Exciting Times and Awkwardness

I keep having to pinch myself. I can’t believe all this loveliness is happening.

Grimbold Books made £4221 from their Kickstarter project. It’s incredible that people have been so generous. As I said last week, it is due to the generosity of others that my dream is coming true. It will enable the dreams of others as well. It seems only fitting to say thank you. Sammy and Zoe have an amazing vision for their company and now they can start to follow it. I would thoroughly recommend that you head over to the Kristell Ink or Grimbold website to have a gander at some of their titles. I’m really excited about the perks from pledging, especially the e-books. Both my husband and I pledged so we will have amassed 9 of them. That’s my half-term reading sorted out then.

Sammy put me in contact with the editor this week. I am so excited by this. Joanne Hall is another one of Grimbold’s authors and she is incredible. It’s really fun to be working with someone on the manuscript and coming together to make it better. We’ve already done three chapters and it’s gone really smoothly. Her constructive criticism and adjustments is helping make ‘Cruelty’ even better.

I have found myself missing home this week, hence the picture of the Giant’s Causeway. I think the Scottish Referendum has stirred up patriotic feelings in most of the people I’ve had contact with this week. Most have been positive, feeling proud to be British or thinking change might be a good thing, but some have been out and out racist and disgusting on both sides of the argument. It’s insane. Democracy is the right to choose, to have a voice not the right to batter people who don’t agree with you. People being called traitors for the way that they have voted or threatened. It turns my stomach, not least because being from Northern Ireland, I grew up in that sort of hatred.

I was 7 when we first left and 12 when we returned. Although it is certainly not as bad when I was a child, or indeed as it was when my father was growing up, the Troubles still loom over us. There are still parts of major cities it is not safe to go to and trouble still erupts during the marching season. I love my home country and I am fiercely proud of being both British and Irish but there is a lot of resentment that lingers and surfaces every now and then. There are still bomb scares in Belfast, not as often as there were but they still exist. Most of us live ordinary and safe lives but the tension still bubbles. I don’t know if there could ever be a referendum like Scotland had. Even though it was democratic and fairly peaceful, fights still broke out, families have been at each other’s throats and communities have turned against each other. Ulster has had generations of that and worse.

I have a great deal of Scottish friends and their Facebook pages have been flooded with hatred and vitriol because they exercised their right to vote according to their conscience. Hopefully, level heads will prevail and Westminster will deliver on its promises on further devolution for all four nations in the Union. It certainly makes for awkward conversation in Wales when people assume your allegiance, one way or the other, just because of your heritage or because your husband is a Scot. I don’t know which way I would have gone. Besides, I live in Wales; I wouldn’t get a vote.

The other awkwardness that has hunted me in my sleep this week is sex. Primarily, the sex that is in my book. I’m not ashamed of sex, not even remotely, and it is an essential part of the development of my protagonist. It’s not gratuitous or been done because soft literary porn is what seems to sell at the moment. What is awkward is that I am a Vicar’s daughter and I still go to Church. My faith is a huge part of my life. What is awkward is that my family members, wanting to support me, will buy the book and read the sex scenes. And they are detailed. Every so often, I sit bolt upright and go ‘Oh God, my mam is going to read that. Oh shit, my dad is going to read that.’

I was brought up to believe that sex is sacred, a act between a committed couple, not something to be thrown away or had with a million people. That belief has wound its way into the novel which is why it is all the more shocking, and dangerous, for Eliza to make use of it to protect herself. I refuse to cut it out; it matters too much to the story, to Eliza’s story. I’ll just tell my parents to skip certain pages. My mother likes Maeve Binchy and Marian Keyes and they have lots of sex. They love Game of Thrones which also has lots of sex. I guess I don’t want to embarrass them or make them feel like they can’t say ‘My daughter wrote that’ because of the rudie bits. Hopefully, once they’ve read it, they’ll understand why I used it.

Until next time.

Ellen xx

Saturday Ramblings


I have been up since before 7 today. As I couldn’t sleep, I thought I’d get some editing or planning done. It’s half-past twelve and I’m still in my PJs…

I did get some editing done. I’ve been messing with my blog until I was happy with how it looked. I may still have to change the background colour (I just can’t leave well enough alone!) 

I’ve decided that I want to give Cornelius a touch more Irishman charm. Just a touch. I don’t want him to be cheesy but I feel it fits him. My countrymen are effortlessly charming and Cornelius needs more of that feel. Adding national character of any culture is like adding salt; too much and it’s overbearing, too little and it’s lacking. 

I’ve been thinking a lot about the front cover this week, looking at all my books that fit into the category and at the covers Grimbold Books and its imprints have. They have amazing artists so I have no doubt that we’ll be able to create something wonderful. It’s a way off yet but it’s so exciting to think that *finally*, after years of trying to get someone to take notice of my work, it’s all in motion. 

The Grimbold Kickstarter project still has a few days left on it. I am so, so thankful on a personal level for all the people who pledged money as it means that my dream has come true. Their generosity meant that Sammy could offer me a contract. It’s also amazing for Stephen Poore who has also been signed this week. Just from reading his blog, it is so clear that he is a supremely talented writer and I really look forward to reading his work.

Check out the Kickstarter here to see what they they have planned for all the money they’ve raised and the projects they currently have. And if you’re feeling generous, donate a few quid.  

Have an awesome weekend. Speak soon. 


In April 2013, I took a punt on sending my novel ‘It Runs in the Family’ to Kristell Ink, having found them on Facebook. They were the type of publisher who seemed to understand what I was trying to do and create. Sammy got back to me within a week, looking for the rest of the manuscript. She sent me back some amazing feedback and showed me directions that I’d never have thought of before. We have been firm friends since that first email.

I signed the contract on Monday 8th September and I am beyond excited. For almost 18 months, Sammy helped me nurture my work into the novel ‘Cruelty’ has become. Today, she asked me about covers and I am giddy. I am honoured to join the Grimbold Books family. I’ll keep you posted on how it’s going, other projects and my general musings on existence.

See you next week. 🙂