Featured Articles

Remembering Yemen...

I never did make it to Syria unfortunately, but I did visit Yemen in 2008, which I'm thinking about now in the midst of this ...

Read More

Christmas in Prague...

I just got back from Prague - another new city for me. I love nothing more than heading off to a new place and just ...

Read More

Tinder Diaries: Getting my Groupon...

Shamus's profile shots scrolled like some kind of Action Man calendar. In one photo the 39-year-old Irish-Canadian was hugging a goat on what looked like ...

Read More

Tinder Diaries: Tempur-Pedic promises...

And another Tinder Diary for you, this one's also from last year in Vancouver.  Tempur-Pedic promises... 'I got you a drink!!!' the text message yelled at me. ...

Read More

Tinder Diaries: The Burner In The Park

In trawling through folders on my laptop for some old work I've just come across some diaries I wrote about Tinder dating last year in ...

Read More

I go to the gym a lot. And other things I never thought I'd say...

Once in Sydney I joined a yoga studio for $350 a year and went once. In New York I spent close to $600 and went to ...

Read More

Things you should probably know before going to Burning Man

So, Burning Man. Hmm. How was it, you ask? Honestly. I can't even really tell you yet, and it's been three weeks. But I'll try. As a ...

Read More

11 things you only ever say on WhatsApp when you're going to Burning Man...

I LEAVE TOMORROW!! Am I ready? Probably not.  I'm what's known as a Virgin, (this will be my first time at Burning Man) and in ...

Read More

Thoughts about rainbows...

I cycled home tonight right under a rainbow - the kind of rainbow that smiles across the sky in every colour, and then more colours ...

Read More

How to tell when you travel too much (and when you should stop)

Yup. That's how. That's a screenshot my friend just sent me, when I told her to add my new phone number in Amsterdam. "Another one?!" "Yeah, but I'm ...

Read More

…Best Of...

It started with a boy called Matt: why I'm going to Burning Man (in 2 weeks!!!)

Going to Burning Man has been pretty high on the bucket list for years... ever since I started chatting to an American guy online back in 2003, who ...

Read More

The Royal's idea of 'Indian street kids' is not quite right

I know I shouldn't read the Daily Mail because it always annoys me... but today THIS was ridiculous. Honestly. Been to India? Yeah, so have I. Met ...

Read More

How to write a novel: 25 rules

This post is so inspiring, just had to share! Thanks to Matt Haig, who posted it originally. Sometimes us writers really need to read cool stuff ...

Read More

Amsterdam, I love you! See you again soon.

I've decided to move to Amsterdam. Maybe not forever but definitely for a little bit, because, well.... this. And this: And this:  OK maybe not the last one... ...

Read More

Free tsunami romance for Valentine's Day...

Winner of the TBC (The Book Club) award for best non-fiction, 2016.  Hey guys, I'm giving away The Day Of The Wave over Valentine's weekend in ...

Read More

How to Create Titles to Hook Your Readers

This post is written BY JUDITH BRILES posted on February 10, 2016 on The Book Designer Are you sometimes stuck when it comes to adding a title to ...

Read More

Yay, I won an award!

It's a super duper awesome start to the new year, because after a long hiatus during which I've been working reeeeeeally hard and not blogging ...

Read More

Who's the Mills and Boon Man Of The Year 2016? Get your face on a book cover!

Here ye, all you amazing men - and women who know amazing men! Thought I'd spread the word about this. Mills & Boon are launching ...

Read More

Pills that make you poop glitter...

Oh my! We should give these to ALL the pigeons in London until the whole city is a sparkly rainbow! Granted we'd be covered in shit, ...

Read More

Know your strengths...

I'm sitting in the cafe. It's just me, two loud ladies who sound like they're from Essex, and a blonde with her boyfriend. An Essex ...

Read More

Humans of Iceland...

This is Sverrir and the replica of his great grandfather, who was once the pastor of the pretty and remote herring fishing town, Siglufjörður. He was ...

Read More

Adventures in Iceland (in brief because I'm VERY remote right now and WIFI is scarce)...

It started when we flew Fokker. Yes, Fokker. Oh come on, tell me I'm not the only child who finds this funny? It wasn't long before ...

Read More

NOW FREE ON AMAZON: The Day Of The Wave

A moving, emotional romance based on real-life events. NOW FREE ON AMAZON! The Day Of The Wave follows Isla and Ben in the wake of surviving ...

Read More

***FREELANCE PHOTO - POSTMEDIA NETWORK USE ONLY*** VANCOUVER, BC.:JUNE 24, 2014-- Pedestrian traffic in front of Canna Clinic on Commercial Drive, in Vancouver, BC, June 24, 2014.  Canna Clinic at 2223 Commercial Drive, has a doctor from 5 to 8 p.m. every day. Locals can get certified by an in-house  naturopath, and pick up some pot.  (PHOTOS by Don MacKinnon)

Comedy night at the Canna Clinic...

Today I learnt two things. The first is that penguins have knees inside their bodies. Yes. Knees. Inside. I'm not even kidding. The second is that ...

Read More

Spalding School Reunion is Imminent...

I got a message today about a school reunion for the class of 96. My first thought was JEEEEESUS, did I really leave school 19 ...

Read More

Best things to see on Commercial Drive in Vancouver. OK, maybe not the best...

I was just eating my sushi on a restaurant patio last night when a man seemingly dressed as a Mario Brother climbed a nearby tree ...

Read More

Oh Canada, how I LOVE being in you...

And I think these photos prove why! I'm so inspired the more time I spend here, which is Vancouver right now, in case you were ...

Read More

Fun on the Natchez Trace - recreating scenes from a novel in real life!

Yesterday a friend and I drove from Nashville, out past the famous Loveless Cafe (where we stopped to pick up some Peach Preserve) and onto ...

Read More

Read and review 'Before He Was Gone' and get a FREE copy!

The New Adult Book Club on Goodreads are reading Before He Was Gone to review. Sign up if you want your free copy to review! "Sometimes, ...

Read More

RIP Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran (an excerpt featuring their great work, from Balilicious)

How fuggin AWFUL to hear about the executions of these two men, and the others who were wiped out needlessly today in Indonesia. Don't people ...

Read More

Boxing Day Tsunami book trailer (The Day of the Wave)

I made this today! One day I will give up trying to be a filmmaker (maybe), but it's SO satisfying when it uploads and I'm ...

Read More

The Day of the Wave - Playlist

This is probably the most fun I’ve ever had putting a playlist together for a book. There were just so many great artists who inspired ...

Read More

Aliens in the White House...

Just got a newsflash on my phone: 'Small one-person helicopter lands at White House West Lawn. Pilot in custody.' I know I should click on it ...

Read More

Boxing Day Tsunami romance excerpt: (The Day of The Wave)

This is an excerpt from my latest new adult romance, coming May 2015. In brief... "Isla and Ben were just sixteen when the Boxing Day ...

Read More

Uber in Nashville is interesting...

Me: 'So, what's the craziest thing that's happened to you since you started driving for Uber?' Him: 'Are you a shy girl?' Me: 'Er, I don't think ...

Read More

Have I mentioned the Family Dollar Store yet?

Have I mentioned the Family Dollar store yet? It's my new favorite place here in Nashville. Contrary to the name, not everything inside costs a dollar, ...

Read More

Lavenders, motorcycles and a feeling of deep uncool at Nashville's Barista Parlor...

There are some places in this world that will just serve to make you feel deeply uncool, no matter how young and awesome you previously ...

Read More

Why Craigslist in Nashville is killing me...

Here's what this guy just wrote in reply to my post about looking for a room to rent in Nashville: "We are seeking a FEMALE caring nanny/care giver. ...

Read More

Observation of the day...

Ubud cafes were full of middle aged women writing books on macs. Nashville cafes are full of cute young guys making music on macs. I know where ...

Read More

Before He Was A Secret (Starstruck #3) Playlist...

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLmhXXflqDQPAxUHvBiWosmLHWTd6sBM4Z I can't write a word without being inspired by every sound in the air around me, and I turned to music more than ever with ...

Read More

Musings on a Nashville snow day...

No one told me flying south for the winter would take me somewhere colder than England. Then again, there's something so peaceful about walking alone down ...

Read More

Fight your way through! A message to writers like me…

Fight your way through! A message to writers like me...

...and other creative souls no doubt! Someone sent me this video today by the amazingly inspiring Ira Glass, which I found very interesting. I can relate ...

Read More

The difference a motorised bike makes...

I miss my bike in Bali so much that today I actually hovered outside someone's house in South Harrow contemplating whether I could justify spending ...

Read More

Proving my roots: The nonsense that is taking the IELTS test in London...

"PUT YOUR PENCILS DOWN! PENCILS DOWN, NOW!!!" Dumbledore boomed. I almost jumped out of my plastic chair, nerves shot to sh*t. I have a problem ...

Read More

There's nothing more sexist than The Sun pulling Page 3 Girls...

Yes... SEXIST. If only for what's being said around the decision to drop this whole thing! "Instead of bare breasts, the pictures will now show scantily-clad ...

Read More

I SURVIVED: The Freak British Tornado (and the suspect still running loose)

A mini-tornado hit north west London this afternoon - causing damage to homes and cars. I think I summoned it. I was thinking very dark ...

Read More

It's cover reveal day for Before He Was A Secret. Exclusive excerpt here...

Today's the day, whoo hoooooo! I can finally reveal another amazing cover by designer Jeanine Henning, for the third standalone romance in my Starstruck Series, ...

Read More

The night Emma Watson stole my toothbrush...

WARNING!!! I feel like I should say something. I've been quiet for way too long... almost an hour actually, but about an hour ago I ...

Read More

Vaginal smoking and the benefits of yoni egg insertions (note: there are many)...

I have recently become quite fascinated with vaginal treatments. The fascination began when I saw this tempting advertisement on a board outside a spa in ...

Read More

The truth about 'Ecstatic Dancing' at The Yoga Barn in Ubud, Bali... (warning, this post may smell)

Everyone in Ubud knows the Yoga Barn. It's a sort of second home for eager expats, all of whom are quite happy to spend an ...

Read More

Go to Bali for less than a quid! Balilicious is 99p, starting today.

Becky Wicks lifted the burqa on Dubai In BURQALICIOUS. Now she turns her attention to Bali as she hilariously navigates life as an adopted Balinese ...

Read More

How do you handle negative reviews for your book on Amazon and Goodreads? And are readers actively LOOKING for bad books?

What didn't make me smile throughout my recent and ultimately successful free book campaign on Amazon KDP (and I'll tell you this, seeing as we're ...

Read More

Before He Was A Secret Blog tour sign ups are live. I'm looking for bloggers to join in (and get a free copy!)

Once again I'm having a blog tour with the amazing Xpresso Reads for the third in my Starstruck Series, which is coming out in March ...

Read More

A new, FREE short story to make you go awwww....

There's nothing like a freebie, so I wrote a little quickie (ahem) to melt your hearts. It's set in Alaska and it's only 6000 words, ...

Read More

Fifty Shades of Fear: why Powell’s in Portland is the scariest book shop on earth…

I love books. I have PILES of them. Granted they’re stacked quite conveniently inside my Kindle right now, meaning I no longer have to walk around with three hundred pounds of paper on my back like a snail trapped in a falling rainforest. But even Amazon, the real one or the digital one surely can’t compare to Powell’s here in Portland.

Powell’s is gargantuan. It is quite literally the largest independent used and new bookstore in the world and therefore the most terrifying place on the planet for a literally unknown writer to visit… with a craft beer hangover. Christ. Even the effing stairs were asking me questions that scared me.

Perhaps I wasn’t in the right frame of mind this morning when I walked through the doors. I’m currently at what you might call a crossroads – a situation I tend to get myself into every year or so when I decide for the LAST TIME (it’s always the last time) that I’ll go somewhere else in search of something else, even though I still don’t know what that is. As well as that, I’m waiting for news on a number of different projects and publishing is a tough market right now… possibly the toughest it’s ever been. But after a couple of hours wandering round Powell’s, reading the backs of all the books I perhaps could have written had they not been written before by someone else, I started to feel the fear.

ALL THESE BOOKS. All these words and sentences, paragraphs, stories, journeys, diatribes, monologues, poems, dedications, memoirs, feelings… all these LIVES. All these people who’ve written and ranted and raved and sat hunched at a desk or curled in a chair, tapping, bashing keyboards, inking quills, throwing things across the room, hoping, dreaming, screaming, reaching deep inside their very souls to clutch the right words, the right DIFFERENT words from a seemingly infinite array of adjectives and arrangements… and here I am, one of these people, feeling the fear. One of millions. Just one.

I’m feeling the fear because the reason I fly and flutter around looking for something, ANYTHING that I can land on to redefine the world inside my head is not necessarily to write about it. It’s to feel it. And as writing has become my job, so too has feeling everything, from the depths of my soul… even when I’m really very shallow.

You have to feel something to engage another human being. Something real. You have to live. And sometimes you have to die a little bit inside, too. You have to love and then you have to let things go. You have to experience the full spectrum of emotion if you want your words about it all to be believed; and your words must be believed, because if they’re not, you will have failed.

It’s scary to think about. It’s the fear I think that both propels writers and stops them dead in their tracks. It’s the fear that leads them to drinking that beer… and anything else they can get their hands on. And it’s magnified in massive book shops.

Of course, in lighter moments I tend to think that if I just stay true to myself, the right words can’t fail to find me, right? They just might not ever be printed… because… well, because publishers are currently swamped in manuscripts featuring soft porn. And post-apocalyptic wars between children.

I spoke to a guy who works at Powell’s. He read his practiced spiel into my iPhone voice recorder and his numbers made my eyes bulge. Powell’s spans 76,000 square metres of floor space and houses three quarters of a million titles. There are over a million books in store, seventy percent of which are used, and they buy between four and six thousand books every single day. Powell’s also recently bought Anne Rice’s entire library… which, if you’re interested, did not include Twilight.

Out of all of these… out of all of this…  currently the best-selling book is Fifty Shades of Grey; a book that is essentially a questionably written homage to “romantic Sadomasochism.” I rather like this book. A little too much if I’m honest. And as I stood there mentally placing a book of my own in that empty number five spot right there, I thought, you know what, I too could write a soft porn. And then I got scared all over again. I can barely even look at myself naked.

Powell’s book shop is about as terrifying as it is inspiring. I had to go home and sleep so I could process it all. Especially after I asked the nice man if he would look up Burqalicious on his computer and he confirmed it will indeed be sold… and probably lost… in this paperbacked labyrinth at the end of July.

Perhaps I sound ungrateful. Hmmm. I have already been published, that’s true, but I feel the fear because I know I have to keep going. I can’t just decide to do anything else either, like fuck it all off and go work in a coffee shop if it all gets too much. I’ll just get fired. Again.

Powell’s is a living testament to everyone else who felt and feels the same. And probably… if they also had a hangover and self-pitying “woe is me” moment thanks to five pints of Oregon’s finest craft beer the night before… gave it all up for a week to hide in a book about spanking in a Portland hotel room.

Other posts you may like: