Friday, 28 September 2012

It's the Little Things

It's been a funny old week. Some mornings, like today, I've simply not wanted to get out of bed and face the world. It's just been one of those weeks. Without going into detail, my book and it's quality have been at the heart of my worries. I think this happens to writers from time to time. Sometimes, I can get all the praise in the world, but the one, tiny little piece criticism is the only thing I'll hear. It's stupid, I know this, especially when more often than not I don't actually care about the criticisms being made. So long as people aren't criticising the quality of my writing or story-telling I couldn't give a hoot. But on weeks like these... every little thing stands out.

I am having doubts about my choices as an author, about my ability and about my story. The worries have increased over the last week. It was then a real treat to receive an email back from Mr Clarkson, the librarian at Trinity Academy, with an order for ten of my books. Ten! I can hardly believe my luck. Ten pupils have decided to buy my book on the back of the presentations I gave a couple of weeks ago. Surely that has to be a good sign? Mr Clarkson also informed me that some of them have made cards for me. Now, this is a wonderful thing. It pleases me no end. In fact, it gives me a lovely, warm, fuzzy sense of achievement that really takes the edge off of how I've been feeling this week. How lovely is that? The pupils have made me cards! I am well chuffed. It makes me feel as though my visit to my old school was truly a fantastic event.

It just goes to show that these little gestures can make the world of difference to someone like me. Without knowing it, these teens have reassured me that I'm meant to be a writer. Simply by hearing about what they've been up to has me uplifted. A positive end to an otherwise an awful week.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Back to Life, Reality; La Grind

After a short and unavoidable break (I got married. It was grand) I'm back to fill you in on all that has been going on.

Last Thursday was my big promo event at Trinity academy. It was a rip-roaring success! What a bright, enthusiastic and entertaining group of youngsters. I gave a presentation to the 1st & 2nd year English pupils and managed to squeeze the Teen Titles interview in between the two. It was a jam-packed sandwich, and I loved every minute of it.

In the first part of the day I spoke to the 2nd year English students. I wasn't sure how they would receive me. I am, after all, a rather uncool, 30 something mother with sensible clothes and not a lick of glamour. Armed with a belly full of coffee and my butter knife wit, I plunged ahead. Althought the first presentation was good, by the second I'd picked up more a pace and it ran a little smoother.

I didn't want to be one of those stuffy lecturers that just stands up and talks to the group like a politician. I wanted to interact with them and find out what they knew. Engage them.  It worked. Throughout the beginning of both presentations I would stop and ask them if they knew what I was talking about. With a smattering of eye contact and a little persistance for answers, I got what I was after.  Their questions were many and varied in topic, which I always welcome.

The interview was also fun. The reviewers from Teen Titles were a delight to spend time with. Their questions were well thought out, they were polite, well spoken. They are fine examples of teens who get overlooked when summarising the demograph. It is my opinion that most teens are too easily grouped into this adult-imposed idea of the "modern teenager". But then, it is also my belief that it has always been this way. It's just too easy for adults to forget how much we know our own minds as youngsters.  These young reviewers from Teen Titles certainly seemed to me to be intelligent and strong-minded individuals. I could have chatted with them for ages.

As you can imagine, after the interview the conversation soon turned to books and I particularly enjoyed hearing about what they had read.  Also, speaking to the 1st years after the second presentation interview, I got to hear about what they were reading. Only a fellow book lover could understand the enjoyment gained from talking about books.

All in all, it was a fantastic experince and a wonderful opportunity to get so much exposure for The Ferryman's Wife direct to my target audience. I really couldn't be happier at how it all went. I can only hope that they show as much enthusiasm in actually getting hold of my book and actually reading it. Here's a huge Thank You! to all who were involved.

Monday, 10 September 2012

...and Breathe

Not much to report from the weekend. Other than ensuring a good copy of The Ferryman's Wife was transferred to my mother's kindle - a new skill learnt, yay! - most of my activities have been relatively unrelated.

What I have been doing is working on The Heart Thief, which is Devils Light Book 2. I envisage the story being twice as long as book 1, with more character exploration, more action, and more, well, everything. The story begins one month after book 1 finishes. Obviously I can't say much about what will happen, but what I can say is that there's plenty to look forward to. One thing I can let you in on is that Percy Dunwrite, who we meet briefly in The Ferryman's Wife, has a bigger role to play.

It's exciting, for me, to be getting back in touch with all my characters once more. I've missed them. Even though they're always with me, when I'm writing they're just that little bit closer. I spend most of my days thinking about them, and about what's going to happen. It doesn't bode well when I'm meant to be doing something like food shopping, I can tell you. As much as I wouldn't say that any of these characters are like me, they are a part of me. I experience their adventures as they do, I feel what they feel. I just hope that when you read it, you will to.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Keep On Keepin' On...

This has been an... interesting week. I found out yesterday that the copies of my book, ordered in August, haven't left Texas. They've been sitting in the post office for some time and no one saw fit to tell my publisher about it. This is not good. As mentioned in a previous post, I have a promotional event coming up. The plan had been to sell these copies at the event. It's now just a waiting game to see whether the problem is resolved in time for the books to be here by the 13th. Fingers crossed, folks.

I sent The Ferryman's Wife out for reviews this week. I have to say, I'm looking forward to hearing what people think. I was discussing this earlier with Silvia of Darkest Sins and Franny of  Dark Mind Booktours. There seems to be a culture amongst authors for writing extremely positive reviews. Now, please don't misunderstand me, I am all about Turning On The Positive Side. However, I cannot be bothered with this sycophantic, rave-reviewing trend, where people will give a book 5 stars, purely to impress the author. Criticism, if given properly, can be extremely valuable. It can help the writer progress, develop and take their skill to a new level. At the same time, it must be said, my own negative reviews tend to be the most entertaining. When I look back over some of the bad reviews I've given they always make me chuckle. If you fancy reading any of my book reviews you'll find them on Goodreads.

As far as I can tell, any time a trend starts, a backlash soon follows. So, if everyone only writes super-duper-positive(!) reviews, it'd only be a matter of time before a new wave of writers began looking for the negatives. The answer? I'm not sure I have one. In general, my attitude is all about being honest. What's the point in saying things that aren't true in a review, good or bad? In fact, what's the point in saying something that isn't true, period? Lying only ever leads to trouble in the end. Like I've already said, I'm not about dissing something for the sake of it, just as I'm not up for praising something that doesn't deserve it. Is it so impossible to find a happy balance? I'd like to think not.




Monday, 3 September 2012

In the Spotlight!

It's been a busy few days.

First off, on Sunday I was interviewed by Gracen Miller as part of her Road to Hell Series. Of all the interviews I've done so far, it's certainly been the most fun. If only all interviewers asked questions like Gracen. Enter the competition for the chance to WIN a paperback copy of The Ferryman's Wife.

So, there was me this morning, all happy - even on a Monday - with my little guest appearance on Gracen's blog. I logged on to start posting about the interview and what should be awaiting me? A little surprise email from Darkest Sins. They've only gone and put The Ferryman's Wife in the Spotlight! Once again I am indebted to Slivia for helping to get my book noticed. Click on the on the link to view their fantastic blog. It is full of exciting book news, as well as being beautifully designed and a real treat to look at.

Quite a couple of days, I'm sure you'll agree.  I'm still trying to get my head around it all. The fantastic reviews that The Ferryman's Wife has received and all the interviews and guest spots on the various blogs has me overwhelmed.  I've been lucky enough to be interviewed by Beauty and Books Janiera Eldridge and be featured on Zoey Sweete's Sweete Spot. Also, The Ferryman's wife received another fantastic, double-whammy review on Something Wicked This Way Comes. It's all happening, and there's more yet to come.