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My 10 point guide on how to be a (successful) indie author – part #1

This blog post is the result of #UKROMCHAT inviting me onto their fab site. I thought the notes were too good to be hidden away in one of my box files. I hope you find the post interesting.  Do share/comment/ask questions, that’s what this post is all about.

 1.Please tell us about your latest book Take Me, I’m Yours

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India Buchanan plans to set up an English-Style bed and breakfast establishment in her great-aunt’s home, MacFarlane’s Landing, Wisconsin. But she’s reckoned without opposition from Logan MacFarlane whose family once owned her aunt’s house and now want it back. MacFarlane is in no mood to be denied. His grandfather’s living on borrowed time and Logan has vowed to ensure the old man sees out his days in their former home. India’s great-aunt has other ideas and has threatened to burn the house to the ground before a MacFarlane sets foot in it. There’s a story here. One the family elders aren’t prepared to share. When India finds herself in Logan’s debt, her feelings towards him change. However, the past casts a long shadow and events conspire to deny them the love and happiness they. Can India and Logan’s love overcome all odds? Or is history about to repeat itself? You can read an extract.

2.This is your first book set outside of the UK. What drew you to Wisconsin. 

Back in the day I trained a teaching student from Oshkosh University for two terms. We became great friends and I had a standing invitation to go over to stay with her in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. I did just that for five weeks one summer and when I flew back from Chicago I promised I would write a romance set in Wisconsin. Last year I learned she has Parkinson’s Disease and that galvanised me into action – this book is for her.

3.OK, we need to know about Sexy Scottish Lairds and Hunky Marine Biologists…

#3cWell, if you insist. I am a dyed-in-the-wool romantic. For some women, it’s Regency Rakes, Cowboys or Navy Seals, but for me it’s a man-in-a-kilt. If he’s a highland laird or the heir to a highland estate so much the better. Not because of wealth or  belonging to an aristocratic family but because I love a hero who isn’t afraid to shoulder responsibility, care for his tenants and who has a strong connection with the land. Those attributes, allied with a sharp mind, a sense of humour and a willingness to care for the heroine wins me over. As for marine biologists: who could resist Daniel Craig or Sean Connery emerging from the surf in a wetsuit – budgie smugglers, not so much! Urgh.

4 and 5.Please tell us about your writing journey prior to New Romantics Press being founded

I had bagged an agent (the late Dot Lumley) and HM&B were showing interest in my writing.  In 1990 I reached a crossroads, continue with my writing or accept a deputy headship of a large primary school. Because of the demanding nature of teaching, I knew I couldn’t do both and chose the latter. In 2006 I took early retirement from teaching joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writers’ Scheme, wrote Tall, Dark and Kilted and submitted it for a critique. I was told it was ‘almost ready’ to start sending out to agents but needed more polishing. etc. In the meantime, I co-founded NRP with other members of the RNA/NWS. Then, over lunch in my garden, author Amanda Grange advised us to consider self-publishing on amazon. The algorithms were changing and . . . well, you can read more about it here –  That was in 2012 and we’ve never looked back. I only wish I’d had the chutzpah to self-publish a year earlier because terms were more favourable on Amazon at that point.

New Romantics Press is keen to find new readers and share our work with them. Over the last six years we have published fifteen books between us and are currently working on new titles. Our motto is: Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves and you can read more about us on in this blog

6.What are the benefits of collaborating with other authors?

Well, for one thing, you are never more than a phone call away from a good mate who will listen to your writing woes, meet you for coffee and offer sound advice. Between us, we have a wealth of knowledge about indie publishing, social media, PR – and what one of us doesn’t know, the others will find out! I couldn’t imagine being without my NRP support system.

Your events sound like fun . . . #5bMost readers and bloggers mention how much fun we have promoting our books. Writing can be a lonely occupation. As authors, we spend most of the time hidden away in our studies/offices tapping at the keyboard. When we do get out, we like to let our hair down. Warning: our events involve laughter and prosecco, so only like-minded writers and readers need apply.

In 2019, Adrienne Vaughan and I will be running a series of workshops for novice and intermediate writers, sharing our knowledge and giving them the confidence to finish their WIP. On a more personal note, before the end of 2018, I have a library talk, a lecture on indie publishing to deliver at De Montfort University, I’m hosting a workshop featuring Kim Nash of Bookouture – and organising a Christmas Party for the Belmont Belles (the Leicester Chapter of the RNA) with guest speaker Carole Matthews. Oh, and I have another novel to write – no pressure, obvs.img_3267

Here endeth the first part of my talk. Do join me next time when I will be covering the following aspects of writing:

  • the difference between self-publishing and indie publishing
  • advice for writers considering self-publishing/indie publishing
  • my thoughts about taking a hybrid approach
  • plotters vs pantsers
  • top tips for finishing a novel 
  • choosing and researching the location of my novels
  • why do I write happily ever after novels 

Laters,

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– BREAKING NEWS –  TMIY hits #1 spot

2018-10-23 18.59.00

 

 

New Novel – Take Me, I’m Yours – a Wisconsin love story

I hope you’re having a great summer and enjoying these endless days of sunshine. It reached over 35 degrees in SCOTLAND (Motherwell) when I was there this summer researching my next novel. However, I turned my back on the glorious sunshine and spent time in the caravan putting the finishing touches to Take My, I’m Yours. IMG_1975(1)

For some of the time, I was working with my formatter, Sarah Houldcroft of Goldcrest Books almost 600 miles away in Leicestershire. In one hilarious incident I had to travel across north-west Sutherland to find a phone signal in order to finalise the last details with her. Then I was forced to sit in the car park of the Fisheries Dept in Lochinver to check through and upload the final version of the novel.
See how I suffer for my art?

Anyhoo, here’s the blurb  – I hope it’ll tempt you to download a copy of Take Me, I’m Yours, or buy a paperback for yourself or a friend. 

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You’re probably wondering why I have deserted the highlands of Scotland for Lake Michigan. If you download the novel you’ll find the answer in the dedication. In Take Me, I’m Yours the hero Logan MacFarlane quotes Robert Frost, saying that he has ‘promises to keep’. I promised my friend Dee Paulsen that when I left the teaching profession to become a full-time author, I would write a romance set in Wisconsin. Take Me, I’m Yours is that novel.

Many years ago we stayed in Door County, Wisconsin. On our last day, we went to Egg Harbor and Cana Island to explore the lighthouses there. Images of that day stayed with me and when I came to write Take Me, I’m Yours, I had no trouble imagining Aunt Elspeth’s dilapidated house with its ancient lighthouse looming over it.  The story almost wrote itself because I’d spent many years thinking about it and having conversations with the characters in my head.

Here’s how the novel begins . . .

Sip and have fun!

 

The first reviews are in – Goodreads – and here’s what they say:

  • From the moment that Logan MacFarlane roars into view on his vintage Triumph motorcycle and India Buchanan grabs her monkey wrench to defend herself for their first skirmish, I knew I was going to love this bookjames-kresser-598017-unsplash
  • I fell in love with Scotland reading Lizzie’s books, and now with Wisconsin, too!
  • As usual Lizzie’s characters leapt off the page and I felt as if I knew them; loved some and despaired of others. A very satisfying read.
  •  Be ready for 19 chapters of pure escapism where witty, ironic dialogues mix skilfully with top romance.

If you’d like to read some of Take Me, I’m Yours  click here. TMIY is also free to read for Kindle Unlimited and Amazon Prime subscribers.

mara-ket-504242-unsplashI am proud of this novel and everything I’ve achieved over the last five and a half years as an an indie publisher. I could rest on my laurels but I am burning to start novel number 6, a ‘road-trip’ romance which will take readers from Cornwall of Scotland on the trail of two runaways.

And, of course I have another gorgeous hero waiting in the wings to meet you . . . and a less-than-impressed heroine who will keep him on his toes.

The first stages of my planning sheet for #6

Planning sheet for #6 which I started while in Scotland in June

Finally, from  the 15th – 21st of September, Take Me, I’m Yours will be on tourIMG_1919(1)

footnote: I received an email this morning from Amazon inviting me to enter Take Me, I’m Yours into the Kindle Storyteller Award 2018 judged by Lorraine Kelly and readers. Will I do it? Of course I will – as Del Boy once so famously said: she who dares, wins. It would really increase my chances of being shortlisted if you downloaded a copy and left  a review.

Thank you very much , Lizzie x

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