Do You NaNo?

Well, we’re more than halfway through November, so, if you joined in this amazing writing fest, are you over halfway through the 50,000 words needed to win NaNoWriMo?

Thankfully, I’m over halfway. Phew!

When I decided to do it again this year my reasons were not pure. I have written a first draft of a novel every November since 2013 and I have published each one in due course the following year. Although I can usually write that first draft no problem in the month, it takes me many more months to edit, polish and publish each one.

This year, I didn’t think I could manage to do another novel, what with one thing and another, but I did have last year’s rough first draft hanging around, so I decided my challenge this year was to write the second draft.

The reason I decided to go for NaNoWriMo at all this year was because I couldn’t bring myself not to. The thought of breaking my seven year run was too much for me. So here I am, just over halfway through the month and more than halfway through the second draft. Yipee!

If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, and it happens every November. It’s far from ‘National’ now. People from all over the world join in these days, tens of thousands of them. Many of them ‘win’. And that’s the thing about NaNoWriMo, everyone who completes the 50,000 word count is a winner. And can I tell you, that’s a great feeling.

Write every day, no matter the distractions!

The reason I do it every year is the motivation it provides to stick in and write every day. Before 2013, it could take me years to write the first draft of a novel, let alone the years that then went into editing and polishing it. By the third novel I wrote and published, I’d gotten it down to months, but still too many months, to write a first draft. And the reason it took me so long was simple. I didn’t write every day.

When you don’t write every day, in my experience, you lose the flow of the piece and each time you open the manuscript, you have to look back, sometimes all the way to the beginning and read yourself back into it. That takes time, sometimes a lot of time.

Writing every day, your story never quite leaves your consciousness and it is much easier to pick up where you left off. Especially if you stop in mid-flow, which is a trick I learned somewhere along my writing career.

Of course, NaNoWriMo has its critics. What doesn’t? There are those who say it’s not possible to write a book in a month, and I actually agree, with one proviso. I don’t believe it is possible to write a GOOD book in a month. It’s perfectly possible to write a good first draft in that time. In fact most of the first drafts I have written during that month have been well over the 50,000 word count. It’s possible to write over 100,000 words in a month if you have the time, a good outline, good planning, and the health and energy to write at least 3,334 words every single day. I know some writers can do that and more in a day. I’m afraid I can’t.

But it’s not the volume of words that make a good novel. It’s the quality. The quality choice of words, of sentence structure, and the quality of the story telling. And I doubt there are many writers who have published a GOOD first draft. I know far too many who have published a poor one. And that, unfortunately is what draws the criticism.

Again, I can only speak from my own experience but for me writing the first draft is the easy part. Taking on board the critique of Alpha readers, Beta readers, rewriting, editing, proofreading, these are the time consuming and work intensive parts of writing a novel. And I don’t believe they should be skipped. Even books published by mainstream publishers go through that process, so I don’t believe it’s a process that should ever be neglected. Not if you want to truly WIN NaNoWriMo.

But I’d welcome your thoughts on the subject.

All my novels are available on Amazon Kindle or as Paperbacks.

Meeting Mhairi

 In a previous post, I introduced you to Caitlin and Matt, two of the main characters in the contemporary strand of my latest release, A Mountain of Memories, which is available as an ebook here and as a paperback here.

Woven through the contemporary story there is a historic thread, and in the video below, I introduce you to Mhairi, the main character of that strand.

If you want to see more about the characters or the story, I regularly post that sort of information about all my novels in my FaceBook group: Lifting The Lid off Christine’s Kist of Stories

All of my novels are available as ebooks here and as paperbacks here

A Mountain of Memories

A childhood trip from Edinburgh to explore Caitlin’s family’s history results in tragedy on a mountainside above the village of Kinlochleven, a tragedy so traumatic it was wiped from her memory. As an adult she is still affected by the events that took place there.

Over a century earlier, Caitlin’s great-great grandmother, Mhairi, watches the village of Kinlochleven being born, suffering through its birth pangs.

Caitlin and Mhairi’s lives are linked by their common heritage, and as their stories become intertwined, Caitlin is drawn back to the question that has haunted her for eleven years.

What really happened on that mountainside?

What one reader says about the historic strand of the novel:

“I loved getting to know Mhairi when I first read A Mountain of Memories to myself. Her life is undoubtedly harsh, and she carries within her an innocence, a strength, and a romantic heart too. There’s a lyrical quality to your writing, which your narration enhances, and so this reading brings Mhairi even more vividly to life for me.”

Introducing Mhairi:

A Mountain of Memories

Happy days!

My latest release, A Mountain of Memories, is now available to purchase on Amazon Kindle at http://mybook.to/Mountain

The paperback is also available now from the publisher, feedaread.com

Meanwhile, I thought perhaps you’d like to know what this book is about:


A childhood trip from Edinburgh to explore Caitlin’s family’s history results in tragedy on a mountainside above the village of Kinlochleven.
As an adult she is still affected by the events that took place there, though most of her memories of that day were lost as a result of its trauma.
Over a century earlier, Caitlin’s great-great grandmother, Mhairi, watched the village of Kinlochleven being born, suffering through its birth pangs.
Caitlin and Mhairi’s lives are linked by their common heritage, and as their stories become intertwined, Caitlin is drawn back to the question that has haunted her for eleven years.
What really happened on that mountainside?

I hope you enjoy author readings, because here I am, reading the first part of A Mountain of Memories:

What one early reader is saying:
“This is an absolute MUST read! I was utterly captivated from the very beginning.
A Mountain of Memories is completely immersive, strikingly intelligent and enticingly interesting with a twist you will not see coming. This book explores something all of us can relate to and is written with a depth of feeling, warmth and understanding using words and language with such care and attention, characters so full of depth that they are left in your heart well after turning the last page!
Find a cosy chair, get a cup of something hot, put your phone on silent, curl up and enjoy!”

ebook: http://mybook.to/Mountain

paperback: https://www.feedaread.com/books/A-Mountain-of-Memories.aspx

Dancing in Drumnadrochit


On a writers’ week up in the North of Scotland with our writing group, we were doing a work session broken down into 30 minute pomodoros, timed on my phone. Every time the session ended and the timer went off, this seemed to happen! Toilet paper flowers in my hair á la Mirabelle, the MC of The Reluctant Detective series.

The following excerpt of Searching for Summer should help to explain the allusion.

Having promised her daughter a treat and promised she’d get back from work in time to enjoy it with her, Mirabelle is late, as usual, and discovers her daughter, Summer isn’t home. Having looked in every room, including ridiculous places …

… she sets about decorating the flat, stringing toilet paper across the rooms, draping it over the many pictures, round the sagging sofa, round the mis-matched comfy chairs, a big soft bow finishing it off on each one. She made a huge toilet paper flower and stuck it on the lid of the toilet cistern. Dancing to the reggae music she’d put on the CD player, she gyrated to her bedroom and back, lipstick in hand, to write ‘Well Done!’ and ‘Congratulations!’ on the mirror, on the fridge, even across the doors, with no thought as to how it would be removed tomorrow.
“Party dress,” she decided, searching through her chest of drawers, scattering underwear, socks, scarves and gloves around her like the flutter of autumn leaves. Finding what she knew was buried in the depths of one of the drawers, she threw the bright pink feather boa round her neck on top of the strings of beads she already wore, made some soft, floppy toilet paper flowers, clipping them into the tight curls of her black hair, and added some more bangles to the ones already jingling on her wrists.
Dancing through to the kitchen, she dug out a box of little flower candles, designed to float on a lake in a bowl, and sat them on top of a sponge cake from the freezer, unable to resist scooping some of the frozen cream from between its layers with her finger. It felt icy on her teeth, sweet on her tongue.
Confident Summer would be accepted at Edinburgh University, she had bought an iPad thingy from a catalogue and it had been delivered, wrapped and hidden days ago. She brought it out and gave it centre stage on the kitchen table in front of the cake, sweeping the resident clutter off onto a chair from which most of it cascaded onto the floor.
There were some sparklers in the drawer beside the matches and she stuck them in the cake, ready to light at the first sound or sight of Summer.
“She’s gonna love this,” Mirabelle sang, her finger scooping out more cream. “She’s gonna love it.”
She looked at the clock. Half-past nine. The film would be over by now. The cinema was only at the top of the road. She draped herself in the deep, old armchair they kept in the kitchen, turning it so she could see the look of delight on Summer’s face as she came through the door.

http://mybook.to/SearchingforSummer

 

 

Would you like me to Read you a Story?

When our children were young, they loved their dad to read to them and I loved to listen in because he had a great way of making the written words come alive. When they were older, the fact they could read for themselves didn’t mar their enjoyment.  I took the  time and opportunity to study what it was about his reading that was so special, and I think it was to do with the fact that, while he respected the written word, he also knew when to take liberties with it in order to entertain.

Maybe you’ll permit me to entertain you for a few minutes as I read the first section of my latest novel. I don’t claim to have my husband’s skill in this matter, but I’ll do my best.

For What it’s Worth is contemporary women’s fiction.
It is not part of The Reluctant Detective Series by the same author, but it is a spin off where Mirabelle has a part to play but in a supporting role rather than the main character.
This is a stand-alone novel and while readers who enjoyed the earlier series might be keen to find out what Mirabelle has been up to, the main storyline concentrates on Yvonne and her husband Hugh and explores themes familiar to many young thirty-something couples when they decide it’s time to expand their family.

For What it’s Worth can be bought on Amazon as a paperback or ebook as can other novels by the same author.

~~~

 

Making a Book Cover

Who would have thought from all the fun and nonsense we had that day, we could manage to get a new book cover? 😀

Writing a novel is only one part of the process of producing a novel. There are many other parts to the process, including designing a cover.

And there are many parts to designing a cover, including, in this instance, setting up a photo shoot in the garden with one of my sons and his wife. While one of my sons-in-law set up the camera, they couldn’t resist fooling around so it all turned into great fun. Happy memories 😀

With the resulting book cover completed by the photographer, our own Tim Pow of Pow Productions, here it is, the release of my new novel, For What it’s Worth.

For What It's Worth Final

So what’s the story?

Yvonne’s biological alarm tells her it’s time to start a family before she’s past her prime, but first her husband, Hugh, must find a job. But will any job do?
When Hugh seems to be taking his time to find one, Yvonne finds one for him, but is it the right job? Will it cause more stress when she is already juggling two jobs herself and is trying to hold on to their flat?
When things start to go wrong, Yvonne finds herself facing a choice no woman should ever have to – her marriage or a baby.
When she met Hugh, Yvonne was working as an Edinburgh tour guide, so she knows the city well and has a great fondness for it, taking us to some of her favourite places as she tries to work out what the important things in her life are worth: her dreams, her plans – and her marriage.
For What it’s Worth is contemporary women’s fiction with more than a touch of romance, seasoned with a sprinkling of humour, a spot of drama and a splash of tears.
It is not part of The Reluctant Detective Series by the same author, but it is a spin off where we get to know Mirabelle’s sister, Yvonne, better. Mirabelle has a part to play in For What it’s Worth, but in a supporting role rather than the main character.
Although it is a stand-alone novel, those readers who have enjoyed the earlier series will no doubt enjoy being reacquainted with so many of the characters and finding out what Mirabelle has been up to since finding Summer, but the main storyline concentrates on Yvonne and her husband Hugh and explores themes familiar to many young thirty-something couples when they decide it’s time to expand their family.
Life is complicated, love is complicated, must our dreams be complicated too?

Like all Christine Campbell novels, For What it’s Worth is available both as paperback and eBook on Amazon, Waterstones, Barnes & Noble, FeedaRead.com and can be ordered in bookshops.

Enjoy!

101 Names to Conjure With

3D CC Promo Visual

These are my published novels. Don’t you just love the covers?

I’m looking forward to showing you the cover to the next novel, called For What it’s Worth, which will be coming soon. I’ve done the writing, the rewriting, the editing, the proofreading, the polishing, the cover is underway, and it’s almost ready to go to the publisher. Yay!

So what’s next, you may well ask. And I’ll tell you.

My next WIP is called Gold Plated. I completed the first draft some time ago and am about to embark on the second draft. This is the time when my mind keeps going back to the story and the characters. I’ve let it marinate for a few months, since November actually. It was my November 2016 NaNoWriMo novel, so it has marinated for almost eight months and it’s started to bubble up into my consciousness again.

During the writing of the first draft, I became unhappy with the name I had chosen for one of my characters, and I am ready to think about what she should be called instead. She’s not a Rose or a Violet, nor is she a Tabitha or a Geraldine. Because she is my character, created in my imagination, I can call her whatever I want to, but I’d like it to be a name that fits her and the story.

She is a feisty, Scottish lady in her early fifties, but she was named by her much gentler, artistic mother. If you stop and think about it, a mother has no idea at all what her child will turn out like, so she can hardly choose a name that will describe that child’s nature as she grows and matures. It’s a fortunate coincidence when the name happens to fit in real life, an easier thing to pull off by the creator of fiction. So am I looking for a name a gentle, artistic soul might name her daughter, but that actually suits the daughter’s stronger, feisty nature? Or might it be fun if it turns out the mother chose a name that really doesn’t suit at all? Any thoughts?

I put this question to a group of FaceBook friends, and we had a lot of fun with their suggestions. I must have at least 101 names to conjure with, and a short list that’s not much shorter. I wondered if you’d care to join the fun and help me out at the same time.

Just tell me in the comments what you think would be a flowery, artistic name that a feisty, fiery lady would love or hate to be called. Either way, it will be fun to get your suggestions. They may add to my shortlist or help me whittle it down. Who knows, you may be the one who comes up with the name I settle on.

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To read more about, or buy any of  my published books:

Please click the link to

Christine Campbell Amazon Author page

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Interview with Christine Campbell

It was such a pleasure to be interviewed by Elizabeth Hein for her blog. She asked some interesting questions about my writing process and the theme that runs through all my novels.

Scribbling In The Storage Room

Rusty Gold small .jpeg

It’s my pleasure to welcome Christine Campbell to the Storage Room today. Rusty Gold, the third book in her Reluctant Detective Series, was released yesterday so it’s a real treat to talk with her today. Christine and I write in the same genre and tend to address many of the same issues, but in very different ways. I love how that happens. Anyway, here’s Christine –

What genre books do you write?

Contemporary Women’s Fiction, though some of them almost fall into the cosy mystery/cosy crime sort of area.

What types of books do you typically read?

Contemporary Women’s Fiction, Cosy Crime, Mystery, Legal/courtroom novels, Relationship novels (not really romance)

Whatever I read, I like it to be a ‘clean’ read, as in no swearing, sex or violence. I’m also not into fantasy or science fiction – and especially not paranormal or supernatural.

So I suppose I have a…

View original post 1,394 more words

Traces of Red

It’s here! It’s here!

Traces of Red

Book Two in The Reluctant Detective Series

Traces of Red

Traces of Red is the sum of several interwoven stories.
While searching for her daughter, Mirabelle finds herself running an unofficial Missing Person’s Bureau from her flat in Edinburgh, where Kay comes to ask for help to find her missing husband.
Meanwhile, an abandoned baby is found in an Edinburgh pub and DI Sam Burns is happy to use Mirabelle’s expertise to trace the mother and the young woman who went missing with her.
Somehow their stories interlink and, when they find a body in the burn, they can’t help but wonder how many of them they’ll find alive.

Once again, much of Traces of Red is set in Edinburgh, but in this book, some of the action takes place further North in Scotland. If you’ve ever driven up the A9 towards Inverness and looked out at the hills, you may have wondered what it would be like to walk there, to climb some of these beautiful hills. But how would you feel about being lost in them?

~~~

Contemporary Fiction, A Cozy Mystery with a Woman Sleuth,

Traces of Red is available to download now on Amazon Kindle

or if you prefer the paperback, it can soon be ordered on

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

and all good bookshops.

~~~

It can already be bought

on

FeedaRead.com

~~~

I know, I know.

I should have waited until the paperback is ready in all the other outlets too, but so many of you, having read Searching for Summer, have been asking when Book Two of the series, Traces of Red, would be ready. I got overexcited and had to share it with you straight away as soon as the ebook was up and running.

The paperback shouldn’t be long before it’s showing on the other sites too, if that’s your preference, but it can be bought now, hot off the publisher’s press at FeedaRead.com 

~~~

Book One of The Reluctant Detective Series, Searching for Summer, is still available at the discounted price of 99p/99c if you haven’t read it yet, and it is available now from:

Amazon

FeedaRead.com

Barnes&Noble

Waterstones.com

and can be ordered from all good bookstores.

~~~

Happy Reading!

~~~

Now Would be a Good Time

Searching for Summer Final

Now would be a good time to grab a copy of Searching for Summer. Three reasons:

One, it’s a great read.

Two, the eBook is reduced to only 99p/99cents.

Three, you’ll have time to read it before book two is released. It’s on its way.

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So what is Searching for Summer about?

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It’s the first novel in The Reluctant Detective Series.

Mirabelle’s daughter, Summer, disappears one Friday night, and Mirabelle would dearly love to rewind that day and live it differently. Instead, she is left not knowing if Summer is alive or dead, went of her own accord or was taken against her will.
Casting all other concerns aside – food, sleep, work, relationships – in her desperate need to find the answers, she takes to the streets of Edinburgh in search of Summer.
Searching along wynds snaking behind old buildings, through ancient doors and tiny spiral stairways, showing Summer’s photograph to everyone she meets in shops, museums and nightclubs, Mirabelle becomes a reluctant detective, gathering clues, trying to make sense of them in order to find her missing daughter.

~~~

Set in Edinburgh, Searching for Summer could be called Kaleidoscope Fiction: a Cozy Mystery novel, but also a relationship novel with a hint of romance, a soupçon of crime, and more than a dollop of mystery.

If you don’t know Edinburgh, you will get to know it as Mirabelle wanders its streets and wynds.

Mirabelle loved living in Edinburgh: loved the atmosphere created by a city whose main shopping street looked across the road to a castle, Edinburgh Castle standing guard over Princes Street, its severe façade softened by the gardens skirting it, the gardens themselves cocooned from the bustle and noise, folded into their own tree-lined valley, with paths dipping into and out of its depths.

She knew the adage, Edinburgh was ‘all fur coat and nae knickers.’ She was well acquainted with its underbelly, its darker side, saw its dirty linen, but loved it anyway.

A novel to take you through a multitude of emotions as Mirabelle searches for Summer.

Trouble is, she keeps finding other people.

~~~

Searching for Summer

Available NOW

both in paperback and as an eBook

On Amazon

FeedaRead.com

or to order in bookstores

It is only the eBook that is reduced in price.

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If you need further persuading to give Searching for Summer a try right now, here’s its beautiful book trailer: