Stephenson Holt Author

Archive Of Email Updates.

Weekly Update number 8 on 16th November 2022

I know, because it keeps coming up on social media, that writers can easily procrastinate by checking, or jumping onto, their social media accounts. A bit like I use Revue on my Twitter account to reach friends, I suppose.

For those of us that do not have a publishing house, social media is our only advertising platform and I have listened to podcasts where "Proper Published Authors" describe how they are left to themselves when it comes to advertising.

Instagram, for me, is interesting, because the pics are sort of book dimensions, also there is no small word count. Hashtags are allowed up to a certain amount but not direct, clickable links. Yes I use Instagram for fun as well, but sit here thinking sometimes, have I ever read the long blurb that goes with the picture? Have I ever looked for certain pictures by searching a hashtag? The answer to both questions is no.

Twitter has the luxury of clickable links, and analytics next to your tweet that will tell you just how many people have clicked on that link (or not) and that is invaluable. The picture size is a book laying down so I have a Twitter shaped template, that takes my avatar on the left, the book cover on the right, and a blurb message in between.

Updating my website at today, and the social buttons included one for Pinterest. No writing today then for me. My first foray into the site and I'm sure there's lots to learn as I can see no search words at the moment. Do other authors use Pinterest? Please let me know. My own attempt is my latest three book covers, with links to the "read it now" page on Amazon. Not the best offering but there is only so much 'social' you can do. Laugh at my attempts at

Weekly Update Number 7 on 4th November 2020.

The “Katie’s Journey" is pouring out. Book one, What Katie Didn’t Know and book two, What Katie Did In Italy are both doing well and gaining good reviews. Book Three, Katie Went To The Regency Ball was published this week and is being read (according to KDP results). Book four, Katie In The Dark Ages is being edited and book five, yet to be titled is 4,000 words in.

What Katie Didn’t Know

What Katie Did In Italy.

Katie Went To The Regency Ball.

The blurb for the whole series keeps on being updated as books roll out, but at the moment looks like this;-

In book one. What Katie Didn’t Know, Katie, or D.S. Anderson, is married to Jamie but manages to free herself from him, by means of a romantic affair with a colleague, helped by a slice of maybe Science-Fiction, maybe a government experiment, gone wrong.

In book two, What Katie Did In Italy, Katie has a detective agency and attempts to free herself from new husband Dan, who is maybe not as faithful as first thought. This is helped by a romantic slice of Mafia-Bride novel ideas, where she is destined to eventually fall in love with her owner.

In book three, Katie Went To The Regency Ball, the ball is the central character and spinning from it are affairs, deception, bribery, corruption, romance, kidnapping and psychotic behaviour, in a typical

slice of Regency Romance novel.

I hope you are all enjoying the series so far and look forward to your feedback.

Weekly Update Number 6 on the 9th October 2022.

I would be interested to know what you guys think about an experiment that I'm in the middle of. In the last email I discussed the plot of What Katie Didn't Know and the continuation into What Katie Did In Italy and the fact that it was building into a series. Well, book three Katie At The Regency Ball has been edited a whole pack of times and has been put to rest for a while until I can do a final edit with fresh eyes. Meanwhile, book four, Katie In The Dark Ages, is about a third written.

This leaves me with a potential series where each book in the series gives a nod to a certain genre of novel. So, I have rewritten the series profile on Amazon, in anticipation of books 3&4 being published and it now reads as;-

A series of novels, tracing Katie's journey through various genre of other novels. As a consequence, some scenes are of an adult nature, sometimes explicit and sometimes involving kidnap. So please do not read if any of that is offensive to you.

Book one, What Katie Didn't Know, appears to be in the genre of a police procedural (Katie is a detective inspector) but gives a nod towards science fiction, or does it?

Book two, What Katie Did In Italy, follows Katies passion for reading Mafia Bride novels, imagining herself to be sold by her father to another Mafia boss to be held by his son until she falls in love with him. When she forces that fantasy to become reality, she finds herself in Italy, falling in love with the romance, the lifestyle, and the man.

Book three, Katie At The Regency Ball, is in a contemporary setting and gives a nod to the Regency Romance genre with all its apparent innocence, and behind the scenes affairs. Katie's dance partner is flattering, bold, a typical Regency cad, but insanely serious.

Book four, Katie In The Dark Ages, sees her, with a friend, on an adventure that is an obvious nod towards the time travel genre. Discovering the post-Roman era, the Brythonic tribes and the less uncouth Saxon villagers, Katie's attempts to return home could be thwarted by a love interest.

Your views would be gratefully appreciated, as always,

Stay safe and healthy


Weekly Newsletter number 5 on the 7th July 2022.

We all do it, every writer does it, we know it's wrong, know we shouldn't but still we jump in headlong.

We've edited, found the bits early on that have to be changed because our ending didn't go the way we expected, then we edit again and again. We then come to the line-edit, laboriously ploughing through each line, looking for a better way, maybe less words, and then it happens.

There's a follow up here. We tell ourselves. What if at the end they all go to x land and then a new story starts and…
It's too late. You're hooked. You have to bet on with the line edits, you know that, but what if that idea fades? What if, at the end of your line edits, the idea has disappeared never to resurface. You have to make a note.

You have a choice now. Write the idea down longhand, just get the bare bones down and then get back to the line edits? Well, if you're going to get it down somewhere, why not open a new Scrivener document and write it up as chapter one, knowing it may later become chapter two? Then it happens. That idea starts a life of its own, it takes over in your head, the story telling part of your brain says there is more to this idea than bare bones and…

Chapter one is down now and you can see where chapter two will go so make a few notes and… It's all too late and the line edits need to wait because you're in full flow. And so it is with the line edits of What Katie Didn't Know (not a plug, obviously not published yet) stuck at chapter five, while the next, untitled novel is stuck in my brain as I walk, drive or sleep. The line edits will probably occur for book one when I get stuck on book two. By that time, my brain may be saying "Is this a trilogy?"

This piece is emailed to those on my email list (via Twitter) and gets later added to my website and also added to my Wordpress account at

Weekly Newsletter No. 03 on 8th May 2022.


Today, the third book in the Crantis Marcian Trilogy is published. 3. – Alien Assimilation sees the trilogy complete and at 198 pages is the shortest of the three.

After every book there seems to be a lull in an author’s life, and after a trilogy more so. Coping with, and dealing with that is something I picked up from running (read jogging really) when faced with nearing the achieving of a target, to set a new one so that the first target does not become the time to hang your running shoes up.

So, while editing book three, which took a while because of multiple points of view, and multiple timelines, I read a number of American short stories and started writing my own. Wow, what a challenge, and great respect to those who write short stories. I have thirteen so far and think I need twice that amount to be able to publish.

Yes, the short has to follow the three acts (or five if you follow that way) of a novel, but the hardest thing for me was coming up with thirteen new ideas. It seemed like coming up with thirteen new book ideas that could be then condensed down.

Any short story writers out there that could pass on some tips?

Back to the editing. A tweet, the other day to @HoltStephenson, asked for any editing tips and it was fresh in my mind so I “quote tweeted” a reply. After four or five read throughs of your own manuscript, it appears that the author’s brain sees what it wants to see, and misses double words, missed commas and spelling mistakes. Because I write in Scrivener and then transfer to Word for editing, my final edit is using Review>Read-Aloud. It soon picks up over long sentences, clunky sentences and words that make no sense or are doubled. (Headphones if in company.)

In closing, a huge thank you to those that have read and also reviewed 1 – Alien Affair

and 2. – Alien Abduction and I hope you enjoy the third to finish the trilogy off.



16th April 2022

Alien abduction, book 2 in the Crantis Marcian trilogy, was published on KDP on 15th April. Marketing book two of a trilogy, when the final book is unfinished, and readers may not have read book one, is a nightmare. In this newsletter, which is also replicated on my website at I can explain what I think could be a way around the problem.


I've published a new Tweet and Instagram post, and made the Tweet advert my pinned. (I retweet followers's pinned in the hope of them retweeting mine at @HoltStephenson)


The advert, unfortunately, doesn't help anyone out who has KU and I would love to find a way of making a Kindle type offer to KU users but have drawn a blank. (Anyone?) The offer to those that normally purchase is buy book 2 at £1.99 or $2.99 and send me proof of purchase as a screenshot to and tell me the email address used for their Kindle download, and I will then gift them book one. Hopefully, those that read both will be waiting for book three.


On the reviewing side of things, I have found a new favourite author to follow. Debbie Civil has a similar story interest as me, seems to like what I like in a book and has a cool writing style. The only difference between us is that I write for adults but she writes for YA. Not that different though and my KU membership allowed me a box set as a single purchase and there are six books in the box. Check her out.


The writing of book three, working title being Alien Assimilation.

Usually I get a first draft down and then have to cut it in edits to get it to a reasonable size. With this novel though, the thoughts were coming thick and fast and had to be put down on paper (Paper = Macbook + Scrivener) and as reported in the last update, 40,000 words emerged with a start, middle and end. Reading over, it became obviois that there was huge chunks of dialogue with no movement and huge chunks of movement with no dialogue. Adding bits here and there is now under way and I will, no doubt, exceed a word count and have to trim in the first edit.


I'm keen to hear about progress on your own works, if you write, how you work, edit, cut etc. We are all different and I mainly favour the #5amwritingclub approach while the night's thoughts are fresh in the brain and bursting to come out.


Please let me know.



11th April 2022.

Another week and it seems that  things keep changing. Alien Affair, my latest novel, was written as a one off and published as such. Emailers and those who follow me on socilal media asked for a continuation of the Brad and Jodee story and that got me thinking.

Book one is doing okay and at the time of writing it has 12 reviews (4.9 stars) from UK and USA with one review from Germany (in German), and one from India (in English).

The Twitter feed for book one (on Buffer) states that ;-

This Young Adult / Adult novel has been variously described in 5* reviews as bonkers, sexy, mind bending, mad, witty, erotic, fast moving, well-written, and entertaining.

I'm thinking about using that on the rear cover of book 2.

So what of book 2. Alien Abduction, as it is to be called, is written, edited a number of times and due for a final edit soon with an imminent publication date.

And book 3? Should it be a trilogy? Well, a 40,000 word outline has been written and needs adding to before editing starts.

I hope your reading / writing is going well and look forward to hearing from anyone on my email list about their updates. As is generally known, I read and review a lot so if you have something that you think fits my genre and style (KU if poss) and want to review one of mine in return, then drop me a line and choose one from my home page.