On publication day there is a whirl wind of publicity, social media banners and a flurry of messages from well wishers. As the days pass the activity surrounding a book slows and it is down to author promo and readers to keep the book buoyant within the charts.
This morning, thanks to the help of my fabulous readers - this happened! I'm chuffed to bits to reach number 52 in Amazon's 'Contemporary Romance' chart. I can't make this happen for me, but readers have. Bless ya x
I've done it! I took myself off into the big wide world to my nearest coffee shop and sat there like in the 'good old days' and wrote words. Seriously, it felt amazing to be doing something so basic after the 15 months we've had. And the bonus was the words simply flowed. They flowed so much that when my writing hour was through I was so tempted to stay for longer and order a second coffee (like I did pre-covid). I didn't though, because other folk wanted to sit down and I'd have felt guilty for hogging a table.
Instead, I came straight home and wrote some more words to celebrate!
It seems funny even writing a blog post about a coffee shop writing session which previously I'd do at least twice a week, without thought or planning. The local coffee shop for most writers is the space in which they can freely work whilst gaining a little social time amongst human beings rather than staring at our four walls.
I've missed it so much ... so I went back again this morning for a second session.
I'll apologise now for the blog update when I'm allowed to write in a library! Boy oh boy, that will be heaven!
There's one week to go so I had to get organised and announce my intentions for Camp Nano in July!
My goal is 50,000 brand-new sparkly words and an editing project in 31 days. Simple. You know I love it, so I'll be as happy as a pig in muck!
I'll update followers via this blog but will also use my new toy, IG 'live' giving regular weekly updates.
For more information visit: www.nanowrimo.org
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!