Sunday 27 March 2011

Just one more day... my Bagpipes & Bullshot launch day of Friday 1st April!
I'm excited to tell you that I've got a lot planned for throughout the day tomorrow, and I cordially invite you to join me, here at Bagpipes & Bullshot HQ. I really need your help on that day to try and push my e-book into the realms of visibility on Amazon and perhaps even into the Kindle charts. Because of the way Amazon calculates its sales, just a few sales on one particular day, can make all the difference. Please consider buying Bagpipes & Bullshot for your Kindle, PC, Mac, Ipad, IPhone, Blackberry, etc, on Friday 1st April or please pass on the word to those who might like to buy it. I'll be forever grateful!

The book is priced at £1.38 or $2.24.

First off, I've got a fantastic prize draw. I'm giving away not one but two Kindle Beach Protectors - a stylish accessory for every Kindle owner. (Alternatively you could use it to protect your phone or camera from sun, sea, and sand!) All you have to do to be in the prize draw (which will be independently adjudicated) is leave a comment on this blog on Friday 1st April or ReTweet one of my Tweets on Twitter with the hashtag #bagpipes. It's as easy as that! (Prize is the Kindle Beach Protector and does not include the Kindle e-Reader).

Then there is the Grand Bagpipes & Bullshot Blog Tour. Eight fantastic writers and bloggers will be hosting me on their own blogs and we'll be chatting about e-books, the Amazon Kindle indie-publishing experience and the writing life. On Friday, I will be here to announce each blog as it goes live and direct you to each one. Allow me introduce my wonderful blogging hosts:

Anita Burgh has had 23 novels published, numerous articles and short stories. She has been a member of the RNA for many years, was a committee member, and has been short-listed for the RNA Romantic Novel of the Year award. She continues to write novels and enjoys teaching and mentoring.

Liz Fenwick is a writer, expat, wife, mother of three, and has just been snapped up by Carole Blake of Blake Friedmann Literary Agency. She grew up just outside Boston USA but now lives in Dubai and Cornwall. She is a writer of women's fiction and is inspired by the landscape and history of Cornwall.

Kenneth Rosenberg is a California writer whose work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Surfer Magazine and other publications. Kenneth attended UCLA where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature. When he is not writing, he spends his time surfing, snowboarding and travelling the world on a shoestring. His first novel, No Cure for the Broken Hearted, is available on Amazon Kindle.

David Wisehart is a writer, director, and producer living in Southern California. He received his B.A. in Film and Television from UCLA. He is the author of a forthcoming Kindle novel, Devil's Lair. He famously interviewed Amanda Hocking last summer on his blog ‘Kindle Author’ just before she hit the NY Times Bestseller List.


Rosemary Gemmell is a Scottish freelance writer. She writes short stories and articles which have been published in a variety of magazines in the UK, US and online. Her first novel, Dangerous Deceit, is being published by Champagne Books in May 2011.

Bill Kirton has written books on study and writing skills, a series of crime novels set in Scotland, a Scottish historical crime romance and, most recently, The Sparrow Conundrum, a dark comic satire on the crime/spy genre. As Jack Rosse, he’s also published the first in a series of stories for children, Stanley Moves In, and a children’s novel, The Loch Ewe Mystery.

Angela Barton (@angebarton) is a company director and writer. She is represented by literary agent Juliet Burton, who is working hard to get Angela’s first book, Lies and Linguine, published. Angela is busy working on her second novel, Sugar and Spite, in between company work, looking after children, two daft dogs, blogging, and being a member of two writing groups.

Sue Houghton is a freelance writer who regularly contributes to most of the UK women's magazines. She has also been published in the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Bahrain, India, France, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and South Africa. Her short stories have appeared in many charity anthologies.

So come and join in the fun, the frolics, the virtual fizz, and the prize draws, this Friday, 1st April!

Thursday 24 March 2011

An Interview with No.1 Bestselling Kindle Romance Author, Kenneth Rosenberg...

Back in January, I grabbed a last minute flight and needed some Amazon Kindle books to take on my trip. One of the books I downloaded, after skim reading a couple of reviews and seeing some five-star ratings, was Kenneth Rosenberg’s No Cure for the Broken Hearted. It seemed like my kind of book. I wasn’t disappointed.The love story between Katherine and Nick, which had began when they were teenagers together in a small town in Connecticut, is reawakened twelve years later, when Nick is engaged to be married and Katherine is determined to focus on her career rather than dwell on her broken heart. I was engrossed. Today, it is my pleasure to introduce to you the man behind the book, Kenneth Rosenberg.

Kenneth, have you always written romance novels and is it a genre in which you will continue to write?
I’ve always had a soft spot for romantic stories, though this isn’t something that is easy to admit for a man.  I remember once when I was working as a seaman in the merchant marines, I had a copy of Bridget Jones’ Diary along with me.  It had a big close-up picture on the cover of a woman’s lips.  I had to keep that one pretty well hidden!  I enjoy writing romance, but I also have varied interests.  The next book I’m working on has a strong romantic element, but the one after that is more of a thriller.

What gave you the idea for the story and inspired the characters?
I tend to find myself thinking back about the past a lot and what my life was like at different periods.  There are always those romances from a person’s life that just didn’t quite work out, and in retrospect you sometimes wonder why they didn’t.  There’s a pretty strong well of emotion to work from as a writer.  As for the two main characters in my novel, I think they’re both drawn from different aspects of myself.  Peripheral characters are mostly based on people I know.

The book has been in the Amazon Kindle bestseller charts for months and has lots of great reviews - but how did you start out - how have you achieved this level of success as an indie author?
First I became involved in the forums over at  That is a fantastic source of information, with a very supportive community of independent writers.  They have a Book Bazaar where you can promote your work and a Writer’s Cafe that is full of informative threads.  The next thing was that I was lucky enough to have received some very positive reviews on Goodreads.  The community over there took me in to some extent and helped promote me, especially the Clean Romance group, to which I owe a lot.  The next thing was having book blogs agree to review my book, and hold giveaways to help promote it.  The last thing, which is very touchy, is that I took part in some discussions at the beginning on the Amazon forums.  People over there really despise self-promotion, though.  If you take part in those discussions, you have to be careful about mentioning your book, or risk being brutally flamed.  I think a few discussions over there helped me quite a bit, though, in the beginning.

How much personal experience do you put into your novels and how much is research?
A lot of both.  I’ll take personal experience from one place and use it in another.  For example, the town on the lake in Connecticut in my novel is actually based on a town I’ve spent time at in British Columbia, Canada.  The experiences of the kids in that town, and the characters of the kids themselves, were all based on summers I spent growing up in coastal California. For specifics, the Internet is a lifesaver when it comes to research.  If I need a restaurant for my characters to go to in New York City, I just look one up, along with photos, and I can describe it as it is.

Where is your favourite place to work?
I split my writing time between home and coffee houses.  Writing is such a solitary pursuit, sometimes I just need to get out of the house and join the world of the living.

To plot or not to plot – how much of a planner are you?
I’m a big planner, but my books rarely turn out quite as planned.  One of the most important things I’ve learned as a writer is how important it is to listen to your characters.  Sometimes you might have an idea about where a story is supposed to go, but when you get to a certain point, you realize that your characters wouldn’t go there at all.  They’d go someplace else entirely.  You have to be able to listen to them, and revise your plot as you go, or you run the risk of your story feeling contrived.

Can you tell us about what you are working on now and when it will be available?
My next novel is called Sweet Ophelia and the Tinseltown Blues. It’s about a homeless guy in Hollywood who sneaks onto a set looking for food and ends up with a part in a movie.  This one has a theme of unrequited love as well, but from a completely different angle.  I’m really excited about it, and I hope to have it finished and available within the next few months.

Kenneth Rosenberg is a California writer whose work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Surfer Magazine and other publications. Kenneth attended UCLA where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature. When he is not writing, he spends his time surfing, snowboarding and travelling the world on a shoestring.

Saturday 19 March 2011

To Plot or Not...?

Are you a Plotter or a Pantser? Do you plan your novel meticulously scene by scene or do you fly into the mist?
As a writer of fiction, it’s the question and answer I avidly look for in an author interview. Myself, I’m a pantser, but one who yearns to be a plotter and that’s because I have written myself into the most awful mess so many times, usually at a point where I’ve invested too much in the work to even consider chucking it in the bin. And I’ll admit, it’s the reason I took gratuitous pleasure in a Tweet from author Ian Rankin this week, who said he’d ‘hit a wall at 60k’. Ian, it seems, is a pantser too.

One of my much-loved books on writing is Stephen King’s ‘On Writing’ and in it he admits to favour not plotting, although it obviously frustrates him too because he says, and I quote, ‘I won’t try to convince you that I’ve never plotted anymore than I’d try to convince you I’ve never told a lie, but I do both as infrequently as possible.’

But plotters, I hear, use systems by which they avoid sagging middles at 45k and writer’s block at 60k and they catch inconsistencies before they cause huge holes in the plot and indeed before they even begin writing. How appealing it all seems!
But what if careful planning stifles creativity? And - if the writer knows what will happen next - does the reader know it too, and will the reading experience be spoiled? What do you think?

Next Friday, 25th March, I’m interviewing the Amazon Kindle Number One Bestselling Romance Author of ‘No Cure For The Broken Hearted’ Kenneth Rosenberg, and if he ‘plotted or not’ was one of the questions I asked of him. Join us next week to find out the answer!

Saturday 12 March 2011


Do you Tweet? How many Followers do you have and how many do you Follow?
According to, Hollywood actor Charlie Sheen went from Twitter virgin to one million followers in under two and a half days!
I’ve always been rather more selective about counting my friends.
I have been sitting here at Mission Control (aka TweetDeck) for two weeks now and have managed to amass one hundred Followers or Tweeps (Twitter + people/peeps = new friends) and I’m feeling very privileged.
I have to admit to a few nerves as I launched my very first Tweet into the Twitter Steam but I need not have worried, as I was warmly received. It’s a strange world at first, and a bit like being plugged into a stream of conscious thought. I felt like Seven Of Nine (Star Trek: Voyager) being assimilated into the Collective of Borg.

You see, messages run in real time like tickertape down the screen and through your brain. Of course it has taken me a while to understand the protocol behind Tweets, ReTweets, Direct Messages and Hashtags but I’m slowly getting there. Are you keeping up?

My new friends are a wonderful cosmopolitan mix from all over the world; both everyday folk and celebrities. Although the celebrities don’t actually follow me back of course. There is a way, however, to have a celebrity like Stephen Fry, the Super Daddy of Twitter, to follow you. All you have to do is win an auction for TwitRelief on eBay. As I blog, the price for the lovely Stephen’s Follow is almost at £1000 - other celebrities are available and some are going cheap – or should that be Cheep?         Follow me at: @JaniceHorton.

Saturday 5 March 2011

Seven things....

I am delighted to receive ‘The Stylish Blogger Award’ from the lovely and very stylish Rosemary Gemmell of Reading and Writing Blog.

The rules of acceptance are to list seven things about myself and to pass the award on: – so here goes!

1. I was ten years old when I first decided to be a writer, inspired by Ruby Ferguson, who wrote children’s pony books. Some years later I discovered Jilly Cooper, who wrote grown up pony books, and I was inspired all over again!

2. My first full length book took four years to write. It was published in 2004.

3. I’m a member of the wonderful Romantic Novelist’s Association.

4.  I met my own real life hero thirty years ago by accidentally picking him up on a CB Radio. We chatted for a whole year before we actually met and he proposed to me on our third date!

5. Mr JH and I were once 1980’s yuppys (young urban professional people) and dinkys (duel income no kids yet) and we lived in an executive home in Cheshire until we sold up everything, packed in our very stressful full-time careers, and bought a derelict country cottage in Scotland in which to live ‘the good life’.

6. I wrote about our lifestyle swop and it was published in a December issue of Prima magazine. I blogged about our cottage lifestyle for a year (here) and was shortlisted and highly recommended by Candis Magazine in their blog competition.

7. Seven wee things I love.... books, red wine, stilton cheese, sunshine, my doggies, my hens, the music of Santana.

And I’d like to pass The Stylish Blog Award on to: drumroll