March 2016 news…

Well, firstly, my promise to publish a blog post every week has gone a bit off target.  Ok, not a bit, a lot.  Why?  Well, actually, I don’t even have a really good excuse, it’s just that the start of this year has flown by and I’ve had lots of little things going on that have all merged together to form a big thing. Continue reading

My favourite books on ‘writing’…

I find it really difficult to get motivated to write on days like today.  It’s a grey, mild, January, Sunday evening and my brain doesn’t want to come out to play.  I took it out to the cinema this afternoon, so you’d think it would be a bit grateful and meet me half way. But no… it’s decided to stay full of cotton wool.  So, I’m going to read about writing instead as at least that’s moving forward, albeit not in quite the direction I should be if  I’m going to keep on schedule to get book number 3 finished (well, started… oops). Continue reading

Best friends and book covers…

As much as we try to not ‘judge a book by its cover’, when it comes to selling books, the cover is absolutely crucial.  For many readers, it’s the shop window, the hook, the invitation to look inside and, if you get it wrong, your words may sadly go unread.  As a self-published author, it’s a huge concern.  It’s no good trying to put something together in MS Paint – I’m not artistic at all, and any drawing I do looks like it has been scrawled by Puglet the dog.  So, the only option is to outsource it.  But where to start? Continue reading

Trying to be organised…

Wow, what a weekend! Somehow, and completely out of nowhere, I had a huge rise in book sales on Kindle and I’ve no idea how it happened. I hadn’t posted anything in particular on Social Media, I hadn’t been tagged in anything, and there was no promotion event. It just happened. Whatever, or whoever it was, I’m very grateful and also excited that lots of people will be reading ‘Bringing Billie Back’. Thank you to everyone that’s supported me with my writing, it means so much every time I see a single sale. Continue reading

Well, hello 2016…

Who else returned to work today after the Christmas break?  Did you skip into the workplace, smiling and full of enthusiasm, greeting your colleagues as though you hadn’t seen each other for months?  Or, did you huff and puff, sigh and keep running your fingers through your hair, demanding ‘where did those 2 weeks go?’ whilst staring at your stretched waistband wondering how clothes can shrink for absolutely no reason?  Continue reading

It’s here!

The official release date of ‘Bringing Billie Back’ may be the 13th December (SBBB_main_imageunday), but the pre-order links are out!  And, I’ve started to take direct orders through my online store – with the warning that the books are due for delivery to me on Monday… so, I’m keeping everything crossed that there is no delay.

Please take a look at my information page which contains all the links required by clicking here.  To say I’m excited about the launch date is an understatement… Eek!

Penny

Hoping to finally write that book in 2016?

For as long as I can remember, every New Year’s Eve I would vow to write a book by the following year. But, 12 months later, the book was nowhere to be seen.   Sure, there would be a few paragraphs, scribbled notes, index cards with a ‘sort of’ plot. But a book?  Nope. And so I’d have a little moan and then vow to do the same thing again.

I’d spent so many years thinking and talking about being a writer. I bought every book about the craft, I read the writing magazines with much enthusiasm, I perused the wonderful courses advertised in the Arvon catalogue and I wrote… well, not very much at all.   But, all of a sudden, it started to happen. And the turning point? I joined a writing group.

Now, I’d looked into this before, after reading that it’s one of the most inspiring and motivational things to do (I’d read that in my 100+ magazines and books, so I knew it must be true.)   But, my stumbling block was my confidence. All of the local writing groups were well established and full of people that, well, had actually written something rather than just talk about it.  But, I came across a Script Writing course at our local theatre in Milton Keynes, run by the brill Sally Luff (who went on to form the Carabosse Theatre and Production Company). It was advertised as a ‘brand new group’ and I thought to ‘I can do that, we’ll all be new!’ And, from the very first session, I loved it, learnt a lot along the way and made some great friends.   I think of it as the start of my ‘apprenticeship’ in writing.

After having a couple of small pieces performed, plus an episode of a radio play I co-wrote with my writing pal Ruth, I decided to have another go at writing a novel.  I still had the same nagging thoughts in my head like, ‘when will I find the time, how will I do it when I work full time’ etc etc blah blah blah… but I received good advice from a well published author that I was lucky enough to meet – she told me to stop moaning about not having any time to do it, sit down, grab a pad and pen, and either get on with it, or, shut up.   And she was right.

I’ve now been an Indie published author for over a year and am loving every minute of it. With the release of my second novel due a week from today, I will spend the following three weeks to come up with, and write, my plan for moving forward as an Indie author in 2016 and am bursting with excitement about the ideas I have.  I’m finally living my dream…

So, if there’s anyone out there reading this who is yearning to ‘be a writer’, first of all: If you put your bottom on a chair, grab a pad and pen and put some words on it, you’ll be writing.   And secondly, I thought I’d share my top 5 ‘wish list’ writer items, some of which have played a key part in moving me forward personally. They go from ‘relatively cheap’ to ‘pricey’ and, as it’s that time of year, you may be able to add them to Santa’s list… but, most importantly, I hope they inspire you in some way to start writing and live your own dream.   Click on any of the links to take you to the product pages.

The good old Pukka Pad

I love stationery, full stop. But, Pukka pads, with their little dividers and pockets and nice colours? Well, what’s not to love? I use them for plotting, jotting down ideas, keeping clippings in (from newspapers etc, not nails…) Partner it up with a good writing pen, or pencil, and you’re all sorted.

‘On Writing’, by Stephen King

In my opinion, this is the best book about the craft of writing EVER! I learnt so much from reading this. His style is so laid back, he tells you as it is, he doesn’t flower anything up. He taught me about having an ‘ideal reader’, and I now have two that ready my book before anyone else sees it.   This book is great.

LiveScribe pen

Last year, when I was writing ‘Friendship, Love and Apple Tea’, I was commuting pretty often from MK to London by train and, for any of you out there who goes through the hell of being squashed into a train carriage that’s bursting at the seams, I didn’t have enough room to work on my laptop. (Most of the time, I was standing…) However, if I wrote longhand (using my nice Pukka Pad…) I was too tired to then type if all up at night when I returned from the big smoke.   And so I reached a dead end. But I found a solution! Or rather, my husband did, as he’d bought me a pressie a few years before that I hadn’t had a chance to use yet. It’s called a Livescribe pen, which lets you write longhand using a special pad, and it’s then turned into a PDF file. Adding on a little piece of software, the PDF could then be made into a Microsoft Word file.   This saved me hours and hours of work and meant the book finally came to life.

Scrivener

A lovely piece of software for writers, whether it’s novels, poetry, scripts, non-fiction etc. Not only is it great during the writing process, it’s fantastic when pulling it all together into one of the formats you need for publishing. I’d struggle now without it. Takes a while to get to know how to use it, but there’s some great resources out there to help, including books on Amazon.

MacBook Air

Ok, this is a real luxury, but it’s booooootiful!  Fantastically light (can take it anywhere to write) and a dream to use. It’s not a necessity for a writer, and you can produce a manuscript no matter what you’re using, but it’s… well… blooming lovely!

 

Happy writing!

Penny

Busy, busy, busy…

My feet have really not touched the ground over the last week.  The release date of ‘Bringing Billie Back’ is just over a week away and so it’s been crazy.  So much to do:  ebooks to upload, printing files to proof, marketing posts and much nail biting.  And, I’m told that Christmas is just around the corner which I’m a little anxious about as  I’d put the holidays on a back burner whilst getting the book ready.  So, it now means that:

a) I need to write lots of cards

b) I need to buy presents

c) I need to buy a very large bottle of Bailey’s and drink it quickly <Note:  other makes are also available, and I would drink those too>

One of the things I’m most looking forward to, once the book is released and out there, is that I will have a few weeks over Christmas and into the New Year to work on my 2016 writing plan.  There’s so much I want to do next year, and I’ve no idea when I’ll get the time with other commitments,  like work (I still work full time and write whenever I get a spare minute, which can include in the toilet – yes, too much information, or TMI as the yoof would say…)  I need to record ‘Bringing Billie Back’ as an audio book, write another novel, write my non-fiction book and then blog properly, and not randomly, like I seem to do at the moment…   BBB_main_image

2015 has really given me the chance to learn so much about being an Indie author, and I love it.  I’ve met some great people, made lots of new friends, and have so many ideas (they literally chase themselves around in my brain 24/7).  So, here’s to 2016, starting off with a bang due to the new release.  Which, if you’re planning on getting on the Kindle, you can find on the Amazon Store already as a pre-order (due out 13th Dec).  So, please do visit the page if you’d like to take a peek!

Penny

 

Bringing Billie Back

What a week… my crazy editing has come to an end until the final proof edits are suggested and put right.  I’ve released the date that ‘Bringing Billie Back’ is being set free (the 13th December).  And today I was lucky to be invited as a guest on the John Griff show, BBC Radio Northampton.

What a lovely guy.  He had researched ‘Friendship, Love and Apple Tea’, knew everything about it and asked some great questions.  And I loved it.  Am kinda hoping Miranda Hart was listening as there’s an offer of a leading role in a film for her, she only has to ask…

image of puglet wanting a walk
Puglet doesn’t like edits

In other news, well, it’s all been about editing, editing and more editing whilst ignoring the housework, the need for Christmas shopping and the fact our house is upside down whilst having some building work done.   Puglet has sat and watched, silently pleading for more doggie walks…

So now, I need to focus everything on getting the book out on the 13th as promised…  if you haven’t already, please subscribe to my mailing list through my website.  I’ll be sending out an email on the release date to all that join, to give you links to the different ways of getting hold of the book.  Click here to find the very large Subscribe button.

Thanks everyone, for your support, and please urge my final edits to be as quick and as painless as possible!

 

Penny

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