Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Welcome 2010

Wow another decade nearly over. How fast did that go?? I am genuinely looking forward to the next decade, I believe it will hold some exciting times.

2009 is when I learned all I could about the publishing industry and I have to admit that what I learned was daunting and more than a little disheartening. I won't deny that I would love for my book to be a bestseller, but decided that I would like it even more if it were out there for people to read in the first place, something that probably wasn't going to happen anytime soon if I took the traditional publishing route.

Well, my book is out there and getting great reviews from the people who are finding it. No I'm not about to give up my day job, but you know what, I write for fun and relaxation and if I can share my imagination with others, that gives me a lot of satisfaction. That's not to say that if my book should somehow get into the hands of a publisher who instantly fell in love with it and offered me a 6 figure advance.... Well you get the picture and yes, I'm allowed to dream.

So I will carry on dreaming right on into 2010.

I hope you all have a wonderful New Year and may all your dreams come true, too.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Day After

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas yesterday. I spent the day with friends, my surrogate family I guess you would say. Christmas is always a hard time for me because my family are all 4,000 miles away and I haven't spent a Christmas with them for 8 years.

Yesterday it hit me just how lucky I am, living where I do. People here are so friendly that they will not allow you to be alone on Christmas, no matter what. Unfortunately yesterday my mum was not so lucky. I found it hard to believe that she did not get invited round to anyone's home for Christmas, even though everyone she knows and sees on a daily basis knew she would be on her own all day. My sister was on her honeymoon.

She has neighbors that check on her every single day through the year, they are wonderful people and I am blessed that she has them to look out for her, but it never even entered their heads to invite her to Christmas dinner, so that she wouldn't be on her own.

So I would like to extend a huge thank you to my surrogate family here in the States that will never allow me to be in the same boat my mum was in. You know who you are and I love you.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

It's Cold Outside

We just got the cold front that is moving through the midwest. Luckily the worst of it went north of where I live so other than the freezing cold we came off lucky.

Even though it is so cold your fingers feel like they are going to snap off after just a few moments outside, I just love this time of year. People think I'm crazy but there is just something about snuggling under a fleecy blanket with your hands wrapped around a cup of hot toddy and watching a classic Christmas movie on the television that makes me all gooey inside.

I haven't done much writing the past few weeks. It is getting to be a busy time of year for me. I am currently helping with a production of The Nutcracker. I have stepped outside my comfort zone to be the stage manager. Something I have never done before. I've always been on stage, not back stage, but I am really enjoying it.

I did another booksigning last weekend (Dec 5th) and sold several more books. It was wonderful because most of the people buying were granparents for their granddaughters. So my book is getting out there slowly but surely.

I have also finished recording the book and the whole story is now available to listen to on Do a search on Alison Pensy and it will take you to my book. It is free to listen to and word is spreading much more quickly than I had imagined. I have quite a few subscribers now.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Amulet - Book Trailer

I have uploaded a book trailer for The Amulet. It was so much fun playing around with Windows Movie Maker. I had read about other authors making book trailers for their books and decided to look at a few on YouTube. Then I started playing around with the movie maker program.

Click on the title of this post and it should take you straight to the trailer.

This is my first attempt at anything like this and I would be most interested to hear your views as to whether I did a decent job or not. I am open to all comments.

Hope you take a peek and let me know


Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Brit's Take on Thanksgiving

As you all know I am a Brit living in the States, so we don't celebrate Thanksgiving back home in England. But I have to say it is my favorite Holiday. It trumps July 4th every time, I even like it more than Christmas, because it is just like Christmas Day but without all the commercial rubbish that Christmas has now become.

Thanksgiving is a day when family and friends get together and share each other, just like at Christmas but with so much less pressure.

I love it and I love my friends over here because we have no family near, and we are always invited to join someone elses and that's what makes Thanksgiving so special.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone, whether you're from the States or not.

Monday, November 23, 2009

New Moon

Had to mention it. I went to see the New Moon movie on Friday and I thought it was much much better than the Twilight movie. I have always been a fan of Jacob and he was portrayed just as I imagined him, in this movie, what a sweetie. The smoking hot bod didn't hurt either :-)

I am really interested to see the next one, Eclipse as that was my favorite of the 4 novels.

I joked to my friend as the credits were rolling at the end and the credit for Stephenie Meyer came up. I told her that one day we would be sitting watching a movie in that theatre and it would be my name to come up as the "Based on a novel by..." I have my dreams and so far all of them have come true. Not necessarily in the order I dream them or how I imagine it to happen, but so far they do seem to happen.

The Audio book is coming along nicely. I have recorded and uploaded 4 chapters so far and have 5 people subscribing, which surprised me so soon after starting this project.

If you are interested in listening to me read The Amulet, the address is

Please feel free to leave some feedback in the comments section.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Amulet - Audio Book

I am in the process of recording The Amulet to make it an audio book. I am doing it chapter by chapter and so far have chapter 1 uploaded on a podcast. I split it into 2 parts because it is so long.

You can click on the title and it should take you there. I apologise if it doesn't, I am still navigating my way around the techie aspects of being an author. If you can't get to it by clicking on the title here is the address

It is free to listen to, I just thought it would be a fun thing to do as I have had several people tell me that they would love to hear me read it, so here goes.

If you do stop by to check it out, I hope you enjoy it, and please let me know what you think.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Toot my own Horn

It's a toot-my-own-horn kind of day today. I am excited because I just got off the phone with a local bookstore, Stonecrest Book & Toy in Osage Beach, MO. They want to carry my book and I am over the moon. Looks like they'll be doing a book signing there, too in the near future.

It's still a dreary old day here in mid-Missouri and I got off work early. Hopefully I can get another few paragraphs written.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Perfect Day to Write

It's a gloomy, rainy day here today and perfect for sitting inside with my laptop on my lap and writing the sequel to The Amulet. I have to admit that it is taking me much longer to write the sequel than it did to write the first book. I think a lot of the reason why has to do with expectations.

When I was writing the first book, no one had any expectations of it or me. I was just a friend writing a book and "wasn't that fun". But the book has been such a success locally that I now find myself in the position of having to live up to expectation and that's not an easy thing to do.

So I will keep plugging on with the next book and hope that I can make it as good or better than the last. I had no idea going into this that a sequel would be such a hard thing to accomplish. But then again I enjoy a good challenge.

So as I listen to the heavy rain beating upon my roof, I can sit guilt free inside and do something I love, rather than rake and burn the millions of leaves that lay like a blanket across my property.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

For the Love of Animails

I am an animal lover, I have a menagerie and love them all. Problem is, I don't seem to be having much luck with them just recently and it's sad.

A few weeks ago, one of my cats got very ill almost overnight and had to be put down. Then on Sunday I found a growth in one of my horse's ears and took her to the vet and he confirmed it was a tumor, a huge one infact, it takes up nearly her whole ear canal.

The horse in question is Gypsy, the very same horse I use in my novel. The vet took a biopsy and now we have to wait a week for the results.

Please say a prayer for her, I'd like to carry on our "real life" adventures for a long time to come.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Need a Name

This one is for you. I need a name for Faen's father. He is of noble birth, very loving and hightly respected. Can't give away much more than that because there are things about him you will find out in the book, when it's written. Okay, I'm getting there, I promise.

Monday, November 2, 2009


I hope everyone had a happy Halloween. I did. I love Halloween, it is one of my favorite holidays, especially this year because a major piece of action happens at a Halloween costume party in my next book, and I have been writing that scene over the past few days, so the timing was perfect. It was purely coincidental, too.

As for my real life Halloween, it was alot of fun. Our town put on a "Safe Kids" Trunk or Treat at the City park, and people could turn up in the their cars and hand out candy to the kids in a safe environment. It was the first one held here and was a huge success. If I had to guess, we probably had about a thousand people through. Parents and kids.

The costumes were great. I got to judge the costume contest and it was hard.

My next favorite holiday is just around the corner. You may think this strange for a Brit, but I love Thanksgiving, and I enjoy it so much more than Christmas.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Techniques for maintaining the course of the plot

Do I have any techniques for maintaining the course of my plot?

In a word NO. I start out with a rough idea of a story, but it's not until I start typing that the plot starts to evolve. Sometimes I don't even have much of an idea of what I am going to write but I start tapping the keys and 4000 words later I have taken my characters down a path I didn't even knew existed a couple of hours before.

I sometimes wonder if it because I am a new writer and have lots of ideas in my head. So far I have been lucky and writer's block has not been an issue for me.

Bits and pieces of the plot come to me at all times of the day and night, so I make sure to keep a note pad and pen handy at all times. I may just scribble down a sentence but when I get home and open up my laptop, that one sentence can easily lead me to finish a chapter in one sitting.

I really don't have any techniques when I write. I am learning things through reading WD magazine and joining online forums, but I have no professional training, I just write because I enjoy it, and I get so excited when the story progresses, makes sense, and is enjoyable to read.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Preferred Writing Style

When you read a book it's usually written in one of 2 writing styles. There is the 1st person or 3rd person style.

For those of you who are not familiar with this terminology it basically means that a book written in the 1st person is told by the protagonist, and is seen through their eyes. Lots of people like this because they really get inside the main character’s head and the whole story revolves around just her.

Writing in the 3rd person means the author can write the story from anyone's point of view in the book, providing there is a pause between the scenes. It is not good to change POV’s within a scene, a mistake I have made in my first book, The Amulet, and at this point I don’t think I’m going to change it.

My preference leans towards the 3rd person writing style, only because I like to know what is going on in different people’s heads not just the protagonist’s. I prefer reading books written in the 3rd person. Agents also think it shows more talent as a writer to be able to narrate from different character’s perspectives and not just one character. I admit I have to agree with them but that is just my opinion, so please don’t shoot me.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Writing Bug

My writing bug bit me many years ago. I have wanted to write a book for about 20 years but never had the courage to try before a few years ago. I knew I wanted to write a book about my travels round Australia, when I was 20 years old. I backpacked for nine months and had the time of my life, and lots of adventures and stories to talk about. But I didn't want it to be a memoir or a documentary.

It wasn't until 2006, 17 years later, that I had the idea to write a romance using my travels round Australia as a back drop. The romance was fictional but the adventures in my book did happen to me in one form or another. So My first book was a romance called "What's a Jilleroo to do?" I self-published it and had some great feedback.

I have since taken it off the market and I am going to re-write it when I have finished my current project. I have learned so much on my writing journey and know that my original book needs a lot of work.

I did think that I only had one book in me, I thought after writing it that the itch would have been scratched, but 2 years later I got an idea in my head for a YA urban fantasy (one of my favorite genres). So I sat down to write and didn't stop. Six weeks later the 1st draft of The Amulet was ready.

Now I know that bug has gotten under my skin and no amount of scratching is going to relieve it. I am currently writing the 2nd book in what I hope to make a trilogy.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Hidden Treasures

Today my friend and I discovered a hidden treasure. I have a friend visiting me from England this week and unfortunately she seems to have brought the rain with her (although she tells me they haven't had rain for weeks back home).

Anyway that's besides the point. Here in rainy old Missouri I was trying to think of something we could do that was sightseeing oriented, to prove that we did have something here in the middle of nowhere. I have lived here for nearly 4 years and knew there was a cave nearby but had never been there.

We decided to take a trip to the cave and found an absolute treasure. I don't know why I had imagined that it would be just an over exaggerated hole in the ground but basically it blew my mind.

The cave was stunning and went on for much longer than I would have guessed. I was seriously impressed and stood there marveling at the stalactite and stalagmite formations wondering why I had never made the effort to go there before.

So I learned a valuable lesson today. That you would be suprised what hidden treasures and sources of inspiration are right on your doorstep.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Writing Community

A few days ago I discovered an awesome writing community. It is called and run by HaperCollins UK. I was sucked in instantly and have been lost roaming around in there for days now. (Okay that was a slight exaggeration).

This just leads me to talk about a catch 22 that is bugging me right now. In Authonomy you can read other author's work, comment on it and add it to your "bookself" When your book gets added to a bookshelf, it goes up in the ratings and if it gets high enough it ends up on the editor's desk and they check it out.

Aside from the fact that getting to the editor's desk is a possibility and exciting enough in its own right. There are some incredible authors and books on this site and I have spent a couple of days reading other's work and commenting on it. I have also had many people read mine and put it on their bookshelf.

I am so totally addicted to this site now that I wonder when I am actually going to have time to write my next book. Here is the catch 22. You need to get your name out there and the only way to do that is to have an internet presence, but in the pursuance of doing that when do you write the next potential bestseller? Well I guess that is something I am going to have to overcome.

Friday, October 9, 2009

A friend lost

Something very sad happened to me on Wednesday, I had to have my cat put down. It was sudden and unexpected and she will be sadly missed.

My pets are my kids. I don’t have any children and they are my family. Thelma, my cat was my writing partner. She would lie by my leg on the sofa throughout the entire process of writing my last novel. When I was finally finished for that evening and put my laptop aside she would climb onto my lap and curl up until I went to bed.

I am in the process of writing the second book in the Custodian series and will miss her lying by my side as I type.

On Thursday I was going to catch up on writing my blog and surf the forums I belong to, but the weather was not cooperating with me. I live in the boonies and have satellite internet. Only problem with that is if we have even the slightest disturbance in the weather, the internet goes offline. And we had some seriously yucky weather. Oh well, it just goes to prove that even in this modern day and age with all of our technology we are still at Mother Nature’s mercy.

It's now Friday and finally I have my internet back. Woo Hoo!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Faery or Fairy

I thought I had better explain the reason why I used both spellings of faery/fairy in my book.

Someone brought the question up and I wanted you all to know that there was a method to my madness, and that my spell check hadn't gone into phonetic meltdown.

The book is set in contemporary times, it is an urban fantasy and the protag is a teen. So for much of the book I use the more contemporary spelling of fairy. But there are times when I want to give an olde worlde feel to the story, and in that instance I use the other spelling of faery.

Make sense? Oh well, us fiction authors are allowed to act a little kooky at times. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it :-)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Last Curtain Call

It has been a while since my last post and for that I apologize, but I do have a good reason. I have been performing in a play and it has taken virtually all my spare time up the past two weeks. The couple of nights we did have off, I slept!

We did our last performance on Saturday night and ended it with a standing ovation. It left me with a mixture of feeling relief and sadness. Relief that I get my life back after three months, and sadness that I won't get to spend all that time with my "surrogate" family. I did add a lot of new friends on facebook though.

My book signings went great. I did them before the shows and also at the Apple Festival that was held in town this weekend. Sold 56 books altogether, which is a great start. Now I am going to concentrate on the rather time consuming task of marketing it to a wider audience.

I have had some great reviews from the local teens who have bought it and already read it. The feeling you get when people talk about your characters as if they are real, is priceless.

Actually the coolest thing happened in the girl's changing room backstage. A "discussion" started between the girls who had read my book and those who hadn't yet. They were comparing my main male character and Edward Cullen from Twilight. The girls who had read both, preferred my character and were actually arguing with those who hadn't read it and were of the opinion that no one would be better than Edward.

It was a totally surreal experience and one that had me overflowing inside. Just the mere fact that they were comparing my character to that of one so famous made me feel that maybe, just maybe my book could be loved by as many people as Stephenie Meyer's are. Well we are all allowed to dream aren't we??

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Random Acts of Kindness

The sweetest thing happened to me at the performance last night. A young man, about 10 years old was waiting for me with a handmade card and a bar of chocolate. He had overheard me (jokingly) tell someone that noone ever buys me a good luck card or present before the show. I was only joking, but he took it to heart and wanted to make sure that I knew someone cared.

I had a lump in my throat from that act of kindness from someone so young, who I hardly knew. His father later told me that his son was determined to buy me the biggest bar of chocolate he could find and he paid for it with his own savings.

I would like to say a big thank you, little man. You will probably never know how much you touched my heart that night.

Then this afternoon a couple of us were out horse riding and we rode past a tiny church in the middle of nowhere. There were a few people outside and they were having a bbq picnic. We waved as we went by and told them it smelled lovely. They immediately invited us over to join them. We hesitated for a moment, we didn't know these people and they had just openly invited us to join them for lunch.

We decided to accept and had lunch in the with this handful of strangers. They weren't strangers for long. It was a beautiful day and we made some new friends.

Life is just full of these little random acts of kindness that can totally put your faith back in humanity.

Friday, September 25, 2009

"Break a Leg"

Last night was our opening night of the production "Annie". Much to everyone's relief the show went without a hitch and we all had a lot of fun. The audience seemed to enjoy themselves, too, which is always a bonus :-)

Now for those of you that don't know this, for some unknown reason, it is bad luck to say good luck to an actor. So we say "Break a Leg." It obviously works because I have never broken anything on stage and I have been on stage a lot.

I only get involved in amateur dramatics but I love it. The cast and crew become like family in the 3 months of rehearsing you do before the show and we all become very close. Although the last perfomance is somewhat of a relief because you get your life back after several months, there is also a little piece of your heart that is sad. I miss the people I have become friends with backstage. They are all ages and from all walks of life. It would be impossible to keep up with them all after the show has ended. Hopefully most of them will be back the following year for the next annual production.

Also being around so many different people is like rocket fuel for my imagination and inspiration, and many of them may end up (unwittingly) in my next novel. To all my fellow cast & crew members, my hat comes off to you!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Show Must Go On

I haven't been able to write in this blog very much over the past few weeks and I have a good reason for that. I am in a play and our opening night is tomorrow. Funnily enough that is also the title of the signature song in the musical.

Our little town is putting on the production of Annie. It has been a lot of fun but it takes a huge chunk of time also. Hence why I have been sporadic with my blog. Things will improve in a couple of weeks when the show is over, and myself and the rest of the cast and crew get out lives back :-)

I also received my books for the upcoming booksignings. I was so excited. I didn't think they were going to make it in time but they did. Being in the cast of Annie I have lots of young girls and few guys wanting a copy of my book. It fills me with a huge sense of pride and accomplishment when I see young people (and adults alike) get excited about wanting to read a book. That is exactly what I want to inspire people to do and if they can get enjoyment from reading a story I wrote, well that just makes me feel all gooey inside.

To all my fellow cast members "Break a leg" for tomorrow night and the rest of our performances.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Amulet is Available

I am so excited. I got my final proof, was pleased with it, so I approved it for publishing.

As of this posting the printed version was only available on Createspace, but it should only take about 5 business days before it is available on Amazon.

The e-book is available on Kindle, Smashwords and Lulu. Links to all of these sites are to the right of this blog.

I checked my Smashwords site today and nearly fell over. I have had 13 downloads already and I only uploaded the book on Sunday.

I also put in an order for 60 books and I am keeping fingers and toes crossed that they are delivered at the very latest by Oct 2nd. I am doing some booksignings at the local festival in town. I hope they come next week because the board at the theatre (where I am playing in Annie for 2 weekends) said that I can sell my books there before the show.

This has been a very good week so far. Hopefully my book will be like a giant snowball that starts off as a little pebble.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Character's Names

Someone asked me, where do I come up with my character's names? Well I cheated big time on The Amulet. Nearly every character in it has a name that belongs to either family, friends or kids of friends.

For instance, my protag's father and uncle got their names from a close friend's two sons. Her two best friends in the book are courtesy of another close freind's two daughters. My two sister's are in there, too. In fact, the only character in the book whose name is a complete figment of my imagination is Faen and that just popped into my head out of nowhere.

I knew the two main character's names were going to begin with FAE, as the book is about the fae. Another of my friends has a daughter named Phaedra, so I took that and adjusted it to Faedra. And Voila, a whole bunch of character's names.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Why Do I Write YA?

You know, that is a question that I often wonder about myself. I will let you into a little secret. I am a complete romance junkie, especially paranormal romance. But when it comes to writing I feel drawn to write for the younger market. Don’t get me wrong I read YA, too. I have enjoyed the Harry Potter series, the Twilight saga, and Maximum Ride to name but a few.

I have written a romance, it was my first book and I am in the process of re-writing it. I am going through an intense learning experience with my writing and I now know that the first book needs a lot of work. I will publish it again one day when it is ready.

But so far as writing for the YA market, I just think that you can get away with a lot more, fictionally speaking, than you can with the adult market. I have such a vivid imagination that I feel like I’m still a kid. A bit like Peter Pan, the boy who never grew up. On the outside I have responsibilities, bills to pay, a business to run. But on the inside, I’m still just a kid desperate to explore other realms and go on exciting adventures, fight monsters and befriend otherworldly creatures. I just don’t think that is going to go away any time soon. I hope not anyway, I’m only a quarter of the way through the second book in my Custodian trilogy.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Proof Copy #3

I received my 2nd proof yesterday and it's just amazing the tiny things you miss. So I yet again made revisions and uploaded the files. I have just ordered my 3rd, and hopefully final, proof copy of my book.

My aim is to have it ready for sale on Monday Sept 14th. The e-book is already available on, follow the link on the left and it will take you straight there.

After I have the paper version of The Amulet all 'done and dusted' I will make a more conserted effort with the kindle version.

I was most annoyed when after uploading it, they sent me an e-mail telling me that they don't publish Public Domain Titles. So now I have to go through a set of procedures to prove it is my own work etc etc. They said to e-mail them if they were incorrect, which I did, TWICE. So far, more than a week later, I have not heard back from them. I hope I can get this cleared up quickly because I believe having it on kindle will increase the readers I get.

I am a kindle owner myself and I absolutely love it. Not only is it a wonderous thing for the environment, I just prefer it to paper books, it is so much more convenient.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Just Another Day in the Country

Today was Labor Day and I spent most of it moving hay. (Very poetic) However, bouncing around on a tractor for 5 hours is not:-)

I'm not complaining. It was a beautiful day, and with the leaves already starting to turn it was a sharp reminder that there is still lots to do to prepare for winter, especially when you have animals, like I do.

My friend Andi, who I might add is the friend who designed my book cover, kindly loaned me her tractor so that I could move 6 big round bales of hay from her property to mine, in readiness for the winter months when I will bring my horses back from being on pasture at her ranch.

I live in the trees, so my horses get to "vacation" all summer long with her horses on 40 acres of lush green grass. Then they come home for the winter where I can keep an eye on them and feed them up on grain and alfalfa. No, I don't baby my horses in any way, shape or form :-)

I absolutely love this time of year, the bugs start to disappear, it gets cool enough to ride comfortably. The colors of fall are just awesome, and a great source of inspiration for me. If you read my book you'll understand why.

It's hard to believe it is the end of summer, it only seems five minutes since it was Memorial Day and everyone was looking forward to long summer days. Now winter is just around the corner and that's just fine by me. I do most of my writing in the winter. The cold dark nights are just perfect for it. Cozied up under a warm fleece blanket, laptop on lap, letting the words flow. I should have the 2nd book in my planned "Custodian" triolgy finished by the end of the year.

Happy fall to everyone, hope you all had a wonderful Labor Day.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A Clown and a Mustang

I had a somewhat unusal day today. I got to chauffeur a clown around in a brand new Mustang convertible. Not your average Wednesday Morning.

I know this really doesn't have anything to do with my book or publishing, or anything else to do with this blog. But I just had to share it with you all.

We have a circus coming to town in a couple of weeks and I volunteered to drive Skeeter the clown to various places to promote it. Our local Ford dealership donated the use of the Mustang.

We went to a school, a couple of nursing homes and a day care center. The biggest most profound thing that I noticed today was that it had no bearing on the age of the person, they all reacted the same way to Skeeter. When she entered the room, their faces lit up, and an ambience of joy could be felt around the room. So much so that it was almost tangible.

When we walked into the dining room of one of the nursing homes I was almost moved to tears by the reaction of the residents. They were eating their breakfast in relevant silence, most everyone's faces were expressionless, until Skeeter walked in. It was a sight to behold seeing all the elderly faces light up with smiles and sparkles in their eyes.

The children's expressions were priceless, too. Their uninhibited giggles were infectious.

Now, I'm usually a happy person anyway, but this morning I had a grin planted firmly from ear to ear. I'm sorry to all of you who have a phobia towards clowns. After meeting a real one, I'm here to tell you that they are just ordinary people who give a little extraordinary joy to those who can see them for who they really are.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

It's All in the Details

I received the proof copy of my book on Thursday. Excitement dripping from every pore. I have been spending most of the day reading through it and making minor corrections here and there. I was pleased with how the book cover turned out. It was a little off center, which I corrected this morning.

The next task is to upload the corrected files and book cover, and order another proof. Hopefully this will be the last time, I think it is about as perfect as I can get it now. Looks like I'm on target for my mid September release.

I have 3 book signings lined up already. 2 are at the Apple Festival in my local town on Saturday, Oct 3rd. The 3rd is November 14th, also in my local town. The stores hold a Christmas open house that attracts a lot of people, and a gift store that is going to stock my book asked if I would do another signing. I was over the moon to be asked.

So far, I have 4 stores that will stock it for me and I am working on getting it into some book stores in a larger town about 30 miles away.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

My Publishing Journey

Once I had made the decision to self-publish, everything just seemed to fall into place after that. I started researching my options, of which there were plenty. I joined Create Space, a superb option for the self-publishing author. It is owned by Amazon and has a community of writers who freely give of their knowledge and experience to help all of us ‘newbies’ on our way.

My first decision was, do I use a free ISBN number that Create Space give you, or buy my own? I decided to buy my own, that way I have complete autonomy over my book and can sell it anywhere.

With buying my ISBN numbers came the decision to create a publishing company to allocate those ISBN’s to. My publishing company name is Laxsaro Publishing. I will tell you all where I came up with that name in another blog.

The conversion and uploading of the interior of the book was very simple. I just had to convert my word doc into a PDF file, then up load it.

Designing the cover was fun. My friend Andi is very creative and while I was buying my ISBN’s she was playing with images. We uploaded the template CS give you and the rest was easy. It only took a couple of hours to design a professional looking book cover. I hope you will all like it when the book is printed.

The next step is to upload that and wait to see if the formatting is accepted by CS. The cover came back as rejected because the format was wrong, so I played with it some more and tried again. I am now waiting to see it that worked.

The next step will be to order a proof and work my way through it for any last errors.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

To Self-publish or Not to Self-publish? That is the question?

The reason I decided to go the self-publishing route was not one that I took lightly. I had been sending out my query to agents, about 50 altogether. I had some interest, my full manuscript was requested 3 times and a partial was requested about the same amount.

I went through the excitement of maybe getting an offer of representation and through the disappointments of rejection. I know that eventually someone would take a chance on it, you only need one person to say yes, after all.

Through all of this time period (about 6 months) I began avidly reading agent blogs and anything I could read about the state of the publishing industry. Everyone’s consensus was that the outlook was bleak. Publishers were re-printing back listed titles from 10 years ago that sold well, and it became apparent that they were very apprehensive about taking on new, unknown authors.

This gave me plenty of time to think about what exactly I wanted to achieve with my writing. I love to write, it is a hobby, a passion. I write whenever I need to escape the doldrums of the real world and enter one of excitement and adventure. I want young people to feel the same way when they read my books, too. It was then I realized that if I suddenly had contracts and deadlines imposed on me, I wouldn’t enjoy it as much anymore. It would no longer be my escape, and my creativity would probably fly straight out of the window. That was the pivotal point that made me decide to self-publish.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Where do I get my inspiration? Inspiration for me comes from anywhere and everywhere. I love to get involved in the theatre and I am blessed to live in a small town that has its very own circa 1930’s theatre. It is run by a local board and along with bringing in outside entertainers, it also hosts three shows a year that are played by local volunteers, including myself.

I was struggling with the closing scene of my last book, The Amulet, during rehearsals for the Christmas show we were producing last year. One of the musicians in the show had a mandolin and during a break, instead of playing the Christmas songs he was doing in the show, he started playing some Celtic music. BAM just like that the whole scene for my final chapter erupted in my head. I sat and listened to him for as long as I could before I was next due to go on stage, and unbeknownst to him, he ended up in my book.

Another example; I went round a friend’s one day and her computer was on in the living room. The wallpaper was of beautiful photo a relative had taken of two young people playing chess beside the ethereal glow of a candle. There was a fire burning behind them and the young girl was holding what looked like it could have been a first edition leather bound copy of an Edgar Allen Poe novel. In that instant another scene erupted in my mind for the current book I am writing. As yet I’m not sure where it will go in the story but when I figure that out, I will probably have a whole chapter surrounding that one photo.

I was blessed to be born in a Medieval City in England. It boasts a castle and two cathedrals. Has the oldest cobbled street in the Country and buildings that are centuries old. Everywhere you turn there is inspiration just knocking on the door. My YA books are based in that area and in the medieval village where I grew up.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Music and Writing

People sometimes ask me if music has any impact on my writing and to that I would have to answer with a resounding YES. I could be driving down the road listening to the radio and a song will play, and out of nowhere a whole scene explodes into my mind. Dialogue, action, descriptions all evolve as the song is being played. To the point where I can’t wait to get to my destination to write down the song title and the rough outline of what I just imagined, so I don’t forget it before I can get home and type it up.

I download the songs that inspire different scenes in my book and play them as I write. I create a playlist for each book. My favorite muses in music are Daughtry, Nickleback, Linkin Park, Staind, 3 doors down, David Cook, and Lady Ga Ga to name but a few.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

A Journey

I have written two books now and I am currently working on my third. The first book I wrote was more of an experiment than anything and I learned a huge amount from it. I originally wrote it in the first person and self-published it because it was really just a fun hobby.

After self-publishing it, I did sell several in the small town that I live in and had a great response to it. I took it “off the shelf” a year or so ago and am in the process of re-writing it, using the experience I have gained over the past three years. When I have finished the re-write my goal is to try and get it published “properly”.

The other book I have written is a young adult book in the urban paranormal genre. It was great fun to write and an adventure I wished I could have had as a teenager. I am currently working on the second book of what I am planning on being a trilogy when completed.

I have spent the last nine months on the “getting representation” journey but so far to no avail. The whole process is an extreme learning experience and also a very disheartening one. I have had manuscripts requested, which is always very exciting. But as yet no offers of representation. Although through my journey I have learned this is normal and par for the course.

I read agents blogs avidly and soak in any information I can about the publishing industry and unfortunately at the moment, it’s not good. It seems more and more that publishers are less than likely to take on new authors, even to the extent of re-printing back listed titles from years ago, that sold well.

With all of the information I have read and digested over the past nine months I think that for this series of books, at least, I will embark on the self-publishing route and try and market them myself. With the help of the internet, this blog and my facebook page.

I will keep you informed of my progress, wish me luck


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Everyone's Got To Start Somewhere

It's a funny old world, init (as some of us English folk say). My world on the outside is probably just as normal as the next person's. I have my trials and tribulations, like everyone else, but I've been blessed with a life of unforgettable experiences, both good and bad.

I have a knack with numbers, which has allowed me to earn a decent living as an accountant. I run my own business now doing just that. But I was born with an imagination that refused to dwindle with age. That and the fact I have become increasingly fed up with the real world over the years, prompted me to put fingers to keyboard and create my own, but who would inhabit it?

For some unknown reason, I love all things fae. The legend of fairies fascinates me. I collect them, I read about them, and now I write about them, too. And that my friends is how the Land of Azran was created, if only in my imagination.

My hope for this blog is to show you a little sneek peek inside a very peculiar mind that not many people see on the outside. Lord knows I don't think that all my clients would trust me with their finances if they new the inner workings of my brain, but until I make the ranks of bestselling author I have to stick to reality, if only for 8 hours of the day.

Thanks for reading