Wednesday, 16 November 2016

One Good Turn becomes Count Your Blessings

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After a lot of thought I decided to take the radical step of changing the title of the book that had caused me so much anxiety and stress last month.
Although those readers who left one star reviews were justified in doing so, they didn't in fact lose out financially. What had happened was that I had taken down book one to change something on the front page and then the put up the file that contained both books.
Therefore those readers who were angry about getting a repeat of the second half of book one, actually got the same content as everyone else for the same price. Indeed, as the majority of them demanded their money back, they actually got the second book free.
By changing the title I have lost all the negative reviews and the book can start again. Unfortunately, this means losing all the five star reviews as well, but that can't be helped.
I am writing a third book in this series and it should be ready to be published in the summer – there might be a fourth book as well, but it depends on the sales of the third.
I've only ever changed the title of a book after publication once before and that was when I inadvertently used the same title as a friend's book.
 A few weeks ago I bought a book for my husband thinking it was another in the series and it turneed out to be the same book with a different cover. They refunded my money and postage -but I was disappointed.
I think it's quite clear Count Your Blessings is the same book as One Good Turn and hopefully no one will buy it in error.

Fenella J Miller


Friday, 4 November 2016

Christmas Box Set - around and around!


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Here we go again. I've now packaged three of my Christmas books in a box set at the bargain price of £0.99 & $0.99
If you haven't already read them then now's a good time to download them - three for the price of one.
The Regency Romantics box set is a best seller in tow categories - that's another bargain at £2.99 for six books -four of them new titles.



Christmas at Hartford Hall
( First published by DC Thomson in 2009)
A sweet Cinderella story – perfect for Christmas reading.
When Elizabeth's grandfather died, there was no sign of a will; and, devastatingly, she discovered she was now dependent on his heir. When the new Lord and Lady Hartford and their twin daughters arrived, they reduced her status to that of a servant. Elizabeth is determined to leave Hartford Hall in the New Year and find work as a governess. But the arrival of Sir James Worthington to make an offer for Lady Eleanor Hartford only leads to her difficulties....

Christmas at Highfield Court was previously published as Lord Atherton's Ward.
Extra scenes have been added to this book.
When their father, Sir John, dies leaving Sarah Ellison and her younger sister Jane orphaned, his choice of guardian is entirely disagreeable to Sarah – particularly with Lord Atherton's insistence that they leave their family home and move to Highfield Court to remain under the care of his mother. Will the spirit of Christmas work it's magic or will Sarah continue to alienate Lord Atherton with her headstrong behaviour or prove that she is a girl he can respect?

Christmas at Castle Elrick is a Regency fairy tale - Miss Verity Sanderson the beauty and Sir Ralph Elrick the beast. He was severely injured in the Napoleonic wars and has been brooding in his castle for years waiting for Verity to reach her majority and come to him. Her father had promised his daughter to Ralph in return for his financial support. Verity decides marriage to a wealthy stranger is preferable to remaining with her step-mother and half-sisters so sets off, the week before Christmas, to become his wife.
Castle Elrick is a cold, unwelcoming place situated on the bleak Northumbrian coast and Ralph and his small staff are not the only residents. Will Christmas be a celebration or will the ghosts of Castle Elrick force them apart?

Sunday, 16 October 2016

A Collection of 6 Regency Romances from Bestselling Authors

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The winter box set from Regency Romantics is now live and already in the charts. I love being part of this great group of fellow Regency writers and I'm sure you will all enjoy these books. Four of them, including mine, were written especially for this box set. There are also six books this time instead of five.

Here are the blurbs:

A Collection of Six Regency Romances from Bestselling Authors
One Night at the Abbey – Amanda Grange
When Miss Hilary Wentworth takes up an appointment at Carisbrooke Abbey, she finds it embroils her in a winter of mystery and romance. What secret haunts Lord Carisbrooke? And when Hilary uncovers it, can they find the love and happiness they deserve?
A Most Unexpected Christmas - Fenella Miller
Lydia Halstead has no desire to remarry or to attend social gatherings. However, she is persuaded to accompany her brother and his family to Fakenham Manor.
Lord Theodore Fakenham is not pleased to discover his mama has arranged a Christmas house party without his permission. This is not an auspicious start to the festive period.
An infestation of mice in the nursery, a riotous snowball fight and an accident in the study make for a very unexpected Christmas.
Dancing Through the Snow – Monica Fairview
Amelia Neville is convinced she has found the perfect husband, but unfortunate circumstances throw her into the company of the distrustful Duke of Sutcliff. Forced to attend the Duke’s Christmas house party by her matchmaking Mama, Amelia knows she’s going to hate every minute. But romance is in the air in the snowy landscape…. A traditional Regency romance with a touch of laughter.
Christmas at Castleray – Wendy Soliman
When Alisa Langdon and Chase Beaumont are invited to Castleray for Christmas, they expect a peaceful holiday. But instead they are attacked on the road and then Alisa’s servants are ostracised in the local village. Can Chase and Alisa discover who attacked them? And can Chase ignore his growing attraction to Alisa, who appears intent upon honouring her father’s dying wish by marrying her indolent stepbrother…
A Winter’s Madcap Escapade - Elizabeth Bailey
A stranger hiding in Lord Dymond's coach pitchforks him into a chaotic enterprise to protect young Apple from her own folly - much to her indignation!
The Duke's Christmas Bride - Melinda Hammond
Waldo, the fifth Duke of Charingden, shows no inclination to marry. In desperation his family invite a string of eligible beauties to the Christmas Ball at Birklands for him to choose from, but the only young lady to interest the duke is little Clara Tillotson, who is herself desperate to avoid being forced into marriage….. A sparkling Regency romance with just a touch of snow!

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Christmas deliver - A Most Unusual Christmas

Out now - £1.50 $1.99

I love Christmas, but even so I always feel a bit premature putting up my Christmas title in September. However, as the Regency Romantics box set is coming out on October 9th I had no option, unless I was going to wait until November.
I love the cover by J.D. Smith – I'm sure her expertise is one of the reasons for my success.
Here is the blurb for the book:

Miss Cressida Hadley is delighted when Lord Bromley and his family are unexpectedly obliged to spend Christmas at The Abbey. Despite the fact that Lord Harry has a broken leg, her papa and the earl take an instant dislike to each other, the Dowager Lady Bromley drinks too much and her older brother, Richard has got into another scrape – Cressida is convinced she can overcome these difficulties and make the house party successful. However, she had not taken into consideration the fact that she might fall in love with Lord Bromley.

Just in case this isn't enough festive fun for you, I shall be releasing a box set with three previous Christmas titles in November.
I hope you enjoy reading this book as much as I did writing it. It made me laugh out loud when I was editing it and that can't be bad.

Fenella J Miller

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Thursday, 1 September 2016

Book Reviews – how important are they?


I'm not sure that reviews are as essential as some people think as far as sales are concerned. Certainly, I am not influenced by a book having a few one and two star reviews as long as they have just as many four and five-star. What I find suspicious is when a book has fifty five-star reviews and nothing else. Neither am I influenced by a book not having more than a few reviews – I rarely leave a review myself – and I think a lot of readers feel the same. Too much of a chore to go through that process.
However, I have been turned down many times by BookBub and I can't think of any reason why this has happened unless it's because I don't have enough reviews for the book I've submitted. The only book they have accepted –Barbara's War – and goodness me, what a massive impact that had on my sales and income – had twenty reviews and now has double that. None of my other books have as many.
Therefore, I just paid for choosybookworm to put my book in their system. It was £100 to do this which is quite expensive, but fortunately I'm in the position to be able to speculate a little nowadays.
This is what they do:
you submit your book and they see if it's up to the standard they wish to promote.
they then, on the given day, send your book title etc to their thousands of subscribers and the subscribers decide if they want to have a free book in return for a fair/honest review.
they guarantee you will get 30+ reviews and keep putting your book out there until you have achieved that.
The reviewer has to put a disclaimer at the bottom of their review saying they received a free copy in return for a fair and honest review.
They sent me an initial list of ten names and already eight of them have responded and received the file.
My worry is that somehow this contravenes the rules on Amazon that reviews mustn't be paid for. Giving a reviewer a gift card to purchase the book contravenes the rules – I pointed this out to choosybookworm and they immediately changed my submission so that I was offering files rather than gift cards.
The reviewer isn't paid any money – I'm paying the facilitator. Does this count as a paid review or is it the same thing as sending an ARC?
I certainly wouldn't have invested so much money if I didn't think it might help me get a BookBub promotion for this book. I don't like to ask my readers at the end of the book to put up a review – I already have my free book  advert there, which a reader receives in return for signing to my subscribers list. I think that's more than enough.
It remains to be seen if this works and when I have 40+ reviews I actually get accepted for a BookBub promotion. It's always possible I've been turned down another reason.
What do you think? Is this breaking the rules or an excellent opportunity for writers to get those extra reviews?
Fenella J MIller


Sunday, 14 August 2016

Miss Peterson and the Colonel

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This book is on pre-order until 25th - it already has a 2* review left over from it's previous publication by Musa in 2012. These low reviews are always on the US site - I think a lot of American readers aren't in tune with English writing.
I've put up two covers images - can you spot the difference? Jane Dixon-Smith and I didn't and Amanda Grange had to point it out. The incorrect version was replaced the same day.
This is the last of my long back list - going to be hard to publish something every month, apart from December, in future.
Here is an extract from the opening of the book:


Lydia grabbed at the strap as the carriage tilted but failed to stop her undignified slide into the well. Her maid landed heavily on top of her. For a moment she lay winded, unable to move.
'I beg your pardon, miss, I couldn't stop myself from falling.'
'It's not your fault, Martha. I think we must have broken an axle. I sincerely hope the horses are unharmed.' With some difficulty she extricated herself and stood up. 'At least we are both in one piece. If I balance on the edge of the seat I believe I might manage to open the door.' She attempted the manoeuvre and the coach rocked alarmingly.
'Please don't do that, Miss Peterson. You'll likely have us right over.'
'Why doesn't Jim come to our aid? Do you think he's taken a tumble from the box. As Billy has gone ahead to order our refreshments he cannot assist. I must get out.'
This time her struggles sent the coach crashing right over. Her world turned upside down, her legs and arms became entangled with Martha's and it was several minutes before she was able to get both of them upright. The doors were now the floor and ceiling, the squabs pointing into the air. The sound of her precious horses panicking meant she had no option. If she did not get out and release them from the harness one would likely break a leg.
Martha screamed and pointed down. Lydia saw water seeping in through the door that now acted as the floor. They must have turned over into the ditch that ran alongside the road. 'Hold onto something, Martha. I think if I could step on your knee I might reach the door handle somehow.'
Her smart travelling ensemble was ruined, the hem already saturated with muddy water and her spencer in no better case. Her lovely new bonnet was hanging in disarray around her neck. Her sister had been most insistent she dressed in her best to meet the colonel, as the much longed for visitor was to arrive today as well. She was not going to impress anyone now.
The whinnying and stamping from the team had stopped. Was this a good or bad sign? Before she had time to consider, the door above her head was slammed back and a gentleman appeared in the space. His features were indistinct, but from his voice he was obviously well-to-do.
'Why couldn't you stay still, ladies? You have turned a minor accident into a major disaster. I have released your horses and attended to your coachman, however, now that you've managed to tip the carriage over there is nothing I can do to get you out without assistance. You must stay inside.'
The incredibly rude gentleman vanished as suddenly as he'd appeared, leaving Lydia up to her boot tops in freezing water. 'Come back here this instant, sir. You cannot abandon us in here.'
He slammed his fist against the carriage and shouted back. 'I cannot right the vehicle unaided, and can't pull you out through the door. You will come to no harm, the ditch is shallow, I shall be back as soon as I can.'
Then he was gone, only the sound of hoofbeats echoing in the cold winter air to keep her company. This was no gentleman. He had callously left her and Martha without making a serious attempt to rescue them. He could be gone hours. What about poor Jim possibly unconscious on the side of the road?
She would not remain incarcerated a moment longer.
'Martha, let me stand on your knee. If you brace yourself against the seat I'm certain I can scramble out.'
'It's a good thing you're not as short as me, miss. I'd not reach if I tried.'
With her maid as a stool, she grasped the edges of the open door. 'Martha, give me a push.'
Her feet were grasped firmly and she rose steadily. Throwing herself forward, she tipped headlong through the door and slithered, skirts and petticoats flying, down the side to land with a thud in the road. 'I'm out, Martha. I shall come back to you in a moment. I must check on Jim and the horses first.'
Three of the team were standing dejectedly in the shelter of the hedge that bordered the lane. There was no sign of Jim and the fourth horse. Good grief! The wretched man had used the lead horse to convey her coachman. Surely it would have been better to wait until a cart could be brought round?

Too late to repine. She must get Martha out and her precious chestnuts to shelter. The White Queen could be no more than two miles away; that must be where her would-be rescuer had gone for help. The thought of him returning and castigating her a second time prompted her to take matters into her own hands.

Hope you enjoy it,

Fenella J Miller

Monday, 1 August 2016

Not all bad news then!

So much has been going on in the world these past few weeks that it's almost a relief to be in August.
Britain voted to leave Europe – I certainly didn't – and since then the prime minister resigned and Teresa May took over. Brexit will certainly take place but how this will affect things in the future nobody knows.The rise in hate crimes has been horrific– which was one of the reasons I voted remain.
For me, on a purely selfish note, I'm financially better off. I get more than 50% of my royalties from abroad and, with the British pound being so low, I'm getting considerably more at the end of each month. Mind you, when the dollar was low and the pound was buoyant I lost out.
America has also seen extraordinary political upheavals. Hillary Clinton, who I like, has gained the Democratic nomination but Donald Trump has got the Republican one. How could this happen? I just hope that the American public have more sense than 51% the British people did in the referendum and elect Hillary Clinton.
On a personal front my husband, who has vascular dementia,  had a couple of health scares. I'm glad to say that he's bounced back and his GP, when he visited the house, didn't seem to think he was in any immediate danger of a major stroke which was what I feared.
The weather has been tropical the past few weeks and my tiny garden now looks splendid.
So – not all bad news then!
Best wishes
Fenella J Miller