Monday, 30 January 2012

What's in a name?

Had an interesting question from one of my FB friends this morning. I don't know if you're familiar with any of the games on FB but I've been playing Fairyland on there for just over three years and the name of my fairy? Sariel - same as one of the main characters in Demon's Daughter.
My friend, who has just read Demon's Daughter sent me a message asking if the Fairyland Sariel came first or the book Sariel.
'Demon's Daughter' originated from a book I was writing called 'Gifted' which was much more 'grown up' in content and featured a fallen angel called Sariel who was, I suppose, much more irreverent than his current incarnation. I liked him a lot! He was sarcastic, grumpy, smoked like a train and cursed like a trooper whilst trying to lead the young woman that he was babysitting (for want of a better term) astray. I was probably around 60,000 words in but I knew that there was something 'not right' about the story - I loved most of the characters, I knew the story was going in a decent direction and the pace was good but....there was just something off kilter and no matter how many times  revisited parts that I was unhappy about, nothing worked.
So I put 'Gifted' aside and went back to something I'd written a few years back (which eventually became 'Shudder') although Sariel stayed in my head. It wasn't until I wrote a short story to entertain my daughter that Emily pushed herself to the front of the queue in my brain and began whispering that she quite fancied Sariel. Hmmm. Sariel and Emily? The short story worked. Emily and Sariel looked good together and Emily's trilogy was born.
A number of the 'Gifted' characters made their way into Emily's books in one form or another and I think maybe there'll be another adventure for one or two of them in the future but for now - to answer your question my dear FB friend, yes, Sariel has been around for quite a while but shhhhh - don't tell the fairies that he's really a fallen angel!

Wednesday, 25 January 2012


I'm a tad confused today as to how Amazon are managing to sell 'used' copies of my paperback when it hasn't officially been published yet.


Have ordered one anyway!

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Expanding horizons

Today I've been updating my website to include this blog (I know it's not exactly riveting stuff but I'm hoping it'll improve!) and some links for self-publishing.
Now that child number two is home safe and sound (very tired but extremely impressed with Bulgaria and the whole skiing experience) I can direct my energies back to writing which is good because my brain is starting to build up with characters and their voices and ideas and situations. There's more than one book vying for space in here which is confusing but at least means that my imagination hasn't dried up yet!
Visited the accountant yesterday to make sure that if I ever get any royalties (!), I'm keeping everything legal and was shocked to discover that I'm officially now self-employed. Not sure why it was such a revelation - I suppose being able to give a title to it makes it somehow more 'real' if you know what I mean. So I can now officially call myself a self employed writer. How cool is that?! And, yes, I'm painfully aware that it makes me sound like I'm actually earning money but to earn royalties from Amazon and Smashwords I'll have to sell more books - haven't met their bottom lines yet!!
Ah well, sure it's all fun!

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Getting ready for the big launch..

...well, okay, not exactly a big launch, more of a little publication day!

At the minute I'm waiting for Nielsen to get around to updating the record of my book on their Book Data - so that wholesalers etc have the correct details and booksellers know where to order it from (should anyone want to order it that is!) - as with all things, you can pay extra to have your details updated faster but, since I don't have a spare £200 lying around, we'll have to take the slow route and hope that it gets done by the date of publication that I decided on (18th Feb).
I've had a couple of requests to do readings in local schools - nothing concrete yet but I'm staying hopeful. Have to admit I'm keen to do the schools 'cause I enjoy the interaction and encouraging children not to be afraid of creative writing but to give it a go. Waterstone's also still seem keen to do a book signing, which is scary but very, very exciting - my main fear there is that no-one turns up!
So, how do I get the word out about my book, the signing etc. etc.?
Well, going by the experience of other authors, the easiest thing to do is to get bbookmarks printed and give them out at every opportunity - at readings, via the libraries, coffee shops etc. Plus for the signing, get the local press involved (um...!) and have flyers printed and displayed in any places I can think of that readers are likely to go - or my potential readers might frequent. Setting up an 'event' on Facebook etc. might work too - if enough of my FB and Twitter friends shared the info.
There have been enough people asking about a paperback for me to have a slight twinge of hope that they might be interested enough to come and buy one, and get it signed. Obviously I wouldn't be expecting hundreds, but 10 would be nice!

And for the ball to get rolling? Nielsen have to update their system *sigh*

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

O. M. G.

It's finally here.

I wrestled the slim box from the hands of the courier, took a deep breath, ripped open the cardboard and finally, finally held a copy of MY book in my hands. I may be a little biased but I think it's beautiful and to be able to flick through pages with words printed on them that I have written is...indescribable.


So - onward to getting it into the shops and listed on the virtual shelves of distributors and wholesalers.

Sunday, 15 January 2012


Child number 2 headed off to Bulgaria this morning - have to say that a 3am start does nothing to sharpen my brain - and, after dropping him off, the rest of us went back to bed for a couple more hours. This was NOT a good idea since I now feel like I could sleep the rest of the day away instead of sorting things out for the week ahead. Is it true that the more sleep you have, the more you need?

Have had a request to do a reading at a local school which is really exciting. This will be my second and I can only hope it goes as well as the first which was an absolute joy! Of course I'll have to get over my ridiculous nerves first - public speaking is definitely NOT one of my gifts (hence my preference for hiding in my cave, hermit-like, and writing instead of socialising!) and standing up in front of a crowd of people I don't know, to talk about the people who live their lives in my head, doesn't come easily. Thankfully, so far, no-one has laughed their heads off at my ideas or booed me off-stage. Possibly because the last lot were children and thought the idea of demons and angels living amongst us was quite plausible. Gotta love that wonderful, unfettered imagination - can only hope the next lot haven't had theirs worn down by the world yet.

Fingers crossed.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Still waiting...

I have a friend who lived in England for a number of years but returned home to Northern Ireland with her family. Her main complaint (apart from the fact that she'd forgotten how much rain we get!) was that the post took forever to get from ANYWHERE to here. She compared living in Northern Ireland to living in the middle of an African desert in terms of getting mail and I now understand her frustration.

I can hop on a plane and be in London in a couple of hours but getting a book delivered can take up to four days!! Now, I know I have a slightly vested interest in this particular book delivery (!) but seriously Post Office!!!

OK. Rant over. I know I'm just being impatient and there's more to it than a quick hop, skip and jump across from the mainland so I'll shut up now and go finish packing child number 2's case - he goes skiing with school tomorrow so we are going to be bereft for 7 days (well, maybe not his sister!).

Best wishes


Thursday, 12 January 2012

It's on its way!

Happy news!

The files I uploaded were accepted by the printer, the proof copy has been printed and it's on its way to me. Am so excited but will have to restrain myself from rugby-tackling all the postmen I come across and rummaging around in their bags! They really don't know the danger they'll be in coming near our street, poor things.

In other news I've been up since 4am and, thanks to a lot of coffee am currently feeling very awake! This will all have passed by the time the Sky engineer comes to fix our satellite - I'll be grumpy as hell by then.

Right must go and keep watch for the post.


Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Thank God for sensible friends!

Yesterday was interesting.

First thing in the morning an email was waiting for me from the designer with the finalised cover and inserts for the paperback edition of Demon's Daughter - they look wonderful. I'm sooo pleased!

Next my car (fixed by the mechanic) passed its MOT re-test so I have wheels again!

Then, after about three cups of coffee and a pep talk from my friends, I uploaded all the files to the printer. Pressing the send button was actually scarier than I thought it might be - have I selected the correct files? Have I filled in all the forms properly? Am I making a mistake?

I don't know that it'll ever feel right - being self-published as opposed to being 'traditionally' published, I mean. I still feel like the frumpy mum playing at being an author and any second now someone I admire (Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Kelley Armstrong, Rachel Caine...take your pick, there's a long list) will point a finger in my direction and scream "Lock her up! She shouldn't be doing this! She's only a housewife!"
Or maybe, as one of my more mature and sensible friends suggested, I should hold my head high, have confidence and pride in what I've written and damn well stop moaning about doing something interesting with my life!

Well, the files have been sent, my fingers are crossed that everything is in order and my paperback is being created as I write this. Can't ask for much better than that on a Wednesday morning.


Monday, 9 January 2012

It's a Monday

Well, it's Monday January 9th. Hubby has gone back to work. Child number 1 has joined child number 2 back on the school run and it's time for me to play catch up with all the online bits and bobs that I let slide over Christmas and plan the writing schedule for the next few months.

I say 'plan the writing schedule' but one of the main problems I have is that being at home means I'm easily distracted. 'Want to come for a coffee'? Coat goes on and morning's writing goes out the window. House needs cleaning, ironing needs done, animals need attention, kids needs picking up, homeworks need done. There are a thousand and one distractions and most of the time I'm easy to distract. But every now and again I slip into the 'zone' - somewhere between reality and the fantasy world that's unfolding on the screen in front of me. The fantasy becomes more real than the chair that I'm sitting on or the coffee that's going cold in the cup; the words flow and at some point I 'wake up', another 10,000 words written and a feeling of calm and 'rightness' in my heart. Those are good days.

Here's hoping.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Little further forward

It can't be four days since I wrote something up here, can it?

What have I be doing with myself to be so negligent? Well, I've bought some new books from Waterstone's, read a couple of them, got some feedback from a beta reader of my third book (they enjoyed the story but I left out a character at the end when I was closing all the threads - oops!), cleaned most of the house (except for my cave where I write - disturbances in there make me jumpy...well, it's how notes get lost!) and totally erased the 20,000+ words of the new book from my computer.

Yep, you read that correctly - I erased the new book. On purpose.


It just wasn't working. The main character had gone all grumpy and wasn't speaking to me anymore (I know how that sounds but that's how it feels) so I had no idea where she was or what she was doing, the hero was turning into a wimp, the whole 'feeling' of it was wrong and so I just cracked, erased it and had some wine.

And the result? The main character is speaking to me again - in fact she won't shut up so I didn't get much sleep last night. Her story has a strong beginning, her character is now fully formed (and quite formidable) and I'm itching to get started again. Monday morning first thing I'm going to retreat to the cave and let her talk, let her tell her story and see if my unimpressive typing skills can keep up. Roll on Monday!

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Nervous and carless

It's been a day of mixed blessings.

Book 3, all shiny and sparkly with its rewrites and corrections, went off to a beta reader and I'm starting to bite my nails. Have I closed all the story arcs? Have I kept the time lines tight and the pace sprightly? Is anyone going to be upset when they get to page 140/141? Hmmm, ok - no spoilers this early in the game!

My car failed its MOT test and I wasn't even allowed to drive it home - cue panic, tears and a frantic call to hubby to come and pick me up. My poor little silver charger (his name is 'Sam' if you're interested) left behind at the test centre to wait for a mechanic who'll have to operate on him tomorrow. I'm without my car and it's not a happy feeling - last time I didn't have a car, the kids were small and I was able to walk them everywhere, now they're older and their friends/activities are further away. Still, I'm lucky to live close to public transport so we won't be stuck.

On the plus side - child number 2 went back to school today and was happy and excited to go back. His pleasure at being amongst his friends again more than makes up for all the other stresses and strains of the day.

Once again there's a silver lining!

Monday, 2 January 2012

What I've Found Out So Far #2

The second BIG THING I've discovered about Independent Publishing is that book sales don't happen on their own. You have to MARKET your book.

If you're shaking your head and thinking that I'm an idiot then give yourself a pat on the back - you're correct. I wanted my book to be read. Full stop. End of. Before uploading it to Amazon and Smashwords, I spent a lot of time printing it out and passing it around so that I could share what I hoped was a good story with people who were interested in reading it. The response was good and a few people suggested I try to get it published so I spent over a year sending it to various agents and a couple of Irish Publishers. Again the response was good - usually along the lines of 'great story, good characters, well written' but always with a 'at this time we can't take you on but wish you the best of luck in finding an agent' comment at the end. I got despondent, figured that the nicely worded letters were pretty standard and every other wannabe author was getting the same thing. :-(

The amount of money that I was spending sending out query after query (with synopsis, first few chapters, cover letter, sae etc. etc.) kept mounting up and I realised that I was getting nowhere. I needed to make a decision - keep going or try it myself. I turned forty and made a decision.

I uploaded my book to Amazon at the beginning of September 2011 and then started to learn what I SHOULD have done! Ah, well - at least I can admit that I'm an idiot who still has a lot to learn. So this year I'm going to try to learn how to effectively market my book so that I can encourage more readers to find it.

Did I just make a resolution? Damn.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Happy 2012!

Well, here we go - another year dawns and does it in style. The air is clear, the birds are singing, the sky is blue (in places) and I am back at my computer and strapped in to do some long as I can stay away from Goodreads which is darned distracting!
Child number 2 goes back to school on Tuesday whilst child number 1 (and hubby) have another week - child number 2 is not a happy bunny, although discovering that parts of his new PS3 game are in 3D seems to have cheered him up a bit. Things are starting to get back to normal after the Christmas and New Year celebrations which in a way is sad 'cause it means the family will soon be doing their own thing again but also means that I will be able to get time/peace to write - there's always a silver lining!
This month my goals are to get my book back from the designer (new cover and innards in place), update Nielsen's Pubweb with the new dimensions, number of pages etc. and get everything uploaded to Lightning Source. I might even have my proof copy in my hands by the end of the month - how cool would that be?!
Of course, I also have to encourage my car to behave during its MOT, do couple of book readings in one of the local schools (very exciting and enjoyable), go through the terror of sending child number 2 away for his school trip - skiing in Bulgaria (won't sleep for a week!) - and try to stay out of my fantasy world for long enough to keep up with the housework but hey, that's life.
It's a new year, full of new possibilities and I'm looking forward to getting stuck in!

All the best to you and yours for 2012!