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Posts Tagged ‘Publicity’

 

Well, that was a week! Instead of walking my dog over Welsh hillsides, I was pounding the streets of London and attending a book launch in Daunt’s of Marylebone for Trisha Ashley’s ‘The Little Teashop of Lost and Found‘.

Trisha with author Elizabeth Heery and her husband Peter Davison

 

 

Trisha with writing tutor and Choc Lit author, Margaret James

I loved the launch, and meeting up again with old friends (more of which later, as it deserves a blog post all of its own). Having lived for nearly ten years in London, it was also a real buzz to sneak off on a dog-free adventure as a proper tourist.

My first stop was Piccadilly Circus, and a location of one of the tearooms my characters in ‘The White Camellia’ pass by on their way to the less grand Alan’s Tearooms in Oxford Street. Alan’s Tearooms no longer exist, but the Criterion is still there at Piccadilly, looking as magnificent as I remember it. Sadly, I did not venture inside for afternoon tea – maybe one day!

Seeing the Criterion reminded me again of the restrictions placed on young Victorian and Edwardian women, like my heroine Bea, which meant that it could be scandalous just to walk alone on the streets in broad daylight without a male or family member in charge. It made me even more thankful for the brave women of the suffrage movement who, long before the suffragettes (and even before such women had any legal existence of their own), met in tearooms to battle the government of the day for the freedoms I have taken so much for granted all of my life.

It gave an added zest to a sunny day visiting old haunts, and being a proper tourist, complete with boat ride up the river from Tower Bridge to Westminster, free to do as I wished, before meeting up with friends in the evening.

I loved being back in London on a sunny spring day, with the parks bursting with flowers and tourists enjoying the sights. Much as I love my little cottage tucked away on a hillside in Snowdonia, it was good to get back to the rush and bustle of the city. It gave me perspective on the book I’m writing (relax, don’t try so hard, you can do this!), and reminded me that it’s possible to be equally in love with dark-sky nights filled with stars and the bright lights of the city, with the peace of the countryside and a small, close-knit community, and with city life.

No wonder London always creeps its way into my books somewhere! I’m now once again in my little cottage, pounding the keys, with my dog impatient for the morning walk over the hillsides.

But London is not so very far away, just a few hours by train. I shall be back!

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Portmeirion Wilderness

The Wilderness in Portmeirion

 

And so the end of the year has arrived.

 

Dolbadarn Castle with Snowdon behind

Dolbadarn Castle beneath Snowdon

The end of the ancient Celtic year, that is. Samhain was the end of the agricultural year, when the harvest was in and secured for the winter ahead. A time to relax after months of hard physical work. A time to celebrate, but also to pause and reflect. To take stock and prepare for the new year ahead. It was also a time when the barrier between the living and the dead thinned, allowing the loved, who are always with us, creep in around the fire to join their families once more.

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An autumn walk in Snowdonia

 I love this time of year, with its soft light and vibrant colours, with its fragility and sense of urgency. With its call to enjoy every moment of warmth and sunshine before the dark cold of winter really sets in. And it’s still a lovely time to reflect and plan before the serious partying of Christmas and New Year begins. So I’ve been tidying up my garden, preparing it for next year, enjoying the sun and walks amongst the changing scenery.


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Portmeirion at night

It’s been quite a year, with the publication of ‘We That are Left’ and ‘Eden’s Garden’ becoming a finalist for ‘The People’s Book Prize’, followed by the excitement of the Kindle version of both novels reaching the top 5 in the Amazon Kindle store. I’ve celebrated with finally getting my poor neglected garden under control, and a visit to Portmeirion to spend time with my lovely American author friend, Nadine Feldman and her husband.

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Portmeirion at night

Portmeirion is always a magical place to stay, with its eccentricity and sheer love of life. I’ve come back refreshed, reinvigorated and ready to get back down to the next book – and the unknown adventure that awaits next year.

For Samhain and Halloween I shall light my candle in memory of all those who are still with me, and take a last look back over the fading year, and huddle round the fire to prepare for the unknown year ahead – undoubtedly with a dram or so of sloe gin once the Christmas season arrives!

Happy Halloween!

 

 

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Juliet at Hintons

 

I have to confess I was a little nervous before my talk about the Women of WW1 at Conwy’s lovely new bookshop, ‘Hinton’s of Conwy’. I’ve been busy concentrating on writing up to now, but I’d learnt so much while I was researching for ‘We That are Left’ that I was eager to share it. So off I went, armed with my WW1 poppy seed cake (what else), telling myself that it was a lovely sunny evening and no one would turn up, having sloped off to the beach instead, and I’d just be sitting there with a few friends eating cake.

Hintons of Conwy

How wrong could I be! The quiet room beneath the bookshop was packed full when I finally stood up to speak. Which was great – but did give me a brief impulse to run away! Thankfully one of the advantages of my (very brief) career as a teacher is that there’s nothing quite as scary as 30 disengaged 13 year olds on a Friday afternoon.

It’s the funny thing about research. You do so much of it, and then have to throw it to the back of your mind and hope it comes through and you get the details right. When I started researching, I came across so many things that women did, many of which were famous at the time, but have now been forgotten. They are simply not part of the familiar narrative of the war.

After the first few minutes, passion took over, and it was a great experience to be able to share so many of the roles women played, both on the front line and at home and for which there had been no time or space in the novel. I’d no idea before I began my research that women drove Layout 1ambulances, set up soup kitchens on the front line, ran their own field hospitals, and picked up bodies from no man’s land between battles. It’s a different aspect of the war. At times it’s completely incongruous, and unthinkable in later conflicts, such as the Duchess of Sutherland handing in her card to German officers, and demanding answers about the conditions of British prisoners of war.

So thank you to everyone who turned up to listen. It was great to see a packed house, and to have such a fascinating discussion afterwards about the forgotten role of the brave and resourceful women of WW1.

I’m definitely fired up to do more!

 

Hintons

On the way back, I stopped at Llanfairfechan beach, to one of the most glorious sunsets I’ve ever seen. It was quiet and peaceful, with people just enjoying the evening. A great antidote to reliving the horrors of the First World War.

 

Lighthouse puffin island

And when I got home – well, I’d left ‘Eden’s Garden’ climbing the ranks as part of being the Kindle Daily Deal for that day. After the surprise of ‘We That are Left’ getting to number 4 in the kindle store a few weeks ago, I’d been determined not to get excited. This was an older book, one that had been in a promotion before.

And yet there it was, number 6 when I got home. Number 5 when I woke up the next morning.

Now that was a day to remember!

Eden's Garden 5 in Kindle Store 2

 

Number 1 historical Full price June 2014

Eden's Garden 5 in Kindle Store June 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

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we that are left draft 6aug13 smWhen I began creating a book trailer for ‘We That Are Left’, just after Christmas, I thought it was going to be relatively easy.

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In Glynllifon’s grounds

After all, I have iMovie (which makes creating a video as easy as falling off a log, which is my kind of easy), and I cut my teeth on my trailer for my first book for Honno Press, Eden’s Garden. I’d done all the hair pulling out and cursing and wishing computer programs (yes, even you, my beloved iMovie) had better instructions. Well, actually, INSTRUCTIONS, might be a good start. Hey ho.

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In front of Glynllifon house

Luckily, I remembered most of the technical stuff. Even the Ken Burns effect, which still leaves me amazed. And slightly befuddled, but luckily it seems to just work, whatever you do to it.

This time, it was what to put in the trailer that had me scratching my head. Eden’s Garden is about gardens, and I love gardens. I had photographs I’d taken of the main garden inspiration. This time it was about The Great War.

I’d originally been planning to use stock photographs from the war, but I could find very few, and the ones I liked I discovered, with further investigation, I could not use. Or I wasn’t quite sure if I could use, and so felt nervous about using them, if you see what I mean. Particularly in the year of the centenary, the First World War feels a very public event.

So in the end I returned to my own photographs to create the impression I was looking for, with a bit of tweaking of colours, a few effects and a liberal use of sepia to give an aged look. A visit to Glynllifon gave me many of the images, as did my own beautiful washstand that I use as a kitchen unit. My first attempt was lacking in faces and people. I had a look again for photographs of the time, but ended up just as confused by the permissions.

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The original photograph

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With a bit of tweaking (thank goodness for the sepia effect!)

Then I remembered a magical walk in the deep snow last year with a friend who was wearing a beautiful old coat (we hadn’t planned to go that far, but had been entranced by the falling snow and the Narnia effect). And there it was.

I was very lucky to have original music from Silvarco’, a Welsh musician who writes progressive and experimental folk music.  I’d fallen in love with ‘Reverence’ the moment I heard it. Having original music is a real pleasure and a privilege. You can download the track of  ‘Reverence’ here.

In the end, I loved creating the trailer, just as much as I had done the one for Eden’s Garden. And okay, if I had the chance to have a professional trailer like the one for Kate Morton’s ‘The Distant Hours’ , which is my favourite of all time, I’d jump at it. But then I might not have had half so much fun and or the sense of satisfaction when finally (after much tweaking and more than a little cursing) my book trailer for ‘We That are Left’ was born.

You can watch the video by clicking on the picture below from the magical walk in the snow with my friend Jan, who helped me find so many of the recipes for ‘We That Are Left’, as well as playing a role in the trailer.  (Beware an author with a camera …..) 🙂

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Enjoy!

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I’ve had a nice write-up in the local paper this week.

Bangor and Anglesey Mail 23rd October 2013

Okay, so the Bangor and Anglesey Mail isn’t exactly world wide coverage, but I know it’s some of the best publicity I can have. I’m always surprised at how many people have read (and remember!) even the smallest bit of information about me that finds its way in there.  I always think I lead this quiet, slightly eccentric, hermit life, quite forgetting I’ve lived and worked all over the North Wales coast for more than twenty years. In small communities like these, it’s surprising just how many people know me, or know of me.  And because I am local, I’m flying the flag for local pride, too. So even those who don’t know me are rooting for me.

I still have this faint (but excruciating) feeling that I’m boasting and everyone’s going to run a mile. But of course local papers love stories, and especially good news stories. It was something I learnt when I was running a small charity. It was easier then, because it wasn’t directly about me, but I’ve learnt to apply it to publicising my books. It’s a fair exchange. I send in an article, with a selection of photographs, the reporter has an easy life and something good to put in the paper. Plus you make sure you get all the facts right. Everyone is happy.

So hurrah for local reporters and local papers!

TPBPPostersml

And while I’m being shameless, if you would like to vote for Eden’s Garden in The People’s Book Prize, please vote here: 

Thank You!

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GUEST BLOG POST FROM CAROL HEDGES, AUTHOR OF ‘JIGSAW PIECES’

Today, I’m pleased and delighted to welcome Carol Hedges as my Guest Blogger. Carol is the  the successful author of 11 books for children and YA, and her  writing has received much critical acclaim. Her YA book ‘Jigsaw Pieces’ has recently been released as an e-book. Carol has a BA (Hons) in English and Archaeology. She has worked variously as a librarian, a children’s clothes designer, a dinner lady, a classroom assistant at a special needs school, and a teacher. She has one grown up daughter, a husband, a pink 2CV, (Pink 2CV envy here!) 2 cats and a lot of fish.

Over to you, Carol!

First, I’d like to thank Juliet for her generosity in allowing me loose on her blog. I promise I will be on my best behaviour, and not spill cake crumbs everywhere. Well, I’ll try.

I write YA fiction, probably because I work with teenagers. When you spend all day in the company of 16 -18 year olds, they kind of permeate your brain, and then sift into your writing. I love them dearly – funny, heartbreakingly honest, they never fail to surprise.

 

Jigsaw Pieces, my first ebook, is so chockfull of personal stuff that I had to put the line “Not all the characters and events in this story are fictitious” at the beginning. The inner story tells of the suicide of a 16 year old boy, and the determination of two fellow students to unravel the events that lead up to his death.

I was on my first teaching practice when a similar event took place. I remember clearly what it was like as the news spread round the school. When you read the first few chapters of Jigsaw Pieces, you are experiencing exactly what I felt and saw. Maybe you think this is not a subject for a novel, but I have had a lot of feedback indicating that sadly, it happens far more than people realise.

The story is narrated by 18 year old Annie, a feisty, trenchant observer of life. She is a mash-up of numerous teenage girls I taught over the years. I decided to give her a Norwegian background as it resonates with the current interest in ‘Scandi-crime’, and accentuates her outsider status amongst her contemporaries – something I experienced myself, growing up in the 1950’s and 60’s as the daughter of German Jewish parents.

Finally, one of my favourite teaching topics is the First World War poets. I never fail to be moved by the tragic waste of young lives. The opportunity to turn myself into a First World War poet was therefore irresistible – and so I became (spoiler alert) Noel Clarke, the haunted young poet who dies, age 19. I wrote all the poems too.

I uploaded Jigsaw Pieces at the beginning of August. It has some 5 star reviews, and I am thoroughly enjoying meeting loads of lovely people, like you, as I go round blogging about it.

JIGSAW PIECES:

‘He had been part of my everyday life. I hadn’t liked him much, nobody had liked him much, but he’d been there. Now, I’d never see him again.’

Annie Skjaerstad had been searching for her identity since being uprooted from her native country of Norway. With a spiky personality winning her no friends, and family members suddenly torn out of her life, she is left seeking comfort from a growing intrigue into the stories of fallen war heroes.

But one day, a boy from her school unexpectedly commits suicide, changing things forever. Confused by the tragic tale of someone she knew, Annie soon finds herself conducting her own investigation into his death. 

What she uncovers will bring her to a dark and dangerous place, as suddenly – her own life is put at risk.

A tense, coming of age crime thriller by the author of ‘Dead Man Talking’.

You can download a copy of ‘Jigsaw Pieces’  here

You  follow Carol at her blog: http://carolhedges.blogspot.co.uk/

Or on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/carol.hedges.779?ref=ts

Twitter @carolJhedges

http://www.Facebook Carol Hedges;

www. Shewrites.com (American).

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The Kindle edition of Eden’s Garden is now up! Hurrah!

And I’ve been tagged by brilliant and thoughtful book-blogger and author Claire McAlpine  of the ‘Word by Word’ blog, as part of the ‘Be Inspired’ blog hop. Thank you Claire! And thank you again for your wonderful review of Eden’s Garden.

To take part in the blog hop, I need to send a link back to my proposer (thank you Claire!) and then answer the following questions. Once answered, I need to tag five people to answer the questions, which don’t need to be the same, but must be about the writer’s book. And then I mustn’t forget to put the links to their blogs so everyone can hop over and see their answers.

Here we go:

Questions:

1. What is the name of your book?

Eden’s Garden’

2. Where did the idea for your book come from?

One inspiration is Brondanw Gardens in Snowdonia, which was the home of Clough Williams-Ellis, who built nearby Portmeirion. Part of it feels quite forlorn, 

but with some wonderfully quirky touches.


The other inspiration was a Celtic myth of a woman created out of flowers to be a perfect wife. It all ends in tears, of course, and the woman is stripped of her youthful beauty and ba

nished. But supposing that is only the beginning of her story …..

3. In what genre would you classify your book?

It’s a time-slip. Part of the story is set now and part in Victorian times.

4. If you had to pick actors to play your characters in a movie rendition, who would you choose?

I’d chose British actor Sam West to play the Victorian hero. His voice alone is beautiful. I could sit and listen to it for hours…… 

5. Give us a one-sentence synopsis of your book.

Two women a century apart struggle with love, family duty, long buried secrets, and their own creative ambitions.

6. Is your book already published/represented?

Eden’s Garden was published by the small but mighty Honno Press in March 2012,and was the Welsh Books Council ‘Welsh Book of the Month’ for May.

7. How long did it take you to write your book?

The first idea came about 6 years ago. I worked on it on an off between other projects, always trying to find the right form for the story I wanted to tell and never quite getting there. I sent an earlier version to Honno, the Welsh Women’s Press, a couple of years ago. They didn’t accept it straight away, but they gave me a chance to work with one of their editors. That year was one of the most intensive learning curves of my life, and that’s when the book really came together.

 8. What other books within your genre would you compare it to? Or, readers of which books would enjoy yours?

I think readers of Kate Morton’s time-slip books like ‘The House at Riverton’ would enjoy ‘Eden’s Garden’, and anyone who enjoys Adele Geras’ novels like ‘Facing the Light’.

 9. Which authors inspired you to write this book?

I have always loved Dickens, Elisabeth Gaskell and the Brontes. They were all an inspiration for the Victorian strand of the novel. I also love Sarah Waters’ books and Rosamund Pilcher’s ‘The Shell Seekers’.

10. Tell us anything that might pique our interest in your book.

More than a hundred years ago Ann left a trail
 through London, Cornwall and Wales that now leads Carys on a tantalising and 
increasingly shocking search for the truth…

Margaret James of ‘Writing Magazine’ called Eden’s Garden: ‘A great romantic read and also a very atmospheric, ingenious mystery.’ 

Intrigued? Then you can read the first chapters here: 

And so to the people I have tagged to answer the questions:

1. What is the name of your book?

2. Where did the idea for your book come from?

3. In what genre would you classify your book?

4. If you had to pick actors to play your characters in a movie rendition, who would you choose?

5. Give us a one-sentence synopsis of your book.

6. Is your book already published/represented?

7. How long did it take you to write your book?

8. What other books within your genre would you compare it to? Or, readers of which books would enjoy yours?

9. Which authors inspired you to write this book?

10. Tell us anything that might pique our interest in your book.

And the writers tagged are:

Shirley Wells, who writes gripping crime for Carina Press.

Susan Jones, great stories and a lovely blog to check out.

Chris Stovell, who writes for Choc Lit  – with a hero guaranteed to make you go weak at the knees.

Lorraine Jenkin, fellow Honno author, whose blog is as witty as her books.

Marylynn Bast, author of the ‘Heart of a Wolf’ series. No feeble heroine there!

Take it away, ladies!

Once you have answered the questions, remember to tag five more worthy bloggers with the same instructions- especially to link back to your blog!!

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