Well, hello there, my friends - it's been a while since I blogged... Gosh, I hope everyone is keeping well. It has been a long and terrible few months. I don't know how affected you've been by Coronavirus - health, family or business wise - but I hope you can get through whatever life has thrown at you because of it. 

I haven't been able to read as much as usual. Everything felt so bleak, uncertain, and downright scary that there were times I couldn't switch off at all. And I have had some very bad nightmares along the way too. 

Luckily, everyone I know has been fine so far. The residents of my city, for the most part, have been extremely good and we were down to 8 recorded cases last week. I know there is potential for local outbreaks but I'm keeping my fingers crossed. It's a new normal for us all. Who would have thought that social distancing and self-isolation would be the buzz words of 2020?

I wanted to explain to you all why I haven't been online to update this website in a fair while. You might not know but I run three websites. Actually, I run two and one was ready to go but never launched.

In October, it has been ten years since I was made redundant and was able to follow my dream to become a full-time author. During this time, I have written 20 books - 18 published and two out later this year.  

But there are now two strands to Mel. Firstly, I write crime thrillers under my own name. Then I write women's fiction under the pen name of Marcie Steele.

I'm happier writing fiction. I love writing fiction. 

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As well, I've been trying to set up a writing advice business. You might have heard me mention Start Write Now before. It was going to be a consultancy business. I was aiming to help writers kick fear's ass and see projects through to the end. I had a new six step plan to finish your first book all lined up. Then I was going to write a series of non-fiction books, launch a writing course, have a Facebook group, a membership club even. It was going to be great!

I thought it was excuse after excuse that was stopping me moving forward with this project, but I've finally come to realise that I don't actually want to start a new business alongside my writing. As well, every time I sit down to write about writing, I really hate it. I even have 40,000 words of a Start Write Now book written. 

I'm happier writing fiction. I love writing fiction. 

After feeling overwhelmed trying to run two lots of social media channels, I find I haven't done a great job of either, and the third one was never even launched. Overwhelm got the better of me and so I hardly did anything.  

So from today I have moved it all to the one base, combining all my social media, websites and newsletters into this one. 

I love social media as I enjoy talking to readers and writers, but it's got to the point where I don't have enough time to do them all - I'd never get my books written!

I'm still in the design process at the moment, but I wanted to tell anyone who follows me on this blog what exactly I'd be doing from today. If you don't wish to get regular blog updates anymore as I refill the site, I have a newsletter that you could sign up to, which I send out around every six weeks. This will give you everything in one hit, plus a chance each month to win a book - either from a guest author, a Mel or a Marcie book. Click on the button below - you can also grab a copy of my latest catalogue (if you're already on my mailing list, you'll be getting a copy of this sent to you.)

My apologies to anyone who follows this blog as there will be an overlap of things you read on the website over the next few weeks as I re-fill the site, and things in the pack below if you choose to download it. But it won't be too long...

And with everything in this career, there are things going on in the background that I just can't talk about yet, but I'll be sure to let you know as soon as I can! 

If you're on Facebook or Twitter, come and follow me. Click on the relevant icons below.

I do hope you'll stick with me on the next part of my journey. It's been an emotional rollercoaster, lots of highs and lows, but I don't think I have ever felt so inspired to continue moving forward. 

Ten years, twenty books and a makeover