Why Christmas starts in early November (and always will).

For the past 14 years (ever since I moved into my own home with my son) our Christmas decs have gone up the first weekend after bonfire night. Purists everywhere are shrieking with horror as I type! 

  
For some reason, I’ve never bothered to explain why. I guess it amuses me that some people react so strongly to something that ultimately has no direct impact on them whatsoever – every year I get responses that vary from the mildly amused, ‘nutter’, to those people who bang on about how it’s ‘just wrong’ (you know who you are ;-)). 

So, my reasons: it’s all about numbers (slightly ironic for an English teacher, I know!). In December, you get three weekends before Christmas. Back in the days where everyone was married and women stayed at home, maybe that was enough to do all the things that people need to do but as a single Mum with a full time job, I quickly realised it wasn’t. 

Things to fit in:

  • Decorate the house. 1 day. It’s great – I make a big deal of this; drink mulled wine, watch A Christmas Carol, have your lovely friend and her kids over for the day.
  • Present shopping. 1 weekend if you’re lucky. 
  • Present wrapping. 1 day (I’m not gifted in the art). 
  • Taking presents around to various friends before the day. Several days depending on who I could afford to buy for that year. 

Now, all of the above could fit into the three weekends of December. It’s a snug fit, but you can do it, just (there’s a reason why Christmas movies always show stressed out parents). However, that means ignoring the fact that December is one of the most fun months on earth. I wanted to fill my December weekends with visits to Santa (Spalding garden centre is hands down winner), trips to see the lights turned on, carol concerts, Christmas festivals in East Carlton park and days with my amazing parents/grandparents. The solution I came up with was to introduce the concept of ChristmasTIME, which begins the weekend after bonfire night with the decs going up. This is a tradition of ours that enabled me to really enjoy everything that Christmas has to offer with my gorgeous boy and has given us some fabulous memories. More important than ever now he is virtually housebound. 

  
At the end of the day, traditions are meant to serve us, not us them. 

So continue to laugh! I don’t care 😁 I will always start my ChristmasTIME in November and everyone else will just have to get over it. 

FREE! All three books, all weekend!

Begin your adventure in Eshla for free this weekend!

FREE! Oct 3rd – 4th

The Lost Heirs is the first of a three part adventure, with something for everyone: time travel, a fantasy world, a touch of steampunk, mystery, friendship and battles.

Eric is fourteen and attends a British boarding school with his best friends: Corbin, Lydia and Rose. Life is pretty average for Eric, until one day he finds himself called into the world of Eshla and presented with a seemingly impossible request. Eric’s humour, and the loyalty of his friends are his greatest weapons – that and a furry blue creature from Eshla with an enormous appetite!

The Second Stone is the second exciting installment in the The Eshlan Adventures.

Having released the youngest of the Arwain princes from his icy prison in the Bel-Arayba cave, Eric, Corbin, Rose and Lydia must return the past once more to search for the next key. The quest presents a number of difficulties: How do you disguise a fluffy blue alien in Victorian England? How do you stop your evil headmaster from ruining your exam grades? How do you live down the humiliation of your whole year group thinking you have a teddy bear in your rucksack? Join Eric as he searches for the answers in the next Eshlan adventure.

The King’s Chamber is the third and final book in the Eshlan trilogy.

Time is running out for Eric and his friends to release the final prince, and true King of Eshla, who is still trapped within his icy blue chamber underground. The lost stone must be found before Lowick Bradwar can return to wreak havoc. Eric, Corbin, Rose and Lydia (and not forgetting Espog) find themselves mingling with polite society in 1795, whilst desperately hunting for the missing key. As they get caught up in the lives of people from the past, the four find themselves beginning to consider their own options, and how Eshla has changed their lives forever.

Musing on marketing

October will be an exciting month! I’m finally starting to write properly again and have twisted my brain back around to marketing the Eshla series. So, the trilogy will be available free for two whole days on the third and the fourth.

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Which means the next two weeks, I’ll be like a headless chicken trying to get all to get all three books advertised as free on as many sites as possible!

I tried a countdown deal before the summer but found it was nowhere near as effective as the free days that Amazon offer. Has anyone had any success with countdown deals, and if so, how did you run them?

It’s tricky, trying to focus your brain on marketing one series, while you’re writing in a completely different genre!

If you do pick up a copy of any of the books free, please help out and leave a review.

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I’m back! New job, new country, new hair colour, new writing project…

It’s been a long and fairly difficult, but also exciting, Summer. I haven’t blogged in ages but I’m back in front of a keyboard once again!

So first, the new family member…

IMG_9533 This is Daisy – I think the expression on her face says it all!

Then the short, dark hair (we won’t mention all the extra pounds, ahem)…

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The new country is Wales! I’ve wanted to live here for years – Land of my Mam and my lovey grandparents.

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But I had no idea how hard it would be to move 200 miles! With a four month hop into rented accomodation in Middleton, after selling my house, I felt as if my whole personality was packed into a cardboard box for most of the summer.

The new job is fantastic, and very exciting. I’m a virtual teacher now for a company called Academy21. They offer schooling for students who cannot access mainstream schools for whatever reason (like my son, with ME). It’s got me really excited to teach again.

Finally, I’m about to start writing my new novel, having researched the life out of the 1920’s! Inspired by my Gran’s antics in London as a housemaid, I am re-imagining her as a Lady’s maid turned sleuth! Much more on this in the following months. Meanwhile, meet my new protaganist (also my real life Gran!), Megan Jones…

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Meanwhile, if anyone out there would be interested in reviewing my children’s books – The Eshla Trilogy – please let me know. I’m happy to send Amazon vouchers to download them on Kindle, or send a pdf if you prefer! Thanks x

Seer!

How lovely to land back in the country and discover that the third book in a great series is available! 

I’ve just brought ‘Seer’ by Amy Reece – a review will be here soon. In the meantime, happy reading everyone!

  Buy here

150 DIY Ways to Market Your Book

This is a pretty comprehensive list! I wonder how many I can tick off before the year is out?

A Writer's Path

Books

I am asked quite often the best ways to market a book. The most frequent questions I get revolve around making it as cheap as possible yet capable of reaching the widest audience. For that, here is a list of 150 DIY ways to market a book. I’ll do another blog post next week with some more marketing options. Stay tuned! And most importantly, put it to use.

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DREAMER RELEASE DAY!!!

Highly recommended series – humour, romance, mystery, danger and the paranormal!

Amy Reece

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I’m thrilled to announce the release of the second book in The Seeker Series!

Meet Ally Moran, a 17 year-old who also happens to be psychic. Oh, and she’s getting more psychic with every passing day, so much so that she’s been sent to Ireland to check in with the Seer Council to see what’s up with her freaky new powers.

Jack Ruiz is her 19 year-old boyfriend, a former troublemaker who’s back on track and trying desperately to graduate. His plans did not include falling in love with a psychic trouble-magnet.

Last month they worked together to save a friend in deep trouble and ended up solving a school-wide mystery. But now there’s a new guy at school, Remy Giles, and he seems just a little bit too interested in Ally for Jack’s liking. And why does Ally keep dreaming about a kidnapping? Last month seems like a cakewalk…

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Powering a Planet!

One of the most enjoyable aspects of creating Eshla was deciding what was going to make the world tick! This type of creative writing is quite unique to fantasy/sci-fi writing and I wanted to take full advantage of it.

Firstly, it was important that Eshla was sustainable. I didn’t see it as a smoky industrial world, but I didn’t want something that felt medieval either. The challenge was; how can I create a technologically advanced civilisation without destroying its natural resources? The answer was to create a kingdom where the humans worked alongside the flora, utilising their natural resources in a way that didn’t destroy or over-use them. Here are some of the special plants that Eric came across:

Ignis – The leaves of the Ignis plant, when pulverised, create a tremendous heat which is carried around rooms by pipes under the floor and blasted out into the air via the trumpet. The crushing process releases pollen which is pushed up and out of the castle via the main duct. The wind catches it and carries it back to Jarmuthe where it takes seed and grows more Ignis.

Goleuni flowers – They give off a strong golden glow that can be used in the same way as an electric light

Hedfan – Little blue flowers that are always trying to fly away, unless cold air is blasted on them, in which case they close. These were used by the inventor Drake Owren to power flying ships

Buwun – Legend has it the Buwun tree was the first plant on Eshla. They grow mainly in Cedwigod and supply light and energy throughout the forest region, via luminous green tendrils which stretch out for miles.

Cufithum – A plant with pollen that has a direct impact on a person’s auditory senses, enabling them to hear whatever language is being spoken, translated into their own tongue.

Gats stones – Possibly the most important natural resource on Eshla, thanks to the Bradwar family. Gats is used to stop evil tyrants from controlling people’s minds with Bel-Arayba stones.  It is created when you smelt down Bel-Arayba and mix it with Meddul soil. This scrambles the mind-controlling Mennif rays and makes them completely useless.

Kussgull – A flower which grows in Jarmuthe. In powder form, it sends people to sleep almost instantly for at least eight hours. Great for sneak attacks!

A Busgot – A large see through leaf used in fishing. You hold it in the water and when you see a fish swim under the leaf, pull hard on the stem. The Busgot curls up and traps the fish which you can then pull out.

Gwella – A fantastic healing plant, which sends the patient to sleep while their wounds heal.

There are a lot more plants and natural resources on Eshla to discover – you’ll have to read the books to learn about them all!

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Reviewers urgently needed! 

It’s an eternal problem for authors – how to get people to review your books! Most people just don’t realise what a difference it makes. 

Now I have three books out, it’s even harder – if I want someone to review book three, I’m asking them to read three whole novels! I have 17 reviews for The Lost Heirs, 4 for The Second Stone and none yet for The King’s Chamber. 

So, if anyone out there would be willing to read and post reviews for the trilogy, I’ll love you forever 😁 

I can send the books in a pdf format, or send an Amazon gift card so you can buy the kindle edition, or even post you a paperback copy if you prefer?

Thanks! From a struggling author xx