The Next Big Thing Blog Hop…Again! :-D (Blog Post Revisited)

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The wonderful Maria Godley (this is her blog  http://marie-mariegodleybooks.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/words-we-want-to-hear.html?spref=fb ) tagged me in ‘The next big thing’ blog hop. It’s always so lovely when someone thinks of you and I was well happy when Maria asked me to take part. I know I’ve just taken part in this particular hop but that’s because I’m a donkey and I said yes to three different and quite lovely people and then realised that they were all inviting me to do the same thing. Rather than not accept the fabarooney invitations, I decided I would do them on three different works in progress. Not sure if I’m breaking the rules but…you know…I’m a rule breaker! Get me! Anyways, a massive thank you to Maria and please visit her wonderful blog, you won’t be disappointed.

 

Okay so now I’m going to attempt to answer the following questions:-

 

1.  What is the working title of your current/next book?

Poker Face III…I haven’t thought of a proper title yet! Sorry!

 

2.  Where did the idea come from?

Well basically finishing book two pretty much gave me the idea for writing a book three, it kind of seemed like the next logical step ha ha! No, in all seriousness, the plot developed because there were just so many things that I wanted the characters to do and experience.

 

3.  What genre does your book fall under?

The Poker Face series is a young adult/crossover series that seems to appeal to lots of different people both male and female, young and…a little bit older.

 

4 .  What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

I’m rubbish at this question and I just don’t know. I will go check google images now and do a ‘young fit actor/actress’ search and then come back…wait…I’m just checking…computer is slow…nope, sorry, I am officially rubbish at casting actors!

 

5.  What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Ruby Palmer is forced to grow up pretty quick and, though she’s not a stranger to loss, nothing she’s experienced so far in her turbulent and dangerous life has prepared her for what’s to come.

 

6.  Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Self published, let’s call it a career thing 🙂

 

7.  How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

I wrote books one, two and three at the same time (so not very long) but I’m sure the edit will take an eternity!

 

8.  What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Erm…Poker Face and The Puppet Master??? He he ha ha ho ho  ho I’m being clever and annoying, I know this 😀

 

9.  Who or what inspired you to write this book?

The characters, Ruby, Danny and Alessi mostly. The more I write about them the more opportunities they create for me to write about. They are like model characters and they make it all so easy.

 

10. What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

This book brings in a couple of new characters, some stay, some go and some will break your heart. It has been read by just a couple of people so far and they laughed, cried and once again rooted all the way for Ruby. This book takes the characters on an emotional journey and Ruby continues to show that when it comes to getting even, she’s the best!

 

Right, I’m done and would like to name Justine Manzano (@justine_manzanohttp://justinemanzano.wordpress.com/ as ‘The Next Big Thing’. Right, your turn, Justine! 😀

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The Official Puppet Master Launch Poster! Blog Post Revisited! :-)

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44 Days & Counting! Blog Post Revisited :-)

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Dear Blog!

The venue has been booked for the launch of The Puppet Master, book two in the Poker Face series. It will be held at  The Deco Theatre http://www.thedeco.co.uk/ on 19th December 2012 from 7.30 onwards and everyone’s invited. There will be a bar and nibbles and children are also very welcome. Both books will be available as well as a free gift wrap service in the black and white Poker Face theme for anyone wishing to buy a copy for Christmas. There is absolutely no obligation to buy the book and the launch is mostly about getting people together, spreading the word about the series, and celebrating achieving something that I absolutely love with others. It would be great to see you there.

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I am running a little open and honest writing diary on the run up to the launch and I will be updating

the record below on a daily basis. Please check in and feel free to like and chat while you’re here 🙂

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12th November 2012 & 38 days to go!

To say I’m feeling overwhelmed today is like saying that on a bad day the Atlantic is a little bit choppy! The way I feel right now I could well be embarking on a swim across said ocean. I’m all greased up, toes in the shingle of some remote Welsh beach and that is about as equipped as I feel. As it stands, at the moment, I have an awesome venue and at least three definite guests; Mr S-C and the kids. I haven’t counted myself because unless more people say they are coming, and I finish the book properly in time, I’m not sure I’ll be there either!

On the plus side (I think it’s a plus side and it is book related so it must be, right?) I have started writing my launch diary!

 

11th November 2012 & 39 days to go!

I took a break…come on cut me some slack here!

 

10th November 2012 & 40 days to go!

It’s funny because today I managed to format my whole book, all 302 pages of it! I transferred it from an A4 document to an A5 document. I removed all random spaces that had found their way in and can mess up the print and also the e-copy copy. I adjusted all my indents to 0.5, unified my chapter headings and added page numbers. That took me about three hours in total and I felt well chuffed by the end, if somewhat unable to see properly! I then realised (a little too late to save my eyesight unfortunately) that if I’d increased the page size using the clever tool on the bottom right hand side of my screen, I wouldn’t have had to struggle to see the damn thing.

 

I also had a mega fab idea for the Poker Face series, and all other books I intend to get completed and published, and I am very excited. It’s a bit of a secret at this stage but it does mean learning a whole new set of skills. Wow, who’d have thought writing would be so technical. There should be a degree on how to get self published! It would not involve hanging about in the restaurant, avoiding lectures and seminars and eating beans and hash browns as was the case with my law degree. You know it was (@heather5mith) 😀

 

9th November 2012 & 41 days to go!

Still had a headache but I checked in with my thermometer and it confirmed that I was indeed NOT ill…but probably just convincing myself I was because I’ve bitten off much more than I can chew. As if I don’t have enough to do, today I have decided that I shall create a blog diary in the style of Bridge Jones to document the preparation and launch of The Puppet Master. I will be substituting alcohol for tea, and fags for Cadbury chocolate fingers. Also men will probably not be fighting over me outside an Italian restaurant but, you know, you get the idea. It will be like Bridget Jones but without all the fun! Keep tuning in! You know you really want to now! I will also NOT be wearing massive pants, which I hear is a disappointment to some 😀

 

I am backdating this (as you can probably tell) but I’m pretty sure I did some book stuff on this day in question. Oh, yes, I did. I remember now. I sent off a shed load of really cheeky emails. Only one has come back to me so far (and they have passed my cheeky email on to someone else) but fingers crossed for some ultimate cheeky success.

 

8th November 2012 & 42 days to go!

Yes the proverbial spanner in the works. I had a headache that made anything, other than telling everyone on Facebook and Twitter that I had a headache, virtually impossible. Of course the virtual community rallied around and offered me the cyber equivalent of chicken soup and Nurofen. Thank you lovely guys 🙂

 

7th November 2012 & 43 days to go!

I checked my Amazon bookshelf and realised that I had suddenly become an international bestseller since lunch…and also a liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiitle bit of a liar 😀 I can confirm that Denmark, France, Spain, Italy and now Japan do not really need to appear on my Amazon bookshelf because they still haven’t bought my book. Opening up every day to be shown just how many books they aren’t buying is a little bit depressing! I’m kidding of course, it’s lovely to have you on my bookshelf Denmark, France, Spain, Italy and now Japan 😀

 

6th November 2012 & 44 days to go

OK today the venue was finally confirmed after much panicking from me. Mr S-C, the kids and I went along over the weekend to check it out and it was absolutely perrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrfect! Mr S-C said “go for it” and then I was left with the job of going for it, which sounds easier than it actually is. I was left alone for the day with my bullying mind that flitted between telling me I was rubbish and nobody would come, singing ‘Ohhhhhh noooooooo, what have you done?!’ and attempting to steal my lunch money! It eventually left me no choice but to harass my good friend, Suzanne Porter, and ask for her advice. After a lengthy inbox message, that basically went along the lines of “Just do it!” I just did it and so The Deco Theatre, Abington Square, Northampton, is now booked for the 19th December 2012 from 7.30 onwards. It is an open event and so please spread the word and come if you can. Here is a link http://www.thedeco.co.uk/  Just pretend it’s a Twilight Breaking Dawn premiere sort of thing and feel free to camp outside. I could always get Mr S-C to dress up as Robert Pattinson (AKA Edward Cullen) and I’ll run about trying to get him to kill me because I love him, my mum’s away and my dad likes fishing and arresting people. See this is why no agent would accept my synopsis…I make things sound bad!

 

Pre 6th November 2012

Stuff happened to include the birth of a book. I didn’t log anything along the way but I can confirm it was the second book in the Poker Face series. It stood at 110,000 words, approximately 20,000 words longer than the first book. We considered Finlay or Jacob for a boy and we quite liked Rosie or Tilly for a girl but, eventually, I named it The Puppet Master! Weighing in at over 400 grams it was heavier than the first and I can confirm it was painful at times and the labour quite intensive. However, as soon as I saw my book and held it in my hands I knew it was all worth it and I’d definitely do it again. I am aiming for a big, happy book family. Yay for The Puppet Master, another book has been born!!!

 

Waterstones, Kettering Video Diary – Blog post revisited :-)

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(Proof! Ha ha!)

Hey guys!

I survived yet another signing! Yes, that means you have to put up with me for a bit longer!

OK, so here are the video diaries for Saturday 13th October at Waterstones, Kettering and I would just firstly like to say thank you to everyone at the store who made us feel very welcome and offered me advice and lots of coffee to get me through the day. This signing was different because, for the first time, we opted not to sit down but for me to walk about and approach a few people. I find this really, REALLY hard to do but, like I say, we got through it in one piece. The downside of walking about was that it was kind of impossible to do a video diary without being in the way of a shelf or accidently catching members of the public so we decided to leave filming until the evening when we were back home. I had a shocking cold by this point and felt pretty rough so I’m going to use that as my excuse for the much weirdness that accompanies the next two recordings 😀

So clip one deals with the lovely questions we received surrounding me and my writing and thank you to everyone who contributed to this clip…

IFrame

I got into trouble many times for kicking the drawer in the kitchen and basically mucking about so we moved to the living room in the hopes that if Mr S-C sat on my legs I might keep still…didn’t work ha ha! May I warn in advance that Mr S-C said there was plenty of room on the camera to get this next clip but, as you will see, there wasn’t!

You get the general idea of where this was heading and it was our last question so I didn’t bother to record anything else to add to it.

Again, thank you to everyone who sent in questions because it made the filming much more fun and unpredictable  and it was quite cool attempting to deal with questions when I had no idea what was coming up! We didn’t have a hat so we put all of the names in a colander and each took it in turns to pick one. Here are the three winning names:-

Julie @RiverofTimeFan

Charlie @charlieplunkett

Victoria @vspearson

So congrats to you three and as soon as book two is available and I have an address to send them out I will be forwarding you a signed 1st edition copy of Poker Face. The Puppet Master.

Lastly one final thank you to Heather @heather5mith for popping along for a couple of hours and for interviewing me and to Mr S-C for staying with me for a few hours and for holding the camera so we could get the clips for the diary. Cheers muchly guys and just so you all know, we celebrated with a yummy curry last night. Yay!

Jess 🙂 x

The next big thing! Blog tag!

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This post is revisited!

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Dear all,

I was invited to be in a promotional blog tag by the very talented Jeri Walker-Bicketthttp://jeriwb.com/     The Next Big Thing originated from the SheWrites website and I’d just like to take this opportunity to say thank you very muchly to Jeri for tagging me and giving me the chance to chat about my work in progress. So, here goes, below are my answers to the questions.

 

What is the working title of your book? 

Poker Face II. The Puppet Master. I think! 😀

 

Where did the idea come from for the book? 

I was writing book 1 in the series and I was so into the characters that I had already started thinking about what else I wanted them to do with their literary lives. The books deal a bit with gang culture and the mafia and so there has always been so much scope for plot development.

 

What genre does your book fall under? 

It is supposed to be a YA thriller but adults have been enjoying it very much and I’m hoping I’ve kept the content tame enough for a YA market. We shall see!

 

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? 

I have no idea but I would need me a handsome man in his forties (who looks pretty hot in a suit), a man in his early twenties (who also looks great smart but can carry of the cool shorts and bare feet image too) and a young woman in her teens who can go from feisty to cutey at the drop of a hat! 

 

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? 

Alessi and Danny find 18 year old Ruby Palmer after she suddenly goes missing, but they soon realise that the girl they’ve found isn’t quite the Ruby they once knew.

 

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? 

Funnily enough on the day I am typing this I received a rejection from an agency, so I’d say I’m going indie all the way! It’s a good, fun ride with some fabulous supportive people. Being indie published is like being part of a community and I love it.  

 

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? 

I was writing it at the same time as the first book and so, after only a few months of writing the first one, the second one was already drafted and ready for some MEGA editing!

 

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? 

Personally I struggle to compare my work because no matter how fab the reviews there is always a little part of me that says ‘Yeah but it’s not really all that!’ I wish I could drop that little part of me over a bridge! Oh no, I’ve just thought! If that little part does happen to go mising I will be first in line for questioning now! Anyway, Poker Face has twice been compared to a much easier to read and digest version of John Grisham by two massive John Grisham fans because there are lots of twists, turns and edge of your seat thrills. It’s a pretty enjoyable read but it’s not too complicated. I don’t quite feel worthy enough of the Grisham tag! Ha ha 😀

 

Who or What inspired you to write this book? 

Book one and the vibrant characters that just seemed to fit so well and develop in book one kind of inspired me to write book two. Book one was inspired by an agent who I desperately wanted to secure at the time, who claimed to be looking for a ‘good legal thriller.’ She didn’t take my work but I am still seriously happy with how well received it’s been. I have a little fan base and I’m living a pretty good alternative version of ‘the dream!’

 

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? 

The series of Poker Face currently stands at four books and I am toying with a fifth. The thing I love most about the series is that I have kept the themes (although sometimes quite extreme or unrealistic for your everyday experiences) as realistic as possible and true to the issues and circumstances surrounding the characters. There are real life events, some very awkward and uncomfortable, but I wasn’t willing to pretend that these things don’t go on. In my opinion if I’m going to deal with an issue I needed to deal with it honestly or not deal with it at all. Characters get hurt, people suffer loses and strong bonds and relationships are formed. This book isn’t just about a bunch of gangsters shooting people up, it’s about a young girl with a trashy and abusive background finding a way forward in life, using the difficult hand she’s been dealt. She does it pretty good too.

All the best guys and I look forward to reading your work!

Jess x

  

OK the fab five that I have selected (minus the ones that have dropped out) are:-

 Victoria Pearson  (@vspearson) http://victoria-pearson.blogspot.com/

Julia Hughes  (@tinksaid) http://juliahughes.co.uk/

Charlie Plunkett  (@charlieplunkett) http://www.charlieplunkett.co.uk/

Victoria Grefer (details to follow)

Eileen Wharton (details to follow)

 

(Again, don’t ask me why these names are in different colours and some are underlined while others aren’t! I’m just surprised I actually managed to get another post up in the space of a week! Go me!) 

PS if you click on the person’s name above it should (should) take you to their website/blog so you can find out a little more about them! Go oooooooooon, do it! 😀

The difference between my vacuum cleaner and my book is that I WANT my vacuum cleaner to suck!

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Dear all,

Yeah, yeah, yeah, it’s been over a month and all that! I couldn’t even remember my password to get on here…but I promise I’ll sit on the naughty step later.

This week’s blog post is all about the phenomenon that is ‘The Review’. That tricky process whereby people answer the niggling questions in every indie author’s aching and caffeine overloaded head; Am I good enough to cut it? Do I make a good writer? Do I have potential? Am I getting it right?

It may or may not be news to some but, although I am generally quite a sociable and happy person, I feel like a fraud most of the time. I even felt like I was lying when I had to start completing forms declaring that I had dependents. I always feel like I’m telling fibs and I just don’t know why! I clearly have children and the state of my car is testament to that! I obtained a degree when I was twenty-six but I still hate having to produce the certificate of graduation in interviews. I worry they might scratch at the ink, hold it up to the light and then pass it under a UV ray, where they will suddenly exclaim, ‘But how? You left school with only two GCSEs!’ Out of all of my quirky, not quite fitting labels, it was publishing my debut novel, Poker Face, that felt like the biggest pork pie of them all! I still can’t look people in the eye and say it’s doing well!

I am a big analyser (or a petite analyser depending on how you want to look at it) and I’ve spent a great deal of time recently trying to work out this ‘fraud’ type aspect of my personality. I have concluded that the reason all of these things feel like a lie is because I can’t truly label myself as something until I know I have done it well. For example, in my opinion, a mum is someone who does more than just carry and give birth to a baby. The title encompasses a long term nurturing position and, until my children have become completely independent, I won’t know exactly what kind of mum I have been. All I know right now is that I desperately want to be a good one.

When it comes to the degree, I left school with only two qualifications and had to go back to college where they managed to drag another three GCSEs out of me. I later went on to do an A Level in law, which I failed (lots of tears around this time) and then had a chat with my local university. Because I was a mature student (don’t laugh, I can do mature) and had been working in a law firm for five years, they agreed to let me enrol.  I graduated three years later but I didn’t do it glowingly and I didn’t wow anyone with a string of first class essays along the way. Consequently, I ended up feeling like I wasn’t quite worthy and the qualification feels kind of alien. I’m waiting for the mother ship to come take it back!

The same can be applied to my writing. Writing 90,000 words and turning them into a book doesn’t make me feel like I can call myself an author. I need to know that my work does exactly what a book should do. I need someone to tell me ‘Jess, you’re not lying, you can write!’ (Shock horror, fancy that!) For me, reviews and ratings are the next best thing to having an agent or publisher who could give me that seal of approval my confidence really needs. My best reviews tell me that I may well be able to cut it in the big bad world of writing and publishing (note I say ‘may’ for I will never be so bold as to assume I ever will, even with my most fabarooney reviews and shiniest of stars). My most critical reviews fill my mind with dread and indecision and they are inclined to make my writing style reach for its blue and white patchwork security blanket!

I was chatting to someone the other day about how I am dreading the really crappy (technical term for a bad review) one star and the inevitable slating that will accompany it. However, people review for different reasons and individual tastes range widely. I know this, so, I have decided that I am going to approach that one star with the following analogy in mind:-

If I want to buy a new vacuum cleaner from Argos I pick three in my price range and then I check the customer reviews. They range from the five star, ‘This vacuum does exactly what you’d hope it would do and I’m very happy with my purchase,’ through to the gritty one star, ‘This might have sucked up but all of my cleaning paraphernalia is metallic red, always has been and always will be! I like red, I like metallic and I like shiny! However, this vacuum (if you can even call it a vacuum) is definitely not the metallic red vacuum illustrated in the picture IT! IS! PINK! And, to make matters worse, it isn’t even shiny…IT’S MATT! I am so not happy! More to the point I will never, I repeat NEVER, buy a vacuum from this manufacturer again. Oh, for the record, the suction was pretty good and it even managed to swallow up my metallic red duster without blocking. I am cross about this also, I loved that duster!’

Suddenly that one star isn’t really quite so bad. Personally that’s exactly the kind of vacuum cleaner I’m looking for!

Thanks for reading and take care from me guys.

Jess 😀 x

It’s like a guest post birthday! It’s been a year now & time for another Ripple in Time promo! :-)

3 Comments

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This post is a re-post but A Ripple in Time is once again on offer and free to download to Kindle, a year on from the original post. It is still very much a recommended read.

A Ripple in Time

Dear all,

I know, I know, my schedule is so hectic, what with kid’s parties, the book signing coming up, Mr S-C (bless him being all clumsy and that) the book writing and the blog…!!! Oh no the blog! The time has come, I must hand over the wheel while I have a little breakdown, and who better to jump into the driving seat than the fabarooney Julia Hughes, @tinksaid! I’ll be back (no don’t sigh! Soooooo cheeky!) but in the meantime I can assure you, you are in very safe hands. So, now, sit back and enjoy the ride…Over to you my lovely friend, Julia.

me&tink3_(2) 

 

Thank you Jess, and don’t worry, your blog’s in safe hands, promise. And off she goes, no doubt to another children’s party or to organise Mr S-C’s Father’s Day treats. Do I sound envious? Oh to be able to turn back the clock to that very special time, when the kids thought Mummy and Daddy were the most wonderful people in the world. Mind you, I still feel that way about my parents. There have been times when I’ve longed for a boring life, but throughout it all – the major highs and the places no-one wants to go – there have been two people standing solidly behind me with words of encouragement and acts of overgenerous kindness. Among the many unexpected pleasures of writing, comes the opportunity to say a small thank you to those who support without question. So my breakthrough novel is dedicated to the best parents any child could wish for, lucky me –  I won the lottery.

I also won the lottery with Jess, who answered my plea for a beta reader. Jess’s success with her debut novel Poker Face, encouraged me to publish in paperback, as well as ebook format. A Ripple in Time will be free to download to your kindle until 18th April 2013. 

Massive thanks once again to Jess, and you can bet your life I’ll be attending her book signing at Waterstones in Hatfield later this month [and she did!] eager to pick up tips from this wonderful writer, who is also a wonderful friend.

A Ripple in Time can be obtained by clicking Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk

Julia

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Woo hoo! How awesome is that! I’ll definitely be fifteen minutes late for the next party downloading my copy of A Ripple in Time! Come on, writing before raving…always! Thanks so much, Julia, for your lovely post and your lovely comments too.

Seriously, congratulations on your lovely new shiny paperback! It is SO exciting! I’m sure everyone will agree, the birth of a new novel or in a new format is a very wonderful thing and I’m so thrilled to be a part of it. Go you!!!

Take care from me,

Jess 😀 x

PS beautiful pic, Julia!

Please check out Julia’s fabarooney website for more of her work and posts 🙂

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