Sunday, 8 April 2018

Cold Sunflowers a debut novel from Mark Sippings.

Today I am pleased to welcome a friend, Mark Sippings, to my blog. 

Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I was born in Walthamstow in 1959 and now live in Essex. I have two daughters.
Are you a full time writer or do you still have a real job?
I worked as a Civil Servant for most of my adult life contributing to speeches for the Minister for Women and developing new ways to assist disabled people to find their way back into employment.
I'm impressed. Did you do anything else?
In the 80s I owned and ran a restaurant in Colchester and travelled around the world.
getBook.at/Cold-Sunflowers
Now, that sounds more like an interesting preparation for writing. I gather you are also a musician? 
I am. I spend my time fronting a retro rock covers band, PSYCHO DEHLIA (www.psychodehlia.com). I also do 'extra' acting.
Have you played any interesting parts?
An office worker, a caveman and zombie but I prefer to write. I also write poetry.
There's one thing you haven't mentioned that everyone would like to know..
What's that?
That Eleanor, your daughter, was runner up in the last series of Britain's Top Model. I watched every episode. I am sure many of my readers did also. 
I am very proud of her. 
I'm sure she is proud of you too.
Thank you for coming on my blog today and I wish you every success with your book.

Here is the blurb for this amazing book:

It's 1972. Raymond Mann is seventeen. He is fearful of life and can't get off buses. He says his prayers every night and spends too much time in his room.
He meets Earnest Gardiner, a gentleman in his seventies,who's become tired of living and misses the days of chivalry and honour. Together they discover a love of sunflowers and stars and help each other learn how to love the world.
Ereenst recounts his experiences of 1917 war torn France where he served as a photographer in the trenches... of his first love and how his life was saved by Bill, a hardened soldier.
But all is not as it seems. There is a secret that will change Raymond's life for ever.
Cold Sunflowers is a story of love.
All Love.
But most of all it is about the love of life and the need to cherish every moment.

I read this as a first draft and loved it then. I can't wait to read it now it's polished. This is a truly remarkable first novel. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Fenella J Miller






Monday, 2 April 2018

All Change!

 I am sad to tell you that both these books have been removed from Amazon and are no longer on sale. I'm sorry if you intended to buy the new one,  An ATA Girl, but you will now have to wait until next March.
I am delighted to tell you that I have signed a three book contract for this series, Ellen's War, with Aria, Head of ZeusBlue skies & Tiger Moths will have a structural edit – I'm not sure what I'll be asked to change – et cetera and then he reissued with a new cover in September. They are going to use the same model as I have already bought the copyright for these.
An ATA Girl will be out next March and the third and final book, Over and Out, which I have yet to write will be out September 2019.
I have never written for a mainstream publisher and it was the one thing I wanted to experience before I become too old and decrepit to continue writing. I am very excited about the prospect of being part of the team – I doubt I will make anywhere near as much money doing it through them, but you never know.
The main reason I am doing this is because I have been writing and producing my own books with only copy edits and a proof
read and I think going through the process of a structural edit will be good for me.
I have written almost sixty books in thirteen years and as I am now writing around six or seven a year I expect to have more than doubled this by the time I stop. Just hope my readers continue to buy my books and enjoy them, which they seem to be doing at the moment.


Pre-Order
£1.99/$2.99
 The fifth book in The Duke's Alliance series,A Soldier's Bride, is now available on pre-order on Amazon.  It will be live on 19th April. This is Lord Peregrine's story. He meets and marries a lovely, wilful, wild young lady, Sofia, and they both come to regret this hasty union. Of course, all ends happily.
The final book, which will be Beau's story, will be out in the Autumn. The duke featured strongly in A Soldier's Bride  and I can't wait to find him his HEA.
best wishes
Fenella J Miller


Thursday, 1 March 2018

Ellen's War - Blue Skies & Tiger Moths FREE and An ATA Girl now on pre-order.

Pre-order Now.
I  am delighted to tell you that the second instalment of my three book series entitled Ellen's War is now available to preorder on Amazon.  It is called, An ATA Girl.
Ellie finally achieves her ambition to be a member of the ATA and is proud to wear the smart navy blue uniform. Engaged  to Greg, still a close friend to Jack, and both of them in the RAF. Life does not go smoothly for Ellie but she is a strong woman and deals with everything without giving in.
I really enjoyed writing this book and will be writing the third and final part later in the year and this will be published next spring.

FREE UNTIL MARCH 7TH
The first part of the series which came out last year, Blue Skies & Tiger Moths, is free until 7th March. I'm hoping that anyone who downloads it will enjoy it so much they then preorder the second instalment.

I owe a large part  of my success as a writer to the wonderful covers done for me by J D Smith.

best wishes
Fenella J Miller


Saturday, 3 February 2018

Regency Romantic Spring 2018 Box set - Intrigues & Heartaches

£1.99/$2.99
Four British bestselling authors, Four traditional Regencies

His Auction Prize – Elizabeth Bailey

Abandoned. Offered in lieu of a debt.
Her guardian has vanished, leaving Felicity prey to nightmare. An orphan, obliged to earn her own living, she is now destitute. She has no choice but to throw herself on the mercy of the marquis who won her company for supper. Raoul enlists his cousin’s aid, only to find he has been targeted as the girl’s protector.
Under Raoul’s escort, Felicity sets out to find the truth of her father’s death, which made her Lord Maskery’s ward. Will his machinations prevail? Or will the real story, uncovered, provide a different, a better destiny?

A Lord in Disguise - Fenella J Miller

When Lord Edward Stonham kills his opponent in a duel he is forced to flee and take on a false identity. Miss Penelope Bradshaw applies for the job of his housekeeper in his new persona as Edward Trevelyan. She discovers the truth and becomes his confidante. They can never declare their love for each other because he is not in a position to make her an offer.
Is there a way out of this dilemma are they prepared to ignore propriety in order to be together?

Disinherited – Wendy Soliman

Orphaned, penniless and alone, Nadine Egan is determined to unmask the unscrupulous confidence trickster who robbed her of her inheritance. Her search leads her to Jared Beaumont, Earl of Andover. Rich, influential and badly in need of rescuing from his mother's marriage plans for him, Jared takes an interest in the headstrong Nadine. Can such a handsome and charismatic man really have stooped so low as to rob Nadine of her birthright, or are other more sinister forces at work… 

A Bride for the Bladesmith – Melinda Hammond

A tale of high adventure, set during the turbulent days of the Jacobite Rebellion
1745: John Steel takes a consignment of swords to Warenford Keep on the wild Northumberland coast. There he meets the impoverished Katherine Ellingham, daughter of a known Jacobite and fiancée of Earl Warenford. John suspects that the swords are destined for the rebel army of Charles Edward Stuart, but matters are complicated by his growing attraction to Katherine, and the jealousy of the powerful Lord Warenford.
With Carlisle in the hands of the Jacobites, and government troops patrolling Northumberland, John makes a desperate bid to retrieve the swords from the Keep before his family is implicated in the uprising, but can he succeed, and protect Katherine and her family at the same time?


CLICK HERE TO BUY


I hpoe you enjoy this new box set. The books haven't been released before. In fact, in future all the books will be written especially for the box set. Happy reading. 
best wishes
Fenella J Miller

Monday, 1 January 2018

When is the time to say 'No more!'



Happy New Year to you all – I hope it will be everything you want – both peaceful, healthy and productive.

I am in my 70s now – I know you can't believe it – but there you go. Time passes for everyone and last year went past by in a rush. I've written over half a million words last year – that's eight complete books of various lengths – a record for me.
I intend to write until I'm too old and decrepit to carry on. However, having tried to read the last two Jilly Cooper books and given them up because they were so bad, I'm wondering if I will have the sense to stop for I publish something that just isn't good enough.
Don't get me wrong – I am absolutely delighted that Jilly Cooper has been recognised in the New Year Honours list – I've been a devoted fan for an embarrassingly long time. But the last two books were two books too many and quite unreadable. Such a shame for her wonderful legacy to end on books that should not have been published.
One would have thought that her publishers would have said no – but they are a business and anything written by Cooper will sell hundreds of thousands, even if it is dire.
Athletes retire when they can no longer compete successfully, even businessmen, lawyers, and tradespeople know when to call it a day. The two professions that can continue as long as they want are artists and writers. I think it is less likely that an artist will produce bad work at the end of their life, you almost don't need your cognitive skills to paint if you're a professional, it just comes by instinct. I can't remember which of the Impressionist it was, but one of them, when he went blind, produced wonderful collages instead.
Billy-Blue - new addition to my family. 
Unfortunately, especially if like me you use voice recognition software, you can continue to write books even when your hands are too crippled with arthritis to type. I hope someone tells me politely when the books I am writing stop being a good read.
I don't think I'll ever actually give up the process, but I will certainly stop publishing and just write for myself when my books slither into the realm of crap – there's far too much of that about already without adding to the pile.
When are you going to stop? Will you keep writing as long as it's selling even though you secretly know it's not as good as it used to be?

To end on a positive note I've included a picture of our new kitten, a British Shorthair Lilac, who joined us last Thursday. I've not had a pedigree cat before but I wanted something special to replace our beloved Louis who was a Bengal cross.
Best wishes
Fenella J Miller

Saturday, 2 December 2017

How was 2017 for you?

2017 is almost over - the months slip past so quickly. I only just realised I neglected to post on here last month. I apologise for that.
How did the year pan out for you? Did you achieve everything you hoped for? Are you just glad it's almost over? Are you ready for the festive holiday season?
This year for me has been, like the curate's egg, good and bad in parts.
Louis 2005-2017

Our beloved Bengal died - he was fine one day  - three days later he had to be put down with kidney failure. Still deciding if I want another one. Was tempted by a Maine Coon - but they are huge - perhaps next year I'll get a rescue cat. I've given all the cat paraphernalia away -couldn't bear it in the house - so would have to start from scratch.

My husband continues to deteriorate both physically and mentally. I still get glimpses of the man I knew and loved, but not often. He is asleep most of the time but when awake in the morning is quite alert and we enjoy watching the cricket together or a cartoon film.

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I have immersed myself in my writing - one thing I can do when unable to go out unless I have the carer here. I've written seven books this year - a record for me. The last is Christmas at Devil's Gate.
Christmas at Devil's Gate  was written in two weeks after the idea came to me when half-asleep. I love the cover - JD Smith always designs something wonderful for me - and for all her other clients too.

I have already mapped out next year and will start the fourth book in The Nightingale Chronicles, All's Well That Ends Well, in January. I am hoping to write a second series following the children of Sarah and Alfie. This will mean I can write about the later years of Victoria's reign - but that's not until 2019.

I love this time of the year -Strictly Come Dancing to watch in the lead up to the holidays. A festive film every evening - baking, and friends and family to see. My decorations are up inside and out. My four year old grandson asked me last week if they would be done by today - so had no choice. Seeing the house so sparkly is almost as good as being able to take a holiday.
Off to watch the test match - England playing Australia -The Ashes. Had to pay £150 extra to be able to see these cricket matches as Sky lost the franchise. My Christmas present to myself. The way things are going I'm not sure it was money well spent.

Until next time
best wishes
Fenella J Miller

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Is it better to know the truth about your book?

I can't believe it's the 17th  October already. Seems like only yesterday I did my beginning of the month post.
Over the past three weeks I've been beta reading a couple of books. One, a WW2 adventure from an American I met online and the other a literary fiction by a man I've met in person - but connected through ALLi.
I use four beta readers and don't expect more than a yay or nay from them but, as an ex-reader for the RNA wonderful NWS scheme,  I couldn't read without commenting.
Both books were good, one much better than the other. Both had technical issues and one historical errors. I sent them a one page critique listing what I'd seen and suggesting ways to put things right. I also stressed that these were my opinions and another reader might love the book as it is.
What I'm now wondering is, did they want to know there were things I didn't think worked? Should I have just said it was okay and good luck?
I had a reader contact me about typos in a book - I was so glad she did. The file published was not the final one but  an earlier version - there were indeed  many errors - but no on had mentioned this to me before. Therefore, literally, thousands of people had read the book and I so wished I'd known last year and corrected it. These weren't catastrophic mistakes, just missing letters, extra spaces, the usual things that can be overlooked if not correctly proof read.
I have contacted a few writer friends over the years to tell them that there's a historical error in their books - all have been pleased to know. One famously said that the book was only £0.99, and what do readers want for that money? This reader wants historical accuracy whatever the cover price.
I always correct the e-version of the book if I discover/am told about errors but don't do the paperbacks. It costs £100 to have it formatted and I only sell a handful of copies a year.
Christian Cameron's brilliant book, The Long Sword, had so many errors I stopped counting them after three chapters This was the hard back. The unproofed file had inadvertently been published. I was reviewing it for HNS so contacted Orion and they said they would make sure the e-version and paperback were correct.
I think most writers would want to be told before the book was published but what about afterwards when they could do little about it? I never read my books again once they are 'out' and I doubt that many writers do.  So why tell them as they might remain in blissful ignorance until a reviewer comments?
What do you think? Tell the truth or not?

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Five books and three of them new titles.
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