New launch: Jessica Redland’s Getting Over Gary

Exactly nine months after my debut novel, Searching for Steven, was launched, the second in the series, Getting Over Gary, came to life yesterday. Writers fondly refer to their novels as their ‘babies’ and, with a nine-month gap between mine, that’s very appropriate!

I had planned to post this yesterday on launch day and was just waiting for a box of books to arrive so I could post a lovely picture of them. Unfortunately, I haven’t received any yet. The evening was then a little bit busy, going out for a celebratory meal with my husband and daughter, then having a Facebook party, that I didn’t quite get round to the blog. If they do appear, I’ll edit this post.

Here’s the blurb about Gary:

Screenshot 2015-12-16 18.08.14The much anticipated sequel to “Searching for Steven” 

It was supposed to be the perfect fairy-tale. Elise married her childhood sweetheart, Gary, straight out of college, and they’ve been happy together for over twelve years. Elise is now desperate to start a family, but Gary doesn’t seem to share her enthusiasm anymore. Arriving home early from a party, she discovers why: Gary’s been keeping a secret from her. A very big secret. 

While her own marriage appears to be falling apart, being a supportive bridesmaid for her best friend, Sarah, isn’t easy. Especially not when Clare, her nemesis from day one, is one of the other bridesmaids. If she’s going to get through it, she needs to put her own feelings aside, find herself again, and get over Gary. Fast. 

Could recently-divorced Daniel be the tonic Elise needs, or is he full of secrets and lies too? Is his hostile, but strangely attractive brother, Michael, the genuine article instead? And why do the good guys like Stevie turn her down? 

But then Elise discovers she has a secret of her own and getting over Gary suddenly becomes the least of her worries…

1962469_963486923690608_3244973248462974315_oTo celebrate Gary’s launch, Searching for Steven is currently on offer for 99p on download. Bargain!

I’ve had an exciting development. Writing has always been something I’ve had to squeeze in during evenings and weekends around a full-time day job. I’ve also got a very part-time job that runs alongside it and we’ve made the decision that, because of the income that very part-time job brings in, I can afford to reduce my ‘normal’ day job to a four-day week. The first non-working day for me is today and I can’t wait to crack on with book 3, the final in the trilogy (although other works will continue in the same setting).

Lots of love

Jessica xx

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Five Writing Lessons I’ve Learned by Jessica Redland on the launch of her debut novel

_MG_2776-EditMy debut novel, Searching for Steven, was launched on Wednesday (3rd June 2015) by So Vain Books. My debut novella, Raving About Rhys (set before Steven but written as a stand-alone story), is also out now and I still find it hard to believe that I’m a published author!

What have I learned during the writing process? Goodness me, I could go on for ages, but let me stick to five main lessons and, because I love alliteration in the titles of my books, I’ve set myself the added challenge of making sure they all start with the same letter.

  1. PURPOSEFULNESS: Writing can be a slow process … especially when, like me, you have a full-time job too. It took me a decade from writing my first words to submitting Steven to a publisher for the first time. I did learn my craft during that time, close a business, change jobs several times, get married, have a baby and move house twice so I had huge writing-free periods. I promise I’m not that slow a writer! My advice would be to always keep that end goal – that purpose – in mind and keep going. Even if you only have time to write small amounts like five hundred words a few times a week, it will soon add up. A 100,000-word novel is just 274 words a day for a year. Obviously, there’ll be re-writing and editing needed, but doesn’t 274 words a day sound achievable?
  1. Jessica Redland - Searching for Steven - Front Cover LOW RESPATIENCE: I’ve said that writing can be a slow process but the journey to a publication is not exactly speedy either. A couple of publishers to whom I submitted Steven took nine months to return a decision, and they were publishers I’d met, had pitched to, and who had asked for my full MS. I’m actually not a very patient person. I’m exceptionally patient with other people, but not with anything that affects me, so waiting for news from publishers or agents was a bit of a challenge. At first, I was a little obsessed with checking the mail and my emails, but I finally managed to relax and accept that everything would happen in its own sweet time.
  1. PERSEVERANCE: Unless you’re one of the very fortunate few, you will get rejections. I was surprised to find that they weren’t quite as traumatic as I expected. Okay, so they’re not the most wonderful things to receive. I certainly wasn’t doing a happy dance each time one landed through my letterbox or in my inbox, but they certainly didn’t reduce me to tears like I’d expected. You see, I had a plan. I knew whom I’d submit to next so I could look at the rejections as the closing of one door and the opening of another. There must be very few authors out there who haven’t got a stack of rejections behind them, including incredibly successful authors like Stephen King and JK Rowling. It’s part of the process. It took me a year, 14 publisher submissions and 12 agency submissions before I got my break and, if the offer from So Vain Books hadn’t come along when it did, I’d have gone indie. There are so many opportunities out there to get your work published so don’t give up at the first hurdle. I will just point out that my publisher, So Vain Books, were incredibly quick with their response to my submission so not all publishers take so much time.
  1. CoversPROCRASTINATION: As anyone who regularly uses social media will know, social media is a massive distraction. Some evenings, I can have gone into my office with the intention of writing after a quick catch-up on Facebook. I glance at the clock and realise it’s nearly 10.00pm and I still haven’t written a single word of my WIP. Oops! I have to limit myself because working full time, being a Brown Owl, being a mum and being an author is a lot to fit in. If I’m meant to be spending the evening writing, I’ve learned that it’s best to close my emails, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter or I’ll procrastinate big time. I’d like to think that, if I was ever fortunate enough to be able to write full-time, I’d be really structured in my approach to social media e.g. an hour first thing and an hour mid-afternoon. But I bet I wouldn’t. I bet I’d find that it’s a case of the more time you have to write, the less writing you actually get done!
  1. PASSION: I’d hope it goes without saying that anyone thinking of writing must be passionate about it because it can be all consuming. I couldn’t imagine not writing. But it’s not your own passion I want to address here; it’s the passion of others. I’ve really touched by the time some of my friends and family have given to beta reading and supporting me. They’ve demonstrated as much passion and excitement about me being a writer as I feel myself. Saying thank you feels inadequate. I’m also very fortunate to be part of a writing collective called The Write Romantics. We all met through the Romantic Novelists’ Association and have been blogging together for two years. It’s amazing being able to share the highs and lows with nine other like-minded passionate women.
Scarborough - the inspiration for Whitsborough Bay

Scarborough – the inspiration for Whitsborough Bay

However, there are those who don’t share the same passion. The day job is a classic example to illustrate this. I’d like to think that I don’t witter on about writing because I know that many work colleagues won’t be readers and, as I work in a male-dominated environment where the age profile is mainly 50 plus, they’re not exactly my target market. I’ve occasionally made a passing comment at the water cooler when asked how I’ve spent my weekend and I’ve watched eyes glaze over with absolute disinterest. I’d like to think that, if anyone told me they did something a little unusual, I’d express surprise and interest, and then ask a few follow-up questions. What I’ve experienced instead is that they either change the subject, nod and continue making their coffee in silence, or they tell me they’d like to write a book because hasn’t everyone got a book in them? They probably do but capability of getting it out is another matter entirely! Of course, I don’t say that. I grin, ask a few questions, and return to my office with my drink, knowing that it wasn’t the first and certainly won’t be the last time that happens.

That concludes my five lessons for now. I’m sure I’ll continue to learn as time progresses because I suspect I’ve only just scratched the surface of the writing experience so far.

Happy reading everyone 🙂

Jessica xxx

The Blurb for Searching for Steven which can be found on Amazon in eBook and paperback formats here

601685_10151958992299073_754441455_nWhen Sarah Peterson accepts her Auntie Kay’s unexpected offer to take over her florist’s shop, she’s prepared for a change of job, home and lifestyle. What she isn’t prepared for is the discovery of a scarily accurate clairvoyant reading that’s been missing for twelve years. All her predictions have come true, except one: she’s about to meet the man of her dreams. Oh, and his name is Steven.

Suddenly Stevens are everywhere. Could it be the window cleaner, the rep, the manager of the coffee shop, or any of the men she’s met online?

On top of that, she finds herself quite attracted to a handsome web designer, but his name isn’t even Steven…

During this unusual search, will Sarah find her destiny?

‘A warm and witty tale of one woman’s search for love, with a brave and feisty heroine you can’t help rooting for. SEARCHING FOR STEVEN is a compelling debut by a talented author, and I highly recommend it.’ Talli Roland, bestselling author of The No-Kids Club

‘Searching for Steven is a wonderful, uplifting story about the magic of true love that will put a smile on your face and happiness in your heart.’ Suzanne Lavender

‘Amusing and engaging, Searching for Steven is the story to make you believe in your one true love, with or without fate leading you there’ reviewedthebook.co.uk

The blurb for Raving About Rhys (novella) which can be downloaded from Amazon here

_MG_9950Bubbly Callie Derbyshire loves her job as a carer, and can’t believe she’s finally landed herself a decent boyfriend – older man Tony – who’s lasted way longer than the usual disastrous three months. Tony’s exactly what she’s always dreamed of… or at least he would be if he ever took her out instead of just taking her to bed. And work would be perfect too if she wasn’t constantly in trouble with her boss, The She-Devil Denise. 

When the new gardener, Mikey, discovers her in a rather compromising position at work, Callie knows that her days at Bay View Care Home could be numbered. Can she trust him not to tell Denise? If she was issued with her marching orders, who’ll look out for her favourite client, Ruby, whose grandson, Rhys, seems to constantly let her down? What does Ruby know about Tony? And what is Denise hiding? 

Surrounded by secrets and lies, is there anyone left who Callie can trust?

Twitter: @JessicaRedland

Facebook: Jessica Redland Writer

Website: www.jessicaredland.com

The Saturday Spotlight – Post Publication Progress!

If anyone read my last post they will know that I had turned into a nervous wreck in the run up to my debut novel ‘The Ghost House’ being published. I had arranged a small launch party because everyone told me I should and I also thought that this was an occasion in my life that should be marked. So I arranged it for the night before the release and I’m so glad I did, it went by in a bit of a blur. Everyone turned up who I’d asked and we filled the lovely, quaint café in the middle of the Abbey to bursting. I felt very humbled when my friends turned up with cards, flowers and gifts. I was the one thanking them but it touched me deeply. It was a lovely experience having so many people I care about in the same room. I didn’t do a reading; I had no need to because I know almost everyone had already ordered my book. I did take some large postcards with the book cover and blurb on the back. And it made me smile when they all wanted one signing, my first and probably last autographs that I’ll ever have to sign.

I was shattered and in bed that night by eleven. I woke up at three in the morning to get a drink of water and made the mistake of checking my Kindle to see if my book had arrived. I wish I hadn’t, I felt my stomach lurch when I saw it on there. This was it. Everyone who had bought it was going to be able to read it. I couldn’t get back to sleep so I ended up in Asda half an hour later, shopping. The good thing was I didn’t have to queue up, at that time in the morning there was only the staff and me. I finally went home and back to bed only to get up at seven, I had to be at work for nine.

I got a Facebook message from a friend to tell me she had been up all night reading my book and couldn’t put it down. She loved it, Phew. I know she probably wouldn’t have said she hated it either but still. I got another message from a friend who was on holiday in Dubai; she was half way through it, couldn’t put it down and loved it. I messaged her to ask, ‘Really?’ She messaged back, ‘Really!’ Work was so busy I barely had time to think about it the rest of the day but I went home and looked to see I had my first five star review on Amazon, oh how I smiled.

The next few days more and more people told me they were reading and loving it, it’s a good job my head didn’t swell up, but I’m not that kind of person. I was just grateful that people who were reading the story I had worked so hard on were enjoying it. My lovely writeromantics have been reading it and they have enjoyed it, I’ve even managed to scare a few people which is what I hoped for, only in the nicest possible way of course but I wanted my book to send chills down peoples spines and it seems to be doing the job.

On twitter I read a tweet by the lovely Donna Trinder who is a book blogger and she tweeted she was reading The Ghost House and didn’t want to put it down, it was AMAZING. That was the pivotal moment for me, it made me realise that actually my book must be pretty good. Today I got a tweet from my publishers The Ghost House had reached #9 in the Amazon Contemporary Horror Chart. I whooped, rushed home to check the computer and saw that the only books in front of mine were by Stephen King, James Herbert and Susan Hill. I have never been so honoured or thrilled in my life. So would I do it all again? YES, YES, YES 🙂

Helen P

The Wednesday Wondering Special – Helen P is a Published Writer!!!!!

Welcome to another Wednesday Wondering and, boy, have we got a treat lined up for you today. Today, 2nd October 2013, is a very special day for all of the Write Romantics because Helen Phifer’s debut Novel ‘The Ghost House’ is launched today on digital format through publisher Carina who she met following a pitch at 2012’s RNA Conference. I kept waking up last night as I was so excited about her launch so I can only imagine that Helen must have been absolutely beside herself with excitement!

Here’s a picture of the lovely lady. I think that’s an image for the inside cover of a book if ever I saw one!

 

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In honour of Helen’s launch day, all the Write Romantics have come up with some questions that we’d like to know about Helen’s journey so far, how she feels about launch day and, of course, nosey questions about Helen herself.

Here’s what we asked:

HELEN R:

What makes your agent /publisher the right “fit” for you and your writing?

I’m so lucky that I met Anna and that Carina has taken me on, because my novel doesn’t fit exactly into one genre and they have never asked me to change anything to make it fit.

How are you feeling approaching launch day? Anxious? Excited? Nervous?

All three, last week it was stomach churning nerves, this week I’m a touch anxious and I imagine that today I will be excited and relieved that it’s finally out there.

What was the editing process like once your novel was accepted? Was it as terrifying as you thought it may be or did it seem a natural process?

They were pretty scary but not as scary as I imagined. I buried my head in the sand for a couple of days then pulled myself together and took it one chapter at a time.

 

LYNNE:

How do you plan your books … or don’t you?

I write down my idea and then I think about it for a few days. Jotting down notes and then I take a big sheet of paper and do a bit of a brainstorming session.

Are you aware of including characters you’ve met in your books?

Yes, very I meet some interesting people in my line of work but up to now I’ve managed to make them all up, maybe pinching bits of people and combining them to make a different one.

How do you feel about doing author promotion?

I don’t like it. It has to be done; there is no doubt about it but I’m rubbish at selling myself so I really struggle with it.

 

JO:

What is scariest thing you’ve ever encountered, either in real life or in a film/book?

That would have to be the picture I took whilst walking the dog in the woods. It was dusky and I was snapping away and saw a white mist through the lens. I took the photo, lowered the camera but there was no mist. Then I checked the picture I’d just taken and almost fainted. On the photo was a white mist with what looked like three faces in it. I showed it my husband and asked him if he saw it when I was taking the picture and he shook his head. We soon turned and left the woods I can tell you. The picture is on my website for anyone who wants to take a peek http://www.helenphifer.co.uk

How old were you when you first started to write and did you start off with scary stuff?

I first tried to write seriously in my twenties. It was terrible. The idea for that story came to me after quite a scary nightmare.

What inspires your stories? Is it places or true life events that you can build upon or something else?  I’m really interested in this one, as my YA book was inspired by a place name that translates as ‘Witches Hill’ and the story just grew from there. 

 Jo I can’t wait to read your novel. It sounds fab. I am very much inspired by places. I adore haunted house stories. In the woods where I took my spooky photo there used to be the most magnificent mansion which was destroyed back in 1961. I would walk the dog and wonder to myself, what would the house be like now? Who would live there?  My story practically wrote itself.

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DEIRDRE:

As we know, the publishing world is changing fast and eBooks are now favoured by many readers over print books, but do you have any qualms about being published digitally rather than in print form?

Ah, erm, yes and no. I always wanted the traditional deal, the agent, the book in my hands but I also realised that digital books were really becoming popular and what it boils down to was that I was offered a digital first deal. Which means if the book sells well enough then it will be made available in print format. I am eternally grateful for Anna and Carina for taking a chance on me and I’m extremely glad that I accepted their wonderful offer.

Have you ever seen a ghost?

Yes, I think the white mist thing in the woods was at least one ghost and I’m pretty sure I’ve seen things out of the corner of my eye. I’ve definitely felt and heard things.

 

RACHAEL:

What inspired you to write this story?

The mansion in the woods with no-one to care for it until the council demolished it. It had such an unhappy ending for such a fabulous house.

Which character in the story do you wish you could meet in real life?

I think that would be Alice; the girl needs a great big hug.

What are you currently working on?

The follow up to The Ghost House, which will have all the same characters but a different story.

  

JULIE:

What has been the scariest thing you’ve done in your day job in the police force?

Probably the first day on my job when I didn’t really have a clue what I was doing. I spent the first eight hours a nervous wreck. Obviously I’m an expert now 😉

How will you be spending launch day?

Working. I’m on an early shift. I never thought to book the day off. I’m having a lovely virtual party with all my writeromantics in the evening. I will keep my fingers crossed, finally crack open the bottle of champagne I’ve had chilling in my fridge for the last twelve months and go to bed relishing in my accomplishment.

What plans do you have for promoting ‘The Ghost House’ beyond launch day and how much involvement has your publisher, Carina, had in supporting you in this?

I have made some lovely contacts through my writing and a fair few are hosting me on their blogs. I have done an interview with the local newspaper. Through contacts on Twitter I have had the links to my book retweeted to thousands of people. Fingers crossed some of them may actually buy it.

What do your children think of you becoming a published writer? Have they read ‘The Ghost House’?

My children have all told me they are very proud of me which is lovely. It’s nice to make them proud. None of them have read it; they don’t really read which breaks my heart but they have told me they are going to read it now it’s published.

 

ALEX:

Do you believe in ghosts?

Yes, over the years I’ve experienced some things which have made me believe.

Does working as a police community support officer make it easier to write crime fiction?

Yes, I think so. The main reason I applied for the job was to help with my writing. I wanted to know what it was like in a police station and what the relationships were between everyone who worked there. Plus it’s a big help that I know what it’s like to do hours of H2H or guard murder scenes.

 

JAXX:

Did you plot your story? If so, how and would you do anything differently the next time/have you taken a different approach for book 2?

I did plot it because I really enjoy the plotting part. I don’t think I’d do it differently unless someone could tell me a much better way to do it.

Thank you ladies; I’ve had a great time answering your questions.

 

Thank you Helen for answering our interrogation! I am really looking forward to our virtual party this evening. I’ve never ‘attended’ one of these but will nip out later to get some cake to celebrate. Well, it would be rude not to! I’m also anxious to get reading. The Ghost House is now on my Kindle ready to be started and, although I’m meant to be working on my husband’s accounts this afternoon, I may have to sneak a little reading time!

If you would like to download Helen’s debut novel to your e-reader, here’s a couple of

links, firstly for Kindle and then for Kobo:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Ghost-House-ebook/dp/B00EAPX6HU/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1380574743&sr=1-1&keywords=helen+phifer

http://store.kobobooks.com/en-gb/Search?Query=Helen+Phifer

 

Congratulations, Helen! We’re all bursting with pride and I’m sure there’s going to be a competition out there to see which of The Write Romantics will be the first to read it. My guess is on Helen R in Australia as she’s already messaged us first thing to say she’s reading it. I, sadly, am the world’s slowest reader so I think it may take me a few sittings but I can’t wait to dig in.

Julie xx