New Children’s Book and Giveaway

KF_TSITP_ebook_smallHaving a baby, lack of sleep, running around after a toddler, writing a novel and publishing two books this year alone are just a few of the reasons why I haven’t blogged in a very long time. Life as a mum is busy and my time and attention over the past couple of years has firmly been on my son first and then kickstarting my writing career second.

So, with Leo happily at nursery this morning, I’m concentrating on the release of my third novel, Time Shifters: Into the Past. The first in an exciting time travel adventure series for 9-12 year-olds (although hopefully it can be enjoyed by adults too) it follows twelve year-old Maisie, along with her best friend Danny and school bully Lizzie, on an adventure when they’re time-shifted to the past during a school trip to Warwick Castle.

It’s been an incredibly long time getting to this point. I first had the idea for Time Shifters during a visit to Warwick Castle in the summer of 2004, then when we were asked to write the first chapter of a completely new novel during the Experimentation and Exploration class during my Creative Writing MA at Bath Spa University, I wrote the opening of Time Shifters: Into the Past – at least it was a variation of what is now the first chapter. The book’s been on quite a journey since then getting snapped up by a literary agent only for it to all fall through due to bad luck and bad timing. As life does, it got in the way and Time Shifters lay dormant on my laptop for a good few years before the idea of publishing it myself became a possibility following the successful launch of my debut novel, The Butterfly Storm in 2013.

The Medieval Castle

So finally, here it is, launch day for Time Shifters: Into the Past. The last few months have been hard work getting it publication ready but I’m proud of the result and after twelve years, yes, twelve years, it’s been sent off into the big wide world. It’s available in paperback, and for a limited time only it’s just 99p/99c on Kindle. To celebrate I’m doing a giveaway. Considering the book starts at Warwick Castle and a big chunk of the novel is set in the fifteenth century, it’s only fitting that I have a fabulous Medieval Castle slot-together model as one of the prizes. Donated by my Dad who designed it (along with others in the range including a Tudor House, Windmill and Victorian Farm which you can see here), it would make a great Christmas present for a youngster, or you could simply keep it for yourself. The second prize is a Time Shifters goodie bag including a signed paperback and a notebook. Please do enter and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Launch Day Winners and Thanks Go To…

ButtStorm700x700CenteredWell, it’s been quite a day and I’ve been glued to my laptop since about 8am blogging, tweeting, replying to comments on my blog and messages on facebook. Thank you to everyone – friends, strangers, fellow writers and bloggers who have taken the time to stop by and read my posts and comment, and to post such supportive tweets on Twitter. A huge thank you too to those of you who have bought The Butterfly Storm; you’ve all helped to make a longstanding dream of mine come true and that’s to be a published author and to have people read my books.

This morning I said that I would add the names of anyone who bought The Butterfly Storm, followed this blog, left a comment, or tweeted about my book into a prize draw to win amazon vouchers. I put all the names into a hat (metaphorically speaking) and here are the two lucky winners:

  • Helen Hart
  • Bec Jones

Congratulations! A £5 amazon voucher will be winging its way to each of you.

There’s one other amazon voucher remaining and that’s for the most romantic story left in my blog’s comments. The stories can be found here (scroll to the comments at the bottom) and you’ll read about a Florida beach proposal, a romantic dinner in Paris, the start of something special in Russia and a cycling trip for two on Kefalonia. The stories are uplifting and heartwarming and each of them deserves to win. The one that I ultimately felt was the most romantic and also very appropriate for the launch of The Butterfly Storm was Debbie Young’s Greek romance with her Scottish husband. Thanks for sharing your story Debbie and a £5 amazon voucher is on its way to you. I have to say though that Kate Sparke’s tale about her husband sticking by her through thick and thin was the most moving (I had to whip out the tissues) and so I’m going to send Kate a copy of The Butterfly Storm as a runner-up prize so to speak.

There have been many people over the last nine years who have been instrumental in helping me to see The Butterfly Storm through from initial idea to today’s launch. My fellow MA workshoppers Judith van Dijkhuizen, Paul Dale, Tamsin Reeves and Andy Warburton were invaluable in giving constructive feedback on what worked and more importantly what didn’t in those early drafts. My mum and dad have always supported my writing dreams and have encouraged me throughout (I even got a butterfly themed card and present from them for launch day). My husband Nik has stood by me through all the ups and downs over the last nine years and couldn’t be more supportive of me pursuing writing as a career. He’s not read The Butterfly Storm yet (he only reads computer books – I know, scandalous!) but he might have to now it’s published. Even the process of submitting to agents and publishers and getting the feedback from those that read the whole novel helped shape it into the book I’ve just published. Kate Haigh proofread the book and did a fabulous job of making it as good as it could be. Lastly thanks to all the lovely and talented writers I’ve met via Twitter and the bloggersphere over the last year (you know who you are). You’ve all been so encouraging and supportive and have made me feel confident that self-publishing The Butterfly Storm was absolutely the right thing to do.

Thank you everyone! This Friday I kick off my blog tour with a guest post over on the wonderful Joanne Phillips’ blog, so if you do have time to stop by please do. That’s it, I’m signing out after a very lovely and memorable launch day. xx

Inspired by Greece – Thursday’s Children

thurschilbadgejpgThursday’s Children – A weekly blog hop where writers come together to talk about whatever inspires them.

Okay, so I know it’s still Wednesday in the UK but in other parts of the world such as Australia and New Zealand it’s already Thursday, so I figure I can get away with posting my Thursday’s Children offering a bit early this week. You see it also ties in neatly with the launch of my debut novel, The Butterfly Storm, as the inspiration for it came from the time I’ve spent in Greece.

It was the summer of 2000 that I first went to Greece to visit my boyfriend’s (now husband’s) family. We’d been together for about six months so it was about time I met the parents. After a four hour flight from Heathrow to Thessaloniki we were met at the airport OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAby Nik’s parents and, just as with Sophie in The Butterfly Storm, that was when my sketchy and very basic Greek was first put into practice. We then visited the whole of Nik’s family – his two sets of Grandparents and his aunt Soula – before heading home.

That first Greek holiday I remember being filled with food, sunshine, laughter, more food and day trips to the beach, Mt Olympus, a local festival and the archaeological site at Dion. Nik’s family were so lovely and welcoming and the view from Nik’s parents’ garden was of Mt Olympus. How could I not be inspired?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen I set about writing a novel in 2004 for my MA in Creative Writing, before I had any idea of plot or characters I knew that I wanted to set it (at least partly) in Greece. I started to think about what it would be like to leave everything behind in the UK and permanently move to Greece and why someone would do that. To escape? For a job? For love? And that’s when Sophie Keech began to take shape, a twenty-something woman who leaves behind everything she knows to move to Greece to live with her boyfriend, Alekos, who she’s known for just six weeks.

Alekos and his family live on mainland Greece and although I haven’t been specific about exactly where they’re located, Mt Olympus and ‘fields that merge with the sky’ is the view from their restaurant garden. I wanted to capture the feel of a Greek family and the flavour of life in Greece and so Sophie experiences Greek parties filled with food and dancing. Over the course of the novel, Sophie and Alekos briefly spend some time on the island of Santorini, a place that I’ve been to and one that’s not difficult to understand why you would want to write about it.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The path follows an incline and we puff our way up as what breeze there was disappears. We round a corner and reach the summit and suddenly the other side of the island is revealed. The island slopes down to a flat expanse of patchworked fields and whitewashed buildings ending at the southern side of the island with beaches and the sea. It’s a dramatic contrast to turn back to the caldera on our left and the steep drop to the sea crashing against the black rocks below. We start down the winding path that still clings to the edge of the caldera. Basking lizards scuttle from their sunbathing spots on rocks as we walk past.

With Alekos leading we walk on and concentrate on our footing when the path gets steep and rocky. The soil changes from a rusty red colour to ash white and charcoal black and clings to our trainers. We’ve been walking for over an hour and have lost sight of Oia but I can see across to where I think our hotel is. The ferry we’d seen crossing the caldera earlier is in the port. The whitewashed buildings of Thira are stacked one on top of each other spreading from the sea to the top of the cliffs. We walk to the top of the next hill and reach a whitewashed church with a domed roof and blue bell tower.

Have you spent anytime in Greece? What places or countries inspire you or your writing?

Inspire and be inspired by clicking on this linky and joining in with the Thursday’s Children blog hop. Big thanks go to hosts Rhiann Wynn-Nolet and Kristina Perez.

You’ve Got To Be In It To Win It…

ButtStorm700x700CenteredThink you can top the romantic, moving and heartwarming stories that Debbie, Kate and Sam have already left in the comments section of my Official Launch of The Butterfly Storm post? If so I’d love to hear it and you could be in with the chance of winning an amazon voucher.

Also, in case you missed the earlier post there are other ways of winning too just check out what you need to do here.

The Butterfly Storm is currently ranked at #6,435 on amazon.co.uk, which considering there are more than 400,000 books on amazon I’m over the moon with! Thanks so much to everyone for your support so far.

The Butterfly Storm Blog Tour 2013

The next two weeks are going to be all about The Butterfly Storm on my blog, although I’ll try and throw something else into the mix so you don’t get fed up of Sophie and Alekos, Leila and Despina and their exploits in Greece and north Norfolk.

Not only will I be blogging about The Butterfly Storm but some other lovely and very generous writers, authors and bloggers will be hosting me on their own blogs either through guest posts or interviews, so if you’d like to follow my blog tour and support both myself and the fabulous hosts then here’s where I’ll be stopping off at:

  • Friday 14th June: The tour kicks off with a guest post on the very talented and successful Joanne Phillips’ blog. She’s the author of bestsellers Can’t Live Without and The Family Trap.
  • Sunday 16th June: Review of The Butterfly Storm on Maryann Miller’s, It’s Not All Gravy blog.
  • Monday 17th June: Interview with fellow WIPpeteer the lovely Alana Terry, author of The Beloved Daughter and What, No Sushi?
  • Wednesday 19th June: A guest post featuring a conversation between myself and my main character, Sophie Keech, on It’s Not All Gravy.
  • Friday 21st June: A guest post on chick-lit novelist Laurey Buckland’s blog.
  • Monday 24th June: Interview with my friend and talented writer Elaine Jeremiah.
  • Tuesday 25th June: Guest post on the very lovely Raewyn Hewitt’s blog.
  • Wednesday 26th June: I’ll be visiting Jade Reyner, recently published author of Twelve Days – The Beginning.
  • Thursday 27th June: Guest Post ‘In It For the Long Haul’ on author of It Started With A Click, Estelle Wilkinson’s blog.
  • Friday 28th June: Interview with Stacie Theis on her fabulous blog, Beach Bound Books.

I hope you will join me on my blog tour as I cross the pond and visit Alana Terry, Maryann Miller and Stacie Theis of Beach Bound Books in the US; stick around in the UK with Joanne Phillips, Laurey Buckland, Elaine Jeremiah, Jade Reyner and Estelle Wilkinson; and head all the way down under to visit Raewyn Hewitt in New Zealand. Also, in July I hope to be doing a Q&A over on Off The Shelf Book Promotions with the lovely Debbie Young, author of Sell Your Books! and on the 23rd July check out a review of The Butterfly Storm on Chick Lit Plus.

In the meantime I need to stop blogging and tweeting for an hour or so to go take Frodo for a walk and grab some lunch!

Blessed With Freckles – WIPpet Wednesday

ButtStorm700x700CenteredHello fellow WIPpeteers and anyone else who’s reading! This is a very special WIPpet Wednesday launch day post. After almost exactly nine long years from when I first started writing The Butterfly Storm to today the 12th June, I can finally say I’m a published author. Cue fanfare and cheering!

So in celebration of that fact I’ve chosen 12 paragraphs from chapter 12. Sophie is back in the UK and is on her way to her old hometown of Bristol in southwest England to visit her best friend Candy. They’ve not seen each other since Sophie moved to Greece to be with Alekos four years before, so their reunion is a celebration in itself.

Heading down the M32, I want it to feel like coming home. Through the coach window I can see Bristol spread out in front, masked by hazy sunshine and, despite its familiarity, there’s no pang of regret or missed heartbeat of longing. My childhood was spent in the city, being handed across the fence to play in our next-door neighbour’s garden. I used to bounce along the uneven pavement on my tricycle, tearing up our terraced street to the park. Ice cream vans would announce their arrival at the top of our road with a squeaky tune, which would send me running from our house with a fifty-pence piece clutched in my palm to exchange for a Fab lolly or one of those ice creams with bubblegum at the bottom. My memories of Bristol were Andy’s newsagents at the bottom of our road selling two sweets for a penny, cars parked bumper to bumper, the smell from the Indian takeaway and terraced gardens filled with barbeque smoke on summer days.

Candy opens the front door of her Victorian terraced house in Redland, lets out a squeal and hugs me. Her face is immaculately made up as always and she looks relaxed in loose cotton trousers and a close-fitting T-shirt, her boobs even bigger than I remember.

At thirteen, Candy went from being flat-chested and spotty, to being 34C and spotty. The spots didn’t seem to matter anymore. Mum said I was blessed with freckles instead of spots. I wasn’t blessed with 34C overnight though. I was a tomboy, happy in jeans and baggy T-shirts, while Candy was a girlie girl. Not only did she have a bust girls envied and boys lusted after and a face that wouldn’t have looked out of place on the cover of Just Seventeen but she had the brains to match. I should have hated her.

‘Shouldn’t we kiss on both cheeks?’ she says, pulling away from me. ‘God, you look healthy. What do you mean no tan!’

‘It’s just brought out my freckles.’

‘Are you kidding me? You look great!’

She ushers me into the hallway and I drop my bag on the polished floorboards and follow her into the open-plan kitchen-diner. Holly, wide-eyed and open-mouthed sits in a high chair dribbling into her bib.

‘Do you want a drink?’ Candy asks. She takes a bottle of red from the wine rack on the work surface next to the six-ringed stainless steel oven. Garlic bulbs and a sprig of bay leaves hang from a hook on the ceiling.

Holly watches me. ‘Yes, please,’ I say, raising my eyebrows and wiggling both hands at Holly.

‘Red or white?’

‘Water for now, please.’

‘Water?’ Candy says, taking a glass and filling it with water from the fridge. ‘That’s not the Sophie Keech I used to know.’

If you’ve not yet seen my Official Launch of The Butterfly Storm! post then have a read to see how you can be in with a chance of winning amazon vouchers. And if you fancy joining in with the WIPpet fun then all you have to do is post an extract of your WIP that relates in some way to the date – you can get creative with this – and add the link of your post to the linky over on WIPpet master, K L Schwengel’s blog. You could also chose to write an opening to a novel… yes, you heard me right, the opening to a completely new novel. Now go and read some fabulous WIPpets from the likes of Raewyn, Elaine, Alana, ReGi, Kathi, Emily, Kate, Jessica, Eden and more, and make sure you check back here later for some more launch day fun.

Official Launch of The Butterfly Storm!

It’s been a long time coming – nine years to be exact – to see The Butterfly Storm finally published and here it is in all its eBook glory:

That’s the plug for the book over and done with so now on with the celebration! There will be music and cake – well I’ve treated myself at least to a little cake from our local artisan bakers and I’ll have the radio playing along while I blog and tweet throughout the day – but there are prizes that you have the chance of winning.

I’ll be doing a prize draw for three Amazon gift cards (£5/$5 depending on where you live) and announcing the winners at 8pm today (BST). So, to be in with a chance of winning all you need to do are one or all of the following: buy The Butterfly Storm; sign up to follow this blog; leave a comment; tweet about The Butterfly Storm (make sure you add my twitter handle @Kactus77 into your tweet so it shows up in my mentions).

If you buy The Butterfly Storm just email me the amazon receipt to kactus (at) kate-frost (dot) co (dot) uk and I’ll add your name five times into the draw. Sign up to my blog and your name will go in three times. Leave a comment or send a tweet and I’ll add your name for each and every time you comment or tweet. My lovely blog followers will automatically have their names added to the draw.

The Butterfly Storm is ultimately a love story and one which sees its protagonist Sophie move to Greece from the UK to be with Alekos her boyfriend of just six weeks. Some may say that’s a pretty rash decision to make but it’s also pretty romantic. What’s the most romantic thing you’ve either done for someone or someone has done for you? Let me know in the comments and the most romantic story will win one of those amazon vouchers.

Thanks for dropping by – I’ll be posting updates and special posts throughout the day and I can’t wait to read your romantic stories!