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Monday, 22 August 2016

Last day of the tour!

Well, the time has come. The last day of the Saving Sophie blog tour!

My final stop is with Tracey - the Island Girl Book Blogger and she has a fabulous review to share with you. You can read it HERE

It's been a mad-busy time since publication and I've been overwhelmed by the support and kindness people have offered - so a HUGE "Thank You" is sent your way!!

I'm thrilled to have reached the Number 1 spot in the Kobo charts 

And Number 2 in the iTunes charts! 

How amazing is that - a little over a week following publication? I'm in shock! Of course - it's a great shock to be in :) 

Today, as part of Rebecca's #AvonAugust feature, I am on her blog answering some questions - please pop over and take a look HERE

I am also delighted to be on Jan Baynham's blog. She asked some great questions and her review of Saving Sophie is wonderful - you can read it all HERE! Thanks so much, Jan!

Thanks again to all the bloggers and reviewers who have taken part in the tour, or have reviewed during the first week of publication. You are all stars!



Monday, 15 August 2016

Saving Sophie - The Blog Tour

It's been a mad three days since Saving Sophie was published! 

In fact, I just had to check that it WAS only three days ago...

I'm thrilled that people have been downloading my debut offering and some people have already read it - THANK YOU ALL!

It's early days, but on the whole the reviews have been brilliant. I'm definitely pleased that many are enjoying the book. But not only have I had some fabulous reviews, I've also received messages and chatted about Saving Sophie  - it's been so lovely to talk to readers!

The blog tour makes a stop on Laura's Little Book Blog today, where I'm talking a bit about phobias - a key aspect of Karen's life in Saving Sophie



You can read it HERE

I'm going to update the 'my novel' page to include some of the amazing things that are being said about Saving Sophie very shortly...

Saving Sophie can be found at the fab price of 99p on various sites - the links to these can be found on the HarperCollins site HERE

I hope people continue to read and enjoy it!










Friday, 12 August 2016

IT'S PUBLICATION DAY!

Sooner than I'd ever imagined - the day has arrived when SAVING SOPHIE  has been lovingly pushed out into the wild. 

Today is the first of two publication days - it's the ebook now, and I get to do it all again in December when the physical book will be published! Double the excitement!

Avon have organised a fabulous blog tour for me and I will look forward to being a guest on the brilliant blogs involved. My very first stop is with the lovely Anne Cater over on her blog Random Things Through My Letterbox, please do go and check it out HERE!

I'm also lucky to be on Shaz's Book Blog as part of her Spotlight feature and have lovely bloggers who are sharing their reviews of Saving Sophie today as well. I am so grateful for everyone's support!

I have a 'taster' I would like to share with you -

below is the opening of SAVING SOPHIE! 

I hope it makes you want to read on...


Prologue

Saturday

‘Shh . . . Don’t speak.’ He releases the strap of the rubber ball gag with his left hand. His right grips a chunk of long, curly hair. Pulling it, twisting it, so she can’t move her head. So tight, she can’t move away from him. So tight, strands of black hair extensions break and tear from her real hair, tiny popping noises oddly loud in her ear. 
   The gag makes a soft thud on the concrete floor, an innocent sound, incongruent with the function it has just served. 
   ‘Stay quiet now. Still. It’ll be over soon.’ 
   He pushes his head up against her temple, hard. The slick tackiness of his sweat covers her forehead as he presses against her, rubbing his head from side to side. The putrid odour invades her nostrils. She tries not to breathe. Fear takes over; a whimper escapes from her dry mouth. 
   ‘No. No noise. I told you.’ His voice is raspy, menacing. 
   Her eyes are wide and swollen, wet with fresh tears – her face stained with old ones. She opens her mouth, just a little, daring to utter the words screaming inside her head: Please don’t kill me. He notices the slight movement of her lips and immediately presses his fingers against them, suppressing the words before they can be formed. Only her breath manages to leak through the gaps of his soft fingers; a stifled exhalation. 
   Her last.
     ***

To read the rest, click HERE to get Saving Sophie for the special price of 99p 

I've been overwhelmed with all the support I've had for publication day - so many congratulatory comments across social media - I have struggled to keep up (and may have failed!) Please know I am truly grateful for every single tweet, retweet, comment and message! I really hope everyone who reads Saving Sophie can take something away from it. There have been reviews already - thanks to all who have taken the time to read and write a review - I'm in awe of the ability to write a constructive review, but everyone has managed just that! I appreciate every one. No doubt I'll be quoting from them a bit... 

Ooh... like this:







And this: 







I have had a Q&A over at Avon's twitter account at lunch time today - if you get chance, do go and check out the brilliant 'story in gifs' they did for Saving Sophie - absolute genius!

I will get around to celebrating with the obligatory champagne later - but for now, I'm going to a friends for a coffee and catch-up.

Oh, and I had these super pretty roses from the hubby :) 


My thanks again!

Please do let me know what you think of the novel if you read it :)

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

2 Days until Publication Day - am I prepared?

It's suddenly upon me - publication day for Saving Sophie is this Friday!


This fact fills me with equal amounts of excitement and nerves...


I have read with interest, awe and delight, MANY author's journeys to publication and about their publication day exploits! A lot seem to have launch parties. As my novel is being released first as an ebook - I probably should have organised a Facebook launch event.

But I haven't.

I've been ultra-busy with writing blog posts for wonderful bloggers who are going to be kind enough to host me on my blog tour.


So an actual book birthday 'event' has kind of passed me by!

So, what AM I doing?

Well, on Friday (that's THIS Friday 12th August - in case I hadn't made that clear...) I will be online throughout the day - mainly on Twitter I suspect - and will be available for an hour over lunchtime for Q&As and chatter (I do like to chat) on Avon's Twitter account (which is HERE
I would love it if you could join in! It'll be running from 12.30 pm until 1.30 pm.

I have been overwhelmed by the support I've received (in fact I was a guest on Being Anne's blog where I talked about the importance of support - check it out HERE) and have been invited by lots of lovely bloggers to their websites to talk about Saving Sophie, or answer some fabulous questions. 

So no doubt you'll see me popping up on a few on Friday.

And talking of popping - I'm fairly sure champagne will be involved in my celebrations on Friday...


My thanks to those who have already pre-ordered the book - and huge thanks to those who have read and reviewed ARCs. I hope that people will enjoy Saving Sophie!

You can grab the ebook for the special price of 99p HERE


Saturday, 6 August 2016

My BOOK DEAL moment !!!!!!






In case you missed it...

I'm thrilled to be able to shout to all who'll listen, that I have a book deal! YAY!

The wonderful team at Avon (HarperCollins) have signed my debut novel, SAVING SOPHIE, a psychological thriller, along with a second novel.

See the official Bookseller announcement here - am jumping up and down a bit about this!

Saving Sophie will be published as an ebook (Maze imprint) on the 12th August - yes, that's 6 DAYS away - and a paperback will follow (Avon imprint) on 15th December 2016. 
How mad is that? Am so excited!

It's available for pre-order right now! 

Yep - a paperback too. I can't begin to express how much that means :) 

This past year has been a whirlwind of a journey.

As those who have followed will know, I signed with Anne Williams, with the Kate Hordern Literary Agency, in June last year. The novel she signed was 'Portrayal' - the one I'd entered in the Crime Writers' Association Debut Dagger Award - and had been longlisted for.

But this was an unfinished novel. So I set about finishing it and then sent the completed first draft to Anne. I then worked with Anne to shape the novel - which included scrapping a whole point of view (eek!) - before it was finally ready for submission to publishers. After a few disappointing, yet fairly positive rejections (I know that doesn't make sense - well, to people other than writers) someone fell in love with it ... Yes, fairy story right there ...

The lovely Natasha Harding, commissioning editor at Avon, wanted my novel! And there followed some pretty serious nail biting while I waited to find out if the rest of the team felt the same way.

Thankfully, they did.

It was the strangest feeling to know that a publisher wanted to publish my novel. And quickly! 

Of course, that's the point - the reason you put yourself through all of this process: the writing of the novel, getting a submission package together, trying to gain an agent ... but when it happens, it seems unreal. For me, I was ridiculously excited, yet also ridiculously scared! It was really going to happen.
No longer chasing a dream - I'd caught it.

A meeting was arranged. I was going to London. To HarperCollins tower!



Right by The Shard!



It was an amazing experience.
Just walking past the books that had been published by them, seeing some of my favourite authors - it was surreal. And everyone I met was lovely and very welcoming. 

I'm utterly thrilled to be a part of this amazing team and am looking forward to working with them to unleash Saving Sophie into the world.

Thanks to everyone who has been alongside me and supported me during each step of this journey.

Here's to the next step... 

You can grab Saving Sophie at the pre-order price of just 99p from:

Amazon UK : HERE

Amazon US : HERE



Friday, 5 August 2016

Some interesting questions...

If you pop over to Helen Cox' s blog: HERE - you can sit and read my answers to her 'lighter side of crime questions.' (There IS a lighter side, honestly).



And I'll be posting about my book deal (officially!) very soon too...

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

TERRIBLE TWOS

So, you've written a book - it's going to be (or has been) published - CONGRATULATIONS! It's a huge achievement.

But then you have to do it again. 

With my debut novel, Saving Sophie, due for ebook publication in 10 days time, I now have the daunting task of finishing writing the second. It seems that the process of writing this book is a very different one from the first for a number of reasons, and I have loads of scary questions floating around in my head. Like: 

Is my editor going to even LIKE the next book?

Will readers buy another one of my books?

What if I get writer's block?

What if I can't finish it by the deadline I've been given?

*Panic ensues*

There are many more similar questions. Having them niggle at the back of your mind can really play havoc with the creative process required to produce a good follow-up novel.

I know I'm by no means alone with my fears. So to make me feel better, I asked a fellow author to put into words her experience of second-book syndrome - which she aptly calls the Terrible Twos!

So, here goes - I'm delighted to welcome my FIRST ever guest to my blog! 


Helen Cox, author of Milkshakes and Heartbreaks at the Starlight Diner has agreed to come and chat about the anguish that is 'second-book syndrome'!

I say 'anguish' but I'm sure it conjures different feelings for different authors, which is why I've asked her to pop along and talk about it. 

Over to you, Helen!

Back in the days when I was a film journalist, I wrote a whole chapter of a book on terrible film sequels. It seemed like a pretty clever thing to do at the time, ridiculing Sandra Bullock’s fashion choices in Speed 2: Cruise Control and lamenting the cultural insensitivity of Sex and the City 2

When I sat down to write my own sequel at the beginning of this year however, my sense of humour evaporated. 

Alright, as I make a joke out of almost everything that’s a slight exaggeration, but it was clear from chapter one that writing the follow up to my first novel Milkshakes and Heartbreaks at the Starlight Diner was going to be even more difficult than the first had been. Considering I’d put everything I had into book one, this was far from a comforting thought.

At first, I was at a loss as to why every sentence was a struggle. I had so much more going for me than I did when I sat down to write my first novel. A guaranteed offer of publication, a previous book that had been very well-received by readers and more important than anything else, proof that I could do this. Proof that I could string together 80,000 words, give or take, in pretty much the right order and create a story that people enjoyed. And yet, the second time round it was harder. 

Why? I can sum it up in one word.

Pressure.

When I was writing Milkshakes, I told myself it didn’t really matter if it was any good because nobody was going to see it. A few friends, maybe. Some family members who were interested enough or too polite to say no. But getting published is really hard. There was no reason why anyone should pick me out of the crowd. So, I told myself straight to just write a story and stop kicking up a fuss.

My first draft of my first novel wasn’t very good. But I edited, edited, edited until people said it was good. And then a publisher said it was good and asked me to write a second book. A book that I knew from the beginning other people were going to get the chance to read, and judge.

A sly, small voice in my head asked: can you really do this again?

Maybe you only had one good book in you.

I had a flashback to 1999 when Kula Shaker released Peasants, Pigs and Astronauts, the follow up album to their outlandish debut ‘K’. I recalled again the heartbreak I suffered when I realised it wasn’t a strong return for them. I didn’t want to create another Peasants, Pigs and Astronauts. I wanted to write the book equivalent of the next Live Through This or Late Registration alright so I’m not hardcore enough to be either Courtney Love or Kanye West (which is probably a blessing) but, you know, I’m aiming for somewhere near that. Closer to Terminator 2: Judgement Day than Teen Wolf Too, that’s all I’m really asking here.

The only route through my unexpected quagmire of self-doubt was to remind myself that all I can ever do with any project is work my hardest and try and enjoy myself in the process. 

When I was a teacher, I always said to my students that nobody could ever ask more from them than their best, and if they knew in their hearts they’d done that, there was nothing to be ashamed or afraid of. After much grappling with my inner demon (his name’s Gordon by the way and he’s a little imp) I decided to take a bit of my own advice.

Four weeks later after some invaluable feedback from my writing partner Dean Cummings and a fellow author Helen Fields, I sent my first draft to Joanna Swainson, my agent, who came back telling me it was a delightful and thoroughly charming read. I don’t think I’ve ever been so relieved about anything in my life. Not when my now-husband actually turned up to marry me on my wedding day. Not even when Woody and the gang made it out of the furnace in one piece in Toy Story 3 (spoiler alert). 

There’s still a lot of editing to be done on my second book, sure. But despite my brain doing all it could to undermine me, I managed to write a first draft of my second book that is already impressing those who’ve read it. And nobody, not even Gordon, that judgmental little imp in my head who comes out to play when I’m writing, can take that away from me.


Thanks so much, Helen - you've captured the terrible twos brilliantly! I'm going to ignore your comment about Teen Wolf Too though - you've broken my heart - Jason Bateman is the love of my life (haha!) 

You can keep up-to-date with Helen's book news on her website HERE

And follow her on Twitter HERE

Here's the blurb for Helen's debut novel, Milkshakes and Heartbreaks at the Starlight Diner:

Esther Knight is sharp, sarcastic – and hiding something. She waitresses at The Starlight Diner: a retro eatery where Fifties tunes stream out of the jukebox long into the night, and the tastiest milkshakes in New York are served.

Nobody at the diner knows why Esther left London for America – or why she repeatedly resists the charms of their newest regular, actor Jack Faber.

Esther is desperate to start a new life in the land of the free, but despite the warm welcome from the close-knit diner crowd, something from her past is holding her back. Can she ever learn to love and live again?

Milkshakes and Heartbreaks at the Starlight Diner is a witty, romantic, New York-inspired novel.


You can buy it HERE

Congratulations on the publication of Milkshakes, it's a really fabulous novel! Wishing you loads of luck with your follow-up novel - I will be following your journey with interest!

Now - off you go and finish your editing!! 


I would love to hear from other authors about their own experiences with writing second books, so please feel free to drop me a line!

Thanks for reading!