This is the last week of the current sale and giveaway!
Seeing Red, the first of the New London books, is currently only $0.99 on Amazon. Get it here while you can! (Ebook only)
There is a giveaway for a signed copy of Secrets Within on Goodreads. The giveaway ends this weekend, so click on the link below to enter!
I'm thrilled to finally reveal the cover for my next novel - Secrets Within.
Secrets Within is the second of the New London series (Seeing Red #1).
Secrets Within will be released on May 5th, 2017.
Haven't read Seeing Red? Don't worry, Secrets Within can be read on it's own.
If you would like to catch up though, Seeing Red is on sale on Amazon for the next few weeks - only $0.99!
Ditched by the love of his life, Andrew, a US Navy lawyer, takes time off to spend with his sister, Nell. When he succumbs to temptation on the journey to Nell’s home, the resulting one night stand with a grey-eyed woman leaves Andrew torn and confused.
Andrew’s holiday is soon disrupted when an officer on the submarine commanded by Nell’s husband is caught with stolen plans. As a favour to his brother-in-law, Andrew agrees to act on behalf of the accused officer. A specialist team of NCIS agents is called in to lead the investigation— the ex-love of Andrew’s life among them. And the local NCIS agent assisting them? The grey-eyed mystery woman – Tait.
As the investigation proceeds, what started out as a straightforward case becomes complicated, as long held secrets are revealed one by one. The key to solving the puzzle proves elusive, until one tiny piece of information exposes the biggest secret of them all.
Secrets Within is now available for pre-order through Amazon.
To order a print copy from the author, please go to the orders page.
Want a chance to win a copy of Secrets Within?
A giveaway for a print copy of Secrets Within will be running on Goodreads from 21st April to 13th May.
To enter, click the link below.
For this week's post I've chosen to run an updated interview with Warren and Sam from the White Rose series. This was on my previous blog, but was taken down when I moved the blog here. If you didn't read it the first time, I hope you enjoy it, and if you did, I hope you like the additions.
So here they are - Warren Pearce and Sam Dalton
Me: Morning gentlemen. Thanks for agreeing to be interviewed.
Sam: Did we have a choice?
Warren: Always complaining, aren’t you Sam? (To me) It’s a pleasure to be here.
Sam: No complaints, just making an observation.
Me: I can’t force you to do anything, but you already know that (scowling at Sam). One minute in, and we’re already off topic. See what I mean?
Warren grins. As does Sam.
Sam: Sorry. Go ahead.
Me: Thank you. Warren, tell me how you and Sam met.
Warren: I met Sam at the FBI academy while we were training to become Special Agents. We quite literally bumped into each other during physical training when Sam lost his footing during an obstacle course and landed on me.
Sam: You got in my way.
Warren: That’s not how I remember it.
Sam: Getting forgetful?
Warren: Not likely. You're older than me, so I think you'll be the forgetful one. Back to the story. We met again later that day in the recreation room and started talking. We found a chess board, had a game, and we’ve been friends ever since.
Me: Sam, you and Warren still play chess regularly, don’t you?
Sam: We do. Most weeks we get together for a couple of games.
Me: Who wins?
Silence reigns for a couple of moments.
Sam: I think Warren is leading at the moment, but I’m closing the gap.
Warren: I’d have to agree with that. It’s still quite a gap though.
Sam: It’s getting smaller.
Warren (smiling): We’ll see how close it gets.
Sam: Hmm. (He scratches his chin). Probably as close as you to getting more wins over me in our boxing bouts.
Me: You box?
Sam: It’s a fitness thing - or so Warren will tell you.
Warren: It is about fitness.
Sam: Not about our friendly bouts?
Warren: Not at all.
Sam (grinning): Is that because I get around your guard twice as often as you do mine?
Warren: I wouldn’t say twice…
Sam (grin still in place): I would. Let’s just say we each have our strengths.
Me: What else do you have in common?
Sam: Apart from good looks and intelligence?
Sam: We’re both great investigators, and loyal. I guess apart from that we’re opposites.
Warren: I’d agree with that. Sam has a way of looking through people that can be very disconcerting. I’ve seen him turn tough criminals into insecure talkers just by looking at them.
Sam: Where as you know exactly what questions to ask and when.
Warren: And you're short.
Sam: I'm not! Just shorter than you. (He looks at me) I'm easily taller than her.
Me: Oi! Don't forget who I am! I can make you shorter!
Warren laughs as Sam throws me an apologetic smile.
Sam: Sorry - again. Friends?
Me: Okay, friends. Let's back to the interview. So was there a time in the FBI when you worked as partners?
Warren: Early in our careers we did, for several years. As time went by we moved onto different areas, but it’s never affected our friendship.
Me: So you’ve never disagreed during an investigation?
Sam: We have - lots of times, but that’s what investigations are about. You have to look at things from all points of view and challenge each other to provide evidence to back up any theories.
Warren: Our differences make us a good team. We’ve always operated well together.
Sam: Especially when I’ve had to get you out of trouble.
Warren: You’ve caused waves too.
Sam: Not the size of yours, buddy. I’ve seen how big your file is. All those reprimands.
Warren: The job has to get done.
Sam (smiling): It sure does.
Me: So, how do you like being characters in my books?
Warren: It’s a bit of a wild ride, but on the whole I’m very happy.
Sam: I bet you are. (To me) I don’t mind it, especially as I don’t have to go through as much as my friend here. It’s exciting. I think the future looks good.
Me: So what do you think the future holds?
Suddenly I’m getting suspicious looks cast at me.
Warren: What are you planning?
Me (trying to look innocent): Nothing too bad. Hey, you’re still alive.
Warren: Nothing too bad? What does that mean?
Sam: I’d prefer not to end up in hospital again.
Me: Have faith guys. If I don’t have you, then I’d have nothing to write about. (For some reason the suspicious looks haven’t eased. Time to finish the interview, I think). Relax, it’ll be all good, I promise. Thanks for the chat. I’ll let you get back to Beth and Heather now.
They smile, all suspicion gone. I hope they didn’t notice my fingers were crossed…
There is only one week left of the Roses Giveaway on Goodreads. Click here to nominate yourself for one of three free, signed copies of Roses.
I work full time. Not as a writer, but as a payroll officer.
Many of my colleagues know I write and they often ask me how I find time to do all of my writing activities. My usual reply is “It can be hard - work takes up all of my free time.”
It’s the same story for so many writers; at least to start with. Many writers don’t make enough in sales to entertain the thought of leaving paid employment, so work and writing just has to get along. In the past couple of years I’ve established a routine that allows me time to write each day.
Note I say allows me time.
Here’s a surprise - you don’t have to write every single day to be a ‘real’ writer. Throw that rule about having to write every day out the window right now! It’s good if you can write every day, but it’s not compulsory. Sometimes I come home so brain-drained that it’s hard to think about writing, let alone do it. Don’t beat up on yourself! You miss a day here and there? So what! It’s not the end of the world. The absolute last thing you want to do is drive yourself so hard you become burned out. It’s not worth it.
So, this is how I make time to write.
Morning or evening?
I’m a morning person, so I get up early each day - as in 5.30 am - to give me time to get a few words down before I go to work. I find it puts me in a good mood, which makes my work day start better. I also write most evenings - anything from ten minutes worth to a couple of hours. It really depends on what kind of day I’ve had.
Silence is golden
Turn your phone, iPad, tablet, etc, onto silent. My phone allows exceptions, so family can still call if there is an emergency. Teach loved ones to stay away (unless they’re bringing you a cup of tea) and leave you to do your writing.
At this point I would like to acknowledge all those who write with young children around. My kids are grown, so I’ve never experienced what that is like. It would not be easy, and you have my respect!
I keep my laptop on flight mode, so there’s no quick way to ‘just check’ social media sites. With the iPad and phone on silent, I’m not tempted to reach for them either as there are no notification ‘pings’ to distract me.
Oh weekend, I love you! This is the perfect opportunity to get some serious word counts happening. I rarely sit down for a long session though. It’s more a case of a few bursts of writing during the day - usually an hour or two at a time. Again, I don’t want to overload myself. I have to keep in mind that I need some time to be lazy.
It’s not unknown for me to take a day, or even a half day, of annual leave during quiet times to get some writing done. Last Wednesday was a perfect example. Things were quiet at work and I knew I only had a couple of thousand words to do to finish the first draft of a book. I took a day off and completed the book. I’m extremely lucky that both my line manager and team manager support me in my writing endeavours, so they have no qualms letting me take my leave this way.
No, they’re not that supportive that I can ignore my in-tray and write all day at my work desk. I have twenty minutes each for morning and afternoon tea, plus an hour for lunch. If I have words bursting to be written, then that’s another ideal time to do it. Have I mentioned how supportive my colleagues are? They have no problems with me opening a blank word document a typing during my breaks, and then uploading it to Dropbox ready for downloading again that evening at home.
That’s pretty much it for me. By implementing the above, I’ve written five novels in a little over two years, plus a couple of short stories. The trick is to find what works for you, and stick with it. If you have any tips you’d like to share, please do so!
Take care, Alison
Giveaway! Three copies of my first novel, Roses, are currently listed as Giveaways on Goodreads. Check it out here, and nominate yourself for a copy! The Giveaway ends in two weeks...
I sat at my desk this afternoon, wondering what I would write about in my blog post. In search of inspiration, I looked around at the litter of paper and books that surround my laptop. I’m close to finishing the first draft of another novel and scattered on my desk is the stuff I need to carry it through to completion. So I thought I would go through what I consider important to have around when I’m writing.
Each book I’ve written has its own dedicated notepad (or two). This is where I write down character names (what was that person’s surname again?), plot ideas, things to remember to add in or things that need to be changed ‘earlier’ in the story (I don’t go back at the time and change them - I note them and keep going), word counts, place names, and any little bit of information I feel the need to record.
Ever been trying to think of that perfect word and it’s hovering, but you can’t quite nail it down? Thesaurus.
3. Ongoing timeline
My current work-in-progress is the fourth of the White Rose series. When I started writing the first book, I drafted a timeline of events that occur during the story. I’ve continued the timeline to encompass the subsequent books. It looks like a calendar and is marked with birthdays, anniversaries, and events relating to each book e.g. ‘Retribution starts here’.
Apart from my thesaurus, I have two books constantly to hand. One is a travel guide to Washington DC which is loaded with useful information such as restaurants, parks, and maps. The other is Forensic Botany: A Practical Guide, which I use to add credibility to Beth’s work (more so in the later books of the series). I have a shelf of other things such as a police procedural (correct way to read the Miranda Rights, evidence for warrants), and a baby names book for inspiration (phone books are good for surnames).
5. A tray of paper
More correctly, this is a tray of printed articles and information from the internet. I’d give examples, but that would spoil some of the plot in my current story.
Back up, back up, back up. Just thinking of losing my work - even 500 words of it - almost sends me into a panic! After each writing session I back up onto a USB, which is then hidden, and also onto a remote ‘cloud’ server - in two places! You can never have too many backed up copies of your work.
Other bits I have around me include: a cup of tea, my iPad (I usually have my laptop on flight mode = paranoia), tissues, Nelson and Elliot (my bears), pens, sticky tags, a ruler (what does 3 inches look like?), lens cleaning cloth, and quite often, a bunch of flowers.
While all the above is important, there are only two things I absolutely must have when writing: my laptop and my imagination.
Until next time
There is currently a giveaway promotion for my first novel, Roses, on Goodreads. Check it out and enter here (Australians only, sorry). The giveaway ends on January 30, 2016.
What's it about?
My thoughts on writing, the research I do, and what interests and inspires me as a writer.
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