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 Butterfly Storm is Half Price!

ButtStorm700x700CenteredSet in sunny Greece and on the beautiful North Norfolk coast in the UK, The Butterfly Storm has frequently been described as ‘perfect for holiday reading’, so I thought it was a good time to do a summer promotion. Until the end of this week – Friday 8th August – The Butterfly Storm is reduced to just 99c/99p and can be downloaded here:

What Readers Are Saying About The Butterfly Storm

“I Loved this read with a capital L.” ElaineG, Amazon Top 50 Reviewer

“Beautifully written, carefully researched and expertly plotted – what more could you want from a book?” Joanne Phillips, author of Can’t Live Without 

“Beautifully precise in its descriptions, yet never dull, this is one book you will not be able to put down and will remember long after you’ve read the last words.” Elaine Jeremiah, author of The Inheritance

The Butterfly Storm CoverFinal300X450

 

 

Celebrating Cupid’s Way Launch Day

Cupids Way cover smallCupid’s Way, the new romantic novel from Joanne Phillips is available today. Its release means she now has four novels (including bestseller Can’t Live Without), a novelette and a book of short stories to her name. That’s a pretty amazing feat in just over two years.

To celebrate the release of her latest novel Jo’s having a launch day party over on Facebook if you fancy joining in with all the fun. Otherwise Cupid’s Way is available to buy from Amazon and with a cover like that it looks like the perfect summer read.

 

When Evie Stone’s grandparents enlist her help to save their home in Cupid’s Way, Evie is happy to oblige. On the cusp of her thirties, and still disappointingly single, Evie’s so-called dream job with a firm of architects has been driving her crazy for months. What she needs, even more than a new man, is a challenge.

But saving Cupid’s Way won’t be easy. A perfectly preserved Victorian terrace, surrounded by modern estates and retail parks, the street is a proud oasis of quirky characters, cobbled pathways and communal gardens. Unfortunately, it also sits on prime development land worth millions.

Dynamite Construction have the deal in the bag, and soon the residents of Cupid’s Way will be forced to sell up and ship out – CEO Michael Andrews, charismatic and super-successful, has certainly never let sentimentality get in the way of business. At least, he hadn’t until he met Evie Stone.

Right, that’s another book to add to my ever-growing to read list, particularly as it’s set in my home town of Bristol.

Cupids Way cover small

Joanne Phillips lives in rural Shropshire with her husband and young daughter. She’s the author of romantic comedies Can’t Live Without and The Family Trap, and the Flora Lively series of mysteries. Can’t Live Without was an Amazon top 20 bestseller in 2012 and her books regularly appear on category bestseller lists. Before becoming a writer, Joanne had jobs as diverse as hairdresser, air hostess and librarian, but now divides her time between writing and finding creative ways to avoid housework. She’s a fan of super-dark chocolate, iced coffee and Masterchef. Joanne blogs about writing and publishing at www.writersjourney.co.uk

 

Writing a Novel in a Month – Yes Really

KindleWell no, actually. I had every intention of taking part in NaNoWriMo and writing 50,000 words of Time Shifters – A Long Way From Home in November, which would have meant having almost a first draft completed by yesterday. All I needed to do was write 1,675 words every day between the 1st and the 30th November and ta da! 50,000 words would have miraculously appeared. Easy right? Well, for the first five days it was – I nailed my daily quota of 1,675 words and saw my word count grow on my NaNo stats page. And then on day six, other stuff took over.

There was cleaning and sorting in our house to be done whilst both Nik and I were off; appointments to go to and friends to see (despite the fact that I’d tried to keep November as free as possible it didn’t work out that way). The other – and probably main issue – was not having a detailed enough plot written out before starting NaNo to enable me to keep the flow of writing going. Despite this being the second book of a trilogy and already knowing the characters, plus having an idea of what would happen next, I’d only really plotted the beginning of the novel. I usually write like this and just have a vague idea of certain scenes and where the story is going to go but for NaNo this approach certainly slowed the word count progress down.

My total word count in November was a not-too-shabby (in my mind anyway) 20,117 words. Okay, it’s a good way off 50,000 words but I have managed to kick-start book two, discovered new characters I wasn’t expecting, and am pretty much one-third of the way through the book. Not bad really for one month’s writing. If I carry on like this I could have a first draft written by the end of January. (Watch this space but please don’t hold your breath…)

Taking part in NaNo has also made me aware of the way in which I write. Usually when I write something whether it’s a paragraph, a whole chapter or a couple of thousand words in one go, the next day I’ll go back to it, read through and edit it before writing anything new. With NaNo that way of working isn’t really possible, you just have to keep writing. In many ways that was quite refreshing to lock away the editor in me and simply keep putting words down. Even if they’re the wrong words and will need to be edited at some point in the future, what taking part in NaNo has successfully achieved is the sense of a story and in which direction book two will go in – even if it is unbelievably rough.

Whether you took part in NaNo or not I hope you had a productive writing month.

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!

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!

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.

 

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.