This week’s Author Blog Challenge is ‘My Publishing Journey’. I’m a writer. I like words, so I looked up the definitions of journey and a couple of them really resonated with me.
This is so true of my publishing journey. Firstly I was in my early fifties when my first book was published. I’d enjoyed writing since I was in my late teens but my writing journey stopped and started so many times. Some would say I just wasn’t dedicated enough and that’s true. Writing is a guilty pleasure for me. Something that’s profoundly personal. I’m not good at putting myself at the top of the list, there are so many other people that I consider more important. Looking after my family and earning a living were my focus for many years and writing was something I did when I could find a few minutes.
Secondly, even though I now have three books published, I know I am only at the beginning of my journey and I just hope I have enough years left to establish myself in the writing world. I have no illusions of best seller success but I do want to write books lots of people like reading.
I am a novice writer I still have so much to learn. I have recently been told by a couple of publishers that I have a’real’ talent as a writer but that I need to work on my grammar and punctuation. This has always been a blind spot for me and one that I wonder if I can master this late in life but who knows?
My publishing journey has been a learning experience, after the initial euphoria of becoming a published author , I realised the work was just beginning. Can you write another book? Is it as good or better than the first one? Can you make your potential readers love your books as much as you do?
My first book inspired by the Lakes
My publishing journey to date is relatively short. The Dragon Legacy, my first book published December 2013. The Dangerous Gift, my third book published February 2016. Book number 4 Past Shadows is yet to be published. I have been asked to revise and resubmit by one publisher so I may do that. Whatever happens you’ll be the first to know.
I love history and I have always wanted to trace my family tree but I never found the time, until recently. When my daughter told me she was pregnant, just over a year ago it started me thinking about my parents and grandparents and those that came before them.I joined a genealogy site and within a couple of hours I traced my father’s family back to his great grandparents that’s five generations and I can’t wait to find out more.
Legacy and family are important themes in my writing.
‘The Dragon Legacy’, is a fantasy tale, which traces the last survivors of the dragon legacy and their importance to the survival of the human world.
‘The subtle infusion of his ancient memories flowed from his mind. A picture of a mist covered hillside materialized. The scene mesmerized them as it unfolded like a virtual puzzle. A jolt of pure power ran through him as he recalled the eerie shapes of the dragons gathered in a circle around a turquoise, almost translucent, egg. The largest dragon stepped forward and covered the egg with dark earth. The dragon faced them. Somehow aware, they witnessed the ceremony. Lukas identified himself with the dragon lord. Grace and Jasmine must believe the dragon lived within him.’
‘The Dangerous Gift’, my latest book revolves around a legacy a young woman receives after the death of her guardians and the menacing events that follow this gift.
‘The funeral was soul-destroying. Memories of her parents’ deaths and the pain of her loss resurfaced and intensified the grief she felt for her guardians’ passing. When the ranch house came into view on the ride home, its legacy resonated with and comforted her. Memories of happier times gave her hope for the future as she unclasped her hands and relaxed back against the limousine’s upholstered seat. Jared reached for her hand, as if he sensed her disquiet.’
I will be posting my findings from time to time on my blog. Who knows if I find some interesting characters, I may even include them in a story.
What about you? Have you traced your family tree , comment below if you have or chat with me on Twitter #Legacy.
As many of you know my third book is released next week. The Dangerous Gift is a romantic suspense, a new genre for me but one I enjoy reading, so I thought I would write one and see what happened. It is also with a new publisher – Limitless Publishing so these are exciting times.
Since the release of the second book in ‘The Dragon Legacy series’ in December 2014 I have concentrated on promoting other authors, through spotlight posts, book reviews and social media posts. I love doing this. So I should be well placed to promoting my own book.
In many ways I am. I have a good social media following but getting the balance right is difficult. It’s easy to recommend the work of others, not so much your own. Writers are by nature I think self-critical and introverted so ‘blowing your own trumpet’ is well out of their comfort zone.
That said overcoming your barriers to self-promotion is essential if your book is to get noticed. The biggest hurdle for authors is to get your book seen, by the people who would love to buy and read it. So with this in mind I have been promoting The Dangerous Gift across all my social media platforms and I have been touched by the support from my social media and blog followers. Thank you.
I have supported a number of ‘Thunderclap’ campaigns in the last couple of weeks and thought I would give it a go for The Dangerous Gift. It’s a chance to reach new supporters and readers but only if you get the required number of sign ups.
The minimum is 100 people and since The Dangerous Gift campaign went live yesterday evening I have 9. 🙂 So there is some way to go, before I reach my target. If 100 supporters sign up; one Tweet, Facebook Post and Tumblr post will made on 9 Feb 12.00 pm to support The Dangerous Gift
Ask most indie authors and they will say ‘it’s tough selling books, electronic or print, today’. The ‘new’ accessible publishing world has undoubtedly opened up the book selling market to all.
The downside? It’s created a stampede of writers and small publishers flooding the market, particularly with eBooks.
The chances of becoming a runaway bestseller are minuscule. Even making a living from your book sales is unlikely unless you can stand out from the crowd.
Price is one way of getting noticed.
If you price your e book too high, after the initial friends and family sales, it’s likely your Amazon rankings will tumble and your book sales stagnate. Surely, that only happens if you fail to market and promote your book effectively , you might think?
In my experience, which admittedly is limited , no amount of promotion, a self published or indie published author can do, will compensate for a book that is overpriced.
Why are book prices set so high?
The overheads for small publishers and self -publishing authors can be high. The cost of editing, proof reading, formatting, cover design and promotional blog tours, all adds up and needs to be recouped from the book sales.
What you need to remember is there are unlikely to be many sales if the price is too high. Especially for a new or relatively unknown author, selling in a saturated market.
With this in mind I asked my publisher to reduce my book prices, to put them more in line with similar eBooks,marketed by larger publishers. It will be interesting to see if a competitive price has an impact on sales. I will let you know.
With the release last month of The Revenge Masquerade,the second book in The Dragon Legacy series I’ve been thinking about the next book in the series,working title is Egyptian Chaos.
If you read my author interview on Tracey Rogers’ blog last week you will know I am undecided whether to continue with the series. I still have two more stories to tell but it’s so hard to get your books noticed by your potential audience. Should I write something more mainstream, in the hope of catching a well established publisher’s attention, or self publish the remaining two books? I’d be interested to know what you think. 🙂
So all this introspection made me think back to how optimistic, (some would say naive) I was when I wrote The Dragon Legacy and what inspired me to write, what turned out to be a quirky, fantasy romance set in the English Lake District.
Three things inspired me to write this story:
Dragons are my favourite mystical creatures.
I have loved the lake district for thirty years , since I was first introduced to it, in my early twenties by my first boss.
My fascination with murder mystery.
Dragonsare usually portrayed as evil in English fairy tales, something to be feared and slayed but this isn’t how I see them at all.
They are powerful,intelligent creatures, a source of ancient knowledge and magic.
From this viewpoint it was easy to create Lukas Draco, one of the ancient dragons. He exists in two dimensions; our world in his human form, whilst his true dragon form survives in a parallel world, living in deep still water until Lukas requires his powers. The dragons are champions of good and fight against evil demons to protect humanity.
The Lake Districthas long been a favourite haunt of mine and it was on one of my holidays when I visited Lake Ullswater and the surrounding hills that I imagined how paranormal creatures could hide in plain sight in such a setting. Combined with my love of dragons, The Dragon Legacy began to take shape.
The final ingredient was my love ofmurder mystery games , parties and weekends. I love the drama of these events, the dressing up and taking on a new character. My shy Fleur became the street wise business whiz, Megan and managed to ensnare herself a dragon.
The original draft of The Dragon Legacy contained far more scenes devoted to the murder mystery event but these scenes were cut from the final story as they didn’t move the tale forward. Still I loved writing them and they were among the first words I wrote of The Dragon Legacy’s first book.
I hope you found this look behind the pages of The Dragon Legacy interesting.
I’m so happy that I have my release date for ‘The Revenge Masquerade’ that I thought I would share a snippet from the first book in the series, ‘The Dragon Legacy’ , for all those who haven’t read it yet.
These few lines feature Jasmine and Zane. Their adventure is told in ‘The Revenge Masquerade’.
‘Jasmine stared at Zane, her face a dichotomy of fear and intrigue. Curiosity won. “Is it dangerous when you become a wolf? Can I watch?”
Zane couldn’t hide his surprise. “It’s private. Dangerous if you get too close.” Jasmine’s expression mirrored her disappointment. Zane gave in. “All right, you can stay, if you’re careful. Whatever you see, and whatever pain I’m in, you mustn’t interfere.”
“I mean it, Jasmine. I’m out of control when I transform. I don’t want you hurt.”
“I promise no interference.” Jasmine raised her hands in surrender before she almost covered her eyes with them. “Zane!” Zane removed his clothes with no embarrassment. She stood transfixed.’
When emotionally fragile Fleur Curwen decides she wants excitement in her boring life she signs up for a Murder Mystery Weekend in the wilds of the English Lake District. She enters a paranormal world where danger and death are common occurrences.
Demon slayer Lukas Draco is a loner. He lives by two simple rules: No emotional entanglements and duty must remain his first priority.His beliefs are challenged when he’s inexplicably drawn to Fleur, a human woman with an unusual psychic aura. Sparks of sexual attraction ignite threatening both his search for the dragon’s egg he buried a thousand years ago and Fleur’s life. Under the cover of a murder mystery weekend an apocalyptic hunt begins’
The Dragon Legacy – Excerpt
‘ “Who upset you? Xavier?” Lukas’ fury reddened his face and neck.
“Yes.” The dragon towered above her. His hot breath seared her cold cheek. Her tentative fingers touched the spot. His face wore a hard-set expression. His lack of control unnerved Fleur. Heightened passion narrowed and darkened his eyes. She watched mesmerized as their color changed from green to gold, no longer human. The golden beast ruled here. Her gaze dropped to his mouth. She expected flames. Fleur shivered with awareness as she listed the dangers of a liaison with him. She ignored her common sense. Whatever the risks, she would surrender to his heat and passion.’
So after Saturday’s rain the summer sun has returned and with it my happy optimistic mood. If you read my last post you will recall I was feeling down and attributed it to the grey day.
Taking advantage of the sunshine I spent a couple of hours tidying and enjoying my garden with these lovely butterflies who decided to join me. I love gardening because it gives me time to think and plan and this post is a result of yesterday’s gardening interlude.
Lots of people will be off on holiday in the next few weeks and many will be searching for a good book to enjoy whilst they’re relaxing on the beach or sitting by the pool.
Even if you’re not going away to the coast or countryside, if the sun stays out the excuse to sit in the garden with a good book is too much to resist.
The point of going on holiday is to relax and most of all escape from your normal daily routine. Having a little ‘me’ time recharges our emotional and physical batteries before returning to our often stressful lives.
So a summer read must offer escapism. Many novels today mirror reality or focus on the worst bits of everyday life, I would avoid these when looking for my holiday read. That doesn’t mean the story has to be sugary sweet just hopeful. Or so far removed from reality that even if it focuses on the darker side of human nature the reader knows that anything is possible including a happy outcome. 🙂
Continuing the escapism theme, the setting of a summer read is important. It needs to be in a place the reader would like to explore, so coastal locations are good as are mountains and picturesque countryside. I enjoy reading stories set in the summer too but I don’t think this matters as long as the setting is escape worthy.
If you’re on a crowded beach then its easy to be distracted. So the ideal read must have an absorbing plot with lots of twists. Vivid characters are essential they need to make an impression. The genre of the story is subjective but I love a story with mystery ,lots of action and sizzling romance. The romance doesn’t necessarily have to be the focus of the story but a little spice always adds to the enjoyment. 😉
So that’s my recipe for the perfect summer read.
I leave you with some snippets from The Dragon Legacy maybe it could be your perfect summer read?
You can read the first page of The Dragon Legacy on BooksGoSocial
Let’s You Escape:
‘The elusive turquoise-scaled dragons appeared through the haze. Their minds united by a single aim: the dragon egg’s safety, the reason they risked exposure to the human world.’
‘The dragon lord’s golden eyes focused on the grey sky above the rock strewn hills. Dawn mist hovered around the summit like a silken web. It drifted through the rocky outcrops until it reached the valley where he stood alone.’
‘Mists floated across Lake Ullswater and cloaked the twisty lanes in an impenetrable shroud.’
‘Demon slayer Lukas Draco is a loner. He lives by two simple rules: No emotional entanglements and duty must remain his first priority. His beliefs are challenged when he’s inexplicably drawn to Fleur, a human woman with an unusual psychic aura. Sparks of sexual attraction ignite threatening both his search for the dragon’s egg he buried a thousand years ago and Fleur’s life. Under the cover of a murder mystery weekend an apocalyptic hunt begins’
‘Fleur stole a sideways glance at Lukas…His face was the epitome of masculine beauty, characterized by well-defined angular cheekbones, covered with pale, almost translucent skin. Its apparent delicacy did not detract from his masculinity; he looked like a fallen angel.’
‘Xavier Serpente clenched his manicured nails into his expensive Italian silk trousers… The threat of danger, which simmered under the surface of his urbane respectability, was his greatest attraction.’
‘Lukas forced his mind back to his mission. He studied his murder mystery character profile. His fellow participants mustn’t find out his identity. Or the real reason for his presence at Hallows House.
‘Escape impossible, the furious dragon man slammed him against the tree trunk. His bones cracked. The onslaught repeated with greater force, and his head and neck rocked on his shoulders.’
‘Lukas caught hold of her hand as she turned away from him. “No, don’t! I like you this way.” He ran the pad of his thumb along her responsive lips. “Trust me. Everyone will like you as you are.” She looked vivacious, like the color of her dress, with lush, pink lips and hair like golden rain as it slipped from its elegant restraints. He wanted her back in his arms. His arousal rocketed several degrees as the tip of Fleur’s tongue darted out and tasted his thumb. “Hell!” Another few seconds and leaving wouldn’t be an option.’