Books, Christian Writer, Faith, Lessons from life, Medieval Fiction, New Author, Uncategorized


We’re still packing and shifting, sorting and skip filling, and the date the builders are due to start is getting uncomfortably close. I’m also still trying to keep up with my book marketing and writing. I have written two guest blogs this week; one that will appear on my wonderful publishers’ website later this week, and one for the ICFW (International Christian Fiction Writers) which is due out in April sometime. What a great privilege to be asked to write about my book! I have uploaded the fabulously edited video recording of my Book Launch Party (if you missed it – the link to the video is on my website), and sent a few more signed copies of the book out. But probably the most exciting thing I have done this week is published another book!

I know! How awesome is that? If a bit greedy, I guess, when I have only just launched the first one! But actually this one has been ready to go for some time, and I so wanted it to be out there as a companion book to The Healing. So I am really pleased to announce that THE BELOVED is now also available, and I am over the moon to introduce you to it.

The Beloved is a novella, and a short one at that. Just four chapters. It is a love story, but not your typical romance. Set in the years following the events of The Healing, it does feature some of the same characters, and a similar setting, without giving too much away. This is the blurb I wrote for it:

When love whispers, will the heart respond?

A young woman unsure of herself and not ready to open her heart. A young man sure of his feelings but clumsy in his approach. Both have a lot to learn about the true nature of love. This story takes them on a journey of discovery, which causes them both to come to a place of understanding, that will ultimately alter the direction of their lives. It isn’t only an understanding of human love that needs to touch their souls, but the realisation of the unconditional love that God offers them.

Margam Abbey

 So where did the inspiration come from for the story? I wanted to write a short story to provide a snapshot of the world of The Healing, perhaps to encourage new readers, definitely to satisfy those clamouring for more, and to give me a bit of breathing space to finish the other novel (more on that another time!) Who to base it on? A character barely mentioned in The Healing caught my attention, and they became my person to build a story around. I knew what the person looked like and their character traits already, because of their parentage. And I saw a great deal of myself in them too, as writers often do in their character creations. I knew it was going to be a love story, but I’m not a romance writer, and I didn’t want it to be sloppy or fluffy. I also knew I wanted it to teach spiritual truths, as The Healing does.

Then the idea began to formulate, because again it was based on my own life experience, and the convoluted courtship my now husband and I embarked on many moons ago. The feelings and the frustrations, the questioning and the confusion, as described in the book, are true to life, if the setting and exact events differ somewhat! I will leave it there to not too give much more away. I wrote it some months ago, and then got the manuscript copy edited by the incredible Sheila Jacobs, and a stunning cover designed by David Salmon. The same people who had worked on The Healing were kind enough to invest in The Beloved too. So the two books sit really well together.

I do hope you will get yourself a copy of The Beloved and enjoy reading my little love story. It is currently only available in Kindle format. It is free to download if you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited, and will cost you less than the price of a cup of coffee if not. You will find it here

It is also available on Amazon sites worldwide.

If you do read and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review of the book on Amazon.

I am still taking orders for signed paperback copies of The Healing via my website, where you can also sign up to receive my email newsletter.

The Healing was published by Instant Apostle on 19th March 2021 and is also available on Amazon, in paperback and kindle formats, and from other online book sellers worldwide.


‘A newbies adventures in publishing land’… Part 8


I’m tired. In fact that it an understatement. Exhausted might be a better descriptor. I actually find myself saying ‘I’m tired’ quite often as it is fallout of the condition I live with, and my longsuffering husband is used to hearing it. But this week the tiredness is sitting heavy on me. I have realised that it is just as possible to get stressed and overwhelmed by the good things happening in our lives as it is by the bad. And my life is SO GOOD at present. Don’t get me wrong. Every day – waiting in anticipation for my books to arrive – brings new excitement. It might be the arrival of a stack of padded envelopes to wrap my precious books in, the trickling stream of orders to add to my mailing list, or the lovely comments in response to my writing on social media that are so heart warming. Yesterday my book appeared on Talk about surreal! I’m still pinching myself. Today it was the arrival of the postcards that I had ordered online to help with the publicising of The Healing.

Now that was stressful, ordering and paying for a 1000 postcards, that I had designed myself, without having been able to even see or approve a sample. As the package landed on our doorstep this morning, I admit to hesitating and taking a deep breath before I ventured into the parcel. The relief when I did was immense! I absolutely love the postcards. They are all I wanted them to be. I especially love the fact that when you hold one up it looks like you are holding an actual miniature copy of the book (excellent hand modelling by the previously mentioned longsuffering husband)! I also had a lovely Zoom conversation with a seasoned author this week about how to plan and execute an online book launch. My head is swimming with ideas and I need to get them into some sort of workable plan. I can’t wait to celebrate the publication and public release of the book with you all. And potentially rope some of you in to help…😉

Preparing for the arrival of the physical copies of The Healing, using all the different marketing strategies I am learning, on the hoof, in order to get the book noticed and talked about, keeping up with social media and connecting with helpful people. These things have taken over my life. Other things have been put to one side. I just don’t have the time or energy for them – including the ‘other’ book I am wanting to finish writing. And I am tired. But it is OK. I have learnt over the years that I have lived with tiredness, that there is one thing I cannot do without. And that is going daily to my place of rest. I might have wanted to get up this morning and put all the marketing madness aside, and focus on just writing for the pleasure of it. But I knew that whatever I put aside, I could not put aside reading the Word of God, and sitting in His presence for a while. So I wrote to Him instead, and He listened and spoke back to me through His word. And yet again I knew I would have strength for this day and whatever it held.

You can have your own copy of my beautifully designed postcard for the bargain price of £9 – and that includes postage and packaging, and a free book! How could you resist?!! Message me now to pre-order (not on Amazon or Waterstones– they don’t have the postcards 😉). I will definitely find the energy to add your name to my mailing list! Thank you.


A BOOK FOR THE WEEKEND? : The diary of Isabella M Smugges by Ruth Leigh

One of the newly discovered joys of being an (almost) published author is finding a whole new group of writer friends. One of these is Ruth Leigh. I have only met her virtually, via messenger and zoom, but she, like me, is a woman of a certain age, who for years only dreamed of writing a book. And now, to her delight, her first novel is out, also published by Instant Apostle, those champions of first time Christian writers.

The diary of Isabella M Smugge is hard to put down. I started and finished it in one weekend, in lieu of the ironing pile (but then my iron blew up  – a whole other story – so I had an excuse). The heroine of the title is a woman who seems to have everything any woman could dream of having. Brought up in privilege, money is no issue. She has her rambling Georgian house, with guest wing, swimming pool and gym, set in acres of gorgeous gardens. She has her devilishly handsome, hard working husband and three perfect children. She has her chalet in the alps and her flat in London. She has an au pair, a woman who ‘does’ and a paid gardener. Isabella is fit and attractive and on top of her game when it comes to self care. And most of all, she writes full time, and has been extremely successful, especially with her social media following.

Isabella, as a character, was at first not easy to warm to with her self absorption and seemingly shallow take on life; irritatingly recording every moment of her perfect world with carefully posed photos and half-truth media posts. But Ruth as a writer is witty, funny and engaging. I wanted to read more, because the writing made me smile, and sometimes grimace, and just occasionally laugh out loud. Isabella has just moved from London to a Suffolk village (incidentally, described so well that I was sure I knew some of the inhabitants, despite never having lived in Suffolk!). Many of Isabella’s new neighbours don’t think much of her either and are quick to judge. But she ploughs on regardless, trying to infiltrate village life, if just to maintain her fantasy world with her social media followers. What she finds are people who are genuinely kind, welcoming and supportive. As her perfect life begins to unravel around the edges, relationships are formed that will ultimately become her lifeline.

This book is not all flimsy whimsy. Beneath it all, Isabella is just as vulnerable and prone to hurt as any one of us. Carrying pain from her past and facing heartbreak in her present, Ruth paints Isabella’s character with great insight into the human psyche. Amidst the humorous writing is real pathos. What Isabella really craves is to be loved, even above social media likes (although she isn’t going to abandon her Instagram followers just yet). We can empathise with her in that, and find ourselves rooting for her. Willing her, as her new friends do, to look ultimately to the one true source of unconditional love.

The diary of Isabella M Smugge is a great book and an easy read, but it has an important message. ‘Never judge a book by it’s cover’ is the old adage (but not a good one for new authors, I have been discovering). The bible puts it this way ‘Man looks at the outward appearance but the Lord looks at the heart’ ( 1 Sam 16:7 NKJV), or in the words of Jesus, ‘Judge not, that you be not judged’(Matt 7:1 NKJV). We are all guilty of assuming we know a person by how they appear, and of judging them by our own standards. Beneath the surface we are all the same. People looking for genuine connection, love and empathy. However she may appear, Isabella doesn’t really ‘have it all’ at all.

My one criticism of The diary of Isabella M Smugge? It ends on a cliff -hanger. But then don’t all newly commissioned first drama series do that? So that we cry out for more? I’ll add my voice to that cry. More, Ruth please! My understanding is that Isabella #2 is well and truly in the pipeline. That is good. That is very good.

The diary of Isabella M Smugge is available to buy now direct from the author, and will be available to buy from all good book sources after it’s official publication date of 19th Feb.


‘A newbies adventures in publishing land’… Part 7


Yes! My first novel is going to press! Last week I approved the final version of the text that will appear inside the cover, and this week I received the final design for the whole book jacket. Which I absolutely love. Today the email arrived to say that my book files have been sent to the printers.

To say I am excited is an understatement. It feels now that this is really happening. I am really, truly, going to be a published author, with a real book with an ISBN number, and everything! And my name on the cover! In a few short weeks I will be able to hold that book in my hands, touch it, smell it, prop it up on bookshelf to see how it looks alongside other real books… and start sharing it with other people. *

A couple of weeks ago my daughter and son-in-law presented us with a scan picture of our grandbaby. It is beautiful –  tiny feet and hands perfectly formed, and every sign that Baby M is healthy and growing well. I can see my daughter’s expanding belly and touch it, and talk to and pray for the baby. I can buy baby clothes by the cartload and crochet blankets to my heart’s content. These things bring me great joy, but they are barely a shadow of the feeling I will get when I hold my grandbaby in my arms for the very first time. When I can touch soft skin, smell that sweet baby smell, and shower my grandchild with my love and kisses.

I am waiting for the realisation of two great expectations and there is some correlation. Although of course the safe arrival of a baby is far more important than a little book with my name on the cover! Both are good gifts from a loving God. My book was inspired by Him and His redeeming work in my life. I also know my book is going to look good and read well because of all the work my wonderful publishers Instant Apostle have put into it. Our grandbaby is a gift to our family and I believe to the world. I know the baby is going to be beautiful; fearfully and wonderfully made by our heavenly Father (Psalm 139 : 14). Perfectly designed and expertly put together.

So I am waiting. In great joy and expectation. I will soon hold in my hands the evidence of God’s goodness to me and be able to share my book with readers near and far. I will soon hold in my arms yet greater evidence of His goodness to us and I know my grandbaby will bring joy to so many. I seriously cannot wait! I hope you join me in my joy.

*Because we have gone to print earlier than expected The Healing has a new publication date of 19th March, but pre-publication copies will be available direct from me up to a month before then (from 19th Feb, hopefully). These will be available at a slightly reduced price of £9 (RRP £9.99) including postage, and can be personally signed for you.

Please private message me via my Facebook pages, via my website or via email at joy@margetts if you would like to reserve a copy (or 2!). Thank You!


THE JOYS OF WRITING: The Treasure Man by Joy Vee

I am going to take the opportunity today to recommend a book to you that’s not my own. Joy Vee and I have some things in common. Yes, we share the same first name! Well spotted😊 But beyond that, we are both writers, both wrote our first book last year, and both have had the amazing privilege to be signed for publication by Instant Apostle. We also both love God, love His word and believe that our books are much more than just nice stories. The Treasure Man, like The Healing, carries spiritual truths that are potentially life transforming, and is most definitely God inspired.

The Treasure Man is written for children, but it speaks to all ages. The story centres around Sienna and her two brothers. It is sensitively told, appropriate to the age it is written for and doesn’t gloss over the real- life issues of broken families, single parent struggles, or indeed homelessness. It is through the family’s interaction with a homeless man (known by them as ‘the treasure man’) and the involvement of a godly and fun- loving Sunday school teacher that important lessons are learnt.

How do you think God sees you? Do you believe that you are a treasure in His sight? Do you believe there is treasure to be found in others, whoever they appear to be on the surface?

Do you hear from God? Does He speak to you? How do you know that it is Him speaking? And what do you do with what you have heard?

Do you have child-like faith, and are you prepared to step out and see what God will do with that faith? Do you believe in the power of prayer?

The Treasure Man addresses all these questions and more. It is a beautifully told, engaging story that is hard to put down, but it is also an amazing resource to teach our children, and ourselves, some fundamental truths. The book is written as twenty-four short chapters, and at the end of the book there are questions posed by the author, one for each chapter. It would make a great resource for family devotions, Sunday school classes or holiday clubs, among other things.

The ending of The Treasure Man is truly uplifting. We need the powerful truths this little book explores, both to instruct our children, and to speak to our own hearts, in these times perhaps more than ever before.

God loves us, and thinks we are amazing. God speaks and wants us to hear Him. He can use us to bring transformational change to the lives of others. Even to those who live on the fringes of society and go unnoticed.

The Treasure Man is available online via Amazon or Waterstones, but also direct from the author who can be contacted through her website . She would be delighted to hear from you.


‘A newbies adventures in publishing land’… Part 6


When you are offered a publishing contract, for a brief moment you fantasise that you are the next  J K Rowling, and that there is going to be such a clamour for your book, that you will be able to just sit back and revel in the glow of record sales and film rights offers. The reality is far from that, as most published authors know. A book is like any other product or commodity, however brilliant it may be, it will not sell itself. So as a published author I will have to be prepared to step into the uncomfortable world of self-promotion, or ‘marketing’, to give it’s correct name.

I have had some experience in marketing. For a brief period I was an entrepreneurial small scale chocolate maker. That is, I tempered chocolate and reformed it into bars with flavoured toppings, selling it via our small local craft fair. I did quite well with it. It was chocolate after all! Unfortunately, I think that selling chocolate is probably a mite easier than selling a book. But maybe I could use the same strategies I used then:

  1. Make sure it looks good, tempting even, wrapped with care and labelled appropriately
  2. Try it out on friends and family first and listen to their views
  3. Get it to where people can see it and buy it easily
  4. Talk about it and encourage other people to talk about it
  5. Offer people a taste!

On a very basic level I think it might be possible to market my book in similar ways:

  1. The cover design is great and Instant Apostle will ensure my book is produced to a highly professional standard. It will look and feel good. The blurb and endorsements on the outside accurately describe what is inside.
  2. The views of family, friends, editors and reviewers have been invaluable in the process of producing this book. The quality of the final product is going to be due to in no small part to them.
  3. A website has been launched (self taught and painful at times!) through which the book will be available to buy. Likewise I can use interactive social media pages, groups, posts and this blog to publicise my book… some of you will be sick of reading about the The Healing before you have a chance to actually read it! I have other ideas to help people see the book– ideas currently in infancy. Placement in bookshops and online is down to my wonderful publishers and their sales and marketing contacts. The best sales people, potentially, will be my readers – who hopefully will talk about the book and sell it to others.
  4. See above!
  5. I can’t wait to give you a taster… and I will… very soon! Watch this space!

 I am incredibly grateful to Wendy H Jones and her box of tricks which is her book ‘Marketing Matters’. It has really helped me to strategize my marketing efforts. So if all of this it seems a bit much. If I am harping on about my book and it is getting annoying. I’m sorry. I’m sorry it’s not chocolate. But I think my book will actually do you much more good than chocolate. In the long run anyway! And I’d love you to give it a go.


‘A newbies adventures in publishing land’… Part 5


Find people to endorse you book. Sounds easy enough. Ask people to read your book, the one you still can’t quite believe is good enough to be published, and tell them that their name, and anything they say, will be in print… so they had better love it!

Panic set it briefly. ‘I know no-one!’ I cried in desperation. Which was blatantly untrue. But was true insomuch as I knew no-one famous, not personally anyway. No celebrity, or person with a notable title. So I did, what I had discovered best to do, and prayed. One by one, names came to mind. Not high fliers, necessarily, but genuine men and women of God that had wisdom and influence. Some were close friends, and they were easy to ask. Others were more acquaintances, but I bit the bullet, and was amazed when they agreed. Even thanking me for asking them! Once more, God did more than I could ask or think, and I was astounded by His ways.

Gallery view of Gauguin and the Impressionists at the Royal Academy of Arts. Photo: © David Parry/ Royal Academy of Arts

I sent off the manuscript, the copy edited one, and waited nervously. When you write, it is like producing any kind of creative art. Waiting for those endorsements felt like it must feel to any artist the first time their work goes on public display. That project that you have poured yourself into, that carries your heart, now exposed to the critical inspection of others. Your work is precious to you, and a large part of you might want to keep it protected, but creative work is supposed to be shared. To inspire and bring joy to others, to celebrate the artist’s talents, and ultimately to give glory to the Creator Himself, the source of all creativity. I knew that once I had signed the publishing contract that The Healing was no longer just mine. Sending it to those select readers took courage, and I steeled myself, humanly hoping for approval, aware there might be criticism, praying most of all that they would be blessed by it, and God honoured.

Before I knew it the endorsements came trickling in. The first brought me to tears in it’s simple description of the story and it’s praise for my writing. And this was from another author, a seasoned one, with more that 45 books to her name. It was so humbling, and so encouraging at the same time. What blessed me most was as the endorsements came in, each was so different. Each picked up on a different aspect of the book that had impacted them. I was so blessed by their heartfelt responses. So thrilled that this little work of mine was already being enjoyed. So thankful to God for His hand in it all.

I genuinely loved all the reviews that I received, but this one has a special meaning, because it absolutely describes the legacy I want my little piece of creative art to leave;

‘What a great book. An engaging story set in a realistic historical context. If you thought living a life of faith was about following a set of cold, joyless rules, have a read of this. Take a look at Philip’s life and journey with him out of the shadows into the radiance of healing grace. Impossible to read without encountering hope.’


‘A newbies adventures in publishing land’… Part 4

The Cover

‘The exciting first stage in getting the book out there is finalising a cover design,’ the publishers told me. I was excited. I could picture it in my head; could see just how my book would look displayed on the book shop shelves. I shared my thoughts and ideas with them and then waited in great anticipation for the design to arrive. How would my darling appear dressed, I wondered? I felt sure it would look just as I had imagined.

When the first design appeared it was so unlike what I had imagined, it was a shock. It was like I had sent my daughter off to the hairdressers, with her long golden curls, and she had come back with her hair cropped stylishly short and dyed pink!  But despite the shock  I realised that if she had done that, then a hairstyle change would not change the fact that she was still my daughter (thankfully my daughter never did that to me!) She might look a bit different, but maybe her look needed to be different? So I put myself back into the hands of the hairdressers – sorry – publishers again. With a little negotiation, and a lot of patience on the designer’s part, the cover began to look a little more like the book I had imagined, but not completely: the hair had grown out and the pink faded slightly, but it was a more modern and grown up look than what I had pictured in my mind, and it was good. Of course my book has nothing to do with hairstyles, unless you include monk’s tonsures! It is a historical tale set in medieval times, but it still had to appeal to a modern market. The more I looked at that cover, and the more I used the image, the more I loved it. It is the right look for my book, the right feel, and beautifully designed. It reflects what is going to be inside that cover, and I have had many, many positive comments. I can’t imagine my book looking any different now… which is just as well!

I was learning more and more that the publishing process was an exercise in relinquishing control, in being prepared to put my trust in those who knew better than I did, those who had the knowledge and experience that I didn’t have. I guess that is a life lesson we all need to take on board, daily. That actually if we trust the ONE who knows better than we do, and are prepared to relinquish our control, to give Him our dreams and plans, then He will unfailingly reward us with better than we could ever think or imagine. (Ephesians 3:20)


20/20 Vision

For much of my life I have been blessed with 20/20 vision. It’s only recently that reading glasses have become my constant companion. I find that I need them all the time, especially now that writing is so much more part of my life. So frustrating at times – I even need them when food shopping, if I have any chance of reading ingredients labels…

So today is New Year’s Day and 2020 is over. For many that is cause for celebration. There is no doubt it has been a strange, unprecedented year, and extremely difficult for many. It has not been a terrible year for me, personally (In fact 2013 was much worse!) There have been difficult things – family weddings and gatherings missed, not being able to give hugs or have friends over, missing live worship, seeing friends and loved ones suffer. But there has been so much good too. More quality time with God, more quality time with my husband (who no longer has to travel two hours a day for work) and more time to write. During 2020 God gifted me with a publishing contract, and gifted our family with an expectant first grandchild. In the same year my son finally got his first full-time job three years after graduating. I am full of thankfulness for the many blessings God brought our way this last year, but I do appreciate that for very many people 2020 has been just awful. And my heart goes out to them. I pray, as we all do, that 2021 will be a better year in every way.

Every year at New Year I get excited. I love new things, and the new hope that the start of a new year brings. I like to ask God what He has for us, a word or a promise for the New Year. Last year He was strangely quiet – I think I understand now why, but like many I made the connection between 2020 and 20/20 vision. I prayed to SEE Him more clearly and SEE things from His perspective. God is the only One with true perfect vision, He is the only one who sees things as they really are. Having heavenly 20/20 vision might look like being able to see the bigger picture, and choosing to hope, knowing that His promises are true, and all that things will work together for our good (Rom 8:28). Or it might look like being able to see God’s blessings even in the most difficult times. Learning to see things from God’s perspective definitely enables us to get through the most difficult of times.

And what did God say to me about 2021? Simple. ‘Walk with me’ is all He said. I don’t have to see the path ahead, I only have to keep my eyes on Him. My prayer for 2021 is the same as it was for 2020 – for 20/20 vision. To have the ability to see more clearly, to see what God is doing, to see things from His perspective, to see the blessings. And most of all to see Him more clearly.



Snow on the Mountains

I awoke today to this glorious view from my window. The sun was high in an almost clear blue sky and the mountains were topped in crisp white snow. The air was cool and fresh, and last night’s howling wind and driving rain were long forgotten. I flung the windows wide to air the house, and stood outside with Monty to breathe deep. It was soul food. Beautiful. And cold!

It is a strange time between Christmas and New Year, but much, much more so for me this year. It is quiet, eerily so, as a result of the imposed lockdown that many of us are enduring. Christmas day for us was not far different from normal, except perhaps missing seeing my friends in person at church, and hugging and sharing Christmas goodies. We saw our close family and ate together, and exchanged gifts, love and laughter. But then Boxing Day came and things suddenly felt very flat. On another day where we traditionally see family – often the wider family, to see no-one except my husband and the dog felt strange. Quiet. Wrong. It felt like Christmas was over, and all too soon. I struggled with that.

The snow on the mountains is something we look forward to seeing every year around this time. Being coastal we rarely see snow on the ground, but seeing it on the mountains is a real joy. All the beauty of winter without the sludge, ice and slippery disruption. It reminded me today that although the world might feel like it is in uproar, actually the changing of the seasons, and the beauty creation displays as those seasons change, carries on regardless. It is not affected by the virus, Brexit politics or the media. For me this speaks to my heart of God’s unchanging character and faithfulness. His love and mercy, provision and guidance, peace and joy, are not affected by the events affecting humanity. He is our constant. Always there for us to go to, to recentre ourselves and breathe deep of His life giving presence.

And He so loves to send us daily reminders of His faithfulness in the way of unexpected love gifts. Today that was the encouraging email from a friend, the invitation to join an online quiz, the photo of a friend’s new puppy, and – to top it all, snow on the mountains.