Many of you follow me on Instagram and view my world of photos and snap shots. Today, I did something different. Honest, I did. I went 'live' four times introducing followers to my latest four books. My little dog even barked on one 'live', which I had to apologise for though he is dead cute in real life.
Anyway, it has taken me ages to embrace the 'live' faculty available to me, but at last I did it! I expect some followers will enjoy hearing snippets from my book world, others may be content to continue with my daily photo posts. Either way, the 'live' feature opens up a whole new world for me. I'll be able to share snippets of my working life with my followers, even let you know of bargain book offers when they occur ... which is all good news as a reader!
As a child, I used to see 'the News' once a day at 5:45pm after I'd watched 'Ivor the engine' and 'Jackanory' - yeah, that's how old I am! Anyway, after the News came the weather forecast - this is what I was waiting for. It wasn't the technical magic of today's satellite images but literally a cut-out map with moveable cloud symbols and black knicker elastic defining the 'highs and lows' of the next day. Rarely, any mention of the weather beyond tomorrow - such simple times, hey? Geography is not my strongest subject, but still I used to wonder at the distances, the locations and marvel at those tiny islands at the very top which were sometimes missed off the actual map. Seriously, they'd be cut off and I'd wonder if they weren't having weather tomorrow? Those tiny islands included Shetland ... 'where the ponies come from' was what I'd think.
As I've grown older, my ear has always tuned in whenever Shetland is mentioned based on those early memories. Did they still have days when they had 'no weather'?' Actually, what entertained me was their inclusion within a white box, which became the norm for many years. With my imagination, I'd muse at there being an actual painted line or picket fence placed around Shetland - a bugger for the shipping routes.
Shetland was always on my bucket list so Christmas 2018, I booked a week's holiday inside that white box on the weather map landing at Sumburgh airport in April 2019. I'd booked a beautiful cottage overlooking the clifftop and the North sea - such beauty surrounding me night and day. Let's just say that after the week was up - I didn't want to come home! I'd spent each day travelling about the island, throwing stones at Mavis Grinch (yep, I missed hitting the North Sea!!!!!), watching the puffins nest of Sumburgh Head, admiring the stained-glass windows plus the stunning rainbow upon the wooden floor of the Town Hall and being blown about by the gales at Eshaness lighthouse!
Shetland has many topical issues to address regarding the environment, pollution, wild-life, population, career prospects, education and health/wellbeing. And yes, it seems so surreal to actually see Shetland ponies in Shetland!
I married Shetland's issues with allotments where plot holders attempt to address some of the concerns in their green-fingered community.
The truth is, I didn't want to come home. I would have happily stayed forever surrounded by the cliffs, the rolling sea and the open skies and, a hell of a lot of weather!
During the long train journey home from Edinburgh, I opened a Word document and jotted down notes ... that document became my book 'From Shetland, With Love'.
This time next week, I'll be away on a writers' retreat in Devon with five other author lovelies busily tapping keyboards and shuffling the alphabet. I could continue with a book project that is nearing the end but that would mean my working week being a 'bit stop-startish' in order to complete or I could indulge myself and have a pure writing week and tap the keyboard till my little heart is content. Decisions, decisions? No. Not really, I'll opt for the latter rather than the former any day of the week. Blank page here I come! Though its not quite a black page as my brain began plotting a new project the very second I booked my writing retreat. Naughty!
I do have to confess this is the first of three writing retreats booked for 2021!
So, here's my plan. Last Friday, I got the post-it note supply box out along with my baby naming books and I played. At the end of my playing session I had a complete strand for a new character which will equate to about 35,000 words. That's more than enough to fill my five day jolly and make me deliriously happy. Good plan.
My followers know I love a writing retreat to throw myself into a project and forget all else. As always, I plan to tweet and post about my progress each day. Realistically, if I manage 4,000 words a day, I'll be a very happy bunny.
In the meantime, before I depart on my retreat, I am awaiting the arrival of my proofreading for the Christmas Book 'From Shetland, With Love At Christmas' which I need to read aloud to the dog. Shhh, he doesn't actually know yet. I completed a proofread on this book several weeks ago when I'd finished copy edits so I am expecting this second proofread to be an enjoyable task. Fingers crossed.
It's been several days since publication day and the five star reviews are appearing on Amazon and Goodreads. I'm thrilled with the reader reaction - I've been quite overcome by the wonderful messages and emails received.
One of the surprises I arranged for last week was to say 'Thank you' to a tiny street in my neighbourhood along which I walk my dog each day. The road contains nine houses which sit opposite a set of allotment plots. I began writing 'From Shetland, With Love' in April 2020 during our first 'lockdown' in the UK, so passing through this particular street provided a slice of normality. It was a joy to see the households feeding the wild birds, sweeping their driveways, washing cars and tidying their gardens. It was an added bonus that the allotment plots were opposite. I have access to a set of allotments on the far-side of town so together both sites fired my imagination for my plot lines.
Anyway, after fifteen months of enjoying their beautiful road, I felt it was only right to say 'Thank you' - I arranged for each house to receive a copy of my book on publication day. I keep giggling at the thought of the Amazon delivery person nipping to each house! I hadn't any names so simply addressed each one as 'A Thank you gift'. Today, I received messages from occupants of the road, saying how delighted they are at receiving such an unexpected gift. I hope they enjoy the story just as much as I enjoyed my daily walk along their street!
Yesterday, was like a dream come true! I spent the entire day receiving messages of congratulations regarding my latest book. I saw competition entries for 'giveaways' sky rocket surprising all involved and I returned to 'aunt Jane's house'. I escaped my house, the first time since August, and drove to Chawton to mooch about Jane Austen's house and visit neighbouring Chawton House.
It might sound narcissistic, but I listened to the audiobook of 'FROM SHETLAND, WITH LOVE' on the journey. It is surreal listening to actors speak your words. I marvelled at their talent - how they do all the accents, I'll never know!
All in all, I had a fabulous day.
I have three more sleeps until publications day and I can't wait! Seriously, I haven't been this excited about a book being launched for a little while. It might be the lockdown situation of recent months, the time of year or even, that it's been 16 months since my last publication. Whatever the reason, I am thrilled to be in this position knowing that I get to share my latest book with my readers in a matter of days.
So what have I been up in the meantime? I've been busy, that's what! On Friday, I delivered numerous books to libraries in my local area. I like to know they have copies prior to publication day which allows library users to enjoy the book on the same day as other readers. It might seem unimportant to most, but the sheer delight of the librarians knowing they can offer a brand-new book on the actual day is a joy to see - they love it! I posted several copies to Shetland's library, which is only right given that I've written about their beautiful islands. They don't know it but they are briefly included in book 2.
Whilst writing this book, I had to request permission from a kindly gent asking if I could include and mention in my story a specific tartan which he had designed called the 'Spirit of Shetland'. Thankfully, he was very generous allowing me to include the details so, I've posted him a 'thank you' book too.
The most exciting surprise I've arranged will happen on Thursday. In fact, I keep giggling each time I think about it. I'm not going to share the details yet, but if you follow me on Twitter @ErinGreenAuthor you'll be one of the first to know.
Having organised and arranged numerous parcels, I did the only thing available to me; I sat and reread the entire book. It took two days but I loved every moment of it - slightly bias, I know. I might have written it, know the story inside and out, but it still made my laugh and cry!
I'm sure my followers didn't expect this, but tadah!!! Here is my latest cover reveal for FROM SHETLAND, WITH LOVE AT CHRISTMAS. Isn't she beautiful? I love how the ice blue hues complements the beautiful rich colour on the cover of FROM SHETLAND, WITH LOVE. And look ... there are nosy little seals popping up to view my three beautiful ladies: Verity, Isla and Nessie.
This is book two in my Shetland series which shares the stunning location of Lerwick Manor introduced in book 1.
This is the book that made my cry on Sunday when I proofread my manuscript. I can't wait for my readers to dive in this series and meet a fabulous cast of charming ladies.
PreOrder available: Amazon
My plans for May involved my copy edits deadline which was a two week window. My copy edits worked out fairly well, all was kind and gentle, so I completed the task ahead of the game on the 12th. It was necessary to switch a couple of sections and confirm dates so the easiest thing to do is reread the manuscript ensuring everything is as it should be. Now, proofreading doesn't usually happen at this stage, but I thought why not? I've spent the last two days proofreading which confirms that the amendments made are correct and in the long run will ease the final process. It means I've read from a 'dirty' copy as I call it with track mark comments attached but I've managed. I'm current 57% of the way through and hope to complete on Sunday. When proofreading, I read the book aloud so my voice is hoarse and the dog thinks I've lost the plot!
One lovely addition having proofread this copy - I've fallen in love with my Christmas story, again. Which always happens to me at this stage. You can spend so long looking for errors, negative aspects and flaws of the story that when you finally read the complete work after many weeks, you surprise yourself.
Update: My manuscript was sent back to my editor by Sunday afternoon, so I am one happy bunny. Even more so, given that whilst reading, I made myself cry, twice!
Prior to a book being published it is offered out as an ebook digital known as an 'arc' to respected bloggers and professional reviewers. The publishers organise this task through a trusted company called NetGalley, who vet their blogger/reviewers based on reliability and completing their given task - it isn't based on the star ratings they award previous books. The author and publishers want a true picture in response to potential readers, so it is essential that bloggers read and return true reports.
Here are my reviews coming in from NetGalley.
OMG! I'm soooooooooooo excited. I'm going on a writing retreat next month with other authors. Brilliant authors who I deeply admire and love in a fan-girl author-way and who surround me with lots of swirling creative energy. Plus, it is away from my house! I have been at home since 16th March 2020 for 22 hours a day.
I thought I'd share because those that know me can probably imagine my 'actual' reaction to such news!
Question is which book project do I focus on and finish? Mmmmmm, decisions decisions.