Monday, 28 July 2014

The Role of the 21st Century Author

To be an author today is not enough to earn a living wage. It is almost impossible in fact. It is not totally unattainable, but to really earn enough money just from the books you sell, you have to spend time, be patient, and work hard in the background to get yourself seen, heard, and, more importantly, read by the people that matter. That is, your audience. Your fan base. The people who enjoy your stories, who want to know more about your characters, where they come from, what they do, how you met them. The readers want to know about you, the author. You are a brand.

It has taken me a few years to learn this. Back when I finally started to write my novel, got some short stories published, and decided that actually, I am quite good at this, I thought I was made. I could have my first novel published and I would be up there with all the greats, earning my millions and churning out more books for my adoring fans. It didn't quite happen like that. I'm still waiting for it. I am still seeking those adoring fans. I know they are out there (maybe you are one of them, please say hello, it would really make my day!)



The truth is that the role of the 21st century author is not just to write stories. That is only the beginning process of our job. Most of us publish our stories because they simply have to be told. My fellow writers will understand that nagging urge, that commanding voice as the characters take physical form and force themselves through your hand and onto the page. You have to write. It is as essential as eating. We feed the force within that requires nourishment, or we face the prospect of withering away to a mere empty shell of a human. Yes, being a writer is that important to me.

So we write. We publish. It is easier to do that these days, what with modern technology and eBooks and all the rest of it. But therein lies the problem. Our books are published, and they are subsequently submerged in a sea of other books, other stories, other authors. Some of these authors give all of their time to social networking in order to sell their books, and it works for them. Some prefer to pay others for the service of marketing and promotion. I would choose this option if I had the finances in place, and maybe I will in the future. For now I have to establish how to use what little spare time I have to the most effective outcome.



It is a tough learning curve. I am finally beginning to make sense of all those wonderful platforms available to us. I currently favour Twitter, Facebook and Google+, but I don't spend anywhere near enough time on them doing anything really productive in terms of book marketing. I am still learning. I am studying. If you are in the same situation, please share your experiences, advice, and anything else you can contribute to the conundrum of our generation. I look forward to hearing from you!

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Guest Author Linda Hamonou - Harajuku Kiss #amreading

Today I welcome Linda Hamonou to my blog, with details about her new novel Harajuku Kiss.

About Harajuku Kiss

At times, life can be so depressing. She is walking her usual recovery tour in Harajuku, finishing with a crepe, trying to forget that her boyfriend dumped her once again for the week-end... When the unthinkable happens... A boy stops in front of her in the street and kisses her, in the middle of the street, before running away.
Trying to discover more about him, she is dragged into a dangerous game of mystery. A biologist has been murdered and a deadly virus is on the loose. First suspect: the mysterious Harajuku's stranger.




Author bio:

Born in November 1983 in Brittany, France, Linda Hamonou spent a lot of time lost in Agatha Christie and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's novels. She entered university to study physics and obtained her PHd at Queen's University Belfast in 2009. Here studies allowed her to travel to Europe and America. She then moved to Japan and after three years doing research in Tokyo, she is currently doing a new postdoc in Sendai, Japan.




Excerpt

There was a foreigner at the gym tonight,” she said, breathing heavily as if she had been trying not to cry. “A bit fat, she didn’t seem really fit. The kind to see a gym only when dragged there.”
I got up and walk a bit further toward them before turning in a very narrow street. That way, I could see and hear without being seen. I was a bit mad. How dared she pretend that I was fat and unfit? I knew that I was not able to run or sustain efforts for too long, but I still looked really good.
Then it’s not the one we are looking for, mine was able to walk really fast, I had problems to follow her,” he answered.

I was proud of me. Someone finally recognized my true sporty potential. I wanted to laugh at me for the thought. I knew that the old man was totally unable to figure out anything about anyone’s true colors, but I still pride myself in his words. I wanted to be so positive that it was actually becoming ridiculous. Kaji's wife was getting closer to her car and opened the door. As the side mirror turned, I noticed a strange shape. Someone was waiting in the street below also looking at them. The detective took his hat off again and the shape in the mirror withdrew. It took me one second to realize. I didn’t care about the detective or Kaji’s wife or even my fear of running anymore. I hold tightly my backpack’s strap to make sure that the bag wasn’t going to move and ran toward the shadow. I had no doubt about it. It was Seiji.


Website Links



 

Monday, 21 July 2014

Book Review: Mystical Circles by S.C. Skillman

Here is my review of Mystical Circles by S.C. Skillman:



I had been looking forward to reading this book for a while, since I follow the author’s blog and feel she is something of a kindred spirit. The story was interesting and a little bit different, but I have to say the book was not as good as I had anticipated. I found it fairly dull in places, and I really struggled to connect with the protagonist, Juliet. I suppose this was intentional, because the story follows Juliet as she tries to ‘rescue’ her younger sister from a perceived threat after she falls in with a crowd of people that might be part of a cult, and at the very least are of the New Age persuasion in spiritual terms. I personally follow this kind of spirituality, so perhaps I was instinctively feeling protective towards my own kind. Not surprising then that I preferred the leading male character, Craig, because he is the leader of this group, the Wheel of Love. Ultimately I thought there were some interesting social and cultural themes in the story, and it was something that is all too familiar to me, an English woman from a very traditional British working family. It is worth reading if you are more interested in thoughts and feelings, but don’t expect much physical action.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

#99cents Offer! Love Hurts (A Redcliffe Novel)

Did I mention that my debut novel Love Hurts (A Redcliffe Novel) is now just $0.99 on Smashwords? Oh, well, just saying... maybe you want to read it, if you haven't already... and don't forget to leave a review! Thank you!



The Cornish town of Redcliffe is a beautiful seaside resort.  It has wild sea, rambling forests, mysterious cliffs, and a local powerful werewolf pack.  Jessica Stone is blissfully happy running a bookshop with her best friend and business partner, Elizabeth Gormond.

When Detective Jack Mason sweeps Jessica off her feet, she cannot understand the hostility towards him from her gay best friend Simon Bunce.  Eventually Jessica realises that there is more to Jack Mason than meets the eye, and then she meets his identical twin brother, Danny.  She is drawn into their dangerous lives by their enemy, a powerful werewolf determined to overthrow the pack leader.

Jessica’s world is turned upside down as she discovers that all is not as it seems in this picturesque resort, and there are many painful lessons to be learnt about falling in love…



Buy Love Hurts (A Redcliffe Novel) from Smashwords now! 

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

I Am the Master Procrastinator! #CampNaNoWriMo

We are 9 days into the Camp NaNoWriMo challenge for 2014, and I'm off to a slow start. It's not surprising really. As I write this, my youngest daughter is sitting on my knee trying to bash the computer keys. My eldest daughter is demanding that I play pirates, doctors, princesses and a whole host of other games. I sit at the computer, and instead of opening my WIP and getting on with the writing, I hop from one social network to another, messing about and telling myself that it is work.


I'm in a strange place at the moment. I need to sell more books. I need to get myself on some internationally recognized bestseller lists, and I need people to embrace the Redcliffe novels, and to understand that I am a bloody good writer! There is an opening in the UK market for some paranormal romance, since the popular television series Being Human finished months ago. I can't think of any British authors in recent decades that write the kind of stories I do, at least not in popular circles.


So how do I go about marketing myself properly? I have absolutely no budget. I am, essentially, a housewife. I dislike the title and all its associations, but that is a whole different issue I need to work through for me, and my emotional state. One thing is certain: my children are my priority right now. But in the same way, my books are like my children. Fellow authors will understand what I mean. I believe in my novels wholeheartedly. I would never have written them otherwise. So now I need to figure out how to show them to the wider world. How do I get people to actually buy my books? That is the ultimate million-dollar question...


Thursday, 3 July 2014

A World of Inspiration #CampNaNoWriMo

Good Morning! I am so happy today. My Muse has finally returned, hooray! I have missed her so much during the past eighteen months or so. I blame pregnancy/childbirth/babies/hormones for it all, but who knows? All I can say is I have been living in a sort of fog for almost two years, but my youngest daughter is now eleven months old, and so I feel ready for a new challenge.


I didn't actually start my writing for #CampNaNoWriMo until yesterday (2nd July), but somehow, despite having the children needing attention throughout, I managed to write just over 2000 words in the space of around two hours. I am so happy! And while I was writing, I started to get ideas and plans for the novel. I am writing a teenage zombie romance. Random, yes? I know, but that is where my Muse is at the moment, and clearly I need to write it. So far I have a seventeen year old student named Jean Pickering, and her best friend and wannabe journalist, Kelly Rouse. It's amazing how the words flow...  Have a fabulous month my friends!

Friday, 27 June 2014

Preparing for Camp NaNoWriMo #amwriting

I decided to try again with Camp NaNoWriMo. My attempt for April 2013 never quite worked out, although at the time I put it down to being heavily pregnant with a toddler and a work-addicted husband to deal with. April 2014 was dominated by family dramas. Now I am going to attempt the July 2014 Camp NaNoWriMo, and I am trying a completely new project for the challenge. Hooray!


My project for the coming month is a Young Adult teenage zombie romance. Has this been done before? Probably. Can you recommend similar books for me to read as research? Please do... For now I take my inspiration from recent renovation works in my local town, where there is an old churchyard that I believe was dissected to build a new main road back in the sixties (or thereabouts). During some routine pipe maintenance last year there were rumours that bones had been dug up, and that's when the idea hit me.


My idea resurfaced weeks ago when an empty building opposite the church was renovated and opened as new medical centre, and there is also a newly refurbished funeral home next door. How cool is that? In terms of literary gold for paranormal lovers, I am very excited. Now I need to develop my plot, and work out just how a normal teenage girl can meet and fall in love with a teenage zombie recently risen from his grave... So many questions, and such a juicy challenge! See you at Camp NaNoWriMo!