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

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? 

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!

Exciting Non-Writing Related News to Announce!

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

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

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

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

Stupid Lizzie – WIPpet Wednesday

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

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

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

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

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

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.

All Is Not What It Seems – WIPpet Wednesday

Frodo on blanketI’m back! I missed writing my WIPpet post last week although I did manage to read some of the other WIPpeteers’ work. I really need to start writing The House of Stone as I’m on the verge of giving too much of the plot away with my Time Shifters snippets. Last week was all about The Butterfly Storm and this week my focus is going to be firmly on finishing editing Time Shifters. The Butterfly Storm is still doing really well post-promo and is hanging in the top 300 on the UK amazon kindle chart and is still in the top 10 of the literary fiction and women’s literary fiction categories.

But back to Time Shifters and today’s WIPpet which is 8 paragraphs from chapter 21 for the 21/08/13. You might remember from a few weeks back the scene when Maisie, Danny and Lizzie get a lift into London on the back of a cart. It’s 1666 and the Great Fire of London is raging. Despite their best laid plans to get out of London and across the Thames as soon as they can, they end up helping to save a wealthy woman’s belongings from her house, which just so happens to be in the path of the fire. In this extract the woman has asked Maisie to save her beloved dog, Charlie.

I followed Lizzie and Danny into the house. After the brightness of the day, it was gloomy and stuffy inside. Danny headed straight for the large chest against the entrance hall wall.

“Grab the other end, Maisie,” he said.

“I have to find her dog. Lizzie, help Danny.” I clattered up the stairs and didn’t give them a chance to argue.

The first floor landing was a little brighter with smoky daylight streaming through a window over looking the street. Apart from one door that opened on to a large panelled room with a writing desk in front of the window, all the other doors off the landing were closed. I began to climb the stairs to the top floor when I heard a bark.

“Charlie?” I ran to the top landing and pushed open the doors of each bedroom until I saw the most gorgeous King Charles spaniel, barking his head off in the middle of a four poster bed hung with gold drapes. He saw me and abruptly stopped barking and let out a whine.

“Hey Charlie, what are you doing up here on your own?” His tail wagged and he waddled over to the edge of the bed. He was a white and tan colour and so soft with huge floppy ears and big brown eyes. I scooped him into my arms and his wagging tail flicked back and forwards into my face. “Come on, let’s get out of here before the whole place burns down.”

I was about to walk out of the door when a thud on the floorboards behind me made me stop.

“Maisie, wait!”

That’s your lot for today and that might have to be it for Time Shifters too unless I can find something suitable to post next week. Otherwise I might just have to write something new….

If you fancy joining in simply post an extract of your work in progress that relates in some way to the day or if you’re feeling brave post a new beginning of a whole new WIP. WIPpet Wednesday is hosted by the lovely K L Schwengel over on My Random Muse. To read the other WIPpets or add your own just click on the little blue linky.

They’re Coming – WIPpet Wednesday

Autumn view TyntesfieldTime is running away with me today. I’ve spent most of my time this week submitting The Butterfly Storm to various sites to promote it when it goes free this coming Friday 9th – Sunday 11th but I just about have time to squeeze in a WIPpet. Amazingly I’ve managed to find an extract that fits in with the date and doesn’t have any major spoilers all within 5 minutes – that must be a record.

So, for today’s WIPpet we’re rewinding a fair few chapters in Time Shifters and Maisie and Lizzie are back in 1471, still without Danny, and have left an inn in the middle of the night when they realise that someone’s after them… The following 13 (shortish) paragraphs are from page 78, and the WIPpet maths behind that is quite simply that it’s the 07/08/13.

We thundered along the road lined with skeletal trees but ahead was just darkness. My heart was thumping so hard against my ribs I could barely breathe. I didn’t dare look back. They were on horses and we were on ponies and eventually they would catch us up.

“We need to hide,” I said, glancing back. The flaming torches were getting closer, flickering through the trees. “We don’t have much time.”

The wood loomed against the moonlit sky. I turned Goliath towards the trees and tightened my grip on the rope attached to Zeus. “Hold on!” I said.

Branches whipped and tore at our clothes and skin as we entered the wood. We were forced to slow down. There was no clear path and the trees were dense. We headed away from the road, deeper into the wood. The only noise was the crunch of twigs under hooves, the ponies snorting and our breathing, loud in the darkness. I twisted in the saddle. I couldn’t see anything behind us. Could we be that lucky and have lost them? No, there was the familiar orange glow flickering through the trees moving parallel to us. Did that mean they were still on the road?

Goliath stopped and I was thrown forwards but I managed to grab hold of his mane to steady myself. Lizzie’s leading rope slipped from my hand and Zeus kept moving forwards.

“Maisie?”

“I’m here, don’t worry.”

There was a splash and Zeus walked into a stream shimmering in the moonlight. Now I understood why Goliath had stopped. I kicked him but he wouldn’t budge. His hooves were planted firmly at the edge of the stream.

“Maisie!” Lizzie’s voice was high-pitched and way too loud. She was on the other side of the stream now. “I can’t stop.”

“Turn Zeus away from the stream and into a tree.”

I dismounted, grabbed Goliath’s reins and splashed into the water, gasping at the cold. I pulled at his reins but he was stubborn and still wouldn’t move. Lizzie had come to a stop; I could see the gleam of Zeus’ grey coat not far away.

“Come on Goliath,” I said, stroking his soft nose. A crack of a branch somewhere in the wood made him look up. Maybe he could smell my fear because with another tug on his reins he joined me in the stream. Lizzie’s hands were shaking as she handed me the leading rope.

“They’re coming,” I whispered.

I will get round to reading everyone’s WIPpets but it might take me a couple of days to do so. The WIPpeteers are a fabulously supportive bunch and welcome new writers. Got a WIP to share then post an extract of your novel that relates in some way to the date, or write the beginning of a brand new novel and add your link to the linky over on My Random Muse. Many thanks to the talented K L Schwengel for hosting.