Sunday, 29 June 2014

Jet-lagged, book-style

I confess, I don't read as many books as I ought to. For the simple reason that once I start, everything else stops.

I had a day alone yesterday. A couple of weeks ago, I bought Life After Life by Kate Atkinson, so I settled down with a cup of tea and a couple of biscuits and began to read. And read, and read and read.

The book is 600 pages long.

I read it.

That's not a boast - the boast is that I also managed to take the dog out for two walks, and didn't forget to eat... although my blood sugar was a bit low as I cooked my dinner (and it was horrible, but my bad cooking is another story!)

But - wow! - when I finished, and looked up, I felt as though I'd been awake for a week. It took me a moment to remember who and where I was, that I wasn't Ursula, and I wasn't dying all over the place. If you haven't read it, I recommend it - although it's a book that you either love or hate, judging by the reviews on Goodreads. If you've read my stuff, then you're probably in the right frame of mind to handle Life After Life.

(Wow, now that sounds like a boast, doesn't it? A really big-headed one, at that... If you like me, you might like this international best-selling author hehehe.)

Today, as I write this, I still have that vaguely spacy feeling, and I'm not sure I'll be an effective human being. I'm slightly kicking myself I didn't slow down and savour the story. But I can't do that. When I have a new book, I devour it - I can't wait, and I can't stop, and I could never read one chapter a night. If I do that, then I'm not enjoying the book so much.

I should probably go and do all the housework I didn't do yesterday.

How do you like to read?
Are you a chapter a night, curled up in bed reader?
Or do you binge?

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Yesterday and today

Yesterday's post didn't quite go as I'd planned. I'd hoped to have a debate about whether short stories are worth the money people are placing on them at the moment, whether that money is bringing more attention to the short story form, and - implied, rather than asked - do people actually take notice of short stories, or are they seen as a stepping stone to novel writing?

Instead, you lovely people just told me I was a great writer, which is lovely - and thank you - but unintended.

Perhaps I should read my posts properly before I press publish.

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Today I am over at Sia McKye Over Coffee talking about why I don't consider myself a paranormal writer. Please take a moment to stop by and say hello to us.

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Later today, I'm going to attempt to write down the short story idea that I was considering while I fell asleep last night. Fingers crossed it works as well as I think it might!!

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Short stories hit the big time

This post is going to sound like a complaint. But it isn't really.

I've had the Manchester Fiction Prize on my radar - and in my competition database (because, yes, I'm a geek and I have one of those) - almost since it began. I really want to enter it.

But there's something stopping me.

The prize money.

Over the past few years, short stories have become a big thing, and the renowned competitions are getting bigger. I remember the Bridport Prize when the prize money was £1000, and it's now £5000. The Manchester Fiction Prize is £10,000... and the BBC National Short Story Award is £15,000 - although you do have to have a prior record of publication in the UK.

So now here's the complaint that's not a complaint really...

How can my 2500 word short story be worth £10,000? How can any story be worth that much?

Because that's the word count limit. I've got a pool of stories that I can delve into to rewrite for this competition, I've got chapters of an unpublished novel that might work too. I've even got some new ideas! But... but... are they worth TEN THOUSAND POUNDS?

I don't know. I'd like to think they are, but is every the, but, and and said in my story really worth £4?

So I haven't entered yet. I thought this year would be different, but then I look through the stories and ideas I've got, and I'm not so sure. On the other hand, someone has to win...

Monday, 23 June 2014

Effigy cover reveal!

I am delighted to help M J Fifield to share her cover today. I've known M J, through her blog, for a long time, and for all of that time she has spoken about Effigy. I am so excited for her that she's finally got to this stage. Good luck with it, M J!

Effigy Blurb:

The survival of a once-mighty kingdom rests in the hands of its young queen, Haleine Coileáin, as it slowly succumbs to an ancient evil fueled by her husband’s cruelty.

A sadistic man with a talent for torture and a taste for murder, he is determined to burn the land and all souls within. Haleine is determined to save her kingdom and, after a chance encounter, joins forces with the leader of the people’s rebellion. She gives him her support, soon followed by her heart.

Loving him is inadvertent but becomes as natural and necessary as breathing. She lies and steals on his behalf, doing anything she can to further their cause. She compromises beliefs held all her life, for what life will exist if evil prevails?

Her journey leads to a deceiving world of magic, monsters, and gods she never believed existed outside of myth. The deeper she goes, the more her soul is stripped away, but she continues on, desperate to see her quest complete. If she can bring her husband to ruin and save her people, any sacrifice is worth the price—even if it means her life.

Release date: July 22, 2014 
Cover art by Ravven

About The Author:
Armed with a deep and lasting love of chocolate, purple pens, and medieval weaponry, M.J. Fifield is nothing if not a uniquely supplied insomniac. When she isn’t writing, she’s on the hunt for oversized baked goods or shiny new daggers. M.J. lives with a variety of furry creatures—mostly pets—in New Hampshire. Effigy is her first novel.


Monday, 16 June 2014

Just a little bit starstruck

I'm not really here today, I'm over on the most awesome blogger ever's blog, the Ninja Captain himself, Mr Alex J Cavanaugh talking about what I would be if I wasn't a writer. It's a huge honour to have been invited over - I hope I don't make a fool of myself.

In other news, I sent off a submission this weekend, and felt nothing - no terror, no fear, no excitement. The submission was an open request to a massive publisher, so I assume they will be completely inundated. There's really no point getting your hopes on for such a small window of possibility. If anything comes of it, then I can be excited! 

I've also been watching as many World Cup games as I can. It was great watching Spain lose, less so watching England lose. Although, the consensus is, they played well, so hopefully the other two games in our group will be easier.

I have a problem though... I wore England pants, and England lost. Do I risk wearing them next time they play, or are they now unlucky pants which I should avoid wearing? Your advice will be most welcome!

Friday, 13 June 2014

Still visiting other blogs

I was very excited on Wednesday when Our Beautiful Child reached the dizzy heights of #18 on the Amazin 'Gothic' rankings on Amazon. I had never considered my writing (or some of my writing) that way, but I like it!

The lovely Misha Gericke has invited me over for an interview - please visit her blog and say hi. Misha has recently opened up her blog for guest posts, so if you have an idea, let her know!

I'm sure there's more I should be sharing with you, but at the moment I'm trying to decide which Chinese takeaway dish to order and watching the build up to the next World Cup match.

Are you watching football?
Who are you supporting?
Or... what are you doing instead?

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Whooooo! Our Beautiful Child is out now!

Our Beautiful Child is available right now!  

I am so excited. It's been a really long day, waiting for it to go live... and then it happened while I was at work! I've waited so long to see this book become a reality - one of the stories of this collection actually pre-dates Cat and The Dreamer.

I'm not embarking on an official blog tour, but over the course of the next week or so, you'll find me popping up in various places with some guest posts. A few bloggers have helped me today with a release announcement, which include a random question taken from Jackie Magazine (circa 1984) - it seemed like a good idea at the time - so please pop in wherever you see the book cover, because you might learn something new about me, and them!

Buy now on Kindle (Nook to follow)
and don't forget you can win a copy by visiting my website and leaving a comment.

  • Our Beautiful Child is also being given away on Tammy's blog alongside awesome new books from Elizabeth Seckman and Nancy S. Thompson.
  • Linda King has reviewed it here
  • I'm being interviewed by Stephanie Faris here
  • I pop over to see Jay Mims too
  • Yesterday, I was at My Pet Blog talking about my home town
  • Tomorrow I'll be with Vanessa Morgan talking ghosts

“The Boathouse collects misfits. Strange solitary creatures that yearn for contact with the outside world, but not too much. They sit, glass in hand, either staring at the table in front of them, or at some distant point on the horizon.” 

… so says the narrator of Our Beautiful Child. And he’s been around long enough to know.

People end up in this town almost by accident. Ella is running away from her nightmares, Sally is running away from the memories of previous boyfriends and Rona is running away from university. Each of them seek sanctuary in the 18th century pub, The Boathouse; but in fact, that’s where their troubles begin.

Ella finds love, a moment too late; Rona discovers a beautiful ability which needs refining before she gets hurt; and Sally meets the captivating Murray, who threatens to ruin everything.

Three women. Three stories. One pub.

Saturday, 7 June 2014


Just a quickie.

I'm giving away two copies of Our Beautiful Child on my website.

Please follow this link and comment on the latest blog post to be in with a chance of winning an ebook version. I will pick the winners on Wednesday 11th, at 12pm BST.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Insecure... Oh yes!

It's the first Wednesday of the month... it's time for the Insecure Writers Support Group. Follow this link and check out the other posts.

So, am I insecure this month? Yep, I really am.

My next book is due out next week. And, as every author knows, this is the point when you go through every single emotion in one day, and then do it all again the next day, and the next. For a whole week!

Will people like it? Is it what they're expecting? Will anyone buy it? Am I fooling myself that I can write? Should I get a proper job? Will people like it? Is it what...?

There's nothing I can do to stop these thoughts, and nothing anyone else can say either. Tomorrow I might think I'm the best writer in the whole world, the day after I'll be back to a nail-biting tangle of nerves. I need to take a deep breath, have a cup of tea, and maybe put on a good film - anything to distract me, really. After all, there's nothing I can do about it now.

How do you cope with pre-publication fears?
Or, if you haven't published yet, the fear of querying?