Thursday, 28 August 2014

Writing & Being Published

It's almost two weeks since I signed a contract with the fabulous Accent Press for them to publish the four books from my Jersey Romance Series, and I still can't quite believe it.

In case you missed me whooping about it on Facebook and Twitter... Stop it, there must be someone out there I haven't told yet. No? Oh, yes, look, there's someone over there....

Where was I? Oh yes, A Jersey Kiss and A Jersey Affair (books 1 and 2) will be republished soon by Accent Press, and I'm now drafting the third book in the series, A Jersey Dreamboat.

Right, I'd better get on and write this book, I don't want to let my publisher down. *whispers* I have a publisher, did I tell you? I did? Oh, okay then. Right, I'd better go and write the book.

Georgina X

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Songs from the Ashes by Megan Whitson Lee

Megan Whitson Lee grew up in Tennessee but moved to the Washington, D.C. area as a teenager.  her self-published first novel All That is Right and Holy won second place in the 2009 Christian Choice Book Awards. Today Megan is answering a few questions about her latest book.

1. Welcome to my blog, Megan. Please can you describe Songs from the Ashes in twenty words? 

A story of past wounds, present desires, and the decision between faithfulness, sacrifice and commitment, or desire, lust, and betrayal. 

2. What is your writing process, are you a plotter, or do you start with an idea and see where the story takes you as you write?

I do a little of both. I usually start with an idea—and I might even write out the first chapter or so and see where it goes—then I plot. I keep a spiral notebook in which I outline all the main characters’ traits, their background, their goals and motivations. Every day when I’m finished writing, I outline what plot points I’ll cover in the next day’s writing.

3. You describe Songs from the Ashes as a modern retelling of the classic Edith Wharton novel The Age of Innocence, exploring the dilemma between the pursuit of dreams and personal happiness versus contentment in God’s plan for marriage and love. Can you tell us your inspiration behind this book?
I’ve always loved “tortured love” stories. Edith Wharton’s novel fascinated me because there was this great passion between these two people, but there was also an immense amount of restraint. That’s not something people are too familiar with nowadays, so the challenge for me was to modernize the story in a way that made sense.  So in my novel, these are people wrestling with a moral dilemma—whether to fulfil commitments and make sacrifices  and work towards a future of lasting happiness, or to throw off all restraint and seek after something temporal that seems more exciting and less binding. I also really wanted to write a story set in my hometown of Kingsport, Tennessee and incorporate a country music “Nashville” element into the book, so it worked well that Ella was involved in the music scene.   

4.  What do you think was the most valuable thing you learnt from your time working as a Literary Assistant in London?

Well, first of all I learned that I LOVE London. I really, really love the UK in general, but at that time—I was twenty-five years old, and London was an exciting, culturally rich city that offered all of the opportunity I was looking for. And I really wanted to make my home in London. I tried a couple of different times to stay. When I first arrived, I was looking for a job in the music industry, but I ended up working as a literary assistant, and through that opportunity, I learned literature, theatre, and writing were my true passions. At Soho Theatre Company, I was doing exactly what I wanted to do—working in a theatre with wonderful people, reading interesting manuscripts, viewing plays I never would have seen otherwise—I was really a part of something I cared about. This experience was instrumental in my subsequent pursuit of a degree in Creative Writing once I returned to the US. 

5.  Your self-published first novel, All that is Right and Holy, won second place in the 2009 Christian Choice Book Awards, which must have been incredibly exciting. Can you tell us a little about it the awards?

Well, at the time the excitement of the award was usurped by the fact that I’d just gotten an agent for the book and had pulled it from the self-publishing company because she was shopping it around to publishing houses. So I won this award, which might have increased sales for me, but no one could buy it because it wasn’t available. And then after two years, we thought we had a publisher interested in taking on the book, but then they decided not to do it. So now it’s available again. The timing on all of that was unfortunate, but I still think it’s a great novel. It deals with the subject of sex trafficking, which is a cause I’m quite passionate about.

6. What was your journey to being a published author?

After things didn’t work out with the first book (in terms of traditional publishing), I went back to the drawing board, and started writing again. A friend I work with submitted her YA novel to a small publishing house and they wanted to publish it, so it occurred to me that I might be able to do this without an agent. After I finished Song from the Ashes, I began aggressively submitting it to smaller publishers that would look at manuscripts without an agent. In February of this past year, eLectio contacted me and wanted to publish it. It was one of the best days of my life!

7.  What’s the most important advice you would give to someone who might be considering writing their own book?
I honestly think determination and perseverance are the most important traits for anyone who wants to be published. I know those terms sound clich├ęd, but this is not a business where someone can just sit back and dabble at the process. It really needs to be viewed as a second job (if you have a first one) and there needs to be a plan for pursuing the desired outcome. Then you have to ignore rejections and keep pushing forward.

8. What are you working on at the moment?

My current work in progress is a contemporary Gothic novel set in Virginia wine country. The story is narrated by a woman who has lived much of her young life in a cult, and now, newly married to a vineyard owner, she is experiencing all sorts of strange people and phenomena. Terrifying events unfold both inside and outside the house as she discovers her husband’s past with a wife who was involved with witchcraft and strange occult groups, and who mysteriously disappeared four years earlier. It will be a spooky one.





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Sunday, 24 August 2014

Looking forward to this...


I'm looking forward to taking part in the blog tour for, Everything Changes But You, by lovely Jennifer Joyce.

The blog tour begins on 22th September and I'll be inviting Jennifer her on 28th.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

A Place Called Home by G A Whitmore

Today, I'm welcoming author Gail Whitmore to my blog to tell us a little about her new book.

This was a tough one. Tying my book A Place to Call Home: Toby’s Tale to romance. At first I thought it couldn’t be done. I was defeated before I even began. But then I decided to look up the official definition of the word, and lo and behold, there were five definitions of romance to choose from. This task had just gotten easier for me. Certainly one would meet my need. And one did. This one:

         (3):  a love story especially in the form of a novel

I was saved! A Place to Call Home is a love story. I hadn’t thought of it that way before. But no doubt, Toby was one of the loves of my life. He wooed me and won me over without even trying. I was swept off my feet. He was my literal (excuse the pun) white knight. If that isn’t romance, what is? Okay, so there wasn’t any S E X involved, but my definition of romance has evolved at this stage in my life. Let’s just say it’s gone from the more of the physical to more of the metaphysical. 
 
Mission accomplished. Time to move on to the wolf-dog part of this blog post. We have to go back in time a little bit. 1989. My son and I had stopped at the Connecticut Humane Society after doing some Saturday afternoon shopping just to “look” at the dogs. I had never lived with a dog. I had three cats for goodness sake, there was no way I was adopting a dog. I know what you’re thinking. You don’t even have to read the rest of this because you know what happened, right? Ok, you’re right, but read the rest anyway, please
 
As I was slowly walking up and down the aisles of cages, my son called me over to one of the pens in the back of the room. A beautiful white dog was huddled in the corner. It wasn't until I got closer that I saw the fear in his eyes. I found it hard to look away. No, I found it impossible to look away. A woman who worked there saw us by the cage and came over to say hello. I asked her what had happened to the dog, and she proceeded to tell us his tale. His story was heart-breaking, and he was only seven months old.
 
I won’t get into the details of his backstory here (you can read the book if your curiosity is getting the best of you). When she was done telling me Toby’s sad tale, she hesitated, and then proceeded to tell me that a veterinarian who had examined him in northern California where he was originally rescued thought he might be part wolf.

I’m usually one who has to weigh all my options and take my time to make a decision. I’m always the last one to order in a restaurant, so that tells you something. And you would think the fact that Toby could be part wolf would be a little off-putting to someone known as the cat woman, that it might dissuade me, right? But I decided right then and there without giving it a second thought that I was going to adopt this dog. It was the fastest decision I ever made, and I haven’t come close since.

It was a couple of years after that fateful Saturday that I decided to put Toby’s tale down on paper. To fill in the gaps of his backstory. To share the life of this beautiful soul with the world. My time with Toby seemed fleeting. From the moment our eyes first locked on to each other we belonged to each other. Ten years passed quickly, and then he was gone. But he changed my life forever and for the better. That’s romance.

Every rescue dog has a tale to tell, a story uniquely their own.
 
A Place to Call Home is Toby’s tale.

Born on a small farm in northern California, Toby’s carefree days as a puppy are cut short when he narrowly escapes the death sentence imposed upon him by his breeder. Through a series of events driven by good intentions, he finds himself in a Connecticut suburb, where life with his new family soon collapses on him, and his newfound happiness is brutally destroyed.

On his quest to find a place to call home, Toby encounters and endures the best and worst of humanity, as he comes face to face with sorrow and joy, fear and courage, and ultimately, with the power of love.

Part of the proceeds of from the sale of each book will be donated to an organization of the author’s choice that promotes and advocates for the protection and welfare of dogs.
 



Excerpt
 
Was this another dream? Who would visit him in this dream?

As if in answer to his question, a large pack of wolves and dogs slowly materialized out of the enshrouding gray and one-by-one encircled him.

The snow stopped falling. All was still and quiet.

A long, wailing howl pierced the silence.

Followed by another.

Then another.

After a few moments, a chorus of howls erupted from the group that now surrounded Toby. A primordial urge rose within him. He stood up and shook off the light layer of snow that had accumulated on his fur. The urge grew stronger, more compelling, until he realized his own voice had joined the others. The multitude of voices became one as they howled on and on, until the cry reached its crescendo and abruptly ended, leaving an echoing silence around them once again.

A large, white figure approached Toby.

“Welcome to our pack, Toby.” The figure turned, and with a nod of his head, indicated the others. He turned back to Toby. “How did you come to be here?”

          Toby tried to find his voice, but the howl still reverberated in his throat. When he finally spoke, his reply was weak and raspy. “I don’t know. I don’t even know where here is.” He hesitated, and then asked, “How do you know my name?”

“My name is Strider, Toby. I am your grandfather.”

Strider! The memory of lying with Tara next to his mother as she told them the story of Sadie and Strider came flooding back to him and he felt a warmth of emotion flow through his body.

“Where is this place? How did I get here?” Toby asked.

Strider paused in thought for a moment, and then replied, “This land is a different place for different creatures, yet it is the same place for all creatures. For us,” Strider swept his large head around him, “this is the place we call home.”

 About the Author
Ms. Whitmore’s passion for writing and her love of dogs come together in her series The Rescue Dog Tales. The first book in the series, A Place to Call Home, was inspired by Toby, an abused dog she adopted from the Connecticut Humane Society. Ms. Whitmore currently lives in Connecticut with her two rescue dogs, Kadee and Zeus.

Author/community Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/authorgawhitmore

The giveaway is 3 x bracelets which have been uniquely designed by a graphic artist and link with the story.

 
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Friday, 1 August 2014

Blimey, My Books Are Where?

In the Waterstones Jersey Book Charts, that's where, and for a second week, too. 

No one was more surprised, bemused, oh, and wildly excited, of course - than me.

A Jersey Kiss made it to #3 and A Jersey Affair to #7 in last week's Book Charts. (The only time I'll ever be higher than Robert Gilbraith (JKR) in any book chart!)

So, a huge THANK YOU to Waterstones Jersey for stocking my books - you've made a writer who, probably like most new writers out there, is severely lacking in confidence, despite the constant bravado shown on Facebook, Twitter and probably here on this blog.

And a big, sloppy kiss to everyone who has been kind enough to buy my books, both at Waterstones and online, and especially to those of you who have taken the time to post reviews!

To celebrate, the kindle version of A Jersey Affair is free all this weekend on Amazon.com & Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/Jersey-Affair-Romance-Book-ebook/dp/B00J157OFE/ref=sr_1_1?





Georgina X