The Elf’s Shelf Book Fair is coming to a close this Friday 12th December, so do check it out. I’m featured with my YA Fantasy The Curse of Time Book 1 Bloodstone along with lots of talented authors, members of the Fantasy and Science Fiction Author Support Group who have gathered to share their books priced 99¢ to $3.99 with you! Each day there will be 2-3 books shared with you readers for your perusing pleasures.
December 13th to the 24th there will be the 12 days of Bookmas hosted by Rose Montague with the administrators of the Facebook group as co-hosts: Claire Buss, Ellwyn Autumn, Cheryllynn Dyess and Rennie St. James.
Throughout the month, authors will post about any #coverreveals or #newreleases they may have. This month is all about you enjoying books. These books will be great gifts to yourselves as well as any readers in your circle!
Readers, I’d love to have you give us some #bookrecommendations throughout the month as well! Use #Myrec or #bookrec or something along that nature on twitter!!! We WANT BOOKS!
Twitter: @AuthorFsf #FSFRL http://fsfreaders.com/elfs-shelf-book-fair http://fsfreaders.com/books/bloodstone-the-curse-of-time-book-1
Buy Book: myBook.to/TheCurseofTime
Unique Selling Point: Unique, Imaginative, ‘Charming, enchanting and richly layered this is purely delightful.’
“This delightful book will appeal to teens and young adults who love stories filled with magical crystals, dark family curses, and mysteries waiting to be solved around every corner. Each chapter leads you on a journey of discovery where Amelina earns the right to use three wizard stones to reset the balance of time and finally break the curse that holds her family hostage. A captivating tale!” – Colleen M. Chesebro (Editor)
Some of my more regular blog visitors might have noticed that I haven’t been posting, commentating, engaging in social media, etc, as much recently. This pains me a lot. Sigh. But, sadly this will continue indefinitely while I am writing/editing the second book in the series The Curse of Time. I can’t write, blog, and work in a demanding full-time job – it is just not possible.
I know that I profess to have magical powers but I am feeling the pinch. My superpowers aren’t holding up well. I am in desperate need of a magic wand to give me energy. Quite by chance I found this in the Botanic Gardens in Cambridge. It’s a bit small but I like the snake-like look to it. The top pic shows its eye well and the bottom one its mouth!
So bear with me. Don’t desert me!
I am very excited about the progress of the second book in the series. All I can divulge for now is: expect a cruel rollercoaster ride, a crazy grasshopper who natters incessantly and some seriously odd shadow demons.
Ha ha… my mind works in some crazy ways…
There will be the same cast of characters from book one: Amelina, Ryder, Esme, The Mirror Girl, The Creature Eruterac, Kyle, Amelina’s friends: Jade, Ilaria and Joselyn plus Shadow the cat, Toby the dog, The Spirit, and of course Amelina’s mum and dad and her dear aunt Karissa…
Yes quite a cast!
Recently I was tagged by Vashti Vega on twitter @VashtiQV who I’d cast as the leads in my book… I chose Tyler Posey, Dakota Fanning, Amanda Seyfried, and Colton Haynes.
5 Star Review News
I now have several reviews for The Curse of Time Book One Bloodstone on Goodreads and Amazon. My last two reviews were both five stars which made me do a double happy dance. This has really encouraged me to press on with this series.
Thank you so much to Linda and Richard for featuring me. Really appreciate it. 🙂 x
What are my other plans?
I will be focussing on writing my reviews on books I am reading – which I love to do! It makes me very happy to read and to share my thoughts with other readers/reviewers. I have several review requests which I have to catch up on and I will be reblogging book-related posts and anything which might be of interest to my readers.
Oh and recently I’ve been on a bit of a winning streak.
The autumn of 1705 brings Royal Navy Captain Gabriel Wallace to face off against an enemy within the ranks of the Admiralty itself that threatens his career, his reputation, his family, and something even more far-reaching in its plot.
Court-martialed and with Admiral Chambers, the mastermind fearfully known as the Chambers of Hell, out for his destruction, Wallace finds he has allies willing to face the might of the mightiest power on earth, with some allies in the most unlikely of places. The crew of his former command, the Majesty’s Venture, mutinies from the Royal Navy. With capture by his enemies close behind, Wallace agrees to become captain once again.
With a ship at his command, Captain Gabriel Wallace sets out to fulfill his mission, the completeness of which only he knows.
Now a pirate by situation, Wallace sets out for the Colonies and the Caribbean. Will his crew remain loyal as they leave the rule of the Royal Navy behind? Will his lifelong friend, Miles Jacobs, follow Wallace blindly without knowing the whole story? Finally, will the young Lieutenant Maddox Carbonale stay under the command of Wallace or have plans to lead instead?
With these questions in his thoughts, Gabriel Wallace wages war on Chambers and goes after the largest haul in the history of the Spanish Main. Whom does Wallace meet along the way? To whom are his loyalties to: vengeance or something more powerful?
If you love tales of adventure, of the sea, of the struggles of men, and nods to history, this is your book. Read Amber Wake: Gabriel Falling and you’ll have a new appreciation for all of The Razor’s Adventures Pirate Tales.
Isn’t that cover just beautiful, it certainly makes me excited to read the book, here are the links to buy a copy.
As you will know I’ve been a fan of Ronovan’s Haiku challenges for some time now… that’s how I got to know the guy. In fact Ronovan kind of introduced me to the whole haiku landscape, and for that I am indebted. I doubt that I would ever had written haiku if it wasn’t for his weekly challenge. So with that in mind I thought it would be a lovely idea to do a shout out for his new book, and some questions for him to answer..
Amber Wake sounds a fascinating historical adventure doesn’t it but how did it all come about? I was very interested to discover more about the authorial partnership between Ronovan and P.S. Bartlett, particularly as I would perhaps one day like to write a joint novel with my daughter who also writes. So my questions below focussed on the pros and cons of co-authorship.
I am curious about how you and P.S. Bartlett got together to write Amber Wake Gabriel Falling.
I believe we met through Twitter to begin with, and she offered a copy of her book, The Blue Diamond: The Razor’s Edge. I read it, liked it a lot, and did a review. I followed that up with an interview and we became friends, started exchanging emails a lot about writing and ideas. That led to the ideas of prequels to her book and for me the writing of Amber Wake: Gabriel Falling.
The benefits of co-authoring with a more experienced author.
I’ve been writing books for at least 15 years now. I’ve never chosen to self-publish before and only submitted a few of my books to agents. In the area of the pirate genre, it did help with her knowledge of various aspects of the genre, and she had worked with the editor previously. I keep looking at my work and improving in my writing, and with each look at my novels, I have fresh eyes and new ideas. Maybe someday I’ll actually bite the bullet and put one out. I’ll never think one is good enough.
The positive aspects of co-authoring and the difficulties you may have experienced.
To the positive I would say playing ideas off each other, ideas you might not have otherwise. Also having certain expertise in areas. Being a Historian and writer, I loved doing the research to create the characters, do the character development down to little details people might not realize are important, and then write the story. Then PS Bartlett used fresh eyes to tighten things here and there, add her own ideas and some aspects of her voice in places. We wanted the story in a male voice, since it is from a man’s point of view, but we also needed her voice to show through at times to link the book to her other The Razor’s Adventures Pirate Tales books, even though Ivory Shepard, The Razor, doesn’t appear in the book.
For difficulties, you have two authors that may have differing ideas at times. Neither idea is wrong, just different. It’s hard to see something you become so attached to be changed even in the slightest. However, going into a co-authoring project, you know it will happen. It’s kind of like having your children taught differently than you have raised them to believe. The best thing to do is tough it out and wait for the reviews. We’ve been fortunate to have great reviews so far. I’m sure someone will come along with a negative one, every book has one of those. As a reviewer myself, I know reviews are just opinions. I’ll take it and move on, but consider what each reviewer says.
Do you have very different writing styles, or are you quite similar in your approach?
I think we both have similar styles. We have points we want to cover, but we let the characters and the story determine what happens in between. I know sometimes I write a character I’ll end up not liking, although I meant for him to be a nice guy.
How did your writing styles effect the outcome of the final manuscript?
Our styles compliment each other. The only differences in styles that might have made things interesting would be some thoughts to certain intentions of characters. With there being other books written that occur after this one, certain things need to happen that weren’t in the original manuscript I wrote. Again, as I’ve mentioned before, that’s going to happen in any co-authoring project.
Would you recommend this approach to writing and why?
Our approach was for me to write the original manuscript, free rein. After the original manuscript it then went to PS Bartlett. I think if all involved agree to what is what then it’s a fine approach.
If you had the opportunity again would you go it alone or co-author?
I’m currently writing solo with several projects going at the same time. I would co-author again if the project and co-author are right. There are people I would like to work with.
Perhaps you’d like to get into book tour hosting? Or you might be an old hand either way here’s your chance Ronovan Hester and P.S. Bartlett are looking for book tour hosts for their novel Amber Wake, Gabriel Falling….
My friend Jade at Scatterbooker wrote this wonderful tribute to my hero David Bowie, which features his top 100 books, I just loved him and his music, he was such a creative and wonderful soul. So sad that he is no longer with this, but no doubt his music, and his special uniqueness will live on in our hearts. The world has lost a true artist, RIP David. x
I’ve been super busy just recently as I’m currently been doing two read-a-thons. The first one is a Halloween themed readalong from Stripes Publishing, the #redeyereadalong and I have been reviewing all the awesome #redeye books on my blog, the current book I am reading this week is Dark Room from Tom Becker. The second readathon I’m taking part in is the Trees of Reverie readathon, and for this I’m currently reading Caroline Peckham’s Creeping Shadow. So I don’t get bored I have been doing some photography, and quote challenges too, as well as joining Instagram.
I’m feeling slightly overwhelmed so:
I will be taking a bit of a blogging break in November, to coincide with Nanowrimo, and possibly December to concentrate on my writing, and getting my manuscript Krystallos ready for publication. More about that soon……
Here’s my responses to the book tag:
Phase 1 – Initial Attraction: A book that you bought because of the cover?
Phase 2 – First Impressions: A book that you got because of the summary?
The Night Circus By Erin Morgenstern.
The summary is all in capital letters and is so engaging, even though it is simplicity itself:
THE CIRCUS ARRIVES
PRECEDE IT …
IT IS SIMPLY THERE, WHEN YESTERDAY IT WAS NOT.
Phase 3 – Sweet Talk: A book with great writing?
There are so many authors that would fit into this “Sweet” category. Stephanie Perkins comes to mind. I loved Stephanie Perkins Anna and The French Kiss, Lola and The Boy Next Door, and Isla and The Happily Ever After. My favourite out of these three was Lola and The Boy Next Door. For some reason that I can’t quite recollect I have only reviewed two out of the three in the series, omitting to do the first which is strange but anyway here they are:
Phase 4 – First Date: A first book of a series which made you want to pick up the rest of the series?
I’m a bit lazy about reading series, on the whole I tend to prefer reading standalone novels but sometimes a series really captures my full attention and then I get hooked. An example of this is undoubtedly the first book in The Old Kingdom Series by Garth Nix, Sabriel. I loved this series, which I read as part of the Hot Key Books readathon.
Phase 5 – Late Night Phone Calls: A book that kept you up all night?
Summertime by Vanessa Lafaye would fit into this category because when I did finally get to sleep I dreamt that my bed was filled with hurricane winds! I could feel myself being lifted, and buffeted on a bed of sheets, and thrown up and down in the air. Luckily my dream carried me gently up and down as if I was on a trampoline of buffeting air!
Phase 8 – Meeting the parents: A book which you would recommend to your family and friends?
The Italian Chapel by Philip Paris, just loved this book, and recommended it to my mum and dad, and some friends too! Such a lovely book, so heart warming and inspiring, if you haven’t read it then you must remedy that fast.
Phase 9 – Thinking about the future: A book or series you know you will re read many times in the future?
The Brandon Sanderson’s series, these are just so awesome, if I had a lot of spare time I’d love to read and re-read these as they have so much going for them. Brandon Sanderson has a wicked imagination. I’ve read The Final Empire (Mistborn #1) and The Well of Ascension (Mistborn # 2.) I’ve reviewed Mistborn #1 on this blog:
You would have searched a long time for the sort of winding lane or tranquil meadow for which England later became celebrated. There were instead miles of desolate, uncultivated land; here and there rough-hewn paths over craggy hills or bleak moorland.
It is a weekly meme hosted by Freda’s Voice, click on the link to her blog, and the rules are pretty simple:
Grab a book, any book.
Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
(If you have to improvise, that’s OK.)
Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it).
Add the url to your post on Freda’s Voice.
The blaze illuminated some faces sharply, while leaving others in shadow, but after a time, Axl came to the conclusion that these people were all waiting, in a state of some anxiety, for some-one or something to emerge from the timber hall to the left of the fire.
Can you guess which book these words are from? It’s The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro, which I am currently reading for the book club I am a member of here in Cambridge, more to come about The Buried Giant soon.
Goodreads Synopsis :
You’ve long set your heart against it, Axl, I know. But it’s time now to think on it anew. There’s a journey we must go on, and no more delay…”
The Buried Giant begins as a couple set off across a troubled land of mist and rain in the hope of finding a son they have not seen in years.
Sometimes savage, often intensely moving, Kazuo Ishiguro’s first novel in nearly a decade is about lost memories, love, revenge, and war.
Kazuo Ishiguro (カズオ・イシグロ or 石黒 一雄) is a British novelist of Japanese origin. His family moved to England in 1960. Ishiguro obtained his Bachelor’s degree from University of Kent in 1978 and his Master’s from the University of East Anglia’s creative writing course in 1980. He became a British citizen in 1982. He now lives in London.
His first novel, A Pale View of Hills won the 1982 Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize. His second novel, An Artist of the Floating World won the 1986 Whitbread Prize. Ishiguro received the 1989 Man Booker prize for his third novel The Remains of the Day. His fouth novel, The Unconsoled won the 1995 Cheltenham Prize. His latest novel is The Buried Giant, a New York Times bestseller.
His novels: An Artist of the Floating World (1986), When We Were Orphans (2000), Never Let Me Go(2005) were all shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.
On Sunday 19th April 2015 I arrived in time for the Cambridge Literary Festival Publishing in the Digital Age talk in The Cambridge Union Blue Room. Luckily I just managed to catch my bus by a hair’s whisker or else I would have been late. There were two speakers, Rachel Colbert, of Headline Press, and Mary-Ann Harrington, from Tinder Press. Tinder Press was launched two years ago in 2013 as Headline’s literary imprint, “a place where classy, intelligent writing could thrive.” Mary-Ann enthusiastically has managed to acquire lots of lovely authors for this fairly new imprint, including Mary O’Farrell, their launch title author of Instructions for a Heatwave, Helen Walsh, author of The Lemon Grove, and Eowyn Ivey debut author of Snow Child, to name but a few. “Snow Child became an international bestseller. It was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize 2013, and Eowyn won the International Author of the Year category at the 2012 National Book Awards.”
Headline is a long-established publishing house, having been around since 1986, so Rachel asked Mary-Ann why had they chosen these troubled times to start a new imprint?
For Mary-Ann it felt like “the logical next step,” they felt “hungry to do more,” and books such as Snow Child were out there waiting to be discovered and to be successful in terms of sales. She wanted to create a small imprint of ten to twelve titles in which world of mouth would drive both debut authors and established authors success. These authors would then be given the prestige that Literary authors deserve. This small focus meant that these titles could become “reading group fiction,” or “word of mouth fiction,” and could be delivered into the right hands. There would be continuing support for these authors. A strategy was developed to find the perfect readers and advocates of these books, ensuring that this prestigious literature was placed into the right hands. The focus was on keeping it “special,” “small,” “diverse,” and “building up relationships.” With this strategy in place books could be issued to the booksellers, bloggers, and writers to endorse them. “Trust” was the key.
Rachel asked about opportunities for new writers given that the number of independent book retailers had now fallen drastically to less than one thousand shops.
Mary-Ann began by saying that yes it is a difficult marketplace. There are challenges, and threats but there are also opportunities. The high street chains are troubled so launching debuts is a difficult task. Booksellers have to think of new and exciting initiatives to generate interest. Tinder Press is passionate about championing new writers such as Sarah Leipciger debut author of The Mountain Can Wait.
Rachel continued to discuss this topic, she suggested that debut authors do have an advantage in some ways.
Mary-Ann was quick to agree, new authors are seen as “promising,” and intriguing, therefore they get a fair amount of publicity and attention. Readers love nothing better than finding new authors.
Next Rachel explored the rise of Digital Books.
Mary-Ann argued that for an established literary author e-books are a good method to generate sales. With debut literary fiction the book needs to be seen, reviewed, and recommended so the traditional publishing route is better. She mentioned “the importance of a book as a physical object.” Yet that doesn’t mean that Mary-Ann isn’t aware of the current trends in self-publishing. On the contrary she mentioned that she, ” is very interested in self-publishing.” She suggested that authors taking the self-publishing route should put energy into their marketing, to make as much of an impact as possible.If they are successful it can pay off and they can be signed by major publishers. Again, it’s about creating relationships, and making sure that your material, the book itself, the cover, your social media presence is of the highest quality. Next, they talked about kindle. The focus centred firmly on hard work, creating an amazing profile, blog, and making sure that your on-line marketing strategy is first class.
Rachel had a tip for those who intend to publish to e-books. In traditional publishing there might be some empty blank pages in the opening pages of a physical book before the story begins. With e-books this is unnecessary, so make sure that you don’t have a lot of empty pages at the beginning of your e-book, start straight into the story, put any other pages at the back of the book.
For a successful self published book to be picked up by a traditional publishing house it would have had to have sold in the region of 50,000 plus copies. That’s a lot of books! Of course they do keep an eye on the progress of self-published books. It is worth trying as many agencies as possible when looking to publish your book. Explore many avenues to get your work read, write short stories, and flash fiction, these are all an excellent idea. If you’re going directly to a publisher make sure that they know that you are confident in your intention, and that you wish to bypass the lengthy process to get your books straight into the publisher’s hands. Mary added that without an agent publishing is extremely hard, you must put time and energy into it. “Persistence” is the key.
Rachel felt that YA and Children’s literature is a growing area so possibly the market is not quite so saturated. Again check guidelines when submitting to publishers, agents, and follow them very carefully. Do not give them any excuse to ignore your submission, which will most probably be the case if you make mistakes.
Mary-Ann mentioned that Tinder Press is an imprint which publishes “international” books, an example which she cited is an Australian novel: Stephanie Bishop’s UK debut, The Other Side Of The World. This is a beautifully written literary novel. Novels such as these provoke the word “love” to readily come into the conversation when she pitches these kind of books in-house. These special books thrive with writer’s endorsements, and there is a “reproduction effect” as each reader experiences a powerful, personal response when reading the book, which is then reproduced over and over again.
Next the topic moved on to new writers and the Submissions process
Mary-Ann is one of three editors at Tinder Press. They look for a publishing model that is full of enthusiasm. There must be a strong narrative hook to provoke an emotive response. Though, sometimes a quieter novel might come along that still captures the editor’s attention because it is so wonderfully written or is a bit different. They look for books with engaging stories that leave you with a “strong feeling,” that you “want to share,” they might have “a strong international flavour.” Tinder Press wants their readers to be challenged.
When submitting Mary-Ann suggests that the most important consideration to bear in mind is the “kernel of the book.” This is so important. The author should be able to tell their story in a couple of sentences that are so memorable that the editor will sit up and take notice and ultimately the reader will want to go on this fictional journey. It is also helpful if editors are able to see that the submitting author has a social media presence. Long established authors don’t necessarily have to, but new writers are encouraged to do so. To be a member of a writer’s group, or to have successfully taken part in writing competitions, anything along these lines will give the editor a sense of the writers capabilities. But, don’t rely on this alone, first and foremost it is the book itself that will drive the editor’s decision whether to accept it.
New authors are given excellent advice from the in-house Tinder publicist about building good relationships. This community of support is very important. Mary-Ann recommended looking at the way that successful authors conduct their social media, use some of these as a model to get ideas.
In March Tinder had an open submission for two weeks from unagented authors. This is now closed. Their publicist did such a good job in publicising the event that they received a whopping 2,000 submissions. They anticipate that they will find an author from this process. When submissions are open, they hope that the successful author will have all the necessary skills to be accepted straight away. Though Mary-Ann did say that if they find an author with promise they would be prepared to mentor that author.
A member of the audience asked if they take submissions from non-fiction writers.
They may take one submission from a non-fiction writer, they would be interested in memoir.
So, what did I think about Publishing in The Digital Age?
I’m so glad I went to the talk. I discovered lots of new exciting Literary Fiction, and also I gained some insight into the workings of the submissions process. It was well worth it. If you’re interested in books and/or writing I’d highly recommend attending a Literary Festival, it is inspiring and so much fun.