An Excerpt – Planet Fran

When my day working in Sheffield was done, I was running about half an hour late and that meant that the traffic was likely to be horridly busy. I could see out of the window that it was raining heavily as I was packing up ready to leave the training site to head back to my car. Always without one, Paul had bought me a compact umbrella as a stocking filler for Christmas last year. I put it in my car boot for emergencies. And there it remains, neither use nor ornament in this heavy rain. I wrapped up well in my coat and scarf. As an afterthought, I took my glasses off their usual pew on top of my head and tucked them safely in my coat pocket. When I say the rain was heavy, I mean horizontal, sheet rain of the sort that makes you feel like you just stepped out of a shower. So, it’s not rocket science to guess that I got wet. So wet was I, I stripped off my coat and scarf and threw them along with my laptop and handbag into the boot of my car before quickly jumping in the driver’s seat, thankful to be out of the rain.

I got going quickly, as I could see queues already building. Once in the flow of traffic, I felt I could relax a little. All being well, I’d be at the yard to sort Batman by about six-thirty and I might catch Sue for a quick brew, too. As I drew to a standstill at the first traffic lights, I thought I’d just use my Sat Nav to check the best route back to avoid the worst of the traffic. That was where I realised my oversight. My phone, with my maps app, was sitting happily on the passenger seat, next to me. My glasses, however, were tucked into my soaking wet coat in the boot. Given that at close range I can see sweet sod all in any sort of useful detail without my glasses, I was, to put it bluntly, screwed!

Not to worry, I told myself, how many times have I used the keyboard on my iPhone? (That was rhetorical – I knew exactly how many times, well not exactly, what I mean is, I knew I’d used it lots) I decided I could put the postcode in anyway as I could make out the keys. After doing so, I pressed the large green Go button. Big mistake – BIG mistake. DN13 6RG became DN14 6EG. The difference might only be two alpha-numeric characters, but the actual difference sits around the twelve-mile mark. I might have realised my mistake, if I had any remote semblance of a sense of direction but, alas, that’s a department (along with many others) that I am liberally under-blessed in.

Firelighters… For Jan Booth from where the idea came!

He tootled off into the kitchen and I busied myself opening the log burner and sliding one of the firelighters under the little pile of kindling.  I used my long lighter to reach in and set it going, but nothing happened. I lowered my head to see if I could see the firelighter at the same time as trying to light it.  It was a bit of a struggle but, with a bum-shuffle backwards, I was able to position my head so I could see.  I reached in again with the lighter.  It was clearly reaching the little firelighter, the flame tickling its side but, still, nothing happened.  A dud, I decided.  I took one of the others that I’d brought in from the kitchen, out of my pocket, and slid it under the little pile of kindling, carefully positioning it next to the dud, with the end of my long lighter.  Click, the flame again caressed the new firelighter but still no ignition. What the hell?  This box was most definitely going back to the shop and it would be accompanied by some extremely strong words from me.

“You OK down there,” asked Gary, returning with two glasses of white wine.

“Can’t light the bloody fire,” I said. “Sorry, I wanted it to be nice and cozy.”

He put the glasses down on the coffee table and crouched down next to me.

“Here, give me the lighter.”  I passed it over and he did just as I had done, reached in and clicked the flame on.  Still no fire.

“Duds. The firelighters are duds,” I told him, with authority.

“You can’t get dud firelighters. By their very nature, they’re flammable.”

“Well, they’re not working. They’re duds. I’m telling you.”

“You got another one?”

I handed him the last one from my pocket.

He looked at it closely.

“Fran,” he said in a tone that was one I was now quite used to hearing. “Where did you get these firelighters?”

Can you succeed?


A Quick Guide to Channel your inner winner! 

What does it take to succeed? It depends on YOU, The questions you should be asking is “what am I prepared to do to Succeed?” “What do I need to do to achieve that goal I want” you will find people will answer differently and people will take different routes to success.

Fran wanted a business investment, to get this she had to succeed at something totally alien to her. She had to adapt and turn her mind to something totally new in order to get where she wanted to be.

Let’s look at a few ways to help channel your inner winner:

Where do you want to be? What do you want? Do you want to be able to play the guitar? Learn a write an app? A degree? Or get your nosey neighbours evicted? (Don’t actually do that). Take a few moments to think, imagine yourself at the goal you are aiming for, imagine yourself at the top of your game. How does it feel? What would you do when you have achieved your goal? Buy your dream car?

Write down what you want to achieve and how long you want to set yourself to achieve this…and make it realistic, it doesn’t matter how clever they are no-one is going to be able to be heavyweight champion of the world in 2 weeks .

Set some sub goals

Now you have a goal, great! (That’s more than Leeds united ever have ) and a timeline, you should dissect your timeline into a selection of mini goals to use as stepping stones to get to the end goal. Of course, you may hit some hurdles along the way, but that’s when you need to adapt, What do you need to do to overcome any problems and reach that end goal? Work out as many small goals as you need, any problems that may occur and write them down, see the it as a journey or a process! We use processes daily to get an end result, like make a cup of tea!.. here’s a little more relevant practical test your end goal being enjoyment  ….see below :

1. Click on the link in step 2
2. Click this Link
3. Enjoy


In this example the steps to reach the end goal are simple, with minimal effort and minimal sacrifice to your daily routines. Focus on one sub goal at a time without thinking of the end goal as the target as this will encourage you to skip necessary steps to get there.

Be able to Adapt

Things in this world are changing fast especially in our new digital age where change is dynamic and information spreads like wildfire. You will ultimately hit some sort of hurdle in your quest for succession.
Being able to adapt will see you excel in different areas needed to achieve your goal, for example, if your end goal is to compete in a body building competition – you will have to adapt and change the exercises you do to hit different muscles in order to achieve optimum muscle definition! Your sub goals will become daily or weekly workouts and will take considerably longer than the previous example of buying my book!

Remember, the less sacrifice you have to make the easier it will be… if it’s a big end goal, you will need to make sacrifices but do what you need to do to keep in mind ….IT WILL BE WORTH IT!


1. Work out your end goal.
2. Work out what you need to do to get there and write it down.
3. Set a realistic time frame to achieve it.
4. Set some realistic sub goals and checkpoints along the way.
5. Bask in the glory of success when you finally reach your end goal.


I hope this has inspired some of you to go out there and get what you want! Thankyou for reading and see you next time.


Limited Edition Bookmarks

Josie King, Planet Fran limited edition bookmark

I’ve been lucky enough to have people who have wanted to commit to buying my book ahead of time, so I wanted to try to give something back. But what? After much thought, I came up with a bit of a freebie bundle to include an online greetings card voucher, a pack of 5 free Christmas cards and I created a bookmark, for which I ordered a small batch. No others, with this specific design will ever be printed and they’re only available, free, to those who have supported me with pre-orders. Now, I’m no literary author so the likelihood of me hitting the big time is probably pretty small, but even if I don’t make best-seller lists and widespread fame, if my books gather a bit of a following with people who like a bit of a light-hearted and, at times, quite juvenile comedy read, maybe my limited-edition bookmarks could, one day, be worth more than the book they came with!

My proof-reader is estimating Tuesday, 12th September for completion, after which there will be a couple of days of re-formatting and then it’s finally off to the printers.

To my pre-order readers – thank you! I hope you like the goodie bundles when they arrive.


Spreading the word

Josie King Books - Planet Fran - Population One

With the final edit nearly completed, the new cover designed and the video trailer updated, it’s time to get the word out there about the book and engage as many potential readers as possible. But, how does an author do that in this day and age? You might think that with the proliferation of social media platforms that it should be an easy task but, in fact, it’s far more difficult than you might imagine. The challenge is to stand out from the crowd and offer something really engaging that will draw people in.

It’s early days, yet, but there’s a few approaches I’m adopting:

I’m looking to build a ‘personality’ and a focus for interesting content on my Planet Fran Facebook page. I’m not there yet, still trying out a few directions.

I’ve created a new Youtube channel for Josie King Books – the trailer is on there now. I plan to add lots of videos relating to characters in the book, like Portia the Pug – hopefully funny videos that you’ll all really love.

I’m looking to build relationships with more local (Yorkshire) retail outlets for the book. It would be great to see it on real shelves!

I’ll keep you posted with how progress goes! Thanks for reading and staying in touch.


The Final Cover

Being an IT professional, I know stuff about using different applications so I started off thinking I could produce the cover for Planet Fran, myself. The reactions to those early covers were ok but I think people were really just being kind. Having engaged the services of a professional cover designer, I now have something that clearly will make a good job of enticing people to buy my book (I hope) and that clearly shows just how lacking my own design skills are! I’m learning so many lessons in writing and publishing my own book and I hope that the whole process for the second book in the series (code named, Fran Rides Again) will be a little smoother.

I remain extremely grateful to those who have pre-ordered my book for their support and their patience whilst I get this right. We’re nearly there…

Put the book down…!

Planet Fran - Population One Editing the book

I can’t say how many editing rounds I’ve done on my first novel, now. I thought I was finished three months ago, took some critical feedback and set out to update it.  Every time I think I’m done, I think of something that will make the book, in my eyes, better.  As a self-published author, I’ve really been feeling my way in this process. The easy bit is getting the first draft down. The hard bit is refining it and polishing it so it’s ready for the world to see.

I found that people who knew me, who saw early drafts, really ‘got’ the voice it was written in but those who didn’t know me, didn’t.  That worried me a little so I engaged the services of a professional editor and, following a full structural review, I have done a huge edit and it is now in its final review with the editor, so I feel I am, finally, nearly there.   Working with a professional editor has turned out to be a very wise decision – when you read my book, if you think it’s crap, just think how bad it actually would have been!


Creating a correctly sized PDF

Saving a pdf from Microsoft Word

If you, like me, are a writer trying to publish your own works, you will, most likely, need to create a pdf version of your manuscript, particularly if you plan to produce paperbacks.  Even if you choose not to have your book printed in a print run, you might choose the print-on-demand service from Amazon, so you’ll need a pdf version.

When saving a PDF version, you need to make sure that the it comes out the right size. Saving a PDF from a Microsoft Word document will automatically default to an A4 page size, irrespective of the size you’ve specified in the page setup of the Word document.   It took me ages to find help on how to solve this problem so I thought I’d share it here to help others.  To retain the page size for your finished book:

1/ select all of the text (press CTRL + A on Windows or cmd+A on a Mac)

2/ Open the File menu & choose Print

3/ In the Pages section choose Selection

4/ In the bottom left corner, from the pull-down list, choose Save to PDF

5/ Click Print

Hey presto!  You will have a correctly formatted PDF version of your manuscript.

Waiting is the worst….

Digital Printing - Planet Fran - Population One

Waiting for the final paperback book to come back from the printers feels endless. It’s taken a number of false starts to sort out the manuscript so it is formatted correctly for printing, but we’re finally there.

I can’t wait to see it in the flesh. In the meantime, I’m well on with Fran Rides Again. This is a working title for the second book in the series. I’m interested to hear views on that as a title, so please do drop me an email at

And, it’s off…

Printing Planet Fran - Population One

The manuscript and cover design is now with the printers. Whilst I wrote the book in MS Word, I needed to provide it for the printers in pdf format. I chose the 125x195mm final book size and set the page size, through page setup, to these dimensions. Any reasonable person would think that the resulting pdf would have the same page size. But, no! The text all remained at the right dimensions but were placed on an A4 size page. As I work on a Mac, the instructions I could find were Windows based and didn’t work.

After a couple of hours of almost mindless panic (time is of the essence to meet the 16th June publication date!) and with my hair still in tact, I finally found a forum with the answer. And so, in the nick of time, the manuscript was delivered.

As soon as the finished article arrives, I’ll post a picture here.