Friday, 28 September 2012

Champagne popping moments!


There were lots of Champagne popping moments this week! Firstly, when I completed the final revisions for How Do You Voodoo? This romantic and magical novella set in Glasgow's Necropolis or 'City of the Dead' is now with my lovely Editor for a copy edit. Yay! The next step is for the fully edited manuscript to be formatted and converted for Kindle and uploaded onto Amazon. Then it will be ready for readers to download. Double yay!!

 

Would YOU like to receive an advanced reading copy (ARC) of How Do You Voodoo? with a view to you putting up a personal review on  Amazon on or around launch day, which is Friday 26th October?
If so, then email me at janice.horton@btinternet.com and I’ll send you a complimentary pcr (Kindle) copy as soon as I have it. Thanks!
 
Which brings me onto the subject of the launch party! You will see from last week’s post that I’m already planning The Spellbindingly Fun Blog Party, which now has its own designated party page here on my blog. There is a sign up box at the bottom of that page so do consider signing up. I promise lots of fun and prizes and gifts!
 

The second Champagne popping moment this week was to celebrate the launch of the brand new Loveahappyending Bookshelf. This is now an important part of the innovative reader/writer magazine style website that supports a group of handpicked authors both Indie and Traditionally published. The initiative now includes a selection of Publishers too. I am very proud and honoured to be amongst the first to join this new and exciting Bookshelf feature and you can check it out by clicking on the Loveahappyending Bookshelf picture logo.

 
 
My other news is that I have now completed the new tartantastic revamp of this blog and my Author Facebook Page. I’d love to know what you think of it all. I’d also love you to pop over and take a look and ‘like’ my Author Facebook Page if you haven’t yet done so. It’s got a new tartantastic banner that’s different from the one here on my blog and I update the page several times a week with all that’s going on in my writerly world.  I’ve also carried this tartan theme over to my ‘other’ job as Feature Editor of ‘Bookshelf Reviews’ which I’m starting up in October for loveahappyending.com.
 
 
Don’t forget to sign up for the Spellbindingly Fun Blog Party and come back next week for more tartantastic news!



Friday, 21 September 2012

Party Planning!


It is still several weeks away from Friday 26th October - the official launch day of my Halloween Special Novella – How Do You Voodoo? but I’m already planning The Spellbindingly Fun Blog Party!

 
Launching on Friday 26th October!

 

The Spellbindingly Fun Blog Party works like this:

I invite you to join The Spellbindingly Fun Blog Party by asking you to sign up on the form below.
All you need to do is:
Fill in the Join The Party form to let me know you are participating.
Think about what sort of spell you’d like to cast? A Day Off Work Spell? A Love Spell? A More Chocolate Spell? Lots of New Shoes Spell? A Less Stressful Life Spell? Whatever – it’s up to you!
 

AS LONG AS IT’S SPELLBINDINGLY FUN – NO CURSES ALLOWED!


 

 
Then: have a read through all the spellbindingly fun ingredients listed on the magic scroll below and choose the ones you need to make your spellbinding recipe. Use as many as you want or need.
Make up a spell-like verse. Example (for a love spell) ‘I call to the powers below and above, North, East, South, West. In the name of love.’ Only be as elaborate and inventive as you like!
On Friday 26th October YOU post on YOUR OWN BLOG your Spellbindingly Fun Spell – include your ‘magic recipe’ and your ‘spellbinding verse’ and even, if you want to, a photo or picture of the object of your desire, and then everyone  participating in the Spellbindingly Fun Blog Party can pop over to your blog to see what it is!
That's because...
On Friday 26th October I will post my own Spellbindingly Fun Spell here on my blog together with a full list of all the blog links of those participating – that’s why you need to sign up – so c’mon – why wait – get signed up now!!
 

I promise you spellbindingly good fun and prizes!

 
 
Next week I’ll be telling you lots more about my romantic and magical novella How Do You Voodoo?
Janice xx
  

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

The Next Big Thing!


The Next

BIG Thing!


I’ve been tagged in The Next Big Thing by fellow author Melanie Robertson King, who is at the Kansas Book Festival this week launching her debut novel, A Shadow in the Past. I’m instructed to tell you all about my next book by answering these questions and then to tag five other authors about their Next Big Thing. So here I go!
What is the working title of your next book?
 
It’s called ‘How Do You Voodoo?

Where did the idea come from for the book?
Like many of my ideas, this one was sparked off by a real life event. I was on a flight from the Caribbean a few years ago, which had originated in Haiti. During the flight, I witnessed a ‘spat’ between two female passengers. One went on to become quite ill during the flight. Some people clearly thought it was because she’d drank too much alcohol, but as the meal on board hadn’t been very palatable, I thought it could have easily been down to the food. But then, my writerly imagination kicked in, and I thought - what if one had put a voodoo curse on the other?’

What genre does your book fall under?
Contemporary women’s romantic fiction with humour.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Scottish actress Kelly Macdonald would be perfect as Nola, who is the Glasgow born heroine of the story. Someone like Queen Latifa or Whoopi Goldberg could play the voodoo ‘mambo’ priestess. As for the hero of the story, well I’ll leave him totally to your own fabulous imaginations!

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Top model Nola Nichols thinks being beautiful is a curse, that is, until she is cursed and her looks begin to fade.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I’m not represented by a traditional publisher anymore but I really don’t like the term ‘self-published’.  It implies that an author is ‘going it alone’ and that certainly doesn’t apply to my kind of publishing.  As an Indie ‘independent’ author, I enjoy every aspect of control over my career but I also I have the support of a network of enthusiastic, capable and talented people. I’m part of several writers’ groups, who offer friendship, advice, and both moral and practical support with the writing as well as the marketing and promotion of my books. I employ an editor and a cover designer to help me produce a totally polished and professional end product and I’m continually striving to develop my brand and adapt to industry changes. So, by the time one of my novels reaches my reader, it’s very far from being ‘self’ published.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
How Do You Voodoo? is a novella, a special release for October and Halloween. At 20,000 words it has taken me only four weeks to write a first draft. I’ll do a few subsequent drafts to polish the story and then it will be professionally edited before being formatted for the Amazon Kindle.  A total time scale of eight weeks. During this time the cover will go through several stages of design until we are happy with the final version. As you can imagine, a complete novel would take me much longer than this; usually a full year.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I don’t know. I haven’t read anything similar. I’d be interested in knowing if any of my readers and reviewers can answer this question?

Who or What inspired you to write this book?
See my answer to question two - “Where did the idea come from for the book”.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
If you are looking for spellbinding read on your Kindle this Autumn, you might enjoy my romantic magical novella How Do You Voodoo?  I’m planning a fun launch party on my blog on Friday 26th October and I will be telling you more about this on Friday of this week.  So stay tuned!
 
Here are some great authors I’ve tagged to tell you about their Next Big Thing!



Friday, 14 September 2012

Exploring Glasgow’s City of the Dead!


 
This week, I took myself off to Glasgow’s famous Necropolis or The City of the Dead on a research trip for a scene in my new romantic novella - How Do You Voodoo? - a fun read planned for release in October - just in time for your Halloween enjoyment!
 
 

A scene in the middle of How Do You Voodoo? takes place in a cemetery in the centre of Glasgow where fifty thousand wealthy Victorian entrepreneurs of the ‘Second City of the Empire’ are buried.
It’s just a short walk over the Bridge of Sighs into the cemetery, an outdoor museum of tombs and memorials designed by the major architects and sculptors of the time, including Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson, Charles Rennie Macintosh and JT Rochead.  Despite its spooky fa├žade, incredible tombs, and wonky overgrown graves, it’s a very peaceful and interesting place to spend a grey and gloomy Sunday afternoon - plus I got to imagine the scene from my story in all its earthy authentic detail!
 
Here I'm standing on the Bridge of Sighs
 
The view from the Necropolis over Glasgow
Just one of the spooky ivy overgrown memorials
 
More next week on How Do You Voodoo? – the story, the cover, and the virtual Halloween launch party planned for Friday October 26th  – it's going to be SO much fun!
Janice xx
 

Friday, 7 September 2012

Author Spotlight – Harriet Schultz

Harriet Schulz is an Author from Portland, Maine in the USA. Her background is in magazine journalism. She loves to travel, cruise and sail, and has published a few travel stories. Harriet has also just completed her first novel Legacy of the Highlands, a contemporary romantic suspense story set in Scotland.
 
 
Harriet at Arbroath Abbey
 
 
Well as you all know, I do love a contemporary novel set in Scotland, so when Harriet and I got chatting on Twitter recently, I was interested to know more about how she went about researched the Scottish elements of her story, so I invited her onto my blog to tell us about it.

Take it away Harriet!

My husband and I spent three weeks in Scotland last year. It was a vacation for us both, but for me this trip had an added bonus. I would see, hear and smell the locations in my already-published romantic suspense novel, Legacy of the Highlands, to see if I’d gotten it right.

It was with a sigh of relief, therefore, that we dropped off our rental car 1,500 miles later. For me, that relief came from the realization that I’d chosen and described my locations well. My husband’s was that we hadn’t killed ourselves or anyone else as we drove on the wrong side — to us — of Scotland’s narrow, unforgiving, and occasionally one-track roads.

We followed the coast north from Edinburgh to John O’Groats with a day trip to the Orkney Islands before continuing as far west as we could go. We traveled south to Oban before returning to Edinburgh for our flight home. Two destinations were of particular importance to me — the coast north of Aberdeen, between Cruden Bay and the town of Boddam and Arbroath Abbey where the 1320 Declaration of Arbroath was prepared.

A pivotal dramatic scene in my novel required a location that had physical characteristics similar to Ireland’s Cliffs of Moher. The Internet is a wonderful research tool and I felt confident that the Bullers of Buchan, near Boddam, could be the perfect place for the action I’d planned. But I had to be sure. I posted my question to a Boddam-area chat room. Participants not only confirmed my hunch, but actually went to the site and then posted videos — with sound! — so that I could have a sense of the place. Their generosity was stunning and I thanked the Grampian Life Forum in my book’s acknowledgments.
Despite this, I still wanted to see the Bullers for myself. It was raining as we entered the small car park and headed up the narrow path to the deep hole in the cliffs that fills with the churning waters of the North Sea. The sound was deafening. Hundreds of squawking birds nest in the rocks and waves pound the cliffs with a roar. It was perfect.

Before visiting the Bullers, we stopped in the town of Arbroath. My novel is contemporary, but a phrase in the Declaration of Arbroath and an oath taken by one of its signers form the basis for a murder that occurs almost 700 years later. It was with wonder that I roamed through the abbey’s preserved ruins, imagining the courage it took to ask the Pope to urge the English to leave Scotland and her people in peace.
 
 
 
Harriet near the Bullers of Buchan

Novels are creations of a writer’s imagination. And while there’s a bit of leeway in fictionalizing actual locations, the more real they are, the more believable the tale.

LEGACY OF THE HIGHLANDS. Young, good-looking, successful, and wealthy. Will and Alexandra Cameron had it all until the night he went out to buy ice cream after an evening of passionate sex and never returned. When his body is discovered in a nearby Boston alley, the only clue to his murder is a Scottish sgian dubh dagger left beside it. Will's grieving widow finds refuge in the Miami villa of his best friend Diego Navarro, who has the means, power and temperament to solve the puzzle and to avenge his friend's murder. The sinfully handsome and charming womanizer's feelings for Alexandra run deep, and he becomes equally determined to win the devastated widow's heart. The attraction between them grows as they follow leads from Miami to Buenos Aires and Scotland, unraveling the Cameron family's centuries-old secrets.
 
LEGACY OF THE HIGHLANDS is available as an e-book from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com and most other e-book sellers for £1.45 and $1.99. The book has also been published as a paperback.
 
 
The novel’s bestselling prologue, LUST AND HONOR, is a free download from the same sites.
 
You can catch up with Harriet on her Blog & Twitter
 
Twitter: @HarrietSchultz