Leaving my day job…and I’m scared s**tless!

This week I will be leaving my day job (argh). Tomorrow will be my last day working for a local authority in London. After fourteen years I’ve decided to take a leap and concentrate on my writing for a while. Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t just upped and left my job with no plans, I took voluntary redundancy so I have a cushion for a while until either my writing career earns me the money I need to continue writing or I have to head back into the land of CV’s, application forms and interviews. I hope I can do the former, but realise the latter is more likely. I’m nothing if not realistic.

What’s my immediate plan? Well, at the end of this week I shall be taking a week holiday with my family in Cornwall. I will be eating a bunch of ice-creams, seafood, swimming in the sea, building sand castles, seeing family and generally relaxing. This week I’ve finished my edits and Tortured Souls is going off for proof-reading and Beta reading shortly.

After that …?

Well, the onus really is on me now to really try and make my dream come true and to do that I need to keep on writing, keep on making contacts, keep on marketing, blogging, interacting with readers and so on… This was already a full-time job, and now I will soon have the time to really give it a bash.  I’ve given myself two months to really work at this writing lark and to set my dreams in motion.

I intend to spend all of September and October writing, concentrating on my new Sisters of Hex series. First I need to complete my Five Gold Rings story for the 12 Days of Christmas anthology I am a part of…. if you want to read a sneak peak click HERE

After that’s finished I am concentrating in earnest on the first three books of the Sisters of Hex series; Accacia’s Curse, Accacia’s Blood and Accacia’s Bite. With editing Tortured Souls I haven’t had as much time as I’d like lately to really get stuck in on these books, but with more time freeing up soon I cannot wait. Below are the covers, designed by my friend and fellow author / Flocker, Arizona X Tape. It probably isn’t hard to figure out what supernatural creature/s these books will revolve around.

 

In the meantime Tortured Souls – Book two of The Soul Guide series is being released on the 21st October. I am very nervous about this one, only because I really hope I’ve done the story justice. We’ll see once feedback starts to come in. I’m trying not to have a mini-meltdown thinking about it. This is the first time I’ve used Beta readers who aren’t my friends, so this experience will be a slightly terrifying one.  Not that my friends didn’t give me their honest opinions and point out flaws, quite the contrary, it’s just that opening yourself up for potential criticism is all the more difficult when its from people you don’t know. But, I am ready to take all comments head on to make Tortured Souls the best it can be.

For now, As the old adage says, “when one door closes another doors opens” and in this case I sure as hell hope it’s straight into a successful writing career. 

 

 

The Flock August Releases

As I’ve mentioned on another Blog post today about The Flock Launch party, all of my fellow Flock authors have had or will be having a release this month!! When I saw the list, I thought damn, I need to catch up with these ladies! Lol!

My next release, Tortured Souls – book two of The Soul Guide series, will be releasing 21st October and I will have a novelette coming out again in November with the 12 Days of Christmas anthology.  Can’t wait to share these with you!!

But for now, to support my fellow Flock authors here are their August releases! Aren’t they bloody great?!

3rd August: Cloaked (Beyond the Curse #3) by Laura Greenwood

Cloaked

8th August: Falling (My Winter Wolf #2) by Arizona Tape

Winter wolf2

14th August: Elliot’s Secret (The King Brothers #3) by G. Bailey

Elliot's Secret

15th August: Twisted Fate (Fractured Fate #2) by Cece Rose

Twisted Fate

15th August: Stones of Winter (Winter Princess #2) by Skye MacKinnon

Stones of Winter

15th August: Creatures (includes Ocean’s Serenade, co-written by Laura Greenwood) creatures

16th August: Strip for Me #1 by G. Bailey

strip for me

22nd August: (My Winter Wolf #3) by Arizona Tape

My Winter Wolf

24th August: Catching His Ladybird by Laura Greenwood

ladybird

Aren’t these just incredible! I can’t wait for next month’s release either The Flock authors are unstoppable!

The Flock Launch

Today I have a few reasons to be excited. Firstly, The Flock Launch is happening! Myself and five other like-minded authors have come together to set up The Flock Author Collective. It sounds really posh but really it’s just a group of friends who talk books, writing, share our ups and downs and generally have a good time supporting each other in our writing endeavours.  We set up The Flock Facebook page a few weeks ago and today we have our launch party. All six of us will have our own spot (look for FA next to our names), but there will be a TON of fabulously talented authors from all over the world taking part as well.

Take a lookie for yourself:

The Flock Lineup

The slots are all BST (British Summer Time) so make sure you rock up at the correct time for your Time Zone. Better yet, stick with us for all of it and you’ll be in for a treat! I’m on at 6.30pm-7.30pm BST and would welcome your support! There will be all sorts of wonderful stuff happening like, GIVEAWAYS, GAMES, COVER REVEALS, WIP EXCERPTS, TEASERS, HOT MEN & WOMEN, CUTE ANIMALS and lots of chat!

We can’t wait for you to join our party, and if the fancy takes you why don’t you join The Flock and become affectionately known as a Flockling / Flocker.

So, what are you waiting for? Come and join THE FLOCK LAUNCH PARTY!

I mentioned that this was the first thing I am excited about well some fellow Flock authors have their new releases out today. I’ll be talking about these on The Flock August releases post shortly. 

Book two – Cover Reveal

If you read my recent post you would have seen that The Soul Guide has had a cover update. My cover designer Charlie, of Sapphire Designs, really got what I was looking for and has also come up with a beautiful new cover for Secrets and Souls (The Soul Guide prequel) and for Tortured Souls (COMING SOON) which is book two of The Soul Guide series. I am delighted with my new covers.

So, without further ado here they are:

948259_secrets_and_souls_paperback_cover2  TSG Finished e-book  Tortured Souls e-book cover

Don’t they look beautiful side-by-side like that? I think so.

If you are interested in checking out my books just click on the image and you’ll be whizzed over to Amazon. Don’t forget if you are a member of Kindle Unlimited then you can read them for FREE too!

New cover, new look…

Well, I only went and got a new cover done! The Soul Guide has had a major makeover and it is exactly what I wanted! I had the great pleasure of coming across Charlie from Sapphire Designs through one of the Facebook author groups I’m a member of. Charlie was advertising her wares, I liked what I saw and, well, here we are now a few weeks later!

For a while now, I realised that my original front cover just didn’t really suit the genre of urban fantasy and so I decided to bite the bullet and get it updated. Don’t get me wrong the first cover I published with was fine. It just didn’t quite capture the essence of the book. I wanted a ‘silver’ bumble bee (like the one that stings Sybil in the story) but my original cover artist wasn’t able to oblige unfortunately. That’s all been changed now and I am stoked!

Following the process was fascinating, Charlie was able to find the perfect image for Sybil, but the model had blonde hair. This wasn’t an issue, because, hey presto, Charlie turned it brown. She added her own magic and personality and below is the result. I think it is a work of art, would you agree?

So this is my new front cover by the incredibly talented Charlie at Sapphire Designs. 

TSG Finished e-book

I can’t tell you how important the front cover is. People really do judge a book by its cover! I wish I had found Charlie before publishing my book, but hey, you live and learn!

Also, and this is key, once you find a great cover artist keep hold of them and NEVER let go. Sapphire Designs is also updating Secrets and Souls (The Soul Guide – prequel novella) and will be doing the new covers for my second and third in series. I cannot wait to share them with you once they are done!!

For now, here are the previous incarnations of The Soul Guide. The first (blue stars) was done by me in Canva, the second by a gentleman on Fiverr, and the third my latest, most favourite, and frankly the best of them all, by Sapphire Designs.

The Soul Guide Version jpeg    the-soul-guide-kindle-cover_2   TSG Finished e-book

Facebook Takeover – Thursday 20th July

Well, tomorrow my friend Laura Greenwood‘s fabulous book the Awakening is being re- launced (cue clapping and general excited dancing). This is the first book in a dark/paranormal fantasy fairy tale series! Take a look at the front cover it’s gorgeous!!

To this end Laura is having a Facebook launch party to celebrate. All day tomorrow, and through to midday on the 21st July, for an hour a piece, authors will be ‘taking over’ the party.

I will be taking over for an hour between 7pm-8pm tomorrow (Thursday 20th July)… eek! So, If you want to join me, or indeed drop in at any time during the 20th -21st July please click on the link below, log into Facebook and come join the party!

Awakening Release Party – Thursday 20th July

This is the first time I’ve ever done a takeover myself and I am partly excited, but mostly terrified. What if I make a complete arse of myself? What if I bore the pants of people? What if no-one comes??? What then? It’s like this blog…. I write and write but no one appears to read lol! So, whilst I am used to talking to myself, I won’t lie, I’d be horribly disappointed if no-one turned up for my takeover hour!

This really is a wonderful opportunity to promote myself as an author, talk about my books, play some games, do a couple competitions and generally have fun. I’ve been to a couple and thoroughly enjoyed the interaction. A lot of work goes into them and I think that they are a fabulous way of getting to know current and future readers!

I’ve spent the last two days putting together some posts and images etc ready for tomorrow. I feel that this has taken the pressure of somewhat, being prepared in this way. I’m nothing if not organised – well with anything writing related, that is! Life in general, not so much!

My ten-year-old daughter can’t wait, I think she’s way more excited about it than I am…. perhaps I can get her to do a reading for me? Being so young, and growing up in the midst of social media frenzy, this kind of thing is no big deal for her. I mean, one of her friends already has a You Tube show for crying out loud!

For one as old as me (39, cough cough) I grew up in the days when to use the Internet we had to unplug the telephone line and it took half an hour to even connect. Cue lots of arguments over Internet use vs telephone use. All that waiting my brothers and I used to do…. now everything is so instant! It’s incredible really.

If anyone is reading this (HELLO!) and you fancy supporting myself, Laura and the other fabulous authors please do pop along sometime tomorrow. I, for one, would be glad of the company!

Welcome to the Party

 

 

 

Best of British

In previous blog’s, I’ve talked about all the wonderful self-published authors I’ve met since entering The Soul Guide in the Kindle Scout programme. Even though I didn’t manage to bag a publishing contract, my biggest accomplishment since (apart from publishing two books so far this year) has been the great connections I’ve made along the way. One of whom, is the very talented, fellow Brit author, Laura Greenwood who writes speculative romance fiction.  Click on her name and head over to her website to find out about all her fab books and upcoming writing projects.

Laura, alongside Gina Wynn, another British author have now set up a website called Always Write Club where authors can promote their books and readers can find their next best read! Fantastic eh?!

Coming up next week is July’s Best of British promotion where readers will be able to find some fantastic books by British and Irish authors.  So, from Monday 24th July why not head on over by clicking on the Best of British link and find your next favourite author? Here’s some of the genres available:

  • Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy
  • Contemporary romance
  • Women’s fiction
  • Fantasy,
  • Thriller, Crime and Mystery (as well as Cozy Mystery)
  • Historical Fiction
  • Young Adult Fiction

and much, much more!

As the image below states – “Grab a Cuppa and a Book with the Best of British.”  You won’t be disappointed.

BoB Cuppa

 

 

Working hard, working hard (no playing to be had)

Well, it’s been ages. I realise I’ve not posted a blog for a while and there’s a good reason why. I’ve been working hard on book two, working full-time in my day job, being a mum to two under 11’s and generally burning the candle at both ends. 

Don’t get me wrong, no sympathy required here. This is just an honest blog about being a part-time writer…. frankly, a part-time everything. 

Recently, I’ve taken to waking up at 5.30 am every morning to write before my kids get up for school. Most mornings I have to peel my eyes open and give myself a good talking too, “No, you can’t go back to sleep. You’ve got a deadline to meet.” Yep, I even argue with myself. I’m told this is perfectly normal behaviour for authors.

You see I REALLY want to get the second book of The Soul Guide series ready for its (hopefull) release in September. I know I’m cutting it fine, and at some point soon, I may well have to push that deadline back (sob) but I’d rather release an incredible book than a book that everyone will hate for its plot holes and grammar errors. Sigh.

So, cue lots of late night writing, early morning writing, writing on my lunch break. Writing, writing, writing…. Just as well I love it so much, even on the days when I want to throw my laptop out of the window. 

Trouble is, when you aren’t able to write for a living, the other parts of your life tend to go by the wayside. For example, pre writing life I was a clean freak. My house was spotless, you could use my kitchen floor as a mirror it was so shiny (ok, I exaggerate but you catch my drift). I also feel guilty for being absent in terms of spending time with my other half. He is an artist (and also has a day job) so he understands better than most what I’m trying to do. But I still feel guilty about the lack of interaction. The only thing I try to maintain, because I’d feel like a shit mother if I didn’t, is to make sure I spend time with my kids daily. This is hard, at the best of times, when working full-time, let alone when you’re trying to squeeze in writing, promoting, blogging in around that too AND still ensuring that you are the best mother you can be. 

The GUILT is emmense. I feel guilty when I’m working, because I’m not writing, I feel guilt when I’m writing because I’m not spending time with the ones I love. Oh, and a brand new guilt; the guilt of not getting books out quick enough for the (few) readers I have. 

BUT I have to keep reminding myself that this is what I have to do right now if I want to make my books a success. If I want to have a chance at a successful future that will benefit not only me, but more importantly the ones I love. I started doing this in part for my kids, to prove you can achieve your dreams if you work hard enough. I’m continuing on this journey to prove to myself that I CAN be a successful writer. 

For now I’m getting back to work (work work, not writing work). Maybe one day all the hard work will pay off. I sure as hell hope so! 


#SPFBO Reviews – next up

As per my blog post last week, I am reviewing the opening excerpt of the fantasy books in my group (Lynn’s Book Blog) who are partaking in Mark Lawrence’s SPFBO competition.

Next up are:

Spark of Defiance: Games of Fire Book 1 by Autumn M Birt

and

Goblin Fruit (Gobbled book one) by S.E Burr

So, without further ado here are my scores and corresponding reviews: Oh, and don’t forget if you want to read an excerpt or download a book yourself just click on the title next to my score and it will whisk you over to Amazon.



Spark of Defiance 8/10

Ok, first things first. I need to get this off my chest. I have a thing about character names, particularly ones that are tricky to pronounce or are out of the ordinary. Don’t get me wrong I get why unusual names are needed, this is a fantastical world after all, and your bog standard Frank and John just wouldn’t cut it. I’m totally down with that!

The thing is (and this is very personal to me, so hasn’t been reflected in the overall score) I’ve often given up on books when I just can’t seem to get past the name thing. What I mean by that is, I often find myself pondering over whether I’m pronouncing the names correctly rather than getting completely immersed in the story. The only reason I mention this now is to explain why it took me longer to get into this excerpt than it would usually. I found myself distracted by the different names and had to read this excerpt twice to ensure I gave it a fair shot.

That being said, once I’d got used to the various names of the characters, this is a pretty great read. Again, Spark of Defiance has all the hallmarks of a brilliant epic fantasy. I was intrigued enough by the excerpt to want to find out more about the world of Myrrah, it’s inhabitants, and the concept of elemental magic. I wanted to know why some characters appeared to be repressed because of their abilities, why Zhao has returned home to see his sister only to be received coldly, and why her child seemed to be particularly gifted. In chapter two we are introduced to Sinika who is being held prisoner, and by all accounts no longer an elemental.

I got the sense that there was already some history between the characters that I didn’t know about, and I wondered whether this was a follow on series of some sort. When I checked out the other books written by this author I found that I wasn’t far off the mark. The Rise of the Fifth order series appears to set up the world and the characters / politics / history within it and this series, Games of Fire– of which Sparks of Defiance is the first book of- a follow on from that. The author explains that both series can be read as standalones but are a part of the same world and include some of the same characters.

I would go far as to say that I predict the rest of the book will be a pretty impressive read. For now it’s a solid 8/10.

Product Details

Please note the author has changed her cover than previously listed in Lynn’s Book Blog. I think this was a good choice, this cover is a much better representation of the story in my opinion.

Goblin Fruit  7/10

This is a young adult fantasy revolving around two female protagonists Clara and Audrey both of whom have lost a relative to catalepsy caused by taking the ‘goblin fruit’. The excerpt introduces the reader to the two girls, who meet at a medical unit for goblin fruit users. The fruit is a highly addictive drug that can either affect the user immediately, and put them in a catatonic state, or will eventually do so after several uses. Either way, it would appear, if you use goblin fruit you will end up a drooling, mindless mess. Not only that, everyone else is forced to wear gloves so that they do not come into contact with the fruit essence that can seep from a users hands. I love this added little twist, lends a bit of extra danger to the story and prevents the kind of physical contact we take for granted, like holding someone’s hand.

It is, or at least appears to be, a cautionary tale of drug abuse but with a twist. I don’t think they’re called goblin fruit for nothing! I’m assuming the rest of the book will delve into the fantastical world of goblins and, given I am a huge fantasy, young adult book fan, (even though I am WELL past that age group) this book has certainly intrigued me enough to want to see what happens next.

My only gripe, and it is a small one, is the way the author has defined the different protagonists voice. The author moves between Audrey and Clara’s point of view chapter by chapter, and whilst I have no problem with this at all, I was a little thrown that this was denoted by different text, rather than, say, using the character’s name at the beginning of each chapter. It’s not a big thing, and hasn’t affected my score but just a niggle I wanted to point out.

This starts as an easy, well paced young adult read and I give the excerpt a solid 7 /10.

That’s it for this weeks reviews. Up next are:

A Gaze of Flint by Sandy Hyatt-James and The Age of Mages by Ilana Waters.

Until then folks!

 

#travellingbook is on its travels!

You couldn’t be more surprised than me that I got a response from my #travellingbook experiment. Read my blog post about it HERE.

In fact, I was so surprised that I had a little blub in the middle of a children’s park surrounded by parents and their kids. They must have thought I was a little unhinged, my own kids certainly did!

If the truth be known, I thought that there was no way I would get any response, let alone for the finder to tell me about it, take some beautiful photos and then promise to pass my book on!

For those of you who haven’t already read the #travellingbook blog post, here’s a bit of background information.

On Tuesday 30th May I took a trip to Box Hill in Surrey with my mum and two children. We had a wonderful day roaming around, taking in the views, and *almost* getting lost in the forest.

The previous day I had already left two copies of The Soul Guide in two separate places in London as part of my #travellingbook experiment.

Before we left for Box Hill I went to collect my mum, who lives around the corner. She was with me the previous day when I left two copies of The Soul Guide in London. This time, I didn’t take a copy of The Soul Guide when I went to collect her. The day was a bit overcast and rain was forecast. I thought that it was possible if I left the book in the open it would get ruined and no-one wants to read a soggy book right?

BUT, something told me to go back home and pick up a book up anyway. I could decide once I was at Box Hill whether I would leave it behind or not, weather permitting and all that.

Of course, in the end, I did choose to leave a copy of The Soul Guide behind and I’m so glad that I did because the next morning I was updating my Facebook author page feed and was bowled over at receiving the following photos and comments:

Call it fate, call it serendipity, call it chance. All I know is, this lady, Wendy, appeared to be the perfect person to pick up the book and take it home. So, thank you Wendy for picking The Soul Guide up, for taking these beautiful photos, and for agreeing to pass on my book. I hope it has a long, and well-travelled journey. I will certainly be keeping an interested eye out, and keeping you all updated of course!

Out of the three books that I left this is the only response I’ve had so far. Maybe the other two books ended up in the bin, maybe they were picked up and the person who found them just aren’t into posting on social media (which is fair enough). Maybe the person who found it just isn’t into reading. Maybe both books are still waiting to be found? Maybe they are being read and the finder doesn’t want to post but will pass it on and the next person will? Who knows.

Sometimes all it takes is a crazy idea, a dash of chance, a spot of luck and the hand of fate. Whatever it was, I’m grateful for the response I have received so far, and am looking forward to seeing where The Soul Guide ends up next. #travellingbook #thesoulguideseries