Why Two Books are Better than One

Before I begin today’s post, I am delighted to share some news with you all.

Firstly, A Readers Review have reviewed Here Lies Love and I’m absolutely thrilled they understood the premise of my dark story and ‘got it’. It has certainly made my day. Please go over and read the review if you are interested in buying the book.

Secondly, it has been confirmed that I will be doing a book signing of Here Lies Love at Gainsborough Library in November time. When I have arranged a specific date, I will let you know!

Also, I was honoured to be mentioned on twitter yesterday. This person’s words were heartfelt and made me smile. Thanks, Dan Conama!

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Why Two Books are Better than One

IMG_0717I’ve always been an avid reader, but I do have to admit that for a period in my late teens and early twenty’s, I hardly read at all. I guess it came down to trying to adjust leaving sixth-form, getting a full time night job and having my daughter. I could never get in the habit of reading properly – flitting between a few pages before eventually falling asleep.

It was time for drastic action. I needed kick myself up the backside and force myself to start reading again. Which I did – yay! And I’ve never looked back since.

I’m a member of a certain kind of reading category. I do not read one book at a time – I very specifically read two books at the same time. I may not pick up one of those books in a few days, instead content on reading the other, but I will swap and change, and sometimes even in one day!

People are often confused at my reading behaviour. But it works for me – and I’ll tell you why. (As you can see by the picture, I am currently reading Odysseus: The Return by Valerio Massimo Manfredi and Take Me Tomorrow by Shannon A Thompson.)

The first book is always an adult novel – whether that be a literary novel, contemporary, the in book, it doesn’t really matter. The second book is therefore always a YA (Young adult) or children’s novel.

The great thing about being an adult in a reading sense is that you can in fact read adult novels and understand them, sympathise when them and be cognitive to its true meaning. Sometimes, I love getting lost in an adult novel – they can be much darker than children’s books (for obvious reasons) and they pull you in. As an adult, you are more mature to read sex, violence and other un-childlike themes.

But as a great contrast, I find that delving into a coming-of-age young adult novel at the same time brings a fresh air to things. Plots and storylines can be as explosive and meaningful, but they read in such a different way. It allows my brain to stay on its feet, as it were.

I often find that my brain craves for a certain book (out of the two I’m reading) on different days. I don’t have constraints on how much of my time is divided between the two books though, and that is a key point to note, because reading is something that should be enjoyed and not forced. Go with the flow.

And yet, as readers, I’m sure we’ve all been inside a book when it suddenly feels like a chore to carry on. You aren’t connecting with the characters, the pace is slow, the author is annoying you …. the perfect remedy is to put that down for a few days and carry on with the other book.

It’s an interesting concept to some people, but give it a try. It may take some getting used to, because, afterall, you are getting into the minds of more than one central character. I often get asked if I get confused on events, accidentally fusing the two storylines together. And do you know what? I actually don’t.

So, Do you read more than one book?

Dreams of The Black Petal Dashed

Receiving a contract offer from Ghostly Publishing for my YA fantasy novel (yes the one I have been banging on about for ages) was one of the happiest moments of my life. The Black Petal was the first full-length novel I ever wrote, and although I worked hard on the editing side, I was inundated with rejection letter after rejection letter. The book has been written and finished now for well over two years. Sadly, publishing is a slow industry.

So it was all guns blazing with the publication however. Sadly, recently, I received word that my dreams had been dashed, just short of the finishing line. Ghostly Publishing is no more. They have closed their doors and are shutting down, which means The Black Petal is not to be published by them.

I think it is safe to say that I was in shock for some time when I found out. It wasn’t a pleasant feeling. Especially as I am writing the sequel at the moment. Being positive isn’t easy and I think it may take some time before I get over the dismay of it all.

So, where do we go from here? There are a few of you out there who have shown real interest in the story and I can tell you that it will be published. I’m just not sure when or by who just yet? I have sent the manuscript out to agents, clenching all fingers crossed that one of them may see the potential I feel is in the story.

But until then, stay with me folks, I’m sure there is that light at the tunnel somewhere. We just need to find it first.

Do I Have a Daily Word Count?

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I was asked earlier today by fellow writer Kate Foster, if I had a daily word count to aim for when writing. We were talking about my epic fantasy series, which starts off with The Black Petal, published by Ghostly Publishing and available to preorder here. I’m currently writing the sequel, and I’m up to chapter three so far. I still have a lot more to write – more chapters than The Black Petal, but hopefully just as magical.

I had a think to myself – do I have a daily word count? The definite answer is no, no I don’t. But I do count how many words I have written during a writing session. You may notice that I update my FB page when I’ve just had a session.

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My life isn’t simple; I’m guessing most writers’ lives aren’t. I work full-time night shifts as well as raising my daughter too. I have to fit my writing around everything else I do. Paying bills, doing the shopping, reading, working, cleaning …. With everything going on, I simply cannot write every day, but I certainly aim to write every week. My current goal/aim is write a chapter a week, but I’m not going to scold myself if I don’t quite make it.

I’ve learnt that adding deadlines and pressure into my writing only makes failure more likely. I get stressed quite easily, and I thought I would have my previous novel Here Lies Love ready before it actually was. I got down, felt stressed and ultimately had to go away for a while to clear my head.

I’m not setting myself any deadlines for The Golden Lyre. I’m going with the flow and taking things as they come. I feel already that my writing has come a long way since I first wrote The Black Petal. I can schedule myself better. I’m looking forward to writing again – there were times earlier in the year when I wasn’t looking forward to writing. I’m happy where my writing life is going at the moment.

If you are a writer, do you have a daily word goal?

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Book Giveaway – Firebolt by Adrienne Woods

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I am pleased to host a giveaway for Adrienne Woods in regards to her YA fantasy story Firebolt.

firebolt_title2For the love of blueberries, Elena Watkins was destined for greatness, even though she didn’t know it. Before entering Paegeia Elena was not special, she wasn’t even average until the night her father was killed by a creature she thought only existed in fairy tales – a dragon. With her father’s death leaving her orphaned, Elena is whisked away to her true birthplace, Paegeia. Arriving at Dragonia Academy, the premier school for young Dragonians; a school she was never meant to attend because her father was a dragon. Unbeknownst to Elena danger is lurking behind the enchanted vines concealing the once thriving capital of Paegeia – Etan. Goran, the darkest sorcerer in the realm, has lain dormant for over a century behind the crumbling city. There, in the shadowy ruins he plots his revenge to destroy the only weapon that can kill him – the King of Lion Sword. When the sword is stolen without a trace Elena doesn’t think twice about seeking it; knowing deep down that it is her destiny to save her new home.

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Adrienne Woods is born and raised in South Africa, where she still resides on the East side of Johannesburg with her husband and two little girls. She’s been writing for the past four years and in her free time she likes to review books of new and upcoming authors.

 

Enter the Giveaway here!

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Here Lies Love to become Audiobook

Audible 2Isn’t it great news? I’ve been searching for a producer for a while now and I’ve found the perfect person: Corina Marcos. It was really important for me to work with someone who sounded like Abbey, and Corina does an absolutely marvellous job with it. The audio book is currently in production, which basically means it is currently being recorded. I’ve listened to the first fifteen minutes and I love it. I am excited to see (or listen rather) how the finished audio turns out. The planned release for the audiobook is October, but that isn’t definite.

Do you listen to audiobooks? Being a member of Audible will mean that you can listen to the book by using one of your credits, but it will also be available from Amazon and iTunes too. The audiobook market is increasing in favour and this is a step I am keen to explore.

In other news, Here Lies Love is changing distributor, making it available to various other websites and bookshops. When the new edition of the paperback is available, I will let you know. For the meantime, you can still pick up the kindle version over at Amazon US / Amazon UK or any other Amazon site come to think of it.

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My Publisher for Here Lies Love, Autumn Orchard is looking for likes on their Facebook pageThey are giving away two brand new paperbacks when they reach 100 likes. Can you help? Spread the word!

 

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Supporting my local Library

Being able to support my local library by donating a couple of copies of Here Lies Love was a great honour. The press came along and took some pictures, and you know what, I quite liked the photo they published. I’m not very photogenic you see, but for some reason, the picture didn’t make me feel embarrassed. What do you think?

HLL Donate

Not too long ago, I was asked by author Jack Croxall to take part in his What do libraries mean to you? debate. You can head on over there to see what my local library did for me. It was really important for me to take part in both the discussion as well as donating to my library as over here in the UK (for all you guys who aren’t aware) the government is cutting grants and funds that are needed by the library. In my county alone, a good chunk of local libraries are under threat to shut their doors for good.

SaveLincsLibraries is a campaign over on twitter. Please follow them and give your support. The next generation could miss out on the cultural and social input libraries offer. It would mean a lot. Thank you.

Now, back to my writing. I’m currently writing the sequel to The Black Petal.

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Guest Post: Just One Reason You Will Love Scrivener by Rebecca Bradley

Before we get to today’s fantastic guest post by emerging crime writer Rebecca Bradley, I just wanted to ask my fabulous readers if they’d go over to Goodreads and vote for my upcoming YA Fantasy novel The Black Petal on a list called UKYA in 2015. It showcases some of the most anticipated young adult and teenage novels being released in 2015. The higher up we can get The Black Petal, the more reach it will have. You have my eternal thanks in exchange :)

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Just One Reason You Will Love Scrivener by Rebecca Bradley

 

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In 2013 I did a post on why I was starting to use Scrivener.

I attempted to use it last year. I downloaded the trial. Had a couple of sessions with it and gave up. I liked the idea of what it could do, but, practically, working in it, I just couldn’t do it. It didn’t feel right. I was used to having a full blank page in front of me. This however was a full open piece of software.

I’ve since changed my mind.

It is a complex, or should I say, fully functional piece of software for a writer, having anything you could possibly need, right at your fingertips. I have seen multiple posts on why people love Scrivener and why you should try it, so I thought I would let you know why I use it and the freedom it has recently given me in my writing life.

Just one reason I love it and will stick with it from now on.

You know how if you’re working on a word document, you work in a straight line? Sometimes you could write the ending earlier than you get to it if you know what it’s going to be, but you save it somewhere else maybe, but other than that, you’d be left with folders all over if you tried to do anything other than write in a straight line.

Well, that’s just what I’m loving about Scrivener. The internal folder system that lets you drag and drop them around at will and then compile them in a straight line when you’re ready. I found that at times I would get stuck in a place and I’d sit there staring at the screen with no word output, but because of this wonderful ability of the folder system, and the fact that I have a full synopsis so know what is happening, I can move on to a scene/chapter that my mind at that point in time feels it wants to work on. So this way, I am always writing. I’m currently working on all the chapters for one of the threads of the story because my heart is there right now. I can move them all into the right places as the rest of the story progresses. I’m not confined. I’m free to write what I want, when I want to. It’s liberating, my word count steadily rises and my story progresses because of this. I think I’d find it extremely difficult to write a first draft in a word document now.

If you’re not using Scrivener, you can get it on a free trial. It’s worth taking a look. Anything to keep those words and that story moving forward.

Rebecca Bradley has an engaging and insightful blog that you must check out.

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