Tag Archives: debut

Post-weekend Poetry 047: Insincere by Sophie E Tallis

Welcome to Post-weekend Poetry and the forty-seventh poem in this series. This week’s piece is by novelist, short story author, poet and illustrator Sophie E Tallis. You can read my interview with Sophie here.


People thought I was being ‘Stevie Smith’, very angst and prone to drama.

If you’re old you’re ‘clinically depressed’…understandable really…all those wrinkles staring back, more years behind than in front, a slow decay of time and body.

If you’re ‘middle-aged’ you’re simply in a rut. “Snap out of it!” they say, you’re not the self-obsessed youth you used to be, no time for such indulgences.

If you’re young you just can’t win. The loudest voice in the room but nobody’s listening.

Insincerity drips off the young who have a predisposition for blue… My youth has flown away now, my student days a haze – melancholic writings to paraphrase.

But then as now, my blue is simply a part of me, not showy, not angst…quite healthy now actually.

No longer just wearing black, colour creeps and leaves its residue, a hue to match my mood.

So no, I’m not waving or drowning, not making a statement, not needing help, quite happy, contented, as much as I can be, not full of old rage and hated resentments. Moving on, moved on… nasty neighbours but nice place, like the view…not insincere, not pretentious…simply blue.


I asked Sophie what prompted this piece and she said…

The inspiration behind ‘Insincere’ was really based on the misconceptions and generalisations people have about other people. We are always so keen to pigeon-hole.

Even though I am a naturally happy, bubbly character, as with all of us, that is not the only facet to my personality. Many of us have a duality about us, more so perhaps for semi-public figures. As a teacher, not only do you lose some of your anonymity but part of your job is to make the children in your care feel comfortable and happy while they are learning. Therefore, even when I’m feeling awful or down, I’ll often have a fixed smile on my face for the children’s sake. It’s not a conscious act, but just something I do quite naturally. However, it does perpetuate the misconception that I’m always a ‘happy shiny’ person. Those that know me well, know that I’m somewhat of an onion, with many layers and not all of them light!

Just like me. 🙂 Thank you, Sophie.

Sophie E Tallis is an epic fantasy author and illustrator, poet and short story writer. Originally from a sleepy village north of Bristol, she currently lives in the Cotswolds with her family and her two enormous white wolves!

She works as a full-time teacher and has been inspiring young children for the past 14 years. However, her first passion has always been for writing stories and poetry, which she has done since she was a child.

A painter and artist, she divides her time between writing, teaching and her artwork. She adores travelling when she gets the chance, and has a profound love of landscapes, particularly those of New Zealand and Dartmoor, which she finds very inspiring.

She enjoys stargazing, playing chess, watching films (particularly fantasy & sci-fi), ‘world-building’ and buying yet more bookcases for her growing library! She describes herself as a lover of wild places and the written word and is a bit of a self-confessed nerd! When asked what her interests are, she usually smiles and replies, “EVERYTHING!”.

Sophie’s debut novel ‘White Mountain – book 1 of The Darkling Chronicles’ is now available from and


If you’d like to submit your poem (40 lines max) for consideration for Post-weekend Poetry take a look here.

The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with science fiction & fantasy author Sarah Ettritch – the five hundred and fiftieth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, bloggers, biographers, agents, publishers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.

** NEW!! You can now subscribe to this blog on your Kindle / Kindle app!


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You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything. You can contact me and find me on the internetview my Books and I also have a blog creation service especially for, but not limited to, writers.

Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) 🙂 on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are weekly episodes, usually released Monday mornings UK time, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays.


Posted by on November 12, 2012 in ebooks, interview, novels, poetry, writing


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My debut novel is out!

I’m finally doing something with the novels. 🙂 I’ve written four and a bit, currently writing my sixth for NaNoWriMo 2012. The ‘bit’ by the way is a conversion of a 102-page script I wrote for the now-defunct Script Frenzy back in April 2010.

The first one, which is my one and only chick lit novel, and the third novel I wrote, has now gone live. The Serial Dater’s Shopping List’s tagline and synopsis go like this:

  • 31 men in 31 days – what could possibly go wrong?
  • Isobel MacFarlane is a recently-turned-40 journalist who usually writes a technology column for a newspaper based in Northampton, England, but her somewhat-intimidating boss, William, has set her the task of meeting 31 men, via a local internet dating site, all within a month. Having an active, though fruitless, social life with her friend and ‘Health & Beauty’ colleague Donna, she knows what she wants in a man, so creates a shopping list of dos and don’ts, and starts ticking them off as she meets Mr Could Be Right Except For, Mr Not Bad, Mr Oh My Goodness and Mr Oh So Very Wrong. Follow the ups (there are a few) and downs (there are many) of the dating process and intertwined with her experiences, get to know her colleague and family, including her niece Lola who, apart from being an amazing storyteller, can eat ambidextrously whilst wearing a Princess glove puppet on her right hand, and Baby, William’s non-too-healthy African Grey parrot.

It’s now available on (c.£2), and and Smashwords (c.$3) and will be on iTunes, B&N etc. shortly.

My other novels are:

  • ‘After Jessica’ a general fiction novella about a woman’s death – and her complicated life (this will come out later this month)
  • ‘Hitman Sam’ a lad-lit novella about a trainee hitman (hopefully due out by Christmas)
  • ‘The Personal Trainer’ a lad-lit novella about a very personal trainer (which will be out next year)
  • ‘Once Perfect’, the current (dark crime) novel-in-progress (which will be out next year)

Posted by on November 5, 2012 in ebooks, novels, writing


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Guest post: What’s in a Name? by Una Tiers

Tonight’s guest blog post, on the topic of pen names is brought to you by debut mystery novelist Una Tiers.

What’s in a Name?

What’s in a Name?  Plenty! Pen names (nom de plume) have been used for centuries. Some create distinct identities to avoid confusion when an author writes both fiction and non-fiction or if an author writes in more than one genre.  They can separate two parts of a career such as writing and editing, or fiction writing and law.   One of the allures about a pen name is that it may keep people guessing about your identity and generate a little internet buzz.

Some authors write under a pseudonym for anonymity, to stand out with an unusual name or to avoid confusion with other authors who have similar names.  Others write under a pen name to avoid repercussions much like the witness protection program.  In the past, female authors wrote under gender neutral or male names for the sake of acceptability.

At least one author has used two or more pen names to have multiple articles published in the same magazine issue.  Another author writes under different names since he finishes more than one novel a year and thinks people will not buy two books from the same author in one year.

Do you write smoldering erotica with heaving bosoms?  Want the neighbors to know?  Many writers use their legal name along with their pen name to maintain their followers and to bring in new ones with a name that is sculptured for fiction writing.

Pointers on selecting a pen name include using the early letters of the alphabet to and getting close in spelling to a famous author.  Names that fit a genre are another point of pen names:  Lana Loving, Amber Asp, Derk Alleys or Sky Cubes.   Names at the start of the alphabet and those with one or two syllables seem to be preferred.  Try the names out in the beta stage to see how they sound to friends and your writing group.  Check existing website availability.

Places to find ideas for pen names include my favorite: obituaries and of course the internet.  Once you have your pen name, start branding and use it in your website, social networking and book sites.  You are working on a clean slate.

Famous writers with pen names include Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain); Jean Baptiste Poquelin (Moliere); Emily Bronte (Ellis Bell) and Esther Friedman (Ann Landers).

Discussion:  If you are choosing a pen name, please tell us the two main reasons you did.  Thank you.

A special thank you to Morgen for inviting me to post.

You’re so welcome, thank you Una! Derk Alleys, I love that. 🙂 And yes, please do tell.

Una Tiers is the pen name for an attorney in Chicago who writes about corruption in the courts.  Her debut mystery, Judge vs Nuts has a female sleuth, Fiona Gavelle, and has been described as a humorcide, a traditional mystery, a cozy and a legal mystery.

I then invited Una to provide an extract of her writing and this is taken from ‘Judge vs Nuts’:

I don’t like funeral processions because they are inherently dangerous, even though driving through red lights is fun. The custom is also barbaric if you think about it just a little. Participants risk getting cut off from the herd or getting hit by some driver who isn’t paying attention to the divergence of the regular traffic pattern. This ironically could generate more business for the very people who advocate funeral processions, the undertakers. Now and then I worry my evil nature will cause me to turn into a drive through car wash or hamburger place just to see who follows. For this reason, when I am unsupervised, I usually make sure I’m the last car in the procession.

After the forty-five minute drive, with no near death experiences and no comic interludes we arrived at All the Holy Saints cemetery at the city’s west border. Judge Curie was quiet during the drive allowing me to concentrate on driving. A few times he reached up for the

overhead grip and acted as if a train was heading straight for my car. He didn’t seem to like my driving.

At the cemetery, the funeral guy directed the cars to park two across on the narrow (but plowed) roads. We waited while the pallbearers struggled to maintain their footing, slipping and sliding a little while they carried the coffin from the hearse to the grave.

“What would happen if they dropped him?” I whispered.

You can email Una at or and her website is

‘Judge vs Nuts’ is available via etc. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on March 1, 2012 in ebooks, novels, writing


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Author Spotlight no.30 – debut novelist Peter Murphy

Complementing my daily blog interviews today’s Author Spotlight, the thirtieth, is of Peter Murphy.

Peter Murphy was born in Killarney where he spent his first three years before his family was deported to Dublin, the Strumpet City. Growing up in the verdant braes of Templeogue, Peter was schooled by the De La Salle brothers in Churchtown where he played rugby for ‘The Wine and Gold’. He also played football (soccer) in secret!

After that, he graduated and studied the Humanities in Grogan’s under the guidance of Scot’s corner and the bar staff; Paddy, Tommy and Sean.

Financing his education by working summers on the buildings sites of London in such places as Cricklewood, Camden Town and Kilburn, Peter also tramped the roads of Europe playing music and living without a care in the world. But his move to Canada changed all of that. He only came over for a while – thirty years ago.

He took a day job and played music in the bars at night until the demands of family life intervened.

Having raised his children and packed them off to University, Peter answered the long ignored internal voice and began to write.

He has no plans to make plans for the future and is happy to let things unfold as they do anyway.

LAGAN LOVE is his first novel.

About Lagan Love

If you know something about passion, and desire, and giving everything to live your dreams then leave your world behind for a while. Come with Janice to Dublin, in the mid nineteen-eighties when a better future beckoned and the past was restless, whispering in the shadows for the Old Ways. Janice has grown tired of her sheltered existence in Toronto and when Aidan leads her through the veils of the Celtic Twilight, she doesn’t hesitate. In their love, Aidan, Dublin’s rising poet, sees a chance for redemption and Janice sees a chance for recognition. Sinead tells her that it is all nonsense as she keeps her head down and her eyes fixed on her own prize – a place in Ireland’s prospering future. She used to go out with Aidan, before he met Janice, so there is little she can say. And besides, she has enough to do as her parents are torn apart by the rumours of church scandals. But after a few nights in Grogan’s, where Dublin’s bohemians gather, or a day in Clonmacnoise among the ruins of Celtic Crosses, it won’t matter as the ghosts of Aidan’s mythologies take form and prey on the friends until everything is at risk. Lagan Love is a sensuous story of Love, Lust and Loss that will bring into question the cost we pay for our dreams.

You can find more about Peter and his work via…his website at or his blog at Connect with him at Twitter and Facebook.

The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with historical author Marilyn Kemp – the one hundred and one hundred and eighty-third of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, directors, bloggers, autobiographers and more. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate the author further. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me. My eBooks are now available on Smashwords (Amazon to follow).

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Posted by on November 9, 2011 in ebooks, Facebook, novels, Twitter, writing


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