A Message from Middle Earth/Looking for Freelance Work

I’m Amanda, a self-motivated wordsmith hailing from the realm of Middle-Earth. (Well, I live in Manchester in the UK, but I’m originally from Yorkshire, which almost sounds like The Shire, right?) With a fiery passion for crafting enchanting tales, I have embarked on many a quest to weave captivating content. My illustrious chronicles bear witness to the realms of marketing, media, and publishing, where I have triumphed in delivering only the finest of compositions.

In my time as a freelance writer, I traversed the vast landscapes of creativity, collaborating with a diverse fellowship of clients, such as Marketing Signals, Influence & Co, and Contentoo, among others. Together, we forged a plethora of literary treasures, spanning the realms of blog posts, articles, website scrolls, and the very runes of social media. (In other words, I wrote content for clients such as Wicked Uncle, Compass Real Estate, PCS Pro, and so many others.) Moreover, I possess the arcane wisdom of a ghostwriter, having studied and gained a certificate for inscribing numerous tomes across genres, as diverse as the races of Middle-Earth.

Behold, for I also wield the power of an astute editor and a vigilant proofreader, endowed with eyes sharper than an elf’s sight. I have another certificate to prove this. My discerning gaze pierces through the veil of errors and inconsistencies, ensuring your content shall be polished to the brilliance of an Elven star.

Should you seek a minstrel (no, not the chocolate) who can breathe life into your brand, verily, I am the chosen one. Yet, do not mistake me for a solitary bard, for I am open to venturing into diverse realms of creation. Require sagas for your e-commerce emporium? I shall pen them with the grandeur of Gondolin. Longing for ballads to resonate within the halls of your scholarly institutions? Fear not, for I shall craft them with the grace of Rivendell. Or perchance, thou desirest lyrical verses for the noble causes of a non-profit? Such a task is but a trifle (no, not the edible kind, but I am getting hungry now), as the quill dances with elven grace in my hands. And let us not overlook the valorous art of copywriting for grand marketing campaigns, wherein my words shall be akin to a shining beacon, guiding customers from realms near and far.

Should you deem my craft worthy of your aspirations, do not hesitate to summon me, or maybe just send a message. I eagerly await our parley, for your writing desires shall be heard and heeded.

As a token of my prowess, here stand the chronicles of my past by-lined accomplishments (ghost-written examples can also be provided on request):

By the light of the Evenstar, I pledge to aid thee in crafting content that shall enthral thy audience and guide thy noble endeavours toward triumph. May the winds of creativity carry my message to thee, and may our destinies intertwine in the realms of storytelling.

(In simpler terms, let me know if you want to work with me.)

Thine servant (or freelance writer), Amanda


Why I Started an Online Workshop

When I started my Creative Writing MA in 2017, I never considered teaching the subject to anyone, but now I’ve set up an online workshop. Like most people in lockdown, especially those involved in the arts, my work dried up this year, along with my book sales. If I had a regular job to fall back on, it wouldn’t have been an issue, but I had just taken the plunge from making a part-time income — to being a full-time writer, and everything else which goes with that. Only a small part of it actually involves writing.

Anyway, while trying to get copywriting jobs and similar work to replace the freelance jobs I lost, I tried all kinds of things. I’m probably busier now than if I just had a full-time job. I read submissions for an online press, write book reviews for a blog and have just spent six months putting together a charity anthology with poetry, fiction and non-fiction from 43 different writers. All of that is unpaid though and doesn’t help to put the beans on toast on the table. So, I tried to come up with ways to earn money. In line with how I like to help and encourage other writers, (I often promote indie writers on my book review podcast) I set up the paid writing workshop. I had been attending a free writing workshop, which my partner runs on Zoom. This is just a small group of writers who are all very supportive and encouraging.

I decided to do something on a larger scale. I talked to my partner Andy and he agreed. We set up the ticket sales on Eventbrite and are charging just £1.67 per person, with up to 100 places available. If you’re wondering, the 67p is the Eventbrite fee. After receiving so many emails offering online workshops that sounded great, it’s been disappointing to click the link and find out they are charging anything from £30 to £300. With the combined experience Andy and I have, £1.67 a session is a bargain. We can help other writers with this workshop, and still make a little money ourselves, to recover some of our lost household income during lockdown. Obviously, I’ve never attended any of the expensive courses I just mentioned. Our paid workshop will be less intimate than the free one, because there will be more people and the sole focus will be on writing, without our usual chatter and joking in-between. Maybe the pricier workshops have fewer participants who are given more individual attention. Whether that is worth the price they are asking, I can’t say.

If you would like to try our very low priced workshop, you can judge for yourself. We are open to all levels of writers from anywhere in the world. However, please note the next one is at 3pm (GMT) on 14th November. If you’re attending from outside the UK, this will be different and it’s up to you to work out the time difference.

Sign up here

A Piece of “Erotic Fiction” I Wrote





I recently had a rejection – nothing new there then. However, this was different to my other rejections. It contained feedback.. Apparently, my writing wasn’t erotic enough to arouse readers. I was going for something more subtle and intense. It reminded me that I did write an erotic story a few years ago though. This was around the time I first got a Kindle and read a lot of free books about werebears (don’t ask). These always ended up with the female lead and the male lead getting together, even though the woman would resist at first, but the guy just wouldn’t take no for an answer. The “erotic” scenes were well over the top and bordering on abuse in some cases. So, I wrote an erotic story, to make fun of this. I then ended up going back over some of it and replacing some words with names of Pokémon, because … why not?


I’ve shared an extract below.


I will have to fight to determine whether the world ends or not. Now we’ve met, I realise it’s only a matter of time before the Pokémon battle begins. Although I’m far too distracted by the unfamiliar ache between my legs, as I look down and see an enormous Haunter has appeared.

I quickly spin around and look out of the window feigning an interest in the sky, as I try to prevent the demon from seeing my Electrode. It’s not like I don’t know what an Electrode is, it’s just never happened to me before. My Snorax shouldn’t be reacting this way, especially not to a demon. She walks around me, placing herself between me and the window.

‘My name is Angel,’ she tells me. Her tongue seems to flick in and out of her mouth with each word, and I’m already starting to imagine what else she could do with that tongue. If I was to lose control of myself, I could plunge my own tongue into her mouth and let her taste me, or I could just unzip my trousers and plunge my Haunter into her mouth, until the intense Bulbasaur begins to cease. I shake my head, even as my hand reaches down and rubs against the fabric of my trousers. She grins and I grab my hand with the other, as though it’s not part of me anymore, but now has a mind of it’s own.

I guess she had the same idea as me with choosing her name, and I can’t help but smirk.

‘Damien,’ I manage to say.

‘So the boss says I have to help you in any way you require.’ Her eyes fall to my lustful Alakazam.

‘What?’ I ask, my mind a haze of confusion.

She kneels down in front of me and runs her fingers lightly across the outline of my Pikachu, through the fabric of my ever-tightening suit trousers. They’re going to burst open in a minute if she keeps doing that. I involuntarily thrust my hips towards her. It seems like a battle just to force myself to stop moving. I sit down and cross my legs, hoping that will help. I wish I hadn’t. As an angel I can tolerate a lot of pain, but this is intense.

‘We can’t … we’re not meant to …’ I try to talk, but my mouth refuses to form whole sentences.

‘Then stop me,’ she taunts, before grabbing hold of my right leg and forcefully uncrossing my legs, then burying her head between my legs. She licks and sucks my throbbing Charmander, still through the fabric, but it feels like it’s continuing to get harder and bigger, possibly like it’s evolving and going to force its way into her mouth any second now and there’s nothing I can do to stop my Pokeballs from escaping.



If you fancy listening to someone read it out, you can HERE. This was before I started reading in public. These days, I’d probably just read it myself.


If you want to be a writer, accept you will fail before you succeed

success and failure

The thing about looking at successful writers, or successful people in any field, is they rarely make the headlines or show up on your radar until they’ve made it. This makes them hard to relate to or compare yourself against.

Accepting failure before it happens doesn’t mean giving up or being pessimistic. You can prepare yourself for the silent audience, bad review or unsold book if you accept that at some point it will happen. Think of it as a lesson learnt and something to tick off your list.

The people you look up to, even the ones who aren’t famous but seem to have carved out a market for themselves and are making a success out of doing what they love; they rarely share posts or images of their failures.

I’ve read a few success stories where people just seem to have stumbled into becoming a popular Instagram poet, landing a publishing deal or whatever else. These are either the few exceptions, or they’re not telling you about the time they spent in obscurity and all the rejections they received before that. It gives everyone else an unrealistic image of what success looks like. “Overnight success” usually takes years to achieve.

I’m nowhere near being a successful anything, although I’ve had a few small successes and close calls; such as having a few books accepted by published, almost carving out a full-time career as a copywriter, an almost promising self-published book and a few shorter pieces accepted for paid publication. So, I’m going to share some of my failures and disappointments, to show you that all (or most) of us have them.


Getting published

I had two books accepted for publications in a relatively short space of time. The first went horribly wrong. I was amongst the many authors who never received their royalties before the publisher shut down. The second publisher had better intentions, but is close to shutting its doors as I write this.


Making a living from writing

After trying to make a living for my books, I became a freelance copywriter. It wasn’t ideal, having to write to a set of criteria on subjects I wouldn’t have chosen myself, but I adapted to it. I was given a paid ghostwriter trial for a fiction book and some other freelance writing, and things were starting to build up. Then there was a pandemic and much of my work dried up. Of course the virus is extremely serious and has taken many lives, so I’m glad to be alive, but it doesn’t change the disappointment I felt at getting so close to the dream of making a full-time living as a writer, even if it wasn’t the type of writing I ideally wanted to do.



My years of self-publishing and my two failed publishers taught me a lot, so I used that knowledge to publish and promote my recent novel Ghost of Me. I had pre-orders and reviews (from advance reader copies) before the release date and it all looked promising. Sales dried up quickly when the virus spread and so my book was (understandably) forgotten as people had more important things to think about.


Other failures

Where do I start? There have been so many. These include bad reviews, (some deserved and others from internet trolls and bullies) reading out work to an unresponsive audience (the poems were too subtle for them and they preferred something more direct – it happens, so move on) and trying to build up awareness of my books by running giveaways online. I’ve run a few competitions with few or no entrants. It can be a real awakening when you realise you can’t even give away copies of your own book.


Why do I keep going?

After re-reading that last part I’m asking myself the same question, but I’ve had some successes, however small. I had two publishers who thought my books were worth publishing. Okay, so one of them stole the royalties, but they must have thought they could get enough money from it to be worth their time and effort.

I’ve also had several pieces of writing published (and paid for) even before I started copywriting. I’ve also had some great feedback from the copywriting projects I’ve worked on. Last year, the magazine I created (which I’m sadly putting together the last issue for) was given a place performing poetry at The Festival of Manchester. I could probably mention a few more successes, but this blog post isn’t for me to brag. My point is you keep going by remembering the successes. They may happen less than the failures, but they also mean more when they do happen.


Finding Creativity During Lockdown


I’m not going to claim it’s easy being creative during lockdown. There are the distractions of constant updates coming through on social media and through my phone; more deaths, more government negligence … the list goes on.

However, it helps to look back at what you have done during this time and that is what I’m doing here. At the start of lockdown, I was panicking over losing at least 80% of my paid work, not been eligible for any benefits or grants and generally worrying about my basic survival. Those are big enough distractions, even without the pandemic and lockdown going on in the background.

This morning I found out the audio book version of my novel “Not Human” had gone online. To be fair, I didn’t do much work on this during lockdown. Most of the work was done before and it was a case of waiting for the files to be approved and to be sent to the online retailers. I’m still counting it as an achievement though, especially as it’s my first audiobook.

While I was waiting for this to be approved, I began working with a talented narrator from Canada to adapt my “Ghost of Me” book. I’m now working with her on the changes for that and hopefully, it should be available to buy within the next few months.

Once I accepted that panicking about financial matters wouldn’t improve them, I went back to an unfinished project and completed it, as part of a challenge set by a Facebook Group I’m in. The project was a choose your own adventure book about a writer who does everything wrong. It pokes fun at things that some writers do wrong and at the publishing and book promotion process in general. Working to complete it by a set date, gave me something to focus on and I enjoyed putting it together and creating the images to go with it.

As I usually do NaPoWriMo in April, I decided not to change that this year. Predictably, over half of the poems were about lockdown either directly or indirectly. I applied to a project, pitching the idea of a chapbook of lockdown related poems. While they haven’t sent me a rejection yet, I plan to self-publish the book later this month if they turn me down. I hope it will help others and they will be able to relate to at least some of it.

So, during lockdown I’ve brought out an audiobook, have another of the way and have short booklets coming out. It’s not so bad when I think of it that way. I’m not suggesting anyone starts and/or completes several projects during lockdown, but having at least one project to focus on might help. Even spending half an hour a day on something can quickly build up over time and before you know it, you’ll have a finished piece of work, or at least the solid start of something. It’s not easy, but trying to create something is much better than getting stressed about things you have no control over. I’ve started using a mindfulness app and listening to Forrest sounds on Spotify. Find whatever helps you feel less stressed and overwhelmed by everything.



Please see the links below (which will be added as they become available) if any of my books I’ve mentioned interest you.


Not Human – Audible link

(Also available on Amazon and iTunes)


You can get a free digital copy of How to Write Wrong: A Choose Your own Adventure Story, from Booksprout in exchange for a honest review. You can be also pre-order a copy on Kindle for just 79p.

Always Darkest Before Dawn: A Collection of Poems from Lockdown can be pre-ordered on Kindle for just 80p

Online Dating has Become More Socially Acceptable

man using laptop on table against white background

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

There was a time when many people perceived online dating as something to be ashamed of. Despite meeting my last long-term partner on a dating website, it was something I rarely told people about. My then partner seemed so adamant that we make up a story about how we met. So, the embarrassment then rubbed off onto me and made me more determined not to admit to using a website to find someone.

Fortunately, more and more people now meet their significant other this way and are more comfortable talking about it. Where once, someone might lie about where they were going and who with, today they can be more open with friends and family. This is great for so many reasons, including safety.

Back before I met my current partner (also through online dating) it helped that I felt comfortable telling family I was meeting someone I had been talking to on a dating website. If I could tell them where I was going, that made it safer for if something went wrong and helped me to feel more relaxed for the whole process. I think this is a worry for many people, about who they are meeting. Reported news when dates gone wrong always exacerbates this. The same can be said about dating someone you meet in a bar or anywhere else though. In fact, if you’re careful you might avoid ever meeting some of the more unsuitable people face-to-face.

So, what are the benefits of meeting someone online?

Using how I met my current partner as an example; I was looking for a long-term relationship. So was he. This where it’s important to be honest, rather than saying what you think people want to hear. The site gave us the option to put this on our profiles.

We also shared common interests. That’s why it’s a good idea to talk about what you enjoy doing, in your profile. Empty profiles give nothing for the person reading it to go on. Most people, particularly those who are looking for something more long-term, will move on, assuming you hope to sell yourself with just a photo rather than your personality, which only suggests a short-term attraction.

We exchanged messages before meeting up, which helped us to learn about each other, obviously enough to want to meet.

More and more people are using local websites such as Isle Of Man Dating Site (or those local to wherever they live) to find someone nearby who they may not have met otherwise.

Meeting someone on a night out is more random and less likely to result in finding someone with the same interests, outlook on life etc.

Meeting online give you a glimpse of what someone is like before deciding whether to send a message and also makes rejection much easier when (inevitably) some people don’t reply.

For me, after years of being single, online dating helped me to meet the right person who fitted in with my life while I fitted in with his.

I doubt I would have accomplished so much of what I wanted to do, if I had dated someone who didn’t share the same ambitions, or at least understand them.

A warning to anyone looking for work

Sorry to anyone who is reading part of this for the second time, but I felt it was important to share and add an update.

After applying for a job through Indeed, I was invited to a job interview and told a company name and street, which matched a genuine company, then given a completely different address for the interview. Google showed it as a residential address.

I didn’t show up for the interview, finding this unnerving. I doubted it was even the company it stated to be. Within six minutes of the interview time I received a text message asking if I was on my way. It seemed odd that they wouldn’t call, unless they weren’t who they were claiming to be. Maybe my writer’s brain was over-reacting a little when it imagined a person or people lying in wait; plastic sheets laid out on the floor (like in Dexter). It is worrying all the same though, whatever their motives were.

I contacted Indeed. They looked into it and confirmed it was suspicious. The same day I received this reply, the company (or whoever they are) was allowed to post another job ad. This tells me the guy who emailed me from Indeed was just trying to appease me by saying what he thought I wanted to hear,

It concerns me that (as someone pointed out) people seem to think websites like Indeed run checks before allowing adverts onto the website.

It’s not about people being stupid. They might just trust that Indeed (and others) are doing what they are expected to do.

Next time the job-seeker might not be so lucky.

So, if you are looking for work and are offered an interview, check everything out beforehand and if anything at all seems off, trust yourself rather than any job website.

Creating LGBT Characters Without Writing Erotica

(I originally posted this article on Medium.)

lgbt article pic

When I set out to write my YA novel (First Charge) I had two reasons for wanting to create my fifteen-year-old main character as a lesbian. I wanted to make it clear there was no chance of her becoming romantically involved with the secondary character, Theo. Their relationship resembles that of a brother and sister.

The other reason was, I haven’t come across many positive LGBT role models in books. The books I’ve seen — or in some cases subjected myself to read — all insist on having explicit sex scenes in them. Yet books about straight characters aren’t always like this. So why do authors seem to do this? I’m sure some books are out there to prove me wrong, but I’ve struggled to find them. I’m happy for people to tell me about them in the comments section.

People’s eyes light up when I say I’ve written a book about a lesbian mermaid and they seem disappointed when they find out it’s not what they think. I’ve been asked how Meredith knows she’s a lesbian if she doesn’t hook up with girls — that’s the polite version of the question. The simple answer is, because she’s attracted to girls.

Anyway, my character is fifteen in the first book, so this was never going to be erotica. She’s unsure about her destiny to save the world. Part of her enjoys being different (and her mermaid ancestry) but another part of her wishes she could live a normal life. The thing I wanted to do when writing Meredith was for her to feel confident about her sexuality; although relationships aren’t a priority for her and she’s conflicted in other parts of her life instead.

Without giving too much away, she does meet someone, but I didn’t write any explicit scenes. Even with the character of Theo, who sleeps around with a lot of women, I hinted rather than showing this. The reason for even including that was to demonstrate how he separates himself from people and doesn’t show his true self. He’s a shapeshifter descendant with the ability to change appearance.

I may have overdone it on the violence instead, but when you’re fighting people from an evil organisation who want to let half the population die, there will be some bloodshed. It’s essential to the story. The plot can cope without unnecessary X-rated scenes though.


Amanda Steel is the author of First Charge.

A list of links to buy the book can be found HERE

Here is my interview with Amanda Steel


Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.


Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name.

Amanda Steel

What is your age?


Fiona: Where are you from?

Manchester, UK

Fiona: A little about your self (ie,  your education, family life, etc.).

I left school before without taking my exams, but returned to education in my early thirties when I signed up to do my degree through The Open University. I’m now studying towards my Masters degree in Creative Writing

Fiona: Tell us your latest news.

My book “While I was Gone” has been published on Kindle and in paperback.

Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I’ve always written since I was child. I used to write short stories and as a teenager, I wrote depressing song lyrics for the band I was in. It didn’t work out…

View original post 1,140 more words