Thursday, 30 June 2016

Blog Tour: Day 14, shipwrecked with Stacey Bryan

It's been a busy day for me today - not only has Stacey Bryan shipwrecked me on a deserted island with a villain, I've been signing books at my local library.

In fact, as you read this, I'm still there, probably packing up. There will be photos to follow, probably next week when I've had a chance to breathe.

I couldn't find a picture of the library or a deserted island -funnily enough, I've never taken a photo of either! Here's a picture of St Michael's Mount just off the Cornish coast. Quite an easy place to escape from, due to being able to walk there and back during low tide.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Blog Tour: Day 13, being arty with Nicola

It's raining today. I had plans to go to the gym and be really busy, but I've woken up with really sore wrists and a headache. So I think I might take a relaxed day and read a book that I want to review for one of my author buddies.

While I hide from our weather, my blog tour is heading to Germany to visit Nicola Burgraff's Blog to talk about art.

This is a sunny photo to combat the rain. I'm not sure why I took this photo - it's just the end of my road - but apparently all photos can be useful eventually.

Here's another shout out for My Facebook Page and You. I. Us. Goodreads Page.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Blog Tour: Day 12, marketing with Sandra

Good effort, Iceland...

And moving on, today I'm with Sandra Cox, talking marketing, or lack thereof. This is a topic that always makes me shudder, because I never know the best way to do it... Like revising for exams - I used to spend more time on the revision timetable than the actual revising!

Today's photo is of me, dazed and confused, after the Costa Award ceremony. Coincidentally, dazed and confused is how I approach marketing...

Monday, 27 June 2016

Blog Tour: Day 11, sharing wine with Suzanne

Hi guys, are you still with me? It's the final week of my tour!

I hope you had a great weekend. Mine was spent mostly reading lots of newspapers trying to get to the truth about what's going to happen to my country next. As far as I can tell, not much for the moment. But that hasn't stopped a lot of people calling a lot of other people some nasty names, and all the political parties seem to be in turmoil. I think we've broken the political system...

In need of a cut?
(Yes, there's a reason why I'm not a political blogger!)

Today I'm telling Suzanne Furness all about my dream place to write, and simultaneously having my hair cut.

Tonight, England play Iceland in the first of their knockout rounds. On past experience, they only really need one!

Friday, 24 June 2016

Blog Tour: Day 10, with queen Elizabeth Seckman

Yesterday, Britain voted in the EU referendum.

(I'm actually writing this last night, just as the polls are closing, so I have no idea of the result - all I know is we've been left with a deeply divided country which will take a long time to heal.)

Anyway, that's as political as I'm ever going to get on this blog. There's no football talk today, either, because no one played last night - it was weird not to have a match to watch mid-afternoon.

Elizabeth Seckman's blog is today's stop, talking about my favourite monarch... any guesses?

No, it's not this guy, although a long time ago - when I worked in a library and had a desk in an office, Alastair Mackenzie was definitely one of my pin-ups!

I've given up (um, did I start?) replying to the comments on this blog for the time being. Keeping up with the tour posts, drinking hot chocolate with all my friends and relations, working, and editing my WIP (two chapters to go!) has been challenging. My plan is to go back over all the comments at the end, and go visiting.

Have you liked My Facebook Page and You. I. Us. Goodreads Page yet?

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Blog Tour: Day 9, being literary with Mac

Euro 2016 update (coz I know you're all really interested now... I'm making you love European football, aren't I... aren't I??): England weren't playing yesterday because they played on Monday night, but the results of two games were important because one of those teams will be our opponents next Monday. For a long time it looked like Iceland, then it switched to Portugal (argh! no!), then in the very last seconds it switched back to Iceland when they won their game. Who-hoo!

Ahem... a now for some book stuff. Today, I'm on R Mac Wheeler's blog discussing the importance of a variety of literary elements.

I love Mac's blog because he posts some fantastic pictures of wildlife, his dogs and all nice things. As a picture-a-day has become an established part of this blog tour, I felt the pressure. So, here's a photo I took the other day.

It was on purpose, even though it looks like an accident. I was struck by the number of different tiles on the floor, and because my current WIP is set in the area, I thought I'd take the photo to remind me.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Blog Tour: Day 8, talking films with Libby

Ah, the half-way stage of the tour, but no slacking from me! Apart from the fact that I'm out for hot chocolate again, this time with my sister (yes, the shadow from Monday's post). And yes, there may be a little more shopping.

Today, I'm on Libby Heily's blog, talking about turning stories into films. As you'll know from Joanne Faries question the other day, my eldest is a budding film-maker, so perhaps I can ask persuade him to help me out...

I searched through my photo albums to find a good picture for this post, and stumbled across this one. This is the very notebook where all of the stories in You. I. Us. were conceived. In that beer garden, while listening to Hubby's lazy afternoon gig, I wrote two of the stories, one of which is In The Beer Garden...

The cider was nice too!

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Blog Tour: Day 7, chatting with M.J. Fifield

(The link is live now, sorry if you tried and failed earlier.)

I'm very happy , because England scrapped into the last 16 of Euro 2016. I wasn't so happy last night, when they played a very average 0-0 game. But, at least they've got a week to get better! Can they? I don't know...

I'm having a few computer/internet issues at the moment, which is making commenting on my guest posts quite difficult. Randomly, my computer will just freeze, the internet will vanish, my cursor will disappear or my words will take several seconds to register on the screen - all of which is making this blogging lark mighty difficult. Please bear with me.

Anyway, today, I'm chatting with M.J. Fifield about my writing process. I hope you'll pop over and witness my oddity for yourself!

Here are some dog-walking photos - when I'm struggling with my WIP, the dog always gets extra walks.

Monday, 20 June 2016

Blog Tour: Day 6, crying on Yolanda's shoulder

'Tis the start of the second week of my tour. Has anyone read You. I. Us. yet?

I've had a couple of people from my home town tell me that one of the stories especially is making them quite emotional - both of them were men! Is it just me who likes to provoke that kind of reaction in my readers?

Coincidentally, I'm talking about stories that have made me cry over on Yolanda Renee's Defending the Pen blog today.

To counterbalance all this crying, here's a photo that makes me very happy - my sister and me on a weekend away a couple of years ago. I'm on the right!

Friday, 17 June 2016

Blog Tour: Day 5, magicking with Chrys Fey

We've reached the end of the first week of the tour, and already I feel like I'm slipping behind slightly. I've got Saturday and Sunday off, to catch up with commenting, though - I'm happy I was clever enough not to schedule every single day for three weeks!

Thanks for reading this week, and I hope you'll join me again next week for Part 2 of my tour.

Today, I'm with Chrys Fey, answering a Harry Potter question.

The photo is from a couple of months ago, outside my back door. I thought it had a particularly magical feel to it.

I'm just going to leave these links here again today, Goodreads and my Facebook page, because I love it when I get a new liker!

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Blog Tour: Day 4, splashing with Joanne

Today I get to be a proud mum, because Joanne Faries is asking me about my kids.

I'm going to be a but slow replying today, however, because I'm meeting a friend for a hot chocolate - which always turns into at least two, and then some shopping as well.

When I get home, England will playing in Euro2016, against Wales, which will probably end up being a very nervy and nail-biting game.

And here's a picture of hot chocolate, and Artoo, who seems to enjoy hanging out with my blogging buddies now!

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Blog Tour: Day 3, causing havoc at Julie's place

I'm having a great time on my tour so far, I hope you are too. Today, I'm on Julie Flanders's blog with my pup Artoo. I'm going to try to convince you that this little bundle of cuteness is actually a terror!

Have you added You. I. Us. to your Goodreads list yet?

Have you liked my Facebook page?

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Blog tour: Day 2, Murees's turn

Thanks to everyone who visited Misha's blog yesterday, and got my tour off to a great start. Today I'm over with Murees Dupe answering possibly the most flattering question on the tour.

Here's a photo from a book signing at the weekend, in which I was completely unsure what to do with my legs, and my arms... In retrospect, the chair might have been a mistake.

Monday, 13 June 2016

Blog tour: Day 1, off to see Misha

My book and I are on tour.

Over the next three weeks, I will be visiting fifteen blogs and answering the single question that the blogger asked me.

Today, I am on Misha Gerrick's blog, answering a question on listening to music while I write.

See you there!

Note: I normally post between 6 and 8am BST, but during the tour, I'll be posting the links around 12pm BST, because some of my US tour hosts won't have the post up if I direct you there too early. Please be aware that, for some, even 12pm might be a little too early.

Friday, 10 June 2016

You. I. Us. is finally here!

Happy birthday You. I. Us., you gorgeous thing!

It feels like I've been anticipating this day for a long time - in fact, I signed the contract in April 2015!

Writing these stories was a lot of fun, and completely different from the way I usually write. Because of the short length of each one, I curled up for a week - wrapped in a thick cardigan, because it was winter - and just wrote whatever came into my head. Several stories remain unchanged from those initial sessions, others merged together, a couple were thrown away for being rubbish. A few more - for example, Ode to River and Growing Apart - are autobiographical, which was an interesting experiment.

I want to say a huge thank you to Jessica Bell and Dawn Ius from Vine Leaves Press for all their hard work on this book, for the cover art (still so beautiful!) and for rapping my knuckles every time they saw a semi-colon. I have not completely overcome my semi-colon addiction, but I do consider their usage a little more.

Thank you too, to Kyra Lennon, for reading the first draft of the stories and throwing out the weakest links.

Next week, my blog tour starts. I'll be answering a question a day, provided by some awesome bloggers. I hope you can join me!

Publication date: June 10, 2016 Genre: Short Stories (Single Author)

Amazon // Barnes & Noble // Book Depository // Kobo // iBooks // Nook

In You. I. Us., Annalisa Crawford captures everyday people during  poignant defining moments in their lives: An artist puts his heart into his latest sketch, an elderly couple endures scrutiny by a fellow diner, an ex-student attempts to make amends with a girl she bullied at school, a teenager holds vigil at his friend’s hospital bedside, long distance lovers promise complete devotion, a broken-hearted widow stares into the sea from the edge of a cliff where her husband died, a grieving son contacts the only person he can rely on in a moment of crisis, a group of middle-aged friends inspire each other to live remarkable lives.

Day after day, we make the same choices. But after reading You. I. Us., you’ll ask yourself, “What if we didn’t?”

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Introducing Stacey Bryan

Some time last year, I got an email from an author who'd just got a book accepted by my publisher Vagabondage Press. She wanted to ask a few questions etc, and we corresponded and it seemed rude not to invite her over for a cup of tea and slice of cake to celebrate the release of that book, Day for Night. So...

Welcome to my blog Stacey. Although we've been emailing for a while, I don't know much about you - so tell me a bit about yourself? And your book?

Stacey: Thank you for inviting me to your blog, Annalisa! I'm very happy to be here.

Hmm...let's see. Well, I was born in San Francisco but my family moved to Los Angeles when I was about five or six. I still miss San Fran and its atmospheric moodiness compared to the eternal yellow sun of L.A. I write about the annoying "beautiful weather" a lot, and I'm sure people who have to live in blizzard conditions would like me to shut up. I lived in New York for several years, where I met my husband in Brooklyn. He's also a writer. I haven't had a pet in at least 20 years, and I really miss having a cat.

My novel Day for Night is based on a short story I wrote several years ago that I had a lot of fun writing, so I extended it into a novel. It's about a wannabe actress in L.A. who stumbles upon an alien abduction taking place in the laundry room of her apartment building, and her life turns upside down from there. Then, worse, she discovers the world is populated with vampires also. In order to "fight back" against the aliens, she takes some extremely hard-core actions, making very important decisions while being dead drunk. It's all tongue in cheek and meant to be comical; it's how I would react if I suddenly discovered how paranormal the world really is.

A: So, do you have a plan for the zombie apocalypse?

S: I not only do not have a plan for the zombie apocalypse, I would probably be one of the first ones to be ambushed and consumed. No doubt I'd be reading my kindle somewhere, and one of them would just walk up behind me and tear my jugular out.

A: I'm not sure I'd be much use either! At least you'd be doing something you loved :-)

S: Yes, I might die with a smile on my lips!

A: Is this your first novel, or do you have lots of manuscripts squirrelled away under your bed/in the attic?

S: I have four other novels, but the first three were all hand-written during high school. I haven't even looked at them since then. I'm afraid of what I'll find. The fourth one, though, isn't too terrible; I wrote that one during college. It's about a girl with anorexia nervosa. My husband read it years ago and said it was one of "the most relentlessly depressing" things he's ever read. But he didn't say it was bad!

A: That's interesting because I'm working on a novel that was recently rejected on account of it being 'relentless depressing'. I'm trying to make it less so.

S: It's hard to do; when a topic isn't very cheerful, it's hard to "make it less" depressing somehow.
I guess Cormac McCarthy was famous enough to get "The Road" published, because from the minute you open that book to the day you close it, it's depressing beyond all understanding!

A: What was it about Day for Night that made you want to query it? And how long did you query before Vagabondage Press accepted it?

S: The short story Day for Night was quickly accepted and the editor said that everyone there loved it. I enjoyed writing it because it wasn't depressing, and this along with the magazine's response to the short story was enough encouragement for me to expand it into a novel and send it out.

My dreams ended very quickly once I began to query agents, though. I think I queried for over a year and received maybe two responses back, both of them positive, but ultimately saying, "But, thanks!" Eventually I gave up on agents and just queried publishers that accepted unagented manuscripts. Four accepted me within a three-month period compared to the year of no answers from agents.

A: Wow, FOUR. You have just made every single one of my readers (and me) jealous! Was there anything about the publishing process that you didn't anticipate?

S: You know, I haven't been surprised by anything. It's sort of gone the way I imagined, all of it. Except for the social media part. Even though I knew ahead of time that I'd be expected to help with marketing, it didn't prepare me for the depths of my incompetence in that area. I was basically "off the grid" until the publishing process. I wasn't even on Facebook anymore. I was on it years ago but it felt like opening a door to a dark room and having bats fly out at my face when people from the past would pop up and say hi. It's been a challenge readjusting my thinking in that area. But evidently, writers can't be hermits anymore these days!

A: I totally get that! What are you working on next?

S: I was working on a sci-fi story, but it's proven to be more difficult than I think I'm ready for right now. Hard-core sci-fi definitely is NOT my forte; I think you need to do it justice by being accurate and doing lots of research. And then I also read a lot of advice on the internet about sequels that said, basically, "You need to be writing your sequels...NOW." So the sci-fi is on a back burner while I map out Day for Night II or whatever it'll be called, and probably several more. It feels a little premature to me, like how can you start writing sequels when nobody's read the first book yet? It feels arrogant. But I guess preparation can't hurt. I'm probably over-thinking it.

A: I think writers have to be a little arrogant. We have to assume people want to read our work, or we wouldn't even get started! And finally, do you have any little rituals, foods, music etc that you need in place while you write?

S: I actually can't write with music playing, unless it's instrumental only, and very low in the background. I wish I had some elaborate and interesting rituals that I could tell you about like I have to be sitting high up in a tree during a lunar equinox with a pad and a special pen that a Tibetan monk gave me in order to write, but I don't. I just need quiet more or less, and a bag of potato chips will never be rejected!

A: Sometimes, simple is best! Thanks so much for joining me today, and good luck with your book.

S: Thanks for taking the time and having me on your blog, Annalisa. That was a lot of fun!

When reality TV star Rae Miller is kicked unceremoniously to the curb by her back-stabbing cast mates, she quickly realizes that revenge fantasies and unemployment are the least of her problems after she witnesses an alien abduction in broad daylight. Worse, after escaping a terrifying almost-abduction herself, Rae succumbs to a sexy Nosferatu’s silky assurances, becoming undead in order to up her alien Ultimate Fighting skills. Life is hard as a 38-to-40-something aspiring actress in L.A. Thank God for Jack Daniel’s and denial.
Vagabondage Press // Barnes&Noble // Goodreads // Amazon

Stacey was raised in the San Fernando Valley but born in San Francisco, where she left part of her heart. She has worked on a dude ranch, coached gymnastics, and captions for the hearing impaired. Her work has appeared in several literary magazines in New York and L.A., including Ginosko and The Rag. She is currently working on the sequel to her novel Day for Night. She lives in “beautiful downtown Burbank,” as Johnny Carson used to say, with her husband who is also a writer. Visit her at