Wednesday 26 February 2014

A long slog, but we're almost there

"Court of Conspiracy" the first book in the Tudor Enigma series is scheduled for publication - digital only at first - on May 26th 2014.

It began life in 2010 as a fun project based on one phrase - Henry's black-eyed boy - and one 'what-if'. What if the child Anne Boleyn miscarried in 1534 had been brought to term and born healthy?

Late in 2010, I sent the raw manuscript to Marlene Stringer of the Stringer Literary Agency in Naples, Florida. Within four days I had her acceptance. Luckily for me, Marlene hates the word 'no' because it wasn't until mid 2013 that Carina Press offered a 3 book deal.

My editor at CP, Kerri Buckley, has been incredible. She picked up anomalies, contradictions, fuzzy writing and, in short, made me think about every word I had written. The editing process has taken almost three months, but the book has just gone to Production. Now I can't wait to see the cover.

If you like your history spiced up with make-believe, magic and mystery thrown in, then put 26th May 2014 in your diary and save up $2.99.

Friday 21 February 2014

Present day historical detail. What a nightmare!

Novelists writing about the past have an easy time of it, I reckon. They seek out historical sources and do the research, and that’s it. Easy, yeah? I hear the protests. Historical research is no picnic. Granted, it’s not, but it’s in the job description for a novelist, and once researched, it sticks!

For those of us who set our novels in the present day, we need psychic powers, too.

When I wrote Like False Money, neither Google Streetview nor satellite images showed any interest in rural East Yorkshire, but it became a photo finish between Google cars in the area and the book hitting the shops. 

When I wrote the first draft of the Doll Makers, no one routinely used email or mobile phones. When a publisher bit, I had to move the entire thing forward 20 years into a different world, the older characters underwent significant memory shifts. Being in your teens in World War II shapes you very differently from being in your teens in the 1960s.

And that’s my point really. Historical research is a solid foundation on which to write a novel. The ‘present day’ is quicksand.

Friday 14 February 2014

To Romance, or Not to Romance – What’s in a Genre Label?

Now that The Bull At The Gate, the second in the Torc of Moonlight trilogy, is out of editing and with its beta readers, my mind turns to the thorny subject of genre labels.

Is the essence of the novel ‘boy meets girl, loses girl, wins girl back’? Er.. eventually, over three novels. Then it’s a Romance. 
Er… not exactly.

True love never did run smooth might be the adage we use from Shakespeare’s quill, but does that make it a Romance? According to the genre labels of the industry, a Romance has a Happy Ever After ending, or at least the promise of one [tick].

However, if the true love has life or death consequences [tick], does that make it a Thriller, or a Romantic Thriller? If the true love is separated by death [tick] does that make it a Paranormal Thriller, or a Paranormal Romance, or even an Urban Fantasy? And if the true love has to overcome a rebirth from legend [tick] might that make it Mythic Fiction?

Ah, a rose by any other name… Happy Valentine’s Day.

Wednesday 12 February 2014

Another manuscript on its way

Every author living knows that sinking feeling. The publisher / editor / agent says, ‘It’s very good but could you just change...’ The words that follow range from ‘beginning, middle and end’ to ‘a few words’.

In my case, it was the agent. The beginning and end were fine, but could I change the middle? Oh, and cut it down a bit. Of course, no problem. Edits don’t faze me these days. Please cut it by...

30,000 words! I know people who write whole books that have fewer than 30,000 words in them from start to finish. Deep breath. These guys know what they’re talking about, don’t they? Click the heels, smart salute. ‘Thirty thousand words? No problem. Consider it done.’

And it is. Done, dusted and shrunk. And off it’s gone into the stormy waters of 21st century publishing to look for a 21st century publisher.

Tuesday 11 February 2014

Guest Blogging at The Authors' Corner Blog

Just a quick heads-up for you. Stuart Aken is guest blogging on the MSMG blog today. It's a piece about his 'author journey', which may prove informative, instructive, amusing or just plain boring!

Anyway, here's the link: Yes, that's it, over to the left; just click on it.

Friday 7 February 2014

Plundering Family Life - Madeleine McDonald

The year started with a milestone: my 80th column under the banner of My View or Family Matters was published in the Yorkshire Post on 1 January. As in all families, my nearest and dearest infuriate, amuse and sustain me in equal measure – and however much I embroider the truth they’ll never sue me for libel

Monday 3 February 2014

Beating Writer's Block - Karen Wolfe

I'm wife, mother, gran-of-six. I have friends, dogs, many interests. I'm also a writer: it's in the DNA, along with my fair skin and curly hair..

Over the years, I've written nine novels, a how-to, and many short stories. So far, so good. Until 2013, when life got in the way. My constant headful of characters, dialogue and plot-lines walked out en masse, leaving a great big Nothing. I'd been stricken with the worst malady a writer can suffer.

Words had abandoned me: I couldn't even manage to read. 'Use it or lose it' is certainly a universal truth. But if my fellow Hornsea Writers thought me a lost cause, they never let on. Nor did they give up on me. Week after week, I listened to their works-in-progress, marvelling that I could ever have been one of them.

It wasn't quick, it wasn't easy. But there did come a blessed moment of: 'I could do that!' A competition entered, a synopsis submitted, a novel resumed. At last, I'm back in the room. And boy, does it feel good.

'Dogsbody', no. 1 in my 'cosy crime' dog-whisperer series, is now with a publisher. Book 2, 'Dogwatch' is complete, and at long last, book 3, 'Dogdays' is well under way.

Find sample chapters, tasters, and short stories at:
'Seers' and 'Seers' Moon' are both available via Amazon.