Have a Go: Enter a Short Story Competition – 1st February 2016

2016 kicked off with the first highlight of my writing career. I was picked as a winner for a local short story competition “Write Across Sussex.”

It was a wonderful moment and something I never expected. I’ve never entered a short story competition before, in fact short stories are not really my forté. My writing has been centred around producing full-sized novels which is one of the reasons I was so thunderstruck! A short story needs to be very focussed. You have to capture the essence of the story, the atmosphere and characters in very few words. Dreaming up an idea for a story is the first hurdle, be it a childhood memory or a dream, an item on the news or maybe a funny story you heard down the pub. I thought about some of the things my mum told me about her childhood, where one story stood out in particular. As a consequence, my story is based on a real event that happened in World War II:

Decisions

By Helen Christmas

East Sussex 1940

“You should think about it seriously, Connie. She isn’t safe here!”
Six-year-old Dottie stopped colouring, pencil suspended in mid-air, the moment her ears pricked up to the sound of a raised voice drifting beyond the kitchen.
“Shh!” her mother reprimanded. It was only their neighbour Clara, and by the time the conversation was resumed, the voices had dropped back down to a flurry of whispers.
Dottie wasn’t sure what it was about the sentence that unnerved her. She allowed her gaze to wander around the living room, drinking in the atmosphere: her dad’s high-backed chair smothered in dark green upholstery, the subtle fragrance of his Woodbines. She knew his health was frail. He seemed to spend a lot of time in bed when he wasn’t pottering around in the garden, tending to the vegetables and chickens only to stagger back indoors almost breathless.
She could still see the newspaper resting on the arm of his chair. She sighed, confused as to what was really happening. BRITAIN & FRANCE MOBILISE screamed the headline; it was something to do with the war.
Once again, she pictured the tidy rows of vegetables in their garden and the fruit bushes. Everyone grew their own food. They had a glasshouse too, where Daddy grew strawberries the size of apples; there was always a slightly musty aroma in the kitchen from whatever fruit happened to be fermenting in an old bucket to be turned into wine. Her face buckled into a frown as she listened to the low murmurs emanating from the kitchen. Just the tone of voice suggested something ominous. It reminded her of those radio broadcasts – dark and sepulchral, the ever-rising threat of danger, which always seemed to drain the smile from her mother’s face. Most of all Dottie dreaded hearing the siren – a prolonged and undulating wail, rising and falling, scattering the residents, the sound echoing in her head long after it had ended.

grandmotherConnie pursed her lips, concentrating on her knitting. The rhythmic click of needles was soothing compared to Clara’s constant harping. Yes, of course she had thought about having Dottie evacuated. On the one hand, Clara was right; the child might be a lot safer. Coastal towns were frequently being bombed as the Germans dropped their load prior to returning home across the Channel. Even the cumbersome lump of steel in their bedroom that served as an air-raid shelter bore testimony to the ever-present threat of war looming over their heads.
“I think the Children’s Overseas Reception Board is a wonderful idea,” Clara gushed.
“I see,” Connie sighed, “and you say they’ll be sailing out on a steamship?”
“It’s one less thing for you to worry about, dear,” Clara added with a faint smile. “To a lot of these kids, it feels a little bit like a holiday. I saw some evacuees going off on a train yesterday – you only had to look at their faces.”
“But Canada…” Connie whispered to herself.
How could she bear it? Especially when William was so unwell? Doctors had said it was a ‘miracle’ he had even survived the onslaught of tuberculosis. He might not live long and Dottie was an only child.
By the time the sun sank behind the apple trees, she was still thinking about that conversation, watching as the light began to fade and the long shadows came stalking across the vegetable patch. The air had turned a little icy, the soft clucking of chickens indicating that they too were snuggling down for the night. It was nothing compared to the chill that fluttered over Connie’s shoulders – she stared up into the sky and shivered.

Dottie found herself being shepherded into school, where the usual lines of children snaked across the yard before separating and trailing into their respective classrooms.
Whatever Mummy and her neighbour had been talking about, she hadn’t said much. Her face had been a little pinched when she stepped into the lounge from the garden, wiping her hands on her apron. The light from a table lamp emitted a golden glow where it cloaked the walls. It threw soft shadows over Daddy’s face as he sat dozing in his chair, and for the rest of the evening, there had been an unsettling silence. She could still hear the click click of her knitting needles, all conversation suspended – she pictured the lemon yellow wool she had spotted, hoping it would be for a new cardigan.
Yet all thoughts of her gentle home life were shooed from her mind the moment the headmaster materialised. He strutted into the corridor, head high, eyes glittering as they feasted on the encroaching line of children as if they were some sort of insects. Dottie shivered, forcing her head down between her shoulders, trying to make herself as invisible as possible. Was it only last week he had clipped her round the ear for no good reason? She had been fidgeting in her chair, that was all. The flash of a hand came from nowhere and she saw stars. She felt the well of tears behind her eyes before she could stop them, her lip trembling.
“Dottie, do get a move on. You’re dithering, dear.” The voice of her classroom teacher oozed from behind her.
She flinched for a second time, squeezing out a smile. “Sorry, Miss Porter.”
The classroom fizzed with activity as her classmates clutched the wooden boxes they were issued with. Fingers poked at the clasps and straps – gas masks, they were told. Before she even knew what was happening, the teacher was speaking again, urging them to try them on – this is a drill, if the bombs come down and the Germans invade… Dottie stared at the little boy in front of her. The mask had a long tube jutting out at the front that made him look like an elephant! Some of them even looked like Mickey Mouse! Titters and giggles escaped from every corner but did nothing to lighten her mood. It wasn’t funny, it was scary.
The next thing she knew, she could hear that haunting sound – the air-raid warning. The teacher told them it was a recording, but it made no difference. Dottie felt the shroud of goose pimples crawling all over her arms and down her back, never able to forget the effect it had on people. Her hands shook. She clutched the edge of her single wooden desk.
“Now get under your desks, all of you!” Miss Porter’s voice fired across the classroom. “Try to imagine this as a real air-raid warning!”
Dottie did as she was told and scuttled under her desk, her arms wrapped around her head as if to fend off some invisible attacker. But what if it ever was real? Would her little wooden desk be enough to protect her?
“It could save your life one day,” Miss Porter added. Her voice had a hollow ring to it that, even to a child of six, didn’t sound that sure.

“Mummy, are the Germans really coming here to attack us?” Dottie lisped.
Her mother’s face froze into an expression of shock. She lowered her knitting needles very slowly, then rose to her feet and clutched the top of Dottie’s arms. She moved her head a little closer so they were level and gazed deep into her eyes.
“My poor child, I have something to tell you,” she mumbled. “You must know how much Dad and I love you, so we’ve been thinking – did you know some kids have been sent away to live in the countryside?”
Dottie’s eyes grew wider. She nodded her head.
“It’s not safe living by the sea any more,” Connie added, her voice cracking slightly. “It’s the coastal areas that are being bombed, and yes – England is under attack. Some people are saying it would be safer if our children went abroad.”
“Abroad?” Dottie gasped. “You mean to another country?”
“Yes,” her mother sighed. “Another country – a big country called Canada. I’ve heard it’s very beautiful. It will be fun, Dottie, and far enough away to afford you a safe home.”
“Will it be forever?”
“Not forever,” Connie shot back at her, “only until the war’s over…”
“Is this what you and Mrs Hawthorne were talking about yesterday?” Dottie whispered.
Her mother’s eyes seemed to darken. They held her stare, two widely spaced pools of uncertainty and fear. A slight sheen of tears made them appear glassy, and for that moment, Dottie thought she was going to start crying.
“It was her idea. She too worries about your safety, Dottie, as do we all…”

Dottie found it hard to sleep, even though the exhaustion of the day dragged down heavily on her limbs, her mind and, most of all, her heart. Deep down, she knew what Mummy said was probably very sensible. She had barely stopped thinking about the drills at school, the air-raid sirens and the gas masks. They loomed in her mind like dreams, as if to remind her of the constant fear being bounced around the classroom.
She didn’t want to die.
At the same time, she didn’t want to be parted from her home.
Dottie clutched the bedclothes in terror and peered over the top of the counterpane. All she could think about was their lovely garden – of sitting under the blackcurrant bushes when the sun was hot – of Daddy scratching around with his hoe, humming to himself, occasionally interrupted by his chesty cough. She thought about the chickens, how much fun it was when she and Mummy had crept into their pen to collect the eggs. She clung to the memories of walks in the South Downs. Sometimes her uncle gave her a piggyback. There were cow pats as big as dustbin lids. She would grip his shoulders even tighter for fear he might drop her. Cowslips flourished in the grassy banks, the same pale yellow as her mother’s wool – Daddy picked great bunches of them to make wine.
The thought of sailing away on a great steamship known as the SS City of Benares surged darkly in her mind; about to tear her away from everything she loved. And it was in the silent darkness of her room, she eventually cried herself to sleep.

daphne1Connie admired her daughter next morning. She was dressed in a pleated skirt, socks pulled right up to her knees. She helped her button up her blouse and brushed her hair – it was blonde and very fine, cropped in a neat bob just above her jaw. Connie swept it back from her forehead and fastened it with ribbon, looping the ends into a big bow, where it fell to one side.
Her eyes were an unusual grey-blue. Yet it took one glance to see she had been crying.
“What’s the matter, dear?” she murmured.
“Please don’t send me away,” the little girl begged.
Connie swallowed, pained to look at her. “This is a wonderful opportunity for you, Dottie. Dad and I discussed this. The truth is, there is a war on, and neither of us want you to die.”
“So what about you?” Dottie whined. “Don’t make me go away, please! I want to be here with you, even if they do drop the bombs! I couldn’t stand it if you were killed… I’ll be all on my own.”
She started sobbing. Connie backed away, but it was as if she couldn’t let go – her small hands stretching out in front of her, clawing at her coat.
“It won’t be forever,” Connie said again. “We only want what’s best for you, sweetheart.”
“No!” Dottie squealed at her. “I don’t want to go! I won’t, I won’t, I won’t…”
Connie closed her eyes. Her palm fell upon her daughter’s silky head as her sobs became almost hysterical. The child was right – they were such a small family, and if she was true to her heart, she couldn’t bear to be parted from her either.
It was in that splinter of a second, she made her decision.

It was some three months later, they were alerted to the radio broadcast.
The date was September 17th, a day when the SS City of Benares had been torpedoed and sunk, carrying ninety child evacuees bound for Canada. Seventy-seven of them had perished.
It was the voyage her daughter had been destined for.
Connie wept, but not out of relief. She wept for the other mothers – those who had made the wrong decision, unable to imagine their agony, their children lost forever.

********

On January 23rd 2016, I attended a special award ceremony in Chichester along with the other winners and each of us was presented with an anthology of the winning short stories. It was a truly magical moment – and as if it wasn’t enough to have the privilege of meeting best selling authors, Kate Mosse and Peter Lovesey, (who judged the competition), I was awarded the compliment that my story was a firm favourite and beautifully written. I felt an unmistakable glow of pride – even better, the book is on Amazon.

It was definitely worth entering this competition. I feel truly blessed and hope this may inspire other budding writer to have a go.

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With best Selling author, Kate Mosse

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Where do I start? – 18th January 2016

I decided to write this post for the benefit of new authors who are thinking of writing a book for the first time with the hope that I can inspire them. I have often been asked this question: I want to write a book but how do I go about it? Well, it’s a difficult one to answer! The easiest way to ponder the dilemma is to relate my own experience.

Know your Plot

Books don’t just happen. First of all, you need to have an idea of what you want to write about. Is it your take on an old fashioned tale? Has something in the media made you so angry, you feel a need to express yourself? Did you have a dream last night that sparked a fantasy? Or did your dog look at you in such a way, you couldn’t help but wonder what was going on in his mind? The fact is, every writer gets a flash of inspiration and when that happens, you have two choices: either go with the flow or move on.

I was intrigued by stories which involved power – the power of the church, the power of politics, how power affects us lesser mortals in the ever turning wheel of life and that is how my series ‘Same Face Different Place’ started to develop.

Plan your Synopsis

Given the likelihood you have decided to develop your story, the next stage in my opinion, is to formulate some sort of plan. I think this is best done in rough note form. You really need to just sit down and work out the content. What is the book going to be about? What is going to happen (the detail can come later), who is it about (characters) and where (location of the story or place whether it is real or imagined). It is when you sit down and work out the first threads of a synopsis, your ideas begin to grow branches.

I spent about six months thinking about all this, before I wrote a word. For me, it was the characters who materialised first. Once I had a fairly good cast and a rough idea of what the story would be about, only then did I start scribbling out a few scenes.

Find your Motivation

Author Helen J Christmas 'Thinking about writing a book.'

If you have an idea, as well as a plan, the next thing you need is motivation. The chances are, if you are burning to get started, you’ll move heaven and earth to find the time. Writing a book does involve a degree of self-discipline. You can’t keep procrastinating. My advice is to put aside a couple of hours to get the ball rolling. It could be a free Sunday afternoon or an evening when there is nothing on the telly. I would even go so far as to advise switching off your phone and your computer to avoid interruptions.

My moment came, on a weekend when my husband was away. I had an entire Sunday afternoon and made the choice that this was the day I was going to start my book. I spent six months wondering how I would ever find the time. I’m glad I did.

Just do it!

It sounds simple but every writer needs to start somewhere. It doesn’t matter if you spew out several pages of rubbish – just write something, anything to get the ball rolling. If you are genuinely inspired, you will find the process gets easier as time goes by. Once you get started, the ideas keep coming and coming. The first few pages might be a little shaky but it doesn’t matter. You can always go back and edit them and once you become a writer you will discover that it is the editing that takes time. Writing is the fun part.

It took a while to get the first chapter written but once I had engaged with my story and its characters, it took off. I found myself waking up at 6:00 in the morning, unable get back to sleep. It was like a calling and this has now become my best time for writing.

  • Other advise to budding writers:
    Carry a notebook so if you get a flash of inspiration you can jot it down as soon as possible.
  • Or carry a recording device – most smart phones have a microphone.
  • Do research – visit the places in your stories, use the internet which provides answers to just about anything.
  • Make reading part of your own life – you can get lots of inspiration from others.
  • Enjoy yourself – if I didn’t love writing I wouldn’t do it.

I started my debut novel, Beginnings in 2011 and it took just 6 months to complete the first draft (in between socialising and work). After doing a complete re-write and further edits, I asked a couple of friends to read it. The feedback was so positive, I published the book on Amazon Kindle in 2012. I have never looked back and have since written two more books in the same series. All my books are self-published.

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Progress on Book 4 Retribution – 2nd December 2015

This is the first blog I’ve written in a while, a new post to say that book 4 is going great guns! I don’t have a watertight synopsis planned for this final novel but let’s say, some of the story lines have been buzzing around inside my head for years; ever since I started the series in fact.

Imagery for Same Face Different Place Book 4 Retribution

The official date I began writing Retribution was August 5th 2015 and I have hardly stopped. It begins with an explosive prologue; a horrific crime committed in Rosebrook resulting in two near fatalities. It is a crime that is about to change the nature of the community in ways the characters never expected as the main evil character of the series grows more powerful. Ben Hampton was 21 when he first appeared in the story but those who read the earlier books will know that he is something of a psychopath. Further more, he is a psychopath with a vendetta; lethally dangerous and out to do a lot more harm. In fact the atrocity committed at the start of this book is just the beginning; it marks the opening chapter of a revenge plan that will span at least 10 years.

What other issues have I tackled in this story?

Like all my books, I like to interweave a little social history. I therefore chose to focus on a few controversial news issues that emerged during this era:

  • It was around the early 1990s when the Catholic child abuse scandal first came to light – where runaway orphan, Peter, is finally forced to face his demons.
  • 1992 was the start of the war in Bosnia – Lieutenant Barton-Wells finds himself caught up in the conflict when his platoon are sent to assist in a peacekeeping mandate.
  • In 1992  The Maastricht Treaty undertaken to integrate Europe was signed: could this be a catalyst that inspires interest in an International consortium that had its roots in the 70s?
  • In 1995 the French resumed underground nuclear testing in the Pacific despite the end of the Cold War – could this have some bearing on the secret mission Perry has confided to his son?

The main difference with Retribution is that this is a book where the main characters are the baddies. Various parts of the story are finally depicted through their eyes – from the opening scenes of Beginnings to the closing scenes of Pleasures.

Last but not least, books 1 – 3 of  ‘Same Face Different Place’ is now available as a boxed set on Amazon Kindle.
This 3 book bundle incurs a saving of of £3.00 compared to buying the books individually.
Readers can catch up on the whole series so far, by clicking this link.

boxed-set1

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A Holiday in the Cotswolds – 14th October 2015

Every now and again I like to write about something different – beautiful places which inspire me. This year, my husband and I decided to take my mother on a holiday in the Cotswolds with us, a place we hadn’t yet discovered.

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Lower Slaughter in the Cotswolds

Having arrived in Bretforton, we were touched by the charm of this village which unfolded like a scene from a Jilly Cooper book; a row of thatched cottages snuggling together on the approach – a backdrop of houses in Cotswold Stone, smothered in a cape of Virginia creeper – and behind the wooden gates, our holiday home awaited us.

The owners could not have done more to make us feel welcome and what a nice touch to leave us a welcome hamper that included a bottle of chilled white wine along with homemade marmalade and lemon drizzle cake. After sinking into the luxurious chairs in a lovely light conservatory, we decided to take the dog for a walk through the village only to discover yet more treasures; a community shop, a manor house and church and best of all, a very olde worlde pub where we enjoyed dinner on our first night.

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Holidays don’t get much better; and how lucky we were to be blessed with such glorious weather. With the autumn trees just turning, there was something almost dream-like about the luminous golden sunshine – the way it lit up the leaves, not to mention all those honey-coloured houses the Cotswolds villages are renowned for. We explored plenty of those; Broadway, Moreton-on-the-Marsh (which has a great market), Stow on the Wold, Chipping Camden (my favourite) and Chipping Norton.

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Other days out included Hidcote Gardens (my mother is a talented gardener), Batsworth Arboretum (a treat for our dog), Bourton on the Water (regrettably, a bit touristy) and Lower Slaughter which was stunning. Further afield we stumbled across Jepson Gardens in Leamington Spa to catch up with an old friend and enjoyed a lovely day – and finally we ventured to Oxford where the architecture left me breathless.

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I would recommend the Cotswolds for anyone who loves things which are quintessentially English with the touch of a bygone era; it is a place filled with beauty from the avenues of rolling countryside to its blissfully quiet villages and embraces everything I adore in England (with plenty of teashops to enjoy a cream tea, many of which are dog friendly.)

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Same Face Different Place Update – 10th August 2015

It’s been an exciting year for the series and as it’s been a while since I updated my blog, I realised it was time to share the news.

PLEASURES-coverI was overjoyed to finally publish Book 3 Pleasures on Easter Sunday. This is a story that took 18 months to complete including a full edit before I wrote the ending (not to mention further edits, comments from Beta readers, more edits and publishing in kindle and paperback). At 555 pages it’s a fairly hefty book, but packed with story lines. I’ve had 2 reviews on Amazon and people who’ve told me it’s my most exciting novel to date.

After the completion of this novel, I had already made a decision I wanted to look at Visions again (Book 2) and do another edit. I simply thought it was too long – it’s my favourite out of the three, yet feedback wasn’t forthcoming. Some described it as ‘taking a while to get going,’ ‘not as gripping as the 1st’ and I haven’t seen many reviews. Others said they loved it and never wanted it to end. But I had to listen to what my heart was telling me.

Visions Special
Thus the remainder of April and May were put aside for this purpose. I tightened up the 1st half and brought in more suspense – and without sacrificing the quality of detail, reduced it down from 560 pages to 484. Best of all, two new ‘readers’ gave it a first look thoroughly enjoyed it – according to a Facebook post, one finished it in a week and said it was a “bloody good story.”

By the end of May however, a printed proof turned up for Pleasures, so I spent the whole of June Proofreading it (and yes, there were some typos) hopefully now all corrected and the market copy should be perfect. My proof reading skills are getting better!

BeginningsCome July, I went right back to the Beginning – that is, my first Book, Beginnings. Belonging to a group like CHINDI (Chichester Independent authors) brought me into contact with writers who have very sharp editing skills. It was a few minor flaws pointed out to me, that inspired me to give this book another look too; but not for the story – more for the writing style. I wanted to improve on it. So a newly edited version of this book went live on August 3rd. I’m delighted to say this book has attracted some wonderful reviews, even in its raw state, so hopefully it’s even better.

I really enjoyed visiting it again, for its 1970s setting, its powerful characters and to remind myself how the entire series began.

So on to Book 4 Retribution: I have finally started writing it. Unable to sit still or take a rest from writing, I got stuck in, next day. In between re-writes, edits and proof reading, I have been making notes for a synopsis. The book is well underway now and I can hardly tear myself away from it! Such is the life of a writer and I do love writing. It took the last 4 months to realise how much I have missed it so I’m really pleased to get back to it.

The book continues where Pleasures left off, Summer 1991, with flashbacks into the past and a shocking prologue. It will hopefully be out some time in 2016, but who knows? There are a lot of loose ends to tie up so I’ll keep everyone posted with the progress.

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Some Great British Days Out – 9th July 2015

London 2015Time to take a break from writing… (Well not quite: since the completion of Book 3 Pleasures I have done complete new edit on Visions and currently looking at Beginnings again) but in between times, we’ve taken some time away from the office and visited some lovely places – so I have decided to blog about these for a change.

Exbury Gardens

This is a place I’ve always wanted to go and it’s been a while since we visited the New Forest. So at the beginning of June (and just before my Mum’s birthday) we thought we’d steal a visit while the Rhododendrons and Azaleas were still in flower. This 200 acre site is famous for its displays – set out with footpaths which meander around lakes, woodland, parkland, natural and formal gardens. It’s also a lovely place to have a picnic.

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http://www.exbury.co.uk/website/

Sussex Weald and Downland Museum

This is a really nice attraction at any time of year, but especially nice if there is some type of craft fair going on. So on a Sunday, when a very good friend was exhibiting his beautiful hand made rustic wood furniture and mirrors, what better excuse to make the trip. Set in lovely rolling Sussex countryside, this museum offers visitors an array of building exhibits from a bye-gone age: workers’ cottages and barns. Most are open to go inside.

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http://www.wealddown.co.uk/explore/buildings/

London Eye and Southbank

To celebrate my birthday, we headed for Waterloo and booked a place on the London Eye; well worth it for the amazing 360 degree photos over London (on of which may even be used for the cover of my 4th book Retribution.) Unfortunately, we chose the hottest day of the year. London reached a sweltering 37 degrees C! However, there is lots to explore along the Southbank, where we spent much of the day wandering around; saw the Tate Gallery, Globe Theatre and crossed the Millennium Bridge to St Paul’s Cathedral.

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It makes me appreciate what a beautiful and very interesting country we live in where there is so much to see and cherish – gorgeous gardens and countryside, fascinating architecture and tourist attractions which are well worth the time and money.

My love of all things English is also a common theme running through my writing.

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A Debate on Self-Publishing – 25th June 2015

This week I found myself sat amidst a panel of local authors from our networking group, CHINDI for a lively Q&A session, in Chichester Library, to talk about the various paths we took in publishing.

A Big Turn out at Chichester Library Talk for CHINDI Authors Q&A Session

A Big Turn out at Chichester Library Talk for CHINDI Authors Q&A Session

I have to say I was a little amazed by the sheer volume of people pouring in through the door. One gentleman even said he’d heard something about us in the Telegraph. Yet it shows how much interest there is in self-published books. Where many years ago people turned their noses up if a book even showed a hint of being ‘self-published’ (and it used to be called ‘vanity publishing’) it is reassuring to know that “According to Jon Fine at the London Book Fair in April 2014, 30% of the top 100 books on Amazon are self-published – and that percentage is still rising.”

Hurrah to that – I enjoy a greater diversity of books which otherwise would have never seen the light of day if it hadn’t been for this flexible new platform. In the old days, the publishing industry was very controlling, thereby restricting the distribution of some great books I might never have discovered.

Now onto the discussion: Panel host Jill King and Jane Cable, (one of the other panel members) chose an author assisted program, known as Matador. They will provide a whole package: from cover design, formatting, publishing on Kindle and in Paperback – to offering marketing and PR services. They will even assist in the reviewing process via a website known as Netgalley – an excellent way of bumping up reviews as part of your book launch. Jane also used a professional editor to work with alongside a proofreader.

Authors Jeremy Good and Ray Green went their own separate ways in publishing their books, but used a selection of professional services; for example Ray used an editor but wasn’t entirely happy with the process – while both authors  had their book covers professionally designed and with excellent results. Jeremy used CreateSpace to publish his book, which is the route I took. Ray too now also uses CreateSpace. So they didn’t employ a company to handle the entire publishing process – just certain elements.

I am the one exception in so much as I did everything myself, mainly due to the fact that I regarded writing as more as a hobby than a profession and simply did not have the funds to invest in professional services at the time. So once I’d wrote my books, I did the editing and the proofreading myself – and coming from a design background with experience in photoshop, I designed my own covers too using library images.

Many of us have used Beta readers at some point (people who read a finished draft before it hits the market, to give an honest evaluation of the content). There are many routes open to authors (and believe me I would love to employ a few professionals to give my work a cutting edge) but most of all, writing is something we all enjoy and to be able to see your own book and hold it in your hands is well worth the time and the effort.

To conclude, this was a very enjoyable evening and the people who attended gave excellent feedback for our advice on self-publishing. I’d like to think a few have been inspired by us.

Jill King, Jane Cable, Jeremy Good,  Helen Christmas and Ray Green

Jill King, Jane Cable, Jeremy Good, Helen Christmas and Ray Green

Panel Host: Jill King, author of AITCH A Life in Colour (Biography)
Panel Members:
Jane Cable, author of ‘The Cheesemaker’s House‘ and ‘The Faerie Tree’ (Mystery Suspense)
Jeremy Good, author of ‘The Butcher’s Son‘ (WW2 Thriller)
Ray Green, author of ‘Buyout‘, ‘Payback’ and ‘Chinese Whispers’ (Corporate Thrillers)
Helen Christmas, author of ‘Beginnings,’ ‘Visions’ and ‘Pleasures’ (from the British Thriller Romance series ‘Same Face Different Place’)
Thanks also go out to Chris Casburn (Child author) who helped organise the event, Dan Jones, (author of Hypnotherapy Scripts) and his wife Abbie, who filmed the event and my Husband Peter, who was there to support me.

See the supporting article on our website: www.chindi-authors.co.uk/sell-out-event-at-chichester-library/

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