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Monday, 21 March 2016

Christmas at Mistletoe Abbey

I've been amazed by the amount of readers who love Christmas no matter what time of the year it is. I love it too. It's so special, a time for families and fun, and I think this is why so many readers are happy to read a Christmas story in the springtime. Thank you to those who share the Christmas love with me. And if you haven't read it yet, here's a free preview of Christmas at Mistletoe Abbey. Enjoy!

Love Valentina

Monday, 14 March 2016


This one's a bit saucy, so if that's not your thing...leave it alone!

Valentina xxx

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Martin Willoughby ~ Writer, comedian, and friend.

I'm honoured to be hosting a post from my friend and fellow writer, Martin Willoughby. Martin writes in the literary humour genre, think Douglas Adams meets Terry Pratchett. If this is your favourite genre, may I suggest you read Tempers Fugit. I know you'll love it. Here is my Amazon review.

'This extremely imaginitive novel is loaded with humour and unique characters. Tempers Fugit is the perfect and very clever title of a tale in the space comedy genre, which sits comfortably beside Red Dwarf, and the unique genre Terry Pratchett made so popular. I particularly loved Mae, the teenager developed over a matter of months and I'm sure I've felt like Carla, whose temper certainly flies. If you love Red Dwarf, robots, time travel and an inventive plot, you'll love Tempers Fugit, a novel full of jokes, comedic asides and unique characters. Martin Willoughby's experience as a comedian is shown to great and very enjoyable effect here. The perfect introduction to the Radford family, and the next in the series, Appollo the Thirteenth!'

I'd also like to thank Martin for his support with my own writing. Martin has read virtually everything I've written. I greatly value his opinion as a writer. So, Martin, it's over to you...

You Never Know
By Martin Willoughby

I run a couple of pages on Facebook, one of which is for a drama group. It’s been going for a couple of years now and I write the occasional post advertising our plays and fund-raisers. Sometimes I put up a relevant humourous picture. One of these pictures has recently gone viral.

Now, if you are involved in a drama group that picture will raise a smile or seven, and I posted it several months ago with that intention. For some reason, in late December 2015, it was picked up by a random individual and within two weeks had reached nearly 150,000 people. The latest count is over 200,000. Of those people, over 70 became followers of the drama group’s Facebook page, trebling the number.

Why did this happen? No idea.

However, I do know the mechanism at play. It’s been seen before in a number of places and at a number of times in the past. All it takes for things like this to leap from obscurity is one or two well connected and influential people who like what they see, mention it to others then you have a cascade of interest from elsewhere.

It’s not something you can manipulate either. If the person doesn’t like it, you can’t make them.
Past examples include Hush Puppies which, after a severe dip in popularity suddenly took off in the cooler parts of New York after some influential club goers started wearing them. Think of Burberry coats in the 90s and 00s after being worn by some celebrities. The same applies to books promoted by Richard and Judy and anything that Delia Smith touches.

What’s this got to do with writing or anything else you’re involved with? Unless you know the right people, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to get noticed, but as the example of the drama group picture shows, it can happen randomly and at any time. You just have to keep going.
In short: never give up.

Martin is a founder member of the Starfish Publishing Co-op ( and an author in his own right who writes a blog full of humour and randomness (

My thanks to Martin for an insightful piece of writing, and for the sense of fun he brings to the writing life.


The Blogettes