It’s a Winner!

Thank you so much for asking me on your blog, Kimm. Ah, yes! My award! I have to say I was just a bit excited when I found out I’d been short listed for two awards at this year’s Festival of Romance! I was short listed for the Innovation in Romantic Fiction award which is an industry award. People from the romance industry (authors, publishers, agents and readers) were allowed to put forward names for consideration by the Festival of Romance panel. I was also nominated for the Best Author Published Read for my contemporary romance novel, Strings Attached. Although I signed with US publishers, Sapphire Star Publishing in January, I self-published Strings Attached on 1 November last year, so it was eligible for entry! Result!

Then, last Friday night, at the Awards and Ball, I WON the Innovation in Romantic Fiction award! The other ladies on the short list were E L James, Sheryl Browne and Sue Moorcroft, so I had some stiff and very lovely competition. It was amazing to win and I’ve spent the whole week buzzing about it like an over-active hornet!
But now it’s back to work! I have a novella coming out on Kindle on 13 December, called Public Property, and this is a sequel to my first novel, Excess All Areas. It’s going to be completely FREE on launch day and it’s a little thank you to all my readers for supporting me this year. Without readers downloaded my books and loving them they just wouldn’t be out there!
And then, next year, on 4 April 2013, my next full novel with Sapphire Star comes out! It’s called Security and it’s a hot romantic suspense featuring pop star Autumn Raine and her newly-appointed bodyguard, Nathan Regan. Hopefully the tag line will give you the gist of it. ‘Lies hurt, but the truth can get you killed’. Think James Bond meets The Bodyguard!
Mandy Baggot – Bestselling and award-winning romantic fiction
Strong contemporary romance and characters you’ll fall in love with!
www.mandybaggot.com
@mandybaggot on Twitter
Mandy Baggot on Facebook
Winner of the Innovation in Romantic Fiction award Festival of Romance 2012
Short Listed for Best Author Published Read – Strings Attached – Festival of Romance 2012
Member of Romantic Novelists’ Association
Signed with Sapphire Star Publishing
Featured author with Loveahappyending.com
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Imagine…a writers journey

Joff Gainey shares his journey today ~

Imagine a world where you are being watched over by people who live in the clouds.

Imagine a world where every black cloud has danger within.

Imagine what happens next…

Throughout my career, as a primary teacher, I encouraged children to read anything and everything. I used my own short stories and passion for writing to stimulate their imagination and hopefully inspire them to write for themselves. It was after being made redundant that I decided to practise what I had been preaching to the children for so long. The idea for my first novel had hovered around my head since my own school days. With much encouragement from my wife and children, it was time to put pen to paper.

After six months of writing and a further four months of re-reading, editing and asking friends and colleagues to digest every word, it was ready for publishing.

Sleeping on a Cloud is part one of a trilogy, aimed at teenagers and young adults. The central characters are a teenage boy and girl, who are Silver Liners. They live and travel in the clouds. The Dark Walkers, from a distant planet, are attempting to take over the earth. However the Silver Liners, who have never approved of such belligerent tactics, have spent many years trying to thwart the Dark Walkers plans. Prophecy has told of the twins and their powers. It is one of those powers, a secret power, which is capable of destroying the Dark Walkers. Unfortunately for the twins and the human race they don’t know what that power is… yet.

For the past couple of months I have been writing to publishers and agents in the hope that someone out there will be interested in my novel. I have had half of those approached reply with ‘like it but not for us’ or ‘its got potential but in the present market we are being selective’. The other half have yet to respond. So while I have been waiting for the yes vote, I sketched an idea for a front cover and then my brother-in-law designed and drew the result here.

I have had no further replies from publishers or agents. So with this in mind I have spent the last couple of weeks preparing my book for publishing as an ebook. Many of my friends, including those on Facebook, have supplied valuable advice and encouragement on how to do this. Also a book that I found very useful and easy to follow was ‘Kindle Publishing Made Easy’ by Ashley Kalym. It was recommended and thankfully so as the step by step instructions guide you, easily, through the process of formatting and uploading an ebook.

I have finally uploaded Book One of the Silver Liners adventures to Kindle and as a paperback.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B009T6OSTU
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sleeping-Cloud-1-Joff-Gainey/dp/1480179396

More recently I’ve begun thinking of ways to market my book, other than social networking sites. I decided to approach some local schools and offer them each a copy for their libraries. While at the same time offering to come in to the school to give a talk about the book and its journey to fruition. This week I have sent a copy to Ron Howard‘s film company, Imagine, and a copy to Chris Evans at BBC Radio…nothing ventured nothing gained!

Genres, themes and inspiration

Author Maria Savva talks about the genres, themes and inspirations behind her work. For more information and buy links, just click on her name.

Different Genres

With the launch of my latest novel, Haunted, a crime thriller, many people have commented that I don’t tend to stick to one genre in my writing. For example, my last book, The Dream, was a paranormal, time travel novel, and the one before that was a contemporary romantic drama; I’ve also written a family saga, and a mystery/drama. Within my short stories, you’ll find ghost stories, romance, and even a sci-fi tale, to name but a few story types.

The most common description I hear of me as an author is that I am a ‘multi-genre’ author. This is true. I don’t stick to one genre in my novels or short stories. Even in one short story, I include facets of different genres. I have, however, noticed that there are common themes running through my novels and stories. So although I don’t stick to one genre, I do explore similar themes in my writing. Maybe it’s just a matter of me looking at different themes in different ways with each book I write. To be honest, I don’t set about writing something with the intention of including a particular theme, but as my novels take shape they tend to incorporate many aspects of things that have inspired me in my own life, so it’s not surprising that there are recurring themes running through some of the books.

In this blog, I will explore some of the common themes I’ve noticed in my work. Perhaps this will help give readers an idea of my style, because it’s often hard to categorise my work, so, difficult for a reader to know whether they would enjoy reading it.

Firstly, I would say that I think most of my books and stories could probably be classed as dramas. This is because I tend to have true-to-life characters and situations. Some of my fiction has been described as literary fiction. This may be because I have always read a lot of books and have been inspired by some of the more traditional writers. I do, however, feel that my writing can be classed as contemporary.

The essence of it all is that I love writing and I love exploring different types of writing. I am also a bookworm, and I don’t only read one genre. I like reading all types of books from memoirs to fantasy.

Here are some of the common themes I’ve spotted in my books:

Dreams

In Coincidences and also in The Dream, a dream plays an important role.

In Coincidences, Alice’s dream is what makes her curious about the father she has never met. The dream spurs her on to look for him.

In The Dream, Lynne is told by a strange man in her dream that she should not marry her fiancé, Adam. The man in the dream becomes a significant part of the story.

Why dreams? Well, I’ve always had quite detailed dreams and can usually remember quite a lot about my dreams when I wake up. Often, especially when I was younger, my dreams would contain some kind of prophetic message, that perhaps I didn’t notice until the event happened. This was so intriguing to me that I started keeping a dream diary a few years ago, and was quite surprised at how some of the dreams I was having seemed to almost predict future events. So that’s probably the reason dreams feature in my books and will probably continue to do so.

Divorce or relationship breakdown

I notice this theme cropping up in my work. It’s probably because I worked as a family lawyer for a couple of years and heard lots of stories. My imagination was inspired by all the stories I was told.

In Second Chances, the theme of a relationship breakdown is pivotal to the story. James and Pamela, the protagonists, are on the brink of divorce. James is actually a divorce lawyer as well. So there is the irony that what he deals with at work is also happening to him.

In Haunted, Nigel’s marriage has fallen apart after over 20 years of neglect on his part.

In Coincidences, Alice’s parents divorced when she was just a child.

In The Dream, Lynne’s relationship with Adam is turned upside down after she has a dream warning her about marrying him.

In A Time to Tell, we see another aspect to marriage breakdown. Penny is the victim of domestic violence. Again this is inspired by my time as a family lawyer.

Secrets and lies

I have always been fascinated by the secrets people keep and the lies they tell, so this is reflected in my work. It seems to crop up in all my novels.

In Coincidences, Stephanie, Alice’s mum, has kept a big secret from her for many years. It’s something that almost ends their relationship. When Alice meets her father, there are even more secrets and lies revealed.

In A Time to Tell, Cara has kept a secret for 50 years. When history starts to repeat itself, Cara is facing regret and realising that she may have to reveal all. One regret she has is the lie she tells her husband, who died without knowing the truth.

In The Dream, Lynne is woken up to the truth about her fiancé, Adam, after her dream. His secret is the final nail in the coffin for their relationship.

In Second Chances, Pamela’s secret/lie is one of the things that James has a hard time dealing with.

In Haunted, my latest novel, a long-kept secret eats away at Nigel’s mind.

Ghosts

I have always loved a good ghost story. I also grew up in a haunted house, so it was inevitable that some ghostly goings on would crop up in my fiction.

In The Dream, a paranormal tale, there is a ghost who appears to Lynne.

In Haunted, my intention was to leave the option to the reader to decide whether this is a paranormal story or a psychological thriller. It’s an interactive novel in that sense, the reader decides what they want to believe about the events in the book, and hopefully, I have left it open-ended enough for that to be the case.

I have a few ghost stories in my short story collections. ‘There but for the grace of God’, ‘Visions’, and ‘The Reunion’, in my collection Fusion, feature ghosts, as does ‘The Artist’, in Love and Loyalty (and Other Tales).

Unemployment/being fired/redundancy

Much of my fiction is inspired by events in my own life and I have been out of work quite a few times. I have been fired and made redundant before, so it’s no surprise that this topic makes an appearance in my literature.

In Second Chances, there is a minor character, Pete, who is fired. The circumstances surrounding the way he was fired reflect the way I was unfairly dismissed from a post many years ago. James also loses his job in this novel.

In The Dream, Lynne is made redundant, and I used a lot of the emotions about the way I was feeling about my own redundancy in describing the way Lynne reacts in the novel. Lynne goes through a long and unsuccessful job search, similar to the one I went through.

Love/relationships

This is a subject that is covered in most if not all of my novels, and many of my short stories. I have always been a hopeless romantic even though I am unlucky in love.

I would describe A Time to Tell as a romantic drama. It is also a family saga, but for me, the main theme is that of true love and how love can survive over time and distance.

In Second Chances, at the risk of giving too much away, James and Pamela are a couple who are deeply in love. There are a lot of obstacles and hurdles for them to get over, and the question is whether their love can survive that.

In The Dream, Lynne’s friend Sandra has always believed in soul mates/true love, something that Lynne has never considered in the past. The man in Lynne’s dream tells her she has a soul mate. This causes her to think more about the subject.

Many of my short stories deal with the highs and lows of love and relationships too. Love and Loyalty (and Other Tales), is so titled not only because it contains a story called ‘Love and Loyalty’ but also because the theme that runs through most of the stories, I noticed, is that of love, and loyalty in relationships.

A first from Buy the Book Tours

Location of state of XY (see filename) in the ...

I’m a “partner” with Buy the Book Tours, a new promotion company set up by two women in Michigan. Originally from Michigan myself, I joined them for sentimental reasons but also hoping I can learn more about promotion and marketing and hopefully increase my readership for this blog. With that in mind, here’s the first free gift I can offer you:

Image

Free Gift for Book Groups

I’ve belonged to several readers’ groups, both virtually and in ‘real’ life. Once Removed is a story that begs to be discussed so I’ve created a special Readers’ Group Pack to make it more fun. The pack contains a treat, insider information, photos and discussion questions. Even if you’re only a readers’ group of one, feel free to upload the pack.

If you’re not in a book group but are curious/interested in joining or forming one, here are a few book group posts.

Blogfest 2012 ~ Join the party

A Journey of Books http://www.ajourneyofbooks.com have organised a massive blogfest with 158 participating blogs! How many can you visit? What might you win???

For the chance to win an eBook version of gritty, contemporary fiction, Once Removed  

 inspirational memoir A Life Less Lost

 

 

 

 

or Cathie Dunn’s brilliant historical romance, Dark Deceit, please leave a comment with your email address so I can contact the winner. All email addresses will be put into a hat and drawn by my disinterested other half on Monday 1st Oct.

To continue the fun pop into these five blogs and take it from there:

http://wormyhole.blogspot.co.uk for a chance to win a copy of Things Your Dog Doesn’t Want You to Know

http://theenchantedbook.blogspot.co.uk/?zx=ed6a86b9a05e4913 For a chance to win a Vampirerotique swag pack

http://www.novelsontherun.blogspot.co.uk For a review of Amarok

http://socratesbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk Offers the chance to win two cozy mysteries: Bruja Brouhaha and Corpse in the Crystal Ball

http://kimbacceliasweblogfantasy.blogspot.co.uk L.M. is having a contest!  RaffleCopter Grand Prize: Tshirt, $20 Amazon Gift Card, 1 Ink Pen, The Pack Series (Book 1 & 2 in print), Flutter Of Luv ebook copy

A kitten on speed?

Crooked Cat Publishing is a mere kitten beside the older, bigger and more established publishing houses. But through the tireless work of Steph and Laurence they have now expanded into paperbacks to compliment their ever-growing eBook list.

The “lions” in the industry have much on their side. Size does matter. For example:

  • They print books at a fraction of the cost
  • They can thus afford distribution and retail costs (and these are substantial)
  • They have marketing and promotion teams and strategies
  • They have access to larger media outlets, major TV, radio and print producers for promoting their books and authors
  • They are very selective and have the big names

I’m a reader as well as a writer so I appreciate competitive prices and easy access to my favourite authors. But I think there is a case for supporting the independents.

The problem large companies have is risk aversion. They want safe story lines and saleable names. This means we get lots of books by celebrities and psuedo-celebs and stories with proven marketability, ones that fit neatly into tidy boxes.

There was a time in the 60s and 70s, when cinemas were shutting everywhere and I suspect risk aversion was part of the problem. People tire of same old, same old.

Hollywood was renewed and reborn with the earlier collapse of the studio system, and the works of many new and experimental film-makers (Tim Dirks, AMC Filmsite)

The same thing happened in children’s literature. The first Harry Potter book was rejected by a dozen of publishers before it was taken on and brought reading alive for millions of children around the world.

So I urge readers to take a chance on the independent publishers. Their paperbacks may cost a little more but often their eBooks are cheaper.  Amazon may have its faults but they’ve opened the door for these companies, as well as self-publishers. And if you like one of these indie books, do please tell your friends. Look what word of mouth did for self-published novel, The Shack.

My book, Once Removed, is now available in paperback.

In the USA: http://www.amazon.com/Once-Removed-KB-Walker/dp/1908910283/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1348223593&sr=1-2&keywords=Once+Removed

And in the UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Once-Removed-KB-Walker/dp/1908910283/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1348223668&sr=1-1

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