Review of the #SelfPublishing Conference hosted by @matadorbooks 

On a beautiful spring day in April, I joined approximately one hundred and twenty fellow delegates at the Stamford Court Conference Centre, the University of Leicester for the 5th Self-Publishing Conference hosted by Troubador Publishing.

Self Pub Conf 1

I had wanted to attend this conference for some years, but life stuff inevitably took over, and the date never worked. However, 2017 was the right fit, and I was eager to dive in and learn as much as I could. Continue reading “Review of the #SelfPublishing Conference hosted by @matadorbooks “

Going Back To School With @Suzie81blog and @ThankBookFor #SundayBlogShare #Blogging


Learning new skills, adapting old ones, and nurturing our knowledge bank is just as important as we get older as it is when we are young students. Just because we can no longer fit all the candles on the cake, doesn’t mean we must neglect our mind, body, or soul. I re-trained as a holistic health practitioner in my thirties, discovering new therapies and adapting old techniques to fit the anxieties of modern-day clients. When you work in the personal development sector, it’s imperative to stay in touch with improvements, new treatments, and regulations so that you can guide your clients in the most helpful direction. Continue reading “Going Back To School With @Suzie81blog and @ThankBookFor #SundayBlogShare #Blogging”

Make Time For What Matters – Now! #SundayBlogShare #SpecialOffer

Everyone knows how much I love writing lists and goal setting, and it’s commonly known that I enjoy a good New Year resolution or two. The New Year is a great time to work on new beginnings and fresh starts. However, you don’t need to wait until January 1st to make relevant changes to your lifestyle, career, health, or wellbeing.

Holistic Photo

September, for me, is the perfect month to embrace those new adventures, start a new academic course either online or at night school, or begin a health regime that will keep you mentally and physically fit during the winter. It’s a month of crisp weather, the promise of home grown apples and blackberries, and let’s not forget the oodles of back to school stationery just waiting to be purchased. Continue reading “Make Time For What Matters – Now! #SundayBlogShare #SpecialOffer”

Guest Post – Writing and Creativity by author, Rebecka Vigus #WritersLife



Today’s guest on the Big Blue Takeover is, Rebecka Vigus, author of the Macy McVannel mystery series. Over to Rebecka…

Writing and Creativity

Be inspiring, be informative, be creative…all this in one blog? I will do my best. One of the most asked questions when I am at book signings or book talks is, “Where to do you get your ideas?” Life gives me ideas. My books have covered murder, arson, stalking, abuse, and magic.

My take on these subjects is what makes me different. I don’t write blood, gore, horror. I look at these things through the eyes of those trying to stop them. What makes one murder different from another? The way the characters are cast and the way it’s solved. In the end murder means someone died. The best detective, police officer, investigator is the one who can get through all the twists and turns to find out motive. They are always asking why. Continue reading “Guest Post – Writing and Creativity by author, Rebecka Vigus #WritersLife”

How Writing a Memoir Has Changed Me #AmWriting #Memoir

How Writing a Memoir Has Changed Me.



I love my creative writing class, and over the past few weeks we have been looking at writing a memoir. It’s turned out to be a hugely cathartic experience.

Without realising it at the time, my bestseller How I Changed My Life in a Year, fit perfectly into this genre. For me, it was just a documentation of a series of challenges and my attempt to establish a regular writing routine, I never thought of it as a memoir.

Autobiographies, or biographies are about interesting people and the incredible lives they lead, or historical documents about harrowing experiences and how the author overcome them – aren’t they?

Apparently not. Memoirs can cover a huge range of topics and it’s the authors spin – or voice – that makes it a story worth reading.

During our creative writing sessions we gave considerable thought to what we would write about. The objective was not to pen a bestseller – although our tutor is always pushing us to reach for this goal – it was to use our life experiences to good effect.

So, what could we write about?

I used my OCD list writing abilities to jot down a few possible scenarios that could inevitably be developed into a full length story:

  • Coping as a single parent
  • Dealing with depression and anxiety
  • Surviving domestic abuse
  • Running a holistic health business
  • Coping with ill health

These were just a few of the topics that jumped out at me when I did my brainstorming session. Would they make a good memoir? I couldn’t be sure. Would I have enough material to warrant a full length book? With adequate plotting and research I probably would.

We were then instructed to choose one topic to develop over the course of five weeks. Out of my extensive list I was drawn to ‘domestic abuse’ and it was this particular theme that I began working with.

Our tutor directed us to create a timeline for our chosen theme. He allowed us to explore our feelings on the topic of choice and discover how it could be developed. Was it going to be a ‘start at the beginning’ kind of story, or did it require some back story and further analysis?

I was able to choose specific times in my life when the abuse was at its worst and centre my writing on this. It helped enormously to see the timeline take shape and I was able to visualise each point on the line as a chapter heading, giving me a starting point for each section.


Reading out my first piece of work was one of the most uncomfortable things I’ve ever had to do and yet it was also the most empowering. My group was hugely supportive. They offered valid advice on my sentence structure and helped me to shift from a place of nervousness to one of positivity.

Writing about life experiences is something I’ve done for many years in the form of my journal/diary. I’ve written letters to people who have harmed me and then burnt them in a cleansing ceremony (fabulous way to remove negativity, if you fancy giving it a go).

Revealing my inner demons and sharing them in public is something else entirely but I found it to be a catalyst for something quite powerful.

Using our personal experiences in writing projects helps to shape our voice. I’ve only ever used these events in a fictional way before, but switching the focus and concentrating on memoir has only added to my skill set as a writer.

Our creative writing classes have finished for a couple of months and the topic when we return will be something entirely new and exciting. In the meantime, I am continuing to work on my memoir as I feel it is healing my soul to write everything down.

The nerves have fallen away and I’ve shifted my perspective – I AM going to write this book, I AM going to share my story, and I’m not afraid anymore. The members of my creative writing group were both gracious and inspirational in pushing me to continue with this project. They believed it was a story worth telling, and they are right. Somewhere out there, a young woman is being beaten by her boyfriend or husband, or a mother is shielding her children from an abusive father. I want to let them know that there is hope. I want to be the light at the end of the tunnel. I want to show them how to be a survivor rather than a victim.


So, a simple class about memoirs has turned my life upside down and set me on a path that I feel honoured to tread.

Have you ever thought about writing a memoir? Or perhaps you enjoy reading this genre? I’d love to hear your thoughts.


Is the Writers’ Notepad Becoming a Thing of The Past?

Do you use notepads to plot out your stories?

When I was young, I could always be found wedged between my bed and the radiator with a notepad and pen in hand. As writers, we are always creating something, whether that’s a scene, new idea, character bio, or even a poem/story.

I loved writing and as soon as I was old enough to hold a pencil I started creating little stories and filling page after page of notes. When my parents moved house recently I was given the obligatory ‘box of crap memories from your childhood’ that every parent keeps in the loft.

Mine contained old school reports (apparently I talked too much!!), my vinyl records, and a collection of school books/notepads.

IMG_5227 Continue reading “Is the Writers’ Notepad Becoming a Thing of The Past?”

A Doorway To… #FlashFiction #Writing #Challenge

A Doorway To...

A Doorway to… #FlashFiction Writing Challenge Week 3

Inspired by one of my Pinterest boards, this is a flash fiction writing challenge based on the following theme:

‘Doorway to…’

“The door you are afraid to enter might lead you to the most beautiful and magical places.” 

Using one of the images below as inspiration, write a 200-word flash fiction story about what lies beyond the door. Who will you find and where will the doorway lead you? Any genre is acceptable. NB: As I write for a teen audience, please be aware that under 18’s frequent my blog.

Door Number 1: Continue reading “A Doorway To… #FlashFiction #Writing #Challenge”