In the run up to Christmas, the Madeleine Milburn Literary Agency will be posting an entry from one of our authors each day, offering anything from writing tips and their inspiration, to Christmas memories and their wishes for the year to come.

With a special congratulations to Mel Sherratt on today’s publication of TAUNTING THE DEAD

MS 2 bit of colour    Taunting the Dead by Mel Sherratt


Ah, Christmas. That time of year again, where I can settle down in my winter jimjams and furry Rudolph slippers, with a glass of Bailey’s and the Quality Street tin. I can get out my lovingly-chosen-over-several-hours 2014 diary and, Bridget-Jones’ style, sit down with my matching pen.

Dear Diary…

I think for most of us, Christmas and New Year are always a time to reflect. But as writers, often we dwell on rejections, and that one author/writer/producer/ who is always doing better than we are, and the fact that yet another year has gone by without that elusive book deal coming our way. Oh, the angst of being a creative.

During the years, it’s imperative that we find our own paths to tread. Mine has been a very long journey to get to where I am today. I tried twelve years to get a traditional publishing deal before trying out self-publishing (which would never have been written in my diary several years ago.)  Two years on from that and, finally, I can say that today is MY publication day.  My crime thriller, TAUNTING THE DEAD, is published in e-book, print and audio by Thomas and Mercer.

Years ago, I used to be a member of an online writing group, The Novel Racers. Every January we would each set a goal to finish a project, and then we would ‘race’ to get it finished. There were forty of us, at various stages of writing/publishing. The first year I took part, I won and Cal Taylor came a very close second. Cal is another of The Madeleine Milburn Agency clients. We both started out writing women’s fiction – now we both write psychological suspense/thriller and have the same agent.  Yet both of us took very different journeys to get to where we are right now.

People often scoff at New Year’s resolutions but I feel we all need goals to work towards. Something magical happens when you set something down in writing. The mind is a powerful organ and it begins to manifest the things that you need to do in order to achieve those goals. For years, in between Christmas and the New Year, I would write down what I wanted to achieve the following year. Always it would be ‘to get a two-book deal.’ No matter how many times I didn’t quite manage it, that goal still stuck in my mind. And now, finally, I can say this year there WILL be something special underneath my Christmas tree.

So, how about this? Perhaps on New Year’s Eve, write down one or two writing goals that you’d like to achieve in 2014. They can be big or small – or several goals working towards one big dream. And, like me, you might have an extra surprise from Santa next year.

Mel Sherratt‘s novel TAUNTING THE DEAD is published today with a brand new cover by Amazon Publishing / Thomas & Mercer.