Previous month:
March 2015
Next month:
October 2015

August 2015

Murder in the Bougainvillea is published

I'm very excited to announce that the first of my cozy mystery series, Murder in the Bougainvillea, was published on Amazon on August 24.

The series features observant gardener Natasha Green, who is trying to quietly go about her work, but keeps getting drawn in murder.

The blurb for this first novelette is: Being stranded in a country hotel during a storm with an odd mix of human and supernaturals wasn't how Natasha Green had pictured her latest gardening job. When the body of a dead demon is found, the finger of suspicion points at her. Natasha must use her keen skills of observation to find the murderer, before her own deadly secret is revealed.

I will be doing some free days during September and am eagerly awaiting some reviews!

Watch the book trailer:






The end is in sight...again

The end sm

A few months ago I decided to concentrate on writing a mystery series of short stories to publish as this is more manageable for me with full-time work.

Now the first one is nearly done and the end is in sight. It's been a rollercoaster of loving and sometimes hating the characters. I've edited the copy until I couldn't stand to read another word and then still went back for more.

Now I'm doing the final tweaks and am proud of my first cozy mystery (think Agatha Christie genre!). It's come in at under 11,000 words so is officially a novelette and it's been a tough balance to have enough characters for suspects but not too many to overwhelm the plot. 

I love the twists and turns of the cozy mystery genre and the gradual reveal of the secrets and motivations of the characters and hope readers will enjoy it too.

There seems to be a huge gap between my initial outline to where it is now, but that was filled with patiently plodding along, doing at least an hour a night after work, and gradually it formed into the finished book.

Once it's complete there is still the cover to be finalised, the book trailer and the promo work for the launch to be sorted out, but my eye is already on the next book to keep the series flowing.

I've started thinking about characters and have a rough plot.

However, once I hit publish on Amazon I will be marking the occasion with a glass of wine. I think it's important to give yourself a little pat on the back for such accomplishments.

Then to do it all again….


Decisions: to use an editor or not?

Grammar 2

In traditional book publishing every author has an editor, however in the self-publishing industry the area is a little grey.

Of course it would be fabulous to have the input of an experienced professional but costs can be prohibitive. One one hand you've slaved away for many months to create your book, but do you then spend a few hundred pounds on editing services? While you may want your story to be the best it can, costs may be out of your reach.

I faced this dilemma recently on the first in my series of cozy mysteries featuring gardener Natasha Green. I've worked in the newspaper industry for many years, both writing and editing articles. I like to think my grasp of grammar is reasonable but wondered if my story lacked professional polish.

As the story was under 11,000 words, the cost wasn't excessive (under £55) so I decided to treat myself and see what an editor would bring to my novel.

When it was returned I was happy to see that there weren't massive red lines all over it and the plot and pacing held up to scrutiny. The line edits showed some areas of dialogue and description that needed tightening up and the feedback gave me a couple of points to work on. Most of all it gave me reassurance my self-editing was fine.

Overall I was pleased with the result and wouldn't rule out doing this again for a short story, but I'm not sure I'd be willing to invest my hard-earned cash on a longer and therefore more expensive novel. At least, not until I'd built up some sort of following so I'd know there would be a few sales to make up costs.

I'm lucky to have several years of self-editing experience but if you don't have that the good news is  there are lots of people out there willing to help authors who wish to self publish. I'm talking about Goodreads.

While most editors charge a fee (or you may find a low-cost service on Goodreads) there is also the option of beta readers, some of which will give their time for free and some will also offer light editing as part of that. 

Beta readers will look over your novel from a readers point of view and comment on characters, plot and setting. While they are not editors you'll get a good insight into what does and doesn't work in your novel. Most authors tend to have beta readers look over their work before it goes to an editor, but you could do the process of re-writes and beta reads a couple of times to knock your novel into shape.

One thing that does need to be right is spelling and grammar and this is where proofreaders come in.  Most will charge but they are cheaper than editors so this may be within your price range.

Otherwise get searching within Goodreads groups for some worthy volunteers.

So the questions of whether to use an editor or not? I'd say yes, every book needs an editor, however not every author can afford one so beta reading and proofreading are good alternatives.