I know it may seem like ages away, but it’s never too early to pre-order books. Check out what I’ve got on offer, although there will be many more titles added to this list before next year… pre-order books for Leeds
There’s more than a slim chance I will be putting together another charity anthology for what promises to be, once again, a fabulous Hourglass Event. Put it in your diaries!
I am pleased and excited to announce that I’ll be attending the Leeds Signing Event on March 3rd next year. That’s a Saturday! So put it into your calendars and be there.
As you can see there are lots of authors signing on the day and there will probably be some even attending as readers – so do not miss out! There is also a 1920s themed ball in the evening, which all being well, I will be attending.
I am super excited to be working with the enthusiastic ladies behind Hourglass, which is the team behind this event and two events I attended previously (Peterborough 2015 and Leeds 2016).
To find out more about the 2018 event and buy tickets, click here.
To pre-order my books so you can avoid disappointment on the day, visit this form and fill out your requirements: click here.
Please be advised I expect to publish a few more books between now and then but I will let you know as and when they become available on the form.
Let me first start by saying that the run-up to this event was an exhausting ordeal in itself (for me and no doubt many others, including the organisers).
For more than a month prior to the signing I was running a blog tour. Every day I featured a different writer (most signing at Leeds, some not). The blog tour meant quickly collecting everyone’s words and putting them into blog posts vaguely resembling the same sort of format! That was time out of my own routine, as was formatting the blogs into what became a special paperback produced in honour of this signing.
With busy periods in your life comes the slump afterwards when you’re left wondering – what next? In quick succession, I recently finished a novel. Finished the blog tour. Edited someone’s memoirs for them. Then prepared for a book signing. It’s all been a total mind fuck.
In the run-up to a signing, your finger constantly hovers over the re-order button on all the sites you’ve bought books, bookmarks, posters and merchandise from. You’re in a perpetual state of thinking, Have I bought enough? Have I done enough? It is absolute madness. You get to the point where you become at one with everything and if you haven’t got it, tough shit.
So, the run-up to these things is crazy. The day itself is crazy. The aftermath is like venturing to Hell’s Mouth and teetering on the edge for days on end. I’ve been sat here sort of laughing and cackling to myself, randomly recalling moments I’d almost forgotten about. Hubby sits next to me with a wry smile, just knowing I’m running it all through my head again and storing it in the long-term data banks.
Last year when I did my first signing in Peterborough, I could barely stomach my breakfast. This year I managed a few things for breakfast because I knew what to expect and I was glad I had some food in me because it was non-stop all day long. I barely had time to breathe, I don’t think anyone did. I must have dropped about half a stone in one day from nervous excitement, the air-con and generally having to concentrate and sound lucid! LOL.
On Saturday there were few moments to stop and think and it’s why the aftermath is always so bittersweet. These events are so treasured and so overwhelming that afterwards, you wish you had done this, that or the other. All I can comfort myself with is the fact that there will be more signings. Here’s just a few of the things (however) which particularly made Leeds special for me (these might not come to me in the same order of the day’s timeline):
I was placed in a Ham and James-Marlow sandwich. Otherwise known as sitting between Lisa Fulham and the delectable duo Victoria L James and Francesca Marlow. I like to think of James-Marlow as being like a delightful salad relish with a dash of bourbon! It was great to be able to sneak a glance at what was going on at the tables around me. Victoria’s mum holding a glass of wine… a very LARGE glass I may add. Go on my love! Victoria was completely overwhelmed by the whole experience, as were many other debut signers. Nothing quite compares to your first time and realising that actually, yes, people really do love your work. For every troll out there wanting to pull you down, there are dozens of people clambering to get a piece of you – people who love reading and totally get what self-published authors are trying to do. Indie books have more of the soul, less of the polish that strips out what makes each author individual, and I love that. I think many people do. As for Lisa “Manchester” Fulham, I only have to look over at her and smile and we just know what the other is thinking!
Dented bottles! Yes, I became obsessed with a dented wine bottle after I partook of one glass of wine during the signing. I think it went straight to my head…! 😉
“They Say I’m Doing Well” was a huge hit, the charity anthology I led, alongside 28 other authors. It was wonderful to see so many people holding their copies and trying to get them signed by all the authors in attendance who’d participated. Like I say, in the run-up to this signing I’d been pedal to the metal with this project but the messages from people who really got what this blog tour/book were all about really made it all so worthwhile. I can’t tell you what a privilege it is to do what I do. In my day job, I help people get published. It’s a dream. I will always consider this a privilege. It’s special. It’s not even work for me. For people to congratulate me on standing up for mental illness seems bizarre. It’s something I feel necessary to do, not even that, but a natural urge. It’s not brave, but normal, to talk about things. That’s all. And yet the interest I am getting in this project is gathering pace on a daily basis. I am not kidding you!!!!
NooNoo’s shaking on the dancefloor. She really can drop to the floor as well!! Louise White is my favourite blogger. She rocks. Despite the broken zip, well… you had THE GLOVES so it didn’t matter. I hold you responsible for me writing Tainted Lovers because you mentioned there weren’t enough novels around about married couples…
Seeing Rachel and Jo, the Hourglass ladies, tear up as they were presented with a card and presents at the end of the day was like watching all their tension slide away in one fell swoop as they suddenly realised “we did good”. It was amazing. Pats on the back darlings. We’re one crazy group of authors. I never doubted Jo and Rach for a moment.
Having authors like Charming Man and Anna-Maria Anthanasiou, EJ Shortall, Lavinia Urban, Rebecca Sherwin, Cameron Lincoln (I know your real name, I know your name – sang to the Casino Royale theme tune) and so many others know your face. It’s truly a bizarre thing to be recognised.
The whole day felt nicely spread out and nobody had to wait for too long, everyone had a great spread of visitors to their table. I remember looking over at Scarlett Flame and Neil Winnington who were both loving it. I couldn’t take my eyes off Scarlett’s steampunk outfit (HA HA, Scarlett).
The BAD, BAD, BAD Dad dancing at the masquerade ball. IT WAS BAD. LOL.
Rachel falling over in her huge ball dress. It had to happen and it did. Shame nobody had their phone out at the time.
Victoria L James break dancing in a pretty red dress. I’m sure I was seeing things!
Ms. James and me
Ms. Marlow and me
Few bits of swag…
A big group of authors and editors with green screen!
However, the moment of the day has to be this:
My husband (who was in and out all day) was walking in through the hotel’s revolving doors when he overheard two women stood outside, deep in conversation. He overheard, “EL James is okay, but the thing about Sarah Michelle Lynch is you can actually relate to her characters.”
My husband’s gob was smacked big style. I don’t think I can convey how proud he is of me on a normal day, let alone that day. I actually thought he was kidding me when he told me this. He waited until after the signing to tell me. I thought he was lying. I thought it was just a joke. IT WASN’T. *sniggers* When it sank in, I had a little cry and he reminded me of all the stuff he constantly reminds me of that keeps me going. Somehow, I am reaching people. I think of myself as like the Reliant Robin of social media management but obviously I’m not doing too badly! LOL. (I still think my husband is lying!!!)
My thanks go to Rachel Hague, my “date” for the ball. Your stamina astounded me. You got round every single table. I will forever remember you as the first person to hit my table at my very first signing last year. We ❤ Lottie.
Thanks to Michaela – she bought so many books! Girl loves her some books.
EJ Shortall – it shocked and awed me when you said you read AA before you became an author yourself. Just wow.
My thanks also go to everyone aforementioned, as well as each and every author who participated in “They Say I’m Doing Well” – and for Jo and Rach supporting the idea.
Thanks to everyone who came to my table, new or old readers or general enquirers, you are all appreciated. I think I sold a fair few copies of the Sub Rosa trilogy to some mature ladies who have still got it in them. Wa-hey. That rocked my world. I sell quite a few ebooks every month but in one day on Saturday, I sold dozens of paperbacks which doesn’t often happen and left me made up.
As for what’s next? I am DYING to get back to writing, which I haven’t done much of so far this year. However, at this moment in time, I really do think it might be time to put my feet up a moment and reflect, digest and bask in the warm glow of such a great day.
I do however have a new notebook…
p.s. if you got some pics with me on the day, tag me in them because I barely got a sausage 😥
On March 5th, I will be signing books, swag, breasts, shoulders, more books and photobooks (anything with a space really)… and I will be in very good company alongside 60+ other authors:
This event is a chance for authors, bloggers, readers and the book community as a whole to come together and support one another, celebrate their love of books, meet and greet, put names to faces… the list is endless. Unless you’ve been to one of these events, you can’t really fathom how invaluable an event like this is. Most of us sit behind a PC, a tablet or a phone in most of our communications with readers, so this is a rare and much-looked-forward to time for togetherness.
When I found out that Hourglass Events aka Jo and Rachel, who have organised this signing, had chosen to support Mind with this upcoming signing event in Leeds, it triggered something for me – because awareness of mental health issues is something I feel very strongly about. While my sister ran the Great North Run to support Mind, this is my little way of supporting the charity as I work in conjunction with Hourglass Events to bring you this Blog Tour.
Mind works with all kinds of official bodies to ensure that people in the UK with mental health problems get the help and support they need. You only need to visit their website to see the resources and information they offer. What they do is invaluable and like any other charity, donations are always welcomed and are in fact – necessary.
How many people do you know who’ve:
Been put on a waiting list for counselling or other therapies;
Haven’t found counselling has helped and haven’t known where to turn afterwards;
Have been refused emergency help from their local authority. This happened at a hospital near me recently – resulting in the tragic death of one young woman.
Mind works to ensure nobody faces a mental health issue alone, working with local authorities to ensure everyone with a mental health problem gets the correct support and advice they might desperately need.
However, while raising money for Mind is important, raising awareness is something we can all take part in – so this is why I bring you this blog tour in conjunction with this brilliant author event.
Twenty-nine authors will bring you words each day in the month of February. Authors well-known and lesser-known will bring you inspiring, emotive, often realistic insights in the form of poetry, short stories, articles – all containing just one universal sentence:
This is not an event dictated by mental illness. Our authors talk about being human and recognising we all have issues. Most of us have either experienced a mental health problem at some point or know of someone who has. Among the madness of our busy lives, remaining aware is very important. Some of us have stories of triumph and understanding that can help other people through their own struggles. Some of us have words that might touch other people, letting them know they are really not alone in their thoughts, feelings or ideas.
Many of these authors are attending the Leeds Author Event 2016 and on the day of the signing, there will be raffled prizes up for grabs with proceeds of the raffle(s) going to Mind.
BEFORE MARCH HOWEVER… and throughout the month of February, many of the authors (above) will be offering giveaways as part of the blog tour so please join the tour, share your own experiences and stay tuned…
This will be a rather self-indulgent blog post and I will not apologise for this! LOL.
It was around a year ago (I think) that I agreed to attend this event thinking, it’s ages away, it’ll be a laugh, yet as the day approached I realised I had no idea what I had got myself into! I had to get serious all of a sudden. I needed stuff to take with me for a start and trust my luck, some of my recent novels didn’t arrive through the post on time, including a batch of Unbinds – and I still don’t know where the shipment is!
On the morning of the event, I suddenly felt a little bit sick. I was reminded of the morning of my wedding when I stepped into the shower and vomited into my hand just because so much preparation had gone into that one day. Anyway, on March 14th I was thankfully not sick but I only managed a pot of tea and a miniature patisserie at my hotel before we had to make the walk to another hotel down the road, where said author signing was taking place. Once inside the Great Northern in Peterborough, I was greeted by chaos and activity and the nerves disappeared because it was time to get on with it all!
The first girl to my table told me she thought A Fine Profession was amazing and refreshing, she really liked it, and she bought a copy of A Fine Pursuit there and then. Great start, right! While sat at our table, my hub and I got to talking about my back catalogue and his favourite of the bunch remains A Fine Pursuit. I asked why and he said the psychology and the challenge of unpicking a character as interesting as Noah Yeardley. Anyway, (I did mention this would be a self-indulgent post, but I’m feeling a rare sense of pride right now), yet more people came to my table either just to chat, have me sign books, take swag or whatever. I was just happy people were approaching me!
I was shocked when one lady had one of my protagonists’ names printed on her t-shirt. O.M.G. Feckin’ fab. Said lady was very nice, asked for my picture with her, and mentioned she’d endeavoured to work her way through a book from each of the authors attending which was no easy job, given there were 30+ authors at said event. Not only romance authors but crime, horror and all kinds in between.
I was also blown away when quite a few people produced photo books with a page dedicated to each author, book covers on show and some quotes too! It’s at that point I realised that people have access to me and not only that, they’re interested too and want to make me a part of their community. Most of the time, authors sit at a laptop with only their own company because that’s the life of an author. Or so it always seemed to me!
Anyway like I said, I had no expectations of this event and it was my first big event, so I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I certainly felt a bit more assured than I did when I did my first library talk a couple of years ago, and certainly more assured than when I did a writers’ group talk last year and a book club one too – and I’ll tell you why! Last Saturday I was actually in the company of other authors who’ve also taken the step, as I have, to either self-publish or publish their work and ‘put themselves out there’. It’s really not something I did lightly and I know most other Indies like me didn’t take that step lightly either. To have that camaraderie is amazing, regardless of which route in publishing you’ve taken.
The overall feeling I took away from Peterborough was that most people want to read and most people want to write for all the right reasons. Everyone was so supportive and gracious of one another. The people I spoke to were more than aware how hard it is to get a footing in the writing world and yet we all do it for the love of words. Everyone I spoke to that day was genuinely passionate about books! They’re the best people in my eyes!
It was refreshing to step away from my laptop for a day or two and actually reflect on everything I’ve achieved so far. I think a lot of writers forget to reflect because we live in such a fast-paced world and hardly have time to draw breath! Sometimes we just have ideas we have to pursue and the world moves around us as we dedicate ourselves to writing a book, which is a risk and a sacrifice, but never not worth it (as I’ve come to realise).
Some readers told me they absolutely got one book of mine and others told me they got another. From my point of view, all I’m ever working with is the fact I know I can write and if I get an idea then great, I follow it. I write it and hope someone gets it. That’s all I do, because I love writing SO much. So when a person came to my table and said one of my books was their favourite last year, I was like WOW. Total bonus. One hundred thousand per cent bonus.
The thing with events like signings or whatever is the fear that you won’t get to speak to everyone for long enough or you forget to thank people, forget to meet everyone. I didn’t get round everyone because there were so many authors but there were some people I don’t think I will ever forget! I took away the feeling that it’s not always important to conquer the world, but to own what you do and really stand proud and represent that thing you do, whether it be as an author or as a reader or blogger or whomever or whatever your vocation in life is. Just own whatever it is you do well and be proud of your niche, because variety is what keeps the world evolving and without that, we really wouldn’t ever have change and that’s what I strive for all the time. Change might lead to something new and exciting.
After the books were signed that day and the banners and swag and tins of sweets put away, we sat down for a dinner and ball and that was when the day really got started for me. Speaking to one woman on my table, she asked me which is the book I’ve written that I believe in most. She also asked which book did I enjoy writing the most. I still say the book I enjoyed writing the most was Angel Avenue and I don’t think my opinion on that will ever change. I also happen to believe in that one the most. I explained to this lady that it’s a book some people just don’t get for whatever reason but I tried to tell her that sometimes it’s not about understanding everything in a book, it’s about how that book makes us feel about characters. I personally love books where you can read between the lines and take a moral away with you or just a feeling of thankfulness for everything we have in our own lives. I’ve written some pretty erotic stuff in the past, involving whips, chains, belts, dildos, you name it – I’ve never been shy of exploring all that. Human sexuality is the single most written-about thing on the planet. Yet despite all those other erotic books I’ve written, I still feel such a powerful, deep, not even sentimental but overawed emotion whenever I go back and pick up Angel Avenue and Warrick Jones (the guy printed on that lady’s t-shirt). He is the one male character I’ve written that I still think about. I’ll love him forever. So as we sat at that table, said lady clicked a few buttons on her phone and downloaded that book. That’s the world we live in now. Convenience. Expectation. Volume. Ease of access. Standing out in the crowd will never be easy because of this mass outpouring of creativity. It’s a blessing and a curse that anyone can publish relatively easily now. However, this particular author event proved to me that the people who succeed and the ones who remain authentic and original are the people who never sacrifice who they are and now I am glad to say I know some of those people personally! Passion really translates – and it really sells!
Far be it from me to reveal what us authors got up to later on in the night but the night owls amongst us who didn’t get to bed before 2.30a.m. laughed our socks off so much, we’re still talking about this and will be for months to come! A sign of a truly nourishing and fulfilling day! Amen to the organisers Hourglass Events and Orchard Book Club. They did a fantastic job, made a lot of authors realise they’re not alone in their fears, aspirations, dreams and endeavours… and more importantly we’ll all be back!
Many of us have signing hangovers for a number of reasons and I know I’m itching to meet people all over again very soon! Roll on Leeds 2016!
On a side note, I want to ask anyone who has enjoyed my books to please, please review them! Many people tell me they’ve loved my work and I just don’t see this love reflected on Amazon or Goodreads. Please do me the honour of just writing a line or two of review. It makes all the difference. It’s easy to read a book and leave it there, I am also guilty of this, but I try to review whenever I get chance. It not only helps other readers make a decision about their purchase but also drives more clicks to our pages and therefore hopefully more sales and hopefully more happy readers! Please review today and make everyone happy! Thank you!