10 Motivational Quotes from Walt Disney To Get You To Happily Ever After (AKA Published)

This week I did something insane. Something I never thought would actually happen. Something I was pretty sure by the end the odds were never going to be in my favour for.

I published my debut novel!!!

White as Snow is officially on sale on Kindle and I can officially call myself a published author. In many ways, I just hit Happily Ever After. If this was a Disney movie, this is where the prince and princess would ride off into the distance as we fade out to credits while some Disney starlet we’ve never really heard of attempts to re-sing the signature song.

But I won’t lie. There have been days (months, nah scratch that, years) that I thought this day would never come. This book has been ten years in development. It has had four complete rewrites, most of the characters have changed name at least once, it even had a genre swap at one point – and let’s not even get into the sheer number of drafting and editing versions it went through. And on the days when I hit my low points, I needed all the motivation I could get.

Finally seeing the word “LIVE” on my Amazon bookshelf filled me with a mix of emotions. Ecstasy. Disbelief. Oh-My-God-What-Have-I-Done. But most of all, I felt pride. I felt a sense of sheer accomplishment. Even if the whole world hates it. Even if I never sell so much as a single copy. It is mine. I did it. It’s been a hell of a journey and I survived. I saw Happily Ever After and I did not stop fighting dragons until I got there. I might be bruised and scared, but I’ll tell you something, it was 1000% worth it.

Therefore it seemed only apt on the eve of my first great step into authordom and given my novel is indeed a fairytale retelling, that I turn to the Godfather of them All. The Master of Magic and the Man who proved Happily Ever After is out there for anyone willing to fight for it – Mr Walt Disney.

Disney is a huge part of what made me the writer I am. There is no doubt that my fascination with fairytales and all things magical came from a steady childhood diet of the best of the Mouse. And as I grew older, and came to appreciate things beyond pretty princesses and catchy tunes, I came too to admire the sheer craft of his unique ability to bring such startling storytelling from those around him.

In a very personal sense, his imagining (namely Walt Disney World Florida) is also to thank for me having the courage to pick this project up and take it from the (awful) story it was back then and turn it into the (I’m pretty proud of it) novel it is today. In my second year at Uni, I had the fortune of working in Orlando for three months in Magic Kingdom. I left the UK that summer just another graduate resigned on her path to a nice sensible little job in an office to pay the bills who didn’t even give her writing a second chance. I came back three months later a writer. A lot of that was to do with the amazing people I met out there but some of it was also about being inside one man’s dream. Though I always did find it heartbreaking he died before it opened. I remember sitting that day in induction training at the University of Disney (because yes there is such a thing – I have a diploma and everything) and thinking how terribly sad it would be for your dream to come true and you never knew it.

His background too, is inspiring. This is a man who came from nothing. The boy who used to do the paper round in worn out shoes in the snow. He was told time and time again that it wouldn’t happen. To give up on his dream.

But he never did.

Sometimes (when I really want to depress myself) I think about what the world might have been like if Disney had listened to the naysayers. If he had just thrown his hands up and gone “screw it” and given up on his little mouse. Whatever you may think of Walt (because trust me I know he wasn’t all candy floss and chalk paintings), his determination is one to be admired.

So here are my favourite Disney quotes – the words of wisdom that have kept me on track this past decade and remind all of us, no matter where we are in our journeys, that Happily Ever After is out there – we just have to keep fighting.

1. THE gentle reminder that imagination is not something only for children

Disney Quote2. the PEP talk we all need to hear every once in a whileDisney Quote

3. THE “Chill It’s not as bad as you think it is” Motto


4. THE remember why we do this in the first place reminder

5. THE “Anything is Possible” BOOST




7. THE “Get on with it” prompt


8. THE “BELieve in yourself” vote of confidence


Important to remember when you are staring at your draft in week three hundred and twenty-one and despairing.

9. THE disney equivalent of “if it doesn’t scare you, you aren’t doing it right”

Disney Quote

And the moral of the story. I am scared witless if I’m complete honest about the next phase of the journey I’m on. To use another old adage, we create our own luck. Happily Ever After isn’t an accident, it’s the result of years and years of hard toil, pain and tears. Never ever let it be said that writers aren’t courageous.

10. the Tribute

Finally, not a quote but I watched this documentary years ago and this final two minutes will always stick in my mind. I’d like to think Walt is out there somewhere and he can see that the vision that started as one man’s dream, is now one shared by the world.


All that is left to say is…

Have a Magical Day!!



Geek Out! Rowling and Watson

For those of you who share my obsession with young Mr Potter, here’s the link to the much talked about interview between Emma Watson and JK Rowling. Having read it, I understand more what she is saying. Still can’t decide if I’m excited about or dreading the Fantastical Beasts movie… I guess only time will tell…

Watson/Rowling Interview

Writers Corner: Harry Potter, Fantastical Beasts and the Inevitability of Icebergs

Bear with me, I promise there is logic to my madness, as random and unrelated as my title choice may seem. This post comes in response to the announcement by JK Rowling that she will be once again re-entering her world of Harry Potter, witchcraft and wizardry for the silver screen. Here’s the official statement from her on her website http://www.jkrowling.com/en_GB/#/news-events/latest/jk-rowlings-statement-regarding-her-screenwriting-debut. Long story short, it will be a screenplay, written by the author, based on the (fictional) book Fantastical Beasts and Where To Find Them and it’s author Newt Salamander. I actually own this book, having purchased it when it was made available as part of a charity effort which means I was quite surprised at this announcement. This was for two real reasons.

Firstly, I found FBAWTFT a fun read but only because of Harry’s scrawls beside all of the different entries. The information itself was not much more than could have been gleaned off a Wikipedia search of each creature as a lot of Rowling’s creatures are already established mythological creatures which just personal tweaks. Now, being a Harry Potter geek, I know that Rowling’s world is much bigger than is ever shown in the main series, as illustrated in any interview with her, or indeed all her exclusive material on Pottermore. However, I can’t help but wonder if Salamander will have the same appeal Harry did. She’s going to have to go some to make us actually care about a character that, at the end of the day, was just an empty name to most readers (albeit a brilliant tongue-in-cheek name). It seems the sort of thing that would prove to be a fantastic short. A twenty minute film on Pottermore perhaps when you unlock the book but I’m dubious as to its full length potential.

Secondly, I know a lot of reports have said fans are very excited that Rowling is stepping back into the world, there having been a lot of calls for her to do so. However, I’m pretty sure few would have called this one. I love her world as much as the next person but there is still going to be a call for Hogwarts (though Salamander does eventually become Head Master of the school), Dumbledore (perhaps in his younger days), Quidditch and all the fun things that made the world fall in love with her work in the first place. I guess my point is, this isn’t the story that would have been top of my list. Just read some fanfiction to see what I mean. I would have loved a movie exploring the original gang (Mooney, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs) and how they met and James/Snape/Lily story. Or the one that always bugged me the Lupin/Tonks story. When or how did they end up together, married and with child? Or, of course, the most popular of all, the story of the offspring… the next generation… so I guess my point is, this may not prove to be what fans are expecting.

Which brings me to Icebergs.

Every series, if you ask me, has an iceberg. Anything long running, beit a book series, a TV show or a movie franchise, is just a very long journey. An ‘Iceberg’ is when something bad interrupts that journey. In some shows it doesn’t happen for years (if ever… see Firefly) and in others it happens the moment season two starts (see Smash). I call it an Iceberg because normally it starts as something small – often in TV it’s the getting together (or worse, cringe, marrying off) of the two lead characters SPOILERS for which both ALIAS and Chuck are perfect examples. After that moment, both afore mentioned shows, particularly the latter which got cancelled mid-season went downhill dramatically. Chuck season five is some of the worst TV I have ever watched. Hence Iceberg, a small problem that hides bigger and bigger problems until the hole is too big and the boat sinks. It’s true of the book world too. Clive Cussler should never have allowed his son nor Dirk Pitt Jr. to take over his books… from an avid reader I now avoid them in the library. And (I may offend here) House of Night should have ended books ago. The story is now so far twisted and beyond anything anyone is willing to believe is remotely possible that, again, I find myself not really caring what happens next. Some icebergs can be overcome, it’s not always the end. I did think Castle had hit a bit of an iceberg at the end of season four (as much as I wanted that ending as much as the next fan) but actually it turned out to be amazing for the show. (Unfortunately I’m holding my breath to see if this is even remotely true for season six). Or James Bond. I think most people will accept that Quantum of Solace was a huge iceberg. I’ve never met someone who understood what the hell went on in that movie. But then they scored a bullseye with Skyfall.

Which brings me back to Harry Potter. Every fan in the globe was gutted to know that seven books was all we were going to get. Just like with anything good, we craved more. But because it ended, it never had time to sour. In short, it never hit it’s book Iceberg (in movie form I think Movie 5 is as big an iceberg as anything can hit but thankfully they had Rowling’s material and a giant rethink to pull the rest back on track). I’m a little worried that this is Potter’s iceberg. I might be wrong. I hope I’m wrong. I hope this, and any other project proves to be just as brilliant as the series that spawned it. I just can’t help but feel, with it’s left-field nature, its by-definition (and by 70 years) removal from the world we know and also (though this could just be because I’m a book geek) the fact that we aren’t getting it as a book first, it has all the hallmarks of an iceberg.

Whichever the way, be assured I’ll be queuing up with the best of them, wand in hand, ready for another journey into the magical unknown.

Geek Out! You know you are a Harry Potter geek when…

… A Miss Evans and a Mr Potter both appear on your reservation sheet and the first instinct you have is to seat them next to each other, wait for them to fall in love, get married and call their first born Harry 🙂

Geek Out! Harry Potter turns 33

Okay so I’m a day late. I meant to post this yesterday what with it being July 31st, both JK Rowling and Harry Potter’s birthday, hence the afore mentioned title but time ran away from me so you’ll have to forgive the belated nature of this post.

In honour of the great wizard’s birthday, I wanted to post this link to a really interesting documentary. It was broadcast on british TV quite a few years ago now but I always find it really interesting. Anyone with an interest in JK, her work or indeed the world of publishing should give it a watch. It’s got some really interesting insights. I just hope someday I can create a world I know as well as she knows hers. Also, just want to say, if anyone deserved the success of Harry Potter, it’s JK.

It’s a little long but honestly, it’s really worth it.

Geek Out! Central Perk is Real!


Welcome to my first Geek Out! post where I celebrate my eternal geekitude in full glory.

I have been addicted to FRIENDS for as long as I can remember. I was part of the generation that grew up with Monica, Ross, Rachel, Chandler, Joey and Phoebe and a lot of my childhood and indeed young adulthood memories are tainted (in a good way) by everyone’s favourite gang. From the originals on Fridays at nine through to the nearly endless repeated on good-old E4, FRIENDS was always there on a rainy day to cheer me up.

So imagine my excitement when I’m wondering down my usual high-street in Chester, I look to my left and do a double take as a very familiar sign catches my eye. Central Perk has come to Chester (and Liverpool, but currently just to two towns as far as I am aware) and… it’s awesome :). Designed to look like the cafe in the show, its small and cosy (make sure you arrive outside of lunchtime hours if you want to be guaranteed a seat inside – but it’s well worth the queue – it’s one of those coffee shops that are worth eating in). The decor is all American; from quirky posters to big comfy chairs; giant soup bowl mugs (trust me when I say it’s value for money – best hot chocolate I’ve had in a long time) to FRIENDS episodes on loop in the big screens up and down. On the counter, the only food available is American. Things like Twinkies that I’ve only previously heard of in speech in American shows, are available to buy and try. And the specialist food is American style waffles. They are big but I’d highly recommend them. I had mine with mini marshmallows. All I will say is NOM 🙂 (For the record, the other sweets are also to die for).

Central Perk is expensive though not beyond imagination. For me, it’s well worth the extra coins though. As a day out, I think it’s brilliant and a MUST for any FRIENDS fan. Below is the link to the main website for you to have a look around and where to find the closest branch. I’m guessing from the fact the Chester branch was heaving at the seams on a Thursday afternoon that the project has been a success and will soon be opening more stores.