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
I have a wonderful tee shirt with ‘Maui Rules’ on the back. They are gems of insight from the beautiful island of Maui in Hawaii. Of course, whilst there is a lot of merit in ‘Speak softly and wear a loud shirt’, my personal favourite is ‘No rain No rainbows’.
Life is always full of ups and downs and as a writer it can be frustrating when they get in the way of being able to put pen to paper. However, without the life experiences our writing would be shallow and our characters would be unrealistic.
I’ve had to take stock and consider what I can do in the available 24 hours and what I can’t do. I’ve also had to think about what matters most. The answer to that second point isn’t always the same as what would I like to do with my time. I can choose to be frustrated about that, or I can choose to embrace it and make the most of what it offers. No rain No rainbows.
I had to reach the very difficult decision that to make enough time for my own writing I would have to stop running the short story download site I set up some six years ago. I’m still a publisher, but will through Alfie Dog Fiction, focus on the book side of the business rather than the individual downloads. It was a hard decision as I believe in short stories. I think they are an important part of the fiction world. However, time does not allow me to do everything.
I’m still working with around 80 authors around the world and will be able to spend a little more time promoting their work. I will miss the many I no longer work with. The talent they represent has been incredible to be part of. I’ve met such interesting people through short stories over the last six years and will stay in touch with a good number of them.
I’m still publishing new titles for some of our authors, but I will now be able to carve out enough time to move my own writing forward again. at a pace I’m happy with. That is my rainbow and I will enjoy every one of its glorious colours.
I’d love to tell you I haven’t been around as I’ve been writing, but then I’d love to tell you I look ten years younger and can still eat as much as I like too. Neither would be true. If only being a writer were just about the writing. Sadly, it’s not. Being a writer still involves all the boring routine things that the world thinks we leave behind as we opt for a more creative lifestyle.
There is still administration, tax, billing, accounts… Being a writer is as much a business as any other job, if rather less prone to making money.
One of the skills I’ve been learning is marketing. It’s amazing the difference it makes to sales when you actually tell the world about your books. I’ve been selling books at a rate I would not have believed possible only twelve months ago and I’ve only just begun. I’m trying to redesign my website. The emphasis is well and truly on ‘trying’ as I have been struggling for time and for that matter ability! I have a picture in my head of the wonderful outcome. Isn’t it frustrating when the finished item simply won’t look like the picture?
All things being equal (which they rarely are) I promise I’ll be back to real writing within a matter of days. Here is picture of me with Wilma to keep you going.
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
I’m writing this from a village which seems to be cut off by snow at the moment, so what better to do than celebrate World Book Day.
Reading is something we take for granted in England. If books were scarce we would still treasure them. If we didn’t have freedom of the written word, we’d fight for it. It never ceases to amaze me when I have book stalls, and try to talk to people about my books, how often I get the apologetic response ‘I know I really ought to read more, but…’ Fill in the blank. ‘I spend the time watching television / on Facebook / asleep.’
Let’s spend today remembering how privileged we are to have easy access to books. There are still many in the world today who haven’t.
I am delighted on this World Book Day to be featured on Veronica Bright’s blog I’m also part of a World Book Day feature in the York Press, although it looks unlikely I shall be able to get out of the village to buy one.
I was equally delighted to find two five star reviews for New York Orphan, one on each of the US and UK Amazon sites. I do have to warn you though, the consensus of opinion is that you will need to buy a box of tissues as well as the book if you plan to read it.
Happy World Book Day to you all.
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
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.
New York Orphan - Book Launch
You are invited to the launch of New York Orphan! It’s on Wednesday November 15th at 7pm in Waterstones, 15 Coney Street York.
The book itself will go on sale from October 23rd and will be available in both ebook and paperback. You will be able to buy it from Amazon or your local bookstore or ask for it at your local library. The ebook can be preordered HERE now and preorders for the paperback will begin on 1st October.
The launch event itself will run to around 8.30pm and include a glass of wine, an interview about the book, reading from the book and questions, as well as the opportunity to purchase a signed copy.
If you would like to attend the Waterstones event then please r.s.v.p with the numbers attending to email@example.com
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.
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.
It’s finally here – The Appearance of Truth is now out as an audio book. The narrator is Reagan Boggs and if you need any recommendation my husband says he could listen to her voice all day! It’s been great working with her to put the project together. Here is what she said about the book: ‘The concept is such a great one. You hit on all the questions that someone would have to have in a situation like that – addressing the uncertainty and upheaval that makes you question everything about who you are. The frustration of hitting wall after wall when trying to figure out what happened feels so realistic. The need to love and have a child that fuels the desperation to make Maureen to do what she did – the way you have written that is so compelling – I completely empathize with her. You have written the emotion so well, it makes it very easy to narrate. All the characters are so well developed – they all have depth and layers that make them interesting. The overall quality of the story seems to be so much better than what’s usually available on the ACX site.’
You can download the book from Amazon or Audible and, on condition that you are willing to listen and review the book on Audible, I have codes for a free copy to give away to the first five of you who reply to say you’d like to provide a review. If you would like to take part email email@example.com