Audio Version of New York Orphan
We have found the right narrator for New York Orphan as an audio book. I am delighted to be able to tell you that Lee Brophy will be recording New York Orphan for us. We are looking at a release date early in the new year.
Progress of the prequel
I’m half way through writing the prequel to New York Orphan. I can’t give you an exact date for when it will be available yet, but I hope to be able to do that soon.
The Potato Famine
Sometimes the obvious is staring you in the face. As many of you are aware, New York Orphan is intended to be the ‘first’ in a series of novels that trace the life of Daniel Flynn. I’m currently working on the second in the series and many of you keep asking when it will be ready. For a number of very good reasons it is behind schedule, but I do have some good news.
All the writing advice I have been reading for a while has suggested that the best way to get new readers into reading a series is to offer something relevant for free. New York Orphan is already out in the market and doing quite well so my dilemma was what to do. Then I stopped and thought about some of the questions you’ve all been asking me. Of course, you all want to know what happens next, but many of you have also asked what happened before. What drove the family to set sail for New York in the first place? Now, that’s what I’m working on at the moment!
The book will be a novella rather than a full-length novel and will pick up Daniel’s family story the Christmas before they set sail. You’ll get the chance to meet Uncle Patrick and his fiddle, and Uncle Seamus who would wager on anything, as well as getting a better understanding of life during the potato famine in Ireland. The book already has a title, but you will have to wait a while for me to tell you what it is.
Once again, apologies to my family. The Irish music will be playing on the background and while I’m not writing I might just be singing along.
New York Orphan is available HERE
Come and Join Us
We’re counting down to the York Literature Festival. There are some great sessions over the course of the programme and definitely something for everyone. We’d particularly like to draw your attention to two Hub events.
I will be running a session teaching you how to use Mind Mapping and What If? Scenarios as a way to generate ideas for your writing. Follow these techniques and you have no excuse for writer’s block ever again!
Then you can join Promoting Yorkshire Authors for a session looking at how independent authors can sell more books.
Further details of the whole programme for York Literature Festival are HERE
Jane Davis – Smash All the Windows
Today, I’m going to tell you about a new book by another author. The lovely Jane Davis has been good enough to cover two of my novels in the past and now I’l like you to find out a little more about her writing. Her new book Smash All the Windows has the brilliant strapline ‘It has taken conviction to right the wrongs. It will take courage to learn how to live again.’
However, it will be far better to hear all this in Jane’s words. I can certainly relate quite closely to much of what she says.
Why do you write?
Jane: Fiction provides the unique opportunity to explore one or two points of view. It is never going to provide the whole answer, but it forces writer and reader to walk in another person’s shoes. And, in many ways, it is the exploration and not the answer that’s important. I think the idea of a single truth is flawed. I have a sister who is less than a year older than me but our memories of the same events differ substantially.
As my collection of books grows, I’m beginning to see them as my legacy. As someone who doesn’t have children, they are the mark I will leave on the world. So another reason for writing – one that I didn’t think about in my mid-thirties when I started to write – is to create a legacy that I can be proud of.
For readers who aren’t familiar with your writing, what can they expect?
Jane: I write about big subjects and give my characters almost impossible moral dilemmas. I don’t allow them a shred of privacy. I know what they’re thinking, what they’re feeling, the lies they tell, their secret fears. But I only meet them at a particular point on their journeys, usually in a highly volatile or unstable situation, and then I throw them to the lions. How people behave under pressure reveals so much about them.
Can you tell us about your new novel Smash all The Windows?
Jane: You can probably sense from the title that the novel began with outrage. I was infuriated by the press’s reaction to the outcome of the second Hillsborough inquest. Microphones were thrust at family members as they emerged from the courtroom. It was put to them that, now that it was all over, they could get on with their lives. ‘What lives?’ I yelled at the television.
For those who don’t know about Hillsborough, a crush occurred during the 1989 FA Cup semi-final, killing 96 fans. A single lie was told about the cause of the disaster: In that moment, Liverpool fans became scapegoats. It would be twenty-seven years before the record was set straight.
I didn’t want to be the one to add to the pain I saw on their faces, so I created a fictional disaster. And because writing should always take you outside your comfort-zone, I combined two of my fears – travelling in rush hour by Tube, and escalators.
The cover is very striking. What was the idea behind the image?
Jane: The City skyline shows the setting of the novel and the starling is borrowed from one of my city walks. I was taking the stairs from the Riverside Path to London Bridge when I saw a starling sitting on a steel railing, singing its heart out. Hearing birdsong when surrounded by the traffic roar and the clang of building works is quite special and so I stood and watched. I used this moment for my character Maggie, the mother of the young station supervisor who was in charge when the disaster happened. She feels her daughter is sending her a message. I chose an image of the starling breaking free and asked my designer Andrew Candy to create a real sense of urgency and momentum, which he did with contrast of the the static shards of glass and the blurred images.
How does Smash all the Windows fit in with your other books and where does it differ?
Jane: I think it’s my most contemporary book to date. I’ve written it in the present tense because I wanted to parachute the reader right into the scene of the disaster. I also have a far larger cast of characters than I’ve worked with before. My disaster destroyed the lives of hundreds of people – survivors, witnesses, families, friends, the police, doctors and nurses who had to deal with the aftermath. There was the potential to add more, but I chose to focus on five family members, their partners and the people they lost in the disaster.
Tell us a little about your characters.
Jane: My character Jules Roche was the unwitting poster boy for the disaster. He has a reputation as being something of an enfant terrible, because he has a fiery temper and feeds journalists the soundbites they’re so desperate for. He reluctantly found fame after he discovered that the way to deal with his grief was to translate all that energy into art, in his case, sculptures. He doesn’t have an artistic background and there’s no consensus on whether the work Jules creates is any good. But his intention to honour the memory of his wife is pure, and integrity like that has enormous appeal. In celebration of the verdict, Tate Modern wants to stage an exhibition of his work. Jules accepts – but only on his terms. He collaborates with the families of the victims to create a series of new pieces from their mementos. For some, it becomes part of the process of letting go.
We have mother and daughter, Gina and her daughter Tamsin Wicker. It’s a complicated dynamic. Gina didn’t only lose a son in the disaster. She lost her idea of who he was – of who she herself was. She wasn’t, as she’d thought, a good mother, and this knowledge led to a downward spiral of self-destruction.
As for Tamsin, she finds herself at a crossroads. Almost twenty-seven years old, she’s still living at home with her mother, who’s an alcoholic. But having lost so much of her teenage years, she is beginning to think she’s entitled to a life of her own, but she’s also afraid of moving on.
Then we have Maggie and Alan Chappel. When Alan decides that the best chance he has of healing his hidden wounds is by returning to his Northumberland hometown, Maggie comes under mounting pressure to explain her reluctance to go along with his plans.
There’s Donovan. The disaster wiped out two generations of his family. Not only his daughter and future son-in-law, but his unborn grandson. He has another source of pain, less obvious. One he can’t discuss. Ever since the funeral, his wife Helene has turned her back on the world, refusing to leave the house. But surely, if he can raise money to build a monument, she might be persuaded… That’s his motivation.
When most injustices are overturned, there’s usually an individual in the background who realised that an injustice had been done and then worked tirelessly to construct a case. With the St Botolph and Old Billingsgate disaster, that person was Eric, a law student, still some way from qualifying as a solicitor. The outsider in the story, his arrival proves to be a turning point for families, who’ve all but given up in their search for justice. In the midst of all of the heartbreak and human reaction, his conviction reminds the families that they still have a little fight left in them.
I love the way you’ve shown how creating something helped each of the characters to begin the healing process. What does art mean to you?
Jane: I recently filled in an author survey. There was an entire section asking about early writing experiences. What was the first story you wrote? Did you win any writing competitions while at school? I began to think, ‘I’m not a writer. I’m a failed artist.’ It wasn’t that I didn’t make up stories as a child, but instead of words, I used pictures. Right up to my O-Level year, I spent most of my spare time drawing and painting. I’d always assumed that I would make a career in art. It was the thing I was good at. And then came a hard lesson. The O-Level examiners didn’t like my work. But you can apply what you know about the process of writing a novel to the creation of a work of art. Both processes require vision and the creation of something out of nothing. I’ll admit that most of what I know about modern art comes from the BBC series, Imagine. I’ve been absolutely gripped by the stories about the artists, and therefore behind the art.
Which of your characters would make the best dinner-party guest and why?
Jane: It has to be Jules. On the outside, he is a passionate, energetic and intriguing individual, quite anti-authoritarian, unafraid what people think of him, someone who makes you feel flattered when he unlatches the door to his world and invites you in. But like many artists, it is what’s behind the show of energy that’s more interesting.
Your novels are all very different – which is something readers like, but publishers are rather wary about. Have you ever been asked to write something ‘similar’ to your debut, or to write a sequel?
Jane: I lost my publishing deal because I failed to deliver the book my publisher expected. Since then, readers have asked for sequels, or wanted to know what happened next. They seem particularly interested in my secondary characters. With These Fragile Things, readers fell in love with Miranda, my main character’s school-friend who is expelled for challenging her head mistress. With An Unchoreographed Life, readers already want to know more about Jean-Francois, one of Alison’s former dance partners, but a very minor character. The temptation to revisit old friends is always there. By the end of a novel, I might have been working with the same cast for up to four years. My characters become so real to me that it can be quite difficult to let them go. When I move on to my next writing project, I feel as if I’m cheating on them.
Smash all the Windows will be released on 12 April, but you can pre-order it now for the special price of 99p/99c (Price increases to £1.99 on 12 March. Price on publication will be £3.99). The Universal Link is books2read.com/u/49P21p
From 13 February to 10 March, US readers can also enter a Goodreads Giveaway for a chance to win one of 100 eBooks.
About Jane Davis
Hailed by The Bookseller as ‘One to Watch’, Jane Davis is the author of eight novels.
Jane spent her twenties and the first part of her thirties chasing promotions at work, but when she achieved what she’d set out to do, she discovered that it wasn’t what she wanted after all. It was then that she turned to writing.
Her debut, Half-truths & White Lies, won the Daily Mail First Novel Award 2008. Of her subsequent three novels, Compulsion Reads wrote, ‘Davis is a phenomenal writer, whose ability to create well-rounded characters that are easy to relate to feels effortless’. Her 2015 novel, An Unknown Woman, was Writing Magazine’s Self-published Book of the Year 2016 and has been shortlisted for two further awards.
Jane lives in Carshalton, Surrey with her Formula 1 obsessed, star-gazing, beer-brewing partner, surrounded by growing piles of paperbacks, CDs and general chaos. When she isn’t writing, you may spot her disappearing up a mountain with a camera in hand. Her favourite description of fiction is ‘made-up truth’.
Find Out More
Well we’re just over a month into the year and it’s going well.
The Complete Entlebucher Mountain Dog Book is being well received and I have found some of the comments truly humbling. I’ve had requests to translate it into other languages, which is something I may consider, but not yet.
I’m making good progress with the second in the Flynn and Reilly series. Thank you to everyone who keeps asking when the next one is ready. It’s great to know that I can’t sit back and relax, because you’re all waiting. I’m just over 5000 words in and have sent the opening off to two forthcoming competitions. I’ve also submitted New York Orphan to a competition for published titles. If the reviews so far are anything to go by, then it has to be in with a good chance.
I’m looking forward to running sessions on generating ideas at the York Festival of Literature and on both Publishing and Mind Mapping at Swanwick Writers Summer School in August. I’m also looking forward to later in the year when the York Museum Trust Book Group plan to read New York Orphan and I shall be attending their discussion on the book.
Now back to the writing before you all tell me off!
I am extremely proud to announce that The Complete Entlebucher Mountain Dog Book has launched today. This book is a real labour of love. ‘Hobby’ is just not a strong enough word describe what I do with my spare time. I have spent the last 10 years developing the breed in the UK and along the way become an accidental expert. What could have been better than to combine my love of this breed with my writing to produce the first completely breed specific book in the English language?
It runs to almost 200 pages of information on everything from the history of the breed, it’s development in the UK, caring for your dog and the sheer wonder of owning such an intelligent breed. If you are an owner it will help you know how to get the best out of your relationship with your dog and to manage their peculiarities and foibles. If you are thinking of getting a dog it provides all you need to know to decide if this is the right breed for you. If you are just a general dog lover, there is plenty to entertain and enlighten as well as 160 colour photographs. It’s also useful for anyone who might be thinking of breeding from their dog or who does not know where to start with introducing a puppy to their home.
To make sure there is an easily affordable option, the ebook includes everything that is in the paperback or hardback, but if you can stretch to it you really will be very pleased you’ve bought the hardback. Both the paperback and hardback are 7” x 10” (178 x 254 mm) and will look great on any coffee table!
For some reason in the UK the hardback is not showing up for sale but if that is the version you would like then please email me and I will get one sent out to you as soon as I have them. The hardback in the UK is £30.99 so I can sell it direct for £32 including postage. For postage to other countries please enquire first for a price – thankfully it is appearing on some Amazon sites as available direct from them but not all yet.
I don’t often gush about my work, but this book has me grinning from ear to ear! I know it’s more niche. I know I should be just as thrilled of the lovely five star reviews my latest novel is picking up, but I really am ridiculously pleased with how this has come out.
I can’t sign off this post without thanking all the wonderful people who have helped make this happen. I’ve been given access to photographs, knowledge, time – all of which has been very much appreciated. Thank you all.
One other thing, 10% of all royalties from the book will go to help pay the costs of the lovely Heidi who is in rescue care in the UK and help to make sure we can complete all the treatment she needs.
Why now take a look on Amazon now? You can find the book HERE
Happy New year to you all. I’ve already started the year by spending some time on my objectives and breaking everything down into manageable chunks. This week I clear the decks and next week I start the research and planning of the second novel in the Flynn and Reilly series. I could need no more encouragement than a recent Amazon review from an American reader who, having got to the end of New York Orphan immediately looked for the next in the series and is disappointed to find they have to wait. Thank you, dear reader, that means a huge amount to me.
Setting a timescale to complete the research and planning for this next one is probably the most important thing I could do. I LOVE research and the subject matter for the next book is something I could lose myself in for a long time if I let that happen. However, I have readers to please and other deadlines to meet too so the first five thousand words will be on the page by the end of February. I shall still sneak some more research in along the way to fill in some details, but the major structure will need to be in place by then.
I shall update the current book information on my website and you can watch progress as things develop. You are well within your rights to prod me if you think progress has slowed. I might even give you some snippets of preview too, both of the research itself and of the novel as it takes shape.
It’s going to be an exciting year!
If you have not yet read New York Orphan it’s available HERE
There is nothing more frustrating than having to hold yourself back from a project you’re excited about. I can’t wait to get started on the next novel in the Flynn and Reilly series. From the feedback I’m getting, many of you want me to do that too.
It’s wonderful for an author to have people finish a book and ask how soon they can start the next one. The second in the series will take up the story not long after the first leaves off when the campaign for votes for women in the US started to pick up.
You might ask why I can’t start it now. Well, apart from trying to fit Christmas in and having a busy family life, I’m just putting the finishing touches to a completely different book that will be out very soon. The Complete Entlebucher Mountain Dog Book has been a labour of love about the wonderful breed of dog with which I share my home. I hope to bring you news of its release very soon.
There’s still time to order New York Orphan in time for Christmas, so if you know anyone who enjoys a compelling novel do order your copy HERE.
Thank you. I don’t have words to say how grateful I am that so many of you attended the New York Orphan book launch. For an author to not have the adequate words is unusual but says something of the overwhelming feeling of gratitude and humility it has left me feeling… quite apart from the exhaustion.
Waterstones told me it was one of their more successful book launches and that on the basis of the number of copies you all bought I was right up there on their daily best sellers list.
For those who could not attend I will be uploading a video of part of the evening shortly should you want to watch. I’m not sure I want to watch myself. I had not realised just how much I talk with my hands until I saw the pictures of the evening! I guess the more passionate about something I am, the more I use my hands.
The team at Waterstones were wonderful and it was a pleasure to work with them.
If you are reading the book and enjoy it then please leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads, they really do help. If you are not reading it yet and would like to then you can either buy a
copy HERE or if you want a signed copy then the UK price is £10.99 including postage. For overseas sales you will need to email me for a price. Signed copies are available by following the below .
Book Launch Party 15th November
Everything is in place for the Book Launch Party in Waterstones York next Wednesday. I’m looking forward to seeing a number of you there, if you have not let me know you’re coming yet then there is still time. It’s from 7pm to 8.30pm at Waterstones on Coney Street, York on Wednesday 15th November. The evening will involve a glass of wine, an interview with me about New York Orphan, a reading from the book and of course a book signing. It’s my first every bookshop launch and I must admit it’s exciting and scary in equal measures.
If you cannot make the evening then the book is available to order through your local book shop, library or online HERE.
I am delighted to say that little by little reviews are appearing on Amazon and Goodreads, all of which help others to find the book, so thank you to all of you who leave reviews. Here are a few of the early comments:
‘It is very well researched and imagined, and the tale is finely spun – the author is quite a storyteller. It is also tremendously visual – you will feel as if you are watching a movie as the story unrolls.’ Catterwall Amazon.com
‘Once you start New York Orphan, you won’t want to stop.’ Bookworm Amazon.com
‘Very moving, great characters and beautifully written.’ The BookBreather Amazon.co.uk
‘A can’t put down book,well written, you may need the tissues handy.’ Barbara Lane Amazon.co.uk
If you have not been able to listen live to either of my recent radio interviews, then the one on BBC Radio York is still online HERE I’m one hour and thirty-nine minutes into the programme. I’ve also included a short podcast about the book on my website HERE
Today’s the day that New York Orphan goes on sale. It’s been several years in the writing and production and now it’s launched on its journey into the world. Of course, the launch party is not until 15th November in Waterstones York and if you would like to come do let me know.
The day a book goes on sale is one of nail biting and trepidation for an author. Yes, I do believe this is the best thing I have written to date, but waiting to hear what you all think is a very nerve-racking experience.
The way of the world is that authors depend on reviews to get their books more widely read. Honest reviews are what is important, rather than just flattery. Readers are too discerning not to see through flannel. I’d be very grateful to all of those of you reading the book in these early stages if you could post reviews on Amazon and /or Goodreads. It makes a world of difference.
Anyway, to all of you reading it I sincerely hope you enjoy it and that the characters come to life as much for you as they have for me. I shall be interested to hear from any of you and, given that I shall start writing the next instalment in a few weeks’ time if you have comments and suggestions they might prove very useful.
And if you want to hear me on BBC Radio York this Thursday afternoon from 1.40pm on the Anna And Adam Show you can tune in via the internet if you aren’t local.
New York Orphan
From fleeing the Irish Potato Famine, to losing his parents on the ship to New York, seven-year-old Daniel Flynn knows about adversity. As Daniel sings the songs of home to earn pennies for food, pick-pocket Thomas Reilly becomes his ally and friend, until he too is cast out onto the street. A destitute refugee in a foreign land, Daniel, together with Thomas and his sister Molly, are swept up by the Orphan Train Movement to find better lives with families across America. For Daniel will the dream prove elusive? How strong are bonds of loyalty when everything is at stake? Based on real history, the strength of the characters in New York Orphan will move you with their desperate plight to survive. A gripping story of love, loss, betrayal and bonds of kinship.
You can buy it online HERE or any Bookstore or Library can order it in if they do not already stock the title.
New York Orphan goes on sale in just eight days’ time. It’s already available to preorder on Amazon as an ebook, so it delivers to your Kindle on publication day. You can also order it now through your local bookshop or library and if you’re quick could order it direct from me to come out on publication day.
The Goodreads giveaway is still running, so if you want to try your luck at winning a copy you can enter that HERE.
I’ll be on Radio York on Thursday 26th October at about 1.40pm talking to Anna Wallace about the book, so do tune in.
What’s more, if you’re free then please do EMAIL ME for a place to attend the official Launch Party at Waterstones York on Wednesday November the 15th at 7.00pm. I’ll be talking about the book and of course doing a book signing. You’ll even get a glass of wine while you’re there.
I am running a giveaway over on Goodreads. The winner will be decided the day before the launch of New York Orphan so that the winner’s copy can be on the way to them the day of the launch. To take part just click on the giveaway details below.
From Story Idea to Reader - now available in audio - Free Code Offer
I am delighted to say that the Audiobook version of From Story Idea to Reader was released yesterday. It has been narrated by Charles “CW” Hall whose voice lends itself well to the easily accessible style of the book. It is available through Amazon (see link below) or direct through Audible.
For those who have not yet taken a look, From Story Idea to Reader is designed to be a useful guide to writing fiction, covering everything from idea generation to finding an audience for your work, and from developing characters to point of view. There is something in it for every writer at whatever stage of their writing life they are.
I do have available a few free codes for the purpose of gaining reviews for the audiobook. If you would like to review the title then please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with Audio Review in the title field so that I can send you a code and the details of how of obtain the book. Reviews are essential to writers as they are a way for others who don’t know us to find quality work. In an age when so many books are published that is essential.
Of course, the book is in both ebook and paperback as well and you can follow the link HERE to take a look. The advantage of the paperback is that it includes pull-out boxes with tips drawn from the pages to give a very quick and easy reference guide as well as the main detail. Sadly it was not possible to include those in the ebook. However, if you have Kindle Unlimited it is available to read as part of that programme at no extra charge.
The Appearance of Truth is available for Kindle at just £0.99 in the UK and $1.99 in the USA until 4pm GMT on the Thursday 3rd August. It then goes up to £1.99 / $2.99 until Monday 7th at noon GMT. Then it goes back to its normal price.
With an average of 4.6 stars from Amazon UK reviews and 4.5 on Amazon.com, there’s a pretty good chance you’re going to enjoy reading it. Go on, live a little, BUY the book!
p.s. If you enjoy reading it, do leave a review to help others to find it too.
p.p.s. Why not share this post so everyone else you know can buy it at a discount?
The Appearance of Truth
Lisa Forster’s birth certificate belonged to a baby who died. Her apparently happy upbringing was a myth and her parents had a dark secret.
With Pete Laundon’s help Lisa sets about searching for the truth. She follows up all possible routes, until with no options left she goes to the newspapers for help. After 30 years, who if anyone knows: Who is Lisa Forster? Why was she never told? And who was the baby who died?
The Appearance of Truth is the gripping tale of one woman’s search for identity.
Buy it HERE
New York Orphan will be on sale from October this year. Sign up for updates and an invitation to the launch.
Which book are you going to put at the top of your Christmas wish list? Which book are you going to buy for everyone from your uncle to your best friend? Which book will you get an invitation to the launch event for?
The answer to all of those questions is, of course, New York Orphan. It has been years in the researching and the writing and now I am delighted that you can be one of the first to see the book cover and join in the excitement of building up to the launch.
For the next few months, I am going to tease you, tickle your literary appreciation bone, (trust me you have one) and leave you desperate to start reading as soon as it hits the shelves.
The book cover has been designed by Katie Stewart of Magic Owl Designs, and brings together key aspects of the book. It is 1853 in New York. Seven-year-old Daniel Flynn’s family left the Irish Potato Famine behind, in search of a better life. As happened to many children, Daniel’s parents died on the six-week crossing to America and he arrived on the wharf in New York as an orphan.
The current refugee crisis is nothing new. There were thousands of children on the streets of New York at that time, their families having fled from war, revolution and famine in Europe. New York Orphan, whilst a fictional account of how life played out, is deeply rooted in historical research and it’s shocking.
To make sure you don’t miss out on the build-up to the release of the book, then either sign up to my newsletter HERE, or like my Facebook page HERE in order to receive the latest news, and of course, your launch invitation.
Being Katniss Everdeen
Reality is not always a pretty place to live. Day to day life can be mundane or in some cases very difficult and we all find different ways to deal with that. Some people lose themselves in the bottom of a tumbler of whiskey and others become addicted to computer games, losing themselves in realms of warlocks or druids. For some the lure of the Penny Black draws them in like a siren, but for me it’s books.
I am a bookaholic. I’m not a reformed case, unless you count moving from exclusively paper to electronic and audio as reform. This may shock you, I’ll be honest, I don’t want to reform. There, I’ve said it. I’m happy here. When I’m not reading books I’m writing them. When I’m not writing, I’m planning them. For the last couple of weeks I have been Katniss Everdeen.
I’ve been rereading the remarkable Hunger Games Trilogy and for those all too brief and elusory hours I have not been a middle-aged woman dealing with real world issues. For those precious, stolen moments I have been a young participant in the Hunger Games, living by my wits and an expert with a bow and arrow. Every so often one of the dogs has interrupted to remind me they, if not I, are real and need feeding. Then reluctantly, I’ve laid down my bow and come back to reality. Looking on the bright side, when I’m writing fiction, I can get lost in the world of my characters for months. At least reading a book only takes me a few hours.
At the moment I am getting increasingly excited about planning the launch of my new novel. I want to do everything NOW, but of course that is not possible. You the readers want the cover to look brilliant (and it does) and you want to be able to read the book uninterrupted by errors (which is in process). You might even think you’d like an invite to the launch (which is being planned). All those things take time.
In the meantime, books are a great and largely safe place to spend time. They can fuel the imagination, and broaden horizons. They can inform, challenge ideas and inspire. In my opinion they are as relevant now as they have ever been and if spending a few hours being Katniss Everdeen gives me the strength and courage to face the world then Katniss Everdeen I will be!
Now prejudice is a dreadful thing and one that I don’t condone in any form. On that basis the following probably totally serves me right.
For years I have disliked Jeffrey Archer. It’s totally unfounded as I have never met the man and have only based by reaction on media coverage, which I am the first to admit is not always either fair or rational. I vowed I would not read books by him as I didn’t wish to line his pockets. Then the problems started.
Firstly, Audible offered me the opening book in the Clifton Chronicles for free. I get through so many books that it seemed like a good idea and of course I still wasn’t giving him any money. Oh woe is me. I discovered that Jeffrey Archer is a very good writer. He weaves solid, believable characters with depth and a story line that will have you hooked from the outset. He is also the master of leaving you on a cliff-hanger, which was my downfall. I simply had to buy the next in the series… and the next… and the next…
If I could have stopped there I might have been able to condone my behaviour, but alas the problem ran much deeper. I have recently been learning about how best to use advertising on Amazon to extend the range of people who are finding and enjoying my writing. In order to do this you put in a list of words people might use in searching for a book and who might then like to consider yours. It turns out that readers of Jeffery Archer’s novels are also likely to be the ones most interested in my novel ‘The Appearance of Truth’. I am now shamelessly taking advantage of this fact in the hope that even a small fraction of his readers will go on to buy my books too.
There is nothing else for it but to adjust my views and so, Dear Jeffrey Archer, I take it all back (well most of it) and I’m now a fan of your writing and delighted that others of your fans are finding my own writing.
(ps if you have not read The Appearance of Truth then you can find it HERE)
The Orphan Train
There are few things worse (I may be exaggerating there!) than working on a book for several years, under a title you have become very attached to, only to realise that in the meantime another book has come out with the same title and you need to change your thinking. This is a point where an argument plays out in your head:
“But it’s my title. I’ve been using it longer.”
“It serves you right for being so slow in finishing the book.”
“I had to get it right.”
“Well, to get it right now you need to change the title.”
“I like the title.”
“You’re not getting this.”
… words to the effect of ‘it’s my ball and I’m not playing anymore’ spring to mind. You pout, flounce out of the office and find somewhere to sulk.
After a while the adult in you comes in to play. “This isn’t helping is it?”
You shake your head.
“It’s better to get it right now and plan the launch with a good strong title.”
You nod as the tears trickle down your cheeks. The adult you passes a tissue. You blow your nose noisily and blub “… what…” sniff “… am I going to call it then?”
Adult you gets a pen and paper and starts to share some ideas. You rubbish most of them and then start to throw in one or two of your own. One word is too female and won’t attract male readers. Another word immediately conjures up a major film with a different theme. Several Amazon searches later you have whittled away almost all of the list, but are left with one that just might grow on you.
Dear readers, my novel ‘The Orphan Train’ will not be called ‘The Orphan Train’ as there is a highly successful novel called simply ‘Orphan Train’ which has come out since I started writing it and I don’t want to either a) cause confusion or b) have anyone think I’m jumping on the bandwagon. I think I know what it will be called, but I need to finish mulling it over and consulting with others before I can confirm.
The lesson learned from this… well there are probably several, but I think the most important two are a) when you start on a project don’t take so many years to finish it and b) don’t be so precious about a title!
Watch this space … the production process is underway and you will be able to read it soon.
It is five years ago today since I launched www.alfiedog.com the short story download site. Over those years I have built it to being one of the biggest paid short story sites in the world with 325 authors and over 1600 short stories.
We’re having a bit of a celebration with some special offers on stories by those authors who have been with us all five years http://alfiedog.com/fiction/featured/ and a special sale of some of the best stories we carry, with six different stories brought to you each week over the next five weeks http://alfiedog.com/fiction/sale/ Then we’re having with a big online party which you are all welcome to join on June 11th from 7pm to 9pm UK time https://www.facebook.com/events/214250785730563/?active_tab=discussion Finally we are finishing off our celebrations by offering five of our short story collections absolutely free as ebooks and we’ll let you know the dates of those later.
Spread the word and join in the celebrations.
‘Lies damn lies and statistics.’ Book sales were up last year. You would think that was good news, but should adult dot to dot books really be included? Even when you take those out and look at the rest of the sales it can make for depressing reading.
Whilst there has been much criticism of self-publishing ‘dumbing down’ literature, I fear that the problem runs much deeper. It is a long time since I’ve read a book without a significant number of errors. Even supposed modern classics like The Red Notebook had a record being 33 1/3 inches! (If you don’t immediately know what’s wrong with that then you’re too young to know your vinyl from your cassette.)
I’m not sure whether to be appalled or relieved. As a publisher, I know it is almost inevitable that the odd error will slip through. The reason being that the cost of catching them all is too high compared with the likely return on the publication.
The problem lies with a society that has the attention span of a gnat on caffeine and which expects something for nothing, or at best paid for by hidden means such as advertising.
I’m told that one of the big things for writers is Wattpad where books are posted in instalments and are free to readers. If this is the next big thing, then the thing after that will be the most dreadful standard of written English amongst the following generation as they learn from what they read… and what they are reading is not good!
I’m not against the progression of language and its ongoing simplification; development and change is part of what keeps it alive. However, I do believe that we’re at risk of losing quality fiction because of the lack of interest and respect by the population at large. Is that inevitable in the age of electronics? Does it matter? I think it does.
I set up Alfie Dog Fiction to publish quality short stories for paid download. An author has to earn a living. Giving their work for free does not enable them to do that. By quality I don’t mean literary. Of course we do carry some high class literary fiction, but whatever the genre a reader deserves to be able to read stories which are well written and well crafted. I didn’t set it up because it would make me a millionaire (if you’re counting, it has made me zero so far) I set it up because I believe in it and I believe in the authors whose work we carry.
Five years on from the start of Alfie Dog Fiction I still live in hope that readers will one day come to understand why good quality writing is important in the fast paced, throw away age we inhabit.
Rosemary J Kind
We carry 1600 short stories written by more than 300 authors around the world
Author / Editor / Publisher
I really am delighted to announce that in a couple of months my first novel, The Appearance of Truth, will come out as an audio book. It is currently in production and being read by a woman whose voice is perfect for it. I can’t give you the exact release date yet, but I should be able to tell you soon. I shall tell you more about the reader then too.
I listen to a lot of audio books as they really can go with me anywhere. Whether I’m driving or walking the dogs, I’ve always got a book on the go. Whilst of course I read paperbacks and ebooks as well, I do think the audio book has come of age and I will be delighted for my writing to join the ranks of good books available to listen to as well as read.
It’s bad enough when I’ve got more book ideas than I will ever write, but other writing ideas then foist themselves on me at regular intervals.
The Book reviews page of this site is now fully up and running (http://rjkind.co.uk/wp/reviews-of-other-books/) and will have books added at regular intervals as and when I read something I can recommend. Now it’s occurred to me that my compulsion to write hotel reviews should be put to good use as well. Whilst I will continue to write reviews from a human point of view and included them on some of the travel sites, ‘Wilma’ will start writing reviews from a dog’s perspective and award a suitable bone rating according to how much they impress her. She is developing a whole section on my Alfie’s Diary blog of dog friendly places to stay. (http://alfiedog.me.uk/travel/)
In the meantime, none of my other projects are being abandoned. The Orphan Train is currently through to stage two of the UK novel writing competition. At that point, the original 3100 novels have been reduced to 250. I am waiting to see if it makes round three in which there would be just 25. It is also out being considered by agents, but I’m not holding my breath on that one.
In the meantime, From Story Idea to Reader has now garnered 15 Amazon reviews, of which 15 are 5 star ratings. Those seem to have come from writers at all stages of their writing careers which is particularly rewarding.
Nor have I forgotten I’m supposed to be writing another book. That is now at the 14,000 words mark and growing slowly. I’m also doing some work to refresh some of my older publications and hope to have news of some offers of free downloads soon.
Now all I need is more time… Of course, if fantasy were the genre I wrote in then I could just write that into the story. I can feel another idea coming on!