The House of Secrets: Julia’s Story and To Love, Honour & Betray – book 2 of the Belleville family saga.
OK so I confess – I’m still struggling to balance my day job and my life as an author but November will be a busy month for Library visits in Queensland and NSW.
If you are interested in hearing me talk about my writing, the era in which my books are set, the social settings that shape the stories and how the story has developed, I look forward to meeting you at one of these events.
I have been very quiet on the social media front in recent months.
But now that I am close to finishing Book 2 of the Belleville family saga, I wanted to share with my readers and those who are interested the new cover designs.
The cover of Book 1 – The House of Secrets: Julia’s Story – has been redesigned to relaunch with Book 2 in the saga: To Love, Honour & Betray.
When are you likely to get your hands on Book 2? End of April/early May 2017.
I’ve just got to get stuck into the last few chapters – oh, and by the way, I’m heading off on Friday on QF1 bound for the London Book Fair. I’m hoping to interest an international publisher. Fingers crossed.
More soon. This is the first viewing of the cover of book 2. Feedback is welcome.
It is a giant mistake to think you can give your website an update in half an hour. I tell you now that is impossible, so the several Sunday hours I should have spent with my characters, progressing their lives and loves, I instead spent updating my website and learning more about the capabilities of the CMS (content management system, for the uninitiated).
I did achieve something though (I think).
For anyone interested in my writing, you can get, for free, the first four chapters of The House of Secrets: Julia’s Story (book 1 of the Belleville family saga) at this link.
What’s next? Well I’ve been busy writing Book 2 of my Belleville family series.
It will be entitled ‘To Love, Honour & Betray’ ……… but that’s all I am saying at this stage.
Sometimes I find writing just flows, other times it’s a challenge, but I remember that old adage about just getting it written. It’s always possible to revise pedestrian prose but it’s impossible to revise a blank page. When I finish a chapter, I tend to print it out and read it in bed, with a pencil to mark up the obvious bloopers.
Last week I was surprised by my colleagues at my day job giving me a framed copy of the cover of my first novel (see picture), for my birthday. Not saying which birthday, by the way. That was a nice surprise, totally unexpected and a lovely gesture.
I hear so many stories about difficult and unrewarding workplaces, it’s nice to be able to say that my small office in Brisbane is very friendly with good people to work with.
That’s all from me for now ….. back to the grindstone.
The problem when you have a busy and intellectually demanding day job is that the writing life you’ve also committed to gets scant attention at times.
Do I have the headspace to progress my writing career and steer a traditional print media magazine group through the challenging transition phase we’re currently seeing in the print media sector as well give my attention to my first love?
Frustrated and confused, I went on holidays instead of facing up to this dilemma.
Ten days in New Zealand was very nice. It’s an easy flight in an A380 – Brisbane-Auckland – picking up the Emirates Dubai-originating aircraft.
New Zealand seems more English in its culture than Australia does now – although the indigenous Maori people do have a strong stake in contemporary society, more visible I would say than the corresponding indigenous population of Australia.
We went far south in the south island to Dunedin – its Scottish heritage very obvious. It sits on the 45 degrees latitude south, which makes it a more southerly point than any point in Australia. Next stop, Antarctica – but not for us.
At this southern outpost of European settlement in the 19th century, New Zealand established its first university and today the population of the city is 25% students. The city has nurtured its early educational advantage, it seems. Students of course would include international students. New Zealand’s population is only 4.6 million.
The earthquake-ravaged city of Christchurch is still that – but trying to recover from the events of 5 years ago. The beautiful botanic gardens (in the picture) were largely untouched and acted as a haven for the distressed locals.
There were some wonderful second-hand book shops – a step back in time almost – we found them in Christchurch, Oamaru, Dunedin, Auckland and Devonport (across the harbour from Auckland). Auckland is New Zealand’s major city, but Wellington at the south end of the north island is the capital.
All this waffle of course is delaying me getting back into writing the second novel in my Belleville family series. I’ve just done a Kindle countdown deal for the next couple of weeks to make the ebook cheaper (starting at $0.99) of the first in the series. The House of Secrets: Julia’s Story – link here of Amazon
And what have I committed to?
Well, during the week the conversation went something like this between me and my other half – long suffering husband of many years’ standing.
Him: You said you wanted to go to the London Book Fair next year. Do you know it’s on in March?
Me: No, I thought it was April. It’s always April.
Him: Not in 2017 it isn’t. Oh, and Qantas have just released some discounted fares on premium economy. I’ll check the dates.
Me: OK, good idea.
Half an hour later we were booked.
So I’m off to the London Book Fair in 2017 and the realisation that I will need a lot more under my belt in the finished manuscript/published book category than I currently have, in the hope I can sell international rights.
Well, as expected, Rocky turned on the heat for the author day at the local library: 33 degrees C = 91.4 degrees F. Bright, hot and sunny.
What was the best thing about the event? Catching up with my cousins whom I hadn’t seen in a while and relieving them of a bit of cash – they bought some copies of my book.
Cousin Christine has even read it and sent me a Facebook message saying she really enjoyed it and where’s the next instalment? Hey, guys, I’m too busy trying to get the first one out there!
Next best thing was meeting a romance author Alyssa J Montgomery who does a mixture of self publishing and traditional publishing …. and seems very successful at it. (Envy, envy!) Lovely person. She’s a speech therapist by day.
Me: Hello, and what are your reading interests?
Other person: Oh, I don’t read. I’m just here to support a friend.
My thought bubble: Who doesn’t read? Seriously? It’s the one thing I hate about travel and being away from home …. I don’t have access to my books.
So, an interesting experience. Others were much better prepared than me, but many were writing about local or family history.
I’ve included some pictures I took on the day, including one of where I used to live as a teenager with my parents, who owned a cattle (beef) property. So as not to intrude on the current owners I pulled up on the side of the road and just took a shot from afar. All you can glimpse is the roof of the house which was a typical Queensland timber home.
I also talked to the local newspaper reporter – the local newspaper is The Morning Bulletin so hopefully they will, out of local interest, publish a story about my new career.
So, I’m getting seriously stuck in to getting my book The House of Secrets, Julia’s Story out and about and in the hands of readers – and reassuring those who have read it that the next book is well and truly under way.
I was thinking about it just now. I have to say there are many parallels between establishing a successful magazine and getting my first novel out there in the hands of the reading public.
Back in the early 1990s I had an idea for a magazine in the defence business sector in Australia – it took me a few years to get it established but today it is the market leader in its field. We publish monthly with weekly premium newsletters and a directory of suppliers plus host four major conferences a year. But I remember the early days when everyone was very discouraging and said ‘it won’t work’, ‘we don’t need what you’re offering’ etc etc. Only I believed.
I thought: well that’s what it’s like now. I have written a book that I am satisfied with, that the early readers say they really like and I know exactly who my reading audience is.
So I’m putting all my skills to work to reach that audience directly, bypassing the major publishers who can’t see the ‘wood for the trees’.
Have you ever thought of buying a book in the hairdressing salon you go to? Probably not, but my hairdresser Kelly has agreed to take some copies to sell to her clients, on commission of course. This is business after all.
So I’ll keep you updated on the success of my unorthodox marketing methods. In my opinion, wherever my target market gather in numbers, that’s where my book will be …… over the coming months, I’ll let you know if that strategy works!