Hey there,

It’s always wonderful when you receive warm reviews for your work and it’s especially important when you write in a commercial-literary style as I do and focus on telling fresh stories in a unique way. It can be difficult when readers expect a set genre format or a set style of prose to convince them to take a look at your work.

That’s why reviewers are very important to the publishing industry especially if they are genuine and are professional (unlike those who who like to leave 1* reviews to damage authors ratings or just generally be unhelpful – and every product and book probably gets those!)

The latest review for C.H.I.S is from a mainstream reviewer and I was really keen to see how Nikki fared. Firstly, as a LGBTQIA character, secondly, as a very strong woman and, thirdly, as someone who isn’t exactly going to win most law-abiding citizen of the year!

I was really thrilled to see how Nikki was received and that my diversity as an author and different way of writing were understood. My immersive style of writing is something I really enjoy and put my heart into so it meant a lot. It was lovely that Redheaded Book Lover took a chance on reading my work and for being so kind. Thank you for taking a chance on Nikki!

Second up is the much valued support from the LGBTQIA community and Lesfic reviewers because, over so many years, I’ve been supported and cheered by you. The industry has changed so much since I began writing that it’s almost unrecognisable which has probably been felt far more deeply by those trailblazing authors who published before I was born!

Some changes are positive for authors (the freedom to publish your own work) and some not so positive (anti-competitive problems) but what I do think stands out is that there are now books for more types of reader; more choice as to how you can read; and more places you can look for books.

For authors, it does mean your work can get swamped in amongst so many other books; there’s pressure to charge less to be competitive while still respecting yourself. It’s important that we do value our work correctly because: firstly, we are producing professional works which take time, for example, C.H.I.S took years to get to publication because Nikki needed me to be more experienced to tell her story;

Secondly, as authors who work in underrepresented genres giving a voice to underrepresented communities, we have to ensure the sustainability and development of our genres. Our duty is to take care of those who look to our works for escapism, a friendly voice and to meet characters who represent a part of themselves. You never know what kind of day your reader has had but I always feel my job is to get you hooked, leave you sleep-deprived, emotionally battered and smiling!

This is how Ferb and I celebrate

Sometimes, that doesn’t match up with business and we’re all different so some are probably shaking their heads saying, ‘nuh uh, I write to make money,’ but, hopefully most authors are managing the balance of making readers smile and running a business!

So, as I was mentioning… Lesbi Reviewed’s viewpoint on my work always leaves me smiling. It means so much to have an engaged, passionate reviewer who is invested in something you’ve created. It can’t be easy giving so much to each book… but, wow, can you give me a shot of inspiration and lift my week. Thank you.

Then there’s readers who drop in and say hi. Who let me know what a character or story means to them and take the time out of their day to send a smile my way. Yes, you might not have a blog, a following, and feel a bit daft for saying hello (I’ve been there too!) but your words and your thoughts are one of the reasons I still write and knowing my work has left you exhausted is better than having any bestseller. I hope you know I relish your kindness and support. Thank you for sticking by me!

So, whether a reviewer or reader, thank you for cheering me on, taking time our of your day to hang out on the page me me and some friends and for letting me know you had a good time. 😃

Big Smiles,

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