I've set up this blog so that all my friends, relations and colleagues in the world of writing can keep up to speed with what I'm doing - from now on, I'll never have to say sorry for not keeping in touch.

Or anyway, that's the plan.

So do please link up with me on Facebook and Twitter - https://www.facebook.com/margaret.james.5268 and https://twitter.com/majanovelist

You can find my novels as digital downloads on Apple iTunes, Kobo, Kindle and Nook, and most are available as print paperbacks, too.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Book of the Month - September 2011

My book of the Month for September is debut novelist Suzie Tullett's lovely romantic comedy Going Underground, which is a great read for anyone who likes their comedy to have a bit of an edge to it.

Tracey Parkes has everything she wants in life. A nice house, a long-awaited baby on the way, and a reliable husband - well, as reliable as a husband can be when he’s keeping a long-held secret.

The unfortunate death of Jonathan's old friend Malcolm provides Tracey with just the opportunity she’s been waiting for – an opportunity she soon wishes she hadn’t taken, because she's squashed into the back of a classic Mini in a desperate attempt to catch up with three men on two vintage scooters...

Friday, August 26, 2011

Snow business

It's always very strange to be writing about a season of the year which is not actually happening outside my study window. Mind you, today we could be forgiven for thinking it's winter already, because it's pouring with rain, it's freezing cold (or almost freezing cold) and I'm sitting here with a pashmina round my shoulders and thinking about looking for my fingerless mittens.

So, as I send my characters off into the snow, I can empathise with them, even though it's August here in Devon. Maybe we'll get a heatwave in December and I can finally acquire my gorgeous golden tan.

I can live in hope.

Or go on holiday to Tunisia, perhaps, and feel some real rays.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Party party party

I went to a writers' party yesterday. Everyone there, apart from a couple of bemused and somewhat maginalised partners, was a writer.

So, for a few hours, we writers were the normal ones, and the rest of the world was out of step with us. Goodness, people can be so rude to writers. What's the best insult I've ever had? Oh, maybe the one which goes I'm going to write a novel one day, perhaps when I'm retired and have time for a new hobby, the implication being that novelists are hobbyists who toss off stories more or less in passing as they get the washing in, cook the dinner and feed the cat.

Well, those things do have to be fitted in, but novel-writing as a relaxing hobby? Yeah, right...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Ebooks - nowhere to hide

I've spent today revising a creative writing course I wrote several years ago, but which now needs updating to keep up with the fast-developing world of publishing reality.

Now Amazon is accepting self-published books and putting them in its Kindle store, I'm sure publishing is going to change radically over the next year or two. I've recently interviewed two self-published ebook novelists for Writing Magazine, people who have written really excellent novels, but who have found it impossible to place these novels with publishers. These two novelists have already sold thousands of downloads, earning themselves thousands of pounds and dollars, without the help of traditional publishers' publicity machines. They've used the readily-available tools of word-of-mouth, saturation-blogging and viral reader-recommendation instead.

So now, ladies and gentlemen, the revolution is upon us. There is nowhere to hide. Nobody will be able to blame their lack of success on the fact that they're not blonde, young, beautiful or Jordan. Ebooks have made publishing a level playing field on which ordinary READERS can make or break any writer you care to name.

So, if you've got a good but unpublished novel under your virtual bed, get it out now and put it on Kindle. It's easy, and there are detailed instructions on the Amazon website. Then see if readers throughout the world agree. Do you want to be a bestselling novelist, or not? It's up to you.

Oh, and before I sign off - get blogging, too...

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Brit Awards - update for 2011 - 2012

Almost exactly a year ago, I put up a post about the Brit Awards 2010 - for more details of this prize, see www.britwriters.co.uk.

The winner of the 2010 prize commented on my post, and I think what she tells us will be of interest to anyone who is as yet unpublished (or is self-published), and is considering entering the prize for 2012.

Catherine Cooper said...


I've just read your comment above.
I was last years winner of the Brit Writers Awards. My book, The Golden Acorn scooped two awards, the first was for 'Best Story for Children' and I then went on to be awarded 'Best Writer of 2010'. A year has passed since I won the awards so I thought you might like an update. The full press releases can be found on my website at www.pengridion.co.uk but in short, my book went to the Frankfurt, Bologna and London Book Fairs and is now available world wide in several languages. The biggest event was earlier this year when a Hollywood film company approached us. We've now signed the film rights and hopefully, in the not too distant future, I'll be able to see my book on the big screen.

It's been quite a journey... my publishers have a headline for me... From Self-Published to Hollywood in 18 months! You can read the full story of my journey on my website.

I wish everyone who has entered this year's Brit Writers' Awards the very best luck. I'll be at the award ceremony in October so if you are reading this and you get through to the final please come and say hello.

Kind regards,
Catherine Cooper

What I forgot to say to you was... it was my own self-published version of The Golden Acorn that made it into the film producers hands. That might give hope to every self-published author reading your blog.

Bye for now

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Silver Jubilee - special guest post by author Martin King

I have a guest on my blog today - author Martin King, who has set himself the challenge of writing a guest post for 100 blogs and websites over the month of August 2011. Welcome to my blog, Martin, and thank you for sharing your childhood memories with us!

Queen Elizabeth II's Silver Jubilee

"This event only came round once, never to be repeated. I can see you are gathering round close in anticipation. The event I am referring to is the Queen’s – and not just any monarch, the Queen of England – Silver Jubilee!

Older people will remember it well and the younger ones won’t at all. But it was a massive event in its time. I was nine at the time and remembered we all got a commemorative silver coin in celebration of the event. The year was 1977 and I attended Gisburn Road School.

To celebrate the event, our school put on a special sports day. So instead of giving us the day off, we still went to school, but everyone got to have fun. Well when I say everyone, that was most kids except me.

The sports event was held in Victory Park and I can remember competing in the ‘egg and spoon’ race and the ‘bean bag’ race already. I loved sports, possibly because I was good at them and also because I had boundless amounts of energy.

Me and a friend were larking about in between events. Nothing bad, we were just letting steam off. Well one teacher didn’t take kindly to what we were doing. We were told off and sent back to school. Imagine that, on such an important day and that teacher deprived me and a friend our chance to have a special memory of such an important and regal occasion."

These blogs are all about fun and sharing. Thank you for reading a ‘#100blogfest’ blog. Please follow this link to find the next blog in the series: http://martinkingauthor.com/blog/7094550076

Ebooks and pretty ladies

Do pretty ladies sell books? I'll soon be finding out if these two can sell mine, because I'm about to have two of the novels from my backlist - A Green Bay Tree and The Ash Grove - published as ebooks by Belgrave House, an American publisher of ebooks which published the ebook version of my paranormal romance Elegy for a Queen.

I was asked a few days ago which of my novels is my favourite. It's a bit like being asked which of my children is my favourite, and really it's impossible to answer a question like that. But I must admit I have a very soft spot for Elegy for a Queen, with whose heroine I identified completely, and even though she's not particularly like me. It's strange, isn't it, how we novelists manage lead such complicated double, treble, or even quadruple lives.

When I was writing a novel called The Morning Promise, which was revised for paperback publication and retitled The Silver Locket, I identified completely with my brave soldier hero, even though I'm a great coward myself. I don't think I'm ever going to stop living parallel lives, but fortunately this is a kind of lunacy which doesn't usually get people put away for the term of their actual lives!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Book of the Month - August 2011

My book of the month for August is Sophie Duffy's lovely debut novel The Generation Game, which is one of those families-and-relationships stories that hook the reader from the very first page. Seasoned with plenty of wry, delicious humour, and full of wonderfully-realised characters who stay in the reader's mind, this is a summer must-read.

Sophie's own journey on the rocky road to publication has been a fascinating one, revealing that determination and persistence can pay off. Originally turned down by publishers because they didn't know where to put The Generation Game in their lists, Sophie entered her novel for national awards and won two of them, the second being the Luke Bitmead Bursary sponsored by Luke's family and Legend Press, which has now published Sophie's novel.