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Posted By Michelle Birbeck

Yep, that up there would be the title of a book. It’s a short story, but it’s not only one that I wrote, but one that I was recently informed had been accepted for publication. I found out about Pocket Novel Publishing via the NaNoWriMo site back in October in the blur that is NaNo preparation and forum trawling. It seemed like a good idea to knock something up before NaNo started and send it in, so that is exactly what I did.

Pocket Novels is a new venture specialising in short stories. Not anthologies of short stories, but individual short stories. So that people can check out new authors without the time and expense of a whole book, or the prospect of buying an anthology for a single piece of work. Personally, I think this is a fantastic idea, and set about writing something to send in to them.

Three days later, I sent it in. Three months later, after a few e-mails and a redraft, I received an e-mail back off them. So, on the 27th of January, 2011, I opened my e-mails, and there is was… the first acceptance e-mail/letter that I have ever received.

To say that I am ecstatic is an understatement. After the few seconds of not breathing, I woke everyone in the house, updated my Facebook, tweeted my excitement, and called or texted everyone in my phone. Some of those phone calls were more reserved than others, but there was a lot of squealing in delight.

Had I not already thought that January of this year was one of the best months of the year, I certainly would have done after reading that e-mail. Three days later, and I am still smiling like a lunatic, telling everyone that I see about it, and making plans for when the book is released later in the year.

Now, Consequences is only a short story, but this is the first piece that I will have published, the first acceptance that I have received, and will live for a very long time in my memory as the first of, hopefully, many more to come.

It may be a couple of months before I have release dates and more details, but as soon as I know, I shall update the books page on the main site.


Posted By Michelle Birbeck

Tomorrow is my first English Literature A Level exam. Since September I’ve been reading and revising and learning everything that I can about the subject. For anyone who knows me, you’ll know that I dropped History at school as soon as I was able. Quite frankly I find the subject bores me to tears. It is not something that I enjoy learning about. So having to learn everything that I could about World War One has been a challenge. Having to then read novels and poetry and plays about the subject, well, there was a point where I seriously considered dropping the course. But that was only a moment, and as tomorrow is the first of two exams, it’s fairly plain to see how that decision went.

I did, however, find a way to turn the subject into something that I enjoyed. Turning the facts into something tangible to do with something that I am completely in love with made what I thought was going to be a bitter pill to swallow into a wonderful learning experience. When everything relates back to my books in one way or another, it makes the world just a little bit more interesting. It may be a made up world, but the history of the real one plays a bit part in it.

So the last few hours, and in fact the last few days, have been spent attending extra classes in college, going over my revision notes, and reading everything that I can that will help me in the exam.

And I am still nervous.

It’s only an exam, it’s something that I am prepared for, and after last year’s English Language course, I am fully prepared for it. However, there is still that little bubble of nerves that is peeking out on occasion just to send me into a panic long enough for someone to stop me.

Of course, I’ll not be the only one to feel like this, and as soon as I read the question, panic for thirty seconds, and then sit and think, I’ll be fine. It’s not like I’ve spent the last few months not doing anything, and I’ve certainly racked up enough revision time to at least have some idea what I am doing.

So wish me luck, because revision or not, I’ll take any help that I can get! So long as it isn’t cheating, of course.

Posted By Michelle Birbeck

Hidden Threat, by Sherri Hayes
Cali Stanton has one goal in life, being a doctor. She does not intend to run the family business. But when her father gets injured and tells her that she’s the only one he trusts, Cali finds herself behind his desk at Stanton Enterprises.

Matthew Andersen and his brother Jason have spent the last two years managing security at Stanton Enterprises. But when someone threatens the company and its CEO, challenging Matthew’s abilities, what seems like an easy task, becomes a big problem.

Cali and Matthew must fight their growing attraction for each other to avoid a potentially damaging office romance. As the threats continue, they must work together to keep the company running and discover who is behind the threats.

But when things escalate to violence and Cali becomes the latest target, things get personal. Can Matthew find the Hidden Threat before it’s too late?


It isn’t often that I sit down with a book and end up awake until the small hours of the morning telling myself just one more chapter. One more chapter and I’m going to bed. Hidden Threat is one of those books. At the end of every chapter I promised myself that I would put it down, that I would leave the rest until the morning, and then at the start of the next one, I said exactly the same again.

The sexual tension between the characters builds and builds until you’re on the edge of your seat, begging them to open their eyes and see what’s right in front of them. And if that isn’t enough to keep you turning page after page, then the constant threat of danger is. It starts slowly, with seemingly innocent things, a letter here, a picture there, and then it blossoms, exploding into the book.

Once the severity of the dangers faced by the characters rears its head, you’re confronted by a double whammy that keeps the pages turning. The tension between them will have you squealing in delight when Cali and Matthew finally admit how they feel to each other, and tearing your hair out when the finale threatens to tear them both apart. The combination keeps you on the edge of your seat wanting more, turning the pages until there are no more to turn.

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and can’t wait to open it up and read it a second time. 
You can get Hidden Threat direct from the publishers at The Writer's Coffee Shop.

Posted By Michelle Birbeck

Well, another year has flown by, and another one is starting to creep along. No doubt by the time this year is over I will be wondering where it all went and what happened to the months, but for the moment it seems to be creeping along slowly. Perhaps it is the level of productivity that I have adopted so far, or just the general way of things for the first few months, either way, a lot has already happened, and a lot more is to come.

College exams are coming up once again, and with two weeks left, I’ve already started cramming in as much information as I can in order to pass. But when the main point of the exam is to convey your own thoughts on a piece of text, revising isn’t really that intensive. Some dates and events for context, some poetry and prose for comparison, and then a two and a half hour exam that will mainly involve being opinionated and putting across those opinions as eloquently as possible. Not a bad exam really.

Once the exam is over, then the fun begins. Not only do I have the start of my degree looming on the horizon, once the government decides what it is doing with fees, but I have the rest of my A Level, and a complete edit of book one. Why another edit? Because in my infinite wisdom, I decided to change one of the characters. Or rather, he decided that what I had for him was no longer fitting. So a reworking of certain parts has to be undertaken, and along with it, a reread of the whole thing, seeing as how, A: I’m not sick of reading it yet, and B: I can always find things that I want to change. It seems that no matter how many times I read it through, I always want to change something.

Since writing Poppy’s, Annabella’s, and Lona’s books over NaNoWriMo there are a few other things that I would like to add as well. That is the problem with a long series of books. If something changes in the last one that affects the first one, then you’ve kind of written yourself into a corner with what you can do. Whereas mine are not yet published, so I can go back in and change that one word or one part that makes the last book still make sense.

Most of my plans this year involve my continuing education and publication. I will have my second A Level and be starting down the long road of getting my degree, and I will be contacting as many people as needed regarding getting my books published.

So keep and eye out, and fingers crossed that all my plans come to fruition.

Happy New Year!