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

Blogger Award and My Last WIPpet Wednesday (for a While)

sisterhood-of-world-blogger-awardIt’s true, this is going to be my last WIPpet Wednesday, in fact my last blog post for a while. How long a while is all depends on when our baby decides to arrive and when I’m next awake enough/have any time (you get the idea) to even think about blogging. Apart from taking the time to relax over these next couple of weeks I also want to concentrate on writing A Long Way From Home while I have the chance. It has stalled at around a third of the way in and I’d like to get a good chunk written before our baby arrives. A little scare over the weekend when I was admitted to hospital for 24 hours to be monitored made me realise how soon our little baby could actually make an appearance. All is fine and baby’s heart was monitored and he/she was moving around like a crazy thing so I was discharged on Monday. Feet up, laptop and writing – that’s my plan.

I’ve also been meaning to do a post about a blogger award I received way back in November from my friend and fellow author, Jade Reyner, who’s not only a prolific blogger but about to launch her second novel in the coming weeks. She nominated me for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award! and so I thought it was about time that I officially thanked her and passed the award on. As blogger awards go this is a simple one:

Rules:

  1. Provide a link and thank the blogger who nominated you for this award.
  2. Answer 10 questions.
  3. Nominate 10-12 blogs that you find a joy to read.
  4. Provide links to these nominated blogs and kindly let the recipients know that they have been nominated.
  5. Include the award logo within your blog post.

Questions:

  1. Your favourite colour? – Blue
  2. Your favourite animal? – Dog, specifically our Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.
  3. Your favourite non-alcoholic drink? – Rhubarb & Custard drink from M&S that tastes just like the sweets I had when I was a kid.
  4. Facebook or Twitter? – Twitter, although I’m getting in to Facebook more now.
  5. Your favourite pattern? – Stripes
  6. Do you prefer getting or giving presents? – Giving, particularly when you know you’ve got something that person will really love.
  7. Your favourite number? – 2 and 7
  8. Your favourite day of the week? – Sunday
  9. Your favourite flower? – Colourful, sweet smelling ones!
  10. What is your passion? – Writing stories of course.

There’s absolutely no pressure to take part but I’d like to pass the award on to all my fellow WIPpeteers as I love reading your novel extracts each week and receiving your comments on mine. You’re a great and supportive bunch, so thank you.

Now, for my WIPpet. What to give you today… hum, it’s really getting tricky now without having written any new stuff recently. I think, because it’s my last WIPpet for a while, I will give you five paragraphs for the 5th February 2014 from the last chapter I’ve written, which just so happens to be chapter 14. For those of you who didn’t beta read book one this extract will probably be quite confusing. All I will say is by this point in the book Lizzie has been found and she’s with Maisie in a house in 1940s London with a future version of Danny. Oh, and to be really mean I’ve cut the last paragraph short because it gives away a huge plot spoiler.

“What are we not going to like?” I asked.

“My suggestion of what I think you should do.” Future Danny looked directly at me.

I pointed to the top of my chest. “What I should do?”

“Why Maisie?” Lizzie asked, folding her arms and huffing.

“Because,” future Danny said. “Maisie is the only one of us that can time-shift to…”

Make of that what you will! We’re a very welcoming bunch headed up by the fabulous KL Schwengel, so if you fancy joining in with WIPpet Wednesday simply choose an extract from your WIP that corresponds with the date (creativity is encouraged) and add your link here over on My Random Muse. Take the time to read the other WIPpet offerings too – we’re a diverse bunch.

I don’t know when I’ll be blogging again, but I will be back, that’s a promise. Until then happy writing and reading everyone!

Happy New Year WIPpet Wednesday!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHappy New Year everyone! I hope you all had a fabulous New Year’s Eve kissing goodbye to 2013 and welcoming in 2014.  We had a quiet one at home and I just about managed to stay awake until midnight.

I usually find the eve of a new year quite odd – there’s this big build up all for a second to pass and take us into the next year. Last New Year’s Eve I couldn’t wait to say goodbye to 2012, which had proved to be one of the most difficult twelve months of my life. When the clock struck midnight and 2012 turned into 2013 I was hopeful that it would be a better year and although the beginning couple of months were challenging, so very disappointing and echoed of history repeating itself, by June the hope I’d had on New Year’s Eve was beginning to turn into reality. Not only did I launch my debut novel on the 12th June, but a week later I found out I was pregnant. The two things I’d wanted for so long had happened at the same time.

A new year often focuses on new starts, whether that’s making new year’s resolutions or making plans about what you’re going to do that year. For me 2014 is all about becoming a mum first and foremost, but I also aim to publish my second novel by the end of the year and, time allowing, finish writing a first draft of the second book in the Time Shifters trilogy.

It’s a new beginning too for Maisie and co. in Time Shifters – A Long Way From Home. In this extract for the 01/01/14 I give you one paragraph in which a new character has joined in with the adventure. Remember that curly blonde-haired boy from a couple of weeks back who had confronted Maisie and Danny with a sword? Well, quite a bit has happened since then and Edward has managed to get time-shifted with Maisie to Roman Britain.

Edward clamped his hand over my mouth and pulled me towards the trees. There was a rhythmic clomp of horses’ hooves and the creak of cart wheels. We huddled down into the undergrowth and Edward unsheathed his sword.

WIPpet Wednesday is hosted by K L Schwengel over on My Random Muse. If you’re interested you can also read the last WIPterview of the year that she did with me here. If you’d like to join in and become a WIPpeteer yourself then simply post an extract of your work in progress that corresponds in some way to the date (for example one paragraph for the 1st January, although you can be more creative than that), and add you link to this linky.

All that’s left to say is Happy New Year and I hope that 2014 proves to be a happy, healthy and successful year for all of us.

What are your plans, writing or otherwise, for 2014? 

In Trouble Yet Again – WIPpet Wednesday

venice3It’s good to be back and joining in with WIPpet Wednesday again – I’ve missed you guys! November was spent working on Time Shifters – A Long Way From Home and I have to say after months and months spent editing, first The Butterfly Storm and then Time Shifters, it was so good to actually start writing again. Getting approximately 20,000 words written during NaNo also means that I have a whole new WIP that I can post extracts from. It’s rough, and I mean really rough, but that’s what WIPpet Wednesday is all about isn’t it? Sharing our work in progress in all its first-drafty glory.

So, for the 4th December I’m giving you 12 sentences from chapter 4 of Time Shifters – A Long Way From Home. This extract features Maisie and Danny who have – unsurprisingly – managed to get themselves into a bit of trouble in ancient Rome.

We tumbled inside, practically pushing the woman out of the way, and shut the heavy door firmly behind us. A great wooden bar fell into place and it was only seconds later that the weight of the two men landed against the door. It didn’t budge. We took a step back and turned to the woman.

She had a tanned face and looked Italian with dark golden hair braided on top of her head. She wore a floating cream dress that had an embroidered band above the waist. She stared at us with wide brown eyes.

“Hello Maisie. Hello Danny,” she said.

I frowned. “You know our names?”

“You speak English.” Danny took another step into the villa.

So there you have it. The WIPpeteers are a friendly bunch and if you fancy joining in simply post an extract of your WIP that relates in some way to the date and add your link here. WIPpet Wednesday is also a fabulous way of making writing friends from all round the world. Elaine and I were lucky enough to meet fellow WIPpeteer, Emily, during her recent visit to the UK. After spending time in London and Cardiff Emily was in Bath for a few days so we met one chilly evening in a cafe and had a lovely chat for a couple of hours before she headed off to Paris.

Many thanks as always to K L Schwengel for hosting WIPpet Wednesday.

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.

 

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.

Time Shifters, Beta Readers and Book Blurb #2 – WIPpet Wednesday

The Great Fire of London mapI think today might have to be the last time I post anything from Time Shifters for WIPpet Wednesday. That does mean I will have to start writing something new (you’ll know how that goes if I manage a post next week or not). But with Time Shifters in the very final stages of editing and almost ready to go out to beta readers it can hardly be classed as a work in progress any longer. So, it’s time for something new.

This week, however, I shall stick with Time Shifters and give you a final four paragraphs for the 4th September. This extract takes place not long after Maisie has saved Charlie the dog from a wealthy woman’s house in 1666 London and she’s escaped into the street with Danny and Lizzie who are frantically running away from the fire.

I didn’t look back. People screaming and the roar of flames filled my ears and the stench of smoke choked my lungs. Women, children, dogs, even the men in uniform who had been attempting to put out the fire were running for their lives. Danny, Lizzie and I weaved in and out, running past people laden with belongings, dodging furniture lying abandoned in the street. Charlie, I suddenly thought. I turned back and strained to see the miserable old man and his cart with the lady and Charlie next to him steadily making their way towards safety through the packed street.

“Come here!” a gruff voice suddenly shouted from the doorway of the nearest house.

A tall thin boy shot into me like a bullet, sending me sprawling to the ground. He stumbled and nearly dropped the necklace he clutched in his hand but regained his balance and disappeared in the crowd. Dirty cobblestones millimetres from my face stretched in front of me pounded by stranger’s feet. The palms of my hands were sore and grazed and my knees stung. I tried to scramble to my feet but I was knocked back down by a thick set man too busy getting out of the fire’s way to notice me.

“Danny wait!” Lizzie shouted, and then I saw her battered 15th century shoes in front of me. She grabbed me beneath my arms and helped me to my feet.

I mentioned at the start of this post about beta readers. I already have someone lined up but I would love a few more and so I wondered if anyone would be interested and have the time this month to beta read Time Shifters for me? If you would like to then please either let me know in the comments below or email me at kactus (at) kate-frost (dot) co (dot) uk. Time Shifters is a time travel adventure story aimed at 9-12 year-olds. Here’s the reworked blurb for it (I’d love to know what you think of this version):

When Maisie Brown is time shifted to 1471 and the midst of the Wars of the Roses during a school trip to Warwick Castle, it’s the beginning of an adventure bigger than she could have ever dreamed of. The only problem is she has to share it with Lizzie Andrews, the class bully, instead of her best friend Danny Romano, who has managed to get caught up amongst the Earl of Warwick’s army marching towards the Battle of Barnet and Edward IV, the King of England.

Determined to save Danny, Maisie and Lizzie leave the relative safety of the castle and follow after the army. Battling against everything that Medieval England throws at them the girls find unexpected help from a Lord with a surprising secret, discover two mysterious hooded figures are trying to hunt them down, and that they have the unlikeliest of allies looking out for them. With time fast running out to find Danny the chase is on for them to all find a way home or risk being time shifted again.

 

Time Shifters, the first of a trilogy, is a time travel adventure story and an exciting read the whole family can enjoy.

Anyone with a work in progress can join in with WIPpet Wednesday. All you need to do is choose an extract from your WIP that has a connection to the date (so today you could post 4 sentences or paragraphs from page 49 or chapter 9 for example) and then add your link here. Many thanks as always to K L Schwengel for hosting.

Book Blurb for Time Shifters – WIPpet Wednesday

DSC00667Choosing an extract that corresponded with today’s date and didn’t give too much of the plot away was proving to be difficult so I thought I’d share my first stab at the blurb for Time Shifters instead. Part of it I’d written a few months ago, some of it I wrote this morning so I’d be very interested to know what you think. I’ve had to be ingenious with WIPpet maths to make this work for the 28th August. The blurb is exactly 101 words… 2 + 8 = 10 (101 = 10 + 1 for luck). And I was never any good at maths when I was at school…

 

When Maisie Brown is time shifted to 1471 during a school trip to Warwick Castle, it’s the beginning of an adventure bigger than she could ever have dreamed of. The only problem is she has to share it with Lizzie Andrews, the class bully, instead of her best friend Danny Romano, who is caught up amongst the Earl of Warwick’s army marching to battle…

Will Maisie and Lizzie find Danny before it’s too late? Will they manage to get home without being time shifted again? And just who are the mysterious hooded riders who seem so intent on hunting them down?

Comments about what works, what doesn’t, whether the premise hooks you or if it would make you want to buy the book for yourself, your kids, niece, nephew or Godchildren will be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

WIPpet Wednesday, hosted by K L Schwengel, is all about sharing your latest work in progress. Simply post an extract of your WIP that corresponds in some way to the date and add your link to the linky here. Why not have a read of all the other great WIPpets whilst you’re there too.