Tag Archives: May Queen Killers

May Queen Killers and a game of WordPress tag

3 Mar
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Image taken from Wikepedia

I was tagged in a game of WordPress tag by the fabulous Lorna Lee of the very colourful Lorna’s Voice. I have yet to meet a Lorna who wasn’t fabulous. If anyone knows a rotten Lorna, please don’t tell me. It will break my heart. The game is simple. I have to answer a set of questions about my writing, then tag three more writers to continue the game. Here are my answers:

What are you currently working on?

I am currently working on my 2nd thriller, May Queen Killers, which is set on the English/Welsh border. Here’s a little teaser:

Where have all the May Queens gone?

At 34 years old, Sapphire Butterworth is a little old to be crowned May Queen, but she has her heart set on the title and no one is going to stand in her way. But then Sapphire disappears in the middle of the May Day celebrations and someone throws a brick through the window of her tea shop. Soon, there are scenes of May Day carnage throughout the village; lambs mauled by vicious dogs and may poles ripped apart. 

Mystery writer, Jock Skone is one of the last to see Sapphire and determined to use his detective skills to find her. But Jock quickly discovers that Sapphire’s friends do not know her as well as they thought they did. And Sapphire is not the first May Queen to go missing. Is there a deeper reason why Sapphire wanted the title so badly? Does she know more about the May Queen Killers than she’s been letting on?

How does your work differ from others in the same genre?

I write very British psychological thrillers. My books are fast-paced, five hour reads that are hard to put down. I use a combination of action and dialogue with a splat of dark humour. My mysteries are hard to solve, but I write in a simple and accessible way. I don’t like too much gore, and don’t do a lot of swearing. I leave out the parts I would skip as a reader, so you won’t find any long-winded descriptions in my books. And although the police may make an appearance, they are never the ones to solve the mystery!

Why do you write what you do?

I write what I love, but I do try to stick to psychological thrillers because I have created an audience for those. If I write anything outside of that genre, I keep it short and just for fun. If my mystery readers like my side projects, then that’s a bonus.

How does your writing process work?

I usually get the idea for the next book while I’m working on the one before, so I have to write everything down before I forget it. I am chaotic at heart, but I am slowly moving towards a more planned style of writing. I still end up taking twists and turns that I had never intended, but I no longer spend time polishing my first draft until I have to. I like my work big and messy and covered in scorch marks until I am absolutely sure of the story.

 And now I have to tag three more writers

Pete Denton, is currently working on a couple of crime novels. You can download a free sample of his work here.

Rami Ungar is the author of the Reborn City series available on AmazonCreatespace, and Smashwords

Roberta’s Dreamworld – Roberta is the author of Hugged by an Angel, The Melody in our hearts and A Christmas Melody.

As always, thanks for reading!

Self Publish Bible’s New Year’s Resolutions for 2014

2 Jan

Happy New Year!

Self Publish Bible is one year old today (ahh!)

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It’s a good job I’m not the superstitious type because the rain is lashing against the windows and the river is rising (again.) We spent much of Christmas in darkness, so I’m just hoping the power will hold out while I write this. I have always loved making New Year’s Resolutions. Not sure why really, except I really, really love to plan. After a good long think, I’ve boiled it down to the following, (besides keeping dry of course. That goes without saying.)

Read more

My Goodreads Reading Challenge for 2013 was a paltry 10 books. I met my target, but I’m sure I could read more. (And no, I’m not counting all those bedtime stories about farmyard animals that my daughter makes me read every night.) Before I had my children, I probably read a book a week, but as a full-time mum, I just don’t have much free time, especially as I need time to write. This year, I’ve set a goal of 15 books, with the intention that it will keep going up. I am including audiobooks in my total, as I hope this help me to access books I otherwise wouldn’t get to.

Write faster

In 2014, I hope to get quicker and more efficient at writing. I want to make a better use of my time by banning the internet, and perhaps even using a timer to keep me tied to my desk while I write. I am also hoping to find more time to write once my son starts school in September, and my daughter goes part-time at nursery. The real trick will be not to use too much of that time up on household tasks. It’s amazing how much time you can fritter away on a few chores. The good news is that I do seem to be getting quicker. I took years to write FRY. My second book, May Queen Killers is due to come out in May and should take 14 months total.I just hope that my speed will continue to improve with experience.

Write better

I intend to read at least one on book on writing/editing skills this year. If possible, I’d love to attend a writing workshop. It’s great fun to get together with other writers and you always pick up something new.

Don’t waste too much time on social media

This is not to say that I’m giving it up altogether, but now that I’ve been at it a little while, I’m starting to see what works for me. I like to blog, but not too often. Really only when I’ve got something to say, or an occasional book review or author interview. I update my Facebook author page whenever I blog, but probably not more than that. The same goes for LinkedIn and Google plus. My favourite place is definitely Twitter. In addition to meeting other authors, I have found readers through Twitter and more importantly, reviewers. At first, I was a bit retweet happy, but these days, I am careful not to bombard my followers with too many messages and I just pop on for a few minutes here and there. Of course, I am a bit more active when I’m running a promotion.

Have you made any resolutions for 2014?

I’d love to hear what they are! Until next time, stay dry, folks!

Five star reviews, paperback problems and forging ahead

30 Sep

 

 

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Just a quick post to let you all know what I’m up to at the moment. I now have a very rough first draft of my second novel, May Queen Killers, but it will need a fair bit of rewriting before I am happy with it. It’s quite different from my last book in that I’m telling the story from more than one perspective. It’s still very psychological, but there’s more of a detective element this time. Like FRY, it will be fast-paced and full of twists and turns. I like to keep my readers guessing!

Later this month, I also have a short story called Vampire Driving School coming out in a charity anthology called ‘In Vein‘.  The anthology is in aid of St Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital and features the work of 18 different authors, so it should be a good read.

And finally, FRY got a fantastic five star review from IndieReader.com  a few weeks ago. They even made it their book of the week. As it was featured on their site, I also got a sticker to go on the book cover, which is great as we’ve just been finalising the paperback version. Getting the paperback out has taken longer than anticipated, so I’m really glad I launched the eBook first. When the paperback proof came back, there were a few minor problems such as the page numbers being larger on one side of the page than the other. It took a bit of fiddling to get the cover right as well, but it now has the IndieReader sticker and review on it, as well as an author picture and a few other features which were not available on the eBook version.

Indie Authors – do you release your eBook and paperback versions at the same time, or do you prefer to put out the eBook first? 

 

 

The path to prolificacy

26 Aug

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Apologies friends, I haven’t been around the blogosphere much lately; I’ve been writing. I’ve always wanted to be a prolific writer. My first idol was Enid Blyton, who wrote around 600 books. 600 good books, or so I thought when I was six or seven and reading as many of them as I could get hold of. Now, you might think my ambition to be prolific is ironic, considering that it took me over ten years to write my first novel, FRY. But in the years I spent writing, or not writing FRY, I had many, many more ideas which I am dying to get down on paper.

Now that I’ve written my first novel, I no longer suffer from writer’s block, or laziness or procrastination, or self doubt, or whatever the hell it was holding me back all those years. Now, my main obstacle is time, because I have two small toddlers to look after and they leave little time for anything else.

Luckily, I am now a lot more organised with my time, and when I sit down to write, that’s what I do, I write. I am now 40,000 words into the first draft of my second novel, May Queen Killers and I have set myself a goal of adding 10,000 words a week, most weeks. Working at my current pace, that’s around 10 hours a week. I write mostly in the evenings, plus a few hours on a Monday morning, when both kids are in nursery. And I hope to get faster, the more I write.

My current method is to sit at my computer and just hammer out the words. I have a rough outline, so I know where I’m going, but I don’t look back and I don’t edit. Not yet. Once I’ve got the whole thing down, I will then begin the editing process. I’m not sure how long this part will take me as I have nothing to compare with. FRY was pretty clean once it was finished. I had taken time over each chapter, and my main task was to cut out errors and make sure it all hung together right. All the same, it went through quite a few edits and proofreads prior to publication. 

May Queen Killers is due to be published in May 2014, and if I keep going at the rate I’m going at the moment, it should be ready ahead of time and I’ll be able to begin work on my next project before it comes out. Wouldn’t that be nice?  

Do you set yourself word count targets for your work? If so, are you getting any faster? 

My experience of running a successful Kindle Direct Publishing promo

25 Jun

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When I self-published my first novel, FRY, I chose to take part in the KDP select programme, which committed me to being exclusive to Amazon for 90 days, in return for the opportunity to give away my novel for free for 5 days. As I have mentioned in a previous post, I used two of those days early on and was pleased with the result. For me, this speeded up the process of getting customer reviews and also helped me to get the book into the ‘customer also bought’ sections of some much more prominent books, which resulted in more sales.

I saved the final 3 days for near the end of the 90 day period because this meant I had more reviews, which is important both for convincing readers to download your book, and also for convincing book promotion sites to feature your book. I prepared for the promotion a month in advance by notifying relevant book sites (see AuthorMarketingClub’s free submission tool for a list of these.) I was pleased with the result. FRY was featured on some prominent sites including Freebooksy. This resulted in almost ten thousand downloads and put FRY at number 25 in the Amazon.com chart for free books.

How did this affect sales?

Previous to this, FRY had been selling quite well in the UK, but sales had been much slower in the US. Following my three day promo, I had a good week of sales in both the US and the UK, so I can definitely say there was a sales bump. A few weeks on, FRY continues to sell better in the US. I have also had a few sales on other Amazon sites around the world. FRY has also had an increase in the number of reviews on Amazon.com and these have been overwhelmingly positive.

So what’s next?

Well, here’s the scary part. Now that my exclusive period with Amazon has ended, I have chosen not to renew the deal. My book is still on Amazon, but, it is now on Smashwords also and I will be trying to get sales on other sites. Going exclusive with Amazon worked well for FRY, but I would not want it to remain exclusive as I think it’s important to reach people with other e-readers.

My next novel, May Queen Killers, comes out in May and I will be going exclusive again as I definitely feel that it has been beneficial. But I can’t see myself renewing the agreement after the first 90 days. I don’t like to put all my eggs in one basket.

Have you used the KDP select programme for your book? How did you get on? Did you think the free days were worth the exclusivity agreement?

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