I didn’t imagine I’d write any more historical time slip novels after writing The Old Curiosity Shop series… but here I am. 21,000 words into my first YA (young adult) novel, a serious time slip novel set alongside Hadrian’s Wall in England.
Our heroine, Lillian Ward, along with her mother, Lucia, are returning their farmland to nature. Ithaca Farm has previously undiscovered ancient Roman ruins lurking under its malnourished pasture. The discovery of those ruins leads to all manner of shenanigans.
We’ve got archaeologists, reporters, metal detectorists, high school kids, an albino, and a librarian (every book should have a librarian). Add in some Roman centurions, a brothel keeper, a pair of thieves, and the ability to slip through time, and hopefully I’m writing an adventure-filled novel. There will of course be a handful of deaths, with a smattering of not-too-much blood.
Ithaca Bound was dreamt up during a rainy walk along Hadrian’s Wall in 2018. Ithaca Farm (and Ithaca Fort) is a figment of my imagination. So please indulge me in a little shuffling of the known forts and fortlets alongside Hadrian’s Wall. Is it here that I mention walls don’t work? Just ask Hadrian, or Berlin…
The release date is a little hazy, but I’m planning for 19th June 2019.
I have a wonderful team of Beta readers, who are walking with me chapter by chapter, firing their constructive feedback as they go. And I’m eternally grateful for their help.
The photos above are from that very walk, in 2018, and are essentially where the story began, in my head. Poor Dr Andrew Birley had to then endure my thousands of questions for the rest of the ten mile walk we did… inspiration can strike at any time, even in the rain.
I’m working on the blurb now, and will release that over on my Facebook page this week. Please join me over there for more peeks into the process of delivering my new novel in the coming weeks:
So… what do you think? If you are excited about reading Ithaca Bound, click on the link below to join my very, very sporadic mailing list, so I can let you know straight away when it’s live. It will be available across all digital platforms. I promise.
Doctor Perry may have prescribed champagne for the ebook launch, but Bloody Mary's might be better for the official launch in June!
Doctor Perry is finally live and available on Amazon. I pulled him kicking and screaming from the deepest parts of the Amazonian rainforest, and thrust him into a low cost retirement home in the heart of Florida, and from there he's been a very busy boy...
A book is never a solitary endeavour. To start with it is, but then you involve beta readers, or ring someone for advice - like your friendly paramedic or consulting doctor. You muse aloud about the 'what if's' and the 'what about's' whilst walking the children to school... our conversations have at times been quite entertaining! Then there's the editor who fires back four pages of notes, and that was just for the last seven chapters, and the waking up in the middle of the night to jot down key plot ideas without turning on the lights. I might one day post a picture of some of those scribbles! And the online friends who read the first ten or so chapters and were quite clear in what needed to be amended.
I may have written all 77,000 words of Doctor Perry on my own, but I couldn't have done it without the help of so many people, both directly and indirectly.
Now Doctor Perry is in your hands, to read and to review. After all, reviews (as well as coffee) are the lifeblood of authors. A short snappy review on Amazon and/or Goodreads is essential to visibility.
Now here's something a little bit special, if you work in the medical industry - as a doctor or a nurse or a hospital orderly or a carer or similar, post a photo on my Facebook page or via Twitter, showing you at work (remembering important privacy issues first though), and I'll send you a free ebook version of Doctor Perry to read.
Thanks everyone for your support.
Happy reading (and reviewing)
My second horror novel, Doctor Perry - a medical thriller, is now available for preorder on Amazon.
It's taken a few months longer than I had initially planned, but good things take time! And Doctor Perry will be open for appointments on the 26th April, so preorder your copy HERE.
And because I know some of you prefer your books via Kobo, or iBooks, Doctor Perry will be available on those other platforms later this year. A paperback version will be available in May 2018.
Thanks everyone for your patience while I piece together this latest novel. You'd think it would get easier, but no, it still seems to take me bang on eight months to get a novel done!
No rest for the wicked, it's back to my keyboard to work on Telegram Home - the final instalment in the Old Curiosity Shop series. Sarah Lester awaits her fate...
Yes, I can now shout it from the rooftops!
PAINTED has been published!
Available at all online retailers.
It is entirely true when I say that PAINTED wouldn't be the book it is without a barrow full of help from some amazing friends and family, and from strangers. From people who chose to join the Launch Team over on Facebook, and acted as Beta readers and ARC readers. They really are amazing people. Thank you.
I tried following all the launch plans littering the internet. Launch plans written by authors and experts with a lot more experience than I have. And here are my key learning points:
- You need a plan. You cannot wing a proper launch.
- You need to write that plan down. Do not rely on remembering everything. You will forget something. Trust me.
- You may have only just started your Man Booker Prize winning novel, but start prepping your launch now. Don't laugh, this bit is true. Start nurturing the bloggers, the media contacts, your launch team, now. Massage them, wine and dine them, tempt them with tantalising snippets from your work. You can't turn up begging on their doorstep three days before the launch and hope for some media. That's not the way it works.
- Pay for help. "Oh but I've got no money." Yes well, that may be true. But put some aside for all the things you're going to need - a great cover, an editor, formatting software, Amazon advertising, inclusion in catalogues, membership to various society groups - Alliance of Independent Authors, Society of Authors, Society of Horror Authors etc etc.
- Are you still following that plan? Step-by-step?
- Newsletter swaps - these need to be organised weeks in advance. Start working on those now. Yes, even if you don't have a firm date for your launch. Make contact. Write those contacts down in a master list somewhere. Same goes for blog sites, review sites. You cannot wing this part. Be like the Avon Lady, and know the best doors to knock on.
- If you are doing paperbacks, get them into your hands before the launch. It makes marketing so much easier if you can take photos of those bound beauties. It also makes it easier to tempt people to review your book by offering them copies. Media sites like to give away copies if they're going to put in the effort to interview you. This is a marketing cost. Be prepared to shoulder this cost.
- Don't try to do everything, all at once. You need to space out your energies, or you will burn yourself out. Trust me.
- Your launch team is your best asset. Don't ask them to do too much. Reward them. And be grateful for the effort they put in on your behalf. They didn't have to do it. Don't underestimate how important they are to your success.
- And as Rachel Hunter said, "it won't happen overnight, but it will happen".
You can buy PAINTED from all online retailers now
CLICK ON THE BOOK COVER BELOW
Eighteen days remain before my horror PAINTED hits Amazon. Eighteen long angst filled days left to do the hundreds of things on my to do list. It could be more. It feels like more!
What I have been doing every morning, is taking myself out for a long walk around the park, listening to Mark Dawson's SPF Podcasts, which are incredibly insightful. If you are an author, I recommend you listen to them. Although, when I get home from my walk, after listening to Mark's podcasts, I'll invariably add another dozen things to my already heaving to do list! At least I feel fitter, and am sleeping better.
At the beginning of June I created an official PAINTED Launch Team over on Facebook, for people interested in helping with the online launch of PAINTED. Thirty three people are now part of my team, and their assistance has been invaluable. It's a place where I ask the team members to share posts, or tweets, or to add PAINTED to their own Goodreads lists, etc. You are welcome to join (there is no obligation to read the book if horror isn't your cup of tea!).
A week ago, a Goodreads giveaway for three signed copies of PAINTED went live, as a way to increase the profile of the book, to create a little bit of buzz, and to get it onto readers To Be Read lists (TBR). So far 442 people have entered the competition for one of three signed paperbacks. The competition ends on June 30th. Have you entered yet?
I've approached a small number of horror book reviewers, pitching PAINTED to them for review. Some have replied positively, which is fantastic news. This week I'll be approaching more. If you have any great blogging contacts, or book reviewer contacts, and are happy to introduce me to them, I would be eternally grateful! Please drop me a line through the contact page and we can go from there.
The members of the official PAINTED Launch Team have all been sent ARC copies of PAINTED for their reading pleasure. They've picked up some minor errors, which is fabulous! Better that they pick them up than readers on June 30th. Their feedback has been invaluable.
PAINTED was formatted using Vellum, which is the most amazing tool every designed. I love it. I have it open on my desktop now and can add, amend, delete, rewrite at any stage, and those changes are shown live on the kindle view to the side of the manuscript. VELLUM IS AMAZING. I can't shout that loud enough, not even using my old Air Training Corps Warrant Officer voice. It was a breeze generating all the different files formats I need for the different platforms.
On a completely unrelated note, I've started work on my next novel, and have managed 4,548 words already, in between editing, formatting, marketing, walking and mothering. Oh, and having my daughter in hospital as her appendix was whipped out! She's all recovered now, but that was certainly a speed bump in the month of May!
Don't forget to join my mailing list for updates about the launch of PAINTED, and where you can get your copies, and the official IRL launch party later this year.
THANK YOU EVERYONE xxx