Tuesday, 11 May 2021

Keeping track of characters

In discussions with other writers, we've talked about how to keep track of characters. There are actually two main aspects for me: the names I've used, and what those characters are like. There's a brilliant cartoon by Tom Gauld: The Indecisive Novelist, where the characters from a book are discussing their name changes:

Taken from: https://myjetpack.tumblr.com/post/64666677399/my-book-of-cartoons-youre-all-just-jealous-of-my
No copyright infringement intended

That cartoon can touch a nerve with many of us! So how do we keep track of the myriad of characters that appear in our books?

Tuesday, 4 May 2021

The census rabbit hole!

A few weeks ago I had disappeared down a map-rabbit-hole. This weekend past, I disappeared down the census rabbit-hole. Find My Past had free online access to the census data up to 1911 census over the bank holiday weekend. You needed to register (free) but then could start building a family tree. Clicking on various 'hints' took you to more census data that you could then add to your tree.

In the past, someone had done my father's family tree, going back a few generations. After burrowing around in the census data over the weekend, it became quite clear that the information at the very top of the tree was wrong!

Tuesday, 27 April 2021

Busy brains and morning mindfulness

Whenever I have a lot going on, my brain switches into "too busy to focus" mode. I know I have a gazillion things to do and that time is tight, so I need to be focused, and yet somehow I get nothing done.

Even while drafting this, I have broken off to tweak something on the description for Aegyir Rises, answer a message on Facebook, fiddle with something else, and check my royalties (someone is currently inhaling Aegyir Rises on Kindle, if my sudden spike in Kindle Unlimited Pages Read tally is anything to go by... thank you, whoever you are! Hope you enjoy it enough to read the rest of the series.)

Busy brain.

Alongside all that, last week I was helping my mum sort out some things and we found a load of old photos taken by my great uncle, which led to us chatting about him, and now my brain is also interested in doing more research on him. And other members of my family.

Busy brain.

I've been doing a 5-day Ad Challenge (now ended) which means I've been setting up lots of Amazon Ads. Something else to keep looking at (even though I know I won't be doing anything with them for a while and certainly not right this second).

Busy brain...

And I haven't even mentioned book #10 or writing. Or all of the other books I have swirling around my head, demanding to be written.

Tuesday, 20 April 2021

Writing and mental health

I'm know I'm not alone in having my mental health shredded by lock down, but in many ways it's surprised me. I'm not known for being a party animal. In fact, my "lock down life" is incredibly similar to my "pre-lock down life". The only differences are not being able to see my Dad in his care home, and missing my knitting group. I maybe had one coffee-date with a friend a month, pre-lock down. You'd think I would be able to take this pandemic in my stride.

Turns out that although I'm still as antisocial as I've always been, something about lock down is currently taking my generally more-buoyant-than-drowning disposition and demolishing it. I'm struggling to write (which is really not like me. Normally I have more ideas and desire to write than I have hours in the day). The smallest thing is liable to make me cry. My joie de vivre is gone, leaving nary a trace.

And yet all the signs are good. Vaccination in the UK is going well. I've had my first jab. By the end of the week, both of my parents and my husband will have had their second jabs. The country is slowly emerging from lock down. More people are allowed to meet up, albeit outdoors (at least in Scotland). The weather is sunny.

None of that seems to be filtering through to my emotions.

I'm trying to write my way out of it. Not my books... they currently lie outside my grasp and trying to write them is more frustrating than healing. No, I'm trying to journal, or write to process my thoughts and feelings.

I keep a daily diary where I record how my day has gone. That can often be quite dry and factual, in all truth. But I also have a separate notebook where I just write. It started out as "Morning Pages" and on occasion I still do morning pages. In fact, I should probably go back to doing them regularly. However, these are more "any time I'm feeling low pages" which could be any time of the day.

It's essentially a process to clear my head. I can't change anything that is currently dragging me down. I need to learn to accept that. Just the act of putting it all down on paper seems to help though.

The requirements are simple - a notebook, a writing implement (more often than not a pencil) and some time. Sometimes I write for a few minutes. Other times I'm still in full flow half an hour later. Generally I feel more sanguine afterwards.

How are you coping? What solutions do you turn to? Drop me a note in the comments?



Tuesday, 13 April 2021

Maps and rabbit holes

I love maps and I especially love old maps. Right now I am studying some hand-drawn maps from 1770 showing how land was allocated around Ardersier.

These old maps are amazing, not least for firing up the imagination and creating life-stories and adventures from little more than a list of old names. Naturally, I have no idea what their characters were like - that is pure invention on my part - but there is coding on the map that indicates what kind of ground it is (it's on another part of the map that stretches towards Nairn).

Of course, the real way to get the imagination going is to combine looking at maps like this with gravestones!

A while ago, I was up in Ardersier and my hubby and I spent an afternoon looking at old gravestones. It's a little eerie to find the headstones of the people listed on the map. From the dates, you can work out how old they were when this map was drawn and how old their neighbours were. It's only a few more steps to start imaging their lives.

I found one gravestone very interesting. It had clearly been made for the death of a child, but the intention was obviously for the mother and father to be buried in the same grave eventually. The space left for the father's details remain blank. The details for the mother are more extensive than had been planned for and are crammed in. My brain is immediately going, "Why isn't the father buried here? What happened to him? Who had the mother's details added? The husband? Why did they go for so much when the space was so small? Did they have more children and if so, where are they buried?"

This is the stone:


It reads (as far as I can tell):

In memory of

Alexr McDonald

in Canty who


and Isobell

Dunbar his spouse

who departed this life

August [illegible] aged [illegible]

and their children

James McDonald

who died the [illegible]

Feb 1789 aged [illegible]

months                           


The large space at the top was presumably for Alexander McDonald's death date, and the fact it says 'children' rather than 'child' makes me assume they planned to have more. But there are no more listed, even though the wife was ultimately buried there. So many questions rattle through my brain when I find stones like this! And naturally, I've been scouring the 1770 maps to see if I can find either McDonalds and/or Dunbars. 😀



Tuesday, 6 April 2021

Spanners... and thinking hats

Spanners

Okay, so here's the thing... I was writing "book #10" before Christmas and had got probably, ooh, 80% of the first draft done before I shifted to editing "Invasion".

"Invasion" is now launched and sailing off into the big, bad world, so I went back to "book #10" to finish off the first draft and start on the edits. 

"Book #10" is a new departure for me. It's a time-travel book, with some of it set in 1762. Before I started the edits, I wanted to check a couple of things with historians. I was checking two fairly general things - one about the construction of an outbuilding; the other about whether a soldier barracked at Fort George would be able to spend much time with his brother in Ardersier. In the grand scheme of things, these seemed insignificant and innocuous and I was checking them because I wanted to ensure the 1762 bit was authentic.

Hmm.

They genuinely were pretty minor things, and the historians were full of lots of fabulous information that helped enormously both with them and with various other things. However... it turned out that the brother wouldn't have been stationed at Fort George if he was in the army. That information, plus some general chat about something else entirely has blown two enormous holes in the plot! 

Thinking hats

So now I have my thinking hat on (how marvellous it would be to have a hat like the one in the picture!) to work out what to do to fix the holes. I have some ideas and I'm pretty sure I can get it all to work. But I need to rewrite about half of the book. So far, I have managed to do an awful lot of things except make a start on that rewrite! Even some housework!

Ah well. Just goes to show that it's always good to talk to experts (even if they do end up demolishing your plot before your eyes).




Tuesday, 30 March 2021

Interview with Michelle Ermens

This week I am delighted to be featuring Michelle Ermens, whose new book The Essence of Magic is launched today! Get your copy now! It's on a special introductory price until 6th April, so don't miss out.

Tell me more about your book? 

In The Essence of Magic, we follow Thera, who has always known that she’s different from her loving, human family. But if she isn’t human, that would make her a special, and they haven’t been seen in human territory for hundreds of years.

After a visit from a masked stranger who warns her of danger and an attack on her village, Thera is forced to flee with her mother and two younger siblings. They end up with no other choice than to enter special territory, a dangerous place filled with strange creatures and magic. Thera’s only chance to protect her family might be to get some magic of her own.

Often, in young adult books, the family of the main character is either absent or not very loving, but I wanted to go in the opposite direction. Thera’s mom and younger brother and sister play a big role in the book. She loves them more than anything and there’s nothing she wouldn’t do to protect them.

What prompted you to write it?

It actually all started because I had a good idea for a character, the masked stranger, and the more I thought about him, the more an entire story evolved in my head. Even though this character didn’t end up being the protagonist.

My books often start like that, with one good character, or sometimes just one good line, and then something big grows from that.

What are you working on at the moment? Are there already plans for the next book after this one?

I just finished writing all six books in the Magic’s Source series, so at the moment I’m going through them, rewriting and refining them. I hope to publish the entire series this year.

I also started a new series in the same universe. I can’t give away anything about it yet, but the story doesn’t completely end with the last book in the Magic’s Source series.

When did you first start writing? And what made you start?

I started writing when I was a little kid. I loved reading more than anything else, it was my way to escape from the real world, and the more I read, the more I realized that I had a lot of stories and a lot of incredible places and characters inside me too, so I started writing them down. First just pen to paper, often in between my homework, and later, thankfully, on a computer. But I still have all those notebooks with short scenes and old ideas and sometimes I love to look through them so they can give me new ideas.

What was the first full-length novel you ever wrote? (I realise this may not be the same as the first book you have had published!)

The first full-length novel I wrote was called Souls of the Air. I wrote it when I was fourteen and I still love it to this day. It was never published, of course, but I do plan to rewrite it one day and make an entire series out of it. It was filled with dragons, which I love, so I can’t just forget about it.

Which is your favourite secondary character in your book, and why is it your favourite?

My favourite secondary character is probably Corean. He is a young boy part of a monstrous clan of specials, so he looks rather monstrous himself, but he longs to be different. He loves to read and learn, he’s incredibly sweet, can never stop talking, and is awkward around other people, which I think is adorable.

Where is your ideal writing space?

Rather than one ideal writing space, I would love to travel the world while writing my books. I hope that dream comes true one day, but until then, I usually just write behind my desk or outside in the garden when it’s sunny.

What’s the best bit of advice you’ve ever been given? (not necessarily writing-related!)

If there’s something you really want to do, then you should do it. Even if it fails, that’s still better than not trying at all. Ten or fifty years from now, you’ll definitely regret the things you didn’t do more than the things that didn’t work out.

And now for some more random questions... 

What’s your radio tuned to most often?

Pop music, probably. When I’m not listening to the radio, it’s often musical numbers, Disney songs, or older songs that I know by heart and that I can sing along with.

You’re stranded on an island. You can choose one of the following three things. Which do you choose and why?
1. Limitless supply of paper and pens.
2. A computer which will never run out of battery and which can access the internet, but you can’t post anything/get help via it, only read what others have put up.
3. An endless supply of loo roll. 

Number 1! My two favourite things to do are writing and drawing, so with endless paper and pens, I’ll never get bored when I’m alone on an island.

You can only wear one of the following colours for the rest of your life. Which colour do you choose?
Yellow. Orange. Green. White. Pink. Green. 

I usually only wear black or blue, so green comes closest to that.

Cats or dogs?

Cats all the way! We have the most adorable calico cat at home called Jasmine.

City or country?

I’ve lived in both and I have to say that for now, I’d prefer the city because it has more going on and everything is close by. But later in life I do see myself living in the country because it has a lot more room and green.

Real book or e-book?

Nothing beats the feel and scent of a real book in my opinion, but I do have an e-reader because it’s too heavy to bring real books with me everywhere I go. (I did a five hour hike once with an 800 page book in my backpack and I do not recommend it!)

Fountain pen or biro?

Biro. It’s a lot more convenient and I write a lot faster with it. Plus, I love clicking or twisting the end of the pen while I’m thinking about what to write.

Thanks very much for letting me bombard you with questions!

You can catch up with Michelle at all the following places:

Website: http://mestoriesanddesign.com/writing.html
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/michelle.ermens/
IG: https://www.instagram.com/m.e.books/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Michell76615792
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/michelle-ermens
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/20945791.Michelle_Ermens 

Get The Essence of Magic here (US) or here (UK)

And don't forget to check out Michelle's book Lucky.

US readers click here
UK readers click here


Tuesday, 23 March 2021

What next?


"Invasion" launched on Saturday. Phew! With that out in the wild, what's next?

Next up, I'm finishing "A Promise Through Time" - a.k.a. "book #10" in a less imaginative name. This is a new departure for me, though I can see parallels with other things that I've written. It's a time-travel romance, set in the current-day and 1762 in the Highlands - an interesting post-Jacobite time, when life for the Highlanders was difficult. The first draft is ~85% done; maybe a little more. It's 67K long at the moment. I'm aiming for a final length of ~75K but I tend to underwrite in the first draft.

After that?

Hmm.

A while back, I swore off publishing more books set in The Realm. I even said it publicly on here. Part of me is still umming and ah-ing over this, for exactly the reasons given in that post. But three - three - more books are writing themselves in my head, all set in The Realm. Plus another book, not set there. Right now, I'm trying to figure out Amazon Ads. If I ever manage to get a decent return on investment and sales pick up, my decision not to publish more Realm books might change. Or I may decide to do things differently, and share things with subscribers, rather than sell them via Amazon. Either which way, I will probably write them. If you've enjoyed the books, please tell everyone you know, and then more of them may make it out of my laptop and into a book/ebook you can read, rather than it stay as a book only I read!

Missed the books when they launched at half price? Don't worry. The boxset of books 1-3 is still on sale at £2.99/$3.99 - a big saving over buying them individually! But the sale won't last for much longer, and I won't be reducing the price this low again for months, if ever.

Invasion is still on offer too (99p/99c) but this too won't be for much longer. 

Right now, you can get all four books for less than £4/$5. Don't miss out!

Want to know what really happened to Aeron before the series started? Sign up below for my newsletter and I'll send you a free novella "Aeron's Fall".



Tuesday, 16 March 2021

Box-set and Invasion both on sale!


"Invasion" is available for pre-order for just 99p/99c and the box-set of books 1-3 is at a significant price-drop of £2.99/$3.99. You can get all four books right now for less than the cost of a coffee and a cake and they will last a lot longer.

Don't miss out. I won't be reducing the price of either of these again for a while.




Tuesday, 9 March 2021

Author Interview with Erin Mcdermott

I am so pleased this week to introduce Erin Mcdermott to you. Her latest book Hades' Cult was just released.

Tell me more about your new book?

On March 3rd, my newest book, Hades’ Cult (The Athana Chronicles Book Two) released! I’m so excited for this release. The first book in the series, Hades’ Deception, follows the story of Claire Wild, a girl who is swept away from her simple life into a world of immortals. She is an ordinary girl who needs to learn how to be extraordinary, and she needs to learn fast in order to stay alive. Cue Jason – the sexy descendant of the ancient Greek hero Achilles. He can train her to become more than she ever was before, but can she handle his intense training methods?

What prompted you to write it?

I majored in history in college with a focus on Ancient Greece. I absolutely fell in love with that time period. Reading the stories that people of that time created was absolutely fascinating. Their religion resembled a soap opera – how could you not love it? So, I love delving into the minds of the religious world the Ancient Greeks created while adding my own modern twist to it.

What are you working on at the moment? Are there already plans for the next book after this one?

I’m currently working on the next book in The Athana Chronicles. As of now it has no name, but I plan to release it by June, 2021.

When did you first start writing? And what made you start?

I have been writing since I was in third grade. I remember watching my brother’s Little League Baseball games and being bored out of my mind! I didn’t have a computer so to entertain myself so I wrote with a pen on blank paper while watching him play. I was a huge fan of The Little House on the Prairie books, so my writing was influenced by that. My first book, though definitely not published, was finished in third grade. It was a series of stories about my life, following the format of The Little House on the Prairie. I still have those pages today and I LOVE looking back at them.

Which is your favourite secondary character in your book, and why is it your favourite?

My favourite secondary character in the Athana Chronicles isn’t introduced until the second book. Her name is Candace, and I love her because she puts up a hard front, but there’s so much more to her. It’s just difficult to break her shell.

What’s the best bit of advice you’ve ever been given? (not necessarily writing-related!)

Oh, this is an easy one. Before publishing my first book, Captive Rebel, I found it difficult to actually finish a book. It wasn’t until someone told me to write my first draft with the screen black so I wouldn’t feel compelled to edit that I finally completed my novel. I had to accept that my first draft would be crap, but I couldn't edit a blank page. The advice I received was, word for word, “Pretend your book is a sandbox. Draft one is filling the box with sand. Draft two is building the sand castle.”

And now for some more random questions...
What’s your radio tuned to most often? 

Lord of The Rings soundtrack on Pandora. Soundtracks of movies like Avatar, Star Wars, and Indian Jones are all on this station. It really gets me into the adventurous vibe my books take on.

You can only wear one of the following colours for the rest of your life. Which colour do you choose?
Yellow. Orange. Green. White. Pink.

Pink!

Cats or dogs?

Both 😃

Thanks very much for letting me bombard you with questions!

Catch up with Erin at all of the following places:

Website: Erin McDermott
Facebook: www.facebook.com/erinmcdermottauthor/
IG: www.instagram.com/erin_writes
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Erin-McDermott/e/B073Q4Z3JH/

Book links:

Hades’ Deception (UK)
Hades' Deception (US)

Hades' Cult (UK)
Hades' Cult (US)


Tuesday, 2 March 2021

Cover Reveal & First Chapter

It's getting closer! Advanced copies of "Invasion" are away to my street-team (and I'm nervously awaiting their verdicts!). Time to reveal the cover and share with all of you the first chapter...

Invasion

Five years have passed since Aeron and Faran helped to defeat the rogue Guides, and the Guardians and the people of The Realm have reached a new, albeit tetchy, equilibrium. The threat of civil war bubbles constantly, but so far, the Guardians have kept control. It won’t take much for that to change.

People have started to go missing from one of the villages, returning days later, emaciated, exhausted, and claiming to have been forced to work on a building in a strange world. Where are they being taken? And who is taking them there?

The foe threatening The Realm is far more sinister than the rogue Guides. They could destroy everything the Guardians rely on. Far from being the protectors of The Realm, the Guardians could be its destroyers.

Can Aeron and Faran find a way to save The Realm without sacrificing everything they hold dear? Or will The Realm finally fall?

Read the first chapter here.
Pre-order "Invasion" here

If you pre-order, it will be delivered to your Kindle on March 20th and you are guaranteed the pre-order price.


Tuesday, 23 February 2021

Author Interview With Katie Zaber

This week, I'm delighted to introduce Katie Zaber to you all. Katie's latest book, "Below Dark Waters" (her second book in the Dalya series) has just been released. The first in the series is "Ashes and Blood".

Tell me more about the first book in your series?

Ashes and Blood is about a young woman named Megan who goes on a hike with her friends when the forest suddenly morphs around them. They find themselves in the woods nearby a frontier style town without electricity or water and clueless of how to return to Earth.

I wanted to write a story about a woman who isn’t a heroine. A woman who makes countless mistakes driven by her own desires and has good intentions, but good intentions can become deadly in ignorant hands.

What prompted you to write it?

Boredom. Pure Boredom while stuck at home recovering from surgery. Ashes and Blood evolved over six drafts and started with an insane king singing a sinister version of Lord of the Dance. In his twisted version of the religious song, he is the lord, dancing around his kingdom, subjecting his people to his will and killing them for entertainment. From there, the story grew and grew and changed perspective until I was happy.

What are you working on at the moment? Are there already plans for the next book in the series?

Right now I’m finishing up DNA—Angels & Demons, a book about a woman named Evie who mysteriously gets pregnant. After a DNA test proves that her husband is not the father, her life becomes complicated.

People become possessed around Evie, telling her to kill the baby or protect it at all costs as she tries to rebuild her life after a heart-breaking divorce. Throughout the book, she realizes that her child might be a celestial being, but isn’t sure if it’s angelic or demonic.

When her perfect child is born, she sees the symbol and knows that her child is in fact the antichrist, leaving her with a decision. It’s almost done, and I hope to have it on sale by summer. 

I’m also working on the third book in the Dalya series, title undecided. It’s roughly 20,000 words, and I hope to have it out this fall.

When did you first start writing? And what made you start?

My first attempt at writing a book was after I had read Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli. I must have been ten years old and wanted a sequel. So I got a pen and stack of paper and wrote around 50-60 pages before I started a different project. I still have it.

What was the first full-length novel you ever wrote? (I realise this may not be the same as the first book you have had published!)

Ashes and Blood is my first novel.

Which is your favourite secondary character in your book, and why is it your favourite?

I love Kilyn. She is a preteen Fae slave who was sold by her parents because she has bad blood and was born without any magical gifts. She’s spunky and fearless, using her wits and resources to survive.

Where is your ideal writing space?

At my desk when it’s nice and quiet.

What’s the best bit of advice you’ve ever been given? (not necessarily writing-related!)

My piano teacher told me when I was a kid that his friend had auditioned for Prince. Prince gave him sheet music and told him to play it. The guy nailed the song. Prince then said to play it backwards. The man looked at Prince confused. Prince said you should be able to read it forward and backward. That every band member he performed with was that fluid.

Now, I don’t know how much of that story is true, but the thing that always stuck with me was the ability to think in different directions and not just read left to right. It’s important to be flexible and learn how to bend in different ways in every situation.

And now for some more random questions...

What’s your radio tuned to most often?

I usually listen to my iPod that has a crazy selection of random musicians and genres. About half would be rock alternative, but my all time favourite singer/songwriter is Ani DiFranco, who is a folk/rock singer.

You’re stranded on an island. You can choose one of the following three things. Which do you choose, and why?
1. Limitless supply of paper and pens.
2. A computer which will never run out of battery and which can access the internet, but you can’t post anything/get help via it, only read what others have put up.
3. An endless supply of loo roll.

Computer. It would at least entertain me and keep me semi sane, though I would worry about sand getting into it. 😉 

You can only wear one of the following colours for the rest of your life. Which colour do you choose?
Yellow. Orange. Green. White. Pink.

Green. At this moment, 75% of my clothes are already a shade of olive or forest green. The rest are brown, grey, and black.

Cats or dogs?

Dogs

City or country?

Depends on where the city is located. I’m not a fan of New York City, but I love Rome. I’m not a fan of country either, I like to order takeout way too often and live close to shopping.

Real book or e-book?

I used to love real books until I hurt my neck and shoulder. My e-book is much lighter when I want to read for hours.

Fountain pen or biro?

Neither. Mechanical pencil. 

Thanks very much for letting me bombard you with questions!

Links to Katie's Dalya series:

Ashes and Blood (US)

Ashes and Blood (UK)

Below Dark Waters (US)

Below Dark Waters (UK)

You can keep up to date with Katie at all of the following places:

Website: http://zaberbooks.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dalyaseries
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Zaberbooks
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/katie-zaber
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/20290665.Katie_Zaber
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Katie-Zaber/e/B087YXPDF2/



Tuesday, 16 February 2021

Special Offers

I have never seen other authors as competitors. Far from it. I'm not an especially fast or prolific reader and I can read 40-50 books in a year. Many readers can read 3 or 4 times that (or more!). Since no writer can ever write books as fast as readers can read them, I see other authors as colleagues and friends and try to promote them and their books whenever I can.

A couple of weeks ago I was delighted to interview Eleanor Rousseau (catch up with her interview here) and next week, I will be interviewing Katie Zaber - make sure you come back and check that out.

This month, I'm pleased to be part of several promotions. Please do check them out. There are some great books and offers in them.

Happy reading! Go fill your Kindles!

To Fantastical New Worlds and Beyond

Tired of this world? Find new adventures in this big selection of fantasy set partially or entirely on a different world. All of them are available to read for free in Kindle Unlimited.

Check out the books here.

Unlimited Fantasy Deals

A selection of over 80 fantasy books on sale, all of them available to read for free in Kindle Unlimited. Offers end 3rd March, so be quick!

Check out the books here.

Fierce Females in Fantasy (to fall in love with)

Like your heroines feisty? Check out this selection of books on sale, all of which feature a fierce female lead.

Young Adult Paranormal and Urban Fantasy

Big selection of free short stories, novellas and books, but don't miss out as this ends 28th February.
Check it out here.


Tuesday, 9 February 2021

Looking for cheerleaders...

via GIPHY

This round of edits of "Invasion: Guardians of The Realm 4" are done. The ms is back to Fiona for a final sweep; the cover is close to being finalised. So now I am looking for some cheerleaders to read an advanced copy before it's published.

Anyone up for it? Ideally, you'll have read (and enjoyed and reviewed) the rest of the Guardians of The Realm trilogy, and be prepared to shout about this one from the treetops (or social media or Amazon or Goodreads etc.).

Fit the bill? Let me know and I will send you an advanced copy of the ebook for free. All I ask is that if you enjoy it, you spread the word (and if you don't enjoy it, maybe just keep quiet!).

Trying to be found in the gazillion books out there is nigh on impossible, even with a big marketing budget (which I don't have). I have to rely a lot on word-of-mouth and reviews. Please, if you've read any of my books, leave me a review? It doesn't have to be long. But it does make all the difference to me.

Want to be in my cheerleader team? Drop me a note using the contact form on the right and I will get back to you!


Tuesday, 2 February 2021

Author interview with Eleanor Rousseau

I'm delighted to share this interview with Eleanor Rousseau with you. Her new book, Heroes and a Hellhound: Book 1 comes out today!

Tell me more about your book?

The main character is Nevaeh St.Claire. She’s a ‘hellhound’ which is actually considered to be a derogatory term among demons for the subspecies that she’s a part of. This is one of the many reasons she’s glad that she escaped hell after her enemy dragged her there. Free from demonic influence, she currently has a life and even friends who also have cool powers. The only downside is the fact those friends like to use their powers to fight crime, and they usually drag Nevaeh into their escapades.

What prompted you to write it?

Initially, it was one of those ‘if you could be a superhero, what would your powers be’ conversations. During which I concluded that I would make an absolutely terrible superhero.

What are you working on at the moment? Are there already plans for the next book after this one?

Book two is definitely in the works, and I am very excited about it. But I also have another project I’m pretty excited about, it is my first foray into the world of crime fiction, but there are also elements of fantasy and Arthurian lore mixed in.

When did you first start writing? And what made you start?

Probably when I was 12, which was when I became completely obsessed with books. I went from hardly ever reading to constantly having my nose in a book. Moving on to writing was a pretty natural progression after that.

What was the first full-length novel you ever wrote? (I realise this may not be the same as the first book you have had published!)

It was a book about a demon-hunter who fell in love with a dragon shifter. It actually wasn’t bad, considering I was 13 when I wrote it.

Which is your favourite secondary character in your book, and why is it your favourite?

Probably Pete. He is Nevaeh’s sweet but dim German Shepard. He is the exact opposite of her, but she loves him anyway. Their bond is unshakable.

Where is your ideal writing space?

Curled up on the sofa in front of a fire.

And now for some more random questions... 

What’s your radio tuned to most often?

I do often tell Alexa to tune into Disney music. Otherwise, I’m currently really into Dermont Kennedy.

You’re stranded on an island. You can choose one of the following three things. Which do you choose and why?

1. Limitless supply of paper and pens.

2. A computer which will never run out of battery and which can access the internet, but you can’t post anything/get help via it, only read what others have put up.

3. An endless supply of loo roll.

2 - I’m always glued to my laptop.

You can only wear one of the following colours for the rest of your life. Which colour do you choose? Yellow. Orange. Green. White. Pink.

Probably green. I own a lot of olive green clothes.

Cats or dogs?

Both!

City or country?

Country

Real book or e-book?

Ebooks. Sorry paperbacks.

Fountain pen or biro?

Fountain pen

Thanks very much for letting me bombard you with questions!

You can keep up to date with Eleanor here:

Website: https://eleanorrousseau.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorEllaRousseau
IG: https://www.instagram.com/ellalrousseau/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/EllaRousseau
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/eleanor-rousseau
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17152701.Eleanor_Rousseau
And check out her event that's running tonight at: https://www.facebook.com/events/989012711625381

Heroes and Hellhounds is released today!

[US readers click here]


Tuesday, 26 January 2021

Nostepinnes and niddy-noddies

 There are some amazing words associated with yarn. These are two of my favourites! What are they?

Well, a nostepinne is essentially a wooden stick, usually tapering, with a few grooves cut in it. It's used to help wind a ball of wool from a skein. Here's a You Tube video (no affiliation, but it's a clear video) to show you:

A niddy-noddy is used to wind wool into a skein. Again, easier to see it done than to try to explain it!


Why do I even know about these things?

Well, for one, I'm a fairly keen knitter (very late to the party, only learning how to knit about 18 months ago, but now knit most days). Two, the main female character in book #10 has a yarn business, and she uses them!

That's one of the things I love about writing - learning new words and researching specific things.

What are your favourite (new) words?


Tuesday, 19 January 2021

#XpoNorth...


Last Friday (15th Jan), there was a Twitter-pitch event run by XpoNorth. The idea was that authors Tweet-pitched their work - essentially send a Tweet (with #XpoNorth in it) pitching a book. Agents and publishers were following the hashtag, and if any of them liked the pitch, they could get in touch and ask for more details, or invite the author to make a full submission to them.

I pitched book #10 over the day. The advice had been to pitch, even if the book wasn't at submission-point and if an agent was interested, to then give them an estimated date for when the work might be ready to submit (but to submit only when the work was ready). Book #10 is almost at first-draft stage. There are a few scenes to write and of course, it needs editing, but I thought, "Nothing ventured, nothing gained" and pitched it.

Well, I got lots of likes and re-tweets on my pitches, which gives me heart that I've written something the market will be interested in, but sadly, none of the likes were from agents or publishers. Ah well.

There were some cracking ideas in the pitches. If you're on Twitter, go and check out #XpoNorth to see some of the amazing ideas that were tweeted over the day. I'm really hoping that quite a lot of them are ultimately published, because they sounded fantastic.


Tuesday, 12 January 2021

Back in The Realm

After last week's post, I opened the file from Fiona for "Invasion" (Guardians of The Realm 4), made a large pot of tea, and read through all the feedback.

Huge relief because...

She LOVES it!

That's not to say there weren't a gazillion comments throughout - this is Fiona, after all, and she's the most thorough editor I've ever worked with. And the best.

I've been delighted at how easy it has been to drop back into The Realm. It's as if I've never been away! Okay, I've been living (and dreaming) this world for some time now, but I've also drafted another book while Fiona was working her magic, in a different genre and with a very different setting. When I've done that in the past, I've sometimes struggled to become fully immersed again in the first project. This...? This feels like putting on all my comfiest clothes and snuggling down. I'm loving being back in The Realm.

All going to plan, I should have these edits done by the end of January, then the book will be back to Fiona for a last check. The cover is getting designed as I type this, and various other things sorted. I'm aiming for March as a publication date, but I'll keep you all posted. I'll be looking for cheerleaders soon!

Until next week...



Tuesday, 5 January 2021

Updates...

Happy New Year everyone. Let's hope 2021 isn't as much of a shocker as 2020 was!

blackboard with news written on it

I have updates for you! "Book #9" is back on my desk, and it now has a name! It will be called "Invasion" and is the fourth book in the Guardians of The Realm series.

The editing arrived back from Fiona on the last day of 2020. At time of writing this (Sunday 3rd) I haven't opened the file yet, because I know that as soon as I do, I will be sucked back into The Realm and there are other things I need to clear before that. I'm hugely excited to be back in The Realm with Aeron and Faran again and I'm hoping that Fiona really has loved the book as much as she said she did!

As for "book #10" - that's on hold for the moment. I didn't quite get to a full first draft by the end of the year (partly because I started on a second draft really - checking the timeline and the scene orders etc). I've packed away all the notes, maps and paraphernalia relating to book #10 to clear some real estate on my desk for "Invasion".

In a Facebook group I'm in, a fellow-writer (Mason Cross) had a suggestion of writing 100 words per day on a side-project, so I am also doing that. I've tweaked the challenge slightly to be 100 words and/or 10 minutes of planning. The idea is that by the time I've done the edits on "Invasion" and also the editing of book #10, I will then have a few thousand words and some planning for "book #11". 100 words is easy to achieve. 10 minutes of planning is easy to do. But they will add up to  a decent chunk by the time I'm ready to start that project for real. And then the 100 words/10 minutes will be on the next side-project. And so it goes on.

Setting writing goals seems almost futile with the way the world is at the moment, but I'm intending to publish both "Invasion" and book #10, hopefully before summer. I'm also hoping to have a first draft of another book by the end of the year. In a (more) ideal world, I'd like it to be at second draft (or better) but let's see what 2021 is going to throw at me! Two books published and a third drafted is enough. Anything more would be a bonus.

How about everyone else? What plans do you all have? Have they been scaled back after what happened in 2020? Do they exist at all, or are you just hoping to get through the year as unscathed as possible? Or are you optimistic that 2021 will be closer to normal and have drawn up plans accordingly? Drop me a note in the comments below.

Whatever your plans, I hope that 2021 is kind to you.