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Mslexia: Chasing Dreams Finale

For the last few months I've had the good fortune to be a guest blogger for Mslexia. For those of you who, like me, subscribe to this fantastic magazine and devour the words of wisdom imparted by its talented writers you can imagine what a tremendous honour this has been.

This week sees the publication of the final part of my series. It's charted my experiences from abysmal failure at a school talent contest, through years of stage fright and secret writing dreams, to the realisation that sometimes you just have to take a chance.

Of course the reality is that it's much harder to do than it sounds.

I haven't found the cure for my stage fright, but I have found the strength to battle through it and keep going.

I haven't discovered the secret to getting published, and my novel isn't on the shelves of Waterstones and WHSmiths yet.  But it is sitting in an agents inbox patiently waiting to be read (and hopefully loved), which is a whole lot further than I ever thought it would get when I wrote it in secret.

My song lyrics aren't blaring on the radio, but I was a semi-finalist in the UK Songwriting Contest and I have collaborated with a talented musician who recorded our track 'This House'.  I play our CD from time to time just to remind me that we really did do this.

Taking chances isn't easy and it doesn't always work out the way you want, but the rewards, especially the unexpected ones, make it seem worth it.

I've asked my fellow writers and bloggers to join me in marking this occasion as my final blog post is published. For the next two weeks they will be blogging about music, what it means to them, how it's influenced them, and how it forms part of their lives.

I'll be adding their details here as their blogs go live so do check back and join in as we take a musical blog tour.

And don't forget to keep chasing those dreams.

Participating bloggers:

Morton S Gray : Musical Notes

Morton S. Gray is a writer from Worcestershire, U.K. A member of the Romantic Novelists' Association, she recently graduated from their excellent New Writers' Scheme. Her debut novel, 'Who is Harry Dixon?', is to be published in the Autumn of 2016 by Choc Lit Publishing, after winning their Search for a Star competition in March. Morton writes romance stories with a mystery to solve.

Website and blog

Facebook author page : Morton S. Gray

Twitter : MSGray53

Julia Ibbotson : If Music Be The Food of Love, Play On

Julia Ibbotson writes mainly women's fiction with a historical setting and a strong thread of romance, although it's often 'romance with bite'. She also writes children's fiction for the 9-14 age range. She was a school teacher for 20 years (secondary English and Drama) and is now a senior lecturer at a Midlands university. She loves music and sings in choirs, including a rock choir and a classical choir. Julia wrote her first novel when she was 10 and hasn't stopped since. However the first novel she dared to submit for publication was only 4 years ago. She is currently completing the last book in her Drumbeats trilogy and a new novel called A Shape on the Air, which is a time-slip into the dark ages. All her books are available on Amazon in paperback and e-book formats. Julia writes a blog on her website:

Rhoda Baxter : Do you listen to music when you write? No way!

Rhoda Baxter writes women's fiction for Choc Lit Publishing. Her books walk the line between humour and darkness, which is how she ended up writing a romantic comedy set in a hospice. She believes that laughter is essential to getting you through the horrible bits in life. You can find her wittering on about science, writing and cake on her blog or on twitter (@rhodabaxter).


Book link:

Alison May : In which I muse on musical muses

Alison May is a novelist, short story writer. Her contemporary romantic comedies, including Shakespeare adaptations, Sweet Nothing and Midsummer Dreams, and the Christmas Kisses series, are published by Choc Lit. Alison has been shortlisted in the Love Stories and RoNA Awards. She is also qualified teacher with a degree in Creative Writing and runs novel writing workshops and weekend courses.

You can find out more about Alison at or on Twitter @MsAlisonMay

Nimue Brown : Stage Fright For Authors

Nimue Brown has been singing folk music as an enthusiastic amateur for much of her life, and writing a bit more professionally for more than a decade. Her non-fiction is published by Moon Books, she has several novels with Snowbooks and a graphic novel series coming out with Sloth Comics. She does talks, and workshops at events, and has judged twice for Stroud Short Stories competition.

 You can find her talking and singing at
and blogging at

Christina Philippou : Music to my eyes: On music and writing

Christina Philippou is an author and book blogger. When not reading or writing, she can be found engaging in sport or undertaking some form of nature appreciation. Christina has three passports to go with her three children, but is not a spy. Lost in Static is her first novel, due to be published on 15 September 2016 by Urbane Publications.

Christina is also the founder of Britfic. You can connect with Christina via her blog, Twitter and Facebook.

Jennifer Joyce : Reach for the Stars

Jennifer Joyce is a writer of romantic comedies published by Carina UK (HarperCollins). Jennifer lives in Manchester with her husband and their two daughters, plus Jack Russell, Luna and bunnies Cinnamon and Leah. Her latest novel, The Wedding Date is out now. You can find out more about Jennifer and her books on:




Sally Jenkins : What’s Your Musical Era?

Sally cut her writing teeth on short stories for the women’s magazine market and has also written
several articles for Writers’ Forum magazine and Writing Magazine. She is the author of Kindle Direct Publishing for Absolute Beginners which guides the novice e-publisher to successful publication on Amazon Kindle. Sally Jenkins’ debut psychological thriller, Bedsit Three, was published at the end of 2015. A bedsit tenant disappears, leaving behind the detritus of his life. When he returns, a horror unfolds, sucking in the other residents of the house.


Twitter: @sallyjenkinsuk

Andrew Higgins : Lyrics and Creative Writing (how I learnt to collaborate)

Musician Andrew Higgins is currently working on his first album, and assists others with arrangements, recording and production.

Andrew made 'This House' possible, by transforming the lyrics in my note book into an actual song.

His guest blog gives an insight to using a creative writing course to unblock ideas and help him write lyrics.


Our song: This House :

Chrissie Bradshaw

Chrissie Bradshaw writes contemporary romances and her first novel A JARFUL OF MOONDREAMS is coming out this summer. Her latest blog talks about writing and listening to music. Read Music and Moondreams on She has a Chrissie Bradshaw Author page on Facebook and tweets @Chrissiebeee

Janice Preston : Music: Do You Hear Without Listening?

Janice Preston is an internationally published author of emotionally intense historical romance. A member of the Society of Authors and the Romantic Novelists'' Association, she is an animal lover and a fair-weather gardener who lives in the West Midlands with her husband and two cats.

Wendy Clarke : Waiting in the Wings - a musical inspiration

Wendy lives in West Sussex with her husband, cat and badly behaved dog. She has written around two hundred stories and two serials for national women's magazines and is a regular fiction writer for The People's Friend. She has also written several articles for Writing Magazine. Wendy is a member of the RNA NWS and has just finished her first novel. She has published two collections of short stories, Room in Your Heart and The Last Rose.

My website:

Twitter: WendyClarke99


Emma Davies : Let The Music Play On

Website :

Julie Stock : How Music Inspires Me

Julie Stock is an author of contemporary romance novels, novellas and short stories. She self-published her debut, From Here to Nashville, in February of last year. She blogs about her writing on her website, ‘My Writing Life’ You can also connect with her on Twitter and via her Facebook Author Page. Julie is a proud member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s New Writers’ Scheme. Julie is in the middle of editing her second novel, which she hopes to publish later this year. Debut Novel, ‘From Here to Nashville’ out now:


  1. Elaina, thank you for your lovely blogs on music and for letting me add my blog to mark your finale!

    1. Thank you Julia, and thank you for taking part. I'm loving reading everyone's different interpretations on the theme of music and thoroughly enjoyed your blog on how music features in your novels.


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