Wednesday 28 June 2017

The Hen Party Blog Tour is happening with or without a jet plane!

Oh no, what a disaster! My worldwide book tour has just fallen through because my private pilot, Mr Truestory, left the lights on my private jet, Jetty McJetface, and the battery has died. We're trying to get it jump started but it doesn't look promising.

That basically means I won't be appearing in the incredible venues I had booked up for book signings - including The British Library, the Thomas Jefferson Building, Trinity College Library in Ireland, Spain's El Escorial, the Bibliotheque Nationale de France, Portugal's Biblioteca Geral, Germany's Wiblingen Monastery library, the Sydney Opera House, that little bookshop from You've Got Mail and of course, the Taj Mahal...

When I say booked, I don't mean booked booked, but they were firmly on my list. Written in pencil, but still firm.

The good news is the virtual blog tour is still going ahead. From tomorrow lovely bloggers will be sharing all things The Hen Party - with guest posts, interviews and reviews. I'll be sharing them on my Facebook Author Page.

Many thanks to the bloggers participating:

A.L Michael - 29th June
Greenacre Writers - 3rd July

Get your copy of The Hen Party here. 

Monday 26 June 2017

Self-Publishing Stigma vs Inspiring Author Entrepreneurs

There are two main podcasts I listen to when I'm doing chores.

An inspirational and info-packed podcast with over 300 interviews with successful author entrepreneurs. It's been so influential I felt compelled to include host, Joanna Penn, in my acknowledgements for The Hen Party even though I've never met her.

Friendly host Paul Teague interviews self-published authors at different stages of their writing journeys  and also updates listeners on his own personal journey. A lot of what I hear really resonates with me.  

Yesterday my hero, Joanna Penn, tweeted a post I'd written for the Alliance of Independent Authors on Why I Swapped the Traditional Dream to Self-Publish. Half of me felt chuffed, the other half a little apprehensive that I had been outed as having self-published. Not long after the tweet, Paul Teague, host of my other favourite podcast said he had been meaning to write to me to see if I wanted to be on his show. Again, very pleased, and also slightly anxious.

The truth is I'm a hybrid author who is open to and has been published both traditionally and independently. Deciding to self-publish The Hen Party was not a second choice, as I point out in the article; it was a case of wanting to feel empowered.

The word entrepreneur has a lot of positive connotations. An entrepreneur sounds like someone who is driven, creative, has get-up and go. 

Unfortunately self-publishing entrepreneurs aren't always met with the same admiration in the writing world!

Self-publishing still has a lot of stigma - and I get why. People want the credibility of a big publisher. They assume if a big publisher didn't print it, then it can't be good. In reality, a traditional publisher might like the book but may not have space for it on their list. They may well have a similar author writing in the same genre. 

I didn't wait until the very end to find out if a publisher wanted my book. It takes months and months for replies and the first so-called 'rave rejections' convinced me the novel was good enough for public consumption. They went like this:  

Rejection 1: Emily’s novel is so much fun and full of heart. Kate in particular stood out as an interesting and well-rounded character and I think the author does a terrific job of moving the story along at just the right pace and making sure all the different storylines don’t become too confused.'

Reason: Bad timing. Publisher already has three writers in similar genre.

Rejection 2: 'I really liked the writing and I think Emily is definitely a very interesting author with bags of potential.' 

Reason: Not sure about theme. Reality TV isn't as popular as before.

Rejection 3:'I really, really enjoyed reading it. It’s just so much fun! And Emily’s voice is fab – light but shrewd, I absolutely raced through this.'

Reason: not sure about Kate (see first rejection reason - if anything, it proves how subjective it all is.)

The book took me over a year with two massive edits so I wasn't going to just discard it because three people liked it but weren't sure they'd be able to sell it. I didn't just hit publish once I'd made up my mind. It was important to me that it would be produced with the same care as a traditionally published book.

Next, it went through a professional editor. After that, a proof reader. Self-publishing can sound like: I wrote a book, my mummy liked it, so I printed it out! But though this might be the case for some people, it certainly isn't my take on independent publishing. 

For me, it's about being proactive about your career, treating it like a business and taking the wishful thinking out of it.  It's about taking creative control of your project, getting fair royalties and being able to adjust prices and book covers if at first it doesn't succeed. 

Perhaps knowing The Hen Party has been produced independently will put you off buying it, but I hope not. If it helps, I've been published traditionally three times, and if anything my writing should be getting better. Personally, I'm proud of the book and thrilled with the reviews starting to come in. I've been told it's my best book yet... but I'll let you be the judge of that!    

Friday 23 June 2017

San Juan - the day health and safety inspectors cry themselves to sleep

One of the best things about Spain is the way they've maintained so many traditions and the huge quantities of festivities there are. You could spend a year hopping from one town to another chasing fiestas if you wanted to. Perhaps I should do that and write a book about it - except I'm a bit of a lightweight and I can't cope with two late nights in a row.

By late, I mean reaaaaally late. You've got to calculate the time as if it were the time plus three hours. So if you get home at 3am, that's really only like getting home at midnight in Spain.

Today is San Juan, which means tonight we'll be celebrating La Nit de Foc - the night of fire. Tonight is the night safe and healthy officers give each other a look as if to say 'why do we even bother?

In Palma, it will start in front of the cathedral with ominous drum beats that will set your pulse racing. Then devils will appear wielding tridents with spinning fireworks at the end of them. Sparks will fly, smoke will fill your nostril, the bang of firecrackers will ripple through your body and you will retreat screaming. You will then probably creep forward again, because it's so mesmerising you won't be able to stay away.

After an hour of all hell breaking loose, the devils will depart... to rejoin their families probably for a barbeque and a beer. Everyone will head down to the beaches and prance around flaming bonfires. There will be no supervision and no massive barriers in front of the fires like there is in public displays for Guy Fawkes in the UK.

There are rituals - like scribbling your deepest wish on a piece of paper and throwing it into the fire so that it comes true. Or jumping over it three times. In reality, the most common ritual is drinking too much, swimming in the dark and making a mess of Mallorca's beaches. I'm intending to go equipped with black bags and be a conscientious San Juan party goer!

So there you have it. If you happen to be in Mallorca tonight - or Spain in general: Do not be afraid. It is not the apocalypse - it's only San Juan. 

I'm seriously thinking about including some mad fiestas in my next novel... 

Thursday 22 June 2017

Goats or Boats - choosing a Mediterranean dream!

Prices for property in Mallorca are sky rocketing and we've been thinking it might be a good idea to look for somewhere to buy before it's too late. Yesterday we saw an old block with a huge perk. Direct access to the sea via a ladder from a concrete platform. Pretty special, right? Don't get too excited. The second bedroom was too small to swing a cat; too small for a comfortable visit. 

It had a great terrace though. You could grow a tomato plant in it. Not big enough for chickens. Certainly no goats. There are a lot of wild goats in Mallorca. We went on an excursion in our inflatable dingy and saw some walking along the cliffs. It was the highlight of my week.

Every time we set off in our little boat I marvel at how different my life is from what it was a few years ago living in the big city of London. We lower our little anchor, jump into the water for a snorkel, and then dry off in the sunshine, bobbing gently until I feel a bit seasick and we have to go back.

Before I moved toMallorca I was sure I'd choose mountains over sea every time. That's because my summer holidays in the pre-pyrenees in Catalonia were blissfully happy ones. I imagined we might look for a rustic stone-walled finca in the countryside.

Instead we got lucky with a beautiful flat with low rent in a lovely residential area outside Palma. If we could buy a place in our current neighbourhood, we would; unfortunately it's too expensive. 

Having spent two years just walking distance from the sea, I feel its immense value. An ever-changing and always uplifting view, relief from the stifling heat. Plus, we've got our boat now and need to make the most of it.

Back to those goats. There's nothing like seeing wild animals. No doubt we'd see lots  if we chose to take that apartment we saw yesterday because it's not all that far from Magaluf. It gets me thinking. Access to the sea is great, but is it still great if it's in a tourist bubble? If it's in a place which doesn't even resemble Spain any more?

I used to be a massive fan of the programme A Place in the Sun. I remember how the guests ummed and aahed over the compromises they would have to make. In my next book there's a retired couple who come to the island after a dream. Trouble is, they start to realise it's not the same dream.

A place in the sun? Well, I've got the sun bit. Now it's about working out what's the best place to enjoy it... on the budget we have!

Wednesday 21 June 2017

Mallorca: the sensationally dark side

People often ask writers: Where do you get your ideas from?

Up until now, they've just arisen from daily life. A conversation with someone; an observation that has instigated a series of What if's in my head. After reading the latest copy of EuroWeekly News, I realise I've been missing a trick. The amount of outrageous stories in it are enough for at least three novels a week.

-Sordid Orgy Scandal Erupts: Two top politicians found to have had drug-fuelled orgies with the so-called Godfather of Mallorca

- Caught Red-handed: Two men caught suspected of encouraging Brits to make false food claims.  Mallorca hotels have paid out an estimated 50 million already on fraudulent claims, with a 700% rise in Brits doing the conning

Then there's drunk driving, domestic violence, an attempted kidnap of a baby, disappointed football fans throwing eggs at their team's bus, an inflatable plastic protest against the rise of pollution and of course LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS OF MISBEHAVING DRUNK TOURISTS:

-Stark naked Brits go jogging
-Scottish and British football fans filmed exchanging blows, chanting and covered in blood
-Budget Mile High Club: Couple filmed having sex on a Ryanair flight


It gets worse:

Neo-Nazi thugs invade a bar

Then there's the idiotic:

Women caught stoned in hospital with 46,000 in her purse believed to be cash stolen in a previous raid.

How can you be so stupid?

The only light relief is a mention of a Spanish fiesta where men dressed as devils leap over a line of babies.  Not much relief if you're one of the babies though!

There I was thinking I'd moved to Paradise. By page two of EWN I'm wondering if I've been blind all this time.

On the upside: Lots of potential novels! 

My new novel The Hen Party is also set in Mallorca and does have some misbehaving characters in it. However compared to what I've just read, it's quite tame! 

It's for anyone after a fun, fast-paced book for the summer which won't leave you feeling depressed and in need of another holiday by the time you reach the last page. I can't say the same for this week's EWN. Although I should feel optimistic, if I keep reading I'm sure to have some entertaining plots sorted soon... Plus I love doing the crossword! 

Thursday 8 June 2017

Sun, Sea and Missing Hens - The Hen Party is out now!

If I haven't blogged recently it's because I've had my hands tied behind my back in a bid to stop me typing before the right time! That and I've got a new job with abcMallorca magazine. But more about that another time. Today is all about THE HEN PARTY.

And the general election in the UK. Oops. Could I have chosen a worse day?

Never mind! I can't resist sharing the news any longer. The Hen Party ebook is OUT NOW in the digital wild. Proceed without caution. Be a big spender. Toss those three pounds at it like you've just discovered them in an old jacket you haven't worn in ages.

I say pounds, but the ebook is available all around the world - $9.99 Reales in Brazil - $49.99 pesos in Mexico - 129 Rupees in India! £2.99 sounds cheap now, doesn't it?!   

The paperback will follow shortly and I will update as soon as it comes out! Best place to find me is on my Facebook Author Page.   

I really, really hope you enjoy the book. If you do and you have a spare minute, reviews are SO helpful as they raise the profile of the book and mean other people see it too.

Thank you for accompanying on the writing journey this far and THANK YOU so much to everyone who buys a copy of my book! 

                                      BUY THE HEN PARTY!

I might calm down in a minute, but I can't promise. 

The Hen Party Blurb

Film Director, Kate Miller, is in serious trouble.  The entire cast and crew of the reality TV show The Hen Party has gone missing while filming in Mallorca.

To make matters worse, the network boss has just flown in and will be arriving any minute to check up on her production.

Kate thinks it's all her fault. She hasn't exactly been following the guidelines.

But if she is to blame, why were the hens arguing between themselves? And why is the groom-to-be calling her up in tears?

Kate doesn't know the half of it. The hens have their own secrets and it's only matter of time before they all come tumbling out.   

A party of eight arrive on the island, but not everyone's going home.

If you are a reviewer would like to get in touch about a review copy, contact me directly: