Tag Archives: publishing

Author Spotlight: RACHAEL FEATHERSTONE

On my blog I like to bring you interviews and guest posts with authors I think you will like. Today I am delighted to welcome RACHAEL FEATHERSTONE to the Coffee & Roses Author Spotlight with a brilliant guest post to celebrate her very first novel, Puzzle Girl, which publishes today! Over to you, Rachael…
Rachael Featherstone author pic
I never knew if this day would actually come. If my dream that had once felt so far away would become a reality. It’s been a long road to get here and I’ve had some amazing support along the way from my agent, publisher and family and friends. So many people ask me, ‘what does it feel like to have your first novel published?’ I answer, ‘Amazing!’ ‘Incredible!’ ‘A dream come true!’ It can be hard to put into words how much goes into publishing your debut. But the closer I came to publication, the more I began to realise that publishing Puzzle Girl has felt a lot like getting married.

It all started with the proposal: Accent popped the question and I said, ‘Yes, yes, yes!’

Puzzle Girl cover
We set the date for the big day – 16th March 2017 – and it felt soooo far away. 15 months to wait! But it was probably a good thing because there were so many things to organise.

What was I most excited about? The wedding dress – aka the cover of the book. I was lucky that Accent’s designer took on board my ideas and I love the finished cover!

So many of us dream about having the perfect wedding, we want everything to be just right. And it was no different with publishing Puzzle Girl. We edited with a fine-toothed comb and planned out everything from the perfect wedding invite (aka the blurb of the book) to the perfect honeymoon (my two-week blog tour).

As for the hen night? Well that was my book launch. We celebrated on 2nd March, the event hosted by my best man – my literary agent, David Headley – at Goldsboro Books. It was such a fun evening and I got to sign copies of the limited edition hardbackwhich is exclusive to Goldsboro.

And of course, there had to be wedding cake!

Goldsboro Puzzle Girl cupcakes

And today the big day is finally here. My husband and I (my actual husband, not the book!) are having a celebratory lunch. Then this evening we invite all of you to join in for the publication day reception party on Twitter! There will be several Puzzle Girl party bags to be won as well as an hour and a half of Twitter chatter. I hope you can join us! x

Puzzle Girl Twitter Party Invite

Thanks so much to Rachael for a fantastic guest post – and happy P-Day!

Rachael lives in Hampshire with her husband Tim. Puzzle Girl is out today, published by Accent Press. You can follow Rachael on Twitter, on Facebook and visit her website.

Here’s the blurb of Puzzle Girl:

Clued-up career girl Cassy Brookes has life under control until one disastrous morning changes everything. When she finds herself stuck in a doctor’s surgery, a cryptic message left in a crossword magazine sends her on a search to find the mysterious ‘puzzle-man’ behind it. Cassy is soon torn between tracking down her elusive dream guy, and outwitting her nightmare workmate, the devious Martin. Facing a puzzling love life, will she ever be able to fit the pieces together and discover the truth behind this enigmatic man?

You can buy Rachael’s book in ebookpaperback and limited edition hardback.

MirandaWrites 52 – The Christmas Vlog!

Merry Christmas, lovelies!

Well, it’s been a very strange year, with lots of ups and downs, but one silver lining (pardon the pun) has been the fantastic response from you about the return of my vlogs. For this week’s vlog, I asked for your festive questions – and you gave me some great ones!

Which location makes me think of Christmas? Am I going to write any more novels set in New York? How many notebooks do people buy me for Christmas? These questions and more feature in a very festive vlog with special guests, a #LegoElvis exclusive newsflash (so exciting!) and even a bit of singing from me! Plus, I offer my advice for creating great vlogs for anyone interested in becoming a vlogger.

(I mention Hayley’s vlog – check out her YouTube channel here…)

(Read my Elvis-impersonators-fighting-alien-killer-zombies comedy novel, Elvis vs The End of the World here…)

So get ready for a bit of MirandaWrites festive fun – and thanks so much for watching! xx

#WurdyChristmas 4: Where does the door take Lucy?

free-wallpaper-christmas-treeWelcome to the fourth part of my exclusive #WurdyChristmas treat short story. Yesterday, I asked you to choose which door Lucy should walk through  – gold-trimmed or green-trimmed. The lead swung between the two for a while, but you made a good choice!

Do the doors lead anywhere? Are Tony & Frank real or figments of Lucy’s imagination? And does she trust them enough to put her life in their slightly transparent hands? Find out below – and don’t forget to vote in the poll at the bottom to decide what I’ll write for the last part of the story tomorrow! Happy reading, lovelies!

SILVER BELLS AT TONY & FRANK’S ©Miranda Dickinson 2o16

PART FOUR

Gold or green? Gold or green?

Lucy stared at the two red doors that had materialised on the back wall of her manager’s office.

‘Time’s marching on, kid,’ Tony said, appearing by her side. ‘What’s it gonna be?’

Lucy glanced at the clock above the jumble of shelves, boxes and not-so-mythical Founders. It still read one minute to midnight. If time was marching on, it was doing it at a glacial pace.

‘Well?’

‘I’m thinking.’

Tony sighed. ‘Don’t think. Act. Follow your heart.’

Lucy turned from the doors to stare at him. ‘Why? Why is it so important that I choose?’

‘Because you want something to change.’

‘So tell me what’s behind each door so I can see if it’s the change I’m looking for.’

‘Nuh-uh. Can’t do. This has to be your decision. Ask your heart…’

‘Logic works better for me.’

Tony’s surprise registered immediately. ‘It does? That’s not the Lucy Smith I know.’

This was way past a joke now. ‘You don’t know me! I’m stuck in my workplace because my stupid boyfriend – ex-boyfriend – dumped me instead of proposing. I have no transport. I haven’t a hope of a taxi because it’s Christmas Eve. I’m hearing that song over and over again, I’m being asked to make decisions when I don’t even trust my own mind any more because I’m talking to someone who doesn’t exist and… and…’

‘…And you want something to change?’

‘Yes!’

‘So pick a door.’

It was impossible. Everything that had happened since she’d returned to Tony & Frank’s was impossible. And now she couldn’t even win an argument with a figment of her imagination.

But he was right, wasn’t he? Ever since Aaron had driven away instead of asking her to marry him, the only thing Lucy Smith had wanted was for things to be different. She might be staring at two doors that couldn’t possibly be there, invited to do so by a suave Italian-American restaurant owner who absolutely couldn’t be there either, but she did have a choice.

Gold. Or green.

‘How do I choose?’ She whispered, tears stealing her voice.

‘Just go through the one that feels right, kid. There’s no wrong answer.’

‘There aren’t any –’ Lucy could hardly believe she was about to ask this, ‘– monsters through there, are there?’

‘Not unless you want them to be. So go already.’

Lucy Smith closed her eyes and wished with all her heart. Then she walked towards the back wall of the office and pushed open the red door with the gold metal trim…

* * * *

Intense, blinding white light immediately burst into her vision and Lucy had to shield her eyes against it. She was also aware of an intensely cold air – as if she had stepped into a refrigerator. A flurry of soft, cold pinpricks batted against her face. It felt like – no, that was impossible. There was no way she could believe it was snowing inside Tony & Frank’s… Pulling her coat tightly around her body she blinked until faint outlines began to appear through the all-white light. What met her eyes stole her breath faster than the freezing atmosphere.

A vast, gently undulating snowscape stretched out before her. Rolling hills dotted with wind-bent trees and hardy dry-stone walls were visible from the left, while to the right snow-covered cliffs fell dramatically to a midnight blue, half-frozen sea. Between hills and ocean a tiny village huddled, its lights studding the view like a host of sparkling stars. And not very far from the natural snowdrift that now half-claimed her shoes stood a bandstand.

It was beautiful – like a perfect scene from a Christmas card – and Lucy turned back to look at Tony and Frank. But the Founders were nowhere to be seen, along with the red and gold door that had brought her here.

And just like that, Lucy Smith was alone.

She tried to rationalise it but could find no explanation that worked. This couldn’t be the car park on the out-of-town retail park where Tony & Frank’s stood alongside a cinema and other chain restaurants. There it was midnight, or thereabouts; here the midday sun reflected by the snow was dazzling. So where was she? And how on earth could she get back?

Silver Bells, Silver Bells

That song again! But this time it sounded incredibly close and was playing at the right speed. As Lucy looked a couple appeared on the wooden platform of the bandstand, dancing together to the music. They looked happy and in love. Lucy was instantly drawn to them. She began to walk towards the bandstand, her shoes crunching and squeaking in the freshly fallen snow. Tiny lights began to appear along the white-painted cast iron sides of the bandstand, one at a time, like stars bursting into life in a marshmallow-white sky, until the whole structure was ablaze with twinkling light.

The song swelled and changed as Lucy neared the bandstand’s steps. It was no longer the familiar recording she had fallen in love with. It was now a tender, intimate duet between two people in love – the couple on the bandstand who hadn’t even noticed they were being watched. The man twirled his partner, momentarily breaking hold to perform a solo spin – and Lucy gasped as she recognised him.

‘Bing Crosby?’

The man stopped dancing and gave Lucy a little half-salute. ‘Hey there. Pleased to meet you, Miss–’

‘Lucy,’ said his partner. ‘Miss Lucy May Smith.’

Lucy knew that voice. It was unmistakable – a much-missed sound she still longed to hear three years since it disappeared from her life… ‘Gran?’

Gran gave a grin that was uniquely hers. ‘Hello poppet.’

‘What are doing here? You’re –’

Gran held up a hand. ‘Ooh, shh-shh, we don’t like to use the D-word around here. People get proper uppity. I had to be here, Lucybobs. I had to see you.’

‘But – what are you doing with Bing Crosby?’

Gran’s cheeks reddened like they always used to when she’d been found out. ‘Well, I assumed it was the foxtrot but it could have been the quickstep…’

‘Gran…’

‘He’s a friend,’ she beamed, mouthing, From the other side. ‘Lovely, isn’t he? We clicked right away. I think he might like me for more than my fancy footwork.’

For the last three years Lucy had dreamed of one more chance to see her grandmother. It made no sense whatsoever. So why try? ‘Oh Gran, I’ve missed you so much. I didn’t get chance to say goodbye before you…’ Lucy stopped as a horrible thought occurred. ‘Wait a minute – am I dead?’

‘Of course not, dear. But I am glad you chose our door.’

‘Me, too. So, where are we?’

‘I haven’t the foggiest, dearie. But it’s rather lovely, eh?’

‘Then why am I here?’

‘Didn’t Tony and Frank tell you?’ She rolled her eyes. ‘They really are forgetful, those two. You’re here because you want something to change. And I want that for you, too. So much.’

‘Hey, Edith, this your grandkid?’ Bing was leaning against one of the bandstand’s barriers, puffing on a tobacco-stuffed pipe.

‘It is, Bing. Isn’t she pretty?’

‘Beautiful,’ Bing replied, flashing a huge smile at Lucy. ‘So, you ready?’

‘What for?’

‘To choose.’

Another choice? Lucy’s head hurt. How was any of this helping her, other than granting one secret wish to see her Gran again? ‘I don’t know.’

‘Edith, the kid needs some help,’ Bing said.

When Lucy looked up at him she saw a younger man standing beside the famous crooner. He had hair the colour of a clear midnight sky and winter-blue eyes that twinkled in the light from the bandstand. He smiled at her and the silver and diamond-star box she still held glowed again.

‘Lucy, this is Seth. Dance with him.’ Gran’s cheeks bloomed like roses. ‘He’s rather lovely. And he dances like a dream.’

Seth smiled – and Lucy felt the world spin a little. ‘Would you like to dance with me?’

‘Is this the choice?’ Lucy asked, thinking that it might just be the easiest one she’d faced lately. Could she dance? She’d never tried before. But even if it was her first and only attempt, dancing with the handsome stranger seemed the most perfect idea.

Seth shook his head. ‘No. But dancing helps to focus your mind.’ He held out his hand and it was warm and familiar when Lucy took it.

Soon it will be Christmas Day

For the first time in her life, Lucy felt free. In Seth’s arms she moved effortlessly around the magically lit bandstand, the fairy lights blurring into twirling, swirling arcs of spun gold. She felt no fear, no pain from her newly broken heart. Just joy.

I could stay here forever, she thought, just as the music came to an abrupt halt. Seth gave a small bow and stepped away.

‘Time to choose, Lucybobs,’ Gran smiled, a wash of wistfulness passing across her face.

‘What’s my choice?’

‘You can stay here. Permanently. And you’d never want for anything, never feel lonely again.’ Gran looked up at the softly falling snowflakes. ‘Or you can go back. Make things different in the way you’d like them to be. It’s your choice.’

‘Would I see you? If I stay here?’

‘Maybe. Sometimes. Possibly more.’

‘And if I go home?’

Gran smiled, her eyes glistening. ‘I will always be with you.’

‘You have a beautiful heart,’ Seth said, stepping forward. Lucy felt her heart lurch. ‘I think wherever you are you’ll find happiness.’

‘Time to choose, kiddo,’ said Bing. ‘What’ll it be?’

Lucy took a breath of icy winter air and closed her eyes. It was time to ask herself the question she’d been too scared to consider.

What do I really want?

TO BE CONTINUED…©Miranda Dickinson 2016

What do YOU think? Should Lucy stay in the beautiful winter world or go back to face real life? Vote NOW in the poll below – and come back tomorrow to find out what happens next!

#WouldLoveThisBook – spreading book love!

After the success of #LoveThisBook on Twitter, I asked twitterers which books they are most excited to read in 2017. Again, the response was huge – with more conversations, delighted authors and general book excitement…

I’ve really loved talking about books on Twitter this weekend! As with #LoveThisBook, #WouldLoveThisBook brought a wealth of book recommendations, with people tweeting their own wishlists and others discovering titles to add to theirs.

The list is still growing – and you can add your most-wanted books for 2017 by tweeting me @wurdsmyth, using the hashtag #WeLoveThisBook. But I’ve Storified the current selection as nominated by readers and authors today – I’ll keep updating it as more tweets arrive. Get your book wishlists ready and happy reading!

#LoveThisBook – a lovely day on Twitter

One of the things I love most about social media, when it works positively – particularly on Twitter – is that it gives us infinite scope for spontaneous fun. This weekend, annoyed by list after snobby list of ‘2016 Best Books’ in the literary media (blatantly ignoring anything daring to be ‘popular’), I asked people on Twitter to tell me which books they loved reading this year. Any genre, any age, any book.

What followed was a whole day of bookish loveliness.

Using the #LoveThisBook hashtag, people tweeted their favourite books – a really varied mix of well-known and not-so-well-known titles, across the genres from popular fiction to YA, childrens to non-fiction, series to literary, self-published to traditionally published. Famous authors, debut authors, new authors, established authors – all were represented. I was blown away by the response and had so much fun co-ordinating the discussions.

And then, something really lovely happened. Delighted authors began to reply, leading to heartfelt exchanges and thanks flying back and forth. As an author I know how impossibly wonderful it is to hear that someone loved my books – so to see authors meeting their readers in the #LoveThisBook chat was such a treat. Added to this, tweeters began to chat with other readers, discussing books they’d read and recommending others. After so much darkness and anger on Twitter in recent months, it was fantastic to see people united by a love of books, sharing something positive.

I’ve Storified the discussion HERE – so if you’re looking for your next read you might just find it there! You can still join the fun by tweeting your favourites. Just use the hashtag #LoveThisBook and tweet me @wurdsmyth. Happy reading!

HERE IT IS! My Big Sparkly Book News!

I have been waiting to share this with you for so long – and now the time has finally come!

….DRUMROLL PLEASE…

My eighth novel will be called SEARCHING FOR A SILVER LINING and will be published by PanMacmillan on 20th October 2016! You can now preorder it here…

SFASL Title Reveal

Here’s the blurb:

Searching for a Silver Lining

It began with a promise…

Matilda Bell is left heartbroken when she falls out with her beloved grandfather just before he dies. Haunted by regret, she makes a promise that will soon change everything…

When spirited former singing star Reenie Silver enters her life, Mattie seizes the opportunity to make amends. Together, Mattie and Reenie embark on an incredible journey that will find lost friends, uncover secrets from the glamorous 1950s and put right a sixty-year wrong.

Touchingly funny, warm and life-affirming, this is a sparkling story of second chances. Searching for a Silver Lining will take you on a trip you’ll never forget.

So, there it is! I am beyond excited for you all to read this book – I have had the best time writing it and I know you’re going to love vintage shop owner Mattie Bell and the wonderfully glamorous and outspoken Reenie Silver. The cover is being designed as we speak and I’ll tell you lots more about the book in the coming weeks, so watch out for my vlogs coming soon.

What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts! xx

 

Reality check…

Do you mind if I get a bit emotional for a minute?

This is just a short post but something happened to me today that I wanted to write down. To remind me that it happens.

As you know, I’m in the final stages of editing Book 8. It’s been hard. Really hard. After writing and editing eight novels you would think I’d expect this but somehow every year I forget once my book is handed in. This year has been brutal. I’m not going to apologise for saying it. Writing a book is hard work, editing it into some kind of coherent story is a long (but necessary) slog. And the final stages of an edit are the absolute worst bit. If you’ve ever written a book, you’ll understand.

Editing Book 8

My edit face – nope, it ain’t pretty…

But then today, right in the middle of it all, someone I’ve never met tweeted me to say they’d chosen my books to read during their week off.

I know how precious holiday reading time is. And how important it is to choose the right book to spend time with. So, hearing that a complete stranger has picked my book completely blows my mind.

As a published writer it’s too easy to get caught up in the tough bits – the hours nobody else sees you investing, the doubts, the heart-searching slog to find the best story – and forget why you wanted to write in the first place. Every now and again glimpses like this appear and they are wonderful.

There’s no great lesson from this, apart from the encouragement that as a writer what you do makes a difference to other people. I’m leaving this post here as a message to anyone slogging out a story – and as a message to a future, sleep-deprived, fed up, final-stage-edit me. Hang in for the good stuff. It happens.

Miranda Writes 45: #getinvolved with Book 8!

All this year I’m vlogging about the writing, editing and publishing of my latest novel, A Parcel for Anna Browne. This week, I’m writing Book 8 – and I need YOUR help!

If you’ve watched my vlogs for a while, you’ll know that every year I give my lovely readers the chance to suggest something for my next book. Over four hundred people have joined in with my #getinvolved challenges during the last few year – amazing authors Joanne Harris and Jill Mansell have even joined in! If I use your suggestion, I’ll thank you in the acknowledgements in my eighth novel…

So, to find out your first #getinvolved challenge, watch this vlog! You can leave a comment in the box below this post, email me mirandawurdy@gmail.com, tweet me @wurdsmyth or leave me a comment on my facebook author page MirandaDickinsonAuthor.

What would you like to know? Contact me using the methods above and ask me a question for the next vlog.

Enjoy! xx

Lessons from Anna Browne: Write the book YOU want to write

I hesitated about whether to post this or not. But having spoken to so many writers during this year, both through WriteFoxy and via Twitter, I think this is something that could help fellow writers to follow their hearts…

I had the initial idea for A Parcel for Anna Browne about four years ago. Like many ideas it sat sparkling away on the sidelines of the books I was writing, trying to distract me when I had deadlines and waking me up in the middle of the night to whisper in my ear. I loved the idea. I even wrote the first chapter to see what it might look like. But I didn’t propose it to my agent or publisher for one simple reason: I didn’t think I could write it yet.

A Parcel for Anna Browne by Miranda Dickinson

A Parcel for Anna Browne

Writing is about taking risks when you’re facing The Fear.

You would think, after writing six Sunday Times Bestselling novels that have sold almost 1 million copies worldwide (eek!) I would be completely confident in my writing. This couldn’t be further from the truth! Every year I ask myself if I’m up to the challenge of writing another book and telling the story I’m dreaming of in the way I want to tell it.

What I found really comforting is that when I spoke to my writer friends it turns out that all of them regularly do battle with what has become commonly known as The Fear. Writers I admire, whose words flow onto the page beautifully, who tell stories that amaze, thrill and inspire me, have all at some time during the writing process of their incredible books doubted their ability to do their idea justice. What made the difference between those ideas remaining in the wings and being brought onto the page wasn’t confidence, but courage.

So, after four years of hesitation, I decided to go for it.

Writing A Parcel for Anna Browne has been one of the scariest and most exciting experiences of my writing career – and I am so proud of the result. Writing the book has taught me to follow my gut instinct and tell the stories I’m dreaming of telling. Where I’ve felt my vocabulary is lacking, or encountered obstacles I’m not sure how to overcome, I’ve held on to the inescapable feeling that Anna’s story is one I want to write.

So, this is what I’ve learned: if the idea has come to you, then you have everything you need to tell it. All you need is the courage to begin.

Miranda Writes 44 – Seeing my book printed!

All this year, I’m vlogging about the writing, editing and publishing of A Parcel for Anna BrowneThis week I go to the printers to see my book being printed – and it was AWESOME!

When you want to write books, the thought of one day seeing thousands and thousands of your novels whizzing around a printing factory seems like the stuff of your wildest dreams. And it completely is a dream come true to actually see that happen!

I was very lucky to be invited down to Pan Macmillan’s printers to see A Parcel for Anna Browne being printed. The very lovely Amanda from onemorepage came along, too, which made a wonderful day even more special. I’ll warn you, I squeak a lot in this vlog!

Enjoy!

M xx