A Taste of Reunion of the Heart

RotH-CoverI may not have done much writing or blogging over the last few months since Leo’s arrival but my writer friends have certainly been busy, not least of all my good friend, Elaine Jeremiah. Back in August I was one of the bloggers who took part in the cover reveal for Reunion of the Heart and now, after Elaine’s second book has been published for a few weeks, I’m delighted to be able to welcome Elaine back on to my blog to share an extract from it. In this scene, Anna is having a heart to heart with Will, the man she met at her school reunion who was once the boy who tormented her at school.

Anna hesitated, turning away from him. She wasn’t sure she wanted to talk to Will right now. What could she say anyway? She found herself blushing as she remembered how he’d made her feel at the party, and shivered a little. Footsteps sounded behind her getting closer. Taking a deep breath, she turned around. Will was standing there. He too looked unsure.

‘Hi, Anna.’

‘Hi, Will.’ Anna shifted from foot to foot.

‘Would you like a lift home? If that’s where you’re going? That’s my car there.’ He pointed to a smart looking VW Polo.

She thought for a moment. If she allowed Will to take her home, she’d have to talk to him. But she was freezing cold and the buses would be crowded and slow.

‘Yes, a lift home would be lovely,’ she found herself saying. ‘If you’re sure?’

‘Absolutely.’ He grinned at her, rubbing his gloveless hands together.

Feeling a sense of trepidation, she followed him to the car and climbed in, glad of the warmth. As they drove off, Anna wondered at herself for letting Will get anywhere near her, despite her body telling her otherwise. But perhaps her friends were right. Perhaps she should just let bygones be bygones. After a while, he broke the silence.

‘You know, I nearly didn’t go to the reunion,’ he said.

‘Oh really?’ Anna glanced at him, raising her eyebrow.

‘Yes. I wasn’t sure I wanted to revisit my past.’ He paused and took a fleeting look at her before returning his attention to the road. ‘I guess you felt the same way?’

‘What do you think?’ Anna couldn’t keep the bitterness from her voice.

Will swallowed at her caustic answer and nodded, his eyes never leaving the road.

‘I suppose you have me to thank for that.’

She didn’t trust herself to answer. But if he was going to ask her difficult questions like this, he’d just have to accept that the response he got wouldn’t necessarily be to his liking.

‘Well maybe…’ he began.

‘Maybe what?’

He didn’t reply. They travelled on in silence. As they got closer to her home, she directed him towards her road. Having pulled over and stopped the car, he turned to look at her, taking hold of her hand. To her own surprise she didn’t snatch it away.

‘Anna, I’m so sorry for what I did to you at school. If there was any way of making it up to you, I’d do it immediately.’ He sighed, his face downcast. ‘I’m not sure there is a way to make amends. But I just wanted to tell you that I care about you and if you ever need a friend, you have one in me.’

She looked at him, open mouthed. This was Will talking, the Will who’d stuffed food in her face in front of most of their year group. The person who, along with his friends, had constantly taunted her about how fat she was, to the point that she’d become suicidal and, for a short while, bulimic.

Now this same person was telling her that he cared about her, that he wanted to be her friend? She shook her head as if to clear her thoughts. Her friends’ words came to her mind, what they’d said about him liking her all along. Perhaps she shouldn’t discount Will as a friend. You could never have too many, that was for sure.

‘Thank you, Will. I’ll remember that.’ He let go of her hand. She managed to smile at him as she got out of the car. ‘And thank you for the lift. It was kind of you.’

‘No problem,’ he replied. He sounded relieved, almost as if he’d been expecting a slap in the face. She turned away from him.

‘Oh, Anna!’ She turned around. Will was leaning out of the car holding something out to her in his hand. ‘My contact details,’ he told her. ‘In case you ever need to chat.’

‘OK, thank you,’ she said awkwardly, taking the card and walked quickly to her house, dashing inside as fast as her fumbling fingers, searching for the keys, would let her.

If you’re interested in reading more, then Reunion of the Heart is available on Kindle here. To find out more about Elaine and her writing then head over to her blog or follow her on Twitter. Happy reading!

Cover Reveal for Reunion of the Heart by Elaine Jeremiah

Elaine JeremiahIt was only in September last year that my good friend and fellow author Elaine Jeremiah launched her debut novel, The Inheritance. Fast forward nearly twelve months and Elaine is back with a second romantic novel called Reunion of the Heart. Here’s the blurb:

After a messy breakup with her boyfriend, Anna is feeling fragile. So when her best friend Melissa suggests the two of them go to their school reunion, she’s reluctant as Anna’s school days weren’t her happiest. The evening is going well until she meets the boy who made her school life hell.

But the grown up Will is different and Anna is surprised by the direction her life takes. The reunion sets in motion a series of events that lead Anna to realise things will never be the same again.

Today is about the all important cover reveal and I’m delighted to be one of the bloggers hosting Elaine and her brand-spanking new cover. So, without further ado feast your eyes on this:

RotH-Cover

If that cover doesn’t say romance, love and passion, I don’t what will! I love the way it hints at a Parisian element to the novel with the Eiffel Tower in the background. Not only that reading Elaine’s blog this morning she’s just a week away from publishing it!

Elaine Jeremiah has always enjoyed writing, but it’s only in recent years that she’s begun to devote serious time to it. She’s written lots of short stories, one previous novel that will never see the light of day and a novel which has seen the light of day: ‘The Inheritance’ which she published last year. ‘The Inheritance’ is available on Amazon.

You can make contact with Elaine via her blog: elainejeremiah.co.uk and Twitter: @ElaineJeremiah

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!

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?

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.

Blog Tour Giveaway Winners and What’s Next

ButtStorm700x700CenteredI know I said I was going to announce the winners of the amazon voucher giveaway on Sunday but my excuse was I was doing lovely Sunday-type things and I ran out of time in the end. But I have put the names of all the fabulous people who bought The Butterfly Storm during the blog tour into the draw and can now officially announce the two winners:

  • Ben Dangerfield
  • Naomi Hopkins

Congratulations! I will be in touch with Ben and Naomi in the next couple of days to arrange their prizes of £5 amazon vouchers. Thank you to everyone else who bought the book and I very much hope that you enjoy reading it.

So, the blog tour is over and during the past two weeks an extract of The Butterfly Storm featured on Jade Reyner’s blog, guest posts appeared on Joanne Phillips’, Maryann Miller’s, Laurey Buckland’s, Raewyn Hewitt’s and Estelle Wilkinson’s blogs, plus I had interviews with Alana Terry, Elaine Jeremiah and Beach Bound Books. Thank you so very much to all my wonderful and talented blog tour hosts.

So what’s next? Well the promotion and marketing of The Butterfly Storm doesn’t stop but it’s no good having just one book published… My children’s novel is almost finished and so I’m going to dedicate July to doing the final edit before sending it off to agents and/or publishers. If I get any feedback, well then that’s great, and if I don’t then I’ll follow the same route as I did with The Butterfly Storm and self-publish Time Shifters. Then in August I’m going to spend the month writing my new WIP, The House of Stone, and see how far I can get with it. That’s my summer sorted. How about yours? What plans do you have?

Blog Tour Stop #5 – Elaine Jeremiah

ButtStormBlogTourToday you’ll find me over on the ever so lovely Elaine Jeremiah’s blog. Elaine posed some questions about the writing process and journey to publication of The Butterfly Storm and you can read the interview here.

Elaine is a writer who has just about finished her first novel, The Inheritance, which she will hopefully be publishing at some point this year. She’s currently working on a new novel with the working title of Reunion, extracts of which can be read on WIPpet Wednesdays. I also interviewed Elaine back in April about The Inheritance and her writing and reading habits, so if you want to find out more have a quick read.

I have a long list of things to do and write this afternoon but I did take time out this morning to meet up with my very good friend and my goddaughter for lunch as they’re over from Singapore (escaping the awful smog for a few weeks) and so it was lovely to catch up. Blog posts, interview questions and writing beckons now.

Blog Tour Stop #4 – Laurey Buckland

ButtStormBlogTourIt’s Friday afternoon, sunny and nearly the weekend, what better way to celebrate than to head on over to the very welcoming Laurey Buckland who’s hosting me today as part of my blog tour. Laurey has a chick-lit novel out called A Girl’s Guide to Fairy Tales (it has fabulous reviews on amazon) and she’s also featured in The Sunlounger Anthology alongside around 30 other chick-lit writers and authors.

There’s still time to enter my prize giveaway. All you need to do is buy The Butterfly Storm between now and the 28th June and either email me the amazon receipt to kactus (at) kate-frost (dot) co (dot) uk or tweet that you’ve bought it when prompted by amazon and I’ll include you in the draw to win one of two £5/$5 amazon vouchers. Thanks so much to those of you that have bought it.

My blog tour is continuing after the weekend. On Monday my friend and fellow writer Elaine Jeremiah is interviewing me; Tuesday (that’s New Zealand time as it might actually be Monday in the UK…) I’m visiting the lovely Raewyn Hewitt; Wednesday I’m sharing an extract of The Butterfly Storm on Jade Reyner’s excellent blog; Thursday I have a guest post on British author, Estelle Wilkinson’s blog; and then on Friday I’m rounding off the week with an interview on Beach Bound Books.

Have a lovely weekend everyone!