Friday, 27 December 2013

Lord Denver's Choice

£0.77 – until January 1st. 
Lord Denver's Choice, I'm delighted to say, is now available on & Amazon. UK. This is the third in my loosely linked series of Lords & Ladies.
'Lord Denver's Choice' was previously published as 'Mistaken Identity' in 2008. 
This is a sweet,traditional Regency romance of 30,000 words. 
"When Emma Meadows met two unknown gentlemen and plum orchard she guessed one of them was Lord Denver. She disliked his companion on sight. However, Lord Denver improved on acquaintance and Emma believed that he returned her affections – until he treated her cruelly. She left her father's vicarage brokenhearted. Would Richard find a way to change her mind?"
I am working on another new "Duke" book and this will be published at the end of January. The working title is, "The Duke's Marriage", but this might well change. I have already written the first chapter and am thoroughly enjoying the story so far. Having, "Death Comes to Pemberly" to watch whilst I'm writing it is an added bonus. I've also just bought two books by Emily Eden, called , "The Semi-atached Couple, and , "The Semi-Detached House." She was writing twenty years later than Jane Austen but her books have a similar flavour.
My shorter Regencies are being sold at a greatly reduced price, 77 p or $.99, but this is only until January 1 when they will revert to their previous price of £.99 and $1.50. My full-length Regencies will remain at the price of £1.99 or $2.99 as I think they should be more expensive then my novellas. Pricing my books realistically  is tricky – I don't wish to put off new readers but on the other hand I don't want to give the impression that my books can't be worth buying because they are so cheap.
Happy New Year to everyone. I hope that 2014 brings you all you wish for.

Thank you for following me and I hope you will continue to do so.

Fenella J Miller.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Christmas Thoughts!

I included a picture of my reindeer as I bought it in honour of the arrival of my new grandson – I don't suppose Charlie will really appreciate it this year, but my next door neighbour's little boys certainly do.
My Christmas tree is up (I'm not sure about the red flowery Christmas lights, but too late to do anything about it this year.) The decorations are done, much to the disgust of my husband who is a "bah humbug" sort of chap.
Until a few years ago Advent, for me, was a time of preparation and contemplation for the birth of Christ. Then inexplicably I lost my faith and although I've tried attending different churches, have been unable to restore my belief in God. I suppose I am an agnostic now, but I do miss the spiritual side of Christmas. I love giving presents – in fact would much rather do this then receive them. I watch all the Christmas films and love the OT T decorations on other people's houses – especially in America.
I am desperately trying to fit in all the Christmas related activities with my hectic writing schedule. I now have many readers anxiously awaiting publication of the second part of Barbara's War – I only have three more chapters to write and I'm determined to get this finished before Christmas. Then the book will be given a quick edit and sent out to my four beta readers – when it comes back I will do any necessary changes and then send it to my proofreader. If everything goes according to plan it will be published in February.
I am also in the process of editing my next Regency, "Lord Denver's Choice", and this goes to my proofreader on Friday, but I have yet to ask Jane to do the cover. This will go up at the end of December.
When I've finished Barbara's War I'm going to write a new Regency and my head is already buzzing with the story.
Last year I was incarcerated with a broken foot and ankle so this year I've accepted every invitation to lunch and to party that came my way and now find I have seven events to go to, as well as three family events. I've hidden the scales in the laundry basket and won't step on them again until January!

I've got too much going on at the moment but it's all good. Whether Christmas has a religious meaning, or is just a time for loving and giving and seeing family, it's a magical time of year.
I'm not sure if I will have time to post again so I would like to wish you all a very happy Christmas and peaceful New Year. I would also like to thank all of you who took the time to write a review, or contact me, to tell me how much they loved my books. This is why I write – the royalties are great, but knowing readers are enjoying my books is far more important.
Fenella J Miller

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Lady Charlotte's Deception

Available now on Amazon
Price 99 p and $1.61
Lady Charlotte's Deception, previously called Lady Charlotte's Secret, is now available on Amazon Kindle.
This is the second in my six book series called, Lords & Ladies Series, and they are linked just by their titles.The first book in the series is called, Lord Rivenhall Returns, and this was released last month. The third book entitled, Lord Denver's Inheritance, will be out after Christmas. Then I shall put them in a box set.
Here is the blurb:

Determined to fulfil her promise to a friend, Charlotte defies her brother and sets out on a journey in secret. But the person most at risk is herself, as circumstances conspire to leave her helpless in the care of a stranger. Doctor James Hunter is a modern man, with no love for the aristocracy. When he discovers Charlotte's deception will it destroy their love?

These are the links for the book. The first is for the UK the other for America.

I hope you enjoy it. I think it's a really good story and the hero is a little different from my usual military style protagonists.

Fenella J Miller

Monday, 25 November 2013

Amazon anomalies!

Available on Kindle next week.
Amazon sales are a mystery to me and to many other writers. I think we all agree that free promotion is no longer working, certainly the algorithm Amazon uses no longer influences sales ranking.
They have replaced it with a promotion which certainly increased sales on my Regency Boxset Two and I'm going to try it again with another book in the middle of December. The good thing about this new promotion idea is you still get 70% royalties and the book is never free, just reduced.
Another writer friend told me that when her sales fall away she puts the price of the books up rather than reducing it. This might sound an extraordinary thing to do, but her take on this is that people are quite prepared to pay £1.99 for a book they really want to read. She is assuming, correctly I think, that after a few months only people who really want to buy the book are still looking at it.
I have had all my Regency titles priced under a pound whether they were short  (30,000 words) longer novellas (50,000 words) or full-length books of 70,000+. I have now increased the price of all full-length books to £1.99 and unbelievably I am selling more at that price then I was at the lower price.
Is this because some people think books priced below a pound can't be very good? Whatever the reason, I'm absolutely delighted to have made the correct decision for once and in future none of my full length books will be less than £1.99.
I also put up the price of three of my box sets – the fourth contains three short novellas and I left this at £1.99. This has not proved as successful an experiment and  I'm pretty sure I'm not selling as many as I was before. If this particular change doesn't work it's incredibly simple to reduce the price to what it was previously.

I have included the cover for my next novella, the second in my lords and ladies series, "Lady Charlotte Deception".This should be available on Kindle at the weekend.

Fenella J Miller

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Pre-Christmas Meanderings.

I had hoped to put up a cover for my next book, Lady Charlotte's Deception, but I haven't had time to send a JPEG to Jane so I will post that as soon as it is done.
This time last year I was housebound with a broken ankle and therefore forced to do all my Christmas shopping online. I found the experience so much more enjoyable than fighting my way around overheated, overcrowded shops that I have done the same this year. Therefore, apart from my daughter and oldest grandson I have no more presents to buy.
However, I  have begun to wonder whether I'm contributing to the demise of the high street by using the Internet for everything. Someone locally set up a campaign last year called, "One in Five", which was asking everyone to purchase one thing in five in a local shop. I think this an excellent idea and make sure that I do shop in the village (Wivenhoe is really a small town now) as often as possible even if it costs more.
Maybe I should do the same thing for Colchester – what do you think? Is using the Internet (and particularly Amazon) for the majority of our shopping a bad thing? It's not always cheaper than the high street, but it's so much easier and doesn't involve carrying large parcels back to the car.
On another tack completely, this year for the first time ever, we're going to eat Christmas lunch at a restaurant. When we had a restaurant of our own, many years ago, Christmas day was always fully bookedand I think there are still a lot of people who prefer to eat out. As we've been invited to lunch on Christmas Eve, and we're taking the family out in December, I won't actually need to buy any Christmas food at all. so my house will be over decorated Christmas paraphernalia at my cupboards will be empty of mince pies et cetera.
I shall continue to write over the festive season as if it were a normal week – as I'm no longer a churchgoer I won't even have that as a reminder of why we celebrate.
I'm on my usual pre-Christmas diet – not lost anything this week – but I'm wondering if this is something I might abandon in future. If I'm not going to fill the house with Christmas goodies then I'm unlikely to put on the extra weight I usually do.
When I mentioned Christmas to several of my writer friends they looked at me blankly – despite the over decorated shops and constant Christmas adverts on the television none of them seemed aware that they should be planning ahead.
Enough of my waffle – have a good week.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Lord Rivenhall Returns

I'm delighted to tell you that Lord Rivenhall Returns is now available on Amazon here and in the States. This was the first book I sold way back in 2005 to DC Thomson, and since that happy day I've sold a further 26 Regency titles and two World War II mainstream historical titles.
I have another fantastic cover from Jane Dixon-Smith – I'm sure you like it as much as I do. This title is the first of a series of six books all with either a lord or a lady as the main protagonist. The second in the series, Lady Charlotte's Deception, will be released at the end of November.

Here is a short extract which I hope will be enough for you to want to download it.

Amelia almost stamped her foot with frustration. ‘It is so unfair that we should be in this sorry state, unable to pay our bills, or the few staff we still have, when there is so much money sitting in the bank. How typical of Papa not have the foresight to organise his affairs before killing himself.’
Her mother was shocked. ‘Please do not speak so, Amelia. Your father did not kill himself; he died in a riding accident, as you well know. How was he to anticipate he would meet his maker at only two and fifty?’
Amelia was immediately contrite. ‘I am sorry, Mama. It is just so frustrating, waiting for news.’ But the news they were waiting for, at that moment, was the identity of the mystery visitor. There was a discreet tap on the door and Foster, their antiquated butler, stepped in; his expression for once, almost animated. ‘There is a gentleman below, my lady, desirous of speaking with you. I have taken the liberty of placing him in the library.’
Amelia jumped to her feet. ‘I will come at once, Foster.’
‘You cannot attend on your own, Amelia, it would not be seemly. You must have Martha with you.’
‘Oh, very well, Mama.’ She turned to Foster. ‘Please ask Martha to come here immediately.’ A few minutes later Martha, her mother’s abigail, joined them in the drawing-room. ‘We have a visitor, Martha, and you are to accompany me to the library,’ Amelia told the middle-aged woman, waiting for instructions. ‘I will return here as soon as I have any information for you, Mama.’
Amelia, closely followed by Martha, hurried downstairs eager to discover the identity of the stranger. Foster was waiting to announce her. The library, the only other room where a fire was still lit every day, was at least warmer than the cavernous, marble tiled, entrance hall.
The butler opened the door and announced her. ‘Miss Rivenhall.’
The tall, dark haired man turned from his thoughtful contemplation of the fire. He bowed low. ‘Good morning, Miss Rivenhall. Thank you for receiving me. I have brought some information from your lawyers, Metcalf and Metcalf. Perhaps you could oblige me with somewhere to change whilst you read them, for as you can see, I am somewhat damp.’
Amelia realized that he was, in fact, standing in an ever-growing pool of water. ‘Good heavens, of course you are. I shall have you taken upstairs immediately. Martha, could you ring for Higgs?’ The housekeeper bustled in, all anxious enquiry. ‘Good,’ Amelia said, hiding a smile. The woman must have been outside the door in order to have arrived so quickly. She was not the only one enjoying the unexpected break from tedium. ‘Could you show this gentleman to the Blue room? And please find him something suitable to wear whilst his own garments are being restored.’
The gentleman in question exuded good taste, and full pockets, from the cut of his dark blue, superfine topcoat to the superb fit of his buff inexpressibles and once shiny black Hessians. He bowed again. ‘Thank you, Miss Rivenhall, but that will not be necessary. My man, Peters, will bring up my boxes as soon as he has seen to the horses.’
Although rather surprised by this presumption Amelia returned his bow politely, with a nod of her head. ‘Higgs, please direct Peters to the Blue room, when he appears.’
‘Very well, Miss Amelia. Come this way, sir, if you please.’
The man picked up the package of papers that he had placed on the mantel shelf, and offered them to Amelia. ‘I am sure that these, Miss Rivenhall, will explain my unexpected arrival here.’ Automatically she reached out and took the proffered documents. ‘I shall rejoin you soon. Then we must talk.’ At this, the man strode after the departing housekeeper.
Amelia, her hand shaking, already suspected what would be amongst the legal papers she had been given. Inside she found several certificates and a letter from the family lawyers, Metcalf and Metcalf.
The first document she looked at was a record of the marriage between, Edward Rivenhall and a Miss Mary Marshal. The second, a birth certificate for Richard Edward Rivenhall; from the date she realized it made him almost eight and twenty. The third, and final, document was the death certificate for Edward, dated scarcely three years after his marriage.
Amelia barely glanced at the letter of introduction from the lawyers. At last their worries were over. There would be money to pay the bills and life could return to normal. The privations of the past eighteen months, which had so damaged her mother’s delicate health, would soon be forgotten.
She gathered up the papers and rang the bell. Almost immediately the door opened, and Foster appeared, bristling with curiosity.
‘Foster, please take these documents up to Lady Rivenhall.’ She paused, enjoying for once, the opportunity to have more information than the butler. ‘Lord Rivenhall will be re-joining me here. I
would like luncheon served at noon in the small dining-room. Tell Cook that we would like soup, cold cuts, and the remainder of the game pie. Thank you, Foster, that will be all.’ She turned to Martha, beaming beside her. ‘This is wonderful news, is it not, Martha. You had better go to Lady Rivenhall for she will wish to come down to meet her nephew.’
The butler retreated clutching the papers and Amelia knew he would know their contents before her mother. His officious manner was a constant irritation to her, but his loyalty to the family could not be questioned. Martha, still smiling hurried after him.
The sound of footsteps approaching heralded the imminent arrival of her new relative. Quickly Amelia sat down, not wishing to appear too eager. The door swung open and her glance was drawn to the man who appeared to fill the entrance. For a second their eyes locked, and something, she did not understand passed between them.
He smiled and immediately looked less intimidating. His teeth gleamed white in his darkly tanned face. Remembering her manners, Amelia gestured to the large leather Chesterfield opposite her position by the fire.
‘Please be seated, my lord. We obviously have a lot to discuss.’
The fact that this time they were alone, unchaperoned, appeared to have escaped his attention. Rivenhall flicked aside the tail of his coat and sat down, relaxing instantly against the sofa, his long booted legs crossed casually at the ankles.
‘Miss Rivenhall, you have obviously read my papers and must know that I am your cousin, Richard.’ His voice was deep and attractive, his expression sincere.
‘I did not know I had a Cousin Richard until now.’
‘I realise all this must be a shock, but I hope it is a welcome one. Mr Metcalf explained how
intolerable things have been for you. And I can only apologize for my tardy arrival.’
‘We have managed, but I must admit that I am delighted you have come at last. My mother is not well and the worry has made her worse.’
‘It is to be hoped that her health will improve when the rooms are warmer and the pantry full.’
Amelia smiled. ‘Indeed, I hope so. But now I am curious to know why it has taken you so long to get here. Where have you been all this time?’
‘I was fighting in the Peninsula when your father died and had no reason to read obituaries. My mother had never told me that I could be heir to a title and a large estate.’
‘I see, but, my lord…’
He interrupted her. ‘Do you think we could dispense with formality and use our given names? After all we are cousins, are we not?’
This unexpected request caused Amelia to blush. Surely it was too soon for such intimacies? ‘I am not sure it would be correct, my lord. We have only just met.’
‘I intend to address you as Amelia; you must, of course, please yourself.’ This statement was accompanied by a charming smile.
‘Oh, very well then, I suppose I must call you Cousin Richard,’ she replied a trifle ungraciously. Then she smiled, feeling her reply had been rather churlish, and her face was transformed.
‘Now, let me continue. On my father’s death my mother had sufficient funds of her own to keep both of us. She reverted to her maiden name and I grew up using the name of Marshal, and did not
even know I was a Rivenhall.’ He paused, his expression sad. ‘My mother died when I was twelve and there was just enough money left to purchase me a set of colours, and so I joined the Army.’
‘So young? You were still a child.’
‘Not for long; the army is a place where you grow up fast, if you are to survive.’
Amelia could imagine how difficult it must have been for a young boy, recently orphaned, to make his way in the army. ‘Please go on, Cousin Richard. Did you make good progress in your career?’
He nodded. ‘Yes, moderate; when I resigned my commission last month I had reached the rank of major.’
Amelia was not surprised. She had sensed immediately that her cousin was a man used to command. ‘I am impressed. But how did you finally discover you were the heir to Rivenhall?’
‘Quite by chance; after Waterloo I returned to London and visited Blake and Sons, my mother’s lawyers. I had been sending them my prize money over the years, and they have been investing it for me. I needed to know how my affairs stood. I did not know, however, that they had been holding that pack of documents in safe keeping. My mother had left instructions for them to be given to me when I reached my majority. They had no idea of their contents. Because I had not been to see them since my mother’s death they had remained unopened.’

He leant forward; his dark eyes glittered in the firelight. ‘I was astounded when I learnt that I was now a lord, and not only heir to vast estates, but guardian to a cousin and responsible for an aunt. Naturally I came down here immediately. And I can only apologize again, for the unforgivable distress my absence has caused to yourself and Lady Rivenhall.’  (  (Amazon.UK)

Fenella J Miller

Tuesday, 22 October 2013


Alison Morton is back on my blog again and very welcome she is too. Her second book, Perfiditas, is now published and she's here to tell us all about it. I've lareayd devoured it - brilliant book - even better than Inceptio.


When I launched my first novel, INCEPTIO, earlier this year, it was the end of three years’ slog, some of which was writing, rewriting and polishing the book, but an equal part was learning How To Be A Novelist. I went on specialist courses, took part in conferences, joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association, networked and drank a lot of coffee and wine in the process. 

This March saw a high-profile launch with Sue Cook the broadcaster, blog tours, library talks, speaking at conferences and events, signings, shortlisting for the International Rubery Book Award and the award of a B.R.A.G. MedallionTM for excellence. Oh, and I sold a few books.

Seven months later and the next book, PERFIDITAS, is out. Set in the same imaginary country of Roma Nova, it bursts with spies, intrigue, Roman themes, romance and adventure, all tied together with a tough, but sometimes bewildered, heroine. And betrayal is in the air…

When you write a book, you hope someone will read it. In fact, you hope a lot of someones will enjoy it and tell their friends, colleagues, family, the cousin who works on the national newspaper – you get the picture. Fellow writers can be especially supportive; as scribes themselves they know a good (or bad) thing when they read it.  So I’m honoured by Fenella’s invitation to be a guest here today.

 What’s PERFIDITAS about?
Captain Carina Mitela of the Praetorian Guard Special Forces is in trouble – one colleague has tried to kill her and another has set a trap to incriminate her in a conspiracy to topple the government of Roma Nova. Founded sixteen hundred years ago by Roman dissidents and ruled by women, Roma Nova barely survived a devastating coup d’état thirty years ago. Carina swears to prevent a repeat and not merely for love of country.

Seeking help from a not quite legal old friend could wreck her marriage to the enigmatic Conrad. Once proscribed and operating illegally, she risks being terminated by both security services and conspirators. As she struggles to overcome the desperate odds and save her beloved Roma Nova and her own life, she faces the ultimate betrayal…

What others have said
“Sassy, intriguing, page-turning…  Roma Nova is a fascinating world” - Simon Scarrow
Powerful storytelling, vivid characters and a page-turning plot”
– Jean Fullerton
Scenes and characters are sometimes so vividly described that I felt I was watching a movie.” – Sue Cook

 And here’s a trailer with some exciting music:

PERFIDITAS is available through your local bookshop (paperback), on your local Amazon (paperback and ebook) and on other online retailers.

You can read more about Alison, Romans, alternate history and writing here on her blog at
Twitter: @alison_morton

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Kathy Bennett - Crime Writer answers some questions.

Today I welcome Kathy Bennet to my blog. Kathy is a very successful indie-published writer of crime novels and I'm delighted to have her here.

Why do you write?

I think I first thought of writing commercially when I was in junior high school (ages 13 – 15). My English teacher assigned each student in the class to write a story.

I wrote a story and ended it with an ambiguous ending. The teacher must have thought the story was good because she read it aloud to the class. When she got to the end of the story the entire class groaned in disappointment that I hadn't 'told' them how the story ended…A suspense writer was born in that instant.

What books did you love growing up?

The first series of books that I loved were the Trixie Belden mysteries. The series featured thirteen-year-old Trixie and her best friend Honey Wheeler, and Trixie's brothers too. I was about nine when I started reading them. Every weekend my mother would give me the money to ride my bicycle to the store to buy another 'Trixie' book.

As I got older, I read the book Gone With the Wind. That was my first taste of a book with a romance. I've read Scarlett and Rhett's story at least sixteen times…and seen the film even more times.

What is hardest – getting published, writing or marketing?

They are ALL hard for different reasons.
When it comes to getting published, you're relying on a small amount of people to 'think you're good enough.' It's very difficult to get a small group of people to agree that what you've written has merit and is salable.

In regards to writing, distractions are my bugaboo. With all the family responsibilities, and social media obligations it can be hard to focus.

Marketing is a whole other animal. There is no way to know for sure if your marketing efforts are successful. Additionally, one author will have success with one method and tell everyone else, and then many authors are doing the same things which makes them all less effective.

What marketing works for you?

I've seen the best results from my Facebook page (please join me at ) and talking to people on an individual basis. Of course, writing the next book is a sure winner too.

Is your family supportive ? Do your friends support you?

My family is extraordinarily supportive. My husband cooks, cleans, and does laundry so I can write. Oh, and he works full time too. My daughter assists me with administrative tasks, like being sure I get paid the right amount.

When you're not writing, how do you like to relax?

My mother has Alzheimer's disease and lives in an assisted living facility about thirty-five miles away. I go visit her three times a week and teach gentle exercises to the residents who live there. Most of the residents are in their seventies, eighties, and nineties. There are even a few women in my classes who are over one hundred-years-old. I love the time I spend with my mom and her fellow residents. It's good for my soul.

Another way I relax is my not-so-secret vice of reality TV. I like to tell myself I'm studying people's character, but the truth is I'm fascinated by people are so clueless to how they're appearing to the rest of the world, and how little they seem to care about the world's perception of them.

How often do you write? When is your most productive time?

I've been in a dry spell as of late. My mother-in-law passed away last week after a month-long illness. She lived about 300 miles away from us, and my husband and I were taking turns going back and forth to look after her.

Excluding special circumstances, I try to write every day. I've found the best time for me to write is about 9:00 p.m. to about 2:00 a.m. Unfortunately, this doesn't go over so well with my husband who is still working as a police officer and gets up early in the morning.

Do you have a writing schedule?

Each book I've written I've had a different kind of schedule. I've found trying to write to a particular number of words a day my best motivator.

Have you ever had writer's block? If so, how did you get over it?

Sure I've had it. Usually when I've been away from writing for more than two days I really struggle to get back into it. The situation can be made even harder when you're not sure where your story is going when you do get to writing. You just have to put your fanny in the chair and go to work.
What are you working on  now and when will it  be published?

I just released the second book in my LAPD Detective Maddie Divine series. The book is called A Deadly Justice, a fast-paced suspense story with threads of different crimes woven into an intricate web of suspicion, lies, and betrayal. The investigation of those crimes could expose one of Maddie's darkest secrets, forcing her to confront a truth she's tried desperately to bury.

Blurb – A Deadly Justice

A brutal murder. A rash of sophisticated burglaries. A serial rapist.

Little does veteran LAPD Detective Maddie Divine and her new partner, Jade Donovan, realize that a single thread tie the crimes together. But as their investigation digs deeper and the cases begin to unravel, they threaten to expose one of Maddie’s darkest secrets and force her to confront a truth she’s tried desperately to bury.

Harley Elliot: The sleazy broken-down owner of a trendy pizzaria pays his employees well above minimum wage. What’s in it for him, and if he gets caught, will he go to jail?

The Saunders Brothers:
Blake - A cunning manipulator who knows he’s devised the perfect crime.
Logan – The hot-tempered middle brother whose careless misadventure made him a perfect target.
Jeremy – The peacekeeper for his older brothers and the calculating voice of reason in their dysfunctional trio.

Shelbie Saunders: The adopted little sister of the wild Saunder’s boys is trying to find her place in the family as she blossoms into a young woman. Trying to keep up with her new brothers is her first mistake.

Zak Murdock: The brawny sergeant of police has a troubling history with Maddie’s partner, Jade. When he’s assigned to detectives, he puts Maddie and Jade in his sights.

Walt Lamb: The hard-working bartender at Harley’s pizzaria keeps a low profile to protect his ‘side job,’ yet he misses nothing.

Kathy Bennett – Bio

Kathy Bennett served twenty-one years as a sworn police officer with the LAPD. Most of her career was spent in patrol, but she’s also been a Firearms Instructor, a crime analyst in the “War Room”, a Field Training Officer, and worked undercover. Kathy was honored to be named Officer of the Year in 1997.

In June of 2011, Kathy self-published her debut novel, A Dozen Deadly Roses. The e-book climbed the charts becoming a bestseller at both Amazon and Barnes and Noble. 
In April of 2012, Kathy published her second full-length suspense novel, A Deadly Blessing. That book is the first in the series featuring LAPD Detective Maddie Divine. A Deadly Blessing also became a bestseller at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. In fact, Barnes and Noble chose the book as a Best Nook Book Original for 2012.
Kathy's third book, A Deadly Justice released in September of 2013. She is currently working on the next book in the series, A Deadly Denial.

Thank you Kathy - I hope your new release does very well.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Why Indie Publish a Paperback?

 Is there any point in going to the trouble and expense of publishing an e-book as a paperback?
 I decided that I wanted my mainstream historicals, Barbara's War and Hannah's War, to be available to readers in both formats. I've also put them on all the various e-book outlets even though I know Amazon is the main seller.
I've only sold a handful of physical books, at this rate I will recover the costs involved for years. So why am I going to publish the second part of Barbara's War as an e-book and a paperback?
Is it vanity? If I'm honest, probably that has something to do with it – but the main reason I'm prepared to make any financial loss on the paperback is because I want physical copies to give to my friends and family. I also want one on my bookshelf.

I haven't been able to promote my books into indie bookshops or the libraries because at the moment Create Space, with whom I publish, only produce author copies in America and the postage is prohibitive. It's actually cheaper for me to buy from Amazon.UK than to send for author copies. I'm hoping that sometime soon I shall be able to buy personal copies for resale to bookshops and at events will be available here.

I am selling hundreds of copies every month of each title as e-books; it only took one month to recoup what I spent on producing the paperback. I'd much rather spend my royalties on writing related things than give it to the taxman.

I would be interested to hear what other indie writers, and indeed readers, think about this. Do we still need to have a physical copy of our book in order to feel we are "real authors"?

Sunday, 29 September 2013

The Duke's Proposal & Amazon.UK
I am delighted to have just released the first new title since June last year. The Duke's Proposal, like The Duke's Reform, is a book that has never been published anywhere before. In fact it's the first book I've written this year - and I'm thrilled to have got back to writing new material.
Here is the first chapter for you to read -  I do hope you like it enough to buy it.

“Mama, it is more than a year since Papa passed away. I believe we could attend the assembly at Stenning without causing a scandal.” Lydia reached out and squeezed her mother’s hand. “A ball is exactly what we both need before the arrival of Uncle Edward next week. I wish he was not coming for I am not overly fond of him.”
Her mother smiled. “My love, my brother-in-law is a perfectly pleasant gentleman; I cannot think why you have taken him in such dislike. He cannot be blamed for inheriting the title from father, and, as far as I’m aware he has no intention of interfering with our lives in any way. Ravenscroft remains mine for my lifetime, as does the interest from the trust fund and income from the estate. Also your inheritance is substantial and kept quite separate from the estate funds.”
“I know that, Mama, so why does he wish to come here at all? After all he came to the funeral, surely that’s enough? Papa and he were not close, were they?”
Her mother fiddled with the buttons on her sleeve before answering. “They had a falling out many years ago, before you were born. I expect he wishes he had made his peace with his brother before your papa was taken ill.”
Lydia jumped up, shook out the creases from her morning gown, and prepared to depart. “In which case I shall say no more about it, and make an effort to welcome him as the future owner of my home and the head of the household.” Her mother was obviously ready to forgive and forget, so she must do the same.
“Have we purchased tickets for the assembly, my dear? I do hope it is not already oversubscribed – I can see you have quite set your heart on going.”
“I sent Jenny into town two days ago. All we have to decide is what we are going to wear. It seems an age since either of us was wearing anything but black and lavender.”
“We are fortunate, my love, that gowns still have a high waist.” She laughed. “Imagine having to wear a ball gown that was outmoded!”
“You could not be out of fashion if you tried, Mama. You look more like my sister than my parent. Indeed, your hair is as golden as it always was and I swear you have hardly any more wrinkles than I.”
“Despite my great age, do you mean? Remember, darling girl, I was a child bride and you were born less than a year after I was wed.”
Lydia returned and dropping to her knees, embraced her mother. “I love you, Mama, I meant no disrespect.” She scrambled up and shook her head. “If I was as beautiful as you, I expect I should already be married myself.”
“My dear, do not fish for compliments. Although your hair is brown, your eyes are fine and your figure exemplary. You are a beautiful young lady and well you know it. If you had been able to make your come out two years ago you might well have been a mother by now.”
“Good grief! That is a sobering thought, Mama. However, as you only managed to produce me in seventeen years of marriage, I might not be obliged to bear a child so soon or as frequently as some of your friends.”
“This is not a suitable conversation, Lydia, for an unmarried girl. I am shocked by your lack of decorum. Lady Alice is not a good influence on you, I fear. She is a flighty young miss and it is high time her father stepped in and found her a serious husband.”
“We have decided not to accept any offer of matrimony before we reach our majority – therefore we have a further two years to enjoy our freedom.” Lydia headed for the drawing room door determined to escape before her mother would take issue with her outrageous statement.
She hurried across the spacious vestibule and almost ran up the stairs. Alice had promised to visit this afternoon and help with the selection of her ensemble. Her friend was also an only daughter, but not an only child as she had three much older brothers. The earl and his countess had been surprised, but delighted, at the unexpected arrival of a girl after a gap of ten years. Consequently Alice had grown up petted and spoilt by her adoring family.
Whatever the reasons for Alice’s somewhat wild behaviour, Lydia loved her dearly and did her best to restrain the worst of her excesses. She smiled as she recalled the almost elopement two years ago – she had been obliged to lock her friend in a closet to prevent her creeping out to meet her erstwhile husband. The young man in question had been an impecunious younger son, harmless enough, but quite unsuitable for Alice.
The autumn sun flooded into her parlour making the highly polished furniture glow and the crystal drops in the small chandelier sparkle. She headed for her bedchamber and called out to her maid. “Jenny, what have you found for me? Do I have anything suitable for the assembly?”
The girl appeared from the dressing room her arms full of gowns. “You have four, Miss Lydia, that might do. I can soon add a ruffle or two if you want me to copy the latest fashion plates in La Belle Assemblée.
“I cannot abide frills so intend to ignore that trend.” Jenny draped the garments across the bed. “I had forgotten I had so many to choose from.”
She picked up an evening dress in the finest forget-me-not blue tulle. “I have never worn this one, Jenny. It is perfect – the neckline is not too daring and the little blue flowers set it off perfectly. I believe I have gloves, slippers, reticule and fan to match.”
“And you have the sapphire parure left to you by your grandmother, Lady Richmond,” Jenny said.
“I think sapphires would be too much for a local ball, Jenny. Perhaps I can find ribbon to match the forget-me-nots around the hem and neck and thread it through my hair? I’m almost certain Miss Maidstone said she was expecting a new delivery of haberdashery last week.”
Lydia looked at the mantel clock. There was ample time to walk into the village and make a purchase and still be home in time for her friend’s visit. “Jenny, please find my walking boots. We shall go at once and buy the ribbon we need.”

The walk to the village was no more than a mile and was accomplished without mishap. The pavements were busy with like-minded shoppers. There was a small gathering of excited young ladies standing in front of the assembly hall. Lydia hurried over to see what all the commotion was about.
One of the group, the cherries on her bonnet bobbing dangerously, rushed over to greet her. “Miss Richmond, have you heard the news? A cavalry regiment is to be billeted in the empty barracks at Weeley. Imagine that! Our very own regiment of officers close by.”
“Miss Collins, how very exciting. I wonder if they will be in residence in time to attend the assembly ball next week?”
The young ladies exclaimed in delight at the thought of having a surplus of handsome young men to dance with instead of the usual, lacklustre local gentlemen.
Another girl clapped her hands and spun, sending the skirt of her pastel green muslin swirling, and revealing more of her ankles than was seemly. “Do you have tickets, Miss Richmond?”
“I do indeed, Miss Rushton. I was already eagerly anticipating the event, but now I’m almost beside myself.” Lydia put on a suitably excited expression. These girls were not close friends, mere acquaintances, the daughters of local gentry, and did not move in the same stifling atmosphere as herself and Alice. They had no maids in attendance and were allowed to come and go from their homes as they pleased. She wished she was allowed such freedom.
“I wonder if the duke will favour us with an appearance. Mama told me he has a house party at the moment – some gentlemen and their ladies down for the shooting. Do tell us, Miss Richmond, if they are to come.” The speaker, a pretty girl in a pink striped walking dress, clutched her bosom and stared starry eyed at Lydia.
The gathering completely blocked the pathway and a disgruntled matron clucked and tutted as she was obliged to step into the street in order to pass by.
“I am not privy to the movements of the Duke of Stenning. He is our neighbour and was a friend of my father’s. I don’t believe I’ve spoken to him this past two months.” She shook her head. “And anyway, I don’t believe he has ever attended an assembly ball, so why should he do so now?”
A sigh of disappointment rippled around the circle but then Miss Collins, ever a pragmatist, laughed gaily. “He is way above our touch, but we shall have a dozen or more officers to dance with. There’s nothing I like better than a military gentleman.”
“Pray excuse me, ladies, I have still to go to the haberdashers and must hurry as I’m expecting a visitor this afternoon.”
The girls politely stepped aside allowing Lydia and Jenny to pass. The babble of their chatter followed her into the cool interior of the shop. There were three customers being attended to by smartly dressed assistants but there was no sign of the proprietor. However, Miss Maidstone emerged immediately and greeted Lydia with a small curtsy and a smile.
“Good morning, Miss Richmond, how can I help you today?”
Less than twenty minutes later Lydia was on her way home delighted to have found an exact match for the forget-me-nots sewn to her ball gown. She nodded and smiled at several acquaintances that didn’t stop to pass the time of day. Fortunately the gaggle of girls and moved elsewhere, no doubt to discuss at length the arrival of the regiment.
Usually she chatted to Jenny when they were out together, but today she wished to mull over something that had been said to her earlier. When she had denied speaking to the duke, she had told a falsehood. His grace visited at least once a week, usually to impart some local news to her mother or offer advice on her investments. Although she was usually present, she rarely spoke directly to him herself.
He was nearer her mother’s age than hers, and although scrupulously polite and unfailingly charming, she found him unnerving and difficult to converse with. He was – he was a formidable man. He stood more than two yards high and his shoulders were extremely broad. He wore his dark hair short, an uncompromising style which suited his demeanour. He treated her more as a child than a woman grown and she was grateful for this. Being teased and talked down to meant she was not expected to join in the conversation and thus show her ignorance of adult matters.
Her lips curved as she recalled the last time they had met. He had ridden over on his latest acquisition, a magnificent bay stallion, and had invited her to give an opinion on the animal. She had been about to go inside after a brisk walk around the lake. Her face had been hot, her hem mired and her boots muddy – hardly an appealing sight. She had mumbled something complimentary and scuttled in like a frightened rabbit. His laughter had followed her and she didn’t blame him one jot for finding her a figure of fun.
On her return she ran upstairs to remove her gloves and bonnet and replace her walking boots with indoor slippers before hurrying down to the drawing room to share the exciting news. She burst in only to find her mother was not alone.
The duke stood and greeted her affectionately. “Miss Richmond, what a delightful surprise. I understood from her ladyship that you had gone to the village.” His expression was bland but she could see amusement dancing in his eyes.
“I am back now, your grace…” She faltered and her cheeks suffused with colour. Why was it she always sounded like a pea goose when speaking to him?
“Indeed you are, my dear, and looking quite delightful too.” He raised an eyebrow and glanced at a sofa reminding her etiquette demanded he remain on his feet until she was seated. Drat the man!
Ignoring his comment she dropped beside her mother intending to tell her the good news. “Mama, you will never guess what I was told in the village.”
“Lydia, my love, your news must wait. We have far more pressing matters to discuss.”
What could possibly be more important than the arrival of the cavalry regiment? She bit back her pert reply and tried to look interested. “Yes, Mama, what is it you wish to tell me that also involves our guest?”
She risked a glance in his direction and wished she hadn’t. He was not impressed by her comment.
“The duke’s sister, Lady Margaret Dunwoody, has offered to bring you out. Is that not kind of her? With your dear papa so recently deceased I cannot face the hustle and bustle of Town at the moment, so without this help you would not get your season at all.”
“Thank you, sir, I do appreciate Lady Margaret offering to sponsor me in March. However, I have no wish to leave my mother to gad about in London. Having attended several informal parties this summer, I believe that I can be considered out already.”
Who was the more astonished by her statement was hard to tell. Her mother was rendered speechless and the duke’s eyes widened in shock. He recovered first.
“Stuff and nonsense! Lady Richmond will manage perfectly well in your absence as well you know. All young ladies want to have a season in Town. You are no different—”
Lydia was on her feet incensed by his assumption that he knew her motives. “I beg your pardon, your grace, but I disagree. You have no right to dictate my movements for you are not a member of my family.” She glared at him and he glared right back. “Lord Richmond is arriving next week to take up his responsibilities as head of the household and my legal guardian. It is to him that I shall defer and not to—”
A choking sound coming from the sofa gave her pause. Her mother was about to explode. Lydia had never seen her parent so angry. Not waiting for the tirade to descend on her head she headed rapidly for the open door. Her heart was hammering against her ribs. She could scarcely breathe. What could have possessed her to speak so intemperately?
Mama would have her return if she could find her. Therefore she would not go to her apartment but hide in the maze until the coast was clear. She hurtled through the house and out through the garden-room and on to the terrace that ran around the south side of the building.
She was gasping for breath when she catapulted into the welcome darkness of the ancient maze. There was a small summer house in the centre where she could wait out the storm in comfort. She had played in this place so often as a child that she could instinctively find her way in any direction and had no recourse to take the flag from the stand in with her. Strangers were advised to wave this when they became hopelessly lost amidst the greenery.
The sun no longer shone into the maze and the summer house was not as welcoming as she had hoped. She wished she’d had the forethought to collect a wrap before she’d dashed out here. Mama should have calmed down within half an hour – surely she could sit here comfortably for such a short period of time? She was in the process of brushing off the debris from the wooden seat when there was a slight noise behind her.
She turned expecting to find a squirrel or a bird. Instead the duke stood there. He did not look at all friendly. “Your grace, what are you doing here? Did my mother send you to ring a peal over me?”
He stepped forward and loomed over her. “No, Miss Richmond, I am here on my own business.” He gestured to the bench. “Shall we be seated?”
Feeling decidedly foolish, Lydia squashed herself in the farthest corner praying he would leave a suitable gap between them. “I apologise if I offended you, sir, but—”
“You offended your mother, young lady, which is far more serious. In my opinion you have been overindulged and it is high time someone took you in hand.”
She stiffened and pressed her back hard against the wall. “How I behave is none of your concern, sir. I have a perfectly satisfactory guardian who is quite content with my behaviour.” This was the second time she had referred to her uncle in this way – no doubt he would be surprised to discover he was expected to take an active role in her life. Mama had insisted, after the funeral, that there was no need for any interference from him.
The duke stretched out his long legs and examined the toes of his immaculate Hessians for non-existent dust. The silence stretched. Why didn’t the wretched man say something? Then he swivelled and pinned her with his arctic blue gaze.
“Miss Richmond, my sister offered to sponsor you out of the kindness of heart. She has her own progeny to launch but was prepared to give up her valuable time on your behalf. Yet you chose to toss it back as if of no importance.” He paused and Lydia wondered if she was expected to comment. He frowned and she drew breath to speak but reconsidered.
“Why in God’s name would you turn down an offer any debutante in the land would be thrilled to have?”

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Helen Pfeifer – debut author with CarinaUK.

 This week I'm delighted to welcome Helen Pfeifer to my blog. Helen writes crime with a difference. Welcome to my blog. Now, I'd like to talk about how you write your books. I'm going to do this through a series of questions and answers. Let's get started:

Do you start with you characters or your plot?
I knew I wanted to write a story about a normal, everyday woman who was a police officer and I knew what I wanted to happen to her so my character and plot pretty much came at the same time.

Do you write a biography of all your characters/main only/none?  

I did for my main characters but not for the secondary ones.

Do you base your characters on a real person/film actor etc or are they entirely imaginary?
Mine are a combination of imaginary with traits of some real people I know thrown in.

Do you cut photos out of magazines to use as your main characters?
No, I kind of know what I want them to look like although Angelina Jolie in Tomb Raider and Sigourney Weaver in Aliens were in my head when I wrote my main character Annie Graham.

Do you see your characters or only hear them or both?

How many characters do you think are too many for a book to work?
Ah that’s a difficult one for me to answer because in my book I have two stories running in different centuries so there is a set of characters for both. I have worked very hard not to make it confusing for my readers.
How do you make your characters individual? Accent? Catch phrases? Mannerisms? Other things?
I tried to make my characters come across as real, believable people with the same hang ups and insecurities that most of us have.

Do you write with multi-view point/deep third/first/omnipotent/narrator –or a combination of these?
A combination of multi-view point and third person, I think.
How often do your characters run away with your plot?
All the time, I like to plot everything out and have a corkboard with a list of index cards pinned to it for each chapter. I set off with good intentions but usually once I get going I find the story writes itself anyway.

Would you ever kill a main character/child/animal/villain?
If it was central to the plot, in fact in my second book one of the characters does become the victim of a serial killer but Shh, I can’t give too much away.
In your opinion which is more important –plot or character?
I think that in a Crime/Thriller book the plot is the thing which keeps your readers turning the page, but if they don’t like your characters they will stop reading anyway so both are equally important.

Thank you, Helen, your book sounds fascinating. A mixture of historical, fantasy and crime – I'm sure it will be very popular.

The Ghost House
There's not much that scares Annie Graham. Not even the horrors she has witnessed during her years on the police force. 

When she agrees to look after her brother's farmhouse, she finds herself drawn to the crumbling old mansion in the woods nearby. But an innocent exploration of the empty ruin and the discovery of the diary of former resident Alice leaves her more than a little spooked. She knows it holds the secrets to a dark past, and she has to find out more.

What was the terrible truth that Alice uncovered? And how could what happened to her over 100 years ago help solve the murders of young women in the town?

Annie needs to stop the serial killer before she becomes his next victim – but the past comes back to haunt her in ways she could never have expected.

I'd like to thank Helen for dropping by and hope all of you enjoyed meeting her as much as I did.
Fenella J Miller