Monday 27 October 2014

6 Steps to Creating a Master Plan for your Writing Business…

I began writing my master business plan for publishing my novel series on March 9th, 2011. This was about 1½ years before I had a signed publishing contract under my belt. Since then, there have been many revisions to this plan. I decided to write down a business plan when I took the plunge to learn all I could about starting a blog to help me develop an author platform. After a few months of intense research, my blog launched May 4th, 2011. Publishing my first post was the beginning of putting my plan into action, and it was truly a lift off for me and my writing career.

My business plan and strategy spans five pages. I’ve broken down the plan into headings, and what I’d like to see happen. I’ve set short term goals (next 1-5 years) and long term goals (10 plus years). I also have an objective, which helps me keep my feet on the ground and fingers on the keyboard. I review my plan quarterly, and revise it once a year. This helps me keep on track and weed out the things I’m doing that aren’t working for me.

So how do you even go about preparing a business plan for your writing career? Every writer is different of course, and I can only give you the benefit of my experience writing MG/YA novel series. But we all have to start somewhere.

First: Begin with your objective. Why are you writing in the first place, and what do you hope to accomplish. I want to give readers an experience they’ll never forget, and organize my life around what makes me happy. Figure out your objective, and get it down!

Second: List your short term goals. What do you hope to accomplish in 1, 3, 5 years? Don’t go overboard you can only handle so much. Once you figure out what these goals are break them down into headings like ‘Online Presence’, ‘Website’, ‘Novels’, ‘Work in Progress’, ‘Time Management and Commitments’, ‘Sales Plan’, ‘Promotion and Marketing Strategy’, and ‘Financial Goals’.

Third: Now for the fun part! Under your headings list the steps you need to take to accomplish your goals. For example, under my ‘Online Presence’ heading I’ve listed in point form all the tasks I need to do to keep my author name out there in cyberspace. Here are some examples:
  •  I’ve joined HootSuite to help schedule my shares and tweets.
  • Guest Blog on other author blogs within the same genre, and make sure to share this info on my social media groups.
  • Continue to do interviews with other authors, especially when there’s a new release.
  • Approach book blog reviewers, especially a month before a new release. Offer a free copy for honest review.
  • Offer my blog as a platform for other YA authors—either interviews or guest posts.

Fourth: Depending on the amount of headings and steps you have, make sure you don’t pile on too much as to make this plan unmanageable. Get real with what you can handle, delegate what you can’t. I had to hire a web designer. No shame in that.

Fifth: Now onto the long term goals. Remember to dream big too! Would you like your books translated into movies? How many books do you plan on writing? What about a book series? Or graphic novels? How many books are you planning on writing in your series? Create a master plan for each series too. It will be easier on you in the long run. Intellectual property like video games or apps is also important to think about and write down. After all, you never know what the future holds if you don’t help it along.

Sixth: Finally, SIGN the bottom of your master business plan. This makes it real. Commit to it. Revise it when things aren’t working out, or your situation has changed. Be flexible, and ask for help if necessary. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is your writing career.

Here’s a formula that will keep things in perspective and keep you on track of your writing goals: TIME + BACKLIST (4 or more books) = SUSTAINABLE AUTHOR CAREER.

Thank you for reading my blog. Have you created a master business plan for your writing or anything else you’d love to pursue? If so, please comment and share your experiences. Love to hear from you! Cheers!

Thursday 23 October 2014

YA Book Blast: Boy Red by Shanta Everington


Boy Red is a story about identity, about where you come from and where you belong.
The day after his sixteenth birthday, Red discovers that the man he calls Dad is not his biological father. Will Red be able to track down the anonymous sperm donor who gave him life? What will he learn about himself along the way? And just what else are his parents hiding?


It was Saturday night, and Mum was up on the makeshift stage doing a classy numberthat is to say Tina Turner complete with big h air and five-inch red heels. The booths were taken by the karaoke regulars clutching their song sheets and medallions. A throng of studded students drank cheap German beer at the bar, disappearing outside every few minutes for a smoke. Tourists dripping with backpacks chatted in a zillion different languages.
A few weeks ago, I told Mum I wanted low key, meaning a night out down the Lock with Sino wigs, microphones, or other parental contributions in sight. But she would have none of it.
Red, baby, you only turn sixteen once, shed said. Youve got to mark it in style. Youve got to have a party.
My names actually Jed, but everyone calls me Red. I share two things with Mick Hucknall: mad orange hair and a slightly odd face. Sadly, I dont have his musical talents. Not like Mum. She wins a lot of prizes. Its embarrassing to see her in her Cher wig and polka dot dress, but it could be worse. She could be something really boring like an accountant. Dads an academic. Hes a professor of science. They make for a strange combo, but Camden caters for all sorts. The posh and the rough rub shoulders every day. Not that Im saying Mums rough or anything, but her Madonna impersonations can make for scary viewing.
So there I was down at the local pub, staring at the purple swirly carpet, starting to feel nauseous. My sixteenth birthday party. It may as well have been musical chairs and pin the tail on the donkey. It was that bad. My six-year-old brother, Freddie, sat smirking in the corner while Mum warbled out her rendition of City Limits. Dave, the karaoke organiser, all burly biceps in a frilly pink shirt, tapped his right foot in time to the music. Dad smiled amiably at the bar as he downed an orange juice. That man lacked the capacity for embarrassment. He must have a gene missing or something.
Your mums reading the lines off a television. Wheres the harm in it? he reasoned. He could be so rational, it was maddening.
Si was chatting up a pair of Asian twins whod just finished their version of The Cheeky Girls Touch My Bum. He winked at me to join him, while Mum carried on gyrating in red polyester as she reached the climax.
Dad. Dad! Freddie tugged at Dads jeans.
Dad checked his watch, stood up, and cleared his throat. Uh-oh.
Oh, yes. Thank you, Freddie. Gaye!
Uh-oh. Uh-oh.
Mum smiled at Dave as she gripped the microphone. Thank you, everybody. I have a little announcement to make, she said. The shrieks and applause died down, leaving a low hum of conversation. The Cheeky Girls stopped drinking their Barcardi Breezers and looked expectantly at Mum. They wore white PVC hot pants and matching kneehigh boots. They were hot all right. Not the type of girls I wanted around to witness this kind of embarrassment. I looked on in horror and considered my options. This would have been a good time to escape to the bog, but Dad had already covered that one by asking Daves brother, Stu, to keep guard. Dads best mate, Phil, stood to my right, smiling inanely at me. There was nowhere to run. So I downed half of Stus pint instead. He didnt seem to mind. Just winked.
Okay, guys and girls, continued Mum, running her hands through her wig. I hope youll all join me in wishing our Red a very happy sixteenth birthday.
Id never get served alcohol in here after that. It was all right for girls, they always got served. The Cheeky Girls couldnt have been much older than I was, and they were knocking them back.
Stu waved manically over my head for the benefit of anyone who might not know who the lucky boy was. The Cheeky Girls whispered to each other and raised their collective eyebrows as I fixed a boomerang smile on my face.
Ha-a-a-a-ppy birthday to you, Happy birthday to you…” Mum had gone into Marilyn Monroe mode, all silly girly voice, while Dave brought out a blue football cake fit for a five year old, complete with sixteen flaming candles. It was excruciating.
When the humiliation was over, Mum came over and kissed me on the forehead and ruffled my already wild hair, just to add insult to injury.
I think that needs a cut, mister, she said.
I looked at Freddies smooth pudding basin cut performed by Mum the day before and shuddered. I didnt think so.
Id always been the odd one out with my orange mane. Jokes about the milkman were rife.
I blew out my candles and cut the cake as a million digital cameras flashed in my face. Another one for the family album.
It was all so normal. Well, normal as far as my family went anyway.
There were even napkins. 

Want to know more about S. D. Everingtion? You can find her at or on Twitter @ShantaEverAfter. 

Monday 20 October 2014

YA Author Krysten Hager's Top 10 Facts About TRUE COLORS...

1. The idea for the story came about originally when I was in the sixth grade. I used to read those YA and middle grade novels about those groups of girls who had the perfect close-knit relationships—the whole best friend forever thing personified. I was in grade school and I saw the cover of the Bangles “Everything” cd and they looked like that type of clique and I wondered what they were like at thirteen/fourteen.  As an adult I wrote the story to show how Landry thinks everyone else has these tight groups of friends who never get mad at one another and everything is always perfect and she wants that and hopes to find it with Devon, Peyton and India. However, reality sets it…reality is such a bummer sometimes, isn’t it?

2. The older actor Devon has a crush on that the other girls make fun of her for is based on my crush on Liam Neeson.

3. People ask if I had best friend necklaces/bracelets/earrings/etc. when I was growing up. Yup, with several friends. Some I’m still close with, too. The day I told my writing group about my book contract I noticed I was wearing a silver bracelet with a heart charm and it never occurred to me before how much this was like the bff bracelet in the story—or the bracelet Landry’s dad gives her. I took that as a sign and that’s why you see the broken bff heart on the cover dangling off the, “s,” in “Colors.” BTW, one of my favorite gifts is still a thoughtful bracelet from a friend.

4. Landry’s last name, “Albright,” comes from Madeleine Albright. As a kid I was very aware there weren’t a lot of female role models in my social studies books. I distinctly remember being amazed as a kid seeing Benazir Bhutto in my Weekly Reader at school. So I used the name to pay tribute to a woman who broke through the glass ceiling—the first female U.S. Secretary of State.

5. The designer, Franciszka T, all the girls are obsessed with got the name because my great-grandmother, two of my great-great-grandmothers, and my great-great-aunt, were all named Franciszka. I picked “T,” because the great-great-aunt used to design and make clothes (she made her sister’s wedding dress and her own bridesmaid’s dress). Her last name started with a, “T.” I also look a little bit like her—we have the same big alien eyes.

6. When I first saw the possible cover models, I thought the one who ended up on the cover looked like a couple cousins of mine. I knew she was the perfect choice. Months later, the cover model found out about being on the book and contacted me. Turns out she lives in Poland and is from a town next to the city my great-grandpa was from! Crazy coincidence.

7. I’m not from the city the story is set in (Grand Rapids, MI), but my parents were, so I decided to have Landry and her mom live there. I’m actually from the other side of the state—an hour north of Detroit.

8. Landry’s name was originally, Sydney, but I changed it because the name was getting overused. My mom suggested the name Landry because she had a little girl in her class years ago with that name. I loved it and what’s funny is she had a student named, “Krysten,” too, and she told me that Landry and Krysten were best friends.

9. I named the ice cream parlor everyone hangs out at in the story after my great-grandfather. I picture the ice cream place being  in Grand Rapids, MI (where the story is set)right near where he lived when he first moved to this country. In case you’re from the area and curious, I picture it being on Diamond Avenue.

10. Like Landry and Ashanti, I was a big soap opera fan. My favorite was, One Life to Live. I pictured two of the characters, Colin and Lanie, as being Landry’s parents. If you look at the cover model, she really resembles them both.

Krysten Lindsay Hager is an author and book addict who has never met a bookstore she didn’t like.
She’s worked as a journalist and also writes middle grade, YA, humor essays, and adult fiction. TRUE COLORS is her bestselling debut novel from Astraea Press. She is originally from Michigan and has lived in South Dakota, Portugal, and currently resides in Southern Ohio where you can find her reading and writing. She received her master’s in American Culture from the University of Michigan-Flint.

Krysten's Links:




Author Giveaway Krysten Hager

Thursday 16 October 2014

YA Cover Reveal: Gideon Lee by Lisa Orchard…

Seventeen-year-old Lark Singer only has two things going for her, her music and her best friend Bean. While entering a competition she hopes will launch their music career, Lark searches for answers that will make her whole. Her quest reveals some secrets that those around her would rather keep hidden. As the competition looms closer, Lark discovers not only who she really is, but also who her real friends are. Then tragedy threatens everything she has worked so hard to accomplish. Can she pick up the pieces and move on?

Chapter One

I want to be like Gideon Lee. My lips move as I read the title of my essay. They twitch as I stifle a snicker. Looking around the room, I make sure no one has seen my facial tic. My eyes light upon the Presidents’ pictures lined up on the wall. They face me, each with a unique expression, and I wonder what they were thinking while they posed. They are above the clock so my gaze naturally falls on it. It’s almost time for lunch.

I settle back in my seat and my lips twitch again. A feeling of defiant exhilaration washes over me like a tidal wave.

Montgomery’s going to freak when he reads this.

Despite my best efforts, a giggle escapes and the boy in front of me turns around and gives me the evil eye. I return the glare. He is slumped over, and sweat beads on his upper lip. I think this is odd — it’s rather chilly in the room — but dismiss it before I turn back to my essay.

I bet old man Montgomery doesn’t even know who Gideon Lee is. This thought sends another giggle to the surface, but I quickly squash it by biting my lip.

I picture him searching Gideon Lee’s name on the Internet. I see his expression changing from confusion to disgust. I imagine him taking off his black, thick-rimmed glasses and shaking his head. I hear him mutter, “Lark Singer, what are you doing?” He rubs his face. I can actually hear the rough sandpapery sound as his hand finds his day old stubble. He sighs and puts his glasses back on. “What am I going to do with you?”

I remember when Mr. Montgomery first told us about the assignment. We were supposed to write an essay on someone we admire, someone who has contributed to society in some way. I know when he says this he wants us to write about an a historical figure. After all this is history class, but I raised my hand anyway.

“Lark,” he called out as he stood at his lectern.

“Do they have to be dead?”

He cocked his head as he studied me with his piercing blue eyes. Then he ran his hand over his military style crew cut, and I watched as his salt and pepper hair flattened then popped back into place as if each hair was standing at attention. I could tell he wasn’t sure where this was going.

“Well… I guess not.” That’s when he froze, as if he realized he had just opened a door for me and he wasn’t going to like what was on the other side. He shifted his weight, and looked down at the floor before he backpedaled. “But they have to have made a positive contribution to society. It can’t be about a mobster or anything like that.” Pursing his lips, he stared at me, fiddling with those glasses. “This is one half of your semester grade, Lark. I wouldn’t pull any funny stuff.”

“Oh, I won’t. Scout’s honor,” I answered sweetly, placing my hand over my heart and giving him the scout salute, while inside I planned my rebellion.

I have him. I’m going to write about Gideon Lee, and there’s nothing he can do about it.

Lisa Orchard grew up loving books. Hooked on mysteries by the fifth grade, she even wrote a few
of her own. She knew she wanted to be a writer even then. Her first series, “The Super Spies,” has reached bestseller status.

After graduating from Central Michigan University with a Marketing Degree, she spent many years in the insurance industry, pining to express her creative side. The decision to stay home with her children gave her the opportunity to follow her dream and become a writer. She currently resides in Rockford Michigan with her husband, Steve, and two wonderful boys. Currently, she’s working on a Coming of Age Young Adult series called The Starlight Chronicles. When she’s not writing she enjoys spending time with her family, running, hiking, and reading.

Monday 13 October 2014

The Importance of Family Traditions…

This past August, I was privileged to take part in one of my sister-in-law’s (SIL) revered family traditions: making tomato sauce. Oh the carnage, the mess, the bloodbath! Of course, I’m talking about all the prep work that goes into making my SIL’s secret family tomato sauce. No worries, SIL. I won’t divulge your mother’s sacred recipe—only what I’ve learned from participating in such a fun, family ritual.

First, like writing a book, making tomato sauce requires a whole lot of preparation! There are the tomato bushels to order and pick up. Get the equipment out. Setting up the equipment and tables. Scheduling family members. Buying tomato paste and spices. I tell you it’s a first-class production!

Second, delegation is the key. I looked at this entire operation through the eyes of an author and thought how genius my SIL is. She stationed certain family members for washing the tomatoes (as a newbie, I got to help my nephew with that job). Other family and drop-by neighbors (poor buggers) were commissioned to cut up the tomatoes into quarters. Then, once a few bushels were filled up with severed tomatoes (I know, sounds horrific), they’re placed in a grinder that separates the skins and seeds from the juice, which flows into a large pot set on a propane burner.

Third, once the pot is full (four fingers from the top—believe me this is a science), the burner is lit, and the tomato juice has to come to a rapid boil.

Fourth, once the juice boils, the secret ingredients must be added. This is my niece’s specialty, and she has this down to an art. And if I spill the beans here, she will hunt me down, and squish me like one of those poor tomatoes. Yikes! After the said ‘secret ingredients’ are in the pot, the tomato juice must be set to boil for 45 minutes.

Fifth, a small pot of tomato juice is scooped out of the large pot after the 45 minutes has expired, then placed into another pot with about two large scoops of tomato paste. This concoction is mixed together and placed back into the large, boiling pot. This is akin to editing, rewriting, editing, and rewriting until the author is happy with the story. It’s the process that solidifies the sauce (or in my case, story).

Sixth, finally comes the jarring. Honestly, it’s like being on a production line. SIL stands ready with a jar while my brother pours the sauce into a one liter jar. She quickly puts a lid on it, turns the jar upside down, and goes on to the next jar until the whole pot is emptied. They usually make about 4 pots which fills 50 jars per pot. Wow, that’s a whole lotta sauce!

The whole tomato sauce ordeal takes about twelve hours (not counting prep time) and is a hell of a lot of work. So the question I pose to you is, was this family tradition worth the time, energy, and effort? YOU BET IT WAS! Not only did we make enough tomato sauce to carry three to four households over the year, but we were TOGETHER the entire day. Other then holidays and celebrations, how often does that happen in this day and age?

Family traditions, no matter what they are comprised of, keep the bloodline going long after the older generation have gone. Part of what has been passed along flows to the next generation, and hopefully the next one, and the next. And that is one of the reasons why I write books—to pass on what I’ve learned and experienced from my family and from my life.

Do you have any long-standing family traditions you participate in? Or have you started a new one? Love to hear your comments. Cheers and thanks for reading my blog!

Thursday 9 October 2014

In the Limelight with Middle Grade Author: C. S. Ulyate…

I want to thank and welcome magnificent middle grade author, C.S. Ulyate for sharing his personal writing journey with us on my blog today. C.S.’s book Seasons is the first book of a series and can be purchased from Amazon, and other on-line bookstores. Bonus: Stay tuned for a chance to win an ecopy of Seasons at the end of this post. So let’s get this interview started…

How long have you been writing, C.S.?

I’ve been writing for about 8 years now and will continue to write every day.

Now that’s dedication! Where did you get your idea and inspiration to write Seasons?

The idea for Seasons came from an environmental awareness project that I worked on in 2010. I fell in love with drawing and writing about a list of villains that represent different forms of pollution. Add a bit of wacky costumes, inspiration from video games, and give the villains’ world breaking superpowers and you got Mother’s Nature’s true nightmares.

What sets Seasons apart from other books/series in the same genre?
Miss Plastic

The thing about Seasons is I wrote it in mind for ADHD non-reader and female audience. I understand that finding the perfect book to read can be a bit of challenge for kids. The plots can be slow and drag on until finally something starts, but by that time the readers have already lost interest. I throw my readers into constant conflict and mystery, and make it as unexpected as it can be. I write the book like a video game; I’ll keep my characters moving to new locations, send them into the sewers, burning forests, and where ever a battle with Pollution takes place.

In the middle grade genre, I always hear about super powered boys getting to go on an awesome battle adventure full of dangerous monsters and evil forces. That’s why I have Winter take the main role with her brother Fall right behind her. Winter’s independent, she’s wants to rescue her sister and is willing to start a war over it. She may have a love interest, but her end game isn’t to fall in love with the boy, but solve the mystery of Mother Nature’s disappearance. Her ice abilities will become stronger as the series progresses to the point where she may be able to create the next Ice Age.

The world certainly needs authors like you to bring awareness to what’s happening to the Earth. As a middle grade/young adult author, what is your writing process?

Mr. Oil
My writing process involves listening to tons and tons of music from Pandora. Music brings me into the writing vibe and motivates me to come up with some awesome scenes. I’ll research the pollutions that I’m going to cover and scientific topics like water or soil to develop an overall theme. I also create a small outline for each chapter. I’ll plug in what characters I want and decide where I want them to be mentally by the end of the chapter.

How long did it take for you to start and finish Seasons?

Seasons took me around four months to write and another four months for the editing process. I want to make sure my novel is as polished as it can be.

Wow, you’re certainly focused! Do you have any advice for other writers striving to write in your genre, C.S.?

I’ve always wanted to answer this question! I would say have good judgment when you’re
Professor Voltage
researching about the writing world. There is tons of conflicting information out there that can lead you in the wrong direction. Be wise and keep researching until you’re certain. When being critiqued, don’t worry—some people will love your work and others may absolutely hate it. Know your strengths and strengthen your weaknesses. When writing for the Middle Grade genre, it’s ok to be immature; it’s our business to be immature. Don’t be afraid of what you are, some of the best inspiration comes out from things we never expect.

Wonderful advice! I love your take on strengths and weaknesses. So, what’s next for C. S. Ulyate the author?

I’m currently working on book two for Seasons: Waves of Madness. As well preparing for the two new series I will be writing in the future. Curious what the series are? Don’t worry the main characters have already made cameos and introduced themselves in Seasons.
I also have a hint for any of my readers looking forward to book 2.

Be welcomed into the sea, but for those who seek Hy-Brasil will turn to madness.
Queen Noise

The Perfume Inhales

The Farmer Counts

The Toymaker Ticks

Intriguing! You’ve got me hooked. Okay, here’s one for me, since I’m writing a time travel series—If you could time travel anywhere into Earth’s past, where would you go and why?

Pre-American colonization, way back before Columbus, the Native American world is so mysterious and filled with lost history. Traveling through that time would make up for an interesting adventure.


Twelve-year-old Winter is starting to believe she might be going crazy. It seems like every other way she looks, she’ll see soup cans and plastic bags form into monsters to terrorize her. But when Winter discovers that she and her three siblings were born from Mother Nature, everything is about to change. Winter’s evil relatives have kidnapped her little sister Spring and are using Spring as bait to bring Winter to Yellowstone National Park. 

Now Winter and her other two siblings have five days to get Spring back. However, Winter must be strong if she ever wants to confront her evil relatives that control oil, plastic, tin, and their monstrous trash pets. She will need to learn to surf on rivers and master her ice-age ability, unravel the past for her Mother’s disappearance, and control the nightmare that makes her maple syrup for blood boil. Unknown to Winter, the true evil waits for her underneath the Park.

Buy Links:


C.S. Ulyate (Cameron) grew up in California. As a kid, he could be found climbing mountains or kayaking in the ocean when he had free time from acting rehearsals. As an author, he loves writing about adventures that he never read as a kid. And he loves to break the rules. Who said wizard pirates can't ride mechanical dinosaurs? In the past, he has worked for several acting agencies and promoted environmental ad campaigns. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday 6 October 2014

Happy 3rd Anniversary Musa Publishing...

with Musa Publishing
Grand Prize
$15.00 Musa Gift Certificate
6 Paperback Books
Baiting the Hook by Mary Palmer & David Wilton
Brothers in Crime by KM Rockwood
Legend of the Timekeepers by Sharon Ledwith
Indian Shirt Story by Heather Lockman
Pantheon by Josh Strnad Windy City Heat by Remi Hunter
1st Place Winner
$10.00 Musa Gift Certificate 6 Paperback Books
Baiting the Hook by Mary Palmer & David Wilton
Brothers in Crime by KM Rockwood
Legend of the Timekeepers by Sharon Ledwith
Indian Shirt Story by Heather Lockman
Pantheon by Josh Strnad Windy City Heat by Remi Hunter
2nd Place Winner
$5.00 Musa Gift Certificate 5 Paperback Books
Cairo in White by Kelly Ann Jacobson
Chasing Athens by Marissa Tejada
First Frost by Liz DeJesus
Who Wacked Roger Rabbit by Gary K. Wolf Windy City Heat by Remi Hunter
3rd Place Winner
5 Paperback Books
Cairo in White by Kelly Ann Jacobson
Chasing Athens by Marissa Tejada
First Frost by Liz DeJesus
Who Wacked Roger Rabbit by Gary K. Wolf Windy City Heat by Remi Hunter
Beginning October 1, 2014 we draw 2 winners a day and they will each receive 3 books
All participants receive a download of Cooking with Musa.
All entrants are eligible for Grand Prize and Other Drawings October 15, 2014
Winners announced October 16, 2014
Enter daily to win!
No particular order to the daily drawings for the books below
Random Survival by Ray Wenck TRUE blue by Susan Rae Chasra: The Homecoming by Joanne Hirase
Drowning Cactus by Carrie Russell To Catch A Fish by Mary Pamer & David Wilton Lies in Wait by Donna Del Oro
Question of Time by Mary S. Palmer Glass Frost by Liz DeJesus The Andersen Ancestry by Addie J. King
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Contest begins October 1, 2014 and ends midnight CST October 14, 2014. All winners announced October 16, 2014.
Winners who reside outside the Continental United States will receive their prize in e-book format.
All prizes must be claimed by October 20, 2014 or they are forfeited. Prizes will be shipped October 22, 2014.

Thursday 2 October 2014

In the Limelight with Fantasy Author: Carol Browne...

I want to thank and welcome fantastic fantasy author, Carol Browne for sharing her personal writing journey with us on my blog today. Carol’s book The Exile of Elidel is the first book of a trilogy and can be purchased from Musa Publishing, Amazon, and other on-line bookstores. Bonus: Stay tuned for a chance to win an ecopy of The Exile of Elidel at the end of this post. So let’s get this interview started…

How long have you been writing, Carol?

I started scribbling when I was about seven years old. From that point on I always wanted to be a ‘proper’ writer. It was a very long time before I achieved that goal – we’re talking nearly five decades!

I feel you, Carol. It sounds like we’ve been on the same path. Where did you get your idea and inspiration to write The Exile of Elindel?

In 1976, I was listening to a jukebox in an English pub when Mike Oldfield’s In Dulci Jubilo came on. The music conjured up an image in my mind of two fantasy characters who seemed to be nearing the end of some kind of quest. I felt compelled to write their story and find out who they were and what was going to happen to them. I set them in Dark Age Britain because Anglo-Saxon had been part of the English degree I had just completed at University and the era appealed to me. I felt I was going with these characters on their adventure, watching as they collected back stories and companions along the way.

What sets The Exile of Elindel apart from other books/series in the same genre?

I have to confess to not being a great reader of the sword-and-sorcery type of fantasy genre, so there’s little I can compare mine with. I like to think my elves are a bit different, though. They’re vegetarians and they talk to animals and have tremendous reverence for nature. They would definitely join the Green party if they were around today!

I also like to add humour to lighten the mood. Too much angst and jeopardy can get very tedious. I mixed up the genres a little too. In Book II there is an element of sci-fi as well as fantasy, while in Book III there’s a good dollop of horror. I’ve added some light romance as well; so something for everyone!

You’ve certainly thought of everyone, Carol! As a fantasy author, what is your writing process?

I write my first draft in longhand and have all my notes and research Blu-tacked to the walls of the room where I work. Once I commit myself to writing something, it is with me all the time so I take a pen and paper out with me in case I get any fresh ideas. I have a housekeeping job and frequently have to stop to jot something down. I hate it when characters start talking to each other in my head. I have to say ‘Shut up! I can’t write all that down now.” It’s infuriating that I can’t set aside regular time slots for writing. I guess I’ll have to hang on till I retire.

Seems like you’re always prepared when your characters come a-calling! How long did it take for you to start and finish The Exile of Elindel?

That’s a difficult question! I can’t remember that far back. (Those files have been deleted!) I do remember the first draft being ENORMOUS. It rambled on forever; more padding than a king-size duvet. I wrote it in the summer of 1977 and spent the next thirty-odd years lugging it around in suitcases, storing it in attics, taking it out to rewrite it and submit to publishers, putting it back in the attic.

Thirty years? Now that’s dedication! Do you have any advice for other writers striving to write in your genre, Carol?

Use your own original voice and ideas. Don’t try to be the next Tolkein.

Brilliant advice! Everyone is unique in their own way. So, what’s next for Carol Browne the author?

The rest of the trilogy will be out next year: Book II, Gateway to Elvendom, in March and Book III, Wyrd’s End, in December – as long as everything goes smoothly with the editing process. Meanwhile, I’m nearing the end of my work in progress, a paranormal thriller. I recently wrote myself into a corner with this one and so lost a few days while I worked things out. I have discovered over the years that if you are stuck with a plot or character, there’s always a solution, but it might have to simmer away in the old brain pan for a while before it bobs to the surface.

It sounds like you’ve got your work cut out for you! Okay, here’s one for me, since I’m writing a time travel series—If you could time travel anywhere into Earth’s past, where would you go and why?

If I could go back to the Battle of Hastings in 1066, and somehow make sure the Saxons won instead of the Normans, I would. But let’s be realistic! I have always admired Horatio, Lord Nelson, and I love those old ships of the line. (I stood on board HMS Victory myself during a visit to the Naval Dockyards in Portsmouth a few years ago, and it is a day I will never forget). If I could, I’d like to go back to the time of the Napoleonic Wars and meet Nelson. I’d love to know if he was as charismatic as everyone said he was.

Thank you very much for having me on your blog, Sharon. I did enjoy the experience!

Elgiva, a young elf banished from Elvendom, must seek shelter among the Saxons as her only hope of surviving the coming winter.
Godwin, a Briton enslaved by the Saxons, is a man ignorant of his own inheritance and the secret of power he possesses.
A mysterious enemy, who will stop at nothing to wield absolute power over Elvendom, is about to make his move.
When destiny throws Elgiva and Godwin together, they embark upon the quest for the legendary Lorestone, the only thing that can save Elvendom from the evil that threatens to destroy it.
There is help to be found along the way from a petulant pony and a timid elf boy but, as the strength of their adversary grows, can Elgiva’s friends help her to find the Lorestone before it falls into the wrong hands?


Carol Browne first appeared on the planet in 1954. She regards Crewe, Cheshire, as her home town and graduated from Nottingham University in 1976 with an honours degree in English Language and Literature. Now living in the Cambridgeshire countryside with her dog, Harry, and cockatiel, Sparky, when she’s not writing fiction, Carol spends her time as a housekeeper, proofreader, and ghost writer in order to pay the bills. Pagan and vegan, Carol believes it is time for a paradigm shift in our attitude to Mother Nature and hopes the days of speciesism are numbered.



ENTER TO WIN: Carol has her magical elfin hat cleaned out and rearing to go. All you have to do is leave a comment along with your contact information, and Carol with add your name into the hat for a chance to win an ecopy of The Exile of Elindel. You have until midnight EST Monday, October 6th 2014 to submit your comment, and then POOF— the magical elfin hat picks the winner! Good luck, everyone!