The Orchid

The Orchid

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Why Do We Do It?

Why do people write? Why do I write? I get asked this quite often and it's a hard one to answer. It certainly isn't for the money! There's very little reward for writing and if I cover the cost of my printer ink and expenses in the year, I consider myself to be doing well. You have more chance of winning the lottery then having a top selling book. 

I work almost 30 hours a week in a demanding job and am a single mother to two children. I don't take a lunch break to fit my hours in, so I can get back for the school collections. Evenings are spent helping with homework, cooking, clearing up, washing, refereeing arguments.  When my eldest is finally in bed, I make a coffee, switch on the laptop and write until 11 pm. I don't eagerly sit down to work, I have to make myself do it as I'm pretty shattered by this point, but except for the rare night off, it's what I do every day. 

Most writers, except for the very successful, work this way, holding down other jobs and juggling family commitments. So why do we do it? For me, it's the writing itself. That feeling you get when you click with your book and suddenly you're with your characters, feeling everything they feel and living their lives. It's pure escapism and is what gives me the drive to continue. I couldn't not write as it's too much part of me. Writing has got me through some very difficult times in my life and while there have been periods when I've been tempted to stop, I know I never will. 

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Bath Children's Novel Award

Busy this week polishing my entry for the Bath Children's Novel award, which I have been given the go-ahead to enter after checking with the organisers.

I'm entering my new story, a children's time travel novel covering from Roman Britain to World War II. I haven't written children's novels before, so don't expect to get short-listed, but a long-listing would be sufficient to give me the boost to start sending the book off to agents. I'm now racing ahead to get the manuscript completed in case it does get requested. Is anyone else entering? Let me know and we'll wait together for the long-list to be published! 

Children's writing is quite different to adults, it's not just as simple as using shorter words. Children generally lack the skill to pick up the subtle hints in a book regarding expression or character's feelings, so the usual maxim of 'show don't tell,' isn't so relevant. When you're writing for young people, 'telling,' is allowed, as long as it's carefully done. The first two J.K. Rowling books contained quite a bit of telling, which is noticeably missing from her later works, which were aimed at older readers. 

In other writing news, Beloved Enemy, my medieval romance was released this week by My Weekly and is currently on supermarkets shelves. Lovely to see a book published and the editors at My Weekly have done a marvelous job with the edits and cover art. 

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

The Orchid

Delighted that The Orchid came out on kindle this week. Originally published by My Weekly, and due out in hardback at the end of the year, The Orchid is an exciting Victorian romance set in the theatres of the West End. Currently available at an introductory price of £1.27!

Monday, 20 July 2015

Book Sale!

It's been a busy week! After releasing Summer in Rye yesterday, I was delighted to hear today that Ulverscroft wanted to buy the hard back rights to Bound by a Common Enemy. I'm looking forward to seeing it on the shelves.

Winter Storms should also be back out on Amazon under their new Encore publishing line and I am due to self-publish the e-book version of The Orchid. This was published by My Weekly in paperback, but has never been an e-book, so as soon as it's out, I'll put up a link! I'm just waiting for my cover art to be completed by the designer.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Summer in Rye Released!

I'm delighted that Summer in Rye has been re-released! An exciting Victorian romance novella, it covers the darker issues of domestic violence and childhood small pox. Available from Amazon today at a reduced introduction price of £1.28 ($1.99).

Summer in Rye was originally published by Musa, who sadly had to close their doors earlier in the year. As it was always one of my favourites, I have made my first attempt into self-publishing and released it myself. 

It was easier than I expected to do, so I will also be releasing The Orchid, for which I retained the e-book rights, later in the month. The Orchid was bought by My Weekly and released as a paperback Pocket Novel, and will also be released in hard-book format by Ulverscroft later in the year. 

I have sold my medieval romance, Bound by a Common Enemy, to My Weekly, which will will be released as a Pocket Novel later in the year. I'm very pleased about this sale as I'm very fond of the characters in Bound By, in particular my heroine Elizabeth, who is an intelligent and courageous woman with a very difficult decision to make. 

Bound By is the last of my romances for a while since I am working on a children's book that I hope to enter into the Times/Chicken House competition details here. (Thank you to the excellent Patsy Collins for her mention of the competition on her blog).  The market for children's story is highly competitive with many brilliant writers, so I am under no illusions about how difficult this next step will be. However, I feel ready to push myself further with my writing and try something new. The children's book is the first in a series of 7 and I have completed the first draft, so well on the way for a final manuscript to be ready by the competition deadline. 

Summer in Rye blurb

A tragedy brought Eva Brookwell and Samuel Shaw back into each other’s lives. But will lies from the past destroy their chances of a future? 

Left penniless after the death of her philandering father, Eva Brookwell takes a job as a governess at Rye Hall, but didn’t expect to find her young charges scarred and blinded from smallpox. Rye Hall is an unhappy house with a tyrannical master and Eva is forced to turn to her pupils’ uncle, Samuel Shaw for help. 

Eva and Samuel had once been engaged, until his lies drove them apart. Still in love with him, Eva knows she could never trust him again; however he is her only ally in the dark and disturbed household she now lives in.

Friday, 26 June 2015

Last days of Winter Storms

News this week is that Winter Storms is shortly to be removed from sale because it has been re-sold to the Amazon Encore. So anyone who wished to buy a copy in a format other than kindle has until the 28th July! 

Amazon Encore was set up to, 'help readers discover extraordinary, previously-published, overlooked books from emerging authors.' So I'm delighted that they have selected Winter Storms as a book suitable for the line. 

I am also working on re-releasing Summer in Rye and The Orchid as e-books, since the rights have reverted back to me. Selling a right reverted book isn't that easy, so I have decided to take my first plunge into self-publishing and release both books myself. 

With regard to new works, I am finishing off a medieval novel to send to My Weekly for their Pocket Novel range. If they accept it, I intend to send the same manuscript to Ulvercroft for their hard-back range. 

Considering the work that goes into a book and the time taken up by editing and promoting, it makes sense to sell the rights to as many places as you can. The Orchid has been sold in paper-back, hard-back, and will now be released as an e-book. 

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Creating an Enemy

An important part of novel writing is creating a realistic and believable enemy. In The Orchid, my editor praised the character of Clarence, who turned from a friend of Ava's into a man intent on destroying her. Cardboard cut-out villains are very easy to write, motivated by either money or just pure malice, they hide as a shadowed, malevolent presence on the side lines of the novel, appearing when necessary to make the heroine's life impossible. To create a memorable enemy however, you need to look a bit deeper.

Fiction is filled with famous villains: Dracula, Moriarty, Voldemort, and a personal choice, Heathcliffe. These men are not just evil however, but also deeply troubled. Dracula is shown at the end of the book as a man who was unable to stop the cruel manner he behaved in because he was a vampire. Heathcliffe was driven by a hard childhood and his love for Cathy to act as a monster to those around him. Given different life, these men could have been very different characters. 

This is where the power of a good villain comes across. They are dangerous, often violent people, but they need a reason, a motivation, to act as they do. What drives your villain? What does he want and why? 

Disorders like Narcissist and Psychopathic personalities are mental health issues. It's easy to label your character a 'psychopath,' without showing the true elements, or respect for those suffering these disorders. The person afflicted can't help the way they are, which brings in a element of pity, yet their behaviour can be very destructive to those around them. Their actions can be very secretive and subtle, so fit well in a psychological thriller or novel about verbal abusive/coercive control. The brilliant movie 'gas-lighting,' shows the lying and manipulative ways of a psychopath very well. They act as they do because they lack empathy and compassion for other people, but that doesn't automatically make them sadistic. 

The 'Day of the Jackal,' is a novel about a remorseless killer, but there is one paragraph in the book where he is described with his face pressed against a shop window, staring at the display within. It was only a few lines in the book however it was enough to remind the reader that the man was human. A light touch is often all that is needed. 

Monday, 23 February 2015

Going Down a Storm....

Winter Dreams, the Crimson Romance bundle of 7 stories, is in the Crimson top three for the second week running! Including my own book, Winter Storms, it has spent the last ten days in the top twenty of holiday romance on Amazon. We're also been lucky to receive some lovely reviews. 

I'm currently nearing the end of the first draft of my new Roman story, which has taken longer than usual to write. It's a children's story, so a move away from my usual romance and great fun to write. I'm a single, working parent to young children, so fitting in the writing after a long day of work, housework and small people is tricky. I usually wait until my eldest is in bed and tell myself that 'I will just do 500 words.' Generally those 500 words turn into 1,000, so over the weeks, a story builds up. The thought of writing a whole novel can be daunting, but if you think of it as a set number of words a day, it's a lot less scary.

Writing a book simply is like Stephen King said, 'Bum on seat, write.' You have to be dedicated to not only writing the book, but also on learning how to write. With so many people self-publishing, it is tempting to think anyone can write a book. True, they can, but to write a readable book is a different matter. I've written since I was a child, but it was only when I took a step back from typing down the ideas and sent work off to competitions and critiques (I used Debz Hobbs-Wyatt, an accomplished writer who does a brilliant critique that I became publishable. It's hard work, but so worthwhile. I love writing, and have made some wonderful friends in the writing world. If a 'good book can be a cure of most ills,' then immersing yourself in your own world and characters has to be a close run second! 

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Fancy Winning a Kindle Fire?

The Wildly Wanton box set, including my own spicy versions of Dracula, has been released for a limited time at the special price of 54p ($0.81). Perfect for a saucy evening read! 

The second piece of exciting news is that in honour of Valentine's Day, Crimson Romance are running TWO amazing special deals. A huge number of back list titles are available for £1.20 ($1.99) and if you put your name in the  hat to receive the Crimson Newsletter, you are in with a chance of winning a Kindle Fire, pre-loaded with bestselling titles!