Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Review of 2016

Well, what a year! I can't believe the calendar is about to flip over and 2017 is about to start. Where has the year gone and what have I been doing?

Well, I started the year with some ridiculously over-ambitious plans. In a post on Planning 2016, I seem to have believed that by now, I would have:
  1. got a second book out there (currently called 'Adapt or Die') by autumn 2016
  2. converted a half-written book to a fully written one that's ready for publication in spring 2017
  3. converted another half-written book to a first draft
  4. got a third thriller to the publishers, ready to come out in summer 2017!
Well, that didn't quite work out!

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Book Finds: December 2016

We all love it when someone recommends a new author or a new book to us. Well, I try and do one post each month where I tell you about books I've found and loved. Some of them might be bestsellers, but most of them aren't. What would be brilliant, is if you all share your 'find of the month' in the comments. Deal?

This month's finds are a week earlier than usual this month. Hopefully there's something here to curl up with over the holidays.

What do I have for you this time?

Annalisa Crawford: That Sadie Thing and other stories

"That Sadie Thing and other stories is an intense and emotional journey through the relationships that define our lives: a couple breaking up on a rainy night; a woman finding comfort from eating lunch as her best friend lies in hospital; a runaway longing to go home; a teenager oppressed by her father, and many more."
I'm not always a great lover of collections of short stories - I often read a couple and then abandon the collection, however much I might enjoy the ones I've read. I absolutely adored these though! They focus (generally) on small snapshots of people's lives and are beautifully written and poignant. I was moved to tears by some of them. Give it a whirl - there will be at least one story in there that you just love.

Karen Campbell: This is Where I Am

http://amzn.to/2hlyehI

"When recently widowed Deborah Maxwell is assigned by the Scottish Refugee Council to act as mentor to Abdi Hassan, a Somali refugee, the two are drawn into an awkward friendship. They must spend a year together, meeting once a month in different parts of Glasgow. As recently-widowed Deborah opens Abdi's eyes to her beloved city and its people, he teaches her about the importance of family - and of laying your ghosts to rest. All Abdi has brought with him is his four-year-old daughter, Rebecca, who lives in a silence no one can reach. Until, one day, she starts talking. And they discover why she had stopped..."
I think I first heard this on Radio 4's Book at Bedtime and then bought the book. I was glad I did. This is gorgeous, heart-warming, moving and funny - often all in one page. It made me think about how people view refugees and how refugees view us.

Karin Alvtegen: Shadow

"In a nondescript apartment block in Stockholm, most of the residents are elderly. Usually a death is a sad but straightforward event. But sometimes a resident will die and there are no friends or family to contact. This is when Marianne Folkesson arrives, employed by the state to close up a life with dignity and respect. Gerda Persson has lain dead in her apartment for three days before Marianne is called. When she arrives, she finds the apartment tidy and ordered. Gerda's life seems to have been quite ordinary. Until Marianne opens the freezer and finds it full of books, neatly stacked and wrapped in clingfilm, a thick layer of ice covering them. They are all by Axel Ragnerfeldt, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, with handwritten dedications to Gerda from the author. What story do these books have to tell, about Gerda, and more importantly about Ragnerfeldt, a man whose fame is without precedent in the nation's cultural life, but seldom gives interviews? Shadow is an utterly compelling novel about the lengths and depths people can be driven in order to achieve fame and acclaim, and the effect that this has on those closest to them. It is a story of dark family secrets, and the power of writing, involving murder, betrayal and the holocaust, which will keep readers gripped until its final thrilling revelations."
 This was an excellent read - I devoured the book in a day. It was a really interesting concept and the characterisation was superb.

Other book finds:
August 2016
September 2016
October 2016
November 2016



Tuesday, 13 December 2016

A Positivity Journal

A what?

A positivity journal. Somewhere to keep reminders of any and all positive things relating to my writing. These might be reviews, comments people have made, and ... dare I hope ... letters of acceptance.

This idea grew from advice that some great friends gave me when I was feeling particularly low and full of self-doubt. The wonderful Bea Henderson (see Meet the Author last week) suggested that I: "Print out any good reviews and affirmations and post them around your computer."

I don't have a lot of space around my computer and I didn't want to block my view of the garden by posting things on my windowsill or on the windows (it's Scotland and winter... we get little enough light at the moment!) so instead, I am going to keep them all in a positivity journal.

My husband has bought me this one for my Christmas present:

Picture from https://www.theonlinepencompany.com/

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Meet the author: Bea Davenport

Bea Davenport
This month's author under the spotlight is Bea Davenport. I met Bea at a Crime Writers Association lunch in Edinburgh and we've kept in touch since then. I'm delighted that Bea was happy to be grilled by me!

When did you first start writing novels? And what made you start?
I’ve always scribbled since being very young, but I never had the courage to show anyone my work until I did my creative writing PhD. It was only then I realised I might be writing something worth reading. I’d always had this idea inspired by something in my journalism background and eventually I got it all down on paper and it became In Too Deep. I was really lucky to have my first novel published, after it was shortlisted in the Luke Bitmead Award.

Do you have any regrets over choosing writing as a career? If so, what are they?
I sometimes regret that I didn’t put my work out to publishers earlier.
Also, I sometimes wish I could write full-time – I have day jobs teaching journalism and creative writing and they take up a lot of time and head space. But when I am being sensible, I remember that I probably wouldn’t use all that time writing anyway. I’d probably fritter it away.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Giveaway closed

Many thanks to all of you who entered for the giveaway of a signed and dedicated copy of Frank Muir's book, Blood Torment. The giveaway is now closed and the winner has been contacted.

If I don't hear back from the winner within the week, I will draw another name.

Sorry if you didn't win this time, but there will be more competitions coming up.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Book Finds: November 2016

Curl up with one of this month's books

I hope that you all sampled widely from last month's recommendations. What do I have for you this month? Well hopefully another mix of things you might have heard of (but not necessarily read) and perhaps some things you've never heard of. Since I gave you 11 to choose from last month, I'll give you just three this month. Let you catch up!

This month's reads are:

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Still editing!

All printed out and ready for editing!
I haven't got all that much to do and I'm sure that once I actually get stuck into it, it'll be fine, but to be honest, I'm not feeling the love.

Part of that is because I'm not always getting a run at it. I need to balance editing with all the other calls on my time. Sometimes I can manage my diary so that external demands are consolidated into as few days as possible. Other times I seem to have someone or another demanding my attention every day of the week, leaving me with small parcels of time that never quite seem enough to get stuck into the work I need to do.

However, I can't just blame external demands. There's a huge amount of fear and procrastination in there too. Once it's 'finished' I have to do something with it - send it to agents, send it to publishers, let other people (beyond my beta readers) look at it. And maybe they'll love it...

But maybe they'll hate it.

So maybe I'll just not finish it and then no-one can hate it...

My writing buddy (the excellent Stuart Lennon - check out his website here) says it's the equivalent of the 'difficult second album' and he may be on to something. Publishing "The Wrong Kind of Clouds" was in some ways me testing the waters. Could I get it out there? Would anyone buy it? Would anyone read it? Would anyone like it?? In many ways it's done better than I expected (though I accept that my expectations were zero) and if nothing else, I've proved I can do it and I met a whole bunch of fabulous people at "Bloody Scotland" and the Crime Writers Association.

With this book, there are expectations on me that weren't there before. I want this one to be better than "The Wrong Kind of Clouds", but how does anyone decide that? More sales? Better reviews? There are many books out there with low sales that are fantastic books, and some bestsellers that suck more than a Hoover. Likewise, there are books with both great reviews and awful reviews.

The scientist in me can barely cope with this. I can't measure anything to tell me empirically whether this book is as good as "The Wrong Kind of Clouds" or if it's better ... or (heaven forfend!) worse. It's all subjective opinion. People who loved "The Wrong Kind of Clouds" might hate this one. Okay, people who loved "The Wrong Kind of Clouds" might also love this one, but I don't feel self-confident enough to believe it all the time.

I know... I just need to bite the bullet and do the edits and get it out there. And hope that people like it.

Wish me luck!



Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Sale!!

The e-book version of "Wrong Kind of Clouds" is on sale, this week only!

99p if you're in the UK
99c if you're in the US

That's less than a cup of coffee (and the book lasts longer too!). Go grab a bargain. I won't be doing another price drop of the e-book for a while.

Amazon links below; all e-book links in the sidebar too (if you're looking for Kobo or Nook etc).





Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Amazon.com is ridiculous

I was intending to be flagging up a new give away in this email, but, due to the vagaries (bizarreness) of Amazon.com, I'm not.

A while back, I saw the following on my Amazon.com Author Central News page (click to enlarge):

Excellent! I could do a give away of The Wrong Kind of Clouds on Amazon.com for my US followers. Or so I thought.

I logged in, found my book, clicked on Set Up a Give Away and started to fill in the different sections on the online form. All looked great. I clicked on Proceed to Checkout.

And this is where it all started to become ridiculous.

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Meet the Author: Frank Muir

Frank Muir
And there's a give away too!

This month's author under the spotlight is Frank Muir (who is also published as T.F. Muir). I first met Frank when he was signing his new book, "Blood Torment" in Waterstones in St Andrews. From that meeting, we've kept in touch and met up a couple of times at Crime Writers Association (CWA) lunches. Frank is a fantastic, kind, funny man and I'm delighted he agreed to be grilled by me! He's also very kindly agreed to give away a signed copy of Blood Torment to one lucky reader - see the end of the blog post for details.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Book Finds: October 2016

I have a veritable smorgasbord of books for you this month! It cannot possibly have escaped your attention, but at the start of September, I was at Bloody Scotland as one of twelve new writers that were featured. I thought that this month, I would showcase all of the other Spotlighters' books for you. I'll give you their blurb and then there will be links to as many of them as I can at the end.

So, in alphabetic order, my fellow Spotlighters and their books:

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Time to re-engage my brain

Time to start editing...
Well, it's finally back! I sent the manuscript for "Poisonous Minds" to my editor, back at the end of July. Initial dates for it coming back were September, but, for one reason and another, it got delayed and finally came back last Monday.

This book is one I've really struggled with. I started writing it back in 2013. Over the years, in between other projects, I did several major edits before it went out to beta-readers at the start of this year. Feedback from the beta-readers was both helpful and contradictory! The female beta-readers loved the male character in the book and hated the main female character; the male beta-readers were a bit 'meh' about the male character and adored the female character. Everyone loved the older female character (phew - something they all agreed on!) and there was mixed feedback over some aspects of the plot.

So... taking their comments into consideration, along with my gut feelings about it, "Poisonous Minds" got another major edit, back in June. It's now October and my head is so far from that manuscript, it feels half like someone else wrote it. My editor has come back with some spot-on analysis and some very helpful suggestions about it all. Now I need to re-read it, get my brain engaged and sort it out! Here's hoping that this round of edits isn't too traumatic. Keep you posted.





Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Meet the author: Mac Logan

Over the next few months, I'm going to do a series of interviews with authors that I know. I'm delighted that first up is Mac Logan. I met Mac at the first Crime Writers' Association lunch that I went to, earlier this year and he kindly agreed to be my first victim interview.
Picture of Mac Logan
Mac Logan

When did you first start writing?
As far back as I can remember. There are poems, songs and snippets going back to the early 1970's. I still have hand-written originals.

What made you start?
It's as natural as breathing to me. I simply do it. Blogging, ekphrasis (collaboration with other art forms), poetry, prose, novels, business books, it's all the same to me … I love the work.

What was the first full-length novel you ever wrote?
The Angels’ Share which metamorphosed into Angels Cut.

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

What a difference a year makes

Just over a year ago, I left my job. I worked in a university department, teaching physiology to medical students. The job was well paid, had a good pension... it was also killing me. No, seriously. I had a stress-aggravated arrhythmia that resulted in my heart pounding in an uncontrolled fashion that didn't effectively pump blood around my body. Episodes of it could be as short as a few seconds or as long as over an hour. On two occasions, my heart just stopped beating completely for several seconds. Believe me, that is a terrifying experience.

One day in late October 2014, during a lecture, my heart rate and rhythm decided to strut their own stuff and I collapsed.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Book Finds - September 2016

We all love it when someone recommends a new author or a new book to us. Well, I've decided to try and do one post each month where I tell you about books I've found and loved. Some of them might be bestsellers, but I'm suspecting that many of them won't be. What would be brilliant, is if you all share your 'find of the month' in the comments. Deal??

Okay, well the books I'd like to recommend to you this month are:

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

How was Bloody Scotland? (part 2)

https://www.bloodyscotland.com/

Day 2: Saturday 10th September
This was going to be a busy day! Not only was I booked in to see three shows, I had my Spotlight slot too.

The preparation for my Spotlight slot was not helped by the fire alarm going off at 4.45am (false alarm) but nonetheless, I arrived as bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as I could for the rehearsal, and met some of the other Spotlighters: Les Wood, Shelley Day and Michael Grothaus. Rehearsals went well and once we were finished, I had a quick tea with Les Wood (a fellow physiologist as well as a writer!) before heading off to see Alex Gray interviewing two forensic pathologists: Dr Marjorie Turner and Dr James Grieve. Another excellent session, mixing information, humour and some serious aspects too.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

How was Bloody Scotland? (part 1)

https://www.bloodyscotland.com/

Well, the short version to that question is: absolutely brilliant! The longer answer's coming in 2 parts...

Day 1: Friday 9th September
Hubby and I arrived in Stirling for lunch, after which I contacted Gordon Brown, one of the organisers, to say I was there and to ask what time I should register. He texted me back, telling me to go to the Albert Halls for ~4pm and we could sort out registration later. As it turned out, he didn't need me to go to the Albert Halls at all (he thought I was going for a rehearsal, but I was due to rehearse on Saturday). However, it did mean that I got to meet some of the other Crime in the Spotlight authors and hear them read their extracts, which was excellent. Rehearsals over, we all toddled back to The Golden Lion to register and have this picture taken of us in the Waterstones book shop in the hotel:

Photo by Eoin Carey for Bloody Scotland
L-R Sandra Ireland, Stephen Watt, me, Eva Holland
Liz Mistry, Daniel Pembrey

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Music while you work...

Writing essentials: music and caffeine
The other day, I was discussing listening to music while writing, with my writing buddy (Stuart Lennon - you can check out his blog here... http://stuartlennon.com/ Don't worry. It opens in a new tab so you won't lose me).

I can get addicted to a particular play list or album when I'm writing and then that music is forever associated with whatever I've been working on. Sometimes it's because the lyrics or the music are very apt; sometimes it's because the music is already associated with a location in the piece I'm writing. For example, when I was writing the Malawian scenes in The Wrong Kind of Clouds, I had Lucius Banda's "Freedom" album on in the background, because on a couple of my trips to Malawi, that was playing everywhere. Much of the rest of that book is associated with 30 Seconds to Mars' album "This is War" just because that's what I was listening to while I was editing it.

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Book Finds - August 2016

We all love it when someone recommends a new author or a new book to us. Well, I've decided to try and do one post each month where I tell you about books I've found and loved. Some of them might be bestsellers, but I'm suspecting that many of them won't be. What would be brilliant, is if you all share your 'find of the month' in the comments. Deal??

Okay, well the books I'd like to recommend to you this month are:


Tuesday, 23 August 2016

More on Bloody Scotland: Crime in the Spotlight

Image from Bloody Scotland: https://www.bloodyscotland.com/


In my last post, I told you that I'd been awarded a "Crime in the Spotlight" slot (for new authors) at Bloody Scotland.

Well, I now know at which event I've been given 3 minutes to speak...

2pm on Saturday 10th September, in the Albert Halls at Stirling

And whose event am I gate-crashing???

MC Beaton and Fred Macaulay! Details of their event can be found HERE.


There are just 12 slots awarded, so I'm feeling honoured, thrilled, excited and terrified about it, in about equal measure (though terrified may have it by a significant margin!). Even the biggest lecture theatre that I've ever lectured in is about half the size of the Albert Halls and I'm just praying that I don't screw up.

Hope you can all make it up to the festival - it promises to be excellent (apart from possibly the 3 minutes that involve me...).

Better go and work on what I'm going to say in my 3 minutes!

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Bloody Scotland!

Image from Bloody Scotland site: https://www.bloodyscotland.com/

The Bloody Scotland Festival is Scotland's International Crime Writing Festival. It's in its 5th year and this year will be held in various venues across Stirling, from 9-11th September. Some of the best-loved names in crime writing will be there, such as Chris Brookmyre, Stuart Neville, Peter Robinson, Alex Gray, Val McDermid, Lin Anderson, Mark Billingham and many, many more...

and me!!

I've been chosen as one of the Spotlight authors for this year's festival! This means that I get to read from The Wrong Kind of Clouds at the start of one of the scheduled events, and my book will be available from the Waterstones stall (one of the official sponsors of the event).

I am hugely excited about this and feel really honoured to have been chosen. I don't know which slot I've been awarded yet, but I'll let you know as soon as I do.

The festival really has the Who's Who of crime writing. You can read the brochure for the event here (opens in a new window). Come along and join in the fun. It will be amazing!

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

What would you like to see in a newsletter?

Those of you who subscribe to my mailing list currently get an email each month, listing the posts of the month. I want to make this email more interesting and more like a newsletter. To help me with designing it, please could you let me know what you would like to see in the newsletters?

My current ideas are:

Photo of the Month
Given that Summer, the main character in The Wrong Kind of Clouds, is a photographer and so is my husband, I thought about including a photo each month, drawn from the collection on my husband's website (Colin Nicol Landscape Photography)

Recipe of the Month
This idea came after several people said that they were going to try out the recipe for the dish that LB (the policeman in The Wrong Kind of Clouds) cooks for Summer. LB is a keen cook (as am I). Would people be interested in LB's recipe of the month?

An update about what I've been working on
A few lines about what I've been writing or doing, plus links to more freebies and bonus scenes (although I can't guarantee a freebie every month!)

Chichewa (Malawian) Phrase of the Month
Some of the wrong Kind of Clouds is set in Malawi where the language is Chichewa. Do people want to learn some new phrases?

An Update about Chimwemwe Children's Centre
While I was out in Malawi, I helped to set up a charity - Chimwemwe Children's Centre - that works with homeless children to give them somewhere to live and to support them through education and training. It's what Samala (from the book) is based on, though Chimwemwe is entirely above board, I hasten to say! Would people be interested in a few lines each month saying what we have been doing in Malawi?

This Month's Finds
Each month I find interesting blog posts or articles. Many of these I Tweet about, but not all. Let me know if you would like my top 3 'finds' each month.

This Month's Posts
This would be a quick list of the posts for the month.

What do people think? I've created a survey for you to vote in. If there are other features you would like to see of if you have other feedback, please feel free to tick "other" and add your comments in the survey.

Thank you for your help!
(survey closes 23:45 GMT on 26th August)


Create your own user feedback survey

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Projects, projects, projects... What next??

What to work on next???

I mustn't complain. Like any other writer, I've had times when no ideas have come to me and I've lived in terror that none will ever come again. Right now, I have the opposite problem. I have six different projects I could be working on, and don't know which to tackle first!

Each one will take me probably 3-6 months so I don't want to start on something and then realise I would have been better off working on something else.

So, what's brewing? I bit of an eclectic mix to be honest!

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Reviews for The Wrong Kind of Clouds


It's a scary thing, letting your book loose. People can read it. People can review it. They might love it (yay!)... they might hate it... (aagh!).

I confess to having had huge nerves when I've seen that a new review has gone up. Thankfully they have been largely positive (though a couple have left me scratching my head).

I'm delighted that a few bloggers have been kind enough to give me an honest review in exchange for a copy of the book. I've highlighted my favourite bits of their reviews, but the links will take you to the full version.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Back to the grindstone...

Back to work time... But it's only work if you don't enjoy it. In reality, it's more play-time!

Well, the holiday is over. Much walking was walked, much wine was imbibed and several snakes were seen. But that's Yorkshire for you.

[There really were snakes! Here are a couple of pictures of them!]
Adult adder
Just a baby!

But, it's now time to get back to work (though frankly, I love this kind of 'work') and I have a scarily HUGE list of stuff to work through. First up is proof-reading through the next novel before it goes off to my editor. There's also the never-ending treadmill of publicity and marketing to get back on top of and then I have a decision to make. I kid you not, I have six (yes... six) other major projects I could work on and no idea which to tackle first. More on all that soon.

Happy holidays (for those still escaping work)!

Oh, almost forgot. I have another Goodreads giveaway... ends 31st July, 2016.


Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Wrong Kind of Clouds by Amanda  Fleet

The Wrong Kind of Clouds

by Amanda Fleet

Giveaway ends July 31, 2016.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

Friday, 1 July 2016

On holiday...


I shall be taking a short  break for a couple of weeks...

In the meantime, go and check out Stuart Lennon's interview of me... here.

Back soon!

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Post-It notes

Post-It notes

I love Post-It notes! I have drawers full of them. I use them pretty much daily. I have a rubber-stamp from Etsy (seller is CoolJapanStamp; see here for shop) of a To-Do checklist that fits perfectly on the 3" square Post-Its, giving me a portable To-Do list that can get moved from diary to desk to wherever.

Post-It To Do stamp
Post-It notes plus To-Do stamp


Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Writing in a coffee shop...

Writing in a coffee shop... cliché?

It's almost become a cliché. Maybe it has now become a cliché - writer scribbling/tapping away in a busy coffee shop... but there's no denying it, many of us do get more work done like that.

New Scientist had a short feature recently on why that might be (which you can find here). They suggested that it might be related to the fact other people were busy that made you concentrate on work - almost a competitive aspect: "I can work harder than you can" perhaps. Or that the atmosphere of people concentrating hard influenced others to work hard too. In other words, just the sounds of a busy coffee shop wouldn't be enough (sorry Coffitivity... though I do quite like listening to your coffee shop sounds while I'm working at home!). You would actually need to be in a place with people working hard around you.

My theory is that it's because you're in public. Yes, you could be browsing away, reading Facebook, or entering the time-suck that is Twitter ("2 new Tweets" - oh I'd better click to see them), and it's your own business if you are... but, you went to the coffee shop to work and everyone and his brother can see that you're not doing any work at all! It doesn't matter that no-one cares what you're doing. You know you're bunking off and that makes you focus.

I don't go to write in a coffee shop all that often. When I do, it's usually for a change of scenery, to try and give myself a little writing boost. My reasoning is: if it goes well, I get some writing done. If it doesn't go well, I can at least people-watch and make notes on what they say/wear/order etc. so the afternoon won't be wasted.

What about others? Do you get lots done? Or do you get distracted?

Just a reminder... if you haven't already, you can sign up for my mailing list just by filling in your email address in the box in the sidebar. No spam, just an email when I post anything new or have some exciting news or offers for you.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Launch night!

Me looking nervous at the start

The Wrong Kind of Clouds is launched! That makes it sound like a ship... I suppose there was champagne invoved but none of it got smashed against the books, thankfully!

The launch was at Waterstones in St Andrews, who have been absolutely brilliant to me, from first approach to them onwards. I seriously can't praise them enough.

I've given thousands of lectures and never been as nervous as I was at the launch. Thankfully, everyone was absolutely fabulous and supportive.

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Launch day approaches!

Display in Waterstones
(gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling!)

It's nearly here! The launch is on Thursday at 6.30pm in Waterstones, St Andrews. My Rotary Club (The Howe of Fife) are turning up en masse to support me and as far as I know, a reasonable crowd from the university (where I used to work) are also intending to rock up. I'm really hoping that the place is full, not least for Waterstones' sake as they have been SO good to me!

I'd hoped to just bimble around and smile stupidly for most of the evening, while working hard at not spilling wine on me, a customer or any books, but it transpires I'm supposed to read something out and answer questions.

Gulp.

My fears are daft. I know that. I used to lecture as my job. Put me in front of 300 students to teach them about the body and I wouldn't even blink. Ask me to read out the opening chapter of my book... I'm nervous. Really, really nervous.

I'm trying to pacify myself with the thought that everyone there will be a friend and will have chosen to come and support me, or I don't know them but they are interested and want to hear me talk about the book.

It's not working 100%. I feel horribly exposed. What if I read out the first chapter and everyone rushes to get a refund on the book they've just purchased? Or smiles sympathetically? Or get so bored they start chatting amongst themselves?

Everyone keeps telling me to relax and enjoy it - you only get one debut after all - and hopefully I will once I'm there and everyone is smiling encouragingly. Until then, I may be panicking a tad...

I'll let you all know how it went once it's over!

Just a reminder... if you haven't already, you can sign up for my mailing list just by filling in your email address in the box in the sidebar. No spam, just an email when I post anything new or have some exciting news or offers for you.

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Giveaway closed


Many thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway. Two winners have been selected and emailed.

If I don't hear back from them by Saturday 4th June, I will pick another name.

Sorry if you weren't lucky this time, but I will soon be sending all of you a little goody as a thank you for your support.

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Publication Day!!

It's here! A day I never thought would come. My first novel is published!
The launch event isn't until Thursday but both the paperback and the e-book are available right now!

So, if you're a Kindle person, you can get the e-book here:



If you're an Apple person, you can get the e-book here:

https://geo.itunes.apple.com/gb/book/the-wrong-kind-of-clouds/id1106402090?mt=11

It should be available on Google Play and Barnes and Noble very soon...

And last, but not least, if you prefer a good old paperback in your hands, you can get it either directly from Matador (click here) or at any of the main online retailers (Waterstones, Amazon, WH Smiths etc.).

If you want to read the first chapter, I released it over the week - part 1 is here, part 2 is here and part 3 is here.

Just a reminder... if you haven't already, you can sign up for my mailing list just by filling in your email address in the box in the sidebar. No spam, just an email when I post anything new or have some exciting news or offers for you.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

First chapter of The Wrong Kind of Clouds (part 3)

The Wrong Kind of Clouds cover

I am releasing the first chapter of The Wrong Kind of Clouds this week. Part 1 was on Tuesday. Part 2 was yesterday. Here's the final part. Hope you all enjoy it!

*********

Tuesday Morning


The van turned a corner, rolling him on to a bruised rib and making him groan. Patrick lifted his head, groggy and disorientated. His left eye wouldn’t open but through his right he peered at his surroundings. A crack of light invaded through the edge of the door; he was still in the back of the transit. The hard floor was cold under his shoulders and his arms ached. Wriggling slightly, he realised his hands were tied behind his back with what felt like plastic. A cable tie? Squinting at his feet confirmed his suspicion; a narrow black strip of plastic bit into his flesh above his ankle bone. He licked his lips and tasted the metallic tang of blood. What the hell had happened to him?

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

First chapter of The Wrong Kind of Clouds (part 2)

The Wrong Kind of Clouds cover

I am releasing the first chapter of The Wrong Kind of Clouds this week. Part 1 was yesterday. Here's part 2. Hope you all enjoy it!

*********

Tuesday Morning


Summer Morris stared at the phone, blinking, rain dribbling off her hat and down her neck. For some time now, she wouldn’t have pissed on Patrick if he was on fire. Why the hell had he called her?

She tipped her head back, glared at the clouds and sighed heavily. Her short nails clicked over the keys on her phone to call him back as her emotions kaleidoscoped with colours she hadn’t felt for months, before fracturing into the hue of a day-old bruise. She recognised the colour as apprehension.

‘Hello! You have reached the mobile for Patrick Forrester. I am either already on a call or unavailable right now, so please leave me a message and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.’

She sucked in a quick, impatient breath.

‘Patrick? What the hell’s happening? Are you okay? It’s Summer. Call me back.’

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

First chapter of The Wrong Kind of Clouds (part 1)

The Wrong Kind of Clouds cover

Over the next three days I will release the first chapter of The Wrong Kind of Clouds. Hope you all enjoy it!

**********

Tuesday Morning


There it was. The face of the boy he had been searching half the world for, popping out of the computer screen like a firework exploding. A wide smile; the rippled scars from falling into a fire coursing down the right side of his face; a missing left incisor. Patrick had been hunting him for weeks and there he was, in Chicago according to this blog.

Patrick ran a stubby-fingered hand through his thatch of blond hair, pushing it back from a long forehead – a gesture more suited to an Oxford don than a liar and a thief. He sucked his teeth, picked up a pen and added ‘email Moyenda – tell him Limbani’s in Kent and Mabvuto’s in Chicago’ to the growing list of things to do that perched at the side of his laptop. He wondered how Moyenda would take the news.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Meeting your heroes...

... and ending up looking like a painfully shy person.

Me and Frank Muir (TF Muir) in Waterstones

Last Saturday, one of my favourite authors, Frank Muir (who is also published as TF Muir) was doing a book signing in Waterstones in St Andrews. For those who don't know, he writes fabulous thrillers that are based in St Andrews, that you need to go and read, right this minute. (Well, maybe once you've finished reading this...)

I went along to get a couple of books signed. Now, in my past I have stood up in front of hundreds of students to lecture without batting an eye. But, put me on the spot and ask me anything about me... well, let's just say I can turn to jelly.

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Are you sitting comfortably?

Yes? How much of your day is spent sitting?

"Sitting is the new smoking" is the current mantra and perhaps that is very true for many people. Hands up those who get up (from being horizontal all night), sit down to eat breakfast, sit in their commute to work (car, bus, train...), sit at their desk at work for seven or eight hours, sit for their commute home, sit to eat their dinner and then sit to watch TV before going back to being horizontal in bed?

When I was at purgatory work, I used to cycle in and out (about 5 miles each way) but yes, then I sat and sat and sat some more over the rest of the day, unless I was teaching a class. Now I don't even have the cycle to work as I work at home and my 'commute' involves moving from the kitchen to my desk. I was going to turn into someone who sat all day...

Instead, I chose to stand to write. My husband also stands at his desk. He invested in a desk converter that sits on top of his desk and can be raised to various heights. This is his desk:


My desk is an old-fashioned wooden thing with lots of drawers and wasn't quite as conducive to having the addition my husband has. This is my solution!


So, what are the benefits and downsides of standing?

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Goodreads Giveaway

As well as the giveaway with my subscriber list (open worldwide), I am also giving away 2 copies of my book through Goodreads. Sign up for both and double your chances!
The Goodreads giveaway runs from 1st May through to 28th May (GB only). You can click on the widget below to enter.

Simple!


Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Wrong Kind of Clouds by Amanda  Fleet

The Wrong Kind of Clouds

by Amanda Fleet

Giveaway ends May 28, 2016.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

Saturday, 30 April 2016

Z is for... Zikomo

Zikomo!


Thank you in Chichewa!

Thank you for sticking with me over this challenge.
Thank you if you've followed me or signed up to my mailing list.
(BIG!) Thank you if you've pre-ordered my book and snagged yourself a £2 discount (if not but you'd like to, click here (offer will end in May))
and
Thank you to all of you who commented, Tweeted,  flagged up or read any or all of the last 26 posts.

The challenge was indeed a challenge but I'm hoping you all had as much fun as I did.

Stick around? I'll still be blogging (but not every day!).

Just a reminder... if you haven't already, you can sign up for my mailing list just by filling in your email address in the box in the sidebar. No spam, just an email when I post anything new or have some exciting news or offers for you.
I'm giving away two copies of my book to people randomly drawn from my mailing list. See "G is for... Giveaway" for details.
I'm also offering a discount on pre-orders of The Wrong Kind of Clouds. Go here and use the code CLOUDS to get £2 off.

Friday, 29 April 2016

Y is for... Yclept

Yclept. Old English. Past participle of cleopian 'call'.

Meaning: by the name of

Example: My character yclept Summer Morris/ My character by the name of Summer Morris.


I LOVE Old English and Old Norse. Three Twitter accounts to follow to learn more about Old English or Norse are:

Old English Wisdom @OEWisdom

Orð of the Day @OldNorseWords

Old English Wordhord @OEWordhord

And you just have to read this blog post about making an Old English Scrabble set!
https://wickedday.wordpress.com/2010/09/21/the-old-english-scrabble-project/

Just a reminder... if you haven't already, you can sign up for my mailing list just by filling in your email address in the box in the sidebar. No spam, just an email when I post anything new or have some exciting news or offers for you.
I'm giving away two copies of my book to people randomly drawn from my mailing list. See "G is for... Giveaway" for details.
I'm also offering a discount on pre-orders of The Wrong Kind of Clouds. Go here and use the code CLOUDS to get £2 off.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

X is for... Xanthippe

"After thunder, comes rain"


Xanthippe was the wife of Socrates and in later reports, she was described as a terrible nag and extremely bad tempered (though it isn't clear if she was like this before she married Socrates or whether she became ill-tempered as a result! In earlier references to her, she is described as a devoted wife and mother.).

The quote above comes from a tale in which a furious Xanthippe threw the contents of a chamber-pot over Socrates after an argument. His response was, "After thunder, comes rain."

Her name became short-hand for a nagging, scolding person, especially a shrewish wife. Things like this always make me wonder whether, if the genders were reversed, the same negativity would be applied. A man who nags/scolds is probably referred to as decisive and giving clear instruction, yet a woman becomes a nag and a scold, with negative connotations.

What do others think? Do you still see a gender difference in the way strong women are described in comparison with strong men? Do you think it's generally the women who are portrayed negatively (the nagging wife rather than the husband who doesn't listen/act)? Let me know your views in the comments.

Just a reminder... if you haven't already, you can sign up for my mailing list just by filling in your email address in the box in the sidebar. No spam, just an email when I post anything new or have some exciting news or offers for you.
I'm giving away two copies of my book to people randomly drawn from my mailing list. See "G is for... Giveaway" for details.
I'm also offering a discount on pre-orders of The Wrong Kind of Clouds. Go here and use the code CLOUDS to get £2 off.

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

W is for... Writing Buddy

My writing buddy is Stuart Lennon. You can find his excellent blog here. Go check him out and then come back. It's okay. The link opens in a new window, so you won't lose me.

Back? Great.

Stuart and I 'met' online, though we have not yet met in reality. We email each other, Tweet, Facebook etc. and I honestly feel as if I know him as well as if we had met. He has been a fantastic writing buddy!

We started out, nervously swapping writing samples for the other to give feedback on, to see if we wrote similar kinds of things and if when we gave feedback, we would get on. I think it's safe to say we get on like a house on fire!

We're the same age and have the same outlook on things, which is incredibly helpful with critiquing each other's work. Not only that, we've ended up great friends and more often than not, our emails are more about life and what it's thrown at us, rather than swapping words from our works in progress.

I couldn't ask for someone more supportive. My first book comes out very soon and I'll be honest and say I've had my fair share of wobbles about it on the way. Without fail, Stu has bucked me up, pointed out when I've been being daft, boosted my confidence and been a real friend.

If you're a writer and don't have a writing buddy, I would urge you to try and find one. They know what you're going through (and what you need to hear!) and the right one will be a wonderful friend as well as your writing buddy.

Thank you Stuart! You are a star!

Just a reminder... if you haven't already, you can sign up for my mailing list just by filling in your email address in the box in the sidebar. No spam, just an email when I post anything new or have some exciting news or offers for you.
I'm giving away two copies of my book to people randomly drawn from my mailing list. See "G is for... Giveaway" for details.
I'm also offering a discount on pre-orders of The Wrong Kind of Clouds. Go here and use the code CLOUDS to get £2 off.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

V is for... Verso

Verso refers to the left hand page of a book; recto to the right hand page, although technically, this is the case only if you are reading from left to right. If you are reading from right to left, then it's the other way around, because 'recto' means the front and 'verso' means the back of sheet.

So now you know!

Just a reminder... if you haven't already, you can sign up for my mailing list just by filling in your email address in the box in the sidebar. No spam, just an email when I post anything new or have some exciting news or offers for you.
I'm giving away two copies of my book to people randomly drawn from my mailing list. See "G is for... Giveaway" for details.
I'm also offering a discount on pre-orders of The Wrong Kind of Clouds. Go here and use the code CLOUDS to get £2 off.

Monday, 25 April 2016

U is for... Urban Fantasy

The Wrong Kind of Clouds is a thriller/suspense novel.
The next book I'm likely to release - Six Deaths - is a thriller/suspense novel.
The first book I ever wrote is a thriller/suspense novel (which may make it out of my computer and into being published next year).

So why is today's post about Urban Fantasy?
Because the book I'm currently writing falls into that category!


Now, that's not to say there isn't a large amount of suspense in the book, but it's most definitely in the urban fantasy camp rather than the conventional thriller/suspense one.

So if most of my other books have been thriller/suspense, why the body-swerve into Urban Fantasy?

Because like all the other books I've written, it was in my head and demanding to come out. And it's been fabulous fun writing it!

Maybe it will stay an unpublished pleasure. Maybe I will branch out and publish it. Either way, I'm having a ball writing it!

Don't feel confined by "your usual genre". If you want to write it, write it!

Just a reminder... if you haven't already, you can sign up for my mailing list just by filling in your email address in the box in the sidebar. No spam, just an email when I post anything new or have some exciting news or offers for you.
I'm giving away two copies of my book to people randomly drawn from my mailing list. See "G is for... Giveaway" for details.
I'm also offering a discount on pre-orders of The Wrong Kind of Clouds. Go here and use the code CLOUDS to get £2 off. 

Saturday, 23 April 2016

T is for... "The Wrong Kind of Clouds"

This is the name of my first novel, but where does it come from?

The main character in the book is a photographer, called Summer Morris. My husband is a photographer... you can see his work here: http://www.colinjmnicol.co.uk/

It was my husband came up with the phrase, though in the book, it's attributed to Patrick Forrester - the guy who is abducted - but what exactly are the wrong kind of clouds?

For landscape photography, a clear blue sky is usually not interesting unless you have a very yellow field in front, like this:

Leuchars Doocot - picture by Colin Nicol
www.colinjmnicol.co.uk

Small, fluffy white things aren't great for landscape photographs either. Nor is a uniform grey sky or clouds that are too dark. There is nothing for the photographer to work with to make the picture dramatic. Both light and shade are needed.

Patrick's life has too many dark clouds laid over uniform grey. There isn't enough light to contrast with the dark.

His whole life is made up of the wrong kind of clouds.

Just a reminder... if you haven't already, you can sign up for my mailing list just by filling in your email address in the box in the sidebar. No spam, just an email when I post anything new or have some exciting news or offers for you.
I'm giving away two copies of my book to people randomly drawn from my mailing list. See "G is for... Giveaway" for details.
I'm also offering a discount on pre-orders of The Wrong Kind of Clouds. Go here and use the code CLOUDS to get £2 off.

Friday, 22 April 2016

S is for... Synaesthesia

[image by Stuart Miles from freerangestock.com]

Synaesthesia is when two (or more) senses become joined. For example when sounds evoke colour or taste. Musical notes might correspond to different colours; the taste of something may make you see colour; names may make you taste different foods.

It was thought to be a rare condition, but recent studies show that as many as 1 in 25 may have some form of this blending of the senses.