NaNoWriMo and Beta Reading…a writing update…

It’s been a while since I posted a writing update, and with NaNoWriMo starting at the end of the week, I thought now would be a great time to post one…along with some random photos from my media library…


I decided early on (for once!) that I was participating in NaNo this year.  It will be my eighth year joining in.  I’ve been looking forward to it for weeks, though I’m still unsure what I will focus on – yes, I leave it late every year (it’s becoming a tradition, I think) no matter how long in advanced I’ve been preparing for it. Never mind.

At the beginning of October, I had thought to allow myself to start a New Writing Project, even though I have so many unfinished WIPs awaiting my attention.  Sigh.  Yet, I have been making very good progress with one of my Wattpad novels, Oath Broken (very brief summary: the story of Oathbreaker told from Celyn’s perspective, which starts four months prior to the events of Eleri’s tale.  You can find the first 17 chapters that I’ve uploaded so far, and the original story, amongst other works, by checking out my Wattpad profile here.)

So, now I’m wondering if I might be better to just carry on with this. But…Not sure.  I’ve already drafted all the November chapter uploads for Wattpad and today I started on December’s so I could, in theory, set it aside without affecting my upload schedule…hmm…tough decision… I have a feeling I won’t have made up my mind until Friday morning…

If anyone wants to add me as a writing buddy over on the NaNo site, my profile name is… Sammi Cox.  Original, I know. 😉  You can never have too many writing buddies…well, that’s what I think.  Which is funny, because all mine seem to have been deleted when NaNoWriMo changed over to their new website this year.  Again, sigh. So, if I was buddies with you before, please add me as a buddy or send me your profile name (in a comment or email, etc) so I can add you again.  On the upside, I really do like the look of the new site.

The Winter Ghost Beta Reading

At the end of August I put out a call for beta readers for my fantasy novella, The Winter Ghost. The feedback I’ve had so far has been better than I could ever have hoped for, and I’m so grateful to those who have offered their time and effort to help me out.  When someone tells you not only that they enjoyed your story but want to read more – or hope for spin-offs with their favourite characters – well…it’s just the best feeling in the world!

I have sent out a few emails that haven’t got a response, so if you volunteered back in August but didn’t hear from me, I think something got lost out there in the interweb somewhere.  If you would still like to beta read The Winter Ghost, please let me know…

My plan (imagine me laughing maniacally as I typed that) is to dedicate December to the editing of the manuscript.  This means there is still plenty of time for more beta readers to have a read of The Winter Ghost.  If you think this is something that you would be interested in, here’s the link to my original post, The Winter Ghost – Beta Readers Wanted, where you will find all the information you might (I hope!) need, including what The Winter Ghost is about, what I am asking of you as a beta reader, and how to get in touch if you think this is something you would like to do.  As I mention in this post, I don’t expect you to do this for nothing – I’m offering to beta read in return for anyone beta reading for me.

Are you doing NaNoWriMo this year?  What are you working on this November?  I would love to hear your plans…

Thanks for reading!

The Winter Ghost – Beta Readers Wanted

As some of you may remember from earlier in the year, I wrote a novella for a Wattpad-based competition that ran from January to April. That novella was The Winter Ghost.  It made the competition’s short list, even though it was only a first draft and had not been edited.  Not even a little bit.

Fast forward a handful of months and The Winter Ghost has now been restructured, extended and edited.  It would be great if at some point in the future I could get this little novella published (traditionally or otherwise), but before I can even start thinking of publication, it would be great to get as much feedback as I can on it.

With that in mind, I have a question for you…would you like to beta read The Winter Ghost?  Here’s everything you need to know…

What’s it about?

Here’s the original summary from Wattpad:

At nineteen, Rhyshard Pellian, son of Tershard Pellian, Lord of Kamvor, has been told by his father that he must take on the role of Acting Lord for the duration of winter. Sent to a town he can barely remember, to watch over a people he cannot recall, he is in a strange place, surrounded by strangers. But things are set to get all the stranger…
Folklore and real life are about to collide…As winter closes in on the town and the weather worsens, rumours of The Winter Ghost are whispered. Is this the year the ghost is set to return, leaving terror and death in its wake?
And what does this mean for Rhyshard Pellian? Mysteries and secrets abound as the Acting Lord of Kamvor does all he can to avert disaster. But is it enough?
* * *
The Winter Ghost is a paranormal mystery set in a fantasy world.

Here’s a little more information

  • The story is not overly grisly or gory.  It’s not a horror story.
  • There’s no bad language or adult content.

What will you have to do?

  • Read The Winter Ghost (obvious, I know).  It’s 100 pages long (A4, double-spaced); that’s approximately 30,000 words.  I’ll email it to you as a PDF.
  • Fill out the questionnaire that I will email with the PDF.  This document contains 22 questions and will be sent as a .rtf

I would hope that beta readers could have this completed and returned within a month, if possible.  You don’t need to have any prior experience of beta reading to help me out.  All you need to do is give me your honest opinion on what you’ve read.  The questions in the questionnaire are designed to help you do that.

What will you get in return?

  • My heartfelt thanks, naturally
  • A “thank you” in the acknowledgements section of the book, should it get published
  • I will happily return the favour and beta read something of the same length for you.  Whether this is part of a novel (don’t worry, I’m likely to offer to beta read the whole thing for you, should you need it, but I can’t commit to anything of that length right now), one or more short stories, a flash fiction or poetry collection…you get the idea.  Just send me an email and we’ll sort something out.

How do you go about volunteering as a beta reader?

Send an email to: expressing your interest and I will send you the two files mentioned above.

Any questions?  Let me know in the comments or send me an email.

I think that’s everything.  Thanks so much for reading…this was a long post.  Anyone who made it all the way to the end is a star 🙂

Where I’ve Been and What I’m Doing (an update post)

Things have been a little chaotic here since the beginning of July.  It all started with my attempt to write the first draft of a short novel in a month, and ended with the (hopefully) final edit of a poetry collection – but there were many exciting things in between.  So, by way of an update post, I thought I would share a little of what I’ve been up to.

Writing a Short Novel in A Month

As always, things never quite go to plan.  My short novel has turned out to be longer than I anticipated, but it’s been so much fun writing it.  I’ve been uploading the chapters to Wattpad and there are currently 27 posted.  I must say, the response to the story has been better than I could have ever imagined and I’m ever so grateful to those who’ve been reading it.

It’s been a week since I did any work on it, but hopefully that will change in the next day or two.

If you are interested in reading it or want to learn more about it, you can find Oathbreaker here.  Don’t forget to let me know your thoughts – your wisdom could help shape the rest of the story.



Another trip to The Bard’s birthplace.  Although the weather was still hot, thankfully it cooled a little for our few days away, otherwise it would have been unbearable.

One of the things we did this visit was take a boat tour up the river.  I took the photo of the church in which William Shakespeare is buried, from the boat.




We drove through Banbury on the way to Stratford-upon-Avon, and having seen how lovely the town looked from the car, decided to stop on our way home.

Of course, those of you who know your nursery rhymes will have heard of Banbury:

Ride a cock horse to Banbury Cross
To see a fine lady upon a white horse
With rings on her fingers and bells on her toes
She shall have music wherever she goes

It was interesting to learn about the history around the nursery rhyme, and although there are many theories as to her identity and the time in which she lived, no-one is certain.  As for the statue, I’m not usually a fan as they often have (to my eye) strange faces.  Not so with this one; I thought there was something absolutely captivating about her.


A day and a night in Shrewsbury, a popular choice for time away in our house.

That evening, as the sun was setting, we visited the site of the Battle of Shrewsbury, where the photo was taken.  It was fought in 1403 between King Henry IV and Harry Hotspur leading a rebel army.  For a place where so many men lost their lives in the most horrific of ways, it’s strange to think how peaceful the place was…


Mitchell’s Fold Stone Circle

This is one of my favourite places in the world.

Situated on the top of a hill, with England to one side and Wales to the other, Mitchell’s Fold Stone Circle is a beautiful, evocative place.  It doesn’t take much of an imagination to find yourself transported back 3000 years in history…

As we explored the stones, rain was coming in off the Welsh hills, giving my photo a magical, moody, intense quality.

It was hard choosing the one photo to share, but I think this one captured our time there perfectly.


Lilleshall Abbey and White Ladies Priory

On our return trip, we stopped off at two ruined monastic sites, Lilleshall Abbey (in the photograph) and White Ladies Priory.

We have visited these sites on a number of occasions and each time they have astounded us with their impressive remains.

The atmosphere at each site conjures images straight out of Cadfael: monks and nuns going about their daily religious life, as well as making you wonder how those in residence must have felt at the dissolution of the monasteries under Henry VIII.  If you had never been part of the outside world, I can imagine how life beyond the walls could have seemed scary.


Wall / Letocetum

At Wall, there are the ruins of a small Roman town, on one of the main road arteries in Roman Britain, Watling Street.

The Latin name of the town is Letocetum.

The ruins here are of a mansio, where horses could be changed and lodgings for the night found, and a bath house.

It’s an amazing place to wander around, and a great source of inspiration for my historical fiction writing.

My Poetry Book

One of the projects I’ve been working off and on is my first proper poetry book.  Now, after much tinkering, I think it’s finished…Woohoo? Well, sort of.

The problem I have with my poetry is I can never tell if it’s any good.  So, I think the next sensible step is ask if there is anyone out there interested in beta-reading it for me?  Ideally, I would like to get it in front of a poetry publisher as I’m not sure I have the necessary skills to self-publish, and to do that it would be great to hear what other people think of it.  For more information, please check this out.