A BRIAR Update

So, if you remember, I sent Briar out to some beta readers about three weeks ago. And I panicked. Around about this time, I was also advised by my tutor to take a break from writing for a while so I could recharge. (Apparently working two jobs and doing a masters AND writing reams and reams is too much? Who knew!) This also coincided with me deciding that Icebreaker is… not the novel I thought it was. And perhaps not the best one for my to write for the course. So I abandoned the project (for now) and was back at square one with nothing.

So when I sent Briar out I was in a dodgy sort of place. I was terrified. Everything seemed to be going wrong, and I was freaking out.

But fear not.

Over the last few days I’ve had several of my betas get back in touch with me. One passed the novel onto his wife who I’ve never met (which I wasn’t expecting but I’m grateful for) and apparently it gave her nightmares. I’ve never given somebody nightmares before! Exciting stuff.

The other two readers (both of whom I’ve not seen in person in YEARS) said they enjoyed the book. And I’m still waiting to hear back from the rest. So although I know this is just initial feedback, and there will be criticism to come, I’m still pleased.

So far nobody has confessed to finding the novel boring. Nobody has told me they’ve stopped reading. Nobody has said it’s bad.

*take a deep breath*

So maybe everything isn’t as bad as it seems…


*cue panic-crying*

I just sent a copy of Briar out to the first few beta readers. It’s only a second draft, but it will be the first time anybody has read one of my full-length pieces in… well… maybe five years? So I’m terrified.

And I’m trying to take my mind off things by dipping into research for Icebreaker. Police research, mostly, because that seems like a good place to start – and for a crime author I know pathetically little about the English police force.

Anyway, here’s to hoping my lovely betas don’t hate the novel – and wishing they will have feedback for me, to boot!


Briar is the title of another novel I’m currently working on – although this one is in its editing stages. I haven’t been around the blog as much this week due to a sudden burst of inspired editing activity, and as many writers know, once the bug bites you you’d better go with the flow.

Normally I HATE editing. That’s not an exaggeration, either. I can’t stand it. The most I ever do is line-edit, usually. But with this project I feel like it deserves something more, so I’ve been working my butt off to get it moving.

It’s been hard work, don’t get me wrong, but boy does it feel worth it. I’m hoping to get my manuscript out to a few beta readers by the end of the week, and then I guess it’s waiting to hear back before I start the next round of edits.

Still, I’m feeling more inspired than I was a week ago, which is fabulous. And for those of you who are interested, here’s a little peek into what Briar is all about:

Mystery author Diana Collins has been obsessed with Briar House for as long as she can remember. Ever since a six-year old girl died on the property thirty years ago the house has been empty. Rumour has it that the place is haunted, and nobody in town dares step foot inside. And people like it that way.

So when Briar House is finally sold, Diana can’t help but be curious. Especially when she meets Juno, the house’s new owner, and spies an opportunity to find the answers to her questions. Like, who killed Susie Briar? And why will nobody talk about that fateful day?

Diana is drawn to Juno, and soon her quest for knowledge becomes equally about getting to know this enigmatic stranger. But despite Diana’s affection for her new neighbour, not everybody is happy to have a newcomer in town. People don’t want a nosey writer digging up the past – and when Diana and Juno start receiving ghostly threats, and somebody breaks into Juno’s house, Diana starts to realise something…

Asking questions only leads to trouble. And sometimes, it’s best to leave secrets buried.

I’m feeling pretty excited right about now. How about you? What’s keeping you guys burning the midnight oil these days?