An Almost Non-WIPpet WIPpet Wednesday

Time Shifters front pageI’m cheating today. I missed WIPpet Wednesday last week and haven’t written anymore of Time Shifters – A Long Way From Home, so technically didn’t have anything to post today. But because I’m going to take part in NaNoWriMo (in an attempt to get a decent amount of A Long Way From Home written) I’m probably not going to join in with WIPpet Wednesday again until December. So, if you don’t hear from me for a while after today that’s what I’ll be up to.

I may not have written anything novel-wise over the last week but I’ve not been idle. I’ve been continuing to edit Time Shifters using my beta readers’ invaluable comments ready to send off to my proofreader by mid November. Talking of proofreading, my proofreader, Kate Haigh recently asked me if I could answer some questions about my experience of using a proofreader, which you can read here. Using beta readers and a proofreader before launching The Butterfly Storm and the hopefully-soon-to-be-published Time Shifters makes me confident that the books will be as good as they possibly can be.

The last few days has also seen a drop in price of The Butterfly Storm – a trial really to see if I can boost it back up the amazon rankings. There was a spike in sales on the first day and then it ticked over nicely during the weekend staying in the top 10,000, and then yesterday, nothing, no sales at all, which has been the first day that’s happened since before my free promotion in August despite me actually promoting the book yesterday via twitter, Goodreads and Kuforum. *confused face* The good news is that it’s sold two copies today so all is not lost. *happy face*

This week has also seen Alana Terry launch her blog tour for the audiobook of The Beloved Daughter. She visited my blog yesterday and there’s still time to enter the competition to win hundreds of $$$ worth of prizes, plus there are exciting things going on over on Alana’s facebook page.

So finally, to the WIPpet. My offering is just eight words from Time Shifters that Elaine Jeremiah helpfully pointed out while beta reading, could be the tagline for the book, if not the whole trilogy. Eight words you say for the 23/10/13? How does that work out? Well, by using ingenious WIPpet maths it goes like this: 2+3+1+1+3=10 10-2(as it’s approximately 2 months until Christmas – I told you it was ingenious) = 8. Ta da!

Nothing is set in stone, not even history.

 

There you have it. To join in with WIPpet Wednesday simply post an extract of whatever you’re currently working on that relates, however loosely, to the date. Add your link to the linky over on My Random Muse. Thanks as always to K L Schwengel for hosting.

It may be a while until I join in again but hopefully by the time December comes round I’ll have plenty of new writing to post. In the meantime happy writing everyone and I’m looking forward to meeting Emily when she stops by Bath on her European travels in late November!

The Beloved Daughter Audiobook Blog Tour

front coverAlana Terry is currently on a very special blog tour and I’m honoured to be hosting her today. Having published The Beloved Daughter earlier in the year Alana has now released it as an audiobook. The Beloved Daughter audiobook is pretty special too as it’s a version of Alana’s bestselling debut novel narrated by Kathy Garver, a four-time Audie award winner and Lifetime Achievement Award recipient from the Motion Picture Council. For those of you who know the TV show Family Affair then you may recognise Kathy as Cissy from the programme.

The Beloved Daughter has an impressive 80 four and five star reviews and has been an amazon bestseller. The book has also been a winner in the Women of Faith Writing Contest and achieved 1st place on the Book Club Network Book of the Month. I read The Beloved Daughter not long after it was first published and reviewed it on amazon:

For 12 year-old Chung-Cha it’s her father’s Christian faith that rips her family apart when, in the middle of the night, her family are taken from their home and are subjected to humiliation and torture in a North Korean prison camp. And so begins an epic journey for Chung-Cha with the novel being surprising, uplifting and at times so very sad.

The Beloved Daughter has the feel of being set in a time long past and it’s shocking to realise that this is a story about modern day North Koreans. The author gives just enough details of the harsh and horrifying conditions that Chung-Cha and the other prisoners are subjected to in Camp 22 without being shocking for the sake of it. That’s a difficult thing to get right and Terry manages it superbly.

The Beloved Daughter is in turn heartbreaking and moving. It’s an important story about faith, love, hope, courage and survival. Terry writes in an engaging way and beautifully depicts the character of Chung-Cha and the journey she travels throughout the book. I highly recommend it.

Alana Terry

 

Alana Terry audiobook tourThere are plenty of ways to celebrate the release of the audiobook including the opportunity to win loads of prizes during the tour. For your chance to win enter the Rafflecoptor giveaway below. And if you want to join in with the party on Alana’s facebook page or get your own copy of The Beloved Daughter in paperback, on Kindle or as an audio book then simply follow these links:

JOIN THE FACEBOOK LAUNCH PARTY ($$$HUNDREDS-WORTH IN PRIZES)

SEE THE AUDIOBOOK HERE

SEE THE PAPERBACK HERE

SEE THE EBOOK HERE

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Succeeding at Self Publishing – A Case of Trial and Error

ButtStorm700x700CenteredLast week I met up with local writing friends Elaine Jeremiah and Jade Reyner. All three of us have published our debut novels this year: Jade published Twelve Days – The Beginning in April, I launched The Butterfly Storm in June, and Elaine’s novel The Inheritance was published just last month. One of the things that dominated our conversation was how to get our books noticed on amazon. Visibility is the key but it’s a constant battle to one, get your book noticed in the first place, and two, to maintain a presence on amazon.

Eight weeks after I published The Butterfly Storm I did my first free promotion. As I wrote in a post not long after the promotion ended, putting my book for free more than exceeded my expectations and resulted in nearly 20,000 downloads in just three days. The post promo results and benefits that followed were incredible with The Butterfly Storm averaging 100 sales a day for around three weeks, making it into the ‘Movers & Shakers’ chart, and becoming a bestseller in the contemporary romance, literary fiction and women’s literary fiction categories. Of course I expected that post promo boost to die down after a while and although it’s been selling at least one copy a day since it dropped lower in the rankings, I’ve been thinking of ways that I can increase my visibility again.

On Friday I reduced the price by half to see if it would make any difference. Friday morning The Butterfly Storm was at about 30,000 in the amazon rankings and by that evening it had jumped to around 6,000. Although there’s not been a massive increase in sales since, there is most definitely an increase both on amazon.co.uk and amazon.com (where it had pretty much being doing nothing). I have got a paid promotion running on kuforum all week but until today I’d done nothing to promote the fact that the book is reduced until the 31st October. My aim is to make it into the top 5000 over the next week or two. I will let you know how it goes.

What strategies have you used to help promote your book or books and how successful have they been?

Blood and Sand – WIPpet Wednesday

SandI haven’t done a lot of actual writing of Time Shifters – A Long Way From Home this past week but I did start to plot out the story. In many ways it’s easier to know where the story’s going with a second book of a series because there are certain things that need to happen and questions to be answered from book one. But just how those questions get answered is the tricky part.

I’ve had comments back from all my Time Shifters beta readers (thank you Elaine, Debbie, Emily, Judith, Alana and Eden) and they’ve proved to be incredibly helpful and insightful so I now can’t wait to go back through the book line by line improving it and doing a fine edit until I’m completely happy that it’s ready to first go off to the proofreader and then to be published. Having other people read your work is essential. It’s amazing what you end up missing in your own writing despite having read it for the 100th time. The pointing out of those little inconsistencies, elements of the plot that don’t quite work or fabulous suggestions that will improve a scene are the reasons why beta readers are invaluable.

Despite mainly focusing on the plot of A Long Way From Home this week I did manage to write a little bit more, enough at least to give you 19 words for the 9th October. My WIPpet maths goes: 9 + 10 (for the month of October) = 19.

Blood soaked into the sand forming large pools of red around the gladiators who were already dead or dying.

 

Short but not exactly sweet I will hopefully have written some more by next Wednesday. K L Schwengel hosts WIPpet Wednesday and anyone can join in at anytime. All you need to do is post an extract of your WIP that relates to the date and add your link to the linky over on My Random Muse. Simple!

Exciting Non-Writing Related News to Announce!

SleepsuitsMany of you who follow my blog already know my happy news but I thought I would officially announce that Nik and I are expecting a baby in February! It’s taken just over four years to get to this point and there’s been a lot of disappointment and heartache along the way but at last we can look forward to the future and the arrival of a little son or daughter in four months time! We had the 20 week anomaly scan yesterday which showed one very lively baby who just wouldn’t stay still for the lady doing the scan. Everything looked normal – heart, lungs, brain and spine plus all arms, legs, fingers and toes were accounted for. To say we were relieved is an understatement. Now all we need to do is get cracking finishing decorating our bedroom, turning our spare room into a nursery and generally sorting the house out. Oh, and buying stuff of course. We’d resisted buying anything as we wanted to make sure everything was okay first but yesterday I bought three very cute sleepsuits (see the photo).

I say the news is not writing related but in many ways it is. I now have a very real deadline to get things done, not least of which is to finish Time Shifters in preparation for publishing it in January (there will be no hope if I leave it until after the baby’s born). To launch Time Shifters will be a massive achievement, particularly as that will mean I’ll have published two novels in less than a year. Not bad going (and about time) considering I started writing The Butterfly Storm in 2004 and Time Shifters in 2008.

On top of that I have grand plans to start not one but two new novels. I’ve already made a start on Time Shifters – A Long Way From Home and plan to take part in NaNoWriMo next month to see just how much I can get written. I also want to get stuck into a new contemporary women’s fiction novel, The House of Stone. I’ve got a rough synopsis and just need to start putting words down. As for what happens writing-wise once our little one makes an appearance, who knows, (but I imagine not a lot for a fair few months!) so I want to get as much done as possible before then.

For a year that didn’t start off well 2013 has turned out to be incredible in more ways than one, and as for 2014, well that promises to be even more exciting.

Stupid Lizzie – WIPpet Wednesday

Peugeot 3008This past week has flown by and despite being busy working, sorting out cars (the new car is lovely by the way – see the photo!), insurance and lots of other bits and pieces I have managed to write some more of Time Shifters book two. I think I need to come up with a more imaginative title than Time Shifters book two. I’ve been toying with the idea of book one simply being called Time Shifters, book two Time Shifters – A Long Way From Home, and book three tentatively entitled Time Shifters – The Last Stand. That at least will do for the time being but I’d love to know your thoughts.

In last week’s WIPpet Maisie had just texted Danny to inform him that Lizzie had gone missing and was splashed all over the news. In this week’s extract Maisie has arrived at Danny’s house where she finds him in his bedroom reading about what’s happened to Lizzie on his computer. Here are a convenient two paragraphs from Time Shifters – A Long Way From Home for the 2nd October.

“Hey,” Danny said, without turning round. “I’m surprised no-one actually saw her time shift. One second she was in this villa looking at mosaics with her parents and sister, next thing she’s gone. The police think she’s been kidnapped by someone.”

I sat down on the bed and Danny swung around to face me. “Lizzie is stupid enough to have wandered about that place daydreaming about Roman times and got time shifted to actual Roman times,” he said.

That’s your lot for today. WIPpet Wednesday is hosted by the talented K L Schwengel over at My Random Muse. Anyone can join in so if you’ve got a work in progress that you’re happy to share then post an extract that relates in some way to the date and add it to the linky here. Have a good week everyone!

Time Shifters Book Two! – WIPpet Wednesday

Holkham BeachHello everyone! It’s good to be back and joining in with WIPpet Wednesday again. Last week’s few days of relaxation didn’t quite go to plan. We set off for Norfolk in good time on Tuesday morning only to break down halfway. Whilst driving up a hill behind slow-moving traffic a warning light came on and I suddenly felt the power drain from the car until it was like driving uphill through treacle. Fortunately we were close to a lay-by and I managed to squeeze the car in behind a lorry where, with the stink of petrol filtering into the car, I switched the engine off and thought ‘oh bugger’. Actually, I thought a lot more than that but I won’t publish my actual thoughts on this blog.

We called the AA and waited an hour for a helpful AA man to turn up, attempt to switch on the engine and say the words you really don’t want to hear when Bryabel garden viewyou’re 100 miles from home and stuck in a lay-by between Buckingham and Milton Keynes: ‘That really doesn’t sound good at all.’ In fact it was far from good. The timing belt had completely gone and we were going no-where apart from back home to Bristol. It was at this point that I had a lot more thoughts along the lines of ‘oh bugger’. Annoyed doesn’t even come close to how I was feeling when we’d so been looking forward to a few peaceful days on the north Norfolk coast.

With Frodo happily asleep on the back seat of the car, Nik and I waited another three hours for the tow-truck to arrive to take us back to Bristol. At least we got to spend some quality time together… Despite everything we did manage to get to Norfolk with my Mum and Dad towards the end of the week and had a lovely and very relaxing few days going for a walk on beautiful Holkham Beach, picking blackberries, eating delicious food, and generally chilling out and de-stressing. As for my poor car the cost of repairing it was so much we’ve ended up part-exchanging it for a brand new one which I will hopefully be picking up by the end of the week.

BlackberriesSorting out buying the new car on Monday left me with some unexpected time on my hands when I ended up waiting for Nik to finish work so we could make the final decision on the car together. With nothing else to do I got a hot chocolate and tucked myself away in a corner of a Starbucks and started writing the beginning of Time Shifters book two. So for Wednesday 25th September here are approximately 25 first draft sentences which are not necessarily the start of the book but are likely to be within the first chapter. *Warning* The following extract will go some way to giving away the ending of book one.

“Ollie that’s not a nice thing to say,” Mum said, wiping her hands on her apron. “Whether you like Lizzie or not that has nothing to do with it; she’s gone missing and no-one deserves that. Her poor parents they must be worried sick. Imagine if it was Maisie and how distraught you’d be.”

I bit my lip and hugged Benji. I realised how easily it could be me. I was certain Lizzie had time shifted just like we had at Warwick Castle three months ago. I’d made sure I hadn’t gone anywhere there’d be a risk of time shifting since – no castles or National Trust places for me. Not that it was a problem living on a farm as we rarely went anywhere on the weekends anyway.

Ollie downed his glass of orange juice and flicked his fingers in front of me. “You’re daydreaming again.” He grabbed the lead from my hand and patted Benji on the head. “Come on then.”

“Does that mean I can go to Danny’s?” I asked.

Mum sighed. “Yes, but be back by seven.”

I kissed her on the cheek and she waved me away, turning back to her frying pan of mince and tipping in a tin of tomatoes.

Grabbing my mobile I ran back out of the door, texting Danny as I went.

Coming over to yours. Be 20mins. You heard about Lizzie?

I retrieved my bike from where it leaned against the woodshed and wheeled it across the yard towards the gate. Beep went my mobile.

No. Wots she done now?

Turn on the news. She’s gone missing. Think she’s time shifted.

Many thanks to K L Schwengel for hosting WIPpet Wednesday. To read the other WIPpets or add your own you can find the linky here. Enjoy.

If you weren’t aware my good friend and fellow WIPpeteer Elaine Jeremiah launched her debut novel The Inheritance just over a week ago. I interviewed her as part of her blog tour plus she wrote a fabulous guest post for my blog all about how she became a writer. The Inheritance is available from amazon.

 

Interview With The Inheritance Author, Elaine Jeremiah

Elaine JeremiahJust over a week ago Elaine Jeremiah kicked off her blog tour with a guest post on my blog about how she became a writer, which you can read here. After a whirlwind few days visiting a variety of other writers and authors I’m delighted to welcome her back for the final day of her tour and an interview about her debut novel, The Inheritance, plus a couple of questions regarding how her first week as a published author has gone.

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In an interview I did with you earlier in the year you said the inspiration for The Inheritance came from the ‘The Prodigal Son’, the parable Jesus tells in the Bible. Instead of two brothers you reworked the story with two sisters, Kate and Emma – was this always your intention or did you initially have any other ideas?

Yes this was always my intention. I was looking for inspiration for a story to write and I felt this was an interesting idea – to write a new take, if you like, on the famous parable. And I found it worked very well; I was able to develop the story in parallel with the one Jesus told, but add new angles to it to give it a modern feel, something that people can hopefully relate to as they read it.

Kate and Emma are very different and grow a lot over the course of the novel. Is there anything of yourself in either of them?

I see myself in Kate to a certain extent. I’m conscientious like she is and like her I tend not to trust myself. I’m a hard worker and I sometimes get it wrong in terms of what I should be focussing on in life as she does. I’m less like Emma but in terms of her self-confidence, I’d like to be more like her.

The novel is separated into chapters either told from Kate’s point of view on her father’s farm in Cornwall or Emma’s, living it up in London. Was the writing process more enjoyable from one sister’s point of view than the other and what challenges did each story thread present you with?

The writing process was equally enjoyable from Kate and Emma’s point of view.  I found that as I planned and wrote their separate story lines, new characters and situations developed. Emma’s point of view was harder to write in some ways because I don’t know TheInheritanceLondon that well and I’m not a party girl either, so I had to do research to ensure that I was being as accurate as I could. Although Kate’s story line was mostly easier to write as I know Cornwall quite well, I did have to research farming and finding the relevant information was a challenge.

The family dynamics in The Inheritance are fascinating – is this something that interests you, the relationships between siblings and parents?

Yes, I would say so. I think family relationships are very important; how you’re brought up and your family background can affect you forever so it was good to be able to explore that. Having grown up in a family where both my parents were together (and still are), I find it interesting to imagine what life is like for people growing up with only one parent. All families are different and it’s fascinating for me to write about fictional families where there is tension between siblings and parents for whatever reason.

If you could meet and have lunch with just one of your characters from The Inheritance who would it be and why?

I think it would be Kate because we’re alike as people and it’d be good to have a discussion about the latest book we’re reading, as well as talking about family relationships. I’d particularly want to ask her how she’s getting on with Emma now and if her relationship with Steven is still going strong.

What are your hopes and expectations for The Inheritance now it’s out in the big wide world?

Mainly that lots of people buy it and enjoy reading it. I would hope that people who do enjoy it spread the word. I realise not everyone’s going to love it – that’s impossible – but I hope that there’re plenty of good reviews of it as well as negative!

How has your first week as a published author been?

Interesting and exciting. I’ve had people I’ve never met buy the book and tell their friends they’re enjoying it which is wonderful. My own friends and family have been great. Many of them have bought the book and have helped me to promote it which is lovely. I’ve found myself working quite hard to promote my blog tour with mixed results. Some days have been a bit quiet, but I have gained loads more Twitter followers and more followers on my blog which is great.

No pressure, Elaine, but when can we expect the next novel?

I’m working on it at the moment. It’s going well, but quite slowly and there’s a long way to go before I finish it so I think it’ll be another year at least before I publish it. But I aim to work more on it and publish it as soon as I’m able.

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Congratulations Elaine on a fabulous blog tour and the continued success of The Inheritance!

If you’d like to find out more about Elaine and what she’s writing then you can find her at her blog or over on Twitter. More importantly if you like the sound of The Inheritance then it’s available on amazon.com and amazon.co.uk.

‘The Inheritance is a story about family and the intricate difficulties that siblings and parents can go through. There is more to the book than just that and I won’t spoil the plot by saying anymore but suffice to say I was taken on an emotional journey by both sisters as they struggled against everything that life threw at them. The Inheritance is a great first novel – enjoyable, engaging and easy to read.’ 5* review of The Inheritance.

 

Elaine Jeremiah Guest Post – How I Became a Writer

Elaine JeremiahI’m absolutely delighted to welcome my friend Elaine Jeremiah on to my blog today as part of her blog tour to promote her debut novel, The Inheritance, which launches today. Elaine has written an insightful guest post (the first on my blog I’m pleased to announce) about her journey from wannabe writer to published author and all that’s gone on in-between. So without further ado I’ll hand you over to Elaine.

How I Became a Writer

Although I’ve always enjoyed writing stories, I didn’t always want to be a writer. In fact when I was about eleven I wanted to be an actress and I would fantasise about winning the Oscar for best actress! But it didn’t quite turn out that way. I kept on writing but the acting fell by the wayside.

I come from a family that loves telling stories. When I was little my mother would tell me stories of her own childhood that began ‘when I was a little girl’. I used to listen avidly to her tales of life with her two older brothers and the scrapes they’d get into. So it was natural for me to start telling stories of my own. Travelling with our parents through France, me and my younger brother and sister would get bored, spending long hours cramped in the car. So I’d make up stories to tell them. Some of them were quite outrageous, like ‘heroic’ dogs that would make pesky cats go away or even die by planting itching powder on them without them knowing!TheInheritance

I began to write stories too, many of them as part of creative writing exercises at school. I wrote a story about a girl who’s subjected to racist bullying at school; another about a girl trying to cope during the Blitz and one about a girl whose mother is a prostitute. Quite serious stuff I guess, but I was constantly trying to experiment with my writing.

As I got older I had to focus on exams and essay writing as I did my GCSEs, A levels and my degree. For years I did so little work on my creative writing it almost dried up. Once I’d graduated from university though, I had time to focus on it again. I felt liberated now that I could write what I wanted with no constraints. A few years ago I completed my first novel, aimed at teenage girls. I sent it off to a few agents but it was rejected.

Discouraged, I decided I’d do something completely different and began a fantasy story for older children. It went well for a while and I used it to apply for an MA in Writing for Young People at Bath Spa University. I had an interview for it but unfortunately I wasn’t successful and I ran out of steam with writing the story. Different people had suggested I change different things and it all got too confusing.

I felt a bit down about my writing and unsure what to do next. My husband suggested that I put the story to one side and do something completely different. I wrote a few short stories which really invigorated my writing and I started to think again about writing a longer story, maybe a novel. I was searching for inspiration and then I thought why not take ‘The Prodigal Son’, one of the parables Jesus tells in the Bible, and update it to modern day England with two sisters as the main protagonists.

And it went from there. I’ve finished The Inheritance and I’ve published it. It’s available to buy now. My journey as a writer hasn’t been entirely straightforward. But I’ve got to the point where I have the opportunity to get my writing out there for people to read through the wonders of self-publishing and that is a truly wonderful feeling.

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I know how long and difficult the journey can be from writing the first word of a novel to being confident enough to publish it and make it available to the world. With that in mind I hope you’ll join me in congratulating Elaine on her accomplishment and more importantly head on over to amazon to buy The Inheritance! Not only will you be supporting an indie author at the start of her publishing career but you’ll get to enjoy an excellent story too.

The Inheritance is available on amazon.com and amazon.co.uk. Elaine is celebrating her launch day over on her blog today so do please drop by and say hello to her if you have the time. She can also be found on Goodreads and twitter @ElaineJeremiah.

Massive congratulations Elaine! Here’s to the success of The Inheritance!

Famous for Being a Missing Person – WIPpet Wednesday

Facebook imageI know, I know – in last week’s WIPpet I said the extract I posted would be the last one from Time Shifters but I have nothing else to share this week and so my trusty children’s novel is seeing the light of day again. It’s not yet gone out to beta readers so I guess it can still be classed as a work in progress (just).

This week I give you a neat 11 lines from chapter 11 for the 11th September. All I really need to tell you to set this scene up is it’s 1471 and Maisie and Lizzie have found a room for the night in an inn.

“I wonder what’s happening back home?” Lizzie said. “Do you reckon the police are out looking for us?”

I sat on the bed next to her. “I guess so. We’ve been gone for four days.”

“Maybe there’ll be a facebook page dedicated to us?”

“Are you worried you’re missing out on your fifteen minutes of fame?”

“I don’t want to be famous for being a missing person.”

“But you want to be famous?”

“Don’t you?”

“Not really, no.”

So there you have it, the final installment of Time Shifters until it’s published – unless you’ve kindly offered to beta read it of course.

I will have to miss WIPpet Wednesday next week as I’m going away for a few blissful days in Norfolk with my husband and our dog, Frodo. Five days of fresh sea air, good food and no internet – I can’t wait. However, if you stop by my blog on Saturday then Elaine Jeremiah will be kicking off her blog tour for The Inheritance with a guest post. Plus if you have time tomorrow then Joanne Phillips has got lots lined up on her blog including giveaways to celebrate the launch of her cosy mystery, Murder at the Maples.

Many thanks to K L Schwengel for hosting WIPpet Wednesday. Got a WIP you’d like to share then simply choose an extract that corresponds to the date (WIPpet maths is encouraged) and add the link to your post here.