monthly update march 2018

Monthly update – March 2018!

We’re really picking up steam now, and I think it’s showing. However this monthly update is gonna be a little sparse. The fact of the matter is writing is a bit of a slow slog, and this is one of those hurry up and wait months. I’ll be getting lots of feedback I imagine, and April will be jam packed with news.

I renamed the website as Ash and Feather (and explain why here), and am working on a URL migration. There may be a few minor tweaks, but don’t worry, will redirect to the new URL, And in other news, Ash and Feather got over 100 unique visitors last month! Woohoo!

Also, con season is upon us! I’m getting started with Sci-Fi Weekender in north Wales, immediately followed by StabCon in Southampton. I’m hoping to also hit up the Winchester Writers Festival and the Young Adult Literature Convention this summer. I went two years ago and had a blast.

I’m still looking for opportunities for freelance writing and editing, so if you like the feel of my writing, please drop me a line.


While the reading and thus the reviews may have slowed a little bit, I’m looking to ramp that back up, starting with The Hate U Give tomorrow.

As always, please note that my buy links in my reviews are Amazon Associate links, so if you make a purchase I may get a little kickback from that. It doesn’t increase your prices, just helps to support the site.

I’m also continuing my series on social media scheduling reviews. SocialPilot and Social Booster are behind us, and up ahead lies TweetDeck.

Writing News!

This is the month I hope to start hearing back from the handful of competitions I’ve entered, including NYC Midnight’s Short Story Competition. I’m pretty sure I’m going to get raked over the coals for missing the brief, but I’m very happy with the story I wrote. So there’s that.

I bit the bullet and added a lot of content to the Writing page. It’s now much more of a well-rounded portfolio showcasing my ability to easily genre-hop. This is important because more and more eyes are on this page and it’s important that it’s showing me at my best.

And what does all that mean?

It means COSPLAY. And hopefully more writing as I continue to put myself out there via competitions and submissions. I also have a few super secret projects in the pipelines I’m hoping will come together. And of course, if there’s anything you’d like to see here, let me know!

Monthly update!

One month into the new year, and things are already gaining momentum. I couldn’t be more excited to be able to expand my creative output and I have so much to tell you in this monthly update. I’m also looking for opportunities for freelance writing and editing. If you’re looking for a writer or editor, check out my work. And if you like the feel of my writing, please drop me a line.


When I said last month that there would be a lot more reviews, I didn’t realise how right I was. It’s been a blast discovering new books and incentivising my reading habits. I’ve really learned to make time and I’ve read some incredible books as a result. I’m so looking forward to what the rest of the year brings.

I’ve got three types of book reviews planned at the moment: Hot Reads, which I’ve already kicked off, Irrelevant Reviews, and Independent Thoughts. The first deals with recently released books, the second with older publications, and the last with any work by an indie author. Also please note that my buy links in my reviews are Amazon Associate links, so if you make a purchase I may get a little kickback from that. It doesn’t increase your prices, just helps to support the site.

Additionally, I’ll be continuing in my appraisals of alternatives to Hootsuite. Last month I took a closer look at SocialPilot, and this month we’ll be looking at Social Booster.

Writing News!

We’re in the midst of NYC Midnight’s Short Story Competition now. My prompt is a romance story that incorporates a building demolition and an exotic pet owner. So hopefully I’ll be able to whip something together the judges will like! I’m also waiting to hear results on a couple more competitions I’ve entered. Do you think a curated page of writing competitions would be useful? Let me know in the comments below.

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, there’s been a lot more poetry popping up like so many mushrooms all over the site. It’s something I’m thoroughly enjoying. Poetry is a nice challenge, mentally stimulating but still artsy enough to be fun. I’ve also developed a few more novel ideas, but I’m hesitant to update my Writing page because I don’t want to look like I can’t finish anything.

And what does all that mean?

I’m developing myself as a writer. It’s part of a larger trend of spending more time on myself and prioritising myself and my ambitions. All of my goals fit nicely together, and working towards one works towards all of them, so I’m very excited about what the future holds. And of course, if there’s anything you’d like to see here, let me know!

golden glass of champagne with a black background

It’s the first monthly update of 2018!

I’ve given up on finding funny and/or clever titles for my monthly updates. I just simply have better things to be getting on with. But the format is also going to change. Rather than being a summary of the previous month’s going-ons, these regular monthly update posts will now be a snapshot of what content you can expect to see during the coming month.


There are going to be a lot more reviews, for starters. Book reviews, for starters, one a month. Additionally, I previously mentioned Hootsuite and how I use that to manage my social media, and how they changed their post scheduling limits for the free accounts. This means shopping around for alternatives, and the first of those alternatives’ reviews will be out this month.

Writing News!

I’ve joined NYC Midnight’s Short Story Competition again. Last year was a complete disaster, so I’m hoping for a better result this year. The first round kicks off on 26 January! There was also a plot epiphany for my WIP, Nushada, so I’m hoping to have that rough drafted by springtime and ready for querying this year. You may also start to see more regular flash fiction on here, as I intend to start writing more of that. I also hope to get back on a regular update schedule for my WattPad WIP, The Survible.

And what does all that mean?

This site is slated to be far more active going forward. You’ll be getting at least one book review a month, in addition to the usual once a monthly update post. As time allows, I’ll be looking to add more content, and for the next few months you can enjoy an ongoing feature where I help writers find the social media scheduling assistant to suit their needs. And of course, if there’s anything you’d like to see here, let me know!

rural road at sunset

The end of the year, that is.

Writing News

It’s another year of me not officially doing NaNoWriMo, and yet, through Itchen to Write, this is probably the most involved I’ll have been to date. I’m also planning to attend the local NaNo events, and do some writing. This is largely because I’m on track to get Nushada finished by the end of the year, which is pretty exciting.

I’ve been playing around with HootSuite alternatives recently, so hope to have some reviews to post soon. You can also find an interview I did with Jillian Kent over on her website.

On the personal front…

Something that’s been on my mind more and more is the need to pull back. I’m more and more of the opinion that I’ve overstretched myself on commitments. I currently attend at least one writing workshop a month, run an average of three writing meetings a month, plus play D&D every Tuesday evening, attend a creative writing class every Thursday evening, and work a full time job doing social media, blogging, and event planning. This month I have an awards dinner immediately followed by a trade show exhibition. Most of my weekends end up full as well. And it is exhausting.

I read some time ago an article about JOMO (Joy Of Missing Out) and it resonated with me more than FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) ever did. I’ll be trimming the fat in regards to my social commitments in an effort to free up some of my energy. I want to focus on doing a few things really well, rather than half-assing lots of things out of a sense of dread and obligation.

And what does all that mean?

Ideally, it’ll mean you’ll see more content here, because my writing will be one of my primary focuses. It’ll mean working my way through my stack of WIPs, and getting to the querying stages. It’ll mean tackling my TBR list, and working on improving my health. All good things!

candles, pumpkins, animal skulls

Towards the end of September, I had another bit of a slip-up. Relapsed after a good solid run of committing to my goals and my writing. So currently October is being devoted to rebuilding my routines and habits and trying really hard not to think about NaNoWriMo because frankly it’s an awful lot to consider at the moment. Oh, and founding a writing group!

Writing News

The biggest news is starting a creative writing course and a writing group for the Southampton area. Since the class isn’t terribly interesting to any of you, I’ll move along to the group I started.

It’s called Itchen to Write, and you might’ve noticed the link at the top menu for it. Primarily, I want it to be about helping writers make a career of writing. I’m a terrible role model for this, but the tools involved could help others. I’m basing it largely off the writing group I attended in Atlanta, formerly 10 Days Before, and now called Atlanta Writes. It’ll involve a number of different meeting formats. Primarily group critiques but also focusing on writing, querying, and mock agent pitching. I also want to try storytelling games, to flex the creative muscles and force people out of their comfort zones.

In other news, I finished linking up the Twitter Tags page on here. While it’ll always be under construction, it’s complete enough to keep me on track with the Twitterverse. Maybe it’ll even help a few people discover new outlets for their writing and for building a community.

Going forward…

So for this month I’d honestly just like to get ship shape from a routine and general life maintenance perspective, plod along on Nushada’s rough draft, read Frankenstein, and see if I can get an author interview posted on here.

I also have an idea in the pipes for a regular research feature, which I hope will help others as well as myself. And as HootSuite have just severely limited their post scheduling for free accounts, and their first paid account is way more than I need and way more than I’m willing to spend, I may also be reviewing HootSuite’s alternatives from a writerly perspective. Watch this space!


Monthly update dropping like these crisp autumn leaves

Except I would hate to miss the end of September – it’ll mark five years married to my partner! So the end of the month will be a wash, because we’ve got anniversary plans, followed by my first trade show, and then possibly a friend visiting.

I really have barely written anything this month, but it hasn’t been wholly unproductive. There’s been lots of site updates, little tweaks here and there, including a reference sheet for keeping track of the various writing Twitter tags. I also added a freebie: an up to 10-page critique for new followers!

Work has been hectic, planning two trade shows and an awards dinner simultaneously, while we’ve also been interviewing for a new team member. I can’t wait for them to start, because it’ll make life so much easier on that front. In addition, we’re still unpacking and settling into life here, which hasn’t helped.

So while there’s very little to report for August, it’s been a much more easy going month, which I think I definitely needed. September is bringing a lot of challenges and big events, including the next round of NYC Midnight’s Flash Fiction Challenge! I’ll be looking forward to seeing how I fared last round, and squaring down a new prompt next month.