Too busy to write? Not me!

The best part about being a writer is the writing (oh, and research – I  research), so it came as quite a shock when I realised that summer was over and I’d barely written a word.
The reason: Eddie & Marcia – aka editing and marketing (two words that fuel my procrastination like no others)

Editing, in the form of Eddie the Evil Reaper, is a natural by-product of the writing process, complete with scythe to chop away those words and trim your text.

He demands your complete attention, being one of those necessary evils. You just have to do his bidding and get on with it.

Fortunately, I’ve come to the end of the line and am now able to pass my WIP – Casualty of Court – onto my editor, who will no doubt cast the mighty red pen over all those changes I meticulously made in an attempt to make a silk purse from a sow’s ear.

Marketing, however, enters your life as a mischievous minx named Marcia, but who is known by the wise  as the very devil herself. Wearing a shiny dress and flapping her gossamer wings she offers all the treats in the world if you, the author, deign to share your book with her. She teases you with images of glittery success, forcing you to promote your stories in places you would otherwise fear to tread – SOCIAL MEDIA!

I played along though, running a promotion for Lacey’s Law that garnered more downloads than ever before. However, it didn’t translate into reviews, so Lacey continues to die a death in obscurity. Personally, I think Marcia is jealous of Lacey and so spiked the whole process – promising the world in one hand and then taking it back before any benefit could be found.

Magic O’Clock had much more success with The Story Cartel, where in a month it received several new Amazon reviews across different countries. The same could be said of Goodreads where Magic had a  growth spurt as well as featuring in some wonderful – and I truly mean fabulous – blog posts. Not even Marcia could knock the shine off Magic’s time in the spotlight.

But now the marketing must take a backseat as I work towards bringing Fern & Raven back into the limelight. The prequel – A Fifth Wheel – has been well received, but it’s time now to tell the rest of the story. Casualty of Court (as mentioned earlier) has gone to the editor …which means I have time to write. Yay!

Heirlooms & Heiresses is now under construction, and Fern & Raven are back again, this time as private investigators in their own agency – The Blackleaf Agency. This story requires some research, so I’m mixing up my time, writing and planning as the story unfolds. (Naturally, there is no outline, but I just don’t … !)

And while that’s rumbling on, I’m polishing off another short story – To make the birds cry – ready for release in a couple of months.

It’s great to be back at the writing stage – although I know Eddie and Marcia will return to spoil my fun in the not too distant future.

But in the meantime, I can safely say – too busy to write? Not me!

Thanks for reading 🙂

Lacey gets a makeover

We all get tired of the same old look, don’t we?

Imagine how books must feel – wearing the same cover, day in, day out – on every occasion and to every event.

If it’s true what they say that we all judge a book by its cover, then surely we should give our books a wardrobe tweak every now and then. (Although, it’d be hypocritical of me to say that book covers are the first thing that grab my eye about a book. I don’t belong to the school of thought that places more attention on a cover image than on the story itself. For me, if the title is compelling, then I’ll read the blurb and make a decision from that. I know that’s not the trend, but it’s my way.)

Anyway … I decided to give Lacey’s Law a new look. Well, it’s kind of an old look with a fresher feel.

This was my original cover.

I loved it, because it meant something to me as the writer. But, I guess it was a case of ‘you had to be there – in my head’ to appreciate it.

I wasn’t aiming for attention-grabbing, but I did feel it represented the overall theme well enough to get readers to read the blurb.

Then, I won a competition to get a new cover. Great, you might think. A chance to try out the other line of thinking without any cost to me.

Hmm, well, yes. It was. But … I could only choose from a handful of pre-made covers and so had to make my story fit someone else’s image.

“It’ll be worth it,” they said. “Having a professionally designed cover will have a major impact.”

Here’s the cover I selected. 

Very different, don’t you think.

Even a new tagline – Beware the fury of a patient woman.

So, I made the change and waited.

But, something felt wrong.

While ‘the fury of a patient woman’ did fit the story, it didn’t represent the growth of my character. Instead, Lacey came across as vindictive and unlikable. In fact, she’s not like that at all. Yes, she was angry, and wanted revenge – but life threw her an ironic twist. One that changed everything. Which is the point of the story. Her need to defend her family (at first, her parents) soon became a need to protect her future family. So, that’s why I’m taking her back to her roots.

This is the new cover.

The tree is back, as is the original tagline.

It has a softer, less cut-throat, feel about it – one I hope better reflects her growth and validates her as a woman whose emotional reactions are forced to adapt.

In effect, Lacey grows up properly (and yes, she’s already in her forties when the story starts, but she hadn’t really been challenged as an adult before.) It’s a story about friendships and relationships; about trust and betrayal; about dealing with obstacles and – ultimately – “adulting”.

I once called this story ‘an eye for an eye meets happy ever after’, and I think it still fits rather well.

 

 

My first author interview

Yesterday, I was lucky enough to be interviewed by Amazeballs Book Addicts and they even posted all my books and buy links, etc, etc, etc.

I was truly impressed by the detail they went into with and for me 🙂

Thank you!

You can read the details here if you missed it – after all, posts have a habit of getting swallowed as time passes.

Interview With LS Fellows – Author

1. Can you tell us a little about your books?

So far, my books have little in common other than my authorship, all 3 being in different genres. My first, Lacey’s Law, sits on the Women’s Fiction shelf, but could easily get misplaced into the suspense or chick-lit categories. It’s a revenge novella – and something of an acquired taste as Lacey is not the most likeable of leading characters at first (although, I’m pleased to say that she is warming on people)

My second book, The Fifth Wheel, was written as part of an anthology – hence its short length. But I knew these characters had more to say. After all, when a girly holiday to Portugal goes awry, there’s always more than one side to the story. This has led to my forthcoming release – Courting Danger – which resolves the incident during that holiday in court.

Thirdly, my latest release, Magic o’Clock, is a more personal piece of fiction, dealing with the difficulties faced by families whose loved ones have dementia. It’s a short story, but hopefully one that gets across the hope that people need to see that you can still have good times.

2. When did you know you wanted to write a book?

I never did really. I’ve always loved reading, but writing wasn’t ever on my radar. Only when I moved to Spain and looked for new challenges (because moving abroad wasn’t challenging enough?? LOL). I came across NaNoWriMo and have never looked back.

3. Do you have a favorite food or drink you must have nearby when writing?

Depending on the season, this changes. Living in a hot climate, my summer needs are simple – ICE, ICE and more ICE- I had to buy a smoothie maker just to meet my own needs.

But in winter, I’m a cappuccino addict – just the regular type, lots of froth and maybe a chunk (or bar) of chocolate.

4. Do you have a favorite spot to write?

Again, weather permitting – I have a writing desk in the solarium, with views to the sea. But it can get too hot up there, so then I’ll settle anywhere with aircon or whirring fans.

5. What is a usual writing day like for you? How is it structured?

I don’t have a fixed structure. It all depends on what free time I have and making the most of it.

6. For a reader who hasn’t read your books yet, which book do you suggest they start with?

As my books are so different, then it really is down to the reader’s preferred genre. They’re all short or novella-length, so not too demanding of time.

7. What’s one random fact about yourself that you can share?

It’s widely known I’m a chocoholic and am currently working my way through a series of recipes to replicate my favourite treats from home – and can now make my own Fudge, Bounty, Crunchie and Creme Eggs

8. What is your favorite comfort food?

This might surprise people, especially after my previous answer … but bacon is my go-to food, possibly because it smells as good as it tastes 🙂Bacon and fried tomatoes on a sandwich – YUM! (This was also the last thing I remember my dad making for me)

9. What are writing projects are you currently working on?

I’m editing one story – Courting Danger – which is the courtroom sequel to The Fifth Wheel. I’m also writing another story with these characters (Heirlooms & Heiresses) as well as a conspiracy thriller (The Untruth Hunters) and a Fantasy series (The Nasrid Charm series)

As you can see, I’m still finding my feet – or should that be fingers?? 🙂

(I’ll steer clear of comedy after that though … )

Feel free to drop by my Facebook page, or that of Amazeballs – we’d all love to see you 🙂

Z is for … Zilch

Today’s the last day of the AtoZChallenge, and I’m all blogged out – I’ve got zilch left to add.

Other than to say, if you’ve read / liked / shared any of these posts, left a comment, joined my mailing list or even bought a book of mine, then from the bottom of my heart, I send you my greatest

Courting Danger has been well and truly exposed, in readiness for its cover reveal in the summer and book launch soon after.

If you have any space on your bookshelf or reading device, then you can always check out my other books

 Lacey’s Law, The Fifth Wheel or Magic O’Clock

Thank you for joining me during this month of blogging – it’s been fun, exhausting, thought-provoking, tiring and wonderful to be engaging and interacting with you all.

See you soon 🙂 x

 

When someone really ‘gets’ your book: WOW, WOW & more WOW

I love getting a new review for one of my books (I only have two, so don’t want to seem boastful). And, while it’s so heartwarming to see those five stars jump out the screen at you, it’s equally as gut-wrenching to see that the reader didn’t enjoy your story.
Now, none of us expect to please everyone – and nor should we, so we shrug off the not-so-glowing reviews and focus on the positive ones that make us able to write more.
That is, until the moment comes when a reader totally ‘gets’ your story. That delicious treat has just happened for me with Lacey’s Law. And, I’m on cloud nine, wrapped in a silver lining watching unicorns gambol over a rainbow. (Too much? Ah, you get my drift – I am one very happy bunny).

I’ve always known this story would appeal to a limited audience. From day one, my beta readers had such varied opinions on it. They told me they couldn’t root for Lacey, that she was too unlikable and not the ‘heroine’ people would want to read about.

I don’t know about you, but that just made my resolve to tell her story all the stronger. Maybe there’s more than a touch of me in Lacey, too. Well, hell yeah, I know there is.

Anyway, the review I received yesterday showed me that there are readers who understand her, who will grow to like her, even love her. Isn’t part of telling a story about showing how a character can change, develop, grow as a person according to the situations and issues they face? Lacey is not as bad as she’s painted. In fact, she’s a funny, loyal, fair and trusting woman (hmm, did I say she was a bit like me? – ah, well, maybe .. or maybe not 🙂 )

Here’s the review – and there are extra bonus points for this reviewer for spotting the sarcastic thread too. You know, some people mistook that element too!

“Lacey’s Law” is a refreshing, rather humorous story about one friend taking her long-awaited chance at revenge on another. Lacey and Carla have been friends since college, so what could Carla possibly do that was so evil that Lacey felt the need to carefully plan and organize her revenge, which involved Carla’s husband? Before you judge the protagonist for her machinations, she has quite a story to tell you, and after that the events start taking a completely different turn…
I really enjoyed reading about Lacey’s escapades, and the more I got to know her, the more I felt for her and soon even rooted for her plan to come to fruition. The irony, which interlaces quite a few of Lacey’s inner monologues made me chuckle on several occasions, and soon somehow, someway this sarcastic and yet incredibly lovable heroine wormed her way into my heart, and I couldn’t help but cheer for her in her grand finale.
A perfect read for all lovers of chick-lit genre. Definitely a five star story.

Pretty awesome, right?

So, for all you writers out there, take note. The time will come when a reader will ‘get’ your book, and when it does … Hands off the unicorn, he’s mine!

By the way, if you want to read Lacey’s story, knowing now what you do, then here’s the link.

Thanks for dropping by.

Pre-release jitters averted with another fab advanced review!

As the release date for Lacey’s Law approaches, so do the nerves, the self-doubt and those little voices in my head.
I was just about to sign up for the next flight to the Moon, or Mars – or even back to Brum – anywhere I could hide, but then I received another fantastic, splendiferous and totally confidence-boosting review.Review2

Check this one out:

 I loved Lacey’s Law.  It is such a unique story and has elements of more than one genre.  It feel like a mystery at times, personal narrative, suspense and romance all into one. You did a fantastic job of story telling.  I included more of a formal write-up below.
Characterization:
The main characters drove me insane in the best way!  These aren’t the typical kind of likeable characters you would love to meet in real life or wish you lived next door to but you just can’t get enough of them either.  I felt like I got to know them very well and my emotions were all over the place.  Sometimes I would understand their motivations completely and I was right there nodding my head with them. Other times I was pulling my hair out wanting to slap some sense into them.  These two emotions kept volleying back and forth, all the while I had a good dose of fear of each one them as well, wondering just how far they were going to take things.  You were able to create all of that with each main character and I found it to be absolutely brilliant!
They also had distinctive voices and flaws, which added depth and believability to the story.
There were a lot of secondary characters along the way as well.  This can sometimes get tricky but I felt yours were well developed and actively influenced the plot.  They were much more than just props to propel the main characters.
Plot and Conflict:
Both internal and external conflicts for your characters were clearly defined throughout the entire story. And most importantly, they felt natural and believable yet always unexpected.  I didn’t find anything that seemed far fetched or pulled me out of the story.  There was a fantastic amount of tension that kept the pages turning.  Every conversation and scene contributed to the story and I wouldn’t take anything out.
The story line twists just kept coming and coming.  You released them at the rate of a magician.  I just wanted to high-five you every time another one was revealed.  The timing and execution was perfect. This is difficult to balance because it becomes overwhelming to the reader if there are too many plot twists or they come too fast to keep track of.  Yours were spot on.  Well done.
Pacing: 
Transitions flowed smoothly and I noticed a hook at each chapter ending that made you feel like you wanted to read more.  The pace felt exciting but not so fast it overwhelmed.  There were no spots where it dragged.
Setting:
It was easy to set your mind into each scene.  The description was there but the characters were always the main focus and that helped to just feel like you were there with them.  I noticed even the characters physical attributes weren’t heavily described.  That is fun as a reader because they just sort come together however you want them to.  I love that.
Dialogue:
The dialogue/narrative balance leaned a bit heavier on the narrative at times.  But you did such a good job of making readers feel like they were sitting down with Lacey listening to her story, I would keep the narrative just the way it is..  I’ve never read a book that draws you and connects in such a unique way.  I enjoyed how you added Lacey’s comments to the reader, not just at the beginning but through out the entire book.  It works well.
You stayed in character every time one of them spoke and it flowed so naturally.  I can tell you are either a very experienced writer or just have one heck of a gift for it.
Mechanics: 
Your book is edited very well.  I didn’t find a single mechanical error through out the entire story.
Additional Comments:
This is a book that just feels impossible to set down once you’ve started.  It kept me guessing the entire time.
Please let me know if you have any questions or would like me to clarify something above.  I would be happy to beta read for your work in the future.  Best of luck as you wrap things up for publishing.
Thanks Amanda – you have made my day (and saved me the cost of a flight to oblivion!)

#happyauthor #seeyouonMay7

First Advanced Review for Lacey’s Law

FirstAdvanced Review(From a reviewer)

I just finished reading Lacey’s Law – it took me only a few hours, as it is a relatively short story, but also one that you can’t put down for a minute. I LOVED it!! It was a great story that kept me hooked from start to finish. I almost wish it was longer because I was so into it and the characters. Even during the slower moments in the book, there was always something keeping you on the edge of your seat. Characterization was very strong and well-developed for such a short book. The writer clearly spent a substantial amount of time with these characters, not putting plot ahead of characterization like you see so often in novellas or other plot-driven books. I particularly enjoyed the interactions between two of the main characters, Lacey and Carla, which if I’m being honest is what drew me into the book to start with. Lacey comes across as very opinionated and someone who isn’t afraid to speak her mind – something I think many women can either identify with or something women wish they could be. So there is an immediate connection. I also sense that she gets a bit impatient when dealing with others. Carla doesn’t quite fit the box Lacey has put her in, I think, and that leads to why their characters both clash and at the same time work so well together for the purposes of the story. Dialogue between them is sometimes laugh out loud hilarious, but also very real. There is a lot of emotional depth and drama in the story as well. Not only with the secret affairs and backstabbing and betrayal and such, but a stark amount of emotional depth to the characters as well. Lacey in particular harbors a lot of pain and resentment and though her actions sometimes seem drastic, she is always relatable on a human level. The readers can put themselves in her shoes and think that, just maybe, they would have acted or reacted the same way. (I know I would! But I’m a bit of a firecracker myself)! As far as the plot itself – wow. So much drama!! I felt like a teenager reading Gossip Girl for the first time again. Of course, it wasn’t just the drama that kept the story moving – it was a combination of drama, characters, and just good storytelling and writing. I wanted to know what happened next and found myself reading late into the night after I should have turned off the lights and gone to bed. Did I mention I read this book in just a single day? I know it’s just novella-length, but still. For someone with a busy schedule like myself, that’s saying a lot. The ending of the book was great. I don’t want to give anything away, because there are a few twists, but I like the resolutions, and how all the ends were tied up very neatly, not leaving questions about any of the many characters. It made for a very happy ending and a satisfying read overall.

and, from me .. EEK! Thank you so much 🙂

If anyone is interested in reading an advanced copy in return for an HONEST review (Good or bad) – please let me know 🙂