I was delighted to discover that White Lies has been named a finalist in the romance category of the Rosie Amber Review Team book awards. I’d love it if you would vote for me. Click on the link and scroll down to the Romance section.
A few years ago, I had an agent but when I expressed the wish to indie publish my agent and I parted ways. Since then I have indie published two novels and one novella and have sold two novellas to traditional publishers as well as finding success in the field of writing stories for women’s magazine. I went from not published at all to indie+trad published in one year and became a hybrid author.
Fast forward to 2017. I have completed my first crime novel. It’s a bit of a departure from the romantic fiction I have been known for to date and a world away from the light romances I write for the magazines. I have enjoyed the process and thoroughly embraced my dark side. Just as well I’m a Gemini and can write both genres even though they are poles apart.
I think it’s the best thing I’ve ever written but then I’m biased.
I could very easily have taken the decision to indie publish my crime novel and that may well be the path I end up taking. However, having met with enthusiastic and knowledgeable people at the Winchester Writers’ Festival in the summer I have decided to follow up on the contacts I made there and have sent my freshly polished manuscript off to one of the agents I met.
It is a long while since I have languished in submission hell. I had quite forgot how gruelling it can be. I am luckier than most because I gave the agent exclusivity for a limited period and she has promised to respond by my deadline, I at least know when, roughly, I will hear from her.
That, however, is only part of the pain of submission as authors who have trodden this path so many times before will know. It is the agony of the outcome that awaits, that holds me firmly on its tenterhooks, dancing first one way and then the other as my mood takes me.
Imagination is a vital asset for a writer to have. It becomes less than an asset in situations like these when my mind spirals away into various scenarios, very few, if any of which are likely to come true.
The Fearlessness of Youth
As is so often the case, I can usually find an analogy for life through sport. In the tennis or ice skating worlds you often find a precocious youngster, brimming with talent and utterly fearless, throwing themselves with abandon into their chosen sport, often vying for the highest prizes imaginable without losing their nerve.
Contrast them to the older, wiser, competitors. They have seen it all before, perhaps were once a precocious youngster themselves, but now the years have passed, they have amassed titles and fortunes and yet they still crave more. Now when they compete they cannot mirror the fearlessness of their young competitors, they know only too well the pain of failure, the soul searching questions that accompany it, the sands of time slowly running in the wrong direction.
I am not as young as I once was. I have known my fair share of failure. It is time, once again, to hold my nerve.
We all have a favourite stable of authors we return to again and again. We either devour their new books or we re-read their old books, embracing their familiarity. It is a comforting and enjoyable way to pass the time.
When searching for something new to read, we either try a writer who is recommended as similar to one of the authors on our favourites list or we pick something from within the genres we are most comfortable with.
We never stray too far away from what we know.
That is not necessarily a good thing however for a reader or an author.
Out of My Comfort Zone
A few years ago I was seriously ill. A friend of mine arranged a delivery of books to my house to see me through my months of treatment. There were five or six books in all. None were the kind of books I would have picked for myself. Some were literary reads, others historicals, outside my go to periods of history, some were futuristic but not sci-fi.
I read them all over the months I was laid low. Firstly, because having read the blurbs of each I was intrigued by then and secondly because they had been a present and I would have felt a little mean if I had not read any of them.
My friend had told me that if any of the books did not appeal to me that I could swap them for others, she wouldn’t mind but I didn’t want to do that. It would somehow have cheapened what was a wonderful and thoughtful gift.
Imagine my surprise when whole new worlds I would never have inhabited opened up before me, sucking me in and holding me in their sway.
Try Something New
There is definitely something to be said from stepping away from the familiar and reading something new. So next time you are searching for something to read try something from a genre you’ve never read before or, better yet, walk into a book shop and pick up the first book your eyes alight upon.
Reboot your reading list and you’ll be rewarded by discovering new worlds and new writers you would never otherwise have met just like I was.
NaNoWriMo is not the easiest word to write or say. I imagine it’s even harder to take part in it and succeed.
For the uninitiated NaNoWriMo stand for National Novel Writing Month and November is it.
I have always dismissed this endeavour as nonsense. Very few people can write a novel in a month and if you do it is most likely not going to be terribly good.
Then it was explained to me, very kindly, by those who take part on a regular basis that I am missing the point. NaNoWriMo is all about committing yourself to write a lot in a very short space of time and hopefully by the end of it you will have the bones, bare though they may be, of a workable novel that you can continue writing.
I still have a slight problem with the concept. If you are a writer you should have a writing timetable that you are committed to already whichever month of the year it happens to be but leaving my prejudices aside it is an interesting concept.
I did have a look at the website. You can check it out here.
I’m not one for signing up and filling in this, that and the other. If I am committing to trying to write most days, going on line to fill in a word count at the end of each session seems like a bit of a faff to me. A lot of extra bells and whistles that takes time away from actually writing.
Nevertheless, I do have a new project I need to get underway. But, but, but….turns out if you are buying into the spirit of the thing you have to pick one project and commit to that.
I, on the other hand, have something I have been commissioned to write which needs to be written, plus two novellas that are part way through. It would be nice to clear those out of the way before starting the new project.
Consequently, I have decided to NaNoMyWay instead.
I will try to write my commissioned work and finish my two novellas and if I succeed with that I will start my new project. I’ll let you know how I get on at the end of the month.
In the meantime, to all of who you are preparing to do the official NaNoWriMo good luck and enjoy.
The mornings are chillier now and the trees are starting to lose their leaves. In the evenings, the darkness that once crept across the garden stealthily now drops in with all the subtlety of a hammer on a nail.
Spring and summer may be my favourite seasons but once I have adjusted to saying goodbye to summer, there’s plenty about autumn I love too.
The Beauty of Pie
There’s the food for a start. No more light lunches and healthy salads. Now is the time to bring out the casserole dish and let a tasty stew simmer in the oven for a couple of hours, the delicious smells permeating the kitchen and whetting my appetite or batch cooking some pies with beautiful flaky pastry.
Taking Willow for a walk is always a favourite past time but at this time of year it’s fun to scrunch our way through fallen leaves, then watch as Willow snuffles her way underneath them as more leaves pirouette down around us borne on the breeze.
For me there is nothing better than a bracing walk in a fresh wind and then home to a brimming mug of hot chocolate or tomato soup to warm me up.
But there’s something even better about the change of seasons. Now that the dark nights are here, I’m always gripped by the desire to snuggle down on a comfy sofa, wrapped in a soft throw and indulge in my love of reading without feeling guilty.
Of course I still read when the sun is shining and the days are blissfully long but when the weather is fine I’m usually out and about or pottering in the garden. Reading takes a back seat to doing in the summer time.
When the autumn comes, it’s time for a change. I give myself permission to slow down. It is a sort of hibernation, I suppose. I look forward to my nights snuggled up cosy with a good book. I welcome the ritual of choosing a group of books to read between now and Christmas. Then studying the covers and the blurbs and deciding which book will be first, which second and then third. With an eclectic taste, I often choose different genres. I usually have a couple of bankers, I know I’ll enjoy with perhaps the odd wildcard thrown in for good measure. New or old, you can’t beat the smell, feel and experience of a real book.
So that’s what I’ll be doing between now and Christmas. How about you?
Hi everyone – I just wanted to share the news that my new novel White Lies is now available for pre-order on Amazon and will be released on Tuesday 27th June.
If you would like to find out more click on the image and there’s an excerpt below to whet your appetites.
White Lies by Ellie Holmes
Sam Davenport thought she’d imagined it: the driving rain, her husband Neil’s shout of surprise, the sickening crunch of metal on metal, the explosion of inflating airbags.
A bad dream. That was all it was. Why, even now, they were on their way back to Meadowview Cottage with its thatched roof dipping low over leaded-glass windows and a welcoming fire burning in the TV room to keep the children and their sitter cosy in their absence.
Yes, it was a bad dream. Soon, they would be home and Neil would take off his clothes in the bedroom while she took off her make-up in the ensuite and together they would dissect the party and their friends.
Except, they wouldn’t. Because she hadn’t imagined it. The Range Rover was skewed at a crazy angle across one of the main roads of the Essex market town of Abbeyleigh and picked out in its headlights was the shape of a motorbike and, a few metres on, the body of its rider.
I am a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association. I am also a member of their blogging team. At the end of last year I was invited to launch a new monthly blogging series on the RNA blog interviewing book bloggers and reviewers.
The latest in the series went live at the end of last week and I am attaching a link below so you can take a look.