Friday, 27 April 2012

Author Showcase - Gilli Allan

This week I’m hosting fellow Romantic Novelist, Gilli Allan.
Gilli has been previously traditionally published but now self publishes in ebook format which, she says, has given her the freedom not to follow any kind of formula in her writing. “Love may still be the engine of the plot, not that my characters are necessarily aware of this, but I try to write honestly, refusing to romanticise the downsides and the pitfalls in modern relationships”. Gilli’s new book ‘Life Class’ is out on Kindle on the 1st May. For the next two weeks, she is running a special price offer on her current book ‘Torn’ for those of you who might not have yet discovered this talented author.

Take it away Gilli..!

I woke this morning, my mind still pleasurably caught up in the dream I’d been having.  When I’d properly come to, the dream lingered. I was prompted to think about the iconic opening line of Daphne du Maurier’s ‘Rebecca’, which led me on to the not very startling conclusion that all writers (of fiction) need to be able to dream. 

At this point I have to make it clear that, despite the originating thought, I am no longer talking about that thing we do when we’re asleep, although for some, I understand, their night-time adventures can be quite an important wellspring of their waking creativity.  I am talking about switching off from the prosaic world around you and allowing yourself to fantasise - to start playing the ‘what if...?’ game.
I am convinced everyone possesses this potential. If you played make-believe as a child, whether it was Cowboys and Indians, Princes and Princesses or Orcs and Hobbits, you were tapping into that ‘let’s pretend’ part of your brain. I am not saying that everyone has a good book in them, few do, but everyone has the capacity to dream.  No one would buy a lottery ticket, bet on a horse or consider going in for X Factor, if they didn’t. In many people, however, the child-like part of the brain that devises a scenario, fills it with characters and weaves the ingredients into a story, seems to wither as they grow older and real life takes over.  

All fiction writers must hang on to this capacity, although their imaginative life varies wildly from one to another. Some stay in the world of pure fantasy, of fairies, knights and maidens, vampires, time-slip or space travel. Others create a world, which some might argue is still fantasy, by writing erotica or category romance peopled by beautiful ‘cinderellas’ and handsome billionaires.  Others create a darker, gritty, uncomfortable world peopled with policemen, low-lifes and serial killers. 
In many ways I wish I could put a convenient label on my stories.  They don’t fall within any easily pinned down sub-genre like Chick-Lit or Rom Com. If anything, my own imaginative star leads me to subvert the stereotypes of romantic fiction - to people the contemporary world I’ve created with plausible characters, who aren’t drop dead gorgeous, or mega rich, or film star handsome. I give them the regrets and ambitions any of us might have, the strengths, flaws and weaknesses that make them human and believable. And then I throw in obstacles to trip them up and divert them from achieving their goals. The path to happiness, whatever that means for the individual concerned, may not be smooth, it may lead in unexpected directions, but in the end....   Well, you’ll have to read one of my books to find out.

Oh yes...  about that dream, the one that set me thinking...  You may not believe me, but last night I dreamt I was having an affair with Johnny Depp!


Alongside the publication of ‘Life Class’, Gilli is running a special offer price cut - for the next two weeks - on her book ‘Torn’.


Gilli’s Links:
twitter: @gilliallan

Thanks for all your comment's - I love to hear from you.
Do pop back next week - when I'll be discussing my favourite writerly  topic - research!

Friday, 20 April 2012

From Zero to my Latest Hero....



Apologies for a splash and dash blog post this week – but I’m writing, working, writing, working, writing….

Although, don't you dash off just yet – because I did do an interview this week with innovative reader/writer website Loveahappyending.com founder Linn B Halton.  Linn asked me to spill the beans on the specifics of my ‘From Zero to my Latest Hero…’ talk at the Loveahappyending Summer Audience Event of the 16th June - and this is what I had to say…!

Do tell me - what are YOU busy doing this week…?

Thursday, 12 April 2012

The Lucky 7 Challenge..!


Thank you to my fun friends  Chris Longmuir, Carole Ann Carr and Susan Eliot Wright, who tagged me to take part in The Lucky 7 Challenge. They said the rules were simple and here they are: Go to page 77 of your current novel or WIP. Go to line 7. Copy the next 7 lines, sentences or paragraphs and post them as they’re written. Tag 7 more writers and let them know.
These 7 lines are taken from my current novel ‘Reaching for the Stars’


It wasn’t actually him, but rather a life-size cardboard cut-out. It took a while to regain her composure, but then she walked up to the image to poke her finger at it, and to wonder why a replica might be standing on the pavement looking angry and welding a very big knife.
Was he perhaps promoting a new restaurant without telling her?
Then, curiously, she noticed it advertised a website: www.mcduffhunting.com.
At the market, while buying herbs and olives for canap├ęs, she saw a stall selling T-shirts. Amused, she bought one with the slogan The Hunt is On!


And in turn I’m tagging….
YOU – feel free to accept The Lucky 7 Challenge.

As usual, also feel free to leave a comment here, follow my blog, like my author Facebook page and follow me on Twitter. I'd love to hear from you!

See you next Friday…!
Love, Janice xx

Friday, 6 April 2012

Thank You..!


I want to say a big thank you to all eight thousand of you who downloaded ‘Reaching for the Stars’ last weekend in my blogiversary free promotion. It was a tremendous success in that as well as reaching lots of lovely new readers, ‘Reaching for the Stars’ went zooming up the paid charts this week on Amazon to the Number Two spot in the Top 100 Women’s Fiction chart.
Thank you also to all those who have been buying 'Reaching for the Stars' this week. You tried very hard to nudge Sophie Kinsella and her new novel off that Number One spot - but I’m afraid the lovely Sophie just wasn’t for budging!

You’ll remember that last week, I was offering heart shaped chocolates and sweeties in a draw for all those who commented, shared & tweeted about the promotion. Well, I wish I had hundreds of these yummy treats to give away this Easter, because I really appreciated each and every one of you who support me. So, as well as sending virtual hugs to you all, I’ll be posting out the box of chocolate hearts to Old Kitty and the heart shaped sweeties to Jan Brigden (Briggy44). Please email your postal addresses to janice.horton@btinternet.com and I'll send you your treats. Enjoy!



All this excitement has attracted the attention of the Dumfries & Galloway media – and yesterday I was interviewed for our local paper about my year of social networking, my blogiversary, and my ebooks. Thank you to Arts and Entertainments Editor Sara Bain of ‘The Standard’ for her support. Sara has said it would be helpful to her if readers of this article were to 'rate the story'. Thanks.

Thank you all again and a Happy Easter!
If you don’t yet have copies of my ebooks ‘Bagpipes & Bullshot’ and ‘Reaching for the Stars’ and you are looking for a bit of romance over this bank holiday weekend – look no further - and download your copies now. They both cost less than £1 – that’s less than the price of an Easter egg and there are absolutely NO calories involved!