Friday, 23 December 2016

A thank you ...

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has purchased one of my books or attended one of my speaking engagements or book signing events for your support.  2016 has not been an easy year for many of use and your continued support is very much appreciated.  I'll have some news about my next book early in the New Year.


I wish everyone a very Happy Christmas and a healthy and prosperous New Year.

Victoria



Sunday, 21 August 2016

Manchester Author Signing

On Saturday 13th August, I took part along in the inaugural Manchester Author Event and Gig held  at The Red Rose Steam Society in Astley Green, Manchester.

Waiting for the doors to open!

A total of fifty authors took part and showcased their books.  I met some very talented authors, including Amanda Green, Isabelle Cate, Ian D Jackson, K L Shandwick, J F Holland, Victoria Blisse, and Laura Morgan, and many more.

Amanda Green
Creative artist, Annabella was there with her stunning designs made from book pages, and Maria Lazarou was present, showcasing her design services for authors.





Next year's event is scheduled to take place over two days - 19th and 20th August.  More details will be available closer to the date, and will be posted on Facebook.

The Astley Green Colliery Museum is well worth a visit.  It houses Lancashire's only surviving headgear and engine house, along with a collection of twenty-eight colliery locomotives - the largest collection of its type in Britain. 

* Photographs courtesy of David Lascelles.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Tips for setting up your International Amazon Author Central Pages

I came across this very informative article by Marcy Kennedy while building my Japanese Author Central Page.  Marcy very kindly allowed me to reproduce it here.  Whether are published or not, I would also recommend that you visit her website, and in particular her blog, which has some great articles.  



4 Tips for Setting Up Your International Amazon Author Central Pages 


By Marcy Kennedy, @MarcyKennedy 

Part of the Indie Author Series 

Last month, I walked you through the 6 Steps for Setting Up Your Amazon Author Page. In that article, I talked exclusively about your author profile on Amazon.com, but Amazon sells books all over the world. While setting up our author page on Amazon.com is the most important (because that’s where we’re likely to sell the most books), we shouldn’t overlook our author pages elsewhere.

You might be thinking, Why do I want to take the time to do that for non-English speaking countries? 

The answer is simple. English is the most common second language in the world. Even if English isn’t the primary language of Germany or India or China, many people living in those countries still speak it, read it, or are trying to learn. Creating an author page on international sites gives us a leg up over authors who only bother to update their Amazon.com page.

Because you’ll want to add the same information as you did for your Amazon.com author page, I won’t go over all of that again. You can read my previous article for details. What I’m going to focus on in this article are the unique things to keep in mind when we’re updating our pages on the international sites.

Tip #1 – How to Find International Amazon Author Central Sites 


Currently, there’s no centralized list of Amazon Author Central sites, so the first thing we need to do is explore a little. Searching for sites is a two-step process.

Google the Amazon site for the particular country you’re interested in. For example, I might type “Amazon France” into my search bar.

This lets you know if Amazon has a site in that country, but what you’re really looking for here is the little country code that comes after www.amazon in the search results. For France, it’s fr.

The URL for all Author Central sites begins like this…

https://authorcentral.amazon.

So once you have the country code, you add it like this…

https://authorcentral.amazon.fr/gp/landing?

And that’s where you’ll sign in to create your author page.

Not all countries currently have Author Central, but more and more are appearing all the time. If you can’t find an Author Central site for a specific country (I’m looking at you Canada), just wait. It will probably appear in the not-too-distant future.

Here are a few sites to get you started:

http://authorcentral.amazon.co.uk
http://authorcentral.amazon.fr
http://authorcentral.amazon.de
http://authorcentral.amazon.co.jp

Tip #2 – How to Read International Amazon Author Central Sites 


Remember how we talked about these sites being targeted at non-English speakers? That creates a snag for those of us who don’t speak multiple languages.

Thankfully, technology gives us two ways around it:

(A) Keep your Amazon.com Author Central page open so you can compare. For the most part, the sites are all the same structurally, so you’ll know what it’s asking for even if you can’t read all the words.

(B) Use Google Translate or download Google Chrome (which comes with a built-in translator) to use as your browser while you create your pages. 

These won’t be perfect, but they’ll be enough to allow you to easily fill in your author pages.

Tip #3 – Some Other Countries Will Want You to Create a New Account 


Some countries will allow you to sign in with the same email and password you used when you created your Amazon.com account, and some countries will require you to set up a new Amazon account with them. If your regular Amazon email and password won’t work, it just means you need to start from the ground up with a new account.

Tip #4 – Don’t Think You’re Doing Something Wrong If You Can’t Find All the Same Features 


Strangely enough, not all international sites are created equal. Some won’t allow you to connect your blog. Some won’t allow you to upload pictures. If you can’t find a particular feature, it’s probably not because you’re blind. It’s probably because it doesn’t exist on that specific site. The key with the international Amazon author pages is to fill out what you’re offered and not worry about the rest.

When you find a site that doesn’t allow you to connect your blog, make sure you include your website address somewhere. Along with claiming your books, this is the most important thing. This is all about providing readers with a way to find more of your books and to form a relationship with you.

Good luck!

Have you taken the time to set up your author page on international Amazon sites? Do you have any other tips I haven’t included?

Marcy Kennedy is a suspense and speculative fiction writer who believes fantasy is more real than you think. Alongside her own writing, Marcy works as a freelance fiction editor and teaches classes on craft and social media through WANA International. She’s also the author of the Busy Writer’s Guides series of books. You can find her blogging about writing and about the place where real life meets science fiction, fantasy, and myth at marcykennedy.com.
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Saturday, 16 July 2016

My Guest today....

I am delighted to welcome back Lynda Stacey as a guest on my blog today.  Lynda recently won ChocLit and Whole Story Audiobooks Search for a Star Competition.  Her debut novel, The House of Secrets will be released shortly.



Lynda took some time out of her busy schedule to come and talk to me.

1    Welcome Lynda,  Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Hi Victoria and thank you so much for having me.
I work full time as a Sales Director. I have a lovely husband, two step-daughters and two grandchildren. I love to travel. I used to be a Scuba Diving Instructor and enjoy finding interesting dive sites. Other than that, I’m quite boring and ordinary, I do the ironing, the cleaning and when I have nothing else to do, I sit my lap top on my knee and I write.

How long have you been writing and working toward the goal of being published?

I began writing at a very early age, but like most things that you do when you are young, it gets put to one side. I do distinctly remember being around 14 years old when I asked for a Lilliput typewriter for Christmas, announcing to my family that I really needed one, or I’d never be able write a novel.

Can you describe the time you realised you were a ‘real writer?’

Wow, I still don’t class myself as a writer. It all seems so surreal that something that I wrote is actually out there for people to buy. It’s crazy and a little incomprehensible. I think what makes it worse is that everything is e-book first these days, I guess if I actually got to see and hold a book, with my name on it, I’d feel like a ‘real writer.’




What was the inspiration behind The House of Secrets?

The story was inspired by Wrea Head Hall. I went with my husband one Christmas for a birthday treat. (My birthday is the 29th December) The minute I pulled up on the extensive driveway, I was in awe of the house. It literally took my breath away and when we walked in through the front door, stepped into the Grand Hall and walked through the corridors, I could feel the history seeping out through the walls at me. It was as though the house was trying to tell me it’s story.

Wrea Head Hall

How did you come up with your story concept?

The family that used to live there had quite a history of its own, which I studied. After much deliberation, I decided to step away from the real story and create a fictional family. It suited my story better and to me, Emily Ennis came to life.

Who is your favourite character and why?

I love Nomsa. She’s a typical Caribbean lady. I’ve travelled around the Caribbean extensively with my diving and spent a lot of time in both Jamaica, Barbados, the Dominican and Grenada. I absolutely love the people, especially the Jamaicans. I love how they have happy-go-lucky attitudes one minute and how they stand up for themselves the next.

Do you become attached to your characters and have a hard time letting go of them, or are you happy their story is told and you can move on to the next project?

Ha ha…. That depends what you mean by ‘attached’? To me, they are real. They live at the hall, they work there and sleep there. I would fully expect to go to Bandit’s cottage, knock on the door and have him answer it.

If you could be any of your characters, which would it be and why?

That’s a hard question. No, I don’t think I would. I actually really like the life that I have, I don’t dream of being anyone else.

What is your writing process? Which comes first, the story, the characters, or setting?

Definitely the character. Normally just the heroine first. I try to build her world and then introduce others around her.

Are you a meticulous plotter or do you just let it flow?

It just flows. Some days it flows in a good way, and others in a way that means that I end up deleting a lot of words at a later date.

How would you describe your writing style?

Sporadic.

How long does it take you to write a book?

Because I work full time, I get very little actual writing time. So, I’d say it takes me around a year to the end of a draft worth submitting and then another year for the edits and the publishing.

What kind of research do you undertake?

As much as I physically can. For House of Secrets, I had to go to Wrea Head Hall a lot, it was hard work, but I loved it hahaha…!!

What part of writing a novel do you find most challenging?

The same part that challenges all authors. It’s the 40,000-word syndrome, the part where you look at your manuscript and all you can think is… IT’S RUBBISH, WHO WOULD BUY THIS? And then of course, you pass it by a few beta readers, who do their best to lift your spirits and you carry on.

Have you used beta readers, and if so, do you recommend them?

Yes, I use beta readers. They are invaluable. But no, I don’t recommend them, they’re mine, all mine.

What can your readers expect when they read your book?

I’d like to think that they wouldn’t know what to expect. After all, sometimes the book and the characters do their own thing and even I have no idea what they are doing, until it’s done.

Can you tell us what you are writing now?

I’ve just finished writing my 3rd novel and I’m about to start my 4th. I’m at that research stage and building my heroine stage. The only thing I really know about the next book at this point is that it will be a time slip, within the mining community.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Keep going. Whatever you do, believe in yourself and keep writing. Join as many writing groups as you can, this helps you to keep the momentum going. Other than that, network, meet other authors, lots of them. They are all full of the most amazing advice.

I understand you are a member of the Romantic Novelists' Association. Do you think being a member of such an association is beneficial to new writers?

The Romantic Novelist Association has been a huge help to me. I joined under the umbrella of the New Writers Scheme, which offers a full critique on your work, once a year. I can honestly say that if I hadn’t joined, I probably still wouldn’t be published.

Do you ever experience writers’ block? If so, how do you get past it?

I wouldn’t say that I ever experience it, I’d say that after working all day and by the time I’ve made tea, cleaned my house and sat down to write, my mind is tired. Some nights I have the energy, others I don’t and I find that my best idea’s normally come to me at really inopportune moments. So, I always carry a notebook.

Thank you Lynda.  


The House of Secrets, published by Choc Lit will be released on the 19th July.



A woman on the run, a broken man and a house with a shocking secret …

Madeleine Frost has to get away. Her partner Liam has become increasingly controlling to the point that Maddie fears for her safety, and that of her young daughter Poppy.

Desperation leads Maddie to the hotel owned by her estranged father – the extraordinarily beautiful Wrea Head Hall in Yorkshire. There, she meets Christopher ‘Bandit’ Lawless, an ex-marine and the gamekeeper of the hall, whose brusque manner conceals a painful past.

After discovering a diary belonging to a previous owner, Maddie and Bandit find themselves immersed in the history of the old house, uncovering its secrets, scandals, tragedies – and, all the while, becoming closer.

But Liam still won’t let go, he wants Maddie back, and when Liam wants something he gets it, no matter who he hurts …

The House of Secrets is available as an ebook from Amazon, Kobo, Nook and iBookstore 

For more information about Lynda, visit her website:  www.lyndastacy.co.uk
You can also follow Lynda on Facebook and Twitter














Monday, 27 June 2016

UK Indie Lit Festival, Bradford, 23rd July 2016

I am delighted to announce that I am taking part in the first UK Indie Literature Festival being held in Bradford, West Yorkshire, on the 23rd July. Organised by Follow this Publishing in conjunction with Cillian Press, this aims to be an annual event.   





Over 25 authors, covering various genres, will be in attendance, including International best selling authors Kendare Blake, CJ Rutherford, Roger Gordon, and Bridget Allyson who will be appearing via Skype.

This is a FREE event, and will feature author-led workshops and readings. Attendees will have the chance to:-


  • Meet Authors
  • Get their books signed
  • Enter competitions to win signed novels
  • Snap a picture with authors
  • Hear music that inspired the writers and watch book trailers for the latest releases

The event will run from 9am-5pm and tickets are available from Eventbrite








Thursday, 19 May 2016

My Guest today... is Roger Barton

Please give a warm welcome to my guest Roger Barton.  Roger is taking part in the first UKIndie Book Festival being held in Bradford on the 23rd July.




"Waiting for the Rains, A memoir of Africa" is Roger's memoir of his life as an expatriate in  Malawi and Zambia in the 1970s, while working with the Government Printing Office.  Published by Dovetail Press, it is available from Amazon.


It is a story of being close to local life without the insulation of tour buses or taxis.
A confrontation with the heat, jostling, noise, smells and colour of the country. The lives of expatriates and missionaries; bars and markets; travelling by bus and train; corruption and border crossings; villages and townships are all part of the story. 




You can find out more about Roger by visiting his page on Facebook or come along to the UKIndie Book Festival and meet Roger in person. Tickets are available from Eventbrite and are free!





  

Thursday, 24 December 2015

A Christmas Wish from me...




I would like to thank everyone who has purchased a book, audiobook and everyone who has attended one of my events and their families a Merry Christmas.  Without your support I wouldn't be able to call myself a writer and do a job I love. 


May your Christmas be filled with happiness, peace, and love... oh and lots of presents too!




Best wishes, 

Victoria