Open Submissions and other adventures


June is here and sunny weather with it, at last! It’s definitely time for a 2016 update – the second novel is finished! I do think I could squeeze another edit out of it, but at this stage I feel I need some space away from the manuscript, so I am enjoying taking some time to focus on other things.

One of the main reasons I have been so quiet is that from August last year, to last month, North of the Moon was with Hodderscape for their open submission period. It got down to the last 5%, which is a pretty good achievement, as Hodderscape are a HUGE publisher. I didn’t make it through unfortunately, but I am certainly not disheartened. If anything I am encouraged, as my initial extract was sent last summer and has been edited and polished quite a few times since then. For an early draft to get so far, I feel pretty motivated.

In addition to this, The Poisonwood Shadows is still with Gollancz following their open submission earlier this year. I haven’t heard anything yet, so no news is good news.

At the moment, I am working on sending North of the Moon to agents. It took a really long time for me to get to this stage. Four years ago I starting sending The Poisonwood Shadows to agents waaaaay too early. So now I wouldn’t want to send anything out unless I was completely happy with it, and ready for the full manuscript to be sent out if requested. I think this is one of the most important pieces of advice for fellow writers. I’m not an agent, but I’m fairly confident they would be able to tell when a submission is only half baked. Though it is exciting when you write something, and you want to send it out there…keep hold of it until it is complete. Edit it a few times yourself, or have a friend look at it. Make it the best possible piece of work you can create, and THEN submit it.

I ordered the Writers and Artists Yearbook 2016 late last year, and have been trawling it for information over the last few months. I’d recommend trying to get hold of this, as it contains a lot of useful agent details and pages and pages about the ever changing publishing industry(LOTS of pages – have you seen the size of the thing?).

Now that my second novel is done (at the moment), I have time to move on to my next project. Since I have been reading Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, I have found myself inspired to work HARD. I have a lot of different ideas in my head right now, and am attempting to put down a first draft for three of them. So my aim is to write 500 words per novel, per day, Monday – Friday. I’m not expecting to stick to this strictly. Some days I may write more. Some days I may write less, or nothing at all. But I know that 1500 words a day is doable, so I am going to give it my best shot.

Other things that I have been doing – I completed my AAT Level 2, and am now working on my level 3 qualification. Though writing is my main activity, I believe it is important and smart to have a backup career. A full time job gives me a good and regular wage, funds my lifestyle and enables me to pay my mortgage (oh yes, I bought an apartment as well!). I recommend a backup plan to any aspiring writers!

I’ve had a few trips too – I went to Amsterdam (watch out for the bicycles!), visited the dreamy, beautiful Port Merion in Wales and went camping for the very first time down in Cambridge. I have a few trips planned over the next few months, so cannot wait for long, warm days!

2015 is here!


It’s a brand new year and it’s starting to feel like we’re really heading into the future now! I am LOVING my Kindle at the moment and can’t stop downloading books. Add to this my already existing addiction of constantly buying REAL books, I am definitely feeling the weight of all this unread literature!

I have a lot of things planned for myself this year, and wish I had more time for everything. It’s definitely on my list of resolution’s to stop procrastinating so much!

At the end of last year, I finally got around to publishing the e-book I had been working on. It had been an ongoing project for quite a while, and I really need to make some time to do a bit more promotion on it. The book is called The Modern Writer’s Bucket List and is aimed at writer’s looking for a bit of extra guidance and inspiration as they attempt to navigate the ever changing world of publishing.

It is available on Amazon, so please check it out and give it a review! I’d love your feedback. *Hint – it will be free to download from 9th – 11th January 2015!*

I also have a lot of plans in my head to continue the promotion of The Poisonwood Shadows, so hopefully I will see these through also! Aaaaaand, as always, I am STILL working on my second novel. I have been thinking a great deal about what to call it and am yet to settle on anything. The second novel is proving to be pretty tricky as I have a lot less time on my hands than I did when I was writing the first one, but I will stick at it and aim to be getting SOMEWHERE with it by the end of this year (fingers crossed it will be earlier than that though!)

Thanks for reading!

Christina x

Front Cover Woes!


Folks, it’s been a while since I posted an update, so I thought I had best do one! It’s been a busy few months, with work and then being injured and unable to do much at all (!), then going on holiday (California road trip!), more work and all sorts of other stuff.

But – I have been promoting The Poisonwood Shadows the whole time, and working on a bunch of other super exciting projects. I’ve spent HOURS trying to re-design my book cover, only to decide that I actually quite like the original. So scratch that! Still, it’s infuriating to have the beautiful, magical book cover that you imagine in your head, but not being able to translate that into real life. I wish I was more creative! Maybe one day…

Anyway, other exciting things – I’ve been really getting my head down and working on my second novel. It’s going so well! I love that feeling when the words are flowing faster than you can write 🙂 Yep, I’ve got a lot of that going on, so I’m hoping to really make the most of that before it slips away and nail that first draft…

Along with the second novel, I have also been working on another secret project – another book! I won’t give much away, as I still have a lot of ‘putting together’ to do on it, though it is a non fiction book and I have written the text for it. More on that later though, when I actually have something to show!

So, that’s really where I’m up to at the moment – promoting and writing (and reading Game of Thrones books), same old, same old!! Fingers crossed I will have some more exciting news soon. Keep coming back 🙂

Free on Amazon


From today until Sunday, The Poisonwood Shadows will be free to download on Amazon. The Kindle KDP Select programme offers a lot of promotional benefits, so I’ve recently chosen to exclusively publish with Amazon. Click on the image below or visit this link to go straight to the book on Amazon and check it out 🙂

promo3

A published novel


So, my book has now been published, and I’m really enjoying the challenge of promoting it. At the same time however, it’s TOUGH finding an evening here and there to actually do that and I have recently made a promise to myself to do better. I found a couple of posts about my book on Tumblr and it was so cool to see that someone was enjoying it and actually quoting it online! Check it out

I’ve been working hard on my second novel recently. It’s soooo lovely to get back into some good, honest writing and really exciting that it’s finally taking the form I imagine in my head. The new novel is really focused on music, so I am hoping to post a playlist of songs that are inspiring the writing, songs that will actually play a part in the book itself. Which does sound weird, but I’m sure all will be explained eventually!

I have updated my Press page with the interview I did for Preston FM back in May (which was so much fun!). Please give it a listen and check out the links to see The Poisonwood Shadows on sale. I have also set up my very first Kindle KDP select offer and the book will be free to download this weekend! Keep your eyes peeled folks 🙂

Book release and pricing


I officially approved my book for publishing yesterday, which is a HUGE deal! I’m so pleased, but at the same time a bit apprehensive because I’m not too sure if it’s really done. I could say that forever though, doing draft after draft, so I decided to take the plunge at last. I’m looking forward to getting on with promoting it and properly starting work on my next book.

One of the major road blocks I have come upon while going through the publishing process is the sales channels I can use to sell. Basically if I choose to sell through Amazon, I will have to charge a minimum of £10 per copy, and this is before I make any royalties. Firstly, I’m really not that interested in making profit on this. I just want to people to read it. But I don’t want to rip people off. I rarely pay £10 for a book. Unless it’s one I REALLY want to read (the last time was probably the seventh Harry Potter book!).

So who is going to spend a tenner, plus shipping? I wouldn’t expect that from anyone. I looked into it some more however, and found out that I can bulk buy copies of my book. Now that’s the way forward! It costs me just over £5 per book, so I’ll begin by buying a bunch of copies and setting up an online shop and doing it myself. I’m pretty happy with this way of doing things (since I labelled myself a DIY writer, anything I can do myself is just an added benefit to the process!).

I’ll still have the option for people to buy on Amazon, but would encourage any potential readers to buy via my website once it is set up. From there I’ll look into other sales routes and see where I end up, but one step at a time!

Anyway, I’ll be doing a proper website update soon, so please keep checking in. Thanks for reading!

The Art of Editing


Well, it’s October now. The nights are getting spooky, the moon is big, and the leaves are crunchy! For me that means not just Hallowe’en, but plenty of time to write and edit! I’ve been working on something new, which I am so excited about. It’s great to feel this inspired. At the same time though, I’m still working on finishing up The Poisonwood Shadows and preparing to get it released.

Editing of any kind can be very time consuming and difficult. It can often feel like being stuck in an endless loop. Hopefully this will be the final edit of The Poisonwood Shadows. Some things I’m surprised made it through the first few edits, other things I know I shouldn’t have removed and ought to be put back in. Some I just want to rewrite completely.

I can’t help but wonder sometimes if I’m being too hard on myself. Everything seems to depend on what mood I’m in, or even what music I’m listening to – silly things that seem to put a filter over the actual content of the book. It’s certainly a learning experience, and I am enjoying finding new ways to be productive and actually enjoy the editing process.

It’s important that I don’t just settle and say to myself ‘that’ll do’. That’s just not good enough! One thing I’ve realised is how much I want to be consistently raising the bar for myself. It might take longer, but I know I’ll be much happier with the end product. Patience is key. It doesn’t all come at once, and there’s no point pushing it to the point of burning out.

I’ve expanded a little on the subject of remaining motivated and productive with a blog entry for the lovely Almond Press. Writer’s block in any form can be extremely troublesome, so please give it a read if you are interested! I’ll be posting again soon about some of my favourite books and how they have influenced/inspired me – keep checking in and thanks for reading!

Musical Inspiration


I’ve found that when writing it is important to have the right sort of music as a background soundtrack. I spend an awful lot of time hunting for new bands and songs that I’ve heard on TV shows and in films, and whenever I go anywhere my iPod has to come with me. There’s something wonderful about a long bus or train journey spent looking out of the window and listening to music, watching as fields and forests go whizzing by.

Music can evoke all kinds of inspiration and emotion. I like anything that is haunting and beautiful, that really seems to capture that one feeling that can’t quite be described (as much as we try as writers!) I still find it amazing that I can be feeling completely unmotivated to write one minute, only to find the words flowing out of my fingertips when a certain song comes on.

There are a lot of songs that have been key to setting the tone and inspiring the world I have been trying to create, so I thought I would note some of these down for you to check out and hopefully find similar inspiration.

Black – The Birthday Massacre
Holiday – The Birthday Massacre
People Are Strange – Johnny Hollow
Just a Fragment of You – Alex Gonzalez from M83 & Brian Reitzell
I Only Have Eyes For You – The Flamingos
Pins and Needles – The Birthday Massacre
Memories – Within Temptation
Moonlight Serenade – Glenn Miller
Boats and Birds – Gregory and the Hawk
Runaway – Yeah Yeah Yeahs
No One Would Riot For Less – Bright Eyes
1901 – Birdy

I have tons more, so will likely be posting more songs as I go along. I love to share music, as well as discover it, so please get in touch if you have any secret songs to write to that you would like to tell the world about!

Stay tuned!

A New Story


I began writing what will hopefully turn into my second novel last night. I’m in a very exciting place at the moment, as I am now in a position to publish and I can’t wait to be getting on with it! I am still trying to ‘get there’ with my first book, The Poisonwood Shadows. It is finished, but I feel a bit frightened to really let it go and I can’t stop polishing and messing about with the text. Right now it feels like a carousel of punctuation, editing, questioning every decision, chasing my friends for feedback and researching punctuation. Still, the end is in sight and I’ve got a lot of hard work planned for myself.

I’ve been working on this for over two years now, and I really feel like it’s time to be finished and onto the next thing, so my first big challenge is to finally complete the book and be happy with it. I’m loving the process. It’s a fantastic feeling to know that I have learned so much and developed my skills as a writer. I read a lot and am trying to find at least an hour day to curl up and lose myself in a book (currently reading A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin).

It’s a funny thing being a writer. I know it’s not just me. Our heads are filled with ideas for novels. I have at least six up there right now, and I have begun four of them. I see so much potential, but then finding the time and giving it the space to develop is a whole other story in itself. That’s partly why I can’t wait to put The Poisonwood Shadows to bed and be finished, as I will have so much more time to give to what’s coming next. I really want to document all of the stuff that’s going to be happening, so I have decided to keep a blog of my progress.

I hope to include things that will inspire both myself and other writers, so please keep checking in. Thank you for visiting!