Friday 1 April 2011

It’s Bagpipes & Bullshot Day!

I'm rather overwhelmed by today ....
This page shot from today shows my wee book Bagpipes & Bullshot right next to Jilly Cooper's blockbuster Riders. Riders is my favourite book in the whole world. It sort of stopped me in my tracks when I saw this and it made me smile. It was a misty eyed smile. I've a lot of people to thank for today. My Writer Scotland Group - a motley crew and I love them all. Anita Burgh Group - wonderful people led my my wise and wonderful mentor. The Romantic Novelist's Association, whose members have been sending me messages of support and following my blog tour all day long. Thank you! An lastly, but certainly not least, my fabulous blog hosts, who have been so supportive and abolutely amazing in getting the blogs all up on time!

So far, Bagpipes and Bullshot has surpassed my expectations in respect of the Amazon assault I asked you all to participate in today.

Bagpipes & Bullshot entered the Amazon UK Bestseller charts this morning at 9.50am (BST) and reached Number 19 in Books/Fiction/Women's Fiction Bestseller Chart.  In the Kindle Chart, it peaked at 6.50pm (BST) at Number 25 in Kindle/Romance/Contemporary Bestsellers Chart!! (Amazing!!) It also reached Number 34 in the Amazon Books/Romance/Adult Contemporary Bestsellers Chart. Over at Amazon.Com my ratings went from 95,992 at 9am (BST) to 22,462 at 7pm (BST) which is phenomenal in itself. Thank you so much everyone who entered into the spirit of the day - and somehow put me right next to Jilly in the Amazon Chart!

I've just been asked what inspired me to write Bagpipes & Bullshot and this is the answer:

I was in America standing on a Gulf Coast beach at sunset, thinking of how the warm breezes, blue waters, and southern lifestyle, were a world away from life in Scotland. I knew at that moment I wanted to start a book with two people meeting on that beach, before moving the story back to Scotland, where I could explore those differences.

You may think that in a contemporary novel, a cowgirl and a laird are far removed examples of what it is to be American or Scottish today, and you would be right. However, the premise of the story is about opposites attracting and exploring the differences between two people from opposite sides of an ocean. It is intentionally larger than life and that’s what makes it entertaining and fun. I’m told there are many laugh out loud moments in Bagpipes & Bullshot!

Next on the Bagpipes & Bullshot Blog Tour
Another of my Writer Scotland buddies, Bill Kirton is a talented writer with a witty (the driest) sense of humour. He was born in Plymouth England but has lived most of his life in Scotland. So staying on these bonny shores for my next interview, it’s over to:

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.

The most common question asked by those emailing me today is how did I come up with the title for Bagpipes & Bullshot!

Well, it was a matter of finding something jaunty that reflected the humour and the theme of the book. The story starts off with a prologue set in the US but the novel itself is set in Scotland. Innes, the hero of the tale, does indeed play the bagpipes and quite beautifully too. Bullshot is not a typo or a clever play on words but a drink: it’s a bit like a Bloody Mary and is favoured by those who swig from a hipflask and shoot from a shotgun. To me the word ‘bullshot’ epitomises the Scottish country estate! For the recipe - see further down to the earlier of today's posts.

Next on the Bagpipes & Bullshot Blog Tour
The first time I met Sue Houghton (not spelt the same – so we are not related!) was several years ago on a writers critique site. She offered me some highly valuable writing advice on a book I was writing – to do with mastering Point of View. I remember being so grateful to her for the extent of her patience and generosity, and I am delighted to say, we have been friends ever since. It’s over to Sue and her blog The Long And The Short Of It for our next interview:

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.

When you get back here from Sue's blog, don’t forget to leave a comment / email me / ReTweet on Twitter using #bagpipes to get automatically entered into the prize draw. I have not one but two Kindle Beach Protectors to give away!

If you haven’t got a Kindle e-reader yet, don’t worry, as you can still download Bagpipes & Bullshot by getting the free Kindle App from Amazon for your PC, Mac, IPad, IPod, Phone etc – and if you win a Kindle Beach Protector - you can always use it to protect your phone or camera from sun, sea and sand!

The prize draw will be at the end of the day and will include those who leave a comment here on this blog or send me an email comment and to those who ReTweet my tweets on Twitter using the hashtag #bagpipes.

Please note that the prize is the Kindle Beach Protector and does not include the Kindle e-reader.

Next on the Bagpipes & Bullshot Blog Tour
A couple of months ago, I downloaded an e-book called No Cure for the Broken Hearted to my Kindle and really enjoyed reading it. The novel became a number one bestseller on Amazon and the writer became a good friend of mine. So we are popping over to California USA to Kenneth Rosenberg’s blog for the next interview:
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.

Hope you are enjoying the Bagpipes & Bullshot Blog Tour as much as I am and making good use of the bagpipe player at the top left of the page! If you have any questions of your own that you would like to ask me, please do, and use the comment box. I’ll do my best to answer. I've had a few emails from people having problems with leaving a comment - so if you want to say anything or ask me a question about my e-book, Kindle publishing, or any aspect of my writing, and you are having problems using the comment box please email me instead. These emails will also be counted as comments and will be automatically entered in the prize draw for a Kindle Beach Protector:

Next on the Bagpipes & Bullshot Blog Tour
Angela Barton is a talented writer and award winning poet and we met not long ago on the social network Twitter. We both run a business with our husbands; we both have three children and two dogs. It’s over to Nottingham now for my interview with my lovely new friend Ange:

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.

I could hardly believe my eyes - so I just took this snapshot of the Amazon
Books / Fiction / Women's Fiction Bestseller Chart and Bagpipes & Bullshot is in at Number 31. Yay!!!!!

Next up on the Bagpipes & Bullshot Blog Tour
Kindle Author blogger David Wisehart famously interviewed Amanda Hocking last year just before she hit the NY Times bestseller list – so I’m sort of hoping he’s still able to work his magic! It is over to California for the next interview:

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.

I’m delighted to have some great new Amazon reviews for Bagpipes & Bullshot and I’d like to share them with you:
“Bagpipes and Bullshot is a wonderful romp of a novel with many laugh-out-loud moments from an author who knows how to entertain the reader. Highly recommended!”
Scotland meets the Gulf coast of Texas in this enjoyable, light-hearted romance. I loved the melding of the two cultures as Innes introduces Orley to life in his Scottish village.”

“Fun and pacey escapism with a true appreciation for its setting. Through the newcomer Orley, Janice Horton expertly unfolds the secrets of the Buchanan family as well as the beauty of their homeland. Great storytelling with some truly inspired depictions of rural life. Highly recommended.”

Next on the Bagpipes & Bullshot Blog Tour
I am lucky enough to belong to a group of writers called Writers Scotland. It’s a diverse group, with crime writers, poets, novelists, romance writers and writers for children and young adults. Each of them is not only tremendously good fun but also incredibly supportive. One such Lovely Person is my dear friend Rosemary Gemmell who lives on the west coast of Scotland near to Loch Lomond and who agreed to interview me today:

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.

Bullshot Recipe
First take two mature bulls…. Erm, no, not really!

Bullshot is a drink very much like a Bloody Mary. If you prefer it, you can use vodka, but the traditional Scottish version and the one favoured by the characters in my novel, Bagpipes & Bullshot, has whisky in it. However, if you are planning a trip across the grouse moors later or doing a bit of stalking on the hill, you’ll certainly need your thermos and the extra ingredient of hot beef stock with your bullshot. Mmmmm….warming.

First take a whisky tumbler – and put in it a bit of ice and a slice of lime. Then add a good measure of finest Scotch whisky. Fill to the top with tomato juice; add a good dashing of both Tabasco pepper sauce and Worcester sauce and half a teaspoon of grated horseradish. Stir and enjoy! Mmmmm…delicious

Next on the Bagpipes & Bullshot Blog Tour:
My writing friend Liz Fenwick is the busiest woman I know. She has a popular blog, sends out interesting tweets, and she is tirelessly involved with both The Romantic Novelist’s Association in the UK and the Emirates Airlines Literary Festival in Dubai. They do say, if you want something done you should always ask a busy person, so I’ve asked Liz to interview me next:

Liz Fenwick is a writer, expat, wife, mother of three, and has just been signed up by Carol 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.

Liz's Blog: Just Keep Writing & Other Thoughts

When you get back her from Liz’s blog, don’t forget to leave a comment in the box below to get automatically entered into the prize draw.

You know, as soon as I mentioned to my fellow writer friends I was making Bagpipes & Bullshot available on Amazon Kindle, I was met with lots of questions – not just about the book – but about the indie publishing movement and the process of publishing on Kindle. Why did I do it? How did I do it? Do I prefer paper books or e-books? What am I writing next?

I've answered all of these questions and lots more on the blogs I’m guesting on today. So I do hope you’ll keep popping back throughout the day to pick up all the links. I’ll be here announcing each blog as it goes live. There will be a prize draw at the end of the day. I’m offering prizes to both those who leave a comment here on this blog and to those who ReTweet my tweets on Twitter using the hashtag #bagpipes.

There are two Kindle Beach Protectors to give away. If you haven’t got a Kindle e-reader yet, don’t worry, as you can still download Bagpipes & Bullshot by getting the free Kindle App from Amazon for your PC, Mac, IPad, IPod, Phone etc – and if you win a Kindle Beach Protector - you can always use it to protect your phone or camera from sun, sea and sand!

The Bagpipes & Bullshot Blog Tour:
My first blog host this morning is a woman I met through the Romantic Novelist’s Association. She is my friend, my mentor, and a fabulous writer: the wonderful Anita Burgh:

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 others.

Don’t forget to pop back after visiting Anita's blog to leave a comment here. I’ll have a glass of Bullshot waiting for you…