A New Phase

After the euphoria of my astounding win of Choc Lit Publishing’s Search for a Star competition with my novel ‘Who is Harry Dixon?’, I started to feel a little strange. It finally struck me that my goalposts have moved!
I have spent a few years learning as much as I can about the craft of writing by attending courses, reading and writing numerous short stories and novel drafts. Each month I’d trawl through the competition pages of the writing magazines and decide which ones I wanted to enter and also work out any pitches I wanted to make to publishers or agents.
After my win, it feels as if I’m walking along, but the path has moved. I now need to enter a new phase of my writing life. Besides handling edits and getting more novels completed, I need to think about marketing my first book when it is e-published later in the year.
This is both exciting and daunting. I’ve begun planning for a new website and blog, author pages on Facebook, Goodreads, Amazon, etc. I need to decide how to describe myself and my work. If any of you have any advice from your own journey, then please share it below.
I turn my thoughts to people I’d like to thank for help so far.
I began the writing journey with my best friend, Susan Wood. We had such fun in the early days, laughing in cafes as we shared our writing. She has since headed off in a poetry direction, although I still hope she’ll finish her novel set on a caravan site one day. We still meet in cafes and there are lots of laughs.
Then there are the tutors of all the writing courses I’ve attended over the years. In particular, Sue Johnson, whose weekly term time course I have been attending for years. When I attended the RoNAs awards in London recently, the top award went to Iona Grey and I remembered that her course on heroes and heroines, was a turning point for my writing in the romance genres. Add to this Sue Moorcroft – I’ve appeared in her classes many times. Alison May’s course de-mystified editing for me.
The Romantic Novelists’ Association and in particular the New Writers’’ Scheme, my readers, particularly the one for Harry Dixon and the members of the RNA Birmingham Chapter.
Thanks must go to those who listen to my doubts, moans and give advice – Alison May, Janice Preston, Margaret Ruess-Newland, Georgia Hill, Heather King, Elizabeth Hanbury, Lisa Hill, Wendy Jones, Lynn Forth, Bella Osborne, Bernadette ODwyer.
My family for supporting and putting up with me disappearing into my study.
I’m sure there are many others too. THANK YOU.
A special thanks has to go to Julie King and her photography http://juliekingphotography.co.uk/ I hate having my picture taken, but she always manages to make me laugh and I can thoroughly recommend her services. I had to have some shots taken for publicity and, of course, I will use them for my marketing. Which picture do you like best – blue, orange or green?


I’ll be back soon to tell you about some more milestones on this journey. I’ve been having fun with Susan Wood thinking up hashtags for Harry Dixon.

By Morton S. Gray

Author of romantic suspense novels. http://mortonsgray.com


  1. Congrats. I too prefer the middle author picture! Nice smile and bright colors! Second best is the picture on the left (in blue) and least attractive the picture on the right…


  2. Reading this brings back all the memories of when I received by first contract with Choc Lit a couple of years ago. Suddenly all those abstract things like websites and photographs became very real. They wanted a biography – I remember going cold, wondering what on earth I should put in it! So delighted for you – enjoy each step on your new path. And I too think the middle photo looks even better than the other two 🙂


  3. Glad it's not just me, Kathryn. I've gone from trying to sell my work to trying to market myself and my work and there is a very different feel and technique to that. Looking forward to the challenge though!


  4. Congratulations on this amazing achievement. You're not alone at being stumped on how to describe your work. When I get asked if I can 'say a bit about my novel' I have to scrabble around in my head for words to summarise something that consumed my life every day for eighteen months. My husband came up with the bright idea of just describing the opening to the story to offer readers a taste. I think he's onto something and am going to follow his advice. Perhaps this approach might be helpful to you too. I hope so. Good luck!


  5. I understand about the shyness part. I had and still have a hard time promoting my book without looking like I’m gloating or whatever. I do think it’s a fine line that has to be learned. Congratulations, looks like you are off to a great start.


  6. Hallo, Hallo Ms Gray!

    Sorry we had a rough go today via #ChocLitSaturday! I’m pulling the convo together via #Storify and I am hoping next week the Twitter API will be functioning better and give us a bit less stress! Normally the chat runs quite smoothly w/o so many hiccups! I was so happy to see you drop by and hope our tech woes didn’t scare you off! 🙂

    I wanted to remark that I’m wicked happy ‘meeting you’ as I like to get to know each ChocLit author as they join the ChocLit family! I also know, I have a lot of lovely #nextreads ahead of me, as I’m quite *addicted and smitten* with ChocLit novelists who tell the stories of Rom I most desire to read! 🙂

    My personal favourite is ‘blue’ – brings out your personality!

    Also, how lovely you’ve attended Ms May & Ms Moorcroft’s classes! I’ve read about their courses on various blogs and they do sound keenly wonderful! I look forward to watching this journey of yours blossom and take root! I’ll be rooting for Who is Harry Dixon? to make it to a print run – as then I’ll have a chance to ‘meet it’ on the page! Til then – I look forward to your visits in #ChocLitSaturday and all the lovely bits emerging on your horizon between now and your #bookbirthday! (i.e. #PubDay!)


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