Friday 30 September 2011

Friendly Faces...

Melanie, Pauline & Mandy
Three lovely friends have awarded me the Friendly Blogger Award this week and the rules are to pass the award on to ten other friendly bloggers. Thank you to:

So below are my chosen friendly ones - please accept my thanks for your lovely friendships by copying and pasting this fabulous award to your own blogs and passing it on to ten other friendly ones - okay, so I’ve taken the liberty of awarding more than ten but, you know, I think if YOU have been friendly enough to visit and Follow this blog and I have somehow not put you on the list - you should accept the award too!

Linn B Halton
Rosemary Gemmell
Kate Walker
Kit Domino
Kenneth Rosenberg
Rea Sinfield
Lou Graham
Sarah Taylor
Kim The Bookworm
Gilly Fraser
Chris Longmuir
Bill Kirton
Sharon Goodwin
Hywela Lyn
Sue Watson
Sue Johnson
Dorothy Bush
Sue Uden
Talli Roland
Angela Barton
Yvonne at World of Poetry
Joan Fleming

Can I also draw your attention to Pauline Barclay’s fantastic blog ‘Scribbles’ as she is featuring the ‘first sentences’ of books you’ll want to read more of in all her blog posts over the next few months (what a fabulous idea!) and if you are an author and would like Pauline to feature your book - do pop along, follow her blog - and ask her. Simples!

P.S. I'll be popping back over the weekend to report on writing progress.

Update: Latest News on Writing Progress

I'm feeling very happy about Reaching For The Stars right now - I'm doing a last edit myself of the the final chapter before it goes off to my editor for a story edit. Yay!!!!

Thursday 22 September 2011

The Final Chapter...

I’m currently writing the final chapter of my next book ‘Reaching for the Stars’ - with a deadline of 30th September - and I still don’t know how it’s all going to end!

Any ideas? All and any suggestions gratefully received - go on - do help out this poor exhausted author and leave a comment. The funnier the better as I’m in need of humour right now!

This week I introduced ‘Team Horton’ - my fabulous team of five Associate Readers who support me via the loveahappyending website.

And, please do pop over to my friend Gilly's new blog. Gilly is a very interesting journalist and romance writer and this week she is talking about her monthly column in glossy DG Life magazine and the subject of e-book marketing - in which she gives yours truly a wee toot.

Then, do come back next Friday when - if  I’ve survived my writeathon - I'll let you know if I completed my storyline and made my deadline!

Thursday 15 September 2011

Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover?

Please let me introduce to you my very first guest blogger who is a fabulous author and also a dear friend, Kenneth Rosenberg.

Thanks so much to Janice for letting me guest post on her blog this week!  I thought I’d talk about something that she and I have in common as “indie” authors, and that is cover design.  Or more specifically, title, cover, blurb, marketing and everything else that independent authors have to take care of all on their own!

Followers on this blog know about Janice’s recent cover re-design and branding effort.  She’s done a terrific job tying together her cover for Bagpipes and Bullshot with her forthcoming Reaching for the Stars, as well as this blog. 

For a traditionally published author, this is the type of thing that a publishing company would normally take care of, but not so for us indies!  We have to figure this stuff out all on our own.

When I came out with my first novel No Cure for the Broken Hearted at the beginning of this year, I came up with the title, wrote the blurb and designed the cover.  I was happy with the outcome, though I still didn’t know what to expect when it finally went live. 

I tried to temper my expectations.  Would I sell a few hundred copies?  A few thousand?  I had no idea.  Maybe I’d earn enough money to buy myself a cup of coffee every day?  It ends up, the book took off almost from the start and managed around 25,000 copies sold in the first six months.

When my next book came out last month, I tried to temper my expectations again, though this time it wasn’t so easy.  Even if I only sold half as many copies as the first, it would be a great success.  I came up with the title Sweet Ophelia and the Tinseltown Blues.  I thought it reflected the off-beat style of the book; a story of love and redemption set in Hollywood.  I designed a cover with a face representing the character Ophelia.  The book went live and… crickets.

In the entire first week that my book was on sale, I only had one sale on Amazon UK, and that was to Janice! (Thanks, BTW).  In the next three weeks, I managed about one sale per week.  Sales on Amazon U.S. were only slightly better.

So what went wrong?  Was it the title?  The cover?  The blurb?  The sample?  It was hard to say for sure.  Perhaps the book just isn’t connecting with readers, but I feel pretty good about it myself.  There’s nothing I can or would change about the book at this point. 

And so I’ve spent the last few weeks trying to come up with a new title and cover.  This is one of the great things about independent publishing.  Maybe I don’t have a big publishing company behind me, test marketing covers and titles and doing promotions, but on the flip side, I can make changes to this sort of thing at will.

A publishing company would have a print run, and ads running, and hard copies out to reviewers.  Once a title was set, that would be it.  Writers like Janice and myself can make changes to these things almost instantly.  We can see what works and what doesn’t, and move ahead accordingly.

So far I’ve been throwing around ideas and bouncing them off of friends and family, but now I thought I’d throw it out to readers here to see what people think.  Should I give it some more time with the current cover and title?  Or change it ASAP?  Any ideas for new titles? 

I look forward to your comments, and remember, honesty is the best policy!

Kenneth Rosenberg's Blog
Kenneth's books on Amazon UK
Kenneth's books on

Tuesday 13 September 2011

If I could be anyone, I’d be....

Elizabeth Taylor

In keeping with Talli Roland’s launch day dress up to celebrate her new book Watching Willow Watts - and Talli looks totally Marilylicious as Monroe - I’ve decided I want to be the great screen actress Elizabeth Taylor for the day.

I wanted to be Elizabeth when as a pony-crazy child, I saw her in the fabulous movie National Velvet. Then I wanted to be her again when she sizzled on the silver screen as Cleopatra and met the gorgeous Richard Burton, whom she later married, twice!

Apparently, when Richard first saw Elizabeth in 1952, he said of her: "She was unquestionably gorgeous. I can think of no other word to describe a combination of plentitude, frugality, abundance, tightness. She was lavish. She was a dark unyielding largesse. She was, in short, too bloody much...."


Today is the official launch day of Watching Willow Watts and Talli has lots of fun and links and pwizzes to be won on her blog today. Yay!
So this is the link to Talli’s Blog

To treat yourself to a copy of Talli’s new book right now:

Monday 12 September 2011

Just to say thank you...

To everyone who took part in my Author Roast & Toast on Friday and Saturday.

Who would have guessed that having an on-line party could be as much fun as having a real one or that virtual drunken revelry could last much longer than normal drunken revelry?

My Highland Gathering party to celebrate my humorous romance novel Bagpipes & Bullshot kicked off at 10am on Friday morning and by 6pm that evening, I had been sitting at my laptop for most of the day, typing, giggling, and having a fantastic time.

When the sun went over the literal yard-arm as well as the virtual one here in Scotland, believe me, I was ready for a very real glass of bullshot and was happily singing ‘The bonny bonny banks of Loch Lomond’ for real too!

As early evening became late evening and there were something approaching two hundred comments on the blog, my wonderful Author Roast & Toast hostesses and I declared the whole event to have been amazing fun and a tremendous success, and I thought about collapsing on the sofa next to my dear husband (who had tried hard to understand the concept of a virtual party but failed).

But I had forgotten one very important and crucial thing to do with the world being round and not flat - and that was of timing and time difference. You see, as I saw the sun go down and the moon come up, for my dear friends across the pond and beyond, the opposite was true - and they were all raring to go and very keen indeed to join the virtual party.

So party on, I said, and by gosh we did - all around the world and back again!

Do pop over to my friend Gilly’s new blog if you have a moment. She’s a very interesting journalist and romance writer and this week she is talking about her monthly column in glossy DG Life magazine and about the subject of e-book marketing - in which she gives me a wee toot.

On Wednesday this week I’ll be taking part in Talli’s Roland’s “If I could be anyone, I’d be...” blog hop extravaganza. So do pop back to see which celebrity I’m going to choose to be. It’ll be great fun!

On Friday I have very special guest, Kenneth Rosenberg, talking about the launch of his brand new novel to Amazon Kindle in the wake of his Number 1 Bestseller ‘No Cure For The Broken Hearted’. Not to be missed!

Love, Janice

Sunday 4 September 2011

A Highland Gathering..!

The date for your diary is this Friday - the 9th September 2011.

I’m being Roasted and Toasted and cordially invite you to come along!

For those of you unfamiliar with the spectacle that is the Author Roast & Toast, let me just say that it’s lots of wonderfully silly interactive entertainment and you interact by leaving comments and playing along in what is a virtual role-play party situation. It’s great fun!

To toast my humorous romance in a Scottish setting novel, Bagpipes & Bullshot, the theme of my Author Roast & Toast is one of a Highland Gathering. The fabulous virtual setting for the party is a Scottish Castle and the virtual food will also be on a Scottish theme. Plus there will be a bagpipe cake and lots of virtual whisky cocktails and bullshot to wash it all down with!

Please do join me, Sharon, Mary, Lin, Patsy, and the handsome waiter, Oliver, (who has trained in some of the best culinary schools in Europe and will look fabulous in a kilt) this Friday as the party sizzles. Dress code: Tartan.

See you there!