Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Witchstruck Sequel: first half playlist

It's odd that we haven't yet decided on a title for my sequel to my paranormal romance Witchstruck - all reasonable suggestions will be considered! - but I can assure you that the book exists and is being written. In fact, I've stopped writing in order to hop over to this blog and post up a playlist for the Prologue and first five chapters.

I've been making playlists on my iTunes as I go along, and tend to jump back and forth between my favs. But this is the list of tunes I've been listening to most while at work on the first half of this sequel to Witchstruck.

It strikes me that some of these tracks feel quite cheery. Which is odd, given how dark this book is. But maybe I've been listening to them with an intense frown on my face.

Current favs (tracks that get repeat listens about 50 times a chapter) would include Like A Boy, Titanium, Lego House, Somebody That I Used To Know, Alejandro, Dancing Girls. As for LMFAO's Party Rock Anthem, I'm embarrassed to see the plays are up in the multiple hundreds. ("Every day I'm shufflin'.") There are heaps of others I could have listed, but I had to draw the line somewhere ...

So, in no particular order, and bearing in mind that I tend to watch the music videos that accompany many of these while writing (split-screen: Word doc and iTunes) rather than just listening, here they are:

  • Lullaby - Shawn Mullins
  • Like A Boy - Ciara
  • Titanium - David Guetta & Sia
  • You Do Something To Me - Paul Weller
  • Picasso Visita el Planeta de los Simios - Adam & the Ants
  • Halo - BeyoncĂ©
  • Love Sex Magic - Ciara feat. Justin Timberlake
  • Lego House - Ed Sheeran
  • Somebody That I Used to Know - Gotye
  • Hyperactive! - Thomas Colby
  • Through The Fire - Buffy soundtrack, 'Once More With Feeling' episode
  • Party Rock Anthem - LMFAO
  • Alejandro - Lady Gaga
  • Ridin' Solo - Jason Derulo
  • Fight For This Love - Cheryl Cole
  • Born To Die - Lana Del Rey
  • Not The Girl You Think You Are - Crowded House
  • Dancing Girls - Nik Kershaw
  • Louder - DJ Fresh

Monday, 30 July 2012

A Glimpse into the Revision Process for a Novel

Revising The Queen's Secret, 2011

Here is one sheet of The Queen's Secret at manuscript revision stage in 2011, taken from a stack of about 550 hand-revised pages. This novel is currently available on Kindle and in hardback.

In this scene, my Tudor protagonist Lucy Morgan faces a charge by an angry bear at Kenilworth Castle, Warwickshire.

As you can see, revising a book for publication can be quite complicated. Several members of the editorial team, including the author, may mark up a manuscript at different stages of the revision process. I chose this particular page to feature on the blog because it contains a number of revision suggestions by different people, including myself.

Sometimes changes are quick and simple to execute, just snips to speed the pace or split over-long sentences into shorter ones for ease of reading. Here you can see the first half of the first paragraph has been cut. Too much description can slow a scene, so paragraphs with no other purpose but to describe are often sacrificed at revision stage, especially in an action scene like this.

Sometimes a change made elsewhere in a manuscript produces knock-on changes that need to be picked up throughout the novel to maintain continuity. Changes for continuity are an easy matter when working in a Word document, but as you can see, this particular manuscript was marked up and revised by hand. Hence all the highly technical arrows, loops and squiggles!

Some pages remained almost untouched at revision stage for The Queen's Secret. That means less work as we head towards publication. But I'm happy when a page needs the squiggle treatment, because I know it will be a far tighter read by the end of the process.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Book Signing at Waterstones

I'm signing copies of Witchstruck at Exeter Roman Gate branch of Waterstones (252 High Street) on Saturday August 11th from 1-3pm.

Here's a map to the Roman Gate branch of Waterstones in Exeter, Devon. I hope to see you there on the afternoon of Saturday 11th August. Please share!

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Lisa's Books: fantastic Witchstruck review

Lisa's Books: Witchstruck by Victoria Lamb

I just had to post up this link to a book blog called Lisa's Books, in thanks for an excellent and very generous review by Lisa Redmond of my YA paranormal Witchstruck.
An amazing and absorbing new series with a believable heroine and a real sense of danger, the publishers are marketing this as Philippa Gregory crossed with Twilight. Yes, it is set in the Tudor era and there are real historical characters including the future Queen Elizabeth and the reigning Queen Mary but this is not Twilight, it is so much better ...
Read more at Lisa's Books.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Got me on the list?

Got me on the list at Goodreads, I mean.

I've been exploring that site recently, and it's just an amazing resource both for readers and writers. Sure, some of the reviews are a bit out there, but overall it's the place to be if you want to discover what everyone's reading - and loving/hating - at the moment.

Witchstruck, my historical paranormal romance for Young Adults, is currently about number 14 on the Goodreads list for Historical Fiction 2012.

I just need a few more votes to bump it into the Top Ten.

So if you're a member of Goodreads, and willing to help Witchstruck with a little bump, here's the link to their Historical Fiction 2012 list. It's not a list of 'your favourite historical books' or anything like that; it just has to be historical and released in 2012, so Witchstruck fits the bill nicely.

Many thanks anyway!

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Short Films: My Writing Retreat at Shottery

In September 2011, I stayed for a week in this very pretty cottage at Shottery, a small village on the outskirts of Stratford-Upon-Avon. Sorry the iPhone footage is narrow-frame; I'm not sure how to make it larger, if that's even possible. All suggestions gratefully accepted.

Apologies too for the sotto voce commentary - I had close neighbours in the little Tudor lane where I was staying, and didn't want them to think I was talking to myself!

While closeted alone here, I worked on His Dark Lady, my sequel to The Queen's Secret, this time a novel about the adult William Shakespeare and his developing relationship with the 'Dark Lady' of his sonnets.

In the sequel, I suggest his infamous dark mistress to be none other than one of the Queen's own ladies-in-waiting, a mysterious woman named Lucy Morgan and a key protagonist of The Queen's Secret.

The Queen's Secret will be published in paperback in September 2012, though it's available now in hardback and on Kindle.

Shakespeare himself chose to marry young, of course, possibly because his much older bride Anne Hathaway had fallen pregnant.

Anne Hathaway came from Shottery; she grew up in a farmhouse only a few hundred yards from this cottage, where her father Richard Hathaway was a yeoman farmer. We know very little else about her background, though we do know Shakespeare bequeathed his 'second-best bed' to his wife in his will. Much has been made of that curious bequest by biographers and novelists alike ...

Anne Hathaway also features in His Dark Lady, where her on-off relationship with the mostly absent Will Shakespeare is explored as the novel progresses.

His Dark Lady will be published by Bantam in February 2013.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

His Dark Lady: sneaky peek at the cover!

The sequel to The Queen's Secret will be published in February 2013, continuing the story of black entertainer and Queen Elizabeth's lady-in-waiting, Lucy Morgan, who in my novel becomes Shakespeare's Muse.

It's called His Dark Lady, and I've just been granted a sneaky advance peek at the likely cover.

Do please let me know what you think!

Pre-order His Dark Lady in hardback from Amazon.co.uk

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Goodreads fun and games

Are you on Goodreads? If not, you should consider it, because everyone who reads will enjoy the site. If you are, please hop over there for two things.

One is to vote for my YA paranormal novel Witchstruck in their list of Historical Fiction 2012, if you haven't already. It's currently sitting at about No. 14 in the list.

The second is potentially to grab yourself a FREE copy of Witchstruck.

To enter the draw for a free copy at the Witchstruck Goodreads Giveaway, you have to be a member of Goodreads and based in the UK.

I'll probably be doing a US Giveaway later in the year. Sorry!

Meanwhile, here's a question for you. Tudor witches were routinely condemned to death once their guilt was proven. But how were most witches executed in Britain at that time?

Leave your answer below. You won't win a free copy of anything - unlike at Goodreads - but I will bestow a smile on you for both right and wrong answers.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Witchstruck Giveaway Winners

I'm delighted to announce that these two blog readers have won a free copy of Witchstruck in association with my recent launch blog tour:

Aretha Zhen 
Cathie Dunn

Please make sure I have your contact details, and congratulations!

There's also a Giveaway for UK readers on Goodreads: only another week left before it closes. So enter now, completely free, to win a paperback copy of Witchstruck. Click link to visit Goodreads.

 I expect there'll be another giveaway on this blog later in the year. Please follow the blog (see sidebar) to see the latest news and giveaways as soon as they appear.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

RNA Conference 2012

I'm currently at the Romantic Novelists Association annual conference, held this year in Penrith, Cumbria. Some amazing speakers this year, and a great opportunity to catch up with industry news and developments as well as old friends!

Then there are those special moments where writers get to relax together and forge new friendships. Yes, this is a kitchen party scene, and I am noticeably absent, being behind the camera lens.

There was some lovely homemade wine at this kitchen party, hosted largely by a group of writers calling themselves the Romaniacs, and I can attest that the 1975 Morello Cherry was extremely tasty and went down a treat with a slice of chocolate cake.

The Gala Dinner is tonight, followed by more speakers and activities tomorrow. I'm particularly looking to a talk by fellow RNA member Jenny Barden, entitled 'Tracing the Tudors', as she talks about research for her forthcoming novel Mistress of the Sea (Ebury).

Friday, 13 July 2012

Witchstruck at Thoughts from the Hearthfire

Friday 13th July

Final Day of the epic Witchstruck blog tour!!

Witchstruck finishes its two week blog tour at:

Thoughts from the Hearthfire

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Witchstruck at Little Reader Library

Wednesday July 11th

Today the Witchstruck blog tour stops at:

The Little Reader Library

What you're always secretly striving for when you write is that elusive 1% bracket where you're a god. It never happens of course. Or only in the bath.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Witchstruck at Dark Readers

Two Giveaways:

Tuesday 10th July

The Witchstruck blog tour stops today at:

Dark Readers

Yesterday Witchstruck visited:

Madame Guillotine

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Witchstruck Blog Tour: Week Two

So we're heading into Week Two of the epic #Witchstruck blog tour, and things are going brilliantly. The first week has been amazing - a whirlwind tour, in fact, with fascinating interviews and book chat - and Week Two promises to be just as fabulous.

Please join me in this second leg of the tour, starting with the lavish Madame Guillotine on Monday 9th July.

For Writers: Coping with Rejection

On this quiet Sunday in between #Witchstruck tour stops, I've blogged about rejection and how to cope with it at Liz Bailey's "Helping Writers Get It Right" blog.

Sometimes a rejection has a simple explanation like that and is no reflection on your work. One example of an ‘unseen’ disadvantage is when a similar book or writer has already been accepted, so a publisher can’t commit to yours because of a potential clash of interests ...
Read More

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Witchstruck at Once Upon A Time

Saturday July 7th

The Witchstruck Tour Blog reaches the end of Week One!

We start again Monday. Breathe ...

Today, the Witchstruck tour blog stops at:

Once Upon A Time

Be sure to drop by. Not only is it a brilliant interview, with knitting dogs and childhood insights, but there's a GIVEWAY too!

Win a copy of Witchstruck on Goodreads!

There is now a Witchstruck Giveaway listed by the publisher on Goodreads, for those who are members. (If you're not already a member, why not join? It's free and an excellent site for book readers.)

It's open to UK readers only. Sorry!

To be in the draw to win a copy of Witchstruck, just follow this link to Goodreads and click 'Enter To Win'.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Witchstruck Publication Day!

It's been a long road, but Witchstruck is finally published today and available as a paperback in all good bookshops and at online booksellers. There are also ebook editions available.

Meg Lytton has always known of her dark and powerful gift. Raised a student of the old magick by her Aunt Jane, casting the circle to see visions of the future and concocting spells from herbs and bones has always been as natural to Meg as breathing. But there has never been a more dangerous time to practise the craft, for it is 1554, and the sentence for any woman branded a witch is hanging, or burning at the stake.

I'm currently writing the sequel to Witchstruck, where life for Meg gets even darker and more dangerous than before, as the whole of England comes under threat. I hope you get a chance to look at Witchstruck on Amazon if you haven't already, and leave a "Like" if it seems interesting, or even a review if you've read it.

Many thanks to everyone who's helped me reach publication day with Witchstruck, from my agent Luigi Bonomi, and my editor Lauren Buckland and the whole team at Random House Children's Books, to the many lovely bloggers, reviewers and readers who've been kind enough to let me know they loved Witchstruck or are looking forward to receiving their copy.

Couldn't have done it without you!

Witchstruck at Jera's Jamboree

Thursday 5th July (Publication Day!)

The Witchstruck blog tour stops today at:

Jera's Jamboree


Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Witchstruck at Turn The page

Wednesday 4th July

The Witchstruck blog tour stops today at:

Turn The Page

(Don't miss the giveaway!)

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Witchstruck at Serendipity Reviews

Tuesday 3rd July

The Witchstruck blog tour stops today at:

Serendipity Reviews

P.S. Check out my fantasy dinner party guest list!!