The Indie Showcase Presents, Val Portelli

Please welcome this week’s guest to the Showcase.

Being of a contrary nature,

I was tempted to put the ‘About Me’ bit at this end, but as Richard has been so hospitable, I’d better not cause him any more problems. 😀

They say you’re not an author until you receive your first rejection letter. Mine was from ‘Woman’ magazine; when I thought it would be a good idea to send them a hand-written short story. As I was only about 9 or 10 at the time, I can’t help thinking how lovely it was of the editor to make the effort to send a personal, encouraging reply, even if my story wasn’t published.

Fast forward many years and life was hectic with normal living, working and socialising, only leaving time to write oddments, and stories for the amusement of friends and family. ‘Stop the world I want to get off’ came true in spectacular fashion when a freak accident left me hospitalised and bed-bound for over a year. To save my sanity, I concentrated on my first novel, ‘Changes’, which was traditionally published around 8 years ago. Being naïve I didn’t appreciate that it wasn’t the done thing to give orders to the professional cover designer, but as it was partly based in Malta, my heart home, I wanted the contrast of a beautiful Mediterranean building with rainy London, and that is what I got.

With mobility still a problem the writing bug took over, and my second book ‘ABC Destiny’ was published. Both were written under my pen name ‘Voinks’ as I assumed that’s what authors did. After writing the first three chapters, I realised they were told by the characters Abigail, Beatrice and Cecelia, so continued the theme by having each chapter following the letters of the alphabet. No female name beginning with ‘D’ seemed suitable, so I ‘invented’ the name Dauphine. A few weeks later I met a lady named Dauphine who became a good friend. Spooky!


was the next step with a whole new learning curve of author pages, Amazon, Facebook, blogs, metadata, the dreaded marketing, and writers’ groups. Through one of these, I met Paula Harmon, and as well as taking advantage of her Photoshop abilities for cover design, I inadvertently borrowed her son. It’s his arm on the cover of my book ‘Spirit of Technology.’

In between writing books, I began publishing a short story every week on my Facebook author page

and blog

By now,

Paula and I had become firm friends, beta read and critiqued each other’s work, met in real life despite living in different parts of the country, shared writing tears and celebrations, and somehow the idea arose of writing a book together. After a plethora of emails, eight hundred and fifty title changes, and version eight million and two for the cover design, ‘Weird and Peculiar Tales’ was born. In July we celebrated its first anniversary and sorted out the distribution of royalties. We did order an extra cocktail for the taxman’s share, but unfortunately, he wasn’t there to drink it!

I find it difficult to categorise my books into genres. ‘Changes’ was a romance, or so I thought until a beta reader pointed out how many descriptions and memoirs of Malta had crept in. I’m currently in the course of republishing, and might even split it into two separate books. If I do, it will be my first attempt at non-fiction. My short stories have a range of themes, usually with a Quirky twist. Some of my books could fall under the ‘life’ category, but not with the self-help/motivation idea. I suppose literary, popular or women’s fiction is the closest, although none are a proper fit.

My latest book, ‘Story of a Country Boy’ could even belong in the historical fiction segment, as it was set in the 1960s. It’s the gritty story of a young man escaping from the rigours of a Mediterranean village (guess where?) to hit the seedier side of Soho. Not quite crinolines and Kings and Queens, which historical novels tend to bring to mind.

You can find all my books on my Amazon author page here:

See what you think.

Next up is,

To learn Photoshop for book cover design,
Discover how to get my books registered with Nielsen so they can be on the shelves of Waterstones and other bookstores,
Spread to other online outlets such as Kobo,
Stop doing ‘How To’ courses and procrastinating on Facebook,
and win the lottery so I can concentrate on writing and leave all the horrible marketing stuff to a staff of spin doctors.

My publishing house, email address and blog site under the ‘Quirky Unicorn’ banner need reassurance they have not been abandoned.

Quirky Unicorn Books has a dedicated page for each of several indie authors to showcase their work, and needs some publicity as a thank you to the authors who contributed.


I need to concentrate on writing and publishing my books. I hope one of your previous guests, Angela Rigley is not reading this, or she might shout at me. She did a wonderful job editing my 100,000 word plus WIP ‘Murder of Changes,’ which has been pushed to the back as other things have taken over, but is next but one on the list. The aim is for publication by the end of the year.

The writing and blogging community really is one of the best for being friendly and supportive, and it was great to see so many other guest names I recognise. I’m gradually working my way down the list to read all their posts.

Thanks so much for inviting me, Richard, and for all your hard work in feeding the little fish in such a big pond.

Whoops, sorry, nearly forgot.

About Me.

Val lives in the part of London also known as Kent, with two tigers, foxes, and unicorns who keep her company in the wee small hours when she does most of her writing. She is hopeful of moving to a planet with housework fairies and forty-eight-hour days, to give her time to write all the stories waiting to be told. The rest of her time is taken up with playing referee to the characters hiding in her computer, demanding their story be told next.

My thanks to this weeks guest for a great post. I hope you all enjoyed it.

While you’re here, why not have a look around the site? There are FREE things and a whole lot more, just follow the links at the top of the page.

You might also like to join my team. I’ll send you a bi-monthly newsletter, filled with news, updates and extra content, as well as more about me and my worlds. You’ll also get a free short story and offers on my novels. Subscribe by clicking HERE

If you want to be featured in a future Showcase, where you can write about whatever (within reason) you want, then please let me know. Use the comment box below and I’ll get back to you.

You can catch up on previous Showcase posts by clicking HERE

Don’t miss the Saturday Rewind, next Thursdays Showcase post, and my musings every Monday.

Have a good week,



Comments are closed.