Make Your Own Luck – tips for indie authors

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Photo by Leo Cardelli on Pexels.com

As an indie author it’s important for word of my books to get out there. If I don’t go the extra mile to promote my novels, no one else will. So – how do I achieve this I hear you ask? 

I achieve this by accepting invitations to appear at book fairs, signings, author talks or library visits. I use these events to create blog posts and  promos which I disseminate via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and two retweeting groups I belong to. This could be viewed as casting my bread upon the water in the vain hope that the fish will bite. However, I find that getting my name out there in a variety of ways reaps dividends.

lizzie-lamb-new-email-signature-300pxHere are some of my top tips

There are many social media sites and they can be a real time suck, taking you away from your WIP. Experiment to find which ones work for you. I focus on: Facebook (personal, author page, groups) Twitter, Instagram and my website/blog. I also belong to many Facebook ‘groups’, it takes a little time to figure out which ones work get little or no traffic, so don’t be afraid to leave a group if you’re getting nothing from it. LIfe’s too short. 

Increase your social media presence

As a result of increasing my social media presence I have been invited to appear in Writers’ Magazine (blog tours – 2018), Writers Forum (my writing space – 2019) De Montfort University to lecture final year creative writing students, library visits, author talks and workshops. One word of warning – book sales are not always guaranteed so do check in advance that you will be paid for the talk, be offered petrol expenses and whether or not the venue will want 10% of your book sales. Yes, really (!)

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Narberth Book Fair – Wales – September 2019

Get out and about

I believe that my books deserve to be brought to the attention of the largest number of readers possible so I canvass different venues to see if they would like a visit from an indie author, or authors in the case of New Romantics Press. So far, I/we’ve appeared at Aspinalls of London, Waterstones Kensington High Street and hosted literary lunches at top Leicestershire venues to raise money for charity.  

Get organised

Keep your author bio, author photo, links etc up to date. Be organised, you don’t want to be hunting around for an excerpt of your novel when an outside agency approaches you. Invest in a mobile phone capable of taking decent photos and syncs with your computer.

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Join author groups where you can learn from others. I’ve been a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association since 2006 and co-organise the Leicester Chapter with June Kearns. What I’ve learned from other authors has been invaluable. I used to belong to local writing groups where members critiqued each other’s work. They didn’t work for me, but they might work for you.

Don’t be afraid to enter competitions, but choose wisely as they can be time suckage, too. Remember to publicise the good bits which you’re happy to share and project a positive image of yourself and your novels. 

Check out the great promotional apps out there: Canva, Ripl, Photolab Photofunia  – you have to stand out from the crowd. 

Once you’re published and have proven sales, join professional groups such as the Society of Authors. It might not do much to raise your profile in the short term but offers invaluable professional advice on contracts, tax matters. Using the #SOA tag on your profile identifies you as a serious writer.

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Carol Bevitt, Adrienne Vaughan, Lizzie Lamb, Marcia Holah, Caroline Bell-Foster, Marilyn Rodwell

Remember your fellow authors

Make friends, be generous to other writers but don’t expect them to always return the favour. Invite authors on to your blog, ‘like’ any blogs you read and (if time allows) leave a comment. Read and review their books (don’t be afraid to ask them to do the same for you). Retweet authors in your genre, like their posts on Instagram etc. A good time for this is via your mobile phone when you’re watching tv (!) Remember the USA doesn’t come on line until (roughly) 3pm.

Be ready for opportunities

Me and long-suffering husband

Over the past two years I’ve been offered an Amazon Prime Deal and an Amazon Kindle Deal in India. The former arrived via email when I was in John O’Groats on a research trip and I had to respond straight away. See what I mean about always having your phone with you, always being alert?!

I’m currently waiting to be accepted on the Women’s Institute and Rotaract circuit where I will talk about writing, travels in our caravan, I’ve just signed up to Kindlepreneur and downloaded software to hone my tags and categories more effectively and increase my novels’ visibility on Amazon. The learning never stops. 

AND FINALLY . . .

If I’m allowed a small boast (it’s my blog – right?) I’d love to share the article in WRITER’S FORUM where I talk about my writing space. Quite an achievement for an indie author. 

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So – good luck with all your enterprises. Don’t wait for luck to strike, go out and make it happen. And, if you see me on social media, do ‘like’ and ‘share’ my posts – I always pay it forward. 

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Narberth Book Fair 2019

Last year I learned via Jessie Cahalin that a book fair had been held at Narberth, Wales and I was keen to take part this year.  One of the great things about having a caravan is that you can rock up, book into a site for a couple of nights and enjoy all the comforts of home. The only down side of the weekend was that weather front Imelda decided to hit the Welsh coast at roughly the same time as us. However, writers are an intrepid bunch so we didn’t let that put us off. 

There was a day to go before the Book Fair opened and so we made the most of the opportunity to explore Tenby, a place new to us. What a fabulous little town it is, set above an amazing swathe of beach (reminiscent of The Prisoner), pastel painted houses of Dylan Thomas’s Llareggub in Under Milk Wood, twisting streets and chi-chi shops encircled by a formidable granite town walls. Much to my delight there was a Seasalt shop and a niche off-license selling gin in all its many forms. Yep, you guessed it, the tills were soon ringing.

We headed back to Narberth and set up my book table for the book fair the following day. If you’d like to read my interview on the Narberth Book Fair blog, you can find it here.

Next morning, bright eyed, bushy tailed and accompanied by a man in a kilt, I was soon behind my book table eager to meet new readers. My husband Dave is such a good sport, happy to chat to potential readers and answer questions about his kilt: which clan did he belong to (Lamont) where he’d bought his kilt (eBay!) and what was it like being married to a crazy writer of romance. (I asked that last question, actually). Other authors asked if he was available for hire as the kilt certainly proved a hit drawing in readers. 

As some of you may know, I was a teacher for 34 years and I was delighted to present a workshop to aspiring writers. One of those attending my workshop – 10 Point Guide on How to Write a Novel – was Anne Williams – fabulous blogger/reviewer and friend, who shared her knowledge on what was current in the publishing world, the benefit of writing sequels/series and the importance of having a social media presence. I hope that we can work together in the future as our joint perspective was appreciated by attendees. In case you’re wondering what’s on the large scroll I’m holding, it’s my novel PLANNER which I was keen to share with the attendees. I then went on to explain the difference between being a plotster or a pantser and, among other topics, having the courage to kill off your darlings if they aren’t moving the plot along.  

An unexpected bonus of attending the fair was meeting writers I’d only spoken to via Twitter or Facebook. In the collage are (clockwise) Anne Williams, Judith Barrow (joint organiser of the fair with Thorne Moore) Juliet Greenwood, Wendy Steele, Thorne Moore and Tim Wickenden. I also met Judith Arnott and we had an interesting discussion about Margaret Beaufort’s place in history. If I didn’t write romance I’d probably write historical fiction. 

Sadly, the weather on Sunday worsened and that had an impact on footfall. However, books continued to be sold, business cards exchanged and, gratifyingly, two attendees from my workshop returned to tell me how much they enjoyed my talk. They complimented me on the the way I’d presented the information in such an informative, easy to understand fashion. Clearly, all my years as a teacher hasn’t gone to waste. After clearing the hall I headed for local hotel Plas Hyfryd  and a celebratory meal (and maybe a raspberry gin and tonic, or two) with other writers. Dave returned to the caravan to watch the Rugby World Cup. 

When I returned, Dave had, covered the caravan’s windscreen with its protective  ‘bra’ (see photo 1) in preparation for the l-o-o-ng journey back to Leicester – six and a half hours with a fifteen minute break. The mist hung low in the valley as we left Wales and we were chased home by another weather front snapping at our heels. However, that couldn’t dampen my enthusiasm for the weekend. Many thanks to Thorne, Judith and their team of helpers for making the Narberth Book Fair such a resounding success. 

So what’s next? I plan on spending the autumn and winter hunkered down over the pc finishing my WIP – working title I’ll Be in Scotland – and getting it ready to publish Summer 2020. In the meantime, do watch my slideshow, check out my five published romances, or read some of my other blog posts.

A Cornish Affair – Jo Lambert

I’ve been a fan of Jo’s well crafted books for a long time so I am pleased to announce the arrival of her new romance. Take it away, Jo – Tell us about your latest …….


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In the close-knit community of Carrenporth in Cornwall everyone knows everyone else’s business. Luke Carrack is only too aware of this. He’s been away for two years but nothing has changed – from the town gossips who can’t see past the scandal of his childhood, to the cold way he is treated by some of his so-called family.
The only person who seems to understand is local hotelier’s daughter Cat Trevelyan, although even Luke’s new friendship with her could set tongues wagging.
But Carrenporth is about to experience far bigger scandals than the return of Luke Carrack – and the secrets unearthed in the process will shake the sleepy seaside town to its core …



Author Bio
– Jo Lambert lives on the eastern edge of Bath in Somerset. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and the Society of Authors.  She has been writing since 2008. Her first five books, a set of linked romantic sagas following the lives of several families in West Somerset, was followed in 2015 by Summer Moved On, a contemporary romance set in South Devon. A sequel, Watercolours in the Rain followed in 2017, 

In June 2018 Jo signed to Choc Lit and her debut A Cornish Affair, set in North Cornwall, has just been published. Jo is currently working on another Cornish coastal romance. When she isn’t writing she reads and reviews. She also has an active blog.  Jo loves travel, red wine and rock music and she often takes the odd photograph or two.

Jo Lambert – writer

Buy links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cornish-Affair-Jo-Lambert-ebook/dp/B07S4M3JNC

US – https://www.amazon.com/Cornish-Affair-Jo-Lambert-ebook/dp/B07S4M3JNC 

In e-book and audible form

Also available on KOBO, Nook, Google Play and iBookstore

Social Media Links – Website: http://jolambertbooks.com

Blog: http://jolambertwriter.blog

Twitter: @jolambertwriter

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jolambert185

Instagram: jolambertwriter185

Linkedin: https://uk.linkedin.com/in/jo-lambert-6 4644530

What readers and reviewers have said about A Cornish Affair

” perhaps my favourite yet of the author’s books” Welsh Anne 5*

” A really lovely and enjoyable debut by Jo for Choc Lit Barch 5*

”  The many plot twists and one curious mystery kept my interest and moved the story along at a good pace. ” All125 4* Amazon.com

”  What I really did enjoy about this novel was that I felt it went beyond where I would have expected it to. ” Gilski 4*

” A romantic, engaging and irresistible tale of love, loyalty and the ties that bind.” Julie 4*

Formidable – publishing day for A Paris Fairytale by Marie Laval

I’m a great fan of Marie’s writing and so it is without a moments hesitation that I welcome her to my blog to tell us about her new novel A Paris Fairytale. Take it away Marie . . . but first, some flowers from me, to you .

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Thank you so much, Lizzie, for welcoming me on your blog today to talk about my latest contemporary romance, A PARIS FAIRY TALE, which will be released by Choc Lit today, Tuesday 23rdJuly.

Such a beautiful cover, Marie. I’m always fascinated to read where authors get their inspiration from. Can you tell us your story?

I can remember exactly where and when A PARIS FAIRY TALE was born in my imagination. I had gone shopping in Manchester with my daughter Clémence and we sheltered from the rain in the beautiful John Ryland’s Library on Deansgate in the city centre. After walking around the impressive, atmospheric building and admiring the various collections on display, I sat in front of a computer and played around with an interactive programme describing the history of illuminated manuscripts in medieval Paris.  I was particularly fascinated by the work of Jean Rémiet, an illuminator also known as ‘the master of death’ for the way he portrayed death and illness – I know, not very cheerful! 

From that moment on, I was hooked… Two years on, and many twists and turns later (owing to the fact that I am a complete pantser!), and the story is written and getting published! 

If it hadn’t been for the rain, I would never have ventured inside the library that particular day and got involved in the interactive display. And if hadn’t been for my daughter standing patiently next to me for over an hour whilst I took frantic notes and muttered to myself like a mad woman, A PARIS FAIRY TALE might never have existed!  

Photo by Carolline De Souza on Pexels.com

Blurb for A PARIS FAIRY TALE

Is Paris the city of happily ever afters?
Workaholic art historian Aurora Black doesn’t have time for fairy tales or Prince Charmings, even in the most romantic city in the world. She has recently been hired by a Parisian auction house for a job that could make or break her career. Unfortunately, daredevil journalist Cédric Castel seems intent on disrupting Aurora’s routine. 
As Aurora and Cédric embark on a journey across France, they get more than they bargained for as they find themselves battling rogue antiques dealers and personal demons, not to mention a growing attraction to each other. 
But with the help of a fairy godmother or two, could they both find their happily ever afters? 

Originally from Lyon in France, Marie now lives in Lancashire with her family. She works full-time as a modern languages teacher and in her spare time she loves writing romance and dreaming about romantic heroes. 

She writes both historical and contemporary romance. Her historical romance The Lion’s Embrace won the Gold Medal at the Global Ebook Awards 2015 (category Historical Romance), and best-selling Little Pink Taxi was her debut romantic comedy novel with Choc Lit. 

She is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and the Society of Authors. Her native France, as well as her passion for history and research, very much influences her writing, and all her novels have what she likes to call ‘a French twist’!

Her latest romantic novel  A PARIS FAIRY TALE is released on July 23rdand is available as a ebook and audiobook on Amazon and various other platforms.

You can find out more about Marie on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/marielavalauthor/) or Twitter (https://twitter.com/MarieLaval1).

You can also find on Pinterest the many beautiful photos of Paris and illuminated manuscripts which inspired the writing of A Paris Fairy Tale (https://www.pinterest.co.uk/laval0232/)

😊Lots of lovely retweets for my twitter post yesterday. Hope Marie’s new book sells by the shed load 👍🏻

I love #Norfolk

Five on Friday with Ian Wilfred @Ianwilfred39

Ian is a great supporter of other romance writers so I’m happy to reblog this on my own page ❤

Jill's Book Cafe

Today I’m delighted to introduce romantic novelist Ian Wilfred who I applaud for breaking the stereotype of  a typical ‘romance’ writer. I know that there are other male romance writers, but not all bravely publish under their real name/gender. I ‘met’ Ian on Twitter where he is always supportive and friendly and it would be lovely to say hello in real life at some stage. I will admit to being more than a little bit in love with his dog Lottie (before I discovered Jack Russells I always wanted a Westie).

Ian Wilfred

Author Bio:-

Ian Wilfred is 50+ but in his head he will always be 39. He lives on the Norfolk Coast with his husband and West Highland terrier and is a member of the Romantic Novelist Association.

Ian’s debut novel ‘Putting Right The Past’ was published in 2013 and is set on the island of Tenerife. In 2017 he…

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LIFE PLAYLISTS: THIS WEEK IT’S THE TURN OF WRITER ADRIENNE VAUGHAN TO CHOOSE HER FIVE SPECIAL MUSIC TRACKS…

Five great choices from Adrienne Vaughan !

JO LAMBERT - A WRITER'S JOURNEY

This was great fun and relatively easy for me because all the selected songs are featured in my novel That Summer at the Seahorse Hotel.
I’m Irish, so music is in my DNA. Music filled our house from morning to night, my father Harry, was a trumpet-player who loved jazz, classical, pop, you name it, he even played in a brass band and introduced us to some wonderful colliery tunes.
We all loved to dance – ballet, tap, rock ‘n’ roll and I was taught The Twist by my aunts at a very tender age. I still know the words to most Billie Holiday songs and quite a few of Ella Fitzgerald’s too!
That Summer at the Seahorse Hotel is a gripping, romantic suspense staring Mia Flanagan, a costumier in the film business whose mother is a famous actress. Mia has never been told who her father is, and…

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Five tracks which sum up my life . . .

This post originally appeared on Jo Lambert’s blog

Since then, I’ve discovered how to insert HTML images from Youtube into a blog post so I’ve updated it. Hope the videos enhance your pleasure of the blog post and that I can remember how to do it next time.

When I was very young, my mother and I went to live with my maternal grandparents and two teenage uncles (Joseph 20 and Tommy 18) who spoiled me rotten and encouraged me to be precocious. NOT that I needed much encouragement. The house was filled with music, my uncles having bought a large radiogram with wages earned working in the local steel mill. They played their 78’s whenever they could, which meant I knew the words to all the latest songs and they taught me how to jive, twist etc. Later, when we moved house to England, my family’s love of popular music continued (via the radio). We listened to Music While You Work, Children’s Favourites, Sing Something Simple, Two Way Family Favourites and ground-breaking Radio Caroline. As a teenager I fell asleep listening to Radio Luxembourg via an earpiece attached to my prized transistor radio. When Radio One was launched in 1967 it was as important to teenagers, like me, as a man walking on the moon two years later.

Little Me. 3 years old . . . and a bunch of trouble

Fast forward to listening to Radio One on the drive home from work, the transition from cassette tapes to CD’s and finally, downloading music on my iPhone. Small wonder music has provided the backing track to all our lives.

Here are five of my favourites – 

(1) The Mammas and Papas

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I only have to hear the opening chords of this song and I am transported back to 1967 when the hippy movement reached Leicester. I had just taken my ‘O’ levels and at the start of the summer holidays my friend Brenda Harris and I bought a bag of budgie bells from the local pet shop (much to the shop keeper’s suspicion). We sewed them on the outside seam of our bellbottom jeans, found a couple of floppy hats and ‘granny clothes’ at jumble sales and put together a ‘hippy kit’. Then we joined all the other wannabes on Victoria Park in search of the much promised Happening, which never materialised. Instead, we ended up in mega trouble for chalking – MAKE LOVE, NOT WAR on a neighbour’s garage door, after which the Summer of Love ended abruptly for us.

(2) Sguaban Arbhair – Sheaves of Corn

I often ‘stumble across’ music and this is how I found Runrig. I was watching TV and saw the group perform at Glasgow Barrowlands and was blown away, When I was a child we would often go to the ‘Barras’ a couple of times a year on shopping expeditions.  That memory, coupled with Runrig’s fusion of folk, Gaelic and rock music tapped into a part of me I’d forgotten existed; my Scottishness. When Runrig came to Leicester I went to see them in concert and bought several CD’s afterwards. There I found the track Sguaban Arbhair – Sheaves of Corn. It tells how the old ways of crofting and living off the land have vanished as young people head for the cities. It’s my go-to song when I want to get into the mood for writing. In Scotch on the Rocks, my heroine Ishabel sings it at a live mike session in the local pub and the hero falls in love with her. When I listen to it, I’m transported to Eilean na Sgairbh, the imaginary Cormorant Island where I set my novel.S

(3) Ship to Shore – Chris de Burgh

Lady in Red (now sadly cliched) brought Chris de Burgh to my attention. And, of course, I had to listen to his back catalogue (first on vinyl and then on CD). I found Ship to Shore and it raised my spirits at a difficult time. My mother had recently died of cancer, I underwent a hysterectomy, we moved house twice in two and a half years and I was acting head at a large primary school of over 350 children. It became an anthem for me, the backdrop to a time when I wanted to get stuck into my writing but was forced to put my dream on hold. The line: how I wish that we could turn the clock back to the time when we were lovers, in the true sense of the meaning, inspired me to go for gold and achieve my dream. In fact, all of the lyrics have a resonance for me. I only have to hear the Morse code ‘pips’ at the beginning of the song and I’m transported back to when I saw Chris de Burgh at the NEC. A time before word processors, the internet, and Amazon made becoming a published author an attainable dream for thousands of indie authors.S

(4) Someone Like You – Adele

I discovered Adele much in the same way as Runrig. A friend had been banging on about her for months and I put my fingers in my ears and refused to listen. Stubborn, see? Then I caught Adele’s concert at the Albert Hall on TV, heard her sing Someone Like You and Don’t You Remember? and was hooked. Something in her lyrics – which come straight from her heart, the key she sang in, and her performance found an answering chord in me. Overall, I’ve had a good life and a very happy marriage. So, I have to dig deep when writing a sad/emotional scenes and Adele takes me there in seconds. So – that evening, once I’d stopped blubbing like a baby in front of the TV, I went straight on to Amazon and ordered ‘21’. It’s remained a favourite ever since.

(4) Downbound Train – Bruce Springsteen

In the 90’s we went to America, travelling from Washington DC to Memphis, thru Iowa and up to Door County. We stayed with my former teaching student and when we caught the plane back to the UK, she gave me Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the USA. In return, I promised that I would write a romance set in Wisconsin, bringing together everything we’d experienced over five magical weeks. Once home, I played the album while preparing for returning to school after the long holiday. However, influenced by Jilly Cooper, Helen Fielding et al I put notes for my ‘American novel’ to one side and started writing a rom com instead: Tall, Dark and Kilted. But I never forgot my promise and recently returned to the MS, re-writing and publishing it as Take Me, I’m Yours, dedicating it to Dee Paulsen and her family. Apart from the anthemic Born in the USA, my favourite track is Downbound Train. Every time I play it, I’m back in Dee’s Aunt Bev’s house in Memphis sweltering in 100 degrees in the shade as we rush from air-conditioned house to air-conditioned car. Now I know that I don’t have a pioneering bone in my body and would never convincingly play the part of a woman having a baby in the back of a wagon.

If you would like to read an extract, download or share about Take Me, I’m Yours, click here

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Which five tracks would YOU choose?

7 tips for self-editing your book

Some great pointers here from Helena Fairfax on how to self-edit your novel.

Helena Fairfax

It’s time for this month’s authors’ Round Robin, and author Robin Courtright has set us another excellent topic…

round robin, helena fairfax, freelance editor

How do you self-edit your books before submitting or publishing?

When I wrote my first novel I knew very little about the editing process. In my naivety, I thought

helena fairfax, freelance editorImage courtesy of Pixabay

editing involved checking for spelling mistakes and picking up on grammatical errors.

I’ve learned a great deal since then, and my ideas about editing have changed completely. Although details are important, people will generally forgive a typo here or there, or the odd time you said ‘which’ when you meant ‘that’. Unless your manuscript is riddled with this type of mistake, minor errors won’t generally make a reader put a book down.

There are some important areas that could easily lose your readers’ interest, though. In order to self-edit, you need to be able to take a step back…

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A (Yorkshire) Rose by any other name

Welcome to Yorkshire Rose Writers

It is my great pleasure to interview Yorkshire Rose Writers on my blog today. There are so many questions I wanted to ask but had to limit Sharon and Jessica to just FIVE because of space and time. But I advise anyone who wants to know about them to go over to their wonderful blog, or to follow them on Facebook.

So, who are the Yorkshire Rose Writers ?

We’re the Yorkshire Rose Writers, also known as Sharon Booth and Jessica Redland. We met through both being members of the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writers’ Scheme. As we both live in Yorkshire, love Yorkshire, write contemporary romance/romantic comedies set in Yorkshire, and are good friends, we decided to join forces online and become the Yorkshire Rose Writers. They say two heads are better than one so we’re looking forward to seeing where our partnership takes us. So far, Sharon has published 13 books and Jessica has published 9 with her tenth due out in spring.

Way to go Sharon and Jessica, tell us more !

We both set our novels in Yorkshire although, funnily enough, neither of us started with a Yorkshire setting…

Jessica: The idea for my debut novel, Searching for Steven, came from a real-life event. At the time, I was living in Reading, Berkshire, but I moved back to the north the following year to be nearer my family and that’s when I started writing. The book was initially set in London with the protagonist moving to the north but ‘the north’ was a very non-specific setting and, the more I wrote, the more I realised my lack of setting was really letting me down. A couple of months later, I met my husband and he was from Scarborough on the North Yorkshire Coast where I now live. I found the love of my life but I also found my setting as all my books are set in a fictional version of Scarborough (with a bit of Whitby and Robin Hood’s Bay thrown in there) called Whitsborough Bay. I wanted to keep the setting fictional to give me the flexibility to change things and create parts of the town that don’t exist. Anyone who knows Scarborough will recognise certain parts, though, which are very much inspired by the real setting.

Photo by Lukas Hartmann on Pexels.com

Sharon: I’ve set books in various parts of Yorkshire, including the Dales and Moors. My first series of books, however, are set in the fictional Kearton Bay, which is based on Robin Hood’s Bay. When I first had the idea for what became There Must Be an Angel, we were on our way down to Somerset for a holiday, and while we were there, we visited Glastonbury. I started plotting during that week, so when I returned home, I initially set the story in Glastonbury. It wasn’t long, however, before I realised that the characters who were talking to me had Yorkshire accents …

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Please share your top five writing tips

  • Keep everything! No work is wasted work
  • Write what you love. If you’re not passionate about your characters/setting/plot, readers probably won’t be too
  • Always have a notepad (or even the notes function on your phone) handy for when inspiration strikes
  • Keep a spreadsheet or similar of all the key details of your characters and settings, particularly if, like us, you write a series. This makes sure you don’t name two streets the same, move businesses, or keep calling all your secondary characters Dave
  • Don’t forget your character arc. By the end of your book, your protagonist needs to have changed in some way/learned something. At the start, decide on your arc and how you’re going to achieve it.

Tell us how the writing process works for you –
plotter or pantser

Sharon: I’m very much a plotter, although in ‘real’ life I’m quite disorganised and everything is ‘last minute’ with me. I use a fantastic book called Save the Cat! Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody to make a plan before I start writing. Having said that, I do veer off course quite often, but I’m like that clever Sat Nav lady – I just correct the route and carry on.  

Jessica: I’m the pantser which surprises me because, in ‘real’ life I’m actually very organised and a big planner. When I wrote Searching for Steven, I just wrote. I hadn’t a clue what I was doing and I learned my craft along the way. Because it took me a decade to write on and off (including some significant breaks where I didn’t write at all), I think I developed a habit. I tried to plot the sequel, Getting Over Gary, but my characters didn’t like it. They kept doing their own thing – which was not what I’d plotted – so I now just write. I do spend some time developing my characters first, though, including their arc. I know what the plot will be about and how it needs to end but how that unfolds is very much driven by my characters as I go.

Social Media – help or hindrance
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Great question! If we’re honest, probably a bit of both. Writing can be a lonely business so social media is great for engaging with other writers, making friends, and building a ‘community’. But, let’s be honest, if you’re having a tough time it can really knock your confidence to see a Facebook newsfeed full of writers celebrating amazing news – even though you really like them and are genuinely pleased for them. Sometimes we forget that most people only post about the good bits of their lives! Social media can be great for promoting your work, of course, but that also has a downside, because we know that nothing is more likely to alienate potential readers than constant ‘buy my book’ posts.

It’s hard to strike a balance between promotion and remembering the ‘social’ bit of social media. It’s a huge time suck if you let it be. No one can procrastinate quite like a writer, and it’s funny how appealing a video of a cat watching television can be if you’ve reached a tricky part of your WIP. (And yes, we have watched that video!)  It’s part of the reason we joined together. We figured that, if one of us is having a busy week/month, the other one might not be under quite so much pressure, so we can ‘share the burden’. It’s also often easier to promote each other than it is to promote ourselves!

Blurb and link(s) to your current book

Jessica: My current book is a Christmas one, but a Christmas book isn’t just for Christmas is it? And it starts on Christmas Day one year but then is mainly November/early December the following one so not entirely Christmas. Have I convinced you?

Christmas at The Chocolate Pot Café  –

A few minutes of courage might change your life…

Emotionally, Tara Porter finds the festive period a challenge. Christmas Day is a reminder of the family she lost, and New Year’s Eve holds bitter memories of the biggest mistake of her life: marrying Garth Tewkesbury. Shunning invitations to celebrate, she seeks refuge in her flat with only her giant house bunny, Hercules, for company.
Professionally, though, it’s the best time of year. Tara’s thriving café, The Chocolate Pot, is always packed. With the café hosting a wedding and engagement party, it’s shaping up to be the café’s best Christmas ever.
When former nemesis, Jed Ferguson, threatens the future of The Chocolate Pot, Tara prepares for a fight. The café is everything to her and she’s not going to let anyone or anything jeopardise that. 
Tara badly misjudged ex-husband Garth and, since then, has refused to let anyone in. After all, if you don’t let them in, they can’t hurt you. But has she misjudged Jed too? Is it possible that he’s not the arrogant, deceitful man from whom she bought the café 14 years earlier? Can she find the courage to find out for sure?

Sharon: My latest book is the first in my new The Witches of Castle Clair series, set in a fictional version of Knaresborough in North Yorkshire. It’s suitable to be read at any time of year.

Belle, Book and Christmas Candle

Do you believe in magic? 

Sky St Clair doesn’t, and growing up in Castle Clair, a small town renowned for its mystical past and magical legends, she never felt she belonged.
Sky got away from Castle Clair as soon as she could, but when a run of bad luck leaves her homeless and jobless, she has little choice but to accept her sister Star’s invitation to return home for the festive season.
When Star has an accident, Sky finds herself running the family’s magical supplies shop. Wands, crystals, pendulums … really? It’s a tough job when she doesn’t believe in the products she’s selling, but how can she? Magic isn’t real, no matter what her deluded siblings think.
Jethro Richmond doesn’t believe in magic either. In fact, he doesn’t believe in anything much anymore, which is proving to be a bit of a problem for a writer of fantasy novels. With a self-constructed wall around his heart as high as Clair Tower, and his dreams as ruined as the town’s ancient castle, he’s lost all hope of repairing his tattered career. The last thing he needs is to get involved with a family like the St Clairs, and no matter what a certain little black cat seems to want Jethro has no intention of spending any time with Sky or her unusual sisters. 
But this is a strange little town and, as the residents prepare to celebrate Christmas, Sky and Jethro might just discover that in Castle Clair, anything is possible. Even magic



Finally – what are you working on ATM?

Sharon: I’m writing the second in The Witches of Castle Clair series, plotting the fourth and final Kearton Bay novel, and starting to jot down ideas for the fifth Bramblewick book.

Jessica: I’m trying to find a home with a publisher for my tenth novel. I’m being very selective about where to send it, though. I’ve had some superb feedback, no offers … yet. I’m waiting to hear back on a couple of others, but will indie publish it in spring if they’re a no. I’m also part-way through another two books. I hope one will be ready for summer and another for autumn. In theory. Reality is that I’m in the final year of a Masters in Creative Writing through Open University, and I have another five assignments to go on that which will have to take priority. My final big assignment will be 15k words of a new novel and I’m excited about that because I’ve decided to do something a bit different as a challenge. If it works, that may be a 2020 publication.

Thanks so much for inviting us onto your blog, Lizzie. We really appreciate it.  It’s been great fun having you here, I hope we might meet up soon.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Yorkshire Rose Writers

Blog: http://yorkshirerosewriters.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/yorkshirerosewriters/

Twitter: @YorkRoseWriters

Instagram: yorkrosewriters

Sharon Booth:

Website/blog: https://sharonboothwriter.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sharonbooth.writer/

Twitter: @Sharon_Booth1

Instagram: sharonboothwriter

Jessica Redland:

Website: http://www.jessicaredland.com

Blog: https://jessicaredlandwriter.wordpress.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JessicaRedlandWriter/

Twitter: @JessicaRedland

Instagram: jessicaredlandwriter

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