This week I’ve been editing Victory, the final story in my Ann’s War Mystery Series. I used to find editing the hardest part of writing, but after publishing twenty books I think I’m getting the hang of it 😉
I’ve also been outlining ideas for two Sam Smith novels, Snow in August and Stormy Weather. Climate Change will be the theme of Stormy Weather. These will be books sixteen and seventeen in the series, with more planned.
Storyboarding is one of my favourite parts of writing and currently I’m storyboarding The Fifth Man, a spin-off from my Ann’s War series, a novel set in 1948. The National Health Service will be central to this novel because 1948 saw its birth. With talks of privatising the National Health Service gathering momentum it seems appropriate to write about this subject. Pictured, Aneurin Bevan, the ‘father’ of the National Health Service.
Reading the political columns of The Guardian and Independent newspapers brought to mind the concept of civil war, when friends, family and neighbours become enemies over political, ideological or religious beliefs. This is fertile ground for a novelist, so I played with some ideas.
I don’t know enough about the American Civil War to write about that subject and the English Civil War of 1642–1651 does not appeal to me because neither Cromwell and his Puritans nor Charles and his Royalists are heroic figures. So my thoughts turned to the Spanish Civil War. This period of history resonates with today and already characters are filling my notebooks. I might develop this idea into a novel, or a mini series, depending on where my characters take me.
Away from writing, I love listening to music. In particular, I’m a big fan of Apple Music. I have thousands of songs on my personal jukebox and I play them on random. This song popped up first this morning.
Having stepped off the Amazon eBook promotional treadmill, I wondered if I’d want to climb back on. After a period of reflection, the answer is ‘no’. Been there, done that. Why go round in circles when there are so many paths to follow? Besides, I’ve achieved all I want to achieve with eBook sales. Time to move on.
Currently, I’m researching my latest Ann’s War story, Escape. This story is based on a true event, the mass escape of 76 German prisoners of war from Island Farm POW Camp 198. This plan shows the facilities at the camp, which included a concert hall, a coffee shop and a football pitch. You will also notice two escape tunnels indicated on the plan. More of them later.
This week, I published Boston, Sam Smith Mystery Series book fourteen. Meanwhile, here is the draft cover for The Devil and Ms Devlin, book fifteen in the series. The Devil and Ms Devlin with be published in the spring of 2019, and will be available for pre-order soon.
To celebrate the fact that I published four books this week in four different languages – Bulgarian, Dutch, English and French – I have a new section on my website, Translations. You will also find books in Italian and Japanese in this section with many more to follow.
Delighted that Cristina has agreed to translate Invasion, book two in the Ann’s War Mystery Series, into Italian. Cristina did a very professional job with Betrayal, book one in the series, and that book is now on its way to retail.
An amazing week for Betrayal. The book reached #1 on the Amazon mystery, history and literature charts.
More translation news. I’m delighted to announce that Minea has agreed to translate Saving Grace into Finnish. For the eighth consecutive week, Saving Grace is an Amazon Hot 💯 New Release. Meanwhile, this is Sker House, the Grange in Saving Grace, photographed this week.
This week saw a record-breaking mid-week sales day for my books. The Big Chill topped my personal chart, maybe because of the snow that fell recently. Incidently, in this picture the book under The Big Chill was written by Howard Marks who hails from the village next door to me. I’m also pleased to report that Mariel is making good progress with the translation of Sam’s Song into Spanish. More news of that in future posts.
Invasion, Ann’s War Mystery Series book two, is now available as an audio book from iBooks, Audible and Amazon. In partnership with my narrator, Suzan Lynn Lorraine, this is my tenth audio book. More will follow, including Smoke and Mirrors, Sam Smith Mystery Series book nine; Blackmail, Ann’s War book three; and Saving Grace. The paperback copies of Invasion arrived from the printer this week and are now available from my Store.
Pictured, Helena Normanton. In the 1920s, Helena Normanton was one of the first women to practice law as a barrister in Britain. I’m working on an idea to create a mini-series about a female barrister set in the 1920s. I had in mind two support characters and while writing this a third character, her brother, has suggested himself.
The editing of Saving Grace is going well. For me, the editing process is about polishing the words. I storyboard everything before I write the story, therefore when I edit I never alter the plotline.
In the coming months I will be publishing an eMagazine, called Mystery. If you would like to follow progress and receive a free copy of the magazine please like my Facebook Page
In case you missed it, here is my second mini mystery for the Seaside News.
More news next time. As ever, thanks for your interest and support.
The first draft of Saving Grace is complete. I have a month of editing ahead. Then the book will be printed and made available for pre-order on Amazon. This is a very exciting project and I am looking forward to publishing the book.
Ornate ceiling and lighting in the Grange from my forthcoming Victorian novel, Saving Grace.
Florrie the maid plays a key role in my forthcoming novel, Saving Grace. Here is an example of her working environment, a Victorian manor house kitchen.
I have now become a business with an accountant, tax forms, etc. This reminds me of a joke Detective Inspector Sweets MacArthur told Sam in Love and Bullets. “A company director is interviewing candidates for an important position and decides to select the individual who can answer the question, how much is two plus two? The first candidate is an engineer. He pulls out a slide-rule and shows that the answer is four. The second candidate is a lawyer. He states that in the case of Jubliman versus Jubliman two plus two was proven to be four. The final candidate is an accountant. When asked what two plus two equals the accountant slips out of his chair, looks under the desk, scans the room for hidden microphones and makes sure that no one is listening at the door. Then he whispers, “Did you have a particular number in mind?'”
A wonderful weekend for Betrayal, book one in the Ann’s War Mystery Series. The novella reached #1 in Australia, #2 in Britain and #5 in America and Canada, on the historical mysteries charts. In addition, Betrayal is our ninth audio book production and it’s now available from iBooks, Amazon and Audible.
Ann’s parents, in my Ann’s War Mystery Series, run a general store, like this one.
Three of my books are in the top 100 in Germany, A Parcel of Rogues, Mind Games and Digging in the Dirt. Also, I am delighted to be featured in this article by Riffle Select
My books are mysteries, but all are centred on emotional issues, the sort of issues we face as individuals or through family and friends. Therefore, I am delighted to announce my partnership with BetterHelp
In case you missed it, here is my latest mini mystery for the Seaside News.
And finally this month, bestselling novelist Ken Follett presents an excellent series of videos on how to write suspense, based on a history of the genre.
Published today, Invasion, book two in the Ann’s War Mystery Series. Invasion is a novella set in July 1944, at the time of the D-Day landings. The story centres on an American army camp located on a stretch of South Wales sand dunes. The soldiers have been at the camp for nine months, preparing for the landings. Ann becomes involved when a colleague at the Women’s Institute is concerned about Adeline, the colleague’s daughter. Adeline has been walking out with Sergeant Glenn Henley, an American soldier. But what has become of them? Meanwhile, Ann is concerned about her husband, Emrys, who is missing in action. When news of Emrys arrives on Ann’s doorstep, will it be bad or good? Invasion is priced at $0.99, £0.99 and €0.99, and is available as an eBook and paperback from all major retail outlets. Betrayal, book one in this series, is currently available FREE. Audio book versions of these stories will follow later this month.
Streams. When I started promoting only one stream seemed viable – social media to Amazon. While that stream still plays an important part, it is just one of many options open to my books. My promotional goal for 2018 is to increase my streams, so that they lead to iBooks, Kobo, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, the Welsh Books Council, local outlets, independent bookstores, my website and Amazon. To achieve this, I already have partnerships in place with local and national businesses, cultural groups and more. These streams will augment twenty-five promotional streams already in place, and I’m currently in discussion with businesses and individuals to add more. Many of these streams are based on partnerships, which makes this the most exciting phase of my writing career to date.
A sneak preview of my first article for the Seaside News. Plus, a five-star review for Sam’s Song. “Fantastic read! I would recommend this book to anyone who loves plot twists, with characters you can identify with. Love this book.” 😃