Friday, 28 April 2017

Wild Children now available!


The big day is here! Wild Children, my newest release, is now up and available for purchase in print and on Kindle.

The novel is set in a dystopian world where reproduction is strictly controlled and transgressions punished. Those who are born without a permit grow up on the fringes of society and are cast out into the wild abandoned lands at the age of twelve.

A boy is born despite a law that states he has no right to live. His mother loves him, though he puts her entire family in danger. Circumstances force her to give up her son, but nothing can tear the love out of a mother's heart.


Saturday, 22 April 2017

My journey: from SAHM to writer/entrepreneur

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When I got married, I wasn't a creative entrepreneur with a burning vision of making money doing what I love best - writing - but merely someone who wanted a rural home to raise her children, homeschool, garden and keep chickens. 

Nearly a decade later, I do all these things, and combined they are more than a full time job. I love my life. I don't wish my children away; I don't want to live in a neat little low-maintenance cubicle of an apartment. However, one has to face the truth: most of my time is taken up by childcare, lessons, housework and homestead chores, and any writing/learning/marketing is done in short, sporadic bursts. My novels are born of stolen moments I often literally have to fight tooth and nail for. I don't have a private work space, my own computer, or set hours. 

But my mindset is wholly different. I have a goal now: to be a better writer, and to earn money doing it. I live, breathe and work towards this goal every single day, even if practically I spend most of it wiping runny noses or trying to get children to do their maths. I snatch up every available moment to do something to advance my goal. Novels are written one word at a time. A day in which I wrote two paragraphs is better than a day of no writing at all. 

I have always been writing - poetry, prose, jokes, essays - but my upgrade to a more professional level came from a combination of two factors: one, my maturing as a writer and taking on more ambitious work, and two, financial distress brought on by my husband's unstable job situation. We needed extra income. I knew I couldn't get a job outside the home (we live very much out of the way, have only one car, and homeschool). Writing is - I flatter myself - what I do best. I decided to give it a go as a business venture. 

This couldn't have happened without sacrifices, of course. I stopped watching movies on YouTube and commenting on photos of people's pets on Facebook. I made many of my friends wonder whether I'm still alive. I got up early and went to bed late. Every moment of my computer time was dedicated to writing, networking, or business research. 

I'm still too early on in this journey to write a Here Is What I Learned post, but I can definitely say this: writing is not a get rich quick plan. In the short term, I could probably make more money babysitting other people's children. But writing and publishing is more than a dream, it's a goal with an outlook towards the future. My succeeding as a writer would greatly enhance our family's financial stability. Each published novel is an ambassador circulating out there and working to earn us money even when it's a period in which I'm not actively writing.

Here is a caveat: writing is still dismissed by my family as a hobby and, I suppose, will be until some actual serious money starts coming in. If my kids ask me to do something for them and I say, "I'm busy writing," they just give me a blank look. I might as well have said "I'm playing a computer game" for all the understanding I get. My husband doesn't get why on earth, if I did drag myself out of bed at 6 A.M. (after five hours of sleep), I don't take advantage of this quiet morning spell to mop the floors or start lunch, or do some other such productive thing. Spending a cumulative sum of hundreds of dollars on stupid junk on eBay is fine. Spending a fraction of that on a book cover is unthinkable.

Bottom line: I can't and don't expect my family to be my cheerleading team and create opportunities for me. I am my own cheerleader. I create my own opportunities. I cling to this wall with my own bleeding fingernails as I drag myself up (often stumbling and slipping, but still finding myself, at the end of a period, at a higher place than before).

I will keep updating as I travel down this road. 

Saturday, 15 April 2017

For authors: the key to handling rejection

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Getting rejected is one of the most frustrating parts of being an author. Furthermore, it's absolutely inevitable - I'm yet to meet an author aiming at the traditional publishing route who didn't get fifty rejects for each acceptance.

I'm right now on my third project making the rounds of queries among literary agents and publishers. I self-published Quest of the Messenger after a bagful of rejections, some of them actually expressing enthusiasm about the book but claiming it just isn't commercially viable. I signed with Mason Marshall Press for my upcoming novel, Wild Children (and its sequels). I'm now looking for either an agent or a publisher for my Middle Grade novel, A Bride for the Beast, being reluctant to self publish as I know that Middle Grade books generally do less well as self published projects.

In short, I'm facing rejects. Many rejects, with prospects for many more, as I also plan to query my current WIP, a historical fiction novel focusing on the character of Eldad ha-Dani. So how do I put up with it all?

One, I compartmentalize. I deal with queries on the first of each month, and after sending out a bunch of eight or ten, I forget about it for the rest of the month. I take notes of rejections as they come, and try not to think of them anymore.

Second, I leave some projects for myself to self-publish, such as my planned release, The Landlord. This way I have something to focus on which is under my control, something I can do without waiting for anyone's permission. It is incredibly empowering.

What about you? What are your best tips and strategies for handling rejection?

Saturday, 8 April 2017

The Landlord: a ghost story with a taste of the Regency era

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I've been keeping this quiet for a while, but now I'm ready to reveal another upcoming book of mine: The Landlord, which was an exciting project for me, as it ventures into the new territory of an English setting. The plot takes action in the Lake District, partly in modern days and partly in the Regency era, and should appeal to all lovers of ghost stories, mystery, the 1800's, Jane Austen and everything English. I plan to release the book sometime before the end of 2017.

An excerpt:

“Every place has its local legends,” Allie remarked, putting two steaming mugs of tea on the table.

“I guess you’re right – one such local tale is actually connected to this very lake. It’s a ghost story about a certain character known as the Lady of the Lake.”

“Lady of the Lake?” repeated Allie, remembering her hazy, silvery vision of earlier. “You mean, as in the poem?”

“It’s a story about a young woman supposedly seen walking across the surface of the lake,” Gavin laughed easily, slurping his tea. “It pretty spooky, the way some people tell it, but you have nothing to be afraid of. I’ve spent a fair amount of time on the lake and never saw so much as a little finger of this Lady. Even at allegedly magical times such as the full moon or solstice or whatever.”

“Well, it’s just a tale,” Allie said with a nervous little laugh. Yes, that’s what it is – just a country legend and your own overactive imagination.


And a cat that tends to get spooky for no reason at all. 

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Indie vs. Traditional Publishing: blog interview

Sam, over at Spines In A Line, invited me for a blog interview to tell about my experiences as an indie author vs. the switch to working with a publisher and, finally, the balance of doing both:

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"When I first began writing Quest of the Messenger, my epic fantasy trilogy, I had plenty of enthusiasm, a vast imaginary world in my head, a laptop, and not much else, really. I had no knowledge of how the publishing industry works, no idea about current trends in fantasy, and no budget for professional editing, proofreading, cover design, or book promotion.
I was on my own, and I wrote like crazy. I produced a trilogy of nearly half a million words before I even began approaching agents with the first book.
The first few rejections stung, but I was encouraged by those agents who actually took the time to write a personal response (and not just send a pre-composed rejection note). My writing was good enough to grab an agent’s attention, if not get them to actually wish to represent the book. I kept querying and, to make a long story short, after about half a hundred rejections I decided to self-publish."
Read the rest here.