seminar each month while I’m away. There’ll be someone around to take care of members during my leave, so if you’re in the Huddle, don’t worry about losing your password / having a PayPal glitch / etc … you won’t be on your own! I’ll be posting in the Huddle forums shortly to let you know a bit more about the arrangements while I’m away.

I hope you’ll stick around on the Aliventures blog, as I’ve got plenty of posts I want to write for you over the next few months. :-) Thanks so much for being a loyal reader, and for your support.


Why Writers Should Fear Obscurity, Not Piracy

May 22, 2014

Image from Flickr by pasukaru76. There’s one question that seems to crop up more than any other in my email inbox, and when I’m talking about self-publishing. And that’s: How do I stop people stealing my book? A lot of new indie authors are worried that publishing in digital format means it’ll be far too easy […]

10 comments [ click to read article...]

Memoir: Truth or Fiction? [Guest Post]

May 6, 2014

This is a guest post by Tracy Wilson. Tracy and I have been friends for several years (she’s one of Kitty’s godmothers, too) and I asked her to write a post for Aliventures about memoir … something that I don’t have any experience with, but that I know a number of Aliventures readers are interested […]

3 comments [ click to read article...]

17 Ways to Make the Most of Your Writing Time – Even When It’s Limited

April 7, 2014

Image from Flickr by waferboard. Do you have as much time as you want to write? Probably not. (If you’re in the position of having plenty of time but somehow not getting much writing done, don’t feel bad — that happens too. Hopefully some of these tips will help you as well.) Very, very few […]

22 comments [ click to read article...]

Can You Call Yourself a “Writer” if You’re Not Currently Writing?

March 18, 2014

A couple of weeks ago, I sent out a newsletter titled – like this post – “Can you call yourself a writer if you’re not currently writing?” It got a great response … and I realised I’d hit on a subject that quite a few writers are concerned about. So if you missed it: 1. […]

19 comments [ click to read article...]

Do You Want to Make Money Writing? Here’s What You Need to Know

February 25, 2014

Image from Flickr by Inha Leex Hale. One of the big writing ambitions I hear about from a lot of people is: I want to make money writing. They – quite reasonably! – want to be rewarded for their talent and their work. Yet many writers think that there’s something wrong with their dream. Maybe […]

12 comments [ click to read article...]

Take the Plunge: How to (Finally) Start Your Novel

February 4, 2014

Image from by tatlin. You want to write a novel. It’s been your New Year’s resolution more times than you want to admit. And you might well have been day-dreaming about it or scribbling notes about it for months or years. But you’ve never quite started the actual writing. And you’re not sure that […]

8 comments [ click to read article...]