Posted in Cornwall, Crime Thriller, Goodreads Reading Challenge, Reviewing, Writing

OCTOBER UPDATE

So here we are, at the end of yet another month. As always time scoots by and now, after surviving flu and Covid shots (one in each arm, at the same time), it’s all been about Halloween and pumpkins. And beyond that November and, dare I say, the countdown to Christmas. This month I decided to chart my life in books – not as a writer, but as a reader. Of course, to include everything I have read would be impossible, and to do so would end up making it sound like an inventory in a library. But here are those which had the most impact, and maybe gradually nudged me towards becoming a writer.

LIFE AS A READER

Very often when choosing something to read by a writer new to me, I check out their bio. More often than not, they always say they have either read or written from an early age. Me too, I think. One of my childhood memories (when I was very young) was being taken to church on a Sunday and sitting between the adults with an Enid Blyton book – normally Noddy and Big Ears. So while the vicar stood in the pulpit imparting the weekly lesson to his flock, I was engrossed in the goings on in Toy Land.

Starting school, I began reading lessons with books involving brother and sister Janet and John, which I’m sure many will remember. And by the time I’d reached seven or eight, was pulled into the worlds of the Famous Five and Secret Seven – also written by Enid Blyton. One of my uncles, a teacher, regularly sent me books for birthdays and Christmases. I got though all the standards – Black Beauty, The Secret Garden, The Children of the New Forest, The Jungle Books and The Wind in the Willows to name a few. To receive a book token meant I could check out the children’s book section in W H Smith and purchase something new to read. I also joined the library in town and regularly took books out. Those early days were filled with the ability to escape to new and magic worlds.

My next real book memory came when I was in Year 11 (fourth year in pre-National Curriculum days ) at senior school. Competing with teen magazines and anything that had to do with the Beatles, copies of the Pan Book of Horror stories were very popular, and regularly swapped in class.

During my later teens it was all about music and socialising. It meant reading got put on the back burner for a while, although during my years at college I wrote regularly for the College Magazine. At the time, though, I never ever contemplated attempting to write a novel of my own.

Into my twenties, my reading taste became anything from horror and thrillers to historical fiction. I read Penmarric while on holiday in Cornwall one year, which for me, added to the magic of the story. My daily train journey to work in Bristol also gave me time for reading – and I made good use of it. I dipped into horror with Carrie and The Exorcist – and Peter Benchley’s Jaws (which everyone on the train seemed to have a copy of). Jeffery Archer, Rosemary Rogers and Jean Plaidy also featured in my TBR list of the time.

Over the years, I’ve enjoyed a wide variety of reads. I’ve never lost my love for historical fiction (Phillipa Gregory has taken Jean Plaidy’s place). Wilbur Smith was another favourite with his mix of South African history and saga. Currently I enjoy crime and psychological thrillers alongside contemporary fiction.

There are great romance writers out there too, so it’s a bit of a pick and mix for me, dipping in and out, from one genre to another as I find a book, read the blurb and decide on a download. As well as writing, I read and review and each year take up the Goodreads Challenge. This year, so far I have completed 61 reads.

The desire to become an author came in the noughties, when Sting’s Fields of Gold triggered thoughts of writing a romantic saga set in the West Country where I live – clearly his reference to fields of barley was an influencing factor. It was a huge challenge to undertake. I had worked on a couple storylines prior to this, after attending creative writing classes but nothing had come of either. This, however, felt more serious and I soon began working on a plot. I then began writing, not knowing whether the whole thing would fizzle out, or as I hoped, I would eventually get to the part where I could type THE END. Well, it was by no means an easy journey, but I did it, and my first book ‘When Tomorrow Comes’ charting the lives of four young women growing up in Somerset in the 1960s, was published in 2009. Four more in the series followed, then two set in Devon, three in Cornwall, with The Secrets We Keep, my final Cornish novel due to be published early in the New Year.

So what’s next? Honestly, I’m not sure at the moment. I do have the outline of a new story worked out, but need to give it some more thought. Until then, it’s all about seeing The Secrets We Keep through to publication. Next month I will be revealing the cover….yes, it’s definitely happening.

OCTOBER READS

Until next month, enjoy Halloween and stay safe.

Jo

Posted in Publicists, Reviewing, TUESDAY TALK, Writing

Tuesday Talk welcomes Maxine Groves to chat about her busy life as a publicist and desert island ‘must haves’…

Maxine Groves Photo Oct 2016Good morning Maxine and welcome. 

Hello Jo and thanks so much for having me on your blog, lovely to be here.
You began as a reviewer, how did you develop your business and what services do you offer potential clients?

As I became more popular as a reviewer I found myself in touch with a lot of fantastic indie and published authors who would request me to review their book. From this I was doing a lot of promotion and publicity for their books for free. A brilliant author contacted me and asked me if I would do some book publicity work for him which I did and it went really well, as word got out a few more known authors asked me to help them. I then decided to birth Booklover Catlady Publicity, seeing a gap in the market for cost-effective, trackable and flexible services.

I can offer bespoke publicity services to authors, that’s the wonderful thing about it being my own business, essentially if I am capable of doing it – I will!

My popular services include review generation where my VIP team of reviewers and bloggers will read and post reviews for authors looking for more visibility on Goodreads, Amazon, book blogs and across social media.

I love doing the online cover reveal, pre-purchase and book launch parties on Facebook that have become really popular with both authors and book lovers. They are fast-paced, fun and focused on outcomes for both the author and event attendees.

I also do professional beta reading which comes with an in-depth report, vote generation campaigns for books in the Kindle Scout Program or for Thunderclap.  Offered also is referrals to service providers such as Editors and Cover Designers where authors then get discounted prices. I also recommend and match authors to publishing houses should they be looking to submit a manuscript.

When a book needs a sales push I offer a social media blitz campaign – fully tracked so I can provide exact data to clients. I often consult with a new client on what services best suit their goals and design an individual publicity campaign just for them.

If a new author needs consultation on how to use social media or how best to reach out to reviewers I can do email and phone consultations. I cover all genres of books and currently also provide services to a number of publishing firms.

This year I have launched my book blog tour services which are already proving really popular.

Business growth has been phenomenal since launch in June 2015 and 99% of clients come to me via referral so I am really proud of my reputation. My clientele are worldwide.

You’re currently in the process of writing your first novel. Can you tell us something about that?

I am so exited to be finally writing, it’s thanks to the fantastic authors that I have helped with their books and the friendships I have with many of them that has given me the courage to finally take the plunge.

My first book will be a collection of short stories that are a mix of horror and dark psychological fiction. I am also working on a dark psychological thriller with a crime slant and twisty bits which I am really excited about.

As I get quite eclectic ideas I am also writing a series of children’s picture books, aimed at children 3-5 years of age with a brilliant children’s illustrator. The books will feature my two cheeky, naughty Burmese cats – Toddy and Riley and their crazy adventures. Talking cats, what more could you want really?

City or Beach? Name two of your favourite chill out destinations.

Ooh, that’s a great question. I have lived in the UK, Australia and Ireland in cities and near beaches. I lived at the famous Bondi Beach in Australia for many years. I recently went on holiday to Gran Canaria, one of the Canary Islands and absolutely loved it – so as a beach location that would be a top pick.

I also love the buzz of the city and one of my favourite cities in the world is Melbourne in Australia. I’d encourage anybody who is going to Oz for a holiday to make sure Melbourne is included. Incredibly cosmopolitan! India is on my bucket list of countries to see before I die.

Is there any author you would particularly like to meet?

It would mean a lot to me to meet horror and thriller writer J.D. Barker as he is not only an amazing author but has been so instrumental and supportive in helping my career to date. Other authors on that list would be British author Belinda Bauer, horror author Adam Nevill and crime author Sarah Hilary.

You’re taking yourself off to a desert island for a year. Which four ‘must haves’ would you take with you and why?

  1. My Kindle or a stack of paperbacks – simply because books are my entire world.
  2. Some good sunblock lotion as I am very pale and burn easily! (Vampire pale)
  3. A really big tent because I don’t fancy sleeping in the open for a whole year. Ideally with a blow up bed and colour coordinated linen. You have to have good linen!
  4. A boat, a large one in case I wanted to get off the island early.

 

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CATCH UP WITH MAXINE ON SOCIAL MEDIA

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Email: booklovercatlady@gmail.com

Client Enquiry Form: https://goo.gl/forms/b4RWj2gDQGYQJaS03

Reviewer Enquiry Form: https://goo.gl/forms/6Sjn85dfUvpC7Etv2

 

I would like to offer a 10% discount to any author off any of my services for those that contact me after reading this blog interview and mentioning the code BLOG10.