Yay editing done!

Editing

Well I’ve actually done it! I’ve finally finished editing my novel Reunion of the Heart. OK so technically I told you I’d finished the other day.  But it needed tweaking, so I tweaked it.  Now all it needs is to be proofread by my mum once she’s back from holiday. Hooray!

My husband is gonna work on a cover for me, so I’m hoping to publish it by the end of the summer at the latest. But I was wondering about something – whether, once I’ve published it, to do a blog tour or not? What are your thoughts?

I did one for The Inheritance when I published it last year, but although I worked really hard for it I didn’t get many comments on the blogs I was a guest on.  I’ve actually heard that blog tours tend to generate more traffic to the host blogs rather than interaction for those doing the blog tour.

I’m DEFINITELY doing a cover reveal this time.  I have to say it didn’t even occur to me to do one last time – I didn’t really know much about the whole process of self-publishing and all that I would need to do to promote my work.  Having seen a lot of cover reveals on various blogs, I think it’s a good idea for me to do one.

And now that I’ve finished editing Reunion of the Heart, I can FINALLY get back to working on my next as-yet-untitled project – another romance, this time with a young woman who’s a teacher as my MC and VERY different to my MC in Reunion of the Heart. I’m looking forward to this; it’ll be good to continue on with it.

When I last looked at it, I remembered that, having written a bit over 4K on it, I’d gone back to the drawing board so to speak and I’d made a whole load of new notes which I really need to read through.  I made more notes because I really needed to flesh out the plot and actually invent some scenes for it – I truly am a plotter rather than a pantser.

Although I don’t always stick rigidly to my original plan, I do find that I can get a bit lost in the story if I don’t have a clear idea in my head as to where the story is going.  So for me it’s best if I have a clear plan in place.  That way I don’t become stranded, as I was with this new project before I did some more planning.

To update you with my blogging progress – well I’ve had some hiccups i.e. not doing WIPpet Wednesday this week as I mentioned in my last post.  But I am blogging more often than I was.  I’m not doing so well keeping up with reading other people’s blog posts.  I must confess I delete most of what comes into my inbox!!

Anyway as I mentioned in a previous post, I’m doing what I can and ultimately that’s all I can do.  I’m getting new followers on Twitter all the time and some new followers to my blog, which is slightly harder to see since I linked my blog to my Twitter and Facebook accounts lol.

I would like to change the theme on this blog sometime soon – I’m a bit fed up with all the pink!  It’s a bit much even for me lol.  So I’ll be working on that at some point.  But not today :-P

I also want to sign up to Google+ (although I may be signed up for it already as I have an Android tablet and phone and they keep telling me that so and so have added me to their circle or something like that) and maybe a few more.  But all in good time.

Where are you at in your writing journey?  Are you happy with the way it’s going?  Do you find it helpful to have a big presence on social media?

Indie Blog Chain

I was tagged by the lovely Laekan Zea Kemp on her blog to take part in a blog hop to help connect and promote indie authors. Laekan is the author of three novels: Breathing Ghosts, Orphans of Paradise (which I’ve reviewed here) and The Things They Didn’t Bury.

So I’ve answered four questions about my work and my writing process.  Here they are:

What am I working on?

I’m currently working on my second novel with the working title Reunion.  It’s a romance, about a young woman who’s invited to her school reunion and what happens to her while she’s there and afterwards.  She has very unhappy memories of her school days so it’s a difficult thing for her to do and she’s only gone along because her best friend, who was also at the school, has encouraged her.

How does my work differ from others in the genre?

A lot of romantic novels I’ve read have been romantic comedies.  This definitely isn’t one.  My character goes through a great deal during the course of the novel.  I don’t give her an easy time of it!!  I think the romance genre is very broad and there’s a lot of scope for how to tell a romantic story.  It doesn’t have to be just romance with comedy or romance with erotica, there are many ways a romantic story can unfold.

Why do I write what I do?

I enjoy writing whatever I feel like at the time.  Having said that I’m finding that in general when writing, it’s a good idea to think about genre and which one your story fits into and to try and tailor it to that.  My first novel, The Inheritance, doesn’t really fit that easily into any one genre which has made it a bit problematic for me to market.  So for me, I feel that writing romance is something that my style lends itself to.  And I’m trying to write for that genre at the moment.

How does my writing process work?

I start off by making a fairly detailed plan – but I seem to end up not sticking to it!  Or at least I stick to the essence of my original plan, but veer from it quite a lot.  The story often goes off on a tangent and I find myself exploring whole other situations and possibilities.  I definitely have an idea in my head of the basic plot though and more or less know how it’s going to end.Jade

I’m now tagging the lovely Jade Reyner who’s the author of Twelve Days – The Beginning and the upcoming Twelve Days – The Future.  She’s a fantastic author and her blog is excellent with plenty of helpful information and humour about the writing process. She also posts short stories and some poetry, so go check her out.

100 followers of this blog!!!

100 blog followers

Just a quick post to say: Yay I’ve reached 100 followers of my blog!!  It’s such a great feeling knowing that there are 100 different people out there wanting to read what I’ve put on this blog, offering me their comments and often advice in my sometimes turbulent life as an indie author.

Thank you to all of you who are following my blog, you don’t know how much it means to me to know that I have your interest in me, my blog and my writing. Having published my debut novel in August last year, it’s been amazing to have the support of my fellow bloggers, many if not most of whom are writers themselves and also on this journey.

And I mustn’t forget to say that I wouldn’t have a blog at all if my husband hadn’t suggested it, so BIG thanks to him too!!

I’m looking forward to an exciting 2014, when I’ll hopefully be publishing my next novel.  So thank you once again and watch this space!

Interview with David Lewis

David Lewis

Recently I had the pleasure of interviewing an exciting new author David Lewis who has just published his debut novel Xakk Marks the Spot.  Here’s what he had to say about his writing process and the path to publication:

When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?

The dream originally struck between 2nd and 3rd grade.  I had read the entire “Goosebumps” series by R.L. Stine and knew right then I wanted to be an author.  Though the dream came and went over the years, as do many things growing up, it returned in full force around 3 years ago.  I began 2 other manuscripts and decided the stunk.  Finally, the right idea hit and I never looked back.  I’ll continue this in the next question.

 

How did you come up with the idea for Xakk Marks the Spot?

There I found myself hanging out with a friend of mine who happened to live in my garage at the time.  As we were there listening to music and simply relaxing with nothing better to do, a vision popped randomly into my head.  There on the deck of a pirate ship staring back at me were two teenage boys and a girl the same age; a younger boy in the center, on his right a clearly related boy closer to 20, and to the young boy’s left, a blonde girl whose looks could kill.  The ideas began to flow and one day at a time, things became solid enough to begin a book.

 

Did writing Xakk Marks the Spot require much research and if so what did that research involve?

Before I began writing the first book, I went to the library and read deeper into books on writing, and the process as a whole.  It wasn’t my first manuscript, but I was so ecstatic on the idea that I wanted to do everything write (lousy pun intended).  During the same three weeks or so, I plotted out what was originally a series of five books.

I would say more and more research truly came during the actual writing of the book.  The main goal of my new age world of piracy was to avoid becoming the same old 17th century cliché pirate tale with swashbucklers, nearly impossible to understand, go hunting for Black Bar’s cursed gold while on the run from Port Royal.  We’ve all been there and done that; Hollywood, too.  While classics such as Treasure Island, of my favourites, can never be replaced, I felt it was time to give the world something new.  Why not have their tale take place in the future and have them hunting for “lost” treasures of today?

Overall, more of my research went into geographical information, nautical language, and root words of foreign languages in titling elements of the story.  During the year and a half it took to get it to where it is today, I’d like to think I sat on most elements of the story to bring out originality and to avoid nasty plot holes.

 

What’s the biggest challenge you faced while writing it?

My biggest challenge was waking up every day and continuing to work.  Between over 100 rejections by literary agents, people who thought I was crazy and that it would never succeed, stress, and insomnia, the challenges were never ending to say the least.  Though that many agents rejected versions 1 and 2 of my work, version 3 (which is the published work) was only turned down by one agent.  Her response made it feel like she sat on it for 11 weeks, then opened to page one already set on finding something reasons to reject me.  She was very nice about it, but I’d wish she read more than 10 pages.

 

What have you found to be most helpful to your growth and development as a writer? 

Rewriting, editing, rewriting, editing—wash, rinse, repeat.  I look back to the original version of my book, and even at past manuscripts in the drawer, asking myself how in the world did I ever think this was good enough for anyone to spend time on?  It wasn’t.  My biggest growth came from practice, practice, practice.  Tiger Woods never stepped out onto the course for the first time without countless repetition on the driving range.  I had the ignorant opinion that my work would shine through from the very get go due to its originality.  That just wasn’t the case.  There are tons of great books being written by no name authors that will never reach the shelves.  I’d like to think some of the greatest works ever composed will never be read.

 

What has the experience of going through the self-publishing process been like for you? 

The process of publishing seems synonymous to the word migraine.  I found myself in constant mental anguish over every small detail, constantly second guessing my “executive decisions”.  Between final edits, formatting, and the difficult process that is having an artist bring your characters to life, I lost plenty of sleep.  However, being published, regardless of sales success or not, was a major dream of mine since a young age and now it has come true.  Seeing it up on the e-shelves (soon to be paperback) is an indescribable feeling.

 

Looking back over the whole process of writing and publishing Xakk Marks the Spot, is there anything you’d do differently?

I would’ve waited to query literary agents.  I rushed the editing process in a couple months, which felt like enough, only to be rejected again and again.  Even my first full rewrite was rejected again and again.  Also, I would’ve started my social network such as Twitter and Facebook much sooner.  Agents take authors who’ve established a platform much more seriously.  It shows you’re not another hack who read Twilight or Harry Potter with plans of writing something way better.

 

Have you got any tips for other aspiring writers?

Going off what I just said—my absolute number one piece of advice for authors beginning the journey is DON’T QUERY TOO EARLY.  Once you are turned down by your whole list of dream agents, you’re faced with tough decisions.  My next piece—never give up, EVER.  I wanted to quit and give up more times than I can count.  I convinced myself, however, that I’d regret giving up way more than finishing the job and failing.  Once you reach a certain point, failure isn’t an option, as if it ever was…

Thanks to David for being a great interviewee.  If you’d like to find out more about David, his blog can be found here and he can be contacted on Twitter via: @DMWLewis

You can buy Xakk Marks the Spot from Amazon.com or Amazon UK.

 

 

Interview with new author Chloe Corin

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I’m delighted to be interviewing an exciting new author I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in the world of blogging writers.

Her name is Chloe Corin and she recently published her debut novel The Hall Speaks. She was kind enough to take the time to answer some questions about how she came to write her novel, what her experience has been and any advice she might have for other budding authors.

When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?

I love that you asked this question. My love for writing came much later, after college when there wasn’t any pressure to perform. Growing up I didn’t like writing at all. I practically hyperventilated anytime I had to write a paper in English. But one day I just decided to face my fear and write. I did this for two reasons: 1) I’m dyslexic and was told numerous times I couldn’t and shouldn’t write. Well, I wanted my children to know that they could do anything they wanted whether others believe in them or not. 2) Written word is amazing! It will last for centuries–it’s a great thing to pass to the future. I truly believe each writer leaves a part of themselves in their work.  Knowing that one day my great grandchildren would read my novels and get a sense of who I was motivated me to start writing.

How did you come up with the idea for The Hall Speaks?

I lived it. The Hall Speaks is my version of Big Fish—the marriage of fiction and nonfiction. I worked in Residence life for years, living with hundreds of college students, and dealing with everything imaginable that could happen with unsupervised kids. I worked in Reslife at Virginia Tech while I was in graduate school. And as some know, they had the largest school shooting to date. The fact that student staff (RAs) were some of the first responders to this awful situation amazed me. That’s when I knew I wanted to tell a story from the perspective of a RA. However, I didn’t want to write a book just about a shooting. That’s like watching the Titanic and only seeing the part where the ship sinks. There was something really powerful seeing the characters’ lives, their struggles, who they loved, what they fought for, before the unsinkable ship crashed into the iceberg. So I knew I wanted to do something similar with this project because life happens before the tragedy. However, I do love happy endings and I made sure my novel had one! :)

Did writing The Hall Speaks require much research and if so what did that research involve?

Mostly I was just pulling from my memory. However, my book deals with quite a few things that require legal action so I have to research the law. But most of my research was on the literary world, from agents, genres, indie authors, publishing, etc. I seriously researched for an entire year on what do with a completed novel.

What’s the biggest challenge you faced while writing it?

Oh my goodness! I wrote the first draft in less than 3 months but like I mentioned, I have dyslexia so there was a ton to revise. Then the other challenges came along with life: my husband had some health challenges; we switched jobs, moved to another state, which caused me to lose my critique group. All of this prolonged this project because it was hard to dedicate time to writing when I really needed to keep up with my changing life! Once I moved I felt totally lost when it came to finding a writing group. Not having weekly support of other writers hurt my growth and focus as a writer. My husband’s awesome, however he doesn’t read fiction. So his input was kind but not helpful.

What have you found to be most helpful to your growth and development as a writer?

I loved my critique group when I lived in Texas. Many of the writers there were published and had agents. They were always really helpful and supportive, the energy of the group was inspiring! I never felt like anyone was competing against me, secretly wanting me to fail. It was quite the opposite, actually. Being part of the DFW Writers’ Group has been one of the best experiences for me and definitely helped my writing skills!

What has the experience of going through the self-publishing process been like for you?

I’m so glad that we have self-publishing! I love indie authors and think they are so brave for going at it alone. The hardest part so far has been the marketing and contacting readers. I came across an article, The Loneliness of the Long Distance Readers, that discussed publishing. One of the things I gathered and I agree with, is that with the ease of self-publishing and the volume of books available, readers aren’t sure what to read. That’s why a lot of people will just read whatever is popular. So finding that group of readers that will make your book popular is hard for new authors. Readers are the best marketing tool; they sell your book for you.

Looking back over the whole process of writing The Hall Speaks and publishing it, is there anything you’d do differently?

Yes, yes, and yes! I should have published my book a long time ago. Working on it for 3 years I found it difficult to stay excited about the book.  For me, it was like watching the same movie over and over again for three years. No matter how good the movie is, you get to a point where you can hardly stand another line from it! I was getting too much advice, doing too much research, that I eventually got confused and stuck. At the time, New Adult wasn’t around so I didn’t know how to sell my novel. And looking back, I should have just gone for it! Timing means so much in the world of entertainment and over the last year, I’ve noticed one of my themes in other New Adult novels. Not that it’s a horrible thing, but it makes one of my story lines old news now. However, three years ago that story line would have been a fresh concept for this market.  I’m not upset or anything, just learning along the way!

Have you got any tips for other aspiring writers?

draft1

I’m sure there are a lot of practical things that writers can do to improve their work. I’m not going to comment on those because I feel they change like the time. I’m sure at one point critiques were against 1st person narratives, and novels with two POVs, YA, and now NA, but as we can all see, time changes everything. However, one thing I think every artist should strive for is inspiration. Find this, and if you lose it, search for it until you find it again. Inspiration is the magic; it’s powerful enough to separate the talented from the phenomenal. I think about J.K Rowling, John Green, Michael Jackson, even Stephanie Meyer. They were able to create works that connected to people in such a way it impacted a culture.

Thanks so much for taking the time to interview me! I had a blast answering the question, it was great for reflection! ~Chloe CorinJ

Thank you too Chloe for taking the time to answer my questions.  I wish you all the best with your novel.

The Hall Speaks is available from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk

You can contact Chloe via her blog: chloeleighcorin.wordpress.com and on tumblr at:  chloecorin.tumblr.com

The Ta-Da Award

ta-da

The lovely, talented ReGi McClain has kindly nominated me for a new blog award called The Ta-Da award. I have to answer ten questions, which you’ll see below, and nominate some people to give the award to.

Since I’m really lazy, and most of my contacts are very busy people, I’m not going to nominate anyone. But here as promised are the questions and my answers:

1. What was the best experience you had on purpose last year?
Going down to my cousin’s wedding in Cornwall (it’s the most south western area of the UK) and spending time with my extended family. It gave me the chance to dress up which I don’t often do. We went to a pub for the reception and a random man at the bar told me I dressed well!! Surprising, but sweet!

2. What was the best experience you stumbled into last year?
Meeting another author and blogger (apart from Kate Frost) Jade Reyner face to face who I hadn’t met before. OK so it was kind of planned, but I didn’t expect to be able to meet her when I first got in touch with her via our blogs and Twitter. It was so lovely to meet another blogger who lives in my area of the UK – she’s wonderful which wasn’t necessarily a given! – and it means there are 3 of us now who can meet up together.

3. What was your greatest intentional accomplishment last year?
Self-publishing my debut novel The Inheritance. It took a long while to get to the point of self-publishing it but it has been worth every single second of effort to get to that point. I’ve learnt so much and really enjoyed the experience.

4. What was your greatest unplanned accomplishment last year?
I reached my 100th post on WordPress on the 18th December! So I was really happy about that and it was totally unplanned. Seems unbelievable that I’ve done that many posts as I only started in March last year.

5. Did you spend some time with someone you adore last year?
Yes, I spent plenty of time with my wonderful husband Ian who I totally, completely and utterly adore!

6. Were you nice to someone you don’t like last year?
I’m not sure actually. Possibly but thankfully I don’t generally come into that much contact with people I really don’t like. Usually though if I’m with someone I don’t like I try to at least be polite.

7. What was the most amazing thing you learned last year?
Finding out that I’d had nearly 9500 free downloads of The Inheritance when I did my free promotion for it. (Not sure if this answer counts but it’s what you’re getting!)

8. Who did you teach last year and what (G-rated thing) did you teach them?
I taught my dog not to nip at me when I’m drying him off after walks/when he comes in from the garden.

9. What events did you attend last year?
I went to a couple of book launches with my good friend and fellow WIPpeteer Kate Frost. They were good times, although the second one was held at the beginning of August, we were in a cramped bookshop and it was VERY hot and sticky. Yuk!

10. Did you travel anywhere? Even just downtown?
Hubby, dog and I travelled to south west Wales in April for a week long holiday in a cottage on a farm. It was great!

So there you have it. I hope you’re all having a fabulous weekend. Catch you later. :)

Post breakup

Breakup

I thought I’d be a bit kinder this week and share with you 23 lines from the first chapter of Reunion. They follow immediately on from the revised beginning of the story which I shared with you a few weeks ago, where Anna is confronting her boyfriend Elliot about his cheating. She proceeds to kick him out.

You may recognise some sentences in this week’s excerpt because this passage has parts in it that were from my original beginning. So apologies if some of it seems the same. I have, however, changed a fair bit of it so hopefully it won’t overlap too much.

At this point in the story Anna has just kicked her cheating boyfriend out. Her best friend Melissa, who currently has nowhere to live, is moving in with her. Anna is still struggling with her emotions over the breakup and Melissa is doing her best to help her to move on.

My WIPpet maths goes like this: 6+11+2+1+3 = 23 lines. So there you have it. Hope you enjoy it.

‘He did you wrong, Anna. He cheated on you,’ Melissa said looking Anna straight in the eye, a no-nonsense expression on her face. ‘You were absolutely right to give him his marching orders.’

Anna didn’t answer for a moment. There was a pain in her chest which had been there since she’d thrown Elliot out and it wouldn’t budge.

‘That’s the last of them,’ she said finally, heaving Melissa’s suitcase through her front door and ignoring her searching gaze.

Melissa picked up one of the many bags in the hallway and took it into the slightly tidier front room. ‘Well it’s all in the past now anyway. It’s a new start for both of us.’

Anna nodded and followed her from the hallway overflowing like a swollen river with suitcases and bags into the relative tidiness of her front room. Her hair was coming loose from its ponytail and falling into her eyes, so she vigorously tugged her hair out of its band and retied it, pulling it tightly until it hurt. Tears were threatening to fall, but she held them back like water by a dam.

Why should she give way to tears when there was no point? Elliot would win if she did that and yet… The world is your oyster. The thought popped into her head as she was standing a little dazed in the middle of the front room. Well it was, wasn’t it, now that Elliot was no longer a part of her life. Or the oyster is your world as he used to say. She scrunched her eyes up; try as she might she just couldn’t seem to get him out of her mind.

‘You’re thinking about him again, aren’t you?’ Melissa’s voice brought her back from the brink.

‘Only a little,’ Anna lied unable to keep her voice steady.

As you may have seen on my blog, the free promotion of my debut novel The Inheritance ended yesterday and it went really well. I’ve had nearly 9500 downloads, most of them in the US so I’m happy about that. Hopefully it’ll lead to more sales. :)

If you would like to take part in WIPpet Wednesday, all you have to do is post an excerpt of your current writing work on your blog. Then add your name to this linky. Only rule is that it has to relate in some way to the date. Happy writing! Thanks to K. L. Schwengel for hosting.

The Inheritance does well in free promo!!

Well that was certainly an exciting 5 days. From Thursday last week until yesterday, my debut novel The Inheritance was free to download on Amazon.

I’d worked hard in the weeks leading up to it and applied to lots of free promo sites to register my details with them in the hope that some of them would mention me.

I paid for 3 of them to feature my book, the rest I left to chance. I was amazed when over the course of the 5 days a total of 9 sites I’d applied to for free featured my book on their site. I was happy to say the least.

What surprised me the most about the free promo was how well it did Stateside. Having only had meager sales of The Inheritance over there, I was amazed at the huge number of downloads there were. I had just over 9000.

The image I’ve uploaded from Amazon isn’t very clear, but I got to #53 in free ebooks on Amazon.com as well as #1 in romance and #3 in teen/young adult fiction. This result is more than I could have hoped for. I’m grateful to my blogger friends and Twitter followers as well as friends and family for spreading the word.

Although I didn’t do as well back here in the UK, I did get a few hundred downloads so I’m glad about that. In total, when I notched up the number of downloads across the world it came to 9461 which is just incredible for me.

Having had great success in the US but less in my own country, it got me to wondering why exactly that was. Thinking about it, I guess it may have been the cover that appealed to the American market and less so in the UK. It might also have been the subject matter, that a story about an inheritance and family issues may have been more appealing in the US than the UK.

Whatever the case, I’m just glad that thousands of people are now reading my book. That’s a good feeling. I’m also hoping that I’ll get a few more sales out of it. I was rather disappointed that my ranking in the sales category on Amazon had plummeted, both in the US and UK. Then I thought a bit more logically and remembered that technically I hadn’t sold any books anywhere since my free promo began, so it’s not all doom and gloom.

I’ll definitely be keeping a close eye on how The Inheritance does in the coming days. It’s exciting times.

The Inheritance is FREE from today for 5 days!!

TheInheritance

Well it’s here. As of today my debut novel The Inheritance is free on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk for 5 days until Monday.

If you haven’t yet read it, why not download it now while it’s free? And let me know what you think of it. Feedback whether positive or negative is always good!

Check out my Goodreads page too where you can read a short bio of me and connect with other readers/writers. I can also be contacted on Twitter via @ElaineJeremiah.

I hope you all have a good day and for those of you who are preparing to take part in NaNoWriMo – good luck!

The Inheritance will be free soon!

TheInheritance

Hi everyone. This is just a brief blog post to let you know that my debut novel The Inheritance will be FREE on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk for 5 days from this Thursday.  (I will post the web address details on the day.)

The dates are: Thursday 31st October to Monday 4th November. If you haven’t yet purchased it, why not get it for free during this period?

And if you have bought The Inheritance and enjoyed it, please spread the word. I’d be really grateful!

Happy writing everyone. :)