Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Love Hurts Surprise Book Reviews

I have been speaking to various people about my novel Love Hurts. Being a paranormal romance, it was more than likely going to fall into the category of Young Adult for audience appeal, but that was not my original intention. Indeed, the story content is very adult and I would not recommend it for anyone under the age of 18. I had intended the book for an adult market aged roughly between 18-35, although of course I would not begrudge anyone reading it.

I was greatly surprised to find that several older people have read and thoroughly enjoyed my book. Here is a classic example of my cultural and social conditioning rearing its face. I automatically assumed that any people over the age of 50 that read my book would think it far-fetched and probably ridiculous. This was not the case according to some recent word of mouth reviews I have received.

Two people in particular stand out. The first is my paternal grandfather. I have never known him to read a book that didn’t include photographs of classic cars and engines. He reads newspapers but that’s about it, and my grandmother agreed that she too had never seen him read a novel before. But he read mine, I thought just because I was his granddaughter. Actually he told me that it was really interesting, very descriptive, and he thoroughly enjoyed it, so much so that he read it within about two days!

The second surprise positive review came from the grandmother of my brother’s girlfriend. This was a review from someone who doesn’t know me, and I was really happy to be told that this lady thought my novel was really exciting. Apparently she enjoyed it, and is keen to see the sequel when I finally complete it.

After these, and several other positive word of mouth reviews, I am filled with renewed vigour for my writing. Now I have established that there is actually a whole new older audience, I cannot wait for them to read some more of my work. And my lesson for the week is to never underestimate what people are prepared to read.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Getting Down to Business

As mentioned previously, I have been so involved with networking and promoting my book recently that I have been rather lacking in actual writing. So tonight, after another busy day with the baby and various jobs, I forced myself to sit at the computer and not jump straight onto the internet.

I have actually managed to write another chapter of The Darkness of Love, and at the moment this book is drawing me back in. Marcus Scott is a hot character, I have to say, and this story is all about classic Victorian vampires. It is sultry, sexy and alive, despite the undead characters!

There is still a lot of work to do with this. Firstly I must persevere until all of the chapters are written in rough. The story has been buzzing round my head for months now, and I have to stop suppressing it. Then I can start at the beginning, read through, and amend the chapters as necessary.

Once that is completed, I will need to format it and find a publisher. Easy! 

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Work in Progress

It is time to stand back for a moment, take a breath, and remember the true reason for my online presence and all the social networking. I am a writer. I write stories. Currently I am trying hard to access a wider audience for my newly published debut novel. But there are other works in the pipeline, and indeed I have two more novels in progress as we speak.

The first of these is naturally a sequel to Love Hurts. Tentatively entitled Love Kills, the story picks up when Jessica is recovering from her injuries and Elizabeth is about to give birth. This story will delve deeper into my characters' emotions and moral standing. It will challenge the reader to decide who are the 'good guys' and who are the 'bad guys.' Personally I believe that everyone has their flaws and we make our own judgements. I enjoy seeing the reactions of other people.

My second work in progress is a spin-off novel called The Darkness of Love. This is the story of how my Redcliffe character Marcus Scott came to be a vampire. He surprised me in Love Hurts, so I decided to give him his own novel. I think he deserves it because he is quite a forceful character, and I am most definitly attracted to him! The Darkness of Love was originally entered into a competition but was unsuccessful. I am determined to see it through, although I seem to blow hot and cold with this one. Some days I like it, some days I don't, but mostly I do.

And that is a brief update because it is late, I am tired, and I am determined to be in bed before midnight for once. Goodnight!

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Highway to Hell by Alex Laybourne

Heaven and Hell, Angel and Demons, these things were once considered opposites, but now you will see that they are neighbors, allies…. friends.
Marcus, Becky, Richard, Helen, Sammy and Graham. All complete strangers, different ages, backgrounds and even countries, but they all have one major thing in common…They all must DIE.
Sentenced to offer their penance in the many chambers of Hell, their lives are nothing but a torturous experience. They are brought face to face with their past, their mistakes and the implications that had for others. Until one by one they are rescued and thrown together. Waking in a dying world, they are introduced to their rescuers who do anything but conform to their angelic stereotype.
Together, bonded by an unknown destiny the group is set on their quest; to find one individual buried deep within the many Hell worlds. Not only does the fate of their world rest on their shoulders, but that of existence itself.

Writing In A Foreign Language by Alex Laybourne

I moved to the Netherlands in 2006. It wasnt really a big adjustment for me as I had always wanted to leave England, or certainly the area I lived in, and with my mother being Dutch, and me moving to the same town she grew up in that is another story entirely you could say I really was moving to a home away from home.

Now, almost five years down the road I am married, with three wonderful children and have never regretted making the move. However, I have learned that being a writer in a different country certainly comes with some limitations. Lets face it, if we boil it down, I am writing in a foreign language. Sure almost everyone in Holland speaks the language, but there is a difference between speaking and being able to read a full length novel and understand it well enough to at least feign enjoyment.

Thanks to the Internet this problem has never hindered me, and now with Kindles and e-readers galore stocking the shelves, getting my hands on an English book is not a problem. Writing and promoting one on the other hand is a different kettle of fish; from writing circles, critiques, friends to bounce ideas around with, beta readers. Ok the last one is probably stemming from my somewhat Luddite lifestyle.

It goes without saying that a large percentage of Indie author promotion is done online, hanging around the social media scene, dropping links and making your presence known on sites such as Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Authors.com and Wattpad, but there is still a lot to be said about face to face interaction and sales. Approaching local Indie bookshops and even larger stores (I have read several people saying that they approached their local Barnes and Noble for book signing sessions and have been given a place on the shelves in that particular store) and requesting some of their time and pitching a sale the old fashioned way.

Dont get me wrong, I knew what I was getting myself into, and I accept that the majority of my sales will be via the online promotion work that I am doing. I am not afraid of hard work and am looking forward to the adventure that self-promotion is proving to be. I am not the first writer that is trying this, and I will not be the last. All Indie writers face an uphill battle for promotion, regardless of where we live.

Introducing Alex Laybourne Author

Horror writer Alex Laybourne was born in the UK but relocated to The Netherlands to be with his wife. Together they have three wonderful children who despite their young age are showing all the signs of following in their fathers creative footsteps. 

Alexs debut novel Highway to Hell is a 96.000 word horror novel and the first in a trilogy that will take readers on a journey not just into hell, but through it.

Highway to Hell can be found on Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, and Amazon.de, and for all non-kindle readers via Smashwords.com for just $2.99. You can also download a free sample of the novel at all of the above sites.

Alex is always interested in making new friends both readers and writers alike. You can find him at most hours of the waking day on Twitter under the name @vanplank or on his blog www.alexlaybourne.com

Sharing Writer Profiles

I will shortly be posting some guest blogs from a fellow Indie author, and would like to take this opportunity to open an invitation to others. If you write within the Fantasy or Spiritual genre, both fiction and non-fiction, and would like a guest post on my blog, then please get in touch. We all need to help each other and get our names out there!

Saturday, 20 August 2011

The Road to Literary Fame

Here is an excellent feature article in my local regional newspaper The Sentinel (North Staffordshire and South Cheshire) - Family Holidays on Cornish Coast set scene for Ghostly Tale

It feels like I'm on a wild roller coaster at the moment, and it is fantastic! A word of advice for budding writers out there: just get out and broadcast the news about your book. You will be surprised at how many people take in interest in your work. Go get 'em!

Join my tribe today, and I will send you a fabulous FREE book to get you started… (be warned, my vampires do not sparkle, and my wolves will bite!) 

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Local Author in Local Newspapers and Bookshops

It is all very exciting! At the weekend I had another photo shoot for a local newspaper, and my feature article will appear in The Sentinel (via www.thisisstaffordshire.co.uk) on Saturday 20th August.

But before that I will feature in the Crewe Chronicle, Sandbach and Middlewich edition on Wednesday 17th August, and the Cheadle and Tean Times (http://www.timesechoandlife.co.uk/#/news/4548375783) on the same day.

I have also confirmed another book signing event, this time at Waterstones Booksellers in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent on Saturday 1st October from 11:00am - 3:00pm. Come along and have a chat if you are in the vicinity.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Redcliffe and Real Life

It is so hard to leave my book alone when I want to write! I could happily sit up all night typing away, but I know that I must sleep. We have a mother and baby yoga class in the morning, then a playgroup in the afternoon. Thursday is a busy play day!

I have managed to write another chapter of my spin-off novel The Darkness of Love which tells the story of how Marcus Scott came to be a vampire. This is potentially more of a steampunk novel, but we will see. It seemed to drag for a bit, but every time I return to it I am pleasantly surprised at my work, which must be a good thing!

And I have at least written another partial chapter for the sequel to Love Hurts. Jessica is struggling with her feelings for Danny, the forbidden brother, and as the novel deepens so will the intrigue. There are more secrets to be broken, more danger to encounter, and even I am not sure what the outcome will be...

Friday, 5 August 2011

Vampires, Werewolves, and a Baby

I am currently on a mission to promote Love Hurts, to build a fanbase and get the book into bookshops and the media. So far I have featured in one local newspaper, I will appear in another next week, and I have confirmed a book signing event with Waterstones, Crewe in September.

I also want to get writing the sequel, which is in progress but rather slowly. This is because I have a baby. She is six months old, the most adorable creature in the world ever (but of course I am biased), and she is, of course, my priority right now.

The sequel will follow more of a vampire theme, although the werewolves are closely interwoven in the plot, and I will push the boundaries of human relationships and morals. It is all very exciting, and it needs to come out of my head, because at the moment I am living a double life, and the fictional one is causing confusion with the reality...