Plans for 2020

I’m a bit late with this post but, aside from it having been a busy few weeks with holidays as well as work, I’ve been waiting for some exciting news. I therefore thought I’d combine my news with some details of my plans for the forthcoming year. So, here is my announcement:

More Books

I’m delighted to have just been signed by Aria at Head of Zeus for a further two books in The Working Girls series. That means there’ll be five books in total. Here’s a reminder of the three existing books:

The Mark and Ruby have already been published and Crystal will follow in the summer but you can already pre-order it at: http://viewbook.at/Crystal.

I have just started work on book four, Amber, which should be available early next year. Book five is called Sapphire and it will be the final book in the series.

Aside from that, Vendetta, the third book in my Manchester Trilogy is to be published in paperback in May. It will be stocked in bookshops from 7th May but can be pre-ordered online from Amazon, Waterstones, Blackwells and W H Smiths. Later, it will be stocked by The Works.

More Research

All five books in The Working Girls series involve prostitution and I carried out a lot of secondary research for the first three novels. A character in the forthcoming two books spends a period of her life as a homeless person and I have therefore been carrying out research on the plight of Manchester’s homeless.

Recently, I visited Lifeshare, a Manchester based charity for young homeless people and for a couple of days after that I found it hard to concentrate on writing book four as it has affected me so much. I think a lot of us have preconceptions about the homeless and, like a lot of people, I carry on walking if I pass a homeless person. This is mainly because I feel at threat as a lot of them are unpredictable due to drug and alcohol abuse.

It is true that a lot of the homeless are hooked on drugs and alcohol but this doesn’t apply in all cases. Many young people have just had a bad start in life; whether from a broken home or brought up in care. There are also instances where young girls are encouraged by an older boyfriend to take drugs until they reach the point of dependency and are subsequently thrown out of home by their parents.

Hearing stories of some young people and the trials and tribulations they face on a daily basis has made me view things in a different light. Everybody deserves a chance in life but unfortunately some people never get that chance. There are a wide range of circumstances that lead to homelessness and/or drug addiction and not all of them are down to personal choice. Certain factors can have a knock on effect so that one thing leads to another, for example, a young person brought up in care might have been  encouraged to take drugs by an older child and without parental influence that child might become more susceptible to peer pressure.

Although I still wouldn’t approach a homeless person directly, I do want to help in other ways. Homeless charities carry out important work and are a lifeline to many unfortunate people. As well as donating, I will be publicising the work of homeless charities through my books. If you would like to make a small donation to Lifeshare, here is the link: https://www.lifeshare.org.uk/donate/.

Apart from giving me invaluable information, Lifeshare have put me in touch with other organisations involved both in homelessness and prostitution so I’ll be carrying out further research to help with books four and five. This will begin with a visit to the MASH (Manchester Action on Street Health) centre early next month. This is another important charity that provides help and support to female sex workers in Manchester. You can find out more about them or make a donation at: http://www.mash.org.uk/get-involved/.

More Author Talks

I am currently in talks (pardon the pun) with a couple of groups regarding author talks and I intend to organise some others in the future.  Although nerve-racking, I am starting to enjoy the experience. It’s a good way to spread the word about my books on a local level, and I always enjoy the opportunity to chat to readers.

So, all in all, I think I have a busy year ahead but I count my blessings to be earning a living doing something I enjoy so much.

————————– 

A Change of Plan

Now that I’ve published my debut novel, ‘Slur’ and my short story book, ‘Crime, Conflict and Consequences’ I’m pressing ahead with my second novel. I originally intended the second novel to be a disturbing psychological thriller called ‘Bad Brother and I’. Having already written about 10,000 words of this book, mostly in outline form but with the opening and concluding chapters drafted, it seemed the logical next step. In fact, I had also published the blurb for ‘Bad Brother and I’ in the back of ‘Slur’.

Then something happened.

As I was writing ‘Slur’ I thought of a great idea for a sequel. I had grown attached to one of my main characters in ‘Slur’, called Rita, and through my debut novel I had alluded to the fact that she hadClipartsalbum_31410 Child a rather colourful home life with a father who was a petty criminal and a sister who hung about with some dubious characters. Rita is feisty, foul mouthed and brash but she’s also loyal and has a strong sense of right and wrong as a result of her grandparents’ influence when she was a child. Therefore I thought it would be interesting to explore her character further and place her in an extremely challenging situation.

I decided that I would push on with ‘Bad Brother and I’ once I had published my short story book, and then write the sequel to ‘Slur’. My reasoning behind this was that I was much further forward with ‘Bad Brother and I’ than with any of the other novels I had planned. However, whilst I was getting ‘Slur’ ready for publication, additional ideas for the sequel were forming in my mind. I already had the plot roughly sketched and I was adding notes to it daily.

I was so excited about the idea for the sequel that I also typed up the opening chapter in draft form. Then, one morning I woke up at 5 am after a dream and I had the whole of the ending in my head. I couldn’t wait to get it down on paper. Fortunately, I have a notepad at my bedside because of my overactive imagination (these ideas always seem to come to me in the middle of the night – sod’s law!)

Clipartsalbum_57330 Clock

The following day I typed up the ending in draft from my handwritten notes and I could see the novel starting to take shape. I knew then that I didn’t want to put it off until I had written ‘Bad Brother and I’. After all, I was still immersed in the world that I had created and the characters were fresh in my mind so I decided to go for it. I changed the blurb in the back of ‘Slur’ and started work on the sequel as soon as I had launched the short story book.

I am now four chapters and 10,000 words in and I’m so glad I made this decision. There is no way I could have focused on ‘Bad Brother and I’ when all my enthusiasm was for the sequel. I’m really enjoying working on this book although it may have to take a back seat for a couple of weeks as I’m currently organising a couple of client jobs.

Although I was further forward with ‘Bad Brother and I’ than with the sequel to ‘Slur’, I actually think that this book will flow more quickly because I’m full of enthusiasm for it. There’s another advantage in writing this book next, and that is the fact that it is similar in type to ‘Slur’. Therefore, I can target them to the same readership.

Clipartsalbum_16620 BooksMy husband actually came up with an idea for a third book in the series. At first I wasn’t sure if it could be developed into a full-length novel as it was just the bare bones of an idea. However, the more I thought about it, the more it appealed to me and I began fleshing out the plot and adding detail. It is now definitely workable as a novel and, as a result, ‘Slur’ has become the first part in a trilogy.

So I think my Bad Brother will have to wait a while longer before he gets his turn in the limelight. Sorry Bad Brother but my female characters are just too dominant. I will get back to it one day though and I think that once I’ve taken the characters from ‘Slur’ as far as I can, I’ll be ready to work with a new set of characters and give them my undivided attention.

Authors, have you ever had a writing dilemma that has caused you to make a complete change in your writing plans? Or, perhaps you’ve had a character who has taken on a life of his or her own. I’d love to hear your comments on this.

 

—————————-

 

Post Holiday Writing Plans

There’s nothing quite like a holiday to help you clear your head and put a new perspective on everything. Before I went away I was feeling quite stressed as I had a lot of things on the go. I still have many plans in terms of my writing but I’m now feeling more relaxed and prepared to take things in my stride. Instead of trying to do things all at once I will let them take their turn and will accept that it will take as long as it takes. Before detailing my plans I thought I’d share a couple of holiday snaps while the memories are still fresh: 20130714_16155520130714_16190120130713_194016 Book Promo I will be holding my first free book promo in the next couple of weeks for my book entitled “Kids’ Clubs and Organisations – A Comprehensive UK Guide”. I need to contact a few websites and other avenues first to ask if they will publicise the promotion so I haven’t fixed the date yet. I will make the first promo a one day only event and will give further information via the blog in the near future.

2nd Parenting Book My 2nd parenting book is about 70% complete. I have reached a bit of a sticking point with some of the research so I really need to push this further to enable me to finish the writing. I will be taking measures to complete the research and will give more details about the book via this blog as I get nearer to the publication date. It will include a few special features though, which will be likely to appeal to a wide range of parents and children.

Debut Novel I have already written my first novel and can’t wait to launch it but I’m waiting until after I have launched my second parenting book. I still need to edit, fact check and proofread the novel, which is a crime thriller. Not having touched the manuscript for some time it will seem strange to revisit it, but I am really looking forward to the task. I must admit that I am becoming a bit frustrated with the process of collating all the information for the parenting books, which are heavily research based, so it will be good to take a break from them and concentrate on fiction instead.

Client Projects I probably should have put this at the top of the list since client work has to be done as and when it is received in accordance with agreed client deadlines. In addition, I have a few regular commitments that I have to meet. It is for this reason also that the books will take as long as they take because client work must always take precedence.

Originally I planned to release the non-fiction book in the late summer and the novel at the end of the year but I now realise that I was perhaps being a little bit over ambitious. I’ll have to see how I progress with the non-fiction book and will detail my experiences via this blog as I go along.