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.

£0.99/$0.99
Amazon only.   Click Here
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?

£1.99 & $2.99
Five books and three of them new titles.
CLICK HERE TO BUY

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Giveaways and Good News!

 Today I'm letting you know I'm part of an excellent giveaways. One AXP, you could win 45 books. The other litring, you could win an Amazon gift card.  https://www.litring.com/bookbub-sept-29/  
The book giveaway is mixed genre as you can see. It's to do with series -the first book in each series is up for grabs. My Barbara's War is featured.

Another thing I want to share with you is that my book, Blue Skies & Tiger Moths, the first book in my new Ellen's War series, has been longlisted for the Millennium Book Awards. There were 1000 entrants and forty books were longlisted. I'm thrilled. I've entered several awards and never been long listed.
The second book, An ATA Girl ,is now out with my Beta readers and should be ready for release early next year.

Thanks for dropping by
Fenella J Miller


Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Yay! My Christmas Regency book is out.

A Most Unexpected Christmas was released as part of the Regency Romantics box set winter 2016

Lydia Halstead has no desire to remarry or to attend social gatherings. However, she is persuaded to accompany her brother and his family to Fakenham Manor.
Lord Theodore Fakenham is not pleased to discover his mama has arranged a Christmas house party without his permission. This is not an auspicious start to the festive period.
An infestation of mice in the nursery, a riotous snowball fight and an accident in the study make for a very unexpected and romantic Christmas.

Buy Here

Too soon, I hear you yell but if there are giant boxes of sweets on shelves and even decorations then it's not too soon for a Regency Christmas book.
Hope you enjoy it  - a bargain at £1.50 & $2!!

Fenella J Miller

Friday, 1 September 2017

How far would you go to increase your sales and visibility?

There has been a lot of talk on various loops about authors who have used click-farms and become instantly a bestseller. I'm sure you all know how this works as there's been so much talk about it – but in case you don't – here is a potted version.
Author pays X amount of dollars/pounds to an intermediary. The book is then downloaded via the Kindle library system by the click farm and the book is flicked through as if it's been read. Multiply this by thousands and you get the idea. A title that nobody has heard of can suddenly be in the top ten on Amazon and the author making thousands of dollars.
It was said on one loop that it is possible for the author to have stumbled onto this and not realised they were doing something unethical. I investigated every lead I could find and didn't discover any black sites or any others where I could sign up for such a deal even if I wanted to. Therefore, I think it fair to say that any author who has used this scheme has done so deliberately.
I'm not sure if I had found such a deal whether I would have been tempted to do it. The book everyone was discussing wasn't very good and had made virtually no impression on anyone. My book, the one on the right, is selling around five hundred copies a month, so it's certainly being read and well received.
If a click farm could push it into the bestselling list and not only make me a lot of money but also find me lots of new fans would I do it?
 Doesn't a good book deserve to be read by thousands rather than hundreds?
Would it be so wrong to take a shortcut?
Isn't this just another way of promoting your book – albeit not a strictly moral one?
What about schemes that say they will get you dozens of reviews? It now seems that the Amazon algorithm only kicks in to promote your book when you have 50+ good reviews. Friends and family are not supposed to review your books but I know for a fact that some books with 50+ reviews, all five star, have done just that.  I've read the books and know them to be dire. All right, these aren't paid for reviews, but they are still breaking the rules.
How many of you have asked friends and family to put up a review? I used to, but now don't. I do ask those on my subscriber lists if they could find a few minutes to review my books, but don't get particularly good results. Amazon insists that if you send an ARC (advance review copy) to anyone you must ask them to say this. All reviews are supposed to be from  'a verified purchase' – I'm not sure if this counts if you have borrowed it through the Kindle library. Amazon used to insist that a review was at least three sentences, now a reviewer can put up three words as long as it's a verified purchase.
I read recently that someone spent thousands of dollars buying their own book at dozens of different retailers in order to push it into the New York Times bestselling list. This is breaking the rules too – but if someone is prepared to do it, and is so desperate  to be in the bestselling list, then it's going to continue to happen.
Maybe if I'd bought /bribed/begged for reviews this book, An Accommodating Husband, would have had the orange flag 'bestseller' that all the others got.
How far are you prepared to go to get noticed? If you were offered a deal that guaranteed you a bestselling ranking on Amazon would you take it? It's not illegal but  it is breaking the rules.
Until next time
Fenella J Miller


Friday, 18 August 2017

The Air Transport Auxiliary - female ferry pilots.

Air Transport Auxiliary - ferry pilots in WW2

At the moment I'm writing the second book in my three book series, Ellen's War – An ATA Girl. The first book, Blue Skies and Tiger Moths came out earlier this year. The second book follows Ellie Simpson from June 1940 until December 1941 – at least that's when I think it will finish. I don't really know until I get there. In this one she leaves the WAAF and joins the Air Transport Auxiliary. Therefore, this month I thought I'd tell you a bit about them. The trouble is I find the subject so fascinating I'm doing rather more research then I should and a lot less writing. This is why I love being a historical fiction writer – I can immerse myself in fascinating facts.
The ATA was started by the director of British Airways. He could see that when the second war started there wouldn't be enough trained pilots to protect Britain if they were used to ferry new aircraft from the factories and take back damaged ones for repair. Also there would be a suspension of civil aviation which meant these pilots would have no work.
The RAF had strict entry requirements and many of these civilian and commercial pilots would be considered unsuitable for operational service.
Initially just over a hundred men were recruited from all walks of life. It soon became apparent that these gallant few would not be enough to move trainers, fighters and bombers from storage units to RAF squadrons stop the RAF had thought they could use their own pilots for this but it became glaringly obvious after Dunkirk they would need every able-bodied RAF pilot in active service.
Most of these ATA pilots were limited to flying single engined training aircraft so they were given conversion courses so they could fly Hurricanes and Spitfires and multi-engine types.
Spitfire
Then Pauline Gower stepped in and convinced the powers that be that well-trained women could do the job just as well as men. So on January 1st 1940 eight women pilots were employed to ferry Tiger Moths and Pauline was appointed commander of this first group of women flyers.
Hurricane
They were based at Hatfield in a small office behind the de Havilland hangars. There sole job initially was to fly planes from the de Havilland factory to training airfields and storage units, for the most part in northern England and Scotland. This was the middle of winter and Tiger Moths were open cockpit. This was the first time in history women would be officially given the task of ferrying military aircraft and they did a wonderful job at it.
ATA girls in uniform.
By 1941 the women were at last cleared to fly class II aircraft, Hurricanes and Spitfires. More women from all walks of life were taken on until eventually there were twenty-two ferry pools – some pools like Hamble, Crossford and Hatfield were all women ferry pools but most of the others were mixed with men and women pilots working side by side.
Many foreign pilots also found employment in the ATA. They were known as " The Flying Legion of the Air," as there were men and women from thirty other countries in the organisation.
In 1943 female pilots who had previously earned 20% less than male pilots were at last given equal pay. By now they were flying all class of aircraft, with the exception of class VI flying boats. They flew using only a compass and gyro and could only take off and land when the weather was clear.
By the end of the war ATA pilots had delivered over 300 000 aircraft of 51 different types. The ATAs total complement consisted of 1152 men and 166 women. There were also aircrew, radio officers, ground engineers and ATC cadets. 129 men and 20 women were killed in service, including Amy Johnson.
Fenella J Miller

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

The Duke''s Alliance - An Accommodating Husband – on sale at bargain price for one week only!

Buy Now
The fourth book in The Duke's Alliance series – An Accommodating Husband – is now live on all Amazon platforms. It is at a reduced price for one week only and will return to the usual price on 8 August.
I didn't put this book on preorder as I've been reading this doesn't work for Amazon – certainly reducing the price and sending it out to my almost 2000 subscribers proved successful as the book is already on six bestseller lists – including Regency.
Needless to say I'm delighted about this and I hope that my new readers will then go on and buy the backlist.
This book tells the story of Lady Giselle Sheldon, the younger sister of the Duke. Beau, of course, features strongly in this book as he does in all of them. I shall be beginning Perry's story in a few weeks and it will be entitled "A Soldier's Bride." Peregrine, you might remember, is the other twin. The previous book in the series was his brother Aubrey's story – An Unconventional Bride.
I'm really enjoying writing this series and will be sorry to get the end of it. The final book will be the duke's romance and I haven't quite decided how that one will go but I do know it will be out next summer sometime.

The Regency Romantic's summer box set, Midsummer Marriages, of which I am part, is also doing well. In future all the stories will be new ones and I'm sure that will please many fans.
Don't forget if you want a bargain by An Accommodating Husband this week as it will be back to the usual $2.99 and £1.99 very soon.
Fenella J Miller