Little & Often: a tip for writing (& life?) by Colette McCormick

Laura Wilkinson

Today’s guest is fellow Headline Accent author Colette McCormick who’s here to talk about her writing regime. Colette’s latest novel An Uncomplicated Man is released on 5th December in paperback and e-book format – go on, treat yourself to a Christmas gift! Welcome, Colette! Smashing to have you.

One of the first things that I was asked after I told people about the book deal that I’d managed to secure was ‘So, are you writing full time now?’ Mmm…no!! I work full time and have to fit the writing in and around that.

Five days a week I leave the house about 7.30am and I get home just after 6pm. Tea is usually around 7pm, the dishes done by 8pm and I usually go to bed about 11.30pm. That leaves a window of approximately three and a half hours for everything else.

I enjoy watching TV as much as the…

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For the love (hate) of Lucy

I’m sure that I would hate Lucy Braithwaite if I met her in ‘real life’ but I really enjoyed writing her. She is totally different to any character I have written before and that is what I found so intriguing. She comes from a glamorous world that I can only imagine and I enjoyed imagining her so much.

Brash and brazen, she uses what God gave her to entice an ordinary man into an extraordinary situation and cares not that his life falls apart as a result of it.

For Lucy, the spoilt daughter of a very wealthy man its all about me, me, me and I think that is what I detest about her the most, I can’t stand selfish people. She knows what she is doing and she knows that it is wrong but it makes no difference to her.

As I was writing the scenes that Lucy was in, I could see her, as clear as I’m seeing the dog that’s laying fast asleep at my feet at the moment. It’s 1957, and she is a flighty blonde piece (as my mum would have called her) and I can see her tottering around in her heels wearing a tight pencil skirt and an equally tight top.

She does have one redeeming feature though, she loves her dad, adores him even and in some ways that results in her being a victim too. Her father uses her as surely as he uses Daniel but because she loves him, she doesn’t see it that way.

It doesn’t make me dislike her any less but I can sympathise with her… a little bit.

An Uncomplicated Man is published by Headline/Accent and is available to buy from 5th December.


The Forgotten Men

NMBKThis book was published in May at a time when the publisher had other things on its mind and seems to have been left to it’s own devices since then.

Headline now own the publisher and therefore, this book so eventually someone else might realise its there and it might have a chance but until such time I’m trying to remind people it exists.

Tom had once idolised his brother and Rob was everything that Tom wished he could be. However, when his girlfriend Michelle announces that she’s pregnant, Rob jumps on the car and heads to who knows where, leaving Tom to clear up the mess that he has left behind.

When Michelle and Tom fall in love, is she settling for second best? Is he trying to lead his brother’s life?

Sixteen years later Rob’s back.

What people are saying about Not My Brother’s Keeper

 “a compelling well written story of family life, when faced with exceptional circumstances and none the less gripping for all that, with well drawn characters that leap from the page, and with an exceptional feel for time and place. Told in alternate chapters from the point of view of two brothers of similar look, but actually as different as chalk and cheese, we get to see the situation from both very different perspectives.
Gripping from first to last page and heartily recommended.”

“I really enjoyed it could not put it down till it was finished another good one Colette McCormick hope you are on your next one.”

“Great read.”

“I was hooked from the very beginning and I found myself rather compelled by the brother’s stories. When I had to do real life stuff, rather than read, I found my mind wandering, wondering which way the story might go. I couldn’t wait to read the next chapter. This is a thoroughly enjoyable read and one I will happily recommend.”

Buy Not My Brother’s Keeper on Amazon.


Dark Magic by Tom Williams

Halloween is the perfect day for the publication of Tom Williams’ book Dark Magic and I am thrilled to welcome him to my blog today to give us some background on his book and the subject that inspired it.

What is magic?

Arthur Clarke, the science fiction writer, came up with the idea of the geosynchronous communications satellite but didn’t patent it because he didn’t expect anyone to develop the technology to make it a practical proposition in his lifetime.

What was bad news for Arthur Clarke’s bank manager was good news for the rest of us as it meant he had to keep on writing books for a living. In his many productive years he not only wrote several classic novels and short stories (and co-wrote the screenplay for 2001: a Space Odyssey) but he gave us Clarke’s Three Laws, the third of which states that:

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

Of course it’s also true that:

Any sufficiently cunning trick is indistinguishable from magic.

A cynic looks at something they can’t understand and either says, “That’s the product of some geek at Google,” or, “It’s all done with mirrors.” In neither case do they have to tell you what the technology is or how the trick is worked. They just look superior and explain that only fools believe in magic.

But what if they are wrong? What if the rabbit really is magically produced inside the hat? What if the girl really does float across the stage and no wires are involved? How would you ever know? Here’s Williams’ law:

Any genuine magic is indistinguishable from a currently unknown technology.

Sometimes the technology isn’t even unknown (or that technological). I know a magician who can put four dice into a dice cup – the long thin container that gamblers will shake dice in before throwing them down on the table. The dice will rattle around loose in the cup as he shakes them a couple of times and shows that they are ordinary dice in an ordinary cup. He then turns the cup over on a table, trapping the dice inside and starts to move it back and forth, round and round. You can hear the dice rattling inside. When he stops and lifts the cup, the four dice are arranged in a column.

There is no trick at all. A very nimble wrist and a careful ear lets him shake them into place and then reveal the column with a flourish. It’s magic!

But perhaps when the beautiful assistant is cut in two, there’s no trick there either. Perhaps that’s magic.

How would you know?

In Dark Magic we meet two groups of magicians: the Maestros of Magic, and the Carnival of Conjurors. The Carnival of Conjurors isn’t playing fair. They have magic that is rather more magical than it has any right to be, but how can anyone in the audience know that? The Maestros know, but what are they going to do about it? It’s going to get nasty, and soon “dying on stage” isn’t just a figure of speech.


Baby’s blood??? Virgin’s tears??? Chainsaws??? It’s remarkable what some magicians keep back-stage.

Two magic shows: the Maestros of Magic touring the country, playing provincial theatres; the Carnival of Conjurors successful in the West End. When the Maestros learn that the Conjurors are using real magic ??? Black Magic ??? to do their tricks they decide that they must use their own, distinctly unmagical, stage skills to stop them. Soon people are dying on stage ??? but can the Maestros really beat a team that has the devil on their side?

A darkly humorous thriller by a writer who knows the world of magicians and stage magic.


TOM WILLIAMS has published six books of historical fiction but this is his first contemporary story and his first novella (33,000 words). He has spent far too much time hanging round with magicians.

You can read Tom’s blogs most weeks on his website

You can find him on Facebook at  and he tweets as TomCW99


Buy Dark Magic on Amazon

Moving on

AUMI’ve been sitting on this information for a while but now I can share it. My fourth book which is out on 5th December will be published by Headline which is one of the ‘big boys’ in the publishing world. I’d love to say that they had commissioned it but the truth is that they bought my publisher. That being said, my CV will always say that An Uncomplicated Man was published by Headline.


Weird cakes

I told you to watch this space and here it is.

tres leche

This is a piece of tres leche cake – the Mexican alternative to a birthday cake. I’ve got to tell you that is THE WEIRDEST thing that I have ever baked and on Tuesday afternoon I nearly chucked it in the bin and made a dash to Sainsbury’s for an alternative. Thank goodness I didn’t because by Wednesday, all of the milk that I had poured into the cake had been soaked up and it was fine. No, it was more than fine, it was delicious. My tiny dot of a daughter-in-law to be even took a second piece home. I’ve just had another piece with a cup of coffee and its still just as good.

OK, time to get back to the blog posts I’m writing for promoting An Uncomplicated Man







pile of five books
Photo by Pixabay on

I found this on WIFTPP. It’s from October 2007 and obviously out of date but interesting none the less. I’m just going to point out though that there are lot more than 500 books in the house these days.

If anyone fancies posting their own answers, please feel free. I, for one, would be interested.

Total number of books
I probably personally own (Himself would want no part of my Austen collection) about 100 books. However we have about 500 books in the house ( at least half of them in boxes because the bookshelves are full) so I’m never short of something to read.

Last book read
A pair of Blue Eyes by Thomas Hardy. It was a present from Himself for no reason other than he saw it and thought of me (that’s what he tells me anyway.) Really good book and apparently a bit autobiographical.

Last book bought
Relics – Pip Vaughn Hughes. I’ve got no idea what it’s about but Himself got very excited when I mentioned I’d seen it so I had to buy it for him. I honestly can’t remember the last book I bought for myself.

5 Meaningful Books
The Girl with the Pearl Earring – Tracy Chevalier: An incredibly erotic book without any sex.

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee – Dee Dee Williams: The true story of the Native American which is nothing like Hollywood.

Ghosts – Ed McBain: It introduced me to one of the best writers of dialogue that I have ever come across.

Tess of the D’Urbervilles -Thomas Hardy: I identified with Tess so much. I am probably the only person I know who understood her.

The Trial – Franz Kafka – I couldn’t help but enjoy it even though I didn’t know what was happening.

A Previous Life

I decided to look up my old blog. I liked my old blog. It felt like an old pair of slippers that were comfortable. I decided to move to this platform because (I thought) it had a more professional feel about it but I have never felt the same way about it.

It was interesting skimming through the posts, remembering things that I’d forgotten about, realising how naive I was about things – particularly the writing world. Yes well, I’m not so naive now, I can tell you.

I had a policy on my previous blog that said that once something has been written it can’t be deleted. I treated it as a conversation and as such, once something has been said you can’t unsay it. Maybe that accounts for a lot.

I have decided to try and channel ‘With Ink From the Pink Pen’ in my posts here and maybe I’ll start to enjoy blogging again.

The pink pen itselfThis is the ‘pink pen’ that my previous blog was named after.