Friday, 21 December 2012

Favourite day of the year...

It's only the 21st December and I have already reached Quality Street saturation point and am considering booking my liver in for a much deserved spa break. It's been a frantic December at home and work and, as always, it's my writing that suffers.

My precious writing-Fridays have been spent Christmas shopping, ordering the Christmas food (if it all turns up at midday on Sunday I am going to be very, very smug but I predict a panic dash to the supermarket Sunday afternoon) cleaning (I know!), or at school plays. And I seem to have developed a frantic Christmas social life in the evenings much to my daughter's disgust. 'When are you in?' she asked the other day, desperate for me to finish reading the Hounds of Morrigan to her this year.

Luckily this weekend things slow down and after an afternoon baking on Sunday - gingerbread for the gingerbread and butter apple pudding I am inventing for Christmas day and the trifle for when it all goes horribly wrong - we'll swing into Christmas Eve. One of the things I love most about having a child is the invention of our own family traditions. Every Christmas Eve we go to the crib service at York Minster which ends with a tableaux of every child in a Nativity scene, usually about 300 of them. We've gone every year since she was two but I think this is the last year 9yo will want to participate so next year we may have to try the afternoon service or even Midnight Mass which will make this year's service extra special; I always well up for the descant in 'Oh Come All Ye Faithful', this year there may be sobs. After the service we go for lunch with friends and then the neighbours come round for mulled wine and to watch Father Christmas's progress on Google Maps.

Just a few years ago...
Christmas day is the usual bustle of stockings, presents, walks, food, wine and Dr Who and it is lots of fun but it's the quieter, sweeter Christmas Eve I love best. Whether it's snowing, frosty and sunny or, more likely, grey and raining, it's a magical day, my favourite day of the year.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Rising Star

Thanks to the (non winning) SYTYCW entry I had to come a little further out of the romance writing closet. It's never been a total secret, I just don't want to have to field too may questions about 'how's it going?' and 'are you published yet?' as no one is really interested in the answer to the former and what if the answer to the second is always 'not yet' and never 'well, actually'.
When people do learn about my writing there are two questions they usually ask. The first (interestingly most men's first question) is 'do you write lots of sex?' and the second is 'why not self publish?' I then blush and explain that actually I write sweet romance although naturally there is an element of sensuality and no, valid as it is for many writers, self publishing isn't a route I plan to go down right now.
But of course publishing is changing; epubs, self pubs, mergers and new ventures all make the publishing world more open, more complicated and more exciting than ever. From Entangled's rapid rise to prominence in the romance writing world to the new digital only lines being explored by most of the Big Six there are lots of avenues for prospective writers to explore which, in the end, can only be good for readers.
Lindsay J Pryor is a paranormal writer who is taking a chance on a totally new venture. Twice runner up in New Voices she recently published her debut novel Blood Shadows with start up publisher Bookouture, a digital and print on demand publisher looking for writers with the ability to grow as brands. Taking a chance on an unproved venture seems like a risky decision until you find out that the brains behind Bookouture belong to Oliver Rhodes, the Mills & Boon marketing guru behind New Voices and a Bookseller's Rising Star. Suddenly Lindsay's choice of publisher looks like a very sound one indeed.
The quality so far is staggering; the cover art is beautiful, the editing top notch and the choice of launch novel inspired. Blood Shadows is the first in a trilogy set in Blackthorn, a world where humans mix with third species like werewolves and vampires. A million miles away from glittery vegetarian vampires Lindsay has populated her world with treachery, violence and steamy sex. Caitlin is a strong, likeable heroine, Kane so Alpha he skirts closer to the edge than any Hero I have ever read. The twists and turns left this reader breathless until the very last page. It's a fantastic, exciting, hot read and I cannot wait to read the next one...