The Thief of Time

Time.

Such a precious commodity. We all have exactly the same amount of it in a day.

Twenty-four hours. No more, no less.

So how can it be stolen? And who steals it?

Does someone break into the house, gather it up in his fists or stuff it in a rucksack and make off with it?

How come I keep hearing folks say time’s run out? How can it run out? Where does it run to?

The short answer is that time doesn’t run out. Of course it doesn’t run out. It’s fixed. Twenty-four hours every day. Sixty minutes every hour.

So, where does it go?

Something happens to it, that’s for sure, because I never have enough of it in any one day. It doesn’t seem to matter when I get up or when I go to bed, there are things I just didn’t get time to do. Know the feeling? I decided to play detective and follow the clues left lying around the house. You know the ones: the half done Sudoku, the iPad on charge …

And right there is the main culprit. The iPad. I love my iPad. I know a lot of folks have moved on to doing everything on their phone, but I find my phone screen is just not big enough to enjoy a good game of Spider Solitaire – oops! – think I’ve found another clue as to where my time’s going.

Right! That’s Spider Solitaire removed from my iPad – again! I keep taking it off and it keeps reappearing. Well, it doesn’t really just appear – I keep putting it back on. It gets me every time. I fancy a couple of games of Spider Solitaire, tell myself it honestly, honestly will only be a couple of games – or three. Three’s a nice number. But I’m an addict. I can’t have just one game, or even three. Hours can pass unnoticed while I’m moving four onto five, three onto four … you know the game. Hours that I wanted to use for something else. Like writing a proper blogpost.

The other clue I found was the number of retweets I had on Twitter. There can only be retweets if there’s been tweets. How long had I been tweeting? Too long. But there’s purpose to tweeting, isn’t there? Don’t I keep reading that an author needs an online presence? Well, yeah! But how many hours would I need to be chirping away, tweeting on Twitter, to build up any sort of meaningful presence? I don’t know the statistics, but there must be more tweets per second than there are milliseconds. Twitter is a monster of a moving machine. Try it! Write a tweet and watch it disappear under the avalanche of new tweets before your very eyes. It’s scary! Fortunately I’ve never become addicted to Twitter, so I can minimise time spent there quite easily with no loss of pleasure. Done!

FaceBook, Instagram, emails, WhatsApps and texts – well, I’m just gonna have to learn to control them, because they do serve a useful purpose. They keep me in touch with friends and family, especially those in far-flung corners of the globe …

Now there’s another thing! How can a globe have corners? Hmmm! Think I’ll Google who thought up that saying …

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If you’ve got the time, why not check out my novels on Amazon.

Reading a good book is always a good use of time.

~~~

Oops, I’ve done it again!

In August, I wrote about Tunnel Vision, about emerging from a tunnel and seeing all the things that had been hidden from view. If you read the post before or if you have followed the link and have just read it, you will know that I was talking about how engrossed I get when writing a new novel.

Well, I’ve done it again!

I couldn’t resist taking part in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in November. Once again, that meant writing a new novel – well, the first draft of one, anyway. The target is to write 50,000 words in the month of November, a daily average of 1,667 words for thirty days. ‘Since I’ve managed to adopt the habit of writing every day since February, how hard could it be?’ I asked myself. The answer? Only as hard as I make it. So I decided to plan this new novel out and get to know my characters pretty well before I embarked on the actual writing on November 1st. That really helped. Throughout the month, I was never lost. I always knew where my story was headed – or I thought I did.

Right at the end of the month, my main character seemed to develop a mind of her own and she decided to take me in another direction. I guess she didn’t like the ending I’d planned, and in one pivotal conversation with another character, the story swung off my carefully plotted route.

Now, remembering I’m already in that tunnel, already have tunnel vision, but the pinpoint of light at the end of the tunnel has been growing bigger and brighter for days. Suddenly, the light felt like an oncoming vehicle instead of the way out of the tunnel. Could I avoid crashing? Would this be the end of the road for my novel?

Don’t be silly. Of course not. We writers can’t let our characters totally take over. They need us to guide them. They may think they’re in charge. We may even talk about them as though they are. But they are not. They are our creations. We are in charge.

I hope you heard the stern tone in my voice there, because that’s the tone I took when I sat down with Rosanna – yes, that’s her name, this wayward character in my latest novel, Gold Plated. We sat down with a mug of hot chocolate and a piece of cake and sorted this thing out. Okay, she wasn’t comfortable with the original plan, but I wasn’t happy with the direction she looked like taking. It couldn’t lead to the destination I’d had in mind from the outset. One of us had to give, didn’t we? Or could we compromise? Could Rosanna have her say, speak her mind as she just had and still get back on track?

Of course she can. I’m in charge, remember. It’s up to me to bring her round by carefully constructing a wee diversion that allows us both to feel happy with the outcome. And that’s what I did, bringing in the first draft of Gold Plated at 59,000 words by the 30th November, just as I emerged from the tunnel.

It’s only the 1st of December, so I’m still blinking in the light, but I see I have neglected this poor old blog again. I owe it an apology. I’d love to think someone might have missed me.

So, back on track. Still fleshing out Gold Plated, but with a little less intensity so there’s time and energy for all the other writing-related projects I delight in, including the final edit of For What it’s Worth the spin-off of The Reluctant Detective Series I was writing. My lovely daughter-in-law, Michelle, has almost finished painting a gorgeous cover for it and soon I hope it will be all systems go for publication.

What fun we writers have 🙂

Did you have a go with NaNoWriMo this year? Do tell me in the comments how you got on.

Or have you read any good books lately? Ones that take you off into that glorious tunnel of trees, where everything is beautiful but you can hardly see anything outside it – the dishes, the ironing, the cat’s empty saucer …

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You can read Christine Campbell’s books for FREE with Kindle Unlimited, or buy them in eBook or paperback format here on Amazon.

Interview with the Author

A couple of months ago, on June 29, 2016, I was interviewed by Meryl Stenhouse, here on her blog. She had invited me to talk about my latest release, Rusty Gold, the third book in The Reluctant Detective Series.

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Rusty Gold by Christine Campbell

Find her,’ Agnes Donald begged. ‘Find my daughter.’

The words of a dying woman force Mirabelle to take on another case for the unofficial Missing Persons Bureau she runs from her Edinburgh flat. Along with her assistant, Kay, she heads for the island of Skye where Esme Donald was last known to be. But is someone else looking for Esme too? And could Mirabelle’s own daughter, Summer, be in danger?

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Meryl asked me some very interesting questions, questions that helped me express the origins of this series, letting readers in behind the scenes of my novels. I hope you enjoy the interview. If you want to see it in its original form, do please go to Meryl’s blog. In fact you might enjoy to do that anyway after reading this post. Meryl has written lots to interest you there.

Meryl Stenhouse: Your novel’s heroine Mirabelle is a single mother, which is an unusual but excellent choice. What led you to choose a single mother as your heroine? What challenges and opportunities did this represent in writing the story?

Christine Campbell: I chose to tell Mirabelle’s story as a single mother because there are so many single parent families around these days and I think it must be tremendously difficult to balance all the pressures of work or career and bringing up a child or children.
I got to thinking what if? What if there was a crisis in a single parent family, like a child disappearing from home? Who would the single parent turn to? What impact would it have on his or her work or career? How would it change his/her priorities? What regrets would he/she have? Things like that.

The main challenge it represented was that although I am mum, I have never had to function as a single parent, so I had to try to get inside my character’s head. I had to imagine how it would be different, but also how it would be the same.

For instance, the things that I think would be the same are the panic and pain, the anxiety and strain of such a frightening situation. I did’t find it too hard to imagine how I, as a mum, would react: how I would feel, what I would do.

A huge difference is sharing the anxiety, panic and pain with the other parent. Whenever there is any kind of difficult or worrying situation in our family, my husband and I can talk about it. We can comfort one another, work out together what we need to do.

For a single parent – in my story, a single mum – I would imagine it is very different. Although she may have very supportive family and friends, at the end of the day, she goes to bed on her own and the night must seem to last forever. So I had to work out who Mirabelle’s support team would be, and how and where she would find comfort.

One of the opportunities writing this story gave me was to examine how I would feel if I had to do things on my own. I rely on my husband so much that thinking about being on my own in such a dreadful situation was very upsetting for me. Making myself imagine it, get into Mirabelle’s head and heart, walk a mile in her shoes, so to speak, was a great exercise in empathy for me. It helped me appreciate what a great job so many single parents make of bringing up their children.

MS: You have included the homeless of Edinburgh as characters in the book, a group that is traditionally invisible. What prompted this decision?

CC: In part, it was prompted by the realisation that people can be homeless for a variety of reasons, not all of them their own fault. Even if it is their choice, it is a hard life, but for many it isn’t a choice. The statistics for young people who have left home because of domestic abuse are frightening. For them, even living rough in parks, cemeteries and squats are better than what they had.

One young woman I talked to who left home to live on the streets when she was only fourteen told me that she found the homeless community looked after her better than her parents had. She said, yes, she had to choose carefully who she associated with, learning to avoid the unscrupulous, the malicious and those who were too far gone with drugs, but a great part of the homeless community is made up of decent, honest people who have, for one reason or another, found themselves homeless.

Some of them are somewhat eccentric, some of them are difficult to communicate with, some may even be somewhat dangerous, but they are still people. I wanted to give a small section of them a voice.

MS: Rusty Gold is set on the Isle of Skye. How have you communicated the individuality of that setting to the reader? Have you traveled there yourself? What challenges did this location present to the story?

The first two books in this series, The Reluctant Detective Series, are set mostly in Edinburgh or further north but still in the east of Scotland. My husband and I are originally from the west of Scotland and we have holidayed in Skye several times over the years, plus his paternal family originated there, so, when we were planning to visit Skye again for a couple of weeks and it was time to start plotting Rusty Gold, I decided why not take Mirabelle there with us.

While there, I researched where I wanted certain scenes to take place, going to each one several times, sitting quietly on beaches getting the feel of them as well as studying them visually, travelling the single track roads across moorlands, through glens and beside lochs.

I knew Mirabelle would fall in love with Skye as I had many years ago, so my challenge was to help my readers fall in love with it too. It’s never ideal to have long, descriptive passages in a modern novel, so I tried to give the flavour of the surroundings through the characters’ eyes and actions.

I listened carefully to how natives of Skye spoke: they tend not to abbreviate but speak carefully and correctly, with a delightful lilt in their speech. I tried to portray that in the people Mirabelle meets.

When I travelled about the island, I was often held up waiting for sheep to move aside, or highland cattle to meander along in front of me, so I allowed that to happen to Mirabelle and her friend as they travelled.

From time to time, I felt compelled to stop the car at the side of the road to get out and marvel at some fabulous views, so I had them do that too, in the hopes that my readers would be able to imagine the Island of Skye. It is a truly beautiful setting.

Rusty Gold is available to buy in paperback and on Amazon Kindle.

AmazonBarnes and NobleWaterstones FeedaRead – The paperback can also be ordered from most bookshops.

Christine Campbell is a writer. She has always been a writer. For as long as she can remember, she has scribbled poems and prose, snippets and stories on scraps of paper, in the back of cheque books, napkins, on the back of her hand — anything more durable than her faulty memory.
She loves being a writer, a novelist, in particular, and she write contemporary fiction: strongly character-based, relationship novels — with a smidgen of romance and a generous dusting of mystery and detection.
She has learned a lot about her craft since that wonderful night when she held her first completed, printed manuscript novel in her arms. Her first book-baby.
Christine has now completed and published seven novels, the seventh newly ready to leave home and see the big wide world and, even more importantly, to be seen by it. It’s so exciting when your book-babies grow up and leave home. As mother of five grown-up, married children and ten grandchildren, Christine knows a lot about babies growing up and leaving home!

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I hope you enjoyed Meryl’s interview. Didn’t she ask some great questions? It’s quite an art form in itself, interviewing, and I think Meryl has mastered it. Thank you, Meryl.

What do you think? Are there interviews you’ve read that really help you get to know your favourite author better? Or some that made your toes curl?

Do share your stories in the comments. I love hearing from you.

~~~

 

#InspiringWomen: June

Lovely to have a post about Rosie Amber. I love her blog with its book review team and all the rest. She is such a busy, encouraging lady, truly one of the #inspiringwomen in blog land.
Thank you Vikki Patis for this delightful peek into how Rosie works.

The Bandwagon

Welcome to The Bandwagon’s new feature for 2016 – #InspiringWomen. These posts aim to not only celebrate successful women, but also to encourage others to follow their dreams. Meet June’s lady, Rosie Amber.

Rosie B&W SoftSelf-described as a book reviewer, avid reader and bookworm, Rosie Amber is campaigning to link more readers to writers.

What made you want to join your industry?

A few years ago I was inspired to teach myself about social media and not grow old and stagnant. I’ve always loved reading, so what better way to celebrate this than to start a book blog and reach out virtually.

What challenges have you had to overcome in order to get where you are today? 

I began at the ground and worked up, first I didn’t know what blogging platform to use, I began with Tumbler, but found the audience wrong for me, so next I tried WordPress, it works…

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Paris Between the Wars – “V” is for Madeleine Vionnet

Martha Reynolds has reached the letter V in her A-Z challenge this month and has written about the French fashion designer Madeleine Vionnet, who designed some fabulous gowns but was also a lady ahead of her times in that she instituted some unheard of conditions for her workers.

Martha Reynolds Writes

A2Z-BADGE 2016-smaller_zpslstazvibBetween 1919 and 1939, Paris experienced a cultural and intellectual boom. This blog will feature artists, writers, composers, musicians, and designers. Paris was at its cultural peak.

Madeleine Vionnet Madeleine Vionnet

A French fashion designer who trained in London, Madeleine Vionnet established her first fashion house in Paris in 1912. She was one of the leading fashion designers in Paris from 1919 to 1939. Called the “Queen of the bias cut” and “the architect among dressmakers”, Vionnet is best known for her elegant Grecian-style dresses.

Vionnet evening gown, 1931 Vionnet evening gown, 1931

Vionnet gowns Vionnet gowns

Vionnet’s bias-cut clothes dominated haute couture in the 1930s, setting trends with her sensual gowns worn by such internationally known actresses as Marlene Dietrich, Katharine Hepburn, and Greta Garbo. Vionnet’s vision of the female form revolutionized modern clothing, and the success of her unique cuts assured her reputation. She fought for copyright laws in fashion. She instituted what, at the time…

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A writer’s rant

Oh, yes, I so agree with this rant.
Especially the bit about the sidebar not showing on the screens of mobile devices, so that readers of my blog do not necessarily know about the books I’ve written or the videos I’ve made that are all shown in the sidebar.

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

Dear WordPress,

Yes, it’s me again. Well, what did you expect? Reindeer?

First, let me thank you for providing what is, in my humble opinion, the best blogging platform out there with what has to be the best blogging community you could wish for.

Second… WordPress, we have a problem.

Well, several actually.

Again.

For starters, let me ask… have you been playing at happiness engineering again? I do wish you wouldn’t. In fact, most of us wish you wouldn’t to judge by the comments when you do. Even worse, we ever know what’s coming until the usual batch of oddities start occurring. Like bloggers who disappear from our notifications… notifications that cease arriving. Notifications tabs that ‘forget’ to let us know about comments. Readers who get in touch to check you are okay because they haven’t had any notifications either… regardless of the fact you haven’t missed posting…

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One Word for 2016

I had forgotten about ‘One Word’.

Two years ago … was it really two years ago … I wrote a post about choosing one word that would sum up what I wanted to achieve in the coming year. It was a concept that I had found in various places, on various blogs, around the end of 2014.

A few days ago, Zenobia Southcombe, a fellow author and blogger, referred to my post and spoke about her One Word for 2016. That reminded me of the post and the concept, so I decided to refresh the post here in case some of you would enjoy the concept and to find your One Word.

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There were a lot of blog posts about at the end of 2013, beginning of 2014, that zoned in on New Year’s resolutions, but I stumbled on some that were talking about One Word. The idea being that you choose just one word to keep ‘front and centre’ during the next year. Not a whole list of resolutions, but One Word that sums up what you, personally, want to achieve in the coming year.

Not being one to make, far less keep, New Year Resolutions, this sounded like something I might like to try.

There was even a book written about it with an interview on ‘Today’ with the author of the book.

I got to thinking about what my One Word would be.

As I read about all the words other people were putting forward as their words, I wanted to identify mine.

Have you any idea how many words there are out there?

According to the Oxford Dictionaries:

“There is no single sensible answer to this question. It’s impossible to count the number of words in a language, because it’s so hard to decide what actually counts as a word.

It’s also difficult to decide what counts as ‘English’. What about medical and scientific terms? Latin words used in law, French words used in cooking, German words used in academic writing, Japanese words used in martial arts? Do you count Scots dialect? Teenage slang? Abbreviations?

This suggests that there are, at the very least, a quarter of a million distinct English words. If distinct senses were counted, the total would probably approach three quarters of a million.”

That’s a lot of words to choose from.

Narrowing it down somewhat, I made a list of some others had chosen, as found in their blogs. Words like: COURAGE, SELFLESSNESS, PEACE, PRESENCE, KINDNESS, SIMPLICITY, TRUTH, APPRECIATION, SPARKLE, CHOOSE, WHOLE, NOW, FRESH, BLESSINGS, TENACITY, RESILIENCE, JOY, EQUANIMITY …. the list goes on … and on … and on … all good words.

I considered a few of them as suitable candidates for My One Word.

Simplicity … I could do with focusing on simplicity for a year, throwing out some of my clutter from cupboards and closets as well as from my mind and lifestyle. But I actually love my clutter. I’m not ready to part with much of it yet. I might do a spring-clean, but a whole year of simplifying, I’m not so sure.

Courage … yes. I always need that. We all do just to cope with the trials of life and what it throws at us. But would focusing on that as my One Word make a difference in the coming year? Possibly, but courage is something I’ve not been too bad at finding when I need it … so far …

Presence … to decide to ‘be in the moment’ to savour every moment. I like that. It would be a great word to ‘keep front and centre’. That’s something I already try to do, so I very nearly chose Presence.

Then I thought my word should really be about something I need more of in my life. Something I lack.

Consistency … Now there is something I need in my life. Consistency. Not to be wavering backwards and forwards, one day on top form, the next in the pits. One day doing my exercises, one day hardly getting off my you-know-what. One day eating salads and bean sprouts, and everything healthy I can get my hands on, the next day eating everything sweet and fat-filled I can get my mouth on.

Yes, I like the idea of becoming more consistent: spiritually, emotionally, physically and mentally.

To keep up with prayer, study and meditation on spiritual things on a daily basis.

To keep my equanimity more, not letting things ‘get to me’ emotionally, draining me, pulling me down as they can do sometimes. Controlling the ‘highs’ as well as the ‘lows’ in order not to get carried away with my passions and enthusiasms to the detriment of my health.

To be more regular, more consistent, with exercising and healthy eating. Oh, dear, did I really say that out loud? That means I’m probably going to have to carry through on it, doesn’t it?

To write every day, doing research diligently, keeping my mind healthy and alert. Ah! This is where the real fun comes in, the real challenge. The fun being the writing, which I love, the challenge being keeping my mind healthy and alert. Think I’m battling against the pull of the years that have already passed with this one!

But, yes, overall, consistency … I like that. That’s what I’m going to strive for.

My One Word for 2014 was CONSISTENCY.

~~~

Okay, so it’s fess-up time! Did I manage to achieve CONSISTENCY in my life during 2014? Er … no, not really. Perhaps a little better than before, but not a lot. I did try … I do try … but consistency just isn’t me, I’m afraid. By nature, I’m a bit random, scatter-brained, my attention flits from this to that and back again in the time it takes me to write a sentence or two. Oh, it might be nice to be more consistent in many aspects of my life, and I still strive for that, but I don’t think I can be consistent across the board. It just isn’t me.

I’ll keep trying, but I’m going to apply another word to my efforts.

Zenobia Southcombe, who reminded me of this concept, has chosen her One Word, and I like it so much I think I’ll adopt it too.

So there, I have decided, my One Word for 2016 is going to be SPARKLE.

I think I can do that.

I love anything sparkly. By nature, I’m an upbeat, optimistic sort of person. Yet life and circumstances can get me down and I can seem anything but upbeat and optimistic sometimes, so that’s why I think I’ll choose SPARKLE.

If I keep that One Word front and centre in my life this year, perhaps my true nature could shine through the difficult times more readily. If I could add a little SPARKLE to everything I do, do it with a lighter touch, a lighter spirit, a brighter word, a cheerful attitude, perhaps I could add some SPARKLE to the life of those around me, help them feel better in the tough times too.

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What about you?

If you were to choose one word to keep in focus for 2016, what would it be? or …

What will it be?

Your One Word?

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Do, please, share your One Word in the comments.

Why did you choose that One Word?

~~~

Christine Campbell, author and blogger.

http://author.to/ChristineCampbell

 Family MattersMaking it HomeFlying FreeHere at the Gate

Searching for Summer Traces of Red – Rusty Gold (Coming soon)

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Why Social Media Is Like A Kitten

A routine, you say? Discipline?
I know, I know, it probably works but the sweet little kitten keeps ‘meep-ing’ at me at all sorts of odd hours of the day…and night…
But I shall let myself be advised by one who knows and try to discipline the kitten and my social media habits. Thank you.

Jumping From Cliffs

Social media for writersGo on, admit it – I had you at “kitten” didn’t I?

I see an awful lot of posts from indie writers complaining that they simply don’t have time to market themselves and their writing on social media. An awful lot. What with the demands of a ‘real life’ and the time we need to dedicate to writing whatever it is we’re trying to publicise, there just aren’t enough hours in the day.

And let’s be honest, there’s no point in spending all your time on marketing if it leaves you with nothing to market. I’m no economics expert (a lucky ‘C’ in O-Level maths in fact) but even I can see that the laws of supply-and-demand demand that there’s at least some supply.

And that’s where the kitten comes in.

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Bookbub Insights: Launch a New Book that’s Part of a Series

Such a helpful post from Nicholas Rossis….again.
I’ve left it a bit late with some of the things I should have been doing to let folks know that the second book in my Reluctant Detective Series is about to be launched, but perhaps I can do a bit of catchup.
I’ll start right now by telling you that Traces of Red is about to be released. So look out for some of the things mentioned in this post to start happenings!
This is so helpful to those of us who love to write and are less clued in about the whole promotion and marketing business.
Thank you once again, Nicholas, for bringing this information to us.

Nicholas C. Rossis

From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's booksContinuing my Bookbub-inspired series of book marketing posts, I will now address the question of promoting a new book that’s part of a series.

Series novels let you reach new readers who still haven’t discovered your books yet. Hook readers on one book, and chances are they’ll be begging for more. But how do you find new readers in the first place?

Cheryl Bradshaw has the answer, courtesy of Bookbub.

One to Two Months Prior to Release

1. Redesign platform elements. A couple of months before your book release, kick things off by posting a new banner on your Facebook page, blog, and other relevant sites. It should include the book cover reveal, the release date (if known), and language such as “coming soon” so readers know to stay tuned.

2. Hint about the upcoming release. Whenever you can, sneak in comments on your blog and  pages about the book and how the…

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Always Nice to have a Visitor.

20140811_092437My guest today is Zenobia Southcombe, Zee to her friends, and she lives in Aukland, New Zealand, a bit far for her to travel just to pop in to sit round the fire and chat with me, but isn’t the internet wonderful? I can throw another log on the fire, cuddle up with my iPad and ‘chat’ to Zee on the other side of the world, perhaps even ask her to play a tune on her ukulele.

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Take it away, Zee….

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When Christine agreed to host a blog post by me, she asked me to write about marketing and a bit about my writing process. Marketing is such a massive area to tackle, and so I decided to look at one aspect that has been new for me – a blog tour.

Why a blog tour?
Well, I’m having a physical launch here in Auckland (New Zealand, or Middle Earth in case you’re not sure) but I want to push the eBook sales as well.
Quite frankly, eBooks are cheaper and far less hassle to produce, so on the financial side eBook sales are the way to go. In addition, there’s a global audience out there numbering more than New Zealand’s population, and I want to reach a larger audience.
A blog tour is a way to get publicity – to get my author name out there in the blogosphere to touch some of the people who might be interested in my work. Hopefully, it helps the blog hosts as well, by introducing some of my current readership to their blogs.

Finding blog hosts
Now, I know there are many services that do this for you, and I did look into them. There’s still a bit of work involved though (like, I would still have to actually write the posts!) and there are pretty strict timelines. I didn’t want to have to fork out money for something if I was still having to put considerable energy so I took it upon myself to do it independently. For a blog tour of 10-20 stops throughout the month, I was looking at between $70 to upwards of $125 (US dollars).
It was actually easier than I thought to find willing victims, uh, hosts for my tour. I put an open call for hosting a guest blog out in my main writer forums: the Coffeehouse on Google+ and a small NZ Indie Writers group on Facebook. I got back (at the time of writing) fifteen responses! And that’s just an open call – I didn’t ask any bloggers directly.
Once I’ve written up the fifteen that I have, I’ll reach out to blogs that offer author interviews and spotlights as a regular feature. There’s a great list on Chris the Story Reading Ape’s site, and I’m using this as my starting point.
http://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/authors-resources-central/guest-author-friendly-blogs/

What to write?
Each was different. For some it was an interview, which is the most straightforward as I don’t have to come up with the content. If you have the option for an interview – take it!
Because the point of the tour is to publicise my launch, I’ve tried to ensure that the content links to my book somehow. For example, I’m writing about marketing for Christine’s blog, but I’m using The Caretaker of Imagination’s launch to do so.

Final Cover AIllustrator Edition A

So now, you know about my launch, and you’ve gotten a glimpse into one of my marketing strategies. How’s that for a win-win?
It is important to consider the blog host’s audience. A lot of my host blogs have a large writerly audience, and while they might be interested in my books (especially if they have children, grandchildren, nieces or nephews) most are interested in reading about my marketing & promotions strategies, or my writing process.
It’s a good idea to have a few different photographs, as well as book covers, to send the host. Sometimes they will specify what they want.

Call to action
Generally, at the end of a blog post – especially a guest post – a call to action is advised. What do you want the reader to do when finished? Again, the blog host’s audience of utmost importance and so I have a few options (and I wrote them down in my planning for each post). If you’re a romance writer, chances are you won’t be interested in a slightly offbeat children’s fantasy book! But, you might be interested in my marketing strategies on my writerly blog.
The options include:
-sign up to author mailing list
-visit writerly blog
-visit author website
-participate in online launch (for posts published during launch week)
-buy my book(s)
-pre-order my book(s)

Would I do it all again?
I have a decent number of blog hosts for my ‘tour’ but not many of them are reviewers. This is something that blog tour companies would be great for, and the only thing that has me considering hiring one for my next launch in July. I have reached out to a few reviewers, and some people have agreed to give me a pre-release review in an exchange for an advance review copy (ARC).
What I will most likely do is a self-organised one like the I am doing now, and in addition do a small reviews-only blog tour with a tour company.

A bit about my writing process
And what about the actual writing? I’m onto my third book now, so I have a good idea of what works for me.
I’m a planner, and I plan my stories with a strong narrative plot – I use the three-act structure well-known by scriptwriters, and a general narrative structure to make sure my bases are covered.
From there, I do my drafting and revise it before sending to my editor for a manuscript assessment, or developmental edit, to tackle the big issues. I revise based on those notes and send it to my illustrator, who pretty much has free reign on the illustrations. We have decided that she’ll do the cover art first, so that I’m not putting pressure on my graphic designer to come up with a cover quickly.
At the same time, it goes to my beta readers and I revise after each of those are received. I send it to one or two final beta readers and then it goes off for proofreading and formatting (I have a formatter now, thank goodness!).
I write short books (about 12,000 words long) but even so the process takes a while. However, they overlap (e.g. I am working on Book 3 while my formatter has Book 1 and my illustrator has Book 2) so schedule-wise it works out wonderfully.

For more information and reflections about my writing process, author mindset and marketing strategies, visit my writer’s blog http://zeesouthcombe.com

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