Wednesday 29 July 2020

Book #launches are fun!


Gosh! Is it Wednesday again? They seem to be coming round so quickly. This week is particularly busy since tomorrow (30th July) is the launch of the Ocelot Press Anthology which I've been so excited to be a contributor to. 

Putting the Ocelot Press collection together has been really engrossing, the only other time I've added a short story to an anthology being the one named Crooked Cat Tales. That time around all I had to do was choose some characters from one of my (then) published Crooked Cat titles and write a short story. Back then in 2015, I chose to use Topaz Eyes for the inspiration for the off-shoot story. 

This time around, when the short story was requested, it was so much easier to write since I was in the final throes of deciding which huge chunks of Beathan The Brigante could be removed from the too-long manuscript. As it happens, I did slash a lot from the Beathan the Brigante  word count, but the short story for Doorways To The Past is an entirely brand new write, using a character who didn't get much to say in Book 4 of my Celtic Fervour Saga Series. 

Also this time, I've been involved in lots of decision making around the production of the anthology - none of which happened with Crooked Cat Tales. It's so rewarding working collaboratively with my Ocelot author colleagues and great fun when all the decisions come to fruition. 

I've been preparing my ideas for my personal 20 minute slot during the short Facebook Launch event for Doorways To The Past. There's still time to join us, if you read this blog post quickly enough! 
Click HERE  to join us. Find out more about the writing and enter some of the competitions to win ebook/s! 

And...I've been beavering away to ensure I could send on the paperback version pages counts to my Cover designer so that she can get the PDFs ready for publishing Beathan The Brigante with Amazon KDP and with Ingram Spark. 

Note: My garden is also growing beautifully so I'm out there as and when I can, and it's not raining, to collect the produce that's ready for eating. So far, I've had a fabulous crop of strawberries and rhubarb. I now collecting early carrots and cabbage. My radish are all done now and my onions are at the 'spring' stage - great for salads. Yum.

So, where are the days going?


Tuesday 21 July 2020

Repost of Tidy Up Time!


It was my turn to post on the Ocelot Press Blog yesterday, but since the post is very relevant to what I'm currently doing, then I'm sharing some of it here.

When I’m at the work-in-progress writing process, my hand written references and notes tend to be a muddle. I scribble on the nearest bit of paper to hand if something needs to be noted elsewhere later on in better detail. Often my home-made maps or diagrams tend to have random comments added which probably only mean something to me. Hence the title of Tidy Up Time! 

My contribution for the Ocelot Blog Anthology Doorways To The Past is done and dusted, and I eagerly await the publishing date of 30th July for the anthology. Being a participating author has been an excellent way to give some of my Celtic Fervour secondary characters some extra limelight. My story features Ruoridh of Garrigill, who played a small role in Book 4. He is one of the two main reasons for Enya and Nith to go journeying after the battle at Beinn na Ciche, searching for Beathan of Garrigill being the other. I have no current intention of writing a whole book featuring Ruoridh, or Judicial Legate Liberalis who is my interviewed character. Therefore, this is a great way of sharing them with readers. 

The e-book of Beathan The Brigante, Book 5 of my Celtic Fervour Saga series is on pre-order (publishing date 20th August 2020) and I'm finalising the paperback versions for publication very soon.  Back to that aspect of tidying - Having finished the manuscript, and having gone through beta reader advice and changes, I really don’t want to find something in my mess of notes that I feel compelled to add to my story, but I always feel duty-bound to re-read the scribbles – just in case.

I love this stage of the process of getting a story ready for publication. I really enjoy putting together the Historical Context for the book, since not all readers are familiar with the complexities of Roman Britain history. I like organising my Glossary sections, adding brief information on things like the gods or goddesses mentioned by my characters – Roman and Celtic. This time around for Book 5, I’ve included a longer section on Roman Army terms that appear in the story, and I’ve added an explanation of the interior of an Ancient Roman fort. Readers who already have some knowledge of Roman Army history will gloss over the sections, but I’ve learned during the process of producing the first four books of the series that some of my readers really appreciate the extra information that helps them understand how my characters operate in their environment.

I particularly like creating the map pages for adding to my historical series. After the first book was published, it was a revelation to find a Canadian reviewer had mistakenly thought that the story had mainly taken place in the Caithness area of Scotland. I had written that Brigantia was the northernmost area of Britannia to be invaded by the Ancient Roman legions  in AD 71. The reader had envisaged a current map of Great Britain, and had decided that the northernmost part was Caithness, and thus that was where Brigantia had been. It was then I decided that adding maps to all of my Celtic Fervour novels, even ones created by me, were a necessity rather than an indulgence. I heartily thank that reviewer for pointing out the problem, even if it was done in an inadvertent fashion.

Making final versions of my maps has become a part of my ‘tidy-up’ routine, and any hand drawn maps and plans are scanned before being added to my stored files.

What about you? Are you a messy worker who eventually does ‘tidy ups’, in your writing… or in daily life?

I'm not sure that I've shared it yet, so here’s the blurb for Beathan The Brigante.

AD 85 Roman Empire
How can young Beathan of Garrigill – held hostage by General Agricola and dragged in chains to Rome – escape and wreak vengeance on his enemies?
Torrin is a strong-minded Brigante warrior-woman who forges her own future. She willingly takes care of him in a time of need, but her own plans are paramount.
Agricola's career is in tatters. Attempts on his life are plentiful, having lost favour with Emperor Domitian. His gods have abandoned him, though assistance comes from a surprising source.

Will Beathan gain his freedom to return to his kin in Caledonia? Will Torrin be by his side? And how will Agricola survive without the emperor's benevolence?

Beathan the Brigante is the fifth in the bestselling Celtic Fervour series.

Look out for details coming soon on paperback publishing progress.  


Wednesday 15 July 2020

Doorways To The Past #launchevent #news

Hello! It's a (nearly) sunny Wednesday, again, in my part of the world.

And even better, I have lots of great news to share in the coming weeks.  Doorways To The Past, the exciting venture I've been involved in creating with fellow authors at Ocelot Press is now on the home run. The anthology of short stories and character interviews is now available to Pre-order in Kindle at 99p/99c from Amazon. 
(Details of a paperback version will follow in due course.)
To get that cheaper pre-launch Pre-order price you can click this link now and the ebook will pop onto your Kindle very early on the launch day of 30th July. 

Click HERE

I've been very busy doing some pre-launch promotion, making a video for the excellent anthology which I'm delighted to share with you. I hope you enjoy this little taster of what's through 'our' doorways.
(p.s. It's been a while since I made a book trailer video and I really enjoyed the new software I have on my new laptop!)

Please join us at the short Facebook launch (Thursday 30th July 2020 5-7 pm UK time (UCT +1hr) where the participating authors will be highlighting themselves and their novels. We're similar in that we all write historical fiction but we tend to cover different times periods and have different writing styles. You're sure to really enjoy the short stories and those characters really are something else! Doorways To The Past is very entertaining and very varied. 

Please join us HERE 

Now for some more video making...though, maybe I should finalise the end matter for my own forthcoming Beathan The Brigante, Book 5 Celtic Fervour Series, launch? Details of it to follow almost immediately...


Sunday 12 July 2020

Scottish Novelists Historical Fiction Day!

Good Morning! 

The sun is shining and it really is a lovely morning. Things are moving at a fast rate in my publishing world, and today is another of the planned events that I'm currently involved in.

As a member of the #RNA (Romantic Novelists Association), I have been meeting with some of the other authors in my Scottish Chapter a few times a year. These long lunches and updates are generally held in Glasgow or Edinburgh, to be sort-of-central and accessible for everyone. Covid 19 has scuppered our plans this year, so far, but thanks to the very talented and hard-working Rosemary Gemmell, we are having a 'Virtual' fun day today!

In some ways, this is even better since it is now open to lots of guests and friends because Rosemary has made it a Facebook Event (Public). 

All you need to do is click the link and join us TODAY Sunday 12th July 2020. 

Around 12 of the Scottish authors will be showcasing a couple of their novels. You can listen to a couple of the authors reading from their novels. There will be opportunities to get to know the characters, and to enter to WIN some competitions across the duration of the event from 9 am to 6 pm UK time. 

Please join us by clicking this link Scottish Novelists Historical Fiction Day

See you soon,


Beathan The Brigante is on #Pre-Order!

One step closer!

I'm absolutely delighted to share the news that Beathan The Brigante is now available to pre-order in Kindle, from Amazon.

The official Ocelot Press launch date is the 20th August 2020, but it's now possible to pre-order your kindle copy. This means that it will pop onto your nominated device at the very earliest time on August 20th. For me, that time is often soon after midnight and just into the day of publication. 

Lots of pre-orders can help the new book gain that very important status in the Amazon rankings.

You can pre-order using this link. Thank you, and I truly hope you enjoy reading about this lovely young Brigante warrior.

BeathanThe Brigante


Tuesday 7 July 2020

Doorways to the Past is on Pre order!

Exciting Tuesday news to share! Our first Ocelot collaborative venture is now available for Pre-order in Kindle across Amazon. 

Of late, I've been busy writing a spin-off short story about one of my Celtic Fervour Series characters named Ruoridh of Garrigill. We meet Ruoridh in Agricola's Bane, Book 4 of  the series, and he pops in again at the end of Beathan The Brigante, Book 5 (coming Aug 20th 2020). 
Ruoridh's story features in Doorways to the Past, a wonderful anthology compiled by four of the Ocelot Press authors - Sue Barnard, Vanesssa Couchman, Cathie Dunn, Jen Wilson - and myself. 
Along with these superb stories - spanning the eras from my writing in Roman Britain to the present day - the collection also includes entertaining interviews with a range of characters from my Ocelot colleagues' novels. 
The anthology takes you on a journey through time, starting in Roman Britain, after which it hops back and forth mainly between Britain and France. The characters featured in both the stories and the interviews range from monarchs to servants, those in power and those who maybe want a bit more of that. You can read and experience their fears, hopes, joys and setbacks because not all in life goes smoothly (nor in fiction!)
Our newest Ocelot to publish with us  - Yvonne Marjot - whose Walking on Wild Air was republished with Ocelot Press in June 2020, has written the foreword. 
In Doorways to the Past, you can have a taste of the past from the comfort of your favourite reading spot. 
Doorways to the Past is available for Pre-order now, on Kindle, till publication on 30th July at 99p/99c. Click HERE(If you Pre-order now, there is nothing to pay till the book pops onto your Kindle or e-reader on publication day.) 

I'll update soon with details of the planned Facebook launch party for Doorways to the past.  Till then, we at Ocelot Press hope you will enjoy it. We've had a lot of fun putting it together. but since I've only been involved in beta reading some of the stories, I'm looking forward to meeting a lot more characters in the interviews as much as I hope you are, too! 
A paperback version will follow in due course, details on that to come later. 
I'll be posting news about more of my author ventures very soon.